It is really hard to describe a day when a team of 45 people, along with several of our Mexican friends from the colonia, gather around the houses they just built. They brought gifts and furnishings for the houses and decorated them both beautifully as the families waited patiently in the shack that used to be called home. The smell of chicken and mole' filled the air as we all gathered around Isaia and Rubies house first. We brought the other family, Eliazar, Julianna and their six kids to witness a dedication that would soon grip their hearts. Isaia's neighbor Diego was around and He showed me some needs for their house and Raul had shared the gospel with him, as well as Carmelo and me last week. I had one extra full sized bed and asked Diego if He could use it, and his eyes lit up as he took us into his house where a rolled up foam pad was all him and his wife slept on, on top off an old frame. He recieved the gift with joy and thanksgiving. Diego told me he had never been to church since moving to the colonia some years back. I invited him to the dedication and as we dedicated the house and members of the team shared about how God had sent them there to build this house for Isaia and his family, the Spirit of God started moving in Diegos' heart. We prayed over the family and the new house that God had given them and I took a bible over to Diego along with Carmelo and we shared the plan of salvation with him and he surrendered his life to Christ and asked for forgiveness and cleansing of his heart. WOW! It was a a divine appointment at just the right time. It was hard to get everyone moving a few blocks down the road as we all toured the new house and took some pictures, but Ruby loaded up the chicken and mole into my truck, even though she wanted us to stay and eat. We knew that Jullianna had prepared food as well and we brought 600 hot dogs, juice boxes and chips to share with the whole colonia. The next dedication had us all in tears as Eliazar and Jullianna also excepted Christ as their Personal Savior as Paula gave them the invitation, and Kim shared about Gods love for them not willing that should perish. As Eliazar scooped his wife into his arms and carried her into their new house, they both wept as they looked around at their new house and all the beautiful furnishings. Before long, all six kids were huddled around their parents in a family group hug, crying and rejoicing at the same time. I can't hardly continue as I relive it all as I type. Jullianna and Ruby set all the food that they had prepared for the team, fried chicken and chicken and mole'. rice, tortillas, coca-cola, salad and a whole lota love! By now scores of people were gathering around in the street in anticipation of hot dogs, juice boxes, shoe box gifts for the kids, and the monthly food give away that we usually do on the last Saturday of the month, which would be today, but we did it while the Carpenters Crew was here, so they could experience the joy of meeting the needs of these precious people with the rice they raised the money to buy. As if the day had not been emotional enough, we had to say goodbye to all the new friends they now had in the colonia and just as is my own personal custom, to change all the plans mid steam, I told them that we were going to Casa Mami Orphanage instead of heading back across the border. Most of the team wanted to do that, but we eliminated it from the plans because of time and safety concerns. But since God was moving so powerfully, I figured LETS GO. A tired and weary group came to life as we pulled up to the orphanage, just as the kids got out of school. Nothing short of an AWESOME day as the younger ones started playing with the kids and the rest of the Crew took the tour of the orphanage. The kids all lined up and sang a couple of songs as we got ready to leave. On a scale of one to ten, today was 150 million.!!! Jesus showed up big time, in the form of a bunch of crazy Americanos' laying down their lives as a living sacrifice, holy, perfect and acceptable in the eyes of God. After all isn't that what this life is all about? A million thanks to the Carpenters Crew or should I say Crews' because two groups came and lived out the Gospel right before my very eyes. The "more mature' group last month and the "younger group" this week. We love the whole lot of em, even Roy. So that long story was just one day in the life of me and Paula, and it never gets old. Yesterday Brad, Mark, Bob and Me got to play a round of golf while the rest of the team went Padre Island and Progresso for the day. Thanks guys I needed that! Tomorrow Paula and I drive 15 hours to her families house in central Mexico as they celebrate Paulas' Moms' life being gone for a year now. We are hoping to connect with the Hemphill family working in the mountains of Gerrero Mexico, they are creating a written language and translating the bible into it once they figure it all out, good luck with that! They about 8 hours from where we will be. Pray for us as we travel and minister to our family there. ADIOS
That's the riddle for today. If you know what that means, e- mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a prize. The last two days have been a flurry of competition driven by testosterone and pride. No really, it has been two days of serving Christ in the fullness of joy and the spirit of giving, as the Carpenters Crew offers up their bodies as a living sacrifice serving the people in Mexico. The load of rice that the people from Western Illinois raised to feed the hungry arrived yesterday and the team was able to meet Rick Caywood, our hero trucker that delivers the "goods". Today part of the team will spend the morning at our place bagging beans and rice while some put the finishing touches on the houses. We plan to dedicate the houses tomorrow and feed the kids in the colonia as they exit school, and hopefully visit an orphanage or two. Abusy week with Eternal results as we see God moving in the hearts of the families. Thanks to all that have donated to send the Crew down here, and sponsored people to come and serve.
