Mexico 2019 | Day 8 Blog

By: John Tilstra

Our trip has come to a close and we are sitting now in a 2 hour border lineup to go into San Diego from Mexico. We left our town of Vincente Guerrero this morning saying goodbye to our wonderful committed hostess Michelle from Welcome home preschool for the less fortunate families.

We then said good bye to Juan and his family at breakfast and gave him the remainder of our clothes, shoes and other donations for their use at the group home or for the workers.

They really do the heavy lifting in life by taking care of the old folks. Initially we thought why would we help but the answer came clear as we worked and ate lunch every day with the elderly. This was about finishing your life with dignity and respect even thou you have nothing to give back to society from a long life. Each person gave us hope in the world with respect and quiet love they could show.

They all said good bye and I’m sure Martin will miss the Centra Cares Crew. It was very humbling how this ministry works to get volunteers to help from EFCCM, local people bringing lunches and working only from donations to administer the ministry financially.

We have created another boost of hope in the world with our 12 member team.
I am so proud of our entire team and on behalf of Corinne, Steve and I, we thank each of you for your dedication to the project at hand. We all got along excellent and our memories will last forever.

Thanks to Pat Place and Lanson Foster for thier support and help on our trip. They both worked extremely hard with our group to accomplish our goals of helping others.

You all gave so much and for this I’m thankful.

Special thanks to Steve Neufeld (EFCCM missions) for all his organizational skills and organizing our trip. He took care of everything from materials needed, housing, food, and shoveling with the concrete crew. You truly are a special person with the patience and gift of making the world better. God has truly blessed you with the heart of giving.

Heather thank you for all your help with the entire organizing of our Centra Cares Crew on pre-trip planning.

Many blessings to all.

Mexico 2019 | Day 7 Blog

By: Kyle Hoekstra & Ian Bradley

Today we woke up to more rain and high winds. The bus to pick up the kids for daycare did leave this morning but only came back with 7 children. We were treated to French fries and eggs for breakfast.

As we arrived at site we found a little bit of flooding due to no drainage but a quick self-made drain took care of that.

As the day went on we all worked on finishing the forms for our concrete pour at lunch time while a group finished the plumbing. The concrete arrived on time and we began our pour. We had a small issue with some forms blowing out but after all hands on deck, it was resolved and we could finish the pour. We finished everything on the plumbing, pouring, and the work on the trailer and even built some shelves in their storage room.

After a hard week of work we were off to celebrate with Juan and his family at the taco stand where they presented us with a plaque thanking us for our help.

Mexico 2019 | Day 6 Blog

By Roland Calapiz

I woke up early this morning excited to be able to pick up the kids again with my partner Kyle Hoekstra. We were surprised by the wet surroundings when we opened the door of our dorm as it had rained overnight. Waited for 25 minutes only to find out that due to road conditions, moms or dads will not have work due to fields that they will work at will be closed and so children stay with them at home instead of going to schools This also mean that no income for the family. Rain for 1 week means 1 week of no Dinero!!!

We all sat together and enjoyed our pancakes and egg breakfast to make sure we have energy to start our day. We stop by the local hardware store to pick up some panchos to make sure we’re fashionable at work, oh and of course DRY! Unfortunately, no luck on panchos so we picked up rain gears instead. By the way, size selection is very limited. All 2XL…

Carey Day partnered with Corrine for building support beams, while I joined the team of Lanson and Ian Bradley swinging our hammers on putting rebar’s and form boards.

We were served turkey, egg mustard, beans and corn with the side of gravy for our mash potatoes for lunch the same time with the seniors.

As wind blows the lovely sewer tank smell appears around the site, everyone is busy staying task to make sure we have a strong finish for our last day of work. Centra owners working with our local Civil engineer (Imanuel) tying rebar’s together, while Patrick is busy setting up scaffolds for tomorrow’s concrete pour. Andrew and Stephen plugging away on their plumbing project not to mention their helper that sweeps after them, Kyle and Heather providing cuts for all that needs it, meanwhile, Brendan continued on building the trailer box.

All in all it was a great day, even the Rainbow decided to take a peak of our great works.

