Struska Missions Update January 2021

We hope the new year finds you all doing well! Ron and I are truly blessed by each and every one of you that read our updates and pray for us and the ministry God has called us to. We continually thank the Lord for your faithfulness and partnership! 

Ministry

As we have mentioned several times in 2020, ministry just looks different right now. Last month’s update specified the two main areas of ministry that we will be focusing on this year – relief ministry (food boxes/cleaning supplies) and construction (building or repairing churches, feeding kitchens, orphanages, etc.). The idea behind this is to still be the hands and feet of Jesus, but safely and with much less personal contact.

We have teams scheduled for spring and summer, however we are starting to see some postponements again. This is completely understandable due to the global pandemic we are facing. However, we do want to make sure that our teams are well-informed on travel restrictions for their country, as well as Mexico.

First of all, at this time, there are few restrictions in our state of Baja California here in Mexico. We have an “orange” light for our state. This means that certain establishments, including churches, are limited anywhere from 25-75% capacity – churches unfortunately being limited to 25%. The only other restrictions, according to the US government, are for non-essential travel going both directions over the border. This is categorized as tourism and recreation. Thankfully, missions does not fall under either of those categories. All other aspects of this restriction clearly state that they do not apply to US citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States.

Many of you have heard that the US is now requiring that “all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel”. This does not, however, apply to land border crossing. At this time, both of our children work stateside, crossing the border into the US 3-5 times per week. So we will definitely know if any further restrictions are put into place. 

Unfortunately, for our Canadian friends, it looks like the travel restrictions are a lot more strict. For anyone crossing a land border, they must provide a negative test taken within 3 days of travel, and then self-quarantine in a specific location for 14 days. Airline passengers must quarantine in an approved hotel for three days first (at their own expense), before self-quarantining for 14 days after that. These restrictions are currently in effect until April 30th. We do ask that you contact us if you have any questions about traveling to serve with us in Mexico. 

Family

Ron’s back surgery was postponed yet again, after being rescheduled for the beginning of February. This was kind of a blessing in disguise, because it meant we were able to return to Loreto to help the new church plant get their sanctuary, bathrooms, and welcome center up and running for their first service on February 7th! We don’t totally understand what the Lord is doing, but we are doing our best to follow His lead! We do ask for your continued prayers in this area, that if it is the Lord’s will, Ron’s surgery will happen soon.

On a happier note, our children are all doing well and our 10 month old grandson is already walking! He’s also played in his first snow, which believe it or not, was in Mexico!

Connections House

Over the past couple of years, we have seen God show up in a big way in regards to Connections House! The first year of building the 3rd floor went so much faster than we ever could have expected! So we decided to reach big and try to get the 3rd floor kitchen and dining room up and running for our spring teams. We are well on our way, as the bathrooms are now completed and we plan to install the drop ceiling in the dining room soon!

In November we set a goal to try and raise $4,500 by February for this project by asking for individual donations of $30 each. After many people gave generously, we are excited to say that we only need $1,673 to reach this next goal! That’s about 55 people at $30. We know that God can do it! If you have not partnered with us in this next step, we ask for you to prayerfully consider it. This will bring us that much closer to being able to host more teams at the same time. This is a huge need, especially beginning this summer, when we will have a group of 20+ people staying in our dorms for six weeks. 

Church Planting

Last month we told you about our opportunity to travel about 16 hours south to Loreto in Baja California Sur. We were super blessed to be able to use our big trailer to help some church planters and their team move to Loreto. We stayed a few extra days for vacation while were there, and a few days to help if at all possible in these early stages. Well, it turned out that we were able to help look at several possible buildings for the church. When they quickly decided on the right one, shortly before we were supposed to head back home (and it needed a serious amount of work to get it ready) – we made the decision to stay one more week to help. We worked with the Loreto team on the church for that week and had to leave knowing there was much left to do. However, we thought Ron had to be back for his pre-op appointments for his surgery a little over a week later.

Calvary Loreto’s first baby dedication and two beach baptisms – all in the first week, before the church has even opened its doors!
Pastor Elmer putting in the last block in the sanctuary windows.
Exterior of the building with the sanctuary windows blocked up and ready or stucco.

As we mentioned earlier, due to the surgery cancellation, we have returned to Loreto. We will be here until just after their first service on February 7th, we hope to meet the goal of working on the three areas of the church we specified above. Please continue to keep this church plant in your prayers! In the first week of their arrival, the Calvary Loreto team had experienced one profession of faith, two baptisms, and baby dedication! After their test service this morning, there has already been one more profession of faith! God is already moving in incredible ways in Loreto and we are blessed beyond measure to have such a small part in it!

Giving

Kristy leading worship for Calvary Loreto’s test service in the new church building.

