Day 1 in Tijuana

12 08 2012

I’m writing this blog so that I never forget my trip to Tijuana.  It’s my first mission trip and it was a doozy for me.  It hit me hard as I’m sure everyone that’s been on a mission trip before has experienced.  I chose this trip first of all because it was good timing for me, but also, I can somewhat speak spanish.  It’s not fluent or is it proper but I can communicate enough with people that I can get around.  So here it is, Day 1!

Day 1 was mostly traveling for us. We rode up in 2 vehicles.  There was 8 of us total including pastor Steve Doerksen (sorry about the spelling).  McKenzie is our missions leader so he was the front man for our trip.  His wife, Michelle, also went along with Dwanye and Danielle Lidster, Scott and Marita Lowe and of course myself.  We loaded up for our 6 day adventure and met at the church, Mountain Vista Community Church, and headed out to San Diego from there.  It’s supposedly a 6 hour trip or so, but I think we did it in 8 with all the stops and lunch and mexican insurance.

We had McKenzie and Michelle driving the van (later named “White Lightning”) with Scott, Marita, Danielle and Dwayne.  Pastor Steve and I were in his car.  We had 2 walkie talkies to stay connected apparently we didn’t have enough “bars” because we couldn’t get them to communicate once we crossed the borders.  Of course, that could be due to the fact that Steve immediately took a wrong turn and started heading the wrong direction.  He was in the process of telling me how he took the wrong turn the last time he went there, and apparently he found that same wrong turn again.  So we had a little detour and tried to connect with the other car to no avail.  So we started back the right direction and after a few minutes of trying to find our way we decided to try to ask someone for directions which I thought I would be able to do no problem considering my vast knowledge of the spanish language.  Didn’t work so well.  Steve on the other hand used his vast knowledge of the English language and immediately received directions from the first person he tried.  So we finally met up with the rest of the team at Costco where we were buying supplies for the week.  We met up with our guide as well.  His name was Lucas.  He met us at Costco around 5 p.m., an hour later than we were supposed to meet him, after we packed up all our goods we headed out to the dorm.  The dorm was the place where we stayed the entire trip.  It was a 2 story complex, complete with a restaurant style kitchen, tiled downstairs, and bunk beds upstairs made of crude 2×4 and plywood.  We found out quickly, from our other live in host Josh, that a big no-no was to flush the toilet paper down the toilet.  So there was a trash can in between the stalls that we had to put our used toilet paper.  I was pretty uneasy about that so I tried to hold it as much as I could.  After giving a quick synopsis of what our trip was going to look like from Josh, we all went upstairs to settle in.  Another thing we did every night was a bible study that 2 people went over while having breakfast and I chose to do the first one.

I chose to do a different verse than the suggested one because a certain story was sticking out to me.  It was the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30

14″Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another on talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also the one with two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19″After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought another five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

21″His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

22″The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

23″his master replied, ”Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

24″Then the man who had received the one talent came, ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.’

26″His master replied, ‘You wiked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28″ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This verse stuck out to me and hit me hard.  I concluded that we as Americans have been entrusted with much and we need to be good stewards of our masters wealth and multiply it for HIM and HIS purpose, not our own.

Here is my Journal entry for Day 1

“Day 1-July 22nd – 6:10 p.m.

     We have arrived at the spectrum household.  We are currently getting some stuff situated.  Tijuana is kind of like I expected but the feeling of insecurity and not feeling safe comes and goes depending on the neighborhood.

Steve and I were lost for a bit, I tried using my spanish to ask for directions but 2 people blew me off immediately.  After getting up the nerve to ask, twice, unsure if I was going to say something completely wrong.  Then Steve asked a taxi driver and the guy getting out spoke very clear english.  I think Steve’s expecting to get help attitude worked for him.  It reminds me of Gods word saying “Ask Boldly” came to mind.  I was timid and unsure and Steve was not.  Lesson number 1-LEARNED!

9:30 p.m.

We just got done listening to Pastor Von who is an 80 yr old man who has been doing missions for 40 years.  Most of it in tijuana, and he says that this place’s barrios are up there with the worst of them.

We are going to be visiting “The Dump” which apparently is a dump with compost and waste.  We are visiting there to bring food to the people who live and work there.  I guess people live in tents or cardboard boxes and seperate scrap metal, cardboard, cans etc. to sell it to companies.

