Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas sewing projects by Lori Dec. 2012

This week's sewing classes were filled with 5-9 students during the morning and afternoon sessions. I focused on reaching out to invite new students with posters in a couple of local stores and churches as well as personal invitations. Nine new participants came by and created an assortment of Christmas items that included napkins, stockings, and aprons. I designed these aprons using pre-printed holiday fabric panels for vests. For two years I offered for ladies to sew vests for themselves or as gifts. But, the response was "no one here in the community wears anything like these vests". So, I decided to re-purpose the vest fabric into aprons by adding pockets along the bottom edge. There a hit. I often have to think "outside of the box" to find uses for some of the items that are donated. "Brainstorming" a mandatory skill for mission work.

Camelia's aprons by Lori

Camelia (pictured in the center) is moving onto her next product in launching her own home-based sewing business. This past week, I taught her you can get a variety of aprons by just choosing different fabrics and trims. What a lovely batch of aprons she sewed. She is hoping to sell enough of her three current products, small zippered bags, aprons, and hand-sewn bookmarks to be able to purchase a used sewing machine at the beginning of the new year.

Albina's new jackets by Lori

This past week was filled with long days as new projects were launched into the micro-enterprise area of our ministry. It required advancing the sewing skills of Albina (pictured on left). She needed to learn about body measurements and how to determine the size of clothes as well as how to make adjustments for a better fit. Oh, and of course how to create requested additions like belts and belt loops. There were lots of challenges. The biggest one being that Albina still lacks the self-confidence to represent her sewing business to others. So, after teaching her how to make two different styled coats that were for her daughters, I gave her homework. She was asked to show her samples to at least five people with the goal of getting some orders while I was in town. Well, she received an "A" for her effort as she talked with eight people and received orders for two coats. As you can see above, some pretty cute styles.
 Much of my work with Albina is discipling. We had a long time of sharing about past hurts in her life. I know the Lord is breaking through and bringing healing.  Pray I find a good balance between encouragement and pushing one forward.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Be Blessed!! 02 Dec

Chris here...
Since I spent 2 months in Ndola, Zambia in 2009, I have had regular email communications with some of the amazing friends I made there. One is Peter, who I had the joy of recording with, and another is Pastor Chris, a wise Christian leader with a beautiful soul and a kind heart... they recently sent me this amazing 'Be Blessed' bit, which reflects a bit of the JOYFUL heart of Zambian believers... enjoy...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

To all our
   ministry financial supporters
      prayer warriors and intercessors
         church supporters
            hat-makers and sewing material supporters
               advisors and friends
                  "behind the scene" keep-us-going supporters
... thanks!!
Chris and Lori

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meditation: Giving Thanks

Meditation: Giving Thanks   November 2012

I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness;
    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.  (Psalm 7:17 NIV)

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
    and His courts with praise;
    give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
    His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:4-5 NIV)

I am learning a new habit. When I awake from sleep, rather than allow my mind to race down the track of ‘what to do today’, and bring with it all forms of anxiety, I stop that ‘train’ and turn my heart to the Lord Most High, and say one thing; “thank you… thank you…”.  - crisbaj

“G. K. Chesterton, when he wrote his autobiography near the end of a long and useful life, set himself the task of defining in a single sentence the most important lesson he had learned. He concluded that the critical thing was whether one took things for granted or took them with gratitude.” James Reston

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is "good," because it is good; if "bad" because it works in us patience, humility and contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” —Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963), Letter to Don Giovanni Calabria [August 10, 1948]

Thankful in this season of Grace,


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Learning the 'Unrehersed Rhythms of Grace..."

8 Nov

Hey, y'all!
Well, here we are, walking thru all kinds of bits of 'life'.
Lori is recovering from a vascular procedure, doing OK but still moving a bit slow.
We will be attending a memorial service tomorrow here in Chula Vista for the young man who tragically died on our street a few weeks ago. Soooo many folks are still grieving...
Always some detail to take care of: property upkeep, correspondances, updates, car repair, meetings....

So much of ministry is handling a million details, 98% 'just stuff'... being responsible...

I love the way The Message renders Matthew 11:28-30

28-30 (Jesus talking here)  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I'm SO wanting to learn the Unforced rhythms of Grace... me, the guy with two left feet...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Homes

New homes are popping up in the valley around our place in San Vicente. A local land owner has divided up the valley into 40' x 80' lots that many of the farm workers are scooping up to build their first homes. Here you can see typical building materials that include old garage doors, wooden pallets, scrap lumber, cardboard boxes, sheet metal and tarp roofs. It's a start for these struggling families. Three of the ladies that are currently participating in building their own sewing businesses with me have begun putting up houses in this valley.

