Sunday, August 16, 2009

The IMPACT Team reports

Andrew Bell

It is amazing how the time flies. I feel like I should still be prepping to raise more money for the Mexico trip, but it has been finished for over a week now. Time most certainly does fly when your having fun (and yes, I consider mixing concrete having fun). It is always great to go down to Guadalajara, see people we haven't seen in two years, and pick our relationship back up as if only a day had past between us. Yes there are new stories and news to talk about, but the friendship and comradery is still there and as strong as ever. In addition to that, you always seem to make new friends along the way. This year I got to work on the roof pouring cement and mortar for the tile above the kitchen and dining room. While up there, I had a bunch of time to bond with the Mexican volunteers who I was working with. At first it was a "purely" business relationship. They told me where to dump the cement, and I carried it there and dumped it. But by the second day, we were "talking" and joking around with one another. We had a great time working past our language difference and figuring out how to communicate with one another. It was so fun trying to figure out how to communicate with one another, we tried not to ask the one younger boy working with us who spoke English for help. Gustavo said he would learn more English so that next time we came down he would be able to tell me what to do in all English. Hopefully I have the opportunity to take him up on his offer.
Thanks for all the prayers and other support before and during our trip!

Shannon Bell

Wow! It’s hard to believe that another missions trip as come and gone, but here we are 2 weeks later. Thank you all for your prayers and support! Guadalajara is definitely my favorite place to go for missions trips. God always seems to really pull on my heart each time we visit there. It could be because we’ve gone so many times, and you build a bond with the people there. It could be the huge cultural differences, and the fact that Christianity is so seldom heard of or spoken of there. Whatever the reason, it is such a great place to go, and I wish we could go every year and stay longer!

We had such a great team this year – all different ages and personalities, and we all worked really well together. We always seem to get so much done in such little time, and that never ceases to amaze me. God really blessed our time there – the weather was great, never hindering our work; and while a few people got sick, over all everyone remained healthy.

The highlight for me was seeing all the work that God has allowed the Trotters and their ministries to accomplish since the first year we went. My first trip to Guadalajara was in 2000 and I have since been a total of 5 times – each time seeing new buildings, new additions to their ministries (school, dentist, homeopathic clinic, etc.), and seeing the growth in the church congregations. It’s truly amazing to see how much has been done over the past 9 years, and how many new faces we meet each time and then reunite with when we return. Please pray that God will continue to provide the funds and volunteers needed for the ministries in Bugambilias and Santa Ana, as well as some of the other locations that they are beginning new ministries in. Pray especially for the city of Guadalajara, as Christianity is rarely mentioned. Pray for the Trotters and any other Christian missionaries and teams who are ministering there. We know that all things are possible with God, and it is my prayer that so many others would come to know Christ through these ministries.

“…Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…You are witnesses of these things.” - Luke 24.46-48

Lauren Bonnet

The trip to Guadalajara was my first Missions Trip. I had a great experience and learned a great deal about myself and others. I brought back with me wonderful memories and new friendships that will hopefully last a long time. Every morning we would meet with our devotional group and discuss the lesson for the day. I enjoyed that time getting to know my group members and started the day off in prayer. One of my discomforts was praying out loud when others were around and talking openly about my beliefs. This trip really helped me to step out of my comfort zone and be more at ease with praying aloud and talking to others about my faith and beliefs. I was blessed to be able to share such a fantastic experience with so many wonderful friends. My main responsibility was painting. Although it was a small task I felt like I helped in a major way. Everybody did a great job and finished all the tasks that needed to be done. Doing the Lord’s work is a beautiful thing; I just wish we could have been there longer to help. I definitely would go on another trip! Gracias cada uno por un tiempo asombroso y el dios bendice!

Carrie Burns

Every time I go to Guadalajara, God places a stronger desire in my heart to do long-term missions there. Each trip fosters the relationships that I have formed with the church, the missionaries, and the people of Guadalajara; and each time I have to say “goodbye,” it gets harder and harder as my heart longs to stay. Going to Mexico is almost like coming home and as the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.”
During this trip, I did not work on simply one project for the entire work week. I bounced around between projects wherever an extra pair of hands or a shovel (if I could find one) was needed. Thus, I helped dig a trench for a PVC drainage pipe, dig and level for a walkway, carry bricks, move sand, mix cement, and paint. I even got to help chisel out huge rocks in a big hole. It is this last job that brings me to a funny story about a Mexican friend of mine, Jonny, who was being paid for his work on the site, kept getting other people to do his work because it looks fun! Three or more people where in his hole chiseling away at huge rocks and I looked at him and said, “Jonny, I am going to call you Huck Fin because you are getting everyone else to do your work for you and getting paid for it!” He then corrected me and said, “Well, that’s more like Tom Sawyer.” So, I decided that I was going to call him Tom .

It is moments like these that enhance my relationships with the people of Guadalajara. Relationships are the most important thing to me in Mexico. Yes, we go to do what God will have us to do, whether it be construction or Vacation Bible School, etc. But, through all that, we are bonding with the people. Through teams continually making connections and relationships, the body of Christ grows as others are brought to God. The church, both building and bodies, are being enhanced. I may not be the reason someone comes to Christ, but it is our collective work and presence that can lead someone to that specific moment in their life when God reveals Himself to them.

Eric Cabell

Hi everyone its me Eric,

The trip to Mexico was rather unique. One of the many tasks that week was to help complete the roof on part of the building. Our job (mainly the guys) was to make concrete for the workers on the roof. I was told by other people with me that you mix it on the ground with shovels. It is the most efficient way to do it if you don't have a premix and don't want to spend a lot of money for a company to lay it for you. I enjoyed the challenge of shoveling dirt and gravel together all day! It was like being in a gym except versus 2 1/2 hours of working out, it was more like 8. I love a physical challenge!!! Our ladies were just as hard working as us if not harder. They did tiling, grouting, painting, sanding, digging, some of the heavy lifting, they were great!

