Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Coffee Experience #1

The guy that is training us in "the coffee industry" has suggested that it would be interesting and fun to document the experience from now until we get back from training. He has given us a pile of books to read, some stuff to watch to watch on youtube, and some emails going back and forth.

During the e-mails he has been very clear that it is an intense learning process and we should start resting now for something that happens in three weeks!

The videos we are suppose to be watching explain the process of cupping coffee. I have seen this done in the past, when I was just messing around youtube, and I am super excited to be able to try that and see what is all about in person.  Coffee cupping is where you taste, smell, and examine coffee during different stages of brewing. I love coffee, so this won't be hard for me at all. =) However, a person on our team... does not enjoy coffee and I will also get the experience of him suffering through that a little!

The books. Although packed with a whole bunch of information that is probably pretty useful, its hard to sit and read... at least for me. It is full of information about how much moisture is in a bean, how fast and what temp to roast it. (see the thrilling images below) I know that I will need to learn all of that, but I think it will be more helpful to see it and talk about it in person vs reading a book while falling asleep.

This is going to be an adventure for sure, we don't leave for a few weeks, so i am going to continue learning until then... I keep thinking WHAT HAVE I GOT MYSELF INTO!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

And so it begins....

After taking some time to move, get my house ready, settle in the new members of my crew, learn my way around, get to know the church, and rest a bit... things are finally starting for me here in Amealco.

For the past few months we have been working with the Camino Foundation to get set up as a community center/ coffee shop. We are making progress on that and our expected "start" date is mid March to the beginning of April. Now really starts the fundraising, getting the plans concrete, finding the equipment we need etc.
In just a few weeks; Brock, Heather and I are headed to Guatemala to get trained on running a coffee shop. He is going to teach us everything from going to the farmer, roasting, managing and running a successful coffee shop. The guy we are learning from keeps telling us to get lots of rest because we will need it before we go, so we are wondering what we just got ourselves into! =)
Be on the look out for many blogs about this experience. Mike has suggested it would be fun to document this experience, so I am going to! Starting in just a few days! =0)
But, really we are excited about this opportunity and ask you keep us in your prayers. We are also a little short of being funded for this trip, if you want to help out, let me know.

This week begun tons of English classes in Amealco. English is a great avenue to get to know people and create a relationship with them. Before the community center is up and running we are still being proactive in building relationships in the community. Right now, that is in the form of two different things.
1. Teaching every morning at a local rural school. This school has 33 families and very few "extras". While still a government school, it doesn't get much help. The classes range from preschool to Junior high and then also teaching a class to the mothers.  We are also planning days of games and english activities to get the family involved. This will be a fun way to get to know these 33 families and hopefully beginning to build relationships with them!
2. The family that owns the house I am renting have been wanting to learn english. So twice a week, they come to my house for some classes. There are several reasons for this.... first of all, it is a desire that I can help with. Secondly, this is a large family that knows everyone in Amealco. So our circle of influence could become great.

Right now, I feel knee deep in making sure all of my things are legal in the new residence. Changing my address on my permanent residency card, getting new license plates etc. This is all seeming to take more time then I expected, but I am making progress!

As I look towards the next few months, we have a few teams coming, a few trips planned, lots of getting to know people and setting up the new ministries. I ask you pray for us here. Amealco is not as "open" as Ixtapaluca is and we have to be careful at the rate we expand and do ministry.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Looking Forward to 2017

My last post was what happened in a nutshell in 2016 (if you didn't see it, go here!)

There was so much that happened in 2016 and it seems that 2017 will continue in that direction--- new experiences, new ministries, new new new new new....

So, what is in the future...

1. La Cima. La Cima is going to be the organization in which we do everything under. This will include....
- A community center. A place where people can come to learn english, crafts, music etc. While our goal is to reach anyone and everyone in the community, a strong emphasis will be placed on reaching the new universities students who go over an hour away for quality english classes
- Aroma Coffee Shop. This will be a space right next door to the community center. The goal is to allow a place, one of the only places in Amealco that is a place where people can hang out. It will also allow people experience some american style coffee and desserts. It will probably be the first contact that most people have ever had with a Christian as well. Part of this ministry will be a christian book store where they can buy or order bibles and other books.
We are working on getting the money needed currently to make both of these spaces a reality! We are working with Camino Foundation to provide the best services possible. Three of us will also be traveling to Guatemala in February to learn how to run a christian based coffee shop. They will teach us everything from picking coffee beans, roasting, barista training, etc. Hopefully, these two spaces will be up and running by the end of March! 

- Partnering with a local rural school. Starting in January, english classes will be offered at this school. Four mornings a week, there will be classes for preschool, elementary school, junior high and their mommies! We are offering free classes to everyone. The rural schools don't normally get "extras" in their education and this will allow them have something fun and hopefully will allow them to advance a little in their education. Most Universities are requiring english now, and this will give them a head start on that and maybe the ability to GO to the university.
- The money earned from both the community center and the coffee shop will go into another ministry. We are not sure WHAT that ministry will be but it will be community service based. Some options are an after school program, a food bank, etc. We are taking the next several months to pray about what this is going to be!
- There are also plans to build a training center for leaders, this will be an ongoing project that you will hear more about at a later date.

