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!