Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011

I'm writing as 2011 is coming to a close. 29 minutes left. Our year started off in Mexico. Back in January we came with a team from our Church wanting experience in serving in Ministry full time. We had no idea that our trip in January would eventually lead to us moving our family to Mexico to work along side Koenes Ministries and Pastor Rafael.
I'm not sure how to express the "roller coaster" ride it has been. Our year started with a high but also had many lows. Moving forward with the decision to "go" was the biggest act of faith I have ever made and was also the hardest thing I have ever done. I fought the feeling and the desires to be involved in ministry for many years but for whatever reason I could never get the thoughts out of my head. They always haunted me. I'm so glad that God brought me to a point in my life back in 2009 that I recognized that the hauntings would never stop and I'm so glad that He never gave up on me. Even though I fought Him about it and even though I ignored Him for so long He never gave up.
2011 has been the hardest year of my life in many ways. But 2011 has also been the absolute most rewarding. We saw God in action this year! It is such a privilege to be working here, and even though it is difficult to be away from our families, I know without a doubt we have made an impact on many children and families. An impact that will last for eternity.
2012 is almost here. I believe God has awesome things in mind! One of which is the birth of my daughter. I can hardly wait to see how this year unfolds.
God Bless you all in 2012. My prayer for all of you this year is that God will meet you wherever you are at in your spiritual journey and that He will walk with you a ways. I pray that at the end of 2012 you will be changed and I pray that if you don't have a relationship with Christ, that you will.
Happy New Year!
Brian

PS. A special hi to Shayla, Bryer, Joe, Chalice, Coden, and little Hanna. I miss you and Love you very much.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!! part 2





With Backpacks to be packed and villages to visit. Our time on the bus felt like a daily thing to do. :) The kids loved it so it wasn't them who grumbled when the roads got rough. :) One of my favorite villages is the fishing village that we visited. (That's where I had my 20 week picture taken.) It was fun to walk through and taste their food and watch them at work. Sting rays were in season so the boys got to watch them be filleted. Brian also stepped out of his comfort zone and had lime cooked scallops and shrimp. :) (He actually liked it.)

Christmas Eve was the Fatima community Christmas lunch. The cooks as the mission center had been preparing the food all week for this event. There was singing done by the kids from the kids program, two "dramas" done by the older kids which they did ssooo well. And of course, pinata's to whack. lol. If you look closely, you'll see Cole and Mason waiting patiently in line. The lines were ssooo long!! Over time, the boys gave up and decided to wait with me. :) We were pleased with the out-come of the people who arrived. To see some of the kids standing with their family's, I think you back home know how good it is to meet the parents of the kids you are involved with. :) It was sad to see that little Alexandro's mom was not at the program. So guess who willingly jumped in!! (Cole and Mason just love little Alex like crazy!) Daniela (the older sister) has captured my heart as well. I love working with her as a "parental" team. We have built a relationship of trust, and her heart is a treasure.
Christmas day was a great day for us all. It was a day to just relax! The boys had their new toys to play with, and Brian and I could catch up on our sleep!! Also calling home and being able to connect with family was the icing on the top! Our neighbor back home (Ike) was out early with his girls and we all went out for Christmas lunch at Pollo Feliz! No need to cook for me. :) (Actually that has become a norm for me. lol) Last night was our mission family's supper with all the classics. (The picture with people on the couch) It was good once again to just be one more day before the next group comes in. (Looking forward to your arrival Bethal Church!)

Baby News: All is well with the little one. :) I believe coming home helped me out with my weight gain. :) (What can I say, the food back home is really good!) We had Juan Carlos with us the last appointment to help translate. The previous appointment my doctor had given me a prescription that I was to bring to my december appointment that he could inject. I didn't know what it was until now. He wants me to have a tetnis shot. I informed him that it wouldn't be necessary because I am up to date on my boosters. Well, this one is for the baby. (?!?) In my mind I'm thinking that from my past experiences, while I'm pregnant is the worst time to be taking any kind of shots of this kind. So the next appointment I'm going to have to tell him "no". (Which I'm finding that the men here don't like to hear.) Also we were shown the private hospital that I will be having this little one. It is a small catholic hospital. I am currently working on making sure that Brian can be in the room when the baby is born. (One little step at a time.) :) Oh yes, we found out what the little one will be, It's a girl!!

God bless,
Clarissa

Merry Christmas!! part 1



This month of December has been one to remember!! It was so good for us to be able to come home and connect with family again, and it turned out to be a good break for Cole from school. When he went back to school, he realized he had a best friend here. :) His name is Elly and it turns out that he lives just a block away!!
I was able to experience a Christmas party/program with Cole and his class. The picture on the top right with Cole and his class as they wait their turn to do a song and dance. Each class does one or two songs and than their finished!! Also it is not a quiet program. :) There is a constant hum among the crowd and kids. There were pinata's hanging every where with kids busy giving their best effort to brake through the pinata. There was lots of food, which each class could pick what they wanted. Cole's class had the choice of pizza or meat tacos. (Pizza was the hot item this year!)
Brian's birthday was on the 16th, and it was great to celebrate it with the Sawatzky family. We were all treated to our favorite chicken eat-out place with rotisserie chicken. Oh, and don't forget the homemade carrot cake. (It was still warm) Yummy! This was the start of the celebrations over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It is so good to be back.....

This evening was our first program since we got home from our visit to Canada. We arrived at PR house this evening to find most of the kids there already. I could not believe the excitement in their little faces as we got out of the truck. The children bombarded us! I think I almost got trampled! LOL. If it wasn't for the truck behind me they would have pushed me over. With my back pushed right up against the truck and surrounded by a crowd of crazy Mexican children I began greeting them one by one, picking them up in my arms with big hugs and many kisses on the cheek. After putting them down they got back in line and we went through the process again. I had absolutely no idea the welcome home we would receive from our kids in Fatima but this evening was one of those that made this whole experience worth it. I'll never forget all their little voices calling out our names, begging for a little affection. This journey has been the hardest thing we have ever attempted but at the same time is the most rewarding. I'm so glad that God is using us here, it is an absolute privilage to be involved in this Ministry and tonight was awesome! Children feel love and they are showing love to others. Its what this whole thing is all about.
It is so good to be back!

Brian

Ohhh and another HUGE breakthrough!!!! Remember the thief and his family we talked to you about? Guess what? The father was arrested and if I understand right will be in prison for at least a year. On top of that the family moved to a different part of the city about a month ago. This was really discouraging for us as we have spent piles of time working with their children. Well, the mom has been bringing the children to the program via bus because the kids don't want to miss out. Cool hey! On top of that, this evening she stayed and watched, she was singing along to our songs and also helped us serve the children supper! Better yet PR is picking her and her family up for church this Sunday! PRAISE THE LORD! Pray that she will come to know Christ and that her life would be totally transformed. This would be a HUGE breakthrough for us. If there has ever been a family here that I thought was unreachable, I would have chose this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Update....

Hello

Last week Clarissa shared with you the story of a young lady that was taken by her father.
We wanted to take the opportunity to tell you that she is home now. We have not seen her or talked to her yet so I can't say how she is doing at this time. We expect to see her tonight so we are praying nothing happened to her while she was taken. We want to thank you for praying for her. We are so happy she is home again and safe with her mom. Please pray that she will be willing to talk to social services and have a restraining order put in place so her father can no longer hurt her.

Blessing to all of you

Brian

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pray for us!!!

