Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Future Mex worship leaders

Slowly, slowly these gals are learning how to play guitar in San Vicente. During Lori's sewing class, we step outside and make a joyful NOISE to the Lord.
These three girls have been very faithful in learning the worship songs and chords. Yeah, they're a long way from cutting a record, but they're working hard!
Equipping the Saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians Ch 4),

Feliz Navidad 2011

We had a wonderful time celebrating Jesus birth with our friends in San Vicente. The Wed. before Christmas was a day filled with celebrating the holiday with our church family there. All the chairs were filled as a variety of dramas and music were shared in honor of our Savior. Tears filled my eyes as several young people responded to receive the "True Gift" as heartful worship filled the room. Afterwards, we joined in sharing our meal in a unique potluck type form. There were tamales, mole, posole, tostadas and lots of other yummy foods to enjoy. Best of all, spending time with our San Vicente family!

sewing Christmas gifts 2011

As the "Giving Season" is upon us, I enjoy helping my sewing students to create handmade gifts for their families. This year I focused my energies on the young girls who were anxious to take advantage of their school vacation to make presents. Scarves, aprons, and decorations were whipped up in time to celebrate Christmas. Michelle (pictured with me) is one of our neighbors in San Vicente. As I was walking back from my first day of classes, she questioned about the minimum age of the sewing students, which is 10 years old. She told me that she would be turning "10" in Jan. So, the next morning, I invited her to join me for the day so that she could start her lessons. She was so excited to make a wool scarf for her Mom and a fabric Christmas tree to adore the inside of her home.

fleece outfits

How thrilling to see the ladies who are involved in their own sewing micro enterprises finding orders in their local. As cold weather has set in, Albina and Yolanda have received requests to sew warm fleece outfits. The quality of the work they are doing is impressive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each time I arrive in San Vicente, these ladies are anxious to learn new techniques or have questions how to proceed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

San Vicente winter: frozen mud, rains

Just a slice of our life... frozen mud until mid-day, it thaws and tries to become a sentient life-form, night falls, it rains more, then it clears up, the sky is wide-open to outer space and it freezes again...
THAT's why we give away HATS out in the work camps... Crisbaj

Sunday, December 11, 2011

When it's cold, we give hats away in the camps

SO... down here in San Vicente, there are a couple of working 'farm camps' where field hands and their families live. They are miles from the town, and most live in trailers, small chapparell houses (like ours!) or concrete 'shelf' housing...
Being it's been SOO cold, and predicted to continue, we found a helpful 'person of peace' (thank you, Albina!) to take us around, and we supplied hats to around 100 people at multiple locations in Rancho Mesquitito... built alot of friendship, and prompted a couple of people to come into town for church the next day! It was especially good to get hats on those little heads...
,,,and yes, it was pretty cold the next night

Friday, December 9, 2011

Before Hats and After Hats... 9 Dec

Chris here
SINCE it was totally freezing here (reported well below 35 degrees F), we went to the San Vicente kindergarten and gave each student... and the staff.. nice warm HATS to wear... check out the before-and-after pics... and the one with Lori and helper Miriam with the Kinder staff... this was at 9am and it was still hovering around freezing here (YES, it gets really cold in Baja Mexico...)
Thanks to all those wonderful peeps who make and send hats thru the year... there's a lot of warmer heads here because of your love!

it's COLD in San Vicente!

Chris here, in San Vicente... brrrrrrrrr!
It got COLD lastnight, the puddles froze, and so did WE!
Here's a shot of Lori sitting in our 'house' trying to keep warm... that and lot's of warm tea, then off to the sleeping bags!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

San Vicente Sunsets

7 Dec, Chris here.
We're in the US, getting ready for the next trip to San Vicente. We've had to delay a couple days because we both came back extremely sick the last trip, requiring antibios and more 'throat coat' tea than I could ever dream of.
We're finally mended enough to go back.
I found this sunset pic from the last set of pics shot on the last trip. The San Vicente sunsets can be pretty breath-taking!
We are in the throws of a very, VERY cold winter in this region. Record lows being set in San Diego AND Baja. We hope to get some hats out to needy kids in the next few weeks.

