martes, 23 de febrero de 2010

a humbling celebration.....a

Greg, the boys and I were invited to dinner with Edgar, Cony and the girls at the Manantial de Amor children's home. They wanted to thank us for all we have done working with them over the years. As we sat there as they shared their thanks with us, I was so very humbled. It is us that should be thanking them. They are the ones who care for these kids and teens 24/7. They are the ones that the Lord uses in changing the hearts of these kids, and the groups that we bring to serve at their homes. It made me realize that I need to be more thankful in my life. I asked Cony how they continued doing what they do. What was it that kept them going through such difficult work and life. She told me "humility". "When I see myself in the light of who God is I am blessed to be a part of this life, of this ministry." Their secret to doing such a great job. Again she answered "humility". Lord, make me humbled and grateful to where you have me now.

miércoles, 17 de febrero de 2010

The boys elaborate tree house and my bay window....

When Greg and I were dating, he took me back to Indiana University for a fun trip down memory lane. We were walking all over campus, when we came to a building that I remembered. I told him I wanted to show him a bay window that I often sat in it to study or just day dream. It was located on the 2nd floor and as we turned the stairs into full view, to my embarrassment I saw that it was only a radiator at the base of a window it was not a bay window at all. In my romantic imagination it was this plush and elaborate bay window.
I recently was called by my boys to come look at their tree house. I imagined a floor, walls , a roof and perhaps a window. When I came to the window I saw pieces of wood that had been nailed in this tree at different levels. What I saw was far from a tree house but to them it was an elaborate get away.
This has me thinking of the Christian life, often I don't have eyes that can see the vision that God has for people. Where I see a lazy person, a sinner,or a bully, God sees potential. He sees an adopted son or daughter. He sees the creation He has made them to be. Sometimes in my prayers for justice or for others I disregard people for bad, evil or ones that God needs to do away with. However if I'm honest with myself, that could be me. God is showing me to have his eyes, his eyes to see that bay window, the tree house or that potential believer or adopted son of God. My prayers are changing. They are changing from asking God to give them what they deserve to asking The Lord to bring them to Himself. We all are undeserving. Lord, give me your eyes.......

martes, 16 de febrero de 2010

Sharing the Love of God on Valentine's Day weekend

making valentines to share with love ones
boys from the Rio and group sharing and playing with legos
more valentines

Kids from the group have hands on a girl to pray for healing and increased faith in God
On this commercial holiday, it was a perfect time for one of our groups to share God's love to the kids and families at Meme's Rio. Our group had 15 kids in it ranging from 19-7. They were great as we asked them to help us teach the 1 Cor. 13 passage on love to about 36 kids at the soup kitchen. After we shared the verse the kids teamed up to give 6 different dramas of what love is and what love is not. The kids were fascinated an really paid attention well. Afterwards they made valentines with homework to give it away to someone special. We served a delicious tostada meal and a group prayed for the spiritual warfare that is apparent there. The men helped put doors on the soup kitchen, while the kids played and played. At the end we were getting ready to pray for Meme when Meme points out a girl who is sick and need prayer. These kids laid hands on this girl and strong, passionate, sweet prayers went up around her. Prayers for healing, for increasing her faith, for protection and against fear. What a full day to see God's love in sharing His word, feeding the hungry, loving the people, working on the soup kitchen and blanketing the place in prayer. Now that is Biblical Love.

miércoles, 10 de febrero de 2010

A little lunch, a little time, a big reward...

As I have been spending more and more time at the boys home slowly and consistently tackling the various projects that I've been working on, I find that my relationships with the boys are coming along quite nicely.

But recently, I experienced a great boost. I decided that I would begin taking a few of the boys out to lunch from time to time. As some of the boys are preparing to enter our Hope program I decided to start with a few of the older boys first and invited Angel, Geraldo and Gregorio. I had already developed good relationships with Angel and Geraldo, both of whom are extroverts. Gregorio however, while nice and cordial, always seemed more reserved when I came around.

So we grabbed some burgers at Carl's Junior and just hung out for a while before taking them to school. We talked a little but only as much as my Spanish would allow.

Well, the next day when I arrived (and every day since) I have found a pleasant surprise. Gregorio's eyes light up when he sees me. He stops what he is doing and comes to greet me. It has been very fun to see.

Gregorio has come from a troubled past and it makes me think just how troubled it is if a simple lunch out with a friendly face can so drastically affect him. I think of the countless number of people who come down here on missions trips each year and of the impact that they have as well. Though in their own eyes it may seem small and insignificant, the dividends are huge and can be eternal. Yep, a little time can often give big rewards...

Big Needs, Perfect Timing

As most of you know, I (Greg) am the captain at Manantial de Amor (MDA), a wonderful children's home here in Monterrey. Much has been happening here as of late.

Where to begin. I guess I'll start with the major project that has been going on for about 1 1/2 years. MDA had some major water erosion problems that were close to threatening the structural integrity of the building. With much help, I tackled this problem and every inch of the way, I felt I was way over my head. But what else could I do? These problems needed to be addressed and I was there, so we tackled them. I cannot begin to accurately say how much help I received along the way, but I know that it couldn't have happened without every person that jumped in.

Recently, I asked Jim to help me pour two sets of concrete stairs. I had already formed for the stairs and Jim and I would mix the concrete by hand. We expected it would take half a day to pour the two sets of stairs. It actually took the entire day and in honesty, it was the hardest day I've had here. But the wonderful thing about it is that it was the second to last step of completing the WHOLE project! It has been 1 1/2 years in coming! I am super excited about it and praise God for getting me through it.

