Categories: Mexico Missions, Creating lasting memories - Mexican families
Luis Millan's church in the community of Cerro Colorado III just finished their vacation Bible school. Here are some pictures of the kids who attended. Around 200 kids came everyday for a whole week!
This seven year-old is the bass player. Luis has been his teacher and Isai has been working hard. He can't even touch the ground yet and still he has a great future as a musician.
Here is the little drummer praying before he starts to play. He is eight years-old and his name is David.
This is Isaac and he is 10 yeard-old. He is the worship leader.
Hi, this is Lydia Lozano your Amor reporter giving you the latest news about the goodness of God in Mexico.
I've been feeling like that lately...though I really like it!
One thing I know that many of us here at Amor Ministries are actively involved in our churches and other ministries. For example, I have a puppet ministry and Sunday School program at a child abuse center. This facility takes in children temporarily due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Then they are placed in foster care. We bring joy and the love of God to countless of kids and I have been doing this by the grace of God for over 5 years! We have a Bible program that gives a child in his own language a Bible to keep as their very own. It has been a blessing each time we have gone.
Another person who has been very active in his church is our Mexican Field Representative, Luis Millan. Luis Millan is our Mexican staff person who ensures that the houses are verified, materials are on the ground and that if their is any emergencies he works hard to get make the necessary connections.
His church in the community Cerro Colorado III is very active in missions. They currently have a mission church in the community of Terrazas del Valle and also make a yearly trip to an indian reservation close to the town of San Quintin, Baja California Norte. It's about 7 hours from Tijuana by car.
This is the name of the church. "Philadephia Church" for the gret love they have for one another.
Here is my conversation with Luis about his trip.
Lydia:Luis, how long have you been working at Amor Ministries?
Luis: I have been working at Amor Ministries for about 4 years now.
Lydia: What is the name of your church? What's your pastor's name? How many years have you been an active member of the church?
Luis: My church's name is Iglesia Centro de Fe y de Amor and my pastor's name if Pastor Martin Gomez. I have been steadily working in the church for about 8 years.
Lydia: Tell me a little bit about your trip with your church to the Indian reservation and tell me how God moved among the Triki tribe.
Luis: Every year my church gathers things to take to this church. The tribe we visit is actually the Triqui tribe and we also minister to the Mixteco tribe. Amor Ministries has been able to help by providing clothing, first aid kits and blankets to this very poor community. The men are rarely seen because most of their professions is either working on farms or fishing in the oceans. My pastor has a great heart for these forgotten people. It is said that the indigenous here in Mexico is like a people without a country they rarely have a voice in government affairs. The people here are very quiet and friendly. Even though we all speak Spanish we need an interpreter because they all speak the Triqui language.
Lydia: Wow, that is so awesome! I'm glad that Amor could help you take donations to these wonderful people.
Luis: Everyone was so happy to receive blankets (from the Wrap Them in Love organization), first aid kits (from the Harborside church of Florida), and clothing (various groups that come on trips).
Lydia: Other than the donations what else did your church do?
Luis: We had a huge outdoor service for all the people in the community. We had to have it outdoors because the church is too small for us to all fit in! Then my pastor helped the pastor of the Philadephia church perform a baptismal celebration.
Lydia: That's great! How many people were baptised?
Luis: Three young people.
Lydia: Thank you for sharing this time you had with the Triqui tribe. Also thank you Luis for all your hard work that you put into working out in the field.
Here is Pastor Martin Gomez with his co-pastor and the two gentlemen in front is the pastor of the church and his Triqui tribe interpreter.
Here is Luis leading worship at the outdoor service.
This is the pastor of the Triqui tribe.
Pastor Antonio and his family.
Too many people to hold church inside!
Singing His Praises!
The ladies of the tribe wear these beautiful robes in their tribal colors.
Luis arranging the donations that Amor Ministries help provide.
This grandma was so happy that Luis gave her this sweater that she gave him a little bracelet that she made in return.
Pastor Antonio, Luis, and Interpreter Juan.
Baptismal service at the beach.
One young man's journey to new life.
God is good all the time!
Newly baptized members.
The man who started this all Pastor Martin Gomez.
"Every day holds the possibility of a miracle!"
Pastor Jesus Lobatos also took us to another family's house in the community "El Pipila" named the De La Cruz Peñaloza family. Pastor Jesus had a wonderful testimony to tell about how this family received a home.
Lydia: Pastor Jesus could you tell me how this family received a house?
