Sunday, November 15, 2009


Meet Kauyagene. The story of this young woman has been an incredible one. It's been a pleasure to have been able to be apart of this journey with the Sanchez Family. For the story, check out the 2 posts called "God's faithfulness" on the EOC webblog.
Just click on the blog section and give it a read.

God is good.
and big.


Just some shots from this past fall season

Monday, November 9, 2009

.im still alive.

I once again have become the bad blogger I hate. Not updating my blog. Im determined to get back on track so hopefully you will stay with me my friends and supporters!

The fall has been a fantastic season thus far. Here's a few updates on the ongoings of my life and activities of EOC.

- The fall months mean planning, visioning, implementing new programs and ideas, and improving on past ones! When teams aren't in we still have lots of work to do and my list of things to do and projects to work on, never seem to disappear!

- We have hosted teams from Petaluma, San Diego, & Idaho to build houses, install bunkbeds, and run VBS programs! We enjoy having small teams in at this time as we really have a chance to connect & build relationships. I really enjoy the bigness of the busy weeks in the summer, but also enjoy the intimacy of these smaller teams as well! This past week we hosted a team of folks where the majority of the members were retired seniors! I was so impressed by their passion, love for Jesus, and stamina!

- We have converted the “ camp store” to more of a “coffee shop”. (C3 - coffee, community, connect). The hope is that it can be also be a place open to local community - especially local youth to use internet, have a safe place to hang out, and raise awareness about the world around them. We have been enjoying the new look and feel of the place!

- Our video guy, Marvin, who many of you know and love, recently celebrated the birth of his first daughter! He and his wife Monica welcomed Natalia into the world October 23.

- More local youth have been hanging out the EOC which makes us very excited! Roberto hosted a night of games, hang out, and movie on the big screen and over 40 youth from the community and various churches showed up! We also hosted our first weekend retreat for a local youth group! We are excited about opening up our doors more and more for the local community. Its cool to get connected more into youth ministry world again. Although Im still a bit timid in up front leadership b/c of my spanish, I am hopeful I will be able to serve and connect more with local youth groups and pastors in the upcoming months.

- Ive become more involved in the "homes of hope" program - the house construction ministry. I am now facilitating the team that helps monitor the selection of the families, interviewing potential recipients, and programming the calender. It has been a very rich experience as it provides me with more 'front line contact' with the people we are serving. I love meeting the families before they receive a home and building a relationship with them. Now when the teams are in, and I visit the progress of their home, it is that much more significant! It's been a pleasure to work alongside Pastor Abraham, Juan, and Ana on this.

- A team from my church (wellington square) as well as two other teams from Southern Ontario will be coming here next week! Im soooooo excited! To have familiar faces here and share my home with my community from back home! I have started the countdown of "how many more sleeps!" It should be a great week!

- Our staff team and their families will be building a home and working on a few other projects together in a few weeks. This is an exciting chance for our staff to come together! We will end off the week together with a fantastic Thanksgiving feast! Later in December, a team of pastors that we work with will be building a house together! What an amazing opportunity this will be for these brothers to come together with one purpose and focus! We are excited about these opportunities to empower the local church - these are homes that teams from canada and the states have sponsored but are wanting local hands to build. How cool eh?! We are excited about this new step in the ministry!

So that's a quick glance of some updates of the happenings around here over the past while.
Oh! And for my Ontario peeps, i've booked my flight home for a visit - Dec 15 - Jan 6! Hope to get lots of great visits in!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Well Im back from our adventure and trip to Mulege/Santa Rosalia. Our team of 9 from EOC headed out Monday to Friday to help with hurricane relief and support the needs of these communities in any way we could. We all kind of felt like a team that we host here at EOC. We were reminded of what it was like to travel together, to a new place, with new weather (HOOOOT weather!!), new routine, new culture, and new needs. We were humbled. We were stretched. We worked hard. We sweated (did I mention it was hot?!). We laughed. We enjoyed fantastic hospitality. We partnered with new brothers and sisters. We built new roofs, new rooms, and even a few small one room houses. We connected with pastors as well as government officials (including the president of the municipality). Doors have been opened to see how we can continue to partner with our new friends in these areas... where the needs are great - and not just b/c of the hurricane. Imagine a family already struggling to get by, living in a shack for a house, when a giant storm comes and destroys there home. They barely can pull together enough money for water and food, not to mention another home. It was hard sometimes to think "there is so much more that needs to be done... isn't there more we can do?!". Yes. There is more. And we are excited to explore those possibilities.

