Saturday, May 7, 2011

Yo Heart Cholula

This semester el pozo started a new tradition. I posted about it once, but it is something that I must talk about again. We have named it….Yo Amo Cholula or Yo Heart Cholula. In English, I Love Cholula. I know we talk a lot about Puebla being our home, but in reality El Pozo is located in the small city of Cholula. I guess I could say it is a suburb of Puebla.

Our students have a heart to reach out to their community in a more tangible way. As our staff thought about how to do this, we just kept coming back to the idea that many of our supporting churches are doing right now.

One day….the whole ministry…go out and serve the community.

So from conversations with staff and students came Yo Heart Cholula.

Our first one was go out and pick up trash. Simple. But very needed. It was a huge success. The students felt as if they were really making a difference in their community. Business owners were coming out and asking us who we were and showing their appreciation. It really was awesome.

So we did it every first Friday of every month this spring semester. We had between 40 and 60 students participating every time. One month, the football team and a few coaches from the university came to participate. Another month, both girls and boys basketball teams from UDLA came. For many of them, it was the first time they had stepped into the casa verde.

Although we picked up trash every month, it was always on the way to our project. We have planted fruit trees for people, painted desks at a local school, cleaned and painted an afterschool center, put out trash cans on the street, and helped create a garden for a community center.

This semester was the beginning of something extremely special. The staff is already brainstorming and looking for more opportunities for the upcoming year. It definitely started out as something we knew we needed but prayed the students would get behind….and it ended up being something quite incredible. God worked in the hearts of our students and they definitely showed their love for Cholula.

(p.s. the photos were in a order but it didnt save...sorry.)

picking up trash on the main road beside the university.

emerson posing on the way to the school.

carter brought his friend alex to help pick up trash.

they are leading the way.

emerson painting a room at a local school.

andrea carrying a bag of trash down the road.

painting the outside wall of a school.

basketball members help kami clean the outside gate doors to a community center.

boys basketball team makes a garden for an after school center.

quick break and great posing.

got to love him.

a little girl at the center helped take care of sawyer while i painted.

may 2011 yo heart cholula group!

the front of our shirts

cleaning the center's sign...can you say the name?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We always end our year with a special dinner and banquet to honor graduates and celebrate the year. It is the Banquete de Fin de Ano….or the End of the Year Banquet. We like to call it the EOYB. This year was a little different than years past.

We had it off site and made it really special. The tables were decorated, pictures were hung, music was played. The food was cooked at the Casa Verde by staff, but I promise you it looked and tasted as if professionals had made it. Elsa and Rada… it was amazing.

The night was emceed by Nathan and one of our top students leaders, Tamara. They kept the night running smoothly. They also bring lots of humor to the event. Each year we have Pozopremios...or superlatives. They range from the silliest thing done all year and who loves their phone the most to best couple and most likely to be at the casa verde at any time. It always brings laughter and smiles to the event.

We also announce the service award for the year. This year it was a student named Andrea. If you have read emails or posts before this one, you have either seen her photos or read her name. She is our worship leader at events, in leadership, helps with community service projects, always willing to step up and help, and went on our annual spring break mission trip to Acuna to build houses. She is amazing..and if you come to the golf tournament on July 8th in Atlanta or 9th in Gallatin you will get to meet her!

To bring the night to a different level, Courtney created these amazing slideshows of the year. She also made videos for the seniors. As they were announced and came up to the front of the room to speak, a video of photos of them and a staff member’s voice talking about that person played on the big screen. It sure did add such an extra specialness to the evening.

After the banquet, we added an after party which turned out really fun. We set up a photo booth with props for students to pose with. Also the students went through all the photos on the wall and on tables to take home. There was music, dancing, and just plain celebrating.

It was definitely a year worth celebrating.

The tables are ready for people to arrive.

Rada and Carly wait for people to line up for dinner.

Students look forward to this wall of photos every year....they love to take photos home.

Tamara and Nate announcing a Pozopremio award.

I spoke about Nala during her graduation video.

Yuyo has been here for forever but tonight he graduated...Clay spoke about Yuyo and presented him with his ExPozo shirt.

Carly and Rada, our interns, present the year in review in song and dance.

Andrea speaking after receiving the Servant Award.

The after party begins with superheroes and krispy kreme!

Double Date

Debora (middle) is our female intern for 2011-2012 school excited!

Kami and I take our job very seriously.

