Category: Journal of a Missionary
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!
Has anyone ever had a hard time letting go?
I didn't realize what a control freak I was until I was "out-of-control". It was a scary place between worrying about my surroundings and worrying about what will happen to me if I were to let go.
Could I trust me? Could I trust my God to sustain me? Could I trust others around me to care?
Since my dad died I realized that everything given to us is a gift. A cherished treasure that could be lost and never found again. I also realized that pleasing people is an up hill battle. Wait... Let me rephrase that...
Giving of myself to others is my life, but running on empty isn't.
I would love your comments on how you are allowing God to take "control" of your life.
I've been involved in ministry for many years now and I never really took time to reflect back on God's handiwork. I mean just recently I've taken time to just chill and take a deep breath and start thanking God for this journey called life.
I hit some rough spots on the road, but looking at my life now and looking at where I was before I can't help but to be amazed.
So many changes not only in me but in everything I do. One of the things I've realized lately was that I had lost my "identity". Not by theft but by allowing my identity to be defined by what I can do for others and not by who I really was. It happens...
Sometimes I get caught in the work that I forget Lydia in the process. My needs and wants were set aside and I wasn't important anymore. It meant that other's needs and wants were more important than mine, but that wasn't so with God.
God's plans were different(like always)...
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD." Isaiah 55:8 NIV
I felt trapped by what was expected by me...What I should or should not do...What other dictated in my life...
Now it's different...
I ask what I truly want and desire.
I've stopped postponing my life until this or that changes.
I've believe in me. I believe in the God who created me.
I welcome openness, freedom and love.
I'm welcoming life back!
The summer sun can be merciless in the city of Tecate, Mexico, but that didn't stop about 150 people from attending Amor Ministries 1st Annual outreach in Tecate.
Amor Ministries together with the Ministry Planning Board of Tecate hosted a community outreach in the Cerro Azul area. Many children came to have fun winning prizes with our game booths and gave out over 200 hot dogs.
Pastor Hortencio Guerrero gave a wonderful message of God's love to many hungry souls. Many came up for prayer and the tears flowed freely.
I love the way God moves on the hearts of his people!
Psalm 27:10 " My father and mother may desert me, but the Lord will accept me."
If you believe in prophesy or God speaking something into your life read on...
While on a mission trip to Lima, Peru I experienced something that confirmed my life's call.
While in Peru the church that I worked with hosted a Prophecy Service. A pastor from Oceanside, California came to the church to speak words of knowledge to several members of the church. Every heart in the building was in complete surrender to God's presence. In the midst of all this I was called forward. At first I thought it was mistake until a friend of mine walked toward me and took my hand to lead me to the front. I was trembling as I knelt at the altar and prayed, "God, help me." My heart nearly pounded right out of my chest! Nervous, I guess... Then the older gentleman placed his hand on my shoulder and spoke truth to me. The pastor said to me that God has called me to those who are forgotten by everyone, the bottom of the barrel, and the lost children of God's kingdom. Those who everyone turns their head from and go the other way. I will never forget the pastors words as he spoke as a father speaking to their child. He told me that God has equipped me to go to them and speak life to them. To tell all those who are forsaken that they are worth my time...they are worth God's time. That when I speak I would inspire hope in them. The truth of the matter is that I never expected to see how much that prophecy has come to pass. Now I work for an organization (Amor Ministries) that inspires hope in the lives of many Mexican families. God has entrusted me with a ministry to the hurting children of a child abuse center and foster care facility. Truly, I'm blessed to see that God can speak life to anyone who is willing to listen.
Diana is from an orphanage in Queretaro, Mexico. This beautiful girl was abandoned by her mother and was told that she should never return. I would just hold her at times and let her cry.
This little one stole my heart. She was also in the Queretaro orphanage with her 4 older and 1 younger brothers and sisters. When I was leaving she stretched out her hands for me to pick her up. I held her close and she tucked her head on my shoulder and whispered. "Take me with you."
This family is the one who hosted us in San Miguel de Allende. There we worked with Director Victor at the orphanage that he had there. I was nearly kidnapped by all the kids because they didn't want to see me leave.
Behind a banister I did a puppet show for the kids at the San Miguel de Allende orphanage.
My little girls. I was so sick that day and still these little ones could not stay away because they were so hungry for attention. I just wished I could adopt them all!
There was a time in my life that I realized that when God calls he also provides. I was invited to go visit a missionary friend who lived in Lima, Peru. I was currently working a part-time job at a Christian bookstore and earned very little money. I just smiled and said to myself, "Well, it's a beautiful dream, but I just don't have the money for this trip." My mom thought otherwise she told me that God would provide for this trip even when I didn't have faith to believe it. It wasn't that I didn't believe God it was that looking at my circumstances I thought that probably the timing was off. A few days later we went to visit a dear couple that we have known for a very long time. She talked about her children and about the events at their church when suddenly she turned to me and asked, "I feel God wants to take you somewhere. Where do you want to go?" I was speechless... I told her how God placed on my heart to go to Peru and that I didn't know when to go. She looked me straight in the eye and told me that she felt that God wanted me to go now. New found faith sparked in my heart. She excused herself from the room and called her husband out of the room. When they came back they had a suspicious smile on their face. "Here this is for your plane ticket!" She said as she handed me a check for $700.00. I learned my lesson that day. I learned that when God wants something done He will get it done with or without me. When I called my friend she told me that I really needed to be in Peru by a certain date which was two weeks away! It two weeks I raised $2,000.00. Even my boss at the bookstore said that they would hold my job for me until I returned three months later. I got my passport ready and bought my ticket for $700.00. Funny, huh? God doesn't make mistakes.