Hi All
Hope that everyone back home is doing well. We are enjoying the season but I tell you it sure does not feel like November. We are enjoying nice days and cool evenings.
So life here has been good. We are seeing God at work for sure. With the food program we see Him providing just enough to keep us going. We are continuing to feel His presence all the time. This week we went out into the community to hand out hampers and it is just so great to touch base with the people. It is so freeing not to judge them or there lifestyle and just go there and bring them some food, and tell them that Jesus loves them even though they have baggage in their lives. We all have baggage but God forgives it all. We feel the Spirit is moving and hope to see some seeds sprout really soon.
At Casa de Esperanza life is busy too! We have building projects on the go. Teams are arriving and life is BUSY! We are starting to fit in a little more with the family here, although we are still trying to figure out where exactly we fit in. Art and Brenda as well as the rest of the team are awesome and they are stepping back and allowing the Spirit to lead. It's so cool!
One thing that I love about the ministry here as well as in Fatima is that the door is always open. People look to the mission center as a light house and a place of refuge. If they are in trouble or in need they come to us and know that we will do whatever we can to help them. (they think they come for help but we are actually giving them love) Again, we don't judge, we don't frown at them or their stories, we simply show them love and share Christ love and that's what is all about.
We see so many great things happening in the ministry here as well as other ministries in the community but we also sense that the dark forces are equally alive and moving. We sense it here. We all feel constant attacks. Starting at our staff in leadership right down to Cole. We are all feeling it. In talking to other mission organizations here they are sensing the same thing. Satan is alive and trying hard to mess up our teams. Please pray for protection. I know that even as a family we are always under attack and at times out of control. Please pray for Clarissa and I. As leaders in our home we definitely feel that we are being separated. With everything going on it seems hard to communicate and stay on the same page. This adds additional stress and often restless nights. For some reason I thought once we were down here life would become easier. Boy was I wrong! Missions is not joke!!! It's hard!!! So often everything seems out of control and falling apart. Help us stay strong and lean on the truth that when we are weak He is strong but pray God would deliver us from the stress, anxiety, and lies that Satan is trying to distract us with.
Please pray for Koenes Ministries/Casa de Esperanza, the food program as well as the church building project. Each one is a ministry in itself and the work that is happening is really amazing. None of it is possible without people that want to make a difference down here as well as people at home that want to be involved as well. Please pray that God would continue to lay it on the hearts of those he chooses to support these programs. As we are down here and see the work being done I can attest that your prayers and financial support is making a difference in lives and DEFINITELY impacting eternity. We praise God for all our supporters and trust that He will bless all of you. I'm sure at times some of you question whether you contribution really makes a difference but I assure you, you are bringing hope to a world that has none. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
We are looking forward to our visit home at the end of this month. It will be very good for our family to step out of Mexico for a breather. We would love to touch base with everyone that has been a support to us but we realize that it just cant happen. We are booking in time with our families first and then seeing if we can squeeze in some time with friends. Please forgive us in advance if we simply don't have a chance to connect with you but if we cross paths I look forward to touching base.

God Bless you all

Brian

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time with the boys






We had an exciting Saturday morning with our oldest boys. We decided to take them out to climb the Tetakowi Mountain. We all had a blast. With our lunch packed and equipped with water we set out on our journey up the 1400' mountain. It was an awesome opportunity to share Gods love with them and reflected on the time that Jesus was on the mountain praying while his disciples were out on the water battling the storm. I shared with them that life has challenges and storms but we are not alone. Jesus is praying for us and with us and will be our strength in time of need. It was so cool to share of the story being up on the mountain with the ocean at our side. Pray that the boys understand and that all of them would surrender their lives.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Girl time with Maricela

Casa de Esperanza has been a true blessing for Maricela, Dulce and the 6 young teenage girls this Friday to Saturday. The girls were super pumped to be here, and they kept on saying they felt like they were in a dream and that they never wanted it to end. :) After supper on Friday, the girls gathered under the Palapa first to be greeted by us the staff at the mission center. Second to have a evening of encouragement and sharing time with each other. I am so thankful that Itzel was willing to translate for me as this happened, I now know the girls more personally and can pray specifically for each one. Maricela did a great job of encouraging them in loving their family, even when it is sssoooo hard. (Like when a parent is giving you the gears or siblings just being nasty.) But also hearing in what kind of environment Maricela grew up in. She has experienced everything that these girls have, which makes her the even better "mom" for them.
As all slumber parties go, they did not get to sleep until after 2 a.m. and were up by 6:30 a.m. lol I know Maricela wanted to sleep in until 9 a.m. I didn't sleep over with them because I still needed to get to fatima the next morning. I know all that time they all were up talking, brought them all closer. I could see it already Saturday at lunch. I don't know about you all, but boy do teenage kids (or any other age) wear me out!!!

There is one girl specifically that we ask you to raise up in pray the next while. She was to come to this retreat as well, and was even at the Pastor's home ready to go. Until her drunk father showed up and insisted that she was coming with him. What I all understand is that he isn't with her mother, and that she actually has a step father back home. What gets me is that her step father back home treats her and her siblings as his children where as her biological father sees her as a woman. He has been texting her that she needs to go with him and be with him. When they are alone together he molests her. It had got to a point this last Thursday (which I wish I would have known at the time) she had reached her breaking point with him and told her friends that she would just go with him already. (She had been resisting and telling him to leave her alone.) As all the pieces are falling together this weekend we are going to see what we can do to protect her from him. Pray that Brenda has the strength to talk to the social services as well as the police so that we can get a restraining order on this guy. Pray protection over her. This morning I did not see her at the food program in fatima, but her little sister showed up. Something is very wrong.

God bless you all.

Friday, November 11, 2011




It has been too long since our last blog!! I am happy to finally get you all up to date on what's been going on. :) It sure seems like there is always something. lol We have officially moved for our last time. Any itch I've ever had to move has been scratched more times than it needed. But none the less, our new home suits our family the best. We purchased a camper and the boys are loving it. It is so nice to live on site at Casa de Esperenza and not do so much driving!! As well, the boys have their own space when they need a nap or play on their own. ( I also appreciate the nap option.) :) Even just having a place for all our stuff!! We had been living out of our suitcases and totes since we had got here.
The food program has changed and improved greatly the last 2 weeks. After the volunteer meeting, all the volunteers had their position in the program and some simple rules laid out that helped everyone out. We now have designated kitchen staff, and during the program the kitchen is off limits to everyone. :) (I know the cooks are loving it.) We also have split up the kids into age groups and have leaders for each group. (Very much like Sunday school.) After the lesson, the volunteers serve the children one class at a time. It is amazing how the kids have adapted to this new system. We have number of 65-70 kids regularly, and it sounds like 20. It's shocking!! The kids are much calmer and much more patient with the food. In some ways I wonder if they are just relieved to have one part of their life that's not ciotic? Even their playing after the program is more calm. None the less, we still have some kinks to work out, but we have a good start on forming a program that will be able to accommodate 100 on a regular basis.

Little Alex has been blossoming! He is acting more and more like a 1 year old. :) Thanks to Absalom and Brian. :) The time they spend with him, is precious to this little boy. Once he's in their arms he does not want to go to any one else. lol Also seeing Daniella (his cousin that takes care of him) opening up to us, and willingly handing Alex over when she sees us is huge. In the beginning she wasn't so willing; but we knew she needed to play with the girls her age (she's 11) and just be a kid. :) Now she's anxious to run off with her friends to play. :)
Now that I think of it, so many of the kids have been totally transforming in front of our eyes. P.Rapheal has a van full of kids that come to church with his family every Sunday. Also hearing that at home the parents are seeing a difference in their attitudes, for the good. It sure gets the parents curious in what they are being taught. :) (Which is an exciting part of God's plan)

The weather has changed to what would be normal summer weather back home. The evenings can cool down to 15c and I hate to say it, but it's cold. lol (But we sure appreciate the change.) As perfect weather goes, it's the same everyday. Sunny, with maybe a little bit of clouds. There is usually a bit of a breeze. I hate to say it, but it sure does not feel like we're approaching Christmas. I do miss the changes that come with each season, at least you know where you are in the year. :)

Baby News: I am 15 weeks along and the little one is growing. :) I haven't had a doctor's appointment since the ultrasound and I am currently working on changing that. I think I have found the doctor that I will use. He is know for being the doctor that delivers babies. (25% ) Not a very high rate if you ask me, but I'm trying to find the doctor that won't be super eager to give me a c-section. (They are hard to find, they make more money if they perform a c-section) I'm also finding myself at ease with having a baby in Mexico. Previously I just wouldn't let myself think about it.