Not too long ago, Edgar, the director at MDA, sent me a long list of unexpected expenses that the children's home is facing. Major expenses. From braces for three different girls to school enrollment to unexpected water bills, etc. The list goes on and on. Then, just a few short days later, a government official shows up to inspect the children's home (the boys location) and leaves a two page list of things that need to be done (within 5 days). No offer of helping come up with the money to pay for these projects. Just have them done in 5 days or we will take the kids from here and put them in the DIF, the government run home- not a good place.

So I was a bit overwhelmed as I wanted to help with all of the needs, but had NO resources with which to help. Even now as I write this, I realize what a God thing it was for me to not have any money because I almost always have a cushion with which to help with emergency needs like this. I guess God wanted to show me that He is the source of our help and nothing else.

Well, I sent out an email to a few churches that support us and that have worked at MDA before just seeing if there would be anyway they'd be able to help. One church responded by sending $5,000! In addition, I began receiving donations that were collected from B2B'S Christmas Catalog and the donations all addressed the needs that Edgar had sent me.

I am assured that when we minister and face tremendous needs ALL OF THE TIME that God is always aware of every need. He never balks at the size or the seemingly 'when it rains it pours' timing of the needs that come up. He just does what He does. He is so faithful and I am so grateful.

Praise God!

PS- I forgot to mention the $150,000 USD donation that came in to purchase a new piece of property on which to bring the boys and the girls together on one campus! He's just AMAZING!

jueves, 4 de febrero de 2010

Quick update on Lesly......

Just came back from Lesly's appointment. Praise God it is over and in 2-3 months it should be all over. Yeah, I'm so excited for her and will post a picture after her tumor subsides. Amen.


Praying that God would help me make this a word that describes me. On Saturday I had just return from a full day at the Rio. I mean this was a great day, three people come to Christ, we celebrate a birthday, prayed for a man diagnosed with cancer, etc. I returned at 5:00 which is pretty late for me. On the way home I found myself dreaming about a great shower and my warm bed. Then I get this idea to visit a family in our neighborhood. Julio has muscular dystrophy, his wife works four hours a day making tamales in the house in front of their house. This allows Julio to be in the room watching his three daughters 1, 5 and 7 years of age. As I'm driving I am thinking of so many reasons why I should continue on home. I think, "maybe they aren't there," or "really, now?" As I come closer to their street, I hear "Just ask them to church tomorrow." Reluctantly I think I can do that. So I stop and ask them to church at Douglas. They timidly say yes that would be fine.
The next morning is cold. I immediately think "oh too bad, Julio won't want to go out in the cold." He has weak muscles with his lungs and heart and has breathing issues. So you can imagine my surprised as I was greeted by Julio, Yajira and their three girls as we went to pick them up. Apart from being in discomfort for the hour and a half he sat in church, Julio and his wife went forward to receive prayer. I believe God was doing something for Julio and for me that morning. God is growing my faith and is drawing me closer to Him. We are praying for healing in Julio's life. Again I think God will heal Julio of his MD and me of my ailing faith. Lord bring health to Julio's body and obedience to my faith.

Waiting can be the hardest thing

Imagine that at age 3, you develop a bump on the side of your face. This bump sometimes grows larger than other times. You have pain and every time you look in the mirror you see a face that has other kids laugh or comment about. This girl is 7 years old. She was diagnosed in June with this viral tumor. We were told that there is a vaccine that can be injected into the tumor and should resolve it completely with 1 or 2 injections. So we waited as doctors located the vaccine. We were told after a month that it was in Mexico City and will be shipped soon. 7 months later we have gotten word that it is here in Monterrey and today I take her to get her injections. With this long wait I thought maybe God was going to heal her. I don't know why really but the faith of her family and mine has grown in the process. We've been praying consistently. I believe God wants to call them all to Him. Will you join me in prayer for her procedure, for the faith of her mom, grandma, and others? I look forward to posting her picture after the vaccine has done its thing.
Thank you Lord. More than ever we appreciate this vaccine.

Praying for Douglas

This month we are carving out February to pray for Casa Hogar Douglas. Would you consider reading the following requests and lifting them up to God.
Thanks friends for joining us in prayer for Casa Hogar Douglas. Just for clarification, Wyman is the man who is the director there. Jim and Betty are the Back2Back staff who are captains of Douglas. Following is specific ways to pray for them:
1. Care givers would be full of the love of Christ.
2. Children of all ages would experience God's Love in this home.
3. Financial needs of the home would be met.
4. Fear and pain would be minimized in the kids' lives.
5. The Holy Spirit would come and fill every dormitory.
6. God would protect this place with a "Band of angels" guarding against all evil.
7. That this home would be a "Shelter" and a "Rufuge" for these children.
8. Wyman would be open and supportive of changes we suggest need to occur.
9. We would find tutoring help for kids that need help in school.
10. God would remove anything or anyone that hinders the spread of His Revolution in this place.
11. God would raise up positive role-model leaders within the older boys' dorm.
12. The younger kids would look up to and follow these positive leaders.
13. Every care giver and child would know that they are part of the family of God.
14. Light would cause darkness to flee.
15. All care givers and staff would seek truth in their own lives.
16. All care givers and staff would demonstrate compassion in discipling children.
17. Betty & Jim would be filled with Godly wisdom and courage as they minister.
18. All outside influences (other groups) would be edifying to the Spirit.
19. Godly people would not grow weary of doing what is right.
20. The leadership would be sanctified for God's service.
21. Tired workers would have time to rest.
22. God would use the church to minister to staff and kids weekly.
23. All staff not filled with the Holy Spirit would leave or be filled with the Holy Spirit.
24. Staff and kids would recognize and give testimony to God's provision in their lives.
25. God would complete His promises in the lives of these children.