Wednesday, July 30, 2008


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


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


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


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
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.