The boys are still in school, and each one is having a different experience. Mason is doing well, and learning Spanish quickly. I am catching him using Spanish when he's talking. lol Also he seems to be a trouble maker at school. Yesterday I received a note that he had pumped out all the soup in the boys bathroom and we owed them a bottle of soup.
Cole is struggling with the boys at school. They are a rough bunch, and it's really hard to adjust to when back home this kind of play wouldn't have been tolerated. We are currently getting to the bottom of this, and while we're doing this we have advised Cole to defend himself in the meanwhile. Cole's Spanish is coming along very well. He also has gained confidence from an experience where he could translate what a worker was saying, when Brian didn't. I honestly think that was what Cole needed to start liking the language and to encourage him to learn more. (I wish you could have seen him, he was super pumped that he could translate something for dad.) :)


Monday, October 24, 2011

A new season

It is refreshing to have Brenda the the team here. First thing was a team meeting and a layout of the team schedule for the next 6 months. It is jam packed!! It was good to see when we were to expect friends from home to arrive. (Spring break!!) Needless to say, Art and the guys went straight to work. These pics are for the new dorm and employee lodging. It'll be a 2 story building. Which is a much needed building to accommodate you all when you arrive!! The plan is to get this built before January, and then January the teams will be focused on P.Rafaels church building.













With having everyone here (Ryan and Juan Carlos are arriving tonight) it's great to get a system that works well for us as a team, but it means for us as a family to once again re-adjust our life to a new schedule. With every change in life there is always good and the bad. And what I'm struggling with is just having a routine for the boys that works. I am very thankful that everyone is encouraging me to do what I need to do for us to have a family life as well. As we are trying to figure this all out, please pray for wisdom for us as that sure seems to be the key to it all. :)

As our food program has nearly reached it's max right now (we had 100 kids on saturday) we are seeing big steps in the future in organization!! What we find in the Mexican culture, is that ciaos is a norm and no one is bothered much by it. But as the food program is growing and we are having more volunteers come to help, there is need of direction. Praise God that it was P.Rafael that initiated a volunteer meeting. :) It'll be happening this week, and with it we will be seeing who are the "real" volunteers and who are people that just hang out at the house. It is going to start to feel more like a food program with organization!!
The photo of Christian and Erica was taken because we were handing out "pillow case sun dresses" that were made by our "home" church here in San Carlos. I had to have Christian in the photo as well, as he reminds me of a farmer with his overalls. lol The ladies had made a whole box full, which probably had 60 dresses in it. They all were made from pillow cases or scrap fabric. Very nice for the hot weather we are still having!! I have the "pattern" and will email it to the church office if anyone is interested in making some.
Baby News:
Brian and I had gone in for a early ultra sound a couple of days ago by the request of the doctor. :) (I really don't mind see the little one early) We had arrived a few minutes early, to only wait 45 mins in the waiting room. Once it was our turn to go in, we entered a very simple room. No gown changing, just lay on the bed. Although we did get to watch the doctor work on the screen, and see all what he measured on the baby. Very cool. I had been told that I didn't need a translator, but I'd have to disagree on that statement. lol Everything was "normal" which we are happy to hear. Also the baby was 12 weeks and 1 day on the day of the ultrasound. So May 4th is my official due date. After he was done with me, than we needed to go wait in the waiting room once again to wait for the letter and pictures that we were to bring to our doctor. :) So I have been able to look at baby everyday. :)
My morning sickness is really evening and night sickness. It sucks. But today I woke up with energy and started to clean!! (My dad will be so proud) ;)

Time with mom and dad

It is time to do some catching up with you all back home. :) Mom and Dad arrived on motorcycle which was a surprise to Mason. We had told him that mama and papa would be visiting, but he kept on telling us that it couldn't happen, because they live very far away. If they came, they would have to drive in a "rojo truck". lol To see his face as they drove up to the mission center was priceless. Mason couldn't stop smiling and looking at papa. lol Cole, let's just say he was super pumped. :) We were on our last two weeks of
"vacation time" so to spend it with them was good. The weather had just cooled the night before they had arrived, so they were jipped on experiencing the weather we had been used too. (But we were too sorry about it, it was nice to walk out into cool air.) They joined us on our food program days, and in between we had to figure out what to do. Brian and dad built some more tables for the kids. Which was (and still is) very much needed. They are well used dad!! They have become the new hang out spot for the older kids. :) And like always, mom connected with some special girls. :) Itzel and Kristel. Mom you have a gift with connecting with young teens!!
Mom put together food hampers for 12 families that were in most need. (Thanks mom) We also handed them out to these families, which was a honor. We see the kids weekly, but to be
able connect with their guardians is truly an honor. To also realize that one of the families in need is actually one of the dedicated volunteers is eye opening, but also brings you closer. As well as another mother sharing with us the changes she is seeing in her daughters. God is doing big things through Maricela and Rafael, and that we get to be here and watch it happen before our eyes is ....
awesome.
We also went out and did some fun things as a family. We went to the delfininario and watched a "Dolphin movie" (Mason's description). One morning everyone except Mason and I, went to hike the tetakawi mountain lead by our friends Andy and Jenny. I suggest asking my parents personally what they thought. lol We really didn't know what it would be like, so it was a new experience for everyone. lol There is one thing I have to say is that Cole could have climbed it twice. I don't know why he didn't come back tired. :) (Seriously, he was always ahead of the pack, but they said it was like doing a stair-master all the was up.)
The day that mom and dad left was the day that Brenda, Art and Itzel arrived. So we have had to jump into a new system of things, which we are excited for. Now we will start building!
God bless!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Small update

Hello Everyone
It has been a very exciting week for us. First off, Clarissa's Mom and Dad came down to visit us for a couple weeks. They arrived yesterday afternoon. We have had a real great time re connecting with them. Our boys were so stoked to see them driving up the road approaching the mission center. Secondly, we enrolled both of our boys into the Spanish public school this week. Cole LOVES it! He is such a social bug. It is so good for him to get out of the house and he has already made friends. We are so thankful that God has blessed him with friends. Mason is not quite as enthused but after we leave he seems to be having fun. It is always a bit hard to drop him off but when we pick him up he is pumped and says he had a good morning.
This evening was real special as Mom and Dad joined us for our Thursday night feeding program. It was really cool for them to meet Pastor Rafael and his family and especially cool to see them connect with all the children. I'm extremely touched that they can be here to see what we do. Also, this evening was especially touching for me. One of the girls asked me to teach her a sentence in English. I decided to teach her how to say "you are my friend." Karen replied very clearly in English saying "You are my Daddy" followed with a big hug. Words cannot express how how touched I was to hear her reply. Like most of the children here, she does not have a father.
We trust that you are all well back home.
Brian

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unexpected Surprise - Brian's Involvment

Hi Guy and Gals

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you that are interested and make the effort to follow our blog. It is real encouraging to see that people are checking it out.

Like Clarissa mentioned we found out that we have a baby on the way. I won't go into all the details of my involvement in this but I will share of my pain and agony thus far. We were in NO way prepared for this news and without a doubt in shock when we found out. We have been through the whole "preg checking " experience time and time again each of them being a disappointment. After taking tests and seeing a Doctor we were told that it would be difficult to have another child without help so we took that as our family was complete. With as shocking and surprising as this news was to us I don't know why we didn't see it coming. We have seen God do amazing things over the last 6 months so why would we be shocked to find out that God had this up his sleeve?