We sure hope our 'readers' are praying for us... protection from another respiratory infection, protection during our travels, ministry opportunities and 'God-moments'...

ready for the next bit, your bro, Chris

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Living skills at the San Vicente house 29Nov

BLOG 29 Nov

Living skills at the San Vicente house

San Vicente 28Nov
Hey! Chris here. Well, I’ve been stuck in our house for a few days… sick, fever, coughing colours, unable to be out in the community.

Lori’s been busy with her women’s groups, doing many different sewing projects and helping to launch ‘front room businesses’ in the homes of women.

Being all stuck ‘at home’, I thought I’d put up a little picture of some of the living skills to be able to ‘make it’ in our San Vicente house.

Actually, it’s a bit like rough-it camping (a necessary missionary skill):

^^Cannot drink the tap water, not purified.
^^Drink only water BOUGHT from a purification plant, blue bottles ‘only’. Water filter purity checked by gov’t monthly (posted results).
^^Water bottle in the corner, on a spicket-stand.
^^Only one sink with (only cold) running water. Wash hands frequently.
^^Toilet flushes to a drain field, no TP to be flushed down. TP in trash. Trash to refuse pit daily to be burned.
^^Two buckets full in shower stall to flush toilets after dark. Village water (comes from well pump) goes out at dark, back at dawn.
^^Shower in the shower house. Warm water only during the day, has a solar panel. May obtain some warm water in evening to help wash dishes.
^^No sink, use dishpans. Dash of bleach in the rinse water (be sure to have apron on! Splashes can make for clothing spots!). Dishes done immediately after meal to reduce critters from coming for the left-overs.
^^Hot water via ‘hotpot’ for coffee/tea. Coffee is ‘instant’… sit down and have a cup!
^^Cooking via two plug-in hot-plate burners. Make sure to ‘power-down’ other lights in the house when cooking, only one electrical circuit!
^^Portable tables and plastic chairs can’t hold too much weight. Fill soup to ¾ level to avoid spills when tables shake.
^^House has 4 electrical outlets, light socket in each room with pull-cord.
^^Close up the windows mid-day to hold in a bit of the heat: plywood ceiling is the roof (rolled tar-paper over that) and it’s going to be a clear night tonight, meaning no clouds to hold in the desert heat, will get close to freezing here in Nov by 2am.
^^Don’t let the door sit open, creatures (four-legged, six-legged, winged, stingers and teeth included) will be glad to visit.
^^Food stored in the pantry (canned), fresh in the portable cooler. We’re deciding about getting a refridge soon, needs to be big enough to detract from being robbed.
^^Break-ins and robberies are a game-sport here in the Village, with zero chance of recovery. Know that everything left in the house when unoccupied is at risk.
^^We’re enjoying the bed-frame/platform constructed for our inflatable Queen mattress. Looking at getting a real mattress down here. Sleeping bag as quilt, it’s cold!
^^Hey! Muddy boots at the door! Yep, walk anywhere outside and they get pretty caked up!
^^No walking off the sidewalks after dark. Lot’s of scorpions and rattle-snakes around.

Lori told me to add that it’s a bit better than rustic camping: we have a flush toilet indoors, so no trekking out into the cold outside for the honeypit house…

[I can see it now… some of you are soooo like“I wanna be there!”… others of you are, “No Way!”]

Gotta go, time for scrubbing up the pots and pans…

Your bro, Chris

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day of Giving Thanks (without Black Friday) in Mexico

25 Nov
We celebrated a Day of Giving Thanks with the Naz church here on Wed nite... 3 1/2 hour service of families getting up and expressing gratitude to GOD for all HE has done in the last year. Then we all shared a turkey and dressing feast.

Yes, I miss the 'usual' Thanksgiving traditions in the US... cornocopea and images of pilgrims and East-coast indians sharing food...
BUT I will say celebrating a 'Day of Giving Thanks' without a million blaring 'Black Friday' ads trying to appeal to my base nature (buy, buy, buy, have, have, have, get, get, get...)...
NOT having any of that here in Mexico is WAY past refreshing!!

