"Greg, is no easy!" This was the consistent refrain that I heard from Edgar on a recent visit to Casa Hogar Manantial de Amor. Earlier today, I traveled to this home to spend some time with the kids and the encargadas (care givers). As I am B2B's new captain for this area of ministry, I am beginning to make a concentrated effort to better know these kids, their caregivers and all of their needs so we can better come alongside them.
I first traveled to the boys home and saw how the improvements that the Anderson Hills (my childhood church) group had made in early November. All that they had done was doing well and holding strong. But as I spoke with Samuel, one of the caregivers, he let me know of a couple lights that weren't working and of two window spaces where there is no glass at all. They've done their best to cover the openings, but with temperatures dipping into the low 50's at night, you can only imagine how chilly it must be in their rooms.
After my visit there, I traveled a short distance to visit the girls home and found Edgar, the director there. As I spoke with him. I asked him if there was anything the home needed or if his family needed as well. As he answered, over and over he would say, "Greg, is no easy." I want to make it clear that he was in no way complaining and never gave the impression that he thought the ministry to which he has been called should be easy. But I know from experience in various ministries, there are just times when you are compelled to say, "Man, this is just not easy" whether it is paying unexpected medical bills, trying to provide for his family, or just wanting to provide something simple and nice for his family (like coffee for his wife). He mentioned as well that on the rare occasion when he has a 'day off' the funds are not there to be able to do anything, even having money for gas to just get away. Sometimes, being in ministry means these simple things make life 'not easy'. So having experienced many of these at various times, my heart really exploded with empathy for Edgar and Connie and their two little girls, Damaris and Hannah.
On top of this, there are the constant needs of trying to run a children's home. Edgar and Connie listed need after need that they could use help in meeting. From needing new cabinets in the kitchen (the old ones have many rotted boards that the doors are just falling off to the floor), clothes, lice shampoo, dishes, feminine products for 17 teen age girls, etc. You can imagine the ongoing cost of trying to meet the needs of running this home. We at B2B do help as much as we are able, (almost half of their monthly needs are met by B2B), but while he is grateful for the money and resources we send, he said with a snap of his fingers, "it is gone like that!" I can only imagine!
Edgar is also a part time pastor at his church, doing various things, but it is a voluntary role that he fills. He is also discouraged that his senior pastor doesn't share his heart for missions and the church gives no assistance to meet the needs of the home. He has begun searching the papers looking for a job he can take on to help their situation. But that would mean working all day and then coming home to work in the casa hogar and you can imagine how draining and emptying that would be.
So while I am looking here for more ways to better meet their needs, I am also seeking your help. Mostly, I am asking that you pray for Edgar and his family and the kids of the casa hogar. They have great faith (as I was leaving, Edgar said, "As it says on American money- 'In God we trust'- that is what I do!"). Pray for God's resources to come to bare on this home in regular ways to help meet their regular needs for food, utility bills, clothes, toiletries, etc. Pray for opportunities for Edgar to be able to take his wife and kids out and enjoy some time away and the means to do so. Pray for an encouraged spirit for Edgar and Connie as well.
I am also asking you to consider spreading news of these needs to people you know (if you feel led to do so). Maybe a Sunday school class or a small group Bible study or a church's mission committee or whomever might be interested in coming alongside this home and being a regular partner to meet their needs. If this is of interest to you and you want more information about what partnering with this home might look like you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to say that we will not use this blog space often to ask for financial assistance. I was just so compelled by Edgar and his position (having been there for many years myself) that I feel led to share this with other caring people.
Thank you in advance for your earnest prayers on behalf of a brother in need.
lunes, 26 de noviembre de 2007
These pictures give a summary of our thanksgiving week. Greg and I lead 4 outreaches between the 2 of us. We spent time at the Rio and Cadereyta with three groups building a soup kitchen at each location, giving testimonies of what Jesus has done in our lives, sharing food and clothing and blankets (as it is getting colder reaching 40-50 degrees at night) and creating new friendships. The boys had a great time joining Dad in working on the property one day this week. They initiated joining Dad. It is fun to share as a family. As I mentioned before we all gathered on Thursday however I underestimated. The final count was somewhere in the 90's. We have so much to be thankful for. It was a great week.
viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2007
jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2007
There are so many things to be thankful for. Jesus, family and friends top the list for sure. Spending the holidays away from home really make you appreciate what we have always had. It can be easy to get caught up in what we are missing. Greg is on an outreach to the Cadereyta today and I went on one yesterday to the Rio. Spending time with these great people allow me to see what is really important. It's not always the gigantic meal, but those around the table. (this is something I'll have to remember when I'm making the turkey and it is dry....) Tonight the staff of B2B will all eat together. We will have something like 60-70 people sharing in a meal together sharing what we are thankful for. Its such a loaded question. If we are honest with ourselves each one should be able to share for hours. As I am counting my blessings with my family and B2B family please know you will be among those that I am thankful for.
martes, 20 de noviembre de 2007
She still hasn't had her baby yet. She is doing well though. It is amazing how a girl can be so ignored within this community. Please continue to pray for her. I believe she is anxious about having this child. Due dates are random out there as no one really keeps track of time. Pray for her and her babies safety. Pray for Nuri's anxiety and that she would know God has her surrounded by His love. Thank you.
"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. " James 5:16
"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. " James 5:16
domingo, 18 de noviembre de 2007
Yesterday a handful of us were on the porch talking. As we stood there we began to notice a storm coming in over the mountains. We saw the streaks of rain developing over the mountains. As we continued to watch, we heard a slight roaring sound. To me it was like listening to rain on our tin roof while we are inside of our apartment. However here we were sitting outside. We were hearing the hail approach our property. It was a wild experience. Before we knew it, it was upon us. pea size hail . What seemed so cool soon became scary and harmful. I was reminded by my neighbor that my oldest boys were in our apartment alone and I might want to check on them. Upon entering our house, I couldn't see them. I had to yell over the pounding hail on our roof. After a short bit I found them hiding in their bunk beds. Scared and wondering what was happening. After a little coaxing I drew them out to see the beauty of the hail and the storm. It was interesting to me that my feelings toward the hail had everything to do with where I was. Inside I felt safe and interested in the storm. Outside I was overwhelmed and scared. I think this is true with many things like trials, suffering and death. When we have Christ in our lives we aren't spared the hardships but we are assured His divine power for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Its difficult to put into words when God impresses my heart. I pray that he will connect the dots for you.
Please continue to pray for Nuri, the last time we were out at the Cadereyta (last week). She was in the hospital with complications with her baby. When we ask her neighbors they just don't know. Nuri is someone that people don't see often because the "family" she is with keep her inside caring for children and the house. Pray for health and that she can know that Christ loves her.
sábado, 17 de noviembre de 2007
As we said earlier, Greg's parents were here just last week. We enjoyed sharing life together for a few days. We also had the pleasure of having my (Cathy) sister, Connie, come and visit. She was here for a couple of days and really took time to spend time with us and enjoying one another. One day the boys and I took Aunt Connie to Mount Chipinque where we enjoyed hiking and riding down the cement slides. Aunt Connie came to school and shared about her trip to China with the K through 5th graders. It was good timing as Ben is studying China in school. We enjoyed eating out and long talks. Thank you, Aunt Connie for loving on us. We love you.
Greg, Cathy, Ben, Luke and Mark
jueves, 15 de noviembre de 2007
We recently had the privilege of having a group from Anderson Hills United Methodist Church come down and serve along side of us. We have been blessed by this church so many times before and this week was no exception. Anderson Hills is the church in which Greg grew up in and came to the Lord in and they have partnered with us from the beginning of our ministry here with B2B. A special blessing was that among the 17 that came from the church were Greg's parents, Mike and Marcie (my mom in the first picture above and my dad in the third).
We kept them and the entire group pretty busy from dawn to dusk and they worked hard and enjoyed their time here. The day they arrived we traveled to Casa Hogar Douglas in the evening for a cookout and playtime with the kids. We served hot dogs and nachos and played soccer and other games with kids. It was a fun time. The next day we traveled to Manantial de Amor for a day of work ranging from putting up a chain link fence to painting, putting in a sink and waterproofing their palapa (a shleter for shade). While we were there, some ladies from the group realized that there was no food for dinner that night and their hearts were gripped with concern and sadness. The Lord moved in their hearts to be a solution to this problem, both that night and long term. What a blessing that these people were here at this time!
The next day we took those same kids on a field trip to an international art, music and cultural exposition that Monterrey is hosting called the Forum. It was a very different kind of day with many different things to encounter, but I think fun was had by all.
