Christmas Greetings from Way of the
Cross Ministries (WOTC) in Harlingen, Texas, the location of our
latest SOWERS project. There were three SOWERS couples on this project.
The men assembled bunk beds, built display panels and a number of other
tasks to help prepare for the influx of volunteers (close to 300) that
will add to the regular staff of 30+ to form 14 teams to reach out to a
number of Mexican villages on December 28th and provide a "Big Feed" in
Matamoros, Mexico on December 29th. The Big Feed is an all-day carnival
type event with many activities and gifts as well as hot chicken meals
for more than five thousand inhabitants of one of Matamoros' poorer
areas. Many come looking for free gifts, but not one person attends
without hearing of greater eternal gifts available for the asking and
many accept that gift.
The SOWERS women cleaned up the landscaping in the area where the
volunteer groups do devotions, did painting and stuffed gift bags.
Thursday was the last SOWERS workday and yesterday Juanita and I had
the opportunity to travel about five hours South from here near the
border to the town of Soto La Marina. We traveled in one of four van
loads of WOTC staff members, crammed in there with a large number of
suitcases packed with zip lock bags each with a handful of candy a toy
and a tract. We got to the first of three outreach locations arriving
just before noon. There was a stage at the end of a park (think -
basketball court) with a p.a. system already set-up and playing
Christian music. There were maybe a hundred people milling about, but
as the singers from WOTC started playing their instruments and singing
their songs people arrived from all directions and soon there were over
eight hundred there to listen to the testimonies and preaching and
participate in the singing and prayers. With the exception of a number
of older adults, especially men, most of the people lined up and came
through in single file to accept a gift bag. The crowd dispersed and
the group rushed to another location - this time in the middle of a
street blocked off for the occasion. Eight hundred gift bags were
handed out at the first location for an approximate total of 2,100
handed at the three outreaches the team we were with did yesterday.
Over three-quarters of the participants raised their hands to
acknowledge their need and to pray the sinner's prayer of acceptance.
Being new to this type of mass outreach one has questions, since it is
easy to discount the validity of such "decisions". Between sessions
Juanita talked to a staff member who had done her first "Big Feed"
three or four years ago, as a volunteer. She told of witnessing to a
young girl who did not know English. Since the woman did not know
Spanish she used an English - Spanish Bible. The girl accepted Christ
as her personal Saviour and the woman wrote that off as an interesting
experience, but was skeptical of any lasting value of the exercise. The
next year she came back as a volunteer again. The little girl came,
bringing a bi-lingual friend who she wanted the woman to talk to. The
woman talked to her and led her to the Lord, but then she turned her
attention to the little girl from the previous year and, with the
bi-lingual person's help, began to interrogate her as to her faith. The
little girl just beamed as she explained that she "had Jesus in her
heart", but was a little perplexed that the woman didn't remember since
she had been the one to introduce her the previous year.
In addition to the Big Feed, The Way of the Cross has many short and
long term opportunities to serve ranging from the medical outreach in
January to the many teams that come down to do projects. You can put
together your own team or arrange to join one. Check out their web site
using the link above and e-mail them if you have questions about how to
get involved in this dynamic ministry. One Sunday evening Paul had the
privilege to join the WOTC founder and an interpreter in going to
Matamoros to attend the celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of the
first church built by WOTC volunteers. It was an incredible event. In
Mexico, girls have a special celebration for their fifteenth birthday
and the church was decorated just like one of those celebrations with
pink banners and balloons and even the musicians wearing black suits
and pink shirts. There were many young, married adults who had been
children when they and their parents came to the Lord and now they were
there in that church with their own children - evidence of long-term
results from the right decision made many years ago. Seeing these
joyful people is such a contrast to the harsh family life so many
others have in that area. That was the first church built by WOTC and
they have lost count of the number built since.
Well, this letter is longer than intended, but it could easily be
longer if I kept writing of the wonders the Lord has wrought. I close
with a paraphrase from missionary to Tepic, Mexico, Debbie Mellberg's
Christmas letter last year. Christ came as a babe and could see the
cross from his manger, but came despite that because He could see the
world from the cross. That world includes you and me. Praise be to God
for His wonderful gift of the babe in the manger who came to deliver us.
