Fall Update 2022
Sunset at Snoqualmie Falls, Washington State
Dear Friends & Family,
We're back in Yucatán and, after four months of traveling in the U.S., it feels wonderful.
As soon as we exited the airport back in late August, we instantly felt the difference in weather with Yucatan’s heat and high humidity weighing and sticking to our skin. We arrived home, finding our yard turned into a jungle resulting from the heavy rains while we were gone. There was flooding from leaks in our kitchen and bathroom making them unusable. In our back room, we noticed a long crack in the ceiling. Nor was the air conditioning in the car working.
But, thanks to our friends here for their help during our trip, our sweet home was intact. Kawika was even delighted to see the kitchen pot holders we had left hanging to dry on our stairwell handrail.
The architecture in Mérida seemed beautiful than ever, the bright color buildings more vibrant than we last saw them, and the smell of tacos from street restaurants lined with coca cola tables enticingly welcomed us back. And being reunited with friends topped it all.
There's no place like home.
Returning to familiar places and faces brings us great comfort.
With this in mind, our hearts are heavy as we pray for people affected by recent hurricanes -- many who can’t return to familiarity and must build back or move on somewhere else.
In our last update, we wrote to you from Hawaii. Since then, we traveled to the Pacific NW to visit our supporting churches, friends and family and have settled back here in Yucatán. We are so grateful and blessed for these visits. We'll share more on this later as well as the latest in our ministry, how you can pray for us and some interesting tidbits tying our beloved Hawaii and Mexico together.
Our Sincere Gratitude
Thank you to everyone during our travels who took the time to hear us present, visit with us and encourage us on. We are especially thankful for our daughter Malia, son-in-law Adam, and grandkids, Ethan and Sophia, who showered us with hospitality and love. Saying goodbye to them is never easy but we rest our hope in seeing them soon again.
Take care everyone. Aloha and blessings,
Byron, Inez and Kawika
In This Issue:
Pacific NW: Final Part of Our Furlough trip
Update on Potential Projects with Everett First Presbyterian & Rolling Bay Presbyterian
Helping Others Serve Others with North Creek Presbyterian Church
Special Request for Kawika
Pacific NW: Final Part of Our Furlough trip
Calapooia River, Oregon
After a memorable time in Hawaii for Byron’s 50th high school and our family reunions, we flew to the Seattle area. Unfortunately, we weren’t exempt from the airline chaos this summer.
Instead of arriving at 9:30 pm as originally planned, we landed shortly before 12:30 am. But you wouldn’t have guessed the time with flights coming in simultaneously and the crowds of people everywhere. Our gracious friends, who had been patiently waiting for our arrival in the parking cell lot, were held back even further just to get out of the lot due to the heavy backup of cars. Thank you, Sam and Rose!
Our Pacific NW travel included presentations and wonderful visits to Calvin Presbyterian, Everett First Presbyterian (EFPC), FPC of Lebanon and Rolling Bay Presbyterian (RBPC). As well, Byron delivered sermons at Lebanon and at RBPC. We also met with the North Creek Presbyterian Mission Strategy Team and had a delightful lunch with Ted and Linda from Mission Dispatch, our funding agency.
At Calvin Presbyterian, our home church, and with our wonderful missions Action Team.
Inez reading the scripture at FPC Everett and us with our awesome team leader Darcie and her family.
Presenting at FPC Lebanon and with our amigos, including past participants of work teams.
Byron preaching at Rolling Bay Presbyterian and us with amazing work team members from our last water plant built in 2019.
From left: us with Ted & Linda from Mission Dispatch and with the Mission Strategy Team from North Creek Presbyterian.
Our visits on each occasion remind us of how blessed we are in meeting people who are dedicated to their faith in God and are intentional in action in loving their neighbor. That the Lord allows us to see this wide panorama from churches and ministries in Yucatan to across the U.S., including Hawaii, enriches us greatly. Last week, Pastor Victor from the Divino Salvador church in Mérida visited us for lunch along with his family. He spoke about the privilege to be in ministry, no matter what difficulties we face. We couldn’t agree more.
Thank you again to those of you who hosted us in your homes and treated us to delicious meals out. We enjoyed visiting supporters and catching up with long-time friends and family. Muchas gracias for caring and taking the time to show your interest in us. A shout out to Dennis and Corinne Pearson for a special weekend and letting Kawika drive the off-road vehicle around the property! Certainly, a highlight for any teenager -- let alone one from México.
