Greetings from Cofradía, Mexico! Mackenzie Reis was born on August 31. We are extremely excited about her arrival and she is a huge blessing to us! Thank you all for your prayers as she appears to be a very healthy baby. Everyone is doing great! Here is a link to some pics and more detailed information.
Last month, we asked you to pray for...
Baby Thank you!
SPECIAL NEED - EL RETO We have almost reached our budget. Thank you so much for keeping this in prayers as lives will be changed during this event. And thank you to those who have donated, we really appreciate it. I have only had a chance to update the first week, August 25. Here is the link.
Upper Room Project Thank you for keeping this in your prayers as well. We are finished with the smooth-wall stucco and leveling out the floor. We’re waiting for the bathroom sink area to be finished and start painting. We still need continued financial help to purchase the tile and electrical hook-up details.
CAPTAIN’S TRAINING RETREAT This went excellent! This year we spent three days working with our RETO Captains helping to prepare them for leading a team. Here is a link to a report.
Baby We have a number of things to do for the baby this month; lab tests, doctor visits, birth certificate, health insurance, and US Citizenship. Please pray that everything goes smooth and quickly.
EL RETO We have three more weeks of this event. It’s exciting to see God move in people’s lives; the youth as well as the adults. EL RETO brings to light issues that we need to take care of. Lots of teachable moments and lots of blessings! Thank you for keeping this in your prayers.
Mackenzie Reis Silberman Diaz. Born August 31, 2012 at 11:42 am MST. 7lbs. 15oz. 20.47". She has lots of dark hair, blonde eyebrows and eyelashes and blue eyes. Her sisters, Rebecka and Emma, are extremely excited and love to hold her. Mom is doing great as she recovers from a natural delivery and Dad is doing what he can to help where he can.
It is definitely a different experience than having a baby in Washington. The birth center did everything for us with Rebecka and Emma. We were sent from clinic to clinic with a number of contradicting information regarding Mackenzie's shots and other tests. We still have no birth certificate which we'll need in order to go to the American Consulate and get her a US Passport. It's been interesting, but we're enjoying every minute of our new daughter's presence. She is truly a gift from the Lord!
Here are some pics of a healthy baby girl and her sisters! Thank you, everyone, for your prayers!
This dangerous place called Earth is filled with darkness and sin. However, we can put our hope and trust in God who is willing to be our Refuge.
WEEK ONE started on August 25 with 52 students from Cofradía, San Marcos, Arrayanes, Santa Fe, and El Tigre. This is our eighth year and each year is more and more intense as we reach out to students to give them hope in a confused world and we all learn from the many teachable moments that arise during the six week event.
This year, it's LA ZONA DE PELIGRO (The Danger Zone). Satan is working hard at deceiving many and twisting the truth to prevent anyone from knowing or sometimes even getting close to knowing his enemy, God. The world has become a Danger Zone filled with temptations to live as one pleases fulfilling their hearts desires no matter what the consequences may be. The problem is, most of us don't see the dangers in front of us. We think that others are in the wrong and we're correct. Today's society says, "if it feels good, it must be right", or "what's right for you is right for you, but what's right for me is what's right for me." This is the deceptive tactic of Satan that blinds us and prevents us from seeing the truth. What is truth? JESUS CHRIST. He has to be our moral standard. He was in the beginning when the world was created. He is the only one who has been risen from the dead and has not died again. There is no other way to get to God. Religion won't do it, nor will a "good life." This world is full of darkness and Jesus is the Light that helps us see.
The theme verse for this year comes from Psalm 23:4 and says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Our hope is in God who is with us. His shepherds rod and staff protect, comfort, and encourage us in the midst of darkness. "God is our REFUGE and strength, an ever present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).
