Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cabo San Lucas and the Way Cool Angels

Our family had the great opportunity to head down to Mexico last week and engage in a little bit of service, and also vacation a bit. I'm writing this post so that all of our terrific family, friends, and neighbors can know how their generous hearts blessed the people in Mexico, and so that they can see what we did with the resources they donated. Also, I'm hoping that if I write it down, we'll actually remember it. 

The post is kind of long (sorry- now I know what it's like to be Sid!)- so if you want to skip the play by play, and just watch the video feel free... :)

First (and most important!) the Thank You's:
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped with this project! Thank you to all of you who... 
  • Donated clothes (Herrmanns, Duncans, Oakesons, Tates, Spencers, and so many others!)
  • Donated money (you know who you are!)
  • Donated toothbrushes (Lizzi!)
  • Donated handmade dresses all the way from Canada (Karina! We'll take them in January!)
  • Helped us arrange housing (Jim!)
  • Shared their suitcases (Glenns, Oakesons, Gales!)
  • Shared their knowledge of philanthropy and gave us the idea for lanterns (Todd and Lin!)
  • Watched our precious Simon and Tyler while we were away (Laura!)
  • Put together this awesome video (THANK YOU, GRACE!)
  • And a big thank you to Janet Cherrington for introducing us to Karen & Raul! 

We feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many giving people. We have truly been in awe of the giving spirit and generous hearts that all of you posses. We are so grateful for your examples and your presence in our lives!!
Here's the story of our adventure:
We were able to serve through an organization called "Way Cool Angels". It is organized and run by KarenFaith and Raul, along with their helpers Michelle & Grace. They are such an inspiring group of people. KarenFaith and Raul were both successful business owners in Houston, TX. In addition, they were very active serving in the community and in their faith. One night, Raul had a dream where God invited him to give his whole life to service. KarenFaith reasoned that no one but God would ask Raul to give more than he was already giving. After much thought, fasting and prayer, they decided to give up their careers and devote themselves to the ministry full time. Funny thing, nobody was more surprised than them at the thought that they would be devoted full-time to a ministry! But they have jumped in whole-heartedly and are living devoted and inspiring lives and blessing people all around the world. Their examples inspire us to be better and do more. We are so grateful for the chance to know them & serve with them! And so grateful to them for facilitating our experience.

Our service efforts were focused on two areas. First, we were able to visit the little town of Caribe, and help the people there. This little city (if you can call it that?) was perhaps hardest hit by hurricane Odile last November. The people there were very poor before the hurricane, and even worse off after. There is no running water, no electricity, no other services. The people live in little homes made of blankets strung on poles, and wood palates cobbled together with whatever fastening devices they can find. The lucky families sometimes have cinder-blocks, and all of them have dirt floors. When we were there last January we were able to help plant a garden and pour concrete for a community center of sorts. This time, we built a fence around the garden to keep the rabbits out.

We also were able to go from house to house and deliver solar lanterns and toothbrushes to the families there. It was great to be able to hand a toothbrush over for every member of every house hold. (Thank You, Matthews!) The lanterns were especially appreciated, and timely, as they anticipated the imminent arrival of Hurricane Blanca (which, fortunately, ended up being a tropical storm when it landed). It was great to visit with these families, and share light with them- and they were so grateful to have it. 

It was also great to see KarenFaith and Grace in action, and feel the love they have for these people. Every home we went to Karen would let them know that we were bringing the gift of light from God, and also spiritual light- and then we would all pray for the families. In one home a man had sores all over his legs as a result of diabetes. His access to healthcare is limited at best, but he had a great attitude. KarenFaith rubbed ointment on his sores, and blessed him asking the Lord to heal him. We could feel her great love and empathy for this man and his hardships.

The next area we served in was a little city just outside of Caribe (I'm not sure of the name). KarenFaith and Raul have a little "center" there at a business complex where they rent some space. They hold church services, and other community events there. People from Caribe, and from other cities congregate there for worship and other seminars. 

Thursday night we had the great opportunity to visit their "Changing Lives" meeting and watch the great work KarenFaith and Raul are doing. We listened as Raul led a discussion on making changes in our lives, then we were able to do a little seminar on strong families. We started off with our family singing "I Am a Child of God"- which took some arm twisting for some of the boys- but it ended up being one of my favorite parts. And I think the members of the congregation felt the spirit of that great song as well.

Most of the people we visited there don't really know what a strong family looks like, let alone how to have one. It was great to be able to testify of the importance of family and to share what it meant to us. We talked about how strong families don't just happen, about how they take work. Then we talked about 5 things strong families do (as borrowed from Elder Larson's General Conference talk Then we had a Q&A where the people attending asked questions. Their questions were great- and very much like the questions families here in the states would ask. 

In reality, families all over the world are under attack, and the challenges here in this little town in Mexico are similar to the challenges faced by people all over the world. And we were SO grateful for the opportunity to share our testimony that families are ordained of God, that He is anxious to bless our families, and that we can expect miracles as we turn our families to Him. After the meeting, we were able to hand out copies of The Family: A Proclamation to the World to every family.

During the seminar, our kids were seated with a group of local children. They had worked side by side with these children building the fence earlier in the week, and they got to be great friends with them. I was a bit surprised that the language barrier didn't prove to be any trouble at all for them. They loved hanging out together, and since we've been home they've commented many times on how they miss their buddies in Mexico. The kids there are amazing, and trying really hard to live good lives in difficult circumstances. It was awesome to see their faithful examples.

After the seminar, we were able to help Michelle, KarenFaith and Raul hand out gifts to each person in attendance. The people have been coming faithfully to the Changing Lives program, and have been learning to make changes in their lives, and learning how to help others. That evening it was their turn to receive things to help their family. Michelle and Grace had hand selected clothing for each member of the congregation. The selections were specific to their sizes, their needs, their likings, and their taste, and come from the donations YOU and others have made! It was so fun to see each person receive something that was specific for them. It was a great blessing to see the joy they experienced as they realized that they were remembered by name, and loved- every one of them, even the babies. Then, each member of our family, along with KarenFaith and Raul had the chance to give a basket of groceries to each family. It was a great opportunity to feel the love of the Lord for all of these sweet people who are trying their best to make it through this life.

There is so much I could say about this visit to Mexico, and the blessing it was to our family- but I'll spare you as this is already a little novel. (Sorry!) We loved the opportunity to see the Lord's hand at work in this little corner of the world. He loves the people there, and has sent them blessings in the form of KarenFaith and Raul. It reminds me that the Lord sends us blessings in a variety of forms, but so often in the form of other people. And that made me wonder if I recognize the people He has sent to bless my life, and if I bless others as often as He would have me do. I came away with a desire to be better, to serve more, to be the blessing He sends to someone else.

This experience also made me remember that the Lord is so aware of all of us, no matter where we live, no matter how many material possessions we have or don’t have, no matter the circumstances of our lives. He will always extend hope to us, always extend aid to us, and is constantly reaching out after us, if we will but recognize and accept His help. 

Thank all of you for being blessings in our lives, and in turn, blessings in the lives of the people in Mexico. Many hugs!

If you would like to know more about the "Way Cool Angels", or make a donation to their work,  visit their website here:

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Seth's First Day of Kindergarten

Hiking Stewart Falls

Yes, Mom, I Eat My Carrots Everyday...

Mom (to Sam): So… do you eat the carrots I put in your lunch every day?
Sam: Yep.
Mom: So would you care to explain these little treasures I found in your backpack?

Sent from my iPhone

A Duck in Water: Seth's First Soccer Game

Sent from my iPhone