Electronic Bags

I've been working with the ladies to expand their line of purses and bags. One recent week in San Vicente was spent designing electronic bags. These padded bags are to protect computers and e-readers, have adjustable straps and come in a variety of sizes. Yolanda has been whipping up colors to appeal to both men and women.

Desert Flowers

Some of the beauty of the desert around us in San Vicente.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2x4 security... 17Oct

SO... while Lori was busy with her sewing classes, I (Chris) got busy and installed 2x4's on the inside of all the windows in our house... plus a number of other 'chica-nada' repairs to reduce the ability of robbers to break in again.
Them 2x4's are in with 4 inch screws, deep into the hard-wood frame.

Wildfires buring

We've got two wildfires about 5-6 miles away. It's Oct 17, temp went up to 91 (official) with relative humidity of 20%. Tropical Depression 'Paul' basically fell apart over us, and created a few hours of 35-knot winds...
It's dark now, the fire to the west has diminshed, but the one to the east has quite the healthy orange glow... we'll have to stay alert, if we need to e-vac

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Her Favorite Thing To Do...


Nice banner, eh? Lori puts this out so the people in the neighborhood know they are invited...
She's doing a full week of sewing classes (public) and a number of special sessions (private) helping people work on their projects, some for their home, some for sale to help their financial income.
Pray for Lori as she works hard this week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

They broke in... 14Oct

We arrived in San Vicente, Lori ready to hit the ground running to do a solid week of sewing classes... only to find our little 'casita' had been broken into and robbed.
They broke a window to get in, rifled thru things, left opened food everywhere, and took tools, bags and buckets. They also stole the screens on a couple big windows.
SO... extra cleaning, scoured the bathroom (they did nasty things there)... and the emotional angst of having your stuff violated...

plz pray, esp. for Lori

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doin' What She Loves...

Here's Lori, doin' what she loves... helping mom (Camalia) in her new micro-enterprise/cottage industry, and teaching Camalia's two kids the basics of sewing... all in our San Vicente 'Chaparell House' with the thermometer reading 102 degrees...

Monday, October 1, 2012

We're down in San V... trying to get things done AND survive the heat.
It was over 100 yesterday. It's 4pm now and it's 101.
Yeah, it's October. In Baja Mexico, October is the hottest month.
Relative humidity was 26%... balmy!
Most people here do very little from about 12 noon until 6pm... too hot to do anything... that's where the Mexican 'siesta' came from: might as well take a nap!
The good news is... so far... no fires. Fire danger is high, with all the chapparell growth dried out, all it needs is some spark (usually lightening) or some broken bottle-bottom acting as a lens for the direct sun on a fuel source... thousands of acres go up each year like that...
Meanwhile, drink plenty of fluids and stay in the shade! 
Rainy season kicks in at the end of November... then it drops into the 20's at night...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Healthcare Ministry in pictures

Visit the sick? Yep, we do that!
thanks for sticking with us...
Chris and Lori

Embracing a People... in pictures

... we would have never got this far without our Partners and Supporters!
Chris and Lori

Teaching and Pastoral Support in Pictures

thanks to all who keep us out 'doin' the stuff'
Chris and Lori

Chldren's Ministry in pictures

Thanks to all who help us to stay out and "do the stuff"
Chris and Lori

Hats in pictures

Thanks to all who help us 'doin' the stuff"!
Chris and Lori

Gracias in pictures

Thanks to all who keep us 'doin' the stuff'
Chris and Lori

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Voices to Heaven

A pic from a few weeks ago...

... a shout-out to my friend Pastor Mark in the US for the permanent loaner of a fantastic guitar to lead worship with... almost plays itself...

Always be ready for Plan B

Hey, Chris here
SO, last time in the Village, I had gone redy to hold the first meeting of a Latino Diabetes Support effort I've been constructing called '¡Si Podemos!' (Yes, we can!). I had been asked by a church leader to launch the effort, since they have many diabetics in their congregation.

What I didn't plan on was some 'sabotage' by a different church leader who doesn't want to face his diabetes at all... guess that's why he stumbles around alot...

So, two people came to the public session. Neither have diabetes. One woman justs wants to know more so she can be a 'health promoter' in her community.

So, didn't even roll out the  ¡Si Podemos! stuff, and spent 2 hours talking about diabetes prevention and care.

Pretty sure we will have to launch ¡Si Podemos! in a public venue...

One step forward, one step back... bro Chris

16 de Septiembre...