2. Manantial de Vida. This is the church plant in Amealco. It has been going for several years. It has been exciting to see how God has been working in this church!
The house that I am living in, has a separate building that we want to make into somewhere where we can meet as a church, in town. Hopefully a group from Nebraska will be coming down in January to help us with that. This will allow us, to hopefully, be more accessible to the people of the community.

3. Groups and interns. We will be using groups and interns this year to help us get all the ministries up and running from January to August. We are almost booked up for the summer. If you are interested in coming down to help this year, please let us know NOW!

There are some other things in the works, that you'll have to wait to hear about. =) But, until then... know that 2017 is turning out to be busy, and it isn't even here yet!

If you would like to give a year end gift..
1. I am still low on one time and monthly gifts. Your donation would help me not worry about money in 2016. To give to my account, go here! 
2. You can also give to the community center/ coffee shop accounts to help us get all that running. Go here and  put project number 063651

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016 Year in Review

Well, I would have never guessed a year ago that I would be where I am now. Basically, the only thing that is the same as it was a year ago.... is my right hand puppy dog, maggie!

The beginning of the year was pretty much the norm. I was loving life in Ixtapaluca. Working with church plants there, helping at an orphanage, at an old folks home and with the movement to end human trafficking
Then, however, God called me away from all of that. I decided that I would be moving to Amealco. 

In April, I bought this wonderful van that has allowed me to transport teams and interns and other ministry type things more easily.

The last few months in Ixtapaluca were full of interns, groups and all the other crazy ministry stuff that make summers nuts! 

August 3rd, I moved all my stuff three and a half hours north west. 

I spent the next few months living with the Hower family, while we got my house ready to move into. It was a great time of rest, getting to know who I will be working with, dream about future ministries and playing a ton of board games. 

I also got to visit Nebraska and go to two Husker games!

The house I moved into is a missionary dream. LOTS of room for LOTS of visitors! Plus room for whatever else I want to do there. We are actually hoping that we have the opportunity to buy this land, so you can pray for that. 

I sold my cute little blue city car, and I am in the process of buying a jeep. Something a little tougher in this beast...

I also have two NEW doggies. Hippo and Gerty!

I am slowly but surely getting use to life in a small town instead of the big city! Nearly everything is different, but God is good and things are progressing. 

Check into the next blog for whats next! 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

I am thankful!

There are so many things to be thankful for, this time of year makes everyone think about all the blessings in life!

I am thankful that a bunch of us got together for thanksgiving! It was fun to be able to have an American style thanksgiving with some of our team mates! (thanks Alan for the pic!)

I am thankful that the last few weeks I have finally been able to move in and begin settling into my house here in Amealco! I absolutely LOVE the house and I am excited on how God is going to use this house!

                    I have been getting everything I need to survive the winter here in Amealco! For          
                   example... lots of wood for the fireplace! We went out and loaded it onto the truck, by the  
                   load--- donkey load that is! 

I am super thankful that all three of my dogs are at my house now-- and healthy! Hippo had Parvo virus but is happy, healthy and a growing pit bull now! Maggie is still queen of the house, and she just ignores the very existence of the others. And Gerty is crazy but I am working with her to make her a little more obedient to match her sweet personality! These girls will keep me busy! But they will be the perfect alarm and security system in my house!

I am excited and thankful for the future of the ministries that are, Lord willing, going to be starting in Amealco after the beginning of the year! The market spaces we are renting are nearly done and it is fun to watch the progress! The person we are renting it from is super excited about the ministry that is going to be happening there... so much so that he is giving it to us at a SUPER SUPER low cost. He is also trying his hardest to get it done as fast as possible--- even to the point of selling his wifes car to help with the cost. 

I am also thankful for the opportunity to serve here in Mexico. While change is hard and there are so many things to learn and get use to here in Amealco. God is faithful and it has already proven to be something fun and exciting. We have been able to see God's hand in the details. 
I miss all of my friends and team mates in Ixtapaluca, ALOT! But, I am thankful for the team that I am on now too! It has been a blessing the last few months to get to know the Hower's. We have had a lot of fun getting my house ready, playing lots of board games, planning the next stages of ministry etc. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

What is going on?

"Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, 
there is no need for faith" - Hudson Taylor 

I knew going into this fall it would be full of travel and events along with moving and everything else, and I am glad to say that I believe as of today I am done traveling for the fall! Now I can soley focus on things in Amealco for the rest of the year. 

Things are getting up and rolling in Amealco as we prepare for many things that are getting ready to happen. 

- First of all, I get to move into my house (Lord willing) this next weekend! It is dependent on a plumber, the brick people and the door people. But, it is getting to the end of what we can do on our own. I am excited to finally begin settling into Amealco and even more excited to not live in a suit case anymore (its only been 3.5 months!).

- I am picking up my new puppy today! She is a blue pitbull that is named Hippo (because they look like little hippos). I love dogs and that puts me up to having three bundles of joy! Even though I enjoy having dogs and I would have a hundred of them, if i could... Hippo, specifically, is a protection dog. 

-We (as a team here in Amealco) are busy preparing and getting ready for all the really fun ministries that are going to be getting started in the next several months. Our market spaces are being constructed, as you read this, to house the coffee shop and community center. The logos are being made and we are making progress with all the plans. 

- I have had several opportunities open up about an orphanage or other "on the side" ministries that I will check out in the next month. 

It has been amazing to see God work in and through this season of my life. Please continue to be in prayer for this season of setting up new ministries, settling into a new town and getting to know everything all over again.