The few days in Chicago with Family and friends was a promise to my kids that I would be with them for Christmas. After 15 years of being on the mission field every Christmas, spending time with Kristin and Kelly this year was awesome. Even though Alan and I left Chicago after church and breakfast on Christmas Day, I had a great time, even though Paula was not here with me. Kelly and Ryan had to fly back to Denver in the afternoon and Kristin had to work on Christmas, so Alan and I left with a full trailer, and arrived home 22 hours after leaving, played a round of golf that afternoon and for the last few days have been extending the ministry center in Mexico. We have a group staying at our place, working in Reynosa with another Missionary, building a community center not far from us. With only Alan and Lyneaa here, it is the smallest group from home to come over the Christmas break, so we have a lot of work to do to prepare to feed the colonia and give out gifts on Saturday. I received a call from Joe Warner in South Dakota, that the beans and corn that He is donating again this year, are ready to be picked up. We are accepting donations to pay for the fuel to drive up there in two weeks.
We haven't been able to enter the colonia for several days because of the rain turning the road into an impassible field of mud because of the trenching we did last month to install the water lines. Yesterday we called Carmelo and had him pick us up at the entrance, using our four wheel drive truck. It was indeed a slippery and even dangerous drive. We loaded up the blankets and different things we brought in the 4wd and headed in. It was terrible and to make things worse, Roy has a team wanting to build a house for a family near the entrance, but the wood is a mile in. Well, Omaro hooked onto Roys trailer, loaded it up with the wood and made His way to the site, where the family was excited about their Christmas gift from Jesus... A New House. I thought about overcoming these obstacles to make this house happen, no matter what, and called a guy with a backhoe and paid Him to come with some loads of caliche' ( a mix of dirt and rock that doesn't turn to mud when wet), and do his best to fix the road. It's going to cost over a thousand dollars to make it passable again, but it will be worth it and will last a long time. I'm off to Chicago today and it's not going to be a very merry Christmas without Paula, but Lynnea is flying down here Friday, and Me and Alan will make the drive to Texas on Christmas Day.
It was in August when a few friends and me put up the $10,000.00 needed to buy and send a load of rice to famine struck Somalia where hundreds of kids die every day from starvation. I had been getting updates every so often and you've heard the expression " a slow boat to China" well this was a slow boat to Somalia. It arrived this week, after two months at sea and needing to transfer the whole load from a huge ocean liner to a smaller vessel capable of fitting in the tiny port in Bossasso, Somalia. I don't know how many children died waiting for this rice, but I sure am blessed knowing that many more will live as result of its' arrival. I sure would like to send more food to those dying children, so I'm putting my faith to the test again and trusting God for another Ten Grand to do it again. If I can have Paula add the link to the e- mail with the whole story, I'll do that, but it sure is cool to know it got there. Thank You Lord!!!
Faith really works! Have you experienced it lately? Have you put it out there to be tested. Sure you did, you sat down in a chair today didn't you? You turned the key in your ignition on your car didn't you? And you probably did it without even praying didn't you? PAGAN. No, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I can't see God working all things out for good, but He does. I can't imagine praying that my chair will hold me up if I sit in it. I just believe and sit, period. Some days I get a little discouraged as my cold seems to drag on forever, and now Paula has what I had,only worse. The rain last weekend kept us out of the colonia all week because of the mud a foot deep. But today we got a phone call from a Pastor in Mx that has permission to pass a load of stuff into Mexico, and the van has been loaded with 200 coats, hundreds of blankets, pillows, and about a thousand pounds of beans. I loaded it in the van last week just waiting on God to provide a way to get it all into MX. I hate taking a little at a time, I like full van loads and Gods Favor. So I waited upon the Lord and He did it. We only stayed in the colonia for a while, Paula is pretty sick, but while we were there, we blessed a couple of families with a few hundred dollars to aid them in their travels to visit family in Southern Mexico for the first time in several years. So we blessed a few families with much needed money and our mailbox had a few donations in it today as a result of our Christmas newsletter. Give and it shall be given to you!