To all my American friends... tonight, at Midnight of 16 de Septiembre is THE largest, most important Mexican holiday of every year... 'Fiesta de las Patrias' (Feast of our Forefathers), celebrating Mexican Revolution and nation-forming. At midnight in Mexico City, el Presidente will stand on the balcony of the Zocolo and give the constitutionally-mandated cry, called 'El Grito'... "Viva Mexico!!"... and the whole country will erupt in celebration and reply...
[this history lesson is to say that 5 de Mayo is NOT the biggest Mexican holiday...]

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Of Mice and Men... 8Sept

Just back from San Vicente. Looks like 4 hrs from dirt-road to driveway on a good day now...
Well, we finally said good-bye to our mouse... they have these 'sticky traps', trays with gooey-stickey stuff that traps the rodents... well, it worked, only 1 hr after we shut off the lights...
Each trip to the Village is like a CrackerJack box... always a surprise! Needless to say, the surprise this time was how some people go from "really, really wanting something... please come and help!" to "no way, don't want anything... don't need anything..." in a few weeks time. Sad, there was help there where people genuinely can't get that kind of help in their context/region....
Lesson learned: set things up so people have to make a couple steps towards what they're asking for before set-up and pre-work is invested...


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our Little Visitor... 4Sept

Hey from San Vicente,
WELL, last time we were down, we spent a great deal of time trying to 'help move out' a visitor to our house...

We closed up anything and everything he (?) may have been looking for, then headed north.
Arrival today, holy smokes, little black balls everywhere, and in great volume!
We spent over an hour cleaning, bleach-watering the surfaces and mopping...
Yep, brought some unpleasant stuff for our friend, AND a couple of traditional Mexican traps with 'crema de cachuate'... peanut butter...

Hope he moves on soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Camelia starts her sewing business Aug 2012

Meet Camelia the newest lady to start her own sewing business in San Vicente. Her first products are these zipper bags, just in time for the school year. (they make perfect pencil cases.) She has been attending my sewing classes for the last two years and decided it was time to launch her micro enterprise. I had to fight back the tears when I questioned Camelia about what she planned to do with her earnings. She answered, "I would like to be able to buy shoes for my daughter and be able to pack school lunches for my children. A successful business can make a HUGE impact for this family. Her husband is a farm worker and they have 4 children including a 3-month-old baby boy. They are in the proccess of purchasing a small piece of property not far from our little casita. There will be plenty of challenges as Camelia has never attended school. Pray that I have an abundance of grace, patience, and wisdom as we move forward together.

It's the Little Things by Lori. Aug 2012

Showing love to the people of San Vicente is so easy with little things like, sewing this apron for our neighbor Karla who is running her own resturant. I just wanted to create something that would encourage her as she works long hours to provide for her four children.
This week I also gave away dozens of photos that we've taken during the last year of our friends in SV. Most people here have very few pictures of their families. So, I've been goaling to snap more pics just to give them away. There were lots of smiles when I handed out photos after church on Wed. night. :)   :)    :)    :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012


9Aug, San Vicente
Hello all! Down in the ‘Village’, Lori working with her sewing women, me doing some health-care program set-up, AND… It’s hot. Desert-hot. 100-degrees-in-the-shade hot. The wind is hot. Sit-and-sweat hot. Low-humidity hot, which means you are dehydrated BEFORE you fell dehydrated. A couple of the nights, it cools down… last night, not! It’s a typical August here in San Vicente. It will get hotter into Sept and Oct, especially when the Santa Ana winds kick in. Those are ‘inverse’ winds that develop out of high-pressure weather systems that park over the ‘4 corners’ of the US. These result in winds of 40-60 knots from the EAST, with a humidity of 10-15%. Fire hazard goes way up. No wonder all the short-term outreachers don’t come in Aug-Oct… wimps… REAL missionaries brave the hard stuff… (excuse me, have to wipe the computer off, all the sweat writing this short bolg)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sewing Animal Costumes by Lori

There are times when my sewing skills are stretched. Recently, a call came out to the memebers of the church in San Vicente to sponsor several of the children who would be participating in a play when the church went on its annual outreach. I voluntered to sew one of the animal costumes. Now that's without a pattern. Yikes! Lots of measuring and adjustments. So, it was a challenge. However, after I finished the outfit, others used it as an example to create their animals. You can see Daniel proudly modeling his costume and then performing in the play. Hope the church decides to do the skit again in San Vicente so that we can see it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celebramos, estilo Mexícano!

