Home From Our Visit To An Orphanage in Baja, Mexico
I recently returned from a trip to Baja, Mexico where my family, two teens from our church, and I spent a week helping out at an orphanage. I wrote in my last post that I’d try to write an update while I was gone, but there just wasn’t any time this trip. But, that’s ok; my wife, Jeanne, was able to write updates and instead of giving you my shortened version from a week after our return, I’ll just make all of her updates available to you here.
If you feel called to help somehow please see Foundation For His Ministry’s website for sponsorship opportunities, to make a contribution or see how you can get involved. Jeanne started out serving in China and realized she wanted more than anything to do this with our kids and me as well. Next thing we knew, this opportunity had presented itself relatively close to home and now we’re all able to serve. Check out the Foundation For His Ministry website and their various locations or give me, John Conca, a call at (530)306-3494, and I’ll help you find something that is the right fit for you.
Although this post may not reflect it so much, by day I am a realtor, so give me a call or browse my website if you need a realtor for the El Dorado County area. With no further delay, here are the updates from Jeanne.
Date: Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:34 PM Subject: Made it this far…
Thank you for all of the prayers for a safe journey. We left the church on time this morning with a 1/2 full trailer. We drove to Lancaster and filled the trailer to the brim. Had a joyous time in LA traffic reminding us again how much we love El Dorado County 🙂 We made it to San Clemente by 6:30 – 12 1/2 hours after our departure. It only took about 30 minutes to unload the trailer. Returned the trailer, ate dinner and drove to the hotel. Unloaded all of the suitcases in the truck into the hotel room and now getting ready for bed. Fairly uneventful day. Praise be to the Lord!!
Thankful for all of the Desert Christian families, Gold Country Baptist Church and other friends who donated out of their bounty to help those who don’t have as much. Please pray tomorrow morning for safe border crossing with the rest of our donations, especially the rolling shower chair for my friend Jose. It will be sometime between 9:00 and 10:00 tomorrow morning that we will be going over the border.
Will let you know tomorrow night that we have arrived safely at the mission.
Always fun to see how God will work out the details. He already knows what will happen tomorrow. We just have the fun to watch as he unfolds the details.
Date: Sat, May 31, 2014 at 9:42 PM Subject: Safe arrival
We arrived safely to the mission with very little difficulty. God is good…all the time…all the time…God is good!!! If you know that worship song, you can hum along with me 🙂
The border crossing was again a joyous occasion. We heard from Steve at the FFHM warehouse that the Tecate border crossing was the best. Thought we would start there and then try others if we had to. We arrived at the border, praying the whole time. One car pulled out of a parking spot, leaving space for us to pull in. No border guards looked at us, no guards flagged us over so we just kept driving :-). Did not even have to stop. We got across with all of the clothes (not supposed to bring used clothes into Mexico…we had about 7 suitcases full), medical equipment, computer equipment, backpacks and our own stuff. So thankful for His provision.
Yummy lunch in Enseneda, a little shopping in Walmart and made it to the mission by 4:30. Had a chance to see our sponsor child Jackie then head to dinner for Quesa Tacos at Papa Reuben’s!!
All organized and settled in for the night. Tomorrow, we are going to help Paulino with the dump (basura) ministry in the morning, meet with the staff from the day care about our VBS in the afternoon. We might squeeze in a trip to the beach with some kids before church tomorrow night.
We are all so glad to have arrived safely. There will only be one other group here this week with a total of 26 visitors. We tend to like it when there are fewer visitors than really large groups.
Thank you so much for the prayers. We are grateful to have made it here safely and be reunited with many friends. Kendra and Ben are a real joy and wonderful addition to our team. Looking forward to the fun beginning tomorrow now that we have officially arrived.
Date: Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 9:24 PM Subject: Sunday…what a blessing and an eye-opening experience
We were blessed and overwhelmed today. This morning we had an opportunity to visit with our friends Christina, Paulino and Jose. We were able to meet their 6 day old baby girl. What a beautiful and healthy baby. After a very a challenging pregnancy, at the age of 44, Christina was blessed with her first baby. So exciting to see the blessing that little girl will be to her family.
