Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This morning we woke up to 54 degrees and 90% humidity. Cold to say the least for Isla Mujeres. Downtown in the plaza the decorations are going up and homes around the Island are starting to glow with a Christmas theme. We are gathering quite a bundle of shoes and assorted goodies as we prepare for our annual Christmas outreach. Such an exciting time for the kids here in anticipation that Papa Noel (Santa Claus) is coming to town. As Christmas approaches we are reminded of the greatest gift ever given, Jesus Christ and the price He paid for us. A gift given with unmeasurable love and our desire is to share this love with every pair of shoes. Blessings during this wonderful Christmas season and thanks for all you do.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


What a blessing for us to be able to stand back and watch others love on the kids here. We struck up a conversation with a group of ladies we had met before on the beach the other day and they informed us they had shoes. A few days later they asked us if we could go with them and help out. Of course we said yes, and set the time and place to meet. They went down to central and bought shoes from Ely, our favorite store owner and helped her make rent once more. Upon meeting with the group, we found out that 5 of them were from Milwaukie, Oregon where we had just been for 3 weeks visiting family. Small world and God is so faithful in bringing folks such as these to love on the little feet here. Over 100 pairs of shoes were fitted that day by loving hearts and gentle hands. Simple acts of caring and giving bring big smiles and memories for these kids. Thanks for sharing your time in helping us love on the precious feet of Isla Mujeres.

Monday, October 10, 2011


We have referred to this word many times in our past postings, and it is still one we find worth pondering. Time never stops moving forward. We can not turn it back as much as we would like to sometimes. "Timing is everything" is a favorite phrase in our society. "Time just got away from me... where did the time go?... I don't have the time. We use it in many ways to either excuse ourselves from not keeping an appointment or recognizing that time really did get way from us and wonder how it happened. We just returned from a 3 week visit to Oregon to see family and our wonderful son graduate from The Art Institute of Portland in Photography. Sitting down this morning I realized it has been a "Long Time" since the last posting. We have had folks from around the states contact us and deliver shoes here for the kids. Met many new visitors on the beach and given the chance to share why we are here and what we are doing. We took one family into a new colonial to hand out shoes and the need is great everywhere. We are still amazed at the response over a new pair of flip flops or sandals for those precious little feet. So many parents let us know that we came at the perfect "TIME" as their other shoes had just fallen apart. As we continue to share and show others our journey here, they have taken it upon themselves to come again and go hand out shoes on their own. Praise God for their love for the kids and desire to keep impacting them in little ways. We keep seeking out God's will with each rising sun and He continues to leads us to new families and friends.

Monday, August 8, 2011


A SERVANTS HEART: I read this morning in Luke how Jesus came to serve and His example of humility is what we should all be desiring in our own lives. We were touched by our friends from New Jersey once again with their love and serving towards the kids of Isla Mujeres. Debbie, along with her family came down with shoes, little flashlights, glow sticks, Frisbees, and a whole lot of other stuff for the kids. We were blessed by getting to go with them and take photos as they loved these precious souls in the name of Jesus. She is the C.E.O. of the Original, "JERSEY GIRLS" that we have written about in past blogs. This trip she brought her 2 daughters and husband to join her first hand in what she has been doing the last couple of years. They have heard all the stories and seen the photos from past visits but this time, they came and experienced it together. What a blessing they were to the kids as they marched right in like they had done it everyday and loved on them as they handed out all the goodies. It is great for us to stand back and allow others to take home a changed heart, experiences of a different culture, and most of all, their testimony as to how God used them to serve others. Our desire here on the Island is to be "WILLING VESSELS WITH A SERVANTS HEART" as we continue with the work God desires to do through us. The GLORY is all His and we are humbled by the folks He directs to us for the furthering of His Kingdom. Thanks Joe and Debbie for sharing in this journey with us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More shoes and lots more love

We see from our last post that a month has already raced past and August is coming sooner than we want. We handed out shoes last week and saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. It was a special day for us since school is out and the kids were all there to greet us. When school is in session, we miss 1/2 the kids since they go half days and strange hours throughout the week. As we loved on the kids and handed out shoes, we were reminded of how fast they are growing up. These two guys were 9 when we met them and not very big but wow, what three plus years will do for a growing kid. We have seen a swing in the older ones in the way of fashion desire. It is very cute to see that they become a little bit more aware of styles. It is not that they are not grateful but we want to be sensitive to their surroundings and love on them none the less. Crocs... or a pair of flip flops with some bling on them is all we are talking about and the price is the same. The little ones still like the kick off in a hurry style so that when they want to run fast or rough house, off go the shoes and away they go. They are still kids at heart and such a joy to watch when they interact here. They create silly games to pass the time and you hardly ever see them quarreling. We have visitors coming in August with shoes and lots of love to share. Thanks for your prayers and support as we continue to march forward and love on the kids here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is it June already?

