Do You Own A Camera?
Do you believe that 90% of people have only taken photos on a camera phone versus a camera? In the article I was reading the author said he did not believe the statistic was true. I think his opinion is coming from a very American point of view. The statistic was not referenced so there is no way to know where it came from. However, there are other statistics that are well documented. Like the fact that more than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty barely surviving on less than $1.25 a day. And nearly ½ of the world’s population, more that 3 billion people, live on less that $2.50 a day. Overall 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. These people are not spending their money on cameras. However, they are spending money on the ability to communicate. More people on earth have access to cell phones than toilets. Out of the world’s estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. It has been amazing to watch the increase in mobile phone around the world over the past 15 years. These phones are not iphones with high quality cameras.
Because people don’t have cameras they don’t have printed pictures of themselves. We at MissionFocused know this first hand as we interact with people we are talking photos of. We did not just want to be another bunch of photographers who come into a village and get a kick out of how the kids react when we show a few photo to them on the camera. Our desire is to leave them with a lasting image of themselves.
This man told us he had one other photo of himself. Thank you Canon for making these nice little portable printers.
Here are a few of the women who were thankful for their photos.
Back to Oaxaca!
Mark Shreves and Cyndy Smith are flying off to Oaxaca tonight to serve with our ministry partner Adventures in Life. They will be photographing AIL’s Fall Medical Mission in Eloxochitlan. They will be taking portraits and printing photos too. They will be back October 22nd. Please keep them in prayer.
Don’t forget to check our FB page for updates during the week. Thanks mucho!
Oaxaca 2013 :: Serving Alongside Adventures in Life Ministries
L to R: Raquel, Claire, Jolene, Cyndy, Arlene, Judy, Linda with Ty in the middle
MISSION focused has been actively serving in Mexico with Adventures in Life Ministries since February of 2010. It has been a real blessing to see up close the work Dave Miller, executive director of Adventures in Life, and their ministry partners in Mexico are doing.
The above photo is of the 2013 Adventures in Life Spring Medical Team, posing for a photo in San Diego, before heading South for Oaxaca. They are in Oaxaca this week seeing folks that they saw last March, and attending to new people who come to their clinics this week in the different towns and villages. Please keep them in prayer.
MISSION focused photographer Cyndy Smith, is photographing this year’s Medical Mission.
The photo below is of this year’s Adventures in Life FMO Men’s Ministry Week Oaxaca, that just finished up in February. It was a busy week, unfortunately they didn’t have any internet connection, so we are working on photos now and hope to have some to show soon. The photo was taken by Jim Wanglund, friend of the Mission who was photographing this year’s Men’s Week in Oaxaca.
Cyndy Placed on Injured Reserves
Please keep our friend and fellow Mission Focused photographer Cyndy in your prayers. She recently broke her wrist fighting off lions, tigers and polar bears in the arctic tundra…well, it wasn’t that dramatic but she did need surgery this week. Pray for healing and a speedy recovery so she can get back to serving Him with her gifts.
Toys For Joy
How long would you wait in line to get one free toy for each of your children?
These two kids were one of the first ones into the toy room, they had waited outside in the cold all night long to be sure they would get their toys. They were there with their Mother, her two sisters and their three siblings.
Over 10,000 toys were given away!
Macys provided the 2,600 books that were given away.
Pastor Miles of The Rock Church greets one of the thousands of volunteers who worked to make the day possible.
14,000 bags of groceries were assembled and given away.
196,000 donated articles of clothing was distributed to the families that day.
80 bikes were given out to children who won the raffle drawings.
There was TV coverage of the event from ABC, FOX, NBC, SD6 and KUSI, to watch click HERE
The day was tremendously fun with entertainment on the stage included signing, dancing, puppets, acrobatics, and theater productions. There was an area with face-painting, balloon making, haircuting and a place to make gospel bracelets. The kids had a incredible time playing on the inflatable jumpers and slides. When they were hungry there was free food and drinks provided for them.
More than ten thousand people heard a clear gospel message of God’s love and forgiveness, with a large number of them wanting to become a follower of Jesus.
