Monday, August 15, 2016

Motorcycle, Prayer and Hurry

I believe it is Dallas Willard who said that one of the most important disciplines a Christian needs to work on is to mercilessly remove all hurry from one's life. I had an experience that helped me remember that, as well as the importance of the prayers of all those who do remember us in prayer.
It was Josiah's birthday, with way too many things planned, and a soccer practice and game were added to the mix, which involved a 15 km ride on the motorbike. I was exiting a parking lot that we cut across, as everyone does, to get onto a main artery across the city. I was a bit distracted by a policeman beside me, and in a hurry as we were late, so after making sure I came to a full stop, I glanced to see if anyone was coming, gunned the bike, and as I was turning to the left thinking about the policeman I left behind, a flash of lime green came across my front, just clipping my front tire of the bike. My heart stopped, and I didn't have time to do anything else. The bike kept going in its line, as the touch of my front tire had been small enough that it didn't cause me to fall or swerve.
I couldn't help but think that I almost ended his life at 12 years by putting hurry before careful driving. I praised God for sparing us from anything worse, and renew my commitment to avoid hurry like a plague.

The Thiessen Talk'O - Summer 2016

                       The Thiessen Talk'O                         Sharing The Love of God in La Paz, BCS, Mexico

   Missionaries To Mexico, Serving With TEAM & Associate Missionaries with EMC


 
Our Transformados Logo!!!

Our logo speaks to the transforming work of Christ in our lives. The cross symbolizes Him and the truth that He is pure and holy. As He transforms us, we become more like him, moving from dark to light, from sin to purity, as represented by the shade changes seen throughout the word 'Transformados.' Our key verse, Romans 12:2, is highlighted at the bottom of the logo. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." 

Transformados seeks to transform lives through utilizing sports and other community initiatives as powerfully effective evangelism and discipleship tools for extending the Kingdom of God in Mexico and beyond.


Transformados Summer Camps

Summer, in Mexico, has come and gone and with it, our first ever Transformados Sports Camps!!! In our inaugural summer, we ran 3 weeks of camp, 2 weeks of Basketball and 1 week of fútbol! A TON of work and a whole lot of time and planning went into these 3 weeks! To say we saw God at work, is an understatement! He is good and faithful and it was exciting to see how He brought everything and everyone together, to make these camps possible!
July 17th - Sports Camp Community kick-off (With help from SWCC, Texas)
July 19th - 22nd - Our 4 day basketball camp for ages 8-12 (With help from SWCC, Texas) - A total of 19 campers attended
July 26th - 29th - Our first ever fútbol camp for ages 8-12 (With help from Hope EFC, Illinois) - A total of 31 campers attended
August 2nd - 6th - Our 4 day basketball camp for ages 13-18 (With help from Cedarville University, Ohio) - A total of 22 campers attended

This summer also marked another first for Transformados! We were incredibly blessed to host 3 different short-term mission teams. Each team helped us with a different week of camp and it was amazing to see how God ordered the teams and equipped them to serve in ways that were perfectly suited to their specific week of camp! This overseas missions adventure was a first for every group and therefore, it was a learning experience for all of us. What a joy it was to serve and learn and grow together and to see God work in mighty ways! Precious moments were shared and one of the highlights, each week, was doing a prayer walk together around our community, stopping to pray at all the places where we presently minister. How wonderful it was to pray together, for God to use us in specific ways and places, throughout our community, to help bring Transformation! Our summer of ministry would not have been possible without the help we received from these 3 groups. They blessed us and encouraged us in so many ways! We look forward to their return and working together again someday!

On Sunday, July 17th, we hosted our sports camp kickoff at the local community basketball court, the same court where we stood 1.5 years ago and prayed for God to open doors and make the way for Transformados to reach our neighbourhood for Him! What an amazing experience to see God's hand bringing us full circle!

It was a night filled with fun and laughter! We had a pre-registration table for camp and actually had some people sign up in advance! Along with our snack table, we also had ones for face painting, playdough, lego and an artist paper wall where kids could be creative. Our competition booths consisted of a 'minute to win it', yard Yahtzee, bean bag toss, hula hoops, basketball shooting and a fun, improvised take on the all popular dunk tank. During all of this, we also had a local band called, "JazzSur" provide us with some awesome music that turned the heads of those passing by and drew curious people to the court where we were able to tell them about camp, hand out information flyers and invite them to partake in the fun! We couldn't have done this night without the help of our Southwest team and we were encouraged by the good turnout. The purpose of the kickoff was to make our presence known in our community, to share about Transformados and what we have to offer and to inform, those interested, about our summer camps! Mission accomplished!

