Monday, November 15, 2010

Nov 12, 2010 Fire Breaks Out in San Vicente

The air quality is horrible today as a brush fire has broken out on the hillsides outside of town. In Mexico firefighters save their precious resources to battle fires only if they are endangering a populated area. So, we'll just have to wait till it dies off on its own. In the meantime, I'm sneezing up a storm.

Nov 11, 2010 Teaching the Teachers

One of my favorite parts of the school outreaches is getting the classroom teachers involved in a little drama. Some play the part of the little nutrition train who is trying to gather all the food group train cars while other teacher take on the role of the narrator. A roar of laughter rises up when the teacher puts on the conductor's hat. The interactive drama has each student participating as they put the foods into the correct car. Often times teacher ask for a copy of the script. I'll take that as a compliment.

Nov. 10, 2010 Lori Sitting Down on the Job

Today, you'll catch me sitting down on the job. Yesterday, I managed to sprain my ankle while trying to play soccer with kids at the school. You see, I still think I'm a kid. Well I am a "Child of God." So, today I'm trying to keep my wrapped ankle and leg elevated and all the while teach health classes and give out hats. Yup, over 600 hats will be given to the school children after the "Carnivals of Health" throughout the week. Thanks to all those knitters and crocheters out there who help us to bless so many kids now that cold weather is upon us.

Nov, 9th, 2010 Bible School Guys

There are 4 very special guys who are part of the school outreach team. Three of the guys pictured enjoyed the outreaches into the school that were put on in Feb. 2010, that they asked if they could join in again. It was awesome to see one of the young men, Celso, going from super shy with the kids in Feb. to teaching with gusto this time around. What was even more special was when I queried him about his testimony. Celso had left his home in Vera Cruz at just 12 yrs old. His search for something better took him to Tijuana where he tried to find work. Because of his young age, nobody would hire him. He said he would stand outside of grocery stores where people would supply him with bits of food and he slept in a govt. run facility. A young man befriended him and took him under wing and led him into drug use. Celso followed him to the San Quintin Valley where he began working as a field hand. He heard about Jesus our Savior through a film ministry that Mexican Medical Ministries puts on at the work camps. Celso told me that for three years he tried to leave the drug lifestyle but just couldn't seem to separate himself from the hold this man had on him. Then he was invited to join a Bible school in San Quintin where he could live on the school site. Well this past summer he graduated from that Bible school and is looking to return to start up a mission near where he grew up. The most touching part of the story came when he told me about a recent visit he had made to his hometown. Celso had not had any contact with his family since he left over 12 years ago. Well, after his graduation he hitched a ride home where he made contact with his mother. She didn't recognize her little boy and told Celso that she had thought he was dead. The mother in me can't imagine the sorrow his mother had been suffering and the JOY that must have leaped from her heart. Pray the Lord's path for Celso will be made clear to him.

Nov. 8, 2010 School Outreaches this week

Today starts a week filled with health fair outreaches to six elementary schools that we have never worked in. The "Carnival of Health" that I developed over a decade ago continues to be used as an excellent inroad into communities. Each school starts Monday mornings with a flag ceremony. Then the team rotates to every classroom to teach four different health themes followed by "Game Time!"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Giving Augustin a Chance. Oct, 2010

Augustin, age 42, pictured with me here was one of the patients who came through the clinic this week. He tried his hardest not to be a patient with his response of "I'm just here waiting with my wife". After some heavy duty coaxing, he finally allowed me to check his blood sugar and blood presser while he "waited". Oh My!!!!! It was a good thing that he did too, as his blood sugar was over 350. For you non-medical people out there. This is SUPER HIGH and very DANGEROUS! Here before me was a young man who looked healthy, but clearing was in trouble. He told me his dad was a diabetic too. He was ushered in to see the Doctor and armed with this new information, given chance to make some major changes that can extend his life. Pray that he'll seek the follow-up care that is necessary.

Clinic Day, Oct 23, 2010

A new mobile dental unit is a blessing for Dave and Lynne Johnson and their ministry with Mexican Medical Ministries. They've done a great job learning the ins and outs of meeting the dental needs from Ensenada to San Quintin, Mexico. When the "Mobile" dental/medical clinic is being utilized, I sometimes assist by checking blood sugars and blood presser of those waiting to be seen.

