Deep in the heart of Jalisco, Mexico you will find the next Christ-filled Integrity-based Ministry that I would like to share with you during our 40 Days of Amazing Ministries.
A couple of years ago while renewing our visas, we had the honor of meeting the most wonderful family. It was one of those divine encounters that lifts your spirit with all things good. This family just blessed us with story upon story of the home they run for at-risk children and orphans. The most wonderful part was that they were so very close to where we lived near Guadalajara. We were practically neighbors!Read More
As I begin to write this evenings article I find myself giggling at the irony of it all. Tonight, the nation is in a frenzy buying up lottery tickets (about 130,000 every single minute) for the second largest lottery pool in history. Take a breath and have a quiet moment here with me. Isn’t it fun to dream about all the wonderful things we could do with that money? I mean, we could do so much good if we had that money right? Dreaming of paying our debts? Imagining all the ways we could bless our family or just spoil ourselves? Stop. Rewind. Farther. Farther. Way back in time. Over two decades now.Read More
Nearly three years ago our family had to make yet another border run to the United States from deep in Mexico to renew our documentation. The problem was we barely had money enough for the trip, how could we even consider staying in a motel during our stay stateside along the border?
We had heard about a ranch that helped missionaries with housing along the border. We decided to venture out and give them a call.
~from my personal journal April 5, 2011~
“Well, I honestly envy you. I certainly couldn’t do it.” ~
“It must really wear on you sweetheart…I know I could never do it.”~
“I can’t go with you, I changed my mind, I just don’t think I can do it.”~
Is it a coincidence that three people said these things to me on the same day Lord? At the time I didn’t think much about it because I was too busy. But by the end of the day when my body seemed too exhausted to move my mind took over and my thoughts absolutely consumed me. So can I be perfectly honest? Sometimes I can’t do it either. I just can’t do it, or rather I just don’t want to do it. It’s like broken pieces of humanity are laying scattered at my feet and I am left alone holding the pieces. I feel sometimes like I just can’t take another step, Lord. I don’t want to. It hurts too much. Who am I trying to fool? I know I can’t fool You.
Tonight I visited a dear friend. She is a single mom of four who loves God with all her heart and has a faith like none other. Her children are some of the sweetest and most polite children I have had the pleasure to meet. She takes prodigious care of herself and her children. A woman of great integrity, she is one of my most faithful helpers at the center. She is the first ready to help in time of need. She is beautiful and absolutely a true joy to be around. I just adore this dear friend.
By her outward appearance you could never possibly imagine the poverty they live in. Last week we had power outages due to a bad wind storm. The day after the storm life ran slower for the whole community until we had power again. As we chatted about the great adventure she happen to mention the wind blew off every bit of plastic that she called her “roof”. She repaired it with bits of wire and pieces of trash she found about, never complaining once. She plainly told me that she was indeed a bit frightened and that her and her children huddled closely all night on the bed because of the noise.
Earlier in the day, I spent time with another friend of mine. I am trying to help her 1 1/2 year old baby girl get the surgery she needs next month and we were talking about the next appointment. My eyes kept wandering to the bruising shaped like hand marks on her neck from where her husband tried to strangle her last month. She smiled as we chatted, asking me how I was doing and how was my own family. I wondered if she was safe, and asked her how things were. She told me she wanted to talk to me in private at my house the next day. I must not forget to put aside some food for her and the baby.
On top of this my dear Dona Chilo (no one seems to know how old she is but I figure in the 70′s somewhere) handing me some lab work she had done with that woefully thin hand of hers. Grabbing the back of my head and pulling my face way down to her very wrinkled and worn one, she gives me a huge toothless smile and a big wet kiss on the cheek. She tells me the same story, with a big grin, “Oh I am awful, just awful.” She eats a lot of fish head soup. It is cheap and she gives the bones to her faithful companion, a raggy old mongrel of a mutt. But that mutt really takes good care of her. Somehow I don’t worry as much when the dog is on duty. I need to visit her and make sure she has her roof fixed before the rainy season.
Hanging my washing tonight under the stars and with the heavy aroma of the night jasmine that blooms on my wall my mind wanders over the events of the day and on the lives of these precious ones. I am a “fixer” but how do I “fix” this? I don’t have resources enough for my own family’s needs and yet I am constantly faced with others misery in every direction.
It’s like broken pieces of humanity are laying scattered at my feet
and I am left alone holding the pieces.
I feel overwhelmed and fall on my knees and cry out to God the same old thing, “God, I am from California, you did NOT prepare me for this! How do I do this? What do I do next? What do I say next?” Hot tears filled my eyes and a familiar ache hit the pit of my stomach as I got up an finished hanging the clean washing.
I will leave it at that because in fact I don’t have the answers~but I know He does and I am grateful, ever so grateful He does.
Situated in the middle of seven barrios where ruling gangs fight for territory, not a day goes by that we don’t see new graffiti on the walls around our home. The youths spray their gang colors on the walls and vehicles of the rival gangs’ turf. Even our own home and trailer has been decorated in times past. The gangs mostly leave us alone now, as our work in Tepehua is well known and they want us there. Derrumbles, the most violent of the neighboring gangs, seem to be the most creative in their designs. Each design is meant as an intimidating reminder of who is lord over where.