Many people have asked how they can help during this time – especially those that would normally bring a team and currently aren’t able to. Well, unfortunately, it all boils down to finances. The answer is simple. We will continue to do ministry as long as teams come to serve with us, or as long as funds are available. If your church would normally do a fundraiser or two in order to send a team, then we would ask you to consider continuing with that. If the effects of COVID-19 are preventing you from coming to serve, you could look at this as a possible temporary substitute. 

For those that would like to give financially, you can do so by going to give.connections.org, typing an amount next to “for Connection Ministry House”, and writing what it is for in the comment section. (Click here for our address if you prefer to send a check.) Maybe you’re considering a $30 gift for Connections, or you are feeling led to help an orphanage or the Loreto church plant. Whatever it may be, no matter how small a gift you may think it is, helps in a very big way. God bless!!

Struska Missions Update December 2020

Family

As you know from our last update, Ron has decided to have back fusion surgery to try and help alleviate the severe back pain he has been experiencing for almost a year now. It was supposed to take place mid-January. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, non-essential surgeries are being postponed. It may happen as early as the end of January, but we have no way of knowing at this point. Please pray with us that it will be allowed to take place soon!

Church Planting

This past weekend, our church, Calvary Chapel Rosarito, had the privilege of sending out its 26th church plant. Pastor Elmer Cardenas was ordained, and he and his wife, Crystal, will leave shortly to plant Calvary Chapel Loreto in Loreto, Baja California Sur (South). They will be starting a bilingual church in this coastal, resort town of about 20,000 people.

We have the opportunity to support them next month! We will be traveling to Loreto with our 24-foot trailer to help Elmer and Crystal move. It is a 16-hour trip south, without traffic and without pulling a large trailer, so we will be taking a couple of days to drive there. We are excited to be able to help them out in this way. We will also be moving some belongings of Juan, who is going to be serving with them. There are two other couples who are moving there to serve at CCL as well. 

Please pray for all of us for safe travels, and for the start of this new church!

Ministry & the Coronavirus

Here at Connections House, we feel very confident in our decision to resume ministry on June 29th of this past year. When teams began canceling in March and details of COVID-19 were still very vague, we had made the decision to temporarily cancel ministry. Once we had more knowledge on the subject, we decided to reopen. 

We have been called to reach the people of Rosarito, Mexico and the surrounding area. We were not called to serve only when it’s easy. God did not tell us to, “spread the gospel, but shut things down when there are too many obstacles”. We have witnessed several ministries and missionaries who have packed things up and gone home this past year. We have been condemned and criticized for our decision to remain open and accept teams. However, God’s opinion is the one that matters. Since the arrival of our first team in July 2020, restaurants in Rosarito may have had limited capacity, but they have been open for business and most of them open for dine-in as well. This is just one of the things that helps to reassure us that it was a good choice to resume ministry.

We are doing our best to be safe and careful. Connections House will be continuing with its extra efforts in the cleaning and sanitization of our facilities and ministry materials. We will remain committed to following all social distancing and safety guidelines of our churches, ministry sites, stores, etc. Anyone that is the high risk category of COVID is strongly advised not to come. We will also continue with our rules of greeting with elbows and wearing masks.

Ministry will likely continue to look different this year, especially in the beginning. This past year, all of our ministry included COVID relief – giving out food and/or cleaning supplies. We remained steady in sharing the gospel and trying to encourage the local people as much as possible. In 2021, we would like to add construction ministry to our focus. We have a great opportunity to use this time to help churches, feeding kitchens, and orphanages in the construction or repair of their facilities. This is something that can be done with very little to no contact with the local people in order to help promote safety and good health.

Please join us in praying that the Lord will work in the hearts of many to come and serve! Contact us if you have any questions at all about ministry or bringing a team to serve during this global pandemic.

End of the Year Giving

We would like to thank all of you who have partnered with us this past month to help continue our 3rd floor project. Our Upper Room is looking awesome and as of today, we have two functioning bathrooms! With a little bit more paint and some wall tile, they will be completed soon! The next step will likely be the drop ceiling in the dining room and/or kitchen. 

Please consider a small donation of $30 to help us continue this work. Since the beginning of December, you have helped us to raise $1548! We’d love for you to help us out with the remaining balance of our short-term goal of $2952. That’s just 98 more people at $30 each! If many people are able to give small amounts, it is not only a lighter load for people to carry, it also means that that many more people will get to share in the fruit of this ministry! Lord willing, we would like to have this project completed before our spring teams arrive! Click here to learn more about Connections House.

give.connectionshouse.org

Struska Missions Update November 2020

Family

After several postponements, we recently held a small graduation ceremony for William by the beach. We are very proud of him for graduating with honors and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for him! He is continuing to work at Chick-fil-A in California. Recently he fixed up and sold his first car, and has purchased and started fixing up a second one. Please join us in praying for him as he decides his next steps in life.

