Dorm Update, Spring Teams, & Upcoming Trip

It has been a little while since our last update on the purchase of the Connections House property here in Rosarito. We are excited about the funds raised so far and we are completely in awe of what the Lord has done! Just over two thirds of the total purchase amount has been given. At this point, however, we are in waiting mode. There are a couple of small issues with the paperwork for the property that need to be cleared up before the sale can go through. It looks like it could be up to an 8-10 month process. So we are waiting on the Lord’s timing. We know it is perfect. We have faith that everything will be taken care of so that we can make the purchase final.

As we look ahead, we have two big projects here at Connections House coming up. The first one is to replace the leaking roof over the dorms, and the second is to add two new bathrooms. If your church/youth group/etc. is looking to send a team to Mexico and would like a construction project, please pray and consider one of these much-needed improvements to our dorms!

Teams, Teams, Teams!!

Right now we are springing into the busy season! Connections House was hopping with four back to back teams in the two weeks surrounding Easter. At the same time we had two teams housed at a different location that we were serving with as well. There was children’s ministry, soccer & testimonies, a dump outreach, street evangelism, a senior home visit, work projects, children’s homes visits, and so much more! One highlight was an outreach at the park, complete with carnival games, prizes, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy, soccer, and clowns, which ended with the VeggieTales movie, “Jonah”, on the big screen.

 

New Bilingual Church Plant and New Staff at Connections House!

 

Next month we are going to have to say “see you later” to some very good friends of ours. Michael & Melissa Hanson, along with their three children, Caleb, Sarah, and Nathan, have been serving here as missionaries for six years. In May, they will be moving back to Santa Cruz, California to plant a bilingual church – Santa Cruz Bilingual Church! We are so excited for them and looking forward to seeing what the Lord is going to do through this amazing family. Next month we have the privilege of helping them move to Santa Cruz, approximately 8 hours north of here. We will visit a couple of churches along the way that we have been working with for several years. Our return trip will be to move our good friends, Shawn & Pam Cullen to Rosarito. The Cullens have served as part-time missionaries for the past six years. Pam has served many weeks at a time, as well as several summers, here with us during our busiest seasons of teams, as Cook, Nurse, Team Host, and wherever else needed. Shawn has also served for many weeks here and there over the past six years and has recently retired from the fire department in Northern California. Shawn and Pam will be working with us in team ministry here at Connections House. The photo on the right is Shawn and Pam with their daughter, Jessica. Our trip up to California will also include some much needed family vacation time as well.

Family Life

There is never a dull moment. William is working diligently to finish up school over the next month. He is doing really well, considering all the days and half-days he takes off for ministry purposes. He is excited and striving to finish up in time for our upcoming trip so that he will not have to do school on the road. Ron has been busy getting some items ready to sell at a fundraiser at CCR and to pick up a huge load of donations near LA for the church and our church plants. Kristy is working to catch up on all the photo editing from all the teams and recent ministry. A recent project was the Easter photos at CCR. You can see the background we created in these three photos. William is pictured with one of his good friends, Daniel.

Brittany has a new job working for Bibigo, a Korean restaurant. She commutes an hour, one way, to work on the other side of the border. Brian will be finishing up his third semester soon at a university in Tijuana, where he is studying to be a teacher of foreign languages. He and Brittany continue to serve together in worship ministry at Calvary Chapel Playas in Playas de Tijuana, where Brian is also working full-time as Pastor’s Assistant.

 

Thank You!

We truly do feel your prayers! We are so blessed to serve here in Rosarito and we are excited for what lies ahead. Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and support!

Financial Giving

No, it’s not too late to give toward the purchase of Connections House! The sooner the property is paid off, the sooner we will be able to make the improvements needed! There are still two easy ways for you to give:

#1 – GoFundMe – Just click & give!

Click to Donate Now!