Children's Ministry in work camp

New challenges have arisen with the children's ministry now that school has started up. Those taking on the leadership roles have started high school with school hours from 1:30pm-8pm result in many of the "Angles" not being available during ministry times. So, now it's time to GROW some new leaders. This week I worked with Betel to take on the mantel of group leader. She was streeeeetchhhhheddddd in a good way. In the two years that I've worked with her, she has blossomed from a shy 11 yr old to a more confident teenager. Whenever, she would ask me what to do, I'd respond "You're the boss".

School Uniforms

Here is Daniel, Alvina's son who just started kindergarten. What's really cool is that Alvina sewed the school uniform that he is pictured in. One of the projects I'm working on with the 3 ladies who are part of the micro-enterprise in how to take advantage of the new school year by sewing both uniforms and book bags. Each school has a very unique uniform, so I've found it challenging to make the needed adjustments to meet the requirements. Each of the ladies were able to gather a few orders after sewing uniforms for their own children. In the coming months I'll be perfecting their skills in this area so that by the next school year they'll be up to full speed to take advantage of the business they can have.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Never Unpack the Suitcase... off again!! 18 Oct

Hello, all!! Monday, 18 Oct, Chris in Chula Vista...

Well, the 'modern missionary' life means alot of different living skills, and the #1 is living out of a suitcase all the time.

Yes, 'the grand old days' of missions meant a sending Body (usually denomination) stood behind you fully, paid the bills and sent you to a country where you actually could live long-term... means unpack the suitcases, pull up a chair and redemptively start digging in to the lives of the people in the region.

Those days are long-gone.

Now, 'missionaries' have to scrape together financial support from multiple sources, sometimes from groups that don't like each other. Churches don't see the sending of long-term people as their primary 'mission' strategy, but have moved to the 'send short-term outreachers' model because their congregants like the one-time cross-cultural experience.

Besides questions of effectiveness of the 'short-termer' model, it definitely means that 'long term mission workers' live a life of running back-and-forth, many times because they need to straddle the worlds of 'working in missions' out in the Field (internationally), then step back into the USA to raise support and work various part-time jobs to be able to fund the endeavor. Church-based support has slipped significantly, and individual supporters are now hurting from the body-slam of the Econ Crisis.

What that translates to in our lives is that we never get to unpack our suitcases. Lori is now down in the San Vicente (Baja California Norte, Mexico) village for a week-and-a-half, and we are trying to strategize the next few trips down for the fall/winter, while figuring out how to pay the bills.

We would much rather be able to live in the village full-time, but the Mex gov't will not allow us to work in Mexico (and make a local wage), and the US-based support doesn't even come close to allow us to live 'foreign'... all of that in the face of a STRONG call from the Lord to work amongst those people in that region... ahhhh!

Guess we won't be unpacking our suitcases soon.

Hanging on, your bro Chris

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reachin' OUt in the TL of SF 25 Sept

Hello, Friends! Chris here in San Francisco in the TL (Tenderloin, for all the non-SF'ers), cathin' up on some needed washing of clothes. I'm 2 weeks out from home, 1 more to go (we return to Chula Vista next weekend), and Lori is here, 1 week in...
Today (Saturday) the Urban Health Care School participated in a SF-TL-wide Community Health Fair. There were about 45+ agencies who had booths, and offered a number of free health info and health services.
As part of the Urban Health school, the students put together, all on their own, an educational booth to promote good HANDWASHING... and a number of associated activities to make it fun, informative and eye-catching. (The pictures up top show a bit...). One of the 'fun' parts was having children apply a 'glow-gel' to their hands, 'wash' their hands as they normally would... then see how much of the 'glow' is left in a black box... wow! The kids were amazed at how their hands could still be loaded with bacterias... !! Lori was there interacting with the Latina women, and talking to a number of the health workers at other booths for ideas on our own health outreach fairs.
I had two unique interactions. One was an elderly Samoan woman being pushed around in a wheelchair by her son, giving out Samoan candies to the workers. When I asked her son on how to say 'thank you ' in Samoan, and did so, her face lit up with the biggest smile and she pulled me down to kiss me on the cheek!
The other interaction was a group of Muslim children who came to the station. Not knowing if I should address the girls, I and the YWAM student did a group-fun thing for handwashing ed... and there was water flying everywhere! The two mothers (in their veils) were watching and laughing... it was fun. A few minutes later, as I was headed indoors on an errand, the mother called me over and asked if I would have my photo taken with their children... so a great 'everybody wash hands!' pose was struck...
One of the biggest rewards of doing public health fairs is the bridges of relationships built. The YWAM students spoke with many who live in the neighborhood here. With over 400 people coming thru the Fair, most came thru the Handwashing booth. Many knew about YWAM's presence in the SF TL, and their caring outreach...
A great outreach day...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Teaching at the Urban Healthcare School SF... Day 4