To see more photos from the day Click HERE
Golfing To Help Reshape Children’s Destiny
Calicinto Ranch’s annual Barcelo Classic Golf Tournament was held this year at the beautiful Legends course in Temecula. The Barcelo family has been a faithful sponsor for each of the last seven tournaments. Participating in the Tournament is a way to support The Ranch in their effort to break the cycle that youth walk in when their parents are in prison. Barna Research reports that 7 out of 10 children of prisoners follow their parents into incarceration. There are over 70,000 children of prisoners in Southern California, over 2 million in our nation! Calicinto Ranch is lovingly showing the children of prisoners that they don’t have to be like their parents.
Red Robin donated the yummy lunches for all the golfers as a result of Any Jones and her team. The Red Robin team also contributed to the tournament by entering a foursome of golfers which included Andrew Mulz, Don Clark, Paul Bankston, Kenny Hom. The Red Robin team additionally sponsored a hole and participated in the Ball Release, even to the extent of donating the winning money to Calicinto Ranch instead of keeping it. When making a choice on where to dine out consider Red Robin to thanks them for their generous donation to Calicinto Ranch.
The support from the Law Enforcement group was particularly inspiring. Their foursome included Capt. Gregory Peck, Retired Chief Gary Dominguez, Capt. Glen Dominguez and Officer Kevin Poulter. These are men who truly understand the significance of what the Ranch can do to help stop children from following in their parents footsteps.
The day included a putting contest, the longest drive, and a closest to the pin contest.
The Helicopter ball release was a creative way for people to donate money to The Ranch. 1000 balls were dropped from the Helicopter and if the ball you paid for was the closes to the pin you would receive half the money from the pool and The Ranch would receive the other half.
The day concluded with a delicious dinner gala, a silent auction, many door prize drawings, the announcement of the golf tournament winners and most importantly a glimpse into how consequential Calicinto Ranch is in the lives of at risk youth who have been able to attend a life changing camp.
For more information or to help support Calicinto Ranch click HERE
To follow them on Facebook click HERE
To see more photos from the day click HERE
Horizon Fall Festival
Our friend and fellow photographer Dr. Jim has been taking photos at Horizon North County for quite some time now. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back and since then, I’ve helped him photograph several different events at Horizon. He has helped MISSION focused photograph several events over the years as well.
Photography can be a very solitary art at times. It’s not uncommon to hear about photographers waiting days, weeks and even years… for the perfect photo. Much of that time in the middle of nowhere all by themselves.
With a little extra effort, it can be a time of community and sharing, where photographers come together and learn from each other. This sharing of the creative process is in my opinion healthy, and beneficial. There’s nothing like getting up in front of your fellow photographers and explaining why and how you took a certain photo.Last week I went to Horizon’s Annual Fall Festival with Cyndy and Danie, to help Dr. Jim take photos of this years festivities. I think I have been to the last 3 or 4 of these, it’s always a great time and a wonderful alternative for young families who don’t want their kids roaming the neighborhood at night. There’s tons of fun activities for big and little kids along with chairs, coffee and entertainment for the folks.
These are just a few of the photos that we took. You can learn more about Horizon North County HERE. Enjoy.
Extreme Horse Rescue Makeover
Tim & Cheryl Jachlewski, leaders of The Rock Horse Ministry organized an “Extreme Horse Rescue Makeover” day at Rapture’s Horse Rescue Ranch. Over thirty people showed up on Saturday morning to help wherever they were needed.
A new shade structure was erected over one of the corrals.
The trees were trimmed and the new staging area was set up.
All the corrals were cleaned
The storage area was cleaned and organized.
Stacey Russell, the founder of the Ranch, was very emotional as she thank everyone who had come out to help. What a blessing it was for the Horse Ministry to give of their time to support this worthwhile cause. Stacey, Shontel (her sister) and a few family members and friends have been providing care and comfort to horses and other animals in need for the past 12 years. They just recently became a non-profit, if you would like to donate your time or give financially email Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on Facebook: Rapture’s Horse Rescue
At the ranch they are dedicated to the rehabilitation of abused and neglected horses and other animals. They have placed over 50 horses and numerous other animals into loving homes. Also, they hope to educate future and current generation on the rewards and benefits of caring for our animal friends.
To see more photos chick HERE
To learn more about MISSION Focused check out our Facebook Page
Adventures in Life, Oaxaca & Photography
2010 AIL Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s farm (Zimatlan, Oaxaca Mexico)
3 years ago I made my first trip to Oaxaca with Dave Miller and Adventures in Life. I have known Dave for quite some time and I have many friends who have been very involved with AIL over the years. I almost made it Ensenada 15 years ago, give or take a few years, with AIL but it didn’t happen.
