Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mexico: Our Week in Review

We had an amazing week in Mexico, as you could see from the video!

This is the 6th year that a team from CenterPoint Church has embraced the chance to go and grow at the Hogar de Amor orphanage in Colima Mexico. This year we brought 26 people from CenterPoint - singles and families, kids and grandparents - all bringing their own unique passions and skills to the week.

Over the week we were able to contribute about 600 hours of labor to jobs around the orphanage:
  • We painted and painted
  • We plumbed hot water to a house that previously only had cold running water
  • We added shelves to closets
  • We sewed curtains
  • We mended clothes
  • We paved a patio
  • We repaired bikes and computers

We were blessed and so excited about the support and gifts for Hogar de Amor that we received this year. From this church and community we were able to donate over a thousand pairs of underwear, 700 pairs of socks, 800 toothbrushes, and almost $20,000 in support.

And we created some great memories with the kids:
  • We got to host a pool party for 100 kids and 30 caregivers - that was a big day and we still have the sunburns to prove it!
  • We got to play games and sing songs and do crafts with the kids each day.
  • We stuffed and hid 1500 Easter eggs in an empty lot and reveled in the pandemonium of a crazy egg hunt.

It was a big week!

It was a blessed week.

Thank you for supporting us, for sending us, and for praying for us.

This trip matters. Not because of the dollars or the supplies that get donated or even the jobs that get done. Those things are what we do, but they aren’t why we go. Those things and those activities are an outpouring of our love. They’re the effects of our devotion to our brothers and sisters in Colima, Mexico.

This trip matters because it’s a time to learn from and actively participate in God’s sustaining love in action:
God’s love for each of us
God’s love expressed through us to the kids and caregivers of Hogar de Amor
God’s love expressed to us through the kids and caregivers of Hogar de Amor

This week I got a beautiful note from one of the caregivers at Hogar de Amor. I think it sums up our week perfectly:
Thanks so much to the whole team... I don’t think we have the words to thank all of you for your work and support… Thank you especially for all of the love and care you all gave us and for treating us like family - really for us you are part of our family and we admire you so much and love you. Thank you! You are like angels of God who make us feel loved. Thank you so much.
Thank you for being a part of what God is doing for and through Hogar de Amor.

Please keep Hogar de Amor in your prayers!
  • Pray for the kids of Hogar de Amor - that they will know they are loved and precious and complete because they are children of God. 
  • Pray for the caregivers and staff of Hogar de Amor, that they will be blessed with wisdom to parent kids in tough places and the energy to carry on in this tough calling. 
  • Pray that Hogar de Amor would have favor with officials, would have ample funding, and would have many many hands to share the work 
  • And pray that in the dark times, the tired times, the discouraged times that everybody in that ministry would know that they are loved fiercely and passionately and sacrificially and tenderly - by us and most of all by God.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Reflections on Serving: Steve

This year was my first trip to Mexico, and I was rather apprehensive. I'm not great with foreign languages and so I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to communicate with the people we were serving.

First, it was amazing to meet the kids we sponsor. It really makes a difference to meet the kids in person that we have been writing and sending gifts to all these years.

My best experience was fixing bicycles for the kids. My son, Ben, organized donations from the local bicycle club that we ride with and we were able to take down new tubes and pumps and patch kits for a many of the overly-loved bikes at the orphanage. It was terrific to have so many interested helpers engage with the tools and us. When one of the bike was finished there would be happy cheers and a little niƱo proudly test-riding the bike around the grounds.

One boy, Yair, was so excited to see me everyday that he would run over and shout, "Steve, Steve, I fix too!" I admit that so much "help" got in the way of fixing the bikes quickly, but the time spent with the kids and showing them how to use the tools was more valuable for me than getting every one of the bikes working.

I was happily surprised by how reciprocal the trip is. Jamie has gone on this trip six times and as much as we love on the kids and caregivers it's amazing how they love us right back. These relationships that have been forged through time and shared experience: we are all in this together. This isn't just a team of Utah Christians who head to Mexico to paint a wall or two, but this is a larger family who share their experiences and their hearts despite any language barriers.

This was so clear as we spent time at the water park hosting a pool party for the kids and caregivers. I couldn't go ten feet into one of our cabanas without being offered some food or a drink. Everything that was brought by every orphanage house was shared. There were generous cuts of grilled meat at one tent and luscious fresh fruit sliced and spiced at another. We were the ones being taken care of as much as we caring for others. This community of believers truly lives like the early church in Acts, breaking bread together in community with glad and sincere hearts, giving to everyone in need, and praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

Reflections on Serving: Sasha

(age 11)

One of my favorite things I like doing down in Mexico is hanging out with the kids and doing projects with the kids. This year my favorite project I did was paint the Golondrinas house we had to paint three girls bedrooms. Which had were painted pink and purple and one boy bedroom which was all blue. The people who worked on the bedrooms were me, Lazavia, Cindy, and Julie.