Tomorrow around 8 we are supposed to be going to the orphanage and washing the feet and hair of the kids and feeding them at the park.”

I realize that some of this sounds broken or not very smooth.  I’m writing it down just as I wrote it while I was there.  I want to keep the authenticity of it.  I didn’t exactly have a desk to be writing at so it was uncomfortable and needed to just jot down my thoughts.  Thanks for reading and Day 2 should be coming up quickly I hope.


Love to Love!

1 06 2011

I’ve been doing alot of thinking lately and realizing how blessed I am.  I don’t have an easy life, I don’t have a ton of money, I have had a lot of heart breaks, but one thing I have found very prevalent in my life, LOVE.

I have loved and I am continuously blessed with the love of many.  I consider myself to have a BIG heart (which matches my big…ness)  and I love to love people.  Yes, I do some of it selfishly, but if I love on other people to get some sort of personal satisfaction, I’m not going to hear too many complaints on that…I think.  But truly, I love on people because: A) I love the satisfaction of people being blessed and B) I love on people because I know that’s what I’m called to do.

Ok, now to go in depth.  A) I love to know that I’ve caused someone joy, satisfaction, relief, and pleasure.  I’ve been very blessed in my life by being surrounded by people who aren’t afraid to go out of their way to help me.  People who care more about helping me out and showing me love than watching an extra hour of t.v.  It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy knowing that people care.  Have you ever been sitting their thinking about all the friends that have just helped you move and you think to yourself, “man I wish they didn’t help me out, I know they don’t expect anything in return which is such a burden.  I wish they had just let me struggle, alone, and I could have had a nice little pity party!”  Of course not!  Instead, “I can’t believe this person/people took time out of their day to come help me out, which I’m sure wasn’t on their to-do list, but I’m important enough or worth the effort.”  That’s just a good feeling.  Rarely do people ever express that to that person who’s helped or been helping them, but they think it, and that’s enough for me to keep helping people.  A good friend of mine introduced me to this thought that’s an amazing one if you really grasp it.  They said, “you’re not responsible for someone else’s re-action, only your actions.”  So when you help someone out, don’t wait for them to say, “thanks for the help,” just know that you did your part.  You took the right action, and they’re reaction is out of your control.  Imagine this, (as you all know, I love analogies) your friend is going to Colorado from Arizona, and they ask you, their good friend, to go with and keep them company, and he’ll fly you back.  That’s a long trip, around 15 hours to be exact.  That’s going to take some effort on your part, but they’ve already offered to pay for everything so you don’t need to do anything but keep them company and maybe drive for a few hours.  But this friend, never said thank you the last time you helped them move.  They never even helped re-imburse you for your gas.  Well you say, “No” and this friend makes the trip themselves.  They drive for hours, trying to make it there before sundown, so they drive for 12 hours straight, then all the sudden, they fall asleep at the wheel, crash and are paralyzed for the rest of their life.  How do you feel now?  Well they weren’t a good friend to me!  And how did that make you feel?  Was that a good feeling?  Did it make you feel valuable?  Of course not, it was lonely and hard work.  Well because you decided to teach them a lesson, they have to live the rest of their lives in a wheelchair and no you’re not to blame, but you could’ve helped and you might have even had fun, but instead, you taught them a really good lesson!  I always try to think about the reprocussions of my decisions and am I doing all that I can to be a good neighbor.  That’s what we are called to do.  I don’t care what you believe or don’t believe, being a good neighbor to everyone, can change the world.  It can change lives.

Now for B) As a christian believer, I’m called to do many things.  Number 1, Love God!  Number 2, Love your neighbor!

That’s kind of a big statement.  God has called us to love our neighbor as ourselves right after, we love Him.  That means, treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated.  I would hope that my neighbor would help me move a couch because I can’t do it myself.  It takes them a minute, but saves me 20.  Besides, I love meeting new people.  Think about each and every one of your friends, they were all strangers at one point, and you got to know them through random circumstances and now you’re good friends with them sharing every part of your life with them.  You never know when your next best friend is looking for a little help from a “stranger”.  My small group used to hate “multiplying” because that

means we have to not meet with some people that we’ve grown relationships with.  I keep telling people, there are 8 new “good friends” waiting to meet us, all we have to do is be open to meeting new people.  I might meet my next wife through a random circumstance.  I might not even be helping that person directly, but might run into them while helping someone else.  Or, you can be greedy with your own time…that God has granted you…and do what you want to do, which usually isn’t important, but just something that is fun.  Then, next time your turn comes around for help, you’ll have….the same amount of people not willing to help you, because you never helped them.  Am I being redundant or is this making sense?

