It’s been about a month and a half since we resigned from our jobs, moved out of our little apartment in San Diego and began a new chapter in our lives. We fit our remaining belongings into a 5’ x 10’ storage unit and spent two weeks on the road, camping, climbing and resting. For there is a certain rest that can only be found when we put the city behind us and venture out into lonelier places.
In early November, our road turned west through a stormy day and then south, past the border and along the coast to the port town of Ensenada. We made our way through the city, navigating pot holes and easy-to-miss stop signs until at last we arrived at our new home for the next 6 weeks: a little apartment in Colonia Hidalgo, just a few blocks away from the Pacific Spanish Institute.
As I’m writing this now, we have finished our fourth week of language studies. The Pacific Spanish Institute is a small school, and we are the first students they have welcomed back since the school was forced to close in March. We have six hours of class, Monday through Friday (and usually another hour of homework in the evenings). Since we are at different Spanish levels and the only students, we each get one-on-one instruction with our own teacher, balanced with the occasional field trip or cooking class. As you may know, learning a new language is exhausting. Our brains hurt constantly, but the teachers never seem to run out of patience or creative ways to help us learn. We are so grateful for them. The beautiful outdoor spaces surrounding Ensenada also offer a good reprieve from studying.
Our primary focus right now is learning Spanish, but we have also been praying and seeking direction for our next steps in the coming year. Over the past few months we have been in conversation with our good friend and founder of Aleph Surf International, Rehgert, about what it might look like for us to help restart the Aleph youth program here in Northern Baja. Aleph has had a presence in Ensenada since 2017, but the leader who was once heading it up moved away earlier this year, and the program has remained dormant throughout the rollercoaster of 2020. At the core of Aleph is this idea of restoration: using recreation (surfing) and mentorship to support young people and their families while forming a community that cares for each other and for the world we live in. It’s a simple vision, but one that resonates deeply with us.
As we continue to work out what this might look in the new year, we have also connected with a few local organizations to learn more about their work in the area and to explore possibilities for partnership. These groups include YWAM Ensenada, Door of Faith Orphanage, Siloé Medical Clinic, and Rancho Libertad, a church based in La Misión who actually have plans to start building a youth rec center! It’s been introductory at this point, but we are encouraged to see strong potential for alignment with other partners who have been around for a while and understand better the needs in the community.
We are so grateful for all your love and encouragement. Jess got a little teary-eyed after receiving so many responses from folks interested in reading our updates. We hope you are all doing well.
Please stay connected and we’d love to hear from you too!
Dustin and Jess
For folks who would like to pray for us, here are some things on our hearts:
- Transportation – Baja roads can get pretty tough during the rainy months so we are looking to invest in a sturdy set of wheels for getting around town and hauling equipment. A lightly used Toyota Tacoma 4×4 would be ideal, but those guys aren’t easy to find cheap. (If you have any connections, let us know!)
- Housing – Once we finish language studies in Ensenada, we are looking to relocate to La Misión. Please pray that we find the right living space. Hopefully somewhere accessible to the community with an extra bedroom for hosting folks.
- Connections – As we all know, Covid does not make it easy for us to form new relationships with people. It’s easy to feel isolated and alone. Please pray for the right doors to open for us to build connections in the community wisely during this pandemic season.
2 thoughts on “Adjusting To New Rhythms”
Dustin and Jess,
I loved speaking with you two this morning and just read your updates and will pray for Jess’s neck that Gods healing hand is laid upon her and heal her from her pains!! ( although Dustin, you might be a part of her pain in the neck”) JK.
I will speak with Carol about what you guys are doing and we will pray God opens doors for you two to be His Voice, Hands and Heart in Mexico!!! You did wonders for the youth at LJCC and I am sure the youth in Mexico will share the same blessings!
We will follow your updates. Rich
Thanks for the encouraging words and prayers. We appreciate the support. It was great getting the chance to catch up today! Happy to hear the family is doing well. Send our greetings to Carol & the fam!