After working hard for the last few days, building the two bathrooms and also several sets of stairs, Paula and I are heading to Oklahoma tomorrow to help some Americanos in need after the devastating tornado. Several people from the Carpenters Crew in Laharpe Il are headed that way as well and we thought it would be awesome to help them in their ministry because they have been such a huge blessing to us in our ministry in Mx. This year they built three houses with us. One Family One Purpose is the name of their home building ministry and this will be the third house they will raise the money to build for a family struck by a disaster. We hear they have plenty of help and supplies in Moore, but this group is on a mission from God, seeking a family with no insurance or under insured crying out to God for help. HOLD ON, HELP IS ON THE WAY!!! I'm looking forward to seeing the group, some of which have been supporting us monthly and we haven't even met yet. Now that takes faith, supporting people you haven't met. Pray for us as we drive the 700 miles tomorrow and pray for Gods leading us to the family or families He has for us to serve.
As I opened the gate yesterday to watch Paula drive away and head to Mexico to give out food, clothes,and a message of hope to the people, I was a bummed that I had to stay home and find an eye doctor to see if the "plank " in my eye from Friday can be removed. I woke up with a little discomfort, but nothing like Friday when a piece of wood stuck in my eye. I looked in the yellow pages and found an optometrist open on a Sat. It was really a place to get fitted and examined for glasses. I told the receptionist about a piece of wood in my eye and I filled out the two pages of info. He said Oh you don't have insurance? No I said and He called the Doc as she was driving into work and She said she doesn't do wood in the eye removal and I should go to another Doc. The receptionist called another office and they said they could see me right away and the cost would be approx. $225.00. I said thanks but no thanks, I'll wait and see the Doc that doesn't do wood in the eye. WHY? Because I wasn't there to have something removed from my eye, I was there to encourage the doctor through my testimony about helping the poor. She ran several eye tests and found nothing in my eye, just a scratch from what had obviously been struck by something. Another test, a virtual MRI on my eyes, found some Macular Degeneration in my left eye, that explains the blurry vision in that eye. Upon completion of all the exams, she gave me some eye drops and asked that I wait a second and went to her office and brought me a check for the exact amount that I had spent buying oil, sugar and soap in Mexico just a few days before that, to be given out on Saturday. She said that she had been looking for an opportunity to help people with the resources God has blessed her with and Me coming to her office was a divine appt. And She also told me I didn't owe her anything for the eye exams and office visit, and only required a hug, which I gladly gave her as we both had tears in our eyes, knowing that a divine connection had just been made and the poor will ultimately be the recipient of the blessing. Jeremiah 22 vs 16 says " HE DEFENDED THE CAUSE OF THE NEEDY, AND SO ALL WENT WELL. IS NOT THAT WHAT IT MEANS TO KNOW ME? DECLARES THE LORD." So, ALL WENT WELL with my eye, ALL WENT WELL with Paula as she gave out the food yesterday to 175 families, ALL WENT WELL, last night when our Sunday School class came and we bagged up 4000 lbs of beans and rice for the poor. ALL WENT WELL. So a setback in my plans to partake in the distribution of the food in Mexico by getting a splinter in my eye was a set-up for a blessing from God. So don't be bummed out when things don't go exactly the way YOU plan, all the ingredients are not together yet, but when they are, ALL IS WELL!!
Yesterday while I was building some stairs to place down the bank to the canal, I was cutting some wood and got a splinter in my eye. Usually you can get these things out, but this one is like a little projectile and has stuck into the eye ball somewhere. I am heading to an eye doctor as Paula handles the food outreach in Mx. I am going to miss seeing everyone( literally today). I always enjoy shaking as many hands as they wait in line, and also praying for the sick and those that have a need or prayer request. Roy and Johnny are going to be there to recruit people to attend the trade school. Gasoline is the biggest expense for the trade school right now, running the generator and welder is consuming 100 dollars of gas or more a week. Donations for trade school operation are always welcome. We got one section 10 foot section of stairs installed and need another 16 feet to reach the waters edge. We were always slipping and sliding down the bank to carry the pump and hoses to the water to get water for the bathrooms and storage tanks. So after the team from Chicago made stairs for the two families we built houses for that were 10 feet below the road, it finally dawned on me to do the same at our house, DUH! The new two stall bathroom should be done next week. A couple of people came looking for a bed and a crib for their baby, and lent a hand mixing concrete for the day. I try to find something for people to help us with when they ask us for things. I don't mind providing what they need, because that's why were assigned there, but it's good to have them invest in what they want. When you get involved in what God is doing, He'll get involved in what your doing and needing. Be blessed to day and go and be a blessing to someone else.
