Category: Creating lasting memories - Mexican families
"And they shall dwell safely in it and shall build houses and plant vineyards; yes, they shall dwell securely and with confidence when I have executed judgments and punishments upon all those round about them who have despised and trodden upon them and pushed them away, and they shall know (understand and realize) that I am the Lord their God [their Sovereign Ruler, Who calls forth loyalty and obedient service]." Ezekiel 28:26 (Amplified Bible)
I visited with the Gonzalez Ramirez family living in the community of "Mariano Matamorros". "TJ", our seasonal field staff person, told me about this family. He said that he was so moved by the kindness and gratitude this family showed him as he drove up to their house to verfiy the site before the group would arrive that Monday morning. He said that from the back of the house came a small woman whose tears moved his heart. I spoke with Demetrio & Dolores and they shared a very important truth with me
Lydia: Dolores, thank you for allowing me to come into your little house.
Dolores: Thank God for all of you who work so hard in building us this house!
L:How has this experience changed your lives?
Dolores:Just seeing all these young people coming to Mexico leaving the their comfortable homes to work and sweat and get physically tired to build us a house...well, it just makes me want to cry. There are no words to describe my gratitude. Thank God!
L: What can you say about the Love of God shown to you?
Dolores: We have seen the Love of God and also the power of it through these kids. It proves to us if God can move in providing us a house He will take care of all our other needs too. Through life's struggles God has multiplied everything... Our work is humble, but we want to give God all our obedience. ("TJ" walks in and Dolores offers him a gum. He sweetly declines. Dolores sells gum for a living.)
Demetrio: I am just happy...very happy. I didn't work today just to be here to help the group. (Demetrio washes and waxes cars) We waited and hoped to one day have a house that would not leak. I cannot do it myself because I never learned a trade. I am not a carpenter or a bricklayer I just wash cars. I was an alcoholic for many years. It was God who helped me and now I've been sober for 10 years. On top of that I couldn't read, but God taught me to read the Bible. I want my new house to be a place so many people can come and enjoy sharing God's word. We have been faithful to our church and joyfully give our tithes and offerings. (Demetrio earns around $35.00 a week and Dolores maybe $30.00 a week)
L: Your faithfulness amazes me. What could you tell the many participants that want to come down to build homes in Mexico.
Dolores:If I could tell everyone who would want to come to build homes for the poor and needy in Mexico I would tell them that if they obey God's calling He will provide the rest. He will provide strength most of all. He blesses those who obey Him.
L: Amen to that!
Dolores: I can remember my husband and I praying together and he would always mention in the prayer the request for a new house. And now...(tears of joy flooded her eyes)..I just see these young people and it touches my heart. Many people have a hard time believing in God, but we do believe in Him.
This little couple challenged me. Demetrio who is 53 years-old and Dolores who is 63 years-old challenged me to obey God even through all my struggles.
After talking with them I thought it would be nice to talk to the Chris, the trip coordinator from Federal Way, Washington. Chris brought 16 young men and women to build hope in Mexico.
Lydia: Tell me a little bit more about your group.
Chris:We are from Washington and I have with me a group of 16 people. Harvest Ministries has been coming down to work with Amor for about ten years.
L: What has been your personal experience with Amor Ministries?
Chris: I have been coming down on trips for five years. First, as a volunteer now as a trip coordinator. It has changed my life. It's a lot of work to prepare for a trip like this, but it always seems that God provides for everything. Our church backs us up 100%. We are here to "Build Hope" just like Amor Ministries motto.
L: On a personal level does it discourage you that you are not able to speak Spanish to the family?
Chris: No. We communicate to them so many other ways just being here and showing our love through building breaks the language barrier.
L: That's great. The family told me that they were very happy you all are here.
Chris: These trips have impacted my life. This is my second time coordinating trips to Mexico. I was not the designated person, but when I found that maybe this trip was going to be cancelled I stepped up to take the job. I just couldn't see breaking tradition. This trip is so important for our church. It builds relationships and strong testimonies. It's easier than an over sea missionary trip, but just as fruitful. It's affordable for the group to come with Amor Ministries. Our church rallies with us by making fundaraisers, lots of prayers and a few phone calls of encouragement on the trip down. It's just a great testimony of Faith!
Demetrio and Dolores in their old house.
This is where they use to live.
This is the group hard at work.
Dolores moved to tears unable to contain her happiness in seeing this group work so hard to build them a new house.
This is Chris from Harvest Ministries.
Demetrio helping the group building his house.
Dolores can see the group working from her back door.
Dolores in her wedding gown. One of the few things of value that they had in their little house.
