Yesterday we had long day, moving most of our stuff into the new digs and already we have been blessed by visiting Pastors coming to get much needed food and clothes for their congregations in Mexico. It sure is hard to move from a 4 bedroom house into a two bedroom. I got a call today from the director of Sons Of Salvations brother about the 5000 lbs of beans he is donating, and low and behold, the 5000lbs is now 30,000. It has been cleaned and bagged in 600- 50 lb bags. I have spoken to a few trucking companies and we are trusting God for free transportation. Saturday Carmelos Dad Pedro and his niece Rosita accepted Christ as their Savior. What a rich time it was as we dedicated Beto and Lucys new kitchen/ house as Paula shared about Christs Love for them and how He has provided for them. Pedro saw our good works and glorified our Father in heaven. Pray for them as they travel 22 hours on a bus back home. We have had about $7000.00 donated since Christmas toward the new ministry center, so only $178,000.00 to go!
We can only enter into Gods wonderful presence by HIS grace and not by our efforts. His promises are fulfilled in us by HIS grace. While we have spent the last several days packing and moving stuff, Paula and I are a bit in shock that this move has all gone down so fast and we start to question the whys and the whens. And yesterday the still small voice whispered in my ear, TRUST ME.
As the group from home left, my brother Bill arrived and so did Carmelos' Dad Pedro. My brother has been here before, but Carmelo hasn't seen his Dad in over 7 years. He never met Ruth, Carmelos wife or their kids Mimi and Caleb. It was so nice to see them together with his other two daughters and all the Grandkids. He helped us as we built Beto and Lucys' new kitchen/ guest house. My brother Bill helped as well and continues to help us on this side as we pack and move stuff to the new house. We have worn Him out, so He is going to leave Wednesday. We were hoping to be able to go to Big Bend Natl Park for a few days but until we are all moved, I can't leave my better half. Rick and Dianne Balmer are also here in preparation of their church building project next week and have helped us alot with the move. Moving gets so much harder as we age. My knees and back are killing me, and we haven't even moved the furniture yet. Building four houses and moving, all in one month has us needing a break. My brother gave us some money to hire people to move the rest! Gracias Bill. He said he'll come back in a month or two when we can plan to go to Big Bend. We still need prayer, not only for a buyer for our house, but for strength to finish the move. At least the new place is 1 story, no more stairs! We have had two Pastors come for food since we started moving, and have been able to give them hundreds of cans of food, and other stuff. The 20,000 pounds of beans are almost ready to be shipped from South Dakota, so I need to find a truck to haul them.
It is always the best time, when we take the team out to hand out gifts, and clothes, and bibles and pray for those with needs and this past Monday was one of those times. We had a couple hundred gifts left after last Thursdays great gift give away so we took them to a distant colonia that no one ever visits, except for us, the last two years now. We called out to every house on the block to meet us at the open air community meeting place where we shared the Hope and Love that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ and the kids lined up and sang songs and some quoted bible verses for extra gifts. We had a blast! and 4 people prayed to accept the free gift of Salvation. We gave each child one of the backpacks given to us by our friends at www.mexicomissions.org , when their travel plans to Cancun got postponed. All the children were so glad that Jesus didn't forget them and we are so glad to have had Alan, Lynnea, Roger, Kyle, Rose, Dianna, and who can forget Anna, spend their Christmas vacation time with us blessing the socks off of hundreds of people, including Paula and Me. They are already back in the cold and we started building another house today in Mexico. We are packing and moving into the new ministry house you may have read about in the news letter or on the blog. The door was wide open and we walked in by faith, again!! We received a $4000.00 gift and was told to put it toward the new house, well many of you know me and when I have a need, like a new house opportunity, I sow a seed. We used the money to build a family a house in Mexico instead and when we finished it and dedicated it, I receive a call from someone that really felt we needed this new place to allow our ministry to grow and flourish, and said they would cover the cost to rent the new place until our house sells!!! The owner agreed to rent it to us and we are moving! LIFE IS GOOD, WE ARE EXPECTING GODS BEST, AND WE ARE BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE.
I am 18 years old, and part of Bruce and Paula's Christmas volunteer team from Chicago. And I've been here before; the world of missions and ministry is familiar ground, one my feet walk with ease and complacency. But something about this trip is tearing me apart...I feel like my heart is being ripped to pieces: You drive five minutes to go through customs, and another ten to wind up in the Nopelera colonia, this communtiy where poverty has legs and people have nothing. Talk about culture shock! I feel as though I am standing between two entirely separate worlds, and I'm not sure how I feel about that, either. I just spent the day putting up walls on a house no bigger than my living room back home; how can I justify exchanging it every night for a world of long, hot showers, big dinner spreads, and warm beds? There is a part of my heart that keeps saying that if this is missions work, then I want nothing to do with it. But I know that what will save me are the children. I was nervous about this trip, and only for the fact that I don't know any Spanish. However, I learned quickly that I may not speak Spanish, but I do speak the language of children. It is a language of tickles and giggles and smiles that break into laughter, of piggy-back rides, long games of tag, and of dancing. Always dancing! They run throug the streets squealing at each other, chasing each other on bikes and with their soccer balls--pelotas, I learned to say--and forever laughing at my sloppy imitations of their words. I am finding so much joy with them, despite my frustrations. My friend once wrote, "What we love, we never forget." These children, these beautiful babies of the third world...I love them to the point of not forgetting. Gabby, Junior, Angel, Felix, Juan, Perla, Chewy, Caleb, and Mimi: their names are graven on my heart. As we build (and as I take periodic breaks to chase them and tickle them and carry them on my shoulders), I am praying that the glee and the purity of children always eclipses the pains of the human condition. This trip, so unasuming at first glance, has left me with far more unrest than I came expecting. Shane Claiborne writes that we spend so much time saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," but nobody's asking who owns the pond or who polluted it. And so I will leave this place for the cold of my Chicago home, seeking justice. I will search out grace and compassion, and I will not be so self-satisfied. I will live in my unrest until the poverty that has broken my heart is resolved, until the gladness of these children replaces my suburban complacency. Above all, I will rejoice in the fact that mine is a God of justice, hope, and satisfaction! It is He who will begin to piece together my broken heart, creating a new one fashioned after His own.