Brian, Brittany, and Joshua are doing well. We praise God that they have been able to continue to work during this unstable time of shutdowns and quarantines. Unfortunately, they have had a recent string of vehicle issues – including various repairs, their car getting hit twice while parked, and a part being stolen off of a vehicle. Please pray they are able to find a good vehicle, as they are currently in the market for a minivan. 

Ron’s most recent back surgery was in September of last year. It alleviated a good amount of pain, however a few months later that pain started to return and got significantly worse. This has seriously impacted his ability to consistently work 8-hour days (which is difficult for someone that is used to working 12 hours a day). After waiting a year to see how his back would heal as his doctor suggested, a recent MRI has shown that he has another herniated disc. This is the fourth time this disc has been herniated and Ron has had three back surgeries in total. For these reasons, and also because he has degenerative disc disease, Ron has decided to go ahead with fusion. This means that one or two discs will be removed and replaced with a metal plate and rods. The good news is that he can’t herniate this disc again because it won’t be there. It does mean he’ll have limited mobility, which he already has due to the pain he experiences. Unfortunately, it also means more stress will be put on the discs above, and up to 12 months of recovery time. His surgery will be in California in January. Please pray for Ron’s doctors and also that there will be a considerable amount of pain relief from the surgery.

Giving Tuesday!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you that have given financially and donated materials for our 3rd floor project! God is good and He is so faithful! As we prepare for spring teams, please pray with us that travel restrictions and quarantines would not impact people’s decision to come and serve here in Mexico! Our calendar is filling up, but as 2020 has already proven, this can change quickly. 

We watched the Lord provide amazingly faster than expected and finish the exterior of the dining room/kitchen building before last summer. After witnessing this, we excitedly set a goal to have the kitchen and dining room mostly completed and ready to be used for their intended purposes by March 2021. However, due to the Coronavirus, we have had a lot less teams, resulting in less ministry and fewer donations. When this project is completed, we’ll also have space to remodel and add more beds to the first floor, bringing our total sleeping capacity to fifty-five. 

On December 1st, “Giving Tuesday”, we are looking for 150 people to partner with us and donate $30 to Connections House in order to help us reach our goal. This would make it possible for us to finish the bathrooms and hopefully more. We know that the Lord can do it! Please pray that He would move the hearts of 150 people to join us in this endeavor! Here is how to give:

Go to: give.connectionshouse.org and be sure to put your dollar amount next to, “for Connection Ministry House”.

If you would like to write a check, please make it out to Connections House and send it to 340 W. 26th Street, Suite K, National City, CA 91950

Connections House 3rd Floor Project

Guadalajara Missions Trip

We wanted to share some photos from our August mission trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. Kristy, most of our Connections staff, along with our daughter, Brittany, and her family, had the opportunity to serve at one of our church plants – Calvary Esperanza Viva. We were blessed to spend a week and come alongside our friends, Pastor Lalo and his wife, Linda, to minister to the local people there. Ministry was a little limited due to the quarantine, but praise God, the church had opened back up just before our arrival. We were able to hold a simultaneous men’s/women’s event, a carnival outreach, do worship along with testimonies and sermons for Sunday & Wednesday church services, put up some new lights and backdrop in the sanctuary, and more! Our team also got the chance to do a little sightseeing in this beautiful city! We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve and be able to bless the pastor, church, and community. We give all the glory to God for the many seeds that were planted, watered, and sown!

We’ll leave you with some more photos of our Guadalajara trip. We appreciate each and every one of you for your prayers and partnership! Please contact us if you have any questions about giving or serving with us here in Mexico. 

Kevin*, Pastor Lalo, Aldrin*; Brian, Brittany & baby Joshua; Jasmine (Jesse’s daughter);
Kailyn (summer staff), Nadia (Intern), Kristy, Yajaira (Intern), Jesse (staff) – *Brian’s brothers

Struska Missions Update October 2020

In May, the exterior the 3rd floor project was completed with new doors.

This has definitely been a different year of ministry so far! In March we watched all of our spring teams cancel due to the pandemic. This was difficult for a couple of reasons. One, because that meant a lot of ministry wouldn’t be happening – children wouldn’t hear about Jesus, orphanages wouldn’t get visited, food wouldn’t be given away, and so much more! Secondly, it meant that Connections House wouldn’t have any funds coming in to help pay the bills. 

We thank and praise God for the teams that sent funds in place of coming down! One team was supposed to insulate and drywall the dining room and kitchen on the third floor here at Connections House. We are so thankful that they were able to send funds to pay for the materials and most of the labor for us to finish this stage of the project. 

3rd floor dining room – Insulated, painted,
and about 80% of the electrical work completed.