I have to tell you this story. When Clarissa first suspected that she may be pregnant I didn't think too much of it. Been there, done that I thought. (preg checking) She wasn't feeling great so I took it upon myself to go to the Walmart Pharmacy to buy her a test. How hard could it be right??? Because Clarissa was feeling ill I was suspecting God might be up to something so I was getting a bit curious myself. Did this idea ever turn out to be a BIG mistake! I was trying to find a test on the shelf without looking suspicious by standing in one spot for too long. My thought out approach and strategy... to keep moving down the isles as if I was casually enjoying a day of shopping at Walmart without the kids, picking up and looking at the odd item while browsing through each isle, in an effort NOT to draw any attention to myself. (in the women's personal products isles, I'm such an idiot!) The last thing I wanted was the pharmacist to notice me, so I made every effort to keep her at my back. The other last thing I wanted was her to come ask if I needed assistance but then it happened!!! She moved into position and we made eye contact! I knew without a doubt this has just turned bad, real bad. I had a split second to decided whether to bolt or humiliate myself and so... I froze!
When we took on this mission and moved to Mexico, never in my wildest dream did I ever think I would find myself trying communicate with a Spanish pharmacist that I was in need of a pregnancy test. Here I am pointing at my stomach making hand gestures indicating that its growing. I can only tell you it was probably the most humiliating thing I have ever done in my life, trying to explain myself using lots of sign language and very broken Spanish. I can only imagine what this poor lady was thinking. After our game of charades she led me to the isle and showed me a package which contained exactly what I was looking for. (guess I'm a good actor, lol) Of course they were tucked in behind a pole right beside a wide variety of condoms bringing this experience of humiliation to a whole new level. (perfect place for them, in the men product isle, who would have thought) Here we are standing by the condoms as she proceeded to ask "in Spanish" what kind I would would like pointing at all the different options on the shelf. At this point I'm thinking "just give me that one so I can get out of here." In desperation I used every bit of Spanish in my vocabulary that I could think of, pointed to the one in her hand and asked... ok???? She said Si Senor and she finally gave me the box.

WHY!?!?!

When I left the store I was running the whole thing back in my mind and realized, I didn't even thank her. I literally took the box and fled. (on my gimp foot) I was so embarrassed, sweat pouring from each sweat gland in my body and red as a beet. I look back and have to chuckle, I must have looked like such a fool. I imagine that she ended up chuckling about it as well.

As you know the test results came back positive as did the results from the doctors office. We are officially on another journey and adventure. I'm so thankful that God is blessing us. It has been a wild ride, I can't wait to head back to Manitoba with an extra passenger. We left as four and will come back as five.

Miss you all, thanks for following us on the blog, hope you can enjoy a laugh at my expense but on a serious note, please pray for Clarissa. She has been feeling miserable. She didn't go to the children's program last Saturday or church on Sunday. We are praying that this will only be a stage and not last through out her whole pregnancy.

Thanks and God Bless,

Brian

P.S. I chose a pink font because its a girl ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

unexpected surprise........to say the least

This week was started with a shocker. Brian and I found out that we are expecting. lol I wish you all would have been there to see our faces. This is the last thing we thought we would experience here in Mexico. Also the last thing I thought I would need to explore here, the medical system. :) I feel like I should start at the very beginning with this whole story.
From the beginning of our marriage Brian and I have put our family in God's hands in the way that God would give us the children we were meant to have. It has worked for us very well. I've had 2 pregnancies that gave me 2 healthy boys. After Mason we still prayed for more, but none came. As time went by, I started praying that God would take this desire away if there were to be no more. Over 1/2 a year ago this happened. (I was relieved in the way that I'm sure many women who are trying for more children can understand. There is always a little bit of "heart break" when you find out that month after month their is still no pregnancy.) We still don't quite understand God's timing but the fact is that it happened here in Mexico. This was a sign for me that we are where God wanted us, and how He wanted to fill that void. We felt that our family was done. Which I had come to accept. :) My boys are busy and bright. What more could I ask for?
Before we had left for Mexico, my mother had told me that I would become pregnant in Mexico. "You just watch." she said. I was very confident that she was wrong in this area. :) But none the less I should listen to my mother, because "mama knows best". lol

This week we've been inquiring about the medical system here, and where the best place is to go. We are going to go to the American doctor at the San Carlos clinic for now. As we explore the system who know where it will take us. I already did my lab work, which was at a walk in lab. Super fast, and really good at getting the needle in the vein! lol Everything here cost some money, and so far it's not too crazy. Doctor visits are approx. $40 each. The lab work was $70. We've been inquiring about the birth and the most it can cost it $3000. (This is the price for a complicated c-section) As the time goes by, we'll figure out if we want the baby here or back home. Our thoughts are that this is no surprise to God and we want to have the baby where ever he wants us to. Right now we have peace with having the baby in Mexico but we have allot of time to pray about it. One of the reason why we're hesitating with having the baby in Canada is that I'm due around May 3 meaning we would have to start our trek home in the beginning of April. So, just another thing to pray about and ask wisdom for. I have been experiencing morning sickness....all day long. :( Which I pray that it will be for only a short time. It would be a very long stay in Mexico if it isn't. (I was sick with Mason the whole pregnancy.)

We know that as shocking as this was to us it was no surprise to God and he knew that we would become pregnant here in Mexico. We seem to think that there is reason for that and we also feel we are right where He wants us. Right now we are just starting to settle into the food program and feel that we still have ALLOT to to before we are ready to call it quits. We are very attached to the children and have no peace about coming home at this point. We are also starting to see potential growth and are excited to sit down with the team in October to discuss what the future holds for the program.

Please remember me and our family in your prayers. Also remember the children in Fatima.

Love Clarissa

(Brian says its a Girl)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Great Morning

Hola Amigos,

We had a really great morning at the kids program. We had an all time record of 75 children show up to eat. (highest we have seen since we have been here anyway) We need to pick up more plastic plates and cups as we are running out and having to resort to Styrofoam. Its not a bad thing but as look to the future we are going to need to increase supply.
Yesterday we had a donation of 500 lb of potatoes!!! Catch was they were on the verge of turning bad. We estimated they had another 2-3 days before they started to get stinky. LOL So, the pastor and his family went door to door and handed them out to the community. We are thankful that we could disperse them that way. It is so encouraging to the families here that these potato's were donated. It shows them that people do care about them. This morning we obviously served potatoes, diced wieners, with beans and corn tortilla's. It was a standard breakfast but it went over really well again. On Thursday evening we served "Mexican Pizza Buns" which went over REALLY well. They are simply a bun with beans spread over top and mozzarella cheese on top of that. The children pigged out. It was crazy! They were crazy! They were soooo hungry but I'm pretty positive than none left hungry. Oh, we brought them banana's. That is always a real treat too. It was an awesome night.
We are growing really close to all the children. We always get our hugs and kisses. This morning I fed little Alex his breakfast. I managed to get a smile out of him. He is a real awesome little dude!
We are missing all our family and friends back home. A special hello to our church family. We miss you guys. As a family we are doing well. Clarissa has been under the weather so keep her in your prayers.

Blessings from San Carlos

Brian

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Broken World

A video for you to enjoy.

Click Here

some birthday wishes you just can't buy


My birthday was defiantly special. I got what I wanted for my birthday, and that was to see little Alex smile. :) He just LOVED his bath, he played and loved everything about it. I think all you mothers know exactly what I mean. There is nothing like the joy you feel when a little one is happy. That was the middle of my day, but I should probably start at the beginning.....
Dear friends of ours willingly came along to check out the food program to see how they could help. They are with Kings Kids Orphanage. We started our drive out to Fatima at 8:00 in the morning. When we arrived, Maricela was outside waiting for me, and told me that we had to go right now. (Which is not normal. We usually bring our bags in and then start our trek to gather the kids. I thought for sure that we were late or something. We had to go now. After 2 trips collecting kids with the truck, we arrived at the house with the door shut. (odd as well) I heard a lot of kids inside (odd as well) and when I opened the door, all the kids were there waiting for me and they sang happy birthday to me and gave me many hugs. :) It was wonderful. So many of them had either written me a note or made me a paper card. Precious.
We saw new faces again this morning. (Which is great!) Along with the new faces was a girl that was in need of some medical attention. She had a large skin infection around her mouth and neck. Very sad. We got to chat with her mother and saw that her sister also had the same infection. We came to the conclusion that it was contagious, we brought the family to the doctor to get the proper meds before it spread further. I am thankful that God is presenting these cases one at a time, otherwise we would be overwhelmed with the medical need. We hope to see this family again to check up on how they are doing. :)
We had a big shower day for the girls. The girls are always the first to want a shower and "new" clothes. Next Saturday it will be the boys day to shower.
When the children were all sent home, the rest of us (friends, family and helpers) had cake and coke to celebrate my birthday. It was great to hang out with the adults and build friendships even if the language is minimal. :) After a day this busy, all I wanted was to shower and sit in a/c and relax. Brian was great in providing me my last birthday wish with pizza and a movie. I defiantly missed my friends and family back home, the tears often were ready to spill. But God heard my heart and gave me what I so wanted to see, and that was to see Alex smile. (And boy did he smile.) :) Love you, and miss you.
Clarissa

A special request brought to us.

