Good morning!

Last night we got ourselves in to Faith Mission at about 1:30am. But POWER leadership had a bit of mercy upon us and we were allowed to sleep in an extra 1/2 hour. At the Mission we sleep in bunk beds with about 30 guys to a room. It is a real snore fest! Not a comfortable accommodation, but the good thing is that we were supposed to sleep here two whole nights. But due to getting to bed so late (after 2:00 am, it really is a lot less than two nights.

Up at 6:30, time for breakfast, devotions and a great day working in Acuna. Breakfast is Chic Fillet breakfast sandwiches Cereal, milk, and orange juice. And of course lots of coffee. After 4 hours sleep last night coffee was a popular choice.

Then a time of energetic worship, ending with “How Great Thou Art” indeed Thou Art Heavenly Father! We love and honor you this day in all we say and do. Loving my Jesus right now and loving these men here. To You be the Gloria, (Gloria; a Spanish worship song we sang. Strong men’s voices being lifted to heaven. A blessed start to a big day!

Tim James brought us our morning message with the challenge to change direction in our lives before we miss our chance and lose Him. Temptation is our enemy, we must run from things the tempt us away from God. Our sin nature is strong, but God is stronger. James 1:12 speaks of how God blesses those who resist and hold firmly to Jesus. A crown of life awaits. Our God will take us back no matter what. He will lead us through temptation. Remember that when we are tempted He is there too. A powerful word to start the day.

After Tim Pastor Paul Garcia prayed for the City of Acuna where we will be working today. Barry prayed for the projects, safety today. Pastor Mario Perez prayed for our families, God’s protection upon them. And Bob Smith closed our prayer time with a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude that you are there when we stray. Thank you Lord in advance for what you will do today. Amen!

Larry is giving assignments for today. Tons of stuff to do in Acuna, all over town. From house building to hanging drywall, to mission repair and roof tiles and more. They are keeping week three busy, I mean really busy! Ready to get started for sure.

Getting a few tasks finished up and then van assignments, load and go to one of the projects then heading out Acuna Mexico. My assignment this morning is the Pastor Lorenzo Ramirez Church. From the supplies we loaded it looks like insulation and drywall😳, Yikes!!!

We have now crossed the Rio Grande and heading through to Acuna Mexico. Thanking our lord in advance for His protection this day, Gloria Dios🕺(Glory to God👍)

Driving through the streets of Acuna, a much smaller town than Matamoros or Reynosa, with really green trees, small businesses and neighborhoods, almost rural in flavor. But make no mistake, this is still Mexico, and Acuna is hovering somewhere between third world and first world. We have built churches here in old dumps, dirt road shack neighborhoods and even pastors house’s out in the country. A lot of potential for the good news of our Gospel message to spread across the neighborhoods. And it is spreading, that’s for sure. We have met so many people who are at least open to Jesus, and tons of believers.

We are arriving at the job site, streets mostly paved but in an old colonia. Typical Mexican neighborhood really. Very poor looking homes but with the occasional very nice place. The gap between poor and rich is huge here. So much potential though.

The actual church is sheltered deep in an L shaped lot, really a nice spot with great potential. We are here to complete the church started by week 1 and 2. The building looks great! Great job you guys, big shout out👍. Our task for the next three sessions is to finish out the interior, including insulation, drywall, mud and tape and light fixtures. That’s a lot of work, so what did we do? We prayed for Gods blessing on the day. Then went to work!

And just as on so many jobs, we quickly came tighter as a team, with props to Dave Barnes who taught us how to hang insulation in an efficient and professional style. And to Vince Guerrero who showed the young guys how to hang drywall, including the lids. I as usual just hung around myself. Ha! Get it? Hanging drywall and I hung myself…okay, sorry.. I know there’s a joke in there somewhere, but sleep deprivation has addled my wits a bit.

Speaking of sleep deprivation, and it is tough, these long hours with lots of hard work. But like everything POWER does, I suspect there is a reason for the crazy long hours and schedules. My own boundaries are broken down, my emotions rise to the surface, my empathy increases and I become a more malleable instrument for the Lord’s use. Don’t know if it’s used on purpose as a tactic to break men down, but I do know that the rebuilding has made me a better man. This is my fourth year in a row now coming on these trips, I am still learning new things each time I come, you can ask anyone that has known me for longer than that if I have changed. The answer is evident to all.

True confessions here…
Since my first POWER trip, I have begun to share Gods love more freely with strangers, not only here but at home as well. My priorities are more sharply defined. My awareness of the Lord’s presence is more acute. I love my wife and children and hold them precious to my heart in a more intense and real way. My spirit has been quieted, my soul refreshed. I know I hear the Lords voice more fiercely and sharply refined and am humbled by more frequent self examination. I have insights into scripture I did not have before. In other words, God has become real to me in a bold new way..