Mexico 2019 | Day 5 Blog

By: Stephen Wilkins

This morning started early with Ian, we got up at 5 to be ready for the bus to pick up the kids for daycare. It was amazing to see, despite what we would consider dire conditions, smiling faces and upbeat spirits. The kids piled into the van one by one as we drove through suburbs littered amongst the fields and farms. One of the kids, was about 18 months, sat on my lap so I could hold him while we drove around to pick up the remaining kids. Despite his clean appearance he decided to be dirty a different way, I don’t miss those days.

After breakfast we were on our way to the jobsite when we discovered a parade for the Mexican Revolution. We stopped for a bit and took some photos then proceeded to work. The parade went on for half the day causing some issues getting around. But we made it to the fish tacos.

On the job site we worked on completing the forms for the concrete beams and getting the heavy rebar in place, Andrew, had the daunting task of troubleshooting an existing plumbing line while I completed the new cistern, turns out we will be building another and replacing some lines that have become an issue for them.

After working a long day, Brendan, Corrine and I made dinner for everyone. Deboned chicken isn’t readily available so I had to debone some chicken legs, which was fun, and then Brendan and Corrine started on the veggies and salad. The dinner came together quite well and there were no leftovers. After dishes were done we proceeded to the fire pit and played 2 truths and a lie. It is an interesting way to find out new things about someone.

Mexico 2019 | Day 4 Blog

By: Corrine Tilstra

Today started out with the rice breakfast pudding, then off to the seniors home while the construction crew worked on the site. I kept busy with meal prep, some painting and sorting beans. It seems as if there’s always laundry, laundry and more laundry to be done at the home, in addition to doing some of our teams laundry.

I road along to the dump with Brendan to see for myself if people actually live there- and yes they do! Digging through the garbage for something of use. Very unpleasant smell, as it’s always burning.

Luckily, I didn’t see any children but that doesn’t mean they don’t live there

By: Heather Leong

I woke up this morning with a bit soreness from our first day working at the seniors home. A hot shower and some yoga back bends later, I went down to get some coffee from the eating area at Casa Hogan Bienvenidos. I’m greeted by everyone I pass with a “beunos dias.”

At home I would be leaving for work at the office. Here, the bus has just arrived from picking up the thirty plus children who spend their day here in school while their parents are away at work. The children file past our group on their way to breakfast. They all hold hands and high five us as the pass.

After breakfast we head off to the job site. I’m helping to cut forms for steel beams. The job site is split up into splinter cells with each group managing a different task. Our goal is to get as much done as humanly possible in the five days we are here.

The seniors home has a need for a wheelchair/bed accessible shower. When we arrived the room had four walls, with no roof, and a dirt floor with lines marking where the plumbing will go.

The team working on plumbing dug out the holes and layed the pipes for the cistern the first day. Today they built the cistern. What amazes me is how quickly everything is getting done. The team is working endlessly from sun up to sun down to get the job done. It has only been two days but it feels like it has been a week.

The end of the day saw the guys rushing to beat the sunset to get the forms in place for the next day. Like the children linked in the morning. Our work day ended with the guys linked on the form.

Mexico 2019 | Day 3 Blog

 We have opportunities to serve both at Welcome Home daycare where we are sleeping, as well as The Good Samaritan Seniors Care Home where our construction work is planned.

By: Lanson | Lanstone Homes & Patrick | Armstrong BC.

Corinne and Heather left at 5:50 am with the daycare bus to pick up 40 children from some poverty stricken neighborhoods.

After breakfast with the kids and doing dishes we arrived at the seniors’ care facility to continue the expansion of new shower and sleeping rooms.

The first work day was a productive day for all involved. In addition to the construction, Corinne performed 20 haircuts on the residents. This is the first time she has cut hair on a 100 year old woman.

Today involved leveling the ground for the new plumbing and slab work. We formed pillars for the upper suspended slab and tied steel, jackhammered concrete and John and Roland fixed 5 leaky skylights. Roland hit John’s thumb with a hammer cause he was tired of being directed around.

After a great but long day, the team enjoyed another authentic Mexican meal at one of Steve Neufeld’s (our guide from EFCCM) favorite eateries. All will sleep sound tonight for another productive and fun team day tomorrow.

Mexico 2019 | Day 2 Blog

Our Centra family representing in Mexico, fresh off their 16 hour journey. Time for the work to begin!