There were a lot of interesting people we met as well. Gonzolo, who is the pastor of the church at the work site and his two sons Ezra and Johnny. Gonzolo has a great sense of humor and is a very hard worker. Ezra follows his father with his sense of humor as he constantly cracked jokes and threw insults (if you know Andrew, Larry, Jared and I you know what I'm talking about). He also instructed us on how to mix concrete. Uh yeah, a lot of people had their ways of doing it. Leaving names out I'll just say that Ezra's way (the Mexican way), the more efficient way, kept you from killing yourself and you produced a lot more in one batch. We also got to meet the children of some of the workers. There was one in particular who kind of stuck out more than the rest. Hosea is his name and he was everywhere. He wanted to take your hat, be in pictures, get you to do push ups with him on your back. I wanted to adopt him even though he wasn't an orphan. I was tempted to put him in my bag and bring him back to America. Just kidding folks!!! The kids were just as hard working as the adults. They would shovel dirt, gravel, rocks and make concrete just as good as us. I've never been out the United States before and it was really cool to see other Christians in other parts of the world who did things differently than us but are the same in spirit. God pulls His people from all walks of life.

Now to the obstacles we had to overcome. As some of you will probably remember our last mission trip we had to deal with the wasp infestation. This year however it wasn't insects or the heat or each other. It was the poops!!! I don't know if it was the food or virus or just how they prepared things. It started off with Lydia, then Maria, Mrs. Eileen, John, Larry, and several others. Some actually had to stay back at our lodging area on certain days because it had gotten so bad. One person actually got so dehydrated from going so much they kind of passed out and had to go to hospital! In the end everyone turned out okay. God allowed it to happen. Who knows, maybe someone at hospital got to witness the suffering and it was God's plan to use that for His purpose. You never know but that's why you always pray for God's will to be done in your life and those around you. I'm just thankful that God allowed that to be the extent of it and nothing more serious or fatal.
Well I'm going to keep mine short. There will be a lot of people who will cover the same topics and more, so I'll let them write about it. I just thank God for the experience of this trip and all the people I got to work with that week. So remember to always go to God for repentance, and His will to be done in your life and those around you.

Hasta luego,
Eric Cabell a.k.a. Man of Steel

Marlies Cabell

Let me share with you all about what the Lord has led me to understand about his Mercy. In writing the prayer/financial letters I assumed that the people living in Santa Ana would be in desperate need of willing workers to complete construction and other tasks at hand. I presumed that the state of living would be minimal in amenities and that the entire team would be exhausted from over-working. Let me tell you what I learned.

God is full of grace and mercy as he has allowed us to arrive in Santa Ana and complete mission works that he can use to bring more citizens to know his saving grace and truths in Scripture. The church in Bugambilias is where the dorms were located. There were mattresses, sheets, pillows, running water with sinks, showers, toilets and electricity! All the amenities of home! The layout of the church provided an outdoor walkway for resting, goofing off and talking. The Kitchen was fully stocked with water and food with working appliances. There was nothing ‘rough’ about it! So, I was wrong about the minimal amenities- we had it all!

The church in Santa Ana was the worksite location. There were many projects completed but there was not a shortage of workers. We were only supplemental to the completion of the church. What did we really have to offer? How great are we really? There was an architect on site everyday with the plans for the finished buildings. There were plenty of workers with greater tolerance and strength for heavy labor than a majority of us on the team. Then I realized something about my service- I don’t speak Spanish, I don’t have any construction knowledge, and my wrists gave out the first day by 2pm! If I can’t hold onto anything—how can I be of help on a construction site where the tool options are shovel, paint tools, caulk gun, water buckets?! God is Merciful! I had pre-determined what my role was for the week before getting there. Who am I to tell God what I am going to accomplish? After the first day working- I had to reset my heart and take each day with an open heart. So, even the different type of work that we completed as a team didn’t seem to bother any of us. Each evening there was excitement for our time together and for the next day.

In setting myself right with God I was able to hear/see/understand comments made in small group and evening presentations. The mission work must continue here at home amongst the team members. Is Physical labor the only component to mission work? Of course not. It is more noticeable in outward appearance but it is not the only method to share God’s truth. I understand a little more about where my focus should be in my daily life amongst all people. A true desire to follow God’s will in my day to day life was the official outcome for me through the Guadalajara, Mexico mission trip. A lot was accomplished there but there is an infinite amount of ministry here at home.

John Ceselsky

Throughout this year’s mission trip, one passage of Scripture kept coming to the fore: Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” So often we talk about the importance of faith, and rightly so, but I think that we need to drive home the point of trust more. Trust is taking what you believe (faith) and then stepping out in action. True faith always leads to action and a settled disposition. So often in the week of the trip I could hear the Lord challenging me to just simply trust him. Trust that all will make it though the airport’s security counters. Trust that though some were feeling ill (including myself) they would all return home safely. Trust that though the power was out on the morning we were to leave, all would get up on time and everything would get packed. Trust, trust, trust. That is what I believe the Lord set out to show me on this trip.

I have faith, I know who God is and what he has done for a sinner like me to make me his own. But trust? Far too often I trust in the work of my own hands to take care of me. I look to my organization skills (as weak as they are). I look to my own understanding to deal with the situations that come up before me – but the Lord says, “lean not on your own understanding – trust in my provision.” On the trip we were throwing bricks around at a couple of points – I feel as if one hit me square between the eyes.

