Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LIVE REPORT FROM PUERTO PENASCO, MEXICO

Amor Ministries was in Puerto Penasco, Mexico over Veterans Day weekend. Amor's very own Jon Wilson was there on hand to personally report on the progress made to eradicate the conditions of poverty for the poorest of the poor.

Here are some of the statistics of this weekends project in Puerto Penasco:

1,782 participants (from 26 different groups) accomplished the following in 4 days:
  • 47 homes built
  • 1 church built
  • 1 rehab. center built














A family in Puerto Penasco represents the typical conditions of poverty we see there.

Click the photo below or the podcast logo below to hear this 9 minute interview:














Jon Wilson on the way to Puerto Penasco, Mexico


FUN ON SOUTH AFRICA'S RAINBOW FM 90.7 RADIO

Across the "pond" as they say in the UK was where Amor's Steve and Forrest were for this early morning South Africa radio broadcast. The "pond" being the Altantic Ocean of course. I called into the radio station so we could do a brief interview on how things are developing with Amor in South Africa this week. The highlight of the show was hearing Forrest do the traffic news and Steve doing the weather, in Johannesburg of course. Its a really entertaining interview. The broadcast length is just 16 minutes. Click the podcast logo below to go to the interview:


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDREN SING IN AMOR CLASSROOM

I got to talk with Steve Horrex this morning who is in Johannesburg, South Africa today and he just sent me a video of adorable children singing in one of the classrooms that Amor built with the United Kingdom team last March. Its just barely a minute long but you need to watch it to the end because the end is best part!


video

Monday, November 10, 2008

STEVE AND FORREST VISIT AMOR SOUTH AFRICA PROJECTS

DAY 1- SOUTH AFRICA

Steve and Forrest from Amor Ministries sent some amazing photographs today as they traveled throughout Johannesburg doing the work required to set up things for our April 2009 mission trips. I think their pictures tell the story:
















Driving through the "townships" on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
The poverty seems to go off into the horizon forever.
















The South Africa grasslands surrounds the never ending squatter camps.
















The dirt floored homes made from metal siding, pieces of spare wood, and anything than can be used to build some sort of shelter. Its in these conditions that seventy-seven percent of South Africa's children live in an environment without access to proper toilet facilities, electricity and piped water as well.

















One of the five homes that Amor built with the youth and adults from the United Kingdom last March, 2008. The five homes soon became classrooms for the orphans at Ebenezer Care Center and for children from the surrounding township. Notice the nice addition of brick pillars being built at the front of the classroom? They are being built by the homeless adults who have now found a home at Ebenzer.

















Bathrooms under construction between two classrooms built by Amor last March.
Its exciting to see the inhabitants of Ebenzer Care Center taking such ownership and interest in continuing to build on what Amor and the UK youth started.
















Music plays such an important part in the lives of the children of South Africa. A photo opportunity becomes another reason to clap hands and sing a wonderful song. This is just one of the five classrooms Amor recently built.
















What a great sight seeing little children doing their school work in a well constructed, happily decorated classroom. Education and the love of God are the greatest hope we can share.
















The three little buddies love their school. Doesn't it show on their faces!!!


















The colorful tables and chairs brighten up the classrooms and the lives of these now fortunate children.


















Amor's Forrest Fowler more than enjoys the special time he gets to spend with the children of South Africa.

AMOR ADVANCE TEAM ARRIVES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Steve Horrex and Forrest Fowler from the Amor South Africa Advance Team arrived in Johannesburg Sunday night. Steve writes, "We made it here safely and here is the first picture from our dinner meeting that Rainbow FM 90.7 station manager Humphrey Birkenstock hosted. We have made our plans for the week we are here in Johannesburg and now it's all in God's Hands. We are scheduled to be on Rainbow FM 90.7 this Tuesday morning so make sure you're listening-
Steve Horrex".


















From left- Humphrey Birkenstock, Steve Horrex,
Forrest Fowler, and Arnie Hicks.

Is that "Monkey Gland Steak" I see on their dinner plates? Or maybe "Kudu" or "Eland"?


KUDU? or ELAND?