I'm glad to trade the Black Friday mud for muddy cow-paths to walk in... besides, scraping shoes has never been so fun!!

AND hearing the 'glory stories' from these grateful people is nothing less than inspiring.

Oh... in case you are wondering, the STUFFING the women of the church came up with may have been one of the top stuffings I have ever had... Lori agreed...

your bro, Chris

MudMudMud... 25Nov

25Nov in San Vicente

OK, it's not as bad as the picture... but regular rain in Baja has meant all the cow-path roads here are mud-chutes... a little rain makes for alot of mud in the Village...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OK, WHERE is San Vicente (the Village we're working in)?

Hey, y'all
Just had 2 recent conversations where the folks were having a hard time figuring out where the Village of San Vicente was located...
San Vicente is a village approx 130 miles south of the US-Mex border, directly south of San Diego CA (US) and Tijuana, Mexico.
It takes us about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to travel that distance because of having to drive through 2 major Mexican towns (Tijuana, Ensenada) AND travel over 3 mountain ranges.
San Vicente sits on the northern 'lip' of the San Quintin valley, also known as Mexico's 'vegetable basket'.
More to come...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oh, to be living in Mexico again... 9Nov

Hey Y'all, Chris in the Village
Not much time, banging out a quick blog outside the Pastor's house after a stellar time of worship and adoration of our KING here at the Nazarene church. (Don't tell, but this Nazarene church makes most Vineyard churches look like they are asleep...)
We arrived at our new/rented place last night and settled in... YEAH! We're living in MEXICO again!!! My prayer time this morning was off the charts with JOY....

For the last few years, we've done alot of going back-and-forth, staying with alot of very kind people... but now we have a place of our own, and this is going to be a long-term are of relationships and ministry.


Pictures soon
your bro, CHRIS

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Softening the wait

Sometimes communications just get mixed up. During the mobile dental clinic at la Clinica El Buen Pastor in San Vicente in October there was confusion that resulted in patients waiting for hours to be seen. As darkness fell so did the temperature. So, to soften the hearts of those waiting, I pulled out a bag of handmade hats and gloves. The kids received their head covering first and then I made sure there were enough for all the adults in the crowd. Yeah! one extra. Now that is cutting it close. Everyone was so appreciative. Thanks to all my hat makers out there.

A Pillowcase of Many Colors Oct 2011

This young boy was so excited to join the sewing class. He quickly took to the sewing machine, after all he already has conquered the pedal skills by driving a car around town. No he doesn't have a license nor is he old enough to have one. Ni modo. (No bother). He had no problem choosing the fabric to make his first project, a pillowcase. He told me how much he loves the story of Joseph and how the colorful fabric reminded him of Joseph's coat of many colors. So, much fun was had that the next day he returned to sew another pillowcase for a friend.

Oct 2011 sewing blankets

The temps are falling into the 40's during the nights in San Vicente. With the crispness of fall comes the need for more blankets on the beds. Most homes are made of wood or cement block but lack insulation and have no heat source. It's the perfect time of the year to add blanket making to the sewing class. Amelia (pictured with me) was thrilled to show off her new bed covering at the end of the week's class. It won't be long and night time temps will be in the low 30's, sometimes even the 20's. Buuuuurrrrrr! Time to cuddle under the new blankets.


Just a word of thanks to all who came out to the Panera times, those who hosted me, those who fed and watered me (really well... I think I gained a few pounds in MI!)...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Next Big Thing... 16Oct

16Oct Chris in Lasalle, Michigan

I'm up in the midwest sharing with our partners, doing some teaching and connecting with family and friends.
Had a great time with the Saints of the Toldeo Vineyard... always a warm and wonderful group.
As I prepared for this morning's time, I've been really struck by the Lord in this area of Worship lately. I know that I have made the past mistake of reducing 'worship' to a fantastic time of music and demonstration of my gratitude to God in a church service.
I am totally convinced that somehow the 'next big thing' in the Church is NOT going to be a really cool song or adding lights and smoke to our church services...
It's going to be all about
<>the simplicity of worship: 12 stones, uncut by human hands to signify our regular lives as THE altar acceptable to God
<>the whole idea of 'song-service is worship' is going to be seriously re-adjusted to become a small percentage of what we KNOW to be our worship
<>worship is going to a total-life-before-God, everything-I-do, everything-we-do, 24/7 experience-the-Presence and God-is-in-the-HOUSE thing
<>worship is going to always be aware that the earth is FULL of the Glory of God, while at the same time we pray for the Glory of God to fill the darkness (and the hearts trapped in darkness)and we look forward to the full consumation of His Presence totally dispelling the darkness