It was encouraging to hear of the testimonies of some of our new friends. Hearing how these communities were buzzing about a group of volunteers (from ensenada, us, canada, and locally) that were going around helping people. They shared this was the first time a team had come and offered aid like this. This is exciting - not b/c of wanting any praise, but to see how quickly the impact is felt. In just three days we were able to help with 15 projects... 15 families lives were impacted and some relief offered. A team of volunteers from 2 local churches joined us every day and it was so encouraging to hear of their excitement as well to carry on. This was new for them as well - to reach out, to share the love of Jesus... in action. I am confident the ripple affect will carry on in these beautiful communities.

It was also special to share this time together as an eoc team. The joys (and trials) of travelling, living, and serving together were a highlight as well. Laughing over a meal, tackling a project together, or sharing thoughts and stories under a night sky, are all moments that have brought us closer together as a team.

Look forward to hearing updates on the status of Mulege and pray with us as we seek to determine next steps to help and serve our friends in the Mulege area.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

.hurricane jimena.

Many of you probably heard about the recent Hurricane Jimena that hit here in Mexico in the beginning of September. Likely most of you heard the initial warnings, and once the hurricane was less impact than they thought and new coverage backed off, many of us didn't think much about it after that. Even here in Ensenada we didn't feel any impact of the hurricane and I know personally I didn't take much time to investigate if there was impact in other areas.

Last week, contacts in Mulege contacted us with an appeal for prayer and donations. We soon learned of the devistation that had occured in there area from the hurricane. We decided to take this opportunity to see how we can reach out further, to see how we can serve. EOC Director Scott and staff Juan made a short trip to Muleje last week to meet with some pastors and government leaders. They quickly realized the needs of our brothers and sisters south of us. Houses, buildings, hospitals flooded ... belongings ruined... cars demolished... roads torn up... infrastructures damaged... power & water lines lost...

Upon their return we quickly began to communicate the needs to the local churches here in Manadero. We are collecting donations of clothing, food, blankets, and needed supplies here at the chapel at the camp. We also felt we had resources to share with our friends in Mulege and so a team from EOC and some local churches will be making the 10 hour drive to Mulege early Monday morning (sept 21) to spend a week to help with relief work. We will help repair roofs, cleaning, and however we can! Pray for our team and for the people who lives have been turned upside down. Imagine the damage a hurricane can do in our north american cities - now think of the impact these violent storms have on shanty houses and cities with little infrastructure.

Im keen to embark on this adventure. Who doesn't a love a 10hour road trip?! Im excited to work side by side with my mexican hermanos! Ready to get out of the office... pumped to get to do some front line work... to get my hands dirty. It should be a good week of hard work with great people. And Im sure the guys will keep me laughing as well.

Some shots of Scott's trip to Mulege...
trying to salvage one's belongings...
the local hospital... notice the water line on the wall...

Monday, September 7, 2009

.another september.

funny how even though i've been out of school now for several years, september continues to have that 'new year' sense and feel for me. even more than january, september is a time for new seasons, new starts, new routines, new goals.

