Archive for April, 2010

AID FOR THE MEXICALI VALLEY

Posted in Mission Updates 2010, NEWS on April 28, 2010 by filerofish
Advertisements

REBUILDING THE CHURCH IN MEXICALI AFTER EARTHQUAKE

Posted in Mission Updates 2010, NEWS with tags , , , , on April 20, 2010 by filerofish

With the hottest season of the year just around the corner, the need to rebuild the Colonia Aurora church-building in Mexicali has become a race against the clock. This particular church was a complete loss after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Imperial Valley area on Easter Sunday (April 4, 2010). This situation has forced the congregation to meet outside under a makeshift tarp. Brother Atondo has courageously continued to minister the word to these brethren, in spite of his personal battle with diabetes and related symptoms.

After meeting with the Atondos in Mexicali and having evaluated the situation on the ground, three possible solutions were proposed. One was to apply to IDES for special aid to help with the expense of a new building project. However, the mounting time constraints, the loss of the value of the dollar, and the need to move quickly made that option impractical. The second proposal was to use a tent as a temporary shelter, but the heat factor would have made it unbearable to meet in. The final solution was to disassemble an existing building in Tijuana that had recently been abandoned, and re-build it on the existing lot where the old building once stood. This was the only viable course of action at our disposal.

Fully committed to the recovery process, several men from our congregation and I set time apart this last weekend to help provide manual labor. We worked long hours under the hot sun and dry evening winds to try to recuperate as much lumber and other materials as we possibly could. I am happy to report that the extra care given to this task made it possible to recover over 95% of the materials virtually unscathed. The brethren from the Mexicali area will help to finish this phase of the project, and will also be involved in the re-assembling of the structure on the new site.

Some of the lumber from the older building was also rescued and will be used where needed – most likely for pouring the cement floor and for reinforcement where needed. Dionicio’s grandson Felipe is an experienced builder and contractor, so we are blessed to have him as part of the team.

AN INCREDIBLE EASTER RETREAT

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 by filerofish

For several years now, the Colonia Jalisco church in Ensenada has been holding a family retreat over the Easter weekend. It is a very special time of spiritual renewal, Bible teaching, outstanding fellowship and good old family fun. This year was now exception.

I taught a series of Bible lessons on the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Those present really enjoyed the teaching, and they were greatly encouraged to discover their spiritual gifts in order to begin to serve in ministry.

Since we must rent the camp facility, we are never sure of its availability. This time around another church  group had signed up for that same Easter weekend, and unless they canceled we would be left hanging. So the congregation prayed about it, and sure enough the Lord favored our prayers. The other group canceled one week before the scheduled date. God does work in marvelous ways.

This year we were honored to have visiting guests from Mexicali. A family from the Colonia Polvora church came to share the weekend with us. Little did they know what was about to happen back home. They returned to the capital city on Saturday evening. At 3:40 p.m. the next day, the 7.2 earthquake hit with a vengeance. Thank God that no tragedies have been reported so far among our own brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Those of us who stayed behind to celebrate our Easter Sunrise service were just packing up and getting ready to leave when some of our own felt the tremor. I didn’t feel a thing because I was already in the car waiting, but others who where checking on any items that might have been left behind did feel it.

Ironically, only a week had gone since I had touched on this subject in private conversation with one of my men. I said something like this: “I wonder what the Lord needs to do in order for people to wake up and realize their need of God in their lives.” I never expected something like this. May the Lord use it for His glory in many lives saved by the power of the gospel.

MEXICALI QUAKE FOLLOW UP

Posted in NEWS, Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 by filerofish

There have been over 600 aftershocks in the Mexicali basin, causing much havoc and panic among the population there. The news coverage in the States fails to do justice to the reality and extent of the damages that this major 7.2 magnitude earthquake has caused in the region. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan, the governor of Baja California, has officially declared a general state of emergency. There are over 25,000 homeless in need of assistance.  Houses may still be standing, but many are unsafe to live in and numerous structures have collapsed completely. The government has slowly begun to distribute food, water, and other basic items.

Over 150 km. of roads (not counting city streets) will have to be rebuilt from the ground up. 1,200 farmers will need aid to recover from the loss of their crops due to flooding. The long-term effects of the quake cannot be measured at this time.