Hi Everyone,

We are coming to you with a specific need. This need is not necessarily for the children but it does impact the program We have a special young lady that is involved in the food program. For those of you that were here in January you will remember her as Dulce, one of Pastor Rafael's son's (Absalom) girlfriends. She is planning to enter her final year of studying Psychology and is in need of $200.00 for registration tomorrow. They have done some fundraising and raised part of the funds but have come up a $200.00 short.
Dulce is a beautiful and sweet girl that has committed her life to service, she is active at each program and is involved in the worship team at church. She has become close friends of Clarissa. She has studied Psychology so that she can help the children work through some of the trauma that the are experiencing in Fatima. Clarissa and I are not really in a position to help out right now so we are going to present this need before God and you.
It encourages me that Dulce has taken on the challenge of studying for a degree. It is uncommon here. Her life has been a life a positive influence for the children and she has modeled that anything is possible with God and if you set your mind to it.
Please take this need into consideration and if you feel led to help her please contact us personally through our email address and we can discuss details. The deadline for registration is tomorrow.

Thank You

Brian

Friday, September 9, 2011

Who is our leader in times of battle?

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you are all well and looking forward to fall arriving. We are! According to the locals here we can expect the weather to change on October 15. Apparently we will literally walk outside one morning and the humidity will be gone and the temps will have fallen to a comfortable 25-30 degrees. I guess we will soon see how accurate they are.

I have had a difficult time coming up with the right words to express what my experience in Mexico has been like so far. As I have shared in the past, I experience times where the need totally overwhelms me. In e very direction I look there is some sort of need. Regarding the food program and the children involved. We face physical needs, abuse at home, medical needs, spiritual needs and in many cases abandonment. Each child has a complicated story, each child will more than likely experience disgusting and immoral acts of abuse at some point before they become adults. When I look around the community it honestly makes me question if there is any hope? The enemy is so present here. It is totally overwhelming! Everyone is broken, and for most families, they feel there is no hope! They don't even understand how bad and how lost they are.
Then, I drive out of the community and head towards the city. On the street corners I see homeless people sleeping. Obviously they haven't eaten any kind of quality meal lately, haven't had a haircut, haven't shaved, and haven't changed their clothes in what appears to be months. Can't imagine them even taking a shower in the last month. They look totally disgusting, I'm sure they are crawling with lice and who knows what else. Definitely the kind of person I would walk around if I met up with them on the sidewalk. But then I stop and think... What is their story? Has it always been this way? Why do certain people have to live like this when others are so totally blessed? They didn't choose to be born into this poverty. More importantly it makes me ask, who is loving them? When is the last time they have they felt a physical touch of love? How often does someone walk up to them and demonstrate Christs love? Has anyone cared enough about them to share salvation? I'm not sure if some of you have ever been in a position to look into the eyes of a person that has absolutely no hope? They are empty and black, makes you wonder if someone is even in there?
We see this every time we go to and from our place in San Carlos to Fatima. I have to admit, after time I started to become blind to the men laying on the street corners. They were still there, I just didn't see them for awhile. I became desensitized from driving past them all the time. Sounds horrible doesn't it.
Again, coming from a Country and community where we are very blessed, it is heart breaking to live in a world where people have it so bad. It seems so unfair and we really need to be thankful.
Today, I had breakfast with the Pastor of San Carlos Community Church. He is from the US and has been becoming a friend of mine. He share with me the story of when King Hezekiah and his kingdom fell under attack from Sennacherib, King of Assyria. Sennacherib had captured all the fortified cities of Judah and sent a message to Hezekiah to surrender. Realizing that their situation was hopeless Hezekiah went to the Temple and prayed for deliverance. God heard Hezekiah's prayer and delivered them by sending out an Angel that night to defeat and destroy the Assyrian army of a hundred and eighty five thousand men.
This story has reminded me that with God there is always hope. Even when we look around and feel defeated. This hope held true when King Hezekiah looked out over the army of a hundred and eight five thousand. He knew there was absolutely no way he could defeat them on his own. He must have felt surrounded, trapped and hopeless! So what did he do...he prayed to the one true and living God! This hope also holds true in our lives here in Mexico and also holds true to any "battles" any of you are going through back home. We need to remember that God is in control and that he does answer prayers.
For the program here we need your prayer and ask that God would deliver the people from their poverty, from all the abuse, from the spiritual battles with witch craft and warfare. Pray that we can eventually meet all the needs of all the children here and that somehow the homeless will also be reached. We need to remember that with God, nothing is impossible. He can do more than we ask or imagine.

I realize that it has been a long time since my last report, so I apologize. I am also in the process of completing our August new letter. I hope to email it early next week. I'll finish this letter with a short passage from the book of James chapter 5.

Blessings to all of you. We miss you and look forward to seeing some of you soon.
Brian

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

a new week and new experiences





The past week has been an interesting week to say the least. With experiencing a cactus attached to my arm to seeing seals and dolphins up close. The jumping cactus experience wasn't painful, I just wasn't sure how I was going to get it off without getting the needles stuck in my hand. Thanks to Ryan, he showed me how to remove the crazy thing. lol I'm also coming up with a plan to remove the one existing plant at the mission center.
This last week we had our first Thursday feeding. We decided it would be easiest to add a feeding to Thursday, because that is when the kids program is held. It went rather well. It could always be more organized, but the kids were fed. (Apparently carrots aren't a favorite for some kids here too. lol) This coming Monday we are sitting down with Rafael and Maricela to figure out a meal plan for the coming week(s). (I hope for weeks.)
Today went well for feeding as well, the kids are great. It's getting to a point for me that I am noticing when a child isn't at the feeding. The last 2 weeks we've had a family of children that have showed up that this little boy belongs to. When they arrive, us women are quickly to take this boy in our arms and mother him for the morning. I am thankful for this, otherwise we would have never noticed his infections over his body. As well as a large questionable spot on his back. When the children showed up today; Brian, Rafael and Ramone took him in to see the doctor about what we were seeing. We bought medication for his infections on his skin, but the doctor was also concerned about the other skin spot. He advised us to take him to a skin specialist. He was concerned that it was cancerous. So pray for this little boy and the wisdom of the doctors we will bring him to. As we know more, we will inform you. Your prayers have been huge here and we are so thankful for all of you.
Clarissa

Friday, August 26, 2011

Start of the new school year

School started this week in the area, as well as for Cole and I. We were on the fence on how we would go about doing school. I liked the idea of putting him in school in the area so that he would learn spanish. But then we would have to do a little of H.Schooling after school to make sure we also are up to Canadian curriculum standards. I also liked the idea of just H.Schooling because we could have time off when family comes to visit. Freedom to spend all our time with family has won! We started school when the rest of the kids started. We've had a week of figuring out how to make our 2-3 hours work to their full potential. I have always had a respect for the teachers in my child's life, but I have an all new respect!! I now see first hand the struggles there are when Cole hasn't had a good nights sleep, also when he struggles with a subject or just plain doesn't like it. Even the effort on the teacher side to make sure that they have a good nights sleep if they will be at their full potential!
I'm also excited that Cole's classmates want to keep contact with him, and I look forward to helping Cole email his friends.

