Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Are you gonna die 'with your boots on'?

Sid Reimer and Ernie
You may have seen this pic on a past blog - you should have if you read regularly.  Since we just spent another week with Sid, he is on my mind.  Sid is another one of those people who could have written on his headstone, "He died with his boots on". And I hope I can model him in that respect.

Sid and his wife Gladys vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico every year and have for some 18 years (not a bad model to want to follow, but that is not the part I mean).  However,  Sid is not one to just sit around and enjoy the view, he likes to be busy.  What keeps him busy while he is vacationing?  Plenty!  His major focus is the ministry at the garbage dump.  There is a whole community of people living up on the dump (as there are in probably most garbage dumps throughout Latin America or maybe even most of the developing world) trying to eek out a living, collecting recyclables.  It is a sad thing to see, children rifling through garbage.  Sid, along with many others, have tried to stop the cycle of poverty and destitution.  They have built a school and have a wonderful 'Mexican Mother Theresa' who teaches them.  They try to get as many as they can to finish their Junior High so that they can go to High School in town.  The goal being to get them off the dump and to the possibility of a better quality of life.
Sid, Gord, Ernie, Olga and the people from Ixtapa Azul Hotel
The School with the play structure
Some other things Sid has gotten involved with are an old folks home and an orphanage.  With some help from a work team from Canada they have built a lovely home for the aged with live-in care.  He also has a deep love for those who are in another home for the completely abandoned old folks.  He greets the elderly by name when he visits and you can see the love he has for them.  He does not do this all by himself, however. There are some wonderful missionary folks, that are actively involved, plus many of the tourists that come alongside and aid in these ministries, both with finances and hands on help.
Sid and Ernie visiting with the elderly
Gord sharing treats with the elderly
Gord greeting at the newly built seniors home
At this home they have a physical therapist that volunteers 2-3 times a week
So when I say that Sid is gonna die with his boots on, I mean he is gonna serve His Lord and Saviour till he gets called home, or Jesus returns to take us all home.  There are ALWAYS ways to serve the Lord. There is ALWAYS work to be done!  Whether you are young, with tons of energy, or retired.  Let us be faithful till He comes again. Let's be an army of people who serve till the end.

More photos from our time in Ixtapa.  Please pray for this ministry, for the people pictured who are serving and ministering to the needy.  
Gord, Elsa (Cristian's wife), Ernie
Cristian, missionary, works with youth
Sid, Betty & John Sullivan (missionaries)
Ernie, Olga (dump school teacher), Cindy (missionary at the dump), Gord and Sid



Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Ixtapa

Ixtapa, Mexico
We just happen to live in a wonderful part of Mexico.  Chihuahua was nice but once you had been to Creel, Basasiachi, Copper Canyon... well, you had pretty much seen it all! It is a desert after all.  Not so with Jalisco; there is so much to see, and all so very close. If time and money were not an issue - oh the places we would go! and the people we would see!

That said, one also needs to factor in my husband.  Ernie is not much of a holiday person.  He doesn't mind going places, he just needs more of a reason that to just take holidays. Sitting on a beach for two weeks does not make for a good time for him.

So how did we end up in these pictures?  On a beautiful beach? You may remember in a former post that Sid Reimer holidays here in Ixtapa every year.  Well, he is very much like Ernie, in that holidays mean, giving, doing, helping, serving... not sitting on a beach.  So, Sid is here with a friend from his church, Gordie, to check up on things done this winter and keep things moving.  When Ernie heard about this, he right away asked if they needed a translator.  So here we are, taking a holiday, and meeting the missionaries and people working here in Ixtapa with the marginalised.
I have enjoyed relaxing and doing some reading.  We have enjoyed visiting with Sid and Gordie.  We have reconnected with the missionaries down here: hearing their stories, their challenges, their joys and sorrows. They say,  "A change is often as good as a rest".  Also, nothing like seeing abject poverty to give you perspective on life.

We serve in a wealthy area of Mexico, living amongst the middle class, and that has it's joys and sorrows.  The fields are ripe unto harvest all across the world.  The workers are few, the task large.  Some are in full time ministry, others give blocks of time, some give financially, others go abroad.  All are needed.  We are a team.  It is a blessing to serve and to see others who serve.
Gordie, Elsa, and Ernie

Cristian















Let me explain the pictures:  Above is Ernie sitting with Gordie (Sid's friend and fellow supporter of the work in Ixtapa).  They are sitting with Elsa the wife of Cristian (pictured on the right).  They are a young couple who do youth work in Zhihuateno (city 10 min. out of Ixtapa). They are a wonderful couple, and passionate about reaching young people.  Pray for them as they serve down here.

