#PSMEX15 Blog #4: Hola Amigos from Joelle



So I (Graham) asked Joelle to write a brief intro to her blog post. She was in the middle of playing with the kids, so this is all I got. 

Hi I’m Joelle, I’m 17 and can’t do anymore introductions because I wanna play with the kids! Enjoy your read!

Hola Amigos!

Today is Thursday. Wow, this whole trip has been such a life-changing experience! After being gradually woken up by dogs and a cooing pigeon (they get up around 5:30 am), we washed up and consumed a filling breakfast of oatmeal, fresh fruit, toast, and peanut butter (which Jaylen still didn’t eat, don’t worry Pat!).

After breakfast and broke up into our work groups for our various projects. Half of us did physical labour; anything from painting, to tiling/flooring, to clearing a fire break path around the ranch) while the other half did crafts and played with the children. It’s so satisfying to look back and see the progress we’ve made as some of our projects have begun to come to a close.

After lunch we hit the road and headed to a much poorer part of the city called San Miguel (you can Google Map this place to have a look). We visited the house of a Bernie and Cote; a couple who have generously transformed their house into a safe place for neighborhood kids to gather, play, and build community. We took soccer balls and served hot dogs to about 100 of them. We also gave out personal hygiene care packages to local families.

For dinner we were treated to a huge serving of tacos and tortas from Taqueria el Trailero, a road-side taco stand. We all got four of either beef or pork. Pretty much the freshest and speediest tacos in existence. Back at ranch we did foot-washing, chapel and finally campfire.

Having been to Mexico before, I was not surprised by the poverty I saw on our excursion to San Miguel. But it did once again challenge my own complacency I have at home. I have done nothing to deserve the house I live in. I have the luxury of having an abundance of food, and more than enough clean drinking water.

The fact that I don’t deserve what I have makes me feel all the more responsible. There are very many wealthy people here in Mexico, but there’s no denying there are many more who are living in absolute poverty and constant need.

Most of us living on this planet would agree that we ought to help when there’s a need. We should be supporting charities that help the poor. It’s even a great idea to volunteer two weeks of our summer and come down here. But how am I okay with spending $8 on a bag I don’t really need 30 minutes after playing with these children whose basic needs are often barely being met.

We are ALL children of the Father, and he desires each and every one of us. After building relationships with these children I’ll be home in less than a week. I don’t want to forget them here.  I’m asking God now where and how he wants me to give. What more can I do to bring him glory? I challenge you all to ask him that.

Please pray for our final 24 hours at the ranch. Pray that we would leave with our hearts in the right place, our bodies well and a deeper relationship with the Lord. Pray for the kid’s safety, growth, and that they’d able to make good use of the buildings we’ve touched up. Finally pray and thank God for our leaders. They have put so much effort into making this trip the experience that it has been and I am extreeeemely thankful for all their humility, service and support (:

Hope you’re all doing well, we love and miss you!!!
- Joelle, on behalf of all the #PSMEX2015 crew



Posted on August 8, 2015

#PSMEX15 Blog #3: Jaylen + Makena Talk Show


Hola friends and family,

Welcome to the Jaylen and Makena talk show.  Read along and you can join us on our trip (sort of).   Jaylen, who is seventeen years old, goes to Richmond Christian School and likes to play volleyball in her spare time.  Her co-host, Makena, is also seventeen and attends Richmond Christian.

Tuesday began with pancakes… and bananas….  and peanut butter (don’t worry mom I didn’t eat the peanut butter -Jay).  Next, we jumped in to the vans to take a trip to a local water park with the kids from Rancho Milagro.  There we spent the day swimming and getting to know them even better.   They sure are a great bunch of kids.  We ate a lunch that one of our duty groups had prepared the evening earlier.  And after, we hit the water again, a lot of us bought a mango on a stick that only cost $3 (best mango ever. Yum!)

On the way back from the water park one of the vans (our van) stopped at Costco to pick up some food for dinner but while we were waiting the battery died so we ended up sitting in the parking lot for an hour inhaling the fumes of Gale’s full diaper (Stephanie Marten’s son).  Luckily, Eric Ens came to the rescue walking through the scorching heat with a spanking new battery from Costco.

When we arrived back at the ranch, the rest of the kids were playing Frisbee, volleyball and cards. We sat down with the ranch kids and had a delicious pizza dinner complete with kale salad – our first veggies of the day (sorry Mom!).