Terry in action at 2010 AIL Summer Camp
Understanding that God’s timing is perfect, I finally made it in February of 2010. It was on that trip that I began talking with Dave about bringing more photographers to Oaxaca in order to photograph the work that AIL was doing and to take portraits of kids and families in Oaxaca.
If you have ever been on a mission trip, one thing you will notice is that everyone serving seems to have a camera. What you see is someone taking a photo, usually of kids, and then they show the image on the screen of the camera and that’s it. The folks you are serving never see the photos ever again. Our goal as a ministry is to fix this problem. The Summer of 2010, Terry Schwartz came to Oaxaca with me to photograph AIL Summer Camp at Pastor Chable’s farm. We brought with us 2 HP printers so each student that came to camp could take home a photo of the whole camp and a picture of themselves. The photo above is of our “command center” that week.
Cyndy has been to Oaxaca several times, like Terry, to take portraits and to photograph the work of AIL in Oaxaca.
Some of the students looking at their photos from this summers camp in Oaxaca.
One of the biggest blessings for us is knowing that we were the first photographers to take some of these students portraits! It’s something that I can never forget or take for granted. We live in a world here in the U.S. where everyone has a camera, whether its a traditional camera or a phone with one. And to think that someone has never had their photo taken?
I took this gal’s photo in 2010. She is from San Pedro Amatlan, a small town several hours in the mountains above the city of Oaxaca. Cyndy and I visited this town with AIL’s Medical Team in March, where we had the chance to photograph families while we were there.
I recognized her from camp and I asked her if she was coming to camp in July. She was not able to make it. I also asked her if she still had the photo we took of her in 2010. She smiled and said “yes.” We took the photo above of her with some of her family…we left this and other photos we took before we headed down the mountain that evening.
These are some of the portraits we have had the privilege of taking over the past 3 years in Ensenada and Oaxaca…
This Summer was a blessing for us as a ministry. Since we started taking portraits of students at camp in 2010, we have been able to take portraits several different times on numerous trips to Oaxaca with Adventures in Life, in a half dozen locations around Oaxaca and in Ensenada with Dios es Amor Church this summer! Praise God!
2012 AIL Summer Camp
It is our desire to help ministries like Adventures in Life by documenting in photographs the work they are doing, and help AIL and the local church in areas like Oaxaca and Ensenada extend their reach into the community through photography.
MISSION focused is now a non profit 501 (c) 3, registered with the State of California and the IRS. If you would like to support the work that we are doing in Oaxaca and in San Diego, it would be a blessing to us. At this point in time we are not set up for credit card donations, so for now you can send a check payable to “MISSION focused” to the following address: MISSION focused ~ 8030 La Mesa Blvd #326 La Mesa CA, 91942
If you are a photographer, and have a desire to use your gifts for God’s Glory and to serve others, we would love to talk with you about future trips we are planning….
All Glory to God!
Guelaguetza 2012: The Parade Of The Delegations
The word Guelaguetza comes from the Zapotec language and is usually interpreted as the “reciprocal exchanges of gifts and services”. Traditionally when there was an occasion for celebration such as a wedding, or a feast day, the people attending the party will bring items necessary for the celebration like food or alcoholic beverages. Each person’s offering, or “guelaguetza” allows the party to take place and becomes part of a reciprocal exchange and is one of the ways social ties are reinforced and preserved through time.
The state of Oaxaca is home to 16 different ethno linguistic groups and is incredibly diverse. For the Guelaguetza festival, members of these groups gather wearing their traditional clothing and perform folk dances that are particular to their village.
The Guelaguetza celebration dates back to way before the Spanish and continues as a defining characteristic of Oaxacan culture. Its origins and traditions come from a earth-based religious celebrations that worship the corn god. In contemporary Oaxaca, indigenous communities from within the state gather at the Guelaguetza to present their native culture, mainly in the form of music, costumes, dances, and food. It is the most famous indigenous gathering of its kind in Mexico.
For the 80th year in a row, delegations from communities all over Oaxaca unite in the capital to showcase their traditional clothing and music with parades, and dance performances. The Parades are held on the last two Saturdays and the performances in the amphitheater take on place the last two Mondays in July. Although the celebration is now an important tourist attraction, it also retains deep cultural importance for the peoples of Oaxaca and is important for the continuing survival of these cultures.
