Vacationing With a Purpose

One of the great things about being a missionary is connecting people who want to make a difference in the lives of others. Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of coordinating an outreach for Ciudad de Angeles orphanage for Zumba instructors, Melissa Mace and Holly Rose. The children were so joyful and full of smiles, asking if they could could back tomorrow to teach again, and if not tomorrow how about the next day.

 

If you would like be part of making a difference in changing lives,  please pray for us and consider doing an outreach in Cozumel, Mexico. We are happy to help coordinate all your needs. Thank you for your continued support in prayer and financing.  If you would like to make a monetary donation to support our efforts in spreading the word and sharing the love of Jesus,  please do so through Pay Pal’s secure system at the link below, or email Eric at ericwlucy@yahoo.com for more details. PayPal.Me/7dayheromexicoImage

 

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Before The Gym….

I’m impatient and stubborn. I suppose it is something that I was born with. As I child, I remember sitting in the car, stomping on the horn trying to rush my mom to go to the beach. Mind you anyone that knew my mom, knows that she was always an hour late. I think it was God’s way of trying to teach me patience back then. But as often happens, the lessons you refuse to learn you get to learn over and over.
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There are certain things that you just can’t rush, like the tomatoes in my garden that have not turned red yet, or baking a cake (when you try, the outside burns and the inside remains raw).

Yet still there are those things in life that your dream about, then put on a shelf, or maybe even forget about entirely. Then, several years later, you find yourself doing exactly what you said you wanted to do. That happened to me. When I was a young mom I used to wIMG_4884ork out to Denise Austin on T.V. She was an instructor from my hometown who would go to different resorts around the world and teach fitness. I remember saying, “I would love a job like that.” Three years ago, while on my very first Fitness Vacation Exchange, I was walking down the street in Playa del Carmen and the light bulb went off; God had put this dream in my heart 20 years ago and without even knowing, He brought it to pass. I was teaching Aqua Zumba and Zumba at a resort in Cancun, Mexico and sending other instructors to resorts to do the same.

Isaiah 30:18

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Thirteen years ago, my husband and I were walking the beach and he shared with me his dream. He wanted to have a bed and breakfast for “burned out” pastors. A place that pastors and their wives could come to rest, reflect and recharge. As a pastor, he’d been there and understoIMG_6115od the demands of the position and the need to get away and connect with the Lord. His dream, like mine,  was put on the shelf, and then God, in his glorious timing has opened the door.

A few years ago we moved to Cozumel, Mexico to serve as full time missionaries. We fell in love with the people. God has given us a passion for them that rivals our youth ministry days. We train up local pastors for ministry. We serve the local congregations in various ways,  train and love people in the gym and dance world, practice and teach sustainable agriculture, aquaponics and soon beekeeping.  We have chickens, turkeys, parakeets, a dog,  tilapia, fruit and vegetable gardens and as mentioned above, bees. Like many things that one delights in, we want to share our world with others. The Lord has put it on our hearts to welcome pastors and their wives for a retreat that will hopefully serve as a spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual catalyst.

There are several different options, but they would all begin with a delicious, homemade breakfast with ingredients straight from the farm; eggs, turkey bacon, fresh fruit, breads IMG_5636and coffee. After breakfast, you can chose to relax at the pool, take the bikes to the beach for a snorkel, paddle board, workout at the gym or do aqua Zumba. All activities are led by members of our Christian communities.  You can go on a historical excursion, tour, scuba dive, take a Spanish class, assist in an outreach, help at the orphanage or Sober Living House, learn aquaponics, sustainable agriculture techniques or do nothing at all. This retreat is designed for you to learn and experience something new.  It is our goal is to help meet pastors’ needs, and provide an environment for them to rest, recharge and learn something about Mexico and its greatest treasure – the people.  Please contact Eric at ericwlucy@yahoo.com for more info.

In the photos below: Turtle Rescue, Horseback Riding, Pool, Outreach, Snorkeling,Beaches

ImageThank you for your prayers and continued support!

The Turkey Diaries

“You’re such a chicken!” I find myself saying to the little chick, as she frantically clucks and waddles at full speed trying to catch up with the other chickens who have wondered down the drive. IMG_4965Sometimes, I can’t help but feel as if I am living in a Golden Book Story.  Our chickens act exactly like the characters Henny Penny and Chicken Little, well they did that is, until we got the turkeys.

 

My family and I arrived back to Cozumel in September. We have been busy building a training center and farm for humanitarian aid workers on sustainable agriculture and aquaponics.

As part of the project, we have planted a variety of vegetables, flowers for the bees, and local fruit trees.  We purchased 10 chickens, 50 tilapia – to use in the aquaponic tanks, and 5 queen bees. Recently, my husband came home with 3 baby turkeys, which changed the dynamics of the farm forever (or at least until Easter).

