Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Parents in Cofradia

This year my parents came down for three weeks and were able to spend Thanksgiving with us as well as celebrate an early Christmas with the girls.

We had a great time, but it flew by!  Dad helped out a lot with re-painting our downstairs windows and replacing the mosquito screens as well as sanding a bunch of used doors that we got on our last trip to Arizona.  Mom spent a lot of time with the girls doing art projects, making cookies, and holding baby Mackenzie.

Thank you Mom and Dad for taking time out and coming down to visit us!

Here are some pics of their time here...
Visiting Tepic, Nayarit
Baby Dedication on our 12th Wedding Anniversary, November 18.
Mom helping with Art projects
Dad re-painted the windows and we put up new mosquito screen.
Mom with Mackenzie
Dad working on the doors.
November 20, Revolution Day Parade in Cofradía
Barbecue after the Parade with special guests Hugo and Max
Backyard Bonfire with s'mores!
Tacos in Las Pilas...mmmm Goood!!
Family Christmas Photo

Dwellings House in Cofradia

On November 2, a family from our Cofradia Christian Center, Chano and Victoria, received a brand new home thanks to an anonymous donation and a week of hard work by the local church.
Chano and Victoria
This was the sixth house that has been built for needy families here in Cofradía through a ministry called Dwellings.  We are all excited for this well-deserving couple that have struggled financially for a very long time and just have not had enough to build.   Chano and Victoria were one of the 13 couples who were married on Valentine's Day 2010 in our HUGE wedding ceremony for those who had never had the opportunity to officially get married in the church.  They have three daughters, and one grandchild.  They have been living in a house/shack for a long time and for the lack of work and finances, have been unable to arrange their home to be livable throughout the year.  They've had to leave their home and stay with someone else a number of times during the rainy season as water would come through the cracks in their roof.

It was a blessing to be able to bless a needy family in this way.  Here are some pictures of how things progressed.

A number of people came out to help pour the floor the first day.  In the background, you can see what they were living in.
Chano was out their every day working hard.
After the floor was poured, Pastor Gollo took a moment to pray with Chano and Victoria.
It's taking form as the walls are getting stuccoed.
Almost done!
Pastor Luis, the one in charge of the build, is finishing up with some of the last touches before handing over the keys.
After we prayed for them and dedicated the house, they were about to officially open the doors for the first time.

If you would like to be part of blessing a needy family with a home, whether financially or as part of a team.  Please let me know here and I will get you the information you need.

Saturday, October 27, 2012




What an event this year!  Finishing up with 125 students participating in "The Danger Zone."  Each year we wrap things up with each team presenting a project, worship, a message, a raffle, the hidden treasures are exposed, and the team that has the most points in the end is challenged by the team who finds the hidden treasure that says, "The Final RETO".

Guests from the church in El Tigre came to lead us in a time of worship after roll call.  They did an excellent job!

We moved on to the teams' projects which was to present either a choreography, song, or make a video.    Here is the video that the team "The Immortals" put together. (Don't be alarmed, they are wearing clothes!)

This year as our special speaker, we invited Pastor Brad Pembleton from Cy-Fair Christian Church in Houston, Texas.  Pastor Brad did a great job bringing everything we've done together with the activities and The Refuge as he explained Psalm 23 verse by verse showing us the character of God and who he is and bringing light to who we our and our need for Him.

Max DJ'd the raffle, then we exposed the hidden treasures.  This year, there were five.  One near Santa Fe, one near Arrayanes, and three in or near Cofradía (at the lake, on the base property, and on the church property).  Karo's team found one and Jazmin's team found FOUR!  This year, only one had a prize.  They got to choose one envelope per treasure, in one of the five envelopes were the words, "The Final RETO."  Jazmin won it with the first envelope!

After we found out who would challenge the winners by points, we needed to find out who won by points!  Mily shared with everyone the final results...
6th place - 3,732 points - The Protected (Blue Team; Captain: Andrés)
5th place - 5,672 points - The Levites (Orange Team; Captain: Fran)
4th place - 12,216 points - The Preventers (Green Team; Captain: Jazmin)
3rd place - 12,551 points - The Vigilants (Red Team; Captain: Karo)
2nd place - 18,413 points - The Immortals (Purple Team; Captain: Jorge)
The Seducers!
(Fuchsia Team; Captain: Alfredo)
The Preventers might prevent the Seducers from Seducing the victory!  Will they?