Have a Blessed Christmas
Paul & Juanita Alton www.paulalton.com
(306) 240-2034 summer
(956) 778-0413 winter
PS. Our rig goes into the shop near Houston on the 26th to complete (we
hope) the repairs that were started last month. We have been told we
can live in our rig in the evenings. I guess we will visit family and
more than a few malls during the days. Hopefully repairs will be
completed in time to be in Alton, Texas, our next SOWERS project, by
PPS: This monthly/ bi-monthly update goes out to 599 addresses. If your
is one of them you don't want on the list please let me know. Usually
there is more nuts and bolts and travel stuff, but it is hard not to
get enthusiastic and want to tell you about a ministry that meets the
physical and spiritual needs of so many people.
November 15, 2006
Mid October we migrated South with the geese and started on a
SOWERS project here at Victory Camp in Alvin, Texas on
October 30th, just in
time to help set up for Hallelujah Night - an alternative Halloween
evening that raises funds for the school next door. Over 2,500 people
showed up to ride the miniature train, the go-carts, zip lines and
other camp stuff as well as play games and partake of a variety of
foods. Since then Paul and Louie (one half of the other SOWER couple
here) have made cabinets and are making faux gingerbread Christmas tree
props for one of the scenes on the Christmas Train
which runs in
December. Over 5,000 people are expected to experience the fifteen
minute miniature train ride which goes through various scenes starting
modern/traditional Christmas themes and ending with a strong message of
the ultimate meaning of Christmas and Christ's advent and life.
Juanita and Jane (the other half of the other couple - but you probably
guessed that) fluffed Christmas trees that had been stored since last
year and have worked at getting some of the many Christmas Train props
ready to set up.
The trip down here was relatively uneventful, except for one problem
with the fifth wheel trailer - the crack that started in Mexico this
spring and which had been stable at a drilled hole for over six months
decided to start growing on the trip until it went from the corner of
slide to the outside molding on the overhang. We took it to a local RV
dealer who had the capability to
fix it, but who could not do warranty work for the manufacturer. After
bit of a runaround with the local dealer for R-Vision products who was
not set up to do large repairs and was not willing to pay the two or
three thousand US dollars and wait for the manufacturer to reimburse
him the Edmonton dealer agreed to get involved (Thank you, Guarantee
We finish up here on
Thursday and take the rig to the repair shop and stay at Juanita's
sister's place until the work is complete in a week or three. Hopefully
it will be done in time to get to our next SOWERS project
down near the
border at Harlingen, Texas by December 1st.
The mailing list for updates started as a compilation of people we knew
or had had e-correspondence with prior to retirement. If you no longer
wish to receive these updates drop me an e-mail. Thx - Paul
September 10, 2006
Summer is over. The days may still be warm (25 C. today) but the nights
are getting chilly, the leaves have started to turn colour and the
geese are vee'ing past in increasing numbers.
Tomorrow we take down the satellite Internet dish and get the truck and
trailer ready to move on Tuesday 80 kms South from Bethel Gospel Camp
and Jeannette Lake to our property near Meadow Lake.
Sometime in October after Thanksgiving we will head South to Texas to
be in Alvin by the SOWERS project start date of October 26.
Month of November - Alvin, Texas (Living Stones Church/Victory Camp)
Month of December - Harlingen, Texas ( Way of the Cross Training
Month of January - Alton, Texas (Christian Charity Care Center)
Month of February - Harlingen, Texas (Way of the Cross Training Center)
Month of March - Big Sandy, Texas (ALERT)
Alvin is Southwest of Houston about twenty minutes from one of
Juanita's sisters and ten minutes from where one of Juanita's late
sister's daughter works as a bank manager. The project will probably be
to help set up a miniature train that people ride on during the
Christmas season. Apparently it tells the Christmas story with a strong
salvation message in a fifteen minute ride and gets about five thousand
riders a year. I am GL, but we are probably the only couple on this
project so it may not mean anything different.
Harlingen and Alton are close to the border. Both work with Mexicans
and have some cross border stuff. Not sure what doing - project
description is mostly maintenance, but Spanish skills may mean we end
doing more than just maintenance. Also GL at the second Harlingen
project - expect it will fill up closer
to the time.
Big Sandy you know all about from our travel writings (see www.PaulAlton.com and click on chapter
77). Good chance we will be at the SOWERS re-union there after the
but we haven't talked about that yet.
We may get some bus travel done in Mexico in between projects or just
go over to help in a border town. We have a long break of almost two
weeks over Christmas that we also haven't figured out what we are
supposed to do with.
August 13, 2006
We have been pretty busy at Bethel Gospel Camp this past six weeks with
little time to keep up with e-mail let alone send out newsletters on
time. September should be better.
One development is a web site you may want to check out www.PaulAlton.com which will be
used for a developing a portfolio of writings in the near future.