Then began our 3 weeks of sports camps. Every morning we met together at the Transformados Centre, with the visiting team, for a time of prayer and then began hauling needed items to the court or to the soccer field in order to set up before campers arrived. It was heartwarming to see the short term teams dive in and get involved with camp prep, coaching teams, leading skill stations and having fun with their players! Even with the language barrier, the children and youth who attended the camps, knew that they were loved and felt encouraged through the enthusiasm and excitement displayed by the short term teams and our Transformados staff.

Each week, the campers where divided into teams and cycled through a series of stations where they learned basketball or fútbol skills depending which week of camp it was. Every day, during water break, one of the short term team members would either share their testimony or give a devotional talk. Campers got to hear about transformed lives, that God loves them, that Jesus died to save them, that they are never alone, that God can bring good out of bad and that they too, can trust Him with their lives. Seeds were planted and now we ask you to join us in praying that God will cause them to grow and that as we continue to reach out to this community and pour into these children, that their hearts and lives will be Transformed by the truth of God's amazing love! After the water break, the teams would play against each other until home time. Every day, they received an invitation to come to the Centre between 5-7 for a games night, ice cream night, craft night and coffeehouse/awards night.

The first night, we only had one camper come out but with each passing day and week, more campers came as did more of their family members until we had a packed centre the last night for our coffeehouse and awards evenings! It was exciting to watch the campers receive their certificates and medals and to have their family members there to celebrate with them! We were able to share about Transformados and how we are here to help the community. Great conversations were had, information was given, questions were asked and connections were made! This was our goal when planning these events and now we look forward to pursuing these connections. It was wonderful to have one of the Grandmothers remark, "Oh, this is good! We need something like this in our community!!" Our prayer is that God will use Transformados to transform our neighbourhood and our city!

Another exciting thing, to witness this summer, was the involvement of our own Transformados youth. These youth, whom we've been working with for the past year, stepped into leadership roles and helped to either lead skill stations or coach teams during the first two weeks of camp! They did an amazing job! It was truly rewarding to witness youth that we've been pouring into, turn around and pour into others! Seeing them embrace an opportunity to serve their community was priceless! So was hearing them say, at the end of the summer, that it had been a lot of fun, that they were looking forward to next year already and that Transformados had become family!

So what's next? Today started another year of basketball clubs and Saturday youth nights in the Centre. ESL class will begin again this coming week and we've talked about starting a weekly chess club, at the Centre. A number of Transformados youth have expressed interest in studying the Bible so we hope to start an exploratory study in September with a leadership/discipleship component for those youth interested in helping to lead at next year's summer camps. Because of the prayer walks, community kickoff, sports camps and community outreach events in the Centre, we have managed to make a number of contacts and a few of these have expressed interest in attending a Bible study. So we wondering whether to add them to our cell group or start a community study at the Centre. We hope to continue our partnership with the Christian Life Coach who works with trouble teens and we also want to start visiting the families of our basketball club kids, on a more regular basis. There is much we can be doing. We need prayer and wisdom to do exactly what God wants us to so that we can do it well. We continue to be excited to see what He has in store for the future of Transformados!

Coming home...

We are excited to be able to return to Canada on August 18th. We have medical appointments, a family wedding and the need to purchase school supplies/curriculum since our children will be full-time homeschooling this year. If we are in our home province on September 1st, we can sign up under a homeschool program and receive the added benefit of financial help from our provincial government. This will be a huge blessing! We do not have an exact date of return to Mexico since we need to keep things open to make sure that we can complete our medical appointments. At this time it looks like we will be home, in Alberta, for 3-4 weeks. If this enables us to share in some of our supporting churches, we definitely will take the opportunity! We would also love to get together over coffee to share about what God is doing through Transformados! We look forward to re-connecting with as many of you as is possible, during this short time.

 On The Homefront

The month of June was crazy busy but full of celebration! Keyana turned 10, had her first piano recital at the State Music School auditorium, her 2nd ballet festival performance at the City Theatre, wrote her grade 4 exams and passed, received another certificate for the highest semester grade average in her class, as well as the certificate for finishing the year at the top of her class. She missed getting the certificate for student with the highest marks in the entire school by .1 of a mark. She ended the year very well and has worked hard at everything she was involved in. She's sad that she won't be able to see her friends everyday at school, this coming year, but at the same time, she is super excited to be homeschooling this fall. Her Spanish is great and many of our Mexican friends comment on the fact that she speaks without a foreign accent. We don't want her Spanish to suffer, so we will make an effort to organize activities with her Mexican friends and once a week she will be attending a conversational Spanish class to continue to help her grow and advance. She's already told me that now she wants to learn French and sign language! She will continue with basketball club, ballet and piano this year, but wishes she could take baseball and horsemanship classes too. She really enjoyed her week of basketball camp, bonded well with her coaches and was excited when her team won the mini tournament which meant she received a gold medal!