We poured the foundation on the second of two houses the Carpenters Crew is coming to build next week. Eliazar, his wife Julianna and their six kids have been busy painting the wood since we poured the slab. The kids names are Eliazar Jr (12) Bryan (9) Emily (7) Ruby (5) Alesia (5) and Christian (4). They had to knock down most of their old house to make room for the new one, so most of their belongings are across the street at Julianna's sisters house. It's shaping up to be a great trip and we look forward to their arrival. They are going to enjoy these two sweet families and all of their kids. We have planned a couple other little projects as well while they are here. I've been promising a lady a new roof for a while and The Crew can get it done while they are here. There is another ministry in the colonia that gives out hot meals on Saturdays and needs some shade, so we'll build her something as well. Yesterday Paula and I had the privilege of inviting people that are with sick loved ones at the general hospital in Reynosa, to take a break and come outside for a free hot meal and beverage. Hundreds of people were invited as we walked through the emergency rooms, and waiting areas. Two people prayed to accept Christ with us as we shared about Gods love and care for them in their time of need. Another young lady named Christine was having an epileptic episode as we entered her room, so we all laid hands on her and prayed for her release from the the spirit troubling her and keeping her bound. Jesus said that we could and should lay hands on the sick and the bible says, "they would recover", so please pray for Christine. Her mom was really encouraged to have us there and wept as we prayed for her daughter. Abraham is the lead person for this awesome need meeting outreach, and comes every day during his lunch time from work to meet the needs of the hurting people at the hospital. Wes, who is a good friend of ours, has been taking beans and rice from our warehouse and supplying the needs of this ministry and were so honored to meet all of the people that come every day after preparing the food. We all gathered and prayed before entering the hospital and at least 50 people came for a meal and prayer. AWESOME!! OPPORTUNITIES OPPORTUNITIES, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. THERE ARE NEEDY AND HURTING PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. PLEASE BE AN ANSWER TO A PRAYER TODAY.
As the family stood on the ground that would soon be filled with concrete, I could see the joy in their faces as the answer to their prayers was being manifested. Isaia and his family have been living in a shack no bigger than most bathrooms. They worked hard to fill the space with dirt to build their new home. The Carpenters Crew, as a direct call from God, will come next week and build the dream. They will drive and some will fly from several western Illinois towns and maybe a few from Iowa, sacrificing their time, talents and money for the sake of others less fortunate. I can imagine them getting prepared to come, last minute arraignments, paying bills, getting people lined up to feed their animals and take of their property in their absence, all for the sake of the call to help others in need. AWESOME!! Yesterday on the way to Mexico, we stopped at HEB a local grocery store and Paula filled the cart up with 100 packages of hot dogs. They fit perfectly in the cooler and that along with 50 donated loaves of bread we spent a few hours with David Garcia and his family, going door to door blessing as many families as we could with what we had. Now I don't know for sure which family had been asking God for some food, but I'm sure there was at least one and maybe more families that were in desperate need of food, and BAM God shows up. LISTEN, I beg you to LISTEN to what God is telling you to do today and everyday for that matter in regards to helping those in need. It cost only a hundred dollars to feed those 100 families a meal, so what does God do, He gives it right back to us with a phone call from someone last night, wanting to support us every month with a hundred dollar gift. So let's get our head out of our finances and put our heart there where God resides. He doesn't reside in your 401 K or your bank account balance sheet, He resides in your heart where He can use all of those things to bring glory to Himself when we obey an instruction, no matter how small.
After having people around since Christmas, It sure is quiet around here and we don't like it. You get used to having people here and we miss the fellowship. By now, Joe and Barb are in AZ as well as Rick and Diane. The next team is the Carpenters Crew "younger" team, due to arrive on the 17th to build two houses. Roy and Carla Day lead up the team and came here with the "more mature" group last month. We were out of rice when Roy started sending out E-mails and texts to people and since leaving here, He has raised enough money to purchase a half of a semi load of rice and I have a feeling, He is not done. Rick Caywood has already picked up the rice in Eagle Lake Texas and will wait until the team is here to deliver it. So one man, using the contacts He knows, raises enough money to buy rice and keep our warehouse inventory supplied. So what if everyone that reads this blog, set out to do the same thing? How many loads do you think we could buy? How many hungry families would be fed? How much are we willing to sacrifice for the benefit of others? How much money do we have stored up for a "rainy day"? Well I have to tell you, IT"s POURING ON THE LIVES OF THE POOR!! We have been watching the price of beans and rice go steadily up since last year, and we hear, that beans cost 2 dollars a pound in central MX. That's a 50% increase from last year. Imagine if your food bill went up 50% and you only made 50 dollars a week to provide for your family.
In the text world, l.o.l. either means laugh out loud, or lots of love. This week has been full of both as Joe and Barb Warner drove from South Dakota to meet their son Lane here to build a home for Maria and her family. Lots of Love and help from the guys in the colonia, made it possible to build the home in two days and dedicate it on the third day of their time here. Joe and Barb grow the pinto beans in S.D. and visiting ground zero of the bean distribution was something they had wanted to do before resting in AZ before planting season. We have had a great time getting to know them and we have had a lot of laughs along the way. Yesterday we took hundreds of pounds of beans and rice to Casa Mami orphanage in Reynosa so the Warner family could see first hand where the beans supply such a huge and growing need. The night before, Jorge came and loaded up 400 pounds of food and drove it 8 hours south where beans are selling for about 2 dollars a pound. He's not selling them, but giving them to people that can't afford them. We left the orphanage to stop one more time in the colonia, but a military road block closed the road and we just headed for Proggresso where we ate lunch, shopped and I got a much needed massage on the knots in my shoulders and back. Ahhh! We finished the day driving to Padre Island to watch an elusive sun set that hid behind some clouds, but pretty none the less. Dinner with building friends John and Ruth that live on the island, all you can eat fish and shrimp.