Mission: Mexico 2007
The hot news mix of EduVenture Mexico
Spring 2007 — Feb. 12 Report
By Tim Trezise, EVM Site Director
"Just another day at the office!" can be heard occasionally by staff members as we sigh and reflect on the nature of our work here and our routine. We battle the daily commutes in rush-hour foot-traffic of 18 people jockeying for position for the meal lineups. The food is simple and the same each week — good! Basically eggs or oats for breakfast and beans in as many varieties as you can think of, supplemented with other Mexican dishes. The scenery is always the same. We have to deal with looking at the same old beautiful mountains and canyons everyday with spectacular displays of color with the clouds dancing with the sun. It is just another desk job — we spend a few hours/week at a desk (which may be a recycled door lying on its side) punching away at a laptop for planning a lesson or logistics of an event or field trip. The schedule also is so predictable here — it always changes. So as you can see we do not sigh out of regret or disdain but from being overwhelmed with thankfulness and delight for the routine of living here and working just another day at the "office" — which is a very broad term geographically — most of it being outside.
Usually (another loose term) the always-changing "routine" we deal with has to do with canceling or moving an event. This may be due to an instructor having to postpone meeting with us or due to a storm coming through which affects our adventures and our planned participation in the cattle work on the ranch. This happens almost weekly where we have to move some of the events that were scheduled, resulting in the academic calendar being in a constant state of fluctuation. The first two weeks of cold and precipitation this semester caused us to compress more academic classes together and delay adventures. The students have made great progress by already being halfway through the Spiritual Formation, Spanish, and Community Development courses. We have been exploring topics such as desiring God, the spiritual disciplines, the grace of God, poverty, helping the needy, justice, and biblical holism. We have had some great times of worshiping together and digging deep into some heart issues.
Our routine continues to change but lately, it has been impacted the most not by the ever-changing events, but by the news of transition in people's lives. Paul and Jill, our beloved staffers who serve as adventure leaders and mentors for the students, have decided that this spring will be their final semester with EVM. We fully support their decision (not without sadness) to follow God's prompting with this to explore further schooling for Paul and prepare for the next phase in their lives. Paul and Jill are a dynamic couple and have been such great team players for EVM. They will be sorely missed, but now our focus is to enjoy each moment with them and cherish this time we have with them as a gift from the Lord.
Our dear Mexican family (Rafael, Lupita, Uziel, Daniel, and Zurisaday) moved back to Madera over a week ago. Rafa decided a few weeks ago to pursue other options for work. He served for 2½ years on the ranch here as a cowboy and is now interested in trying something else. Lupita was the cook for all the evening meals. The family contributed a lot to this program and are already missed. We have had to adjust work responsibilities to cover the work Rafa and Lupita were helping us with. Caleb is already missing his little buddies to play with. Muchas gracias familia Vargas por todo. ¡Los amamos mucho!
Newsflash: Joyellen just learned how to ride a bike a few days ago, but even more importantly, she just announced she caught her first ladybug.
With the staffing of EVM under "overhaul" and the needs of EduVenture as a whole, there has been much discussion of the future ramifications of all of this for EVM. Please pray for us as we seek the Lord's guidance for the ministry of EduVenture in Fiji and Papua and what may transpire here in Mexico.
We are very upbeat about the possibilities and what God may bring in the near future. We are not anxious but wait with anticipation to see how once again our BIG GOD shows how He works out all things and is in control of all things. We just need the faith of birds and lilies (or mustard seeds will do). Funny how such a simple thing as the gift of faith may not be that simple for us to apply because we have become too complicated to know how to simply trust Him.
Salsa-making has become part of this semester's routine. Ruben, Hec, and Sergio regularly cook up the vegetables and mash them whole with the grinding stone in the stone bowl. I wish you could taste fresh salsa made the way the Mexicans have perfected it — roasted veggies, chicken boullion, cilantro, lime, peppers, onions, and love — mmmmm. Unless you come for a visit you will just have to settle for this literary salsa. I have provided the base veggie news chunks for this issue. It is now time for the students to add their spices to doctor this mix up. Taste the words and enjoy!