June saw Josiah finish grade 5, perform his second drum recital and receive a brand new fútbol uniform which he proudly sports around the house. We are blessed to have found a teacher who is going to take on all his schooling next year and although he's sad to not see his friends every day, we think eventually he will be excited to see how much faster he can progress in a one on one situation. He likes being part of the basketball club and really enjoyed all 3 weeks of our Transformados camps. His basketball team came in 2nd and his fútbol team came in 3rd, making him excited to receive silver and bronze medals. He also had a blast connecting with the youth on the short-term teams, some who ended up taking him under their wings and playing the role of older siblings, during their time here. It was really neat to see them bond and helped to make up for the void we feel not having family members close by. After almost 3 years of playing fútbol, Josiah is looking forward to taking a break and trying his hand (no pun intended) at karate. His love for music is growing and so he will continue with drum lessons this coming year. He's made some really good Mexican friends and we will work hard to keep those relationships going. His Spanish is coming along nicely and he has no problem communicating with his buddies! It's great to hear him conversing and laughing and having a good time in Spanish.


In June, I auditioned for a choir and made it! Since then we've practiced twice a week and are presently learning songs in English, Spanish and Swahili. I am super excited to have this opportunity to do something that I am passionate about! I'm impressed with the director and her husband and am slowly getting to know the other members. We just had our first social event a couple Saturdays ago. It looks like we might have a small concert in October with a bigger event happening in December. They envision becoming a close knit chorale that one day might even tour and attend choir festivals in other parts of Mexico! It's exciting to dream and I look forward to using this opportunity to share the love of Christ with this wonderful group of people I am blessed to sing with and get to know.

Anthony has been bothered by a bump on the back of his heel for almost 3 years now. He's been living with the pain, told by doctors that with time, it will go away. Through a course of events, he happened upon a local orthopedic specialist here in La Paz. After x-ray, ultra-sound and consultation, he had the lump removed on August 4th. Having thought that the lump was fat build-up, the doctor was surprised when it wasn't so he removed extra flesh around the tumor and sent it to be examined by a pathologist. Although we weren't overly worried, it was still a relief to get the results saying it was benign. He's hopeful that the constant burning and pain he had with activity, will now be gone with the removal of this lump. He's looking forward to being active again, pain free!

PRAYER
  • Pray for all of the children and youth who attended the summer camps. Pray that the testimonies, devotions and love they were shown will continue to touch their hearts and that their desire to know Jesus as their personal Saviour, will grow.
  • Pray for all of the people we met this summer and the contacts made. Pray that we will know how to move forward in reaching out and strengthening these relationships, especially with the families of the children and youth that attend our basketball clubs.
  • Pray for our basketball clubs. Pray that those who came to camp will start/continue to attend our clubs. Our desire is to build relationships through sports and to use sports as a platform to share the love of Christ with the children and youth of La Paz. Pray for the youth that have been faithfully coming and with whom we are building relationships. Pray that the time we have already invested into these youth will begin to provide further opportunities to share about the transforming work of Christ!
  • Pray for continued direction for Transformados.  Pray that God will use this ministry to greatly impact the city of La Paz and to build the local churches. Pray that our team will be a true spiritual community, united and grounded in Christ, seeking Him first and foremost, listening to His voice and obeying His call for us as individuals and as a Ministry Initiative (MI)
  • Pray that the Transformados centre will be a welcoming, safe place where children, youth and families will want to come. May it be a place where they will experience the love of Christ!
  • Pray for continued safety and protection. We do not take our safety lightly. We trust God for His protection and thank you for your prayers.
  • Pray for healing for my Dad.
  • Pray for Ben, our first Transformados intern. Pray that he will continue to find joy in God's call on his life as he discovers all that God has for him during this season.
  • Pray for continued health, stamina, energy and joy.
  • Pray for wisdom in regards to our children's education and choosing what curriculum/online options to use. Pray that we will make the right decisions in order to meet their individual learning needs and styles.
  • Pray for continued opportunities for music ministry and that God will be honored and glorified in it.
  • Pray for perseverance as we continue with our Spanish learning.
  • Pray for strength and endurance in times of discouragement.
  • Pray for the continued construction at El Faro. Pray that God will provide the money needed to complete the cement roof over the new worship sanctuary. Pray that El Faro will continue to develop a hunger for God and a desire to serve the surrounding community.
  • Pray that we will be wise in keeping a balance between family and ministry and that we will be able to create some margins in our lives.
  • Pray for safe travels as we return to Canada this month for various reasons. Pray that our time home will be refreshing and for opportunities to re-connect with family, friends, supporters and churches.
  • Pray that Karlene will be able to find some help, relief, healing, from some health issues she's facing.
  • Pray for energy and wisdom in parenting. Pray that we can be the parents our children need us to be. Pray that we will rely more on the Holy Spirit's strength to understand, guide, correct, direct, teach, care and love our kids in the ways that they need.
  • Pray for our marriage. Pray that despite the stresses and pressures around us, we will take time for each other.  
PRAISE
  • For an amazing, 3 weeks of camp and for every student who attend and for the seeds that were planted in their hearts and minds.
  • For the 3 awesome short term teams that helped us this summer!
  • For the many new people and family members we connected with, over the summer, who live in our community.
  • For the Transformados youth who helped in leading the 2 weeks of camp for younger aged kids.
  • For the positive relationships we have built with the president, the directors of the schools and community members in our colonia and for their openness to our sports ministry efforts.
  • For continued safety, protection and health.
  • For a great end to the school year for Josiah and Keyana.
  • For the choir opportunity that God has given Karlene.
  • For successful removal of the lump on Anthony's foot and that it was benign!