 

You ask, “What can three baby turkeys do to change the dynamic of the farm?” Well, let me enumeration the ways.

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  1. The turkeys have taught the chickens bad behavior. IMG_4968The once scared chickens  have found their bravado. They follow me, clipping at my heels and standing on my feet as I work in the garden. They even try to get inside the house, where our 150 pound mastiff patiently waits to eat them.
  2. Turkeys are crafty escape artists. We have built them a 12 x 12 foot yard, which they share with the chickens. The shade cloth roof has proved to be the wrong material to use. When the wind shifts or when it rains, the turkeys find the smallest flaw in the saturated fabric and climb onto the roost, plotting their escape. They  jump onto the shade cloth, using it as a trampoline of sorts. Then, bouncing up and down, they get enough lift to gently sail to the ground. The chickens have followed their leaders.
  3. Turkeys are like locusts. The life of the turkey and the chicken is all about food. We feed them twice a day, plus give them scraps from the table. However, no matter how much you feed them, they always want more – thus their desire to escape into the garden. I’ve seen them as they walk by, they look at me and then nonchalantly snip off a leaf from my cucumber plant.
  4. Turkeys are insolent. They have no regard for the rules and areIMG_3749 completely unabashed. I open my curtains in the morning, and at my sliding glass door, the turkeys and chickens whistle and sing when they see me.
  5. Turkeys have weaseled their way into the heart of my husband. Every morning my husband comes back from feeding the fowls with a big smile on his face and the same statement, “Those turkeys are so cute. I don’t know about eating them.”

Keeping this in mind,  I left to Riviera Maya for a week. It rained the entire time. The turkeys and chickens escaped and proceeded to eat every plant right down to the stem.The garden was gone. The bees flew away, and 30 tilapia jumped right out of the tank and committed suicide. We had to start all over, almost from scratch.

The next Sunday I flipped open up my bible, and beaming off the page in pink highlighter, the words from John 4:35 stood out at me,

“Don’t you have a saying, “It’s still four months until harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” “Even now those who reap draw their wages, even now they harvest the crop for eternal life so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.”

The Lord is good and He showed us to focus on the people. That is His ministry. Oh, the farm is still here…..11 chickens, 3 turkeys, 50 new fish and tons of beautiful plants, but our hearts are turned to serving the Lord’s people. The moment we stepped out in faith, He opened up the doors of church ministry again. Eric is now the executive pastor at the church we helped plant. He is teaching a men’s bible study and doing one-on-one discipleship programs. The Spanish Pastor’s wife and I are beginning a women’s bible study as well as a youth group program at the start of the new year. God has big plans for the people of this island.

In closing, I’d like to finish by telling you a little about how we celebrated Thanksgiving and how we are going to celebrate Christmas, as God has orchestrated so much.

Thanksgiving

Although Thanksgiving is distinctly an American and Canadian tradition, our friends in Mexico, both Americans and Mexicans, helped us to celebrate this year. We had over 50 people at our house, many of whom do not know the Lord, and who think Thanksgiving is merely a time  to be thankful to one another. We were excited about the opportunity to share with them the true meaning of Thanksgiving ~

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Psalm 118:1

Christmas Eve Blessing

Christmas in Cozumel is such a beautiful celebration. The children have concerts and dance recitals in the square,and the music from neighborhood parties can be heard into the wee hours of the night. However, when I think of the people in the squatter village of Las Fincas and what Christmas looks like for them, I pause. They are poor and their Christmas Eve meals will not even look close to the abundance we are used to in the U.S.

Here is where God shows up! Several weeks ago I was contacted by email from a woman in Arkansas. She wrote that she and her family will be vacationing in Cozumel over Christmas and would like to help us with our  ministry. They are available to help on Christmas Eve. I tell her about the squatter’s village of Las Fincas and ask her if she would like to bring rotisserie chicken meals to bless the families there. I envision going door to door handing out the chicken meals. She loves the idea so much that she seeks others to donate towards the cause.

Last week, I received yet another email from another family who will be vacationing in Cozumel over Christmas, asking how they can help. God takes my plan of going door to door and creates something grand. With over $900.00 US to purchase about 150 rotisserie chicken meals, we have decided to have offer a Christmas blessing to the Las Fincas community. We will be setting up at the park, and inviting the families to hear the Good News of Jesus and the Christmas story. We will have games for the children and pass out the chicken meals to 150 families.