Below is Sid Reimer (Fort Garry EMC) and John and Betty Sulivan.  They are dedicated workers in the vineyard.  They work with old folks, kids, the people living at the dump; the marginalised of all kinds.  Sid comes alongside them and supports their ministry with his projects.

We brought SBC students here to these projects to work together with them (2013 & 2015).  So many opportunities in which to serve.  We have been blessed to meet and serve with these people.
Sid, Betty and John






Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Blessed by One Another

Have you ever wanted to be part of a group that stretched you? Grew you? That had an environment in which growth was stimulated? Where your views could be challenged by others, and you could challenge theirs, without risk of rejection? Where all questions were allowed and encouraged? Where mutual respect could be found? 

I have been a part of such a group and am now blessed with having found (created) one such group again. We are a group of 4 couples; small and intimate. We are all people of faith and we want to be challenged in said faith. The label or title we each call ourselves by may differ but common ground and respect have given us a base to grow from together.

We longed to form such a group here in Mexico. We had made a lot of friends but knew that inviting anybody and everybody would most likely not work. How to do it? Ask someone. We met with good friends of ours, who we thought could speak into this, as well as might be willing to participate. They gave us great advice, even on who they thought would be good candidates from our friends at the gym.

We began by seeking out those specific people and asking them if they would be interested, then we met at our place over a month ago to discuss what we were each anticipating and desiring. We all agreed on the time, place, frequency and commitment. We began by getting together to introduce ourselves more personally, in hopes of building a firm foundation.  

We have spent several evenings together, ending rather late in the evening (or is that morning?)! We have talked, questioned, opinionated, probed... and we have only just begun. We all seem to leave with the same feeling, 'WOW! what a good evening.' We leave longing for the next meeting.  

We have now decided to work our way through the gospel of John.  We plan to take it verse by verse, in no big hurry. We anticipate rich discussions, insightful questions, and looking at how it should affect how we live. We look forward to Wednesdays.

If you don't have such a group, I strongly suggest you find one or create one. The Scriptures encourage us to gather together, to work out our faith, to mature, to become like Christ. We are to live in such a way that others ask us about the faith that lies within. Iron sharpens iron. We can't grow in a greenhouse or alone. Find people who want to grow, who want to be challenged, who desire to be stretched. Read the Word together and ask questions that stimulate growth. You will be richly rewarded.  





Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Run for ... Food?

On Sunday, May 31, I ran another race. I could run one every weekend, here in GDL, and I could choose which one I preferred. See there are many races held throughout the city every weekend.  WHY? I never really thought much about it but Ernie had it explained to him while I was running.  

Apparently Mexico had been rated as having the highest obesity rate among children, and the second highest among adults, worldwide. It was decided that something needed to be done about it. So they began to promote physical fitness and overall health (somewhat like the birth of 'Participaction' in Canada some years ago).  Where you once would find a gym, or two, in an entire city, now you find one or two on almost every other block!  There are gyms that are accesible to every income level. If you can not even afford those, most parks have a walking track and even some outdoor fitness machines. The parks are free. The park across the street from us is full of runners, joggers, and walkers of every shape and size. 

Is that why I run? Is that why I go to the gym? No! I was blessed with good genes, and have not had to 'battle the bulge' for the most part. That said, I love going to the gym because there is community there. You know you will see your friends there. Many go for the friendships and 'hanging out' as much, if not more so, as they go for the exercise factor. 

 Below are the ladies who ran in the biggest race Guadalajara hosts. The race is ladies only, with approx. 15,000 running throughout Mexico (the race is held simultaneously in a number of cites), once a year. We did not run together, per se, but we did it together.  Then we went for breakfast together.  What fun we had!

Veronica, Penny, Diane, Alejandra, Connie

Now for the real reason I run and go to the gym... wait for it ... ... so I can eat!  Yep! Plain and simple.  Mexico has some great food and I do not want to be one of those women that always says no because they are on a diet.  They laugh at me at the gym when I tell them this.  I can be heard saying, "life it too short to eat cucumbers" {considered a free calorie here on most diets}. And food is another thing one can do with others.
Karina, lovingly referred to as Chapis, myself and Ernie

Chapis is a friend from the gym who wanted us to experience 'Karnes Garibaldi', a typical dish here in GDL. The food is fantastic but the service is exceptional. They won the fastest service record for  the Guiness Book of World Records. It is amazing.  

Come on down and you can join us for both, the gym and the food!  Ask our kids, they enjoyed both while here.