Saturday, A friend David Lara, had his company Christmas party at our house and all 22 of the kids bagged up over 200 one gallon bags of rice for the people in Mexico. Some of the kids asked about the little nylon backpacks we had, filled with toys for the kids in the colonia, so I asked them if they would like to help some poor kids with Christmas gifts. I gave them the instruction to give them something they valued and not just junk they don't play with anymore. After looking a little sad at first, their faces lit up when they started thinking about what they could give. Yesterday, David and Angie brought back the backpacks filled the best they had. There were even a few American Dolls that I guess are not cheap. They gave of their best, what else should we do? One of the kids even gave us the money they were saving for something. They wanted more backpacks to fill. CAUTION! GIVING CAN BECOME ADDICTING! I hope they will come with us to give the backpacks out on the 31st of Dec. So if your thinking of doing something for the poor this Season, why not give your very best. Instead of buying yourself new shoes and giving your old ones, give the new ones! Give a new jacket verses the one you always hated anyhow. God gave us His best when He gave us His Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we could live life differently.
Sunday after church, we had breakfast with George and Bonnie, they volunteer at Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg. They asked for some beans and rice for an outreach at an orphanage and colonia in Reynosa, so we filled up zip lock bags with all the rice we had and about 20 bags of beans. Today, Dave and Joyce White that use to own this place, brought us a tote filled with 2000 lbs of rice. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Most times, we have to give everything we have been given before God will fill us up again. We are down to 150 bags of beans and that could all go out the door in a month and then I'll get to write again about Gods wonderful timing. So if your at the point where you really need God to show up and do something... your almost there. Follow the instruction the Holy Spirit gives you and watch. I heard a guy say on t. v. yesterday say " nothing leaves heaven, until something leaves our hand" God always responds to our faith, not our need. We filled their truck with all we had, knowing God was going to give us more. If we hoard it and hang on to it, that's all we'll have, but if we sow it, God guarantees a harvest.
Paula spent hours on the computer trying to recover our lost files and wa la she opened a file and found all of our ministry contacts and info on a different file. I had been fretting having to go back through every copy of every check donated over the last year and re-entering everything. Now all I have to do is enter everything from the last two months, I still hate computers, but Love my wife. It made getting our year end news letter out much easier, with names and addresses. Last week Roy had a team from their home town Lifepoint Church build a home in the colonia, and when they were done with that, they spent several hours helping us finish a house a family started building themselves and couldn't finish. I caught a cold and have not been to energetic for a few days, and now it seems Paula is getting it too. We have been collecting bibles for Phil, Marianne and Daniel to take to Oaxaca, Puebla and Tuxclan Guiteriez in the mountains of Southern Mexico. Wes got me several hundred and I picked up 200 from a ministry in Mission last week, and hopefully our church will get the several hundred they ordered by next week. All told, we should have at least 500 bibles ready to go, and maybe 1000. We filled about 50 backpacks with donated toys, coloring books and hygiene items the other day and need to fill at least 200 more by Christmas. We are getting a permit next week to pass a whole van load of coats, blankets, and beans into Mexico. Praise the Lord!
