Mazatlan, Mexico – June 16-17, 2018

Saturday, June 16: A Pool Party Welcome

Hello, from sunny Mazatlan, Mexico and the Traders Point team serving alongside our friends from Back2Back this week. Back2Back Ministries is an international non-profit organizaion that is dedicated to being a voice for orphans. If you’re curious about the courageous work they are doing to help vulnerable children all over the world, visit back2back.org.

What you might not read about on their website is just how intentional and genuine their staff is. We have been welcomed so well, and while Back2Back exists to serve the needs of orphans and impoverished children, the folks here have already ministered to our team in meaningful ways.

Just after 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 16, six of our team members took off from the Indianapolis airport. Dallas was an important stop as we convened with four more members; three from Virginia and one from Arkansas. The group was complete and our flight to Mazatlan was a breeze. We landed and figured out that the people on our flight wearing the same blue t-shirts were also headed to Back2Back this week. Staff arrived, and the blue shirts from Kansas got in one van and the gray shirts from Indy got in another.

B2B, like its name suggests stands back-to-back with partner organizations to meet the spiritual, physical, educational, emotional, and social needs that they may overcome their life circumstances and break free from the cycle of generational poverty. They do this with three such groups here in Mazatlan, and upon our arrival, we spent some time with two of them at a pool party/cookout (we’ll get to the third here in a moment). Many of our team were nervous about the language barrier—wondering how we would ever connect with and show love to someone we can’t speak to. It turns out that fun is somewhat of a universal language and we enjoyed our Saturday afternoon together splashing around and eating hamburgers.

Exhausted, we settled in and got to bed early—we would need the rest for an exciting and full Sunday to come.

Sunday, June 17: Breaking Ground

El Rancho de los Ninos might be familiar to some of you who have been around Traders Point or who have invested in this relationship with Back2Back here in Mazatlan. Rancho is the third of the three groups mentioned earlier. Rancho is a facility where 14 orphaned children with special needs live under full-time care. Rancho is where our group will spend each day of this week laboring with our hands and opening our hearts to these 14 amazing young kids.

Some exciting things have been happening at Rancho and we are so thrilled and humbled to be a part of what God is doing here. Last week they celebrated the completion of four family-style housing units that they will use to begin transitioning the boys into. They currently reside in dorms in a single building. The care they receive there is and has been a wonderful thing for them, but B2B’s goal is to put them in homes with a family. These brand new facilities will do just that. It will also allow the kidss to have somewhere to go home to—someone to go home to. This provides some healthy separation from the place where they sleep at night and the place they receive therapy and education for some. This is a really, really big deal for the lives of these kids, and we are praising God for the completion of those buildings.

The celebration continued today (Sunday) as we “broke ground” on some big renovations that will be made to the center the kids are currently living in. We’ll be able to tell you more details about these renovations in the coming days, but as we toured Rancho today, we all agreed there is an overwhelming amount of hope and excitement about the future here—amongst the staff and caretakers and amongst the children. We are especially excited about these renovations because our love for these kids and the potential an updated facility might have on their lives. TPCC’s special needs minister, Wendy Wilken, has been working with B2B staff on plans for the renovations and how Traders Point can help resource this new center to better serve the needs of not only these 14 but for other orphans and vulnerable children in the community.

This occasion served to remind us all on Father’s Day just how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us and how dearly he loves the children of Rancho de los Ninos.

As we get started tomorrow on some of more physical work that needs to be done around the facility, please pray for our team, the B2B staff, the caretakers, and for the many vulnerable children around the globe.

Here’s a look back across some of the new construction toward the resource center awaiting renovation.


Kenya 2018 – Day 1

Kenya 2018 – Day 1

Its the end of Day 1 in Nairobi (day 3 for our body clocks it was a lot of travel!) and the team is settling in for the evening. Throughout our long travel day and multiple flights, Godshandiwork was apparent as our fearless team leader herded 23 excited folks through multiple airports, three flights, and entrance to Africa. He is faithful!

Its winter here so we woke to cloudy skies, a few raindrops and mild temps. Weather didnt dampen our spirits as we noisily climbed aboard our transport to Outreach Hope Church in the slums of Bondeni. On arrival we were greeted by beautiful, smiling children and gracious hosts dressed in their Sunday best. Children took our hands, introduced themselves and asked our names while we crowded the little church (and our hosts scrambled for more chairs). We were blessed to participate in joyful praise singing in both English and Swahili, followed by a sermon on Micah, chapter 7.

Our fellowship after church included lots of hugs while children asked to take photos with us and photos of us; they immediately connected with the youth of our team, giggling at their funny faces created in Snapchat.

A quick bus trip took us to Grace House where we were treated to a great lunch followed by quick walk to explore Masai Market at YaYa Mall. Everyone had a great time bartering with local merchants and examining beautiful fabrics, paintings, sculptures and local wares.

Our restday over, this evening we began preparation for our mission sorting supplies/donations, which we will take to MOHI tomorrow and the clinic on Tuesday. Jet lagged, were saying good night need to be ready to begin our journey bright and early tomorrow. May His light shine through each of us in the coming days.  Blessings to all.