ImageHere’s where you can help. If you would like to be a part of this ministry and mission, you can donate towards more family meals. The meals cost $6.50/family and 100% of your donation will go towards meals. Please click on the link below to donate via paypal, or email Eric at ericwlucy@yahoo.com for more info. If you are on the island and would like to help in the Christmas blessing please contact us via email to find out all the details. May God bless you during this Christmas season and the coming New Year!

paypal.me/7dayheromexico

La Vida Es Un Carnival ~ Life Is A Carnival

When we were living in the United States, we found most days to be homeostatic. The alarm went off, the coffee pot turned on and our daily routines ensued – Eric off to work at the gym and I worked busily selling books or teaching Zumba. It was a reliable life, one where we could go to the store knowing that there would be milk in the refrigerators and avocados on the shelves.  When we were told something in business, we could be 90% certain it was going to happen. When we asked someone for directions, we could be assured that if they responded they would actually know the place we wanted to go and how to get there. (In the Mexican culture, people don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they won’t ever tell you something you don’t want to hear, including that they don’t know the place you are asking directions for.)

Living in Cozumel , life is like a carnival. There are moments that our days and our hearts are so full  we glow like the sequins on an acrobat’s costume. And then there are those times when the spot lights turn off, everything goes dark and all that we have planned and worked for comes to an abrupt halt and we wonder what to do next. Our days are either very high or very low, there is really no “in-between”.

So much has happened over this past month and a half, that there is simply too much to tell in just one blog, so I am going to divide the blog into two parts: Holiday Happenings and January 15th to present.

Christmas in Cozumel

Celebrating Christmas, New Years and, a new holiday for us, Dia de los Reyes Magos (3-Kings Day) in Cozumel  was an incredible blessing. The holidays revolve around family and fiestas.  On any IMAG0243given day or night in December, one could go to the square and take in the spirit of Christmas with children dancing and singing on stage, families  playing round the Christmas tree, and fire dancers  and puppet shows entertaining the crowds.  This season brought about abundant blessings. And, as I write now, I see that God’s gift to us this Christmas was the opening of more doors for His ministry.

We had the opportunity to serve in Las Fincas with some incredible people including Ken Homann, founder of His Life Ministries, Mexico IMG_6471and Kathy McGinn one of the members of It’s All About The Kids Cozumel. We also found ourselves back with the children at the orphanage, Ciudad de Los Angeles, planting corn, tomatoes, peppers and more with our new friend David Rapp.

Christmas Celebration With His Life Ministries MexicoIMG_6519

On December 26, 19 Texans and 20 or so gringos (Mexican term for white people) drove by caravan on a dirt and deeply rutted road to the swampy park in Las Fincas – chairs, speakers, coolers, games, food,  and presents for 500 children in tow.  After setting up roughly 300 chairs, a few Spanish speaking volunteers clamored inside a VW Bug, replete with speakers the size of Manhattan tied to its roof, and drove down each dirt inlet to invite everyone to a pasada in the park. Abuelos, padres and ninos (grandparents, parents and children) all stopped whatever they were doing and walked from their houses to the park. They came in droves walking through puddles, not mystified in the least, to partake in the IMG_6431festivities; gunny sac races, hoops contests, break dancing, making salvation bracelets,  and a lunch of tamales, soda, and cake for dessert. It was really quite an amazing feat, and only one of several events that His Life Ministries put on during the week. What struck me most was, when I was leaving a grandmother stopped me and hugged me in the middle of the festivities. She wanted to thank me for the bibles that she and her husband received that day. I asked her if I could take her picture, and with pride she held her Bible to her heart and told her husband to display his too.

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Dia de los Reyes Magos – 3 Kings Day

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Dia de los Reyes Magos is a grand holiday in Cozumel.  This holiday commemorates the 3 Magi when they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn baby Jesus. In celebration, children traditionally leave their shoes outside, sometimes stuffed with hay, then go to sleep hoping for a visit from the 3 Kings. In the morning, evidence of their visit may be left on the lawn in the form of a  mound of blue dung from the one king who rides the elephant. The hay that the children left in their shoes has been “eaten” and in its place toys and gifts abound.

The families in Las Fincas are in no way financially able to purchase gifts for their children, so this amazing group of volunteers, It’s All About The Kids Cozumel, founded by Susan Bonnett, rallies together each year by asking for donations for toys and money to provide the children with presents, and their parents with food on Three Kings Day.  After hearing about a crazy bald gringo who is building a community garden in Las Fincas,  aka Eric,  member, Katy McGinn, decided IMG_6537she needed to have us on her team. So, on January 4 we once again caravanned out onto the dirt roads of Las Fincas. It was quite a sight. The first two vehicles were overflowing with soccer balls. The next six cars were loaded with over 400 IMG_6603children’s gifts and the last two were filled with 200 bags of rice, tomato puree, tuna, and 400 oranges plus gifts for moms and babies.  We parked side by side, opened our trunks full of presents and were blessed by the beautiful smiles from the children and parents.

Eric and I want to thank you all for your financial support and prayers.  If you donate would like to donate towards 7 Day Hero Mexico please click on the link below.

paypal.me/7dayheromexico

John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  We certainly feel your love and are thankful we can pass on this love in the name of Jesus.

Check in next week for Part II of La Vida Es Un Carnival to hear what we are doing at the orphanage, Las Fincas Community Gardens, our second church and our move.