22 March 2013

A Holiday at Zion's Camp or Campamento Sión

The Holiday

Monday we got two national holidays for the price of one: The birthday of Benito Juarez and Oil Expropriation Day. Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec indian origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico in the mid to lat 1800s. He fought off the French, restored the Republic and modernized the country. Oil Expropriation Day celebrates the expropriation of all oil reserves, facilitates, and foreign oil companies in Mexico on March 18, 1938. It took place when President and General Lázaro Cárdenas declared that all mineral and oil reserves found within Mexico belong to the nation. It is a highly political holiday in which the political is ignored and the holiday is adored. 

The Camp

Our landlords, the Taylor's, invited us to join them and their extended family, the Treviño's, for a Mexican-style picnic at the church camp south of the city. It is an amazing facility that is used for YM, YW, and EFY camps. 

One of two large kitchen/bowery facilities to left, cabins and screened classrooms to right. 

One of the many cabins that sleep 44 with gathering room, fans, and fireplace.

Creek running through the property which also has its own fresh-water spring for drinking water.

Entrance into the large amphitheater area. 

The camp can service up to 600 people at a time. There are hiking trails, tons of trees, three full-size basketball/soccer courts and many barbecue pits. We saw first hand what they do with those pits.

The Carnivores of Northern Mexico: A step by step guide on barbecuing Norteño (Northern Mexico) style. 

When coals are almost all white, put tomatoes and jalapeños on to roast. 

Cut a small cavity into the center of the white onion and stuff it with a whole jalapeño. 

Wrap onions in foil and put on the grill. 

Meanwhile, squeeze lime juice over the meat and then rub both sides with the lime half.

Sprinkle meat with salt and with Canadian meat seasoning on both sides, then spray with butter. Meat must be cut very thin (buy it at a Mexican market for best results).

Remove the tomatoes and peppers from the grill and peel the skins off of the jalapeños (Gringos should use gloves!). 

Use the whole roasted jalapeños and tomatoes to make the salsa. Start the guacamole. 

The sausages (previously de-skinned and cut in half by the beautiful 16-year-olds) now go onto the grill.

When they are cooked they go into a small thermos to keep them warm--guarded by the salsa/guacamole guru. 

The coals are now white-hot and the first round of meat is spread over the grill. Note the large rock on the left. It keeps the grill in the air because there is no center support for the three grill racks to rest on. 

Pepe and crew turn the meat when the blood rises to the top of the uncooked side and the bottom is toasty-brown.

As soon as the meat is nicely browned on both sides, they start pulling it off of the grill so that it doesn't dry out. 

The second round shows some of the cuts they use: arrachera, costillitas (cross-cut ribs), sirloin, and T-bone (all thinly cut).

The last round of meat and sausages goes on and the "taste-testers" show up. 

As the meat finishes, the quesadillas hit the inside grill: best with flour tortillas and Oaxaca cheese. 

Some of the yummy results above and below. 

Always with a big glob of guacamole and extra lime! 

Other beautiful sites at the camp: 


Sour orange blossoms with a sweet, sweet scent. 

Giant tree shading the BBQ pit.

One of three red-headed sisters there for our entertainment.  

Forest Fires and Jabalí

Last month there was a forest fire that crossed onto the property. The firefighters had to cut the lock from the gate in order to prevent the fire from destroying the property. When someone from the stake arrived, the fire chief was very apologetic about having to “break into” the property. The hermano told him not to worry about it and thanked him for getting to the fire quickly. He then asked the fire chief how they could help. The fire fighter was confused and asked, “What do you mean, help?” The brother replied that they would like to do something to support the crews and asked if they would like to use the large kitchen or the cabins to feed and sleep the men. The fire chief was very grateful for real beds, a deluxe kitchen, and spring water in order to support the crews, which stayed there for several days.

Wild boars (jabalí) are often seen in the area and apparently one was shot by one of the police from the Fuerza Civil (Police Force) with his big, big gun. It was then roasted over one of the pits and shared with some of the family who were there. They said it had a very strong, very wild taste. Wild boars are frequently seen in the Sierra Madre mountains as well as in the desert between here and McAllen, TX. 


  1. The food looks delicious...what a neat place. I thought of you today. I cut Mike's hair for the first time in Spain and was grateful for your clippers. We have had to buy so many things here that not buying clippers has been nice. Hope all is well. (Things like that are very expensive. A vacuum cleaner is cheaper than a curling iron.) We are having our first JAS Family Home Evening tonight. I have cooked for 2 days. I wanted it to be special but I may be setting up expectations that will be hard to maintain.

  2. Great post except for all those onions and peppers! What a nice camp. So glad they have that available to them. Our branch presidency here is all from South America where they say the church is very strong. They are the only branch presidency all from S. America (Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina) on the island and probably in the Canaries.

  3. I had to get a bib I was drooling so much from your descriptions and the pix! I am so jealous. Can we do that when you get home?

    1. We were happy to se so many people using the camp, our mission call was to build it from the beginning, it was a labor of love, We wish you had more pictures, Were leaving in a week to peru, for another special project. enjoy . Johnny and kay anderson