Monday, January 24, 2011


So it's been a little while since i've posted - glad to hear some folks have noticed and have poked at me to keep them updated. Good to know people are tracking with me. Sometimes I dont feel I have anything too profound or exciting to share, but nonetheless, I want to keep you in the loop of my life here in Mexico.

So we are almost a month into the new year and things are going well here. Im currently writing you from my new sweet apartment! It's starting to really feel like a home - some photos up, some more furniture in to fill out the place, but it's still got that 'new' feel to it and Im really enjoying the space! It's great to have a place to lounge in when I want to be lazy, a place to be when I don't want or need to be "on", a place to have visitors over, a place to call home. I've loved the "residence style- communal living" deal but I am also grateful I can feel a bit more 'grown up" again and have more of a home. And let's not forget, I'm still in the thick of it here at the camp so Im just a stones throw away from the action. I'll post some pictures soon!

In ministry/work world, we're getting things rolling around the camp. Revamping the intern program is something new and exciting in the works - some new program ideas, a new leadership team, and some great interns are going to make for a fantastic experience I think! Also in the camp operations area, there some new leadership and staff helping in this area which has taken more off my full plate! It's so exciting to see new leaders rising up and to get to work alongside great people! Sometimes it's hard for me to let go of the control as I'd gotten to used to doing so much on my own, but it's also so rewarding to mentor new people and just watch others figure it out!

Personally, I am doing well as well. Still wrestling with... well, life. Not being where I want to be, or doing what I want to do all the time. Always struggling to want to be more like Jesus, but realizing how much I'm not. And continuing to work on areas of my life that I need to surrender more and be more disciplined... but God is a gracious gracious God... and He manages to still love me and meet me where I'm at. Although I still have some lonely days, I am grateful for the wonderful people I have to challenge me and love me everyday. From Ana who has figured me out and knows how to poke me and get me talking... and who feeds me wonderful food! To Sandy, a vibrant 20 year old who in the process of mentoring, I learn so much and am encouraged by daily. To Scott who is like a brother... I kinda feel like we sharpen each other - although Im sure sometimes pricking each other - we work so well together. To Marvin, a young filmmaker/video/artist who works with us & I continually learn from in our conversations as we drive around visiting families in the communities. I am so blessed by these rich friendships that have developed over the years. I know I often long for more... but I am wanting to be more content... content whatever the circumstances.

in fact, I think I need to spend more time sharing more about some of the people in my life. Perhaps when I dont have much to share in my life, I shall blog about these wonderful people that make up my community here in Mexico. I think that will help me reflect on the fullness of community I do have here... and hopefully share a glimpse into my life in the process. Whatdya think?

The pictures below are of a recent staff retreat we went on. Definitely the highlight moments were the times together as a family - laughing, talking, being.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

.christmas in ensenada.

It's weird to not have the 'usual' (for me...) triggers that Christmas is around the corner! I think partly b/c this fall has just flown by with everything that happened and it's almost like I skipped September and October. And now here we are almost finishing up the year!

We've hosted a few Christmas events and festivities this past week, but it's still wierd without the snow... or Christmas carols... I do miss it. Well, maybe not in the crazy intense snow storms and freezing cold weather. But I do miss the traditions and especially the advent season I grew up with. That at church all of December was spent preparing your heart for the celebration of Jesus... singing the carols... reflecting on the story of Christmas. I'll miss my mom's squares and treats she'd make and prepare - the house filled with way too much food - and how she'd decorate the house so beautifully! And even though we haven't always be able to spend Christmases together, I'll miss being with my family especially this year. I'll miss the christmas parties with all the "dippies and apps" and the spirit of community and fellowship often found in these moments. There will be alot I will be missing and probably a difficult Christmas, but I am so looking forward to having some time to really settle, rest, be...

With just a few more days of work before a week off for the holidays, Im looking forward to time to hang out in my NEW APARTMENT! That's right - my new digs are pretty much done! I moved in Saturday and Mardy and the guys have been doing a great job of finishing up the last few things. There is still a few projects to work on (like building stairs to my place - Im currently climbing up a ladder! haha), some furniture to gather, and then to make the place my home - photos, art, hitting up the dollar store for the essentials... but it shall be fantastic! Im really looking forward to having my own space. a home. a place to visitors. a place to call 'my own' amidst the chaos that camp life and community living sometimes brings. I am grateful for this blessing.

