Yesterday, we put the finishing touches on the foundations for the two houses we will build next week, we took time out to enjoy the children beating the piniata and then gave them all gift bags and beanie babies. We also enjoyed a meal with our good friends and fellow workers Carmelo, Ruth, Beto and Lucy along with their kids and then gave them some gifts to show our appreciation for all the help they give us. I gave Carmelo and Beto new manly hammers, they always borrow mine, so now they have their own. All those nice gift bags in my van are from the women at Calvary Baptist Church, where we attend, that knit hats and scarfs and also included gloves and a personal note for each child. We'll give those out next week. Our daughter Kristin is taking Grandma to Denver to Visit our youngest daughter Kelly and they fly out on Christmas and Grandma will stay with Kelly and Ryan for about a month. Please pray for them! Today I cut the grass and cleaned the garage mmm fun, and then tonight I took Paula out for a really nice dinner, our Christmas present to each other, that and the new tires I had to buy today for one of our vehicles. When it's not cold and snowey, it sure doesn't feel like Christmas, but I'll take it. GOD BLESS YOU ALL THIS CHRISTMAS AND EVERY DAY UNTIL JESUS RETURNS.
IF ANYONE IS LED TO GIVE A YEAR END GIFT TO OUR MINISTRY HERE AND WANTS THE DEDUCTION ON THIS TAX YEAR, THEN YOU NEED TO MAKE THE CHECKS OUT TO SONS OF SALVATION AND MAIL THEM TO OUR HOME OFFICE P.O.BOX 3430 ATLANTA, GEORGIA 30302. IF THEY ARE POST MARKED BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR THEY ARE DEDUCTABLE. YOU MUST PUT BH051057 IN THE MEMO COLUMN ON THE CHECK, PLEASE DO NOT WRITE OUR NAME ON IT, IT'S A TAX MAN THING. GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU CONSIDER A YEAR END GIFT TO HELP US HELP THE POOR ON YOUR BEHALF. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT
Christmas came a few days early in the colonia Saturday as we had over 400 people come for food and gifts for the children. WOW what a crowd!! We had to use another lot to hand out the cooked sausage and drinks to the kids, while Mom and Dad waited in line for the beans and rice. Paula gave the Christmas message and 10 people came forward to recieve Jesus Christ as their Saviour. A Church bus drove by and started throwing candy out the window and one little boy got run over by the bus and God protected him from any broken bones. Santa came from Reynosa and blessed the children with gifts. Saturday night, Hector, Stephanie and Samantha Hernandez came from Houston along with Gracie and Mary-Bell and brought a trailer full of toys and clothes. Our intent was give the gifts out in the colonia we minister in, but God had another plan and we ended up in a colonia no-one ever goes to, and as a result one Lady got saved, and several parents brought their sick,retarted, and physically handicapped children to us for prayer. The power of God filled that colonia as we prayed for healing and deliverence. We met a Pastor and his family and hope to see them again. We had a jar with HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS written on one piece of paper, and as we drove around every child drew one folded paper and the one that had Happy Birthday Jesus got the bicycle in the photo below. It was exciting to see her little face as we gave her the bike. We couldn't even give out all the gifts we had yesterday, so we'll do it again on Christmas Eve. Julie had her 2nd Birthday and we were invited to the party. Always a good time in Mexico.
As the Hernandez family lives under this tarp with walls of tin and their possessions tucked away out of the rain (hopefully) they watched as we started the foundation for their new home. Hugo, Theresa, Andrea 11, Margarita 9, Hugo Jr 8, and Gilberto 6 wear the biggest smiles even in the cold and rain. They know that soon they will be on warm dry beds out of the elements. We made arraingments for them to stay at an empty house in the colonia, but they want to stay there and endure. Sometimes God has us endure hardship, to test our faith for a season, but when the blessings flow after we have stood and fought the good fight of faith, you look back and wouldn't trade those days of testing for nothing. For years God tested our faithfulness in our giving of our financial resourses as He prepared us to be in a position of recieving from others, so that we could give to the poor everything he gives to us thru donations. We're all just conduit for God to flow thru, if we allow him to. It's been raining all night and all day today, and it's cold (48). I called Carmello and he went and checked on the family under the tarp and they said they were fine and needed to stay and watch over all their stuff. We finally finished our Christmas News Letter and they are in the mail. Whether or not they arrive by Christmas remains to be seen, so if you don't get one by then, MERRY CHRISTMAS. And if you don't get one by 2010 let us know and we'll E mail a copy. ADIOS for now, and keep the families in Mexico in your prayers, they are cold and damp and theres no where to hide from the cold in the colonia.
