Friday, October 30, 2009

Being the One God Uses to Answer a Prayer

Last week, Mauricio and I were working at Casa Hogar Douglas. We were working on a list of "honey do" projects for the caregivers there in the children's home. I always like getting things accomplished on this list because it helps make life a little easier for these ladies who live with and care for these children 24/7. I usually do things like fix lights or plumbing problems or repair doors or  broken furniture. This day, Mauricio was hooking up a clothes washer in the older girls' dorm for their care giver, LuLu. The water hookup was not right on the washer. Each time she used it she had to carry water up from the first floor in buckets to fill it. In addition, there was no electric outlet near the washer so she had to use a very long extension cord to make it run. He hooked a direct water line to the washer and installed an electrical outlet near it. All she had to do was put the laundry in and turn it on to use it.
As we finished up that day, Mauricio told me that LuLu shared with him how she had been praying for some time that this work would be done. He said to me, "I love knowing that God is using me to answer someone's prayer!" I had never thought about it that way before, but he was right. When we submit to God's calling for our lives, many times God uses us as an answer to someone else's prayer. I know that many of you have been used by God to be an answer to my prayers. As I have prayed for God to provide for our financial support, many of you have been the one that God has used to answer my prayers. That is why it is important to be obedient in the calling that God has for our lives. We may just be God's answer to someone else's prayer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Rio Child Compared to a Casa Hogar Child

You've heard me talk about the impoverished community that we serve in that we call Rio3. You also have heard me talk a lot about Casa Hogar Douglas, the children's home that Betty & I serve in the most. 
At first glance, it might seem that the life of a child living at Rio3 is much worse than the child living in a children's home. Most of the homes in Rio3 have dirt floors, no permanent electric, running water or adequate roof. Most of the families live on less than $10 per day. That is compared to the child in the children's home who is able to eat 3 meals a day, take a shower with hot running water, enjoy the benefit of electricity at the flip of a switch, rest in a palapa we built and sleep in a bed that is protected from the rain and cold. That is the impression at first glance. 
A more extensive comparison would reveal that most times the heart of the child living in the children's home has been crushed and broken many times in his young life, by those who should love him most. I have witnessed 6 year olds who have not had a relative come and visit them for months. Sometimes, even when a relative does visit, they try to justify the family's lack of involvement by telling the child they have no job or money. Or, they might say that they work all the time and don't have time to visit the abandoned child. I'm not sure which is best for the child...receiving a visitor who makes them feal guilty or not receiving any visitors at all. In either case, there is a great deal of hurt, rejection, pain and suffering that is behind the face of every child that lives in a children's home.
Don't misunderstand me. The child living in Rio3 suffers too. When you grow up not having money for shoes, clothes or even food, it is a difficult life. Sometimes a parent is involved in drugs or illegal activity and the child is abused or exploited. The summers here in Monterrey can see temps as high as 115 degrees and the winters can be a bone chilling 40 degrees and raining. When your house is made out of trash and has little or no roof, it is difficult to ever feel comfortable. On a recent medical trip to Rio3, we discovered a 6 year old girl who could not see out of one eye. The doctors think that she has experienced some type of nerve damage that may be irreparable. All they could do for her was pray. That is just one example of how the poor suffer. In summary, a life lived in poverty, is painful and difficult too.
Betty and I feel called to serve the brokenhearted and abandoned children in Rio3, as well as those who live in the children's home of Casa Hogar Douglas. Both places have great needs. The needs are different many times, but the answer is always found in Jesus. He is the one who can heal broken hearts and provide all of the necessities of life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Faithful Friends