In short…I guess long because this is a long rambling, take time out of your day to care about other people.  We are only here on this planet for a short amount of time.  Selfishly, I want a ton of people at my funeral, sharing hilarious stories of me being dumb and making them laugh.  I want THOUSANDS of people at my funeral acknowledging the fact that I was a great neighbor and friend.  I want there to be stories told of my blunders and bloopers, successes and failures, times of joy and sorrow, times of laughing till you hurt and peeing yourself.  I want people to know that I LOVED them because I was loved first by God and he took time out of His eternity to show me His perfect love.  If my broken and selfish life was worth loving, then I think I can return a little bit of that.

Bad things and Good people

21 05 2009

Why do Bad things happen to Good people?  It’s the age old question.  Is there really a right answer?

It’s hard when the bad things are happening to you.  The verse that keeps going through my head is James 1:2-4, “2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  It is not easy to swallow, but it comes straight from the Bible.  I’ve studied this verse before and it’s always stuck out to me.  I remember thinking of this verse many times when I lost my job, when Danielle and I were going through struggles.  I always thought of this.  I never knew I had so much “maturing” to do.  You know when you think you’re really on top of things and you have everything figured out.  That’s when the proverbial “shit hits the fan”.  I’ve thought many times about how I’ve obviously had some maturing to do.  Well, I am still a child apparently.  God is really developing perseverance in me.  It helps me to understand what he’s doing in me and why it’s important that I go through this non-sense.  bent stickI just saw a show the other day where a guy wanted to straighten a very crooked stick about a nickel in diameter.  You know how he did it?  He put it over a fire and bent it against some rocks.  He kept doing this until it straightened right out like it was designed that way.  God has to do that sometimes for us.  He has to put us in the flames and really work us over with a rock to straighten us out.  Sucks believe me, I know.  I know what God’s doing but it’s hard because I really just want to rebel and not do the “right” thing, but God keeps me just barely still in His grasp.  I think we’ve all had these times when we want to just be bad for no other reason than F*@$ IT!!  I’m in one of those times.  I want to just say “Screw everything that is right, I want to do what I know is wrong because I feel that I’ve gotten the short end of the stick!”  I know where that leads though.  It leads to temporary fun, excitement, herpes….uh, I mean hurdles.  It just leads to more hurdles that you have to overcome when you can just save the energy and do what God wants of me.  He’s always the stick in the mud!  But I guess I’ve really not answered the question.  “WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?”

Sin!  There is never a day that we don’t sin and screw things up between God and us.  Sometimes it’s not even our sin, but someone elses.  Someone else decides to turn their back on God and someone else pays the price.  Talk about Injustice!  So how about this, why don’t we all just buck up, own our problems, own our situations and deal with them.  Bring them to God.  Say, “God, I’ve screwed up again and I need your guidance and wisdom to lead me through it!” That’s really not that hard!  It’s getting over our own pride and saying “I need help!” Don’t get me wrong people, I still need to do this.  I need to do it right now.  I don’t own alot of things that are going on.  Some I don’t even know what I did, but I know that I had a part in it. That’s ok!  Just bring it to Him and let Him help you through it!  Think of God as you’re own personal blog.  Write Him and vent the things on your heart and ask Him to help you figure out what you can do about your situation.  Realize that to fix your situation you might need to just give it to Him.

If God brings you to it…

24 04 2009

So my friend from my Lifegroup gave me a present yesterday.  It’s a sign that says, “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”  It’s a very simple concept, and yet it has a very awesome theme.