We made a fun little game in an excel spreadsheet to decide the winner.  They had to make their way up selecting one cell at a time.  If there was a "D", they got to select another one.  If there was an "X" they didn't move and could not enter that cell.  If there was nothing, they advanced to that cell.  They had to find their way to "THE CHAMPION'S ZONE".  Because The Seducers won by points, they were given a five cell advantage.  After running into a wall of X's, The Preventers shot ahead, could they keep their lead?
The Seducers on left; The Preventers on right

One thing we stress is the purpose of the RETO.  Reach out to new students and those who do not come very often, and all of us use this time to learn.  God speaks to each one of us in areas that we need to work on.  Some give up and decide not to receive the lesson, but others decide to face their "RETO" (Challenge) and grow from this event.  If we don't give up, we're winners!  If we help someone grow closer to God during this time, we're winners.  Even if your team doesn't "win".


Friday, October 26, 2012




119 students have now participated in EL RETO 2012.  It's been an exciting year!  After many requests week after week, we brought back "Gladiators" into the plan for this year.  Many people say they want something new, but that doesn't necessarily mean they want to stop doing what we've been doing!  I think it means they want more!

We started the week out taking everyone to Arrayanes where we traditionally hold the Gladiators game.  Each team had the opportunity to throw water balloons at other teams as each of them ran through an obstacle course within a designated amount of time.  What an exciting time!!
This is the throwing cage.
The students entered through the opening on the side and ran around the tables and finished through the goal posts (not shown) keeping inside the lines (hoses).

The RETO AUCTION was next after everyone returned to Cofradía.  This year we had 12 articles for sale that the teams would bid on using the points they had accumulated throughout the RETO.  This is always fun because some teams really get into spending their points; other teams hold back and don't buy anything thinking that will help them in the end to win with points.  We'll see.

This is what the teams bid on...
1. Watermelon
2. Pizza
3. Movie Night
4. Cucumbers
5. 2-Liter bottle of Coke and 2-Liter bottle of Pepsi
6. Steel points from another team- up to 1,000.
7. 2 bags of chips
8. Chocolates
9. 5,000 points
10. Ice Cream
11. All clues to the five hidden treasures.
12. Gum

Here are a few good pics of their expressions...
Jazmin's team outbid for the first item...the watermelon!
And the Movie Night!  (The movie they watched was "Soul Surfer."  The story about Bethany Hamilton's life.)
After outbidding for three pizzas, Fran's team outbid for the coke and pepsi!
5,000 points!
All the items were hidden inside a green tote box.  No one knew what they were buying.  Once the item was bought, we would bring the next item out and offer that one instead.  Sometimes they chose the one they bought, sometimes they chose the one we brought out.  This is always a lot of fun for everyone--almost everyone.  Those who spend points on insignificant items tend not to like it. :) 

Click here to see the video that Max has prepared.  You will not want to miss the Gladiator action!!



Pastors from four other churches in this region have been bringing their youth to join us in EL RETO this year.  This is something we've always been open to and see it as a great way to collaborate with others as we work together to increase the Kingdom of God.  There were 15 more students bringing the total to a RETO record of 106 participants!
A member of our church from Ruiz is a Jr. High P.E. teacher and he absolutely loves the activities in EL RETO.  He offered to help us this week as he put together our initial game we called, "Hoopball Chaos".  It is similar to basketball, but one member of the team stands inside a hula-hoop as the other members throw him a basketball to catch.  It's a game for two teams, however we decided to do all six teams at once.  Imagine how to do this in an area the size of a school gym.

From there, each team started on a labyrinth trail through the five surrounding towns.  After making fire with flint, they chose between going to Santa Fe or Arrayanes.  Each location had a game or a task to accomplish.  

If they chose Arrayanes, Martin was waiting for them to have them travel across logs on a plank, then put a puzzle together.  If they chose Santa Fe, Pedro was waiting for them to guide water into a bucket through a half-pvc funnel.