We want to thank you for your continued support and prayers and trust that you have enjoyed reading our latest update!

Until Our Next Talk'O Together,

The Thiessens :)








 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Thiessen Talk'O - Spring 2016

                                                             Sharing The Love of God in La Paz, BCS, Mexico

                  Missionaries To Mexico, Serving With TEAM & Associate Missionaries with EMC
"I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
~Isa. 41:9-10

Something Fun:
Here's a little Spanish glossary that might come in handy... :)
 espinas = thorns
colonia = the neighbourhood
fútbol = soccer
El Colegio Arbol De Vida = The Tree Of Life School
Transformados = Transformed
El Faro = The Lighthouse
maya sombra = a fabric shade
carne asada = BBQ meat
gozosa = joyful
contenta = to keep happy

Transformados

Transformados seeks to transform lives through utilizing sports and other community initiatives as powerfully effective evangelism and discipleship tools for extending the Kingdom of God in Mexico and beyond.


"...Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed..." - Rom. 12:2

We desire Transformados to facilitate the transforming work of Christ in people's lives and to be a spiritual community where people can experience the love of Christ in action!

Action is a great word to define what's been happening since our last newsletter. God is moving and working and growing the Transformados ministry! We are excited to be along for the ride!

November 2015 - Basketball club began again after we returned from our 1 month home assignment in Canada. We added another practice day so the club was running on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings.

December 2015 - We added some extra B-ball days and a couple friendly games during the Christmas holidays since the youth had a break from their classes and more time on their hands.

January 2016 - Presently, in our basketball club, we have a solid core group of youth but we would also like to reach the younger children in our community. That is why, with the help of the Olson family who love basketball and who were in La Paz for the holidays, we put on a 3 day basketball camp (Jan. 3-5th) for children ages 8-12. We were granted permission to use the basketball court at the elementary school in our neighbourhood and we feel that this encouraged more of the students to come since it was held on location at their school. Each day saw an increase in attendees and every day during break time, one of the Olson teenagers shared their testimonies. It was neat to see the improvement in some of the children over the course of 3 days. Many had never played before as public PE programs here don't always teach all sports. We had the opportunity to meet and visit with a number of the parents. Since this camp, Anthony has talked to the director and received an open invitation and we hope to be able to start a basketball club there on Saturday mornings.

Since we have enough boys attending basketball club from the Jr. High school we have formed a partnership with, we were able to put a team into the school basketball league. It was a short season, only 2 months, but a great experience for the boys all the same.

Another highlight in January was the return of our Teammates. Phil and Pattie Eager and their family were on a 7 month home assignment in the US. We are incredibly excited to have them back! Unfortunately, they returned to find a huge plumbing problem in their rental house and the landlord was becoming very demanding and unreasonable so they begin looking for a new place to live. It was a stressful time for their family but God carried everyone through and as we look back, we can clearly see how He was in control! He provided a home for them in our neighbourhood and only blocks from the basketball court and Transformados Centre! Now the outreach effort into this community has doubled! We are excited to be neighbours and to see how God is going to use our families to impact this colonia for Him!

February 2016 - We were able to have our second annual Transformados planning retreat. It was great to be able to spend a weekend together, praying, talking, planning and having team building fun! We went into the weekend stressed and frazzled but came out focused with vision, goals and direction from God for the ministry!