Celebramos, estilo Mexícano! Hey! Last Saturday night in San Vicente, the Village celebrated it’s 232 year anniversary in grand Mexican style! Yep, 232 yrs ago the first Catholic missionary arrived and set up camp, which became a Mission, which became the Village. The entire Village basically shut down to celebrate. The small ‘main street’ was lined with food vendors cooking many of the traditional celebrational dishes… we had champurrado (a wonderful corn meal-chocolate-milk beverage served piping hot) and some tacos de carne asada (with fresh-cut cactus!). Most of our friends went with the traditional ‘corn cob on a stick’, which was lathed in mayonase, chili sauce and butter. The local leaders brought down a young college dance troupe who presented a number of the traditional Mexican dances from the body of culture called ‘Balet Folklorico’ (Folk-loric ballet). Each region of Mexico has it’s own special traditional dances, with their own costumes and dresses, accompanied by that region’s music. Once you experience good Balet Folklorico, you know you have touched the heart of the wonderful Mexican people and their history. Lori and I enjoyed over 90 minutes of this amazing group from Tijuana, which included 5 full costume changes for the troupe of 24. They danced their hearts out in the public square in front of the police station. We walked around the town square and talked with many of friends in the Village while the ‘norteño’ music group blasted. ‘Norteño’ music is centered on an accordian, and reflects the influence of the German immigrants into Mexico in the early 1800’s… not my favorite, but it grows on you, since it’s the music of Baja Mexico. The music lasted well past midnight… !! Tu hermano, Cristobal

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


SO, normally, our water is shut off at 9pm and comes back on at 6am. Today, no water until almost 3pm. That meant using our back-up buckets to flush, and alcohol-based hand gels. At church, our friend who works at the Electrical Commission told us the water was off because somebody(ies) stole the main power cable that went to the pump house in the middle of the night, took the Gov’t ‘till 3 to run a new line… SO, asked to lead worship at church tonight. Normally, 70-80 people. 20 minutes after normal start, there were only 5, so I abandoned the sound system and called people up front and did ‘ala-acoustico’. By the end of the song service, there were 40 peeps… I think they were singing louder than if we did ‘normal’… …AND those 40 peeps, including kids all participated in Lori’s demo of Oral Rehydration skills during the service. The theme tonite was missions: safe and clean water, and the leader of the service thought something ‘missional and practical’ would be good. … AND the guy who normally packs 3 or 4 bottles of bug-off didn’t bring one this trip, and the bite-welts are starting to accumulate… ‘Nuff said for our ‘manic Wednesday in Mexico’…

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Glad To See the Setting Sun in San V

24 July Hello, all! Down in 'the Village', Lori connecting with her sewing ladies (only she can explain what they are actually making...), and I am doing some song-leading at church services. Half of the church are out on their 'outreach trip' to work at a Nazarene church in La Paz for a week, and they took most of the musicians... so I was asked to 'help out'... It's HOT here. NO surprise, being chapparel desert and 15 Km inland. SO, the sunset is a welcome sight, since that means its gonna cool off... I think the only time we've turned off the fan is when we leave for church... more to come.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

01 July Become a 'member' of BajMission Blog and...

01 July Hey! This month we are going to make a push for people to sign up for the Blog. We don't have any real metrics with Blogspot to know how many people are reading the Blogs... SO, if you are an existing MEMBER (ie, Blogspot notifies you when a new post goes up), email us at with your mailing address, and we'll send you a hand-made item from Mexico in September (they are currently being made by our cottage-industry ladies). For you newbies who signed up via our Baj EUp email 'prayer letter'... same deal. Sign up as a member, and you'll receive a thank-you in September. Cool, no?? Chris

01 July Missionaries and their Families...

01 July Hey, Chris here in Chula Vista. I just put Lori on a flight back to Michigan to be with her younger brother who just had a significant embolic stroke... and for her to be with her family that's pretty turned up with all this. Missionaries and their families far, far away. Until you've been in the place where you are working far, far away from your families and living away for years at a time (missionaries, multi-national corporation expat workers, diplomats, study abroad), it's hard to express the deep difficulties...when you are a 4-6-8 hours plane flight away... It's hard. Please pray for Lori and her family, for her brother and his wife and 4 kids... Chris