I feel privileged to witness and photograph this parade which took place on the 28th of July. I have come to personally know these fine Zapotec people and admire their spirit and pride.
To see more photos go to MISSION focused Facebook page
Sewing in Oaxaca
The Church at San Baltazar had their first Women’s Ministry Outreach last year when they put on a sewing class during the Children’s Club. On the first day they had only 6 ladies show up. By the last day there were 20 women and 14 of them finished a project. They had 3 sewing machines to work on.
This last week there were 8 women when the class started on Monday and by Thursday there were over 30 women who wanted to learn to sew. Another sewing machine had been donated, so now there were 4 machines that the ladies shared. Four of the ladies finish their projects and sixteen are still working on theirs.
Most of the ladies in San Baltazar know how to hand stitch and embroider but have never used a dress pattern or sewing machine before. Lilia, who had taken sewing classes before will be continuing the sewing ministry by teaching a morning and an afternoon class every Wednesday at the church. There are 26 women signed up to take these classes.
The women really enjoyed talking and sharing life together. Fabric is very inexpensive to buy in Oaxaca so making their own clothes and their kid’s clothed is a great help to the family.
To see more Photos go to our Face Book page and like us
As I sat getting a manicure & pedicure contemplating all the things I needed to accomplish before I left on my trip to Oaxaca my mind wandered to a few days earlier when I was on the beach with my Niece and her son. He is so adorable and at this beautiful age of wonderment and discovery.
My mind jumps back to my trip, not the things I still have to do but to the people I am going to see. The contrast between the opportunities of the children living in the US and those living in villages in Mexico are staggering. This is the fifth time I have travel to Oaxaca and the surrounding areas. This time I will be taking photos of Adventures In Life’s Kids Camp.
Just think about the lists you have made with your kids this summer of the things they want to do: Swimming at the beach, Riding Bikes Together, Going To Sea World, Disneyland and Legoland, Camping, A Road Trip, or Maybe A Vacation Flying Somewhere. Most kids in Mexico could never even dream of these thing, they don’t own a bike, their families don’t even own a car, they don’t take vacations, many don’t even have running water or electricity in their homes.
And here I was getting a manicure & pedicure, something I struggle with every time I am going on a mission trip. Why am I so blessed when other have so little? I still can’t answer that question; but I do know “that to whom much is give much is required” Luke 12:48
My prayer is that just by being in Oaxaca I can help make a child’s time at camp more fun and be an encouragement to those who give of their lives in service to the Mexican people.
If you would like to help buy ink and paper so we can give each child at camp a photo of themselves to take home with them please mail a check to MISSION focused 8030 La Mesa Blvd. #326 La Mesa, CA 91942 We are a 501c and will send you a tax deducible receipt.
If you would like to help support AIL Ministry in Oaxaca Click HERE
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City Kids in a Western Setting
Easter on the Ranch is a time for boys and girls who have incarcerated parents, along with their families, to enjoy a day away from their city life. The volunteers at the ranch provide for them a western experience that includes hayrides, horse rides and farm animals.
There are over 70,000 children ages 7-15 in the Southern California area that have incarcerated parents. The statistics show that these children are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves. They are seven times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system than their peers. And they are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, eating and sleeping disorders, diminished academic performance, and feelings of abandonment, loneliness, shame, guilt, and resentment.
When these kids come out to the Ranch for Easter they receive an abundance of love and acceptance from the volunteers. They get free snow cones, popcorn, and lunch.
The kids get to color eggs and make Easter crafts. It is a time to have fun and hang out with their friends.
Calicinto Ranch does much more than just this once a year Easter celebration for these boys and girls, they also put on spring break and summer camps for them. Here the kids get to hear Bible stories and sing worship songs. They learn the six pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Calicinto Ranch gives children a life changing experience in order to break the cycles of at-risk youth of incarcerated parents.