The end of February saw us welcome our first intern! His name is Ben Carter and we are thankful to have him here for 7 months! Ben comes to us with a heart for God and for discipleship. He's jumped in and is helping out with the present Transformados ministries, taking some Spanish classes and living with a Mexican family in order to be immersed in the culture and forced to practice and use his Spanish.

March 2016 - Transformados celebrated it's 1 year anniversary!!!! (See our blog post "Facebook and Stones of Remembrance.")

We hit high gear and were working feverishly to get the centre painted and fully furnished in order to make it more functional so we could start utilizing it on a daily basis. Anthony, Ben and Phil took turns setting up an English conversational table at the Jr. High school during recesses. The hope was that this would draw students to the English classes that Anthony wants to offer at the centre.

We have partnered with a local Christian Life Coach who is going to use our centre space 3 times a week to work with at risk youth.

Saturday nights will be youth nights - a mix of hang out time with the additions of food, Foosball, music, visiting, movies, table/group games and more. We also want to host discussion nights, in the future, where people can come and talk about God, the Bible, life....where no question is a stupid question....a safe place where they can experience the love of Christ in action and explore more clearly what it would mean to accept Him as their personal Saviour. These discussion nights would be the first step to introductory Bible Studies and eventually discipleship groups!

Further visions for the centre include, hosting workshops/seminars for parents, community outreach events, more ESL classes and the list goes on! Our hope is that the centre will give us a presence in the community and the ability to offer an open door of hospitality, so that whoever walks in, will find a listening ear, experience the Love of God and be transformed!

April 2016 - .....Lift off! Things in Transformados have taken off since Easter! We added another evening of Basketball club so we now have 3 times a week with our youth. Ben is manning the office most week days so that it is open and welcoming to those passing by. We finished painting and are excitedly awaiting the arrival of furniture, the painting of our Transformados mural and a few other creative additions to the walls. We have our finalized logo, which we love and are looking into having t-shirts made, a sign for the front of the centre and trifolds with contact info and an explanation of what Transformados is and what it has to offer.

The Christian life coach is using our centre and the number of youth that come each week is growing. Phil mentioned that one of the sessions he sat in on, ended up in a great spiritual conversation. We are excited that God has provided this partnership.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Anthony teaches an ESL conversational class in the centre and presently has 2 regular students from a JW family attending.

Saturday mornings are filled with Basketball and Saturday youth nights have begun!
So far we've enjoyed a group games night, a movie night, a birthday celebration, a photo hunt, a breakdance class, an evening of volleyball and a workshop on taking care of your bikes, how to take off/put on tires, check for espinas, find puncture holes and patch them. At the end of the session, Ben gave a short talk paralleling the need to maintain and take care of our bikes just like we have to take care of our lives. He shared that one of the ways his life was made better, was in giving it to Christ. He challenged each of the youth to look for one way they could start taking better care of their lives and then to do it. We held the workshop out on our covered patio with the hope that it would raise some curiosity in those passing by. An older gentleman stopped with his bike and Paul, who was giving the workshop, was able to fix it. This also gave Anthony and Phil an opportunity to share about the Transformados ministry.

Another encouraging opportunity, this month, was having a local church and a YWAM group from Mazatlan, join us for our Saturday basketball club. The church group played a friendly game against our youth and afterwards, the pastor explained who they are and challenged those present, to seek after God. We are excited about this bridge that has been built between Transformados and this local church!

The YWAM group was huge and we appreciated how they plugged into what we were doing. The ones who enjoyed basketball, played a second game against our youth and those who were not so sports inclined found people, including the school watchman and his wife, our intern, our youth and ourselves, to talk and pray for and encourage. Some of the group stayed on to help with the second class for the younger age group. One of the YWAMers shared their testimony during the water break, while another YWAMer shared theirs with the older youth at the centre. Before the group left, we had a time of prayer for the Transformados ministry. What a wonderful morning of seeing God move and work! A few days later, two of the girls came to our centre and helped us by painting some accent squares on the wall and a mural over the doorway! They shared that God had laid it on their hearts that somewhere, sometime during their weeks of outreach, they would paint something for Him. When they heard that we needed some things painted in our centre, they knew this was what God had planned for them! It was exciting to see how God brought us together at the right time, thereby meeting a need we had and enabling these young women to use their artistic gifts to glorify Him! (See the pictures below for the awesome mural they painted!)