after a busy summer season, we took a well deserved vacation time. i think i must be getting old or something, b/c this year more than ever i was so ready for it. i could tell i was weary and and my spirit needed to recharge. the first week i spent just enjoying my house, my space, the liberty to be lazy... we did some changes in my house, some redecorating, moving rooms, etc and so it had a fresh appeal to it. it feels much more like a house now and less like a dormitory. i spent time reading, watching movies, napping, resting up. the second week i had a different sort of mission. i needed to now feed my soul... my spirit... recharge. i went away on a little retreat [thanks to the help of eoc]. i spent 5 days away. alone. just me. God. some books. journal. and my thoughts. the first few days i went to 'la mision' area (about 1 hour from eoc) to a place called 'la fonda' (i highly recommend it if you want a rustic, chill mexico get-away!) i had a cabana right on the ocean... huge windows all along the front of the room... balcony... no tv. no internet. i tried to be intentional with my time - walking, reading, writing, listening. it was hard at first but what a blessing it was. it was like a long-lost reuinon with an ol' friend. it felt like it had been so long since i had really been with God, that i was a bit nervous, worried about it being awkward or contrived. but like the good friend he is... he came through. it was so refreshing. i worked through ephesians and was challenged deeply. it was good to wrestle again. then the last few days i drove a bit further north to another hotel which was a bit more resorty... jacuzzi, pool, free breakfasts, cable tv in english (i know... the things i miss!). nothing too extravagant, but enough to feel like a lil' vacation. i was able to meet up with my friends kimyco & david on their vacation adventure for a few hours as well. but aside from that...solo. there were a few days i don't think i even spoke to anyone. it was actually easier than i thought. i suppose i was hungry for this time and space. i am blessed i was able to do that.

so now we're back at it. and with new seasons comes lots of meetings and times to gather, refocus, brainstorm, vision. we've been really trying to dream about what God has for this place. how to really better serve and empower the people here in ensenada. to challenge ourselves not to just run programs and a 'well-oiled machine' but to be really about people. loving people. to think outside of the box. so exciting, but at the same time difficult... especially for a coordinator job like myself. hard to facilitate and program things that are fluid and changing. but jesus wasn't about putting square pegs into square holes. he was about people. and people are sometimes square. sometime round. and sometimes don't want to be put into holes. so we are continuing on this journey to figure out how. how to love people here in ensenada. how to meet needs in an empowering way. in a sustaining way.

and im continuing to learn about to be. how to be rhonda. im still learning how to live in different culture(s). im still learning how to be the best i can be to this community. im still learning why God wants me here.... what more he has for me.
and im still learning how great He really is...

happy september everyone.
may it be filled with new routines. new visions. new opportunities to experience & serve him.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


oh. and check out the eoc webpage.

it's got some photos, blogs, videos, and just all around good information.

(and i made the website! woo! go macs!)


Well well well. Don't I get a failing grade for keeping in touch! Sorry its been so long since i've blogged, or posted new photos... 'Tis the season around here at EOC and it's hard to find the time to pull off a remotely coherent blogpost. So I wish this update wish i could be more raw and personal. like shared over a drink on a patio on a summer evening. But I wanted to post SOMETHING at least...

Well, we are on our last stretch of the summer season here in Mexico. We've had about 9 weeks of teams in already, just two more weeks to go. The summer definitely has had a different feel this year with smaller teams, lots of cancellations, smaller numbers, etc. Due to fears of violence, a bit of the swine flu scare, and then the economic situation, it hasn't been the best of years for teams and EOC. Over 30 teams cancelled, there are over 40 families waiting for homes that we anticipated we would be able to build this year, our finances are tight, and the needs here in Mexico are growing even more as the economics hit them hard!
Its hard... but at the same time we are excited and optimistic about the opportunities this situation has stirred in us to continue to become less 'reliant' on teams from Canada and the States. To work more and more on empowering the local people and church. Obviously, our partnerships with the teams and churches in Canada and the States are still so vital and an important part of the ministry, but it's been a interesting journey trying to figure out "now what" as we look at homes that still need to be built, children that still need to be fed... One way I've really been stirred up is to work more on rising up the youth here in Mexico. Particularly in the 'downtown' Ensenada churches. Where even though they still may be considered 'poor' in the world's standards, they have so much more than many of the people in the rural communities we are serving in... and these young people haven't been challenged or empowered to serve their own people. It's the same problem we have back with our youth back home... it's hard for them (and us!) to see the needs right in our own backyard. So we are planning some camps just for youth here in Mexico. Its been cool to meet with youth pastors from these churches and see them get excited. So even though its been a trickier year in terms of numbers, finances, etc. we are excited for the possibilities.

