Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cy-Fair Team

March 14-21 we had some youth from Cy-Fair Christian Church in Houston here to work directly with our youth like they have done for the past few years (six, I think).  The past couple of years there has been an interesting dynamic forming as we see the two youth groups coming together as one.  It’s almost like they’re part of our youth group.  When they come (even the newbies), they fit right in and have been able to overcome the language barrier.  It’s amazing!  When they’re here, they’re here to spend time with our youth and build relationships.  They understand that it’s “not about them” and that they’re not coming down on a “vacation” with their friends from home.  It’s so refreshing to see a short-term missions team be able to do this as effectively and they’ve done it.  They don’t stay all together and form groups of Americans here and groups of Americans there, it’s not like that at all.  They’re all hanging out together; our youth and theirs.

One of the ways that has helped break down the language barrier is by introducing an “Amazing Race” event with clues in half Spanish half English.  It’s pretty fun!  Whether it was making tortilla’s two years ago or making a meal for a family last year, they all work together to gather the supplies they need that are scattered throughout the town and reach their goal.  This year, we did not originally plan this, so it came as a surprise not only for the Americans, but our youth and student leaders as well.  As soon as the Americans got here from the airport, they ate lunch, had an orientation time, and went over to the church to “hang out” with our youth at our youth group meeting and do some “get-to-know-you” games.  All of the sudden we started the race between two teams of guys and two teams of girls--mixed American/Mexican.  They went to three different towns and chose what kind of activity they would do in each town.  They finally returned to Cofradía to find out they were invited to “The Valley of Decision” (a rendition of Survivor’s Tribal Council mixed in with a pre-make of Judgement Day found in Joel 3) to vote on who would have to do chores.

The next day we had our annual Award’s Banquet with a “Cowboy” theme this year chosen by our student leaders.  We all dressed up and over a very authentic barbecued beef/steak meal, we handed out some awards to our students...

  • Chuy Orozco F. and Aidé Garzón V. received a Certificate of Achievement for completing a one year long discipleship class.
  • Alfredo Garzón S. received the Spirit Award for his enthusiasm in the youth group.
  • Guillermo Orozco F. received the New Generation Award (only for incoming 7th graders) for showing potential of leadership and responsibility.
  • Abraham Águilar received the Servant Award for ALWAYS helping without even being asked.  This guy is going to be an awesome leader.
  • Chuy Corrales F. received the Brave Heart Award for his incredible spiritual growth this past year.
  • Also, we recognized our three Student Leaders who have helped us in a huge way this year accomplish what has been done.  They are a true blessing and we’re excited to have them in leadership:  Martin, Sandra, and Mily.

Every year the Cy-Fair youth serve us the meal and we all sit down and eat.  When it’s all done, they go back to the mission base to have their sack-lunch dinners.  This year, we decided to secretly flip the evening and as soon as we were done eating and handing out awards, our youth got up, cleaned the tables and we had them sit down and we served them.

It wasn’t complete without giving them awards.  This was the perfect opportunity because it wouldn’t work out any other year.  So, we decided to give...

  • A Brave Heart Award to Pastor Brad Pembleton because he is no longer the youth pastor, but Group Life Pastor and will be planting a daughter church within a couple of years.  He is stepping out in faith as the Lord leads him and we appreciate his example.  Thanks Brad!
  • We gave a Servant Award to Pastor Dave Chavez who is ALWAYS wanting to help out and serve people.  Especially when we have meetings at our house over a meal, he’s the first one to get up and wash the dishes...ALL THE TIME!  Thanks Dave!
  • We gave a New Generation Award to Pastor Mike Skelton who is now the Youth Pastor and we appreciate him and welcome him as the new youth pastor.  Thanks for bringing the team Mike!

In the mornings during the week, the team had a number of different work projects to do and they completed everything from setting tile in the new youth room to taking out a beam and putting in another one of a ceiling that was already poured (cement).  They did a great job.

In the evenings, we had some organized team building games, we went to clean the a basketball court area and soccer field of a neighboring town, and we had a really great time the last evening walking out to the corn fields to see how they harvest corn here.  There is quite a bit of the growth and harvesting process that we can relate to our growth spiritually.

