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Chiapas, Mexico Mission Trip Recap  

 

This summer, Cottonwood Creek teamed up with Mexico Ministries to assist with construction of a church in Chiapas, Mexico. Cottonwood Creek's team of 14 men had the incredible chance to minister through others through not only helping build the church, but also by interacting with the Mexican people.  

Originally, the team expected easy travel until a storm came through and shut down the entire airport. "As frustrating as it was for us, God used it to bring our group really close, relationship-wise," Missions Pastor Keith Tyler said. "It set us up for the rest of the trip and prepared our hearts for what we were about to experience."  

After 28 hours of waiting at the airport, the team finally caught a flight and headed to the Mayan Indian mountains. They soon arrived in the city of Chenalho 

"We came alongside Mexico Ministries to build this church in the middle of the mountains," Keith said. "It is only through love and support of our church and their giving towards missions that allowed this to happen."  

Much of the work on the church was already completed. Walls were constructed and a roof was already put on. The team's job was to lay foundation and build pews. "The joy of serving with these men bring the gospel to life," Keith said. "We were able to go and share Jesus and serve to those in need by providing a place of worship." The team experienced many obstacles such as delayed flights, rainy season, mud, and more but the joy they experienced in serving their Mayan Indian friends outweighed any difficulties they could have ever experienced.  

On the team's last say, the entire community joined together with the pastor of the church to dedicate the church building. "It was a powerful movement of God," Keith said. "Each of us prayed to the Lord, thanking Him for the blessings of providing this community a place of worship."  

Keith and the rest of his team are so thankful that the Chiapas community now has a place for preaching, discipleship, weddings, and a true beacon of light. "If it were not for the ministry of Pastor Carlos, Pastor Alex, and Mexico Ministries, this tremendous work wouldn't be possible," Keith said. "Thank you, Cottonwood, for your love and support and we look forward to seeing you in Chiapas next year." 

If you would like to get involved with serving alongside Cottonwood Creek, visit us online

 

Spiritual Hunger

Kelly Kitch's Story of Seeing Lives Change Through Children's Hunger Fund in the Rio Grande Valley 

It is always inspiring and exciting to see who and what God will use to bring people over to Him. This May, Cottonwood Creek's Mission of the Month was to pack Food Paks for Children's Hunger Fund to deliver and distribute to families in the Rio Grande Valley. A month later, 28 people from Cottonwood Creek ventured to the south Texas region. Kelly Kitch is just one of the many people who had the opportunity to visit the Rio Grande Valley and she was amazed at how many lives she saw be changed.  

Kelly was initially prompted to join the Rio Grande Valley mission trip by an internship requirement for Dallas Theological Seminary. She could have chosen any other trip to go on but she decided to go to the Rio Grande Valley specifically because it had a family focus. 

On a typical day, the construction team and sports team would leave for their duties. After lunch, everyone served in different areas. Early in the week, they organized the food in the warehouse. The following days, they worked at the market, where the food they organized on Monday was displayed. In the evening after dinner, the team would leave for Vacation Bible School at Heritage Baptist Church until it was time to return for the night.  

One of the things that excited Kelly the most was seeing the process of the Food Paks from beginning to end. Life Groups packed the boxes and dropped them off at Cottonwood Creek. The Paks were then shipped to the Rio Grande Valley. The churches involved used the Paks for their ministry by taking them to families in need and ministering to them. "For seven weeks, out of one little neighborhood, families met in a single wide trailer," Kelly said. "During that one day a week for seven weeks, sixteen families met. There, they did a Bible story or lesson, and then afterwards, they would leave with their box of food." 

At the end of the seven weeks, the families were then invited to church. From there, 40 families came to faith, alive for the Lord, as well as started consistently coming to church. "One family lived around the corner from Melody Lane," Kelly said. "It was very eye opening for my kids to see how close they were to people who lived in that kind of situation." Despite the tough conditions, the mother of the family took her family to church after the first week. "Her fifteen year old daughter was severely depressed," Kelly said. "After seven weeks, she was healed from it. Despite their home and situation, the mother was glowing." The mother then  went on to deliver food from the Food Paks to her neighbors, declaring the gospel to them. 

