Sunday, November 20, 2011

Last thoughts of Mexico and ParaPan Am. Games

It's been over a week and time to turn towards home. I fly out early Monday Morning so I thought I would write down A few thoughts. 1) Ministry at this type of event has many forms. Praying for the athletes who compete - For their safety and well being and for their families as well. This I did a lot of especially with Catholic athletes. One on one ministry takes place as well - God had a way of providing translators when they were needed. During our fellowship and devotional times it may have taken time with translations, but God rewarded those who were there with His presence and some very good fellowship. Mexican and Brazilian are extremely passionate about there faith. It's like worshiping with someone who drank hundred cups of coffee and on caffeine pills. Thanks for all the prayers they were answered. 2) People in Mexico are a very excitable people. But they also know how to give out of their own needs. There is a big difference between the poor and rich. It is senn throughout these cities. But what challenged me was the poor gave to those in need. They gave despite of their own poverty. God Bless and hope to see you all soon. In His Service, Pastor Craig. Bueno Steeas!!!

Ministry Pictures

Magna and Hailey (Brazilian Judo) were sharing after Bible Study. They are very passionate believers.
Maria with a silver medal (Singles Tennis and Doubles Tennis), Laura (co-chaplain) on Right share the spotlight with two of Maria's team (Brazil).
Mexico, Colombian and Brazilian after Bible Study. Time to Fellowship and take pictures (Smile)'
It's time to pray!
This man jumped on the bus and started singing. He later took donations. What a job????

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday at Games

All I can say is wow. Ministry has picked up here as more athletes are finding there way to chapel for prayer and Bible Study. It is very interesting to see the passion of the central and south American athletes. Yesterday evening I was blessed to see during our Bible Study - a spontaneous worship and testimony time all in Portuguese and Spanish. How do I know it was good? God's presence was there. One athlete told us that he has had a problem with fear ever since losing his vision. He told us after prayer that there is no more fear "PRAISE GOD". That's a quote. Also had a nice chat with a Brazilian wheelchair tennis player who was not supposed to come, but because the 2 players above her couldn't make the trip - She Came. She won a bronze individuals and silver doubles tennis medals. We discussed the why she was here question and prayed. There are other stories to share, but for now let me thank you for praying. The language barrier is still there but we have been getting around it. But it is in very eye opening to have a Bible study in 2-3 languages at one time. Will post some pictures soon and as always, God Bless from Guadalajara and keep praying. Pastor Craig

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Basketball Video

I am posting this men's game footage of part of the USA vs Guatamalla to show you how talented these athletes are.

Basketball Pictures

Team USA before there game with Guatemala. Final score 95-23.
Entertainment at the game. They play a lot of jazz.
USA women against Mexico. USA won 77-46. The crowd was very loud for the home team.
Entering the Basketball Venue.
One of the mascots of the games "huichi" (a pink deer).

Pictures "Life in Mexico"

e At any stoplight you can run into from 1 - 3 people performing during the stoplight. They do anything from acrobatics to juggling. This guy is doing some baton tricks. After they complete these tricks they run down the line of cars accepting gifts.
Here is a street vendor. They are scattered throughout the city. Most of them setup near bus stops to sell there wares.
While this riding on the bus to "The Villa" this man jumped on bus and talked to the driver. He then turned to the crowded bus waving a paper and speaking Spanish. After about 5 minutes he went down the bus and received money from those on bus. He came to me I told him I didn't speak Spanish. He spoke English and told me what he said. He got out of prison and showed his release papers. He asked for a peso or two so he could find a job after he traveled home. People here gave out of what they had to help him without question. What a giving people.
The bus drivers in Mexico can personalize the bus he drives how he likes. So far I have seen a Mickey Mouse and this tinted window of Christ.
At the streetlights people do more than just entertain, they wash windows like these guys are for money. They also sell things like papers dolls anything you can think of.