It was this morning, which was this evening for Steve, when he shared how his first day on the ground in Johannesburg went. When you listen to the Podcast below he'll tell you about the surprise weather and some interesting developments in the huge housing need for the poor in South Africa. Its one of the shortest podcasts we have ever done, barely 5 minutes. Consider this just a preview of things to come this week as we communicate with Steve this week in South Africa. Tonight at 8:50 PST, Nov. 10, 2008, Steve will be doing a live radio interview from the Rainbow FM 90.7 studios. I hope to record this interview and email it to you tomorrow with lots of pictures they took today. For now, click the Amor Podcast Logo below and enjoy listening to Steve in South Africa.



Saturday, November 08, 2008

OFF TO AFRICA

I talked with Steve Horrex, Amor's VP for Global Expansion, and he and Amor's Forrest Fowler, are on a plane this morning for Johannesburg, South Africa. They are the advance team and will be spending a week working out the logistics for our April 2009 missions teams from the UK. At present we have 150 missionary participants scheduled to work over the course of two weeks of work in Johannesburg (75 each week).

No doubt their 19 hours of flying time (some 23 hours from San Diego to Johannesburg) will give them plenty of time to think of what they have to get accomplished in a weeks time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

PASTOR DIAZ- LIVE RADIO INTERVIEW

I helped facilitate a live interview with Pastor Lou Diaz from the home of Dan Irving in Chico, California. Pastor Lou Diaz has been on mission trips with Amor for the last three years and is working with Dan to send the first Amor US missions team to South Africa in June 2009. Recently Pastor Lou ran 26.2 miles in the Chicago Marathon to help raise funds for water projects in Africa.




TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW ON RAINBOW FM'S WEBSITE CLICK THE PHOTO ON THE LEFT OF PASTOR LOU DIAZ







Pastor Lou Diaz Running in the Chicago Marathon

Rainbow FM 90.7 of Johannesburg, South Africa aired this broadcast live from their studios in Johannesburg while Pastor Lou and Dan talked from Dan's home through his computer over the internet via Skype.






CLICK ON THIS PICTURE TO HEAR THE ACTUAL LIVE INTERVIEW!










Actual Live Studio Cam Photo Taken During Pastor Lou Diaz's Interview


To listen to live internet audio streaming of Rainbow FM 90.7 go to www.rainbowfm.co.za and click the "Streaming Audio" button. Or go directly to the streaming audio at http://rainbowfm.netdynamix.co.za.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

IN THE JUNGLE

Don't ask me where I am....some where in the Yucatan jungles looking for workers to continue cutting out the road to the Cancun campus with machettes.

Posted on SpotJots near:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ENTRANCE TO AMOR CANCUN CAMPUS

I am standing at the NE corner of the Cancun Campus. This is where the entrance to the Campus will be. I am standing in jungle as I write this on my Blackberry with a jungle pond not but a meter to my left. Did I mention that the mosquitos are following me? OK, some of them are on me!

Posted on SpotJots near:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SONG DEDICATED TO AMOR ON RAINBOW FM 90.7

This song was dedicated to Amor Ministries by Humphrey at Rainbow FM 90.7 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Humphrey wrote: "dedication to Amor Ministries-Sáciame Señor/Yo Sé Que Estás Aquí by Donnie McClurkin & JoAnn Rosario" and aired it early this week. What a beautiful and appropriate song to be devoted to Amor!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

LIVE SOUTH AFRICA BROADCAST

As I promised on my last blog post.....here is tonight's live broadcast from my living room to Rainbow FM 90.7 in Johannesburg, South Africa. I think the interview talks for itself so with no further adieu.... click the photo below. I hope you enjoy this short conversation about what just happened in the US economy, what just occurred this morning in South Africa politics, and see how I avoided a controversial political opinion that Humphrey often likes to drag, or should I say, "trap me into".







Click the photo to the left to hear the live radio interview.

Friday, September 19, 2008

AMOR'S NEW BROADCAST STUDIO

Our partnership with Rainbow FM 90.7 in Johannesburg, South Africa has taken on a whole new dimension with Amor's acquisition of a portable broadcasting studio. Humphrey Birkenstock at Rainbow FM has regularly been asking me to call into his morning radio broadcast. Sometimes I am at the Amor Headquarters in San Diego but most of the time I am calling from home to his morning show in Johannesburg which normally airs at 6:50am (Johannesburg time) to about 9am (Johannesburg time) which for me is 9:46pm (California time) to about midnight (California time). We are doing a short broadcast from San Diego this Sunday, September 21 at 9:45pm (PST). You can hear this broadcast live at this time at Rainbow FM 90.7 audio streaming (http://rainbowfm.netdynamix.co.za/) or by going to the website at Rainbow FM 90.7 at www.rainbowfm.co.za and clicking on "Audio Streaming". I am also going to record this Sunday's broadcast and we should be able to have it available on the next blog post.

















