Volunteer work teams are essential to the work of Agua Viva Ministries. John provides supervision of construction projects while RoseMary organizes clothing and food distribution as well as translation during visits to local families.
Groups are responsible for their own expenses and costs relating to outreach in Agua Prieta. Visitors either fly to Tucson, AR or drive to Douglas, AR. Accommodation is reasonable at border motels. From Douglas it is only a short drive across the border to the area where Agua Viva Ministries is working.
Written by Esther Beeke
A group of girls huddled around the greasy table at a cramped restaurant on the border between Arizona and Mexico.Food had been pushed aside, holding no interest, as tears ran down several faces. The past week of mission work had been wonderful, but our planes were leaving earlier than expected, and we had not had time to say good-bye to the kids. One more hour would have sufficed. I could have hugged Alexandria one last time, tickled little Jorge, or run around with Joanna on my back. But airports have schedules and donâ??t care about what people feel. The planes were going to leave even as one of the best weeks of my life was ending.
We had arrived in Tucson, Arizona one week earlier, cramming seven girls from our church youth group into one tiny hotel room full of beds and cockroaches. With no floor space whatsoever, we had an amazing bonding experience. Long discussions stretched late into the night and coordinating showers made us work as a team. Every morning found us crawling sleepily out of bed and piling into the back of pick-up trucks to make the daily commute into Mexico. We went in to help the people, to paint their church, to add rooms to their tiny houses, to dig a trench for a water line to the new community building. We came out with a much bigger blessing than we could ever give them.
That blessing contains so much, I donâ??t know if I can put it all into words. The people of Mexico taught me what true contentment is. They have so little that Iâ??m almost ashamed of my big bedroom and comfortable home. Yet they are happy with what they have and donâ??t need more. Hand the children candy and their faces light up. Play with them for an hour and become a friend for life. Our team could spend a whole day alternating between working and hanging out with the kids and they would stay the entire time. It was as if they had no sense of time. They didnâ??t need deadlines or time commitments. They just lived life as it came. They showed me that sometimes itâ??s good to forget about what has to be done and just let time melt away with friends and family.
When I left Mexico and all the amazing people there and traveled back to my own home, my eyes had been opened a little wider. I noticed the bright green grass, the flourishing trees, the cars zooming over our well-paved Michigan roads. I enjoyed long, hot showers once again, as well as sleeping in my own bed without the fear of large bugs crawling over me in the night. I developed some of the best photographs I have ever taken. But, most of all, I thanked God for all the blessings He has given me and prayed that someday, I would be able to see those dear people once again.
Posted Sep 21 2011, 2:06:41 PM UTC
Written by Jess Overbeeke
In 2008 & 2009 I was blessed with the experience to go to Mexico on a mission trip with a group of friends. We met John VerWys and Rosemary Townsend who played such a great role in our experience. The people in Mexico were so friendly and I learned a lot from everyone.
We were able to build two houses each year and help out four families. It was extremely interesting to work hands on with some of the Mexicans as they helped out with the building or were at VBS. We also had some services over Christmas and on Sundays that gave us time to interact with the people. Children were often in the yard so we could play with them whether we were practicing our skipping, having a water fight that someone started, or giving piggy back rides. Through all of our experiences I have to say that learning to make food with some of the ladies was one of my favourite moments but shingling a roof with Drew Den Hertog and two Mexicans did not come far behind.
One of the things that I learned from this whole experience was that God has truly blessed us! All of the Mexicans thought that we were being such a great help but it was completely opposite. They were actually helping us and teaching us more than they know. They were always all so helping, so willing and ready to serve and this was truly a great gift from God. God is very present there, showing us how much we take for grated and what great blessing we have which are much undeserved.
With all the work that we accomplished, so much more work still needs to be done. People are constantly going hungry, babies not receiving the formula that they need, and little children not having warm enough clothing or enough food to fill their stomachs. These little children as well as their parents need our prayers in order to go on. This ministry needs our prayers to continue on in the great work that God is allowing them to do. Agua Prieta (where the mission is located) needs our prayers for people to turn to Him, to praise His name, and to trust that all things work together for those who serve Him. The people need prayers for work to provide for their families, and for adequate money to build their houses to protect them from bad weather in a cardboard shelter. In Canada, we are so blessed and lack nothing! There is rarely a need that we have but it is usually a want. When we are â??needingâ?? something next time, think about the people that have one meal a day, if that or that need warm blankets for the winter or money for baby formula or firewood to heat their house.