God Bless!!
Clarissa

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Close Call

This evening started out to be a normal Thursday evening. We headed off to Guaymas for the programs and arrived there a bit early, it was around 5:30. Marisela, Clarissa and Duelse started their walk gathering all the children for the program as I stayed back with the boys. We were outside when I saw Clarissa and Duelse hurrying back to the house. Clarissa told me I needed to get in the truck and go pick up Erica (13) from her house and get her to the hospital. She was struggling to breath. I rushed over to go and get her and when I arrived she was gasping for air and in tears. We got her in the truck and Maricela, Erica's aunt, her mother and I were off to the Hospital. I drove as fast as I could on the Fatima roads without the truck breaking into pieces and once on the highway sped into Guaymas running stop lights, stop signs and dodging vehicles. We arrived at the Hospital and Erica was barely breathing. Hospital staff took her in imminently as she was unconscious when we arrived. Initially her mother went in with her but after a short time she came to the waiting room in tears. She said that it wasn't good, and that the doctors were working on her. I found out later that Erica had an allergic reaction to Asprin. The doctors managed to stabilizer her and a scary situation turned out okay. We are so thankful that Erica will recover and all will be okay, She is in the hospital for the night but is expected to go home tomorrow.
I cant help but think what would have happened if the girls hadn't gone out for their walk to pic up the kids for the program? The household has no phone or vehicle. They had no one to notify! We are so thankful that Gods timing was perfect this evening. The girls showed up just on time and we got her to the hospital just as Erica dosed off into unconsciousness. We Praise the Lord that everything worked out.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I miss...

Through the last couple of weeks, the line "I miss" has entered my mind often. There was a day where I felt I could have written a song. lol While talking to my sister about it, she encouraged me to blog it.
I miss dirt.
I miss walking barefoot, and not worrying about critters.
I miss working in dirt.
I miss waking up in the morning and having to check what the weather is like outside. (Here it's a consistent hot.)
I miss seeing big trees with big green leaves.
I miss seeing my family. My nieces and nephews. (Skype is just not the same.)
I miss knowing all the little things that are happening in everyone's lives.
I miss my kitchen, where everything I need is in the cupboards.
I miss flushing the toilet paper down the toilet. (It goes in the garbage here.)
I miss all the relationships that I have been blessed with back home. Especially in the church family. (I miss you guys!!)
I miss being able to just start a conversation without much thought on how I will be able to express what I'm trying to communicate. (I have often wanted to ask someone something, but because I don't know the words for them to understand, I just am quiet.)
I miss a scheduled day, and that everyone around me has a scheduled day.
I miss eating supper before 10:00pm. (This is usually when we are at P.Raphael's home.)
I miss our culture, and understanding it.
I so so miss the women in my life that have pulled me under their wing.
I miss a/c everywhere I go. :)
I miss a pressurized shower. (Right now it literally pours out of a pipe out of the wall. We did put a shower head on, put there wasn't enough pressure to spray out.)
I miss having water come out of the tap every time I turn it on.
I miss seeing animals that are fed.
I miss our gravel roads!
I miss normal driving. (Here, anything goes.)
I miss home.

Clarissa

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's been awhile!

"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." Rev 3:8

Hello Everyone,

Sorry it has been awhile since we have posted on our blog. We have been quite busy this week and on top of that we have been dealing with the loss of internet to our home.
The past week has been a week of many emotions and feeling. We have had good days but this week has also brought us to the verge of wanting to go home. Although we have experienced hard times this week, God has also reminded us that He is only an arms reach away and He is wanting to walk this journey with us.

We went on a small road trip this week up to the town on Sonoyta and held VBS programs at church that is right on the USA border. It was an eerie feeling standing at the 12' fence looking into the USA knowing that that the fence was there to keep us out. It felt like we were on the side of the bad guys. (i guess we are) It was an uncomfortable feeling and although I was outside I felt a bit claustrophobic knowing they were keeping us out. I would have much rather been on the other side of the fence. During our travels we hit numerous check stops. Again, the heavy presence of the military and the marines is a bit eerie and uncomfortable. We saw (and continue to see) many Police trucks armed with mounted machine guns and its common to see officers armed with AK47's. Although they are intimidating, each time we have crossed through a check stop or have come in direct contact with a Marine or Military officer, each one has been really friendly and pleasant.
Our boys continue to do well in our new surroundings. We are thankful that they like it here. They are missing our families back in Canada and are very excited for their visits. Mason's infection on his toe is healing which is great and Cole has officially started home school. We are hoping to get a head start so that he can take some "time off" when Grandma and Grandpa show up.
Clarissa and I are doing okay. Clarissa had a rough week in that she was to the point of going home. Yesterday was my first day I was officially frustrated with "Mexico" but today is a new day and its off to a good start.
The food program is going well. We are waiting for some assistance from Canada so that we can start making some small changes. My goal right now is to get it to the point that it can function on it's own using support from the US and Canada vs. the funds coming from Pastor Rafael or myself. Both of us are finding the financial weight of the program draining even though its not requiring huge dollars right now neither of us have extra funds to cover all the costs. Pray that God would provide for the program so that we can continue to reach the children here. We see awesome things happening with the children, not necessarily because we feed them but because the program gives us the opportunity to spend time with them and be an example of love and support. They sense security and stability while they are with us and we know that they are learning and watching us. We want to start feeding twice per week so that we can double the amount of time that we spend with them, as well as meet a "real" need that they have all in an effort to have as much influence on the as we can. So Pray that God would guide and direct and also provide.

There are several ways you can support the Food Program.

1)
If you are in need of a Birthday cake or a cake for a special occasion call Jenn Scapinello at 325-6332 or look up her up at "Charity Cakes" on Facebook to see photo's of here work. She is donating all the proceeds towards supporting the program here in Guaymas.
2) If you are in need of a Hair Cut and would like to Support, on August 25 my sister, Jen Winters is offering her services at McKena's Spa in Morden by donation only. You can visit her also on Facebook as well at "Haircuts for Guaymas" or call her at 822-1328 to book an appointment. Again all donations from the hair cuts are going towards the food program here.

Both these ladies are offering their services free of charge as they want to contribute in their own way by using the gifts that God has given them. I believe they are also being obedient to God's promoting to help make a difference by using their gifts. I strongly encourage you all to take them up on their offer as they want to help make a difference here. I am truly thankfull for both Jen and Jenn for their servent heart and for giving of their time. Neither of you understand the huge impact that you are making in the lives of the children here and I pray that one day you will have the opportunity to come and meet them first hand!

If there is no special occasion in your life right now that requires a cake and if you are freshly groomed but would still like to support you still can! Cheques can be made payable to the Winkler MB Church but please attach a separate note indicating your pledge is designated to the food program by titling the note: "Fatima Church Program Support." Drop it off at the Church or mail them to the address below and all funds will be sent to us on a monthly basis.

Winkler, MB Church
120 Pineview Dr
Winkler, MB
R6W1T3

For questions or inquiries you can contact myself at bckrahn@gmail.com or call the Church office and 204-325-8322.

Thanks for keeping us and the program in your prayers. Will always look forward to hearing from all of our friends and family so don't hesitate to send us an email or reply to this post. At times we do get lonely so your messages are encouraging.