“In all your ways acknowledge him.” Mission trips so point out the weakness in our walks with Christ – which is really a reason to go on a trip if you haven’t been – you will be exposed. (I know that this might sound scary, but it is how the Lord often refines his children.) I am good at acknowledging the Lord, but in “all [my] ways”? I can’t even begin to try and pass it off that I do that. I look forward to the day when all will be made new and indeed all my ways will be his ways. But until then, I am thankful for opportunities to participate with others on these mission trips as they are often precisely what our Father uses to direct the path of this fallen and broken sinner towards himself.

Julie Ceselsky

It never ceases to amaze me how true Romans 8:28 is for believers -- “In all things, God works for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” I almost didn’t go on this mission’s trip, but God worked EVERY last detail out in relation to my grandmother’s passing right before we left. She didn’t want to go into a nursing home, she didn’t want to live into her 90’s (she was 89 ½) based on her physical limitations, she didn’t want to suffer through the dying process, she couldn’t wait to go home to her Lord and Savior, she wanted John to do the funeral, she wanted me to go on the trip since she and the rest of my family supported me, etc… And, God provided all of that and more! The mission’s trip is John’s most hectic work week of the year, but this was the first time that it seemed like a much needed vacation for both of us! It’s all relative, and considering the week we had before the trip from calling 911 for my grandmother, to her unexpected peaceful death just days later, to pulling together a funeral including out-of-town family was nothing short of miraculous! God provided more than we could have ever asked or imagined! And, He used you and your prayers to help pull all of this off, for the mission’s trip and the week prior, to which we are eternally grateful! We can’t THANK YOU enough for everything that you did for the mission’s team and our family!

Joe Fleming

I am glad for what we accomplished in México. What we did there was construction work at a church in Santa Ana. When I first arrived in México I didn’t know anything about México or where we would be staying. At first when they said Bougambilias I thought it was a couple’s house - boog and billias. You see where I got that, so whenever they said we’re going to eat at Bougambilias I thought we were going to someone’s house to eat. At the time of our leaving I was sorry to say good bye to all the friends I made there. It was a great trip.

Mary Fleming

First off I would like to thank all the people who have supported the team financially and through prayer. Without you our trip wouldn’t have been successful. Like every year, this trip differed from all previous year’s trips. Unlike the last Mexico trip where we stayed in a house in Santa Ana, this year we stayed in the Church in Bugambilias. Although the church appeared to offer more room than the house, it was in fact just as cramped if not worse than the house. All fourteen ladies were crammed into a room that was meant to hold nine. Although the sleeping accommodations were not ideal the bathroom accommodations were a big step up from the Santa Ana house’s two bathrooms/ two showers for the whole team. For that I am very thankful! n the worksite there were many different projects going on. The main one was making/ pouring cement to create a strong roof so that in the future they would be able to make a second story on the school. Another project was one that constantly changed; it went from digging trenches for benches, to digging a walkway. From there it went to digging the walkway deeper so they could
lay a pipe, then finally back to being a walkway (that’s the Mexican way for you!). The other projects included painting, tile work, and making tile designs for benches. Every year I believe that our team accomplishes our work to a certain degree, but for some reason this year I feel like we accomplished 100% of our work. I am very thankful that God has provided such an outlet for us to serve his people and I look forward to continuing his work next year on IMPACT 2010!

Maria Forman

Finally, after all these years, I was able to go on a mission’s trip with Aisquith’s impact team. It was great! I have been on a few mission’s trips to Hinton, in NC, with my dad’s Methodist church in Virginia, but I desperately wanted to join our Impact team on an international mission trip.
When I first heard the dates for the trip, I was hopeful, but a little hesitant. The return date was exactly the same as the date I was scheduled to come back from my summer in Virginia. If only I could come home a week earlier, I might be able to join the Impact team in Guadalajara. I prayed, and then I asked my dad if I could rearrange my summer visit. He said, “Yes!” Jumping for joy, I told my mom the great news. Then, she told me that she too was thinking about going on the trip this year.

And so our preparations began. In the months that followed, things went smoothly. I was unable to attend the last few team meetings or help with the yard sale because I was already at my dad’s. Going to my dad’s early was the only way I was able to go participate on the mission’s trip. I actually arrived home from Virginia thirteen hours before we were scheduled to fly to Guadalajara. All in all, the trip went very smoothly.

On Sunday, we attended two church services, one in Santa Ana, and another in Bugambilias. I had the opportunity to interact with the people as I practiced my Spanish. After church, we went to the Trotter’s for a cookout, and I was able to meet the whole family. I also enjoyed the opportunity to see some of the city from the lookout and to pray over the city. We asked God to bless our work over the week.

During our time on the worksite, we enjoyed meeting the children and interacting with them. I also worked on clearing out and organizing all kinds of materials from the school yard. We were preparing the space for the new benches where people could sit in the shade.

Unfortunately, Lydia and I were unable to join the work team on Tuesday because we were feeling sick. So we stayed back at the church and recovered so that we would be refreshed in the morning. On Wednesday, we returned to the worksite where I worked with Mary, Shannon, Nora, Lydia and my mom to design beautify tile benches. As we were working, we were unsure if we would have the opportunity to finish the bench project. Luckily, by the time Thursday rolled around, we kicked into high gear and finished tiling all three benches. They turned out wonderfully.