As summer was approaching, our teams began to cancel until there was only one team left – Calvary School of Missions (CSOM). This team is different than the rest. The School of Missions is run by Saving Grace World Missions, our sending organization. This was the second year for the school here in Rosarito, which is about 5 1/2 weeks long and is for people who are called (or feel they may be called) to full-time missions. The CSOM team ended up staying at Connections for five weeks! This was such an answer to prayer! It was also good news for our summer interns and volunteers. 

We had a couple of teams come in August and September, and we have a few teams scheduled in the next few months as well. Needless to say, our operating expenses for fall and winter will be a lot easier to pay now that we have had some teams.

Shawn continues to serve with us here at Connections House, doing a little bit of everything, as usual – including helping with photos, cooking, teaching Bible study for interns, and more. It was especially good to have him (and his medical training) with us during this time to help advise and guide us during the Coronavirus pandemic. We were super excited to have Kailyn, a former intern, serve on staff with us for the summer! Kailyn’s main duties were intern mentor and Bible study instructor, as well as our Cook for breakfasts. We were blessed with two awesome interns – Yajaira and Nadia. This was Yajaira’s second summer as an intern at Connections. It was great to see how she has grown and how the Lord has been using her to further His kingdom! Nadia is from Idaho and had previously come down with a team from her church. She did an amazing job and we are so proud of the way she was flexible and willing to serve in whatever way was needed. Due to the extra amount of daily cleaning implemented this summer, we required more volunteer staff. Thankfully, the Lord provided three extra volunteers. Jenny, who interned with us at a previous ministry, helped us for a couple of weeks. If you know Sandra who cooks for us sometimes, you may know her daughters. Two of them, Yessica and Yazmín, served with us for a little over a month. We couldn’t have done it without any of them!


Summer Ministry

Due to the pandemic, a lot of ministry options weren’t available for most or all of the summer, such as visiting orphanages. Instead, we did a lot of relief ministry with our CSOM team. They usually spent their mornings in classes taught by different pastors and missionaries. They learned about various aspects of missions, such as church planting, finances, the purpose of the church, and more. Most of our outreaches consisted of handing out food and/or cleaning products, sharing testimonies, helping church plants, and of course sharing the gospel. We even had the opportunity to hand out backpacks at a local church, which was an event that was postponed several times since January.

Connections House Projects

What does all of this mean for the projects here at Connections House? Well, we saw the Lord move way faster than we expected to build the dining room and kitchen building on the 3rd floor! We started with no funds and a bunch of donated material, so it is all based on donations. We have been praying that the 3rd floor would be usable by spring of 2021. While we have had some small donations come in recently, the 3rd floor project is currently at a standstill. In the meantime, we began remodeling the bathroom under the stairs. We decided to add a separate room for the toilet so that the current bathroom could become a much needed shower room. We are a little over halfway done with this project, and hope to finish it soon. The cost to finish up this small project is $1200. In order to expand our dorms and host more team members once the 3rd floor is ready, we will need to add two more showers and bathrooms after this project. 

Family Update

We had the opportunity to spend a week in Puebla, Mexico, which is where our son-in-law, Brian, is from. We traveled there with Brian, Brittany, Joshua, and Brian’s brothers, Kevin & Aldrin. It was so great to meet more of Brian’s family and tour this beautiful, historic city! Our grandson, Joshua, is now six months old! He is getting so big and has such a big personality. 

William graduated high school in June and turned 18 in July! Wow, how time flies! He is continuing to work at Chick-Fil-A in California and we are praying for him as he has been contemplating different career options.

Giving Opportunities

We know that many people prefer to give one-time gifts or give toward something that is close to their heart. So we would like to start outlining small ways each month that you can give toward ministry in some way. The first one we’d like to highlight was already mentioned above – the bathroom/shower project at Connections House. Again, the total cost needed to finish this small project is $1200. 

Secondly, we’d like to present the option of helping a local intern at our church to be able to attend Bible college. This young man has interned at our church for some time and is praying about what the Lord has in store for him, including the possibility of planting a church. The total cost for the 2-year program at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Ensenada, Mexico, is $3500. We are more than happy to provide more information to anyone that is interested in helping. (Just text Kristy at 608.322.7650.) 

If you would like to give you can just click HERE to donate online. (Please put the dollar amount next to “for Connection Ministry House”, and write in the “comment” section where we should direct your donation.) If you would like to write a check, just make it payable to “Calvary Chapel Rosarito”, write a note as to what the donation is for, and send it to our mailing address.

Thank you so much!

What’s New?

