Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Episode VIII: Por Fe (By Faith)

Remember yesterday's blog when we talked about trouble with reservations?  God called on us to act in faith starting at the airport first thing this morning!  We arrived and learned that half of the team had reservations and the other half did not.  Our new best friend Ricardo thought that it was just a matter of paperwork and they started working on in right away.  As the time drew near for our flight to leave, Ricardo was concerned that the paperwork would not make it through in time for part of the team to leave on our 12:30 flight.  Gwen W called us all together to pray about the tickets, and withing minutes they were calling the rest of the team to check-in!  However Ron H. and Nate G. almost missed it because they were outside hunting scorpions...God is so good, and we have loved seeing Him at work every step of this trip!

Most of the rest of the day was fairly uneventful, but we were pushed on time getting through customs to our Raleigh flight in Atlanta.  Thankfully the entire team is now home safely!  We greatly appreciate all of the prayers and support that each of you have sent our way!  The senders are just as important as the goers, and we can't wait to tell you how God has been at work this week!  The tentative date for presenting at Calvary is 8/14, and we hope to see many of you there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Episode VII: Don't Neglect the Duck

Today was our final day of construction!  We started painting on some of the new concrete.  Due to the NC State affinity, they did not torture us into painting the Carolina Blue that is in parts of the church, but were nice and let us paint it white.  New instructions also revealed that we were to take down some more of the brick wall, instead of leaving an arch.  El Toro (‘the bull’ in English) got right to work along with the rest of the team.  By the afternoon, most of the wall was down and the other wall was freshly painted.  We left the worksite around 3:45 to head back to the hotel for a shower.
In the morning, we visited the Talita Cumi Home (formally known as Manos de Dios) which is a home for children who come from homes that do not have the capability to support them or were in special circumstances of physical or sexual abuse. Currently there are 4 boys and 9 girls ranging from 4 to 15 years of age. The décor of the home was very bright and uplifting. The home does not receive any contributions and supplies from the state, but instead raises funds from churches and resort hotels.  The mission of this home is to create a safe home for the children to flourish and grow and are provided counselling to handle the situation in which they have been exposed. Several of them are even attending private school thanks to donations from sponsors.  For some of the children, they are learning trades to help them be productive.  They are welcome to stay until their schooling is completed and are great at helping the younger children adjust.  Interesting history is that this home was initially the Salinas’ but has been expanded in repeated projects by teams from churches from Michigan and have had support from Churches in Canada.
On the way back to the worksite from the home, Guillermo and Jennie drove us around the village a little bit to show us a home for the abandoned elderly and one of the other church plants.  When we arrived back at the church, a wonderful meal of Pozole (like hominy soup) and pork rinds was waiting for us.  It was great to have one more meal with them!  We have had such a fun week getting to know each of them!
After our last afternoon of work, we came back to the hotel, and many of us took a dip in the pool. We talked about today and what we’ve learned this week, and what tomorrow will look like. While some of the team tried to check in with the airline, there were some problems with the seat reservations, so please pray that tomorrow's travel will go smoothly and we will make all of our flights. Or, if God has something else in store for us, that he will give us patient and faithful servant attitudes.
The afternoon swim was especially refreshing today, a great way to end the trip. After we all dried off and got dressed, we headed downtown for dinner. Much to Tom’s dismay, it seemed that we were going to the same restaurant we had been to twice already (not that Tom didn’t like it, but he was excited to try new places). Thankfully, after we parked we walked into a place that was just a few doors down from our usual watering hole, a place called Any’s. Not only did it have excellent food, but there was live music as well, a gentleman with strong vocal chords, impressive dance moves, and an epic air guitar/violin/accordion/bass band. This place was also discovered to have had very decadent toilet decorations. If there was a place to pee, this was it.