May 2016 - The different Transformados ministries continue and the furniture arrived for the centre making it even more functional then before! We re-located our Saturday morning basketball club for ages 7-12 to the local elementary school and are excited about the increase in participants! Not to mention the fact that the director entrusted a gate key to our Team, making it easier for us to use their facility. (See our blog post, "Welcome To Your New School.") The youth basketball club continues to meet 3 times/week at the Jr. High School and we are encouraged by a consistent core group attendance.

Futbol...
Anthony has decided that he will finish coaching futbol in Mira Mar this July. This will give him more time to concentrate his effort in our own colonia with the expansion of the basketball club, English classes and opening of the Transformados Centre. In the future, if there is enough interest, Transformados would consider starting a fútbol team in our colonia. If we do, we would like to register under the club in Mira Mar, that Anthony has been volunteering with, in order to utilize the relationships he built there and to help us navigate the logistics of starting our own team. However, right now we have decided, as a team, to simply concentrate on the basketball club and the centre and if God wants us to add more, then we will trust Him to direct and provide the needed time and personnel to do so.

Looking to the future...
Our summer is shaping up to be busy, full, fun and exciting! This year, we will have a total of 3 short term teams coming to help us put on 3 weeks of summer sports camps! This is a first for us and with it, comes some new waters to navigate. However, we are extremely excited to host these teams and to have their much needed help in organizing and running our camps. Our first week, a church group from Texas is coming to help us with a basketball camp for children ages 7-12. The second week, one of Phil and Pattie's supporting churches will send a team to put on a fútbol camp for children of the same ages. The third week will be a team from Cedarville University and they will be helping us run a basketball camp for youth ages 13-18. In the evenings, during these 3 weeks, the teams will help us organize community outreaches in the centre. We are excited to have these groups come and we ask you to cover our summer in prayer.

Transformados Futbol...and the power of an encouraging word...

Just the other day, we had a parent meeting for the soccer team. I didn't say much as my co-coach did most of the explaining. When I did, a parent interrupted me and reported that they have been watching and are encouraged by our manner of working with the boys, and that they have noticed a difference in their son's attitude and respect at home. A few other parents nodded their heads, and I simply replied, "Glory to God", for it is only by His power and might that they can see God coming through in any positive ways. I am very thankful for this encouraging testimony from the parents. I realize that we do not serve for praise or glory but sometimes, when discouragement comes knocking, you start to wonder if what you are doing is making any difference, any impact at all. A timely word of encouragement can go a long way! Please continue to pray for the boys that I am coaching. Pray that I will be a good example, that they will see Christ at work in me and that God's love will impact their hearts and lives!  ~ Anthony

We survived the cool of the Canadian autumn...and even got to see snow
 
We were blessed to return to Canada for the month of October to re-connect with our supporting churches, to share the vision we have for Transformados, to spend time with family and friends and to attend a family wedding. What an incredible month it was! We shared in all of our supporting churches and in almost all of them, were able to enjoy extra fellowship and connection time during their potluck meals after the service. We were blessed in every church and through numerous individuals in a multitude of ways, as well as by a special prayer time that left us feeling uplifted, supported and encouraged to continue pressing on. Re-connecting with family and friends was special and extra time with my parents (Karlene) was wonderful, especially since my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September. This reminds us of the importance of making the most of the time we have together. We praise God that the present treatments, he is undergoing, are bringing down his PSA and we continue to pray for his complete healing.

Thanks again, so much, to all of our supporting churches and individuals who continue to surround us in prayer and support! We recognize your sacrifice and your willing hearts to be part of what God is doing in La Paz and we are grateful. We know that serving here would be impossible without all of you standing with us!

And yes...we did get to see snow which was an answer to prayer for Josiah and Keyana. ;)

 El Faro Building Update

We continue to attend El Faro and enjoy the friendships and fellowship we encounter there. Anthony continues to teach Sunday School to the young teens and I enjoy being part of a worship team.

For a time, things have been at a standstill with the El Faro building project. More funds are needed in order to complete the cement roof of the new sanctuary area. In the meantime, the congregation is growing as is the number of children! We are running out of space for Sunday School and presently have two different age groups meeting in one room, another one being used for a nursery and another class meeting underneath a tree on the property so that they have some shade from the scorching sun. It's a good problem to have because it means the body of Christ is growing, but it's still a problem. So, recently the leadership came up with a campaign to raise funds locally within our congregation to build an enclosed room that will be a church office throughout the week and double as the nursery on Sundays. This will enable the group, under the tree, to be able to move back into a classroom. The new multi-space is almost finished and ready to be used! The second part of of the campaign is to raise money for a church computer and software in order to keep all paperwork organized for taxes, finances, forms/reports that need to be submitted to the government etc. The third part of the fundraising is to purchase a maya sombra to place over the new sanctuary so that we will have shade and be able to put it to use. This will free up our present worship area for more Sunday School classroom space. It's a temporary solution and we continue to trust God to bring in the needed funds to be able to complete a permanent roof. In the meantime, it's great to see the congregation getting behind the campaign and doing their part to support the needs at El Faro!