Regardless, this summer has been rich, smooth, and full of God's presence. Even though this is my third summer, each week brings its own tone and energy. There's been a good mix of teams this year and it's kept it fresh. And actually I don't mind some of the smaller weeks as you get a chance to get to know the people a bit more. Its definitely neat re-connecting with teams and leaders. Maybe I'd dare say it gets easier too as I feel I know what Im doing now. But there are still tough and long days, so easy isn't the word I want to use too quickly. And for me whether we have a team of 30 or a team of 130 my job is still the same. So as fun as having teams are... Im ready for the summer rush to be over. The cool thing about EOC is that just when you get bored of not having teams and the rhythm of 'off season' ministry... teams come. And just when you get tired and need some space.. they leave. So its a good balance. And Im definitely looking forward to some vacation time at the end of August. That will probably just mean for me lots of sleeping in, enjoying my house to myself (normally shared with my wonderful intern girl staff...but this fall it will be just moi!), puttering around, and hopefully treating myself to some little mexico getaways. I know my heart and energy is low.... i know ive been trying to run on empty too much, not fueling up with time for myself, or with God. Ive never been great at that whole balance thing... discipline... and its catching up to me. I know I need to be spending some time listening. waiting. reading. soaking. but right now that seems impossible... not just for my schedule but for the state of my heart/mind. So i need some time to really unwind and be. just be.

As I step more and more into leadership and working closely alongside Scott (the director) and Abram (our "pastor") I am both humbled and empowered. It makes me want to do more and be apart of the next steps for this place. Where other moments Im overwhelmed. There's so much to do. Not just in my job... but in this world. There is so much need. There is so much to do... It can be a bit paralyzing sometimes to have to pick and choose what to focus on.

Im still loving living here and making this my home for awhile. My spanish is getting better (maybe?!) but I want to kick it up to the next level. My verbs and conjugations still need alot of work and Im sure people are being very patient with me as I hack up their language... but Im getting by. Im still working out every morning at 6am (gah! yes, even in the summer craziness! Who woulda thought!). Its been great having my friend Ana to help motivate me to get my butt outta bed and obviously its so worth it. My friendship with Scott and Ana continue to be one of the biggest blessings of friendship here. Its been so important for me to have them to just be myself around. There's a growing community of people that is happening for me... its slow. and work sometimes. and sometimes its lonely. but its been good. Im still continuing to learn alot about myself and about people and community. Sometimes its tough lessons, but lessons nonetheless.

So that's a bit of a glimpse of me these days. Hopefully not just about what Im doing but how Im doing. Hard to articulate sometimes... but I hope its a start...

Please continue to pray for me.
For energy, for focus, for discernment. For listening ears. For perseverance. For balance.
And pray for the hungry. The broken. The homeless.

Be blessed my friends and partners.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

.simple but complicated.

when did loving people get so complicated. or is it? we just make it that way.
helping. loving. serving.
seems like simple concepts right? they should be. but somehow i still get confused and frustrated sometimes.

the other day Ana and I were getting some groceries at Costco. As we were leaving, we notice a young father with a frail looking little girl in his arms standing near the exit. We then see the nearby mother and Ana asks what is wrong with the little girl. We learn she is seriously sick with a throat infection, she's been the doctor and has a prescription. Ana turns to me and says i dont want to just give them money, but I will go buy the meds. So in she goes to get the drugs. I attempt to make some conversation with this young family, but with my limited spanish and their timidness, we didn't get too far. At one point I asked them where they lived. They looked at each other and didn't answer. I thought they just didn't understand me. But later learned when Ana asked the same thing, they responded with a similar timidness. They didn't know how to answer because they didn't have a home. a city. a anything. They had recently made their way down here from Oaxaca. They hadn't found work yet. They couldn't have been older than 22 and their little girl was 5 years old. They looked tired. weary. sad.
Ana returned from the store unable to find the right drugs. We hopped in our car to another store to find the meds and also picked up a few groceries for them. In our drive, I could see a passion in Ana come to life. "This is my purpose. To help people like this. Just to do what I can." Isn't it supposed to be all our passions and purpose?? I wish I had the passion and drive like Ana does in those situations. Something comes alive in her. She even wanted to take the time to take the family to another clinic in order to get some specific drugs and help this family even more. They unfortunately were hesitant to come with us and said they couldn't leave as they were waiting to see if their uncle would return having found them work. Ana spent some more time talking with them, both in a loving but challenging way... to be sure to care for their child.