The past thirty days has gone by so fast and we are preparing for our monthly food outreach in Mexico. Well, we went to a local store that is always very helpful in loading up the several carts we fill to meet the needs of the people. One of the employees that works at Mi Tienda, texts Carmelo when oil, sugar and soap are on sale. This month all three were on sale so we loaded up the truck with more than we usually buy. 200 bottles of cooking oil, 200 kilos of sugar, 200 bags of soap, and we also bought some soccer balls and jewelery for the kids that are graduating from either 8th grade or high school. I know graduation season is upon us and it can get expensive buying gifts for twenty or thirty kids, but what the heck, they deserve something for their efforts. We have a few donors that help us every month with some funds towards the food expenses and we really appreciate it. The rest comes out of own personal support and I never hold back on an opportunity to buy as much food as needed. We have been busy building two bathrooms to accommodate the 300 people that come every month, but we are not going to have them done by this Saturday, so they'll just have to hold it one more time. We built a cement block septic tank and the two bathrooms will be on top of the tank, and each has enough room for showering as well as the flush toilets. I think I'll even tile the floors for easy cleaning. We took over a thousand pounds of beans and rice to church this morning for our monthly food pantry on the second Saturday every month. Our Sunday school class called the brick layers is coming over Saturday afternoon to bag up beans and rice. They save Paula and Me several hours of work by helping us out in this manner and we'll even grill some food when we get done, after all, we do attend a Baptist Church, so fellowship with no food is unacceptable. We are still trying to figure out when we are heading north, probably the last week of June, so if you want us to speak at your church or a group meeting, let us know because I don't plan anything in advance, it makes life easier that way, and also drives people crazy. I am still waiting on direction from God as to whether or not to load up all my generators and head up to Moore Oklahoma. I'm willing and available, and if we do, we'll head to Chicago from there. Pray for those affected by the tornadoes, pray for our nation as it seems to be getting shaken again by God, and it will only get worse as the Isaiah 9 vs 10 vow of defiance continues to manifest itself in America. The pride and arrogance of our leaders is unbelievable.
Last week, I turned 56 years old, and I don't feel a day over 56. Caleb and Mimi made me some hand made gifts, which I gladly adorned. Paula bought me one cake and Ruth and Carmelo bought me another, so I had two tres leches cakes for my birthday. Later that day, David and Angie Lara took us out to dinner at a Brazilian steak house, so I dont' know about anybody else, but I had a great day. Eliazar showed me his latest additions to his herd of goats, twins! Did you ever just want to get away? Well, we do from time to time, but rarely do it. We have been busy since Christmas and have had several teams here and have built 12 houses, and a few additions to houses since then, plus the food and gift outreaches. Some good friends called and wanted to donate a sizable gift to the ministry and told us to do whatever we wanted with the gift. My first response is great, money to build another house, but they really wanted to bless us and meet some of our needs. So we chose to spend some of the gift on gas. We loaded a few things up in the R.V. and headed to Big Bend National Park about 600 miles from here. I've always wanted to visit the least visited National Park in the U.S. and Big Bend is it. Herb and Carol Moering were going that way as they headed to Seattle to visit family and then partake in a cruise to Alaska, so I told them that we would meet them in Big Bend. I'd rather do the cruise! It is one desolate place at the Park. Hundreds of square miles of beautiful scenery and desert. It was only 108 degrees when we got there, not your typical ideal location for camping, but once we got the R.V. plugged in at the only full hook up facility in the Park, we jumped into Herb and Carols car and used it for the two days there seeing the sights. They were going to set up a tent and"rough it", but we insisted they sleep in the R.V. in air conditioned comfort. Big Bend is noted for the awesome star gazing, since there is no light except the moon and WOW! DID THE STARS FILL THE HEAVENS AFTER SUNSET. I wish I could have photographed the night sky, but I'm sure if you google the park, you'll find some photos. We hiked some easy trails and a couple more difficult, but nothing extreme. The canyons were awesome and if I ever go back, I'm doing the float trip down the river. We saw a bear at the Chisos Lodge area and the photos that look like horns are called the Mule Ear Mountains. I thought we could have this great time meeting with the Lord, but I must confess, that as usual we were on the go all day, and after cooking supper and taking much needed showers we only spent a short period actually praying and reading the Word. But we saw God and acknowledged God in His wonderful creation and spectacular views during the day and also at night. Creation declares the Glory of God, so I guess we did meet with God and some of His handy work.