To lean more about the Ranch go HERE
To see more photos from the day go HERE
Chickidies and Churches
I love these baby Chickens and with I could have brought them home from Oaxaca. I could not find out how they made them so colorful, but I am sure it would be illegal in the US. They would have made fun Easter gifts.The Catholic’s in Oaxaca seem to celebrate Christ’s Crucifixion more than His resurrection. They make and sell these figures of Jesus on the cross. It is sad for me to see the people worshiping Christ on the cross because they don’t seem to have the joy and hope that the Bible promises those who believe in the resurrection. Oaxaca is the second poorest state in Mexico with 57% of the children in rural areas experiencing stunted growth due to malnutrition. There are people living in houses with dirt floors, no running water and no indoor restrooms. Yet each village has a very big and elaborately decorated Church. This Easter as you attend your church, gather with family for a scrumptious meal and fill your Easter baskets, don’t forget the reason for the holiday and say a prayer for those less fortunate. “HE HAS RISEN, HE IS NOT HERE” Luke 24:6 See how Adventures in Life is helping the people of Oaxaca
Choose to Serve
Your open suitcase is still sitting on your bedroom floor with clothes hanging half out. You awoke at 4 a.m. this morning, wide-awake and unable to get back to sleep. You have 300 unread emails and 200 voice-mail messages. You recently returned from a mission trip!
A couple days after returning home, you turn your attention to laundry, catching up on missed work and trying to figure out what to do about the jet lag. You may not be thinking about putting your thought about the trip down on paper, but you should, it will help you process your feelings. Here are some questions to ask your self:
- Was I effective on this trip?
- What would I like to make sure I don’t do again?
- What have I learned from God about myself on this trip?
- What have I learned from other people that I would like to incorporate into my life?
- What have I learned through my experience on the mission field
- What will I change about my day-today life?
- What have I seen God do in the lives of the people to whom I ministered. *
The faces of the people of Oaxaca are imprinted on your mind. You have seen their pain & for a brief time, you became a part of their lives, and they became a part of yours, What will you do next?
The trip is over but it can be just the beginning. Consider the impact it has had on your life. Don’t allow yourself to fall into old patterns and routines. Choose to serve rather than being served. God will continue to bless you as you share your experience with your friends and encourage them to also serve on a trip with Adventures In Life.
* Excerpt from Ministry Travel Blog
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Outhouses and Donkeys
I awoke in the middle of the night, raised my head off my fluffy soft pillows, rolled out of my big king-sized bed; my feet touched the floor, it was warm and soft. That feeling of carpet under my toes jolted me to the fact that I was not in Oaxaca anymore, but back home. That causes me to think about the pastors and their families who have such great love for their people that they live and work among them; bring hope and peace to them through God’s grace. They could choose to live in the USA with all our conveniences, like carpet instead of concrete or dirt floors. And indoor bathroom instead of ones you have to walk outside to use. But, they don’t.
Typical bathrooms we used in the village of San Pedro. Raquel is not really using it at this time just posing for the picture.
Typical way to transport water from the stream to their homes.
Typical way to cook over an open, smokey fire.
Every time I return from a mission trip I wonder again why was I born here in the USA instead of in a place where life is so hard? Why do I get to live this life that includes vacations and amenities that most of the world can never even dream about? I have no answers to these questions just prayers for those around the world and a hope that my travels will open the eyes to people in the USA who seem to have no time or money for anyone but themselves.
See what Adventures In Life is doing for the people of Oaxaca and Like their Facebook Page HERE
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Compassion for Oaxaca
Despite the fact that the people of San Pedro Amatlan don’t have very many gringos visiting their village, they warmed up to us rapidly.
Pastor Chable is talking with a group of people waiting outside the clinic/church to get their vital signs taken and to see one of the health care providers.
There are 640 people in the village of San Padro Amatlan, 280 are men and 360 are female. It has a one bed clinic, the doctor is just a resident, and most likely at the bottom of their class. They are assigned to work there for 6 months to a year.
The surround area has about 200,000 people living there. The hospital has 50 beds and there is not much medication available to the people. Many of the families had left the area to find work in the United States, but as our economy became bad they came back to San Padro. But, this makes it more difficult for everyone as there is still not any work for them here. The area of Oaxaca is the second poorest state in Mexico. 72% of the employed earn less than 7 US dollars a day. 90% of the population is malnourished.
Each day at the clinic there was a demonstration given on how dirty your hands can still be even after washing them. Lotion is applied to the hands and then washed off. A black light is shined on their hands to shows how much bacteria can still be left, even after washing. The women really enjoyed this hands-on experience and laughed so hard together. It was lots of fun to watch but hard to photograph as the room has to be very dark for the light to work.