Ready to flex our bargaining muscles, we headed down the street to the market shopping for souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home. We were very thankful that Jennie, Guillermo, and Tom were with us, as they were very helpful with translating (even though many of the people spoke decent English) and bartering with the locals. It was a fun evening and a good time to reflect on what things we wanted to take back home with us, not only physical things but lessons and memories and new attitudes on life.  Ron became fascinated with large, 2-foot seed pods hanging from a flowering tree which he retrieved with much perseverance.  So excited about his souvenir, Ginger then popped his bubble when he wanted to take it back to the US.  Who knows what epidemic he would have started without intervention!

Back at the ranch, we gathered together to talk about the devotional from yesterday (we’re planning on doing tomorrow’s devotional at the airport, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise). Today’s devotion was on Work, based on Psalm 127. Even though talking about doing our work with the Lord at the center would have been a good thing to talk about at the beginning of the week, talking about it today was helpful towards navigating how we feel the week went and what are attitudes are now after a week of working hard and building relationships. A perfect way to end the week.

(The blog is titled as such, because we did that very thing, and there is not a General Quackington to look for today :()

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Episode VI: La Iglesia y La Playa

With church starting at 10:30 today, we had breakfast around 8am this morning. Jeff and Gwen were so kind and made the team pancakes and bacon! It was an excellent, and delicious, treat, especially Ginger’s, which had M&M’s taken from the trail mix. Afterwards we had our devotional time from yesterday, and headed to the church, la iglesia. There was huge thunderstorm this morning, so while the day was much cooler, it was also about twice as humid (have we mentioned that we are in the wet season). When we arrived at the church the worship team was practicing, with our very own Megan playing the violin. We took our seats and were touched when we saw that a picture of our group with the words “God Bless You” was printed on the back of the bulletin. It really was super special to see what our time had meant to the congregation. Worship was filled with energy and joy, and we got to sing a few familiar songs in an unfamiliar language.
Nate got up and spoke to the congregation in Spanish, with Guillermo translating to English, it wasn’t long before Nate ran out of his planned Spanish script and they had to switch roles. Today’s sermon was on Jonah, and how God’s grace can run faster than we can from God. It was very powerful, and besides the occasional colloquialism and miscommunication, it was translated to Spanish very well.
After the sermon, we learned that the Church would be serving us lunch and then spending time with us…at the beach (la playa)! We fellowshipped at the church and then headed back to the hotel to get ready. We had a few tents set up with a table under them and had a feast
of pasta/tuna salad, bread, chicken (either pastor or barbeque), and rice. It was delicious, and afterwards we all floated like beached whales in the water. After some time had passed, one person brought a soccer ball into the water, and we played a giant game of catch. There was so much laughter and smiling, you would have thought that we were all old friends. The Lord has used this trip to build wonderful relationships between our team and the church, and we have already been invited to return.  It seems that this week has brought great healing to Jenny and Guillermo. A little bit later, a soccer game was started, that three of your favorite gringos, Ron, Tom, and Nathan G joined. The church members were very gracious with any shoddy footwork that we may have brought from the US. After a long afternoon of fun and fellowship, it was time to head back to the hotel, for blogging (since the puppet show is late tonight, your friendly neighborhood bloggers would prefer to get this post done early so we’re not up until the wee hours of the morning) and a little R&R.

This evening there is a huge city wide event where there will be many talent shows, including the puppet show that Vida Nueva puts on.  There will be hundreds of people there tonight who will hear the gospel through their show.  Please be praying for the puppeteer team, and for those who hear the message.  We will report on the blog tomorrow!

(Did you find General Quackington yesterday?  He was quite enjoying himself today!  We're also still waiting for our yearly missionary joke from the peanut gallery!)

Episode V: ZOOhuatanejo

The trend of getting more sleep continued today as Guillermo informed us that Saturday is traditionally a half work day. So, breakfast ended at 9:30 this morning, and we left for the worksite around 10:00 Mexico time (so 10:15). The work for today was essentially cleaning up the church in preparation for Sunday service tomorrow. While the people that hadn’t gotten the tour of the city yet finally had their chance, the other six of us dusted chairs, benches, the platform, and everything we could get our hands on, and then we did it again.