Thursday, April 5th, 2018

 

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Today the team woke up pretty early to eat breakfast. We had to be down to breakfast at 6:30. We had omelets or ham and eggs. After we finished our whole team went to the Lutheran School in the city and met with one of the english teachers and some of their friends. We had four classes in the morning, most we were all together, but one of the classes we split into two groups and went to different classes. We then ate lunch and had a break in their school cafeteria. We had soup and spaghetti that was very good. Then we went back and had two more classes. We taught some American culture, danced with them, and played very fun games like cups. We invited all of the students to the english summer camp that will be in Hungary in July and also to hang out with us in the square after school. After our classes were over we met some of our friends like Paul and Szabi (Saw-be) outside of the school and some of our new friends were with them as well. We first walked to the flat which is the place we will be hanging out tomorrow night with the students. Then we went to an amazing ice-cream shop with them and ate some delicious  ice-cream. Most people had the snickers ice-cream! Our new friends then wanted to show us around the city and take us to some shops so we went and shopped around the town for a while. The whole team met back in the middle of the square at 5:30 and said goodbye to our new friends and said we can not wait till we see them tomorrow. Our team then went to a burger shop to just debrief and talk about what we are going to do tomorrow. We devoured the burgers and fries and walked back to our hotel. We sat together planning and working through questions from the students so we can answer them tomorrow. Then we crashed and went to sleep.


Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

IMG_0177Our team woke up at six and ate some left over pastries. We met up with Kecia and Emese, they split our group into two and took us to two different schools. The first group was Matt, Brynn, Anna, and Hanna. The second group was Eric, Heather, Madi, Phillip, Kaci, and Elaina. The first group went to a private middle school and then a public dual language high school where they taught them about American culture and they also played some games+danced. The second team went to a public high school with Emese and taught two classes of high school students. They taught them about American culture as well and did the games and dances too. The second team only taught two classes, after they were done they walked into the town of Veszprém and passed out flyers for the English camp to the students on their lunches. The first team had more classes than the first group so they ate lunch at their school. They had soup and sweet bread for their lunch, and then they went to teach more classes. Our team as a group met up later at a sweet little coffee shop to drink some lattes and flat whites. We caught a bus to Györ and at first got off at the wrong stop. The bus driver figured out that we were a group of confused Americans and brought us back on. After two hours we got to Györ and to our hotel. We put up our stuff and went to eat at a restaurant. We got some gelato, explored the new city, and then went off to sleep.


Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Our team slept over at the church with the students from the two cities. Most of us woke up at 7:30, some a little later. Kecia (Keesha), the Josiah Venture worker for Veszprém, and Emese, a Hungarian native/Church volunteer, got an amazing breakfast for all of us. We ate some pastries with tea and coffee. The students played some games like ultimate rock paper scissors with our team to wake us up. We also danced and played some music! After we woke ourselves up everybody worshiped and three of our people gave their testimonies to the students. Brynn, Phillip, and Kaci all stepped up to the stage to share how they were brought to Jesus. It brought up some interesting conversations in small groups after and the students were able to write down any questions they had about faith, God, etc. After all the students went home, Kecia took us sightseeing. We went to a place where the Veszprem castle used to be which led us to a small mountain with some beautiful views. Our team took some very artistic pictures. Then we walked to the most amazing restaurant so far. Everyone agrees it was the best food they have had so far. Madi stepped up and tried something new and spicy… and Kaci actually shed a tear because her food was so good. After that we walked to Tesco, the Hungarian version of walmart, where we stocked up with some snacks. Kecia bought us all a chocolate covered cheese bar called “óriás pöttyös túró rudi”. It kind of tasted like a very yummy cheesecake but they are only sold in Hungary. We were really zonked after a long day so we finished the day off by catching some sleep.

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Monday, April 2nd, 2018

 

Monday, our team got up at 7:30 and got ready to leave the airbnb for breakfast. We ended up at the London Coffee Society and most of the team got some coffee. After the delicious breakfast our friendly helper, Jessica, took us to a castle in Budapest. It was amazing, there was gorgeous views. On our adventure back we were trying to find food but Monday is Easter Monday for Hungary. This is a holiday where people do not work or go to school, it is almost as popular as Christmas. We could not find any restaurants open, though we stumbled across a street fair that served amazing Hungarian food. Let us just say we got our grub on. We went and packed up our stuff and headed off to Veszprém. We got to the church and set up for the high school students who were going to stay with us overnight. We played a ton of entertaining games, did worship in Hungarian and English, and heard a fantastic sermon from Madi. We also had some very cool small group time with intermixing us as Americans, people from both the cities of Veszprém and Györ, as well as a translator. For the rest of the night we ate a bunch of pizza, with corn on it. We taught them the church clap and they showed us some of their dances and just hung out until 11:30.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE PICTURES FOLLOW ERIC ON FACEBOOK AT ERIC.PENDLEY.75


Sunday, April 1st, 2018

thumb_IMG_8428_1024We left the Indianapolis Airport at 1:45 and headed to Detroit. After Detroit we had a seven hour flight through the night, which was difficult for any of us to get sleep on. Once we arrived in Amsterdam we prepared for our final flight to Budapest. The last flight was 1 hour and 45 minutes in which 95% of our team was passed out (probably the only sleep most of us got). When we arrived in Budapest, all our bags were there, we found Jessica from Josiah Venture, squeezed on a bus, and then headed to our cool house that we are staying at. With no time to rest, we dropped our bags off and headed out to tour Budapest! We started with some Gyros (Kabobs)…they were amazing and then went to multiple landmarks throughout the city. I think we arrived on the windiest day in Hungary, but there was no stopping this team! We survived and continued to thrive! We then went American and got some pretty amazing burgers. We ended the night walking up to an amazing landmark on top of a rocky, small “mountain,” taking in some fantastic views of the city at night and of course taking a ton of pictures. Finally, at the very end of the night we stopped by an artsy little gelatin ice cream shop that shaped our ice cream like roses…it was precious. We are now extremely exhausted and slowly going down one by one! We will spend the morning and part of the afternoon tomorrow touring a couple more areas of Budapest and then heading to Vezprém to start our adventure with our first students. Until then…