Dionicio and Josefina Atondo report that the Colonia Hidalgo church building in Mexicali is a complete loss and will need to be demolished. Ironically, Dionicio had been earlier that morning when he felt compelled to say, “I am convinced that this building that we are now meeting in will be demolished and a new one will take its place, because the Lord is getting ready to send us a harvest of souls.” Never in his wildest dreams did he anticipate that these words would begin to be fulfilled that very afternoon at 3:40 p.m. Pacific Time. Dionicio is in his eighties, and he and his wife recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. He is convinced that the Lord has spared him for exactly this time. We look forward to the opportunity to serve their church in any way we can.

Aldo Dominguez – preacher for the Colonia Polvora church – informs me that his house has developed several large cracks as a result of the tremors. It will probably need to be torn down and a new one built in its place. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Ejido Puebla church has also suffered damages, but the extent is unclear at this time.

We would like to launch a “Galatians 6:10” operation to help streamline the flow of aid to the Mexicali churches and their membership, using the local churches as the main centers for distribution. We would love to collaborate with anyone who shares this burden for the pressing needs of the body of Christ in this crisis situation. One of the greatest needs is for building materials and skilled help to rebuild where required. I have been told that the prices of lumber and other materials are cheaper in El Centro than in Mexicali. A small import fee must be paid at the border, but it’s still a better arrangement. We are working against time, because the extreme summer heat is just around the corner. Mexicali easily reaches 120o in the shade. Therefore, evaporative coolers and/or AC units are also needed.

I don’t have an exact amount that will be needed to rebuild the Colonia Hidalgo church building yet, but I am guessing that it will take at least $10,000. Lord willing, I will be traveling to Mexicali on Monday to personally assess the damage and try to come up with a budget.

Please send your earthquake relief donations to Christian Mission for Mexican Evangelism, P.O. Box 1088, Imperial Beach, Ca. 91933

7.2 EARTHQUAKE IN BAJA CALIFORNIA

Posted in NEWS with tags , , , , on April 5, 2010 by filerofish

During this Easter Sunday, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the capital city of Mexicali area at 3:40 p.m. Pacific Time. It sent shock  waves in all directions on both sides of the California-Mexico border .  I have been in constant contact with Aldo Dominguez of Mexicali, who is the minister of the congregation in the Colonia Polvora section of town, and who has been keeping me posted regarding the aftermath. He tells me that they were completely without electricity last night. Their church was holding an all-day meeting when everything began to shake. Power poles have fallen, there are many large cracks in the pavement, hospitals have been evacuated, and in some areas people are congregating in pre-designated areas outside their homes. My sister who lives in Chula Vista, CA. called and reported that they felt a 6.9 magnitude tremor that shook them up quite a bit. Our church group was still celebrating our annual family retreat in the Guadalupe Valley just outside Ensenada, where another 4.0 wave was felt. There have been at least 400 aftershocks and a couple more tremors since. Thankfully, there have only been four quake-related deaths reported  over all at the time of this writing.

I spoke with Alma Atondo over the phone (daughter of Dionicio and Josefina Atondo) and she informs me that the Colonia Aurora church was totaled as a result from the quake – only the windows are usable (oddly enough). The Atondos just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary recently, and Dionicio has been in and out of the hospital over the years because of complications due to his diabetes. He is a walking miracle! Josefina has the beginning of Parkinson’s. They had just returned to minister to this church less then a month ago. They planted the Aurora church originally, but then moved on to start the church in Tecate. The Aurora church was being led by his son-in-law until now. The building holds about 100 to – 150 people. I will have to travel to Mexicali soon to assess the damage personally, as soon as road access has been re-established. Josefina informs me that they did not experience any damages in their home, but that homes around them were toppled and there are big cracks in the streets nearby.

I don’t know how much we will need to rebuild the church, or if there will be additional costs in terms of permits and all. I will have to look into that as soon as I can.

Thank you for your desire to help, and for your prayers.

Here is some amateur video coverage of some of the damages in Mexicali that I found on YouTube. I will try to get there on Friday to do some personal research.