Something that we’ve been doing on this trip, that we’ve done before, is have a prayer chair. The team rotates having one person in a prayer chair for 15 minute intervals, where we can pray (obviously), write down prayer requests, read scripture, or just be quiet with the Lord. Occasionally, unnamed team member’s may fall asleep in the prayer chair, but that is not it’s intended use. What we do doesn’t mean much unless we have God at the heart of it all, so the prayer chair has been a blessing for us to keep that in mind and help us understand what’s on everybody’s minds.
There were several hours of chiseling, sweeping, dusting, sweeping some more, and having fun conversations with the local church members in broken Spanish.  We have learned that there is no Spanish equivalent to Ginger, and that several members have been given nicknames (Steve-El Torro, Jay-Pepe).  After the tour group got back, we had a wonderful taquito lunch. There were more church members at today’s work day and lunch than we had seen before, and it was a lot of fun getting to know them. One of the members was the church photographer, who wanted to take an individual picture of each team member and one group photo. If we get past the sweat and concrete covered bodies and tired eyes, we look pretty good.
Today being a half day, and because there wasn’t much work to do, we left to go back to the hotel right after lunch. Pool, napping, gym, tan, laundry, you know the drill.  Then we were picked up by Guillermo around 5 for the next puppet ministry.  This was the first time that a puppet ministry was held in this little village, up the mountain from Ixtapa.  We arrived early enough to put together another rag-tag gang of balloon creatures.  Our repertoire now consists of dogs, monkeys, bears, swords, flowers, and Mexican flying rats (a balloon mouse with a tail you can snap so it flies in the air).  Those who come to the church presentation when we get back just might get their choice of a balloon animal. 
Bonus: What animal is this
During our time here we got a very good glimpse of the poverty here on the outskirts of the main city.  This village only has about 3000 people, the kids ran up and down the mountain to their homes, and there were many stray animals wandering about. At one point during the show, a pickup truck drove by with a full grown cow tied in the back.  Though there is much poverty, the people are so joyful and we loved getting the time to talk to them.  At the end of the puppet show, many of the adults indicated that they were interested in have a church member come and talk more with them about the gospel.  Guillermo is looking to place a Bible study in that community to introduce people to who God is.  Please be praying for those who are seeking to know more and that the church members will reach out and witness to them.

We ended the day with dinner in a restaurant in Ixtapa.  The food here has been amazing, and there’s a lot of seafood because Zihuatanejo is a fishing village. Nathan Bowyer, a seafood fanatic, has been particularly pleased, and has had such things as filleted fish, octopus, and shrimp. Tonight’s restaurant was owned by a neighbor of Guillermo, and the food was incredible. Three of our members’ meals came in a stone bowl, and was a bubbling volcano of queso, sauce, their choice of meat, and, wait for it, cactus. There was also a special dinner guest tonight, in the form of the first cat we had seen in Mexico. One of our members, who shall remain named, Nathan G., had to be reminded that here, dogs and cats are not considered friends, and he couldn’t pet the kitty.
After our delectable meal, we walked down the street to get some after dinner gelato, much thanks to the ice cream fairy! The hours of the day dwindling away, we headed back home, and made the decision that skipping our group meeting and devotional time would be best for the group and Nate, who is preaching in the morning. That also made for one happy blogging team (#blogsquad), who will get to bed at a decent hour tonight, knock on wood. We’ve had a great time in Mexico so far, and as we prepare for the tail end of our trip, we’re hoping to have more good times and find new ways to be a blessing to the community here.
Cards and Blogging

