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Fifty Seven Words that Changed our Lives

17 Nov

Through some friends who did their Masters at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, Canada, we were introduced to the teachings of Darrell W. Johnson.   His name was not unfamiliar to us as he was the Pastor of a special friend who is now “Dancing in Heaven”–Don Valencia.

Darrell W Johnson Fifty-Seven Words that Change the World: A Journey through the Lord's PrayerThrough listening to some of Darrell’s teachings we discovered that one of his books covered in depth some teachings from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7); specifically those dealing with the Lord’s Prayer.   The intriguing title is “Fifty Seven Words that Change the World.” After reading the book in English we thought it would be perfect for our Thursday night study group made up of Catholic friends who have been studying the Bible with us for the past 15 years.  We were all very enthusiastic and scheduled to begin.    Each week that we met however meant that David and I had to spend hours translating each chapter into Spanish.  Sometimes we were putting the finishing touches on it minutes before we ran out the door to share it with the group.

The effort was worth it though as the Lord’s Prayer moved from being just a prayer that Jesus prayed, or the words used to close a religious service in a church; to something dynamic, powerful, real, personal and above all life-changing.  For all of us who went through the book we have said we will never hear or say the Prayer the same again.  Thank you, Jesus.  And thank you, Darrell.

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Annual Women’s Retreat in Ensenada

11 Jul

Group picture for the July 2011 Women's Retreat

At the Ticalli Ranch in San Antonio de las Minas, 17 women gathered July 8-10 for the 2011 Ensenada Women’s Retreat.  Friends from Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Tijuana and Ensenada all shared a restful and refreshing weekend learning about God’s Amazing Grace, the theme of the retreat taught by our dear friend and mentor, Jo Wester.

Ana, Dina and Lucy enjoying the retreat

In addition to the studies some of the activities the women enjoyed  were: gathering in small groups, an outdoor lunch at Ochento’s Pizzas, a midnight excursion on the ranch playground, fellowship at meal times, and the beauty and tranquility of the surroundings.

Finishing up a small group session

All the women left refreshed, encouraged, and challenged to put into practice what we learned during the weekend.  We closed the time by praying for one another and sharing communion together.  As we hugged and said our goodbyes, it was with anticipation of the next time that we can be together to renew friendships and continue our journey of faith together.

The Tijuana group added a lot of depth and fun to the weekend

Please pray for these women as they are now back home that they would be able to live in the reality of God’s Grace and share it with others.  Likewise, please pray for Karen and Lucy as they lead the women in Ensenada and seek ways to help them to continue to grow in their faith in Jesus.

Please pray for the women of Mexico

Reconnecting with Casa Esperanza

8 Jan

Exactly two years ago God began the process of bringing lives together to love and serve.  Friends who are an extended part of the Reflejo Community heard God’s call to begin helping a local home for abused and abandoned women and their children.  As a result, Terra Nova church of Irvine, CA, NieuCommunities from San Diego, and Reflejo from here in Ensenada began working together to bless Casa Esperanza and assist them in their faithful ministry to these families in need.

The guys God used to get the ball rolling for the work at Casa Esperanza

Over these last two years we have been blessed to meet with the women, get to know them, share testimonies together, pray and even make tamales.  We have played with the kids and made lots of craft projects.  As people have used their gifts and skills, hair cuts have been given; cars and bikes have been repaired; a chicken coop was built and equipped; the dream of a library was fulfilled; as well as several construction projects on the facilities.  It truly has been amazing to watch what God has done through this united and cooperative effort.  Another rewarding aspect of the work here is that one family in our Reflejo community continues to go on their own each month to bring food, diapers and other supplies for the ministry.

Reflejo kids clowning with Casa Esperanza kids

During the time we have been connected with Casa Esperanza, we have seen God bring new and committed people to serve full time with this ministry.  It is so exciting to see the fruit that is God is producing through the faithful service of these individuals and families.

I have corresponded with a couple of them and today one of the Co-Directors sent a message and included a link to his new blog:

LaCasaDeEsperanza.blogspot.com

I pass it on to you as it really shares in words and pictures the heart of this important and much needed ministry.

Mothers and their children at Casa Esperanza

We are expectant for how God will continue to bless the work of Casa Esperanza and all those who live and serve there and likewise, how He will lead us to be involved in that process.

Reflejo Celebrates Mexican Style

8 Dec

Our mentor and good friend, Jon Hess, was married recently in Colorado.  Since he has been coming to Mexico for the past 15 years to support us in the work and spend time with the community of believers here, we wanted to honor them with a reception full of Mexican hospitality.

On Sunday, November 21st we ate three styles of mole (a traditional wedding meal), sang lots of Mexican love songs with Karaoke and welcomed Jandee into our family.

When Jon first started visiting us we were alone in our quest to follow Jesus and learn to love one another by sharing our lives.  Now look at the beautiful family God has blessed us with…

Daniel Meza Photography - Ensenada Mexico

Photo by Daniel Meza Photography : : danielmeza.com

Felicidades Jon y Jandee!!!

Women Making a Difference

14 Oct

Last night I had a women’s cafecito here at the house. There were seven of us around the table ranging from young moms in their 30’s to a grandmother. It had been a few months since the last time we had met.

To get us caught up I asked for each one to share what had impacted, challenged or excited them in their lives recently.
It was amazing to hear how with passion and spontaneity each and every one shared that what was most exciting in their lives had to do with an opportunity that God has given them to serve in the community. Here is a sample of how God is using women from our home church and Reflejo to make a difference to those who need it most:
  • Thermalton–a project between a Pre-school, an Elementary school and a Family Therapy clinic to collect long underwear as gifts for the 54 children and youth of a local orphanage
  • Casa de Paz–the name of the orphanage mentioned above. Another woman, a psychologist, is working together with other colleagues and professionals to direct a program for the 11 special needs youth that live there
  • Casa para los Bello–gathering resources to build a house for a retired pastor who is blind and his wife.
  • A home Bible study
  • A Day Care Center for working moms
  • A feeding program for the homeless

And what did I share?…How I was witnessing a dream come true before my eyes–leaders who are following Jesus and are sharing the heart of their Saviour; to bring hope, help and healing to hurting people.

Summer B&B Retreat

15 Jul

This July only six women could attend our annual Bakersfield & Baja women’s retreat in the beautiful mountains of Hart Flat, east of Bakersfield…and I was the only one from Mexico. Although we missed our Mexican amigas, we had a wonderful, relaxing, refreshing and rich time together.

Lorraine was our hostess and meal planner extraordinaire (lower right). Christie (lower center) led us in Lexio Divina where we listen to God’s voice through His Word. Hope (lower left) our nature expert opened up God’s creation to us. Jo (upper right) taught us extensively about God’s grace. Barb (upper left) was the newcomer (but long time friend of Jo and Lorraine) who trusted us with her heart and wowed us with her creativity. And the person at upper center–that’s me!! I shared about Freedom in Jesus and led the group in our first retreat craft–collages that represent our lives. Every collage was meaningful and unique–just like their designers.
Next gathering–February 2011 in Ensenada

A "Commercial" for Reflejo

3 May

Perusing my Facebook I found a post from a good friend in San Diego sharing about Mexico and about our Reflejo community. He did a great job and I thought some of you would be interested in reading it too.
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/notes/john-coghlan/reviving-the-church-in-ensenada-mexico/10150181248335188


May God help us to truly live up to our name as a community and by His grace be agents for change, revival and building bridges.
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