Meanwhile it has links to the Mexican travel writings.
We have finalized this winter's plans with five months at four
different SOWERS projects in Texas. More on that in the future, as well.
Paul & Juanita Alton
June 26, 2006
This is a bit early, but with us heading up to camp later this week,
thought we should get something out before we shut down the Internet
connection for a few days.
It's hard to believe that June 30th marks a year since retirement from
Maintenance & Engineering Manager at MWP(ML) and how many changes
we have all seen in that year. Speaking of changes, please note our new
telephone number (306) 240-2034. The old one still works for a few days
and it will probably be easier to reach us at Bethel Gospel Camp
over the summer, but we plan to keep the voice mail on the new one
active even when we head South next winter.
In May we continued our work around the home site. Paul went out to
Powell River for, his niece, Kelly's wedding and a week of intense
visiting and damage to his weight control program. Juanita traveled to
Edmonton a few times as airport chauffeur and to visit with Rebekah.
Most of June has been prep for the wedding, especially for the
females in the family. "The wedding?" you say. Well, Saturday June 24th
Rebekah were wed at a lovely not a dry eye in the house ceremony in
Meadow lake. All survived and the happy couple leave on Thursday for a
three week honeymoon in the British Isles.
We did take some time to do other things. On
June 8th we attended Rebekah's convocation in Civil Engineering ("with
distinction") at the University of Alberta. She completed the studies
toward her degree in December and after joining us for Christmas in
Mexico started work at Amec Engineering as a junior geo-technical
On June 28th we plan to head back to Bethel Gospel Camp for the summer
and have already been checking out the work list and started itching to
get working on it.
We don't know yet what next winter holds for us, but as my current
voluntary, early retirement. This was self initiated to pursue personal
interests and volunteer work in Canada, the USA
Work in the first year included kidsí camps in Canada
work at an orphanage in Oaxaca,
and work with SOWERS
at a training academy in Texas.
Future possibilities include more of the same, plus participation in
or commercial endeavors that fulfill long-held goals to participate in
start-ups, financial turnarounds or similar short-term events with
workloads and well defined outcomes.
This is a mass mailing. Please let me know if you get multiple copies
to your various e-mail addresses and want it to go to a particular one.
Feel free to pass on the update or the links to the web to others that
might find them interesting. Also feel free to bring to our attention
any activity or ministry or even employment that we would bring value
to and might choose over the ones we already know about.
Paul Alton MBA
Phone (306) 240-2034
Fax (347) 823-2072
P.O. Box 3038,
Meadow Lake, SK
Canada S9X 1Z7
* Chapter sixty-nine describes our travel down to Oaxaca, chapter
seventy-one our time there, and coming soon is chapter seventy- three
about the trip out of Mexico, our time at ALERT and our trip home. It
has been sent to Bob Hoffman for converting to .html and will be posted
when it gets converted. Sorry for the lack of individual links, but one
of the things that spam filters look for is multiple links.
April 28, 2006
We have been back in Canada for a couple of weeks now, catching up with
friends and family and gradually getting the area around the pad
graveled well enough that we can hope to get away to the camp this
summer without a repeat of the sink-up-to-the-axles scenario we had
This is going out globally so bear with me if some of this is old news
to you - hopefully it isn't to everybody on the list.
After retirement on June 30th last year we worked at Bethel Gospel Camp
for the summer and part of the fall then we headed West and South. The
write-up of that adventure and the time in Mexico is at http://www.hoffmantravels.com/
at chapters sixty-nine and seventy-one.
sixty-nine covers the travel down to Oaxaca and chapter
seventy-one talks a little about the time at Tlacolula, Oaxaca and
one trip up into the mountains. The subsequent chapter covering our
journey back to Texas and staring down predatory Mexican policemen and
our time at the ALERT academy
in Big Sandy, Texas working with the SOWERS will be in chapter(s)
seventy-something. I may even get around to writing up the travel back
to Canada and driving through flood waters on the interstate highway in
North Dakota, but don't count on it as there is more gravel to haul and
a niece's wedding to go to in Powell River in May and Rebekah's
convocation in Edmonton in June and Rebekah and Nick's wedding in
Meadow Lake on June 24th. Then camp season starts again for the summer
with a possible one week break for Paul to scout out a potential
ministry location for next winter.
Please note the new e-mail address and new fax number.
Paul & Juanita Alton
Phone (306) 236-8003 until June 30
Fax (347) 823-2072
Last Updated January 20, 2007
Copyright Paul W. Alton 2006 through 2019 All Rights Reserved
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