Another couple of single ladies who came from Mexico had a prayer session every morning. "They were very faithful to it," Kelly said. "They were new believers. Most people there come from a Catholic background, but they were very devoted to their prayer sessions." 

Not only are the families touched by the Children's Hunger Fund, but the ministers in the area are as well. "One minister only spoke Spanish," Kelly said. "She thanked me and our church over and over. They have nothing there and she said she was praying for blessing on our people because food boxes provide her to share the gospel. The ministers are deeply grateful. These boxes are their tickets into the families' lives to come together and learn about Christ. She kept saying how glad she was that we had given her a ministry. She said she could not do this without the food boxes." 

Kelly and the rest of her team felt overwhelmed by seeing the work of God. "It is a moving, thriving ministry," Kelly said. "These people are in these horrible situations and they just kept saying 'bless your people' and thanking us for our ministry. On both sides, you have people praising the provision of this food. To pack it, see it at the market, and see it make its round was very cool." 

Kelly hopes that Cottonwood Creek will continue to partner with Children's Hunger Fund in the future to impact the lives of so many families. "It's not just a box of food," Kelly said. "It is a direct path for the gospel to be shared to people in very desperate situations. We think we see poor here but there is no comparison."  

Kelly feels especially grateful that her young daughters were able to see the work of the Lord firsthand in the Rio Grande Valley. "My girls didn't understand it until they saw it with their own eyes," Kelly said. "The people there are extremely gracious and thankful for a box of food. Over all, the trip is a great opportunity and very impactful."

Kenya's Grateful Hearts

Patti Locklear's Story of Meeting the Grateful Hearts of Kenya 

 

It's never too late to go on a mission trip. For Patti Locklear, this year's 2017 summer mission trip to Kenya was her very first mission trip. "I have always had a special place in my heart for kids," Patti said. "Every time I saw the Kenya trip, it tugged at my heart. So, my husband put down the deposit as my Christmas present!" From there, Patti's heart for children and especially the children of Kenya only continued to grow.  

A typical day on the Kenya mission trip was a very busy one. After breakfast, the team would leave the facility and have a morning time of ministry. They then did Vacation Bible School with the kids. "We had crafts, sang songs, and played with them on the playground," Patti said. "After that, we would go do ministry in the community, such as community outreach to the kids of Cornerstone Academy.In the evening, the team would go to the orphanage area and play in the courtyard with the children"After the children went to bed, we would have prayer with them," Patti said. "One of the little girls kept saying, 'Auntie, are you crying?!' It was just so touching and moving to pray over them." 

Patti was and still continues to be blown away by the impact that God continues to leave on the people of Kenya. However, she thinks that God has truly impacted her more. "I would say that their hearts are so grateful to the Lord," Patti said. "American's truly don't know what 'need' really is. I saw their daily lives and they were just so grateful all the time. 

This being her very first mission trip, Patti went with the expectation that God was going to do amazing work. However, she soon realized that when they arrived in Kenya, God was already at work there. "There were several salvations," Patti said. "I was not specifically involved in those, but I did show the gospel a lot."  

The place that impacted Patti the most was a refuge for abused and neglected children. Many children there would come from extremely abusive situations and there, Patti saw the great need the children have.   

"I remember one specific instance when I was sitting with a thirteen-year-old girl doing the bead bracelets with the salvation message," Patti said. "She asked me if she could sing in a song in Swahili to me." Patti could only make one word out of the song: Yahweh. "After she finished singing, I asked the girl what the song meant," Patti said. "She said, 'God hide me from my enemies'. I then started crying because I just thought to myself and wondered how many times has she had to sing that out to the Lord?"  