So much has been happening since our last update! Here is the abbreviated version:

FAMILY

If you have not yet heard, we are going to become grandparents any day now! Brian & Brittany are expecting a baby boy – Joshua Brian – on March 17th! We are super excited for them. Brittany has been continuing with her job at Chik-fil-A in California. In January, Brian was ordained as an Assistant Pastor at their church, Calvary Chapel Playas de Tijuana. We’re super proud of him and excited to see what the Lord has in store for him in the future!

(Left) Oct ’19 Gender Reveal, (Mid) Jan ’20 Brian’s Ordination as Assistant Pastor, (Rt) Feb ’20 Brittany’s Baby Shower

William will be graduating from high school in May. He is currently doing a four-month internship, serving in the Communications Department at a large church in southern California. His work is related to graphic design, which is one of the options he has considered as a career. Please keep him in your prayers as he gets ready to graduate and make some major life decisions.

(Left) Will’s First Day in His New Apt, (Mid) 2019 Family Photo, (Right) William serving at SoCal church

Our family had the opportunity to take a few weeks at the beginning of the year to visit with the majority of our supporters. We are so thankful to everyone that has partnered with us in prayer, as well as financially. We know that none of this would be possible without you. We are humbled and more grateful than you could ever know!

We also had the privilege of attending the weddings of two of our nieces and nephews at the end of last year. The fourth grandchild on Ron’s side of the family to marry was Emily, in Topeka, Kansas. The second grandchild on Kristy’s side of the family to marry was Matthew, who was married in Chicago, Illinois. We enjoyed sharing their special day and spending some time with family. 

Family Weddings (See details above)

MINISTRY & THE CORONAVIRUS

We are in the process of getting ready for our spring teams! We will have a couple of months where we have at least one team every week. It will be very busy, but we are looking forward to it! We have completed several smaller projects on the 2nd floor covered patio. This includes installing windows, stuccoing a wall, finishing electrical, painting, and relocating the snack shop. We also widened the lower outdoor staircase and added some new railings.

We have had some teams questioning the traveling situation because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The fact is that there are no travel warnings at this time to travel into Mexico, nor is there any concern right now for the closing of the border crossing. There are only 7 cases as of today in the whole country, while there are 1,010 in the United States. You can click here to see what the Center for Disease Control has to say about travel & prevention of the Coronavirus. 

SUMMER INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY

This will be our third summer offering an internship program for young adults. It’s perfect for anyone considering full-time ministry or missions, Bible college students, or other young people who feel led to serve and deepen their relationship with Christ. Click here for dates and for more information, or contact Kristy if you are interested.

CONNECTIONS HOUSE

The 3rd floor expansion project has really taken off! You can see a short video of the progress made in 2019 here. The exterior of the building is completely finished, except for the installation of the doors. All of the interior metal studs are installed, the plumbing is done, and the floor is poured in the bathrooms. Lord willing, we will have a team at the beginning of April coming to install the insulation and drywall. In the meantime, we mostly just have a little bit of sheeting to install and all the electrical in preparation for their arrival. We are a little short in funds and time, but we believe by faith it will get done. Of the $3,500 needed for this part of the project, we only need about $800 to finish it up.

Here’s a quick look at the budget needed to complete the entire project. The previous amounts needed as of February 2019 are on the right. Over 95% of what has gone into the building so far has been donated:
$0 – Railings ($2,400)
$0 – Block Walls ($4,000)
$13,000 – Occupancy: Materials for doors, ceiling, bathroom fixtures, lighting, etc. ($40,000)
$1,800 – Cabinets & Kitchen Prep Tables ($1,800)
$4,600 – Kitchen Equipment ($4,600)
$3,000 – Dining Furniture ($3,000)
$6,000 – Tile ($6,000)
$28,400 – TOTAL ($61,800)

We’ll leave you with a few photos of the new kitchen/dining room building. We praise God, first and foremost for the progress, but we also give a huge thank you to so many of you as well!! God bless!

Third Floor Expansion!

Third Floor Expansion!

We are so excited to show you some photos of the expansion to our third floor! The foundation has been laid for the new commercial kitchen/dining hall and the firepit has been moved to its new location on the open, upper patio. Next week all the supports will be taken down on the second floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Next?

There are two things on the list of what comes next – railings and block walls. Two of the walls for the new building will be made of block. Once those are in place, the metal studs that have already been donated can be put up to finish the walls for the building. As soon as possible, we would like to get railings put up on the third floor for safety. The fire pit is ready for use, however, some teams, especially those with children, will not be able to use it until railings are installed.

How Can You Help? 

