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 http://furtherdowntheroad.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/wanting/


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!