Although I have been on other mission’s trips, this one was my favorite. All of my other trips have been in the country, and we work on smaller projects. We were working on fixing-up old houses instead of working to create something new. In addition, the other mission trips were not as Christ -centered as this one. I truly enjoyed our morning devotions, the prayer chair and the nightly group devotions. Having the opportunity to sit for 15 minutes and thank God for bringing me to Mexico, and giving me the chance to help others, put me the right mind-set. I feel like I was able to focus more on working for the glory of God, rather than doing the work because it made me feel good.

I would like to thank everyone who supported us on our trip. I would also like to thank the team for making this such a good trip. And especially I would like to thank John for all of his hard work in making this trip possible.

A.J. Henningsen

This year’s trip to Guadalajara will probably stick out in my mind more than any other I go on, even if I go on 10 more. It was not only a great chance to spread God’s ministry, but also a great spiritual experience as well. It really opened my eyes to how amazingly God works through all circumstances to fulfill His bigger purpose. At first, I was pretty nervous about the trip, this being my first mission trip outside the US. But once we all settled in, things worked out pretty well. Working on the church at Santa Ana was hard work on everybody (do you know how hard it is to mix cement with 1 arm?) but also pretty fun, too. Being able to get to know the people, especially the kids, was one of the best parts of the trip. And then there was the great food every night!!!!!! But the best part was the lessons we all learned, not just from the devotionals, but also through the work and experiences and people. I think everyone on the trip learned to just let God control our lives, and to put His priorities before our own, and I think it showed in our actions. Sure, a few people got sick, and things got crazy at times, but everyone just trusted that God would work everything out, and it did. I hope to remember the spiritual lessons I learned on the trip, and put them into practice—whether it be reading my Bible more often or just trusting that He’ll work all things in our lives for the better. I hope that the awesome memories and lessons from this trip stay with everyone who was a part of it—they’ll sure stay with me. I think the biggest thing for everyone on the trip now will be getting used to “normal” life again—still gotta remember I can flush the toilet paper here!!

Amanda Horst

My name is Amanda Horst and this was my third mission trip. I went to Guadalajara two years ago with IMPACT as well and it was just as amazing this time. I can easily say that Guadalajara is my favorite mission trip simply because of the interaction we get between the team and the Mexicans. We spend nine hours a day with them, at least, working together on tasks that need doing, while building each other up spiritually and emotionally. You go to Mexico expecting one thing, and get something totally different than what you thought you would. It is beautiful how God works like that.

It is a blessing to be able to head to Mexico and just worship with the locals and see how their culture works, and even though it is helpful if you know Spanish there you can still communicate without it- ask ken (lol). We went to two church services, both in Spanish although the first one got the pastor’s son Ezra to interpret halfway through the service, and were welcomed thoroughly.

We worked nine hour work days for four days straight and got so much accomplished- we poured the roof, tiled signs on the walls, made and tiled benches, mixed cement, painted walls, sealed ceilings, made a sidewalk and laid pipe along with other things. We had a very good week all in all.

On Friday we had a little scare with Mrs. Eileen at the market, but God provided for her and a medic appeared from seemingly nowhere to help her. She got some fluids in her and we were all able to go home Saturday morning as scheduled. Though there were some minor problems involving stomachs and Mrs. Eileen’s scare, God provided for us and delivered us all back home safely. I couldn’t ask for more. God bless you all for your continued prayer and support.

Kayleigh Horst

This was the first of what I hope will be many trips to Mexico for me. I think the two sentences that best describe the trip are: ‘That was fun!’ and ‘When do we go back?’ But even so, those sentences do little to describe anything. What made it worthwhile was the people, the interactions, which I'm hoping to continue (three cheers for facebook), and getting to talk to people (though of course this made me resolve that I will learn more Spanish for the next time we come). But Spanglish does work wonders and thankfully the people were able to understand my very butchered Spanish. But I met so many people who I'd heard mentioned before, I met the Trotters, Ezra, Johnny, and so many others there. What surprised me was how friendly the people were, everyone greeted you and was friendly and the pace of life was decidedly less hectic than that in the states.

But the talk with the team members was amazing too. It's surprising how much more you learn about people who you've known for years, some of whom you've attended other missions trips with, after a week working together, eating together (yum the food was delicious! and not much like the Mexican food we get in the states. And I noticed that they served limes with almost every meal which was different), talking together, and, as was the case for most of the team members in this heavily female population sharing the ... comfortably full girls dorms with each other. I spent some time with the guys too and even tried boxing and a new style of martial arts I'd never tried before, Wing Chun (very cool). As for the work it and the workload varied though we worked longer than we had on any of the other trips I’ve been on previously.

We did have a few minor incidents and one team member passed out resulting in a trip to the emergency room to get hydrated, and we had members get sick ... but I think the song Mrs. Wallace made describes that better than I could... so I'll leave you to it.

Oh and I think we had a minor miracle too, I think it must have been all the prayers surrounding our team, but no one got stopped for extra security checks in customs and with 23 team members well... let's just say we were counting our blessings.
So many thanks to all those who supported our team whether monetarily or through prayer.

Larry Komenda

In years past, as I sat down to write my IMPACT follow-up, I’ve always tried to determine something about the trip that made it different from others before. Sometimes it’s challenging and sometimes it’s not. Compared to years past, this was one of the most comfortable trips to Mexico since we stayed in the dorms in Bugambilias though we always found a way to make due. The work was hard but not any harder than I remember from before. We had a good time fellowshipping together, but, then again, that is always the case. Yet, this was the easiest it has ever been when I sat down to lay out my thoughts as a single word jumped right out to describe what stood out to me: relationships.