Many of the dynamics we will use this year are very similar to previous years such as captains and teams, races, relays, eating contests, hidden treasures, voting for other teams to do chores, Staff to council and help students see how they can grow through their struggles. One thing that is very different from years past is what we're calling EL REFUGIO (The Refuge). The youth room has been converted into a place of refuge for the students after all the games. During that time, we have no distinction of teams, everyone is "on the same team" and they have some free time to hang out, watch Christian worship videos, play board games, etc. While some staff are spending time with the students, other staff are serving a snack or meal for the students. It's a time for the students to be themselves. At a certain moment, we all get together and start to worship God, then we have a time of positive reinforcement where people can give "Filipos" (an encouraging word to others for an act of kindness--Filipo is "Philippi" in English and is the location where the Philippians lived in Bible times. The letter that the Apostle Paul wrote was a letter of encouragement.) The Filipos that are given are accompanied with point for that person's team. A short message follows the Filipo time and then it's off to vote for a team to do chores. Each team is called to the back room individually to vote, then sent outside to wait.
Week #1 started with Pastor Luis explaining the theme "The Danger Zone" and verse Psalm 23:4. After putting everyone in teams, each team was to design and paint a team flag with the name of their team on it. Everything needs to associate with the RETO theme and the story they chose for their team. This is their identity for the rest of the RETO! This year, we have six teams again. Not every team followed the instructions correctly associated their team name with their Bible story AND the RETO theme...
Fuchsia Team "The Seducers" led by Alfredo
Blue Team "The Protected" led by Andres
Green Team "The Preventers" led by Jazmin
Orange Team "The Levites" led by Fran
Purple Team "The Immortals" led by Jorge
Red Team "The Vigil" led by Karo
After the Identity time, we had them search for six puzzle pieces in six different locations. No team had the same route, but every team went the same distance. In each location, the team had the option of answering a 10 question quiz about the bible for points or just grabbing the puzzle piece in that location. In the end, most teams answered all the questions. Only The Immortals got all ten questions correct on one of the quizzes, and they did it twice which helped them get the most points of all the other teams and win a prize at the end. The prize was immunity from the vote and all the first clues to the hidden treasures.
As the teams arrived from their search for the puzzle pieces, they received points for putting the puzzle together; a three dimensional refuge house made of styrofoam. Once they put it together, they could go upstairs to THE REFUGE. They had an awesome time, there was lots of energy and many of the students said that that was the best part of the day. THAT WAS OUR GOAL!...so that THE REFUGE would be a place that the students WANTED to be. Through this teachable moment, they will understand that God is their refuge in the midst of a challenging life. When the students leave the REFUGE, they will always have with them a rod and staff of the color of their team as they encounter challenges in the games and activities we have prepared.
Enjoy the video that Max put together of the first week!!!
Here are some pics of WEEK ONE:
EL RETO BEGINS AS PASTOR LUIS EXPLAINS THIS YEAR'S THEME
THIS YEAR TEAMS WILL BE CARRYING A ROD AND STAFF REPRESENTING GOD'S PRESENCE IN "THE DANGER ZONE"
THE PUZZLE THE TEAMS NEEDED TO FIND PIECES OF AND PUT TOGETHER...A REFUGE
THE REFUGE: HANG OUT TIME
THE REFUGE: SERVING
THE REFUGE: WORSHIP
AFTER TEAMS VOTE, THEY EXPERIENCE A MAKESHIFT DANGER ZONE AS A WARNING TO WHAT THEY CAN EXPECT OUTSIDE THE REFUGE
Our Children's Pastor, Toña Franco, put together a Children's Mini-Olympics with the help of a few youth leaders this month. It was a great time as the children sang songs, listened to a bible story and played games all afternoon. They were divided into 6 teams and were given a gold medal at the end...a gold chocolate medal :). Here's a quick video clip of their experience.
Last year for Rebecka's birthday we put together a mini-RETO for her and her friends as they played games, searched for treasures, and had an eating challenge. She liked it so much so she asked for another one...and we did it!
There were almost 20 kids at our house on her birthday to participate in "Rebecka's Reto" (reto means challenge). We started off feeding them hot dogs and hanging out as they played and we prepared. One of our students just happened to show up that day needing money so I paid him to help us as he organized the teams, led the games, loved every minute of it, and as we finished mentioned, "this is tiring work putting something like this together!" Yep! Thanks Fran! Fran is awesome and one of our returning captains this year in the original EL RETO youth event.
