Monday, March 22, 2010

you just never know what a guy will do with a few wires and some time

this was taken with my eris droid so the quality does not do the sound justice. But it was fun!
video

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

first blog

Just granted access to blog. will try not to make Michael sorry he did. :) Need to get pictures together. I know of 2 people who excepted Christ this week! That is enough to make it worth the trip but there is more to tell next blog

Wednesday

Dave Bennett shared from I John 3 this morning, about how the Lord came to destroy the works of the devil, and how Jesus is our advocate whenever Satan attacks us. Our memory verse for today is Mark 8:34, where Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." Good stuff. Real life is found not in following our own desires - but His.

From Baja Or Bust!


The sound crew wrapped up their project today, and the rest of us headed back out to clean the property of one more lady today. Pictures below, and church with Las Palmas tonight.

From Baja Or Bust!


Sandi just can't stop herself from selling real estate. This one is a handyman special.

From Baja Or Bust!


Sandi, Dorrie, Dave, and some of the kids at the last house we served at.

From Baja Or Bust!


Chris Stineman. Typical.

From Baja Or Bust!


Little girl who's house we worked at. She was lots of fun, and a willing and patient teacher of spanish. She taught us words for many different animals, no matter how many times we asked her to repeat them.

From Baja Or Bust!


A not-uncommon view on someone's property.

From Baja Or Bust!


Just Beautiful country. Several of us commented on the fact that where we were in Mexico, the wealthy live on the valley floor where there is good farming, while the poor are relegated to the hillsides - with gorgeous views. Just the opposite of the U.S. perspective on prime property.

From Baja Or Bust!


From Baja Or Bust!


Sad. Found this cleaning up.

From Baja Or Bust!


This is Rebekah, one of the CC Las Palmas interns. She's strong and ever-so-fierce!

From Baja Or Bust!


From Baja Or Bust!


This goat got away at one point and we had to capture. Dave succeeded, and owing to his skills shown here, earned the third nick-name of the trip: "Goat-Whisperer"

From Baja Or Bust!





From Baja Or Bust!


Dorrie made a few friends here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday

Assorted pictures





Dave doesn't appear near as excited as Mike about the new electrical outlet.





CC Las Palmas stage and worship team.





Beautiful countryside.










Bunch of clothes drying, from one of the homes we cleaned. Great stories - and things the Lord was teaching - from those homes. Good for me to get to be a part of today.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday

We split up into a few groups today. Several of the guys formed a crew to start some projects around the church. They began reworking and repairing the sound system, and some construction/remodel work. Here are some pictures:


Lucas Caruana on paint crew. He's been a good worker down here.



Robert Stineman reworking the sound system



Jeff Hale Painting in operation in Mexico, once again violating child labor laws. (Nice work Caleb.)



Mike Smith keeping an eye on Robert. God blessed us with an electrician (Mike) who's skills came in quite handy on this project.


Tom Lewis, prepping a dividing wall between the two toilets in the men's room. A welcome addition, to say the least! :)


Chris Stineman and I, in the bodega (warehouse) of the building supply store in Tecate.

Several others of us headed out to pick up supplies in Tecate, and on the way helped a guy get to a rehab center. Never know what you'll wind up doing when you're down here. Video from that adventure below.








Most of the ladies made food baskets to share with families from the community. Then they went out to clean some homes where help was needed. Keep in mind, this is in a thrid world country - so the condition of homes that need help, is an entirely different level of unsanitary. This was a labor of love. The conditions in the home they went to was really quite difficult to be in. I'll leave the details for them to share, but let me just say that they showed the love of Jesus in a beautiful, sacrificial, practical way. They followed the One who had stepped into our dirty lives, and chose to touch and clean up our filthiness though it was costly to Him. I was very proud of them. Many people would've refused to serve in that way.

Here's a little video blog tour of CC Las Palmas.


Be sure and leave us a comment or two.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday

Sunday morning we started slow. Due to the time change, they delayed church for an hour to give folks time to arrive. When the service started, I think we'd all say we really enjoyed the great worship time with the Calvary Chapel Las Palmas worship team. Some of the songs were ones we knew, but in spanish - and it was so much fun to praise the Lord with brothers and sisters in multiple languages!

In the afternoon, we started some projects - sound ministry, some repair/construction, and a number of us headed out to do a children's outreach in a local park. We did some face painting, several members of our team dressed up as clowns, and played games, sang songs, and had a lesson with the children there. Definitely a good time. Here are some pictures, and a little video at the bottom of a song at the outreach. Watch for Kevin Magee's sweet outfit.


Baja Or Bust!



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday

Been having some laptop issues, so here come a bunch of posts to make up for lost time.