Friday, July 08, 2016

Episode IV: Yesterday Was Sweaty, Today Was Spaghetti

Today started again at the leisurely time of 9:15, which in Mexico time really means 9:30.  We returned to the worksite after a delicious breakfast at Café Wiggs and were promptly informed that Guillermo would be taking us on a one hour tour of Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa (the neighboring city) in two separate groups. Remember that number. One hour. Got it? After the first group got back from the three hour tour, it was time for lunch. Yes, the one hour tour ended up being around two hours longer, and it was all worth it. We saw incredible views of the city and bay, Guillermo and Jennie’s home (along with their two birds, four dogs, and tejon, which was basically a long snouted raccoon that climbed like a monkey), and a boardwalk type place where we could look at iguanas and alligators. Fortunately, because we had gotten so much work on day one of construction, group one’s prolonged absence wasn’t much of a problem as there wasn’t a whole lot to do.
On the Construction side of things, we finished taking down the wall for the double door, started cementing over the previous door, and cleaned up that area. We also got significantly more work done on the nursery office wall. After much work, we had a delicious hodge podge lunch of chicken, rice, spaghetti, pickled onions in lemon juice and dyed purple, coleslaw (which Jennie told us we shouldn’t eat, just in time) oatmeal milk, and soda. We got back to work afterwards, which was mostly just sledgehammering and chiseling at brick and cleaning up the places we’d demolished.

When the work day was done we headed back to the hotel for a siesta, filled with more swimming and napping, and ending with our daily devotion time before heading to dinner. Today’s message was about Unity, which is relevant here in our team as we work with each other and another culture, and back home with all the shootings that have occurred recently. Please pray for the Lord to bring healing to our country, and for people to have humility (which was yesterday’s devotion topic) and take time to try and understand each other, and the hurt that so many are feeling. Meeting adjourned, we headed back to the restaurant we ate at last night for round two, this time without Guillermo and Jennie as our guide. Plates clean and complimentary mints freshening our breath, we headed to where the puppet show would be happening.

Tonight was our first opportunity to participate in Vida Nueva’s puppet evangelistic puppet ministry. One of the families in the church even invited their neighbors to come see a puppet show at 8 p.m. tonight. Yesterday’s training in how to make balloon animals came in handy because for half an hour before tonight’s puppet show, we helped the puppet team to blow up balloons and twist them into animals, in front of the gathering crowd. We had two teams pass out a simple two question survey to the adults within earshot of the puppet show (which was amplified over a loud speaker). Pastor Nate began praying for these two teams as the puppet show started. Tom and Megan handed out surveys to adults across the street from the puppet show and to a group of women listening in from the balcony of an adjacent apartment building. Mike and Ron handed out surveys to the adults in the audience. After about ten minutes we returned to those adults to pick up their surveys. Many of the adults surveyed indicated that they would like to have someone from the church visit them to tell them more about the gospel presentation that they heard during the puppet show. Please pray that the members at Vida Nueva will follow up with visits to these interested adults.

 Being that tomorrow is Saturday, we are not working as long because that is what is normal in this culture.  We will end the day with another puppet show.  Please continue to pray for safety for the team, those who heard the gospel tonight, and those who will hear it tomorrow night.

(General Quackington was in 3 pictures yesterday.  Did you find them all?  He's only in one today-hint-in his natural environment)

Episode III: Beat the Heat, Beat the Concrete

We are praising God that everything moves a little slower down here in Mexico. This morning we woke up to breakfast being served at 8 A.M, hosted by Jeff and Gwen. For those of you that haven’t been on a mission trip, that’s essentially sleeping in and still having time to watch Saturday morning cartoons. After we awakened our pallets with oatmeal, muffins, and hard boiled eggs, a team of five went ahead and walked to the church, where the construction is happening. The other eight took care of some logistical things at the hotel and waited patiently for Jennie and Guillermo to arrive. When the whole team arrived at the work site, we caught the vision, or rather, plan A. I can’t tell you how many total plans we ended up having, but I hope that you know your ABC’s. Basically we were tearing down one wall to make a double door front entrance, and tearing down another wall between the nursery and pastor’s office. The idea was that we would demo the concrete and then cut through the rebar with an arc welder. During this endeavor, we learned a couple of things:
1.       Taking a sledgehammer to concrete, while incredibly fun, will drain a grown man within minutes
2.       A dog may be a man’s best friend, but down here water is a man’s very best friend
3.       Arc welders are very, very bright.