No, I'm not talking about Al Gore and the enviorenmental idiots, ( I can't even spell that), I'm talking about the green light we get at the Mexican border to proceed or get checked by customs. This time of year we bring lots of things to Mexico to give out for Christmas to the kids and we need that green light to avoid any problems. Last week I took a lot of lumber across also for the two houses we will build after Christmas. I save a few bucks and the wood is better, besides, I bought two really nice doors from Mcoys Supply and I needed to make up the difference. Paint is going to be an issue again, because most of the paint we got at the beginning of the year was bad. Pray for a willing supplier here to donate paint to our ministry. We spent Friday taking empty propane tanks for people and getting them filled. I watch for people cooking outside on open fires and that's a clue that that don't have cooking gas. They were all very happy when I brought their full tanks back. We got another sponsor for a propane tank heater PTL. My brother Bill said he would cover the $100.00 cost to keep a family warm, so thanks Burn. A fun filled white elephant gift night last night, we laughed until we cried at some of the gifts, and then I opened my big mouth and said I would take any gifts nobody wanted to Mexico, I got most of them.
Last Thursday and Friday nights brought record cold temps and the propane tank mounted heaters that I bought online, kept a few families warm. The heater and tanks cost just under $100.00 and those families that had them, ran them all night. It was 28 degrees in the colonia and there was ice covering all the water barrels. This week is warm again, but the damage to our palm trees, papaya trees and all the beautiful plants and flowers Paula planted is sad. The are all wilted and clinging to life. We started buying the materials for Team Moraine coming in a few weeks. We need to tear down the existing houses next week and build the foundations.Pastor Victor has completed the walls on the Sunday School classes next to his church, so we hope it will be finished by years end. Some very nice people from Canada came thru the colonia today, blessing the kids with toys and candy and the parents with rice and beans. Do you think they ever get sick of rice and beans? Beto told me that was all he ate for years in Vera Cruz while he was growing up and him and his wife slept on the floor for three years until they could afford to buy a bed. We are so blessed to be born and raised in America we can't even imagine the poverty these people have lived with their whole life. No wonder they cried real tears when we brought them two matresses last week. They gave their old ones to another family that needed beds. ADIOS
We went to the colonia yesterday after a few days of rain without a real plan. We had bought Beto and Lucy a propane tank with heater attached on top and wanted to bring it to them. The days have been cold and damp this week and the nights are even colder. Our desire this month is that people would read this and send $100.00 to provide a family with heat this winter. Paula and some friends were sorting clothes and the boys were putting some finishing touches on a truck they had been working on. We spotted the Army and a bunch of Humveees coming thru the colonia, just spot checking and doing their job. When they came to us, we told them we were missionaries and asked if we could give the troops bibles if they wanted one, so before they left we handed out over twenty bibles and a bunch of candy to the men. It was pretty cool and they were very nice to us and I even got a photo of me on one of the humvees, but you'll have to come here to see it. Today we met another family that really- really needs a house. They have four kids, and as we shook their little hands, chills went up my spine, they were soooo cold. We talked a while about their relationship with Christ, and like so many, they don't go to church because they were wounded by someone. The inside of their house was one of the worst we have seen in while, so we prayed with them that God would provide the funds for their house and also give them a church home in the colonia. On the way out of the colonia, we dropped them off three blankets and a bunch of food. So I'm trusting God to help us build at least three houses in the next month.
On the last Saturday of every month we give beans, rice, oil, sugar and soap to all who come. It is one of the best days of the month by far and this past Saturday was no exception. Dailan and Desiree Mosley along with her sister Kelisha from Lakewood Church in Houston brought thier visiting mother and brother from Denver to spend the day in the colonia helping us distribute food to the 175 families that gathered at our ministry house. A day of sacrifice for them, to use thier vacation time to minister to the needs of others. They drove all night in the van they rented to haul all the clothes and gifts that they brought to Mexico. As Carmelo gave a message out of Psalm 23 about Gods goodness and protection the people listened intently and several came forward for prayer. Before we started handing out the food, I challenged everyone to look at this food as a seed that could possibly be sown into someone elses live that had a greater need than them, rather than thier own harvest for thier own use. When God puts something in our hand, it is for one of two purposes. To be used by us, or to be placed back into Gods hands by faith and expect God to do a miracle and provide for us in greater measure. There were many AMENS as I shared the principle of sowing and reaping to the people. I think we don't give God a chance to move in the lives of the poor if we don't share these principles with them, so I'm looking forward to hearing some stories from those people that gave thier food away this week and met the needs of someone else. We cooked up several hundred hot dogs and gave all the kids juice boxes and some other treats. We didn't have time to hand out all the clothes those guys brought from Houston because they wanted to visit one of the orphanages in town. So we went to Casa Mami and visited with the children there, handed out candy and crayons and paper and then headed for the border so the rental van could be returned in Houston on time. So thank you so much Dailan, Desiree.Kelisha, Anita and Lunden for driving 13 hours to spend 5 hours being Jesus with skin on. Later that evening the Kincaids came for dinner and we celebrated Lisas birthday. We sure don't spend enough time with those guys and it's always good to see them.