The Next Big Thing... come Holy Spirit!!! Make it happen!!
Church... what do we have to do differently? How can our Praxis line up with the Presence?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bajmission Baja and Beyond Update 17-18 Oct in MI

Those who are in SE Michigan... Chris is going to be in the Monroe area next week, and will be hosting a "Bajmission Baja and Beyond Update"
Panera Bread
393 N Telegraph Rd in Monroe, MI

Mon and Tues 17 and 18 Oct
6pm to 9pm

the advert:
"come see/hear/taste/touch a bit of what Latin American missionaries Chris and Lori have been up to!"

(taste and touch... hmmmm)
C'mon down!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome to the House of Blessing in San Vicente

Great news, friends! The LORD opened up an opportunity for us to rent a house in San Vicente for us to stay in when we are down there, and there's room for us to conduct ministry out of the location...
It's an older 30ftx20ft adobe-stucco house with the usual rural Mexican set-up. It does have a flush toilet, a single-tap shower and outside sink. There are a few electrical outlets. It was formerly a bunk-house for a Mexican Bible school that closed over a decade ago, and there are 3 little rooms with built-in bunks. It's a bit drafty, and we'll be fixing it up over the next few months... The house is close to the Carretera TransPeninsular Mex 1, and is in a 'Rancho' with a number of neighbors who all attend various churches in the Village.

But hey! We have a place!

Our Hearts Leap Coming Over the Hill

Just to show you the sight that makes our hearts leap for joy as we come out of the last mountain range and... there before us... San Vicente... our second home...


Training future worship musicians 4Oct

4Oct Chris here, just back from San Vicente. See the pic... that's one of my star students, working hard to master the guitar.

This past 7-day trip, played over 20 hours of guitar.
Nope, wasn't just goofing off. That was a 20-hour investment in a group of future worship musicians, and leading congregational worship with the help of these newbies.

The Nazarene church of San Vicente has a congregation of about 150 people, and it's growing because people are coming to Jesus through the dedicated evangelism of the church-folk. The pastor asked me to help him with his new problem: needs a number of up-and-coming worship musicians to lead on Sundays, during the week, at the various conferences held, and the home meetings. He's asked me to teach them guitar and disciple them in leading people into the Presence of God. He's also asked me to 'infiltrate' the worship band and help them out.


I've been holding 'classes and consultations' out at the picnic tables outside. This past week, 12 hours of 'open class' for the students. One guy came right form the fields, and was so dusty, I didn't recognize him at first!!
Then the rehearsals for Sunday night. Teaching new ways to pull a worship band together, all be on the same page, and then 'lift-off' with the congregation in the Presence of the Lord.

Sunday night, it was the first time I'd led worship in Latin America in over 5 years. I was so excited during tune-up, I could hardly contain the joy.
We started Sunday out with my 8 students and I leading a wonderful old Mexican worship song "Hay Una Fuente En Mi" (There's a Fountain In Me) together... wonderful! These students have only been playing guitar now for 3 months, and they got to be a part of leading. (After service, they were estatic; one student was crying for joy when she described it all to me...)

THEN we had the emmense joy of blasting off for a 45-minute worship set with a fantastic-sounding guitar (thank you, annonymous friend!), a totally singing-loudly-at-the-top-of-the-lungs congregation, and God showing up in power and presence.

Awesome can't even describe it.

I'm in awe at how God is teaching and energizing these students. Glad my guitar callouses are nice and tough in this season... fingers sore but very happy...