23 Sept Chris here in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, CA...
Well, had to work my way thru the long line of over 100 elderly Chinese waiting for the YWAM base food distribution to start... and dodge the street people who were saying negative things to those in line... seems like there is a great deal of 'ethnic animosity' here...
SO, Day 4 of teaching in the YWAM School of Disaster Mgmnt and Urban Health Care. We're doing the Urban Health portion... when I say 'we, I mean both Lori and I. She taught on health educational methods and activities yesterday, and the students are currently making posters and activities for a public health fair here in the Tenderloin (one of the 'toughest' parts of SF) on Saturday. Time-consuming but valuable lessons in the process of doing urban healthcare education.
We've also started looking at the 'common health conditions' associated with urban healthcare ministries, both 'domestically' and 'internationally'... all focused on the situation of the poor, marginalized and those outside the reach of health-care delivery.
The trippy part of being here are the 100 'people who live in the street' (the new PC term for 'homeless')... the 100 who basically live in front of the SF YWAM base. Most of them with significant substance-abuse issues and mental health disorders, they are a constant presence and reminder of Jesus' heart for 'the least of these'.
SOOOO... will try to get some pics up soon... will be teaching all next week as well... will Blog more on the students next time
THANKS to all our praying peeps for the covering these two weeks.
Gotta go... can't think with the blasting boom-boxes and screeching police sirens as they bust a drug dealer...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hard Row to hoe... 14 Sept

14 Sept 2010 Chris in Monroe, MI...
Hey, friends!
Fourth day of a (short) visit to Monroe, where there are still many, many friends and lot's of family... it's been great connecting with everybody... and hard at the same time...
The 'mission life' led us to 9.5 yrs of life in Mexico, then 11 yrs as San Diego being our 'jump point' while running all over the place, back-and-forth in Baja Mex and a dozen other places...
which meant leaving family (most in Michigan) and life-long friends (mostly in midwest as well) and live a life of constant movement, which has made relationship-building a bit hard for us in S Cal (and S Cal people are intrinsically relationship-phobes)... so, I'm reminded today about what a Hard Roe it is to hoe in missions, leaving family and friends to live out of a suitcase or in distant places.
(insert sad face here)
your bro, Chris

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hangin' with the MI saints... 12 Sept

12 Sept Chris writing in Monroe, MI...

Yeah, this town is where it all started for Lori and I... well, besides our being high-school sweethearts, getting married here, having 2 lovely daughters here and raising them in a pretty tight and loving community of family, friends and fellow travelers...

OK, this town was where the Lord birthed our Mission Call back in the late 1970's, honed it over the 1980's... then we were commissioned out of Redeemer church here in June of 1991... for what was supposed to be a 2-yr mission term, then return to this great town...

OK, that 2 yrs turned into 5 yrs that turned into... well, that was over 19 yrs ago. Ain't God funny??

SO I'm back here connecting with family and the majority of those that support and pray for us as mission workers. It's these guys who have made it possible for us to have served as long as we have...

Thanks 2 the Redeemer saints for such a warm welcome of fellowship and so many words of encouragement and love... I KNOW you guys stand with us in more ways than paying the bills!!

Some missionaries talk negatively about 'having to itinerate with supporting churches'... which is a bit of bunk to me... for me, it's more like telling the great GOD-stories of what we've been able, with the Grace and Provision of God, to do together towards the poor.... together as FRIENDS and FELLOW WORKERS...

[OK, let's not talk about the added benefit of enjoying a couple of White Castle hamburgers...] your bro, Chris

Friday, August 27, 2010

The set-up 27 Aug

Hey, everyone! Chris in Chula Vista
OK, Lori wrapped her 'half a summer in San Vicente', and is back in Chula Vista setting up her Fall ministry times in San Vicente.
I (Chris) am frantically preparing a 2-week course for Urban Health Care Workers I will be teaching at YWAM San Francisco at the end of September. My gig is to familiarize these workers with the common health-illness issues of adults and children they will be regularly seeing in urban health ministry.