First off, when last we left our team, they had landed in San Diego and were enjoying the first sun the Oregonians had seen in months at Spanish Landing (a beautiful park along the marina, across the street from the airport). After a successful rondezvous with the van crew, they headed east toward Tecate, making two all-important stops: acquiring coffee supplies for Mexico, and In-N-Out Burger! (Photo evidence has been withheld to protect the innocent.)

From there, we journeyed on through the desert toward Tecate. Our trip involved three wrong turns, and a little adventure that earned one of our team members the first nickname of the trip. Sandi "Border Patrol" Bennett is fun to travel with.

We made it to Las Palmas late Saturday, had a short orientation with Hassan and Stacy and the staff, had a devotion on trusting the Lord to be in charge of our trip and remaining flexible to how the Spirit leads, and took our first (of many) quick trip to the local tienda (store) where they sell delicious helados (ice cream)! Then we hit the hay.

Ahhh San Diego!


Yep, for you kids from Oregon who've never seen one, that is an actual Palm Tree in the background.





A little catch up...

The night before we left, Hassan Villegas, the missionary pastor at the church we partner with in Las Palmas, Mexico, was at Coastline for a visit with his family. It was pretty cool of the Lord, to arrange that timing. The church prayed for our team that night, Hassan gave a great message to our fellowship about stepping out in faith, and we loaded up the vans to head down and serve at Calvary Chapel Las Palmas.


And here's the driving team meeting for prayer at Starbucks, 6am Friday morning. Wow. They are so holy. Well, everyone except Art. Just kidding.






Caleb Hale and a trip mascot candidate...

It's a 'Neopet' ... whatever that is ...




Flying through Seattle...

We made through our first flight, Portland to Seattle, a little prop plane. Sue - who hates to fly - made with a bit of prayer. Her verse? "Into thy hands I commit my spirit." Luke 23:46. Check it out and see if she may have been a tad melodramatic :)

Here's a picture of us at the airport. I know - thrilling. Try to hold yourself together. We board for San Diego - and sunshine - in 45 minutes!





Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our Travel Plan

If you'd like to try and follow us on Google Maps, here are a few links for you.

1) Our route down. If you'd like to come pray us off, be at the Warrenton Starbuck at 5:55 am.

2) Where we'll be serving and staying in Mexico, can be found by checking out the blue markers on this map.

3) Our trip home.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Six Days To Go

Coastline's Spring Mexico team is headed to Las Palmas in just 6 days! The van crew will be loading up Friday morning at the Warrenton Starbucks, and the rest of the team will depart by air on Saturday.

Please be praying for us as we pack and get ready to leave this week. In my experience, the Enemy always try to throw some obstacles (work, finances, etc) in the way at the last minute, to try and keep people from going and enjoying all the Lord has for them.

I'm getting excited - check out this weather report. Mmmm... sunshine!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Home.

We pulled into the Astoria Safeway parking lot at 9:05pm. The last hour or so we got to share, encourage, and pray together. Cool time.

It will be good to be in our own beds, shower, and wake-up tomorrow and see how we can obey the Lord in whatever He's calling us to.

Often after a trip like this, or any "spiritual high", the enemy will seek to attack and counter what the Lord has done. If the Lord should bring us to mind over the next week or so, please pray that the Lord will rescue us from temptation, and we'll stand firm and cling to Jesus in the face of whatever comes our way.

Thanks so much for yours prayers. The Lord has answered them. See you Thursday.

Dutch!

Tish can't hear you over the sound of how awesome her coffee is.








Oregon!

Just crossed the border.






Snow in the pass.




Sacramento

We're headed home! As I write this, our church family at CCF is just beginning the Sunday mornng worship, and we're headed north from Sacramento. We'll see them this evening.

We've been on the road since 6:15am. Left Merced in the dark, and in the midst of a cold rain. Weather now is sunny and clear, but the forecast looks like we'll see more precipitation today. If you're reading this before 2 or 3pm, please pray for us as we come through the I-5 pass in southern Oregon. Lord willing, we should be home about 9pm.

Last night we had our last group devotion time. We looked at how we respond to God's word, with an eye toward what He's spoken to us about this week. We talked about confession and repentance, then keyed in on Luke 3:8-14 - where we're urged to do deeds in keeping with repentance. The three groups in the passage who then ask, "What should we do?" are each urged to change how they deal with their money and possessions.

This is where many of us in the grpup are at, I think. Wanting to change the way we think and deal with our material abundance, for the sake of God's kingdom. The challenge is coming. We've heard the word. We've agreed with it (confession), and we've begun to change our mind and direction (repentance). But now we're headed home. Will we bear fruit in keeping with repentance? Or will we be like the third soil, where the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things spring up and choke the word, so it becomes unfruitful (Mark 4:14-19). Lord, You are so faithful. Give us grace to walk in all that Your Spirit leads us in.

