Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 Being a part of Operation Christmas Child has really opened my eyes to the amazing ministry the program that is bringing many people to Christ all around the world. I never realized before that Operation Christmas Child was so much more than just presents for underprivileged kids. The children who receive Christmas boxes will attend the life changing program every Saturday for three months being tough the powerful message of the Gospel.
(The picture above is from one of the many training sessions we've had to train pastors how to teach a discipleship program that is offered through Operation Christmas Child.)

For the past week I have been pretty busy with getting ready for Operation Christmas Child and helping out around the orphanage, so I apologize for not writing a post for a while. Here's a little glimpse into my life this next week. Tomorrow it the only normal day I have for the next week: I wake up at 6:30; study Spanish; watch a special needs child; and teach English and gym. On Friday I am going to Puerto Vallarta to help repair the other orphanage from damage it sustained from the hurricane. I'll be out there for a week, and am excited to see a different part of Mexico.

Prayer Request:
Today I noticed that I'm braking out in a rash all over my body, so please pray that it would go away and my body would stop inching like crazy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hurricane Patricia

     As I am sure all of you reading this post are well aware of the hurricane that hit Mexico last night. As it hit the coast it was the largest hurricane on record, but it quickly lost steam and turned into a tropical storm by morning. Also, I believe the worst part of the storm hit a sparsely populated area which was a huge blessing. Two years ago a similar category 5 hurricane hit the Philippines and 7,300 people lost their lives in the storm. So thank you God for allowing the hurricane to lose steam so fast.
     I was supposed leave for Puerto Vallarta yesterday morning with Hilario-the orphanage director to open the new orphanage, but due to the storm we have been delayed. I am not sure when the new opening date will be, however; I'm guessing it will won't be for a few weeks till Puerto Vallarta gets back on its feet. Hilario told me today that everyone is safe over at the other orphanage, but the building and area have been damaged.
     Here in Guadalajara, we have received a bit of rain and some wind, but nothing damaging and are expecting more rain and wind tonight. Please pray for the coast and the areas that have been hit  hardest by the storm. The big worry right now is flash flooding and mudslides.
Hurricane Patricia

Saturday, October 10, 2015

One month and Week in Mexico

Over the past month, I have gotten used to the culture in Mexico and I am able to communicate in Spanish, but I have been sick a lot because the weather is so different. Most days, I feel like I am doing a lot to help the kids with English, math, and general needs; however, at times I feel like I can do more.

I found out that I may be going to Puerto Vallarta and live at the new orphanage,  that Fundacion Emmanuel is opening up later this month. I am excited about this because I’ll be splitting time between each of the orphanages, meaning a month or two at each of the locations until I leave. Also, I’ll get to see a little bit more of Mexico and see the ocean for the first time (and maybe even get my first tan). I’m so white the kids call me “American pan,” which means American bread. 
One of the boys completes his chores for the day

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Three Weeks in Mexico

Hi friends,

I want to thank you for all the support you have given me. I am fully funded now due to your generous support. I have been here for just over two weeks and I am trying to pick up Spanish as fast as possible. My schedule is pretty relaxed as the people here don't adhere to a fixed schedule. In the morning, I usually tutor two, eight year old children in Spanish and Math. Then in the afternoon, I teach English to 15-20 boys. It's taken me a while to figure out how to teach them effectively because their ages range from 8-16 years old and I can’t go too fast or too slow.  I am learning that they learn best with kinetic movements and games.

Hilario is the coordinator for the state of Jalisco, México for Operation Christmas Child- a ministry of Samaritan's Purse that distributes shoe boxes filled with Christmas presents for the children and provides a 12-week discipleship program. I am privileged to go with Hilario and the leadership team on Saturdays around Jalisco to train and equip teachers for the discipleship program. Last week we went to Jocotepec, and traveled through Chapala. It was absolutely gorgeous! I will be posting more about Operation Christmas Child in the weeks to come. Hope you are all doing well, and I will update you again soon!