Paulino took John, Kendra and Ben to serve in the trash dump today. Caleb Akers, friend of both Kendra and Ben had tried to prepare them both with a few details of what they could expect on their trip. We tried to prepare them. There really is no way to prepare someone to see how those who have nothing live. Ben thought that he understood what poor is. His definition has now been changed. One brief experience into how most of the world lives will change you forever. Also, another life changing experience…To witness true sacrifice in the life of full-time missionaries. Those who appear to have so little (from our American perspective) have so much compared to those living around them. Paulino and Christina are blessed with a house, running water, a refrigerator and food. Much more than their neighbors around them have. All of what they have is given to them by the grace of God. They rely solely on their provision from Him. They minister to those around them day in and day out. Kids show up at their front door at 4:00 a.m. because their parents are heading out to the fields to work all day and Christina and Paulino have Jesus to share… Now that Christina has been to the hospital (several times with her pregnancy), she now sees another ministry. Everywhere around them, there is a ministry. Hurting people without the love of Christ. They see the need and try to fill it to the best of their ability. Thank you Lord for their example of sacrificial love.
This afternoon we had a meeting with the staff of the day care to plan out the VBS program. Pray for that event. Daily from 9:00-11:30, we will be helping the full-time staff to put on this program that we brought. None of us have run this program before. Pray that the kids will be blessed and leave a little more excited about the Coming of the King!!
Later in the afternoon, we had a beach excursion. Windy, beyond windy. Had my swim suit on under my clothes and was thankful I had left my jacket in the truck. No swimming for me but Antonio and Annemarie had a blast running in the waves and riding the boogie boards a few times. Not quite the same as in July when you welcome the cool water. We will try it again at the end of the week. Hopefully it will be a little less cold and we can have some fun with some of the girls in Casa 5 at the beach as well.
Went to the big church for worship this evening. Much different worship that what we are used to at home. So funny when you know the song they are singing but can’t quite remember the English words. John was wishing they would just sing it once in English so he could finally remember!! Blessed with the message of needing to spend time alone with God in order to truly hear his voice.
Tomorrow will be busy. We have breakfast at 7:00, Sala (daily devotion time) at 8:00, VBS at 9:00, afternoon work assignments (??), helping set up and clean at dinner, house sitting in the evening. Back to back activities. Everyone will be pretty well tired out from an amazing day, I am sure.
Thank you for your continued prayers. I pray you will be blessed as you pray for us during our week. Health, energy, words to speak to those around us…It would be really cool if Annemarie and I made through one trip down here and didn’t get sick…We shall see 🙂
Buenos Noches y Dios te Bendiga (Good night and may God Bless you).
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 4:19 PM
First day of VBS…went very well. The teachers in the Daycare are wonderful. They were amazed that the kids sat down for the whole time of teaching the lesson. So much fun!! One thing I would have done differently is actually get the songs to the teachers earlier so that kids and they could have learned them before we arrived. Meant to…but didn’t. Pulled out the balloons at the end. Kids had a blast. You can always count on balloons to be very entertaining for 3-4 year olds 🙂
God’s plan is always best…I woke up this morning very groggy from a deep sleep (that happens when I am really tired). Just wiping sleep out of my eyes, Robert, staff member in guest relations asked if I could leave on the Learning Center bus in 15 minutes to pick up the special needs kids in the neighborhood. That is why I take a shower at night here. You never know what you will need to do at 6:30 in the morning. Kendra and I jump on and were very blessed. Able to see where each of the kids live in the neighborhood. Kendra had a great time seeing where they live and just experiencing the neighborhood a bit. Nick, the driver, just happened to be trying to do some Physical Therapy activities with some of the kids. He has no training, just a willing heart. He happens to work with them from 11:30-1:00 (VBS was done at 11:30). Thank you Lord for allowing me an opportunity to train him with some ideas for how to work with a couple of kids with CP, MD and Autism.