So although I was just wearing shorts the other day and although I will be eating tamales instead of turkey this Christmas... I am blessed. I have great people to create new memories with and celebrate new traditions with here in Ensenada.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

.sometimes its hard.

Sometimes it's hard when you can't help everyone.
As the winter season approaches, we get more requests for help. Yes, there is an actual winter here in Ensenada - It's no Ontario winter, but it does get colder and rainer, especially as our weather patterns seem to get even stranger these days, we've had wetter winters. When rain hits us, the drainage systems are terrible, many houses are equipped with inadequate roofs, and many field workers are left unemployed. Many days in the winter season people are cold. wet. hungry.

The other day a tired, weary, couple came to the gate of the camp. Before I had a good 'excuse'. When I wasn't able to speak spanish very well I didn't usually have to tackle the tough gate conversations. We strive to help people in a sustainable, empowering, "hand up" not "hand out" kinda way. We work behind local pastors - equipping them to be the front line. We typically don't keep extra food to hand out at the camp or try to avoid taking on direct requests from families who come with needs to the camp. We desire to work in partnership and community with our pastors. We desire to be about relationship with people, not just give them what they need and never see them again. And even with that aside, we don't have the resources to help everyone. We can't keep up with all the needs. there will never be enough food to hand out. there will never be enough clothes to offer. there will never be enough money to fix all the roofs and houses.

Sometimes when people come asking for money or food, I gently explain what we can or cannot offer and I carry on with my day. Sometimes I'll offer what I personally can or although we don't encourage handing out food - will search around for some leftovers to offer them something. But these people come and go. And I carry on.

But back to the tired, weary couple the other day. It was a rainy cold day. They looked like they may have walked a ways to get here. They began to timidly share their story. Desperate. Hopeless. Tired. It wasn't a crazy drastic story - one that sadly I hear too often. Their house's roof isn't good - has leaks and when it rains the rain was pouring down unto their bed. Their daughter was getting sick from the rain. The father could barely speak from a terrible cold. I pulled in a fellow staff member into the conversation and began to explain our limitations of what we could do and suggested some next steps to get connected with some help. He understood we maybe couldn't do anything but he explained he was just desperate. He needed to do something, anything he could to help his family. He began to weep.

My heart ached.
I wanted to gather my friends together, grab some materials from the shop, jump in a truck and just fix the roof.
I wanted to buy some blankets and prepare a pot of soup for them.
I wanted to tell them everything was going to be okay.
But I couldn't.
But we did pray for them. Hugged them. Found some food for them. Gave them some phone numbers. Took down their information.
Hopefully gave them some hope.

I guess that's what it's about right?
Maybe we can't fix everyone's roof, but we can offer something. Time. A smile. A hug. A cup of coffee. Dignity.
I definitely prefer the moments where we hand over the keys to a new house. and everything feels perfect. at least for that moment.
But the tough ones, the ones where the couple has to walk away empty handed, remind me of why Im here.
The ache motivates me.
It reminds me there's more to do.
And there's always something we can offer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I'd like everyone to meet my friend Caitlin.
She's all sorts of wonderful and she wrote a post on her blog (one of the few blogs i really follow) that I thought deserved some sharing. She's a fantastic writer.

Check it out


As I write this I sit in the Buffalo Airport gearing up for my full day of travels. I always find myself wishing I could teleport...But later tonight I’ll be back in Ensenada, right back at it, hosting a team, enjoying the warm(er) weather, reuniting with mis amigos, catching up, and starting another chapter.

My time at home as been so refreshing. I must admit, after my mom died I wanted to cancel my trip to Ontario that I had planned. I didn’t want to preach, I didn’t want to get on a plane again, I didn’t want to feel more unsettled. But it was so great to be back home. Home... it’s such a changing word. I think I wrote about that a few times before. Although southern ontario will always be home, Mexico truly is my home for now. And I am anxious to get back into the swing of things with my peeps at the EOC.

