Thursday, September 22, 2016


They came to feast!
Week four of El Reto featured “The Banquet”, and the teams came ready.  This week the two events outside the church were held at the nearby town of Las Pilas. First, the students participated in a relay race, by passing a soaked sponge, in order to fill a small bucket of water.  The students had a ton of fun, many of them opting to drench the friend behind instead of carefully passing the sponge to them.

The students also enjoyed the cooler weather.  As you can see in the photos, we were dodging rain the entire afternoon and evening.  One sight we always like to see during El Reto is some of the younger kids taking an interest in all the activities.  Here are some future El Reto participants that I’m sure can’t wait until it is their turn!

Now it was time for the main event, “The Banquet”!  The students just had a short sprint to get to the designated area.

This event featured 11 prepared meals with different members of each team racing to be the first to finish.  The meals are homemade but nothing you would see on your typical restaurant’s menu!  This past Saturday they had a “Zombie Sandwhich”, a sandwhich made with chicken gizzards and lettuce, topped with BBQ sauce. “Eyes”, a simple course of three hard-boiled eggs, “S.O.S”, octopus tentacle that was boiled, “A Herd of Dogs”, three raw hot dogs with all the condiments which the students had to eat without hands.  And this was a just a taste of the menu…
Are you hungry yet? 
The captains selected volunteers from their team to participate in the different rounds, each of them not knowing what would be placed in front of them.  A few backed out completely, but with their teammates standing nearby and cheering them on, most stayed strong and tried their best to finish their plate or drink. 

All of the participants were valiant and did a great job.  The last course was something for the entire team to take part.  As the storm opened up right above us, teams hurried to finish a bowl of marshmallows covered in honey. 

With the rain pouring down, the staff loaded up tables and supplies as quickly as possible and headed back to Centro Cristiano in Cofradia. Not as dirty as The Walk last week, but just as wet, the students packed the room upstairs for The Refuge.  Pastor Luis re-capped the night’s activities and shared a short message from the Word.  Time flies when you are having fun!  We are now on the backend of El Reto 2016, with only two Saturdays left!  I’ll speak for the rest of the Staff and all of the teams involved; we can’t wait until week five!

Here is the video for week #4...


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


We had another great turnout for Week 3 of El Reto!

The evening started with a review of the Castigos/punishments and Filipos/rewards.  Punishments are for teams not following rules or displaying positive behaviors in the prior week.  When the team is announced, the captain comes forward to select a random ball from the bag. Each color ball represents a different point value that is deducted from the team.  This week, team Los Arrepentidos, chose the red ball.  This ball is special in that it represents the blood of Jesus Christ and takes away the punishment or castigo for the team (no points deducted)! When the red ball is selected Pastor Luis takes a minute to explain the meaning and significance as it relates to our Savior’s sacrifice for us. What a teachable moment for the students!
Pastor Luis is holding up the red ball as he explains its meaning.

The teams first participated in a game at the church.  The captains selected a bucket of balloons and had to use a pin to pop each balloon until they found a piece of paper floating underneath.

Once all the teams finished we left the church and began “La Caminata” or The Walk.  This is great opportunity for teams to bond with one another and take time to reflect on all of God’s creation as they encounter different, sometimes difficult terrain.

During The Walk we saw many acts of service including helping others carefully cross barbed wire and pouring water for the thirsty.  This was awesome to see.

Along The Walk there were various stops where additional games were set up for the teams.  One game had students use what was around them to build a fire high enough to burn through a small rope tied above.

The teams then made their way to the river where they worked together in relay fashion.  They filled small buckets of water from the river and raced to fill a larger bucket offshore that would eventually raise a weighted flag.  The final game required two team members to carry ten of their fellow teammates across the river.  The catch was that they had to use two poles in which the teammates had to stand on.  This proved rather difficult for the students!

From here the students made their way back to the church for The Refuge.  Again, this is such a valuable time for worship and fellowship with a word from Pastor Luis. Even though many might be tired, there is still a ton of energy in the room!

We can’t wait for next Saturday!



Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Well over 150 students turned out for the second week of EL RETO 2016 "Race Against Time"!

To begin the day's activities, each team had to blow up a large balloon until it popped.  Once the balloon popped, they received instructions to hop in a vehicle.

Off to Santa Fe for the kickball SPLASH event.  What a FUN time!  We had all of the staff fielding the ball and picking off the students as they ran the bases.  We used a soccer ball and the students had to run down the baseline (a wet soapy tarp) and ENTER the base (a small pool).  As the students slipped and slid, so did the staff as they tried to catch the ball and throw.  The team to score the most runs in 10 minutes, wins!

Because of a "delay of game" in the previous event, the next event was cut short...Gladiators!  In this event, the students would run down a wet tarp team by team as another team throws water-balloons at them.  They were only protected by a few standing tables.

From there, the students returned to Cofradia for EL REFUGIO (The Refuge).  Here, the students hang out, play games, and snack before we watch the video from the previous week, worship God, and listen to a message from Pastor Luis.

Finally, teams vote for another team to do chores.  This week it was "The Forgiven".  Who also received a clue to the hidden treasure(s). :)

Check out the photo album at our Facebook page.

Here's a video from this week...


Monday, September 05, 2016


Greetings from Cofradía, Mexico! WE HAVE GREAT NEWS!!  The ninth and final passport has been found!  Thank you all for praying and believing with us.

