CHRISTMAS IN THE CANYON | DECEMBER 2018
As a church planter, you never know what Christmas is going to look like. There has been times where Carol wrapped coloring books, and puzzles from dollar tree. There has been times where the mail man shows up with an anonymous envelope to save the day. One Christmas, a dear family friend sponsored our girls and bought them everything off of an amazon wish list. I can definitely relate to how the apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian Church (4:12) when he said:
I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. THE APOSTLE PAUL
This year I prayed a bit differently. After our last trip to The Canyon, I knew we had to come back before Christmas. But I wanted it to be different. I wanted the next trip to be miraculous. So I started praying for a miracle, and it literally took a miracle to provide the trip that I was dreaming about. It wasn’t just rice, beans, piñatas and candy. I was dreaming of clothes, backpacks, toys, and a special gift for our ministry family in Ensenada.
After my last blog, we recieved some support, and I was greatly encouraged. Then I got the bad news that the Van would cost $500 to rent. So I prayed some more, and asked our leaders to keep this trip in prayer. As we prayed, God began to work, I started to receive supernatural support from my friends and family. A young womanl from Vision Long Beach held a Clothes and Toy Drive at CSUDH. A Lawyer from Long Beach sent us a check. One of our heroes, sent us a gift above her tithe. My best friend and a family I love dearly, both venmo’d us some cash for the trip. Next thing you know, we had more money and supplies than we could ever had prayed for. The Lord reminded me of what I had prayed for. He reminded me that only He could have done this. So we did what He had put on my heart. I called up my boy Walt, who pastors children and some adults outside of Ensenada in a little village called “El Zorillo”. I let him know that Santa came through, but that His name was Jesus, and that the Air Hockey Table that the kids in El Zorillo had been praying for has been paid for.
As we rolled into Rosarito, Walt met us at Walmart, and he took the time to encourage us greatly. He challenged us to walk by faith, and step out into all that God has for us. I literally wanted to give him all of the money I had in my pocket, but I had promised the Canyon that we would be back before Christmas on our last trip. So we gave him the $400 needed to purchase the Air Hockey Table, and hooked him up with a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to make his Christmas better.
After buying two piñatas, 25 lbs of candy, but before we bought the 200 lbs of rice and 200 lbs of beans, the team thought it wasn’t enough. So we went to Walmart and bought $150 worth of toys and coloring books. After paying the $150 “tax” at the border, we were still a few dollars under budget, but we were coming close to exceeding it, I’m kinda good at that, just ask Carol.
As we arrived at the bottom of the canyon, I prayed that God would show us a different side of the canyon. After preaching the Gospel, handing out bags of rice and beans, distributing clothes, a few of our team members asked where they could go to the restroom. Luckily, Araceli, who is such a joy and a blessing to that community, allowed our team to use her bathroom. I went back to the van and prayed. That was it. That’s the visual they needed. From their faces, I could tell that they had seen the depth of the poverty that surrounds these families every day.
We went up a little further, and found kids had been waiting for us. The kids from the lower canyon went and told the kids from the upper canyon that we were on the way. So we did it again. Piñatas, Candy, Rice, Beans, Clothes, Backpacks, Water Bottles, smiles, and a whole lot of Jesus.
We made our way back, fully impacted, hearts full, and more vision for what God may do in “Cañon Cordero”. Thats the name of this colony(neighborhood). In english, it translates to “Lambs Canyon”. Immediately I was reminded of Juan 1:29, which says:
29 El siguiente día Juan vio que Jesús venía hacia él, y dijo: «Éste es el Cordero de Dios, que quita el pecado del mundo. JUAN EL AMADO DE CRISTO
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! JOHN THE ONE THAT JESUS LOVED.
Is it just a coincidence? I can’t make this stuff up.
As I prepared last week for our Christmas Service, the main point that the Lord gave me to build from was the fact that, “The Greatest Miracle happened in the most humble of places”. What I didnt’t know was that I would see, a replica of what that meant only 12 hours before I preached on Sunday morning. Sunday Morning came, and I couldn’t keep it together.
Friends, something happens to you when you see the Gospel come alive in those around you. Things change, when God moves others to help make miracles happen. The very Source that promopted Caesar Augustus to call for a census, prompted many of you to partner with us. For that I am forever thankful and endebted to you.
Honestly, this Christmas can not get any better, and I haven’t even opened a present. In fact, I’m really only looking forward to my mom’s tamales, that my daughters and wife helped with, and seeing the faces of my girls when they open presents. Presents, that I did not buy, since the Lord put it on a friends heart to bless our kids with Christmas this year.
I know this was long, but I don’t think I could have left any part of this out. If you just skip to the end, listen to the song below, and you’ll get the jist of this blog. It may not give you the entire picture, but it will remind youb that the God of the Bible is a God of Miracles.
Happy New Year.
But most of all, thank you. Thank you to the 8 Crazy Ones that invested their time, and money to make this happen. Thank you to everyone who contributed financially and prayerfully.
Don’t forget that the greatest miracles happen in the most humble places.
DID THIS ENCOURAGE YOU?
Send me your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
VIDEO | CHRISTMAS IN THE CANYON
THANKFUL FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL TEAM OF CRAZIES!
THIS IS DANIEL. IT WAS HIS FIRST MISSION TRIP. EVER.
WALT ENCOURAGING THE TEAM
To see this community restored spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I would love the children of this community to have the opportunity to attend school. I would love to see homes restored. I would love to know that everyone in this community will have something to eat every night. I would love for them to elevate their hygiene and see dignity restored. Most importantly, I want them to know that they are loved by God, and that God’s people also love them. It would be amazing to see a church planted in this little community that is 122 miles away.