Saturday, April 10, 2010

El Pozo Turns FIVE!!!

Here's something I wrote for a team newsletter that will be sent out to the supporters of all El Pozo staff via snail mail. Sneak preview on the parts I wrote for my blog readers, but if you get the newsletter please be sure to check out the other articles written by my teammates.



On March 6th, 2010, we had a big party – complete with a live band, a DJ, couches in the front yard, a campfire, birthday cake, a piƱata, and tacos from one of the best local taco stands – to celebrate FIVE YEARS of ministry here at the Casa Verde. Although the ministry of El Pozo in many ways began much earlier, with the dreaming and praying and scouting and fundraising and team-building and groundwork-laying and house-renting and such, we officially date this community’s birth to March 6th, 2005, the night when we had our first El Pozo “En Vivo” Bible study. I remember that day well. It was a Sunday (We later switched to Tuesdays.), and our original staff gathered with our first exchange student group in the “upper room” – where En Vivo still happens – to pray. Later that night, with a crowd of maybe 20 or 30 people, total, I gave what was surely a forgettable talk on one of Jesus’ parables. There was music, food, laughter, and … voila! – after all of the preliminary and preparatory stuff, for the first time we felt like we were officially underway as campus ministers here in Puebla, Mexico.

Looking back five years later, I can hardly believe all that has taken place. By my count we have had 15 full-time, long-term staff members (12 of whom, amazingly, were present for the party, thanks to Elsa H. still living locally, the Stryker vacation, and an earthquake that kept Frizz here a week longer than expected – We missed you, Dan, Sarah, and Becky!!!); 14 interns; 66 exchange students; and dozens of student leaders. We have raised, and spent on ministry, hundreds of thousands of dollars. We and the students we love have spent countless hours eating, dancing, playing, driving, sight-seeing, hiking, laughing, crying, listening to music, doing homework, studying English and Spanish, studying the Bible, praying, and just sitting and talking about life TOGETHER. By the time you read this we will have had the great privilege of preparing for baptism and baptizing at least ten students, many as new believers and the rest in obedience as more fully devoted disciples of Jesus. By the time you will have read this we will also have been on our third annual house-building mission trip to Juarez and built and donated our third house to needy families there. We’ve hosted hundreds of friends and many mission groups from supporting churches. We’ve been on ten retreats, plus several others with only staff, only girls, or only guys. We’ve had dozens of cookouts, tournaments, raffles, auctions, holiday parties, movie nights, sleepovers, scavenger hunts, relay races, and all manner of other events aimed at growing this community and helping college students grow closer to God. And many hundreds, if not thousands, of young people have walked through the doors of the Casa Verde to find a place of love, acceptance, truth, fun, and friendship. Yes, these have been five very full, very busy, and very beautiful years!

I walked around the birthday party in somewhat of a sentimental daze. Our daughter Elsita is still not a year old, so I felt, for the first time, something of what it must feel like for a parent to stand off to the side at his/her child’s birthday party and just take it all in. In many ways, El Pozo is my first baby. We witnessed and facilitated her birth, and we have given our all during these her formative years to ensure that she started out on a good path and began to grow up healthy and strong, honoring along the way the Creator God who called her into being. The fifth birthday celebration provided an occasion for me to step back and reflect on all that God has done through the highs and lows and adventures in our history here. There are so many fond memories, and there are some painful ones, too, but all in all I don’t think I could have ever hoped for a better assignment than to be a part of the creation and growth of El Pozo.

One thing I like about Jesus, though, is this: That guy was all about the future. By my estimation, God in the flesh was a man who honored and learned from the past, lived in the moment, but focused on the future. With Jesus, it’s not about where you’ve been. Instead it is all about where you’re going. And so as we continue to strive to be a God-honoring and Christ-centered community, we enjoy the party, appreciate the journey thus far, and celebrate the victories, but most of all we look to the future. How can El Pozo continue to grow and thrive? How can we reach more students from more universities? Where do we need to grow? How can we make a bigger impact on this local community and the future of Mexico? Who will be the leaders next year and the year after that? What does God want El Pozo to look like when we’re celebrating birthday number ten? How can we be involved in birthing new communities of faith? What is our long-term impact? How can we achieve our main goal of making more and better disciples of Jesus in this place in the days and years to come?

THANK YOU to all of our supporters, friends, and family for making this dream of campus ministry in Puebla come true. I am so grateful, honored, humbled, and excited about the past five years at El Pozo, and I’m so proud of where we are as a ministry today – but I am even more excited about El Pozo’s FUTURE! I hope and pray that each of you reading this newsletter will join us in ways both traditional and creative as we continue in the ministry to which we’ve been called.



We are often asked what THINGS we need around here; in other words, if someone wants to give something other than money, what could they give? In light of these inquiries, we’ve put together a wish list of the top ten (in order of approximate cost, U.S. Dollars) things we would currently LOVE to add to the El Pozo ministry arsenal. These are things that we believe will really help us accomplish our ministry goals and provide for the spiritual needs of the students down here. Please contact a staff member if you’re interested in purchasing all or part of any of these items. THANKS!
10. professional blender ($80)
9. new microwave ($120)
8. new vacuum cleaner (We fear the one we have could explode at any time. $200)
7. Wii with four controllers ($300)
6. dual input guitar amp ($300)
5. base amp ($300)
4. industrial mixer ($400)
3. patio furniture ($400)
2. new projector (The old one is on its last legs. $1,000)
1. industrial dishwasher ($4,000)
0. Bibles! We always have free Bibles available for the students, and they fly off the shelves! You can send money, or just go to or another similar site and purchase some Bibles (Best value = case of 24 for $72), then contact us and we’ll figure out the best way to get them down here.



The Seventh Annual Globalscope Puebla Golf Classic will take place a few weeks later than usual this year, on FRIDAY, JULY 23rd. The location remains the same – Orchard Hills Golf Club in Newnan, Georgia. As always, the event will be great fun for golfers of all skill levels. There will be a Chick-fil-a lunch and many great prizes. We need a volunteers, sponsors, prize donations, and lots and lots of golfers in order to make this event a big success. This year the proceeds will go toward the building expansion projects we are working on here at the Casa Verde, including a complete kitchen remodel, adding some student apartments, and adding a large metal structure to create the larger meeting space that we now desperately need on Tuesdays and Thursdays for our big weekly events. Contact Nathan via email (, Facebook, or telephone any time for more information. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations,

    Praise God for God's good work in Puebla,

    -Ethan Magness