I hope you had a great Christmas holiday. I am currently serving at an orphanage in Vicente Guerrero which is about 120 miles south of Tijuana on the Baja peninsula in Mexico. I’ll be back January 4th, but if you need anything while I’m gone Margaret Phillips will be taking care of my clients. You can contact Margaret at 530-306-1707.
My wife, Jeanne, has been sending updates to friends and family. If it so interests you, here are some excerpts along with some photos from our experiences so far:December 21, 2013 Quite the adventure….Wednesday travels were long. Much traffic and several small stops allowed us to arrive in the heart of LA at about 5:00. How exciting to experience LA traffic at that time of day. We were hoping to arrive at San Clemente to unload the trailer by 3:00 but did not arrive until around 6:30. We quickly unloaded the trailer into the warehouse. Steve, the warehouse manager, was very exciting to receive the wheelchairs, diapers galore, backpacks and the hutch. He was already full of clothes in the warehouse though so we know for the future…no clothing donations. We had planned to meet Tanya’s brother in San Diego for dinner. We arrived at Chili’s at the same time as a party of 20 at 8:30. We were served our meal around 9:15…needless to say, we were very thankful to finally receive the very yummy salads. We arrived at our hotel around 10:00 or so to unload the truck of all of the suitcases and climb into bed. No difficulty falling asleep on Wed. night.
Thursday had its own provision by the Lord and excitement with the long journey. The morning began with a downpour. Oh, but the Lord was gracious…during breakfast, the rain stopped. We loaded the truck up with all of the suitcases…about 19 or 20 of them, John covered it securely with the tarp, we climbed into the truck, shut the doors and the downpour began again! Oh, our Lord is Good All the time!! I just started laughing at the timing. We then began our journey over the border. Prayers abounded at home and in the truck. One border guard wanted to send us back. Prayers continued in the truck. He brought his supervisor over. John showed him our welcome letter from the orphanage and he said “Ok”!! John covered the truck again and we were on our way…Again, what great provisions. I told Antonio that God did not do both of those things for the benefit of the children at the orphanage. He did that for us…We needed our faith grown and it was grown during those moments.
We had a nice stop for lunch in Ensenada with fresh fish tostadas. Then on to a 2 hour shopping spree at Wal-Mart with more gifts purchased. If we weren’t loaded down before, we were definitely loaded down now. Tanya and Annemarie had designated spots as there were two large tubs between them now. Then came the real fun. What should have taken us about 2 1/2 hours from Ensenada to Vicente Guerrero took us 6 hours. There was rain + construction which turned into a 2 hour delay at one location, slippery mud along many other locations. We finally arrived around 8:30 to grab some dinner at Papa Ruebens, unload the suitcases and climb into bed. Another late night but we were finally safely here.
Today has been pretty calm. The morning was spent getting organized in our trailers. The afternoon brought the wonderful Christmas dinner which included turkey, stuffing and even pumpkin pie!! There were probably about 250 people who were served at the same time. Amazing how they can have everything hot at the same time! I can’t even do that for a small number of people much less those numbers. Tanya and I began working on getting the gifts repacked. Then the kids had their large Christmas gathering. There were performances by many of the kids included a really cool black light show. On to cupcakes and hot chocolate, then the pizza, then the 5 (yes, I said FIVE) piñatas. Great fun had by all. Finished the evening with another taco run and off to bed.
Thank you all for the prayers. We have been blessed by them on our journey and they carried us safely here.December 23, 2013 Hi all,
We have had a great weekend. Tanya and I, along with a few other visitors were able to get the Christmas presents organized between Friday afternoon and Saturday. We are putting house numbers on them today and delivering them. You meet wonderful people while serving with them. A couple of the young men that live at the TJ house (the house in Tijuana where the kids attend university) were here visiting. They were very willing to help. We also had a nice couple from Chicago, who have been here since the beginning of December, helping us.
On Saturday, we had arranged to have Alex, one the boys that we got to know last year, and Jackie, our sponsored child to spend some time with us. We received unfortunate news for us…Jackie is spending Christmas with her mom. Of course for her that is wonderful, just being a little selfish at the moment. This time she actually remembered us. She has been introducing us to everyone as her Tia and Tio (that is what they have the kids call the sponsors – Uncle and Aunt). It has been fun to cuddle with her, play with her and give her special Christmas present. She left on Sunday afternoon and won’t be back until we leave.
Sunday we had an opportunity to go out to the Basura (dump) with Paulino. He serves the men and women who live at the dump every week some food and drink. This week it was oatmeal and a sweet bread. We were able to pray for a couple of men who have great challenges with drugs/alcohol. One of them we had met in July. I was saddened as he was proud of the fact that he has been clean for 2 months. That is wonderful news but that does mean that he had been back on something since we saw him last. Such a great challenge to be rid of the addictions. Only through Christ will he find the strength. So thankful for Paulino and his consistency with the ministry of serving these men.
At church on Sunday night, there was a wonderful Christmas performance. Poor baby Jesus was hungry right in the middle of the performance so began crying pretty hard. The bottle came out and he was satisfied. A lesson for us all that Christ did cry and was hungry. As we remember how He is the Son of God, we also recall that He came to this earth so that He could live as a man.Today was our first full day of work…Delivered the gifts for the staff kids this morning, cleaned the visitor center (lots of sweeping of sand/dirt), hung up sheets to dry and then helped in the kitchen for a bit. Tanya had an opportunity to go on a tour of the mission. Unfortunately many of the ministries are closed for the holidays as the staff members have gone to their homes in the States or Canada to visit family.
Tonight we had great fun housesitting for Casa One. There were 9 girls home tonight ranging in ages from 4 years old to 18 years old. We played with blocks, made bead necklaces, played Uno and other card games. Blobos (balloons) are always a hit and there was a great deal of fun had with those.The pictures attached are of Jackie receiving her Christmas present, Tanya playing with some kids and our time at the Basura (we passed out some clothes we had along with the food). There is also a wonderful giggly Jackie with Tio John. What fun we had with her the few days we were able to spend with her.
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