SALSA PICANTE: The Hot News Mix of EduVenture Mexico
Spring Semester 2004: March 26 Report
By Tim Trezise
(Editor’s note: Climbing For Christ member Tim Trezise and his family – wife Kathy and children Caleb and Joy – are on a full-time mission, leading the EduVenture in Rancho Huapoca, Mexico. EduVenture is described as being “for college students with a passion for God and the outdoors – combining education and adventure with simple living and community development. What follows is Tim’s report.)
The snow and rain of the first part of the semester has yielded new life to the mountains around us. Spring is time to celebrate new birth – most importantly rebirth and the powerlessness of death. Pink peach tree blossoms fluttering, sprouting grass and wildflowers shimmering in the wind currents, butterflies dancing to the fresh melodies of a new orchestra of birds all announce the triumphant arrival of spring – reminding us of a more triumphant return of the King. Creation yearns to stop its groaning and shout with all it has in proclaiming Hosanna!
Yes we are all alive and very well. It has been at least one moon since we have last shared some of our “salsa” with you all. So sit down, grab a tortilla and we’ll share what has been keeping things spicy around here.
Construction is done!
It wasn’t until the third week in February before our new building was completed and useable, giving the female students much needed breathing and living space in their dorm. The ladies were stellar in their patience and ability to test the community living principles as their dorm temporarily served also as the central meeting area and dining facility. It has been wonderful to have classes inside or outside on the patio overlooking the babbling brook below. The acoustics of the large open space also make for great resounding noise we call singing. Caleb and Joyellen enjoy the big concrete floor for riding their bikes and scooters. We all are very grateful to how the Lord provided for this facility.
Students crammed in a semester’s worth of anthropology and half of a semester of cross-cultural communication into the two weeks that Dr. Stephen Pettis was with us in February. The weather bounced back and forth from warm and sunny to cold fronts and storms providing blankets of snow several times. Dr. Pettis went from getting sunburned to wearing his down ski jacket when teaching in our variety of outdoor classroom locations. Dr. Tom Wisley and Michelle McGuire will be our other guest professors arriving on 3/30 to teach for a week in more favorable conditions: warm with a lot of sun.
The past month has been filled with students participating in vaccinating horses, castrating bulls, and watching cows get branded. Perhaps the highlight was two weeks ago when Kenny Haught came down to demonstrate the roundpen method of breaking horses to the community of Babicora. Kenny is a professional horse trainer from an Arizona ranch, although some here think he is “The Man from Snowy River.” His approach is to gain the horse’s trust instead of breaking his will. Throughout the process of “breaking” the several wild horses, he shared the gospel message of the gentle love of Jesus. Powerful stuff when we begin to see the similarities in our stubborn wills and the patient, caring touch of the master. EduVenture pays for Kenny to come each year and share this message with the Mexican communities surrounding us. This year’s turnout at the rodeo stadium was about 200 people for both days.
In the previous edition of Salsa Picante, I asked for people to pray for God’s direction for EduVenture’s involvement and assistance with missionaries of a community in northern Mexico. As a result of Jason and Sergio helping with a large youth event in Madera, the connection was made with Ricardo and Marina, a young missionary couple with a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit. They invited EduVenture to come visit them, stay one night with the families of their church in El Largo, then travel with them to a remote Pima Indian village called Mesa Blanca a few hours beyond the ranch. What resulted was a powerful three days of witnessing the power and love of God working in communities of kind and generous people despite living in poverty and the spiritual oppression of the drug industry and witch doctors. EYE-OPENING! Ricardo shared from his experience two very important things for the students to understand in working with people:
1.) Pray for everything, all the time and expect big things from a big God!
2) Before starting any work you must LOVE your neighbors and be willing to lay everything down for them.
Recently we have realized our staff limitations in attempting to work with the local people. We have been praying for direction of where to best invest our efforts to make a positive impact in reversing the problems entrenched in our neighboring communities. There are a variety of good people and ministries to involve ourselves with, but the good keeps us from the best. Henri Blackaby, in his book, Experiencing God, teaches the importance of finding where God is already working powerfully and joining Him there instead of first considering starting something new. For some time now we have been thinking the best approach is through a Mexican couple who:
1.) Have a passion for the people in the area;
2.) Have the respect of the local people due to marital status, age and occupation;
3.) Are holistic in ministry (considering all the factors involved);
4.) Are not bound by denominational walls but seeks to see the strength of a church united; and
5.) Are willing to put the experience into the education of the EduVenture students.
My personal preference was to also be involved with the subculture of the indigenous people groups to provide a broader perspective for students. Upon defining these characteristics, we also realized that this is impossible to find around here. This is where God loves to show He is listening and He loves to work in impossible things. Ricardo and Marina fit all of the above characteristics in addition to having a healthy ministry already established in several communities (indigenous and Mexican). Coincidence? No way Jose! We are really excited about what God is doing through them and anticipate being more involved with them in the future, but are totally open to God leading us down a different path if that is best.
Students continue to learn about overcoming mental limitations, digging deep inside, persevering, putting up with discomfort, thinking big, and seeing the magnificence of our creator through various adventures. They have been disciplined in working hard in developing the necessary fitness for the upcoming weeklong trek in April. This weekend they will get a sampling of what to expect with a 2½-day hike while continuing to strengthen their cardio-respiratory systems. Today and tomorrow they ride the range once more with their second all-day horse adventure around the mountains of the ranch. There have been two optional mountain bike trips stretching to both ends of the ranch, one being a 15-mile roundtrip with an extended time swimming in the hot springs.