The kids played while the women were in the class on hand washing
16Hereby know we love, because he laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoso has the world’s goods, and behold his brother in need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him?
18 My Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.
1 John: 3:16-18
If your compassion causes you to want to help the people of Oaxaca please give HERE
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Hearts of Oaxaca
We have had two good days of ministry at San Baltazar. Tomorrow we leave Tlacolula at 6:30 AM to drive to the little town of San Padro Amatlan. It is about a three hour hour dive. We really don’t know what to expedited in regards to the turn out but we leave it all in God’s hands.
The people here in Oaxaca have filled our hearts with love as they have opened their hearts to us.
They have shared their heartaches and their hopes and dreams, we have learned from them and uplifted them in prayer.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
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Hope versus Despair
The church that we held the clinic at was in the village of San Baltazar. In the yard behind the church is a house and weaving factory. The family was very friendly and let us take pictures of them working. The little boys were also flying a homemade kite in the yard, it was encouraging to see the joy on their faces.
A small group of us walked to a few houses for people who could not come to the clinic today. It was a heart breaking experience as we heard their stories and saw were they lived. Juan and his wife had lived in their house for over 40 years; she became sick and blind about three years ago. Two years ago she came to Adventures In Live’s first medical clinic and saw Jolene. The following year Jolene and Raquel went to visit her in her home, at 81 years old there was not much they could do for her except love on her. They took a photo of the couple and prayed with them. She passed away 6 months ago. In this photo Juan is looking at that picture and he has his hand over his heart, he is so sad and cries in pain because he misses her so much.
He tells us all about her last days on earth, how much the funeral cost, how he wants to live in his own home and not with his brother and again and again how much he misses her. He does not have very many possessions but he wants to show us his Bible. All six of us in that little house had tears in our eyes as we prayed that God would comfort him in his loss.
This lady had some kind of accident that caused her not to be able to walk. The Church has been ministering to her and last year’s team visited her at her house. She was so thankful to have us come and see her, she cried and kissed all of us. All we could really do for her is pray. As we were leaving her brother ask us to pray for him too as it is so difficult to take care of her. He kissed each of our hands as we said our good-byes. The struggles of theses peoples lifes are hard for us to comprehend.
The hope is that the living conditions and the spiritual conditions of the people here can be improved by the help of God’s people both here in Mexico and those from the United States. Then the kids here can grow up in a place with more opportunities and hope.
See what else is going on in Oaxaca on Adventures in Life Facebook page.
Photos Bring Smiles
We had another great day at the Strong Tower Church in San Felipe Guila. A Lady had a cyst on the back of her foot that had been bothering her for a long time. We prayed for her along with her husband before the procedure.
Jolene removed the cyst without any complications.
These little kids were playing outside the window of the clinic.
In the afternoon Jolene taught a class as Janet interpreted it into Spanish on Human Sexuality and Household Hygiene.
We take for granted the tons of photos we have of our families, and sometimes even complain about having to get them organized into photo-books.
Many people around the world don’t even have cameras. Here are some of the people who came to the clinic enjoying their photos of themselves that they get to take home.
You can see more photos at the Adventures in Life Facebook page HERE.
The Hands of Jesus
We drove an hour from Tlacolula today to get to the village of San Felipe Guila, the truck was full with six in the cab and four of us in the truck bed. This is our first day of medical clinic, the team kept busy as the two providers saw 39 patients. Sometimes there were two interpators needs as the Zapotec dialect was translated into Spanish and then the Spanish was translated into English.
The Clinic was held in a Church, called Strong Tower, that has just been in the community 10 months. The Pastor’s name is Rolando Bautista, he is also a missionary with the Wycliffe Bible Translators. He is translating the book of Mark into one of the Zapotec dialects. The Clinic gave him a chance to talk with people he had never met before.
There was a group of boys who took a little while to warm up to us but then they just kept asking to have their photos taken.
The clinic is a fruitful and fertile ground for evangelism because the medical work is done with compassion and an outflow of Jesus’ love in us. Intertwined in every book of the four Gospels is Jesus’ ministry of healing and His message of salvation. “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” (Matt. 14:14) Jesus’ healing was not designed as a “hook” to get people to listen to the message but a totally consistent outpouring of His love for the people around Him. It was not designed to be spectacular in a false way. Involvement in medical missions means that in a very tangible and special way you become the hands of Jesus.