There has been a song in my heart and in my CD player that has been a constant reminder of the journey we call "Life". The song is from a Christian singer from Columbia named Alex Campos. The song is "Al Taller del Maestro" (At The Workshop of the Master).
Ay como duele estar despierto y no poder cantar (Oh, it hurts to be awake and not be able to sing)
Como expresarte sin palabras que me muero si tu no estas (How to express without words that I feel near death if you are not with me)
Que el tiempo pasa y todo cambia; hoy lloro de soledad (That time passes and everything changes; And I cry from loneliness)
Que el sueño que llevo en el alma de repente ya no esta (That the dream that I had in my soul all of a sudden has disappeared)
Que la sonrisa ha marchado; mis lagrimas caeran (That the smile on my face has left me; my tears begin flow)
Coro: Al taller de maestro vengo pues El me curara (At the workshop of the Master I come well He will cure my pain)
Me tomara entre sus brazos y cada herida sanara (He will take me into his arms and every hurt He will heal)
Las heramientas del Maestro mi alma El rememdara (The tools of the Master my soul He will mend)
Martillo en mano y mucho fuego aunque me duela ayudara (With a hammer in His hand and much fire even if it hurts I know it will help me)
A conocerlo y entenderlo a saber que nada merezco (to know Him and understand Him to see that nothing I deserve)
Amar es mas que un pretexto es un entrega es un negar (To Love is not only an excuse but it's a surrender it's a denial of self)
Mas que aquel sentimiento es la decision de amar (More than just a feeling it's a decision to Love)
Al taller del maestro vengo (At the workshop of the Master I come)
Alli el sol saldra (There the sun will rise)
Al taller del maestro vengo (At the workshop of the Master I come)
Carpintero mi alma aqui esta (Carpenter, my soul here it is)
Al taller del maestro vengo (At the workshop of the master I come)
No importa el tiempo que alli he de estar ( It doesn't matter how long I need to stay)
Ay aquellos dias que hizo frio el sol no aparecio(Oh, the days that was so cold and the sun did not appear)
Cuando el talento no es todo (When our talent is not everything)
Y el silencio vale mas que mil palabras sin sentido (Even the silence is worth much more than thousands of words without heart)
y una vida que morira si tu no estas aqui conmigo ( And a life that would die if you are not with me)
De que sirve mi cantar? (What is the use of my singing?)
Para que la fama y las estrellas si el maestro no esta? (Why would I want fame and the stars if the Master is not there?)
Para que decirte que te amo si contigo no quiero estar? (Why would I say that I love you if I don't want to stay?)
I remember someone telling me that Alex Campos wrote this song during the most difficult time in his life. He had cysts on his vocal chords and when he had them removed the doctors told him that he would loose over 50% of his voice. For a singer that means his whole career! But then GOD! Just like in the Bible when Paul and Silas were in prison...
Acts 16:25-26... "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose."
We have been through some trials. Physically, mentally, emotionally and in every way it seems like we were all in a stronghold. Now we rejoice because even in the "Workshop of the Master" we find the miracles we need...Even when it comes at the midnight hour!
I met this family on my way to camp. They live near the communities of Terrazas and El Niño. They live on a land whose owner requires them make from 300 - 500 bricks a day. The owner only pays them $15.00 per day. It's hard backbreaking work that calluses the hands and breaks the heart. Breaks the heart because it doesn't allow much to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. The father was more than gracious to show us his work even the children work diligently to help their father.
The mother of the family quietly asked if we could please help them in any way. The good part is that I had plenty of food to leave them...Beans, rice, tuna and cookies for the kids. She was so grateful because they did not have any food left...we came at their "midnight hour".
"And Jesus went about the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was "moved" with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few.
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into harvest." Matthew 9:35-38
Have you ever been "moved"? I don't mean someone who physically pushes or pulls you into a direction, but actually a feeling down deep in your gut that stirs you. It's something that causes a chain reaction in your soul. This "moving" I'm talking about is something that can't be put down or ignored. This same "moving" caused Jesus to overextend himself and do more than what was required of Him. Friday I felt this feeling of being "moved with compassion". Where to even start...
Amor Ministries has been working hard on the production of the "Casa de Amor" video. Friday, Alon, myself, and a crew of photographers went to Tijuana, Mexico to take pictures of families who daily struggle with the stronghold of poverty. I came along to interpret and to facilitate the photo shoot for the photographers. I never imagined the impact that these families were going to have on me.
Off of the main road going into the community of "El Niño" there are families living in dilapidated shacks dangerously close to railroad tracks and main electrical towers. These families are barely thriving and work in extreme conditions to put food on the table. How I encountered this family was when I stopped near the house and a little boy named Jose came up to me on his bike. He had a very warm smile and asked why were there. I told him that we were working on a project and if he thought that his mom would not mind if we talked with their family. Jose with his sweet smile told me that we were welcome to come. As I walked closer my heart sank. I've been exposed to poverty in my lifetime but at this instant the sight of this family's living conditions "moved" me.
