Monthly Archives: June 2010

We came on this trip to get some things done for the Orphanage. When I saw the list of projects, I thought, “With 15 people…no problem!” Back in Vancouver, work projects are my specialty. North Creek has hurdled mountains of work in just days with a team of people. We’ve renovated buildings, painted, delivered advertisements, and the list goes on and on…

Let’s just say, it’s different here. I’ve been making screens for the majority of my time here and there are only about 20 screens. It’s taken several of us days of working together to accomplish what would be one day’s work in the states. There are no materials that make easy screens, so you’ve got to put creativity and a ton of energy into the process. And then, because of the issues we run into with an older building, it seems like there are endless treks across the Orphanage campus to get one little tool that will retro-fit the latest creation into the window.

It’s really difficult to explain unless you are here, but projects are a bit more complicated than I ever imagined that they would be. The good news is that the boys and girls’ bedrooms and the nursery all have beautiful screens on the windows to let the cool night air in after a long hot day, but keep the bugs away from those beautiful little faces.

On Sunday we enjoyed a day out in Ensenada. We started with lunch, which was AMAZING! I had a chili rellano that I wish I could replicate in Vancouver. SO GOOD!

We then took to street shopping so that we could all get gifts for our families. The street market was lined with all sorts of carts and “stores” that were selling a variety of things. There were wheelbarrows full of candies with young children ragging flies off of their goods. There was an outdoor fish market that resembled Pike’s Place in Seattle, except small and a very low ceiling. The Mexican vendors would negotiate and coax you into jewelry, carvings, and hammocks.

It was obvious that the “gringos” were a hot target, but it didn’t bother us at all. We bought frivolously as gifts were just a few dollars and the experience was priceless.

We also navigated Home Depot and Walmart, which was a vastly different experience than our own stores. At Home Depot, the men in town lined the TV’s in the store to watch the World Cup. They sell some things that we do, but basic construction equipment, such as a level, aren’t available.

Walmart was stocked to the brim with clothing, but the curtain isle was scantily clad with a few mismatched items that were way overpriced from our own stores.

We headed back to the Orphanage, where dinner, relaxing, and a Skype call to my daughters occurred. It was Delaney’s 6th birthday and to see their little faces meant the world to me.

All in all, our “day off” was pretty fun and as usual, quite an experience.

Here’s a picture of beautiful Yasmin, all dressed up and ready for church! She is a sweet girl who threw her arms around me one day to thank us for fixing their tire swing.

Have you ever asked yourself what you wish you could take back? Here’s mine…I wish I could take back every negative or complaining word that I ever thought or said about the church…not our church, THE church. It’s so easy to find negatives and speak them. We’re justified, aren’t we? Or we’re just “solving a problem by bringing it to someone’s attention”.

I’m the guiltiest party out there, so don’t be offended if you feel like I’m talking about you…I’m not, that’s just God’s conviction in your heart! In fact, I wrote this a LONG time before you’re reading it so that my blog would post by itself while I’m on the Missions Trip.

I’m talking about me, but I do wonder what God’s church would look like if no Christian ever allowed a harsh word about it out of their mouths? What if it was the worst sin? What if it was the forbidden thing because God’s church was SO holy and important to Him that we should NEVER speak in such a way that would tear any part of it down…even a little?

I would give anything to go back and erase my words from the past. I am completely confident that I could still have accomplished all that I have and gotten to where we’ve gotten by only speaking positively about God’s church over the last 25 years. It is a lie to believe that we have to point out the bad in order to change it to the good. Telling someone they are fat doesn’t motivate them to get thin…in fact, in most cases it makes them eat a bag of doritoes while they watch the Biggest Loser and cry. Motivation comes through inspiration…not complaining and grumbling!

I rarely (if ever) speak negatively about North Creek…why? Because it is SO important to me that I don’t dare utter a word that would hurt it. I’m literally afraid of unleashing my words into the air because I think they will become solid when spoken and damage the foundation that we’ve created. Now I get it. Now I see so clearly how much God LOVES His church…His bride. Faults or not, I have no place to ridicule something that gets my God’s heart to beat fast.

There’s a lot of lessons to be learned here, but I didn’t expect the first one to come within minutes of being here. When we arrived, my cell was was down, there was no internet and we weren’t ready to start projects. There was no agenda and nothing specific to do. We began to play with kids on the playground and start small games here and there.

Somehow I ended up with a little boy named Orlando. In a few short minutes of swinging on the swings, I felt God prick my heart. I was COMPLETELY present with that little boy. There were no phone calls to make, no email to check, no blog to write, and no house to clean. I just swang with that little boy in my arms and didn’t have one thought of what else I should be doing. I was physically, emotionally, and mentally with a boy that I had just met and will leave in a few days and I couldn’t remember the last time I gave that type of attention to my own kids.

What a momentary and riveting realization! And in America we are all guilty. We are the busiest and most mentally divided people and we all do it with the greatest of intentions. None of us intend to have our focus in so many directions and yet we take pride in our multi-tasking abilities.

I can’t wait to go home and swing my daughters on the swings. I will be swinging with a new perspective given to me by a little Mexican orphan named Orlando.

I’m back online thanks to Gregory Christie! Our team arrived safely at the Orphanage on Friday morning. We drove through Ensenada and got a little lost due to some road construction that closed down the road we needed to go on. After a dusty detour and a few turn arounds, we found our solution in the blissful song of an ice cream truck. We flagged him down and asked where we could find El Sauzal Orphanage…after all, who would know where 30 kids lived more than an ice cream man?

He was kind enough to give us a guided escort to our destination.

The trip across the border and to the Orphanage is a shocking change from our American culture. There are rows of shacks and worn down building lining the streets. There is a great deal of graffiti and trash everywhere you look. Even as you enter the orphanage, it’s an interesting difference from our own overly-paranoid cleanliness to their living situation. There are no building codes or safety measures that are required through the rolling hills of the Mexican countryside. Their environment is what we consider destitute.

Although it’s not what we consider “acceptable” living conditions, the children are clean, dressed in clothes just like our kids, and full of smiles and life. Already it’s been an adventure full of life lessons. I’ll keep blogging about it!