Day 2 Blog

By: Brendan Friesen & Stephen Wilkins

Sunday was our day to take in our surroundings and plan out our work for the week. We have opportunities to serve both at Welcome Home daycare where we are sleeping at as well as The Good Samaritan Seniors Care Home where our construction work is planned.

Before that, we started Sunday by going to the local church for Sunday service and heading into town to explore. The sermon being in Spanish, I snuck out to read stories to the kids halfway through.

After Church we met up with Juan, the local director of the senior center for a tour and to check out what projects we are working on. We’ve split into two teams to tackle concrete forms and plumbing this week. My accounting skills have translated into a ditch digging assignment down here.

Juan felt a strong calling from God to look after the local seniors who had been abandoned, his story is amazing and is deserving of a post all on its own. After starting the centre, he has partnered with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada which is how Centra Cares Foundation got connected and we are here now.

We wrapped up the evening with a quick trip to watch the sunset over the Pacific and out for the best tacos I’ve ever had. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be down here and looking forward to getting to work.

Day 2 in the books, after some games of crib and orientation, we watch the sunset and prepare for work tomorrow, it is important to remember on the task at hand, but also to reflect on our FAMILY pillar.

We will spend a lot of time together over the next 5 days building and working together as a team but more importantly growing our Centra family to include the lives that we help with this project now and in the future.

Mexico 2019 | Day 1 Blog

We have opportunities to serve both at Welcome Home daycare where we are sleeping, as well as The Good Samaritan Seniors Care Home where our construction work is planned.

Day 1 Blog

By: Brendan Friesen

Saturday our goal was travel. Langley to Vincente Guerrero, Mexico in 16 hours. The flights passed quickly for those who were sleeping. Once in San Diego we piled into two Van’s and headed south. A few contrasts stuck out to me along the way.

The contrast between Mexico and the United States is immediate at the border. Regardless of your views on walls or migrant caravans, it was a good reminder that the geopolitical events we read about happen in real places and to real people.

The contrast between an off-road Baja 1000 driver and John T behind the wheel of a 12 passenger van is smaller than I expected. The Baja 1000 race was occurring during our drive down. We saw these overpowered off-road machines in for pit stops all along the highway for hours. John gave it his best shot when the pavement ended by creating his own off road 3rd passing lane between buses on one side and a mountain drop off on the other to make sure all of us were staying awake.

At home we complain about the wealth gap but the contrast in Vincente Guerrero is far more noticeable. A town of around 10,000 people, most work in the Strawberry fields which our produce originates from for about $10 per day.

We are staying in a daycare compound for children of these workers, “Welcome Home Ministries” for the duration of our trip. As I fall asleep on Day 1, I hear music and singing from our local neighbours.

Centra Cares Home Renovation 2019

Presenting our winners for the 2019 Centra Cares Home Renovation Contest! For a third consecutive year, we will be awarding a deserving a family a house full of windows.

The past 8 weeks have been an emotional ride and we are so grateful to have stepped foot into many homes and learn about the struggles and triumphs of our local families. We are happy to announce that this year’s Centra Cares Home Renovation Contest is the most successful to date, with 500 nominations throughout British Columbia.

The stories illustrated moments of laughter, sadness, triumph, dedication, and resiliency. From loved ones and neighbours to family members and spouses, each nomination was written with the utmost love and care. Thank you to the Wadley & Harder family for sharing their stories.

Congratulations to the Dunsmore family!

Centra Cares 24th Annual Golf Tournament

The 24th annual Centra Cares Golf Classic at The Redwoods Golf Course was one for the record books. The tournament raised $235,000 and donated the funds to Wagner Hills Farm Society and the Langley Memorial Hospital foundation. ❤️ Each charity took it a step further and raised their own match of $100,000. This amazing gesture lifts the grand total to $435,000 raised at the Golf Classic!

The remaining funds will be distributed to several amazing local charities throughout the year. We are so grateful for the fact that this year’s tournament raised more money than any tournament in the past. Thank you to our title sponsors Country Lumber, PHL Capital Corp. Caliber Projects, and Cardinal Glass. The tournament would not be possible without their support. ⛳

Thank you to everyone who participated and thank you to all of our donors and sponsors! From activities and a delicious dinner to plenty of prizes and an entertaining gala, the 2019 classic was one for the history books.