Around 12:30-1:00, we all sat down for a lunch break, once again provided by the church. Lentils, a variety of meats, and plantains were on the menu, along with a variety of beverages, including apple soda, and homemade tortillas. After a very long lunch break filled with wonderful exchanges of stories and laughs, we got back to work. The wall that was being torn down to make a double door was insulated with metal wire and Styrofoam that needed to be dug through to get to the rebar. Part of the team worked on that, while the others continued to go to town on the office/nursery wall, and carry the debris to a pile across the street. After working on that for just a few hours, it was time to go back to the hotel for a siesta. Some people swam, some people slept, and some people got caught up in the world of the NBA (it was me, Nathan G). Around 6:00, Guillermo and Jennie arrived to take us out to dinner, our first dining experience in downtown Zihuatanejo.
Satisfied with our final meal of the day, the crew rolled on back to the church, where rehearsal for this weekends’ series of puppet shows was happening. After a little bit of audience participation, the team gathered around to help pump up balloons, and then we were taught how to make balloon animals. While some of us found a new hobby twisting rubber air sacks into monkeys and koalas and swords (Oh my!), others affirmed that they shouldn’t quit their day jobs. After a long time of twisting, popping, and just making general fools of ourselves, we had ourselves a rag tag bunch of mutant balloon creatures, with a few normal ones, made by our demonstrator, as their leader. It was time to ride through the Zihuatanejo nightlife, which included a man breathing fire and dogs hanging out on roofs. Back at the hotel, we rendezvoused in the girls’ room to debrief the day, sing songs, and talk about today’s devotional. The topic was humility, and in a day where we were pushed physically and mentally, it was very relevant.

During the devotional, Jeff and Gwen shared with us their conversation with Guillermo and Jennie at the dinner table.  Evidently, the last team that they had down here to serve was in 2007, where one of the young team members was in a terrible accident on the beach and lost his life.  Prior to this event, they were hosting 10-15 teams a year.  Guillermo decided that they would no longer advertise for teams to come down, after being shaken by the tragic event.  Guillermo told God that if He would send a team down, he would allow it, but it had to be by God’s directing, and not by them advertising the service opportunity.  We are the first team to reach out to the Salinas family and come down since that tragic incident almost 10 years ago.  This trip has been such a blessing and a humbling experience to see God’s hand at work every step of the way.  Pray that we will be a blessing to the Salinas family while we are here, and that God will continue to use this opportunity to bring Him glory every step of the way.

(Added bonus:  There is more than one General Quackington picture today.  How many can you find?  Let us know in the comments!)

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Episode 2.1: A Divine Appointment

What is a divine appointment?  Tuesday, sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta, waiting for takeoff, I began to sense that God had different plans than what we had originally designed.  Don’t think I’m a prophet or son of a prophet, I can just read a watch!  Every time the pilot spoke through intercom to the cabin, our departure time was further delayed, and each time, I looked at my seat-mates Jeff and Gwen Wiggs, and smiled, saying, “God may have a different idea about this than we do.”  As it became abundantly clear we were unlikely to make our connecting flight from Mexico City to Zihuatanejo, I started thinking about Acts 16:6-10, where the author tells us that the apostle Paul’s mission team was prevented by the Spirit to speak the Word in Asia and Bithynia, and instead, Paul receives a midnight vision compelling him to go to Macedonia.  I wondered, “What is God up to?”
Meanwhile, another short-term missionary, named Mike was on his way from San Antonio, Texas to Peru, when his plane was delayed in Mexico City.  Like us, he discovered that he would be grounded until today, and he decided to find a bench at the airport and wait out the 18 hours until his flight.  Mike would share with me that he didn’t know why the Lord stopped him, but he had a sense that God was up to something.  By around 1pm today, both Mike and I had a better idea of what God was doing.