#2 – Tax-deductible gift – May be sent in the mail by doing the following:

Checks may be made payable to “Calvary Chapel Rosarito”. Please write “Connections House” on the memo line and mail to: Calvary Chapel Rosarito, 511 E San Ysidro Blvd #6355, San Ysidro, CA 92173

Calling All Prayer Warriors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, it’s crunch time. We are down to 43 days until we need to make our first of three $55,000 payments in order to purchase Connections House, our team dorms and home here in Rosarito. It has truly been a blessing for us to be able to rent this property, however the owners do want to sell it. We earnestly seek your prayers as we make the decision to move forward with this purchase. Please see the information below to help us with your tax-deductible donation. We will need to assess the situation again in two weeks in order to make a final decision.

As you can see, we have raised less than half of the first payment. While we continue to try and secure a private loan to make up the difference, we also have to remember one thing. And that is, once we make the first payment, we are all in. We’ll have 12 months to come up with the second payment of $55,000. Borrowing part of this down payment may prove to be difficult for two reasons. One, because we would be making loan payments at the same time as making interest payments to the owner. And two, because it will put us behind on being able to save towards the second down payment. Obtaining a private loan for the full amount needed to purchase the property would be ideal. For those of you that may not remember, the reason we are not able to take out a bank loan is because Mexican banks will not loan money to Americans, and American banks will not loan money for Mexican property.

While we are certain that the Lord has called us to this ministry of working with short-term missions teams as well as providing housing, we want to make sure this is the property that He has in mind long term. We need to remain open to the possibility that this place was something temporary on the way to something different or better. So we ask you now to join us in praying for wisdom and discernment. This is His money and it is our desire to be mindful and diligent when it comes to how it is used. May it be all for God’s glory and for the purpose of expanding His kingdom!


Protesting of Gas Prices in Mexico

If you haven’t seen our facebook posts, or heard on the news, the gas prices in Mexico made a huge jump at the beginning of the year. This has caused some major protesting, especially here in Rosarito where we have a Pemex gasoline distribution plant. This plant fills approximately 220 trucks per day with gasoline. Pemex also currently owns almost all of the gas stations in the country, which is supposed to change sometime this year.

On January 1st, gas prices spiked with about a 20% increase throughout Mexico due to the deregulation of the gas industry by the government. The cost of gas here in Rosarito is about $17 pesos per liter, or $3.20 per gallon (up about $.50/gallon over night). The minimum wage here is $10 pesos per hour, which means that people need to work about six hours to earn the money to buy one gallon of gas.

There is protesting and unrest all over the country. Thankfully, things have been calm and non-violent here in Rosarito for the most part. There was a blockade to the Pemex plant for several days. Most or all of our gas stations ran out of gas after a few days as a result, in Rosarito, Tijuana, and beyond. However, with police reinforcements, the blockade was ended and the shortage was averted. There were some reports of looting and some injuries during the protesting. Also, our two nearby border crossings were closed on a couple different occasions. Praise the Lord that we have had no deaths and little violence as a result of the protesting, which is not the case in other parts of the country. Police vehicles are still escorting the gasoline trucks to and from the Pemex plant. Otherwise, despite the fact that gas prices have not budged, things have calmed down even more.

Please do keep this situation in your prayers. The peso is worth close to half as much as it was when we moved down here almost seven years ago. That along with the sky high prices of gas has made the cost of living rise heavily. While we are blessed to be able to cross the border to fill up with gas, etc., it is likely that these high gas prices are going to cause the cost of other things here to rise – food, drinking water, propane, etc.


Thank you so much to each and every one of you for your prayers! Thank you for your support and financial gifts. We know that we wouldn’t be here without them! This ministry would function without them. We are thankful to God for all you.


