Isn't it a great feeling when you are able to get a WIN-WIN in ministry?
Well, the CPD along with the Mexicali Base just got a Quadruple WIN! The first win is that our truck made it across the border, bringing the much needed supplies for the new worship center. The second win is that YOU, our prayer warriors, got to see God say YES to your requests! The third win is the ministry that will take place in the hearts of the people of Mexico as they are blessed by the new worship center and the loving service that Gil and his team provide. The fourth win is all the wonderful things that will happen in the hearts of our church people as they bring teams to do ministry in the new worship center. How wonderful to see what God is doing through the CPD! THANK YOU Paradise Alliance Church for your service to our God and King! - Tim Agnello
"Oh, glorify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!” Psalm 34:3
The Full Story- by Matt Larson, Paradise CMA Pastor
Our church has been blessed with an abnormally high number of men who are skilled in the construction trades. For the last 10 years we have been traveling to Mexico to construct buildings to support our ministry partners. For the last 7 or 8 years we have focused all of our time building up the base in Mexicali. Through the years we have remodeled the giant clinic building and redone the kitchen. We have built the director's house and the dorms that hold over 40 people. We have graded the property and done extensive work to establish an effective septic system. We built a multi-station dental clinic for dental ministry. We have been heavily invested in the Mexicali base, which is why we are so thrilled to have Gil and Kim Blanco onsite making that ministry grow and thrive.
In the early years we started out sleeping in tents, using homemade “banos” which was a deep ditch covered by white plywood privacy walls, and eating our meals and worshiping outdoors in the dirt. Now when groups come to the base they have a clean bunk to sleep on, air conditioning which is a life saver during the hotter times of the year, indoor plumbing, running water and heated showers.
This January we took on our biggest project to date. A giant, 2400 square foot worship center with vaulted ceilings that would also serve as a dining hall. The vision for this trip began in late 2016 and in January of 2017 a small but devoted team of guys went down to Mexicali to pour the foundation. At the time, I have to confess I was skeptical. I feared we were building a concrete slab that would sit there for years. To finish the project, we would have to come up with $40,000, and we didn’t have $40,000 sitting around! But our men built that foundation in faith.
Nothing is impossible for God. A few months after the foundation was poured, we got a call from Tim Agnello from the Central Pacific District. He had $40,000 to make the dream a reality. I was incredibly humbled by that.
And so our guys went to work, drawing up the blueprints, putting a team of leaders together to oversee the different facets of the project and holding meetings to prepare the men to build this worship center in only 6 days.
The biggest challenge that we would face would be the border. We knew that from the start. The building materials, especially the wood in Mexicali, is not up to par. And so we knew most of the material would have to be driven by us across the border. Unfortunately, bringing American goods across the border has become increasingly more challenging over the last few years. If you are able to cross at all, you will have to pay a small fortune in taxes to do so.
On January 4th a small caravan of trucks pulling trailers as well as the kitchen crew departed Paradise, fully loaded with building materials. One trailer alone carried 18,000 lbs. of wood and supplies for the worship center. Leaving at 3 AM they hoped to be able to cross the border by 4 PM in the afternoon. Unfortunately, a van overheated along the way, and later a tire blew out on another trailer. Things were not going to plan! The caravan arrived in Calexico too late to cross and spent the night in a hotel.
The next morning, the team awoke early; hopeful and determined to get everything across. The trucks pulling smaller covered trailers made it through, but the giant trailer with 18,000 lbs of goods was stopped. They were sent from one border crossing to another. And at the end of long and exhausting day of negotiating, we were still told, “No. You cannot bring that trailer into the country.”
This is where I am so proud of our guys. They formed a new plan and within hours, 3 pickups and one trailer were making small runs back and forth across the border, slowly unloading our giant trailer and hauling material, pickup load by pickup load, across the border. The guys made runs all day long and into the night until the customs office closed. And they were some of the first vehicles crossing into the US in the morning when the border opened up. Our guys practically became friends with the border guards on duty because they were going through so often. Towards the end they wouldn’t even get inspected. The border guards would just shake their heads and smile and let them pass.
When I first learned that we weren’t going to be able to get our big trailer across I was tempted to be discouraged. I worried that the whole trip would have to be postponed or called off. This is where the prayers of our brothers and sisters all throughout the Alliance made all the difference. Once we were able to overcome the hurdles at the border, God blessed us beyond belief!
On Saturday, January 6, the bulk of our workforce departed Paradise and crossed the border. Sunday morning after breakfast we held a little church service, we prayed that God would bless the work of our hands. And then we went to work. And God blessed the work of our hands! We always quit our work for the day at dinner time. And at dinner we would sit in the shadow of the new building and say to each other, “How did we get so much done today?”
Our goal on the second day was to get half of the handmade trusses we were constructing up on the walls. Some doubted if we could get half done. That night as we enjoyed our dinner, we stared up at a building that had all the trusses up! We had no human explanation for it. Our handmade trusses had over 10,000 screws put into the gussets that held them together. There is no way we should have had them all built, let alone all up on the roof by the second day. This is our testimony. We were as shocked as anybody!
On Wednesday night, Shawn Shingler, our “jefe” and co-project manager along with Justin Anderson, stood up inside the new building and said, “I think we can finish the entire building tomorrow and we can go home a day early. At this point we had learned not to doubt what was possible with God and so the next morning, after our morning devotions, the guys energetically poured themselves into the work. The inside was dry walled. The worship stage was built. All the lighting and electrical was in place and working! The entire outside was stuccoed. By dinner time the building was done! The Lord had done it and had used us. What an amazing feeling!
That night we had our final evening chapel and Gil led worship and we dedicated the worship center. With arms held out wide and with tears in our eyes, we prayed that God would use this worship center for His glory. It was an amazing close to an amazing week.
At the end of it all, we returned home healthy, tired, and feeling ridiculously blessed. God gets all the glory, we know apart from Him we can do nothing.