Categories: Mexican Pastors, News from Baja and Beyond, prayer list, prayer requests answered
In the dry dessert-like conditions of the city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua (bordering with El Paso, Texas) a small group of young adults, five Amor Ministry pastors, three El Paso team members and me held our annual outreach in one of the communities. Along with two wonderful volunteers from Lone Tree High Adventure Camps we played, sang, prayed, preached, and loved on the people of the community of Granjas de Desierto.
The great story about this particular community was the connection one of our Amor pastors did with this community. This community is a newly established colonia which many families from all over Mexico come to buy land and build a simple home. Work is becoming scarce and building materials are very expensive. Many families build precarious homes of scrape wood or with anything that they can find. This family made up of a father, mother and five children worked hard to give their children food, clothing and schooling, but the house was inadequate. What a blessing to get the news that they qualified for a home!
Pastor Felipe from Amor Ministries mentioned that he has been evangelizing in this community for some time now and was excited to have the outreach in this community.
So after connecting with an awesome group who built this family their house they also went a step further and sponsored the community outreach. Plus, as an added bonus we held the outreach right on the land of the family the group had just built for!
We had games for the kids to play and win prizes. Music to fill the air with Praise. A message of hope from an Amor pastor and plenty of Bibles to give to the people. After we all shared a simple lunch. Everyone was filled both physically and spiritually. It was a wonderful celebration of hope!
If you are interested in finding out how you can help proclaim God's goodness please come to our website at www.amor.org . Also, we are in need of school supplies and Spanish Bibles... You can also donate toward those supplies just follow the links to the gift page. Thank you!
The following are pictures taken at the outreach. Enjoy!
As a Mexico Ministry Coordinator for Amor Ministries I get to visit all the different cities and pastors who help us find the families who we build for. One group of pastors that I visit about once a month is the Tecate pastor's board.
At our last meeting one of the pastor's wife made us some great fish tacos. Which is odd because most of Tecate is mountains and desert, but just 1 hour away is the finest fish you will ever eat in Ensenada. So, the pastors had a special treat for us all the way from Ensenada. Yadira and Jonathan joined us in the feast. Also, Amor's very own Juan Garay blessed us with his presence... We had a good time with our pastors.
As Mexico Ministry Coordinator for Amor Ministries I run into some amazing people in Mexico.
I wrote recently an article for the ministry that really impacted my life once again
It impacted the way I see the hearts of people.
It impacted my role in God's kingdom...
Each year our Mexico Ministry Planning Board holds a community outreach sponsored by an Amor group. This year our Tijuana pastors hosted an outreach in the community of Terrazas sponsored by the Trader’s Point Christian Church of Indianapolis.
It is amazing to see the connection between our Amor pastors and the “American” groups. TPCC was so excited to make such a huge investment into the Kingdom of God. They met the Tijuana pastors and worked along side them to reach about 500 people at the outreach. Most of which were children.
