Salsa Picante: Hot Sauce of EduVenture Mexico
November 2006 Report
By Jennie Martinez, Volunteer Staff
What an amazing semester we’re having! Should I tell you about the eight wonderful students whose lives are not only being transformed by God before my eyes, but they are also being used to humble me, encourage me, mold me, and make me more than I could have been had I not net them?
Perhaps I should tell of at least one of the many men and women of God who have graced our lives with their teaching and life experiences. Henk Kaemingk is one of those. He is a Dutchman living in the Sierra Tarahumara, discipling believers thru YWAM’s (Youth With a Mission) DTS (Discipleship Training School) program. After some amazingly difficult trials in reaching out to the Tarahumara communities nearby, Henk shared a profound conclusion with us: serving God is about faithfulness. Faithfulness can only be lived out or modeled (not just taught or talked about). It can only be shown over a long period of time, and is best exemplified through adversity. Wow! We took notes. Not just because it was a class and it was good information, but because his life backed up his words.
Should I tell you about the insanely wonderful full-time staff here? They are not only amazing, super-qualified, talented, lovers of God . . . but they invest in students and each others’ lives through time, exercise, prayer, song, classes, games, you name it. They’re the best! And, I must say that galloping through “cactus alley” last night on Sombra’s back, with the moon just coming out and the sun setting low behind the hills was a vivid reminder that this place, these people, this entire experience has been a glimpse of heaven — the community, the fun, the music, the beauty of creation. God draws near and we experience the fullness of joy in His presence. Thanks for caring and thanks for your prayers,
Of Beauty and Beasts
By Tim Trezise, EduVenture Mexico site director
Psssssssh . . . chatter, chatter, chatter . . . psssssh! The sound of frijoles (beans) brewing in the pressure cooker is the typical background noise of our morning classes. Trumping the sound of beans cooking on the stovetop is the student interaction with phrases such as “Hmm, that is a good perspective.” “No, I think . . .” “What about . . ?” “In this culture . . .” “Yeah, but what about . . ?” Animated student discussions are facilitated by our visiting professors, Bud and Marlys Larsen, as the group explores a variety of concepts in Missions and Community Development. Added to that is the clicking of plastic keys on the computer as I mix together this sample of “Salsa.”
A lot has happened since the last batch of Salsa was shared. Students did a brief weekend home stay with families in Madera to get familiar with them and the area. They will return for a much longer home stay in a few weeks. We then took our Missions and Community Development classes on tour and stayed at a YWAM base in the mountain town of Creel. As Jen mentioned above, it was inspiring to listen to Henk and hear of his consistent love for the indigenous Tarahumara people. We then spent a day visiting the Hospital Tarahumara two hours further in the Copper Canyon area. Dr. Mike Berkeley shared his perspectives on missions and challenged us all in thinking outside of the small boxes of denominations and believing in a big God who cannot be fully explained or understood by our finite minds. Next we spent five days at Basaseachic National Park, assisting Cindy Tolle in a community-development project of helping with a plan to bring more tourism dollars to the poverty-stricken area. After two rock climbing outings, a day of trail development, and three days of backpacking in the heart of the canyon/park, we gained a much deeper appreciation of the beautiful resource the people have. Upon returning from our field experiences, the students hit the books with an intense week of Cross Cultural Communications classes with Dr. Marcus Dean from Houghton College. Tim Ried, a missionary pilot, made the professor exchange with bringing in the Larsens from Minnesota and taking Marcus back to catch his flight to western New York. There’s nothing like professors showing up for class in a Cessna 206. We are now heading into our second week with the Larsens teaching. Mixed in the intensive weeks of classes are times of cattle work with the cowboys at the corral next to our classroom building, a hike to the Indian caves, a super hero theme night, and a fancy restaurant-style dinner in honor of all the ladies — served up by the men of the community. Last night was our big social event — the coffee house! Our main dining area was transformed into an elegant candle-light restaurant. We dined on delicious food and sipped coffee, tea, or chi as everyone took their turn sharing something poetic, musical, or theatrical. It was wonderful to see the art God has placed in each person and celebrate the beauty of the body of Christ.
