Sunday, March 22, 2009


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.


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


Just crossed the border.

Snow in the pass.


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.


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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More pictures


Annie found these cute baby turtles for sale, and wanted to send this picture to her sister Emily.

El Castilio - (The Castle) and home of Baja Bible.

Cassie finds a little taste of home.

Eddie Passmore, director of Caravans Ministeries, teaching Wed morning from Luke 14:1-24, that we are servants, called to invite the uninvited.

At Deborah House, listening to the director, Ray.

Tish, taking rocks out of the sand in the children's play area.

Some typical houses in Tijuana.


Today our weather is bright and sunny! Even in t-shirts, us cold-blooded Oregonians are breaking a sweat - and are THANKFUL!

So here's what we've been up to so far. Monday and Tuesday were largely focused on things a missionary would do entering a culture. We had two good teachings Mon & Tue mornings by Eddie Passmore. Monday he spoke to us about three roads we need to walk in our life with Christ. 1) road of conversion (Paul on Damascus road. Likewise we must encounter Christ and be saved). 2) road of commitment (as Ananias chose to obey God even though going to talk with Paul didn't make sense to him, we must commit ourselves similarly). 3) road of compassion (the good Samaritan - we must care for the hurting and obey Christ's command, "Go and do likewise"). I (Michael) was particularly challenged by these last four words of Jesus. I'm asking, Lord what would you have me be doing to love my neighbor (the point of Christ's Samaritan tale), that I'm not?

Then we touched on language learning, with the Dean of Men, Dan Silver. A very good, short lesson in navigating the Spanish language. That afternoon, Dave Burdette (missionary in Mexico for almost 30 years) gave the first of two lessons on learning the various ways a culture communicates, being aware of those so as not to inadvertantly hinder the gospel. For example, single women in Mexico don't generally initiate contact with men, or act boisterously. To do so can imply looseness. So for a female ministering in Mexico, she might want to be careful lest she present the gospel in a way that left her hearers thinking Christians were loose.

After learning the theory, we headed out to observe the Mexican people, begin to identify differences from our own norms, and try to determine what they mean. We went to a park, a traveling market (see pics), and a mall. Some intersting observations: most people we saw (even in families) weren't wearing wedding rings. Men seem very involved with their kids, including affectionate touch in public. People are very open to their children approaching and playing with you, even though you're a stranger - we even watched them encourage it. (Can't imagine us doing this in the U.S.)

Today we moved on to some practical work a missionary might be involved with. We spent most of the day serving at the Deborah House, a christian shelter for battered women and their children. We did a bunch of manual labor and played with the kids. Ray, the director, talked to us about the ministry and the plight of some of the women in Mexico. Some facts. 85% of Mexican women will be victims of domestic violence at some point. And there only 4 shelters for them in Tijuana, a city of 2 million people! Legally, domestic violence is not currently a convictable offense, unless the wounds inflicted are severe enough to require more than 3 weeks healing. So, one woman who came through had actually been cut severely by her husband with a knife, but the doctors thought she'd heal in w few weeks, so the husband was not convicted. There are some legal changes underway, which may provide better deterence in the future.

It was great to get our hands dirty and play wihh beautiful children who need to be loved. Considering what they may have seen growing up, it was remarkable to see their willingness/desire to interact with us guys.

We've done A LOT of eating, too. As one of our speakers pointed out, one of the differences between Mexico and the USA is that folks tend to be more relationally oriented than task oriented in Mexico. And that means eating with people! I think they're onto something. :-)

We've wrapped up most evenings worshipping around a fire, on the porch overlooking the lights of the city. Beautiful. And a treat to do it with other believers who all didn't know one another before the week began. It's been good. Challenging teachings, practical lessons, chances to put them into practice, and opportunities to serve. I think the Lord is at work.

Tomorrow we get to help build a family a house. Hard to believe we've only been here 3 days. Seems longer (in a good way).

I'm attaching a bunch of various photos for y'all to enjoy. Please keep praying for us!

View from the Castillo porch in the morning. Great view for devotions, and thinking about people who need Jesus.

Dan Silver teaching a Spanigh language session in the Castillo.

Group getting ready to do cultural observation in a park.

Chess in the park.

Giant Mexican flag. Apparently it is somewhat less than a football field in size.

Molly and Cassie enjoying Fresas con Crema (strawberries and cream) at a Micchiocana (ice cream stand)!

Evening worship. Lights if Tijuana in the background.

Exploring a travel street market. Since many folks don't have a vehicle to go shopping, markets typically visit a neighborhood once a week or so, and have everything from computers to kitchenware, lingerie to tools, fresh produce to pirated movies. Think Astoria's Sunday Market, but steps from your front door, cheaper, and with more variety.

Fresh produce - yum! We've had Mexican
Papaya and mangos every morning for breakfast.

This group has not been afraid to try new things. Cassie is drinking jamaica, a tea made from hibiscus blossoms, and Tish is drinking horchata - a cinnamon rice milk drink that's delicious, although Cassie would disagree.