This was my 3rd trip to Guadalajara having gone before in 2004 and 2007. In 2004, we stayed with host families and I (along with Jared and others) had the opportunity to become very close to the host mother and her children. I had seen them all 2 years ago and thankfully, Jared and I were able to see them all again this year! And, while I had been blessed with a strong relationship with that particular family, I had never quite experienced anything similar with others I had met in Mexico. This time, that was not the case.

I suppose I had always approached the work day sessions of the IMPACT trips with a singular purpose – to work hard, to get the various jobs done, and to say we had accomplished something tangible. Now, don’t get me wrong – all of that did happen. We made A LOT of cement. We got the roof of the kitchen filled in and tiled. We designed and decorated benches, dug out walkways, laid pipe, and tiled walls. Everyone worked hard and got it all done. However, for me, for the first time, I really interacted with the people. I had a great time with the kids. They would constantly ask my name and AJ would tell them it was “estúpido”. I would tell them his was “débil” and we would all laugh. I got to know Ezras and Jonathan who are two of Pastor Gonzalo’s sons and even had a brief moment as a drummer in their band! Even when it came to working with the adults in Santa Ana, I felt like I was operating with a much wider perspective. Sure, I wanted to get the work done, but I was more aware of the local people working with us and I made it a point to greet and speak to them. Why the change in my perspective? All I can say is that God blessed me even more by opening my eyes to the experience. It was His power that let me see what I did and it was truly a privilege to be able to go to Mexico and witness and work in the name of Jesus Christ. Like always, it an experience I will not forget. My only desire is that God will use all that I learned to draw me closer to Himself.

The trip was great and I couldn’t have asked to be a part of a better team. Thank you to all who prayed and supported us before and during the trip. We all appreciate it more than we can say.

Lydia Komenda
As I start to write, I have to be honest. I wasn’t expecting much out of this trip. My heart just didn’t feel in it. There was a lot going on in my life and mind that I would have much rather been doing and focusing on. However, as always, God had bigger and better plans. My last trip to Guadalajara, Mexico was in 2004. It didn’t seem like that long ago until I arrived. Seeing what had been accomplished since 2004 on the church/ school in Santa Ana was amazing. The school had actual classrooms with doors, the church was set-up and had a roof, there were actual bathrooms, and there was even a dentist office attached to the school!
The people in Santa Ana are poor. Very poor. Some of them have practically nothing. Yet, as you watch them on the streets or work with them on a daily basis – as we had the opportunity to do with some of them – they are a happy people. God really opened my eyes to just how happy you can be with so little. It was a big realization for me. It made me sad to think how I would not be happy with as little as some of them have. Middle Class Americans are so focused on wants and how they won’t be happy unless they have certain things. I know sometimes I get so focused on the “what ifs” of money and things that I forget that God will provide. The majority of the people in Santa Ana aren’t believers. In fact, they have a 2 week pagan celebration for Saint Anne- who the city is named after. Yet, even as non-believers, they exuberate with joy. I am sure all families have their worries, even those in Santa Ana, but there are always kids running around and people always saying hello. It really made me think about how little they have in comparison to how much we have and how we aren’t even happy sometimes with what we have. We shouldn’t worry about providing or the unnecessary desires we have. God will provide if we trust in him. Would you be happy with as little as the people in Santa Ana and still trust God?

Overall, the trip was a success. We got much accomplished and made even stronger relationships with the people. God protected us while we were there, even through a few sicknesses. We were there doing work for Him and in the end I believe that He spoke to all of us in one way or another. Thank you for your support and prayers before and during the trip. Please continue to pray for the people of Santa Ana. Pray that Christ’s word would be spread through the missionaries as well as those who are Christians so that more and more would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. What more could God want?

Eileen Ley

As far as a very first mission trips go, I think mine was perfect. Our time in Guadalajara was filled with equal parts, smooth travels, sweet worship and fellowship, successful (while at times sweaty) service, suspense, and sickness.
Our flights were uneventful. We had to fill in a few forms before entering Mexico, and lo and behold, they were only in Spanish. Never-the-less, our clever team filled them out with minimal need for my translation services.

I enjoyed worshipping both in Santa Ana’s humble sanctuary and in Bugambilias’ cool and airy one. Of course, the mosquitoes chose to worship with us in Santa Ana. Our all-American Sunday picnic with the Trotters was delightful. I learned later that Sandy treated the lettuce and tomatoes with iodine in order to protect our fragile tummies.

The Trotters live in a lovely suburban home which they bought for a song during one of Mexico’s many recessions. It has many steps and I praise God that none of them took me by surprise. Pastor Gonz and his wife, who work in the Santa Ana church, also joined us for lunch. We enjoyed lovely conversation. I translated for them many of the English conversations and jokes around them. This made them more comfortable as they got to know our team.

As a mom, I was proud to watch Maria at work. I also enjoyed listening to her help translate at the worksite and play with the local children. Speaking of children, I did have fun teaching the kids about the fundamentals of walking with a long white cane. I covered their eyes and had them walk up and down halls, ramps and stairs. (They especially liked the stairs!) I also had them use their other senses to observe the chaotic worksite. With eyes closed, they identified the hammering and mixing and shoveling sounds and smelled the smoke in the air.

Lest you think I spent the whole trip socializing, let me report that I spent lots of time working on the tiling projects and refinishing a large wooden desk that had been donated for the reception area. I also tried my hand shoveling dirt back into the drainage trench, and even worked the tamper for a while until I got good and sweaty. This helped me grasp just how hard most of our team was working for hours on end in the baking sun. They deserve all of our thanks and respect!

After that time in the sun, I started offering teammates evening back rubs and hand massages to help them prepare for the next day.