Love from San Carlos

Brian % Clarissa

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seeking Him

Hi Everyone,

We trust that you are all well. Thanks to all of you back home that continue to pray for us and the program here. We are facing many different emotions everyday but we feel you prayers and know that without them we would be struggling.
Today was another eye opener for me. Now that I am at home and relaxing my mind is starting to slow down and the reality of the events of the day are starting to settle in. I think I must have been running on adrenalin because all of a sudden I'm not feeling well. I have the a/c blowing at me but can't seem to cool down? Maybe a good night sleep?
So, this morning I had to run some errands in Guaymas. 2 members from the Koenes ministries team accompanied me as it is a 20-30 minute commute and they also had some errands to do. It turned out that we ran into some delays but through it we had some amazing experiences. I'll save that story for another time because its a good one but while we were out something else was happening that I would like to share.
We live in San Carlos however we are working on the other side of Guaymas in a community called Fatima. As you have read and heard the people there are living in extreme poverty. Pastor Raphael has been telling me that the people of Fatima are becoming very curious about us and are interested in why we are here in Mexico. They have been hearing the stories of the food program that we are offering to the children but they are also seeing that we are helping families that seek help. The Pastor has been telling the people that God has sent us from Canada to serve here and that we are helping them work with the children and the food program. Over the last week or two I have been hearing rumblings that the people are putting hope in US because God sent us here to help them and they are starting to expect dramatic changes because we are "sent by God." Although I believe we are called and I believe remarkable things are going to happen it is not US who is making it happen. God is doing the work! I didn't like it that I was hearing people confuse the work that God was doing with the idea that it was Brian from Canada doing it! I tried not to give it much thought thinking it would pass but then today the unexpected happened....
I arrived back at the mission center this afternoon around 2:30. While I was away a family had shown up at the center looking for me. I thought this was odd as I don't know anyone here other than the team. This family arrived at the door. They had hitch hiked from Fatima all the way to San Carlos and from San Carlos they walked the additional 2-3 miles in the desert with a 6 year old boy and a 5 month old baby. Keep in mind it is 37 degrees here today. They arrived at the center dehydrated, soaking in sweat and exhausted. The man at the center asked how we could help and all they would say is they were looking for Brian. (the person at the center is a family member of one of our staff visiting. there was no staff there to assist) They needed to talk to Brian. Obviously I was not there so they asked if they could wait for me to return. They waited for 2 hours at the center for me to arrive but I was still off on another "mission." The gentleman at the mission continued to ask the family what it was they needed and why they had come all that way looking for me. They opened up and indicated that he had not had a job quite awhile and that they have been out of food and they desperately needed help. They said that they knew "Brian" was working in Fatima with the Pastor and they needed my help and that they needed to speak to me. The gentleman at the mission went on sharing with them that they shouldn't be seeking man to meet their needs but that they should be seeking Jesus as he is the only one that can provide and that if they would seek Him with all their hearts maybe he would provide work for him so that he could care for their family. He went on to say that you have walked all this way seeking "Brian" and he isn't even here. You shouldn't put your trust in man, it is only God that will always be there for you. Because I was not returning the family ended up getting a ride back to San Carlos and from there the gentleman bought them bus tickets back to Fatima.
I am left with mixed emotions from this story. A family spent all day looking for me! Had I been here, I would have packed them a food hamper and probably given them a ride back to Fatima to meet up with Pastor Raphael so that we could see where they are at. The reality that they were desperate enough to travel all that way to find me once again overwhelms me with the fact of how bad things are here for the people here and that they are looking at me to somehow help them. It is a really long way to go!!! I'm sorry that I missed them, I can't help but think that there are 2 hungry children in bed tonight because I wasn't available to help, after all they probably spent 6-8 hours of their day looking for me. I can only imagine that they too are thinking of the days events as well and if only I was there they wouldn't be hungry. I feel I have let them down. But... at the same time, I like the response that the gentleman at the center had. Don't rely on or seek man for your need but look to God for your provisions. Maybe God planned it that I would not be there and maybe it was a lesson for them to learn??? I don't know?
Regardless, with us being present in Fatima, people are desperately looking toward us in "hope" that we will bring change to their world. I want nothing more to help them and to bring change but it is not by my strength and power that it will happen. It is only through Him that it will happen. I believe that God will do great things here but it is going to take time. We are in major need for pray and we are in need of financial assistance. It is on nights like this one that I feel very, very small and have to totally rely on God to make things happen. After the events of today I cant help but have tears in my eyes. Please make Fatima a matter of your prayers regularly! Pray that God will send us provisions and that he will continue to reveal his plans in his time. In the mean time we will continue to help in any way we can but also pray for us that we can hold out and that we would stay strong and not get discouraged. And pray that I will cross paths with that family at some point so that we can see what we can do to help them out.

Gods Richest blessing to all of you,

Brian

Oh and be very thankful that we are so incredible blessed!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Update on Victor

Hi Everyone,

I have had a number of people inquire on Victor asking how he is doing? We are happy to say that we feel he is coming around allot! He joins us at Pastor Raphael's home almost daily, and has become quite a help. We held him a big Birthday party on Thursday evening including gifts and a DQ ice creme cake. I didn't ask the question but I would question whether anyone has ever celebrated him before. It was a special evening in that Victor felt as part of our team/family. I so badly want to upload the photo's of the party but unfortunately our video card got wet so they were lost.
He told me that he looks up to me as a dad, and he doesn't understand why we would go through the effort to love him. One of the things that we see over and over is the desire that the children have just to be cared for.
It was a special night. We are thrilled to see Victor hanging around and never miss the opportunity to greet him with hugs and a high five. Thanks to all of you that have been praying for him. He is a special boy to us.

Trust you are all well. We can't express enough our appreciation to all of you that are following our blog.

Brian

July - Monthly News Letter

Hello,
The July edition to our monthly news letter has been emailed. If you did not receive a copy or if you would like me to add you to our contact list please let me know. We would love to get you a copy.

Blessings,

Brian

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Endings


Hi there,
I wanted to give you all a little update on one of our little men that attend the feeding program. His name is Saul. On Thursday night, he some how managed to get his left hand crushed between a couple boulders. He was taken to the hospital where they thought that they would have to amputate his index finger at a minimum but were expecting that they would have to amputate his remaining 3 fingers on that hand as well. I went to see him in the Hospital last night and we had an awesome surprise. None of his fingers will need to be removed. His hand is looking good, he is getting movement back slowly other than the one finger that is badly broken it looks like everything will turn out okay. We praise God that Saul is okay and that he was all smiles today when I went to see him. We can't wait to see him come home and hang out with us again.

Oh and just so you know, don't wear shorts to the Hospital in Mexico. I got kicked out by security! LOL

Trust you are all well, we are pumped for a happy ending!

Brian

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tough shell, soft Heart!

Greetings back home to all our friends and family. We trust you are all well and that you are all adjusting to the unusually warm weather that you are experiencing. We are doing well.

Clarissa and I want to take the time to share the story of Victor with you. Victor is the young man in the photo above on the right side. This is the only picture that I have of him. He wears a pretty tough shell but it sure doesn't take much to make him smile. From the first time that I saw him I could see that he has had it rough. He was a bit apprehensive about me at first but I walked up to him, gave him a shoulder to shoulder hug, and a smile, and it was all it took to gain his friendship. Like so many young men he has grown up without a father, and like so many he is just longing for someone to fill the gap so when I gave him a hug that is all it took for his shell to come off and for his heart to soften up. I have to admit, I almost turned the other way when I first saw him, I'm so glad that I didn't.

Victor has grown up without a father his whole life so he has always had to fend for himself. In his home there have been ongoing issues between him and his mother and so she has now kicked him out on his own. For the time being he is living with a relative but we know that there are family problems their as well so we sense that he will not be there long either. We have huge concerns for him. He is 15 years old, turning 16 next week. Absolon sat him down on Saturday to see how he is doing and we sensed that he is at a cross roads. He has been abandoned and rejected time and time again and is now on his own to fend for himself. He has accepted Christ through the programs here but he is struggling with having no self worth and has told us that he has nothing to offer God, this world or anyone else. He is down and tends to be off on his own quite a bit. (unless we get a game of soccer going. :) When the Pastor and Absolon shared his story and his feelings with me I told them that I sensed Victor was either going to look for friends and companionship in the drug world/night life or that he was a prime candidate for suicide unless we make big efforts to get involved in his life. (I didn't know it at the time but the City of Guaymas is ranked #1 for suicide in the state of Senora and is ranked # 3 in all of Mexico.) We all agreed that we needed to come up with a plan to build him up and to teach him that he is important and that he is loved and has purpose. Each of us agreed that we were dealing with the likelihood of suicide being a reality we are dealing with in Victor.

We approached him yesterday about becoming involved in the food program. We have a very low number of youth that attend so he is one of the oldest young men that we have. Our vision is that he would assist in serving the children and help fill any gaps where we need a set of hands. We basically want him to be part of our team so that we can have as much influence on him as we can and we want him to feel that he is valuable. We are also in progress of starting an additional food program in another community so in time extra support with us there will be necessary. Victor showed some signs of being interested however he was apprehensive. It will take us some time to work things through with him so pray that he will start to come around with the idea. Right now we have shared with him the simple task of helping us serve the children their plates and that even seems a bit overwhelming for him. Life here is about survival so taking things come more naturally than giving or serving.

