El Cacalote, Mexico [see their direct post here]
Early upon arriving in Cacalote for Roca Blanca Spanish School (RBSS), we made a prayerful and concerted effort to find ways to serve the small town community. Our prayers were answered through the "adolescentes" group in the local church. Fahren was also able to find opportunities with the kitchen on base.
This month, we would like to share with you how we have seen the Lord's hand in the provision of yet another opportunity to love and serve the people of Cacalote through a weekly boxing class.
Taylor's paternal grandfather, Ken Hendrix, was a large influence on Taylor growing up. From a young age, Taylor remembers summers visiting "Papa Ken and Grandma Linda" where Papa Ken would take him and his brother, Connor, fishing and boating. Taylor recalls stories of Papa Ken's time as a helicopter mechanic, a boxer in the Marine Corps, and a Pipefitter. These stories were in large part why Taylor spent 10 years in the Air Force and later became a Pipefitter.
Another thing that Taylor and Papa Ken shared was their love of combat sports and boxing. Taylor took up the "Sweet Science" while in the Air Force and continued training for years at different gyms across the country. After watching Taylor train for years including two fights at Luke Air Force Base, Fahren was finally convinced to train as well. For a year, we trained together weekly, and while the gym offered a variety of martial arts, boxing was our favorite as a couple. There was no way that we could have known it at the time, but the Lord was preparing us for future service.
Boxing is a large part of Mexican culture. It is arguably their most popular sport, second only to association "fútbol". It is a source of national pride, and boxers such as Salvador Sanchez, Eric Morales, Julio Cesar Chavez and Canleo Alverez are considered national icons and some of the sport's international pound for pound greatest. It serves a bridge between American and Mexican culture.
Valentín and his daughter Nicol
After having a few conversations with men in the community, we were able to tell that a boxing class would be well-received, but we did not have any of our equipment to host the class. The two things that are absolutely necessity for a boxing class are hand wraps, to protect the hands of the trainees, and focus mitts, flat, circular gloves that give the trainees targets to strike. The small town of Cacalote, with just over 1,000 residents, doesn't have anything approaching a sports store, so we set out to the nearby city of Puerto Escondido. Over the course of two seperate trips into town, we found that none of the sports shops had what we needed. We went to two gyms and neither was able to help us with the focus mitts, regretfully informing us that we'd need to buy them online from Mexico or Oaxaca City.
At the end of our second day, we were resigned to having to wait several weeks for shipping to our remote location on the coast. A classmate suggested one final gym, so we made the 40 minute, uphill walk to Pitbull's Gym. As the Lord would have it, here we found our focus mitts. The owner of the gym, Valentín, is a fellow believer and said that while mitts were impossible to find in Puerto, he had a pair that we could have. They were a little worse for wear, but with a bit of leather thread and some careful sewing, Fahren was able to restore them to fighting shape.
We had been feeling defeated, but the Lord provided beyond what we were hoping for.
The focus mitts shared by Valentín.Good as new!We were expecting mostly men from the community, but our students have been the young children of Casa Hogar, the on-base orphanage. These young ones have showed up consistently, giggling and excited to learn. Words fail to describe how much fun it has been to share this sport with them, to invest time and affection with them.
We wanted to share this story for two reasons:
1) You never know what experiences the Lord may be using to prepare the advancement of His kingdom. There is no way that Papa Ken could have imagined that sharing his love for boxing would lead to his grandson and grandaughter teaching orphans in Mexico.
2) God is always faithful to provide.
Taylor and our most recent group of boxers-in-training.Prayer Needs:
1. Please pray that the Lord would quicken our minds to help cement the Spanish knowledge we're learning and transform it into fluid conversation.
2. Wisdom on how to proceed with the boxing class and that the Lord would use this as a training ground for how to navigate the various needs of children versus adults at Pan de Vida in the future.
1. Car storage for 2 months: We are in need of somewhere to store a Toyota Corolla in Phoenix starting in the beginning of November until the beginning of January. It does not have to be indoor or covered parking.
2. Large vehicle for moving: In late December or very early January, we need help moving our belongings to Rocky Point. We cannot bring a rental vehicle across the border, so we need someone to drive a truck and trailer or RV from Phoenix to Rocky Point to transport some of our larger items which cannot fit in our cars.
1. June 2022: That our hearts would be filled to overflowing with love both for the people here, but also in Puerto Peñasco. The Lord has continued to answer this prayer request abundantly. We deeply care for so many individuals in Cacalote and will be very sad to depart in December, but the Lord has maintained and even strengthened our love for the community of Puerto Peñasco. We've been able to video chat with the other missionary couples from i6eight and send messages to various other families we know either through Pan de Vida or our previous house builds.
2. July 2022: Sensitivity to the Spirit's leading in what to teach the "adolescentes" from the Word and that it would be done in His power alone, overcoming any language barrier. Abdias, one of the local leaders who will continue on with the "adolescentes" after we leave has faithfully provided us with general topics, allowing us the freedom to amplify with other passages. The most recent Sunday on which we taught was by far the most fluid our Spanish has been. Outside of our meetings, two girls have asked to speak to Fahren privately for Biblical advice. Praise the Lord for His work!
3. August 2022: Taylor and Fahren will be doing two upcoming day trips to help the medical team in seeing patients who have little to no access to medical care. These trips are planned for Monday 8/22 to Juquila and Thursday 8/25 to Loma Bonita. Between the two trips, over 130 patients received medical care and had access to antiparasitic medications, vitamins, and most importantly prayer. We received some valuable cultural advice from a local pastoral couple in Juquila while also having our conviction to serve at Pan de Vida strengthened.
4. August 2022: As school resumes, please pray that we would give proper attention to our studies while also continuing to love on our new community. We are officially over halfway done with school and are really starting to see the fruits of our study. We have struck a balance between studying and ministry, with also many opportunities to intertwine the two. Last Thursday, we were able to use Ephesians to share our testimony in Spanish for 45 minutes with other married couples in the local church.