Have you ever come off a great victory, overcome a temptation or had God use you in a big way in someone else s life just to be followed up by an attack on your faith, your heart or your physical well being? What we do, or how we respond in these times of testing will determine your next level of victory. Elisha had just experienced fire coming down out of heaven to consume the sacrifice, slew 800 prophets of Baal, and had this great mountain top experience with God, only to find himself running as fast as He could away from the biggest blessing of His life, afraid, alone, discouraged and suicidal. Sound familiar? Can you relate? When we step out with the confidence that God is with us, nothing can stop us or thwart our faith. But when we allow the enemy to speak lies into our hearts, we shrink back. He'll tell us that giving up our vacation to go on a mission trip and be used by God to change the lives of many people, only to be followed up by an illness or an infection upon your return home, that keeps you in the hospital wondering if was worth the sacrifice. We are all faced with the same questions, you write a big check to support a ministry or a cause to feed hungry people in Africa and the enemy always comes to question Gods love for you. He always, always questions Gods love for us. But I have found that getting back in the game and stepping out in faith with a continual desire to see God move and use you, keeps the enemy at bay, because He knows that your faith is firm and you can not be shaken. We can be stirred a little , but not shaken. So God does use our pity parties and our hiding to find out "WHERE ARE YOU" ? The same question he asked Adam in the garden, and the same question He asked Elisha and the same question He asks us. And it's not a question of physically where are you? It's a question of where are you in your walk of faith with the One that loves us and gave His life for us. Do we trust Him? Do we believe that the One that rains fire down from heaven, dies on a cross and then is raised from the dead with all power and authority, can move mountains, created everything out of nothing, thinks about YOU every second of every day, has YOUR picture on His refrigerator, has everything worked out in your life according to His plan and will, provides your every need (even if it's a bird bringing you something to eat), cures your diseases, heals your wounds, brings joy in the morning,shuts the mouths of lions, OH THAT GOD!!! YES I KNOW THAT GOD. You see, I'm over it just by typing this, as The Holy Spirit brings all these great and precious promises and facts to mind.
Yesterday, Rick Caywood arrived with a load of water going to The Way of the Cross ministry in Harlingen. They are staging some 7 semi truck loads of food, water,toys, candy, to be part of the Celebrate Jesus Mexico edition next month. They needed some beans, so Rick stopped here and we gave him 5 thousand pounds of beans for the cause and he left us a few skids of water. We headed to Way of the Cross at 5:30 in the morning, unloaded by 7:30. headed up to Eagle Lake TX ( a seven hour drive) and loaded 45 thousand pounds of rice, drove another four hours to Waco where Rick lives, picked Wes's truck up to bring back to the Valley while Him, Jess and the Kids are in Africa for a year, went to Ricks warehouse and loaded the pick up with buckets of corn and then drove 7 hours back home and arrived at 1:15am. Just your normal day of service to The King. As I type this, our good friend Alan Wells has been admitted to the hospital yesterday after cutting Himself on a piece of the roofing while they were here last week building a house in Mx. I didn't even know he had a cut, but it's infected big time, so PRAY FOR ALANS' HEALING. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MEXICAN WOMEN, (they celebrate mothers day on May tenth no matter what day of the week it is). It also happens to be my birthday today, so happy birthday to me.
It's so hard to describe what all took place in the last ten days. Now that we have a few pictures of some of the ministry that took place, you can see the results of some hard working Saints, giving of themselves for service to the poor. I was hoping to get a picture loaded of the 44 thousand pounds of beans delivered Thursday night by a sweet couple, John and Marge from Manitoba Canada. He took a pass on getting paid to drive the truck for Essen Transport to bring the load down, which saved us $800 and can be used for the next load of beans or rice, Gods Blessings on them as well as team that left yesterday and Saturday. I think people would say it was a great week and it would be a little better if God would extend the grace and control my tongue. It has been said that I can be a bit, how shall I say it, harsh and insensitive and it takes some good friends to point your faults out to you and a GREAT GOD to change me! Yesterdays message at church was the lesson on sowing and reaping and I was in awe as to how we started 5 years ago sowing small amounts of beans and rice into the lives of the poor and now the warehouse is full of beans and rice and we have been reaping a great harvest to feed even more people. Yesterday I got a check for $764.00 from a bunch of guys in western Illinois that have been scraping metal that's just laying around their farms and they send it to us to feed the poor. When the passion wells up in the human heart to be a blessing to others, I believe that the smiles of heaven rain down on those that choose, I must stress choose to be a blessing to others. There are so many thank you letter we need to send out, but thanks is in the rewards we will experience when we see our Savior face to face. So consider this your thank you letter from us for being a blessing to us and the poor God has entrusted us to serve. There is no reason for us not to be the happiest people on the planet, doing what we're doing and you should rejoice also for being such a vital part of it, for we couldn't do it without you. MUCHAS GRACIAS PARA TODO!!!