Financial Gifts

Checks with your tax deductible donation towards the purchase of Connections House may be made payable to “Calvary Chapel Rosarito”. Please write “Connections House” on the memo line and mail to:

Calvary Chapel Rosarito, 511 E San Ysidro Blvd #6355, San Ysidro, CA 92173

Family Wedding & Ministry Team Updates

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We’re so excited to see how the Lord has started to raise some of the money needed to purchase Connections House (our team dorm housing and current residence). We just wanted to keep you all updated. Our first payment of $55,000 will be due on March 1st. We would appreciate your continued prayers as we continue to seek the Lord’s will concerning this amazing property He has provided. If you feel led to give towards the purchase of this property, you can find more detailed information here. (Please scroll to the bottom for directions on how to make your tax deductible donation.)

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Of course, the most exciting news since our last update, is that Brittany & Brian were married on October 14th. They had a very beautiful ceremony at a hotel on the beach just south of Rosarito, followed by a wonderful dinner and reception to celebrate at our church. We were blessed to have so many family and friends here to share in this special day!

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Team Ministry – Belated Spring Update:

In a previous update, we left off with the first team hosted here at Connections House. Here is a quick look at the rest of our teams from the spring.

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Pictured here is a team from New Hope Community Church (Clovis, CA). This awesome team built a home on the property that belongs to the new children’s home, Casa de Los Angeles, being built here in Rosarito. If you recall from a previous update, Ron is the Project Manager for this amazing undertaking. The house is for future small teams working with the children’s home, or possibly staff. However, it’s purpose until the home opens, is to house caretakers to help secure the property. The home is just larger than two of the 16×20 homes that we usually build here. An extra tidbit about this home is that Brian & Brittany are the current caretakers living in the house. The New Hope team also spent the week doing children’s ministry at a nearby church. So many were blessed and added to the Kingdom this week!

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We had this fabulous team from Calvary Chapel South Bay (Gardena, CA). They poured into the children at CCR’s (Calvary Chapel Rosarito) Club 10:14. This is a group of children who mostly do not attend church, so this is the only Jesus that they see. The team gave them a very special day at the park, complete with a barbecue, games, worship, a message, the gospel, and more!

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It’s always a pleasure to host a team from Calvary Chapel Bakersfield (Bakersfield, CA)! They spent their time here evangelizing at a local park, where many young people hang out, as well as on the streets of downtown Rosarito, at the beach, and the neighborhood around Connections House! They also worked with a local group to evangelize and go inviting for a home church in La Gloria, Tijuana.

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We are always blessed by our visits with Santa Cruz Bible Church (Santa Cruz, CA). We have had the opportunity to work with them for several years now, as they are the sending church of our good friends, Michael & Melissa Hanson. They spent some time renewing friendships and spending time with the kids at Grace Children’s Home in Tijuana. They also spent two days at CCR working on various projects – drywalling the new entrance, painting, constructing a new store on the church patio, and more!

Thank you for taking the time to catch up with us! You may here us say this a lot, but it is absolutely as true now as it has always been – we could not be here, doing what we do, without your prayers and support. God bless!

 

Financial Gifts

Checks with your tax deductible donation towards the purchase of Connections House may be made payable to “Calvary Chapel Rosarito”. Please write “Connections House” on the memo line and mail to:

Calvary Chapel Rosarito, 511 E San Ysidro Blvd #6355, San Ysidro, CA 92173

Catch Up With the Struska’s

Summer is here! As always, the kids (and mom) are glad to get a break from school. As many of you know, Brittany graduated from high school last month – with honors! She is now also engaged to be married to Brian, her boyfriend of 1 1/2 years, and they plan to marry here in Mexico this October. Brittany plans to attend the Bible College at CCR in Rosarito starting in January. Brian just completed his first of four years at a University in Tijuana, where he is studying to be a teacher of foreign languages.

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William just completed his first year of high school (9th grade). He also just finished up with his first season of soccer. Here in Mexico, soccer runs all year long, which is very different for us. So we committed to soccer for his second semester and he’ll break for the summer. We can definitely see that his skills have improved greatly over the past six months.