For the High Praise of God in ALL the earth!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Glocalization in San Vicente

GLOCALIZATION; The new term for the car-crash of the local realities of the developed world (cell phones, technology) with the Global realities (lack of basic services, economic stratifications) in the Developing world.

Chris sitting here in San Vicente.

As usual, I'm trying to make sense of it all

Watched a street-vendor yesterday in San Vicente cooking her food-for-sale on a camping-styled woodfire and pan (like the picture), but talking loudly on her cell phone...

Lori working with one of her 'sewing women' in a house with a dirt floor and one electrical outlet (an extension cord), producing lovely (and glittery) purses for sale...

Sitting here on a high-speed wireless internet connection doing this Blog, but I had to shower last night via a 'sink-tap', since all the showers here are not working at the Church...

Running water for bathing/washing, but had to drive over and get my water bottle filled from the filtered water (safe to drink, says the monthly government letter posted next to the plant)...

Amazed by the stunning beauty of this village... well, then a truck barrels down the dirt road and the resulting cloud makes it hard to breathe for a few minutes...

Watching the trucks of tomatoes going north from the fields, to be sold at the markets for $1 for 2 lbs... and seeing the bus of field workers pull up, all dusty beyond recognition, a long, hot day in the sun picking... the resturuant next to the 'bus stop' adverts satelite TV and a Wifi internet for customers...

Seeing how hard life really is for the people of the Village...

simplicity, complexity, glocalization

More later... before the power browns out for the afternoon...


Monday, September 19, 2011


Hey, friends! Chris here, we’re just back from San Vicente, lot’s of good things, lot’s of challenges…

Our ‘2 weeks per month down in San Vicente’ is in full swing… and our resolve to do that really got tested this last trip.

On a good day, the 130-mile trip from our house to the Village takes 3 ½ hours. The big-normal reasons are [1] getting thru Tijuana, then Ensenada/Mandedero and the snarled Mexican traffic, then [2] passing thru 3 mountain ranges, two low-level and one going from sea level to 4000 feet, then down.

Well, Wed the 14th was the ride to test our resolve… almost 6 hours, almost a dozen accidents… I now have a little idea what it felt like for Jacob to wrestle with the Angel in Genesis 32…

Started out with attempting to cross into Mexico at the San Ysidro border. Well, there was a major construction accident RIGHT THAT MOMENT. They closed the border for an hour. Then the snarled attempt to get thru. THEN the high-speed chase of some criminal into Mexico, with 10 San Diego police cruisers blasting by [we were the 10th car in line, the chase went right by us!]. THAT closed the border for another half hour.

Finally, into Mexico, to find the foolish criminal crashed into a road divider, and 50 Mexican cops with a closed ramp. SO into Tijuana proper… to find the major street to go south closed off… re-routed into the south part of the city… FINALLY on our way south, to Rosarito…

Then the stop at the ‘rest rooms’ station… what! Under construction? The next one… same thing… the last one before the long road to Ensenada… closed.

We’re starting to smell a plot here.

Got to Ensenada, found an open bathroom (yes!), got thru Ensenada OK, then up into the mountains towards San Vicente…

Well, the Mex government is doing construction on the ONLY road between Ensenada and Los Cabos (Mex 1). San Vicente sits right on the Mex 1. The construction is a good thing, this has been a narrow, barely-kept road for a long time, and a lot of truck traffic.
[Ref: the San Quintin valley, of which San Vicente sits on the northern rim, is ‘the vegetable basket’ of Mexico. If you are reading this and ever eaten a store-bought strawberry or store-bought strawberry jam in the US, 95% probability it came from the Valley].

Guess where the construction has finally reached? The narrow passes through the mountains. It’s now filled with gravel by-passes winding back-and-forth around the construction bits, up steep inclines, then down-hill. Huge semi-trucks (the ones that bring the vegetables and fruits out for market) riding right up our tail, impatient, 20 of us crunching thru the trails…

It took us SIX hours to get to San Vicente. Lori admitted that if she was driving, she would still be back in Tijuana crying.

Well, we struggled through. “I’m not letting go until YOU bless me, God!!”

