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
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...
Monday, September 7, 2009
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.