Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tijuana trip update - Thursday

Good morning from beautiful Tijuana, MX!

Beautiful? Yes, this morning it’s beautiful from the 7th story window of the hotel where we always stay. The early morning view out this window has become familiar to us over the years….the mountains in the distance, the sunrise coming up behind them, the mist slowly fading from over the city, the traffic and sounds….and always the people everywhere. The sun is up and doing its assigned duty of shining brightly…part of the original creation that still brings God glory!

We arrived safely about 20 minutes ahead of schedule, exactly at the right time to connect with Brad, arriving from Atlanta. How amazing is that! A few minutes later, we connected at the car rental place, loaded up, and were on our way. Whenever we’re in Ocean Beach (San Diego), we stay at a rather small hotel right on the ocean front, so those are wonderful times to sit on the patio and just stare at the ocean – internally processing all that God is saying and doing as it relates to the trip. The pounding of the surf provides really great “white noise” for sleeping, and over the years we’ve built some relationship there with the management, too.

After unpacking at the Sunset Cliffs motel, we headed over to meet with a men’s small group at the church where our CFCI San Diego Base Director and his family attend. His father-in-law, Pastor Louie, has been here for years, and we also know him well. The guys were an interesting mix of bikers, and old retired guys who have done things like work with children in Awana for years! Ingrid and I were treated as “honored guests” – maybe because we aren’t guys?! These men – about 15 of them – meet every week, and cook their own dinner, share the meal together, and spend time discipling in God’s Word. I must say, the spaghetti was great! ….and the fellowship fun.

They had Pastor Steve share briefly about Fresh Start, and Dave & Ingrid shared much of their family story and how Fresh Start has impacted them. As always, a great time of connection, and nuggets of truth passed on. These guys are starting a beach outreach next Saturday morning, where they will be mixing and mingling among the homeless and the beach crowd, sharing Christ with them. Lots of ideas and plans are flying with them right now, and it looks to be a pretty exciting summer. The guys were really pumped about the opportunity to hit the streets and beaches to share about Jesus! Honestly, it was refreshing!

Yesterday morning, we met early with the Ocean Beach team that meets for early prayer service and encouragement at the Ice Cream Shop….you may also remember that we generally make a stop there! Some sad news is that the manager, Janice, who we’ve known and prayed with for years, passed away from a very aggressive cancer just last week. The Lighthouse Ice Cream Shop is truly that….a lighthouse in the artsy, somewhat directionless, downtown area of Ocean Beach. These people are frontline warriors in what may well be the homeless capitol of our country! Amazing ministry opportunities, but constant spiritual warfare. This group meets weekly to pray over requests that have been dropped in the prayer boxes at Christian businesses all over the town. They also sometimes share answers to those requests that have also been dropped into the boxes! Dave shared some encouragement and further prayerwalking ideas with them, and challenged them to really take prayer ownership for their area of the wall in that city. Please remember to pray for the present owner of the Lighthouse Shop….the husband is in his late 80’s and presently in the hospital. His wife runs the shop and is probably in her 50’s. They’ve been married nearly 30 years, so this is an extremely challenging time for her.

Around noon, we met up with Pastor Jesús and crossed the border into Tijuana, arriving and settling in at the hotel here. As always, it was great to renew contact with the wonderful manager here, Carlos, who serves us in so many ways every time we come. Last evening we, of course, hit our favorite taco stand…..initiating Ingrid for the first time, to the REAL Mexican concept of “tacos”! Brad let Jesús order for him, and, being a little uninformed about the hot sauce, had quite a “burning coal on his lips” experience,….straight out of Isaiah! We spent some time planning out the week with Pastor Jesús, and headed out to a Wednesday evening service at an area church.

Pastor Steve shared in the service, but turned the bulk of it over to Brad, who spoke about his story and how God had worked in his life and that of his family. The group was quite captivated with him… he can be pretty entertaining! We also know many of these people by now, in spite of the fact that we still don’t share a common language. Many came up to share stories of what God has done in response to ministry the last time we were here….which is always encouraging! We didn’t spend a lengthy time in ministry there, but there were several that we will continue to minister to at the Fresh Start conference on Saturday.

And, so another day begins. This one is packed full already of meeting with ministry leaders in the city, making a visit to the orphanage later this afternoon, and not sure what all else. We will be spending some time in prayer with Jesús and Rosa later in the day. Her health is still quite fragile, and impacts what they are both able to do in ministry. I’ve brought a prayer shawl with me from the team there in Omaha, and will be giving it to her as we pray.

Please keep praying for strength and stamina. The week looks to be pretty full, and already the guys have had a few little curves as to what, when, and how they will be sharing. I’m kind of along as the “scribe” this time, and filling in with ministry wherever needed. Will try to get you a video out later tonight with some pics to keep you in touch and updated as the week moves along.

Thanks so much for your friendship, your support, and your many, many prayers on our behalf!

Sheryl for the Team in Tijuana.

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