We're In Mexico!
By Alicia Podufalski, Eastern University
After a week and a half of snowy days, the weather has continually gotten better. It feels like early summer now. It has been beautiful, especially being in the mountains, being able to watch the sun rise and set over them. The past few weeks have been full of adventure: a snowy campout, hiking up the "whitewater rapids" of the arroyo, horseback riding, and rock climbing. The horseback riding has been exciting: getting to know the horses, how to tack 'em up and saddle 'em. Our last time on horseback was through the mountains, down steep terrain, into the arroyo and up again. We practiced cantering (a speed between a trot and a gallop). My horse (Paradito) decided to go off-roading while cantering, but we were soon under control again and back on track, after ducking a branch or two. Climbing has been adventuresome! Since I haven't climbed before, the climbs have been pretty challenging, but super fun. It's been pretty entertaining for my belayers (Paul and Cyndi). They laugh hysterically as I hang on for dear life. It all has been a wonderful experience. Pray for good weather and community. I love you and miss you guys back home.
Extraordinary EduVenture Experiences
By Brooke Aili, Bethel University
EduVenture Mexico (EVM) is Amazing! Our first month here has been filled with all sorts of adventures. It started out cold, camping in the brisk January Sierra Madres. As it warmed up we began enjoying beautiful hikes through the breathtaking scenery. I've especially enjoyed the thrilling horseback rides and exhilarating 80-foot rock climbs. Through all our adventures the students and staff have all grown together in community and bonded in teamwork. Some extra-special highlights have been eating authentic Mexican food, appreciating our wood-heated showers, and most of all, some amazing times with God in solitude on a mountaintop and in community in spirit-filled worship. I miss and love you all who are dear to my heart. Please keep praying for each of us.
The Arctic South
By Shelby Hayes, Houghton College
Many would say that Mexico is always a warm and sunny, however, we experienced winter camping in the Sierra Madres. Since this was our first outing as a group, we learned all about site selection, setting up tarps, outdoor cooking, and staying warm while sleeping in the cold. We took a two and a half hour hike through the snow-covered mountains to our campsite along the arroyo. Once we arrived at our site, we set up camp and began preparing dinner. Paul, one our adventure leaders, built a small fire which we huddled close to all night long. After we had our fill of bean and pasta soup and biscuits, we discussed the principles of LNT (Leave No Trace) camping ethics then enjoyed fellowship in the warmth of the fire. Some of us slept well that night, but I know I am not alone when I say that I wished I had brought a warmer sleeping bag — the Handbook recommends a zero-degree bag — they weren't kidding. Shortly after breakfast the next morning we hiked back to Calandria. A warm building and shower has never felt so good! The experience was amazing despite the weather. I am really looking forward to the other camping trips we have planned this semester. I thank God that I have such an amazing opportunity! I love you, Mom, Dad, Kent, and Jon!
By Daniel Ramirez Caro, Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua
Climbing has been an amazing experience. It is challenging not only on the physical side of it, but also challenging to totally trust your life once you were 80 feet high and remembering that the person belaying (holding by the rope) you just learned how to do it five minutes ago.
Here in EduVenture our teachers always apply everything we learn, every experience to a spiritual metaphor. Our adventure leaders, Paul and Jill made sure to teach us the safety procedures and protocols of climbing well, but also that life is like climbing. You have a goal which is to get to the top, but it is inch by inch, how you do it, sometimes not knowing if you'll find a next hold, but making the next move by faith. Climbing is also really cool and I compare it to real life . . . climbing through the struggles in life, being secure with Jesus as my belayer, and having the Holy Spirit guiding me — just like when Paul, Jill and my friends here shout to me options I could take, always keeping in mind the goal, to get up to the top and live my life pleasing God. Los quiero familia, los quiero amigos.