We had to drive away that day not knowing what would happen to this family. We weren't able to hand them keys to a new house. Or know that the daughter got the care she needed. We only could step in for a moment and offer some love and hope in a couple bags of groceries and medicine. But I am confident that simple act of love likely impacted their day... or week...or life?

So why don't we do it more often. stop. ask. listen. help. serve. it's easy when it's 'ministry', but what about when its just life. life's everyday ministry. Im not sure I have an easy answer, but at least for this small moment it felt right...

.one year.

I can't believe its already the summer camp season. I can't believe it's technically a year ago that i moved down here semi-permanently after leaving my church job and life in Ontario. So weird. One year. Some ways its gone so fast. In other ways, so much has happened.

This month has been a rich one for me. in a subtle kind of way.
I really enjoy that teams are in again and that the camp is woken up, and we're in full motion. I have actually kinda liked the slower start to things, the smaller teams (aside from its repercussions). It's been a month where I too, like the camp, am feeling 'woken up'. I remember having a conversation with Ana last fall about why i thought God lead me here. I think its partly b/c i have gifts to offer, its partly b/c i crave community living and ministry like this, but I know it is partly too b/c God has some specific things He wanted me to work on, think about, ponder, change... I think that season is emerging for me. Some things I look back on in my year here and see growth, change, and positive impact. Other areas I know still need attention, conviction, and surrender. My eyes need to continue to be opened. My heart continued to be stirred. My spirit continued to be woken up. I know it is in these moments, these awarenesses that God meets with us intimately.

On a more tangible note... a few highlights this past few weeks have been...
+ My dear friend Cait just came to visit for the week and it was INCREDIBLE to share life and ministry with her. She is a joy.
+ Prayer & worship night with the staff
+ Watching new teams experience their week with open hearts and innocence. a beautiful thing.
+ The Holy Spirit
+ Helping pour a cement floor for our security guard Damiana. like real work. with sweat and dirt and stuff. Felt good.
+ Las Canadas staff trip

rodolfo. cooking. with a stick.

some of my fearless and fabulous interns!

Monday, June 8, 2009

.single rose.

I saw this on my friend Caitlin's blog...
it's inspiring. at 12...
thought i'd add the link so you can watch it, and also explore my friends blog... who i admire greatly and thought you may enjoy her thoughts and bloggings too...

Friday, June 5, 2009

.back at it.

Sorry I have been delinquent in my blogging.  Since I've been back, things have been pretty chill around here - not without some good times tho!  We all just eased back into things after some good vaca time.  Even managed to get some fun adventures in my calender too... including a day out at Las Canadas - a local waterpark.  I did however forget I wasn't Mexican and got a pretty bad sunburn!  And then last weekend took off on a little camping trip to San Carlos where there is natural hot springs!  So fun to just get away and enjoy new friendships and cool parts of Mexico.  It was fantastic sitting around a fire, relaxing in the hot springs, and being surrounded by the awesome view of the mountains!  

This past week we've been busy getting the camp 'woken up' and ready for the summer season! Sunday starts the 9 week run of teams.  Our numbers are definitely down this summer... over 25 teams have cancelled (mainly due to economics and fear of violence). Its been a tough season for the ministry... but puts us in a place where we truly need to rely on Him... and listen. What does God want for His ministry?  Its a bit unnerving, but kind of exciting too. I am totally guilty of relying on my own strengths... knowing what Im capable of and forgetting where these capabilities came from!  Im hoping this is a season of 'awakening' for me as well... of listening... of stirring.  

