Casa Blanca Retreat

Serving Jesus Baja Style

US 208.290.1838 MX 646.103.6674

The Casa has been in operation since 2002 and offers inexpensive housing for groups large or small. We love to serve those venturing to the Ensenada Mexico area and beyond for short term missions work. Feel free to explore our website and see what all Casa Blanca has to offer you and or your group. 

- View from Casa Blanca's back yard -

“I did a 180. It was about making Jesus the Lord of my life.”

"Heidi VanDyken loves Jesus. Of all the things I can say about her, this one stands out. She also follows Him to rough places, placing obedience higher than comfort. She is one of my heroes."

- Mary Demuth: Podcast

Casa Blanca host, Heidi VanDyken, recently sat with long time fiend and Podcast host Mary Demuth and shared her story. 


 Click Image to Listen!

Click Image to Listen!

Dia de los Niño’s - Dios el Proveedor

Last post was about an outreach we were to be a part of for the Dia de los Niño’s so this is the follow-up post post.

First off thank you to those who prayed for this specific event. It was no easy task and there were glitches along the way that God worked out for His glory.

One of the things that we had to deal with was the day before the event there was a farm worker protest that shut down the north-south highway in the town where we were to have the outreach.  This was a continuation of the protests that went on for several weeks south of our location where the road was shut down multiple times by the protestors, stores were closed, and looting took place.  It finally got partially settled in that area and then moved north.  We had a report from a ministry we have worked with that their orphanage van was beat up when they tried to drive through and that the road out to us was completely blocked.

So we prayed.  The specific answer to this prayer was answered. The next day there was no sign that anything even happened and the protests did not resurface until the next week.

The event itself saw involvement from a couple of churches in California, the church we attend that is English speaking, and the church we attend that is Spanish speaking.  We were in charge of the food preparation, serving, and getting people from the English speaking church to help.  At first, the show of interest was low but when the day came people showed up to dice tomatoes and onions (a few kilos worth) and then a surprising number came to help cook and serve the hot dogs.

We cooked and served 568 hot dogs to people that day.  For the event itself, there were lots of games for the kids and a gospel presentation to them.  There was the food and there was a clothing give-away.   For the adults there was live music and a raffle of household items like plates, pots, etc. Before the raffle the gospel was presented and over 40 came forward to receive Christ.

The only thing that could have hampered that day was a little rain but all groups involved chose to continue to serve and bless the people of Maneadero.  Thank you again for praying for this outreach event and all those involved.  It was a joy and a blessing to join God in the work He was doing that day.

Día de los Niños Outreach

In Mexico we are a part of two churches.  Some of you know that we started out at Horizonte in Ensenada but one month into attending, we were asked to become a part of a church plant to the English speaking community near where we live.  We have been a part of that since October of 2011.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
— Colossians 3:17 NIV

Our pastor also has another church in Maneadero, Capilla Calvario de Valle Maneadero (Calvary Chapel of the Valley, Maneadero).  If you can’t already tell by the name, it is a Spanish speaking church.  We also attend there so Omar, who lives with us, can get Sunday school and fellowship with other kids in Spanish.

You may be asking why say all of this? Well, with the Spanish speaking church we are having an outreach to the community in Manedero and we would appreciate prayer.

It will be held on Saturday April 25 to celebrate a holiday here in Mexico called, Día de los Niños or in English “Kid’s Day”.  This holiday celebrates kids, if you could not guess by the name.  It consists of activities for kids, clothing distribution, music, a booth where people can get prayer, food bags handed out and the gospel message will be preached.  This event in the past couple of years has seen an attendence of 700-800 people! Mike and I are heading up the food area: preparing and handing out hotdogs to the kids.  We are going to open the door for the English speaking church offering a chance to get involved with us in preparing and serving the food.

First and foremost,  we would appreciate prayer that God’s Word would go forth and people would come to Jesus.  Secondly,  pray for the churches and people involved that in all we do we would bring glory to Jesus.  Thirdly, pray that the English speaking church would see the opportunity to get involved and share the love of Jesus even without having to speak Spanish.

Devotion - Reciprocity

That is how I used to live. Not all that turn the other cheek stuff and blessing others, but the reciprocal stuff; “I’ll hit you back harder”, that was me. The other stuff, being forgiving when someone offends me, being willing to sacrifice my stuff when they want it, or to serve someone without getting something in return, or being generous when giving, no way, it was my stuff, my time, my money!

...You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
— Matthew 5:38-42

Looking back I see all those wasted years of living with the attitude “Me first, not you” and I shake my head considering the foolishness of this view of life. When Jesus came along and said to me “Assuredly, I say to you”, he showed me a better way to live that comes with forgiveness of my past, a hope that is found nowhere else, in no one else...sounds like a deal to me, my past for His future.