Scotty and Steve at Amor Ministries broadcasting to
Rainbow FM 90.7
via the internet to the Global Christian
Community of Rainbow FM 90.7


















Here is the new Rainbow FM/Amor 90.7's California,
USA broadcast
studio at Amor Ministries Headquarters
in San Diego, California...
in the offices of Amor CEO
Scott Congdon.








Click the image to the left to hear the live recording of Humphrey at Rainbow FM 90.7 announcing the new San Diego broadcast studio.












Click the image to the left to go to the website for Rainbow FM 90.7 where they announce even more about the new San Diego studio.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Pray?

I have always been intrigued and amazed by the significance of prayer and, as many call it today, "the power of prayer". In graduate school at Azusa Pacific University in the early 1990's one of my professors, Don Goehner shared how the President of Mission Aviation Fellowship regularly prayed 3 (yes three) hours a day. He was often seen walking through their headquarters in the early mornings praying the halls, over staff members desks, and at the picture wall of their missionaries around the world. From that day on I have always been concerned that I find the time to dedicate daily prayer for the ministry, the people I know, and what ever God places on my heart to pray about.

I would love to read about how busy executives who travel manage to keep prayer as a priority. Its bad enough trying to keep your exercise routine going much less your healthy diet regiment active when you travel a lot. For me all the above have often been hit and miss. But, as they say, there is no excuse for the present. I find that if I don't write it down, or don't put it in my calendar things often don't get done or addressed. What works for me is having "PRAYER" scheduled the first thing every morning in my calendar so that I am reminded and committed to daily prayer. With today's technology it is so easy to schedule some time like this. Just go to "7am" on any day and hit "recurring daily" and its in your schedule for life. Just a practical idea. I would love to hear other's ideas that have worked as well.






















Bishop Desmond Tutu Praying on the cover.

It may not be necessary for me to write something as elemental as to why prayer is important but something that I recently read reminded me again of the relevancy and magnitude of talking with our Creator. Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Noble Peace Prize winner and South Africa priest, sometime during the apartheid in South Africa was visiting General Theological Seminary in New York. While there he met a nun who was essentially what they call a "solitary nun". Most of her time was spent away from people, in solitude, and in the presence of God. In a conversation with Bishop Tutu she shared that, "I live in the woods in California, and my day starts at two in the morning, and I pray for you."

Bishop Tutu responded, "Here I am being prayed for at two in the morning in the woods in California! What chance does the apartheid government stand?" The Bishop went on to say, "Most of us don't take seriously the power of payer. How much we owe to those dear old ladies who faithfully go to the Eucharist every Wednesday morning. They are unspectacular, unsung. We're probably going to discover that some extraordinary things when we get to heaven. We'll be amazed at the number of people who sustained us."

Never, never underestimate the power of prayers!!

*Dedicated to Greg Yova and appreciation to Dan Irving.

Friday, August 15, 2008

STAYING ON MISSION







I have been hanging out at the Presbyterian Global Fellowship conference in Long Beach the last couple days. One of Amor's actively involved churches is Solana Beach Persbyterian and their Pastor, Mike McClenahan was the opening key note speaker. I am here with some 1,000 people from all over, representing 34 states and 4 continents. Amor Ministries has an powerful presence here with an exhibit booth, a full page advertisement in the conference folder, a full logo on every tote page for every participant, a conference folder sponsor, and a huge Amor logo on the stage screen shown at the general sessions, and more.

I wanted to pass on a little about what Pastor Mike shared that really set the mood for me and hit things right were they needed to be hit. As South African Christian radio broadcaster, Humphrey Birkenstock, often says, "Hit me!". First Mike framed things as they are, "We are in a post- Christian/post-denominational [era]." The reality is that the US is a mission field and always has been. The declining number of so many denominations in the US sends a chilling message that we must all face our "relevance". I remember once asking Humphrey Birkenstock at Rainbow FM 90.7 how he measured his success in the Christian broadcasting business. Humphrey said, "I measure our success on how relevant we are in our community." I was a little embarrassed of thinking he was going to say how many listeners or advertisers he had.