But I am excited to serve the teams again this summer and see the amazing work that can be done when people offer themselves, surrender their agendas, and step into the purpose of God!  Im also excited about some new initiatives to connect in more local youth into our ministry. We will be having 2 or 3 local mexican interns helping and volunteering this summer! Im so pumped about this! One will be living in the girls staff house with us. I think this can really enrich our community.  We are also in the beginning stages of planning a mexican youth camp/mission week in August.  We will run the same program we normally do (chapels, meals, video, etc) but instead of hosting american/cdn teams... we will host youth from churches right here in Ensenada.  There are alot of youth who live in the more 'central Ensenada' area who don't come face to face with the poverty in their own back yard.  Even tho many of these youth still may be considered "poor" in some people's standards, some of these youth aren't aware of the villages and communities just 20 mins down the road who don't have homes... food... clean water... etc. It's a familiar story isn't it? My youth (or not so youth) back home in Burlington, Ontario didn't often want to realize the poverty in their own little suburbia or the homeless just a go-train ride away.  But we want to stir up awareness in these local youth and to empower them... to make a difference in their own community!  Maybe they don't think they have anything to offer... but we know they can!  I am excited about this call of action on their faith to the young people Ensenada!  

So, there are many things I am looking forward to this summer.  New interns. Worship times in the chapel.  Sitting around the fire in Scott & Ana's patio.  The energy of teams.  Thursday dedications.  Watching our community do what we do best.  Serving.  More camping trips?. Laughing.  Listening.
Oh and more shortly... receiving a visit from my dear friend Cait! I am so excited to share my new home with Caitlin - she is a friend I really respect and have a lot of fun with!  She's coming for a visit in just over a week  and I am pumped!

So here's to it kids! In the terrible words of some fellow mexican mission trippers...
let's git'r done.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


So im almost back home in Ensenada. Im just chilling in my ghetto motel 6 until kimyco and angela pick me up and we make our way back to EOC. Im so excited to see everyone again and be in my own space again. But my time home in Canada was wonderful.

a few highlights...

...watching maja enjoy countless hours of fun with mac photobooth!
...reuniting with wellington! numerous lunches, dinners, and coffee dates
...girl talks with steph spree with tracy
...getting bumped to first class & having a wonderful conversation with my seatmate 
...playing soccer with my niece and nephew and visiting with my fam
...the greenness of spring in canada
...the dinner party with some of my favorite people in the world san diego time with steph
...picnics and bbqs with some of my wonderful ol' youth crew
...the return to the poacher
...being known. being in the familiar. being reminded of the many people who love me.

but for now. ensenada bound! vamanos!

Monday, April 27, 2009


im sitting here on my balcony at a hotel in san diego. just enjoyed some hot tub time, vegging out with steph, and the only decision i have to make tonight is where to go for dinner. 

im about to head home to ontario for a 2 week vacation/visit.  im sooo excited to see my friends, catch up in person, visit my church, be with some family... when i thought about going home earlier, I wasn't quite 'ready'. im ready now and cannot wait to see people near and dear to me.

but its funny. the word home. b/c right now my home is that little house at EOC. my home is in Ensenada. violence, swine flu, and all... (all of which i think are quite hyped up... anyways, perhaps another post! just know im nore than safe and healthy and no need to worry!)

anyways. im friggin' blessed. to have so many places to call home.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

.some pics from the past few.

road trip to san carlos!

donations are fun things. today it was sunglasses.
um. highschool musical still has its place in my heart in mexico.

a visit from my sister and her family! :)
our new saturday night beachtime tradition
myra y rodolfo
with my girls steph & myra at the beach

Monday, April 20, 2009

.raindrops on roses....

these are a few of my favorite things [of the past few days at least...]

