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The Good, the Bad, and the Opportunity

May 24, 202411 min read

The Good, the Bad, and the Opportunity

There has been some big paradoxes in our life lately. I will start with the hard stuff so I can close with the good stuff. Then at the end, I will share an awesome opportunity we hope you can use!!

Hard Stuff:

The Scorpions.

We have had to kill at least 20 scorpions in our home since moving in. Some are small and can just be killed with a stomp like a spider. But some are big and need to be stabbed with a broom stick in order to avoid their tail.

I have only killed the small ones. I always call one of the boys over for the big ones. I have found them in my shower, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and laundry.

Joy is the only one who has been stung by one. She reached for her towel after her shower and wrapped it around her. She felt a painful "electric shock" on her back and she dropped her towel and swept it off her. She looked at the floor and saw a very big white and red scorpion coming out from under her towel. It freaked her out and freaked us all out when we couldn't get to her because the bathroom was locked and she wouldn't open it because she had dropped her towel on the floor.

However, after a visit to the hospital just to be safe, we have learned that scorpions around here are not deadly or very poisonous.

So there's that.

The Heat.

Part of the reason we have so many scorpions is because there is a heat wave right now and they are looking to cool off.

Since our house runs on solar, we have to conserve energy and we only use the AC at night. But even so, the power usually goes out around 3 or 4am and we wake up pretty early just because it's so hot!

At least it's not normal. Everywhere you go, people are talking about the unbearable heat. We keep hoping it will subside but it's been over two weeks and it just keeps on going!

The Unexpected.

As you will see when you read the following section about "the good," God is being so good in getting us the people and resources we need just when we think we are all out.

This helps me trust Him more and more all the time.

But not knowing how we are going to pay for things or how this is all going to work out can sometimes feel challenging.

Not that we aren't trying everything in our power to earn money... Bill is going to the US to work sometimes, we are trying to get the ropes business going (have trained some employees and are making signs), I am trying to fundraise, and others are trying to help us fundraise, plan events, and have an awesome website.

We are also planting trees and vegetables to save on groceries in the future. However, our efforts don't yet yield the results we hope they will soon yield.

I am learning to trust God, and I am getting better at it since I see His goodness so often, but I am not perfect at staying in that peaceful place all the time... mostly because stress can bring up underlying issues that we had been able to ignore before... which can cause even more stress.

Thankfully, we have an incredible God to turn to and to calm our fears, heal what's broken, and comfort our hearts when things get hard!

The Good Stuff


Ever since we moved to Mexico, I have wanted to start planting trees. Part of our vision is to teach the kids the principles of growth and impact through nature studies, permaculture, and entrepreneurship.

Trees take about 3 years to start bearing fruit on average, so we wanted to get started. But we are so surrounded by dense jungle... it felt so overwhelming to figure out where to plant and how to grow it.

My friend, Janell Howard, has the beautiful gift of nurturing plants and has studied it intensively. She understands the principles of nature and it's systems better than anyone I know. How I longed for her advice! But she was so busy and had so many of her own unexpected expenses to take care of, that I didn't dare hope too hard that she could come.

But one day, she texted me and told me she was praying for a miracle. After a few weeks, many roadblocks were removed, and she found herself buying a plane ticket for her and her son to come help us plan and start growing things!

She could come May 7th-15th.

In the meantime...


Angie was looking for a service trip for her homeschool coop. They have served at various places and she was thinking of going back to doing a trip she was familiar with. However, she said last year she kept being pulled to message me and see if they could help.

This happened before we had any service trips set up on our website or anything official for them to do.

I told her last year that we could use some help, but they would be the first service trip, that we would love to have them if they didn't mind being the guinea pigs, or pioneers. She said they would be glad to be pioneers, that it was something she often did, and that they would contact me the following year when it was time to plan the trip.

The planned their trip from May 10-13.

The Remarkable Group

As we were preparing for Angie's group from Nebraska, we were wondering what would be best to have them do. There was so much need.

Their trip fees would be paying for a project and we wanted it to be something useful for us and something that would be bonding and useful to them, since they would only be working for 2 days and doing activities with the kids one of the days.

We considered starting a volunteer dorm, but we didn't have enough resources to get very many materials, and by the time we trained them on what to do, they would need to be leaving.

So when we learned that Janell was coming 2 days before they were coming, we realized we could see what projects Janell had for us to do, and then use their trip fees to help us pay for them, plus their manpower to help us get some of them done.