Now I see God’s hand at work, doing major surgery, giving me a brand new heart. I can tell because when the same kinds of things happen today, where in the past, well….you know how I responded. Now, I can respond totally different; “… whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matt 5:39). I can respond in a loving manner, forgiving when slapped or insulted. If you want my stuff (really God’s stuff) so bad that you will sue me for it, just take it. Let me help you with it. If you force me, guilt me into helping you, let me serve you; and if you need money or some employment, let me help.

If this is the price to be paid to share the love and forgiveness Jesus Christ has for all, it is a small price to pay. Even if you wipe your feet on me like a doormat.

Are you like me in any way? Wait; don’t compare yourself to me, but to Christ and what he says.

Discussion question:
- In times past have you been guilty of practicing 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'? What were the circumstances? Looking back, how should you have handled that offense against you by the other person?

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Let’s face it, life can be messy.  As a person who likes order, at times I am reluctant to engage with others because I don’t want a mess encroaching on my order.  Coming to Mexico has challenged my order on so many different levels.  Some of the time order has gone completely out the window.  But that has challenged me to look at what “my order” has been about.  It has been about my wants, my comfort, my desires and feelings.  I sometimes jokingly say, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.  We all laugh but when I say that am I putting off someone with whom God wants me to engage?  The words of 1 Peter 3:15 come to mind.  If I am to be prepared to give a reason, I can suffice it to say that I am to be engaging those around me.  Otherwise, why would I need to be prepared?  In 2 Timothy 4:2 we see we are to be ready in season and out.  That not only speaks of preparedness but I think it also speaks to be engaged in the world around you.

But sanctify the Lord God[a] in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
— 1 Peter 3:15

I have heard our Christian life is like being in the Lord’s Army. If that is true what does that look like? Well first there is basic training which establishes your foundation. After you graduate Basic with the basic skills set in place then you move on to AIT which means Advanced Individual Training which has to do with your MOS which stands for your Military Occupational Skill. It’s what you are trained to do. After you graduate AIT do you sit around waiting for war to break out? And then when word comes down that it is time to go to war you stumble around looking for your gear trying to get your head straight remembering what it is you are supposed to do? Not by a long shot. Your days are spent keeping sharp physically. You are always refining your skills and practicing what you have been trained to do so it becomes more of a habit than a conscience thought. You are ready at a moment’s notice to go where you are sent to do what you have trained to do.

The same is with our Christian walk. Living in Mexico has driven home some of these points. Partly because we never know what might appear on our radar that day. It could be as simple as giving someone a ride, or fixing a broken water pipe that loose cows stepped on. It could be talking someone through the difficulties in their marriage, it could be explaining the truth in the word of God to someone who has strayed from the narrow way because they have been listening to others who have different beliefs, or being the voice for a little boy who does not have one even though we do not know what will happen. Is it teaching bible study or choosing to pray for people and see them as Christ does even though they are in the middle of the gossip ring in the neighborhood and you have been on the receiving end of some of the false accusations?

What is clear is my life is not my own. I was bought for a price. I read in Romans 12:1 I am to offer myself as a living sacrifice which is my reasonable service. I will be honest sometimes what I am presented to do does not seem reasonable in any way but it is what Jesus is asking me to do right now. We have encountered some very hard things since moving here. In the midst of it all the most apparent thing is I have nothing in and of myself to offer. I say all I have is Jesus, but in reality that is the best thing I have to offer. The only thing that has lasting value, the only thing that will not rust and fade away is Jesus and the work that is accomplished through His Spirit. I am just to be the salt and light. I need to be ready at all times to give a reason for the hope that I have. I cannot do this in my strength. All I have to offer is the hope that I have found in Jesus and as a living testimony of what He has done in my life and what He can do in theirs. People need to know that scripture has the answers they need to help them with any situation with which they are dealing. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

In this “season” of our lives the fact that I have nothing but Jesus is so very apparent. I cannot “fix” anyone. That is not my job, it is the Holy Spirits. When I remember this there is freedom in just sharing Jesus with the other person. People have said you need to be Jesus with skin on. I understand their point, but I think what we are supposed to do really is point people to Jesus. To share with them the work Jesus has done in my life and let the Holy Spirit do the work in their hearts.

So I encourage you get yourself prepared. Know what the word of God says. Be able to give a reason for the hope you have. Engage with the people around you so they can see what Jesus does in a life. Be that salt and light. How do you prepare? The Word of God. Immerse yourself daily in it. Get involved in Bible study, home groups, take the BCF class and let your world be transformed by the word of God. We are to be active participants in this life for the glory of God not ourselves. Get an understanding of Matthew 28:18-20 and how that looks in your life.

"...para edificar el cuerpo de Cristo..." Efesios 4:12

" the building up of the body of Christ..." Ephesians 4:12


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