Friday, December 18, 2015

Hats pouring in and out

Burrrrrrr..... It has turn cold in San Vicente! Dipping down into the low 30's this past week. So, it's time to get those hats out that have been a steady stream of boxes arriving for the past month. Armed with a cart overflowing with hats of all colors, we meandered down the rocky paths of the newest section of San Vicente. Most of the homes are in the process of being constructed. Some from upcycled wooden garage doors others from cement block. Holes cut out are covered by sheets or blankets waiting for enough funds for windows and doors. The priority is to get walls up and a roof on. Those with financial resources progress more quickly on their houses. You can image it gets pretty brisk even inside when night falls and there's a breeze. Oh, by the way, there isn't any electricity yet.
Over 100 hats were gifted as we walked from home to home into the dark of the night lighting the way with flashlights. All were excited to receive their hand-made hat. Only one family declined. And that was because when they stepped out of their house, all heads were covered by hats that we had given out a few days earlier at one of the churches in town. It was sweet to see them all bundled up and so grateful for their hats. They just keep saying, "Gracias, Gracias, Gracias.
Besides, distributing all the hats, we invited receivers to the upcoming Christmas service where they will have the opportunity to hear of our Savior coming to earth. Jesus, He's the real GIFT.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Tuesday... finally, a selfless idea to get excited about!

Giving Tuesday is a new global day for giving back. Let's kick off the season!!!

#bajmission   @LoriChrisBajmission

Giving Tuesday... I don't know who launched it, but when I meet them, I WILL give them a chocolate bar! Finally, a SELF-LESS idea in the annual 'holiday' season of that seems to grows more SELF-FOCUSED every year. 

Forget 'Black Friday' (yuck!) and 'Cyber Monday' (ewww!) and GIVE on Giving Tuesday!

Brothers and sisters, how do we move all this gimme-gimme holiday nonsense and RE-FOCUS into Christ-mass...?? We give!! Just like the Father... "God so loved... that He gave..."

What is God's answer for seasonal depression, feeling down-cast and 'the blues'? Two moves: look to Him and reach out to others!

Our 24 1/2 yrs of mission work with the poor has been all about becoming 'a channel' to GIVE in ways that make for a long-term good...
Join up with us and help some women to move their families from poverty to self-sustaining wellness... it's only a couple of Latte's worth of $$ from you that could make a LIFETIME of difference for a family!!!

Arise! It's Giving Tuesday!!

your bro, Chris

Monday, October 26, 2015

New "Star Seamstress" by Lori

It exciting to announce that another lady has joined the group of “Star Seamstresses”.  Anaid attended the community-wide sewing course that I held a few months back and caught onto the machine quickly. She grew up in a home where her mother used a treadle machine and looks forward to having a machine of her own soon. In the mean time, I’ll be teaching her out of the house the new skills to more her knowledge to the next level. She was so thrilled to get started last week.  The first items in her product line are these colorful zippered bags that are perfect for those little items.

Anaid, along with her husband and three elementary school –aged children, live in the agricultural community of San Vicente Ferrer. She and her family attend the church “Templo Elim” where she has leadership of the youth group.  With her first earnings she is planning on purchasing a refurbished sewing machine and some basic supplies. After that, her goal is to be able to put money toward purchasing a small piece of land on which they can build a home. Please pray that her new home-based-business gets off to a strong start.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

San Vicente from the 'Eye in the Sky'...

San Vicente...
Mision San Vicente Ferrer, the village we are primarily 'based' out of... four hours south of the US-Mexican border (thru Tijuana, thru Ensenada-Maneadero, up-and-down three mountain ranges, into the northern cusp of the San Quintin valley basin)... found Google Earth with some great shots, long-shot of Ensenada to San VIcente, then a close-up of the village... our rental house in right in the middle of the village... about 1500 people IN the village, another 1000 in the surrounding work-campos and ejidos (co-op farms)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pray For The Mexico Ministry Daily (because we don't...)

Sept 9, 2015

Hello, Partners and Friends!

We regularly are asked, "why don't you email or Facebook when you are going to be in Mexico... so we can pray for you"???

