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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!!