Just like every day after dinner, one of the duty groups washed the dishes while the rest of the group got changed and made their way over to the foot washing station. After everyone had their feet washed we headed over to the chapel with the children so we could worship together and read a story about Jesus and the tax collector. By the way, sales tax in Mexico is 16%.

Foot Washing

After chapel, we went outside and played with the children. The older ones returned to our camp and snacked while we wrote in our journals.  We ended the evening with a campfire, sang some songs and listened while Haley told a touching and meaningful testimony of her life and all the ways God has shown Himself to her.  The day was full of fun and hard work, where the bonds between each and every member grew stronger.

Thanks for tuning in to the Jaylen and Makena talk show!

Special bonus nacho section from Graham:

Work Projects of the Day

Our work projects continue to hum along quite nicely. Currently our work includes clearing a fire break, painting the boy’s dorm, tiling boy’s washroom, and flooring girl’s dorm.  There’s still some work being done scraping and painting flashing repair work on the chapel roof.  People typically return from these tasks quite hungry and very dirty.

Thanks for your continued interest in PSMEX15.

Oooo….Working hard on the Fire Break

Bonus Pictures from Ensenada Market 

(Find out more about the market in our next blog…)

Posted on August 5, 2015

Project Serve Mexico ’15 – Blog #2 from Avery

Hi. My name is Avery and I’m going into 7th grade at McNeely Elementary School in Richmond. I volunteered to write this post. This is my first Project Serve trip with Youth Unlimited, and I am so glad I am here. Please be sure to write your comments on our Facebook page!

There was both excitement and anxiety as we drove away from Richmond Christian School early Wednesday morning. It was a quiet first leg of the journey. Everyone was either really tired, or their minds were thinking about the unknown that lay ahead.

Shortly after the border, the silence shattered. We were in ‘MERICA!  Laughter and chatter filled the vans as the tires hummed along the road. Coffee helped the drivers stay alert (except Patrick, who may or may not have fallen asleep for a few seconds. Nobody knows). People bonded. Our team is beginning to really connect. The many hours in the van seemed to tick by, each minute faster than the last. Sometimes it felt as if we were in the van for only ten minutes before we arrived at our next rest stop.

After many games of Go Fish, Catchphrase, Trouble, Apples to Apples, and hundreds of origami masterpieces, our journey to the orphanage was almost complete. One night in Grants Pass, another in Bakersfield, and then two nights at the Chinese Community Church in San Diego. The people there welcomed us with friendly smiles and warm hospitality which included three meals! We enjoyed the swimming and showers the next day – my hair was fabulous once again! The trip to the shopping outlet didn’t hurt either, although our feet and wallets begged to differ.

On Sunday after a brilliant sermon, we packed up and were on our way to Mexico! It seemed that the border wanted to delay us as much as possible, and we had to lug ALL of our food, backpacks, and pillows out of the vans so they could inspect it. It appeared the border guards were hungry, and decided to help themselves to all of our fruit. Even the watermelons!  After filling out immigration forms and spending time in the heat of the day, one of our vans decided to not start. After some banging and wrenching and battery swapping, we convinced the engine to turn over!  And soon after that we arrived at Rancho El Milagro.

Tents were pitched, food was unpacked, and we began to settle in. We scarfed down our Subway – well, most of us anyway (two sandwiches were missing – Boo Subway). After dinner, we happily scampered off to meet the kids – kinda the main reason we came here.  We exchanged names, shook hands, gave  hugs, and soon it was a great big game of tag. But the fun couldn’t last forever, so we reluctantly said our Bonus Nachos (good nights), and the younger kids went to bed. Meanwhile, our team (dubbed “The Canadians”) and the older kids went to campfire to for a sing-a-long. At one point Eric busted into a completely different song than everyone else. After the songs, a talk, and a night hike, we were off to bed, knowing sleep would be needed for the next day.

The trip has been eventful thus far, and will continue to be for the next nine days to be sure! Our team is learning more and more how to put the needs of others before ourselves and have servants’ hearts in ways that we may have not ever imagined. The Bible tells us that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And it is a privilege to be able to serve here wholeheartedly in this special place with so many special people.

Avery     Avery





Posted on August 3, 2015