I believe in Victor and feel he has allot of potential and that he has purpose in our program but the next few months are going to be critical in helping him make good decisions. He indicated that he trusts Pastor Raphael and that he is a great friend and father figure so we have that going for us.

Please keep Victor in mind as pray for this ministry.

Brian

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mucho Calor!!

I sure enjoy sharing our weather with you all back home! No matter where you are, it's just plain hot! (calor) We are getting storm clouds in and we're told it's going to rain! (I am a little excited, I have missed having rain days.)
As we spend more time with P. Raphael and Marisela we are learning more and more about their area. Allan (the thiefs son, for those who have been told of this family from the January trip) had stopped last night, I'm not really sure why. But we found out that he had parisites and was unable to eat. We asked what they do for him. He needed to see the doctor and get a perscription to get rid of them. It all costs money, and money that Allan's family doesn't have. (25 pesos to see the doctor, plus the perscription. $2.50 canadian to see the doctor plus the perscription.) We asked what happened when the family couldn't afford to get help. We were informed that 2 boys around the age of 7-9 had died last year. The fact that they have trouble eating, when they already only receive 1 meal a day is not good. Today Brian and P.Raphael took Allan in to receive the attention he needed.
We have also been seeing P.Raphael handing out food hampers to the people who come to his door in need of food. We inquired about how often they come, and he told us always. And he will always give them food to eat. Any extra money we have, we want to make sure that it goes to the needs of this area. To have food supply for food hampers. When there is medical attention needed, we want it to be possible for them to seek that attention. So I thank all of you for the support that you have given us financially. There is a reason that we have over exceeded our goals in funds, it's because it's for this community.
The last two days have been hard for me emotionally. I'm missing you all back home, and our "norm". This evening was Bible study at P.R's church and I wasn't pumped to go. But God met me there through their worship, and I don't know why it amazes me, but it was great to be comforted with praise and worship that wasn't in english. :) Also tomorrow is another day, and it will be good. Thanks so much for your prayers, and Dios te Bendiga!!
Clarissa

Friday, July 15, 2011

bugs, bugs, and more bugs :P

Hello to all our friends and family back home! We are sure missing you all! Pastor Raphael and his family came over for a visit this afternoon. Which was a nice surprise. (although I was contado.) (tired) It was really good to have them over in the sense that they helped us wage another round of chemical warfare on our yard. We have these bugs that are dangerouse that piggy back on our dog!! They look like filled up ticks. Aparently their bite has killed people around the area. We can do something about it with out dog, there is a vaccine for her to prevent this. But it sure feels like the bugs are out to get us. We thank God that we haven't had any bug bites, except for Cole's fire ant bite. (Which really hurts, you should see these things come out of their ant home when they want to attack!) Plus when Brian was spraying the couches, he found 4 black widows there also. When I think about them all, I get the willies. But through it all, we have been untouched! So I'm busy bleaching the floors daily to prevent them from coming in the house, and the dog is tied up until she will get to see the vet. :)
We've been brain storming and preparing for the food program this last week. We purchased to large thermos drink coolers with the spout to pour the rice juice they feed the kids. Also we purchased to tables so the kids didn't have to squish into the few desks they had or eat on the floor. :) We hoped to build benches for the tables, didn't happen. But we were at P.R's and he had some old simple wood pews on his yard which will work great!! We don't even need to worry about getting the benches built. At least for another week. We hope to buy 2-3 more tables so that all the kids can eat at a table. Each table costs $75, so we are trying to budget accordingly. :) Again I want to say thanks for making this possible for the kids. They are going to be so excited tomorrow! We'll try to get some pictures on the blog. Pray that the uploading goes smoothly! God Bless!
Clarissa

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Need is so huge....

My highlight so far has been reconnecting with Pastor Raphael and his family. It has been so good to spend time with them this week. He sends his love and appreciation to all those back home at WMBC for the tremendous impact that our home church is continuing to make in their community. We have eaten several meals at the new house and it is beautiful. They love their home and it serves them well. Pastor Raphael’s church is part of a conference of churches throughout the Fatima, Guaymas, San Carlos and Empalme area. There are approximately 80 churches that are in this conference. On Thursday Pastor Raphael was voted in as the President of this conference for a two year term. This is a huge honor for him and although this means more work and responsibility he is very excited for another opportunity to serve the Lord in this region. Please pray for him and his family. When we arrived last week I already sensed exhaustion. Together they serve from early morning until late at night, every day. Their ministry never ends. They have 3 sons. Absalon, Junior and Aseal. All three are actively serving in his church as song leaders, and are also involved in the children’s programs as well as the food programs.
On Saturday we attended our first food program. It was really great but at the same time it was extremely sad. The reality of life for these children is unlike anything we could have ever imagined. We truly have no idea how blessed we are in Canada. We are a selfish, selfish nation. Marisela has given her life to the children in Fatima. She does not have a single minute of time for herself throughout the entire week. At 5:00 am the gate starts rattling from homeless children that are lonely and usually by 10 or 11 at night she is finished cleaning up the dishes from supper that night. Normally she cooks for a group of people. Very rarely does she ever prepare a meal for only their family alone. Every Saturday she wakes up at 4 am to start preparing breakfast for the children that will be arriving for the service. This week we had 40 children arrive but normally they expect 60 sometimes up to 100 children ranging from 2 years old up to 16 years old. Normally breakfast consists of baked beans, scrambled eggs with cut up wieners and tortilla’s. They receive rice water for a drink. At 8 am one of them heads into the community with their Ford Ranger to gather the children. They are loaded on the back of the truck and brought home for the service which begins at 9:00 am. Prior to eating, bible stories are shared, they pray together and also sing songs. What would Mexico be without loud music, singing and actions! When it comes time to eat, even the two year old children lick their plates clean. They eat everything. On top of that, at the age of two they are starting to physically wash their own dishes! I couldn’t believe it.
Pastor Raphael shared some stories as well as the needs and his vision for the community. 90% of the children that arrived for breakfast do not know or have a father. Many of the children do not have a father or mother but are living with other family members and there are others that are without parents living on their own. Right now this is the case for Pedro, Alan, Brianna and Christian. For those of you that were part of the team back in January you will remember these children. Their father is the thief. We learned that their Mom and Dad are now both involved in the drug world. They come and go as they please leaving the children behind for days at a time. I know the children have been alone since Tuesday of last week. We do not know if they are out doing their business or if they have been arrested, or maybe something has happened to them? Some nights they stay home alone and other nights they stay with Pastor Raphael and Marisela. They only go to school 2 days per week. Christian is the youngest. He is 5. He has a full time job working from 7am until 7 pm sifting through garbage looking for copper and bottles for recycling. He earns 40 peso’s per day which he has to give home to his mother and father. I do not know if the other children work. I’m assuming that they do as well. As terrible as this story is, it is only one of many. We were also told the story of a 13 year old girl that was raped by her stepfather. She is now pregnant. She used to come to the children’s program but her mother no longer allows her to attend. The stepfather is on the run. She is only 13 years old. We have heard story after story of the nightmares that these children are living. The house that we built in Fatima stands as a lighthouse. Children receive love, nourishment, and guidance. They are always welcome and will always be cared for.
As you have read, the need in this community is huge! Pastor Raphael is patiently awaiting the construction of their new church facility. The new facility will also have an outdoor kitchen that will allow us to reach out to more children. This will also give them space so that the children without a family will have a place to sleep at night with the security of not being alone. The dream is to be able to feed these children 3 meals per day, every day. Along with that, continue to teach them of Gods love. Although that is the ultimate goal, we feel that there are small steps we can take that would already start to make a difference. With some extra equipment we can increase the number of children at the programs as well as reduce the amount of time needed to prepare the food. All this in due time, we will have to seek Gods will and prioritize our needs as there are so many.
We trust that you are well and we thank you for following our progress. Please make this Region a matter of prayer for you and your family. The need is so huge, it will take many to make a difference. If you are interested in becoming involved in one way or another please feel free to drop me an email at bckrahn@gmail.com
If you are intereted in seeing some photo's of the area, look me up on facebook. At this time we are unable to upload any pictures to the blog.

Blessings,

Brian