We made it by Grace and Mercy and God’s exceptional Presence… and yes, He blessed us. Driving over the hill and seeing the Village… ahhh! Welcome sight!

Thanks for praying with us, you supporters and prayer warriors!!

[ps, the trip back was significantly better… ]

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some pics

OK, a couple of pics... Lori and I in San Vicente (very nice, traditional Mexican church in background) AND one of the COOL ladies handbags one of Lori's 'women' are making for sale...

Living Mexican again

6Sept Chris here, short report on our last trip to San Vicente.

We've begun to strike out into some new areas of ministry and work with the people of the village. Our HOPE is to have a rented facility in SVF by spring, so we spent some time looking into rental property there. That will probably mean a sparse house in a neighborhood, concrete floor, three running taps into the building (shower, toilet and one spicket) and moderately dependable electricity. There are some prospects...

This trip, we stayed at Iglesia Nazareno de San Vicente. We were blessed to stay in the 'cuna', the nursery. Tile floors, and a flush toilet in the bathroom. We camped out on inflatable mattresses. We ate 'camping meals' from our hotpot and cooler.

Pastor Jose Luis and Pastora Marta had us join them for some meals. Great times of fellowship.

We (me 75%, Lori 25%) gave the Wednesday night message. It was 'mission night', and Pastor asked us at 4pm to share. Big rule of Mexico mission work is you always have to be ready to preach a 30 minute message at ANY church service you attend as a missionary: I have some notes written in the front of my Bible, but that night was alot of 'fresh bread from the Word' I had dug out that morning in my devotions and reading of John Piper's "Let the Nations Be Glad!". Lori only did 25% because she had spent her day dealing with a rat situation (see previous blog)... and yes, all in Spanish!!!

About 75% of our week was totally in Spanish. Makes for easier week, not having to go back-and-forth and stay in one language most of the time.

Saturday, there was a wedding of a couple we know well. What a joy to see these two come together in holy matrimony. The 5pm wedding had the bride walking down the aisle at 615pm, and nobody was flustered. The wedding feast was 'birria de borrego' (goat cooked in a rich tomatoe and chile sause)... ohhhhhhh, what a feast!!

It was hot, so it took awhile to cool off after the sun set. Ahh, the smell of burning garbage as the sun sets in the west...

Lori did alot with her 'sewing women'. I continued to work on helping to build the music ministry and worship group, and had 9 guitar student lessons, and spent a great deal of time encouraging some worship leaders.

Not too many pictures this trip.

Back soon! Chris

Oh, rats! Got poop? Some San Vicente stories

Hey, all! Chris here, just a few funny bits from our last week down in the Village (San Vicente Ferrer).

First, I helping out the Sunday worship band at Iglesia Nazareno San Vicente, playing bass guitar, and could NOT look out at the congregation... why?? Well, there was this kid in the front row, wearing a Tshirt that said "GOT POOP?"... !! It was probably donated from the US and he/his mom does not know what that means (common language-unaware problem)... but I wanted to break out and laugh...

That was the easy one... here's the tough bit.

Shortly after we arrived, Lori went down to the one mission Base to work on her sewing stuff and get ready for her women to come the next day. What does she find in the cabinet?? A dead rat that had been there a few days and was turning... well, it was not pretty! [NO, we did NOT take a picture... too gross...!!]. SO, we spent a bit cleaning that up/disposing of the remains/sorting thru items affected... and Lori spent the rest of the week dealing with the after-math! Many sewing supplies had to be thrown out...

[BTW, don't worry, we used full Bio-hazard techniques to deal with the issue]

We use a happy picture to lighten things up a bit.

You should be glad that SMELLS can't be posted (yet) on Blogs, because Lori thought out loud that y'all should get a whiff, just to know what she had to deal with.

Thought you would all dig that.


Monday, August 22, 2011

With Jesus at Pasadena Conference

It says in Mark Ch. 6
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Chris here… we just returned from Pasadena and the 4-day conference marathon. Lori and I arrived Wed afternoon and immediately ‘jumped in the fray’... and it was a wild ride until we drove away Sat evening.