It is simply amazing to us here on Isla Mujeres that time slips away so quickly. We have had a very busy past month with shoes and visitors. We can't thank the faithful supporters of our ministry enough for their sacrifices in giving so we can provide shoes for the children here. Knowing that times are tough for everyone to make ends meet blesses us beyond measure as the support continues to comes in at the perfect time. A group of 16 just left this past weekend from Missouri that came down to do other missions work yet found time to bless us with over 180 pairs of shoes. The non-profit Organization, P.E.A.C.E. here on Isla Mujeres gave us enough money to buy 50+ pairs of shoes and then our core supporters sent in their monthly support as well. We took the group up in Guadalapana and let them experience our world first hand and what a blessing they were. We keep loving on the kids here and are so gladdened to be riding down the road on our Moto and hear our names called from the kids walking around. We were overwhelmed by Manuelin the other day when we handed out shoes with the group from Missouri. He told them that a lot of people come and live here on the island, spend a ton a money but not to help the families of the Island. He then told them that we are always helping the kids here and that they are grateful for us because of the love we show to the Island. That love he spoke about is because people from all walks of life give freely to the ministry so we can be conduits for the Lord in sharing His love. We are preparing for another round of shoes soon and will post more when we complete the task before us. Life has slowed down to a crawl here with the tourist season in the down swing but the folks keep smiling and are thankful for what they have each day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Shoes finally Arrived

Well, as we have stated before, "Nothing happens fast in Mexico." The shoes for Fernanda and her brothers finally got here. Her cousin that is living with them received a pair as well as we saw it only fitting for her to be included. Thanks to the support from faithful people, we took them to the shoe store and let them pick out a special pair. Mom had a lot of input as well and then we had to wait for them to arrive. Here are the photos of the kids with their newly purchased shoes and much thanks included. We have a group coming from U.S.A. the end of June that are bringing $100.00usd each to buy shoes and go with us to hand them out. There will be a total of 16 people in the group. Hope we can fill the demand as the Island is preparing for the off season and might not have the quantity on hand to fill the order. God is good all the time and we will continue to trust in His provisions as the time approaches. The weather is warming up early this year and no rain for 3 months to speak of. We are always learning new aspects from the locals about this wonderful culture and continue to fall deeper in love with them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blessing a whole family

Fernanda and her family have been our friends for about 3 years here on the Island and such a sweet family they are. We first met them when we handed out shoes to the "Hillside Gang", a group of kids that are always out playing on the hillside when we pass on the Moto. We first took Fernanda down to a little shoe store and blessed her with new school shoes a few years back. One day, they were gone and we could not locate them. The neighbors around them said "No they do not live here any more." Well, for those of you that have spent time in this culture know what that means. They answered our question correctly, and we forgot to ask the next one. "Do they still live here on the Island and if so, where?" As we were on our way home a couple of weeks ago, enjoying the beauty of the Caribbean to our left we heard of yell to our right. There across an undeveloped lot stood Fernanda and her two brothers yelling "Natalie... Gregorio", jumping up and down with radiant smiles beaming. We had found their new location and decided to bless them as a whole family this time. We took them down to the shoe store and let them pick out shoes. They all ended up having to order them from the catalog, but they got what they wanted. (With a lot of guidance from Mom.) We will update as soon as they get the shoes and let you see the results. The photo with Natalie and the lady is Fernandas Mom, Maria

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Helping Hands

We feel the Lord's blessing from top to bottom when we are enabled by our supporters to buy shoes, and then with the Helping Hands of others who care, distribute them.
A profound thank you to all. You know who you are, and most importantly, God knows who you are. His Word clearly mandates caring for the poor and needy. It is simply the right thing to do however one undertakes to do it. These are some photos of just one small way to care for others. (We often remark that what our beautiful friends lack in worldly goods, they seem to more than make up for in close family ties and joyful hearts. Monetary poverty is difficult, spiritual poverty is depressing. Our longing is to make the journey less difficult, and to restore a vision of heaven in hearts that have lost their way. Please join with us in prayer for this.)
Love Always In Jesus,
Greg and Natalie

Monday, March 28, 2011

What are you well known for?

"Si, Natalie y Gregorio usted es bien conocido en Isla." This is what we were greeted with one day as we paid for our umbrella on the beach. She was smiling with great delight as she said this to us and we were not sure what she had expressed. Natalie whipped out the dictionary as she always does, eager to learn a new word or phrase and we were humbled upon learning what she had said to describe us. We had talked to her once before several months back and wanted to refresh our memories with her name. She told us it was Karina and then as Natalie started to tell her ours, she stopped her and Said,"Yes, Natalie and Gregorio are well known on Isla." It gave Greg something to ponder for the rest of the day as we sat and watched the world pass by us on the beach. What are we well known for here on Isla? It is a reflection of Christ? Is it an example worthy of following? Is it one of kindness, patience, gentleness? It made me think about the years past and the stops we have made during our journey with God. How will we be remembered in those places when we cross their minds? We can all be well known in the community, whether it is for good or bad. This little island has the ability to let your actions be known from one end to the other in very little time. We try and live a quiet life and mind our own business here on Isla Mujeres as we go about seeking to do His will as He has laid it before us in our ministry. This statement Karina shared with us was very encouraging as she smiled and reassured us that she knew who we were. How well known are you in your neighborhood or community? Maybe your whole town or city knows of you. Is it good to be well known for who you are and what you do? We have a heart to love these kids here and do all we can to share Jesus with them however that may be. Shoes, playing a game with them, buying them a bottle of water on the beach, or stopping along the road as they walk home from school and give them a high five. We give the glory to God for all that He is doing here through us and the folks that keep coming to the Island that He puts before us to share with. With all the travelers we have met, gosh, we could be known around the world..... and we pray that it is more for the good deeds than bad.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!