During our tourist day, I had a close encounter with the Mexican health care system. I was struggling intestinally for a few days, Drink as I did; I still managed to get dehydrated. That afternoon, I fainted at the outdoor market. Everyone on our Impact team was incredible. Each did their part to get help. Some caught me and carried me to the shade, another found a chair, another juice, some comforted Maria, while others held up my head so I could drink. I am sure they all prayed, and God sent us a paramedic out of the blue. How touched I was by this Christian love in action.

Sandy Trotter took me to a small private hospital to get much needed IV fluids. The only time she left my side was to go home and make me some chicken broth and rice! We shared wonderful conversation and I was very impressed to learn of all the sacrifices their family is making to share the Gospel in Guadalajara.

Thank you for supporting me in me on my first mission adventure. Hopefully, that my time in Mexico will serve as an encouragement to those we met as well as to those in our congregation who may not believe they have anything to offer the mission field.

Jared Newman

Every time I have gone on a missions trip I have always thought a lot about how I can impact the people of the area we will be visiting and what we can do to help them, but this year my attitude was a bit different. This year I went with the intention to so see more how the people could impact me; not only the locals but my peers and teammates; and I am happy to tell you I was not disappointed. I truly felt blessed to be with everyone that was there this year, through their actions and our conversations I was able to feel a true presence of God; IT WAS AWESOME. This goes for the locals as well, their strong-willed hearts and their willingness to share with us their culture and show that Christianity is universal, the same no matter where you are, was just a great blessing that I think everyone should be able to experience.

God was ever present during this time and he made it known through giving so many of us the strength to complete the tasks we had set out for us. For example, I was on cement duty all week, not an easy task, and I found that through my strength alone I could not do all that was set out to do that week, but God gave me the means to stay hydrated, healthy, as well as mentally and physically strong and I completed what I had to with very little injury at that. The outcome to all of this was a completed roof over a soon-to-be kitchen at the Church in Santa Ana; with the help of the locals it looks great and it is sturdy too : ). We had our reasons for being there and it was not only to put up roofs, build benches, paint rooms, or spackle walls; it was also to interact and spread the gospel and for people there to show us and us to show them that we are not alone as Christians in this world, by any means, and that when we come together some pretty amazing stuff can happen.

God Bless you all for your prayers and donations to this cause, they have not gone in vain.

Your Brother in Christ
Jared Newman

Ken Schumann


This was my second trip to Guadalajara Mexico with the Impact group this summer. The cool thing about God is you can count on a totally different experience with each trip. And this year was no exception, I truly needed this trip to help bust through my spiritual plateau I've been struggling with the past 3 months. God answered some of my questions I've been praying about, and now I feel totally renewed for any new trials He's got planned for me.

Our mission trips always revolve around a daily devotional we discuss in small groups to remind of us our responsibilities in serving our Lord God. Our topic this trip was "Repentance and Suffering", and we definitely experienced a whole new meaning to those words. "Repentance ought not to be simply an act we do, but a way in which we live. We need to beg the Lord to cultivate that repentant lifestyle in us."

Every group is assigned a specific night to present and discuss one of the daily devotionals. It just so happened that my group's topic allowed me to share my testimony on how I repented to the Lord to give me a second chance at truly developing a personal relationship with Christ. I've only shared this testimony with a few people, so discussing it with a large group was a bit overwhelming. But I wanted to share how God took one of the most humiliating, sinful disasters in my life and turned it into something positive. When we suffer we remain closer to God, but we also learn to trust in Him even more. Which reminds me of Romans 5: 3-5 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." I know it sounds crazy, but suffering truly is a blessing in disguise.

This year we had an awesome group of people from Aisquith. Everybody had their own unique set of talents, which allowed us to kick butt as a team and have fun as well. Working on the job site with the locals was a great experience. I enjoyed how we worked and interacted together as a team and not as two separate groups. Even when we screwed up they were very patient with us until we got it right. What really amazed me was the work ethic of the kids. There were four kids ranging from 7 -12 years old that had already mastered the trade of mixing four different grades of concrete. I'm talking shoveling, sifting, mixing by hand and then hauling buckets of concrete to the workers. These kids make a majority of the kids in the USA look like a bunch of . . . . . uh well I'll let you fill in the blanks.
Gonz, the pastor of the church in Santa Ana, told us a great story that took place at the work site last year. They hired a construction worker who was a non-Christian, and by the end of the summer he accepted Christ as his Savior. Now they plan on doing that each summer, just shows how God uses his people to light the path to His glory.

A couple of highlights that were a real surprise to me on this trip had to do with cycling. I've been a mountain and road biking enthusiasts ever since I was a kid, and I got to experience a little of both on this trip. Larry Trotter is a big mountain biking enthusiast as well, so during the picnic at his house we started talking. It just so happens he had two mountain bikes, and he offered to take me on one of the trails near his house. I tried to contain my composure, but the grin on my face said yes before Larry could finish his sentence. It was an epic ride I'll always remember and will make my riding buddies back home a little envious.

The other cool thrill was riding to work on a road bike from the church in Bugambilias to the church in Santa Ana. Riding through the streets was an adrenaline rush only because of the chaotic traffic. Cars don't stop at the intersections, stray dogs and chickens roam the streets, and other cyclists ride against the traffic patterns; however, that's what made it so much fun. But as I passed and waved to several Mexicans on their bikes on my way to the work site, I couldn't help think that this was their main source of transportation. Again something we take for granted here in the states.