Another speaker yesterday, Alan Hirsch, stated that "consumerism" has become our most influential and powerful religion. As a matter of fact, he once used to be a marketing executive and he shared that the marketing leaders of today are saying that they are filling the void that the church has left behind. They are fervently using the vocabulary of the church in a very scary way. They are leveraging the spiritual needs and voids in people's lives with a search for meaning, significance, and purpose through a message of a fulfillment in consumerism and materialism. Buyer beware!! Do you realize that you are exposed to over 2,000 advertisements a day.

One of Mike's most powerful statements was that we need to "move evangelism out of the hands of the professionals and into the hands of the people- as sent people of God." The church", he said, "needs to be "inwardly stong, and outwardly focused." He shared how his church has sent over 600 people to Mexico with Amor in the last 3 years. Mike believes that all of God's people are his "sent people" and that they need to all experience what it is like to be "sent".

Here are a couple random quotes that I took today that I just love:

"God created us in his image and then we returned the favor." Voltare

"Jesus was in the neighborhood for 30 years and no one knew it. This is the humanity of Christ." Alan Hirsch

"I've come to the conclusion that God does not want mission to be part of the church- but the heart of the church. Doug Henderson

"I won't die happy until every one in our church has a vital missional connection." Tom Theriault

"The highest calling is wherever God has put you." John Knapp

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

URBAN SAINTS RADIO INTERVIEW IN UK

While in the United Kingdom this month Gayla and I had the pleasure of meeting with the leadership of Urban Saints. We conferred with many of the staff of Urban Saints and discussed our partnership to facilitate mission trips to South Africa and Mexico. To read more about Urban Saints click their logo below:











To hear the live radio interview podcast with Gayla and Lyn Ellis from Urban Saints headquarters in Luton, United Kingdom click the photo below:



















Gayla Congdon (left), Lyn Ellis (center), Humphrey Birkenstock (right)
doing live radio broadcast to Rainbow FM 90.7 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Monday, July 14, 2008

UNITING THE KINGDOM

Gayla and I are traveling over the United Kingdom this week. We started in Pwll, Wales last Saturday after landing at London Gatwick Airport and taking a 2 hour train ride to Pwll. Dan Irving from Chico, California and Humphrey Birkenstock, from Johannesburg, South Africa joined us for the train ride that actually lasted 3 hours. It seems that the commonly on time train service had a delay, what they call a "signal malfunction". After waiting for 45 minutes on the tracks the train continued on and we were met by Andy, the Director of Urban Saints. The delay with the train meant that Gayla missed her speaking at the general session. We were more than able to make up for this over the next two days as Bill Hebner graciously found opportunities for us to share about Amor and the South Africa trip at numerous occasions. This camp was located beside a river that opened out to the Atlantic ocean. Just under 200 young people were camped out in tents learning about Christ and how they could help change the world.

Monday, Gayla, Dan and I took a train back to London while Humphrey headed north to Rhyl, Wales, home of Bill Hebner and family. We are in London now to meet with the leadership of Toc H, Urban Saints and Young Life. The adventure of the day was when we arrived in London at the Paddington Train Station. We had just arrived and stopped in the station for a cup of coffee. Just as we began to sip our coffees a loud alarm went off announcing that were were to evacuate the terminal immediately. Hundreds of people quickly left the train station to the streets of London. A bag left on a train dock caused suspicion of a bomb and the police had us evacuate. We have surely left the peace and quiet of Wales. We found a suitable hotel in the Kensington district and met with an old acquaintance of Dan Irving's from his Toc H days some 30 years ago.

I took a short walk outside the hotel after dinner to discover that we were just blocks from Kensington Palace. In 2000 I had the pleasure of meeting with the personal assistant of the Duke and Duchess of Kent who were residing at the palace. This was also were Princess Diana had an apartment, adjacent to the personal assistance office. I had gotten a private behind the scene tour of the palace courtyard and then treated to fish and chips at the Goat Tavern across the street from the Palace. What was quite unique was the personal assistance had been on a mission trip with Amor the previous year. We share stories of Mexico and I learned that he had decided to pursue a career in the ministry. I only recently managed to connect again with him to learn that he is now an acting minister with a church in England.