Stars — Chocolate — Laughs
By Joy Jupp, Olivet Nazarene University
After being in Mexico almost a month without what I thought were "basic needs," I am having the time of my life! The community here is like a huge family. There have been some wonderful times. We have either Student Fun Nights (SFN) or Really Fun Nights (RFN) about once a week, depending on the schedule. The other night we made a huge campfire under the beautiful stars. We had a chocolate binge (chocolate is rare and in high demand here), starting with chocolate frosting, going on the chocolate cupcakes, and delectable homemade hot chocolate. We enjoyed every moment of laughter, stories, gulps of hot drink, bites of cupcake, and wonderful community. We also have occasional game nights by candlelight at Paul and Jill's house, with Paul strumming away on the guitar. We've had a few climbing and bouldering opportunities so far and I soak up every minute. God is doing wonders in all of us as we live intentionally. Much love, Ducki (Joy) — the hobbit from the north
La Calandria Cuisine
By Cyndi Rucker, Olivet Nazarene University
The food here is delicious! Daily, my taste buds are being overwhelmed by the authentic Mexican dishes prepared by Sergio and the staff. I can't wait to get home and serve up a breakfast of onions, tomatoes, jalapeos, eggs, and flour tortillas.
One unforgettable meal, which none of the women of Calandria will forget, was served up Feb. 10th as part of the special event, "Luz De Luna," at "Café la Calandria" — the best little restaurant in the Sierra Madre. The meal consisted of exotic tropical juice drinks, freshly baked biscuits and honey, and an artistic platter of freshly grilled veggies and slices of lime, displaying the loaded twice-baked potatoe and grilled shishkabobs. There was live Latino music throughout the evening played by Ruben, Dani, and Paul (thanks guys!). The atmosphere was set with candlelight and an assortment of Calandria's finest decorations made of yucca and agave leaves. Paul's pound cake with strawberry/cream sauce and chai tea were served up for dessert. Yummy! The entire evening was arranged by the men of Calandria for us women. A vote was taken by the girls — this evening is in the running for the best Valentine's Day "date: ever. God has blessed EVM with a group of fantastic Godly men. Luz de Luna will not be forgotten.
Oh, I wanted to mention that Mexico and Calandria are fabulous. The mountains that surround our campus have a never-ending beauty! This is the best playground I have ever seen! Love Cyndi.
Take A Peak
Picture speak way louder than words — check out the latest fun photos of this semester at: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tim_trezise/my_photos then open the photo album titled "Spring 07." We have a sampling of a little of everything that has been happening in the past few weeks; fine dining at Café la Calandria, homemade musical instrument theme night, classes, adventures, and worship times.
We need people who will partner with EVM in providing support through prayer. We believe God wants to prepare the hearts of this next generation through a truly culturally-integrated educational program and discipleship which can break down walls of misunderstanding and lack of respect into a closer realization of what Christ so deeply desires — unity of the brethren. We fully anticipate the Holy Spirit to move and breathe in this place and transform lives. If you would like to partner with EduVenture please ":devote yourself to prayer: (Colossians 4:2), praying for:
health — it is common that illness affects us each semester, but so far so good Ð no major health problems;
the Lord's will be done with each of the students;
our alumni — that they may live intentionally for and dependent on Jesus — (though distance separates us, you all continue to be part of the EVM family and are in our thoughts);
future for EVM staff and the program here;
directors for EduVenture Fiji;
Scotty, director of EduVenture, and the board of directors for wisdom with making decisions.
Families and friends of students: Please do not send care packages or gifts to the students. Letters (many of them) are welcomed, but the bulk of packages make it difficult for those to fit in everything needed on trips down to Mexico from Tucson. Thanks for your cooperation. Please send all mail for staff and students to EduVenture's new location: 5254 E. Holmes St., Tucson, AZ 85711