We thought we could get to maybe 3 projects finished in a couple of days: filling the existing bio-digestor hole, moving and organizing the logs we had, and planting a few trees.

But these guys amazed us at how hard they worked, how well they worked together, and how organized they were!

Among other things, we were able to move the logs, fill the existing bio-digestor hole almost to the top, fill up a second hole to install another bio-digestor, install the second bio-digestor, clean the ropes course area to gather mulch, dig 25 holes, fill a bucket (in the shower at the house), walk 400-800 feet (depending on the hole), fill each hole with a bucket of water, plant the 25 trees, and rewater each tree with another bucket filled and lugged up from the house.

They also brought supplies for the kids, a keyboard (which is already being used every day), and an amazing spirit to our home. We loved getting to know them and to share in this work with them.

After they left, we couldn't help but stare in awe at how God orchestrated everything to help us get it all done. He is incredible.

)Click on the picture to see a reel with videos of the projects:)

volunteer group reel

Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, the men from the group, my husband, and the older boys in the family made dinner for the mother's after church. It was the best present ever! Instead of trying to figure out what to feed 30 people on a Sunday, I sat and talked with the moms. The made a delicious spaghetti meal too!

men cooking dinner during service trip

Grey Water System

Janell helped us learn how to install a grey water system to use the water form the sinks, showers, and laundry to water plants every day.

Our family dug up dirt to make a compost area and used it to make garden beds around the grey water system.

Then the kids from the school came over to plant herbs and seeds in the beds we created.

One week later, the seeds were already sprouting and beginning to grow! And we didn't have to do anything besides get the place ready for them.

We do have to water the fruit trees with buckets every other day until the rainy season starts, so we hope it starts to rain again soon :)


My oldest daughter, Cassia, came to help for the summer before she gets married on August 7th. She got here on May 7th. My oldest son, William, came to visit for a week with his fiancée before he gets married on August 13th. He arrived May 14th. If you are a mom, you understand how happy I was to have all of my kids together with me under one roof!


Sunday, the family was around the table, with the missionaries, plus some of our "adopted" kids (youth from church that come over on Sundays being the only members of our church in their family).

I heard a gasp and then, "Grandma?!" I turned around and saw my parents walking into our front door! Of course I cried. I needed a mom and dad hug sooooo bad! It was the best surprise ever.


We <mostly> took a week off work to spend time together. One day we went to Holbox and accidentally got stranded because we missed the last ferry off the island thinking there was one more. Thankfully, Robyn's family saved the day by getting us a hotel on the island, which allowed us to get up at 2am to go see the bioluminescence. I loved watching the kids faces as they played with the glowing water!

Another day we went to an underground cenote that you descend a steep ladder to reach.

On our last day together, my parents took us to see Mayan Ruins at Ekbalam. It was my favorite ruins place we have been to because they let you climb on the ruins and explore some of the rooms.

Good News!

That is enough about us and the work here.

I am super excited to share the following cool opportunity for you family!

Because we are just starting, and it is too last minute for most people to sign up to do a service trip this year, we are going to make it super tempting for people to come even if it's kind of last minute...

So for this year only, until the end of November, all of our 5 day trips will only cost you $375 per person!!! (Normally $550) And only $50 for additional days in case you want to come to church with us, which is a pretty cool experience.

Starting in December, they will go up to $450, and then next year back to the standard price of $550.

Sign up now so you don't miss this start-up opportunity! (After you pay the deposit, we will send you an invoice with the remaining discounted balance.)

Sign Up

Update on Antony:

We got 2 donors willing to sponsor Antony! I also asked one of our previous monthly donors if their donation could go towards paying him for his work here so he can have time to take classes at BYU Pathways while earning money.

He got very excited when I told him I found three people to sponsor him!.He is beyond grateful and I know he will make you proud. He takes the last half of his English proficiency test today to see if he can start right away or if he needs an English course first.

Thank you for helping him in his dream of becoming a counselor for youth and addiciton recovery. He has the talent, personality, drive, and desire to help many people in the future!

With love,

Karen Bates

P.S. Thank you for your support! We have only made it this far because of your good hearts. Remember, even small monthly donations go a LONG way! If you'd like to help these youth break the cycle of poverty, abuse, and broken families and make a difference for good in the world, consider being a PathMentor by making a monthly donation

P.P.S My sister-in-law has been working hard on our website! Please check it out and share it with you friends!

blog author image

Karen Bates

Karen is the creator of the Find Your Path Program and Founder of Find Your Path Mission, a non profit organization dedicated to helping youth break negative cycles and reach their personal potential.

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