Once they finished, they could choose between either Santa Fe or Arrayanes (whichever one they didn't go to), Las Pilas, or Paso Real.  If they chose Las Pilas, they were to swim out to get a balloon which had their next clue.  If they chose Paso Real, our P.E. Teacher had a number of activities for them as the entire team passed through a hula-hoop, rolled over one another, skipped rope, and wrote a scripture verse from memory on the cement basketball court.  Once they finished, they could choose any town they had not been to before.
skipping rope
rolling over others
scripture verses
team through hoop
Two catches were in Paso Real; the first team to arrive detained or "yeilded" any team they wanted to for five minutes.  That team had to wait once they arrived in order to start the Paso Real activities.  Also, only in Paso Real was there an option to go to Cofradía.  If the team chose Cofradía, they came out of the labyrinth safely.  If a team left Paso Real to go to another town, they ended up being blocked and there was no other road to get to Cofradía.

All of what I've just explained to you was done to set up for the teachable moment in THE REFUGE.  There was only one way to Cofradía (once they got to Cofradía, they immediately entered THE REFUGE).  There is also just one way to get to God.  God is our Refuge.  Pastor Luis did an excellent job explaining this to all the students and in the end, nine students gave their lives to Christ.  It was an excellent evening!!

By the way, the Bible says not many will actually give their life to Jesus Christ.  Interestingly enough, only one team made it through the labyrinth.

Click on this video that Max put together to see some of the action!

Thursday, October 25, 2012




With over 25 more students arriving this week, we have seen 91 participants in EL RETO 2012!

The activities for this week started with an obstacle course / relay race.  To begin, one person from a team had to roll about 10 yards of string around a stick as they walked towards their goal.  Once they reached their goal, another member took a turn.

Martin explains the game to the participants.
After three participants finished this challenge, they received a note telling them to run to the soccer field for their next activity that we called "Sponge Mily".  The person in front of the line dips a sponge in a bucket then passes it over their head to the person behind them who then passes it behind them between their legs.  This 'up-down-up-down' continues until it reaches the last person on the team who then squeezes the water into a coke bottle.
The teams are getting ready for the sponge.

Jazmin is concentrating on filling that bottle!
Once the coke bottle is full, they move on to their next activity which was to have two people carry their entire team from point A to point B in a wheelbarrow zig-zagging through cones.

Once the whole team was across, they worked together to carry one person by rope from point A to point B as that person held blocks in their hands.

Figuring out how to set up the rope.
Carrying the blocks.

Once the team finished moving the blocks, the moved to a slip-n-slide.

After each member slipped through, they received a note to unscramble a phrase which said, "I want to eat."  Then, they were given a menu for the infamously classic RETO BANQUET!!!

What's on the menu?
1. A bowl of powdered milk - no hands.
2. Broccoli Gerber - yuck!
3. Chocolate Chip cookies hidden under whipped cream - no hands.
4. A whole corn on the cob - everything!
5. Raw Vegetables - Broccoli, Onion, Tomato
6. Corn kernels with sour cream and chile pequin (small hot chiles).
7. Noni juice through a straw, then eat the cow eye in the cup - yep.
8. 1/3 of a boiled cow tongue.
9. A small baguette filled with Pepto-Bismol and covered (hiding the Pepto) with jam.
10. A Celery, Avocado, and Garlic drink.
11. Carne Asada in Chile Chipotle - GOOD!
12. A Cucumber drink.
13. 5 Cucumbers - two participants
14. The traditional closer; 3-Liter bottle of coke (two of them) - the whole team participates!

Want to see some photos?

Would you like to see his face?  See below!

Mind over matter - Cow Eye
Tongue - no problem.

After everyone was full, we all went up to "The REFUGE" where everyone continued to eat, play games, and hang out.  Every week we finish the time with worship, encouraging words, and a short message from God's Word.  Then, it's off to vote for another team to do chores.


"The Vigils" voting for "The Protected"
The teams await the results of the vote.
You will see a lot more action of Week Three in this video that Max put together.  You'll love it!