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David & Karen García… Building Relationships in Ensenada | a Video

11 Apr

 

Most people only see and read negative news about Mexico.  Through this video we want to show you what God is doing in Ensenada, Mexico through a unique and exciting ministry that is resulting in the good news of transformed lives, families and communities.

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“Thank you so much…for the work you do”

10 Jun

We send out letters, write Facebook updates, type emails and even blog occasionally. So being on the sending side is normal for us and we love sharing what we do here in Mexico and more importantly what God is doing here.

There is a unique satisfaction, however, that comes from being on the receiving end. We got a note a few months ago from one of our partners that affirmed and encouraged us in just a few lines. It was unexpected and so refreshing–it gave us that extra push that we sometimes need to face the challenges of working with people and helping them deal with the difficult circumstances that are part of daily life. Here’s what she said:

“Thank you so much for working to save and improve marriages…I’ve been expressing much thankfulness to God lately as there’s been peace and harmony at home…My points: 1) We’re doing well. 2) I often think, but seldom express gratitude for the work you do, and especially all you do for marriages and families.”

May God continue to give us the privilege and the opportunity to bring His message of hope and healing for troubled marriages and families.

Divine Networking

27 Dec

All of us know how strategic networking can be.  The fact that we can connect through the marvelous tool of Facebook is thanks to this new phenomenon called Social Networking.

This past Wednesday were reminded of how masterfully God has linked lives together in a way that continues to bless and touch many.  Years ago in a little town east of us called El Por Venir, a young teacher had our friends’ son in her class.  Our friends, Shaun and Maria, became friends with Alma Iris and began to share their faith journey with her.  They eventually invited her to a retreat that we had invited them to a few years prior.  At that retreat she met the man that is now her husband and last year she invited her parents to the same retreat.

In that weekend,  Alma Iris’ parents were touched by God and moved to begin a ministry feeding the homeless that gather at the riverbed (arroyo) that runs through the center of our city.  Since February, every Wednesday they feed between 100-120 men and women, assisted and supported by friends and members of their church who have joined them in this effort.

Wednesday outreach at the "arroyo"

Then this year, at the same retreat, Hector and Alma Rosa were asked to share what God has done during this past year. One man and his wife from Santa Barbara (invited for the first time by their neighbors and our good friends, Jason and Christie Tarman) heard them and saw the DVD they showed at the retreat and shared with us that they wanted to do something to help.  They already have a relationship with a pastor and his wife in the area that they help and support, but wanted to contribute to this need as well.

So this past Wednesday, Bob and his father came down to Ensenada.  David joined them as they delivered toys and clothes to the church they support.  Then David, Bob, his father, Josafat (the pastor), and his wife, Verónica, went together to the arroyo to serve alongside Hector, Alma Rosa and their team (one of the couples being friends of ours since our single days.)   Under light showers they helped serve the lunch and then with Alma Rosa’s guidance distributed blankets, sweatshirts and jackets they had brought down to the dozens of people gathered there.

Josafat, Veronica, Robert, Bob, David, Orlando, Vevis, Alma Rosa and Hector serving together this past Wednesday through "Divine Networking"

Now our local network is enlarged and we can join forces to continue to serve our community more effectively together.   And we thank God for this history that links all of our lives together.

In the spirit of Facebook–I “like” this!

Sharing Christmas with Orphans and the Homeless

23 Dec

I am proud of my girls quite often.  But there are days, they surpass my hopes and expectations…and I believe Jesus smiles too.

Jessica’s school joined in a project in conjunction with a local clinic where David counsels to provide gifts for the residents of a home for orphaned and abused children.  This past Wednesday almost the entire student body and their teachers went to “Casa de Paz” (House of Peace), took the presents, performed their Christmas musical, played with the kids and had lunch together.

Each student was given a name of one of the residents.  Jessica got Carmen who is 18 years old and has special needs.  When they first met both of them were a little shy.  But Jessica invited Carmen to play soccer and they ran around the playground together laughing and playing.

Jessica & Carmen at Casa de Paz

When it came time for goodbyes, Carmen asked us to go visit her again.  I believe we will.  She asked me to take a picture of her by herself.  “That one’s for you,” she said.