At the church, Parabala de Vida, or Word of Life met Pastor Lorenzo, and while speaking to him, his wife, mother, father, grandmother, sister, and best friend showed up. We had a great conversation, once again not knowing most of what was said but laughing and drawing close just the same. The Holy Spirit filling in the gaps I guess. Photos taken all around, and I got a great selfie with them. Check out the photos on the week three photo page!

When we finished working we had most of the insulation in, about a third of the drywall hung. A great start for the afternoon crew. Victory photos taken and off we went to lunch.

Lunch at the church, Movemiento de Fe, good friends of POWER. Hamburgers and hotdogs. Great hospitality. Pastor Paul Garcia’s wife Wilma was here as well, loved meeting her. A warm and loving personality. Thank you Mission de Fe fit your hospitality all three weeks this year. So appreciated!

Assigned to Van 6 to do siding at Temple Emanuel church. Driving way out into the country we arrived at the church. Pastor Eduardo met us there, and we finished up replacing the siding on a POWER built church, that had developed wood rot. No worries! We stand by our work!

While we were there a boy about 8 years old named Jesus came over and began to hang around with a hammer in his hand. The pastor there said Jesus wanted to be a pastor and worked really hard around the church. I took to Jesus right away and gave him a job hammering nails into an old saw horse that was wobbly, like any grandpa would do. Then sat down to work on this blog a bit. Jesus left but then came back with a sheep on a rope, his pet I think. He then told me that he had one burro, two horses and a lot of other stuff I had no idea of. Jesus then pulled open the sheep’s mouth to show me that it had no upper teeth, only bottom. News to me, but it’s true, I looked!

Then I told Jesus that I was there to show him the love in my heart for him and his church, placed there by God. Then he asked if I could ride a horse and I told him I was Indiana Jones. All the guys laughed and the Jesus really howled. The guys said yes, for sure I look like Harrison Ford, the Old Harrison Ford version. It was great. The crew on this job was very fun, tons of jokes and banter. A shout out to job leader Gary, a great, patient and happy man that showed his love of the Lord in many ways. Thanks Gary, even if you too made fun of my age.

The job finished Pastor Eduardo took us on a quick tour of the church. A beautiful mural of a heavenly pastoral scene covered the wall behind the stage. With the Dove of the Holy Spirit descending. Beautiful! Now, I am a landscape photographer and the love of our Lord expressed through His creation is what attracts my camera lens, and one way to share His love to unbelievers. So I loved it. Then we went to a back dressing room with racks stuffed full of beautiful dresses in fine fabrics and many colors. These are the costumes that women use every Sunday to dance in the church. Now it would be very cool to go there on a Sunday to worship with these happy, passionate and loving people. Maybe someday, what God holds for me is in His hands, and gladly so.

I apologize if this blog installment has been a lot about me, my experiences and feelings. But I know and believe that the other men here are experiencing the exact same emotions and changes, each to his degree in life and calling of our Lord. So, maybe I am not so sorry! LOL…

We made our way back to the border independently today, no caravan. The line was very long and as it was nearly 6:00 already POWER leadership decided it was best to leave just the driver with the van and walk to the crossing instead, so we all piled out and walked about a mile or so, (six of us I think), we processed through as pedestrians, and then walked to an unrestricted area to wait for a van to pick us up and take us to Faith Mission for showers and a great steak and baked potato dinner. Awesome!

Here is a list of projects we accomplished today.

At Guermo, a much needed wheelchair ramp, props to Cody and his crew on this on.

Pastor Lorenzo church drywall nearly done, Props to Dave an His crew,

Bob Krull along with Pastor Oscar and the food crew at Mission de Fe prepared a great lunch.

Joy tour to some impoverished neighborhoods, everyone, especially some first timers were able to minister to the families there. A little girl there picked a flower and gave it to one of our guys which was very moving. Others prayed with so many with such great need.

House for Silva was built. Built next to the original house, from a shack hovel to a beautiful home! You should see the photos, you’ll be amazed.

Paul G. Blanco’s house nearly finished, 1 hour left

The siding replacement project completed.

Faith Mission maintNence work completed. Thanks you Faith Mission for your faithful service.

Steak dinner provided by the leadership! Hit the spot for sure…

After dinner…

Doug Wible: Big night, POWER Raffle tickets, POWER Store opening.
Larry late night tasks, van crew etc and a real stem winder pitch for the POWER Store., hilarious. Didn’t know he had that in him!

Marty: final instructions for the night, A shout out to steak dinner again, the best steak ever!
Visiting veteran Thom Lyon here for a visit. It was great!

Thom Prayed us out, store open, late night prayer, and then to bed for the first full nights sleep on the trip! Another long day full of work and promise, promise of the power of God will continue to persevere here as well as in our hearts. Thank you Jesus, Amen