Here are a few pics of her party...
Fran helping get the teams organized.
The excitement begins as the teams choose names.
One of the games was to carry a glass of water from a bucket to a table and fill up a small one liter container. On the way back, they needed to make 5 circles with their forehead on the bat.
Water balloon volleyball was a big hit!
The eating contest began with Chuy and Elian eating Broccoli Gerber. It's hard to tell by Chuy's expression (left) that they didn't like it!
Rebecka and Keyla battled over chips.
The whole gang under the piñata.
Again, the whole gang around the cake.
My friend Max has put together a quick video clip of Rebecka's Birthday.
This year we started EL RETO (The Challenge) with a Captains Retreat in order to help prepare them for the challenge that awaits them of leading a team. We have three returning captains; Francisco Ruiz, Jorge Garcia, and Alfredo Garzón. We also have three first time captains; Karolina Vazquez, Jazmin Galicia, and Andrés Diaz.
Captains Retreat Invitation
Instead of doing a one-day retreat out on the beach in San Blas like last year, we decided to do a three-day in-house retreat here on the Mission Base. It went excellent!
The first day was filled with teachings on our relationship with God, motivation, dedication, confidence, how to lead a team, how to maintain unity in the team.
On that same day, we gave each of the captains a project to lead. They randomly were picked to lead the other captains in a cleaning project on the base, at the church, or at the church property in Arrayanes.
The second and third days were set aside for less talk and more action as they carried out four projects the second day and two the third day. The purpose of this was to give them experience in leading as well has helping us to observe how they lead and how well they pay attention to detail. At the end of each project, we spoke with each captain and pointed out to them the positive things we saw as well as let them know some of the things that they could improve on. It was a very successful time as we all got to know each other better. Some mentioned that they wished it could have been longer.
Projects #1 and #2 were held at the Mission Base as Andrés led the captains in washing two Base trucks and Jazmín managed the captains in cleaning up the Base property
Projects #3 and #4 were took place at the church as Fran executed the captains in cleaning the area where we keep all the form wood for construction use and Karo guided the captains in washing all the church chairs and the room where we keep them.
Alfredo had a big job with project #5 as he administered very well the cleaning of the very dirty speed soccer court on the church property of Arrayanes.
Finally, Jorge did a great job organizing the captains to accomplish the job of cleaning the interior of the Arrayanes church building.
Once all 6 projects were finished, everyone was very tired, but we had a couple of games for them to participate in as the choosing of the Bible story and color for their team in the event EL RETO...just two weeks away.
Martin organized a game in order for the captains to have an opportunity to choose first the story they would use for their team. All six captains held a small pipe as they wound up string little by little to reach the center pole. The first one there got to choose their story first.
Once the captains chose their story, they moved on to the next game led by Mily that decided the color of their team. They had to walk under a number of black water balloons. Most of them were filled with water, but there were six that were filled with the six different colors for EL RETO.
Mily prepares everyone as she explains the game.
Fran got wiped out with Orange.
Andres was carefully splattered with blue.
AN EXCELLENT TIME! Thank you so much to all of you who have donated and prayed for this event. EL RETO is a time to reach new students, bring back ones who have strayed, and learn about anything the Lord would like to bring up. EL RETO is FILLED with teachable moments and we try to take advantage of each one. We are truly blessed with the students we have, the staff that help, those who help provide the means, and the warriors who pray!
At the beginning of August, we sent 9 of our children to Tepic to participate in a three-day camp held by the church, La Fuente. All of our children came back excited with hopes of returning next year. It is great to see after a month, a consistent change in some of them. In Rebecka, we have seen through her prayers that she has a new perspective on God and her relationship with Him.
The Kid's Camp was called, "Heroes: In the Real World." Here is a short video of what they experienced!
Thank you for your prayers over the children of our church and community as they grow closer to God!