And the icing on the cake: spending time with our daughter Malia, son-in-law Adam, and grandkids Ethan and Sophia. We are amazed at the little people our grandchildren have become, each with their distinct sense of humor and wit. We painfully miss our play time with them. Before giving one of their baths, Inez took the opportunity to share the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and about the importance of serving one another. Then she had them wash each other’s feet while they told each other what they appreciated about one another. Such sweet times to cherish.
As a wonderful surprise, our daughter and son-in-law treated us to an overnight stay at a fabulous lodge, meals included, where we used to dine for our anniversaries before becoming missionaries. It brought back so many memories, and we ate our breakfast in what was our usual spot in front of the fireplace. Ha! In the middle of August! What a tremendous blessing. Thank you Malia & Adam!
Special Request for Kawika's college expenses
Kawika touring college campuses this summer.
In between our travels, we arranged college campus tours to go on with Kawika. It was a whirlwind trip but thoroughly enjoyable.
Yes, you heard that right. If God wills it, our precious son will soon be leaving us. As Kawika prepares for his college years, we both are bracing for the void that will take place next August, as it happened 20 years ago with Malia when we took to the mission field here in Yucatán. By the way, Kawika’s college search in the Pacific NW has a lot to do with being close to Malia and our family.
He's currently applying to Western Washington U (where Malia got her degree), U of Washington Bothell, Seattle Pacific U, and of course the U of Oregon, Byron’s alma mater. It's a busy season with college and scholarship applications and applying for financial aid.
As missionaries, and it's humbling to admit, our budget hasn't allowed us to allocate money toward college savings. We've discussed this with Kawika and have told him to expect that whatever amount is not covered by scholarships and financial aid, it would be his responsibility. So, this will be a great step of faith for him.
In light of this, would you consider making a special personal gift for this cause? Keep in mind, that because it will be considered a personal gift, it will not be tax deductible. Please see donation instructions for Personal Gifts at the end of this blog update.
We'll keep you abreast as we find out more about the amount of financial aid, scholarships and grants he could/will receive.
Meanwhile, we ask that you begin to prayerfully consider this request and to also pray for Kawika as he begins another chapter in his life.
Trusting in Him who makes all things possible according to His good will!
Update on Potential Projects
Great news. Both EFPC and RBPC have approved planning for Yucatán missions in 2023.
We are in the middle of putting together new cost packages for both the youth recreational room at the presbytery retreat center on the coast for EFPC, as well for the water purification plant in Chalmuch for RBPC.
Youth Recreational Room at Presbytery Retreat Center
This past summer, the presbytery retreat center in Chuburna hosted a youth camp. The good news is that nearly 300 people attended; the not-so-good news is that the center has a capacity for 150-200 people. To accommodate the overflow, the leaders put up tents and rented a house. A rec room will help with this gap as the presbytery hopes to add more rooms in the future.
Youth Camp attendees this past summer at the Peninsular Presbytery Retreat Center
Water Purification Plant in Chalmuch
A couple of weeks ago, we went out to the pueblo of Chalmuch to meet Pastor Jeremias at the Solo Cristo Salva church and Pastor Fredy and Pastor Isaias, local leaders of Living Waters for the World in Yucatán. While Chalmuch is only 20 minutes from downtown Mérida, it's a world away from the big city and doesn't have a water purification plant. We reviewed the church property which has ample space to build on and discussed logistics and lodging for the work team from Rolling Bay Presbyterian. Overall, it was a great meeting, and we enjoyed getting together with the pastors and members of the church. We look forward to the next step in working with them.
Helping Others Serve Others with North Creek Presbyterian
While we were in Washington state, we had the privilege to meet with North Creek Presbyterian's Mission Strategy Team (MST) to present needs of people we mutually know in ministry in Yucatán. We are grateful for the MST's work in helping to carry the burden of others through generosity.
One of the outcomes of that meeting was the decision for the MST to help Jose Alonso build his auto workshop. In previous posts, we shared that he received funding from NCPC and the Serving His Servants Foundation to purchase tools to begin his workshop business.