 

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We were able to take a much-needed, little vacation to Topeka, Kansas. There we got to see Ron’s niece, Candyce, graduate from high school and spend a lot of time with Ron’s parents, his siblings and their children.

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Brittany finished her six month children’s ministry internship at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa, CA at the end of May. Here she is with Tim and Sue Celek, her host family that she stayed with. Tim is also the Senior Pastor at The Crossing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That kind of catches you up on some recent and2016-03-05 08.41.42 significant events in our family’s lives here in Mexico. However, it seems that we have let time get away from us. Our last update came to you just before we opened up our new team housing, “Connections House”, on March 1st. Just three days later, we hosted our first team from Calvary Chapel South Bay from Gardena, CA. They hosted a prayer breakfast for the Rosarito police department, which included dozens of D.A.R.E. youth as well. They shared the gospel, led worship, handed out Bibles, served breakfast, did a human video, and more. They also served at El Refugio (The Refuge), a home for the elderly – again serving a meal, as well as providing worship, a message, prayer, etc.

 

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I think we’ll have to stop there, and we’ll pick up again later. We would just like to leave you with some photos of Connections House – as well as the logo and motto. What do you think?

 

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Getting Ready to Open New Team Housing!

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Here is a ‘before’ photo of the dining area in the new ministry house for teams. We are working hard to paint all of the interior, put down new flooring, and more. We are so excited to have this option for our teams to stay in, as it has been very difficult to find housing for many of our teams. This home will sleep a minimum of 24-26 people right away. It will be open and available as of March 1st, and our first team will arrive on March 4th!

 

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Here is a view from the basketball court. We are looking for ideas to name the ministry house. Please feel free to comment or send us a message with your creative ideas!

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Please pray for our garage sale! We will have one more sale day this Saturday with everything marked 50% off to try and get rid of everything. The profits will go to purchase things for the new ministry house.

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Some people have asked how they can help with the new ministry house. We have had some great help so far with painting and getting things ready. There is a simple way that you can help purchase some of the items needed to furnish the home and have it shipped to us in California. Check out this link and see how you can partner with us in this venture!

Amazon List

 

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Ron is in Culiacán, Sinaloa this week serving at a new church plant, Calvary Chapel Culiacán. Please pray for Pastor Hugo and their new, fast growing church! The Lord has provided this amazing facility for them and they have quickly grown to over 100 adults on a Sunday morning!

 

 

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Ron is training people from the church on how to use all of their audio/visual equipment, working on sound proofing the sanctuary, helping to build some classrooms, and more.

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We had a visit from some of the leadership from New Hope Community Church, Clovis. Here’s a photo of them out at the building site for the children’s home, Casa de Los Angeles. This the the foundation of the new water tank that is currently being built. Next month, New Hope will be bringing a team to build a home on top of the water tank. This home will be for caretakers during this (approximately) 3-year project, as well as a future dorm for small teams.

 

Thank you so much for your prayers and for your partnership! Remember to check out our Amazon List to see how you can help us furnish the new ministry house! We found a great deal on some bunk beds for only $179! There are also dozens of items priced as low as $9.14 to $14.99. If the Lord will put it on the hearts of 75-100 people to buy just one or two items on the list, we can have the home furnished in no time! Blessings to you all!

An Incredible Year With CCR

The last weekend in May kicked off three weeks with four teams and three home builds. It was a very busy, hectic, amazing three weeks filled with ministry, new and renewed friendships, sharing the gospel, and so much more. We know that you have heard us say this so many times, but we can’t say it enough. Without the prayers and support of you, our friends and family, this ministry would not be possible. Many have received Christ in their heart for the first time, the fatherless and senior citizens have been blessed, food has been distributed, and secure, weatherproof homes have been given to families in need – and so much more!

That is just a small taste of what we have been privileged to do over the past year since we have been working on staff at Calvary Chapel Rosarito (through Saving Grace World Missions). The main part of our job is to work with teams coming down from the US & Canada. We take the gifts and abilities of the team members and partner them with a local church or Calvary Chapel church plant. We have had conferences, worship concerts, children’s ministry, construction projects – all of which are used as a tool to teach and train and/or to share Christ with the local Mexican people.

