Jan 9, 2018

Optometry Mission to Mexico 2017-2018

In December of 2015, I was invited on a mission trip to San Carlos, Sonora with a group of fellow Christians from Indiana.  That trip was life-changing for me and awoke in me a desire to do more for God in my life.  That trip prompted my family and I to sell off all we owned and head down to Mexico.  Wanting to be 'tent-makers' like the apostle Paul, we happily accepted any help anyone offered, but wanted to also work for ourselves too.

The Lord carried our family faithfully through the 2 years of full-time ministry and we had much help from our parents, friends and family.  Knowing we would have to return to the States for our 'home base' was a bit bittersweet for me, but it has worked out wonderfully for the past few months.  In October, I was able to travel to the YWAM base in Mazatlan, Sinaloa to help work on the construction of new dorms and classrooms.  Brent, the base director, has a vision to train 1,000 missionaries in 2018...now that's a mission I can get behind!

When the opportunity rose again to rejoin my friends back in San Carlos, I jumped at the opportunity.  The plan was to continue our main eye clinic in the nearby town of Guaymas, and to get a few docs together to reach out to a small indian village nearby, Potam.  Having experienced the clinic Guaymas 2 years earlier, I was asked to set up a matching clinic in Potam.  I went with Brittany, an optometrist currently in residency and we took a crew to Potam.

What a joy it was to be a part of a team bringing the Good News to those that need it!  We saw so many people in need, and were able to help most of them.  Those that needed eye surgery or special order lenses were placed on a list, and the Village Church of Dyer, Indiana (http://www.villagechurchdyer.com/) have pledged to raise the money to provide ongoing care for them.  It was also such an honor to work alongside such men and women of Christ.

We had the wonderful opportunity to stay at Art and Brenda Koenes' place: Casa De Esperanza again.  http://www.koenesministries.com/

We would leave each morning about 7:30 a.m. and drive about an hour and a half to Potam, and would see around 60 patients per day.  The Guaymas clinic would see around 100 per day, making a total of 160 people per day that were hearing the Good News of hope in our Savior Jesus Christ!

Lord willing, I'll be headed back with a group of Amish builders to Mazatlan in mid-February.  Until then, I have found plenty of fill-in work here in the States.  God is so very faithful.

"Father, thank you for the richness and the blessings that you offer to your children.  Thank you for the opportunity and the ability to serve in places where the people need to hear your Word.  Thank you for your faithfulness, your grace, your mercy, and your forgiveness.  May we continue to fight the Good Fight, and win as many as possible."


Checking the health inside a woman's eyes
Informing a man that he needed surgery to see again, and that we would be honored to show him the love of Jesus by paying his bill.

People waiting in school desks to see the doctors...some for 6 hours.

Checking the pupils on a patient.  I'd ask them to look at my 'big beautiful nose'!
The Doctors!  We had such a wonderful time, and so much help.  There were around 45 others from the USA church and 60 from the local church.  What a blessing to be part of the Body at Work!

Patients waiting to be seen at the church. 

They were lines up outside the church as well.

The beautiful Tetakawi outside San Carlos.

Oct 8, 2017

What's Next!?
-By Dr. Luke-

What have we been up to? Well, let's see!
Since August, we've had King's Kids camp with about 60 kids from all over the Guadalajara area. They come to learn, to form friendships, and to become the godly leaders of tomorrow. Our good friend, Dennis Mixer, migrated to the YWAM base in Mazatlan and has started his Bible School for the Nations class. You can read more about his journey on his Facebook site.

Mandie was super excited to start wearing braces...that is...until the painful first few days hit! She's doing well with her 'expanser' now, and will be tightening it up every 2 weeks for the first year. The rest of the kids are doing well too and happy to be 'state-side' for now.

We left YWAM Guadalajara at the end of August. We left for a few different reasons, but mainly for work. I was able to work in Hobbs and Las Cruces, New Mexico through the end of September. During that time, Cassie and I have found a place south of Albuquerque to 'homebase' our future ministry and mission work from. We found a country home with lots of room for the kids to run. We'll be, hopefully, closing on the home very soon so we can move the family in.

The mission work continues:
In a week, Lord willing, I'm headed back to Mexico! I have to finish the process of getting my Residente Permanante (Mexican green card) as this will make it much easier to travel back and forth from the U.S. to Mexico. Then I'm off to Mazatlan to work with the YWAM base located there. The base director, Brent, has a massive new building plan for their base and I'm happy to help. We will be serving the community there through many ministry opportunities and doing tons of construction on the base as well. The base there is an old hotel, and he's gotten it approved to add 3 more floors. When I last spoke with Brent, he shared his vision of having 1,000 missionary students trained at that school next year! Wow...what a goal! I'm happy to help.

In November, we will head back to the States to work a bit more and spend the holidays with our families. December brings another mission...an Optometry mission! In December I'll head down to San Carlos, Mexico to see patients and share the good news. The bulk of the help will be coming from Village Evangelical Free Church in Indiana. We should have 3-4 eye docs and over 30 other folks to help with a youth program and sharing the Good News with the people of San Carlos and Guymas, Mexico.

There are plenty more plans after the first of the year that we are prayerfully considering and I'll let you know about in the next entry!

God Bless and let's get to sharing the Good News!


Jul 5, 2017

Daddy loves his work!

It's true!  I love to do good hard work...especially when it can help to further the Kingdom.  I want to take a bit of time and let you know what all kinds of work we are involved with down here in Mexico.

We have been here for 15 months now and have had the extreme pleasure of getting to know some of the other workers around us.  Part of my desire down here is to work within the body of Christ and network with those that are doing Kingdom work too.

Some of our very good friends from the States are working with a local preacher in a small pueblo called Mescala.  They are building a church, doing outreach in the surrounding pueblos, and have also started a feeding program for the impoverished children that live in the church's neighborhood.

mixing concrete to build the church
sealing the roof from rain leaks

adding a floor for the Pastor
good ol' fashioned manual labor!

Here's a link to their page: The Hartup Family

Street evangelising 
Pastor Leonel sharing the Word with kids

Leading worship
A bearded gringo on guitar!

I'm also working in a community center in the middle of the 'roughest' part of Chapala.  It's a barrio called Tepehua.  They have a medical clinic there on Friday's and they let me jump in where I can.  What a blessing it's been to work with these folks! http://www.tepehua.org

The Tepehua Community Center
Part of the clean water system

It is in need of repair
The boys enjoying the sand
Cassie and friends attending a Doula class

We are busy building a transition home at an orphanage north of the campus that is called Hope House.  Here's some pics of the work we are doing.  The Deutro's bring in teams from all over to help with the work there.  Hope House website

I repaired a 'broken hammer' by welding a pipe onto it.
We're making room for electrical conduit
Working at the Hope House
They've got an amazing aquaponics system...just needs a bit of work!

Somehow or another...the local church has talked me into playing piano for them on occasion.

There is also plenty of work here around campus:

We've also had plenty of fun as a family.  AND....We welcome precious baby Melodie to our tribe!

We are looking forward to an extended visit to the States to get the chance to do some fill-in Optometry work too.  The plan is to find a place for our family to stay in New Mexico too.  We are hoping that during our visit in August and September we can find a home and base our ministry from there.  I'm so very thankful to the Lord for all he's brought us through, and that we can work for Him wherever we are!  Please keep us in your prayers...we ask for God's strength, guidance, and that His will be done in our family as it is in heaven!