~ sunny gorgeous weather! Today was actually too hot (high of 37C)
~ talks with Ana
~ dutch blitz madness
~ afternoons at the beach, eating savechi, and rescuing lady bugs
~ surprise visitors
~ quiet days in the office - working on the new webpage (yup. ima geek...)
~ enchiladas at Lakipackis
~ being silly with Stephanie
~ freezies that make your tongue blue...

what a great weekend it twas!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


i admit my approach to easter and holy week was far from holy. with having our biggest week of the year hit easter, good friday only meant 'it was a good friday because the teams were leaving and i get to sleep!'. i hardly thought about what it really meant.
but i am thankful for moments when God rescued me from my business to open my eyes to see his glory. his resurrection. his beauty. and isn't that what easter is really about?

things i had perhaps seen or heard many times before, touched my heart in new ways this week.
...talking to a single mother of 5 kids. whose husband left her for another women two streets over, who still returns to her house when he's drunk and beats the kids. my heart ached. that motivating ache.
...driving through the lush green hills and mountains... which that day seemed brighter and clearer
... hearing the excitement of our first mexican 'intern', Sandra, be empowered and passionate about serving her fellow Mexican brother and sisters in need. in hearing her desire to stir up the youth in her church to step outside the church and change their country.
... listening to youth talk about changing the world. and having their heart changed in the process.
... being encouraged. supported. prayed for. and hugged by friends and teammates.
... driving around with Marvin (our video guy) and a new friend Billy (a talented and passionate photographer) talking about their perspective of the world behind their lens.
simple things that reminded me of God's presence in this world. today. now. in my life.

and last night a few friends gathered together to share in communion. Good Friday was always one of my favorite services at my church, and knew I needed to take some time to stop. think. reflect. so we gathered in scott & ana's living room, candles lit, a guitar, some wine & bread... reading scriptures... remembering Jesus's words... listening... worshiping.

God has rescued us. And he is still in the process of rescuing us from the mess of this world. And he wants us to help.
And I am so glad He rescued me this week from allowing business and 'ministry' to rob me of His beauty.

Happy Easter.
Christ has risen. He has risen indeed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Im learning a bit about fullness these days. We have over 215 campers here this week, plus our staff and extra staff we've called in just for this week puts us at about 250 people on site! We have people sleeping in tight quarters, we have two dining halls, we have buses and vans, we have a full camp.

Amidst the busyness of a week of a week like this, amidst the running around, organizing, and answering questions...there's an excitement in having so many people here. full chapels. full worship. full community.

We are building 11 houses this week and 8 other ministries including a cement project, children's ministries, women's ministry, and clothing distribution. It's amazing how much work 215 people can do in only 4 days! Hundreds of lives are being touched this week... hundreds....

In these weeks of business I too am reminded in the need to be filled with his love, perseverance, patience, and Spirit. I need the fullness of God to be dwelling in me as I strive to serve and care for these teams and people. When i try to do it on my own strength, i run dry. i fall short. i mess up. and i don't see the fullness of God in what's happening around me. I end up missing those moments when a little bit of heaven crashes down to the earth. And i don't want to.

May you be filled with the fullness of God today...

Friday, April 3, 2009

.i suck.

Sooooorrrrry. i hate blogs who aren't updated and now i am one of them. Its been too long since i updated you all. I thought it was time I got on top of it again.

I suppose it's because now we are having teams in more regularly again, I am getting back into a more 'predictable' rhythm of things. We've had two weeks of teams, and two more ahead of us. Lots of Canadian teams which is always fun - in particular a team from St. Andrew's United Church in Niagara Falls is down this week. This is a sister church to my home church at Wellington and was the first church our youth group partnered with some 6 years ago when I took my first team down here. It's just neat some familiar faces and be encouraged by folks who have seen me grow and serve over the years. It does make me excited to head home in a few weeks for a holiday and visit with friends and family back home. Ill be heading back to Ontario end of April, beginning of May for a couple weeks. I hope to hook up with many of you friends!!

Im writing this blog the night before the busiest week of the year around here. Next week we will have 250 campers & staff here at the camp. INSANE! We don't really have capacity for all those people but have just enough room to squeeze everyone in (with the help of a nearby hotel). The past week has had its stressful moments but Im sure will be fantastic week. These big weeks can be exciting and keep us on our toes.