This is THE SET-UP. This is a huge part of mission work and ministry. It's NOT glamourous... matter of fact, it's hard work with little fun. Try as we might, few people are willing to help in this bit... go on outreach, sure! Help with set-up... ummm...

Pray for us as we work hard in the ministry set-up.

your bro, Chris

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aug sewing week in San Vicente

It's been a long week of twice a day sewing classes. Seventeen different students participated including 8 teenagers and 5 beginners. With the new school year quickly approaching backpacks and book totes were the focused projects. School uniforms were also tackled by the three ladies that are working their small businesses. What a challenge!!! Every school in Mexico creates a unique designed outfit to distinguish their students from other schools. It proved to be a big job to adjust and redesign pattern pieces to find "just the right" look. Albina pictured above tackled the sweat pants and sweat shirts. The 5 day class week was extended to 6 to continue to work with Albina so that she would not only have uniforms for her 4 children, but would also be prepared to sew uniforms that she could offer for sale.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's Really about TWO smiles... from Chris

8 Aug 2010
Pictured about: on the 1000 Smiles surgical outreach, Ensenada Mexico
Chris with Yolanda and Lydia, two fellow Hispanic Nurses... the intake/admission team
Chris managing Juliana post-op... look at that huge smile!

Hello, friends!
Got back late last night from the marathon '1000 Smiles' surgical outreach in Ensenada.
1000 Smiles is a foundation, sponsored by the Rotary International that works with the Mexican Govt to provide cleft lip and palate surgeries to Mexican kids who would never be able to afford or have access to the long-term series of surgeries needed for the repair of that problem (usually 20+ surgeries over a 15 - 20 year period)
This was my second time on the team. It took alot to become fully credentialed with the Mex Sec of Health to officially be working in Mexico like this... and it is SO cool!
The outreach is 2 full days... Friday, packing and sterilizing and checking all the monitoring equipment, as well as all the pre-op checks of the kids for surgery the next day... Saturday, up at 5am and wrap up at 7pm... 12 full surgical cases, ages 4 months to 24 years old...
'Flexibility' is always the name of the game on a health-care outreach. Last time, I was in the Operating Rooms and Post-Anesthesia Recovery the whole day... this time, I worked the Admission/Intake and final pre-op review until the first kids were coming out of surgery, then the rest of my day in Post-Anesthesia Recovery (PACU)...

The cool part is that we recover the kids in PACU, then 'hand them out' (PACU is a super-clean area, have to 'scrub in' to be there) to the mom and Post-Op Observation nurse... and to see the tears of relief and joy and gratitude in the faces of the parents is huge. The problem of cleft lip/palate makes life very hard for the child and parents, and the repair truely improves the quality of life. It really is a 1000 smiles all around...

Doing intake/pre-op assess, one of the patients I cared for last outreach was back for 'another procedure' in her progress... and when she recognized me, she flashed this HUGE smile and gave me a great big hug... and when she smiled, I also saw the smile of God in there as well... what a wonderful moment!!

The smile of God seen in the smile of a kid is worth the work to be there!

A great outreach, planning on going back as regular as possible.
your brother, Chris

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Field Trip

A quick field trip on the way back from El Rosario to a ocean side seafood growing place. Not really sure what to call it. But, it was cool.

Health Fairs en El Rosario

Two Health fairs were held during my time in El Rosario including one at the church and another at the local park. It was great seeing how the people from the San Vicente church had pulled together and the effectiveness in their communication of the health concepts introduced with the games. My responsibility was to talk with those whose blood sugar or blood pressure was elevated and direct to the next course of action. I also, assisted with checking vision for the possible need of reading glasses. About 100 came through during the 2 days. Found several blood sugars over 200.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Heart Tuggers

There are always a few kids that turn into real "Heart Tuggers". As I minister in new places, like El Rosario, ineventably new friends appear. Josue Noe and Ana pictured with me proved to be my companions for the week. They liked snuggling up or holding my hand as we walked. If I got busy with translating or helping someone else with a craft, they were sure to seek me out. It was satisfying to reveiw the bible memory verses with them after class was done. Both hung around the church long after VBS being their moms were preparing meals for the team. Such sweet spirits!