As I got closer I noticed an older lady cleaning cactus (nopales) with a dull knife and cutting them into little pieces and placing them into plastic bags to sell. Her sun worn skin showed the years of pain. She lived in a two room shack with her husband and four grandchildren. Her daughter lived near by with her three children in pretty much the same conditions. All the children were so happy to see us that they immediately asked questions and chatted with us non-stop. I spoke with the grandmother who told me that they were on this property due to the fact that they had no where else to go. She suffers from a condition that has left her legs stiff and she is unable to walk so she and her grandchildren clean cactus and sell them in the near by community. I marveled at their tenacity to keep going. Her husband makes tombstones for the nearby cementary. His calloused hands and hunched shoulders spoke volumes to me. Young girls ranging from 8 to 16 years-old playfully showed me their dolls. Young boys ranging from 7 to 12 years-old showed off their little muscles. I could not just turn away to their need. They on the other hand did not even ask anything from us. Except the grandmother asked if we could find a wheelchair for her because the one she had was not working properly.
I was "moved" to tears.
I was "moved" to give.
I was "moved" with compassion.
The kids adopted me as their own. Showing me their rooms. Wanting me to play "duck, duck, goose" with them. Telling me their silly jokes and riddles. Having me teach them a lesson because they wanted to play school. I felt torn up inside. I did however take some donations with me. Donations that Sheri L. had brought in to the office. Beautiful plates, a bowl and some drinking glasses. Another donation donated by Jen L. a sleeping bag was a big hit with the grandmother who said that she wanted something like that to keep her warm from the cold. I also went to the nearest market and bought beans, tuna, tortillas, and cookies for the kids. Not much in our eyes, but a bountiful harvest for this family. Plus, I recently bought Bibles in Spanish and I took eight Bibles with me. Well, all but one Bible found a home!
I challenge you where ever you are at to be "moved with compassion". A compassion that cannot turn away and ignore the need, but a compassion that takes action.
This is Jose showing off his little puppies. He was the one who found us on the side of the road.
Ths is the grandmother who welcomed us to her home.
The family's income was brought in by selling sodas, cactus and the grandfather making tombstones.
This is a picture of these awesome kids. I will never forget the loved that they showed us.
Here I am in the middle of the crew.
Alon had his fair share of "playtime" too.
Here are the kids eating the cookies I bought them.
My little "boyfriend" Manuel.
Monica loved to show off. Here she is in a barrel trying to hide from the photographers.
Such a little ham!
This young girl told us that last year when she celebrated her fifteenth birthday "Quinceñera"(which is a big event in Mexico) her family bought her a dress and a beautiful doll. She also said that they went a few days with out eating to be able to get her the dress.
The kids having a great time with Alon. They were wanting him to give them horse rides over and over again!
I was teaching them a new game... Bubble gum, Bubble gum in a dish...
This was the family's kitchen...an open fire.
Here's grandma with kids grateful for the donations I left them.
The grandmother was so moved that she asked me if she could hug me. Her tears rolled freely as I took her into my arms and prayed with her. She said to me that they all are Christians and she knew that God had sent us there.
As I drove away I took this final picture. Leaving them behind was difficult. I told Alon if only I had a "Million Dollars". Of course, they are not the only ones with desperate needs, but I am thankful for the opportunity for us all to be used by God and grateful also that I could experience what Jesus felt when He saw the multitude...He was moved with compassion.
In my recent blog I told you about the Ayala Duarte family. In one of the statements from Alma Ayala Duarte she said that she wanted this experience of receiving a house to serve as a testimony to her husband. Well, our Seasonal Field Staff member TJ just told me that last night when the group took the family to camp to have dinner with them they asked Fernando Ayala Duarte, Sr. if he wanted to accept Christ as his Savior and he said, YES! There's a party in heaven just as we speak... That's why we do what we do here at Amor Ministries to show others the practical love of God and to make it an avenue for them to receive God as the caring heavenly Father He is!
Dad Fernando happy to not only receive a house, but also a Savior!
"God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" Ephesians 3:20 MSG
Forrest told me about a family that a group was building a home for in Cerro Colorado III. He told me that this family was very friendly and so grateful for the new house they were building them. Forrest explained to me how this family was living on the very top of the community of Cerro Colorado and that our material vendor could not get up there to leave the materials. So, the materials were left at the bottom of the hill and the family carried all the material (even the sand and gravel) to the very top! I spoke with Alma and Fernando Ayala Duarte about their experience with having a house built for them. Luis Millan, our Mexican Staff Representative, drove me to the family and our, Seasonal Staff Member, "TJ" met me there. He is working with the group from San Mateo, California.