Shortly after checking our bags today for a second attempt at a flight to Zihuatanejo, our team debated on whether to get lunch before or after going through security.  For the sake of time, I thought it would be wise to get through then stop for lunch.  The team, and God, had a different idea. 
After ordering pizza at the airport food court, I sat down to wait.  I felt a tap on my shoulder, and two men asked if they could read the back of my shirt (Psalm 96:2-3).  This began a conversation with the aforementioned Mike and a gentleman named Ulysses, whom Mike had met 5 hours before while walking through the airport.  I learned that Ulysses was a motorcycle mechanic from Tijuana, Mexico, who had spent many adventures in the United States, including bungee jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge in my home state of West Virginia.  Ulysses has experienced much brokenness, including 17 bones in his body.  He shared that the last two years had been particularly difficult for him, including the death of his mother and bone cancer, which led to the loss of half of his left leg.  He has struggled to find work, is now homeless, and has been living at the airport in Mexico City for the past 17 days.  As Mike left to get on his plane, he shared with Ulysses the hope of a new body through the resurrection in the last day. With tears in his eyes, Ulysses then shared with me the deep struggles and hopelessness he felt because of his circumstances, and he expressed doubts over whether life was worth living and if God really cared.  I then began to share with him that Jesus’ suffering in our place proves that God looks at us with eternal love and that he has shown to us our worth through the cross.  Ulysses listened intently, saying, “I hope this is true,” and this gave me opportunity to share with him that he could have a saving relationship with Jesus that may not change his temporal circumstances but would give him an eternal hope.  Ulysses gave me permission to pray with him, and he thanked me for taking time with him.

God’s providential restructuring of Paul’s plans led Paul’s team to Philippi, where a wealthy business woman, a poor slave girl and a hardened, retired Roman soldier-turned jailer became the unexpected core group for the planting of a church that would become a pivotal partner in God’s mission through the work of the Apostle Paul to take the gospel to the nations.  God’s providential restructuring of the plans of a team of short-term missionaries from Raleigh, NC and one from San Antonio, TX, led us to a broken man, desperately wondering if God had abandoned him, and if life were worth living.  Unlike the formation of the church at Philippi, I may never know on this side of glory what will come of Ulysses, but I am convinced that this was one of the many divine appointments God puts in our lives to transform us and others with the good news of a God who entered our brokenness to make us new through the sacrifice of Jesus.  Please pray for Ulysses and for the many other divine appointments the Lord sends our way this week, and ask the Lord the work through you as you serve as His missionaries wherever He has placed you.

~Nate W.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Episode II: Terminal 75A?

Our time in Mexico City was full of God’s evident mercies.  He provided a wonderful hotel for a reasonable price, an opportunity to get a glimpse of the culture, and a restful night of sleep after a harrowing day of travel.  This morning we were provided a buffet of typical Hispanic foods.  From Tom’s mouth, ‘This is what my childhood was like!’, as crumbs of his childhood fell back onto his plate.  We were also housed in 4 rooms side by side, so we felt comfortable worshiping in the hotel this morning before we left for the airport.  Tom led a discussion after worship on the devotion for the day from Psalm 121.  This whole trip has embodied this Psalm as we have seen God directing our path every step of the way.

We arrived at the airport a little after noon where we checked our baggage and then headed to the food court.  Here God used our team shirts as a conversation starter for Nate W. to have a conversation with Mike, another short-term missionary headed to Peru, and Ulysses a homeless man who Mike had met in the airport while his flight was delayed.  This amazing story to come in a later blog!

After lunch we made our way through security learning new Spanish words, such as the word for external hard drive, and pulling anything remotely suspicious from our bags to put in the bins.  After the great struggle, we made it to our gate where we met a team from Decatur, Illinois (where Lisa did her student teaching many years ago (but not too many! ;) ).  They are also embarking on a mission trip to another town in Mexico.  We listened carefully for our plane to be called, when we learned that our gate had been changed, and then it was changed again.  Finally, we made it to our gate, where 3 other flights were also leaving.  We learned from another traveler, that this type of organization is normal for the Mexico City airport.  After making it past the gate check, we wandered down a maze of ramps where we were directed to buses that would taxi us to our plane, halfway across the airport.  Nate G. was super excited to learn that he would get to walk up the steps to his plane, a thrilling first time experience!
The flight to Zihuatanejo was a beautiful, scenic route.  We were all amazed by the mountain ranges and little towns nestled in the valleys.  We were greeted by Jennie and Guillermo and their daughter Amanda.  They shuttled us to the church where we were excited to see that members of the church had already started the work project!  We look forward to joining them tomorrow.  A church member had also prepared a hearty meal with homemade tortillas, carrots, potatoes and beef.  After we filled our bellies, washed it down with Cucumber-lemon water, and heard Guillermo’s testimony, we made it to our hotel, which is thankfully close to where we’ll be working!