Answer: we will not 'put on-line' our travel plans, mainly for our security and safety. Please just pray for the Mexico ministry daily.

Question: How dangerous is Baja Mexico, where the ministry projects are?

Answer: Well, it's complicated... if you read the US State Dept website, it would make you want to never go TO Baja Mexico (ie, scary!)
^ However, we [] have multiple nationals who serve as our 'trusted safety advisors' : they keep us up-to-date on security and safety issues  [] we keep our eyes and ears on Mexican news media sources, both official and un-official, [] we do a regional safety assessment QUARTERLY and re-assessment with any major/significant event or occurance (such as the recent farm-worker uprisings), [] we are THERE alot, and keep our eyes and ears open, AND [] yes, we always have 'plan B' in place.
 ^ More than anything, we TRUST our great and powerful GOD to guide and protect us, no matter what happens!

SO... Ministry Partners and Friends... pray daily for us and the ministry GOD is bringing forth!

you brother,

Unintended Blessing by Lori

It's wonderful when God uses us to bless others! Last  month, after a church service in San Vicente, Alejandra approached me to express "Thank you so much for teaching me sew."I was a little confused as she hasn't attended the classes in several years because she has been studying at a Bible School 4 hours away. She was excited to tell me that her sister, Citlalic, and herself had secured summer jobs at the local sewing factory because they ALREADY knew how to sew. Both girls were regulars at the week long community-wide sewing classes that have been held for over 8 years in their community. The focus is on "learning the basics" while sewing items for one's self and home. It was never purposed to be a way to get a factory job. However, the Lord has used the sewing classes as a way to provide for these two lovely young ladies to attend college. Alejandra is in her last year of Ministerial studies and is praying about where the Lord will use her after graduation. Citlalic is in her first year of college studying to be a teacher. Both are growing Christians and have hearts to serve people. Please join us in praying for Lord's direction and provision for these two.

Friday, August 7, 2015

July 2015 community wide sewing week

Word spread quickly about the opportunity to make  school backpacks, book bags and pencil cases. A few strategically  placed posters around San Vicente along with personal invites lured 41 different students to participate in the week long sewing course. With upward of 18 learners in a single class, patience was a must for us all even with 10 sewing machines and 6 cutting tables. Morning classes almost seemed like a vacation with an average of 8 students while afternoons were brimming with an average of 15 students daily. I was blessed to have some help teaching the basics to the 17 NEW people. Yes, 17! Many of them had never worked with a sewing machine. There were lots of pre teens and teenagers, including 5 boys, anxious to make bags for their upcoming school year. Many of the seasoned students are willing to step up and assist their neighbor when the room begins to echo "Lorena, Lorena, Lorena". It may be time to rethink how to have smaller classes where more individual attention can be given to each student. Pray for the Lord's wisdom on how to proceed.

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Season, New Projects... and the Blessing of Isaiah 58

New Season, New Projects... and the Blessing of Isaiah 58

Hey! Chris here.
I wanted to pen a quick note that THIS WEEK celebrates entering our 25th year of service in missions!
I can barely remember Lori, Ruth, Hannah and I standing in the Redeemer sanctuary in June of 1991, being commissioned out as missionaries to Mexico...
So, is it time to slow down, take it easy and put the mission thing on 'coast'... NO WAY!

God is breathing some really EXCITING and NEW directions into what HE would like us to begin work on. Yes, the 'development' project in San Vicente will continue... Yes, we will still be involved in health outreach and education to 'the least of these'.... but a number of new and exciting projects are coming... STAY TUNED.

I have been praying fervently for those who are our PARTNERS in ministry... the ones who give $$$ sacrificially, the ones who care for us and our needs, the ones who have come and regularly worked with us... and the Lord had me take another fresh look at Isaiah 58. This has been a foundational chapter in our ministry; as the Lord teaches us what His 'acceptable fast' is [serving the poor], He outlines clear assurances that HE will care for us AS we sacrificially give.

What He showed me is that this passage is speaking to a group of people, not just a few individuals. He encouraged me in that, as our PARTNERS 'spend themselves' as part of this roller-coaster ministry, HE will be their provider and ever-present friend. For those PARTNERS who take part in this mission ministry, check out Isaiah 58 and BE BLESSED!