One thing that stood out for me was the following story of a family of seven who came to the outreach. An Amor Ministries outreach includes fun games for the kids, crafts, small lunch, and a message of salvation for all to hear. All these festivities are free to everyone who comes and there are many opportunities to share the love of God to the hurting. Children from all over the community came to play games and win prizes. Laughter rang through the hills. Each participant had a job to do. Either they were manning the game booths, helping little hands with crafts, making ham sandwiches or talking one on one with a hungry soul. The pastors were busy talking to families that Amor Ministries has built houses for letting them know that all this was a gift from God to them. One lady came up to me with such an expression of joy as she shared that she was grateful to Pastor Eusebio Haros (one of the Tijuana pastors) for connecting her with Amor Ministries. Now she and her family have a home to enjoy and the love of God made such an impact in her life. Still there was one particular family that really touched my heart. In all the chaos of children running around having fun there was a family of seven who stood in the middle of everything looking a little bewildered. A father, mother, and five children huddled together as they tried to figure out what was going on. I noticed that they were carrying buggies, boxes, bags, and a little cart full of scrap metal. The families’ clothes were worn and dirty from foraging through mounds of trash to find a little metal to exchange at the recycling mill for money. Yadira and I explained to them that this was free to them and that the children could play games and win prizes. At first the children felt embarrassed because of their clothes, but with a gentle nudge of their father the children tentatively made their way to the games. The father stayed close to his kids and the mother stood watch over their things. I loved seeing how the father would rejoice with his kids when they would win at a game. I marveled that this family took time for their kids to have fun. I was touched when I saw the kids bring their tickets to their mother so that she could “buy” something at the prize table. She chose a handmade quilt which she continually caressed with her calloused hands. They made a connection with our pastors who will help them as much as they can. I even had a chance to introduce Stan (TPCC trip coordinator) to them. I told Stan that if this outreach was for only this family it was all worth it. I asked the mother if she would allow Stan and I to pray for her and her family. She happily agreed and we prayed together knowing that God heard our cry. The family had to leave so I made sure to pack them a good lunch and gave them a Bible. All this happened because of someone who took the time to care. The outcast of the world met with the eternal love of God. It reminded me of the story of Jesus when he spoke to the Samaritan woman. She was an outcast of society yet He took time to give her what she needed most….love. Thank you for that opportunity to love people into the Kingdom!
August 17, 2006 Amor Ministries and a wonderful group from San Clemente , CA. hosted a community outreach in the community of Altiplano/Valle Imperial.
There was so many people. To me it felt like 300 kids and adults came to hear about the Love of God and enjoy each others company.
The follwing pictures are just a few snapshots of the days events. What I am grateful for that we were able to touch the hearts of many families with God's goodness.
I've been going to a women's Bible study that has been such a great encouragement for me. The last meeting we talked about the word goodness.
Narrowing it all down what I learned was that goodness is not just a "state of being good", but an "action of goodness".
As Mexico ministry coordinator for Amor Ministries I have many opportunites to work with men and women who demonstrate goodness to others.
For example this past month a group from Anchorage, Alaska and the ministry planning board of Rosarito hosted an outreach for the families in the community of Ames. Amor Ministries coordinates such events where over 100 people were in attendance!
I had an opportunity to even share God's word with everyone and many raised their hand for prayer.
Together we were able to bless many and with the help of the pastors in the community we have also impacted the Mexican church.
I thank God for the opportunity to share His "goodness" with others.
I have been in ministry for many years and I am so amazed on how a story of a family can move me so much. For example, the story of the Luque Henriquez family that live in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.
This family is composed of a father, mother and four children. Sounds normal enough doesn’t it? If it were only that easy… One of the pastors took me to visit this family who is waiting a new home in November of this year. This family has been through many struggles and heartaches. Miguel, the father is currently unable to work due to illness. He recently was diagnosed with a rare form of anemia that has affected his red blood cells to the point of needing a transfusion.
Guadalupe, his wife needs to work doing menial work like washing other people's clothes by hand to feed her family and take care of her children. Not only their need for food, but also medicine and therapy because Guadalupe has three disabled children.
Israel who is 25 years-old has cerebral palsy and about three years ago came down with meningitis that has completely paralyzed him.
He is in need of a wheelchair and diapers.
Edgar Ivan is 22 years-old and is mental retarded. His sweet smile made my heart ache. He understands many things, but is unable to speak. He needs resources so that he can learn a trade.
Larisa Isabel who is 13 years-old does not have a disability, but she shares the responsibility of taking care of her family. Currently, Larisa is going to school and is making excellent grades.
Tiny Miguel Daniel has a thyroid problem which has stunted his development and is physically and mentally challenged.
This family averages between $50.00 a week barely enough to live on let alone build a house.
As I entered the home made of scrap pieces of wood and a roof made of a worn piece of blue tarp I felt so unsafe.
The walls creaked back and forth as the wind moved the rickety shack.
Guadalupe mentioned that she was afraid that one day that her children will be hurt or trapped inside the home if it ever collapsed. What a scary thought!
