Monday, July 21, 2008

Week 3

Jenn says: Our time is flying by quick here. Soon we will be back to our normal lives of work and school. I thought I wouldn’t get attached being here such a short time. I am very reluctant to go.

Everyday is different down here. One of the highlights of our trip has getting to know the American missionaries. It is quite an eclectic group of people, and they will tell you that up front! Being with them has given me another peek into the realities of missionary life: the good and the not-so-fun. We have definitely made some great friends!

A lot of mission teams from the U.S. have come down here. The majority are from California, many even from the county I grew up in. There was one woman that came down from Carlsbad whose Marine husband went overseas with my brother Justin…such a small world! It has been fun assisting the groups. Jason has mainly helped with construction as well as rounding up and buying construction supplies for their work projects. I have had the job of keeping the kids in line during VBS and doing some translating.

We have enjoyed the Latino culture down here…especially the food! We have only had one really bad experience…Jason will have to tell you about it! We have eaten most of our meals with kids at DOFO as well as eaten at some of the local restaurants. The carne asada tacos down here are yummy! Every Monday there is a market in town right by the church. They sell tons of chili peppers, ay yi yi!

Up until this last week, I had spent most of my time with the younger children. This week I spent a lot more time with the teenagers. Hanging out with the teens is different. The younger children smile most the time, play, and simply want hugs. The older ones are obviously not the same. I can’t imagine being an adolescent without parents. They know more of the story.

We have spent a lot of time with David*, an 18 year old and a new Christian. He has been at DOFO since he was 9. His mother had an affair, and his father basically kidnapped him and his brother, drove across the country, and brought them to DOFO. His father is practically out of the picture now. David has written his mother every month for years…and he’s only heard back from her a few times. He is trying to decide whether he will go back and visit her next year...not knowing if she really wants to see him. My heart just breaks for him and every other kid who is asking "does my mom really love me? does my dad care about me?" If you can imagine, David seems to have an easier story compared to the others! If you think of it, please pray for David and that he would get to know Jesus more and more and that he would be filled up with joy in knowing Him.

Most of the children at DOFO aren’t real orphans…they have parents, but their parents either dumped them off, are in jail, abused them, neglected them, or didn’t have the money to take care of them anymore.
In most cases, the children are here because of their parent’s selfishness. Drugs, crime, affairs…they are the ones that have to live with their parent’s sin! Why can’t people accept responsibility for their actions? Here's an album of some of the precious kids who live here: DOFO Kids

As our time is coming to an end, please pray that this last week that God will use us to bless the kids and teens we come in contact with. Jesus is our and their only hope for real love and healing !
Me with my mama

Jay with his dad

Monday, July 14, 2008

Baja Video and Album

Click here to see our Baja photo album.

Strong Tower ministries in Rancho Santa Margarita is helping build the new nursery for the infants. They made a great video on the orphanage...we've been playing with these kids in the video almost everyday, they are very pretty precious!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jason's Journal

So far the experience has been great. We have helped out with miscellaneous projects such as cleaning, painting, picking up donations in the States and other day to day errands for the orphanage. Most of all, we have been spending a lot of time with the kids here at Door of Faith.

My favorite part of this trip was the day when we went up with some of the missionaries to Tijuana to pass out food to the people who live at the dump. There is literally a neighborhood built on top of a retired dump. What’s crazy is, the dump was just retired 7 months ago, before then people were living on active trash dump! The ministry that goes on in the slums of Tijuana is very unique. Every day for lunch, breakfast and dinner, the Christian church that is located at the dump is open to feed the children! What a feeling it is to be the hand that helps prepare food to a hungry kid who without the daily food distribution would probably go hungry. Fifty to eighty people came to eat, majority of them being kids.

This verse was constantly in my mind. “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me” (Matt 25:35-36).