Pastor Jesus: Well, as you know I have three daughters ages 13, 12 and the youngest is 8. My children are very involved in our ministry which is here in the El Pipila community. We actually live here and our children go to school here. They enjoy helping at church and on occasion they witness to all their little friends at school. My oldest daughter one day told me that during her school break she gathered all her friends and asked them several key questions to see if anyone of them qualified for a house. One friend of hers spoke up that her family needed a home. Happily she took all her information down and brought it to me so that I might be able to visit with the family. The next day I went and visited with the mother of the young girl and she already knew that I was going to visit her because her daughter told her everything that had happened in school. The mother was so excited. I told her that God wanted to bless her family.
L: This miracle literally came "out of the mouths of babes".
J:Yes, my daughters have seen how God moves and have been bold in their faith. For example, one day as I was counseling a couple who were contemplating divorce something happened that was very unexpected. While I was talking with the couple. My daughters were playing outside with their kids. Then I heard my daughter's voice outside yelling. "I hate my life! Nobody loves me! I just want to run away and forget my whole family because they cause me to much pain!" I was in shock! I wondered what was happening. After the counseling session I called my daughter over and asked her what had happened. She explained to me that the couple's eight year old daughter was so distressed about her parents hurting each other that she wanted to just run away. Then my daughter told me that she thought that if she acted as though she had the problem too that the little girl would open up and let all her feelings out. I was truly amazed at how God used my daughter! I called the couple to me and asked their daughter to share her feelings. She was very bold to share how she felt and her parents were literally shaking to hear the news. They just never thought that their daughter could have such strong feelings.
L: What happened next?
J:Well, after we all cried together they looked each other in the eyes and forgave each other and now this family is completely restored.
L: Pastor, how has being involved with Amor Ministries helped you with your outreach to the community.
J: If I can be so honest it has been a great excuse to talk to people. I mean people who would probably wouldn't want to open up their doors to hear the gospel are now willing to listen because they see God's love in action. Another example is a family that I have been visiting trying to get their application for a house complete. The wife shared with me that her husband was a drunk and that she finds it hard to forget all that he he put her through. I spoke with the husband and he did confirm that he put his wife and family through many hard times. He did however quit drinking, but his wife finds it hard to forgive him. I asked him if he was willing to set up a date with her to go out to dinner and that my wife and I would by "chance" meet up with them there. He agreed and we caught up with them at the resturant. Well, the good part about this is that my wife already knew his wife because once again their daughter is in the same grade as our youngest daughter. So, as they got acquainted I spoke with the husband about how God can restore lives. Both of them opened up and my wife and I were able to help their marriage. Now this marriage is doing very well and it all started with an application for a house.
L: Pastor Jesus, I've been greatly encouraged today. Thank you for your dedication and for having such an awesome family.
This is Pastor Jesus Lobatos.
This is the De la Cruz Peñalosa family from the "El Pipila" community. This is the young girl who the pastor's daughter told her about receiving a new house.
Amor Ministries has not only given to families HOPE for a strong and dry shelter, it has brought HOPE to broken families, HOPE for a better future for their children and most of all HOPE to receive eternal life.
Thursday after my monthly meeting with the Tijuana pastors Ryan Perkio and I had an opportunity to join up with Pastor Jesus Lobatos to see if we could visit a few of the families he has been working with. He was very happy to accompany us and show us the way. One family was the Lopez Jimenez family. Micaela, the mother of three children, shyly smiled and told me that she was very happy to have her new house. Due to her extreme shyness it was hard for her to express her gratitude. Here and there I tried to make her open up a bit. Still, she was very surprised to have this gift of a house given to her. She in some way thought that she was unworthy of such a miracle. Pastor Jesus mentioned to us that he literally had to beg Micaela and her husband to apply for a house. Pastor Jesus knew that they were in great need and that their house was deplorable.
This was their house before.
Pastor Jesus mentioned that she could not comprehend why they would do something for her without asking anything in return. Pastor Jesus reassured her that this gift was from God for her and not only her, but for her children. Finally, she agreed and filled up the paperwork. Now they enjoy a beautiful new house.
Here is Micaela with her kids. Even her little boy is shy!
Thankful for God's love even when we don't think we are worthy of it...but we are made worthy by the greatest gift given to all human kind...the sacrifice for all our sins...Jesus!
Some cactus in her yard. It's funny just like Micaela. She seems to try to keep people away, but God knows just how to reach her.