Weds. Observations

It's been two days since my last post and in those days some things have happened. The most notable visit I have had is with the father of a Quadriplegic who injured himself diving into his fathers pool while he was on leave from the marines. The accident happened around 1985 and his son has been on the US Bocchie team for 16 years. In the military if you become a Quadriplegic or Paraplegic they assign to a "core group" of people to Rehab. with - This helps because they bond in such a way as to help each other through their traumatic experiences including the use of legs (if Para or Quad) and arms (if Quad). Evidently in this his sons core group 4 out of 6 people have died. The father told me that over 80% of Quads over age 45 die due to apathy (not knowing what to do or not wanting to be like they are).

In terms of ministry taking place - most of it is praying with people and trying to build relationships (one on one). For this Americano it has been difficult so far for 2 reasons: 1) The language barrier. Most of athletes speak little English and when I am by myself I try to recruit an interpreter. When two of us are here it is a a lot easier. There is still ministry taking place when I am alone as I do connect with Americans and Canadians. Just not as much as I'd like to see (pray for this). The second challenge is that we are trying to leave 1 chaplain in chapel at all times. So when you are by yourself, it is tough to get out and meet the participants of ParaPanAmericonas Games. We do overlap our times in the afternoon and get out then to meet people. Being short a Chaplain hurts us in that respect, but I would ask you to pray for the chaplain who became ill and could not come. His name is Todd. Keep us in your prayers as we are here to serve the athletes and ultimately God! - I will write back in a day or two, God Bless!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pictures of Guadalajara

Entrance to the ParaPanAmericanos Village (where the athletes stay during the games).
Some participants hang there flags from the windows of their apartments.
The Flag pavilion in the "International plaza" where the athletes hang out and visit each other.
Advertisement in a local shopping mall. The malls name is "Plaza del Sol".
Outside the Chapel after service. Here was our worship team - Hugo Vargas Rivas and his wife.

More pictures to come throughout week.

It's a new week

Hi again from Guadalajara 2011. It's the second day of the games. Saturday at the games was slow because people were still flying in and the athletes were getting adjusted here at the village. Some athletes stopped by to introduce themselves to us as well. All the athletes come from the western hemisphere (including Cuba). In setting up were able to post an announcement for the services here in the village. While out I met a wheel chair athlete who competes in Bocchie. She and her dad (who is a Pastor) stopped by to let us know they were interested in some of the services but she had to compete Sunday Morning so they would miss church. Saturday most conversations were brief letting people know we do a have services here in the village. Sunday we had chapel. The crowd was small, but God showed up. The message was on, "What type of athlete are you". We used the story of David and Goliath and asked if you were a Saul (under-confident), a Goliath (overconfident), or a David (humble and knew his limitations). When we got David a blind Mexican athlete let us know it was David's trust in God that allowed him the victory! After the service two Brazilian came to the Cappila (Chapel). They could not make the early service because they were competeing so we talked with them and prayed. It seemed to help one of them as she had a few tears after the Prayer. We then invited them to our evening Praise and Devotional time. After that I left due to a touch of nausea and lightheadedness. Continue to keep us in your prayers. God Bless!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mexico Ministry

Greetings from Guadalajara, Where we are getting ready for some Chaplaincy ministry at the Para Pan Am Games.

The athletes are arriving ready to compete. Two of the three chaplains made the trip as well. The third one fell ill and is unable to come at this time. The person in charge is a Pastor/Church Planter here in Guadalajara.We are ready to go - Before we began he gave us a tour of the athletes village where we will be working. He also filled us in to the areas "Roman Catholic" background. One of which is shared with many of the nations around it. He told us 1-2% of people in Mexico are Christians. Since the percentage is so low many Mexicans view evangelical Christianity as a "sect" or a "cult". Roman Catholicism is main religion in Mexico and surrounding nations. As I continued to learn, this type of Catholicism is more Spiritist than Catholic. As many appheritions have appeared throughout the region. Most claimimg to be Mary the people haved turned to "charms" and various saints to seek help and salvation. Please begin to pray for these people, they are slaves to a Religion and truly need a Relationship with Christ. Pray for us at the athletes village as well - That God would use us to draw the athletes to a personal relationship with Christ. Pray also that God would bless our Sunday Morning services and nightly devotional time. In His Service, Pastor Craig