One great story I have to share was told by Bill Hebner this weekend. There is a show called the "Secret Millionaire" here in the UK. It seems the show sent cameras and a crew to follow Bill around in Rhyl, Wales after hearing about all the great work he has been doing for the community. Bill took them around for days showing them all the great work going on by all sorts of people. By the time they stopped filming and following Bill, the Secret Millionaire announced all sorts of charitable contributions to various people and charitiable entities that Bill had shown them. Much to our delight, one if them was Toc H which I had introduced Bill to in his very own home town of Rhyl a few years ago. It appears that the Secret Millionaire made a 30,000 pound comtribution ($60k US) to the Rhyl Toc H Chapter. In case you didn't remember, Toc H of the UK funded the program at the University of California in Irvine, California called Community Concern in the 1970's which was the group I first went to Mexico with to the Tijuana orphanage where I met Gayla and where we subsequently started Amor Ministries!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

CANCUN CAMPUS ENTRANCE

I thought you might be interested in seeing the current architectural renderings of the proposed gated entrance to the Amor Cancun Campus. This first gate is actually the front entrance to the entire 100 acre residential community being planned. The Amor Campus will be located towards the back of the community. Work is already underway for the entrance which includes an office, a small store, and a meeting area.


















Front gate to "La Cienega" and Amor Campus.




















Front gate with a view of the office, store and patio on the right.


















View of front gate from within "La Cienega". The Caribbean is
just two miles off in the horizon.

Monday, July 07, 2008

WE ARE BUILDING A CHRISTIAN CAMPUS!!

On a recent trip to Cancun, Mexico to work on the planning for our Cancun Campus I met someone I had previously met nearly eight years ago. Macario Morales was the recipient of the last home Amor built in Cancun. It was in early 2000 when Amor built a home for Macario with his wife and 4 children. Unfortunately things became difficult in the Morales family and they separated. Gilberto Figeroa met Macario at the church they were the both were attending. Gilberto was helping build the church as he continues to do today.














Gilberto at the church he has been helping build.

For nearly 5 years Gilberto lost touch with Macario. Just 4 months ago Gilberto decided to track him down. Macario was driving a taxi in Cancun. Gilberto needed a mechanic to work on his vehicles including the tractor was being used to build the road and grade the land where Amor’s future campus with be. Macario is a handy man of all kinds.














Macario (on the left) and Gilberto (on the right)

The Amor Campus is located in a development called “La Cienega” which in English basically means a “a big place with water”. Gilberto is developing a residential gated community of some 100 acres located just 10 miles south of the Cancun International Airport. It is nearly a mile off the main Cancun-Tulum highway. That mile feels several miles since it is deep in the Yucatan jungle. There is currently no inhabitants, much less electricity, running water, or any amenities- just raw pristine jungle with a meandering limestone gravel road (known as ‘sascabe’) that runs directly to the entrance of the Amor Campus.














Gilberto and Macario discussing repairs needed
on the
tractor at the entrance to the housing and
Amor
Campus project.

Macario is currently fixing the tractor that is situated at the entrance to La Cienega. This is a small, old, but capable tractor known as “Mosquito”. Macario also drives the tractor as he continues to build roads and grade the entire La Cienega and Amor Campus project. The tractor is driven six days a week from 8am to 5pm, raining or not. And it rains a lot here. Why do you think they call it a jungle?

Gilberto has been ministering to Macario every since they became re-aquianted. Just last week Macario promised to go back to church this week. Gilberto says Macario is a great worker and a good man. He knows he is working on the Amor Campus as do all of Gilberto’s other workers. Knowing that they are helping build a Christian Campus gives them incredible motivation to brave the often stifling heat and humidity in the jungle. Gilberto reminds them of the story of the 3 brick layers who was asked what they were doing. The first brick layer said, “ I am laying bricks, of course.” The second brick layer say, “I am building a wall.” The third brick layer said, “Why I am building a catheral!”

Gilberto said that all his workers know that they aren’t just cutting roads our of the jungle with a machete. They aren’t just driving a tractor to level the ground. No, they aren’t just cutting down trees to clear they terrain. They all know they in their own personal way they are building God’s kingdom. They are building a Christian Campus to train pastors and missionaries who will change the world in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

FAMILY CAMP TALKS TO JOHANNESBURG

I was in the Mexico/US border line this week heading home after having spending the evening at Rancho Amor (Tijuana, Mexico) with our Family Camp. While in the border line behind a line of some 50 cars I text messaged Humphrey Birkenstock at Rainbow FM 90.7. I was actually listening to his 7am (Johannesburg time) broadcast and thought he would enjoy knowing that I was listening to him using my wireless card on my laptop. His streaming live broadcast from Johannesburg was coming in over the internet like it was a local Tijuana, Mexico radio station.