I just can’t even in my wildest dreams imagine how they can live day in and day out in those conditions.
Who will show God’s love for them? I pray that it’s you and me!
Let’s stop complaining for what we don't have and give thanks for God’s abundance of mercy toward us and let’s take action to help those that are in desperate need of love and concern. Join with me! Together we may not be able to save the world, but with the help of the Lord we can help the Luque Henriquez family to have a better life.
Please keep this family and all the other families who we serve on a daily basis in prayer.
Thank you again for your seed in the Garden of Mercy!
"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.
"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.
The Tijuana pastor's board has been busy working hard to follow-up with all the families that we have built a home for. Here are a few of their prayer requests and praises for this month.
Pastor Francisco Chavez: I would like everyone to pray with me for my church and it's continual growth. Also, that we will be able to receive new instruments, speakers, microphones, and a guitar amplifier. Praise: Thank God that we were able to receive a piano and plenty of chairs for our church. We know that God will provide the rest.
Pastor Eusebio Haros: My continual prayer request is that Gd will provide a 15 passenger van to transport people to and from church. Praise:Thank God for His steadfast love toward us and for healing my wife of her illness.
Pastor Juan Bahena: We are asking prayer for our church expansion and for spiritual support for myself and my family. Praise: Thank GOd that he will continue to prosper our church.
Pastor Fausto Meraz: I want to thank you for praying for us and ask you to keep our church in prayer as we are working on expanding our church. We need Sunday school rooms. Praise: I want to give all the glory and honor to God for his provision. We requested awhile back for a new keyboard and God answered! Thank you everyone for praying for us!
Pastor Juan Briceño: Please pray for my family and congregation. Also that God will provide a van to transport people to church and for a bass guitar and amplifier. Praise: God has answered our petition about an electric guitar amplifier! Thank you.
Pastor Jesus Lobatos: Please pray with me for my family and my congregation. We are in need of musical instruments, a keyboard, and microphones. Also, that God will make provision for tables for our dinning hall and chairs too. Praise: We are so grateful to God and you for keeping us in prayer. we prayed about a building to be able to do a feeding program and it's built now and a church from Los Angeles, California gave us an extra long van for 13 passengers.
As a thank you to all our pastors we provide the means for them to have a Pastor's Retreat where they go to a location with their families and have a time of rest and relaxation. Here are a few pictures from their retreat.
Thank you Pastors from all the cities we work in!
July 13th I had a meeting with our pastors that work in the Rosarito area. Here are a list of prayer requests and praise reports.
Pastor Angel: Please join with me in prayer concerning a vehicle to use to transport people to and from church. Also, for my continual health and that of my wife because we have been a bit ill lately. Praise: I want to praise God that he healed my wife's right leg.
Pastor Jose: Please pray with us that we can continue our work in holding home fellowships groups. And that God will continue to prosper our ministry. To win amny more souls for His kingdom. Praise: I am very grateful for the work Amor Ministries does. To think that many souls will be won by the sheer joy of receiving a new house. I have some families in my congregation that have accepted God as their personal Saviour as a result of receiving God's love in the form of a house. Thank you for your love and passion to help those that are in great need in Mexico. Thank you for all the donations that blesses many families. We love you all!
Pastor Florentino: Thank you for your prayers. That our congregation continues to grow spiritually. Praise: I want to thank God for the little trailer that Amor donated to us. Currently we are waiting to finish our house and the trailer has helped to house us in the meantime. And thank God for the house that a wonderful group from Amor made.
Pastor Gustavo: Please help me pray for my wife's health and for our congregation to grow. Praise: Thank God for this ministry (Amor) and for all of you that participate. It's a great experience that Amor has brought and it has enriched my life. May you all continue to be blessed as you have blessed many lives. When I see the people that have benefited in receiving a house I stand amazed. On behalf of the families I want to thank God and you for all your love and support.
Thank the Lord for such faithful men that have not only heard the calling of God in their lives but are determined to increase the Kingdom of God.