Ineke spent much of her time helping to organize projects, ministry sites and training for each American group coming to serve here through Agua Viva Ministries. She coordinated with local pastors and church leaders, setting up sites for VBS, sports, mens and womens, youth and construction ministries. During the summer, Ineke organized 12 one day medical clinics, 8 dental clinics, and 4 health education classes. These were offered free of charge in various colonies around the area, using local and American doctors, nurses, students and volunteers serving on short term mission trips through Agua Viva Ministries. Due to lack of reliable phone service here in camp, Ineke could often be seen parked on the side of the road to Ensenada using her cell phone to talk with American group leaders or Mexican pastors. It was the closest area near camp that her cell phone would work! When the internet wasn’t working in camp, she would have to go into town and find a place with internet service.
Once the groups arrived, she encouraged the staff at Agua Viva who would be leading the American groups while here in Ensenada. She would help provide resources; making purchases of materials, leading groups to first time ministry sites, and in general helping to answer questions and filling in gaps as needed. She did all this while preparing for and communicating with groups for the upcoming weeks as well.
I spent most of my summer working with groups, either coordinating an entire group or with construction projects, either in camp or Ensenada. When I coordinated groups, it meant being involved with all aspects of the ministries in which they participated. The most complicated week for me was working with a church group from Pleasant Hill, California. This was a large, well organized, very experienced group with many sites and activities. In one week, they presented different VBS programs at different sites, helped construct a house for a local pastor and his wife, and aided in the construction of our new seminary (MTI) building. They also presented daily men’s, women’s, teens, sewing and sports ministries at one of the church sites. I was amazed to see so many ministry opportunities successfully accomplished. I did my best to help in any way I could, providing whatever resources and direction when needed.
One of the highlights for that week was seeing friends from my days of serving in Young Life, Steve and Sandy Woods. Steve is the Area Director of Young Life in Walnut Creek, and he and his family came on the trip as part of this large group. It was great spending time with Steve and Sandy again, and getting to know their two sons. I want to do a better job of staying in touch with them.
It reminded me of the fact that there is never enough time to spend with the many dear friends that we have come to know and love over the years. Some of those have chosen to faithfully support our ministry here in Mexico, and Ineke I are very grateful. You are ministering here in Mexico through us. Ineke and I will try to keep you informed of what’s happening in Ensenada, how you can be praying for us and the people of Mexico, as well as the American and Canadian groups that come here to serve.As I get older, I look forward more and more to being reunited with those who are in Christ, where for eternity we’ll be together praising the name of Jesus. Then we’ll have all the time there is to spend together. In the meantime, come and visit us in sunny Mexico, you are always welcome!
Each group I have worked with and gotten to know has been a privilege to serve alongside. More than anything I love to see the changes in perspective and opinion of how big God is and how he wants to use any and everyone to share his saving love. He just wants us to be available; anywhere and anytime. It is that revelation that changed my life, and it warms my heart to see it in others.
I saw that happen with the group from Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was their first visit to Mexico and Agua Viva. Their involvement in VBS, construction, and sports ministries made a great difference in the lives of the people here in Ensenada, including the local pastors and their families. By just being available and willing to be used by God, we’ll be amazed at what He can do in and through us.
Here’s an excerpt of an email I sent to Youth Pastor Kent Rygiel, who led the group from Winnipeg…
I wanted to give you an update on Iglesia Agua Viva in Morelos II. If you remember, besides VBS, your group helped build a temporary shelter behind the pastor’s house. The temporary shelter was for his brother in law, Horacio, and mother in law, Victoria, who were coming in to visit from Chiapas. Horacio was very ill, and traveled to Ensenada to get some medical tests done. The results were not good, and the money did not exist to effectively diagnose or treat the root cause of the problem. It was a life threatening situation.
I visited with Pastor Santos the other day. Victoria and Horacio are still staying with them (I’m glad we took the time to make it as sturdy as we could!). Anyway, since the in laws arrival and visit to Pastor Santos and his family, Victoria has come to Christ, and now the doctors can no longer find any problem with Horacio. He looks strong and healthy. Pastor Santos and his family are rejoicing because God has healed him. In talking to Ineke, there is no logical explanation, other than the fact that our God can and does heal. Please pray for him that now that his body has been healed, that he would allow God to heal his heart from sin as well.
We need and appreciate your prayers and support down here, but I wanted to remind you and your group that even the simplest things you were involved with down here have an eternal impact. You were and are a blessing.
Pastor Santos Morales of Iglesia Agua Viva in Colony Morelos II, his wife Nellie, his mother in law (and new Christian) Victoria in the temporary shelter. Santos' brother in law, Horacio wasn't available for a photo. He's feeling so strong, he's out working!
God’s use of these people from Winnipeg changed the lives of two Mexican people, Victoria and Horacio, their family, friends and community. The group’s work allowed them to have a place to stay, and God did His work. From what I heard from the group, their lives were changed as well. It is amazing how complete and thorough God is in His work, no one goes away from an encounter with Him unchanged.
Tim spent his summer working (and playing) in Reno. He worked doing landscaping, starting work very early and ending around noon. He attended church at Reno Christian Fellowship (RCF), and was very involved with the youth group. He attended two camps during the summer, one as part of the recreation staff, and one leadership camp at Hume Lake. Thanks to all the families and friends that allowed him to stay with them. He had a great time visiting with you.
He returned to Mexico in August and is being homeschooled here with us. He plans to graduate high school in June, and is looking at colleges for next fall.
Hannah spent most of her summer in Portland, Oregon. She is still attending Multnomah Bible College. In early August Hannah was involved in a car accident in Oregon. She is OK but her car was totaled. We’re in the process of looking for a replacement car. If anyone knows of a low mileage, mid 90’s Jeep Cherokee for sale, please let us know. Hannah plans to return to Reno and teach snowboarding at Mt. Rose during her winter break. It would be great if she had a reliable 4 wheel drive vehicle to use by then.
In late July, Ineke, Tim & I went to Oregon and met up with Hannah for a few days of family time. Ineke and I flew to the bay area for a couple of days to visit my mom and my niece, and then flew from Oakland to Portland. Tim flew to Portland from Reno, where he was spending his summer. We stayed in a small cabin at Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was beautiful, and it was great to go for walks on the beach. Ineke’s brother Ed, and his wife Joan, stayed nearby, and later we traveled up to Seattle to visit and stay with Ineke’s sister Trudy, and her husband John. It was very busy seven days, but we really enjoyed visiting family and especially spending time together.
Now that you’re kind of caught up with what’s going on, I hope you understand that like anyone, our lives are busy and sometimes frustrating and challenging, but there is a lot of joy and satisfaction knowing that we’re where we are supposed to be. We are grateful for your friendship, prayers and support. I am going to try to do monthly updates, so keep checking in for current news. Also, Ineke and I would love to hear from you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff, Ineke, Hannah & Tim