I’m just thinking how awesome is that.  I’ve been following God, like really following Him for the last few years.  Of course little valley’s and whatnot here and there, but my goal has been to follow God’s plan for my life.  Try to find out where He wants me and go with it.  Now I am really at a downpoint in life, and yet “If God brings me to it, He will bring me through it.”  It’s an awesome concept.  I’m just starting to really delve into this idea of complete surrender to God’s will.  Not my will fitting in with God’s, but truly His will.  I understand that as long as I’m walking with God and searching for His heart in my life, I know that I will truly be better off.  It brings me back to the passage of the father and gifts.  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-12) I want my will to be done, but I know that God’s will is soo much better.  I know and trust that God wants more for my life, like joy, contentment, LOVE, trust and closeness, than I could have ever reached on my own.  That’s an awesome God.  It’s not easy to want God’s will, but I’m learning, praying and asking for God’s wisdom and patience, so that I can pursue God and not my own empty desires.

We have a saying on every piece of currency that I don’t think we ever think about.  “In God we Trust”.  I don’t think we ever do that with our money, but most of all, our lives.  When are we, as flawed people, ever going to trust that our father in heaven has a much better plan for us that we can concieve. in-god-we-trust I long for the day that I can say before everyone, “I trust God with everything I have and mostly what I don’t have.  I know that my Father in heaven is watching over me and wants the best for my life”. The only way to experience that it is to completely surrender to Him and His will.  God, I long for Your will in my life, I trust You and Love You.  I don’t need to know what’s next for me, I just need to know that You’re walking me through it.  I pray that I give up my desires, and desire You alone.  Amen!

Love and Happiness

21 04 2009

p1010021_0021_021What does LOVE look like?  How would you describe love?  How would you describe Happiness?  I think these two things are often intertwined.  Happiness and Love are two very different things!

What does happiness look like?  You are happy when you first meet someone special because they are something new to you.  They are someone that you would like to find out more about.  It’s the Lure of the new Adventure.  What happens when you learn more about that person?  You start to lose some of the Adventure.  You start to lose the butterflies that you used to get.  How do you get those butterflies back?  Do you chase the butterflies?  No!  You chase the person who brought the butterflies.  Now this can be dangerous.  If you’re in a relationship and you start losing the butterflies, you need to be aware that Satan wants to break down your relationship.  Especially if it’s a Christian relationship.  Nothing gives the Devil more gratification that ruining a Union that God brought together.  How’s he going to do that?  He’s going to be whispering little lies in your head.  “That guys really nice to you, I think he might even like you.  You’re significant other doesn’t make you feel that way.  That’s because you don’t Love him anymore.  This person gives you those nice butterflies that you’ve been chasing for so long.  This is what will make you happy!”  All LIES!.  Yeah you will get those butterflies.  Just like you did when you were stealing candy or clothes from a store.  It’s nerves.  It’s the excitement of doing something wrong when you could get caught.  Is it really worth it though.  Is stealing that shirt going to really change things?  Is it going to make you happy?  No!  It’s going to hold you over for a little bit before you want those butterflies again.  Same concept.  When you’re with someone for a while, you start losing the butterflies.   That’s when you have to spice things up.  Not sexually, just in general.  Be spontaneous, go on a trip last minute, make a spontaneous purchase, give your significant other a random gift to show that you still love them.  Now here’s the difference between LOVE and HAPPINESS.

HAPPiNeSs is something that HAPPENS.  Love is an action.  It’s a choice.  I choose to breathe everyday because it keeps me living.  If I stop choosing to breathe, I die.  If you stop choosing to love, you’re LOVE will DIE!  Is that clear enough.  Whenever you choose to live life with someone else, you’re always going to have bumps in the road.  You’re always going to have quarrels.  That’s the way we are.  God made marriage for two people to come together, get over their selfish ways, and completely and wholly give their lives to each other.  It’s a sacrifice.  It’s a commitment to God saying, “God, I know you LOVE me and I know you’re GOOD, I will choose to get my HAPPINESS from You and Love my spouse unconditionally because that’s what I agreed to and that’s what you ask of me”.  I’m talking about marriage here.  Marriage is not a temporary thing.  When you get married, you give a piece of you to your spouse.  They will forever be with you.  They know your quarks, your imperfections, your intimate areas, and that person will always have a piece of your most intimate experiences.  That will affect you for the rest of you’re life.  Finding someone else who gives you those “butterflies” will not fix your problems.  They will lose the butterflies too and you’ll be in the same position.  Spending years of your life giving pieces of yourself to multiple people, and not truly be able to give all of yourself to one person.  That’s LIFE!  Choose to Love everyday anew, and God will honor you in that. I’ve seen too many marriages go to crap because they see greener grass.  Take the time to water, trim, feed, and nurture you’re own grass and no other grass will ever compare.  That’s still a choice that you have to make.  I pray that you do, and I pray that you’re marriage is blessed for your hard work.  God bless.