We have returned to the small town of Cofradía nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madres in the Mexican state of Nayarit after a rough border crossing where we were charged duty tax of an unexplainable amount for the things in our vehicle??  There really was nothing we can do about it.

EL RETO 2016 has started!  Click here to read the report and watch the video below.


Last month, we asked you to pray for... 

  1. The final passport to be found. Thank you!  As I mentioned above, we are no longer missing ANY passports! 
  2. Religious Association Status.  There has been a change in government officials which has delayed the process of the formation of the association.  We are still in need of finances to get it running; our goal is $2,000 USDollars. Donate here to help.  
  3. Drug Rehab Center. $3,000 has been raised!   An anonymous donor has committed to match gifts up to $5,000 above the already raised $3,000!  This will help us dig a huge chunk into the need!  Please let me know if you are able to help out with the purchase of the land. 
  4. Trip to the States. Thank you for your prayers.  We had a great time in the states as we met a lot of new people and reunited with friends and family.  It is always a blessing to see everyone! 
  5. EL RETO 2016.  The first week has passed and there are five more to go.  See the link above for the report of the first week.  There is still room to give; we are just over $500 short of our budgeted goal of $2,000.  Click here to donate.
  6. Speaking in churches.  We had a great time participating in six different churches this past few months and attending five others (three of which for the first time). 
  7. Birthdays this month.  Rebecka turned 14 (13th) and Mackenzie turned 4 (31st).  Great girls; great time!

Here are some links to more:

This month, will you please pray for...
  1. EL RETO.  This is a huge window of opportunity for us to speak into the lives of young people with whom we normally would not come into contact.  It is an opportunity to share with them God’s love!  Follow it on Facebook.
  2. Religious Association Status.  Speedy process and finances. Donate here to help.  
  3. Drug Rehab Center. Please continue to pray for Pastor Amado and his team.  Pray for protection over him, his family, his staff, and all of those involved.  Let me know if you would like to help make a dent in the financial need he has. 
  4. Missionaries, Lain and Kelly Grant as they have finished language school and will be integrating themselves full-time now here in Cofradia.  Pray along with us and them for a child, finances, and the Lord’s leading.  Click here to see their latest news.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!

Thank you so much for being part of our team as we work together to RAISE UP LEADERS IN RURAL MEXICO!!!!


Steve, Geña, Rebecka, Emma, and Mackenzie Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico
Alternative Missions
Cofradia Area Director


Online, you can make a one-time, tax-deductible gift, or set up to make automatic monthly donations to our personal support by clicking here.

Send a check made out to Alternative Missions to Alternative Missions / PO Box 3107 / Ferndale, WA 98248.  On a separate note, indicate that it is for The Silbermans.

Friday, September 02, 2016


It’s “A Race Against Time” in this year’s EL RETO!

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Paul wrote this nearly 2,000 years ago and it still applies to us today.  This year, join us in prayer and support to reach out to a generation who has not experienced God’s love because time is short, we don’t know how long we have!

Over 120 students appeared the first week in Centro Cristiano Cofradia to join together and have a lot of fun.  In the meantime, we’re looking for teachable moments and trying to take advantage of every opportunity to share God’s love.

This year there are five teams:

Los Arrepentidos (The Repentant) led by veteran captain, Lalo.

Los Decididos (The Decided) led by veteran captain and one time winner, Karo.

Generación Nazarea (Nazarite Generation) led by rookie captain, Yesica.

Los Humildes (The Humble) led by veteran captain and one time winner, Luis.

Los Perdonados (The Forgiven) led by veteran captain and last year’s champion, Alfredo.

The first week always starts out with choosing identities.  Normally, the students work together to paint a flag.  This year, the captain and one other had the flag already prepared and led a devotional with their team about the passage of scripture that their team represents.

After the devotional and explanation to everyone, it was off to the races!!  The first challenge was to complete as much of a crossword puzzle or sudoku as they could before a balloon popped above their head.  

The next activity had one team member from each team jumping on a trampoline trying to catch water balloons in a bag that their teammates tossed to them.  

Then, it was off to the inner tube tug of war where one member of each team grabbed on to the inner tube and tried to reach their cone while slipping, sliding, and falling all over a soapy tarp.  

The next activity was a race for a tangible prize in the center of a circle.  One member from each team ran around a circle until the music stopped and darted into the center for a prize (coke, chips, Oreos, etc.) for their team.

The final activity was for them to analyze their own life as to how well they spend their time.  They had to write their name on green if they thought they managed their time well, yellow if they did a so-so job, and red if they felt they were waisting their time in life being involved in drugs, alcohol, or didn’t attend school.  Most of them wrote in the yellow section. 

From the soccer field everyone headed to EL REFUGIO (The Refuge) where we sang a couple of worship songs and guest speaker David from YWAM Mazatlan shared a message to the students.

Finally, every evening ends with a vote.  Each team votes for another team to do chores (this is a Survivor twist--no one gets voted out of the game).  The team to receive the most votes has to do chores, but also gets a clue to a hidden treasure! (another Survivor twist). Last Saturday, it was the Nazarite Generation.

Follow this link to see all the photos on our "el retro" Facebook page.

Here is a video that YOU NEED TO SEE from the first week!

Contra Reloj 1 from macx on Vimeo.