I hope that amidst all the business I wont miss the simple moments. This week there was this dear grandmother who was receiving a home for herself, her husband, and her grandchild. This lady was so full of joy and life. When she received her house she wept. When the team presented her with a cross with the lord's prayer in spanish on it, she wept even more. And after entering the house and discovering the gift basket and other gifts for their family - she was lost for words! I have never seen someone so excited about curtains and clothespins before! It was like watching a child at Christmas! Such pure joy! A simple moment... Im glad i got to witness.

So this week i pray for simple moments of joy even in a full week of [organized] chaos!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

.who woulda thunk.

I can't believe its already March 1st. Time is flying by! Who woulda thunk I'd be here, living in Ensenada, making it a real home. This time last year I was planning for another team from Wellington Square Church (there church where I was the youth pastor before moving to Mexico),. It was one of my favorite weeks down here and enjoyed it with some of my favorite youth! But a year has now passed, and now look...who woulda thunk.
It's a BEAUTIFUL day here in Ensenada, about 29degrees out today, a quiet Sunday afternoon, and my heart is full. I just returned from a women's retreat up at an incredible ranch, in the mountains, about an hour from Ensenada. I know, some of you may be thinking... Rhonda, a women's retreat... i know. i know. i sometimes dread these sorts of things - specially knowing Id be one of the only single gals there as well. But God usually surpsises me and tells me to get over myself. My friend Ana was attending, and I was ready to get away from the camp for awhile, and thought I'd give it a shot.
Im back home and my heart is refreshed. Not necessarily from the teaching times or retreat (although some great moments and nuggets to chew on came out as well!) But more from the community times and getting to know some incredible women. The retreat had a mix of about 30 women from mexico and california - different ages, spaces, places - a mishmash of sorts. I found myself pulled toward my fellow 'ensenadians' and realized again how I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be here. to meet these women. to laugh. to test wine and go for ice cream. to sip on sangrias and talk about life. to enjoy incredible mexican comida. to find like-minded sisters. to learn from women who are far wiser than me. to not have to lead the program. to receive. to not always understand everything they are saying but to simply savor the joy of life with these women i look forward to getting to know.
it was one of those weekends that made me realize again, this is where I'm supposed to be right now.
it feels a bit more like home today here in ensenada.
my heart is full.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

.oh facebook.

Being away from my family and friends, I love using facebook to keep in touch (aka lurk). Whose kidding who, even when i was in Canada, I was a facebook addict!  Anyways, I did find this video quite hilarious...

Monday, February 2, 2009

.new rhythms.

i know. i know. i suck. its been over a month since i last posted. I am usually the one around here who harasses other bloggers and tells them that they need to keep their blog updated or people will stop reading and checking. and now look at me.
well with the new year (which i cannot believe its already a month into it!) comes new rhythms, new goals, new schedules. and apparently i haven't included keeping my blog updated... so i shall work on doing better again!

but with the new year came a reemergence of one of my favorite phrases.
being intentional.
being that im not a naturally disciplined person i need to be intentional with things.
whether it be staying on top of bills and correspondence, reading the word, or working out, just to name a few
... i need to be intentional...
im often content to chill, waste time, lurk on facebook for countless hours, let that to do list lay dormant. but i also find myself desiring change and productive days.

i realize that one of the reasons i am supposed to be here is b/c God knows me. He knows i needed a new start, some new rhythms, in order to change. grow. be more the person Jesus wants me to be... the person i want to be.

it's been about 9 months now since i moved down here "semi-permanently". the honeymoon phase is over. it's real, raw, normal, everyday life. its funny tho b/c now the things I am learning and wrestling with aren't necessarily directly related to the fact that i am living in mexico... or "serving the poor"... or in a different culture. it's normal everyday stuff. its trying to figure out how to live like a follower of Jesus in the simple stuff too. in taking care of myself. in filing my mind and time with useful things. in not rushing around too much. in listening to people. in asking good questions. wrestling with answers and not just settling.
its about being intentional to put these things into action.
im really good about thinking. reflecting. and pondering my desires for change... but suck at doing anything about it.

so here's to new rhythms. learnings. attempts. and failures too.
so far 2009 is turning out to be a good one....