We would like to respond to those of you who have asked how you can get involved. The Lord has His timetable as to when the third floor will be complete and ready for use. We did not start this project with the funds already in hand, it was started in faith. Of course, we are anxious, because once this project is complete, we will move on to adding more beds. More beds mean more teams and the ability to host bigger teams. Ultimately, more teams mean more people coming to share the gospel with the people of Rosarito/Tijuana! We wanted to begin working with and using what the Lord has already provided. So it is going to take some teams and some financial partners to get the job done. After seeing how the Lord provided for the purchase of Connections House, we are even more confident that we serve a big God that can do anything! Here is a little breakdown of the needs for the third floor:

Railings – $2,400
Block Walls – $4,000
Occupancy: Materials for drywall, electric, roof, etc. – $40,000
Cabinets & Kitchen Prep Tables – $1,800
Kitchen Equipment – $4,600
Dining Furniture – $3,000
Tile – $6,000
Total – $61,800

“Occupancy” will allow us to move our current residential kitchen appliances, dining room tables, chairs, etc. to the third floor for use.

Thank You!

Thank you so much to all of you who have and continue to pray for us and who have partnered with us financially. We know that we would not be here without you. This ministry would not be possible without you. This is your spiritual fruit and we are so happy you have joined us! Thank you also to those who have prayed for and partnered with Connections House and the work God is doing here! We look forward to seeing what He has in store for the future! We wanted to leave you with some awesome photos that show just some of the progress that has been made to Connections House dorms over the 2 1/2 years we have been here:

Interns & Teams

Wow! We have had a whirlwind of teams and ministry. God is so good! He is also doing big things here at our team dorms, Connections House! In mid-July the paperwork finalizing the sale of the property went through and we officially became the new owners! We are eager to show you the improvements that we have been making over the past six months or so, and update you on our newest project! However, that will have to wait for our next update, so stay tuned!

Right now, we’d like to give you a glimpse of the ministry from our teams and interns. If you recall, this is the first year that we have had interns at this ministry location, and it was amazing! The Lord called two wonderful young ladies, Kailyn & Rachel, with a passion for missions to come and serve with us for 7 1/2 weeks. God did amazing things in and through them, and we look forward to seeing how He continues to do so in the future. Over these weeks we hosted and worked with six teams, most of whom were here for a full week, plus served at a local 5-day VBS. The interns helped out in almost every aspect of ministry, from planning/preparation, to working in the kitchen, to serving on the field, and so much more! Their introduction to ministry on the field in Mexico this summer began by serving at Calvary Chapel Rosarito’s VBS. They helped in different areas, but both girls had the opportunity to teach the lesson one day to all the children. They did a fabulous job!

The girls had the opportunity to serve alongside some other local missionaries. A couple highlights include helping put together backpacks for a ministry that helps send local children to school. This was through Pastor Jose Luis & Cindy Pesina at one of our church plants, Grace Calvary, in Tijuana. The second one was working alongside our friend Jorge Najera and Baja Christian Ministries to build a home for a local family in need. This included working on the house and some street evangelism. Our interns served at orphanages, a retirement home, two local garbage dumps, Celebrate Recovery, several churches through children’s and women’s ministry, and more. They were both stretched and used greatly, and they both had opportunities to share their testimonies on how God has moved in their lives. They completed two Bible studies during their time here. One of them, entitled “Unfinished”, especially had a great impact on them (and Kristy). This study is all about the task Jesus gave to each Christian before He left this earth (Matthew 28:19-20) and how the work is still unfinished. Both Kailyn and Rachel are praying about how the Lord will have them serve through missions in the future, possibly even full-time! Here are some photos of their week at CCR’s VBS.

Here are some highlights of the interns working in various ministries:

We managed to fit a little fun into our time with the interns – the wax museum in Tijuana, a harbor boat ride in Ensenada, and of course trying the local cuisine. Their time with us ended with a 2-day camping trip next to the beach.

William turned sixteen in July, so we took him out for a nice family dinner at a Brazilian restaurant in Tijuana where they serve all you can meat, over 20 kinds. They come around with these different meats on skewers, plus have a huge buffet  of other foods to choose from. They gave him a “Goofy” hat to wear while they sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He also had some friends over one night to do his two favorite things – play basketball and play video games. Will recently got his driver’s permit and started his first job. He is working two days a week at Chik-Fil-A in California. It is the same location that Brittany works at as well. Will started his 3rd year of high school this fall, of which he has three more semesters to complete. He’ll spend his 4th semester doing an internship or missions work somewhere, so please keep him in your prayers and he (and his parents) decide where that will take place.


We’ll leave you with highlight photos from some of our teams and a huge thank you to all of you that partner with us and make this all possible!

Summer Is Here!

Summer  has definitely arrived! June and July have brought some unusually hot days our way. We are eager to begin a couple of months straight of teams, teams, teams!!