Amazing conference… the LORD showed up… a Mark 6 encounter…

The West Coast Healthcare Missions and Ministry Conference 2011 in Pasadena is the annual west-coast gathering of Christian missionaries and workers involved in health-care ministry. It’s a 4-day intensive gathering hosted by Fuller Seminary to present reports, research and innovative ideas, as well as ‘share good practices’ from the field. Relentlessly pulled together by the good Dr Peter Yorgin and his wonderful wife Lisa, this year it was 120 folks ‘from the trenches’ of healthcare work with the poor and marginalized.

Yes, I gave a lecture on best practices in nursing missions. That talk will result in a lot of work over the next year; a group of fellow nurse-mission people want to work together in ‘pounding out’ what we want to say from our ‘tribe’ related to such practices.

But way more than that happened. The best thing is to be WITH our fellow health-care missionaries and ministers. Healthcare ministry and working with the poor is hard. The conference is the rare opportunity for us to come together and be in the restorative Presence of the Lord together.

There were many God-Present moments. There were many words of encouragement from others working in the field. There were great and illuminating discussions about ‘how to do ministry better’. I could regularly see people with their heads bowed, praying together or for each other.

I could faintly see Jesus walking among us… He was the One speaking to us through it all.

We are better missionaries in the Lord’s fields for having come together. We are strengthened by ‘going aside with Jesus’ for a weekend.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Chris in Chula Vista.
Just returned from our week in San Vicente, and a lot of good things. On our last trip down, Pastors Jose Luis and Marta asked me to jump into the music and worship areas of the church. One area would be to launch a church-wide effort of training a handful of guitarists to be a part of the worship music team.
It’s been 20 years, and never a group, but… I agreed.
Between trips, I found Spanish-based guitar teaching tools, and put together a solid lesson plan with a focus on practical guitar skills. Lot’s of graphic learning tools. I also cleaned up a Fender Squire to leave as a training guitar for those who may not have one right now.
I played at Wednesday service, and made the announcement of the first class. “This isn’t about just learning guitar, it’s to become a guitarist in Praise of our God”.We were hoping for 6 students, wanted to limit it to 8… and 14 people rushed up, asking to be in the class.
On class day, I wasn’t sure who would really show up… then all 14 were there! One church guitar, my loaner, and 3 other guitars… and 14 students!
Half of the folks… ages 12 to 52… had played some before, other half first-timers.
SO… by the end of the 90-minute lesson, they all learned 3 chords and were strumming “Hay Una Fuente En Mi” with reckless passion and excitement. It was a true Psalm-100-joyful-noise!!!
Each student was given a ‘first level packet’, and told how they could access the loaner guitar via the Pastors… they came Saturday, practiced and asked a lot.
I was also asked to give some teaching to the Youth about worship and praise… good stuff to put together with the practical lessons.
We’re off and running. I’m now praying for 3 or 4 playable, beginner-friendly guitars for the students who stick with it over the next few months (hint, hint…).
SO, just as Lori shows up in San Vicente and the sewing students are instantly at the door, looks like I’m moving that way with guitar…
I’ll let you know as this group progresses from Joyful Noise (current) to Playing Skillfully…
Your bro, Chris

Chili Rellenos Aug. 2011 by Lori

The best parts of ministering cross culturally: friends and food. One of my favorite Mexican dishes is chili rellenos (stuffed peppers. Well, I've desired to learn how to make them, so, this week I asked Albina to swap student/teacher roles with me. She grinned ear-to-ear at the prospect of having Chris and I into her home for a meal. It may have took her twice as long with the "help" I gave her. Never the less it was a wonderful time of fellowship. Chris assures me that I need to practice making them, which is his way of saying that he likes them.

School Bags and Supplies, Aug. 2011 from Lori

Aug. finds most of my regular sewing class participants working in the farm fields. But, the great thing about this time of year is that I can focus on the young people while they are out of school. This week's sewing class was filled with 13 preteens and teenagers anxious to sew book bags for their upcoming school year. Five beginning students including two boys kept the days rockin. How proud they were to show off they creations! Upon completion of their projects Chris and I blessed them with school supplies to add to their bags.