Nearly one hundred and forty pairs of shoes were distributed last week. Each foot is so precious. Jesus said, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news." Beautiful feet. We are becoming obsessed with them. We want to take care of them, cover them, protect them, and see those who own them know the love of their Creator. Here's just one more photo of one of them.

What's for Breakfast Papa?

When you get up every morning, what do you fix your kids to start the day? Cereal, bagels, eggs, oatmeal? As parents, we want to send them off with a good breakfast so they are energized and ready for the activities that they will encounter during the day ahead. As we were riding in the taxi the other night and having our normal round of talk with Victor, our number one driver when we need one, he informed us as to what he gives his son each morning. Aldo just turned two and is the cutest little guy you will ever meet. Victor told us that Aldo is the first up every morning at around 5:30 or so and comes in to wake Papa up to get the day rolling. Every day his routine is the same. Papa, Papa get up and fix me breakfast. Victor arises and honors little Aldos' request with his favorite foods. Now, truly, what have you imagined that a two year old likes each morning? You have probably come up with quite a list that you decided would be best for someone his age, or what a kid his size likes. Well, each morning Victor gets up and greets his son with his favorite meal.......... Aldo looks forward to sitting down at the table with his Papa, just the two of them and having "COFFEE and COOKIES" to start the day. We will have to follow up on this and ask if he likes it black. :) Natalie and I could not believe it yet Victor acted like that is what every Papa does in the world for their two year old. Another culture clash for us and we just giggled and went along with the rest of the conversation. Victor and Anna are the best parents you will meet. They love their kids to death and are raising them in a home filled with love, patience, gentleness, and understanding. We have to sit back and wonder if coffee and cookies are the best thing for a kid in the morning, or even if coffee at two is a good thing, but we drink it as adults, eat cookies in the morning or sweet rolls. If it is O.K. for us, then why is it not good for our kids. We keep experiencing this culture to its' fullest and loving each page of life as it turns. We could of interfered with our conclusions on how to raise their kids but one verse in the Bible keeps coming before us as we live among these beautiful people God created as we as us. "LOVE NEVER FAILS". We simply keep loving on them and learning some important lessons along the way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

December outreach and Island life

Well.. 2011 is here and off with a bang. The island has been pretty quiet for almost two years since the Swine Flu episode. This Holiday season has been a great one for the locals as the Tourists have returned to the Island. It is so nice to see the businesses flourishing once again. The day is filled with laughter down at the beaches as folks enjoy the warm weather and crystal clear waters of Isla Mujeres. Our final shoe fitting was a wonderful time as we were joined by Natalies sister and her husband that came to visit. We were also blessed by Betsy Snider (no relation to us) who made 80 plus hats for the kids. It was a grand early Christmas party for the precious kids in Guadalapana as we distributed clothes, shoes, toys, and hats. The year was a blessing for us as folks supported the shoe ministry which allowed us to love on the kids here. ...THANKS EVERYONE...

We keep learning so much from these kind and gracious people here on the Island as we continue to make friends and further the relationships we already have on a daily basis. One particular young man comes to mind for this posting. We have watched him for the last 3 years sprint up and down the beach trying to etch out a living by selling his goods. He always has a smile and a kind word when he passes. His English is flourishing as he asks questions about the usage of certain words and then off he goes practicing on the next group down the beach. Such a joy to watch. The other day we got another lesson in life as Natalie was trying to find out when his birthday was. As the conversation continued, I was starting to realize that he had no idea what day he was born. All he knew was that January 1, he was going to be 18. Does it really matter if he knew his date of birth? We guess it would if you needed to get some official document, apply for a job, or get a loan. Here, in Mexico, we were once again reminded of the simple yet rewarding life many lead without all the details that can tend to bog us down. He is happy to have a job running up and down the pristine beaches of Isla Mujeres, learning a new language, and meeting folks from all over the world. He is so full of life each day and we so look forward to seeing his radiant face coming down the beach. He always leaves us with a "God be with you" in both Spanish and English as he heads off to try and make a few Pesos. We hope that this new year will be one living a simple life, being content in all circumstance, and full of joy. We are off and running with the shoe ministry as another wonderful supporter has blessed us with a donation for the kids. Happy New Year everyone.