Clay's tocho team....Pozomotion!

Love these girls!

Family photo

And there was dancing...all types.

Best staff in the world...and some of my best friends.

Love this photo

These girls are great.

I love my job! brother like sister.

What an awesome way to end the year!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beto's Baptism

Our last En Vivo of the semester was incredible. Packed house, great message, worship, and a baptism. And not just any baptism. Beto played tocho (flag football) with a few of our teammates, and he became friends with our teammate Courtney. She asked him several time to come to the casa verde and he never showed interest. One day, he showed up at Pozomida lunch with another friend so she asked why he never came when she asked. He told Courtney that her invites didn’t count because it was her job. Another thing he told her that day was that he didn’t do this God thing.

And a few years later, he is still one of Courtney's good friends but he is also a top leader in our ministry. The guy with his eyes closed and hands raised as we worship. The person helping carry out food to lunch, participating in skits, washing dishes after bible study, participating in small groups, and basically always around. He has begun to read the bible with his mom who just became a believer in Christ this year.

So we celebrate….we say thank you God for allowing the Casa Verde to be a place where those who “don’t do the God thing” can still come, have friends and experience Your love.

Worship during En Vivo.

Nathan talking about baptism during En Vivo.

After Courtney read scripture, Beto's mom prayed for him.

The rush of friends to celebrate with Beto after the baptism.

How awesome!

Friday, March 11, 2011

open our eyes, lord....

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing
to eternity.
i know many of you have heard these lines come following out as you worship. it is one of my favorites. man, hillsong sure can sing and their song "hosanna" is one that brings me to my knees every time i hear it.

there is something about hearing your desires brought to life in words...especially so beautifully sung. well, these are not only the desires i have for my life, but this is what i desire for the students at el pozo.

i want them to be made new. i want them to see the world through the eyes of christ. i want there hearts to break. I want them to serve. i want them to make a difference in the lives of their friends, family, their community, mexico, and the world.

so as i watched almost 60 of our students and staff put on their t-shirts and start walking down the streets of cholula, you can only imagine how i felt. AMAZING! this semester el pozo began its monthly community service event called "yo amo cholula" or "i heart cholula." we meet on the first friday every month and do something in the community.

our first day brought about 40 students to pick up trash along the main road in cholula. we were unsure how it was going to turn out being our first attempt at a large service event. but man did it exceed our expectations....but doesn't god often do that.

our second event brought more students and even some that don't attend el pozo. for example, we had about 6 to 8 football players come and serve because they knew a few people. they loved it and want to bring more of their teammates next time. since this was the second round, we wanted to do more than just pick up trash. so we decided to go to a local public school and help out with some of their needs. but instead of driving there, we met at the casa verde and walked. while walking, we picked up trash. once at the school, we sanded and painted 50 desks and benches and painted an outside wall.

it was awesome community....serving not only changes the lives of those who receive but also the lives of those who are giving of their time and energy. there is something that bonds people when they serve god's people together.

it is amazing to watch how god is working in the lives of the students. they are really starting to see outside their bubbles. they see needs. they are starting to listen to the burdens on their hearts. they are making a difference in so many ways...

teaching flag football to oprhans and then taking them to a college game...going and speaking with women in jail and telling them there is hope in Chirst and he came to wash them white as snow...planting orange trees in communities...parties for a local orphanage...building houses on the border for families who do not have home... helping to build water wells in local villages....and even going to kenya to help in the slums.

their heart's are starting to break...they see suffering and want to help...they desire to share the love of christ.

yo heart cholula has been awesome. but we know that god has so much more in store. we praise him for opening our eyes and we pray that he continues to work our our hearts.

here are some photos for the first two yo heart cholula events....enjoy!

(it is 2 am, my mind is sluggish, and uploading isn't going as planned so the photos aren't really in any order....sorry!)

carter is helping me paint a desk at the school

students sanding and painting 50 desks and benches

walking and picking up trash

the 2nd Yo Heart Cholula group photo

Photo of the shirt that every receives for participating

one of the 6 groups picking up trash....notice clay's festive hair cut for the event

clay and emerson picking up full bags and handing out new ones

my group was awesome...they were all amazing

1st ever Yo Heart Cholula group photo

our intern rada (1st on left) with a few of her group members

i look forward to seeing the last two events of the semester come together. can't wait to share more stories of how god is tugging at the hearts of the students at el pozo.