Click the picture of me below to hear this broadcast:







Click photo to the left to hear the radio interview.









I am wearing the hat that Humphrey Birkenstock gave me
in South Africa. It says, "Building hope, one home at a time.
South Africa 2008." I also understand that the color
orange signifies "hope" in Africa.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HELLO JOHANNESBURG

What started as a great friendship and partnership with Johannesburg radio station manager, Humphrey Birkenstock, last May in, of all places, Tijuana, Mexico, has lead to nearly weekly live broadcasts to Rainbow FM 90.7 as I have been traveling. I have had the pleasure of talking with Humphrey on the radio from places such as Cancun, Mexico; Tijuana, Mexico; Rosarito Mexico; San Diego, California; and Lake Almanor in Northern California.









Is quite amazing to think that we call call on our cell phone or use SKYPE and call over the internet to a radio station and be heard by nearly a half a million people 10,000 miles away. Its both exciting and inspiring to see how the love of Christ is being broadcast all over the world via the internet, satellites, and soon cell phones. Humphrey just sent a Facebook email to all his friends saying that this summer Rainnbow FM 90.7 would be deploying audio streaming that would work on cell phones around the world. Amazing!

Click the picture below to go to the most recent Podcast I did of an live radio interview we broadcast from Northern California to Johannesburg, some 10,000 miles away:



Click picture to the left to go to the Podcast.














Oh, by the way. If you haven't already seen it, I thought you would enjoy seeing the t-shirt design that Humphrey did for our March 2008 mission trip to Johannesburg. Before being a radio jock, Humphrey did a lot of graphic design. What a talented guy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

CLEAN WATER

Amor recently completed our first water filtration project at Rancho Amor in Tijuana, Mexico. For years we have dreamed of developing a way to give the families we serve in Mexico a simple, low cost, and low maintenance solution to clean, drinkable water.

According to a published report from El Economista, ninety-five percent of Mexico's fresh water supply is contaminated, and 25 percent of the country's water treatment plants operate inadequately. The report listed other scary statistics as well stating that thirteen million Mexicans do not have access to potable water and another 27 million lack proper drainage systems.

Such a huge dilemma demanded some research and a response by Amor. Kamar Chafi, Amor Intern and recent graduate of San Diego State University, has spent this year tackling this issue and organized the training and construction of the first water filtration system used by Amor. Through a coordinated effort of Darrell Larson at Canyon View Christian Fellowship, Cup of Hope International, and Amor Ministries an extensive training session was undertaken and then the construction of an actual BioSand water filter was completed.



























The first step was filling the metal form with concrete.

This only takes about a half bag of cement- a readily
available product around the world.



























The cement is allowed to dry in the metal form with the
lid securely closed. It is then allowed to set
over night.



























We loosened the bolts and banged on the sides of
the mold as we slid the hardened filter out of the
mold. Voila, a SandBio Filter is born. Gravel and
sand was then placed in the filter.




























In the picture above the cloudy water on the right
was poured into the filter the day we made the
filter which had only just been filled with sand
and gravel.


As you can see, the filter cleaned out probably
70% of the matter in the water. Wait 6-8 weeks
and the naturally forming
algae will grow throughout
the sand in the filter
and complete the process of
cleaning the water.
Once the algae takes hold the
filter will clean the water 90-99 percent.



















The team that made the this all possible is shown above.
The first BioSand Filter built at Amor and displayed
at Rancho
Amor in Tijuana, Mexico.

This it truly a monumental occasion as we have now installed and
displayed the very first piece of "appropriate technology"
at the Ranch. This is the beginning of our dream for a Center of
Appropriate Technology showcasing hundreds and
hundreds of technologies that can improve the
conditions and lives of the 3 billion people around
the world that live on less than 2 dollars a day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

RELIEF IN ENSENADA, MEXICO

I am writing this blog as we are driving along the Ensenada-Tijuana coastal highway after having met with former Amor board member John Shattuck. Don't worry, Steve Horrex, Amor Director of International Relations, is driving. I am typing this email out on my laptop as he swerves along the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean listening to an out of frequency Mexican radio station. To add to the fun of the winding cliff road we also have coastal fog and rain. In San Diego we call this "June Gloom".