The Shack!

22 01 2009

the-shackThis is a book that my brother has been pushing on me for weeks now and I finally made time to read it.  It wasn’t easy for me to make time in my day to read, but I was determined to get through it.  It was either going to be an awesome book like I’ve been hearing, or I could finally get Josh to shut up about it.  Well, Danielle and I went up to Sedona for 2 days and three nights.  I read the entire book while up there.  What an awesome read!!!

I can’t say enough about it.  It really helped me to think a little differently.  Here are some of the main ways it really helped me without giving away any of the book. 

First, it helped me to relate with God.  It paints a great picture of how our relationship should be personal and intimate with God and yet still realize His glory and holiness.  It has given me a new perspective on how to talk to God and how much he cares for us. 

I’ve rededicated my life to serving Him because of what He’s done for me and what His Son has done for me.  Now it sounds so generic, but it’s really in depth.  William P. Young paints a vivid picture of the sounds and sights of what a relationship with Christ looks like.  The idea of relationship is something that is always talked about, but a little harder t0 understand what that could look like in our Real Lives.  I’ve had a Revitalization of my thoughts and spirit towards God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. 

That’s the last thing I’m going to talk about.  It also paints a very cool picture of the Godhead Three in One.  I also really liked that it didn’t follow the picture in my head about how it all looks.  I was really moved by his writings and his view on God and how God relates with us.  This is a MUST READ from a guy who doesn’t read in the first place.  I look forward to reading more books.  Thanks Bosh.

Happy Holidays!!

10 11 2008

You know, it’s almost that time of the year again.  The “Holidays” are upon us.  I realized last year how ridiculous it is when people are offended for saying, “Merry Christmas”.  I’m pretty sick of being so politically correct that everything is offensive.  Should I get mad if someone says, “Happy Ash Wednesday”?  I don’t think so.  That just let’s me know that they are Catholic, and they are celebrating “Ash Wednesday”.  I am not going to get mad at them because they celebrate that holiday, and “My religion” doesn’t.  I think that people in general are becoming overly sensitive. 

Now this is a sensitive subject, I know, but wouldn’t it be ironic if I didn’t write about it because someone might possibly be offended?  Now understand this also, I’m not trying to offend anyone.  I’m writing this because it’s that time of the year again when everyone starts getting all pissy if you say anything besides, “Happy Holidays!”.  What about the Jehovah’s Witnesses?  I will offend them if I say Happy Holidays because they don’t celebrate any holiday’s or birthdays.  So you can’t even say that if we are going to be PC.  Here is the overall theme of today’s post. 

IF SOMEONE SAY’S “MERRY CHRISTMAS” DON’T GET OFFENDED, JUST REALIZE THAT THEY ARE CHRISTIAN AND THEY CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS.  It’s not something to get worked up about.  If someone came up to me and said, “Happy Hannakuh” I’m not going to get upset because they didn’t know I was Christian, I’m going to say, “Happy Hannakuh”.  Unless we are all just supposed to greet everyone with a “Happy Christmahannakwanzaka”.  That’s Chris-ma-ha-nuh-kwan-za-kuh.  Next week, Onomatopoeia.

I don’t think that I’m being insensitive here, I’m just using common sense and not thinking that the world revolves around me.  Isn’t it pretty arrogant to think that people around me should tailor their greetings to my religious beliefs?  I think so.  So to think that I have to stop saying “Merry Christmas” because someone might be Jewish, or Jehovah’s witness, or some other religion, is ridiculous.  If you are Jewish, say “Happy Hannakuh” and the next time I see you, I’ll greet you with Happy Hannakuh.  That’s being accommodating, sensitive, polite, and not arrogant. 

Now this video is fun and it kind of has the point that I’m trying to make.  I also don’t think it’s right to shove it down someone’s throat that I believe in “CHRISTMAS!” and you should too.  Although I think people should, but I’m not going to be mad at them for not believing the same way I do.