Upon receiving this news, Jose Alonso shared with us how God directed his steps. Just prior to the COVID outbreak, he had been planning to obtain a visa to work in the U.S. for a year and then return to Yucatán to start up his business. As a newlywed, that would have meant being separated from his wife. But then, pandemic restrictions and the closing of offices put a stop to his plans.
"When God closes one door, he often opens another..." --Billy Graham
Looking back, he explains how he saw God intervening in his life. First came the help of purchasing the necessary tools to begin his business in Kimbila where he lives. Since then, he's been able to build a customer base, clear and level land for construction for a workshop and make adjustments for a larger entrance gate and concrete driveway. And now, with the additional gift to build his workshop, Jose Alonso is amazed how the Lord kept him in Yucatán while still enabling him to pursue his dreams without having to leave México.
Part of the gift from NCPC is a loan that he has agreed to pay back to help another person in business with needs. He totally gets the importance of that. Jose Alonso carries a certain gentleness coupled with a genuine desire to help others. In fact, during the pandemic he and his wife Perla would put money aside to purchase food for people in their community out of gratitude to the Lord. Once he establishes his business, he says one of his goals is to donate his time to help local pastors with car repairs. His faith carries into his profession as he shares the gospel with those he comes across at work. NCPC's and Jose's testimonies bring to mind the following scripture from Hebrews 13: 15-16:
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
•Kawika who’s in his senior year of H.S. and applying for colleges in the U.S. and scholarships. That the Lord will continue to guide him with perseverance and peace in the process.
•Inez who’s scheduled for a follow up check up later this month with her endocrinologist regarding her thyroid lumps, which the specialist says showed non-cancerous characteristics in her last exam.
•Byron who’s dealing with ear issues affecting his hearing.
•Our time as a family. That God would bless this time and our relationships before Kawika heads to the next stage of life: Adulthood!
•For our English class outreach plans which have been postponed until possibly November.
•For God’s continuing leading in our ministry.
Hola-aloha! There's always something about the Mexican-Hawaiian connection we keep seeing here in Yucatán. Like the Ohana and Waikiki stores we mentioned in prior updates.
We found the same link in Hawaii this summer when we happened to walk by the Aloha Tortilla Factory & Cafe and later had lunch at the El Gallo taqueria where we feasted on tacos al pastor (a staple in Yucatán) and where Kawika gulped down authentic Mexican Coca Cola. And he thought he was far from home. The little coaster he's holding in the photo below says "De Mexico para Hawaii" -- from Mexico for Hawaii: Sweet gesture, right?
Then we returned to Yucatán to find this quaint home in the middle of downtown Mérida:
Guess there's always a piece of home wherever you go!
Gracias for reading amigos!
A Yucatecan hammock in Lebanon, OR. Best nap ever!
Thank you for your support in prayer and financial giving
For contributions toward our ministry & personal expenses:
· If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, go to MissionDispatch.org, and either go to our missionary page or click on the “Giving” tab and yellow “Donate” tab. Or mail your check payable only to “Mission Dispatch” (not to Yucatan Helping Hands or the Ahinas) to the address below. Be sure to reference “Inez Ahina” on the bottom of the check.
Mission Dispatch / PO Box 641 / Edmonds WA 98020
You can also set up an automatic bill payment through your bank account.
· If you wish to make a non-tax-deductible donation, please send a check to our US address:
Payable to: Byron Ahina / 1918 214th CT SE / Sammamish, WA 98075
For contributions toward food relief packages or construction projects:
· If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, go to MissionDispatch.org (see above instructions). All gifts we receive from Mission Dispatch are considered as income to us. Therefore, we will set aside a portion of that gift to cover for IRS taxes.
· If you wish to make a non-tax-deductible donation, maximum up to $15,000, please send a check to our U.S. address above and include a brief description note for the purpose of the donation. Example: "These funds are to reimburse Byron and Inez Ahina for __________. The Ahinas did not have any financial gain from this gift."
For Personal Gift Contributions
· All personal gifts are non-tax deductible and must be sent to our US address:
1918 214th CT SE
Sammamish, WA 98075
Payable to Byron K. Ahina, Inez T. Ahina or Byron Kawika Ahina
You can also make a Zelle transfer and find us through our email: email@example.com
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us directly at +52 999 129 6227 or leave us a WhatsApp message at the same number. You can also leave us your number as we have unlimited calls to the U.S. Thank you.