Here's to the next quarter-century!

Humbled and Surprised (because you never know at the time...)

Chris here.
Meet Pastor Elim
He is a pastor from Tijuana with a large, growing church. Lori and I were in a recent (2015) Baja meeting where Elim shared how, many years ago, he participated in a series of Tijuana-San Diego Promise-Keeper (PK) events that significantly shaped his ministry and poured the spiritual foundation for his church. The leader of this same meeting, Pastor Jose Luis followed Elim to share that he also was drawn into the Promise-Keepers events, and that God spoke very formative words to him way back then. Both pastors were grateful to the Lord for what He did through Promise Keepers. Memories of 1995 came rushing back, when I was asked to serve as facilitator for the Tijuana-San Diego PK events. There was a clear sense that God wanted to do new works of understanding and restoration between American and Mexican Christian leaders, and being one of the few missionary members of the Tijuana Pastors’ Alliance allowed me to liaison between the two groups. Over the next year, I planned PK Tijuana events, secured 100 scholarships, and coordinated Mexican pastors’ attendance in the week-long San Diego 1996 event. Later that same year, I was able to connect 40 more pastors with the massive Los Angeles conference. Needless to say, those two years were filled with a great deal of work to ‘make it all happen’. We know the Lord led us to take up the PK project as part of our eclectic mission-service, but at the time, we had no clear idea what HE wanted to plant and water in the soil of these pastors’ lives. Now, I am humbled and surprised at what God did, and the role HE allowed us to play in His Kingdom. What a blessing to hear the long-term fruit recounted by Elim and Jose Luis nearly 20 years later. Humbled, surprised and blessed am I.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hat Evangelism

Meet Hilda, she knows how to make the most of the hand-made hats we've been giving out in Mexico this year. She took the challenge given during the Sunday evening service at the church in San Vicente, Pray about who of your neighbors, friends, or family you could bless this week with a hat on “Kings’ Day”, Jan 6th. This day celebrates the Wise Men visiting baby Jesus and presenting him with their precious gifts. It’s the perfect time to give a little something. While giving the hat they were encouraged to invite the receiver to a special evangelistic service on the upcoming Saturday. One could see the wheels turning as church members carefully choose from the over 200 hats for very specific people, looking for just the right size, color and style. Often, expressing with glee, “this one is for ….. Hilda, who just got married and moved into her new neighborhood the month before and was ready to share God’s love. She took enough hats for the family next door.

On Tuesday, she arrived at our house all excited. Hilda explained how she visited the neighbors and told them how much God cared for them and she was delivering a special little gift from Him. The three little girls in the family were gleeful as they told her none of them had a warm hat. The Mom was curious about where the hats came from and Hilda told her that God knew of their need and was providing for them and invited them to the Saturday service. Mom expressed sadness that they had other plans, but would Hilda please come and teach them about Jesus. Hilda then asked me, “How do I teach them? What materials can I use?” “Please feel free to take whatever out of this box that would be helpful.” She, choose some Bibles and educational materials.

On Wednesday, Hilda told me how the hat challenge was just the nudge she needed to get the courage to share the “Good News” with her neighbor. What a wonderful bridge the hats were. I suggested she share during the evening church service about how she had used the hats and the fruit that was already coming from them. Well, that resulted in another 125 hats being picked out. Mind you, nobody was able to pick out a hat for themselves or their immediate family. These were specific for blessing others who did not know Christ yet. Even kids and youth swung by the hat table to make choices for their named person. Hilda was thrilled when I was able to present her with an illustrated children’s Bible as well as evangelistic coloring books that I designed over a decade ago. She lost no time in making the most of them.
Saturday morning an excited Hilda ran up to me to tell me how Friday night she had led her neighbor to the Lord. Yeah! Later in the day, Hilda introduced me to her neighbor and family who had changed plans to be able to be at the Evangelistic service. The three girls were proudly wearing their new hats.

During the next few days, other church members expressed gratitude for the “Hat Give Away” and how several of their receivers did come to the special service. So far there are at least three new families in the Kingdom as a direct result of that week’s outreach. Praise God. Thanks to all my hat makers.