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Reflejo on 2 Weeks with DC Interns | Julianne Huyett & Sarah Utton

8 Apr

For two weeks in March we had the privilege to receive two amazing and fascinating young women who are part of service programs in Washington, DC.  Julianne is from Annapolis, Maryland and Sarah is from South Africa.  They blended seamlessly into our family and our community.

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Although they spoke little Spanish, Sarah and Julianne served boldly and tirelessly in many different settings throughout our city from teaching English classes in a pre-school and Elementary school, to packing food bags for needy families.  They also participated in a Saturday kids’ program in a migrant workers’ camp; played with kids in a Day Care for working parents; served at an all-day Medical clinic in a remote area; as well as attending our Ensenada Leadership breakfast and taking part twice in our Home Church activities.

Of course there were lots of opportunities for walks and hikes, movie nights, baking cookies and sharing meals; and on the final afternoon, a good soaking at our world famous blowhole—La Bufadora.

We consider Julianne and Sarah our international daughters now and are grateful for the time they spent here and their contribution to what God is doing in our city.  Following are some comments that they shared with us about their time here:

“This time has gone so quickly but it has been an amazing blessing in both of our lives.  We will always cherish the time we had in your amazing city.  We learned so much from your lives and the community of friends you share life with.

Ensenada is filled with incredible people who are the hands and feet of God.  Thank you for welcoming us to what Jesus is doing here.

We are going to miss you!  Come visit us!  We love you!

Your South African and American daughters.”

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GodsCr4NCF

9 Mar

This cryptic phrase was my password as I poured over used car websites the past few months.  It represented the conviction that our Heavenly Father would provide the vehicle we needed after almost three years of breakdowns, repairs and complications with our mini-van.

Even though we had faith in God, the reality of web searches, phone calls, and trips to San Diego to see cars began to overwhelm and discourage us.  Ministry commitments loomed on the horizon too making the purchase of a new-to-us mode of transportation an immediate necessity.

Knowing that many people had generously donated to this cause made us keenly aware that we also needed to be good stewards of what they had entrusted to the ministry.  I kept looking for a sign that one of the hundreds of cars would be God’s Car for NCF (like a specific message on one of the license plates!)

On the last day we had to look, at the last dealership that we had time to visit, in the pouring rain, there it was–our sign!

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David and I were married in 1993 and my first initial is K.  Not quite as obvious, but right under our “sign” is the notation on the color of the car.  If anyone knows David they know he has two favorite flavors of ice cream–Cherry Garcia by Ben and Jerry’s, and Black Cherry.  Can you see it, under 2012 Mazda CX-7?  The color of our car is Black Cherry!

After the test drive, negotiations, phone calls to the Board, and last minute fund raising efforts, we decided that this was indeed God’s car for us.  And to give us one more sign–after all the paperwork was signed and the costs tallied, the total came to EXACTLY the amount we had pledged–to the penny!!

So here it is, GodsCr4NCF–the Cherry Garcia mobile.

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Las Brisas Burns and Returns

9 Dec

On our 20th anniversary, September 18, 2013, our favorite taqueria, Las Brisas suffered a total loss after a gas tank exploded.  The owners, and good friends, Manuel and Norma, escaped with their lives, but little else of the family business. 

Manuel in the aftermath of the fire

Manuel in the aftermath of the fire

Within six weeks, however, Manuel and Norma had made the decision to rebuild, hired an architect, done the construction and were open for business.  Just as we had been present to comfort and offer support the day of the fire, we were there for the grand re-opening sharing in the celebration of the resilience and resolve of these friends who decided that the service they provide to our community is something worth saving.

Las Brisas--Garcias

For our family, Las Brisas is a place that represents the best of Ensenada, where we have shared many tacos and many memories with the people we love.

"Las Brisas returns with more fire than ever."

“Las Brisas returns with more fire than ever.”

Jesus and Leadership

29 Jul

On Tuesday, July 19th we were staying with Board members Steve and Linda Boyle in Bakersfield, CA.  With just a couple of days of advanced planning, Linda invited some friends to a dessert gathering in their home to meet and talk with us.  She didn’t know who would show up, but we were willing to eat the brownies and lemon cakes even if no one else came!

Besides the Boyles, another couple attended that we already knew, but all the other people there were new acquaintances.  The other couple, Rick and Lorraine Davies, took some friends with them who were visiting from out of town.  The husband is an author and speaker with the ministry Lead Like Jesus.  They listened as we shared about our lives and about our hearts for working with leaders in Mexico and serving our community.

David shares about our lives and work in Mexico

At the end of the time, Phil Hodges (above right), asked if we would be available to meet the following week down in Southern California as he was interested in knowing more about our work and how their materials could be used in Mexico.

We set up a lunch meeting for the following week, Tuesday July 26 in Orange County.  This time another couple from our Board, J. and Cheri Steele, were able to be part of the mix.  Phil, and his wife Jane, shared with us about the ministry of Lead Like Jesus around the world and then we specifically considered how their material could serve the leaders we work with in Ensenada.