July 29th, 2010 Vacation Bible Success

I love working with kids! Both young ones and teenagers which this time has proven to be. The growth in the Angeles ability to minister has grown significantly during this year. The days of prep time have allowed them to be better prepared to minister to children. The timid voices of last year have given way to confidence. After VBS was complete, I queried Pastora Laura of the El Rosario church, about the event's attendance. She was pleased to announce that about 2/3 of the children who came were visitors to their church. Now that is a successful outreach into one's community.

July 28th, 2010 How Many Kids Can Fit Into A Pickup?

One of the ladies from the church in El Rosario drove around the community picking up kids until her truck would hold no more. Amazing 10 children in the cab and 20 kids in the back. She lined them all up upon arrival to the VBS to count off so that she was sure to not forget anyone after the day's end.

Final Practice with the Angels July 26th, 2010

Time to work out some of the kinks out of the puppetshows. Good thing as Grandma Puppet needed her glasses sewn in place, arm sticks needed to be added and a rehersal to be in sync with the music recording was needed. Nothing worse in a puppets show than all the puppet mouths moving when there is only one voice being heard.

July 27th, 2010 from El Rosario

Time to decorate for this week's Vacation Bible School. We utilized the garden arch as a focal point for the daily puppet shows. The Mexican ladies busied themselves with creating tissue paper skirting and blowing up balloons. It's awesome how creatively they use inexpensive items to decorate. Mother Nature is rearranging some of what we put up with her gusts of winds that keep blowing through. The VBS is being held outside because the men of the church are enlarging the sanctuary by putting in a new roof on the back half. With the church property on a main drag this may be an advantage.

July 27th, 2010. I'm a Child of God

Yes! I still like being a kid. I'm a child of God and sometimes I enjoy focusing on the "child" part. Thought you would enjoy this pic of Esther and myself on the tetter-totter.

July 26th, 2010 Traveling to El Rosario

Up at 6am to be ready for a 8am departure from the church. Boy, did I pick the right van to travel in. Everyone pulled out the breakfast once we were out of town. There were burritos, tamales, and fruit that circulated around the van until everyone had had enough. Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!! The trick this week will be to NOT gain weight. The caravan of 6 vehicles carrying 51 team members,lugguage and building supplies didn't get far down the road before someone got a flat tire. Still it was a beautiful 4-hour ride travering the winding roads through the mountains with stretches that ran along the ocean.

July 25th from San Vicente, Sunday church

Left for Church at 9:45 this morning to join in on Sunday school at the church here in San Vicente that I attend when I'm in town. Mario gave an awesome teaching on the example we as adults need to be to our children. It was great to hear such a focus on the value of children especially when this upcoming week with be so directed to "these little ones" when I join forces with the church for the outreach farther south. The church service is directly after Sunday school. The church is packed today for worship and prayer time that last about 1- 1/2 hours. One of the kids is sitting on my lap until the children are released for the second half. It's getting pretty warm so the fans keep the air moving. Return from church about 2pm. Time to pack for the 4-day outreach to el Rosario, get a little down time and then return to church for the 2-hour evening service that starts about 6pm. Then there is a carne asada dinner after service. Return about 9pm.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Consult! Prepping those that GO...

26 July Chris in San Diego

Huddling around a laptop at a local cafe with a couple of people who are still queasy from their first doses of anti-malarials, all one week pre-trip for a least-developed country internationally to do health-care outreach... this week, it's Haiti... two weeks ago, they were going to Tanzania...
My lecturing at San Diego nursing schools and 'adjunct faculty' work has brought me into the circle of students and faculty who are going on health outreach during breaks. They have found out that I've worked internationally, and are coming to me with questions and needing training/prep for healthcare work abroad.
Just the last few months, my "Cafe Consults" have prepped people for Haiti, Tanzania, Thailand, Mexico and some urban health-care work in the 'rough part' of San Diego and San Francisco. In the last decade, I've done "Consult!" for people going to 28 moderate-to-low development countries.

They always come back and communicate how spot-on and useful the training was, and how it made for an effective health outreach or educational effort.