As I look back on the last month of my traveling adventures here’s just a few of my favorite moments. I managed to bring my camera with me, without my battery charger... so I’ll have to just capture the moments in my memory this time.

- my pre-canada 5 day adventure in Virginia Beach! Beach front condo, fantastic people, and mi Nonita!
- fall colors. i forgot how gorgeous the leaves and tress are!
- deep rich conversations...catching up beyond the small talk...
- sharing a bit of my country with mi amiga Sandy
- the incredible ‘homecoming’ I always get at the Square.
- my dad getting to see me preach
- my Niagara Falls weekend adventure with Maddie & Sandy
- hot tub and wine with my sis-in-law
- going to the cemetery to visit my mom’s gravesite. not exactly fun, but good to do...
- hanging out with my various kiddies - from corn mazes to trick or treating!
- God’s provision in opening up new doors of financial support...amazing friends willing to go to bat for me...
- porch talks and debriefing with Maja... like the good ol’ days
- surprising God encounters through a good book, prayer times, conversations, or even in the many drives around ontario

Thanks to all those who have been so wonderful to me in these days. Taking me out for coffee, checking in, financial support, laughing with me until my belly hurts, praying for my family, crying with me or for me, missing me, loving me. I have felt so blessed by the many people I have who are on my team. I couldn’t have gotten through these last 2 months without you all.

So I think Im ready. Creo que estoy lista! Hope you are ready to join with me on my continued journeys in Mexico!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

.inside peek.

Want a little inside peek at some of the action that happens at the EOC when there aren't teams in.. check out this video blog we put together. Note the part where it shows some staff apartments being built! woohoo! Definitely looking forward to the sweet new digs!
Anywho, for now enjoy the video! More to come soon on my adventures visiting Ontario!

Friday, September 24, 2010

.my mom.


Saturday September 11 I received a phone call you never want to receive. “You better come home Rhonda. Your mom may not make it.” We had discovered just a month previous my mom had cancer. We knew it wasn’t likely going to be a hopeful prognosis. We’d just discovered days before that it was stage 4 breast cancer and had spread to various parts of her body. We were just accepting this news that my mom was on a journey to death, when an infection rushed her to an emergency surgery that changed the coarse of action. My family living in various parts of Canada, US, and Mexico rushed home in chance it was our last chance to say goodbye.

My mom did make it through the surgery okay, but her body was tired and her spirit was weary. She had been fighting and wrestling for years already - suffering from chronic arthritis pain that had essentially limited her mobility to her house. My mom told my dad she was ready to see her Maker. She was ready to go. We had precious moments of saying goodbyes, sitting with her, praying with her, laughing with her. We were ready to release her into a life of freedom... The doctor warned us although her spirit was ready her body may take some time to let go. We began to pray God would take her quickly and quietly so there would be no more suffering. God answered our prayers and took her home September 17. Mi mama es libre! My mom is free!

At the time I write this I am still recovering from the whirlwind of the last 10 days. Ups & downs, tears & joys, precious time with my family, experiencing emotions I never knew I had...It’s been exhausting but also been humbling to see the love, support and prayers from so many people - from old school friends, to church communities, to EOC partners and teams. What an amazing example of community. Thank you so much! I am sure I’ll be continuing to rely on you all as I walk through this process of grieving.

My mom was always proud of my work and ministry. She never got to witness my work first hand but always knew what was happening at the EOC and supported me faithfully. In honor of my mom, you can make a donation to my ministry with EOC YUGO. Help make an eternal difference in our broken world. Thank you for those who already have made a donation. I am completely humbled by the generosity of people in my life. Paying for flights, driving over an hour just to give me a hug, making yourself available, driving me places, feeding us, donations, prayers, emails... Its been an incredible outpouring of support. And I need it all more than ever, so thank you.

For more information/photos/tributes - you can go to (online condolences)

I will be returning to reconnect with my Mexico family for a few weeks. And then back to Ontario for most of October some previously planned visits to churches and partners. I am blessed to have such great communities of people all over the world who will be loving me along this journey...