A shot of the bookstore during the conference.
I (Pete) recently got back from a great visit to Mexico City to participate in the National Youth Specialties Mexico Conference. It was a great experience and I wanted to quickly share some of the highlights of the trip.
A shot of May during the workshop.
First, the workshop on developing a spiritually transformative environment for your camps and retreats went really. Before the workshop I was wondering who would really come and as the time for the workshop to start passed it was only myself and my co-worker in the hallway. I looked to him and said, “Well at least we will have two people!” …but this is Mexico…and in good fashion…we quickly over 60 people in attendance. We made a number of contacts, people were engaged, and a highlight for me was watching my coworker be able to answer questions about camping ministry even though he has no “formal” training. He knows thing he doesn’t know he knows simply by being part of our community. It was cool watching this light bulb go off in his mind.
Other quick highlights were that I got to talk with Mark Matlock, the current head of YS in the US, for about an hour. I had attended a number of his events as a youth pastor and some of his other
A shot of me and Mark Matlock.
trainings, and it was fun to connect with a familiar face and chat-up the nature of youth ministry. I was also able to meet 5 potential interns who are looking to come to the ranch this summer. It is exciting to see the ministry of the ranch extend beyond the city of La Paz into the interior mainland. These kids are excited to come to the ranch and participate in our internship program. If they all come we will have a Venezuelan, a Colombian, 2 Mexicans, and a Mexican kid who was adopted by US parents who now pastor the oldest English speaking Church in Mexico (141 years old)….talk about cross-cultural…as we will throw these kids into the mix of kids from the US as well as kids here from La Paz.
And last but not least. The conference shared the same expo building as a Lucha Libre event! I got to watch my very first lucha libre match, which was definitely a cultural experience.
I (Emily) have been absent for a while from internet land. Sometimes, I find myself in moods where I don’t know what to share. There is too much…and I feel overwhelmed often. And then I am jumbled up. But in the past few weeks, at the end of each week, I have been reflecting on my favorite moment of the week. And I try to pay attention. So, I thought I’d share something that made me smile last week.
In kid’s club (which is going WELL, by the way…I’ll maybe figure out a way to condense all of that into an update soon), we are going through the Bible, focusing on what each story teaches us about God as we go. So, each week we review together. The kids have gotten good at telling me that God keeps His promises! I love it. We emphasized that characteristic about God when we studied the flood, and, more specifically, the rainbow afterwards and then moving into God’s promise to Abraham.
Well, fast forward a few days to horse ministry (also going WELL…I am learning so much from Cher Gatto and others who have been doing this ministry faithfully for so many years)…and some of the kids who come to kid’s club every week also come to horse ministry every week. Last Friday we actually had a cloudy day here! It was AMAZING. I loved it. It didn’t rain, but toward the end of horse ministry, a rainbow appeared in the sky! I didn’t notice it at first, but some kids did…and they yelled to me as I was working in the arena with a horse and child…”Emily…a rainbow…because God keeps His promises!” That made my whole week worth it.
Sometimes it’s the little things!
Check out one of the “taller” speakers!
I (Pete) am flying out today to Mexico City to participate in the “Cumbre Nacional de Lideres de Jovenes” or the National Convention of Youth Leaders of Mexico. It’s going to be a great time as I will be able to connect up with an old friend and co-worker Scott Hill. I will also be meeting with 5 interns who live in Mexico City and who will be joining us this summer in our intership program. It will be a good time to meet them and their families personally. May, one of our Ranch staff, will also be coming with me and participating in the conference and meeting our new interns. …BUT here is the real kicker….check out the picture and see if you can recognize one of the workshop speakers…that’s right I have the opportunity to present a workshop at the conference…and I’ll be giving the workshop in Spanish! The theme is “Developing a spiritually transformative environment for your camps and retreats.” I am excited about this opportunity to share about something I am passionate about and for the ability to be able to do it Spanish. It has been a long-hard road in learning Spanish and I have much, much more to go but it is nice to feel confident enough (with quite a bit of preparation!) to be able to give a workshop. If you think about it pray for May and myself this weekend as we connect with youth workers all across Mexico as we seek to grow in our capacities as youth workers.