Sharing about Jesus and leadership over lunch

This second encounter was a confirmation of the first–God is doing something significant.  Phil gave us several of his books and workbooks that he co-authored, that have been translated into Spanish.  The more we talked the more we sensed that we share a passion for making Jesus known and for encouraging people in leadership.  It’s exciting to consider that this may be God’s timing for Lead Like Jesus to enter Mexico and for our leaders in Mexico to benefit from this resource.

Travelling Mercies

20 Jul

A tribute to God's protection

For those of you who have followed our blog recently, you know that tires have been a recurring theme in the past months.  Through it all we had four flat tires and replaced two of them, but had never had a blow out…until the first day of our stateside visit.

I was driving in the carpool lane on the I-5 just past my old stomping grounds of Mission Viejo when I thought I was hearing the engine of a semi-truck to my right.  When the noise became more intense and the car lurched suddenly, it occurred to me that we had blown a tire.  David intervened and helped me maneuver the car all the way to the far right shoulder in a matter of seconds.  It truly felt like God had parted the Red Sea as there were no cars to contend with as we merged right.  We limped it along about a half mile until we safely exited at El Toro Road.

We called good ‘ol AAA (worth ever penny of the yearly fee!) and they sent a roadside angel named Israel who spoke to us in Spanish!  He towed us just around the block to a Firestone dealer who gave us prompt and caring service–even comforting Jessica who was a little shook up from the incident.

A little beat up, but ready to hit the road again

We were able to continue on the same rim so we just had to purchase a new tire.   Fortunately that was the only thing that was a little worse for wear.  We were all safe, grateful for God’s protection for us and the others on the road, and ready to continue on with only a slight delay.

I can tell you one thing,  I will never look at remnants of tires on the roadways the same again.  Surely every piece of shredded rubber is accompanied by its own story.  Well, this is ours and it’s our tribute to God’s travelling mercies.

For Roberto, Every Day is Father’s Day

15 Jul

The home Roberto is fixing up for his children

On a hill overlooking Ensenada, Roberto is working to transform his makeshift workshop into a home for his three children.  They were supposed to vacate the house they are currently renting more than a week ago, but the workshop has no windows or doors, and the walls and roof have cracks that expose the kids to the elements.

The interior of the workshop

Disabled in a work related accident and abandoned by his wife and the mother of his children, Roberto is an example of perseverance and commitment.  Even with the available option of placing his children in the many orphanages in our city, Roberto readily expresses his deep love for his children and refuses to relinquish his role as their father, despite the overwhelming obstacles they face every day just to exist.

The reasons Roberto perseveres to seek a better life

Roberto has fallen through the cracks of our government system.  Because he is a single father, and not a single mother, he does not qualify for any of the aid programs.  His attempts to solicit help from the goverment to build a small room for his family have met with lots of paperwork and promises, but no results.  However, our friend, Mimi Montoya, receives Roberto’s children in the Day Care she operates, where they play, learn, eat meals and hear about the love of Jesus.  She introduced us to him and now we are sharing their need with others who will be able to show Jesus’ love in real and practical ways to help this family.

Juan from EOC considering Roberto's house as a potential project

Through sharing Roberto’s need, our home church, other ministries in the area, the family crisis center and even some government officials have shown interest in helping Roberto obtain what he needs and build a safe and  adequate shelter for his small family.  But there are still many bridges to cross.

The waiting continues for Roberto and his children

Meanwhile Roberto and his little family wait.  Please pray with us that the necessary pieces would come together soon and that God would provide a home for this loving father and his children.  If you are led in any way to help, please contact us and we will give you further information.

Excited about ReTire-ing

5 Jul

Don’t worry, we haven’t applied for Social Security or AARP, nor have we scheduled any extended hours on the golf course. Rather we are talking about the wheels on our car, llantas, tires.

As of this afternoon we have had four flat tires in the past three weeks or so.  Obviously this has involved temporary inconveniences.  But even in the midst of becoming Clientes Distinguidos at our local Llantera, these recent tire sagas have had God’s fingerprints all over them.

A few examples:

  • Two times people have seen the flat tires while our car was parked in front of our house.  Once David was able to make it to the llantera; the other time the 24-hr on call service made a “house call.”
  • Not once have we been stranded by the side of the road–and that includes a trip to the U.S. yesterday when we drove back to Ensenada late at night.
  • Fixing the first flat drew our attention to the fact that we needed new front tires.

Jumping off this last point, the best part of our recent ReTire-ing odyssey is how God gave us new front tires for $100.00 pesos (about $9.00 dollars.)   Knowing we needed new tires led us to discuss how we were going to pay for those tires.  While cleaning up the back patio we found a tire that we had stored back there after Karen had a close encounter with a curb when the tire was brand new.  To be safe we had bought another tire and put that one away.  David decided to take it to the Llantero and see if he thought we could use it.  The answer was affirmative.  He diagnosed it as superficial damage and said we were good to go.  Knowing we needed another tire to make the pair, David asked about the spare that had never been used.  It matched and we had our “new” front tires and one of the old ones was good enough to become the spare, all for $100 pesos.

This is just one of the stories of how God has provided for our needs recently.  Stay tuned for more.

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