Since our last blog update, there was a little addition to our family! Meet our granddaughter, Kimberly Grace! She’s almost 3 1/2 months old already and starting to show her own little personality. It is a joy to have our grandbabies so close! Joshua will turn two next month and his energy level shows it! This little guy is always moving and keeps his parents on their toes. Brian and Brittany are continuing with the church planting class at Calvary Rosarito. Brittany took the second semester off last year when she had the baby, and this is Brian’s second year in the class. They are continuing to seek the Lord’s guidance as to where He would have them plant a church. Please pray for them as they serve and raise up new leaders at Calvary Chapel Playas. William recently arrived on a surprise visit home! It is so great to see him and spend some time together! He was finally able to meet his new niece. Will is living and working up in Fond du Lac, WI, although he is not enjoying the cold or driving in the snow very much.
Kristy’s parents were finally able to meet their only two great-grandchildren! They came down to visit in November, along with Kristy’s sister, Shannon, and most of her family. Since Joshua was born in Mexico and still doesn’t have all his paperwork, he has not been able to go to the states yet. So this is the only family that our grandchildren have met so far, except for one of Ron’s brothers and his wife. (Philip & MeLinda were able to visit at the end of 2020 and meet Joshua.)
Ministry in 2021
Last year’s ministry looked different, but it was amazing! When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, we watched as all of our spring and summer teams cancelled, except for the 5 week Calvary School of Missions (CSOM) in the summer. Thankfully, through generous donations by you and teams that postponed their trips, we kept super busy! Besides CSOM, we only hosted 8 teams in 2020. That’s a little less than one fourth of the number of teams we normally have in a year. However, we had numerous outreaches and events. We also spent the greater portion of the first six months of that year working on the Upper Room (dining area) and kitchen on the third floor here at Connections House.
Well, 2021 may have only brought us 14 teams, but we had a spectacular year of ministry! We also hosted a youth retreat and 12 events for local churches and ministries this past year. At the end of the year we enclosed the second floor patio and turned it into a meeting & game room. This past year we also added three dorm rooms and about 10 beds, as well as a new living room to our two bedroom apartment. We had about 13 teams postpone their trips until this year, and 10 teams are already booked for the first part of the year. Please pray that they will be able to come and serve with us this year!
Along with the expansion at Connections House, comes the need for more bunk beds, mattresses, sheets & towels. If you would like to help with any of these items, please click here. It would be a tremendous blessing! The goal is to have bed spaces for up to 55 people. Therefore, our next big project at Connections will be an expensive one. It is to remodel the first floor dorm bathroom into two shower rooms, and then add two separate stall rooms with toilets and sinks. This means tearing out a lot of flooring in order to redo and add plumbing. The dorms also need to have the electricity redone, floors reinforced, and more. Little by little, the Lord has provided, and we are certain that He will continue to do so!
Church Planting & Mission Trips
In 2021, we were able to travel a little and help some of our church plants. This was something we had prayed about and longed to do more of for almost five years. It has been amazing to watch so many churches get planted here within about an hour of our church, Calvary Rosarito. Unfortunately, due to COVID, we had to cancel our third annual staff mission trip. We had planned to serve in Monterrey with Pastor Pedro. Please pray that we will be able to reschedule that trip soon so that we can encourage our brothers and sisters over there at CC Monterrey.
As we shared previously, in January of last year we helped some church planters move to the southern part of Baja to plant the church, Calvary Loreto. We didn’t think we could be much help at such an early stage for this church plant, but God had another plan. After looking at some possible buildings for the church right away, the Lord began to reveal what he had in store. We stayed an extra week to help with renovations for the church building, but there was still so much work to be done. We returned home to find out that Ron’s back surgery was postponed, so we took that as a sign that we had more work to do in Loreto. We returned for another couple of weeks to work on the church and help with their grand opening.
The church just celebrated their one year anniversary last week. It’s been amazing to watch how much it has grown! Kristy had the opportunity to take a trip there in May with Brian, Brittany, Joshua, and some friends. They served at a couple of events the church was having, one for women and one for men. They also helped with painting another sign at the church and helping to get the pastor’s office ready by doing some drywalling and painting.
We were super blessed to take trips to three different church plants in November and December. For the first time, the backpacks that are donated reached Baja California Sur & Sonora! However, we will save those trips for our next update. All of this is your fruit and we appreciate your prayer and financial support!! We will leave you with some before and after photos of the church plant in Loreto. God bless!
The two photos on the left show before and after photos of the front of the church. The next set of photos is the sanctuary. It has been expanded three times, and they are already looking at a possible fourth expansion. In the third set of photos you can see the storage shed that was turned into a classroom for the children. Finally, the renovation of the courtyard between the church and storage shed. It looks fantastic, and gets used before and after church for fellowship, as a Sunday School classroom for the older children, and more.
Ron & Christy Struska