The evening comprised of settling into our rooms, a trip to Sam’s for water and food, and an evening worship service at the church. The pool has proven to be an invaluable asset as sticking our feet in the water while blogging, though a dangerous task, feels delightful.

Even though our trip was delayed and we’re getting started on work later than we though, God is good, all the time. We’re anxious to begin construction tomorrow and see the many things God wants to reveal to us this week. Get ready Zihuatanejo, Calvary Missions Team has arrived!

(General Quackington was stowed safely away during travels today.  Two pictures to come tomorrow.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Episode 1: Plan Alternativo

They say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. What we thought would be a relatively humorless day turned out to be the bust up and need-new-pants kind of day. On the plane leaving Atlanta to go to Mexico City, a storm rolled in and delayed our flight an hour…make that two.  While it was the perfect time to watch Finding Nemo, the whole way through, it put a damper on the rest of the plans for the day. Despite our fantasy of getting through customs soon enough to make our flight in spite of the road block (aka 10 minutes), we were unable to make our final flight to Zihuatanejo in time. You read that right friends and family, we’re blogging this from Mexico City, not Zihuatanejo as you were all expecting. Cue dramatic music.

The rest of the afternoon was spent planning out how we would address this situation. Some people found a hotel for us to stay the night while others went to figure out our new flight plan. There was plenty of back and forth and hair pulling, but we got a flight for 2:30 PM Wednesday. After over four hours at the airport waiting, planning, and then waiting some more, we enjoyed a meal at Toks, a spicy little joint with even spicier peppers. Belly’s full and everything worked out for the day, we took two eventful shuttles to our hotel.  Who knew there were such things as three lane roundabouts, but Mexico City has them, and we survived to tell the tale!

Though not according to our plans, today has been full of opportunities to see the gifts of the team that God has put together.  Everybody worked hard on their given task and together we worked out all of the kinks for the afternoon.  Today was also as much about the senders as the goers, as our travel was enveloped in prayer from Raleigh to Zihuatanejo.  God has provided a wonderful hotel and beds for everyone to sleep in.  Continued prayers are appreciated for a good night’s rest so that we will be bright and ready to serve when we arrive in Zihuatanejo tomorrow afternoon. 

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.  Proverbs 19:21

(Don't forget to look for General Quackington!)

Monday, July 04, 2016

We're Off Again!

Having been another rotation around the sun, it's time for Calvary to embark on another mission trip!  This year we are excited to be serving with long term missionaries, Guillermo and Jennie Salinas, in Zihuatanejo, Mexico ( Spanish pronunciation: [siwataˈnexo]).  Calvary PCA has partnered with the Salinas family since the 1990's, and we are thrilled about the opportunity to finally go and serve along beside them.  Please be praying for the team, as we depart RDU at 9:30 tomorrow morning, for safety while we travel, and that we will be a witness to everyone we meet.  On the church website, you can find a comprehensive list of prayer requests for the week.

Image result for spanish rubber duckWe look forward to telling you all about our adventures and how God is using the Salinas family in Zihuatanejo.  We would love to hear from you on the comments of our blog about questions you may have, missionary jokes, or how things are going back home.  We will also be playing 'Where's General Quackington' or something along the lines as we did last year, so keep a look out in the blog pictures!

Once again we thank you for your continued prayers and support!
"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."  Philippians 1:3-6