Patti prays for the children in Kenya constantly. She keeps Jeremiah 29:11 in her mind and prays it over the children. "God has a plan for their lives," Patti said. "It really does change your heart." Patti feels like there should be no hesitation when it comes to joining a mission trip. "Don't be afraid, just go!" Patti said. "A lot of people worried about our accommodations but don't be afraid. After being in Kenya, I really left a part of myself there. The people are so grateful towards us and also to God." Patti learned a lot about the Kenyans' dependence on the Lord. "In America, we really aren't always dependent on God," Patti said. "However, we absolutely should be." 

 

Final Blog From Kenya

Dear Friends and Family,

One of my favorite items to do on each trip is to Blog and share about our experiences. If you have been following us in Kenya, you might be wondering why you have not heard from me since Saturday night. Well, God threw us a curve ball and I spent 3 days in the Kijabe Hospital with one of our team members, Jeremy Callaway. He had Kidney Stones and man did he suffer. So, with no Internet from the hospital and not good way of communication, I could not write you. Jeremy is back to his old self and doing great. Thanks for those who prayed for us!

So, I will quickly catch you up...

Sunday - worship at Naomis Village with all the children!  Afternoon of rest, then Keith and Jeremy went to ER. We have some stories to tell you about being admitted to a third world hospital. We got the best care in the country - truly!!!  Amazing doctors and care. God was looking out for us!!

Monday - Safe House in the morning where McKinley lead worship and Dana taught the lesson. These courageous kids had so much fun playing games and playing with crafts. Afterwards we divided into 3 teams to go into 3 homes of children from Cornerstone. It was called Cornerstone Outreach. Cottonwood Creek raised money for this ministry opportunity where you purchased beds, mattress, bench, table and solar lighting to students. It was one of the most impactful times we experienced. Thank you Cottonwood for making this happen. Lives are changed forecer.

Tuesday - Safe House the morning again where we shared the Gospel in our teaching time and mark kids prayed to receive Jesus. It was heartbreaking to leave them and continue to know God is in control of their lives. We thank God for this opportunity to be at Safe House!  Afternoon was spent shopping in Kijabe and final "see you later" events as we packed for the trip home.

Wednesday - woke up early to get to airport, but stopped off at the Giraffe Sanctuary on the way!  So much fun. Look at pictures!!!  Got on plane and now in Dubai waiting to catch out 15 hour flight to see all of you.

His trip has been unforgettable. Thanks for all the prayer and support. We love you and cannot wait to see you at 9:50am in the morning!

Bless you!  So good!!!

On mission team.

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Naomi's Village Day 5

HUGE day filled with laughter, tears, joy and exhaustion.

 

Our team spent the first part of the morning talking about the cultural difference between the Kenyan and American way of living life, then reflected on Paul’s writings that tell us to win some (to Christ) we must become like them.  If we are ever going to relate to the culture and people in Kenya, we must learn from them, be like them and relate to them, then God can open up opportunities for the Gospel.  We practiced this all day long.  Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to your people today.

 

Morning games, crafts and soccer with the little ones!  3 hours of it!  We could not get enough of the laughter and smiles we got to experience during this time.  Face painting was the big hit, along with duck, duck, goose!  Loved the time of investing in their lives today.

 

Delicious lunch then we hiked 6 miles up 2000ft elevation to Kijabe – yes – it was a hike to remember!  Not only was it a difficult stretch for the team, but the sights were amazing!  We ended up at Mark and Liz Sisler home and they made us all kettle corn!  So good, then Bob Mendonsa got a birthday wish my getting drenched by water for a Naoimi’s Village tradition then sung to by the kids.  It was hilarious!

 

Bonfire was a fun dance party, filled with smores and worship, ending with the guys and girls dividing up for hang out time.  It was a long and amazing day to be with these kids. 

 

Worship in the morning then an afternoon of rest and preparing for the rest of the week.  We miss you family and thanks for the prayers!

 

 

OnMission Team

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