I have asked all the students to share their stories. Here are the students’ accounts of EVM life I received for this update. You will find stories of beauties and beasts — real stories — not some Disney fairy tail. There is no need for passive entertainment and a “clicker” when God is actively doing exciting things in people we love. This is what life is all about!
By Heather Arndt, Nyack College
I came to EduVenture because I wanted adventure. The prospect of hiking, camping, rock climbing, etc. while experiencing another culture sounded great! And the adventure part has far exceeded my expectations! Yet I found so much more than I anticipated. I found great food! I don’t even want to eat American anymore. I found community! We eat together, laugh together, worship together, have fun together, work together, share with each other, and more. God is the center and because of Him we can love each other through our differences. We are a body and when one part is missing or sick, I fell like we are incomplete. We lift each other up in prayer and encouragement and carry each other’s burdens. Here, I have found a picture of what the body of Christ is to be like. I’ve also found acceptance and belonging, but most importantly, I have found freedom. God has spoken truth where there were once lies, given confidence where there was once insecurity, and made beauty of what was once ashes. He has freed me to take Him at His word and to be who He created me to be. Through the loving encouragement and prayers of the staff and my fellow students, I feel like I am daily becoming more of myself, the person God intended rather than the person Satan intended. I praise God for directing me to EduVenture where through the activities, adventures, and the people here, He could bring me freedom!
A Dream Actualized!
By Julian Macias, Vanguard University
Upon choosing to attend EduVenture last spring, there were a few things that really made my stomach jump for joy. First was horseback riding, second was the rock climbing, but the third activity was something that the leaders were not certain would happen because it was dependent on the ranch work schedule here. It soon became a desire for me — here it is . . .
It was a normal chilly Friday morning and we all had a full week of Cross Cultural Communication classes with Marcus Dean. Dave and I were given the opportunity early in the week to round up cattle with the cowboys — another great experience! So I woke up, still tired from the round-up, and started my day with the vaceros (steers) howling and the cowboys gearing up for another day of work.
A few hours later our first class was finished and we went to the corral to watch the cowboys work. This is when I got a taste for a new-found interest. The cowboys were roping the steers by their front and back feet, then stretching them out and preparing them for castration. Ouch! Well, in my vast years of watching the PBR (Pro Bull Riding), I was convinced I could take down one of the steers. So I jumped into the corral and faced my opponent (who seemed much bigger at the time) and started to wrestle. I did something and ended up on the ground with all my 220 pounds on the vacero’s ribs. I was so excited, I quickly called David, who was washing his clothes by hand at the dorm. He needed to wrestle a beast, too! So he also came, and saw and conquered! When it was all said and done, we wrestled about 15 steers, some were easy, others well . . . tossed me about and threw me into the gates. What made it all worth it was that Manuel (the boss-man) impressed by the hard work of his new “Luchadores” (wrestlers — the name we promptly earned) allowed us to saddle our horses and help drive the cattle to the next pasture at the end of the day. He said it was our reward, but we say respect was our reward. It became my day of all days, when a dream of mine was actualized.
If you have been following our stories this semester you may be asking yourself if this is the same Julian that fell and broke his elbow after the first week of the semester. The answer is yes. For those of you praying for him, thank you. There is no doubt that your prayers were heard and God once again proved his ability to heal. I think bull wrestling may be soon adopted by the international orthopedic society as a new means of functional rehabilitation or assessment of bone healing.
By Ashley Wiles, Olivet Nazarene University
On our last “field trip” we were able to experience all sorts of new things. We were able to take a day for shopping in Creel then stay the night at the YWAM base where we got to do some bouldering and ehar about Henk Kaemingk’s life and the discipleship program he directs. The program sounded very interesting and may be something I may do someday. On the way there and back the roads were steep and winding up and down canyons. It was nauseating, but the views were amazing.