Through everything that I have learned down in Mexico, prayer is a very powerful thing and has the power to change lives! Keep Mexico, the people, the leaders in your prayers for God can do wonderful things!
Romans 12:11 â?? 13 â?? â??â?¦ Fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.â??
Posted Sep 28 2010, 11:30:41 AM UTCPrint this Article
Written by Neva Woolley
I panicked when RoseMary asked me to write something for the newsletter. Writing isn't my thing!! I began to think about the wonderful ladies I've been blessed to work be side. I went there my last trip to teach English as a Second Language and crocheting, but they taught me far more than I could ever teach them.
I saw the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Love, joy, peace kindness, patience, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
I was blessed to see how enthusiastic they were to learn to crochet. Out of the yarn donated for this class they made baby blankets. Each made something to give to Gloria for her soon to be born daughter. They even created patterns for the booties and caps. They were generous even when they didn't have the same thing for their selves. Their happiness was contagious!!
Teaching English took a little longer than I ha anticipated, but found they learned quicker when words were put to music. After the first week learning to say "Hello, my name is _____. How are you? It is nice to meet you"; we began to learn the words for the skeleton. This they learned rapidly by singing "Them Bones, Them Bones" We had so much fun with this lesson; we had to repeat it in each class. By the time I had to leave them; they could greet a 'gringos' with an English welcome and sing the chorus of "Them Bones" with much laughter. How very kind and patient they were with me - especially when we tried to communicate in our daily conversations. May be they are better teachers than myself, since I believe I learned more Spanish than they did English.
While there I saw their faithfulness and dedication by feeding lunch to 30 to 50 children and some adults on week days. Making wonderful soups out of little to nothing. Mainly food that had be donated to the church for this purpose. I learned some wonderful menu stretching ideas while having the privilege to work with them. These ladies are far more generous than most of us with so much. They have so little in comparison to our living standards, but they are far more giving than many of us. They often sacrifice so others may be helped. There is a peacefulness and joyful attitude whenever I was with them - this is their natural continence it wasn't just because I was there - believe me!
I enjoyed working with these lovely ladies and look forward to seeing them again. It would be such a joy to be able to spend more time with them and to see how their crochetng (& English) is coming along. I'm praying this will happen soon, since I truly miss them!!!! I praise God for allowing me this opportunity to serve Him and others.
Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed - Provberbs 11:25
Posted Sep 28 2010, 11:21:55 AM UTC
Written by Louise Carlson
What do we look forward to every year with great anticipation? - Our annual trek to Agua Prieta. Our church, Loma Community Church, Loma, Colorado, has been engaged in an annual missions trip to Agua Prieta for ten years. We have made many wonderful friends there. It has been a wonderful blessing to those who go and those who send us! Our work there has been varied from building houses, house repair, installing stoves, and meeting the needs there in any way we can. It is true much of what we do is temporary - the need we met today will again be present tomorrow - but at least we did what we could today. And some day the playing field will be level! The work we do brings great personal satisfacton that some of the needs have been met.
Nearly five years ago, we built the fence around the church property. It was quite an undertaking for five days, but we had a big, hard working crew. We did not dream that five years later there would be three buildings on the property - each with an important function in the work there. Thankfully, God is never limited by our lack of faith and vision. His work will prosper and we are humbled that we have had a part in it.
This past March we took a trailer load of varied STUFF, as we always do, to help meet the needs of the people. We were 20 in number from age five to 75. Our prayer is that some of the young people that go will be called into full time mission work! We once again had a hard working crew. Our activites ranged from bagging beans, working in the distribution center, fellowshipping with the people, handing out the gospel of John, refurbishing the pews and the floor in the sanctuary, to building a home for Maria Jesus. It was a rewarding five days to say the least. Our five year old grandson, Peyton, said, "It was the best trip ever," - our sentiments exactly!
If you are looking for a place of rewarding ministry, consider Agua Viva Ministries as a worthy place for your TIME, TALENT, and TREASURE. You, as we have been, will be a blessing and will be greatly blessed! As you can imagine, the needs are enormous in the present economic state. We pray God's strength and blessing for Rosemary, John, and the believers, our friends, in Agua Prieta. They certainly need our prayers and support as they minister there. They are doing a remarkable work with the limited resources they have. They will hear , "Well done, good and faithful servant."
"But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." I John 3:17-18
Posted Sep 28 2010, 11:09:50 AM UTCPrint this Article