When the Internet is not working for several days, it is really a pain, so HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!! We started last week with a small business seminar at a huge church in Reynosa, put on by the men from Austin that do ministry in the colonia we work in. It was a great event with several businesses from Reynosa represented. From hair salons, bakeries, oil well equipment and service company, dentists, designers to mention a few. It was good to rub elbows with middle class Mexicans and see their struggles doing business in a place where success brings risk. We really enjoyed the three days there and made some new friends. Thanksgiving Day was spent at home as David and Angie brought their ten, yea, ten kids over for dinner, along with Roy and Rebecca and their three kids and their dog Tex. Naturally we ate till we were stuffed and a Pastor and His wife from Mexico made it time before all the food was gone. While we were stuffing our faces, the group from Austin installed about 1500 meters of water line and the job of laying the water lines is complete. HALLELUJAH!!! One more tank and tower to stand up and IT IS FINISHED! Some of the Austin team helped us bag up food for Saturdays food outreach and they were a great help, but the prayer they offered up after we were done was the best part. Saturday morning Dave and Sharon Sachs brought their granddaughter Kelly over and they helped us give out the food and juice boxes. Dave and Sharon are the directors of Melody Lane Christian Renewal Camp where Paula and I along with the Kincaids lived for several months when we first arrived in Texas 4 years ago, 4 years, can you believe it? Pastor Bassilio gave a message about Gods Grace and Mercy and 5 people accepted Christ as their Savior. We gave out a case of Bibles and tons of clothes and several men volunteered to help with the water lines after I promised more beans and rice to all that would help. The last few days I have been trying to lay my hands on as many bibles as possible for Phil and Marianne to take down to Southern Mexico next month, I have about three hundred and hope to get a few hundred more. What a privilege to be part of Gods plan to get the Word into as many hands as possible around the world. The load of rice we sent to Somalia made it to it's destination and should be being distributed this week. PRAISE THE LORD!! There is so much going on, it's hard to put it all on the blog, so you'll just have to come here and see for yourself. As always, we pray Gods Favor over your life, as you share in our ministry, BE BLESSED, BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS, BE OF GOOD CHEER.
Mimi and Caleb joined the other students at school to celebrate Mexicos equivalent to our Revolutionary war. Carmelo made them wooden rifles and bullet vests. One kid at school had a toy AK 47 which reminded us of the intense violence there. We put two roofs on houses that needed them and had a piniata for the kids while Olga was here from Chicago that she wanted to bless them with. Leonardo, Maria and their daughter Nadia were excited to see the roof installed, they had the walls up for their new house for several months, but could not afford to finish the roof. We were able to share Christ with Leonardo and a bible given with instructions to read the book of John will hopefully bring him to faith in the CHRISTOS. Last week I helped Roy build a house in another colonia on the other side of town that many families that have been displaced by floods or the closing down of the colonia they lived in have moved into. It's a little better in that it has water and electricity and it could very well be our next area we build in after we are done in Nopelera. We met with the Missions Committee at church on Wed and are praying for favor from God for some much needed monthly support, were not getting any younger and health insurance is something we would probably like to get. I personally like the " FAITH IN GOD "method of healing our tired bodies and often read Isaiah 58 where God promises that if you spend your life on helping the poor, your healing will quickly come. I still pray for God to heal our Desk top computer, that has lost all of our files. Today we are going to attend a small business seminar in Reynosa put on by the people from Austin that work in the colonia and sponsor many projects for the people there. It's a three day work shop, but I'm pretty sure it's only a one day er for us. While the group from Austin is here they will be installing the rest of the water pipe in the colonia and the only one more tower to be built and it is finished.
It finally came to pass, the tower and water tank are standing tall in the colonia. As we headed home across the bridge last night, I looked over my right shoulder and the tower and tank are by far the highest things in view. It will always be a constant reminder of the GOODNESS OF GOD every time we head into Mexico and look to our left as we approach the colonia. Everyone that had a part in funding this can rejoice with us, It wouldn't happen without your help. We had three churches, and several individuals donate specifically for this huge need in the colonia. We purchased all the steel, pipe lines and spickets, the huge 2500 gallon tank was donated by the local water supply company, Comapa in Reynosa. It had been sitting for years without being used, so we talked them into donating it to us, and quite possibly another one that is not being used. I hauled it in my donated pick-up truck and spent a few hours yesterday inside of it scrubbing the walls with soap with Andrews help. There is still some work to be done, like connecting all the pipes, but renting the crane and getting it upright was crucial this week, because Tom needs his welder back in Austin, so Muchas Gracias to all that helped bring this to pass, you know who you are, and God Bless You!!! The last tower and tank will be started this month and we should have water to every family within reach, by Christmas.