-Michael



Saturday, March 21, 2009

North on 99

Gorgeous evening. We are enjoying the setting sun, traveling north to Calvary Chapel Merced, where we'll have our last devotion and overnight. In a little more than 24 hours we'll be home. Thanks to so many of you have supported us in prayer and financially. I think I can confidently say your investments, in whatever form they took (hospitality, prayer, money, giving up family members for 9 days, etc), have not been in vain. Most importantly, I believe Jesus is pleased with your sacrifice. On behalf of the team, thank you, and may Jesus bless you for investing in His work through and in us. See you soon.









Friday pics







Aaron modeling a sombrero during our trip to the artisan market.




Visiting las playas (the beaches) of Tijuana - beautiful!
Incidently, many people have expressed concern for our safety in Tijuana. Thanks for your prayers. I can honestly say we didn't see anything remotely dangerous and we visited different parts of the city every day. A mall, park, a street market, several taco stands, the beaches, the very poor east side, southwestern area where the women's shelter was. We were careful about the way we traveled, and the staff knew where to go/not go, but honestly I heard more gunfire in Olney before we left, than in all our time in Tijuana (a city of 2 million people).

Much like what we hear before traveling to Israel, the media majors in sensationalism. The ministry leaders we spoke with told us that many, many church groups are canceling their mission trips to Mexico, which is tragic considering how many people are normally helped by U.S. christians each year. Many needy people in Mexico may miss out on experiencing the practical love of Christ right now, because of our concerns for our own safety (which Jesus never promised or encouraged us to seek - quite the contrary), and unwillingness to be like Paul who in the face of real danger (not merely the reports of a sensationalistic media) said he didn't consider his life as dear to himself, that he might finish the ministry Jesus set before him (Acts 20:24). I'm proud of our church for continuing to minister in Mexico in Jesus name, even in the face of danger (however minimal it turned out to be). It is pleasing to Christ to consider others as more important than ourselves, and lay down oir lives, even as He did. (Philippians 2:3-5). End of sermon :-)




The last supper. Kind of. Good people, friends old and new.




Ryan Soresen and his wife Stephanie (they're 5 months pregnant with baby Elana :), talk with Megan, who came from nothern Los Angeles. Megan is getting her Master's in Public Health, as an entry strategy to go to a country that might not otherwise grant entry to a missionary.




Cassie, Annie and Molly laugh with Seth, a student from Arkansas, at our last meal together. The Arkansans were a really neat group - serious about serving the Lord and lots of fun.




Weird. Gringos. Yeah - we're eating Chinese food in Mexico!




Last Day

Yesterday was our last day in Mexico. Bittersweet. That morning our speaker talked to us about important choices we'll face going home, targeting specific things (relationships, materialism, media, busy-ness) the enemy may use to sidetrack us in our commitment to live focused lives for Jesus Christ. I think we'd all say we don't want to forget what we've heard and thought about in Mexico. Pray for us, that we won't be like the soil where the seed of the word was choked out by the worries of the world and desire for other things (Mark 4:19).

We took easy the rest of the day - a quick shopping trip, then several hours together at the beach, before returning for our last dinner together. We headed back the Castillo, prayed and sang together. Then it was time for hugs and goodbyes.

We packed up, headed out, and crossed the border without incident. We spent the nght at Mike and Melissa Lenard's in Riverside, back in the U.S. Pics follow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

House Building

Today we had a teaching on God's heart for the nations, begining in Genesis and following through to the Lord's commision in the gospels. He challenged us to consider how we should be involved with His heart for the lost. Good stuff.

Then we headed out to build a small house for a family. They'd come from a drug background, had only been Christians for a year, and had three kids with another due in days. Their current home was a low-lying structure with a dirt floor, that flooded when it rained. It was a blessing to be a part of blessing them. Lots of pics below.







Getting ready to pray on the bare site before building.







Cassie, Annie, Molly and Kari (part of the group from Arkansas) attach the screws for the windows.







We were encouraged to spend time playing with kids and not just focus on the task. (The priority of people over projects.) So we did. This is a picture of our soccer game. Gringos vs Mexicans. Three guesses who won. :)







Setting up the walls. (Good thing I added that helpful caption, huh? :)







Cassie showing Frank and Jack that she CAN operate a hammer and nails. Got a job for her, guys?







Mother-Son power. Aaron and Tish team up to show the 2x4 how fierce they are.







Tyler (center) and the crew attaching the roof frame.







Here's an idea of the size and simplicity of the house. In the states, it likely would barely satisfy as a tool shed. But the woman said it was something they never would've been able to afford. Perspective: total material costs were probably ~$700.







Cassie had a little "incident" with the paint, which Tyler is helpfully pointing out. Cassie had a great attitude, even though her shoes may not recover.







Molly, playing with one of the kids who'll be living in the new house.







Tyler is running a paint crew, and, judging from their ages, apparently breaking all kinds of child-labor laws. While Jeff Hale Painting performed well, you might want to keep an idea on Tyler's crew members, Jeff.