What ususally happens is that pre-trip, the people begin to prepare to 'go do' something, and as they research that prep, they find out that 'everything in their experience' cannot help them for where they are going to work. Then they contact me. I'll create profiles of health needs and healthcare realities for where they are specifically going, then (usually over a tall decaf Americano) spend a couple hours teaching/training. Laptops in cafe's work great. Many times, we'll also do some acutal planning on how the health education or intervention will happen during their outreach.

Just thought y'all should know about this 'Consult!' work, since it's a regular and substantial bit of what we do missionally.

Sorry, gotta go, somebody is running off to Thailand to work with village kids, and they want some healthcare info for that...

your bro, Chris

Saturday, July 24, 2010

still Learning Aug. 24, 2010

Arrived in san Vicente Thur. evening to begin final prep for next week's outreach. The current team will include 37 people from the Nazarene Church here in SV, 9 people from Good News Community Church in Colorado, Dave and Lynne (missionary couple here in SV. and myself. Anyways, I've been busy pulling materials for the Health Fair and vacation Bible School. When I met with the Pastor's wife yesterday, I discovered that she had decided on different stories from what we had talked about before. Thus, much of the pre-trip prep I had made was in naught and needed to be restructured. If there is something that I STILL struggle with, it's feeling like I've wasted my time. Of course, nothing is EVER wasted in the "Kingdom". Relationships are ALWAYS more important than time! Hopefully, someday it will become more natural for me to shrug off these type of irritations. In the meantime, I'm being remolded into HIS image.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hannah helps with VBS prep

Sure glad I had my daughter, Hannah, help with preparing the flannelgraph figures for the upcoming Vacation Bible School in El Rosario, Mexico. Next week will include three days of ministry to children.Leadership has been divided between Pastor Marta and myself as we continue to train up teenage girls of the Nazarene church in San Vicente in reaching out to kids in the surrounding area. Pray for open hearts of little ones who will attend as well as stamina as weather reports say temps could be over 100 degrees.
Can't wait to report about the good things that will happen.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Seting up to Sell

It's wonderful to hear Yolanda, Albina, and Erica as they strategize together on how to move ahead on their small sewing business. The ladies are working together as each bring different strengths to the micro enterprise. I discovered that one of the ladies is unable to make change, so the others are stepping in to help as they sell their items. At the end of my visit, I'm blessed as the ladies always pull me to the side for a time of prayer.

Birthday smash

A Mexican Birthday tradition. After all have sung to you in celebration on your special day and you have blown out your candles, everyone begins chanting "mordida, mordida, mordida, which means "bite". The birthday person is then suppose to take a bite of their cake. At the same time several of those nearby "friends" push.

Children's Ministry During sewing week, June 2010

Oh my goodness! What a difference in the ladies being able to concentrate on learning sewing skills!!!!!!!!!!! This week the sewing class students were treated to childcare for their little ones by a visiting church from Oregon. Two young ladies, Jackie and Susan kept the kids busy with crafts and games while Moms moved ahead with less skirt tugging.

Pulling together crafts June 19th, 2010

Pastor Marta, Ellie, Priscilla and I spent the day pulling together crafts and song sheets for the July outreaches that the "angles" will be doing. It always great to have FUN while working alongside of each other.

Prepping takes time June 2010

There is endless amounts of prep that go into each outreach. I'm blessed to have Pat Jordan as my sidekick for prepping for the on-going sewing classes. Here we are at her house cutting out felt to be used to create little purses. It wonderful to have a seasoned seamstress to help make patterns and clean sewing machines.


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Summer Shuffle 21June

Hey, new pic for 2010... wadda ya think?

Chris here, Monday June 21, I'm in the USA, Lori is in Mexico/San Vicente, and our new grand-daughter is in Oakland CA (smiles, smiles)... we'll get to see her in a few weeks...

The truth of missions is you have to give up alot... more than any non-missionary could ever imagine... like being around for all the births and birthdays and holidays and celebrations with all those close family and friends...
that's one of those things short-term missions can't give as a 'mission experience'... a long track record of missed family-n-friend celebrations...

Hey, we have officially completed 19 YEARS of mission service... we left Michigan in June of 1991... here's to the nomad lifestyle!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

18 June... too bad: no frequent flyer miles 4 San Vicente

18 June Chris in Chula Vista

So begins summer 2010 for us...