Once again we want to express our thanks to everyone who has given to the building fund thus far! Please continue to pray for El Faro, it's people and it's vision. If God places it on your heart to assist in giving to the church building project, so that the roof can be finished, you can click on one of the links below. Thank you for your prayerful consideration!


El Faro Canadian Contribution

El Faro US Contribution

 Update On Other Ministries
                                                           
Cell Group Bible Study

Our El Faro cell group continues to meet every Thursday in our home. Thank you for your prayers for a sense of community within our group! God is answering them and as relationships are deepening so is the joy that comes from spending time together. If for some reason it has to be canceled, everyone is disappointed and looking forward to the following Thursday. We celebrated Christmas together by hosting a carne asada in our home. Marco, our leader, and his wife Maggie, prepared the delicious food for us and everyone enjoyed the white elephant gift exchange. In the new year, some of our attendees gave testimony in church about how much they enjoy the cell group and the joy that comes from being in community.

A connection, that we made through our basketball club, has resulted in a friendship with a single mom and her two sons. They attend our cell group as a family and even come to church some Sundays. We are enjoying getting to know her, and her sons have become good friends with Josiah. Her job is difficult, parenting two boys on her own, working long hours to provide for their needs, all the while, still grieving the loss of her significant other who passed away last year. Just this past week, someone backed into her which damaged her car, gave her whiplash and has resulted in her being told to take time off from work. We ask you to join us in praying for her and her boys and the difficulties they are facing, especially in light of her recent accident. We continue to reach out to her and trust that God will use us to encourage and help her and that she will experience His love through us.

We now have a good number of children coming on Thursday nights so Anthony takes them over to the Transformados Centre where they have their own Bible study and some hangout time before returning to enjoy the snack and fellowship time at our house. Please pray for two who do not believe in God. Pray that their hearts will be softened towards Him and His love.

We have a lady who comes to our basketball club and some of the centre activities. We have invited her to attend our cell group as well. She has come once and we pray that she will return in the future. Please pray for her and the relationship we are building.

Music Ministry

I continue to help lead worship at El Faro and enjoy being a part of this ministry. In January, I once again joined the team from Calvary Chapel, in leading worship, for an annual Pastor's Conference here in La Paz. I've been blessed to lead worship at some of our Team Mexico prayer days and most recently, I was really stretched as I lead worship, in Spanish, for the El Faro ladies retreat! It was another amazing experience of seeing God use me despite my feelings of inadequacy. I am praying for more opportunities like these in the future and wait in anticipation to see how God is going to answer!

 On The Homefront

Josiah and Keyana are wrapping up their second year at Arbol De Vida. Next year we will be full time homeschooling and are still in the process of nailing down curriculum and online options. It's going to be a big change for us, but we are hoping to better meet the educational needs of our children in this way.

Josiah continues to enjoy playing fútbol and taking drum lessons. He just had his 12th birthday and is already 5'5"! He's growing up so fast! Keyana continues to enjoy ballet and is finishing off her first year of piano lessons. June is going to be a crazy month including the year end ballet festival, a piano recital and her 10th birthday! Our baby is hitting double digits! Where has the time gone?

They have been blessed with wonderful Mexican friends and MK friends and activities are always made better when it includes some hang out time with these special people.

