WOW . . . the Friends of Cozumel Fall Mission Trip officially scheduled for October 1-8 actually began September 25 with a 5-day marathon pre-trip painting project and ended with final project modifications on October 11 . . . 16 days in total! While we weren’t able to post blogs during our project work, we’ll share reflections and photos in the coming weeks.
We worked hard! We enjoyed fellowship of sharing experiences within our group of mission volunteers and with local people. We learned new skills and developed a deeper cultural understanding. Together we accomplished a great deal to benefit children, families, and community organizations.
THANKS to our Mission Volunteers . . . a diverse team of 12 travelers from the US and island residents.
April Koss DiPasquale (CZM) is a local host volunteer who claims she doesn’t “do” projects . . . but cooking IS her talent so she keeps us well fed with wonderful lunches, hosts special suppers, provides transportation, serves as cashier for Gran Bazars, donates to families in need, is a shopper extraordinaire for special supplies and does a great deal of behind the scenes support for mission projects…..Alfredo Rosas (CZM) is a long-time personal friend of “Amigos de Cozumel” volunteers. He participated part-time (weekends/ evenings) around his full-time accounting work. Alfredo’s bilingual capabilities are a HUGE asset in translating. In addition to being an outstanding Gran Bazar cashier, Alfredo painted, sanded and discovered the fun of using power tools!
Byron Kendrick (TX) took a three week sabattical from his RV repair business to come early to prepare for the Mission Trip. We won’t let Byron forget he discovered the old paint peeled off the NUAFA daycare walls which launched a 5-day scraping, sanding and painting marathon BEFORE the Mission Trip began! Byron has four Cozumel mission trips under his tool belt and enjoys working on shop projects.
Gail Lewis (TX) felt a calling to participate in this mission work so on a leap of faith she creatively found the necessary resources and invested a great deal of time beforehand to ensure payroll responsibilities at work were covered. Gail did sewing and craft projects, shared her passion for sewing with local women taking sewing classes, donated fabric, wallpapered to decorate a daycare and packaged food supplies. GRACIAS, Gail and the Sadler Baptist Church for their generous donation to support a local church and youth education.
Ilene Kendrick (TX) rarely relaxes as captured in this photo during a Mission Trip outing to the east side of the island. She’s constantly “on the go”. Co-hosting four mission trips to Cozumel, coordinating annual cruises for SAIL (women’s bible study cruise group), initiating the Bible Blessings ministry and continually seeking donations demonstrates Ilene’s energy and commitment to a mission partnership with the community. If home is where the heart is . . . Ilene is definitely “at home” in Cozumel…..Ray Ham (CZM) is a retiree living on island who is very involved in the lives of two special girls, Nuria and Sami, who are like adopted daughters to him and Sandy. The girls often help with Friends of Cozumel volunteer activities. Ray is a wealth of information about the island, knows where to go to find things or whom to contact in addition to being handy with woodworking and other projects. Thanks to Ray and Sandy for their tireless efforts “schlepping” volunteers, supplies and mission projects from place to place.
Jaydee Williams Ferguson (CZM) is an island resident who has been searching for meaningful, FUN volunteer work. She jumped right in to painting the daycare and hung shelves. Jaydee’s love of crafts led her to help with a mission trip project at the CAM school for children with disabilities. As a result, she volunteered to coordinate an ongoing crafts effort for the school and is working with family members in the US recruiting donations. THANKS to Jaydee for buying and donating sports equipment for CAM’s 100+ disabled students.
Karen Pedersen (CZM) coordinates the Friends of Cozumel informal network of volunteers and donors, identifies needs with local organizations, plans mission/service projects and ensures donations reach the intended audience. Karen connects people to benefit the community. She focuses on learning opportunities for youth and women, encouraging volunteerism and developing leadership skills.
Larry Pedersen (IA/CZM) loves woodworking as a hobby so looks forward to planning projects and spending time in the shop during mission trips. Larry works “virtually” whenever visiting the island to support his computer services business in the US. He is teased relentlessly about the number of daily trips he makes on his bike to the hardware store and often laments “If we had a table saw we could . . .” Larry actively recruits future mission trip volunteers in hopes that justifies acquiring more tools, including a table saw…..Edwin Gerardo Fernandez (CZM) survived his first mission experience working incredibly hard by scraping, painting, sanding and varnishing for days before and during the Mission Trip. Edwin learned to use power tools, packaged food supplies, used his bilingual capabilities to translate and was willing to try anything. He especially enjoyed the fellowship with “experienced” volunteers (code for the rest of us are a generation older)! Edwin is a volunteer teacher for Catholic youth education and is initiating a trash pick-up program.
Sandy Ham (CZM) is one of the most positive persons you’ll ever meet! She and Ray have participated in three mission project work weeks as well as volunteering for ongoing Friends of Cozumel activities. THANKS to Sandy for coordinating the huge NUAFA daycare painting project, wielding a drill to hang shelves, assisting with the Mexican cooking class and helping coordinate efforts to avoid duplicating resources that benefit the community.
Treva Mahan (TX) visits the island annually with SAIL, a women’s bible study cruise group that has developed a mission partnership with several organizations. Her love of sewing led her to make/donate five new curtains for the daycare, organize storage for NUAFA sewing class supplies, service sewing machines, sew a custom seat cushion for a disabled child and lead craft projects at the CAM school. Special THANKS for the wonderful donations Treva brought . . . school backpacks, beauty salon class supplies including wigs, fabric, craft supplies.