The next stop was Basaseachic National Park. Cindy Tolle stayed with us the entire time. She took us climbing and bouldering then oversaw the trail work we were doing. We backpacked for a few hours, down many switchbacks to below the base of a waterfall that soars over 800’, then a few miles down further into the canyon. We then established base camp at a beautiful spot along the river. Cindy directed us in developing the area as a future designated camp site for the park. The next day we went canyoneering! I think it was my favorite day of the entire semester. We went down river for hours jumping from one boulder to another. It helped us become more confident and trusting with ourselves — we’d leap over the water land safely on the next boulder without falling in. It was a great team-building activity as we all helped each other find the route through the maze of rocks and pools. The best part was cliff jumping about 15 feet into a large pool of freezing cold water. It was a blast! Basaseachic is absolutely gorgeous — biggest waterfalls in Mexico, huge rocks everywhere, mountains and cliffs towering all around us and the river running through it all. It was wonderful . . . until the last night of camping . . .
. . . we had set up our tarp (Liz, Ruth, and I) on a bit lower ground than where the fire pit and the other tarps were set up. Well that night we were all sitting around the campfire discussing the future of tourism for the area when the thunder rolled in, soon followed by rain. So we all headed to bed since the tarps were our only shelter. We were getting ready for bed when it started pouring. We soon found out our tarp was set up in the wrong place. Before we knew it we were laying in a small pond — EVACUATE! We quickly moved all of our gear and the tarp to higher ground and set everything up in the deluge. With Tim’s help we set it low enough so not as much rains could blow in. So then with our sleeping bags half soaked and our few (if any) articles of dry clothing — we attempted to fall asleep. The rain pounded for two hours. The next morning was pretty cold as we packed everything up. Backpacks are suppose to be lighter at the end of a trip — not so with water-logged gear. After 4 hours of hiking up out of the canyon we were pretty exhausted. We were treated to eating good food (a hamburger never tasted so good) at a restaurant in the village of Basaseachi, then slept the six hours of driving home — Calandria. It was good to be back on campus.
God’s Embracing Touch
By Siobhan (Hannah) Hillman, Nyack College
Hello to all our loved ones. I am very excited about being able to write you all about some of my experiences here at La Calandria. I must say this place is growing each day closer to my heart. I can tell you that because of the many things I have learned and gone through here I will most definitely never forget this place. Each day has its joys and challenges, and God has been faithful in all of them. I have been able to see how God has been preparing me over the past year for the transformation He has been doing in me during my time here. Through all our awesome activities such as horseback riding and climbing (my two favorites), canyoneering in Basaseachic National Park, and all our classes, God is reaching each one of us exactly where we need to be reached.
Personally, I know by being here, God has truly touched my heart to love His church. I have been so wounded by the church that I was afraid of it and terribly bitter against it. Praise the Lord for He is good and His ways are good. This body of believers has shown me in many different ways how the church can be, the love we can receive, and the support and encouragement God can give us through His people.
I praise God and am so excited about what else He has in store to teach me over the next 6 weeks. Please keep praying for all of us as we still have so much to do in such a little time period. Pray as we head out on our eight-day wilderness trek (starting Nov. 4), followed by our time with our 9-day home stays with Mexican families in the village of Madera. Also pray that in our last weeks, we will be able to balance completing all our assignments with soaking up this beautiful place.
Ode to the Staff
By Katie Smith, Olivet Nazarene University
Hello family, friends, and others. This week I have decided to write a tribute to all of the wonderful staff members of our small and beautiful Calandria community.
Tim and Kathy are so much fun,
They inspire me to run!
Paul and Jill are really cool,
They pushed Dave in the swimming pool!
Hec and Jen both like to camp,
They teach us Spanish using LAMP!
Rafa and Lupita are so groovey,
I want to take them to a movie!
Sergio is last but not the least,
He’s always cooking us a feast!
We eat beans here almost every day,
And try to do things the Mexican way.
Life at Calandria is such a great thing,
It makes me want to shout and sing!
Check out the latest pictures of this semester by CLICKING HERE. Note: You will be leaving ClimbingForChrist.org.
“God works in those who live daringly, He ceases when people no longer need His aid.” — A. W. Tozer
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