Too bad the San Vicente trip doesn't have any frequent flyer miles for Lori to accrue... she would be able to vacation in Europe with all the miles she would get!
Yes, she's down there now, doing sewing ministry and discipleship of the teens and various things in her 'home away from home'... she'll be back-and-forth to SV all summer...

I'm minding the store, looking for a new vehicle (that we can afford... that's the problem...), doing house repairs...

AND working on 2 Urban Health Missions projects: [1] doing the 'preliminary footwork' for a NEW Urban Healthcare mission project for Refugees in south San Diego, and [2] building the 2-week seminar I'll be giving in San Francisco in September on caring for common adult and pediatric health issues found in Urban Health Care Missions... guess all that Clinical Nurse Specialist studying will help...

SO... anyone figures out how Lori can get Frequent Flyer miles... ??

your bro, Chris

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ministry = getting out and pushing... 24 May

Chris here, in Chula Vista
Part of sustaining the missionary project in San Vicente (SV) is transpo. Transpo down to SV. Transpo back form SV. Transpo of things down to SV. Back-and-forth. It's 150 miles from our US house to SV, but because of the two-lane roads thru the mountains, the military check[points (and subsequent searches), the bad roads and the traffic, the drive can be 4 hours one-way... and I am part of the transpo loop for Lori going down there.
Oh, yeah, didn't mention the border at Tijuana, which is a tangled mess on a good day, and a 2-hour nightmare on an average day.
Now add into the mix that the current ministry-to-Mexico vehicle we can afford to keep is a 1995 Jeep Cherokee (like the pic) with 126,000 (but way more engine hours)... and it's developed a liking for stalling out when it heats up from long idles at the border... the mechanics have looked at it, and are baffled...
SO... last Saturday, after a mind-numbing hour of crawling thru Tijuana because every downtown street was tore up and diverted... we get to the San Ysidro border crossing... and even though we have Sentri passes, we were stuck in line, not moving for quite some time...
and the Jeep stalls out...
and no-where to push off to the side...
SO, I push, and Lori steers our stalled 95 Jeep up to the border guard...
who kindly checks our documentation, and says we can 'push thru' (thanks, brother!)
SO... push into the bay just inside the inspection station, pop the hood, wait 10 minutes, de-pressurize the fuel system, and VROOM! Starts like a champ!

Just a slice of the dusty, grindy, what-else-ya-gonna-do life of missions...

Praying for the twenty grand needed for a newer/highly dependable vehicle that will survive Baja and not strand us...


Fernando Learns to Sew

May 21st from San Vicente by Lori

Yes, I sometimes have boys in the sewing class. Albina, one of my long time students invited several of her new neighbors to join in on this week's class. Tagging along with the two neighbor ladies were their 5 children including Fernando age 11. He wanted to know if he could join in on the class. So, he started out by sewing eye glass cases. I told him there would be something special for him to sew if he returned the next day. So, I dug through the fabrics to find boy themed designs that would be of interest to him. He choose the Superman fabric and sewed this pillowcase for himself. He assured me that he'd be returning next month with his Mom and his sister.

Sewing to Bless Others

May 19th from Lori in San Vicente, MX
During this week's sewing class some of my students have been sewing to bless others. The class uses a Mexican Medical Ministry garage for the sewing classes which is a huge blessing. One of the many aspects of the ministry is to check people's vision and to give out reading glasses to those in need. So, I suggested that this week we give back to the ministry by sewing eyeglass cases that could be given out with the glasses. The teenagers sewed up cases that will be used during a June medical/dental/eye outreach.

Pastor Martha visits class with "Angels"

May 2010
Lori from San Vicente, MX
Pictured is Reyna with Noah's Ark that she created during the "working day" with the Angels.

Pastor Martha surprised me by visiting the class while I was working with the Angels. It made me a bit nervous as she looked on. Well, she didn't just look on, but actually got involved by helping to create some of the props we are working on for the a lesson on "Obedience" using the biblical story of Noah. Some of the girls developed questions while others made song posters. After viewing the class in action, Martha asked if the materials could be used during the 4-day July outreach that the church will be traveling to do. The Angels will be in charge of the 3-day Vacation Bible School portion on the outreach. Then Martha asked me to join the church for their ministry time to the other church 2-hours south of San Vicente so that I could continue to guide the Angels as they grow in their ability to minister to children. Wow! I love being invited by nationals to join in when they are ministering. What an honor.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Preparing Young Ladies