Cleaning the basketball court area and field in Las Pilas.

Walking through the corn fields.

It was a great week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

VIDA Abundante (Abundant LIFE) meeting.

Last night at youth group, Sandra, one of the Student Leaders, gave the Bible Study.  She did a great job sharing about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho relating the walking around the walls to things in our life that do not need to be there.  Maybe we need to “walk around that wall” and believe that God will tear it down.  God gave Jericho into the hands of Joshua and Joshua believed.

Great job Sandra!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coffee Time 0530

A while back I posted about meeting with four of my students from the youth group on Tuesdays at 5:30am.  I started a blog about the meeting called "cafe 0530" and will post from time to time.  Here is a link to the blog...


I signed up on Facebook last week and I'm learning how it works little by little.  If you're on Facebook, let me know.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Coffee Field Trip

One of the neatest things about living in Mexico is that nothing really is guaranteed.  Not even what you buy at the store--they say you can bring it back when you buy it, but when that time comes it's either "No, we don't take things back" or you're given a credit.  Not all the time, but generally speaking--just like what happened today.

Not a big deal, but it was a little funny how things worked out today.  Our plan was to go up to the foothills in the mountains with my brother-in-law Hugo and his family to pick, toast, grind, and drink fresh coffee from the plant.  Once we got there, Hugo's friends had either gone to town for a political meeting or were in the hills working.  After a while, the guys that were working came home for lunch and we had some very good soup with some very good meatballs and some very good and spicy salsa!  Also, we had some very good pineapple as well.

Right around the time we had to leave, Hugo mentioned to his friend that we'd like to take some coffee.  They had four gunny sacks full of coffee--around 100lbs each.  So, since harvest time is over, we weren't able to pick.  Instead, we got to see the next phase--his friend pulled out an electric grinder that takes off the shell from the bean.  After a loud 30 minutes we got maybe one pound of coffee beans.  Still we needed to sift through the garbage just like they do with the beans you eat.  We brought some home and they gave us a bunch more that still has the shell.  That was pretty awesome!

Something even better was that he took us up to his fields on a big hill where he has a little fruit called "nanchi."  I don't really care for them, but Geña and the girls LOVE them!  They were the biggest one's I've ever seen!  After picking a few nanchi's, he took us up to his pineapple plantation.  That was pretty cool too.  There aren't many ready yet, maybe a couple more weeks and there will be a few ripe ones.

In the end it was a pretty good day.  Even though it wasn't what I expected, it turned out to be very adventurous and there were some pretty neat things to learn.  So, with that, I'm going to start toasting some coffee!!!
Beans still in the shell.
Putting the beans in the grinder to take off the shell.
Sifting the garbage from the beans.
Coffee plant trunks that have been cleaned and varnished.  They make these and supply them to a Florist in town.
Nanchies that are not ready.
Ripe Nanchies.
Pineapple plantation...lots of pineapple!
A young pineapple sprouting from the plant.
We had some VERY GOOD Pineapple!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick News

The Cy-Fair Houston youth group has been here since Saturday and they are doing a great job in the construction and building relationships with our youth.  We had a mini-RETO on Saturday, an Awards Banquet on Sunday, and it's been construction in the mornings and relationship building events in the afternoons.  It's really nice to see a team come down and interact so well with the locals.  It speaks volumes to the people here.

I finally got hooked up to the internet with the Mac.  I just need to transfer a few more things and I'll be able to hand the PC to Gena.  She will be getting her own email soon, so we'll keep you posted about that.