Why it’s special to me when I go down there is:
One: I get to spend time with the kids and make them feel loved by people.
Two: I get to do projects to help the orphanage and the kids.
Three: It’s fun to go down there and see new things and try new experiences.
And finally it’s fun to see how the children like what we have done and want to help us with our jobs.

My favorite thing we did this year was:
One: We went to a pool party with the kids and I enjoyed that because I got to hang out with them and they were having fun.
Two: Was the tour that we did I got to see new things and learn more about the culture.
And three: The easter egg hunt with the kids because they could celebrate easter with us and they all had fun together.

And those were some of the things I really enjoy about going down to Mexico.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Reflections on Serving: WanYing

(age 9)

The Mexico trip is very fun. You go down to the orphanage and you get to help out and spend time with kids, do crafts with them. It's really fun because you get to hang out with the kids and it's just fun because you get to make friendships and stuff.

My favorite day was where the kids made picture frames and we took pictures of them with a Polaroid camera and every kid got one picture and they could hang it up on their beds or do whatever they wanted to because it had a little magnet on the back. It was really special because I got to take pictures with my camera and all the kids got a little present from us.

There was a Easter egg hunt and there's like a thousand eggs and we hid them and then the kids came out and got the eggs and that day the craft was making little bags with decorations and stuff on it so you could put the Easter eggs in there.

I want to go back because it was really fun, you got to hang out with a lot of kids and do crafts with them and help them out and just support them and help the caregivers.

Reflections on Serving: Jamie

This was my 6th year leading a group of folks from CenterPoint Church, Utah down to Colima, Mexico to serve at the Hogar de Amor orphanage and each year God does something a little bit new, a little bit uncomfortable, and a whole lot deeper in me.

I'll level with you: The trip is kind of a lot of work to put together. It turns out that arranging travel and logistics in a foreign country for 26 people of all ages and backgrounds is tough. And stressful. So why? Why do it at all?

Because I can't imagine not doing it.

Because my family gets to travel with our church family to visit our Mexico family.

Because it's not a visit; it's a reunion.

When we first started this trip, we did it for the kids: our kids and the kids of Hogar de Amor. I have two kids adopted internationally, and it was really important to me to keep our family connected to what it means to be a kid in institutional care. Adoption, the fatherless, kids in need are such an intimate, essential part of our family's story. Adoption is how God expresses his relationship to us: chosen and pursued and cherished (much more about that here).

Over the years, God has used Hogar de Amor to break down my performance-driven tendencies and focus on relationship. The walls we paint will get dirty again and the curtains we sew will rip and the crafts the kids make will get thrown away.

But the relationships we make;

the sure and certain knowledge we leave the caregivers with that they are supported, prayed for, and never ever alone in this work;

the kids knowing that they're worth coming back for year after year after year

that lasts.

And I get to be a little part of it.
Love...  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Want to learn more about our trip? Check out http://centerpointmexico.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Last Resort

by Sasha

Finishing all the resorts for this year felt great! So this year was are goal to hit all 14 resorts in Utah with my fifth grade yeti pass.The first resort we went to was Snowbird for my first ski team race. Next was then Park City for another race then another race at Sundance then me my brother, mom, and grandparents went to Powder, Snowbasin and Nordic Valley. Then another race at Brian Head and then we went to all of the other resorts just for fun days. We mostly got powder on some of them.

My favorite resorts we went were Powder Mountain, Beaver, Sundance, and Deer Valley. Those were some of my favorites because I got to ski with my family on them and sometimes I didn't have races so we were just skiing for fun and they had good food.

Here are some pictures from the resorts (captions by Mom).

Of course, our year started at Sundance!
Happiness is kids who aren't afraid of "experts only" signs!
Sasha racing on her home turf
WanYing racing at Sundance
It was a rough season, but worth it (this is WanYing's race group hiking out of Bishop's)
Next stop: Snowbird
Sasha at a YSL GS race
And some beautiful free-skiing with Sasha afterwards
Park City
WanYing races GS
Two great-looking race gals at the bottom!
President's Day at Brighton
The snow almost stopped us from being able to get up the canyon, but we were determined to get up there!
A weekend in northern Utah. First stop, Nordic Valley
Mommy-Sasha selfie
A powder day at Powder Mountain
Sasha gets some pre-race pow
Race day at Snowbasin
Hanging out to watch the races
Sasha finishing her GS run
Ben free skiing
Deer Valley
Our namesake run
Fab Deer Valley powder
Jamie and Jonny Moseley at Deer Valley (it was a different day, but just had to throw that in!)
A southern Utah trip to Eagle Point...
...and Brian Head
WanYing finishes her slalom run at the YSL championships
Catching some runs at Brian Head
Up to Logan to check out Cherry Peak
The girls enjoyed deep fried Oreos!
Day 2 in Logan: Beaver Mountain
Fresh snow at Beaver!
Baby's first cliff
Finishing up the season with spring skiing at Alta
Cecret Lake sure looks different in the winter!
Mom catches some turns
Ying skis the steeps
A beautiful end to a great season! If we could have this much fun in a crappy snow year, just think of how much we could have in a good year!!


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