As we circled the kitchen to pray,we extended around the entire floor with our friends from Chicago. The Ruiz, Simeon and LeMay families surrendered a week of their lives to help the poor in Reynosa. As you can see in the photos, they built a beautiful home for the Reyes family and the dedication day was a tearful, heart changing experience to say the least. Having had a chef on hand all week, made the dedication meal the best ever. Thanks to Trophy and his heart to cook all week and Chase for the delicious meat. We gave out gifts to the kids after the dedication and the Chicago team had plenty of water balloons and a three person sling shot to launch them down the dusty road in the colonia. Hearts were changed forever as the team portrayed the life of Christ to the poor and to Paula and I as we watched these godly families live and serve together. Each family has a goal of inviting and bringing more families next year as they share their experience this past week back in Chicago. Our cats sure miss the attention the kids gave them all week, they almost forgot how to walk. Today we gave out food to about 150 families and shared the word of God from 2nd Corinthians chapter 5 about being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Another great week in the life of Bruce and Paula. Please pray for a friends father that had a heart attack, some of you may know Lisa Kincaid, another missionary family here in Texas and her Father is in the Chicago area, and she is there with family.
As we started the Reyes family home yesterday, I was so encouraged by all the helping hands that drove 1600 miles to bless this family with a home. The team arrived late Sunday night and when the vans were all empty, our courtyard was full of children from the ages of 18 months to twenty years old. !7 children from three families. The bunk house is at capacity and so are the refrigerators and freezers. The yard is full of cars and vans and trucks left here as other missionaries cross into Mexico and use our yard as storage. Everyone worked very hard in the heat yesterday and we managed to get everything painted and all four walls are up. The kids were covered in paint. Phillip brought me 5 skids of food for the warehouse last night so now we have plenty of rice, beans, hominy and tomato sauce for quite a while.
In spite of the fact that we always seem to be so busy in Mexico, we can't believe we are getting a little older. Well I am anyhow, Paula looks younger and younger. Today Roy, Rebecca, Carmelo and Ruth made a great feast for Paulas Birthday, and there was plenty left over to give away. Carmelo picked up a giant Princess pinata and we filled it with all the candy it could hold, and then decided to wait until next week when the Ruiz team comes, so their kids can enjoy it as well. An early return home made time to cut some grass as Paula cleaned and sorted stuff in the warehouse. Happy Birthday to our daughter Kelly as well today, it sure makes it easier for me to remember when tere is two on one day, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAULA AND KELLY!! Lynnea Wells celebrated hers yesterday and Bonnie Bladey is celebrating tomorrow, so George and I will take our wifes out for dinner together.
Although, from the outside, the Reyes family home seems to be better than most of the makeshift houses of the other families we have built new homes for, it's a whole different picture when the rain comes pouring in. It reminds me off a lot of Christians, We all look great on the outside, but when the storms of life come, and the winds blow, it reveals what we are made of. Can we muster the faith and say "peace be still"?or does it ravage our life and we never recover? Isidro and Lizet have six children, Sonia(9) Raul(8) Manuel(7) and a few years later Julesa(4) and the twins Javier and Franko(3) were born . Isidro has a few goats and keeps them in the back of their lot, and He makes a living off of the offspring, selling them. Carmelo, Pedro, Marcos and Catarino formed the foundation and Isidro dug for hours in the back of his lot, collecting enough dirt to fill the foundation walls so we could pour the concrete today. The Ruiz, Simeon and Trophy families are all leaving the Chicago area on Friday to come and spend the better part of a week here and build the house and the Kingdom. Last week we hired a company with a scraper to level the road a bit before we order 20 truck loads of caliche and fix it once and for all. Roy and Rebecca Busby had Josies Quincinera 15th birthday party in the colonia yesterday and it was a blast. We laughed and had a great time playing musical chairs. The worship team from one of the colonia churches entertained us all. We honored Josie and commit her future to the Lord.
Everyday Holds the Possibility of a Miracle is the sign that Georgia Gilligan put on our Missions House in the colonia three years ago and it still hasn't faded and it still is such a profound statement of truth. The building in the photos is indeed the possibility of another miracle to provide the space to teach people a skill and to also have classes for the young adults to get the knowledge they need for some life skills. I don't know how it will all work out, but God knows! Loni, Dave and Michelle just left for home, Northern Michigan, and Paula and I are alone for the first time in over two months and we are both sick with the flu and need Gods touch. There has been so much going on the last two months that a few days at home will do us good, but we need to prepare for the next house to be built next week and haven't even selected a family yet. ONE DAY AT A TIME!
This weeks house dedication was nothing short of Gods power. He used the abilities and talents from all three North American Nations to bless Thomas and Blanca. We had Isaac, Carol, Tim, and Jim from Canada, Gary, Jeryl, Loni, Dave and Michelle from Michigan, Paula and Me from Texas and Carmelo, Johnny, Pedro, Marcos, Thomas, and Blanca from Mexico. Three nations serving our God and King together. We dedicated the home and prayed over them. I gave Thomas some fatherly advise to honor Blanca and to separate physically until we could arrange a marriage service for them. Thomas came over and gave me a big hug, with eyes full of tears, a real heart moment. Blancas mother Rosita was there with Blancas severely retarded sister Andrea and to see her worship while we sang a few songs was touching. I called everyone around her to pray for her mind to be restored and to be made whole, since she has been held captive since birth. I really wanted and believed God to heal her,..... and then what? She would become aware of her poverty and suffering, living in the colonia! Maybe she is better off not knowing and understanding her environment, so we focused our prayers on sustaining Rosita and the rest of the family taking care of her. LOTS AND LOTS OF TEARS FLOWED.