More pics in a sec

Monday, March 16, 2009


We made it. Crossed the border last night without incident, except perhaps for our first encounter with a pay-toilet. Cassie wondered, "Isn't that a violation of our rights?" :-)

We traveled to El Castillo (The Castle), the home of Baja Bible School, met the staff, and moved into our rooms. First stop: a taco stand. Now, for those who've never been, and can't understand why anyone would be excited by tacos, let me explain. Tacos in Mexico are SO MUCH better than anything you've had in the states. Disabuse yourself of the bastardized "food" you've had at Taco Bell. Think fresh cilantro, freshly grilled asasa beef, fresh guacamole, fresh everything. And cheap. 3 tacos and a Manzana del Sol (apple soda - yum!) set a guy back 49 pesos ($3.50). Exchange rate is ~14 pesos per USD. Here's a picture of our culinary nirvana.

We headed back for orientation, met another group that's here (from Arkansas), enjoyed some traditional Mexican sweet bread and beverages, and finished up the night playing a (surprisingly fun) variant on charades.

This AM we got up early. Too early. Mexico hasn't started daylight savings yet, and our clocks were on US time. Good time to be quiet, read, enjoy the sun, and eat breakfast. Here's our view. Next up: worship and then Eddie Passmore (director of another ministry here in TJ) will speak to us from the word. Thanks for your prayers. Pray that our group, the staff, and the others who are here get to know each other and serve together.

-- Post From The Road

Sunday, March 15, 2009


-- Post From The Road


It's sunny. We're at the beach. No jacket required. Serving the Lord is tough :)

We heard a message from Mark 2 about new wine in new wineskins, during our visit to church of the open door, formerly pastored by J Vernon Magee, before he went to be with the Lord. A few more miles and we'll stop in San Diego before arriving in TJ.

Cassie found a place to live.

At the Oceanside pier.

Cassie thinks quite a few people have ignored this sign. Or it was written by someone ignoring reality. "There is no spoon."

Michael and Cassie discover that you can't judge a container by it's creative paint job. Despite it's appearance the only "treasures" to be found in it, were the kind best left undisturbed!


So we're crossing the Grapevine, hoping to make church at either Church of the Open Door, or CC Costa Mesa. So far a great trip. Easy group to travel with - no complaining (Phil 2:14-15) - and we're making great time.

Last night we stayed at CC Merced. They were so hospitable, noteworthy since they were letting us use the facility the night before Sunday service. Great example of Heb 13:1-2. A big thank you to Pastor Tom and the folks there - we we're blessed!

We missed having a guitar player for devos last night. We did some accapella worship from Psalms - definitely a joyful noise! ;-) Then we looked at Joshua 5:13-15 (Joshua's encounter with the Angel of he Lord at Jericho), Acts 16:6-10 (where the Spirit tells Paul NOT to preach the gospel in Asia) and Acts 19:8-10 (the effect of Paul's Ephesian school of ministry on Asia - EVERYONE heard!). Talked about the need to be led by the Spirit in all ministry and missions. To let the Lord of the harvest be, well, *in charge* of the harvest. To be led (and enjoy the adventure of an effective life in Jesus) we must 1) have a close relationship with Him (so we can hear what he's saying), 2) be flexible (so we can adjust to His plans), 3) have a willing heart (so we'll obey when His plan doesn't make sense/seems dangerous/etc).

We got up at 5 am, and hit the road about 6 am. The sun is shining!

-- Post From The Road

Annoying bird clock!

So this one is for nana... Last night as us girls where settling down for bed we notice there was a bird clock. Annie mentioned having one before and that it used to make different bird noises on every hour, all of us where hoping this was not one of those! So as we where all starting to drift off to sleep we heard the chirping... We all sat up and decided that we where not waking up every hour to birds. Tish and Annie got up while I held the flash light on the ridiculous clock, they got it down and took the batteries out. Don't worry we remembered to put them back in and set it this morning and before leaving heard the chirping one last time. I'm pretty sure if Nana had been here she would have tried to smuggle it outta there in her bag LOL!

P.S. Nana please never buy one of those clocks or I will have to throw it into the pond outside the house!

Love ya all
Cassie K

-- Post From The Road

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In-N-Out Stockton & Rev 3:20

So for the uninitiated, In-N-Out Burger is a necessary part of any roadtrip to/through SoCal. What's so special about In-N-Out you ask? Well, the burgers are good, everything is fresh, service is simple & fast. And there's this sort-of mystique to the place. It's a fast food joint that's almost ALWAYS busy. And not because of any menu gimmicks (no seasonal McPanini or McFiletMignanon with a Sponge Bob action figure, will you find here). Yet even with menu choices that haven't changed in years, the place is popular.

Also unique (and a favorite of mine): the bible verses printed on all the cups and wrappers. Tonight Molly's burger came wrapped in Rev 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Good to remember Jesus wants to eat/fellowship with us, maybe even over something as simple as a burger at In-N-Out :-) Cassie told us one of the things she's most looking forward to in heaven is eating the food! At first blush this might seem like an odd priority, considering the wonders of worship that await those who've put our faith in Jesus. Then again, the marriage supper of the lamb is one of the first things on Jesus' agenda, too. Like He told the twelve: I'll wait to drink the fruit of the vine until we do it together in My Father's kingdom. Isaiah 25:6-9. Come Lord Jesus! Pray that on this trip we'll take Jesus up on His offer in Rev 3:20. Listen for His knock, open up to Him, and enjoy the fellowship that satisfies our souls.

-- Post From The Road