From Lori in San Vicente, MX
May 16th, 2010

The teenage girls gathered together yesterday, so that we could continue to work on creating materials for upcoming outreaches. The girls are doing a great job coming up with ideas to minister in the upcoming month. I'm trying to act more as a facilitator than a teacher. There are really being stretched into doing more prep. I'll try and download a pic tomorrow of the creative addition they made.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A New Creation

Lori from San Vicente, MX
April 2010

It was so exciting today when Catalina (pictured with me) was introduced to the church body as a new believer. You see, Catalina, first came to my sewing class in Dec., then shortly after that began attending the church. It's wonderful to see lasting fruit from the sewing ministry. I gave Catalina a super squeeze as a long line of people lined up to welcome her into the "Family of God".

Sock Puppets

From Lori in San Vicente, MX, April 2010
I'm working with a group of teenage girls from a local church here in San Vicente that do children's ministry in several of the outlaying communities. Today, we spent time working on a lesson on "obedience" using the story of Noah's Ark. Pictured are some of the "Angles", as we call them, with the pairs of animals that they'll use in a puppet show to reinforce the lesson.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Helpin' these Kids Smile Again... Chris in Ensenada

Hey, Chris here from Ensenada, Mexico... May 8...

Many nurses my professional organization, the Hispanic Nurses Assn have been staffing the 1000 Smiles Foundation quarterly surgical outreach in Ensenada. A part of the Rotary Intl, this group has been doing cleft lip and palate repairs for 'low resource' kids in Mexico for quite some time. My friends have been pressing me to join the outreach for quite sometime... formal credentialling with the Mex Gov't took awhile... the credentials came thru, and I went for the intense 2-day trip.

Day 1 was mainly Pre-op screening of the patients by the surgeons, and fully stocking and checking out the equipment for safe patient care by the nursing staff (9 nurses). There were also dentists doing general dentistry for dozens of people. The clinic was my favorite type of chaos, people everywhere...

Day 2 was 'up before the sun' and in OR for 12 hours... our team did 14 cases in 3 Operating Room suites at Hospital General Ensenada. The American team came from 7 different states, joining the Mexican team of docs and nurses from Ensenada. I was primarily part of the Post Anesthesia care team, but also circulated in active cases. There were also the dozen other 'needs doin' now' things, including act as translator and communication laison, and help with the anesthesia delivery. 14 cases, some taking 4 hours of operative time...

As the sun set over the Ensenada bay, we all boarded the bus back to San Diego... 13 kids able to be discharged, one staying the night for observation in the General Hosp. A great day, we all agreed... and most fell asleep, exhausted, for the 3 hour trip back.

The high-tech, highly trained team (all volunteers) provided surgical care for kids who would have ZERO chance of such in Mexico, due to their 'least of these' economic status. Cleft lip/palate repair is not a one-time shot, but requires dozens of surgeries over a number of years for the multiple EENT issues... and 1000 Smiles has facilitated hundreds of kids to receive this complex level of long-term care.

A good part of my nursing career has been in scrubs and 'up to my elbows' in long-and-difficult cases over the decades, so this 1000 Smiles work was quite a joy to me (yeah, I really do like the work!)...

Of course, my first Post-Anesthesia kid out had a rough time waking up, requiring a full 45 minutes of 'that's all I did, one-on-one'... SOOO 'game on'... but she did great, and it was a joy to hand her over... all awake and doing great... turn her over to a mother weeping openly with relief and gratitude in post-op/pre-discharge...

Great weekend, happy in scrubs, again...

your bro, Chris

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Other Sewing Products

Here are a few of the other items the ladies are creating as they launch their small businesses.
The round items are padded tortilla warmers. There are used to keep tortillas, potatoes, rolls, etc. warm.
The photo totes hold a 4" x 6" photo in the window area and are currently being made in black, hot pink, light blue, and mint green.
What do you think?

April Sewing Classes

April 15th, 2010
San Vicente, Mexico.
Another week of sewing classes is in full bloom. This week the ladies are making skirts and blouses. Yards of fabric are being cut and sewn together. Some of the students are making summer tops and shorts for their little girls. Wish I had my camera, but Chris has it this time around. Some of you blog followers have been wondering what some of the projects that ladies have been working on for the launch of their small business. So, I include a few pics.