We are so blessed to be a part of such an amazing staff of pastors and missionaries at CCR. We have a staff of eight pastors and at least that many missionaries. All of the missionaries, and a couple of the pastors, are all self-supported, including us. If you are not sure what that means, it is simply that we are not on payroll at the church. Rather, we receive a paycheck (through SGWM) that comes from the generosity of a few dozen singles and famlies, as well as a couple of churches. All of the fruit of this ministry is your fruit as well. Our living expenses quadrupled a year ago when we changed ministries. Over the past year, we have seen several of our financial supporters need to cease their support due to various financial situations. We are grateful that we serve a big God and He has continued to supply all of our needs and even some wants through this season in various and unforeseen ways. We would like to ask you to pray about becoming a financial partner with us in the ministry God has called us to do here in Mexico. We would be more than happy to meet with you in person on our next trip across the US to the Midwest. We will be in the Wisconsin & Illinois area August 21st – October 5th, which includes a missions weekend at our sending church, FCC, at the beginning of October.

Check out some photos of the previously mentioned busy three weeks below.

Calvary Chapel Church Plant Update:

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Praying for Pastor Hugo & his family as they are planting a church in Culiacán, Sinaloa (Mexico)

We previously mentioned that we have eight pastors on staff at CCR. Well, in about a month that will change to seven, as this past weekend was a sending weekend for Pastor Hugo Limon. He, along with his wife, Brenda, and their three year-old daughter, Joy, will be moving to Culiacán, Sinaloa to plant CCR’s 11th church in seven years – Calvary Chapel Culiacán. Pastor Hugo felt to plant a church in Culiacán, where he is from. He also completed the church planting course at CCR. It will be the first Calvary Chapel church in that area. Please join us as we lift them up in prayer through this time of transition, also as they train their new team of servants and search for an affordable church building.

This was an especially amazing sending weekend for me (Kristy). As I sat in the Saturday night service, the first of three for the weekend, I found myself doubting. Pastor Mike began presenting the gospel at the end of the service, like always, and I was trying to figure out how the Lord could use this service to bring someone to the point in their life that they would say, “yes”. Yes, I know I need a Savior. Yes, I want to turn away from my sin. Yes, I want to ask Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Part of the message time Pastor Hugo preached about the four lepers in II Kings chapter seven. Another part was Pastor Mike teaching us about the first church plant from Acts chapter thirteen. Close to half of the sermon was sharing about Culiacán, praying for the family, Pastor Hugo’s last trip there where he had a meeting with 20 people willing to serve at CCC, etc. How was God going to use this service to bring people to Him? Well, He sure showed me! Two people raised their hand and gave their lives to Christ that night, and a total of eleven would do so over the course of all three services! Praise God! These eleven people met directly afterwards with a brother from our church and his wife, where they made sure that salvation was clearly explained, the people received a Bible, they were prayed for, and were shared with how our church would like to come alongside them on their new journey.

We are so thankful for our church and all the new church plants. Ron is planning a trip to CCC in Culiacán to help out with the sound system, electrical, and other preparations of their new building. It is our hope that he will be there for their first service on November 1st. This trip is dependent on finding a suitable building and what the needs are, so please keep them in your prayers.

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The Crossing Church – 2 Day Home Build, Tijuana

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Neighborhood Alliance Church – Home Build & Children’s Ministry – Tijuana

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Calvary Chapel Saving Grace – Serving at The Refuge Senior Home in Tijuana

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Chapel Hills Church (Youth Group of Ron’s Brother, Phil, from Colorado) – Home Build, Rosarito

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Super Blessed

It has been a while since our last update, so we have a lot to share! We’ll try and keep it simple and save some for the next update as well. We have been blessed by so many teams! From February to April we hosted ten teams! Take a look at what we’ve been up to through these photos:

 

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Team from LCPC (La Crescenta Presbyterian Church) working on a retaining wall at the new children’s home – Casa de Los Angeles.