    Recent Photo of Don, Bryon & Roger

I've said many times that we could not be serving here without the faithful support of so many of you. We give thanks often for those of you who lift us up in prayer and give of your financial resources to support our work. All of our expenses of insurance, salary, visas and taxes are paid from our support account with Back2Back. We are always humbled by your generosity.
As I approach my 3 year anniversary of serving in Mexico, I want to recognize 3 faithful friends. I've known Don, Bryon and Roger for many years. We went to church together, were in the same Bible School class and were members of a men's small group. The 3 of them are still meeting every Wednesday morning, at Bob Evans, for fellowship and breakfast. When I was first preparing to move to Mexico, these dear friends stood beside me and said "We'll support you Jim!" For 3 years now, they have been faithfully supporting our ministry here in Monterrey.
Many times, those of us who serve on a mission field, receive all of the attention. But the truth is, none of the things we write about, or are blessed to do, would be possible without those of you who support us. Don, Bryon and Roger are 3 of many faithful friends who have come alongside of us as we "serve orphans and widows in their distress" according to words of James, the half-brother of Jesus, in James 1:27. We are here in Mexico and you are in the USA, but TOGETHER we are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of abandoned children. Like the words to the song, "Thank you", I pray that one day, on the other side of eternity, you are able to meet Lupita, Cesario, Louis, Paty, Pancho and hundreds more that you have helped in their "distress." There in the presence of our Heavenly Father, who relentlessly loves all of us, maybe they can thank you personally. Until that day, I will thank you for them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Painting Inside the Church Building of Rio3

Many thanks go out to Dave Schreier & also Lifepoint Vineyard Church for purchasing the paint to paint the interior of the church building at Rio3. Last week a group from Batesville Vineyard Church was here and helped us get the painting done. What a difference painted walls make! I have always said that this church was a Lighthouse in a dark community. Now the building feels warmer and brighter. It is so amazing to see what God is doing there as He reaches out to these desperate children. They are able to witness and experience God's love through the many people we bring to serve there. Many of the children wanted to help us paint. On behalf of them, I want to give thanks to all who partner with us in ministry.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Footwashing & Shoe Giveaway at Rio3

This past week, we had a footwashing and shoe giveaway for over 200 kids at Rio3. The Christian teen group, PureNRG, had a promotion with Family Christian Stores on the sale of their newest CD. A portion of the sale of this CD was used to buy new shoes for poor children all over the world. We were blessed to have these 3 teenagers come to Rio3 to personally wash the kids feet and put their new shoes on! Some kids came barefoot and went home with a new pair of shoes. It was awesome to see the smiles on the kids faces as they received their new shoes.
Jordan, Caroline and Carolyn of the group PureNRG are between 14 & 16 years old. They served the kids at Rio3 with a real servant's heart as they washed feet for over 2 hours on their knees. You can see more picures on our Rio 3 Facebook page.
Thank you Family Christian Stores and PureNRG.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Faith of a hurt child

The lives of the kids, that live in the children's homes that we serve, are filled with pain. Their lives are filled with bad memories of their families and void of love many times. In all the work that we do, we want the kids to experience love and to know that God loves them perfectly. I love it when a child has an opportunity to exercise his young faith in God and realize that God always loves them. Recently, 9 year old Louis, from Casa Hogar Douglas, had this opportunity.
Javier, the head care giver at the children's home, has been going to each dormitory at bedtime and praying with the kids. A few weeks ago, he was in the young boys dorm, and he asked if they had any requests. Louis, who is the oldest of 4 kids in his family that live at Douglas, said that he wanted to pray that a relative would come and visit them on Sunday. It had been weeks since anyone had come on visitation day. Some of the other kids laughed and said "No one is coming!" But, Javier asked Louis "Do you believe if we pray that someone will come they will come?" Louis answered "YES I DO!" They prayed together and that next Sunday their mom came to visit them.
I remember the day that Louis and his 2 younger brothers and his sister were dropped off by their mom at the children's home. I remember because I had teers in my eyes but none of them were crying as their mom left. I know that their lives have probably always been full of sadness, heartache and pain. One of the hardest parts of our work is witnessing the pain that so many of these kids carry. But I am also lifted up each time I can witness God's faithfulness in their lives a well.