We are thrilled to announce that we have two interns serving with us this summer here at Connections House! This is our first time having interns at this location. Both interns have served here in Rosarito with us on at least one short-term trip. Kailyn comes to us from Colorado Springs, CO, where she attends The Road at Chapel Hills. Rachel lives in Fresno, CA, and attends New Hope Community Church (Clovis, CA). Both of our interns have missions experience, as well as a good deal of children’s ministry experience. On their second day in Rosarito, when walking into the church service at Calvary Chapel Rosarito, our Senior Pastor immediately volunteered them to help out in our Sunday School ministry. So both Kailyn & Rachel will be assisting teachers in a Sunday School classroom each week. They have been busy getting the dorms ready for teams, preparing their personal testimonies, practicing their gospel presentations, and even helped on a home build with a local ministry. Next week they will be helping with VBS at CCR. They will be teaching the lesson for VBS on Tuesday. Please keep them in your prayers this summer. Some of their regular responsibilities include assisting in the kitchen,  helping run the dorms, and general support for teams in the field. There will be times that they are serving right alongside teams, whether it’s working with children, building a church/orphanage, or serving food to/praying with those who are less fortunate. They will be called upon to share their personal testimonies with others. There will be opportunities to share Christ with others, whether one on one or with a group of children, teens, or women. Our interns will be stretched, they will used in amazing ways, and we pray that many will be blessed because of their sacrifice and the work they are doing here with us this summer.

We have seven teams over the next seven weeks. We look forward to sharing photos and stories with you. God is good and we know He will do amazing things through these teams!

Prayer Requests:

1 – For strength and wisdom for us and all the staff as we go into this busy season.

2 – That we will all be able to find times of rest throughout the summer and stay healthy.

3 – For the interns, as stated above.

4 – For the paperwork on Connections House to move along quickly (which looks like it’s getting really close)!

5 – For our teams to have many opportunities to present the gospel to the lost people of Mexico.

Sprung Into Spring

Team Ministry

January 2018 – Team from Calvary Chapel Oceanside, Oceanside, CA

 

 

 

 

 

CCO team serving at Niños Con Fe orphanage in La Gloria, Tijuana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really sprung into spring with team ministry this year! For seventeen days around Easter time, we had four teams, did ministry at three orphanages, two VBS/soccer camp/women’s ministry locations, one kids’ club, two festival outreaches, and more! Two of these teams, as well as a couple others, spent a lot of time and donated a lot of funds toward the construction of Casa de Los Angeles orphanage here in Rosarito. We have seen a huge amount of progress on this project over the last few months, which is very exciting!

Nine of those days we hosted two teams together, as all of these teams overlapped each other. This would not have been possible without our awesome staff – Shawn & Pam Cullen and Jody Gonzales. Shawn & Pam did a great job as always serving alongside the teams, hosting them, cooking meals, packing lunches, and so much more! Jody has been helping Pam in the kitchen and has been a huge blessing!

 

February: Team from La Crescenta & La Jolla Presbyterian Churches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LCPC/La Jolla Team: View of the progress at CDLA orphanage at the beginning of the work being done this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family

If you have not seen William in a while, this photo does not lie. He is now taller than his parents! Will is having a great school year, and will be finishing up in about a month. He recently joined a local basketball team and has gotten quite good. Brian and Brittany continue to serve at Calvary Chapel Playas in Playas de Tijuana, where Brian also works full time. They moved about five months ago from the caretakers’ home at Casa de Los Angeles orphanage in Rosarito to a nice home in Tijuana, which is about a half an hour closer to work, church, and school for them. Brian is taking a music class this semester, and Brittany started a new job recently at Chick-Fil-A just over the border where she was quickly promoted to Shift Leader. (She’s following in her dad’s footsteps, I guess.) Also, CDLA was blessed to find a wonderful missionary couple to live in the caretakers’ home.

As many of you know, our family went through a tremendous loss last year. Both Ron’s mom, Sue, and Kristy’s sister, Kimberly, went to be with the Lord in December. We would like to take a brief moment to say thank you. Our fall trip last year was primarily spent with family, as Sue’s health, especially, was beginning to decline. Normally on these trips, while also visiting with family, we strive to meet with all of our supporters. We are so grateful for your understanding in this, as well as for the time we had together. Sue and Kim were always huge supporters of ours in so many ways. We will truly miss them.

September 2017 – Dale, Kimberly, Micah, Hannah, Annamary, Isaac, Andrew & Elias Struska – One of last photos of Kim and her beautiful family

 

 

2016 – 50th Wedding Anniversary – William & Susan Struska

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connections House Purchase

At this point in time, it looks like the final signing of the papers to purchase the property has been delayed approximately until July. Please join us in praying that everything will go smoothly and there won’t be any further delays.

The amount of the personal loan we have taken out that covers the difference still needed to pay off the property is $26,500. If you feel led to give toward the purchase of our ministry dorms, you may do so by one of two ways:

#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

Backpacks & New Roofs for Christmas!