On to the craziness of house sitting this evening with Casa 5. Our sponsor child Jackie is in that house. Always fun to play with a about 6 little 4 year old girls and play cards with some older girls. Will be a blessed evening. Here is a picture of John, Antonio, Annemarie and Jackie. Hoping to go out to the beach with her on Friday 🙂
Date: Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM Subject: Day 2 of VBS
Fun continues…We had a wonderful time with house sitting last night. Kendra, Antonio, Annemarie and I were able to go spend time with the girls in Casa 5. John, Ben and Trenton were blessed with some crazy time in Casa 4!! Lots of soccer for the boys. Swings, chalk and blocks for the girls. So much fun!!
Day two of VBS was great fun! We make cross necklaces. Kids are doing great sitting and enjoying the messages!!
Date: Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 9:48 PM Subject: Crowns and bubbles
Another wonderful day of VBS, working with Special Needs kids, and Child Evangelism in the afternoon. The Coming of the King is the theme for our VBS!! Such a joy to watch the kids listening to the stories. Hoping for fruit of the gospel message to be brought home to their parents.
We were blessed with a wonderful chicken dinner put on by the Bible Institute students tonight to help them raise money for their mission trip to Oaxaca. So crazy the way the Lord’s plan works. We come here on a mission trip and help support them to go on a mission trip. Love the way He works.
So blessed by our time here. Very tired at the end of each day…Good tired. We all worked hard to the Glory of God. Going to practice tomorrow for our time of leading worship on Friday. Hoping for that to go well.
Please pray for our friends Christina and Paulino. Their 8 day old baby is challenged with jaundice. Her numbers have been steadily climbing over the last few days. They took her to the hospital today. She has an IV going and I am hoping they find the UV lights to put her on. Her numbers were 22 and should be 0. She is very lethargic and therefore not nursing as much as she should be. I am hoping with a little fluid to flush out her system and getting some lights on her, she should be fine. It is a very easy issue to take care of but it needs to be taken care of. Thanks for your prayers.
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 10:17 PM Subject: Day 4, completed already?
Today the kids drew pictures of themselves in VBS. There is nothing better than a 3 or 4 year old picture of themselves!! We had a wonderful time again…Day 4 completed. The kids had a wonderful time with the playdough that TNT AWANA girls made for them. Messy but easy clean up!! Many of the group went to child evangelism this afternoon and then we went to an adult outreach this evening. Great fun!! Tomorrow morning we will be doing the worship in Sala. Several others will be sharing about their experiences this week. Hard to believe tomorrow is our last day. Must already plan the next trip. Dates potentially on the calendar…
June 7th Facebook update:
Made it back over the border around 5:00. Heading to Irvine to our hotel. Amazingly blessed with our border ministry. Gave water, gospel tracts, and peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter on a spoon to around 175 people!! Praying the gospel tracts impact the hearts of those that received them. Thank you for all of your prayers this week. We were all humbled by our trip.
Date: Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 3:21 PM Subject: Almost home…
Almost home…In Elk Grove and we are excited to be almost there. Thank you for all of the prayers for our trip. God was glorified with our time in Mexico and Kendra and Ben Riepe had many firsts…first time eating cactus, first time out of the country without their family, first time seeing what true poverty is – people living in the trash dump…first time meeting people who have chosen to give up all means to earn a living in order to serve God full-time by ministering to those living in the orphanage, living at the trash dump and in the communities surrounding the orphanage…first time falling in love with a little 5 year old girl in Mexico and wanting to bring her home…first time giving a cup of milk and a spoonful of peanut butter to a bunch of kids and experiencing the gratitude from them….and on and on and on. Thank you Lord for the privilege to travel safely to Mexico and back home and minister to Your people. Thank you that they were willing to get out of their comfort zone, work hard and sell precious items to earn the money to go, and go…
Jeanne M. Conca, MPT
Shining Star Children’s Therapy, Inc. (530) 306-3469