Lydia: Alma, how has this experience affected your family?
Alma: (crying) I am just amazed on the dedication and careful work these workers are doing on my house. They are taking it seriously and I admire their details. I see the results of a safe and secure home for my family and words cannot describe my gratitude to God and them. It's been a wonderful experience.
L: I see that you children are involved and your husband is working hard to help the group.
A: Yes, even though my two younger boys are deaf they fit in well with the group. My middle son Eduardo has been waking up early to be ready with his carpenter apron on and his gloves in hand to go to work.
L: I can see that each one has his part in the process.
A: I am grateful to the group for that because it's difficult to raise two deaf boys and at their age everything is like a new adventure. The group has been very receptive.
L: Fernando, how have you felt about the whole process?
Fernando: I am very happy.
A: My husband is a man of a few words.
L: Fernando, what has stood out more in this experience in receiving a house?
F: Just to see how my kids have reacted to the whole process...Well, it's just...(his voice broke and tears came into his eyes).
Lydia: Enough said I can see how much it has touched your heart.
Lydia: Alma, on behalf of the church I have brought you donations. Here is a new blanket, cooking pot, and utensils for your family.
Alma: I was totally satisfied with just receiving a house...now this! (she was brought to tears again!)
Lydia: Yes, this is from donors that support Amor Ministries.A: Wonderful blessings! Even my sons don't want to sleep anymore in the old house. Plus, they have been mapping out where everything is going to be. I hope that they leave room for mom and dad.
Lydia: You can tell that God made this all happen for all of you!
A: Funny that you said that because it was a up hill battle to get this house. When we first qualified for a house a representative came to my house, but I had an emergency and had to leave to go to my mother's funeral. I missed my opportunity to get a house. I cried so much and my husband asked me what was wrong. I told him that because I had to leave to my mother's funeral we missed the chance to get a house. Later that week the representative came by again and said to me that in fact they were going to build my house. He also told me that the materials were being delivered I wondered how we were going to get the materials way up here, but God touched the hearts of the community and many people helped us take the material one by one to the top. Then here I go again crying back home when my husband said, "What's wrong with you now?" I excitedly told him that we were going to get a house after all! No words can explain how God's mercy and grace has been shown to us.
L: I can see that your whole family is just enjoying the process and look forward to the future.
A: What I look forward is that this serves as a testimony to my husband that God is real and the He really cares about him and our family. May God bless everyone at Amor Ministries and all the people who made this wonderful home!
Lydia: Like so many families I want to express my gratitude for everyone's support and prayers. Please keep the Ayala Duarte family in prayer and all the other families our ministry has touched!
I took this picture from the bottom of the hill. There are some people working on the roof of the house way up high.
From the bottom of this hill (near the truck) is where the materials were delivered and the family needed to carry the rest up the steep hill.
Picture of the community Cerro Colorado from the Ayala Duarte house.
The group from Christians of the Evangelical Faith Pentecostal of San Mateo, California working hard way up high!
The very happy Ayala Duarte family.
Even got a chance to see "TJ's" beaming smile. He mentioned that this family was one of the most awesome families he has ever met.
Brothers Eduardo and Fernando are deaf since birth, but that didn't bother them when they were helping to get there house finished! Here is Eduardo in the yellow shirt on top of the old house painting the window trim.
Here's our very own "Tool Man" (Fernando) with his mom acting goofy in front of the camera. Mom said that he would wake up early to get ready to go to work. With his carpenter apron, gloves, trowel and hammer in tow!
Fernando only 9 years-old and already a hard working man!
Another angle from the Ayala's house. Fernando showing off his muscles.
Mama Alma surprised to receive such lovely gifts. These are donations that we have received from donors and a donation program named "Gifts in Kind" (Bed, Bath and Beyond).
Alma was so happy because she mentioned that she needed forks and spoons. She said that she was so clearly satisfied with just receiving a house that these donations were a bonus.
Mom telling Eduardo in Sign Language about the gifts their family has received.
Eduardo is completly thrilled about the new house and new things.
Here dad Fernando Sr. this picture was taken right after he told he how happy he was to see his kids get the house they dreamed about. This is also after he shed some tears of joy.
This is me and Alma. I made such a connection with this family that she said once her new house is in order I needed to come back to have some coffee.
Alma's tears are just an overflow of love for all of the love and support from everyone at Amor Ministries.
"There is no limit to God's love. it is without measure and its depth cannot be sounded." Mother Teresa
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.