We just completed meeting with John Shattuck at his manufacturing plant in Ensenada to look at a prototype home made of OSB. For those of you who don't know or didn't know, like me, OSB stands for "Oriental Strand Board". Don't ask me why. This prototype house is made of pre-constructed panels consising of a Styrofoam core sandwiched between two pieces of "OSB" panels. Even the roof is made of from these panels. The insulating factor is excellent.

















This home is being design to be used as a quick build disaster/relief shelter. Ideally, this stype home could be loaded into cargo containers and shipped or flown anywhere in the world to provide permanent emergency shelter. It can be built easily in less than a day. We discussed numerous options and modifications to this design that should enable us to build the first model by the end of the year. The prototype we saw, as shown in the photograph above, was 11 feet wide, by 14 feel long. The model that Amor will be testing will look more like our convention al Amor single homes with a floor measurement of 11 feet by 22 feet. Just as the current Amor singles have, this model will also have a single sloping roof at the height of 8 feet high one side and 7 feet high on the other.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

30 YEARS TO MEXICO

Gayla and I spoke at First Christian Church (FCC) of Concord this evening. FCC has been going to Mexico for 30 years. Yes, their youth group has been going to Mexico that long. Longer than Amor has even existed. But Gayla worked with them on their first trip in 1978 in Tijuana, Mexico when she was living at a Tijuana orphanage. After Gayla and I met for the first time that same year I began working with them and in the early eighties we moved from working on the orphanage to building the first homes in the Tijuana dump. Yes, I said "dump". It was here that the city was sending their garbage and where well over a hundred homeless children lived and more than 300 impoverished families lived off the garbage.





















FCC Concord Celebrates 30 Years of Ministry to Mexico

In those early years, Youth Director Bill McNabb and Steven Mabry brought their Northern California youth groups to rustic Tijuana, Mexico. These were the days of showing up in Mexico with a general idea of what we were going to do and the youth group bringing what cash they had raise. We had to plan the projects and buy the materials the day the groups arrived in Mexico! Oh the thrill of it.

It was amazing hearing all the stories of people who had gone on trips to Mexico with Amor. One adult had gone on more than 16 trips to Mexico. FCC Concord Senior Pastor Russ Peterman has led trips from his previous church assignments as well from LaFayette, (California) and Sandy Springs (Georgio). Russ had even gone on the very first Amor trip to Cancun, Mexico to help put a roof on a home and establish the beginning of Amor in the tropics of the Yucatan.

This was a wonderful evening hearing such great stories and seeing their enthusiasm for their upcoming Mexico trips. 30 years of of ministry to Mexico, 28 years of partnership with Amor, and we look forward to what the next 30+ years of ministry bring.

OFF TO MEXICO THEY GO!





















Gayla and I stopped in at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church this morning to see the 350 participants load up on MexiCoach buses this morning.





















They left about 8am and headed to Tijuana, Mexico to join the other40 members of their church who were at Rancho Amor in Tijuana already setting up their camp.





















T
hat's a total of 380 people from Solana Beach to build homes over the long Memorial weekend. Six MexiCoach buses and a long line of assorted shuttle buses, cargo vans and other vehicles followed right behind.





















Past Amor Board member- Polly Nelson (in red jacket on the left), Amor Co-Founder- Gayla Congdon (my adorable wife in black in the center), and past Amor Board member and Senior Pastor of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church- Mike McClenahan (on right in jeans, of course!) had a great time visiting with all those people going on the buses to Mexico.






















One of the last sights we saw as this great team of compassionate servants began heading south was past Amor board member- Polly Nelson waving her banner for her team as she lead them to the bus to head south.

In three days this huge team will build over 20 homes. I wish Gayla and I could be there but we are at the San Diego airport right now getting ready to board a plane to Oakland, CA to speak First Christian Church Concord and First Christian Church San Francisco this weekend. I really look forward to reporting to you how their weekend goes. I am sure they are all really happy as the buses pulled away and the clouds broke open for the sun to shine through. It looks like the rain that has saturated San Diego and Tijuana has finally moved on. Hurray!! McClenahan mentioned that he was glad the rain passed through and put a damper on the normally ever present dirt and dust. He did comment on how the sawing of the wood might be a little more difficult the first day since some of the wood may have gotten soaked. "A challenge we will gladly will take on", he said with a smile.