As we drove by this abandoned store in the colonia that was built a few years ago, I asked God to show us if it for sale. We are currently praying about building a trade school and teaching facility for many different skills and Roy Busby has two lots to build it on. This store is built out of block and concrete, with secured windows, doors and wired for electric, a perfect building indeed. Well yesterday, the owners sought us out to ask if we might be interested in buying it for our ever growing ministry needs. HELLO! He started out at 20 thousand dollars and Roy had him agree to taking 14 thousand. Mikee Smit from IIT in Chicago has his school involved in planning and designing a curriculum and has raised 3 thousand dollars already. Even though it is already built, the roof is a perfect place to build the class rooms needed. We are looking for people willing to invest in the lives of these young adults to give them a trade and a skill to improve their chances of finding work, so any donations marked SCHOOL, will go to this vision/reality. Today we built an outhouse for Thomas and Blanca, even though it was drizzling most of the day and 30 degrees cooler than yesterday. Dave, Loni and Michelle are still here from the U>P> of Michigan while Gary and Jeryl spent the last 30 hours in Chicago awaiting a flight to Michigan after spending two weeks here. Pray for Garys health and business. Thank you so much for all of the heart felt prayers and cards for Paula following the loss of her Mom. We still haven't really had any time to grieve and reflect since we have had teams here since the last week in Jan. It really is Gods way of holding us in His righteous right hand.
Gary and I (Jeryl) spent 2 weeks helping Bruce and Paula in Mexico. The first week we were blessed to be able to help a group called the Carpenter Crew build a house in Nopalera. The week before we came they built a few other houses and brought, that I know of, 2 men to the Lord. They were dedicating one house and the man Pedro, that they were building it for said that he felt led to accept Jesus into his heart. When they were done praying with him, his son Marcos also felt a strong urge to accept Jesus and did. What an awesome experience that must have been for that group. I would have loved to have been there to witness it. When we finished the house we helped them with they were all heading back home. We were blessed to work and fellowship with this group and God willing we will do it again next year. Anyone who hasn't experienced this awesome calling should really try it. I know my husband and I go home just as blessed from the experience as the people we help. The second week Lani and Dave joined us and we built a second house for a family of 3 Thomas, Blanca & Alan that were living in a 7 x 7 hut that only had room for a small pad to sleep on (which was on the ground). We were joined by a wonderful couple from Missouri, John & Ruth and some new wonderful friends from Canada, Isaac & Carol, Tim and Jim. We started the house on Saturday (3-3-12) and dedicated it on Wednesday (3-7-12). Thomas had a emotional experience and prayed with Bruce. All in all it was a wonderful dedication. Can't wait to come again next year, it's gonna seem like a long wait, but raising funds will keep us busy till then. God Bless us all!!!!
We are building our fifth house in the last four weeks and to tell you the truth, we were getting a little tired. But the Lord is good to these tired bodies and as soon as the Carpenters Crew left town yesterday, we headed over to the colonia to start on house number five with our friends from the Upper Part of Michigan. Many of the people that have recieved houses the last few weeks came to help and made short work of building Thomas and Blancas' house. Many women got all the painting done while we put up all four walls and the loft. Food came from two families to give us strength as the day progressed.
Last week ended with Pedro and Marcos giving their hearts to Jesus and this week started with an impassable road after some early morning showers made a mess of an already messed up road. BUT GOD, I love those words, BUT GOD provided the funds through the Carpenters Crew to purchase over twenty truck loads of caliche' to fix the road. The grader will come today and scrape the road smooth and then, the caleche' when it dries out a little more. We started our fourth house in less than a month for Eliazer and Elva and today we dedicate it and we pray for the move of the Holy Spirit in Eliazers life. The Crew and Gary and Jeryl from the U.P. of Michigan made short work in the heat of building the house that this family has waited for years to come to pass. While most were building the house, Alfred and Gary wired up our house and Carmelo and Ruths for electricity that will be provided by a donated propane generator, that starts automatically when a switch is thrown. No more going outside to pull the start cord AMEN! This team has been such a blessing to us these past several weeks as they have surrendered their time, money and talents to help us and the people in Mexico, and they will be surely missed when they leave. Today the tears will flow as we dedicate this beautiful new home and celebrate with tamales, chicken and mole sauce. We have spent each evening this week in the Word and prayer for some huge needs. A young man named Jason in Chgo needs a heart transplant, one team members husband is needing prayer for a bad back, shoulder and bladder problems, and she is here serving the poor, Gary has back and foot issues and needs an we will take him for an MRI in Reynosa next week. Isaiah 58 still promises, that when we help the poor, and provide houses and food and clothes for the oppressed, that we will call out and God will hear us and when we need healing, it will come quickly and God will always guide us and also be our rear guard. What do you need today from God? What have you done for the poor to position yourself for an answer to your prayer?