Tuesday, October 27, 2009
These past few weeks have been busy!!!
The staff retreat went really well - it was so nice to get out of El Paso for a few days and 'recharge.' The staff and families went to the Guadalupe Christian Camp in New Mexico. It was literally in the middle of nowhere...so far into nowhere that the cows were free range ha! But it was nice, relaxing, and productive for the staff members.
The week after the retreat, we went on a build with a team from Grapevine, Texas Abundant Life Church. Back in February when Mikell and I drove to El Paso from Georgia we stopped in Colleyville where the Grapevine Team through us a wedding shower. They are an awesome team with some great Godly men! They were a blast to hang out with - I know Mikell really looked forward to building with this team.
Last week, Mikell and the executive director, David, headed to Phoenix to be on a radio show promoting Casas por Cristo. They were on KPXQ and they were able to raise about $600 towards the construction of a house.
As for my job searach - last week I substituted at a private school, St. Clements, for 6th grade science and 8th grade spanish. I have really enjoyed working at this school. In the past they had sent groups to build in Juarez but with the recent violence they have taken a step back from building but are very active in raising support for Casas. I was in a teacher's classroom 2 weeks ago going over with her during lunch what she wanted me to teach and the 6th graders were having a community servive meeting in her room. They were talking about bringing in clothes for the families in Juarez and raising money to buy supplies for Casas staff. It has been nice to work in school that supports the ultimate reason why we are out here. (I would LOVE to be full time at St. Clements, but right now there is not a position open.)
Next week, Mikell and I are headed to Georgia - YAY!! We have been asked to speak at our college's campus ministry, Christian Campus Fellowship, at their fall retreat. We are very excited about this opportunity to share our faith with college students and to tell them how our journey has brought us to El Paso.
THEN, in the middle of November, Mikell and a few other staffers are going to the Youth Specialties conference in Atlanta. This is an awesome opportunity for Casas to get some teams to come build. There are still over 500 families on the waiting list for a house and Casas has had to stop taking applications. Please pray that this conference opens some doors and plants some seeds in the hearts of people. Juarez and Acuna have an incredible need for housing. It is starting to get cold down here and many people die every year because of the cold weather so the need for teams gets greater and greater as Fall turns into Winter.
That is a little wrap up of what has been going on here! Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to go to Georgia. And like always, pray that Casas can get some teams!
Build a Home...Save a Life.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Also, the week following the retreat Mikell and I are going into Juarez with a team from Grapevine, TX to build. Please pray for the preparation of this build from both the team and the family that is to receive the house.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
A Message from David...
586 — It is 586 miles from El Paso to Austin, TX. 586 is the area code for the northern metropolitan area of Detroit. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians destroyed the temple that Solomon had built. 586 is typically the number of homes that Casas por Cristo will build in a year and a half…but not this year. With the misrepresentation of the situation in Juarez presented by our national media, the mass number of team cancellations and the lack of new team registrations, the number 586 now has a new significance. At our April Pastor’s meeting we had to tell our Juarez pastors that we would not be accepting new applications from families in need. Today, 586 is the number of families that are on our waiting list. These families are waiting, holding out hope for the promise of a better life, a better home, a better future. Holding out hope that they too can be the beneficiaries of the love of Christ.
Over the past few weeks, I have personally led two groups through a build in Juarez. And these builds have been some of the best experiences in all of my time here at Casas por Cristo. Since the added military protection has arrived in the city, the mayor of Juarez reported that crime has dropped by nearly 98 percent. That is a staggering figure and one that I found hard to believe until I saw the situation in Juarez for myself. I saw children playing in the streets and families out in front of their houses enjoying cool nights outside. The atmosphere in the city was one of calm. Tom Hawks, a recent trip member from Salina, KS put it this way:
“To anyone who is considering whether they should join Casas por Cristo in building a home in Juarez, please don’t let Satan stop you from doing God’s work. Not only will the life of a family in Mexico be changed, but your life will also be changed. Your faith will be tested, your eyes will be opened and our prayer is that you will be found faithful. Life in Juarez was as normal as in the past. Children were playing in the street, business was being conducted as usual and people were happy to carry on with normal life. The only difference I saw from our past trips was that there were a few more Mexican Army soldiers patrolling the streets of Juarez.”
I have also come to look forward to the random military check points. That may sound strange, but let me explain. The people and community of Juarez are very familiar with our ministry and very respectful of our teams. But the added presence of the Mexican military brings soldiers from different parts of Mexico that have never heard of Casas por Cristo and have never seen groups of Americans coming to serve their people. These random check points have become an opportunity for me to spread the ministry of Casas por Cristo and through these discussions, the soldiers are beginning to know us and the love of Jesus Christ that we share. Their impression of Americans is also beginning to change. They are beginning to see people that love their fellow countrymen. In this way, our influence is growing in a very unexpected manner.
I also took time over spring break to welcome our first teams that were building in Ciudad Acuña. What a blessing. This community has welcomed us with open arms and is excited about what we are doing. I invite you to come and join us in this quaint sleepy little town on the Mexican border. You will find it to be quite a different atmosphere from the one that you have experienced in Juarez. And at the same time, you will find that very familiar love and appreciation from Mexican families receiving the blessings and provision of Jesus Christ.
586 — it is a number that can be much more than a hurdle…it can be an opportunity. You have the opportunity to change the lives of 586 families. It is still not too late to plan and register a trip for this coming Summer or Fall. Help us to continue to share the love of Jesus Christ. Help us to continue Building Homes…Changing Lives…and Saving the Lost!
~ David Robertson, Executive Director
Thursday, July 30, 2009
This past month has been CRAZY to say the least! We were married on June 20th in Macon, Georgia and our wedding/reception was nothing short of perfect! Our wedding was held at Martha Bowman and the reception was at the Brickyard country club....we had a blast! We then honeymooned for a week at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. It was just what we needed - a week of relaxation on the beach :) We came back to Georgia to hang out with our families for a week before packing up and making the road trip out to El Paso! The drive was a long one - 1500m miles. But we finally made it. We are now moved in and unpacked and our little apartment is starting to feel like home.
For the past 2 weeks we have been building in Mexico. Last week we built in Acuna (Lindsay's first build) and it was HOT HOT HOT! We built with First Baptist of Beaumont, Texas and they had been coming on mission trips to Acuna for 10 years so they knew of some great restaurants and some much needed swimming holes.
This past week our team was from GEORGIA!!!! It was a nice surprise to hear some southern accents Monday morning :) Made us feel a little closer to home. We were in Juarez this week which was a blessing because it was not as hot.
We are so blessed to be out here to serve the people of Mexico. The need for suitable housing is beyond comprehension. We are eternally grateful to the groups who come out and build because without them the whole mission of Casas por Cristo is not possible.
Please pray for us as we continue to serve - our next build is in 2 weeks and we are excited! It's a lot of work, but it is more than worth it!