On Sunday, after church, Cathy led the group to the Rio for a day of outreach ministry. Anderson Hills had brought several hundred pairs of shoes to donate to the poverty stricken here in Monterrey and after a foot washing ceremony, they passed out around 200 pairs of shoes to kids and adults alike and gave them a nacho and cheese snack. Testimonies were shared, prayers were offered and money was given for medication needs in the Rio. It was a very moving day. Lilanthi, a pastor from Anderson Hills, spoke and Sharon said a few words as well to the group of people that had gathered.
The final day before we sent them off we put them to work as well. We were able to pour the steps for our new medical clinic and a sidewalk for the new school. They worked hard from the moment they got here to the very minute they left. We are so grateful that we got to host them, and minister alongside them. It was so encouraging to see them come alongside us in even more ways than they already have. With the ongoing partnership that Anderson Hills wants to have, we look forward to even more fruitful ministry trips in the future.
A special thanks to my parents who ventured our way. I know that it is not easy having us so far away and it means so much to us that you took the time and made the effort to come and see our ministry, where we live and just be with us enjoying life. We love you and look forward to heading your way at Christmas time.
sábado, 3 de noviembre de 2007
I have no photograph of Nuri. Partly because she is so shy and I wanted to build a relationship with her first. I never got the feeling that she was proud of the fact that she was pregnant at age 15. She has quite a story and I have shared some with many of you. She has a past full of hurt and is not surrounded by family that fully accept her for who she is but for more of what she can do for them. I met her in April when she first found out she was pregnant. She seemed 15 then. Now she is due and looks like a woman who has been through so much. Please pray for her. We went out to the Cadereyta last week. She wasn't there. She was at a clinic, perhaps giving birth. A woman who said she was her mom (although I know she wasn't ) was there. She gave me the creeps. We prayed with her for Nuri, and her family. Please pray for Nuri's health as she will continue to take care of her "brothers" as well as her new baby. Pray for protection for her and the children. Pray for salvation and protection from the enemy as I believe they are into something ( my spanish keeps me from understanding it all). I plan to go early this week to hopefully see her and the baby and even have a photo to share with you (maybe;)
jueves, 1 de noviembre de 2007
One group gave away umbrellas at an outreach at the Cadereyta. Itwas a great hit. We had a really good church service with Pastor Jose Angel talking about how God made it so that we as mother's have the opportunity to give our children a lot by raising them in a Christian home. Three women came to Christ that day. It was a great day.
This is Sarah. She is 6 years old. Lives with her Mom and sister. And is as sweet as she looks. She lives in Meme's Rio. Its a community of 60 or so who live on the river banks . This land is really the government's land however these people have squatted there long enough that they legally can live there. I recently began visiting here in hopes to start a children's time with possibly songs, a snack and a Veggie Tale in Spanish. Please pray for me as this is definitely going out of my comfort zone. I have had a chance to meet some of the kids. It is Sarah here that the Lord used to grab my heart and give me a desire to do this. Will you pray with me for the following things. Pray that I will find the right time for me, Meme, the kids as they are in school in the afternoon (which is ideal time for me). Pray for protection and discernment. Pray for the souls of these little ones. It is my hope that as God works in the hearts of these kids, their parents will want to know the good news of Christ as well. Pray, Pray, Pray. Thank you.
I realized I missed the opportunity to ask you all to pray for me. I think I was too busy telling myself it was just minor surgery however I still should have asked for prayer. Earlier this October I had hernia repair. It was an umbilical hernia and small (about an inch). The Lord saw me through my concerns of surgery in a different country with a different language. My doctor spoke English as did the Anesthesiologist. I am well. Praise God all went well. This is also why I haven't blogged much as our internet is downstairs and I was limited for a while. If you are facing something that you find yourself playing it down. Let someone know. I'd love to pray for you and we can praise God together.
Recently Greg helped lead a group to Rayitos de Luz. The group threw a party for the kids to celebrate birthdays. We do this every other month and celebrate the birthdays of the kids who had birthdays in those months. It was extra special for this Casa Hogar. They don't have much and these are children from the Rio area. Many of the parents of these kids have given these kids with little desire to visit or see them. For some parents (I believe) its too hard to face that they were unable to care for their own children. Therefore a clean break is easier to handle such a tough decision. Because these children don't have much, they appreciate everything. There was such happiness about the things that they received. However no remote controls were given, no computer games or high dollar things. These children were grateful for the cupcake cake, the few items they could call their own. I was touched when I saw these faces and God convicted my heart when I desire more and more. God is teaching me the joy in relationships not so much in things. By the way, if you want to know my Christmas list.........