Happy New Year! We pray that you had a wonderful Christmas and the opportunity to spend some meaningful time with family. I know that we did and we are so thankful to a large number of people that have made this possible. We would like to start off by updating you on the church plant in Santa Cruz, California. If you remember, in May 2017 we helped our friends and fellow missionaries, the Hansons, move back to their hometown to plant a bilingual church. They began their work by starting a life (fellowship) group in their home. It wasn’t long before they outgrew their home and moved the group meetings to the coffee house located at Santa Cruz Bible Church.  On November 4th, we had the opportunity to attend and help serve at the launch service for Santa Cruz Bilingual Church. Kristy, William, Brian & Brittany, as well as our friend, David, had the privilege of leading worship. Two members of SCBC’s worship team, Melissa & Caleb Hanson, joined us. It was a meaningful time of worship and Pastor Michael did an awesome job preaching God’s word. We were blessed, and we pray that all who attended were blessed as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the beginning of November, Kristy received a free gift of being flown to Wisconsin to spend some quality time with her sister, Kim, who was sick with cancer. She also had the privilege of attending the Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field with Kim, her husband, Dale, sister, Shannon, her husband, Tom, and their cousin, Alford. The tickets were a gift from Alford, and his brother, Mark, arranged it so that Dale & Kim could lead the way on the field at the beginning of the game and hold the “Bear Down” flag. It was a fun time, and we are so glad that Kim had this experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last few months of the year have always proven to be a time with the least number of teams. This year we hosted seven teams, which consisted of serving at the dump, working on a new church building, orphanage visits, children’s ministry, and more. A team from New Hope Community Church provided a new roof for the Connections House Dorms. This fulfilled a huge need to have the roof replaced before the rainy season. Teams in December meant approximately 220 backpacks for kids that were filled with toiletries, clothing, school supplies, toys, handmade hats, and more! They were given out at Christmas party outreaches at three different churches. The parties included games, songs, cake, the Christmas story, the gospel, and then ended with piñatas and an abundance of candy! So many children were blessed with items that they need, as well as other special things they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Connections House Roof: Before Photo

Connections House Dorm Roof: After Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The backpacks were a special highlight of the year for us. This was the third year we’ve received these backpack gifts, and praise God that there was more than double the number of backpacks as last year! This ministry was started and organized by Ron’s sister-in-law, MeLinda (wife of Philip), from Colorado. Through her hard work, amazing sales shopping skills, and also word of mouth, the ministry just exploded this year. Many people from their home church, Chapel Hills Church in Colorado Springs, also joined in the effort. Due to the number of backpacks this year, Philip & MeLinda hand delivered them to Mexico themselves. There were too many to send in the mail. This was a great blessing to us, as Phil & MeLinda had the opportunity to serve at one of the three churches where the backpacks were given out.

MeLinda Struska handing out backpacks at Iglesia Bautista Cristo Rey in Rosarito.

Backpacks that were handed out at Capilla Calvario Las Delicias in Tijuana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also in December, we had a team for a week. But not just any team. This one consisted of family! Charles & Erin Lasky (Ron’s cousin) brought their six children for an amazing week of ministry. They hit the ground running immediately as they arrived in Rosarito. Since the local children still had a few days of school left until Christmas vacation, one of the Christmas outreaches was scheduled for their only weekend day, Sunday – the day of their arrival. The team jumped right in, playing games with the kids, serving cake, handing out backpacks, and more. They served at and hosted three of these outreaches, providing everything (except the backpacks). The team also blessed two families by replacing the roofs on their homes. Both homes had water damage on the inside. These families could not afford the necessary repairs. So one of them used tarps to try and keep the water out, and the other family removed most of their shingles and painted a rubberized coating onto the plywood. Neither of these temporary fixes would’ve helped very much when the rains started coming a couple of weeks later. The families were very blessed by this gift and the team’s hard work.

It is extra special to be able to serve alongside our family here in Mexico. These two families, in particular, have been a long time, huge supporters of us and our work on the missions field. This was a very meaningful time for us and we will remember it always.

 

 

Lasky team with the Salto family after their roof was completed.

Working on the Salto family’s roof – William, Nathan, Paige & Faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day has almost arrived for us to close on the purchase of Connections House dorms!! As of now, the closing date is set for February 5th. Please pray with us that everything will go smoothly with the paperwork. This will be just over 11 months from when we were originally supposed to purchase the property, so we are praying that there will be no more delays. We are still about $28,500 short of the full amount. While we do have a loan secured for the remaining amount, it would be great to be able to pay the entire amount and not have to borrow. If you feel led to give toward the purchase of our ministry dorms, you may do so by one of two ways:

#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

 

We will leave you with some more pictures of our recent team ministry from the end of last year.