01July The Unusually Usual in Missions

BAJMISSIONBLOG 01JULY The Unusually Usual… Hey, y’all. Chris in Chula Vista. We just returned from a week in San Vicente. It was filled with the unusually usual… which is the life and work of any modern missionary. Lori had a fantastic time connecting with her cottage-industry women, helping them with the hundred details (I can’t get my machine pedal to work right… the needle on the machine doesn’t want to sew this particular fabric well… ). She was up late in her ‘ministry room’, working thru details for the next day. Lori also has begun the process to bring two new women into the sewing cottage-industry. This always has a number of barriers and hurdles that must be overcome to enter the high-quality sewn product market… one woman lives in a garage-door shack without any electricity, for instance. Lori did tell me, “I really feel called to work this out for these women. When I asked the one woman ‘what will she do with the extra income from a sewing business?’, her answer was ‘buy shoes for my two children’. Their shoes were rags hanging on rubber soles with holes.” The Unusually Usual means having to pray thru, follow the Lord and work out the hard details. I had the Unusually Usual in the form of ‘sometimes, ya just gotta say YES when strongly asked’. I was meeting with the pastors of the Nazarene church, and we were conversing about the pastors current changes in his diabetes care (he's been moved to insulin, so last few trips I've spent hours doing 1-on-1 diabetes education with him. PTL, he's getting pretty good at it...). The pastora then looks at me, “how soon can you start a diabetes support group in the church here? We have a number of members fighting diabetes… it feels like we’re a church of diabetics! I have somebody over here daily with some problem related to diabetes. When can you start?” Well, I had been planning a program launch in January, I'm still lacking adequate funding, but… ‘how about early September?’was my answer. “That will be good. Be ready for a lot of people…” SO, the Unusually Usual means I’ll be wading into community diabetes education 4 months earlier than I was moving with. Please pray. It seems the economic down-turn in the Village has really ramped up the robberies. Almost everyone has a story of a recent ‘robo’… so far, our little house hasn’t been hit… pray! Your bro, Chris

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prayers Answered 14June

Prayers Answered… Update! Hey, Blog-land!! Thanks to everyone who lifted up a prayer for Lori, and to all who sent ‘get-well wishes’. We are deeply grateful for all your practical love to us in this time of difficulty. We give thanks to the Lord for Lori’s current improvement. The surgeon is very pleased with her current progress after some bumps. She is feeling significantly better than pre-surgery, eating right, taking long walks and getting some real sleep. Please pray for both of us as we forage ahead into the summer season of ministry. Now that surgery is behind us, looking to head down to the Village real soon!! Thanks for standing with us! Chris

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lori's Trip Thru Surgery-land May 2012

25 May Hey, Blog followers Pray for Lori. This week, she had surgery here in Calif. She's had a rough time with it, including nausea, vomiting, weakness, wound infection... ... AND being a little discouraged by the ordeal. Pray, pray, pray (plz) Chris

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mothers' Day in Mexico

Mothers' Day in Mexico is celebrated on May 10th, but the party can last for days. This year the festivities started on Wed. during the evening church service. When I arrived, a handmade pin was handed out while I was ushered to the front of the church where all the other mothers were seated. The next hours were filled with sharings, songs and scriptures honoring moms. Then Thursday afternoon, 20 mothers from the church gathered for a trip to the "city" about 1 1/2 hours north of San Vicente where we enjoyed a Chinese buffet and walking along the beach. Families had pulled together pesos to send moms off to the relaxing day. On Saturday, the town's park hosted traditional Mexican dancing, prizes, and a meal. The celebration ended with a band playing into the night hours. Yes, we could hear the music from our home several blocks away. Mexico goes all out to honor moms.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Scarry Night Visitor... 11May

OK, so I am doing the dishes in our little casita in San Vicente. It's dark outside, and Lori is off at a church women's thing. I hear this 'noise' behind me, and find this bug on my floor... which I had accidentally stepped on, and it was goo-ing out. With spoons, I put it in a jar, and begin looking... OMG, is this the 'dreaded' 'Niño de la Tierra' we've heard so much about? Local legend has it that they can inflict a venomous bite that will kill you in 12 hours. What? I just did the whole house perimeter in bug spray yesterday... you know, the Mex stuff that would be illegal in the US... Ahhh! Invaded by a deadly visitor! And... our internet connect was down for a few days... SO, we started a little more aggressive watch of the floor when getting up tot eh rest room in the middle of the night... BUT WAIT! Finally able to research... it's actually named in English the 'Jerusalem Cricket'(Stenopelmatus) even though it's not a cricket, nor does it come from Jerusalem... but every (authoritative) site says it can give a nasty bite that could become infected, it is NOT venomous.... It's called 'Niño de la Tierra' (baby of the Dirt) because it supposedly has the face of a fetal human child... Just another day in Mexico, no?? Chris

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Into The Glorious

Driving down to San Vicente, doing the winding mountain passes, seeing the Village as we come into the Valley... and this fantastic song from Christy Nockels blasting.. I was made for more than this world can offer me My heart to hold true mystery My voice was made to fall on holy ears My life to collide with majesty Out from the ordinary into extraordinary Into The Glorious (Into the Glorious, Christy and Nathan Nockels, CD Into The Glorious) yes we were! onward in Grace! Chris