As our trip came to an end on Friday night, an overwhelming feeling of sadness and joy filled me. I could feel God's presence 24-7 all week more than I could back at home over the past several months. For the first time I didn't want the trip to end, I wanted to stay in Guadalajara where I felt God was closer to me. But then I realized that God is always with me, I'm the one that strays from Him. We receive God's grace thinking we should be able to do good on our own and be in complete control. What a foolish thought!

Thank You and God Bless! To everybody who supported me through prayers and contributions.

Karen Wallace

This was my second trip as an Impact team member and my first trip to Guadalajara. My daughter Nora’s first trip with the Impact team was to Guadalajara in 2002 and I noticed that there was a definite change in her after she came back. Seven years later I finally got the “call” (better late than never) and there has been a definite change in my relationship with the Lord.

I could feel the Holy Spirit at work during my first Spanish service at the open air church in Santa Ana which the team had worked on during previous mission’s trips. I could not understand a word Pastor Gonz said during the service, but I felt the joy in the church amongst its members who lived in extreme poverty. It was encouraging to have them work along with us in the hot sun that week and to see us accomplishing God’s purpose together.

I expected that our construction would be a little more difficult than the one we did in Cherokee and my expectation was correct. I helped a little with the concrete in the beginning and then was assigned duty to the walkway/drainage project. Our project civil engineer Rick Willis and his associate Robin Willis were more than up for the job. Construction jobs in Mexico are “fluid” and you must be able to adapt to change at any time. There is always someone at the site who has a different opinion on how to do things. Luckily, because we are a family in Jesus Christ (Mexicans and Americans), there were no hurt feelings over this. I had been praying also for the physical strength for the project that God would assign to me and he did not disappoint.

I have to admit though by day 6 was fading fast and God had other plans for me. I was needed to be a companion to one of our team members who had fallen ill and needed to be taken back to the church at Bougambuillas. I had been so busy during the week with activity I really needed some time to recoup physically and also to spend some Quiet time with the Lord. One of the focuses of our devotionals was repentance and I really needed some time to address that.

Like everyone else on the team, I felt that we had really bonded with the Trotters. What a blessing to have a brother and sister in Christ that were willing to open their hearts and home to our team. I was also able to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation the night we were able to experience a breathtaking view of the city of Guadalajara from a lookout point near the top of the mountain. What an experience unlike any other!

John had told us that he expected us to work hard, but also to play hard. I really enjoyed the excursions to the restaurants and sampling the different Mexican foods every
night. The entertainment in the evenings ranged from a boxing match between Joe and Ezra (Pastor Gonz’s son), massage sessions with Miss Eileen and Maria, Marlies’ ongoing battle with mites and chiggers residing in her mattress (she was eventually given a new one) , Marlies and Carrie’s Hairbraiding Salon, and Lauren’s Smoothie Palace.

We did have our share of problems with illness, especially with Eileen’s bout with
dehydration at the end of the trip in the open air marketplace. We even saw God was able to provide for us during our time of need when Eileen fainted and a volunteer EMT was there immediately to address her problem. I believe I accomplished my goal of becoming closer to the Lord, address what has been lacking in my prayer life, and also through our interactions with the Mexican people, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

Nora Wallace

First of all, I would like to thank God for the opportunity to serve Him down in Guadalajara. I also want to thank those who prayed for our trip and helped us financially. Thank you for your support!

This was my seventh mission’s trip and my fourth time to Guadalajara; and God will never cease to teach you no matter how many times you’ve been on one. I was reminded on this trip that God is in control and no matter how often I forget this and try to succeed on my own, He will be there waiting for me to let go and let Him guide my life. To be honest, before this trip I did not pray as much as I should have to prepare myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was worried about other things going on in my life. This trip helped me get back on track with God, asking for his guidance and blessing throughout the week and having small group devotionals. Despite the uncertainness of not knowing what God has planned for me after school, I know that I need to trust in Him and not worry because He has a great plan for me and will be with me during that time.

Also, it’s amazing how God works out all the small details in our life and again is always in control. Many members of the team were sick, including Mrs. Eileen. She felt ill at the market and passed out for a few minutes and thankfully did not hit her head. Out of nowhere a volunteer EMT appeared, taking her blood pressure and giving her orange juice. In retrospect, God totally had His hand upon this situation because if Mrs. Eileen passed out somewhere else, she might have not received the care she needed right away or hurt herself in the process of passing out. God also blessed us by sending the volunteer EMT who appeared on the scene within minutes.

Throughout the week, God’s hand in each situation was evident in how he blessed us and protected us. He gave us plenty of sunshine, with little rain, and despite the illnesses, no one was seriously injured on the worksite. God is doing amazing things in Guadalajara. It was great to see how much progress was made on the church in Santa Ana, and that we could be a part of that.

Rick Willis

Guadalajara, Mexico was my second mission trip with the Aisquith Impact Team. It taught me lessons like all of us have a value in God’s eyes. Everyone of us claiming to be believers have special gifts we can use in the body of Christ and the world became a little smaller when I found out my family got larger. On this journey I got a small glimpse of how big God is.

In my Christian walk it becomes easy for me to think that I’m the only one who knows how to honor God the right way. It humbles me to know there are others who have a true love of Christ and show it with all their heart and are willing to edify me the way the Bible teaches us to. When we worshiped with the people from Guadalajara I noticed this in song and prayer. Though I couldn’t understand the language I saw and felt their passion for worshipping Jesus and thought I didn’t understand the words they used I couldn’t help but pray with them and thank God for each of them. It reminded me from the start what we were there for: to carry the message as they did to me that God cherishes all his children around the world.