PRAYER
  • Pray for our basketball club. Our desire is to build relationships through sports and to use sports as a platform to share the love of Christ with the children and youth of La Paz. Pray for the youth that have been faithfully coming and with whom we are building relationships. Pray that the time we have already invested into these youth will begin to provide further opportunities to share about the transforming work of Christ!
  • Pray for continued direction for Transformados.  Pray that God will use this ministry to greatly impact the city of La Paz and to build the local churches. Pray that our team will be a true spiritual community, united and grounded in Christ, seeking Him first and foremost, listening to His voice and obeying His call for us as individuals and as a Ministry Initiative (MI).
  • Pray for the 3 weeks of summer sports camps that we are offering in our colonia. Pray for the 3 short term teams that are coming to help. Pray for unity and teamwork as we serve together. Pray that we will be able to facilitate and lead their time here effectively. Pray for all the children and youth who will attend. Pray that the fun of learning a new sport, the love of the volunteers/coaches and the testimonies shared, will draw their hearts to Christ.
  • Pray for wisdom as we seek to get to know and build relationships with the parents of the children and youth we are training.
  • Pray that the Transformados centre will be a welcoming, safe place where children, youth and families will want to come. May it be a place where they will experience the love of Christ!
  • Pray for continued safety and protection. The drug war had slowed down but recently it has picked up again. Thankfully the violence has only involved members of warring cartels. However, we pray that we are never in the wrong place at the wrong time. We do not take our safety lightly. We trust God for His protection and thank you for your prayers.
  • Pray for healing for my Dad.
  • Pray for Ben, our first Transformados intern. Pray that he will continue to find joy in God's call on his life and as he discovers all that God has for him during this season.
  • Pray for Anthony and the boys he has been coaching in soccer. Pray for a smooth transition as he steps back from this in order to give more time to the work of Transformados in our neighbourhood.
  • Pray for continued health, stamina, energy and joy.
  • Pray for wisdom in regards to our children's education and choosing what curriculum/online options to use. Pray that we will make the right decisions in order to meet their individual learning needs and styles.
  • Pray for Josiah and Keyana as they finish their time at Collegio Arbol De Vida and transition into homeschooling. Pray for stamina in learning another language and adapting to another culture. Pray for continued friendship building and that we will find a way to maintain the friendships they have already made.
  • Pray for our friend as she raises her two sons on her own. Pray for healing from her recent car accident and that her job hours will improve so she can have more time and energy for her boys, cell group and church.
  • Pray for our cell group. Pray that people will continue to come and grow and that those they invite will attend. Pray that our friend from basketball will return.
  • Pray for continued opportunities for music ministry and that God will be honored and glorified in it.
  • Pray for perseverance as we continue with our Spanish learning.
  • Pray for strength and endurance in times of discouragement.
  • Pray for the continued construction at El Faro. Pray that God will provide the money needed to complete the cement roof over the new worship sanctuary. Pray that El Faro will continue to develop a hunger for God and a desire to serve the surrounding community.
  • Continue to pray for our friends, Jesús and Cesia. They have moved to San Diego so that Jesús can attend college. God has provided a place for them to live and a job for her. Pray for them as they adjust. Pray that their love for God and each other will continue to grow. Pray that they will get plugged into a good church so they can find fellowship and friends. 
  • Pray that we will be wise in keeping a balance between family and ministry and that we will be able to create some margins in our lives.
     
PRAISE
  • For a wonderful 1 month home ministry assignment. Praise for the re-connections we could make with family and friends. Praise for the encouragement we received through our supporting churches and individuals.
  • For Transformados 1 year anniversary! When we reflect on all that has happened in one year, we can't help but be amazed at all God has done!
  • For God bringing us and the Eagers together to form a sports ministry team. Praise for the direction and leading that He has given and continues to give. Praise for their safe return from home assignment and that God provided them a home in our neighbourhood!
  • For our first intern!
  • For the paint, over the door mural, furniture, storage cupboards etc. that we've been able to add to the centre. Praise that our Transformados logo is finished and ready to be used!
  • For the connection we were able to make with a local church and their group of youth.
  • For the connection we were able to make with the YWAM group from Mazatlan. Praise for their willingness to help out, pray and encourage. Praise for the two YWAM ladies who painted the mural at the centre!
  • For the ESL students that Anthony is teaching.
  • For the positive relationships we are building with the president, the directors of the schools and community members in our colonia and for their openness to our sports ministry efforts.
  • For the elementary director's warm welcome, entrusting us with a gate key and giving us permission to use the basketball court at his school.
  • For the connection we have been able to make with a Christian life coach who is using the centre to work with at risk youth!
  • For the successful basketball camp with the Olson family.
  • For the good friends our children have made.
  • For the ways God continues to provide for Jesús and Cesia as they relocate to San Diego.
  • For continued safety, protection and health.
  • For increased music ministry opportunities and God's help in leading the worship for the women's retreat!
  • For the word of encouragement from a soccer parent.
  • For the youth who are attending youth nights!

 We want to thank you for your continued support and prayers and trust that you have enjoyed reading our latest update!

Until Our Next Talk'O Together,

The Thiessens :)

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 Copyright © 2016 The Thiessen Family, All rights reserved.
Thank you for helping us share the love of Christ in Mexico.

Our mailing address in Mexico is:
Anthony & Karlene Thiessen
APDO 520
Colonia Centro
La Paz, BCS
MEXICO
CP 23000

Our mailing address in Canada is:
Anthony & Karlene Thiessen
P.O. Box 368
Fort Vermilion, AB,
CANADA
T0H 1N0