The bible says to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for your life. Well if giving thanks is Gods will for us, than why can't we? So often it's because we don't trust God enough to work all things out for our good, even though he promises that He will. As I sat over in Pastor Victors kitchen this morning, eating a egg and chorizo taco and having a cup of coffee, I commented to Victor and David that even though they don't have electricity, running water or paved streets, thay have food and a roof over thier heads and are probably richer than 90% of the world even in thier poverty. Tears filled all of our eyes as we thanked God for what he has given us." We are soo rich" Pastor Victor said, so I guess that makes us in the US filthy rich. We are thankfull for Gods provision this month as we prepared the bags of food to give out on Saturday. Some friends are driving down from Houston to give out toys, blankets and whatever else they bring. We are driving to San Antonio tonight to spend Thanksgiving with Juvenal and Benita tommorrow and Raul is going to his sons house. The Holidays are tough on my heart because for 14 years now we haven't spent Christmas and New Years with our girls, unless they came on the Missions trip with us, So next year we are going to be together, somehow! The lady in one of the photos is Guirlma, and Paula was sharing about the love of God found in a relationship with Jesus Christ and as spent some time there, she accepted the free gift of salvation and prayed to seal the deal, NOW THATS SOMETHING TO GIVE THANKS ABOUT. Her family will be getting a house this year and she and her kids were overwhelmed at the good news. Flat Stanley has been visiting us this week and has been a big help. GOD BLESS ALL WHO READ THIS BLOG AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
Yesterday, the medical, dental and childrens ministry teams from Calvary Baptist in McAllen, brought thier gifts and talents to the Colonia Nopalera in Reynosa, to join Paula and Me in our ministry to poor in Reynosa. What a great way to spend the day, as the doctors, nurses and dentist gave of themselves to help those in need. The childrens ministry team kept the kids engaged in games and a puppet show, while waiting for thier turn to visit with the doc or dentist. Some very talented musicians sang praises to God while we sat around enjoying each others company. At least one women accepted Christ as her Savior that I know of and maybe more as the team members took the opportunity to pray with people and share the love of Christ with them. Pastor Rolando had the privilage of driving the bus to the colonia and Gods Grace brought us thru the border when the border personel didn't want to let the bus cross there and finally let us pass. Pastors Victor and Rolando spent some time getting to know each other and will hopefully build a spiritual bridge from one nation to the other. As ususal Carmelo, Beto, Pastor Victor and thier wives made the outreach a huge success with all of thier help. Maybe we didn't have as many people from the colonia come, as we would have liked, but God brought all that needed to be there. Thanks to the whole team for coming and we look forward to many more opportunities to serve God together in Mexico as we all wait for the Glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom all praise is due for what He does in and thru us.
Sorry, we didn't take any pictures this week, but the work continues. Lonnie and Dave were here from Michigan and we spent a few days visiting people in the colonia. They blessed us with thier company and taught some of the women in the colonia how to make necklesses out of magazines and fishing line, and we are hoping to sell them to help people make ends meet. The pump Dave bought us will pump a lot of water to bridge the gap between water delivered by the Government. Rick and Diane Balmer were here from LaHarpe, Il to set up thier work projects for Jan. and Feb. and we selected a family in the colonia that they will build a house for and then drove to Progresso Mx, where they will build another smaller house for an elderly women that needs a place of her own. We will build the foundations and have all the materials on site when they arrive. We have 35 people coming from Calvary Baptist Church where we attend , to do a medical clinic and childrens ministry on Saturday, so some prep work today and tommorrow to bring that outreach together. Many other little work projects going on also. Today we pour the floor on the childrens classrooms for Pastor Victors Church Aqua Viva. Paula, Ruth and Lucy have been sorting clothes this week and we are hopefully going to take them about a hundred miles south of Reynosa to some needy colonias that don't have the benefit of missionary visits. Just a mention of a need for air miles that we could use to come to Chicago to speak at Moraine Valley Churches Missions Conference in Feb 2010. Gracias!!
We started the week off saying goodbye to Bob and Marcia Horan after a week of fellowship and ministry in Mexico. They blessed us and the people in the colonia with thier presence. A few days of hard labor, painting and building and a few days of rest, the perfect vacation! We always thank God for sending people here to visit and see the huge needs in Mx. They touched the lives of many while they were here, including ours. We finally were able to get enough dirt to fill the biggest foundation we have built here. 16 feet wide and 48 feet long. We prepared the surface with some donated plastic to prevent moisture from rising thru the concrete. Two truck loads and 8 square meters of concrete and we have another firm foundation that a team from Alabama will build a two story warehouse and bunk house for adventuresome teams to stay in while ministering in Mx. Water shortages are becoming all the more frequent here, as the government trucks that bring water to the families don't come on regular basis, and most families run out before they come back to fill thier buckets and barrels and are forced to use the water from the canal to wash thier clothes, not a sanitary measure but they have no choice. Some friends from Michigan are here and Dave drills wells back home and yesterday UPS delivered a well pump to our house, that I hope one day, I will insert in a well we hope to drill on our lot, that Dave had sent here in response to the need. Gracias Dave and Lonnie.