Another opportunity came just after returning from Casa de Paz.  The Principal’s wife asked Jessica if she would go and sing for the homeless that they serve lunch to on Wednesday afternoons.  Jessi had her last soccer practice before Christmas vacation, but I left the decision in her court.  She said she wanted to do it.  So she sang, “I Can Only Imagine” a song about heaven to dozens of homeless men and women as they finished their lunch.  We also helped serve sodas and bread to the people gathered there.

Jessica singing “I Can Only Imagine”

I asked her afterwards how she felt in those two situations.  She said a little scared at first, but then good.   Did I mention that I am very proud of my daughter?

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.

Defeating the Spirit of Fear

28 May

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and
of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

For a young mom it is a shocking realization that in spite of the overwhelming love she feels for her child she has repeated the pattern of abuse she herself suffered. This verse has become a source of hope and comfort as we share with her and her husband in counseling and study of God’s Word.

A young, professional woman struggles with depression and anxiety, yet she is trusting God for her healing and has experienced significant improvement. She and her husband are currently stepping out in faith in the areas of their careers and ministry. However, meeting with an “expert” last week, our friend received advice filled with fear and pessimism that threatened to pull her back into the hole she has been climbing out of. As we met with them and reflected on this verse, she recognized that what she knows now in her heart to be true defies any professional wisdom that ignores the reality of faith in God and His plan for their lives.

Another friend, married for 14 years, has come to realize there are major problems in her marriage. Through meditating on this verse together in a counseling session, she is taking courageous steps to overcome the fear of making decisions to provoke change while at the same time trusting God to rescue and restore her family.

We are aware that right now fear permeates much of people’s thought processes, decision making, and attitudes. Especially given the current political and social climate and events occurring both here and around the world, people are in a word—scared. Even followers of Jesus Christ (including the friends mentioned above) are not always aware when we allow fear to dictate what we think and feel and how we react. Incidents of violence, we run and hide. Talk of a flu virus; we lock ourselves in our homes, put on surgical masks, close schools, businesses and even churches. Economic problems, we panic and worry about if we’ll have enough. What do all these reactions have in common? They isolate us, tempt us to depend on our own wisdom and efforts to ride out the storm, and cause us look inward instead of outward.

As a family and as a community we are taking steps to reject the spirit of fear and step out in the spirit of power, love and of a sound mind that are ours in Christ. We are seeking to help those in financial need, praying together for the safety and healing of our city and our land, taking on community projects that have been sidelined as those who have historically helped are staying home; and speaking boldly about the truth that can set us free in any and every circumstance.

We are excited and optimistic about the opportunities that are opening up precisely because of these more challenging times. More and more people are considering their need for God and we want to be available and prepared to help meet needs and share the hope we have in Jesus. Please continue to pray for us and thank you for partnering with us in this spirit of power and love.

A Place to Find Hope and Healing

23 Oct

It’s a humble setting–an old house with sparse landscaping and modest decorations. But for many who live on society’s periphery or on life’s edge it is an oasis providing help, hope, healing and the resources to overcome overwhelming obstacles.

CAME, as the Center is referred to, provides services to women and families in crisis. For thirteen years is has functioned as a non-profit NGO supported solely through volunteers and funds provided by events and donations.

In opening its doors, CAME found a niche in the strata of the Ensenada community. Many schools, hospitals and even the state and local governments refer people to the Center knowing that they will receive prompt, personal and professional attention. Not being bound by quotas, bureaucracy, political or religious affiliations has allowed CAME to operate on a shoe-string budget but continue to open its doors to people from all walks of life and levels of need.

Recruited as one of the first volunteer counselors shortly after the Center was founded, David soon realized that working with CAME offerred a tremendous opportunity to help people in need, while at the same time affording him the freedom to be more open about spiritual themes than at his other position with the government social service agency (DIF). Soon he was elected as part of the governing board of the Center, even serving as the President of the organization for two years. In that role he made many contacts with other leaders in the areas of government, health care, social services, NGOs and business. There were also many occasions to attend local functions, appear on radio and television programs and promote awareness concerning the problems women and families face in our society–opportunities that he used to share, as he always does in his sessions, about the spiritual needs behind the physical and emotional needs.

David later recruited Karen to also serve in the role of volunteer counselor. Currently they both dedicate six hours a week at the Center seeing patients, as well as assisting in fund raising events to keep the center’s doors open to the community. This is just one of the many doors that God has opened to us here in Ensenada and we thank Him for the privilege to be used to share His love and hope with people who are yearning for exactly those elements in their lives.

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