A team from The Crossing in Costa Mesa, CA came to bless the girls at Casa Estrella (Star House) children's home.

A team from The Crossing in Costa Mesa, CA came to bless the girls at Casa Estrella (Star House) children’s home.

A team from Calvary Chapel South Bay came to host a children's ministry training conference at our church. They also blessed the children of our 10:14 Kids' Club with a day at the park with a devotion, games, barbecue lunch, songs, and more!

A team from Calvary Chapel South Bay came to host a children’s ministry training conference at our church. They also blessed the children of our 10:14 Kids’ Club with a day at the park which included a devotion, games, barbecue lunch, songs, and more!

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Foothill Church from Glendora, CA also served at Casa de Los Angeles by working on the retaining wall.

This team certainly broke the record on the farthest distance for a team we've worked with so far. They came all the way from Norway to work on the children's home.

This team certainly broke the record on the farthest distance for a team we’ve worked with so far. They came all the way from Norway to work on the children’s home.

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Calvary Chapel Saving Grace came to spend time with the children at Casa Alexander children’s home. They shared God’s word, served hamburgers, played games & soccer, did crafts, and just loved on these wonderful children.

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We took a whale-watching field trip in March to Ensenada, thanks to a financial Christmas gift we had received.

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While on the boat, they let some of us catch some fish off the back of the boat. Britt was a natural!

We took our superstars on a little side trip to Hollywood before going to the screening of the new movie.

We took our superstars on a little side trip to nearby Hollywood before going to the screening of the new movie.

In March we had the opportunity to go to a screening of the movie that Brittany & Will were extras in - Little Boy. We also had a Q&A and meet & greet with the director, as well as the "Little Boy", Jakob Salvati. The movie is excellent. If you haven't seen it  yet, visit www.littleboymovie.com and find out if it's still playing near you.

In March we had the opportunity to go to a screening of the movie that Brittany & Will were extras in – Little Boy. We also had a Q&A and meet & greet with the director, as well as the “Little Boy”, Jakob Salvati. The movie is excellent. If you haven’t seen it yet, visit www.littleboymovie.com and find out if it’s still playing near you.

A huge team from Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara came to bless our church by repairing and painting our church's playground.

A huge team from Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara came to bless our church by repairing and painting our church’s playground.

They also visited and spent time with the children at Door of Faith children's home in La Misión, about 30 min. away. This was also our first visit there, and it gave us some good ideas for the new children's home being built.

They also visited and spent time with the children at Door of Faith children’s home in La Misión, about 30 min. away. This was also our first visit there, and it gave us some really good ideas for the new children’s home being built.

We hope you enjoyed our update through photos! This only brings us through March, so we will update you again soon. It is such a joy and privilege to be able to see time and again how God moves through short-term missions teams. Thank you so much to all of you for your prayers and support. Without it, this work would not be possible.

Before We Go…

Just a quick update on the new children’s home, Casa de Los Angeles. We have spent many hours meeting with our friends that currently work at or with different orphanages in the area to get different ideas, especially regarding the layout of the building. The architects did an amazing job at designing the building, however it was essential to gather information and tweak the design. We have also had several meetings with Andy from LCPC (La Cresenta) who is on the board and working hard to get things moving. The home is situated on two lots, and Casa de Los Angeles has been promised the gift of five surrounding lots. Andy is working hard to get all the paperwork finalized and put into the name of organization. The existing plans for the home depend on those lots for almost all of its outdoor space. Please pray as the new building layout is being finalized and sent back to the architects. We are also looking to build a small home next door on one of the new lots for a caretaker to live in during construction of the orphanage. We have had some problems with theft of the rebar sticking out of the retaining wall. We will most likely need to have someone living on site before we will continue working on the home.