D.Caleb Knottnerus

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Power of Prayer

   Here is a cool story of the power of prayer. This is Emmule, he was born at six months gestation. He was born with two tumors, one in his brain and one on his forehead. Also, his legs were frozen in the fetal position. Doctors were able to remove the tumor in his brain, but that was it. People prayed for him and the tumor on his forehead disappeared and his legs started to move. Mark 11:24 says "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Monday, September 21, 2015

The providence of a missed flight

Hi.  This is Dave.  I am helping Caleb with this blog.  From time to time, I will share some reflections of Caleb's Journey as his activities are passed onto me.  But for the most part, I will let Caleb's journey be told in his own words.

I saw Caleb's Dad  at church the  Sunday after Caleb left for Mexico.  His  parents told  me that Caleb had missed his initial flight on Thursday and had to take the next one.  .

Here  is part  of a text about Caleb's seatmate on his rescheduled flight

"I am seated w a missionary from Mexico.  He disciples church planters.  He grew up in an orphanage in Mexico until he was 13. Kinda Cool"

Stop and think about that.  Caleb who was on his way to be a short term missionary in Mexico and will be living at an orphanage there.  He misses a flight only to be seated next to the perfect person to encourage him in the endeavor he's beginning.

Kinda cool is quite the understatement.

Caleb is doing well in his initial weeks in Mexico from all reports and hopefully we will be seeing another report from him soon.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Caleb has arrived

I received this email from Caleb's family yesterday.

Caleb has arrived in Mexico and here is what he has to say ...

September 13, 2015

   I arrived at the orphanage in Guadalajara a few nights ago. The first night was rough because Hilario, the orphanage director lives elsewhere with his family, so I am pretty much the only English speaker here besides one boy who speaks a little English, which I am grateful for. There are 52 boys and girls here, but they don't interact much between the genders. Both the boys and girls are very nice to me as we are trying to work through the language barrier and teach each other a new language. 

    In the United States I did not realize how much I took for granted. Such as: having parents; a house to come home to every night, and everything else. The kids don't have much, they share all their clothes and shoes with each other and eat most meals with one adult leader and myself now. The food here is bearable, but I can't 
wait till I can have my mom’s food again. 

     Please pray for me because although I am learning much, I am struggling to learn Spanish as fast as I'd like to. Also, I start teaching English on Monday the 14th and ask you to pray that I will be able to effectively teach the kids. 

    Sincerely, Caleb

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Caleb leaves for Mexico tomorrow!

I  am going to be in Guadalajara, Mexico working and staying at an orphanage called Fundacion Emmanuel.

Here are some quick facts about Guadalajara Mexico

Population  approximately 1,500,000 (2010)

Temperature by Month (Low to High)

January      43 to 74
February    45 to 76
March        47 to 79
April          51 to 83
May           55 to 85
June           60 to 85
July            60 to 80
August       58 to 78
September 57 to 77
October     51 to 74
November 47 to 77
December  45 to 73

The rainy season in Guadalajara is June to September where it rains on average 15 to 20 days per month.  I will be missing most of that.

Guadalajara is the 2nd largest city in Mexico and is the capital of Jalisco.

Guadalajara is a cultural hub of Mexico and hosts many internationally renowned events including a film festival and a book fair.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Caleb leaves for Mexico in 2 days!!!!!

In 2014, I felt God was calling me to go on a long term missions trip before I began college.  In that time many doors opened and some closed and by the time I graduated this Spring I felt God's leading to serve in Mexico.  I will be in Guadalajara Mexico from September 10, 2015 to sometime in May of 2016. 

I will be volunteering and living at an orphanage called Fundacion Emmanuel.

My responsibilities include:

  • Taking care of a group of kids from the orphanage
  •  Teaching computer classes
  • Preaching at the juvenile detention center

Monday, September 7, 2015

3 days until Caleb leaves

Hi.  My name is Dave Roller.  I go to church with Caleb and have known him since 2009.  When I heard of his journey.  I offered to help him blog about the trip.  Caleb leaves in 3 days and to celebrate that.  I will be posting some info Caleb wrote and distributed to our church.  This information is also found on the page headers above this post.  Today's information comes from the About Caleb page.  Tomorrow's will come from the What I'm doing page, if you want to read ahead.  To avoid confusion I'll put Caleb's words in bold print.

My name is Caleb Knottnerus.  I graduated from Jacob's High school in Algonquin, Illinois in 2015.  I am going to Guadalajara Mexico on September 10, 2015 and will be there until May of 2016.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Sunday, August 30, 2015