Two young girls and a lady prayed to accept Jesus as their savor today. All the people who came to the clinic were so appreciative; they would shake everyone’s hands as they left. We ended the day with people praying in Spanish, English and Zapotec. We look forward to tomorrow as we are returning to the same village.
See what else is going on in Oaxaca on Adventures in Life Facebook page.
Oaxaca: To Know The Truth
Today was a day of learning more about the Zapotec culture. We visited Mitla, the most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca to the Zapotec people. The walls are covered with elaborate and intricate mosaic designs made with small, finely cut stones, which have been fitted together without the use of mortar. No other site in Mexico has this.
brother joe enjoying the ride to Mitla
In the 16th century, the Spanish built the Church of San Pablo here, with stones from the destroyed Zapotec buildings. The church was built here to keep the “devil” from escaping.
The painting inside the church walls says; “Mitla sacred city of the dead, the tomb is not final. The resurrection of Jesus. Mark 16, 1-8”
Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.
It would be great if the people would put their trust in Jesus and believe in His resurrection.
There are a lot of churches here in Oaxaca and the people have a form of religion but don’t seem to know The Truth. It is sad to see such devotion to what they believe is true, but is not what God’s Word says. This man was reciting something written on a piece of paper and sprinkling water on the candles.
Tomorrow we begin our free clinic days, please pray for the medical team!
Oaxaca: Walking in Circles
We begin the day here with a great breakfast at Casa Arnel, a quaint little hotel in the heart of Oaxaca. It took a while to get our Orange Juice, but you can’t complain when you hear the grinder going and know how fresh and good it will taste.
Today was a free day to explore the city of Oaxaca, so after a stop at the coffee shop near the Zocalo (central square) we ask a man in the restaurant how to get to The Textile Museum. He told us it was 3 streets down and 2 streets over, sounded like he knew what he was talking about. When we got to the location we ask again, the lady said it is another 3 streets down and 2 streets over. This when on and on, I think we walked in circles for hours.
We finally took a break for lunch at La Olla Restaurnte. The food was delicious. Many of us had Tlayudas, a traditional meal of beans, avocados, tomatoes, epazote (a leaf vegetable & herb), and Quesillo (Oaxaca cheese). After lunch and getting different directions we finally found the Textile Museum, it might have been an enjoyable tourist attraction if we had not walk so much to get there. But, it was basically a let down. The journey itself on the lovely cobblestones streets of Oaxaca was more enjoyable then the destination.
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Whenever I am getting ready to go on a mission trip I have people ask me why I go. It makes me stop and reflect and ask the same question, “WHY DO I GO?” Sometimes I feel like I do it just to appease my feelings of guilt caused by me having so much materially when the rest of the world has so little. I also fear that I go just because I love to travel. However, deep in my soul I pray that my desire to go is so that I can show God’s love to people around the world.
I have been on a lot of different mission trips, with a lot of different purposes, to a lot of places around the world. No matter what the purpose of the trip; whether building a house or an orphanage, installing water filtration or stoves, conducting VBS or teaching nutrition; the common response from the local people has always been that they can’t believe I would leave my family and travel so far from my home to help them. Just the mere fact of being present in their lives shows them how much God loves them.
Most of the people around the world live very simple lives, where every day is pretty much the same as the rest. It causes great excitement and anticipation when a short-term mission group roles into their little village. I am sure some Missiologist will disagree with me; but I believe that it is not so important what you do, as that you Just Do It. (Can I borrow that from Nike?). I sincerely believe that if at all possible everyone should go on a short-term mission trip sometime in his or her life. A few days before Keith Green (a Christian musician popular when I was a teen-ager) and two of his children were killed in a plane crash, he wrote an article entitled “Why YOU Should Go On The Mission Field” . He says you need to go: 1. Because Jesus has told you to go. 2. You should go because the need is so great. 3. You should go because … … …Click HERE to read more of the article.
On Friday I will be traveling to Oaxaca, MX for my second trip with Adventures in Life Ministry. Last year I went with their Men’s Only Build Week (some how I snuck in to photograph their work building a Bible school). This year I will be photographing their Medical Ministry Week. AIL understands the needs of the people in Oaxaca and partners with local churches to bring economic, physical and spiritual health to them. Stay tuned in for daily updates and keep the team in prayer.