God gave us all tools to be able to edify each other and all of us on the team were able to express something inside each of us God was able to use. I watched as each team member faced challenges that each of us overcame with smiles on our faces, from building roofs to laying pipe, to placing tiles, grouting and painting. We were able to do things that would make a contractor shudder and some of us did. We did it together, Mexican and American, for God and each other. On the team in our devotionals we shared personal testimonies that reminded us we were all special. All of these things were given to each of us in a special way to use there and here to help build Christ’s church.

Getting to know the people in Guadalajara was just as uplifting. Our first introduction to the missionaries Larry Trotter and wife was a boost when they let us know how valued we were for being there. The locals of Santa Ana when they volunteered at their worship service to work with us in building their church and helped us learn new things when they did. I even got close to a man there named Roberto and on my last day in Santa Ana I called him amigo which in Spanish means friend. His response to me was, “No amigo,” to correct me. He said to me, “Mi hermano,” which is to say, “My brother.”

All of these things in one way or another all of us in Christ have lived but to do it in a one week time frame made it all worth it. To see how people from another culture worshiped the Savior. To see God lift people above themselves at what they’re able to do. To know I have new friends and family that seek to walk the same path I do and know that we’re there to help each other along the way. All of this revealed to me that we live in a small world and serve an AWSOME GOD. Thanks all and God for the chance to do this.

Robin Willis

I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support for our trip to Mexico. This was my second mission trip but my first time to Mexico. It was also my first time out of the country. So I was a little nervous about that.
As I was preparing for our trip, I was starting to doubt whether or not I was supposed to be going. Family and friends were giving me a hard time about the things that were going on in Mexico. The money that I was supposed to be raising wasn’t coming in and there were other obstacles that were trying to get in the way. Then the day Rick and I went to get our photos done for our passports changed things for me. We walked into the store and we were told that the photo machine had just broken down right before we got there. We went another place and they didn’t have anyone who knew how to operate the machine. By that point I was frustrated and I told Rick maybe I am not supposed to be going on this trip. He then suggested we try going across the street to another place and see if they are able to do passport photos. I told him he could but I was staying in the truck, the sky was dark and a storm was on its way. A few minutes later Rick called me on my cell phone and said that they did have the machine to do the photos and there was something I might want to see that would change my mind. When I got into the store and looked where Rick was pointing for me to see, there was a photo of Greg Beerli. For anyone who doesn’t know who Greg is, he is a young man who attends Aisquith and went on last year’s mission trip to Cherokee. Rick and I were just getting to know him when the military had taken him overseas. Seeing Greg’s photo hanging there on the wall gave me peace and comfort. Then on our way home we stopped to get something to eat and there was John. That night I knew that God wanted me on this trip to Mexico. Just like our devotionals we did each day while in Mexico, God is in control and put your trust in him.

For me, it was an amazing week. We attended two church services on Sunday morning. Even though they both were in Spanish I still enjoyed them. At the second service, there was a point that I understood what was going on. He asked if anyone brought anyone with him or her and to introduce him or her to everyone. I thought that was nice.

I did get spoiled on this trip when it came to food. Each morning when we got up Rick had coffee ready and Eric made breakfast. Eggs, however you wanted them, French toast, pancakes and fried apples. Lunch was brought to us on the worksite and then dinner, we were taken out to eat most evenings. I can’t remember the last time I ate that good.

The work was hard but I enjoyed it. I started out painting but I didn’t feel as though I was being productive enough, so I went over and helped with the group that was digging the trench for the water drainage pipe and walkway. After several days of digging and measuring it was completed.

Getting to know some of the people for the short time we were there was a little difficult since my Spanish is little to none. But with some help I was able to communicate some. I did learn a couple of words. I will be looking forward to more time with the people there when we return because I have set a goal for myself to learn more Spanish for the next time we go back.
During these last two years going on these trips I have learned so much. It is helping me with getting out of my comfort space and shyness to new things. Also I am developing a closer relationship with God. I am looking forward to see what God has in store for me next year.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We're home!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amanda didn't realize it was her birthday! (She was about to get ice cream in the face!)

The girls playing with tiles!

Rick with Roberto!

Eileen & Joe digging!

A bunch of us with Horte & Magda!

Larry rocking out on the drums (with Ezra & Jonnie)

Julie, Shannon, & Marlies measuring for tiles!

Hey, everyone! I'm sorry to say that this will be the last post for the week. The good news is that we'll be coming home in a couple of days so we can show you all our pictures then.

One more time, thanks for all of the prayers and support. The trip has been amazing and I know we'll all be sorry to leave.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More photos from Guadalajara!

Relaxing at lunch after working hard!

Shannon & Robin painting (and Lydia grouting in the background)!

Kayleigh painting a pole!

Making "el cemento"!

At the lookout (spelling out GOD using high exposure)

Posing at the lookout!

Ken - the grill master!

His parents must be so proud...

Today was another great day working in Santa Ana. We are getting a lot done and really getting to know the people of the church! Thanks for all of the prayers!

P.S - Please, pray for team health as a couple team members (Lydia and Maria) were a bit under the weather today (don't worry...they're already feeling better)!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eric and Kayleigh practicing Wing Chun!

Montezuma's revenge early!

Group Photo in Santa Ana!

Amanda using her AJ desk!

Mary and Marlies (and Lauren, too!)

We'll try and post more photos on Tuesday night (after a couple days of work)! Thanks for the continued prayers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hey, everyone!

We just wanted to let you know that we landed in Guadalajara safe and sound. We are at the church in Bugambilias. Thanks for all of the prayers. We'll post some photos and stuff in a couple of days!

Also, the IMPACT Team wishes Britney and Gabe a Happy Birthday!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's almost that time!

Watch this website for news, updates, and pictures from Aisquith's Summer Missions Trip!