Monday, July 9, 2012

Small birthday party at the Solis house. Lesley is 9 years old! Nueve aƱos!

Peter is also a year older (didn't catch how many years he has yet). 
It was an awesome evening with the Solis family at their house. They had a BBQ and invited Mario's whole family to come. It was really cool. It was the first time Mario's mom came with us to visit. At first she wasn't feeling well enough to come (Mario has a new baby sister on the way) but by the evening she decided to come. 
There were also neighbors who stopped in to visit and eat plus! Enrique and Lesley's older brother and sister got to come visit from San Juan. Jr and Mary. They stayed the night and also got to come to church with us the next day. The birthday party was on Saturday by the way. 
There was lots of fun, some games, and the food was GOOD! I don't think I've ever had guacamole that good before. There were also two bouts of water wars included in the party featuring the brand new water guns that the three boys earned for helping clean up the camp after all the other campers had gone home (the guns are pretty sweet. Mario's is a battery powered automatic!)

Good food! 
Angela's personal coke stash
This is Mary and Tesarita! Tesarita is Enrique's youngest sister and I think Mary is his oldest sister.

Some of my good friends (picture taken by Mario)

Jr, Erique's big brother holding Tesarita. This is the first time I've gotten to
meet Jr. (Juan I think is his name but he goes by Jr.)
Picture by Jorge

Pablo (also Juan)

Cake is Good! 
Even when on your face!

anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what their talking about. lol!

And Now! For your further entertainment!

Picture by Mario (I think)

Picture by Jorge (I think

The dominoes game being caught in the crossfire of the water war

The Solis' dog "Daisy" and their neighbor Angie

Giving the coke some bunny ears. lol!

Little Peter. It his birthday celebration too. 

You've already seen some of the pictures taken by Mario and Jorge. Here are a few more as well as one taken by America.

Picture by either Mario or Jorge

Picture taken by America
This is Mario's mom
Picture taken by Mario

Picture taken by Mario

And so concludes a great time at the Solis house. I am afraid that my own time here in Mission is going to be gone before I know it. It already feels like it is gone. I took Enrique's brother and sister back to San Juan after church on Sunday and Enrique went with them to spend the week so I won't get to see him again before I leave on Thursday. But pray that I make good use of my time left here, without rushing, without wasting.

Camp Endure 2012 in the Rio Grande Valley

It is late and I am actually very tired so I will probably have to finish this tomorrow. Today is Saturday night at the end of a long and awesome week at youth camp at the Valley Baptist Retreat center.

Lots of awesome stuff happened including Mario, Jorge, and Enrique getting to come! Pray for them that some of the truth that they heard at camp will sink in and truly transform their lives.

There is pretty much no way I can give a complete report right here right now. There is not the time or energy, but I have to get it done because the end of the trip is very close for me and there is other stuff to report on and I really need your guys' prayers that I can stay strong physically and spiritually.

Nightly wrestling matches in the boys room
Needless to say there were tons of kids at the camp. Ranging in age from 11yrs to college age. I got to stay in one of the boys rooms watching over them. For all except one night I was the only adult. For the most part it was awesome and I'm glad I made the decision to move next door to the camp instead of staying at the house (though it did feel weird packing my bags to move across the parking lot).

I got to teach breakout sessions (small group Bible studies) each morning and lead in small group discussion about the sermon each night. I am afraid that I need to learn some more skills in using activity and example to help keep the kids' minds engaged. All I knew to do was teach the Bible and ask questions. But still I was glad to have the opportunity and I hope that some of what was taught stuck with them.

Basketball, 6:00am, last day of camp... HARD CORE! lol
I was glad for every minute that I got to spend with these kids. Everything from Basketball at 6:00am on the last day to wresting matches in the room at night to holding down the picnic tables with some guys to make sure they don't escape (inside joke about the bench sitters ;-) it was well worth it to me and I think that all the kids felt the same way.

..., Juan (Pancho), ..., Philipe, Eric, Julio
One of the most awesome things about the camp was that so many of these kids had never been to church or to any kind of camp like this before. In fact many of them really didn't have a choice about coming and didn't really want to be there in the first place. BUT by the end of the week NO ONE was ready for it to end. Whether the kids had come with a friend from church, or was dropped off by a parent or grandparent, or was brought with a Community Transformation Center group, or they only spoke Spanish and I had to either learn or get a translator...  We had all become friends together.

Juan Contreras
The other awesome thing is that the Gospel WAS PREACHED here. They Gospel was taught and presented. As with most things like this there are some things that I disagreed with, but I was happy and grateful for those there giving their time in the teaching and preaching and worshiping or our God and savior Jesus Christ.

There is lots of good stuff that is in my head right now that was taught but if I try to get it out it will probably be all jumbled up. So I am going to try and finish this post tomorrow afternoon...
The worship team led by Gabriel de la Garza

...Ok this is actually Monday morning. Going to finish this up.
Pastor Juan Contreras brought the word each night. The theme of the camp was ENDURE coming from the verse
"13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
I Corinthians 10:13
The first night he talked about Common temptation. Temptation comes to everyone in this world. The second night was Withstanding temptation. The third night was "Live Out Endure". Basically how we live out the Gospel and how we live out a life committed to Christ. The last night was "My Story" where he shared his life story, how he came to Christ and has been changed by him.

Each night after the sermon message we would break up into groups to discuss and ask questions. There were many kids who at the end of the message would go forward to commit their lives to Christ or to confess a felt calling to "live out" their life to Christ in a certain way. I would sometimes try to bring this home to them in the discussions and I would try to talk about and have them think about what is for real.

I think for me one of the biggest things Pastor Juan said that stuck out to me was in his life story message. Near the beginning he quoted Frances Chan saying "The only point of life is that life points to Jesus". Then near the end of his story as he was wrapping up Juan said (paraphrasing).. My life has a point now, it has worth, it is worth telling and sharing with others BECAUSE it points to Jesus...
For some reason this stuck with me in the moment very clearly. Partially I know because that is one of the main reasons that I was drawn to Jesus Christ in my conversion. The realization that nothing I did on this earth would have any real meaning or lasting value apart from Christ.

Ok I will close up this post with a few of the best pictures and the most fun times from the weeks. You can also see all the pictures on Facebook.

Lozt Zouls in concert at the camp. A Christian rap group (brothers I think). 

I was very impressed and they were VERY good. I wasn't sure what to expect
from Mexican rappers at first. lol. They are from Mission Texas and all the
kids were engaged it the concert. And thats saying something because at least half
of the kids I talked to before the concert weren't really looking forward to it.

Mario's mom checking up on him and Jorge after the first day.

"Ministry activities" can mean painting tables, and here are at least two who
were paying good attention to detail. 

 Mud Fight!!! Oh yeah!

I was munching on the word early one morning and along came some little bunnies to munch on a few leaves in the prayer garden.