I have first hand seen the work of God here in Mexico. I have seen the effect of what happens when people dive into Christ: the hungry are fed, the homeless find homes, and the orphans find refuge. When you dive into Christ you find life. It’s because of Jesus the people at the dump are fed. It is because of Jesus that 115 Orphans in La Misión, Mexico have a safe place to live. It is because of Jesus that people have sold there homes in America and left a comfortable life to serve the people here in La Misión. I have learned that giving is more rewarding than receiving. I have learned that every day is a gift from God and to be thankful for the provision we have.

“For this reason I say to you, do no be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing... But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt 6:25, 33-34)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Las experiencias de Jenn

Jenn says: The week has been great. It is a lot different from what I envisioned. I remember taking short mission trips to Mexico in junior high and high school where we camped and didn't shower for a week (and if you did, you definitely weren't cool!). This trip has been entirely different. We're basically "housesitting" in a newly remodeled Mexican house that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the orphanage loaned us an old van to drive. I really can't complain!

Door of Faith, the orphanage we are helping out with, is unlike any orphanage I have ever been at. It is the best you will see in Baja. The orphanage is clean and the buildings are painted in bright, welcoming colors. The kids are happy here and everyone is very loving. It is truly one big family. They celebrate everyone's birthday, throw quinceneras, take family trips to the beach, pool and worship together. It is the best run orphanage I have ever seen. If anyone ever felt called to start an orphanage, an internship here at Door of Faith would be a must! The American workers that we've gotten to know are amazing people.

A chubby baby named "Dulce" has been my main ministry so far. The nursery has never been my ministry of choice, but God led me there. The first day I walked in to the nursery, Dulce just sat there with a blank expression. She didn't cry or smile. I started spending time with her and began to see her come to life! The dorm mom allowed me to take her outside and she became very animated. The dorm mom has toddlers that she is constantly chasing after, so Dulce often sits for long periods of time without a lot of interaction. This will change soon as DOFO is building a nursery for infants only and will be bringing in a lot more babies! But in the meantime, the babies are mixed in with toddlers, keeping the dorm mother very very busy! Jason and I both have been spending time with Dulce and giving her that added stimulation. I have been putting her on her stomach, hoping that she'll start building up the muscles needed to crawl. If anyone has any ideas for me (as I am not a mama!) to help her please let me know.
Video of Jason and Dulce, click the "play" arrow.

As many of you know, I'll be teaching Spanish starting this fall. I have received many opportunities to practice since we've been here! One of short term American teams that just came down did a food/Bible distribution throughout the town of La Mision. I got to co-lead one of the groups and be a spokesperson/translator. We went door to door handing out beans, rice and Bibles and asked if we could pray for the family. We also extended an invitation to the church Templo Cristiano Elim in town. I was a little nervous but the experience ended up being a good one!

Lastly, this trip has been a time of greatly needed spiritual refreshment. I didn't realize how badly I needed it until I got here and have made more time to pause. God has lovingly brought my heart back to focusing on Him and living now for the great Kingdom to come! Before I came, my mom lent me Kay Warren's book Dangerous Surrender. It's about embracing God's will for my life now and future rather than following my will. It has been very thought provoking and meaningful, especially during the time here.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We celebrated 4th of July with a bunch of missionary gringos, we had a blast! Hope you had a happy 4th!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We have arrived at Door of Faith!

We are now in La Mision, Mexico! We got picked up in Chula Vista, CA late yesterday afternoon and then headed down here. Turns out we are "house sitting" for a lady that lives down is an awesome house! The house is walking distance from the orphanage. The staff here has been very friendly to us. They have even given Jason a car to drive while we're here!

Today we have just been getting acquainted with everyone and playing with the kids. They are a lot of fun and love getting some extra attention! We'll write again soon.
We're staying in this pink house.

This is little Raul. We were trying to teach him how to rollerblade..didn't work out so well.

the little kid decided to push Jason...when Jason swung back the kid nearly fell over.

San Diego

We got to spend the night in San Diego and hang out with the Gundersons and Grandma Ethel! We hadn't seen Justin since our wedding and we had a great reunion!