Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Update

Greetings from the Schroeder family! We hope that you have had a blessed Christmas holiday. We are well—wanted to take a few minutes to update you on recent happenings and some specific requests for prayer. As always, we thank God for your partnership with us!

Family News - Our Christmas Holiday

Even though we decided not to travel to spend Christmas with family this year, we had a great time. It was good to spend a couple of weeks resting, hanging out with friends, spending time with Mexican Christians and enjoying one another. We went on two camping trips! We were reminded of God’s goodness to us.

Turtle Camp. The day after the girls got out of school, we drove with four other families to a Campamento de Tortugas a couple of hours south of Puerto Vallarta. We spent three days and nights camping out on a beach and hanging out with a marine biologist who works to preserve endangered sea turtles. Late in the evenings (about 11:00 pm) we patrolled 12 kilometers of beach on 4-wheelers looking for female turtles which had already laid or were laying their eggs. The eggs are rescued and brought back to the camp where they were put in secure nests so they can incubate for about 50 days. Each female lays about 100 eggs. In the mornings, we would take the baby turtles that had hatched in the night (after having been rescued about 50 days earlier) and release them into the ocean. One day, we also got to go out in boats with a couple of the biologists to catch and study sea turtles swimming in the Pacific Ocean. Of course, we did a lot of playing, cooking, eating, sweeping sand out of our tent and having a general good time! It was a bit of work at times—but a fabulous experience! We came home on December 23 just in time for Christmas.

Santa Maria del Oro. We spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at another camp site. Again, we traveled with five other families to a volcanic lake (in the crater of an old volcano) about 2 hours south of Guadalajara. This trip was a little more relaxing than the turtle camp—we swam in the lake, hiked, rented kayaks, ate, played cards, talked around the campfire, and enjoyed one another.

We are thankful the experience!

Church News

The churches seem to be doing generally well right now. Of course, the different groups are all at different stages of growth and maturity—dealing with their own unique challenges. We have been with many of the maturing leaders over the past few days—talking about challenges and dreams for this year. Most of the Christians are poor and there is a great deal of talk around Mexico that 2009 (as you would imagine) is going to be very difficult economically. Please pray with us for our Mexican family—that the trials will make us all stronger in our focus on Christ—that we would all see opportunities to bless others with generosity and service. Please continue to pray for our ministry among these churches, and especially among the maturing leadership. Pray for the churches and pre-church groups in La Piedad, Jardines del Valle, Mariano Otero, Jocotan, Nueva Santa Maria, Las Pintas and Ciudad Granja. Pray for leadership; for new opportunities to plant gospel seeds.

Proyectos de Vida

You may remember that one of the ways our Mexican brothers and sisters have begun talking about their mission as individuals, families and churches is with the idea of “proyectos de vida” (life projects).

In November, we wrote especially about the Garcia family and the work they are doing among children with diabetes and their families. We mentioned their need for funds to be able to minister to this group in 2009. In December, the Lord blessed them with the funds they had requested! Praise God!

They have begun working on a weekend camp planned in early April for children and their parents who have recently been diagnosed and are just learning how to live with their disease. They are also beginning a new course that will be offered twice weekly to help poor parents with basic orientation. Also, this coming Saturday, January 24 they are scheduled to do a radio program on a local Guadalajara station. Please pray for the Garcia family and those who are working with them to offer help. Pray that God will use this service to plant seeds of the kingdom and provide open doors into families and groups of people.

Pray for our brothers and sisters around us who are involved in similar “life projects” in their neighborhoods. Pray for them as they look for ways to use their God-given experiences, passions and gifts to join God in his mission. Pray for the countless seeds that are being sown among people that come in contact and begin conversations with God’s people.

Horse Therapy

Several months ago, Nancy and I took a course in Horse Therapy/Therapeutic Riding and began volunteering at a newly formed Horse Therapy center. The center was begun by the local mounted police force. On most Saturday mornings, we spend several hours working with dozens of children who have special needs (autism, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, ADD, etc.). By combining exercise and traditional physical therapy with horseback riding, we are working with several other volunteers to provide help to low-income families. Nancy and I have begun to see it as one of our “life-projects.” Its a lot of fun. Oftentimes the girls go with us. Please pray for us and these children. Pray that God will use this service to open doors into the lives of new families and groups of people.
A couple of months back, the local news did a video report on the new center. If you watch closely, you will see Nancy, Morgan and I working with children in this clip.