Recently Pastor Fausto Meraz of Tijuana took me to a family that the group from Canyon View Christian Fellowship just finished. It was an interesting interview due to the fact that the mother of the family speaks no Spanish! She only spoke her native indigenous language. Though love knows all languages because she welcomed us into her humble house and smiled constantly and she chattered (unknown to us due to not knowing her language, but we could only imagine what she meant) away about how much she has been blessed with the groups from Amor Ministries.
Here she is with a few of her children she has seven children! She is in the middle of the back row.
Truly they were grateful for the house. Though that was not the end of the blessing. Out of the group from Canyon View Christian Fellowship came two nurses that noticed that the youngest son (little Jose Armando) had a severe case of cleft palate.
Here is a before picture of little Jose Armando.
Little Jose Armando's mother had barely enough to feed her children let alone pay for such a costly operation. Even the children worked hard by selling gum and candy on the streets. Then these angels of mercy in the form of Amor participants made connections with a doctor in Tijuana who did all the necessary operations that this child needed for free! What joy has this brought to the family.
Little Jose Armando wasn't up too his picture taken, but as you can see he is healing well and his mother is looking forward to his complete recovery.
Such a good looking boy he is!
The rest of his brothers and sisters had no problems with having their picture taken.
His sister Virginia was very happy that we helped her little brother.
July 13th just an ordinary hot summer day, but what an amazing day this turned out to be.
As Mexico Ministry Coordinator I am able to meet with our pastors who help minister to the many families we build for. They are divided into pastor boards. One is in Tijuana, another in Tecate, Rosarito and Ciudad Juarez. I meet with them once a month to discuss issues and present needs. After my meeting with the Rosarito pastors I was able to accompany our friendly pastor Florentino Gallardo from Rosarito. He serves most of the families in the Lazaro Cardenas community. As I drove to the community he told me the vision that he has for the community.
Lydia: Pastor, where are we going to see the families that you have been working with?
Florentino: This is the commnity of Lazaro Cardenas in the La Gloria section of Rosarito. These families had there houses made about three months ago.
L: Pastor Florentino, I know that God has given you a vision for the your future ministry. Can you share with me little bit of that vision?
F: I have been a full-time pastor for many years in a well established church. Happily we have served the community of Palacios. Then all that changed when I was invited to be part of Amor Ministries. As a pastor in fellowship with Amor I have come to dream big. What I mean is that now that I go into the communitites to offer destitute families a shelter not only for their physical bodies, but it also opens doors to show them that they can find shelter in the arms of Jesus. Recently a group came down and built my family and I a house. I was so excited because it's in the same community where most of the families that I serve are! What a joy to know that our home will welcome many new souls to Christ. My heart's desire is to open my home to the families near by and offer them the opportunity to learn more about the God that so graciously have given them this new home. A physical demonstration of God's love and care. Everytime I see the families when I pass by they are always so happy to see me. I encourage them to seek God and read their Bibles. We pray together and I've established a great rapport with the men. They have even come to visit me at my new house.
L: Wow! That is wonderful. I can only imagine how excited that makes you feel.
F: Yes, I want them to feel comfortable about going to church so first I will establish a good group of people then look for a bigger piece of land to build a new church.
L: This only goes to show what the Word of God says concerning his children. "He WILL supply all your needs according to His Riches in Glory.".
F: All this as the result of working in partnership with Amor Ministries. Though there is still a lot more work to be done.
L: Yes, I believe that God has opened the door to many new things for this community. I can see that after visiting with these families that they are very hungry to know more about a God that finds them worthy of receiving such love. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication Pastor Florentino.
Pastor Florentino with his wife and grandson
Pastor Florentino in front of his new house in the community of Lazaro Cardenas
This is Mirna Rodriguez and her two precious girls. They use to live in this small camper shell.
Now Mirna and her family enjoy a nice big home!
Mirna told me that she was so happy in her new home. She said that her marriage has been stronger now that her husband believes that God can take care of them.
This is Luz Maria Ramos. She has two sons and the little one is a nephew. Her house was built one year ago and see how beautiful it has become. They even painted it!
Such a good looking family.
This is Juan and Carmen Ramos. He is Luz Maria's brother-in-law. They are very open to the gospel and look forward to going to the Bible studies.
I know in my heart that God's mighty hand is on these families.
Juan just had back surgery and is recovering really well. Unfortunately, he has not been able to work so with the donations that Pastor Florentino receives from our Food bank and Donations warehouse we have helped this family. Here is Pastor Florentino praying for Juan for a fast and complete recovery.