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.