Category: News from Baja and Beyond
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.
At almost all our camps during the busy seasons (like spring and summer)we have a small trailer filled with sweets and treats. Plus, there is an array of clothing that has Amor Ministries stamp of approval...literally. There's chocolates, sugary treats, soda, and "FRAPPACHINOS" to tempt any tired, hard working camper.
We also have lovely T-Shirts, hats, beanies, sweatshirts, and visors that have our logo on them.
Where does the proceeds go from all these sales? Good Question! Each year we sell these items to our participants to supplement our "Alternative Gifts" program. Not only do we provide an opportunity for a family to receive a home we also can provide them with food and emergency items (like blankets). Plus, in association with the school district of Tijuana we provide many needy children with "Back to School" supplies. So, the funds we receive from the "Amor Store" goes to these projects.
So everyone benefits! Participants satisfy their sweet tooth or find a great souvenir, and give families the much needed help.