Please continue to pray for our trip to Oaxaca.  We're all getting more and more excited.  We still need nearly $1000 usdollars to reach our outreach goal.  Thank you.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Greetings everyone! Thank you for all of your prayers. Last month, we asked you to pray for…

* Student Leadership Conference As usual, this was a great time for our leaders to hear some great teaching from some great pastors. The focus was on what motivates us to serve and we did a great deal of talking about expectations; those we perceive from others including God and those we have on others...including God. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life up for others (Mark 10:45).
* Family Conference This was a great weekend with not just the youth, but the whole church in general. On Friday night, the Taylors spoke to couples, on Saturday morning they spoke to the youth about purity—a pretty intense and very appropriate subject for our youth. On Saturday evening, our youth put together a Date Night for the married couples in the church. We had 25 couples attend and they were served a dinner, had some entertaining games, and the Taylors wrapped it up with some more great teaching. I have posted a short report of the Date Night with pictures here.
* Winnipeg Team Almost all of the electrical work is done in the new church building. We have electricity in our youth room and bathroom now which is really great! These guys did a great job and accomplished A LOT.
* Juan Abel and his family America had been attending church regularly since the Quinceañera. After my conversation with her dad about a month ago where he asked me some pointed questions and I disagreed with his doctrine, he banned her from going to church with us. She was able to come one last time and I was able to speak with her, pray with her, and try to encourage her to maintain faithful to the Lord. She knows her dad is wrong, but is respecting his decision to not let her attend with us.
* Oaxaca Missions Trip We are still in the process of preparing for the trip as we’ll be helping another missionary start a youth ministry. We still need $1000 usdollars for the ministry and construction projects we’ll be doing. One of the most amazing things right now is to see our youth (even the ones not going) coming together and working so hard to raise the money. We’ve had two carwashes and we’ve gone out to the fields to pick weeds with mean stickers amongst the bean plants. On average, each fund raiser brings in about $20 us dollars. That is nothing compared to what we need, but it’s a ton considering what kind of unity its bringing in the youth group. Click here to see one of our Car Washes.

We really do appreciate your prayers and financial support. We would love to have you come down and visit so you can see first hand what God is doing. Pictures and letters sometimes don’t do justice; it really is amazing to see what it is like here. Come down with your family or form a team and come with them.

Lately, we’ve been enjoying a free phone calling service called “SKYPE”. It enables you to chat, talk, and even see each other (given you have a camera hooked up to your computer) online with anyone else who has signed up. Skype to Skype is cost free and it even works with the dial-up internet service we have in my office. I have been able to communicate with my family more frequently…and for free! It’s great! If you have Skype as well, please let us know; we would love to say hello. Our Skype id is “srsilberman”. If you do not have Skype, we recommend it especially if you have friends and/or family in other parts of the world who are missionaries or overseas for other reasons. It’s a great way to keep in contact.

Links to something extra:
Emma on Friday morning, March 20
Bean processing from the pods, March 20
An early meeting with four students, Tuesdays 5:30am

This month, would you please pray for…
* A Visit from Pastor Rafael Gradilla of Hosana Asamblea in Bellevue, Washington. He visits us regularly here and is loved greatly by the people. He will be speaking on Saturday night, Sunday morning and at an open-air evangelistic outreach in Las Pilas (the town before Cofradía) on Sunday evening. It will be a great time, please pray for open hearts. (March 7,8)
* Cy-Fair Missions Team Each year this youth group comes down on a mission’s trip to work with our youth. And that is what it has turned into…they work WITH our youth. It is no long them to us, it’s them and us to others. It’s an amazing time every year and we have some great things to look forward to for this year. Please pray for relationship building of the team amongst our new generation of youth. This is a team that encourages our youth quite a bit. (March 14-21)
* Southside Missions Team This team will be working to reach out to the children. They are a BIG team and there is potential for burnout in all of us, not to mention that we leave for our Oaxaca trip the day they leave Cofradía. Please pray for strength in our staff and that the team would be dedicated to what God wants to accomplish through them. (March 28 – April 3)
* Oaxaca Missions Trip Pray for…
-Safety in travel.
-That the right people will go.
-Protection of the Holy Spirit.
-That the hearts of the youth in Oaxaca will be open to the Gospel message.
-For finances—each team member needs to come up with +/- $120 usdollars.
-For finances—in general, we will still need around $1,000 usdollars for extra expenses: ministry projects, construction projects, emergency, etc. Click here to donate to “Cofradía Youth Missions”.
-Anything else the Lord leads you in.
-**The dates are April 3-10**

Thank you very much for your prayers and continued support.

Steve, Geña, Rebecka and Emma Rose Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico