Sunday, December 14, 2014


A cute little baby that just needs some milk and pampers. A second look; the larger picture brings a chilling reality. An uncomfortable question? Reality. Do we want to be committed to helping the future of this child, this family? We look again at this little baby and then we look in the eyes of his mother. We dare not think of the future.

We just can't just say God bless you and back out the door ... after all, "what would Jesus do?"

It was just to be a visit; a little milk and some pampers. For us a little visit often proves to be a dangerous venture; a costly venture.

Indeed our ministry always starts as a visit which can develop into hundreds of man hours and dollars.

A few years later we see Pepe sitting next to his little Christmas tree.  Today he's almost a teenager. Pepe now lives in a remote area of South Mexico. No Christmas tree or gifts this year. Knowing the family, alcohol would destroy any gifts we sent his way. We have contact with him by phone ... he longs to be back in Tijuana.

Our ministry is unique indeed. We open the door and go inside never knowing what situation we will find ourselves in.  Several days ago we opened the door and walked inside the cold little house. Mom and eight kids, (no man) absolutely no food in the house. No propane to cook with. She offered us a glass of cool-ade.  Thanks to you we got them food and propane ... that's what we do with your gifts.  Yes, we plan to give them, and several very poor neighbors, a special Christmas.

We wish you and yours a very nice Christmas and a happy healthy New Year.

In His love, Pastor Von and crew...

Monday, December 01, 2014


ON TWO SPECIAL DAYS IN THE YEAR WE LOOK UP. On these two days, when we sincerely say "Thank You, God," for your blessings, and for your awesome gifts. These two days form a colorful season, where we are a little more generous, and a little more kindly to those around us. We may not be jolly but we do seem to be nicer to each other. We smile more. Others are allowed into the picture.

I'm single so I spend those days in Mexico with "my people" ... hundred's of families with hundreds of children, add four orphanages and Santa von has quite a challenge in bringing even a little of the Thankful spirit, and the Christmas spirit across the border. The challenge again becomes "how".

So few of us this year; Lucas, Hortensia, von and one car to share with so many; four big barrios and four orphanages. The kids, who normally don't even think a day ahead, are starting to ask about Christmas.

THIS WILL BE MY FIRST CHRISTMAS APART FROM SPECTRUM MINISTRIES. Now what can I do and how can I do it? Three or four people. One car. Lacking the funding Spectrum had ... Time for some creative thinking ... I'll be keeping you up-to-date with two newsletters.

This is blanket time! This is lona time (sheets of plastic to cover roofs). This is toy time ... and it's always food time.

Out of curiosity I asked a few kids last week, what would you rather have, toys and gifts or dollars ... the answer came back fast! Dollars! How crass! How un-Christmas. How hungry! I was surprised. I'll ask more kids and hear what they have to say. Lets realize these kids are very poor ... and hungry.

IF ANY OF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP ME OUT BY PRAYER AND FINANCE IT WOULD REALLY BE APPRECIATED. Remember in Mexico their Holiday Season extends until two weeks into January.

Each of you receiving this letter has contributed to us before, may I again thank you for the generous gifts you sent us. I, along with my little crew, want to wish you a happy.

One night around Christmas we took this family their first Christmas tree! It sparkled with lights and a few colorful little globes. I caught this picture just right ... this little girl was mesmerized by the sight, I think she was doing a little dreaming too ... she just kept staring into the tree.

The Christmas Season in the world of very poor is unlike any thing you have ever seen or felt. In some areas it's existence as usual. In the world of the dump, the trash, seagulls and workers will be combing through the garbage. While in the barrios the Christmas spirit will be exchanged for bottles of beer and tequila. The kids will be out of school and many will be running around without jackets trying to sell stuff.

We want to bring a small bit of Christmas joy into the lives of these hundreds of kids. When your poor it doesn't take much to bring a smile.

In our areas, as the kids see it, we represent their only hope.

Team up with us as we try and bring a little joy along the south side of our border. We'll be happy to represent you to the kids next door.

Hortensia, Lucas and I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and Christmas time!

God Bless you and may you an yours be blessed this New Year.

P.S. If you would like to help me out this Christmas, simply write a check to DEANZA COMMUNITY CHURCH, and mail it to 1043 EMMA DRIVE, CARDIFF, CA 92007.

Your help really be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Two special days in the year, we look up. The two days when we sincerely say "Thank you God" for your blessings and for your awesome gift. The two days together form a colorful Season where we are a little more generous and kindly to those around us. We may not be jolly but we do seem to be nicer to each other. We smile more. Others are allowed into the picture.

I'm single so I spend those days in Mexico with "my people" ... hundred's of families with hundreds of children, add four orphanages and Santa von has quite a challenge in bringing even a little of the Thankful spirit, and the Christmas spirit across the border. The challenge again becomes "how".

So few of us this year; Lucas, Hortensia, von and one car to share with so many; four big barrios and four orphanages. The kids, who normally don't even think a day ahead, are starting to ask about Christmas.

This will be my first Christmas apart from Spectrum. Now what can I do and how can I do it? Three or four people. One car. Lacking the funding Spectrum had ... Time for some creative thinking. (I'll keep you in touch with two letters.)

This is blanket time! This is lona time (sheets of plastic to cover roofs.) This is toy time and it's always food time.

Out of curiosity I asked a few kids last week, what would you rather have, toys and gifts or dollars ... the answer came back fast! Dollars! How crass! How hungry. I was surprised. I'll ask more kids and hear what they have to say. Lets realize these kids are very poor ... and hungry.

If any of you would like to help me out this Christmas Season by prayer and finance it would really be appreciated. Remember in Mexico their Holiday Season lasts until two weeks into January. Got any takers?

Friday, October 24, 2014


Caution this Blog may contain uncomfortable reading!

Yesterday I visited Chuy's old folks home in Tijuana. Another strata of worthless people no one wants to invest in. Who in his right mind would invest in the aged? A community of more than 140 old and worthless people simply awaiting their turn to die. These are old and sick people; problem people even other Old Folks Homes rejected! One by one Chuy takes them in. Each one has their story. Unfortunately, for many, there is no light at the end of their tunnel.

Being 85 myself gives me, may I say, a weird and uncomfortable feeling interacting with these people that are awaiting the end. A gentle reminder that my time is getting short too and that I need to do what I can while I can.

Along with the poor barrios and orphanages we've been quietly supporting this community too. Not many do.

I feel the Lord considers these people worthy of investing. I don't just feel it I know it.

The old folks home which Pastor Chuy started many years ago keeps growing although the monthly death rate is high. The home is run by a few volunteers, no Government help (Not unusual) He just trusts God. It's clean and neat; unfortunately he needs more rooms. He would like to buy the property next door to put a Church up. You have to hand it to the man, he's got vision; as with most of us, his vision is slightly ahead of his funding.

I'm really impressed with some of the invisible ministries in Tijuana. Many are Christian (but where is the church??) Volunteers work simply for room and board. The environments are ugly, smelly and full of pain. Again, no Government help.

Many won't be comfortable with a Blog like this but, really ... how long can Christians turn their eyes and pocketbook away from the needy?

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Last night I went where I shouldn't have gone. I went to YouTube ... Subject: "Street Kids" ... I should know better. I've worked with street-kids for a half a century, plenty of them, right here in Tijuana. I've watched them in other countries as well. Why look at more?

I looked at street kids in India. Street kids in Brazil. Street kids in the Philippines and Mexico City. These worthless little parasites are everywhere. Millions of them in this world. They are like leeches or fleas gaining their life from sick urban societies. Born to exist but never to live.

Cops hate them because they are little thieves causing trouble wherever they nest.

Most of these kids have run from a "home" of sorts, tired of the constant confusion, fighting and abuse inside their shelter, they run, sometimes toddle to the hell awaiting them in the streets, where they find their own kind and integrate ... worthless dirty little two legged rodent's invading the streets of big cities.

Two Street Kids Huffing Paint Spray

Later, Stoned, They Support Each Other

One by one the kids realize they are worthless and unwanted. Being unloved mixes them into a different human chemistry, indeed social misfits. In many cases angry against society.

I remember visiting a city in Brazil and where I was staying; word came of a mass grave that was discovered near us. The bodies of eleven kids, with their arms wired together were laying in their grave, each kid had been shot in back of the head. Professional exterminators. Problem solved.

In that city there is an understanding of how to deal with problem kids that hang in your neighborhood. Call a private phone number ... negotiate a cash deal. Late at night a black van with a few off duty police cruses the neighborhood and quietly collect and dispose of the "problem" kids.

It grabs you.

Looking at little kids sucking on plastic bags with some rubber cement inside ... or a couple of sprays from a can of spray paint. Crystal clear eyes that once looked directly at you, now take on a glassy stare, eyelids slowly drop as they enter a peaceful, restful world. I've seen it and it hurts. A four year old or five year old "huffing", hurts bad!

Why do I look at even more of what I've already seen? It builds frustration and anger in me that combine to develop more energy that drives me on, to do more. Why? Because God loves them.

God knows I can't do it all, but I'm going to go down trying! Doing what I can, while I can.

When You Crash Anything Becomes a Pillow

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


A very wise man once said "there is a time for everything" and with permission I'll include public prayer. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) I was going to end my comments with that; but why not start my short essay with that knowledge. (1) public prayer with Christians. (2) Public prayer, as in front of non-believers.

I've lived in this world for 85 years, and lived in the Church and "Christian" world for almost 75 of those years. That's a long time! As far as "Christian" public prayers go I can honestly say I have heard many thousands of prayers. We used to have Prayer Meetings each week, so that doubled my exposure to Christians praying, or in a few cases "braying".

  1. Praying before the Believers: Too often the prayers I heard were shallow; simply announcements or news bulletins in a prayer form, most prayers were long and exhaustive. "Lord we know Saturday's prayer breakfast starts at eight, help everyone get there on time!" Some were even prayer covered criticism of others or maybe a worldly activity. "God bless Thelma, you know she's too fat, but help her to lose weight!" ... "Another bad movie is coming next week, Lord burn the movie-house down! Or prayer for critical issues like ... "Father bless my cousin Roger and his dear family as they head to Hawaii on a cruse next week." "Oh Lord convict my wife for her critical tongue!" On and on I could go. I guess these brothers and sisters were searching wildly for something to pray about. Or in a few cases bray about. Wow! When the person next to you finishes praying, super pressure, you're on next!! (Not criticizing, just telling the truth!) Many Churches are dropping their Prayer Meetings. Why? Well, to be honest, they have nothing to pray about. Why shouldn't I question public prayer in Church? At my age I have the right to do some truthful questioning. I certainly won't knock Church prayer meetings, after all it was a Spirit filled Prayer Meeting that gave birth to The Church! ... it's just immature individuals and leaders acting out their immaturity in a public prayer format. Give them time.
  2. Praying before the unsaved ... or the "world!" The first thing I ask is; what's the motive? What's the point? Think it over. To give a Christian witness? Is God really calling you to do that? Why do publicly what you could do at home ... powerful honest prayer. Oh, I see! Corporate, witness. Making a together a more powerful show. We are Christians ... look you can see us, and we're praying together ... for all of you damn sinners! I've even heard of a parade of Christians showing their Christianity by parading down the street. Doing a parade for God! Wow! How sick; although its much easier to do that than live the Christian life 24/7 The honest question to ask is simple what do the people watching you think? Isn't that the point? That's the bottom line.

If we are trying to reach them? Why alienate them?

Stupid if you ask me. If we were in a Muslim culture, (Indonesia) we would be fools to pray as a group publicly! We would be culturally wrong. Sincere leaders, eager but immature, who don't know their culture, on occasion alienate the very people they want to win. Unfortunately ... so it will be.

Public prayer before non-believers? Think it over.

Uncomfortable fact! The people you want to reach need to see the Believers lifestyle as different ... Godly. They need to see and feel, the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22) If we as Christians HAVE The Spirit, this shouldn't be hard ... if we haven't the Spirit, (fact) public prayer is not a good substitute, it's only going to confuse and alienate. In my opinion, public prayer is no substitute for a Christ like lifestyle.

But I must defer ... and as I said, a very wise man once said "there is a time for everything." With permission I'll include public prayer.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

  • a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
  • a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
  • a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
  • a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
  • a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
  • a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
  • a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Many, many years ago, I was speaking to my youth group of about forty teens, and I was talking on courage! I was really pumped! The true Christian has to have backbone! A Christian has to have courage! In conclusion I decided to ask the group to act. "I want to see if any of you have courage; if you are a Christian and not ashamed of it, stand up!" Well, most stood up, except for three boys who remained seated. At that moment I became painfully aware of what I just did!

I did wrong! I was sincere but stupid! I was shaming!

I put the three kids on the spot! I shamed them! I alienated those I wanted to win. On the other side I created and reinforced liars and hypocrites who broke under the public shame pressure and stood with the rest of the group when they really should have remained seated.

I dismissed the meeting and went directly to the three honest kids and apologized. More than that I commended them for their honesty and courage. In fact they had more courage than many of the hypocrites who stood up. (The three became my friends.) I like honest people.

When I look back; public "shaming" was just one of our tools. I had never thought of it that way before. Asking the group to make a public act which will divide the group. To stand or raise your hand. Shaming is so wrong ... cruel and crippling.

Example: telling your group: "Those who will promise to read a chapter of your Bible each day this week, raise your hand!" What does this shaming do? It divides. It creates liars and hypocrites. It may get a few to read, Is shaming a few of them into it really worth it?

Throw shaming out of your tool box, it's simply wrong!

Any time you as a leader ask your group to raise your hands if ... or stand to your feed if ... consider closely what your doing!

As a new Christian when asked to pray aloud I would sweat drops of blood! What do you say in a prayer. I stumbled my prayer to the group, not to God ... and dreaded prayer public prayer since. The shame of not knowing how to pray.

Oh boy, ask your kids to read aloud certain scriptures, then you come to an uncomfortable kid who really can't read well ... shame floods him!

I learned my lesson, I don't shame people anymore.

Several years ago, I was asked to take my turn leading in the opening prayer for a Billy Graham Crusade. As the day drew near, I was sweating! I have no problem praying alone in my room, but praying before 35,000 people? Yeah, I carefully wrote my prayer and said my prayer, but was that a prayer to God? No! It was simply a public utterance on Graham's platform.

I hate to be put on the spot, and so do you ... why put others on the spot?

Sunday, October 05, 2014


It probably went something like this ... "Ladies, ladies! listen! The Teacher hasn't time to bless all of your children. Today He has a lot of teaching to do! Please leave the front here and take your kids with you, they're only a distraction!" WRONG MOVE! "Peter, Andrew, listen ... let the children come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of God. You must become as a child even to enter my Kingdom." Jesus knew something the disciples along with many of us, have forgotten. Children are natural believers! (Mark 10:13-15)

I'll admit I wasn't born a Christian, but I was born a believer. We were all born believers. It's a shame life changes us. We believed, we trusted ... we learned!

O. K. I'll admit I believed in Santa Claus and his slay with reindeer pulling it through the sky. By any measure an aerodynamic challenge, but Christmas Eve I listened. I hoped. I trusted. I was disappointed. I was fooled!

At an early age I heard that at the end of a rainbow there was a pot of gold! Now in Southern California it didn't rain often but on occasion I would see a rainbow and I was off hunting for the pot of gold. Yep I was a believer. I trusted. I returned to my house a simple and poor, wet fool!

As I grew older, little by little my innocent belief was corroded, as was my trust. Who was I to trust? Who was I to believe? What was I to believe and what was I to trust? Caution hit my belief.

My belief and my trust became guarded and rightfully so.

I was a simple and innocent believer no longer. Through my disappointment I learned not to believe everyone and everything.

I was asked to believe in God; a God whom I had never seen. Jesus was invisible too. The Bible was just a dead book. I was asked to believe I was a sinner and that I needed saving. I was told Jesus paid the price for my sins. I was asked to trust in the Lord. Trust in His Word. Believe in this? Trust this word? My struggle was legitimate! I wrestled with this.

This was simply too much for my fragile human belief ... thank you Holy Spirit for helping me through my wall of cynicism to become a true, trusting BELIEVER.

Only God could make me a believer again, and He did.

Now, being born again of the Spirit, I start once more as a simple trusting believer. Please God, let no professing believer cause me to stumble and fall.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

~ Mark 10:13-15

Sunday, September 14, 2014



It was sudden, it was tragic and deadly as vehicle accidents tend to be. Because this truck was very heavy, full of water, as it crashed it smashed everything! The driver and owner of the truck was killed leaving his wife and three little kids. Another widow.

Jonathon, 15, had a job on the truck helping deliver water to poor communities including Ijido. He didn't earn much but what he did earn he gave the family to help with food and schooling. The family is nine. Their father left the family two years ago. He had lung cancer and became too weak to hold down a job. He told his oldest son "I'm too weak to work, I'm worthless, just another mouth to feed, I'm leaving in a couple of days." He left and has never returned.

Family life has changed radically since the accident. They all live one way or another at the hospital. Families tend to stay at the hospital day and night waiting. Always waiting. (What a place to minister.)

 Getting Update on Jonathon

Yesterday while I was there, Jonathon's mother, Aracele, returned from talking with the doctor. In the accident, Jonathon's head was crushed, arm broken several abdominal punctures. At this point they have put him in an induced coma until Monday. The news wasn't good, she calmly shared it with the family.

 Jose Angel

To make matters worse, when Jonathon's two older brothers heard about the accident, they asked their supervisor for permission to leave work and head to the hospital to see their brother. In fact they asked him for a little transportation money. He flatly refused, and told them to get back to work! The boys threw down their shovels and left ... the supervisor yelling "... and don't come back!" Looks like support for the family is at flat zero.

That's where you enable us to come in immediately and help. They will need lots of help for a time. Not only Jonathon's family but the new widow and her three children in Ijido.

As I left everyone was eating, Hortensia bought barbequed chicken, tortillas and cold drinks for the family, and dolls for each of the little girls.

 Kids in a Cold House

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


 Baby Still Has His Tubes

This is about a little insignificant someone born on the wrong side of the fence two weeks ago. A tiny boy, so young he doesn't have a name ... We met his teen age mother as she was walking around her barrio with a cup, trying to collect enough pesos for transportation back to the hospital to see her newborn son. A congenital flip-flop placed the baby's bowls up in his chest area covering one lung and necessitating immediate surgery. In those first few days the little boy went under the knife several times. Mom was torn between her young girls at home and her new born son. Public transportation costs money.

 Triplet Sisters Visit Their Little Brother

She brought the baby boy to see me a couple of days ago. A few days after the surgeries they sent the little boy home, tubes and all ... not the most hygienic solution. Now the boy had developed a swelling on his right side and his young mother needed transportation money to get him back to the hospital ... she also needed food for the four small girls at home. Sometime things all seem to come apart, and this was one of those days. In emergencies like this we're here to help. Our general fund is where we find the money to help in situations like this. (Thanks to the help some of you give me.) Indeed this little fellas tough ... lets pray that he makes it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard ..."

~ Matthew 20: 1-16
At least that's the way The Grape Pickers Union looked at it! There was a full on demonstration! There was anger. There was yelling! Protests. He's unfair! A Rich Man against us poor!

What right has the Lord hiring some local "scabs" for a few hours work and paying them same wages as those who had worked the whole hot day! It isn't fair, the grape workers chanted! The Lord bi-passed the Union and no one, but no one does that!

And even today, by our standards it looks like God acted unfairly!

When will we, God's own children, get it through our thick human heads that God thinks and judges differently than we do, and I might add, He has every right to do so! (Is.55:8)

Surprise! He changed the rules in favor of compassion. He had compassion on the poor who needed work, the few who would have worked that hot day but weren't given opportunity ... after all, He said, "it's my vineyard: it's my money and I'll do with it what pleases me." And compassion pleases Him! It's sad that Godly mercy, compassion and grace doesn't seem to filter through to His earthly family.

God has the right to bless whom He wants, the way He wants and wherever He wants ... so be it GRACE!

Sunday, August 17, 2014


As many of you know, the latest news we got from David in Mexico City was sad indeed. The specialists tried their best but all efforts failed. In fact they said from what they saw he was fortunate to even be alive. The scarred mess they found inside him was confusing at best.

David had to look forward to living with an abdominal catheter.

Three days ago David and his mother were crying again, but this time it was crying for joy! A "God" surprise happened! David felt an urge; an urge he hadn't felt for years and began urinate on his own and through the right equipment.

Wow! You see David had all the equipment but it had never worked since the truck ran over him!

Wow! Miracle of all miracles, now he can pee on demand! He has been joyfully drinking water and peeing for almost three days. Joyful trips to the bathroom! Sounds silly, but to him it's a life changer.

He gives God the credit and is so thankful for all of you on Facebook who prayed for him.

They will remain in the hospital in Mexico City for two more weeks as doctors study the situation and redo bladder, continue praying for him.

Thursday, August 07, 2014


Last Thursday was Spectrum's workday in Barrio Laguna.

Mari, mother of four, is very poor and Spectrum's free vegetables are a real help. Mari was glad to get them, but she had another problem. Her little boy was alone in the General Hospital, he just had surgery and she really needed to be with him but had no money for return transportation; a couple of dollars would do it. Would some Christian missionary giver her a little money for transportation?

She threaded her way through the crowd contacting several of the Christian missionaries telling them about her son Victor in the hospital. The night before he was vomiting blood when she quickly took him, by local bus, to the General Hospital where they quickly operated on him. (I wonder what she felt like sitting on the at the bus stop holding her child while waiting for a bus?)

Mari simply needed a little cash for bus fare to visit Victor. Several Christian missionaries prayed with her but none offered her any help for transportation. Prayers and sympathy are nice but ... some things take dollars.

Then one Mexican lady pulled Mari aside and said "Go find Hortensia, she'll help you" (Word gets around).

Well, that just what she did, and Hortensia listened to her story. Mari has four young kids and her husband is crippled and can't work. He gets a pension of about $90. a month. She earns a little extra by selling candies, tortillas and nopalis (cactus) When Victor, 9, had his attack, they took him to the hospital, but then she had to return home to the children.

Alone in the General Hospital isn't a good place for a kid to be. No mother would want to leave her son in a Hospital alone. She wanted so badly to visit him, but no Christian missionary had even $2. To help her out. Strange isn't it?

Well, Hortensia did give her the transportation money plus some food money for the family. People know we care. I give Hortensia extra money to help on her Spectrum work days.

I met Victor last Saturday, the day he was discharged from the hospital. He had lost a lot of blood. He was a little shy, but he let me pull his lower eyelids down and I saw he was still anemic. He needed good food and some red meat.. (Iron) So we made it possible for her to buy the food the doctor prescribed. In this case the proper diet was essential! Mari was so happy!

We appreciate those of you who make it possible for us to help in cases like this.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."

~ Matthew 5:11
I smile as I read about the Pharisees criticizing Jesus about His poor testimony in eating with worldly sinners.

Biblical Pharisees die hard, to be sure, they continue with us today practicing their legalism and teaching their perverted doctrine of ‘convictions' where they can..

The "Biblical" church I grew up in was fanatical about the Christian's testimony. "Whatever you do, don't associate with worldly people, that's a bad testimony!" Like the Pharisees of old, my church had a long list of things that a real Christian was not to do. Convictions, they called them.  Activities we were never to take part in, as well as words we were never to utter, such as ... dang, gosh or darn!

Yet we were to take every opportunity to "witness" to these damn Lepers of the world, but never, never get too close! Stand downwind; worldly lepers smell. We were not even to smell like cigarette smoke. (And if you did spend too much time with "worldly" people, you smelled like it!)

We were known in our neighborhood as Baptists that didn't! That is, we were known for what we didn't do!

I wish I were talking history here, but I'm not.

I'm reminded that there are still seminaries that teach the sick Pharisee's legalism and faithfully grind out Pastors that will continue teaching this heresy to their ignorant flocks. Mexico is full of those so-called seminaries, teaching their convictions rather than Biblical truth. (And we exported this perverted type of "gospel."

Fortunately in most cases their witness is as sterile as they are. Unfortunately though, in many cases they go under the label of "Bible or Biblical." Yet, their churches never grow. Sterile legalistic Believers, who's fruit is choked out by the weeds of "convictions!"

Yep, for years I was a sterile Biblical Super Saint! Right down the line! Thank God I got converted from a Pharisee to becoming a Christian, and now I can actually eat with people who ... God forbid! ... have a bottle of beer on the table, and God forbid ... smell like the world.

Remember it ain't "that beer" that will send them to hell; if they end up in hell, it's because they have never heard of anything better.

By the way, give me a seat at their table! I prefer eating with honest sinners rather than hypocritical Christians.

"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."

~ Mark 8:15
It's dangerous indeed! 

Image: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "The Seven Deadly Sins"

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Why they had a couple of lit candles in the house is any ones guess. It was in the afternoon and six year old Roberto was alone in his house with his two-year old sister. A six-year old boy and lit candles are a bad combination. Mother was at work and father, well he was away looking for a pack of cigarettes. Everything went wrong that afternoon and four lives were radically changed.

Roberto knocked over one of the candles and the fire stated from there, soon it was the whole house. Flames, smoke the whole works. His little sister tried to get out of the bed and make it to the door, but her feet got caught in the blankets. Roberto ran around then made it out the door.

By the time anyone got into the burning house and pulled the child out she was badly burned. In a matter of hours Shriners pulled a copter in and flew the little girl and her mother to their famous burn hospital in Sacramento ... the same hospital Josue goes to every few months.

As of now the little girl with most of her body burned is still living. Fortunately her head and face weren't burned.  Roberto is staying with some neighbors and the father, he's in jail preparing for prison.

Indeed there is more than one way to make a widow, we've a lot of those kind of widows, their men are in prison.

Trinchirasso is one of our areas and we're following the situation to see how we can be of help.  We're just thankful it wasn't worse; the little girl has a long painful journey ahead and could use your prayers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I remember some years ago, at a men's Prayer Breakfast we had at our Church. One of our Deacons was talking with me and the subject of my efforts to feed the poor in Tijuana came up. He said to me with a wry smile “ Why do you feed those guys over there? They're just like a bunch of rats, they'll just breed and multiply!” A spiritual leader of our Church sharing that opinion. He shocked me.

Up until that time I had no idea that some people thought I had a ministry to flea bitten rodents.

Mr. Deacon, your right; breed and multiply they do, but animals they're not! They're not rats! I don't feed rodents!

Although no one has made that statement to me since, I sometimes quietly wonder how many people, even Christians, feel efforts like mine are a waste of time and money, maybe that's why givers to our ministry are hard to find.

I also wonder why the poor have so many kids! There are reasons, yet I must remember that's not my business! And the many children they bring into their wretched world? The kids didn't have any say in the matter ... it's not their fault.

I don't enter my world to judge or condemn. My mandate from our Lord is to help. I'm to show compassion. I'm to give. I'm called to love the unloved, the unlovely and the unlovable.

I sincerely hope and pray that our small team of like minded Christians will grow so we can reach more that are caught in this dark hole.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Early in my years I became aware of abuses within our nation's General Fund. Sleazy politicians in our Federal Government taking funds designated for Social Security and using them in other areas. Since then I found the practice to be common, not only in our Federal Government, but in Sacramento and even in good old San Diego. Once it's in the fund what the money went for is anybody's guess. Political-Integrity is a misnomer!

It's true that Churches and non-profit organizations have similar problems. Innocent and concerned donors can be misled! Good hearted people burned. Abuses can be conveniently hidden in the General Fund.

That's why many Donors make specific designations and/or put their gifts toward a specific project.

Running Spectrum, a non-profit organization, opened my eyes. The Board and I had to be careful that we maintain our integrity and not abuse our General Fund.

The General Fund or what we may call "Overhead" despite its bad name is an essential part of any organization ... simply an "enabler," as essential as oil is to an engine.

When I started Spectrum. My rather naive and cynical eyes were opened! I too had to have a General Fund, Spectrum had overhead costs. Gas for the vehicles, electric bill, telephone bills, Internet, stamps and printing; the director has to have a salary (Although I can't take one now ... try and live in San Diego on only Social Security!) Yes, even now, we have Overhead so we have a General Fund.

In our particular ministry in Mexico we have to have cash available where lives like Maribel and Fernando are at stake we had to move quickly! We always need a pool of several thousand dollars. Remember, when I write of a real and immediate need, it may take days or weeks for the finances to come in ... all of these needs must be paid in cash up front! They can't be paid by faith, they must be paid by dollars.

Indeed the General Fund can be an instrument of abuse or an instrument implementing true ministry. It all depends on the integrity of the one who holds the purse-strings.

Photo: I'm often invited into a home to eat.

Monday, July 07, 2014


Several years ago at Hume Lake Conference Center we had a camp of about 500 teenagers. The first night of the week-long camp, I was asked to give the announcements; the DOs and DON'Ts of camp. I'm humorous and the kids liked my approach.

All the kids were crowded into the auditorium, new friends, new experiences ... ready for the week at this beautiful camp.

As I was giving the announcements a thought struck me and I followed it through. "You guys listen up! This year with your registration you all get a free badoni. Just go to the snack bar and ask for it." Well, you could see the impact immediately! All the kids started asking each other what a badoni was.

Yep, the seed was sown.

Looking back it was really unfair to the speaker, bless his heart. The kids weren't into the message at all, they were into the badoni, what ever that was. They figured it was free and it must be something to eat.

So much for the bait, now for the hook!

Ah the snack bar just across the street from the auditorium. Every teen knew where the little snack bar was.

As soon as the service ended, literally everyone headed for the doors and out to the snack bar. They wanted to be first at the badonis; whatever they were.

Well, the snack bar could hold about fifty people or so as I recall, and now it was flooded with teens asking for their badonis. Of course the snack bar staff knew nothing about badonis. They asked the kids "what's a badoni?" and the kids didn't know ... only that Pastor von said that they had a free badoni coming. Some of the kids sitting at the counter were starting to chant ... "We want our badonis!!!, We want our badonis!!!" The terrified staff went into the kitchen to see what they could come up with. Indeed terror produces genius. They took two saltine-crackers and put a slice of pickle in the middle, stuck a toothpick in the thing and it became the first badoni! They handed that out to all the kids that wanted one.

As you might expect, I wasn't popular with the snack bar staff that week! (To be honest I have no idea what a badoni is, I just made it up as I was speaking.)

I love doing things like that (Forgive me Lord.)

Friday, June 27, 2014


About eleven years ago I met the threesome living in a small hillside shack in a barrio called Pedrigal. The shack didn't even have a solid door but an old blanket draped over the side served as the door. Inside was mama, little Diego, a severely retarded eight year old boy, and his older brother Jovany, who was about 9 years old.

The situation was bad. We brought them food and provided pampers for Diego. I remember buying them a small propane stove and tank, which mother sold two weeks later to buy more food.

Spectrum with the help of a Church purchased property and built them a small house in a better area. We moved them in. Other Churches became aware of the situation helped with food and pampers. The situation was looking better. Suddenly the three disappeared. The house was empty. We looked for them but couldn't find them.

That's where I lost contact.

A few days ago Hortensia saw Diego's mother staggering around she was really drunk. Hortensia questioned a lady there about where she lived. What about the two boys? Soon we had a phone contact with Jovany; now a young man twenty-two years old.

He happily greeted her. "Hortensia I remember you coming to our house. Where is Pastor Von? Is he still alive? He used to visit Diego and bring me chocolates and little cars. Is he around?”

He filled Hortensia in on the missing years. It seemed their mother walked out on the two boys when Jovany was about ten. Just left! After a few days neighbors called the police and the boys were given to a family for care. In about a year their mother returned and took the boys back, but the house we built them was occupied, so again, they moved into a hillside shack where they live now.

At sixteen Jovany got a job, went back to school and in addition supported and cared for his handicapped brother. Soon Jovany will have his High School diploma to get a better job. What about your mother, Hortensia asked? "My mother? She's always gone, she's the town drunk! She embarrasses me.”

I wanted to visit them, but at my age I couldn't manage the hike down the steep hillside to their little shack. Jovany brought Diego up so I could meet the two of them again. Jovany, now a young man, was happy to see Hortensia and myself ... Diego, well, he still doesn't know who anyone is.

Fortunately their old house is occupied but still in our hands. We want to hand it over to Jovany. First, we've got to pay $1500 for the unpaid water bill and move out the occupants. It will be worth it; a young man like Jovany deserves a break! He really loves and cares for his brother.

It's the kind of stuff you enable us to do ... find a true need and meet it! This is just one of many challenges that come our way each month.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Talk about bully bait! I'm disgusted at what the influence of many, many mothers through the years has done to the balance of men.

Too much perverted loving on the part of mama. Estrogen is rubbed, hugged and kissed into their man-child the first ten or twelve years of their boy's life and when their man-child goes into puberty his testosterone somehow gets watered down with estrogen. . A balancing father figure is strangely missing. (Fathers day? What's that? Who's he?)

Can there be too much mama love?

Apparently so, even though MaMa's will deny it. Look at, and listen to, the average young American male today. He is  definitely a different species of boy and or man then decades ago. Balls full of estrogen, a sickening paradox. Unfortunately, if you are looking for balls of testosterone you will find them in a gang or the prison world where male hungry kids band together to become collective males.. a wrong and dangerous route to manhood. But indeed who's at fault here?

Fathers where are you?

Watch the media and it will tell you in short order how hungry men (and boys) are for a macho male. Look at the media's artificial male. Look at his image (and acts) He looks about as male as you can get!

Distilled manhood!

Men of muscle, iron and steel.  Alas, just an image! A wannabe image!

Monday, June 09, 2014


Well, it's all a memory now, the blood tests, the trips to the doctor, the hospital and the surgery; now it's get well time for Fernando. I saw him a few days ago at the orphanage in his new pajamas. I had promised him a remote control car if he went through the surgeries like a man ... he did cry a bit as they stitched him up, but after all he is only ten. Yep! He got the car.

His little red remote control car went over big.

When he saw me he gave me a smile and a hug and a picture he drew for me. As any true artist, he put his name and date down on the bottom of the drawing. I was amazed by his drawings, this little boy is gifted!

Fernando doesn't know the many of you who pitched in and made his surgery possible, but he does know that a lot of Americanos got together and helped him.

Thank you from Fernando and I want to thank you too, by the way, he's going to draw a picture for his doctor friend too.

Sunday, June 01, 2014


It's been said "a picture's worth a thousand words"; that was yesterday add the glut of text today and a good picture is worth thousands of words. A photo impacts you, I've had photos change my life.

How can I express compassion by text, I can't. Yet compassion for the poor is a root of our ministry. This photo shows a father passionately trying to communicate with his brain dead son! Indeed it's one thing to look at this and let it grip you; it's quite another to be there watching Bernardo begging for Tony's life. I stayed. I prayed, and after pressing some transportation money in his hand, I left.

Bernardo lives with the memory of his wife dying of cancer a month before, and now this unhealed wound. We helped Benardo with some food and medical expenses. Giving is one way we can show gratitude to God for His goodness to us.   

Thanks to the many of you who pitched I and helped us afford Fernando Angel's hernia operation. (His mother, a very poor lady thanks us in tears.)

In the next few weeks we have to raise the money to send both David and Abraham, and their mothers, to Mexico City for what we hope will be their last surgery. Several specialists will do the surgery free if they are done in the big hospital in Mexico City. These boys just want to be normal, they are both incontinent. David has to stick a catheter through his abdomen three times a day ... often causing major infection! Not good! Jesus had compassion! Sacrificial compassion (Thanks for our Salvation!) His compassion is what drives us to help the helpless. Your compassion is what makes this help possible. (I might add my own money is part of that help too.)

Both of these boys could use your prayers along with the surgeons. We appreciate the break they are giving these boys. (By now the boys are good friends.)

Now remember the kids in our neighborhoods don't get money like our kids who live across the fence. A dollar to an American kid is nothing; a dollar to a boor barrio kid is everything. I'll admit, sometimes I do get weak with the dollar bills. For instance I've found that paying a dollar for a kids good grades is a gigantic motivator in our world. (Wrong motive? I'll agree! ... but it work Oh yes and I give a dollar for a child who had a birthday. Birthday celebrations are rare among the poor. A dollar for a tooth? I've done that for years!

Thank you for these photos Lucas.

Thank you for trusting our good judgement in helping the really needy! Over fifty years experience in navigating the land mines of "helping" the truly poor. Compassion in action.

In The love of Jesus, Pastor Von

Friday, May 02, 2014


Many of you followed the story of little Maribel who lives in Laguna. Her plight was brought to our attention! Maribel had a deteriorating heart condition. No energy, lips and fingernails had a blue tint. Maribel's mother carried her to school and back on her own back. With Social Security Insurance from her father's factory job she was going to get a critical heart do over; her heart was just to small for her. The date was set for surgery. We asked for prayer.

Then her father lost his job and was unable to continue paying her monthly Social Security bill. Without Social Security a surgery like that would cost thousands of dollars. So our only option was gamble on it and continue paying the monthly S. S. cost hoping the surgery would be soon.

The months passed and the hospital postponed Maribel's surgery dates for one reason or other ... still we kept her Social Security going, paying almost $100 per month.

Finally Maribel got her operation and what a success it was! She's a different girl now! Energy, normal color. But the hospital was to give her follow-up care and later another surgery, so we kept up our monthly payments. Month after month.

Surprise! Last week Maribel's mother came to us and expressed the family's gratitude for all we had done. They now have a healthy daughter.

Surprise! Maribel's mother told us that got a factory job, and now is able to pay their own monthly Social Security Health Insurance.

They could have kept quiet and taken our monthly money as additional

Income. But they had gratitude, and dignity and were honest. A real reward!

We are grateful to have had a part in saving another little kids life. (Yes, there have been others!) Thanks to each of you who were a part in helping little Maribel. They're on their own now!

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Risk is for the young. The older I get, the more I shy away from risk. Back then, I used to do a lot of risky things as Youth Director, our camps were always a lot of fun when mixed with a little risk and in Mexico was no exception. We had a lot of fun, but risk was involved. Risk was like a spice! I was young! I was naive.

In the past half century I grew to accept risk as part of my life. The thin strata of society in which I work is a high risk strata! The poorest of poor; dirtiest of the dirty. In these many years I'm afraid I have grown calloused to the dangers in my working environment. Ministry to the deserving poor ... the poor that deserve their plight.

At 85 I'm becoming more aware of just what "could" happen. I've always been a prime candidate for kidnapping. In driving Mexico, if I hit a child, or anyone for that matter, I go to prison! In a car crash, if anyone is injured or killed I go to prison. If a group of young "malandros" or young thugs beats me and takes my money designated for the poor; that's the way it is. If I'm accused by one person of a moral violation, I go to prison. If the cops want me, all they have to do is plant some drugs in my vehicle and then arrest me. If my arrest will gain someone money, I'll be arrested.

Anyone who thinks there is justice in Mexico is a fool ... in the government, as in the judicial system, only money matters. Mercy? No way!

The only way I can account for fifty years Ministering in Mexico with no problems; and thousands of Tijuana miles with not one major accident. It has to be God's provision!

Thanks to the many of you who lift me up in prayer. Indeed the safest place you can be, is in God's hands. I continue to solicit your prayers as I finish out my course. Thanks.