Here is the youth group that I helped minister at. The church is "Camino de Vida". "Way of Life" church is a church founded by Pastor Robert Barringer (amazingly a surfer dude from California). Him and his family have been working in Peru for many years birthing ministries like mission churches, two battered women's homes, two orphanages, children's ministries, medical ministry and much, much more ministries click here for more information.
When I first arrived (mind you it took almost 24 hours to get there!)I was put straight to work. We were going to fly from Lima, Peru to Cusco, Peru to hold a city wide children's crusade. So, we had plenty to do! Here I am with my peruvian friend Clavel putting the finishing touches on a costume.
Here are some pictures of the outreach while in Cusco, Peru. The "Entrenador" is me!
Before each show we would go outside of the church in full costume to invite the kids to the evangelistic show.
It was a blast being in the show!
Cusco is very beautiful. It's way high in the mountains and it really rains hard!
We even had a chance to visit a city named "Imatambo" where we visited an orphange. The land is vast and gorgeous!
I've met many new friends in Peru like my friends the "Elizabeths" (Elizabeth Fernandez & Elizabeth Roman).
I was also able to teach at a Sunday school conference in Cusco.
One day I want to go back to Peru. Lord, willing very soon!
"May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand...how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it." Ephesians 3:17-19 TLB
After the time I spent with the children's ministry about three years I was asked to start a youth ministry in the community Cerro Colorado.
It was a small group about 8 young people who loved to get together to worship the Lord. First, we started our Bible study in a van. Then, the missionary that I was working with bought a little house across the street so we had meetings there.
Here my dad is with them. Funny that my father at this time was a very young Christian, but he loved going with me to the youth and stayed at their Bible study. The youth really enjoyed my dad's company. Good memories!
Sometimes the youth would minister to the kids. Here is practically the whole church. Mostly kids and youth filled the sanctuary.
Look at my long hair!
We would often have outreaches and conferences where either one of the youth would bring the message, a special guest like a friend of mine from San Diego, Jose Mayorquin, or the pastor of the church. The youth were active in worship, drama and prayer. I was able to be with them for about 5 years.
After my time in Saltillo, Mexico. I almost felt like a seasoned veteran. Then I was needed back home and I felt lost for awhile. I went back to work for Mama Stamps in Tijuana. This time was different... She had planted several churches in Tijuana and Tecate. There was almost one for each day of the week and Mama Stamps had me teach the kids about the Bible in each of the churches. At this time I didn't have a job so I was constantly in Mexico for about one year. There I worked in the poorest of the poor communities and the children acted at times rough around that edges. The children's ministry in these churches was a challenge for me. Especially, since I had no formal training for such a thing! It's just like what the Bible says that He that calls us will equip us.
A community in Tijuana, Mexico that was a good "boot camp" for me was the community of "Canyon del Pato". It was a rough community with many rough little kids. God gave me favor in the community and I was able to see the fruit of our labor.
The little boy to the left (second from the top) was my special boy. He was just a little guy. Around 6 or 7 years-old, but with the temper of a wild cat. This child only knew hate, abuse and drugs. His parents were constantly thrown in and out of jail. His nickname was "Gigio". He was though the most faithful little boy to church. One day I opened my arms to Gigio to give him a hug and he stood there like a stiff board. He had never had a hug before! Slowly as timed passed he warmed to the idea of being special to God and to us that when he saw our van drive up he would run to give us a hug and a kiss. I sometimes wonder what happened to Gigio.
The church when it was started did not have a room for the kids. So, I would pile them in our van and have children's church in the van! We had some very special times all packed in the van like little sardines.
Have you've come to a crossroads in your life? Almost like your life seems to be going to a place that you did not anticipate, but at the same time it looks like you've come full circle?
Well, remember that I recently wrote that I was not suppose to be called to Mexico to be a missionary, but that I wanted to be a Sign Language interpreter? Well, worked it out differently.
"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship." Louisa May Alcott
I came to a crossroad in my life when I was invited to be part of a short term missionary trip. I was so excited! I wanted to go to the trip to Hungary. Yet, I knew that most likely I would be sent to a Spanish speaking country. Oh, it would be wonderful to go to Honduras! When I went to my mission interview I spoke with the coordinator. He asked me a few questions and told me what I needed for the trip. Every word was like gold to me until he told me where I was suppose to go...He wanted me to go to Saltillo, Mexico! I sat there in his office in shock. I couldn't move, I was stunned. Words failed me and my tongue felt stuck. Then there was an assurance in my heart that spoke to me that this decision was for my good. Even though I didn't like what I heard.
It was the first place that I taught at a church. It was the place where I finally heard God's calling to missions. At it was my first "taco al pastor"!
It made such an impact on me that I went back to Saltillo, Mexico and lived there for almost a year.
"God takes life's pieces and gives us unbroken peace." Gough
I started very young being introduced to missions. Since I've lived for almost all my life in San Diego I can see why Mexico has been such a big part of my life. My mother was working for a missionary/church planter since I was about 6 or 7 years-old. The missionary's name is Myrtis Stamps and she became a second mom to me. Out of her home in Imperial Beach she would received food and clothing to take across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. At first to tell you the truth I really didn't like to go to Tijuana. My mom would always make me either sing or share at one of the many churches we visited. I was extremely shy and stuttered a bit. It was so uncomfortable that one day I exclaimed, "You can't make me go!" Which to my dismay my mom replied, "I'm your mother you will go." Needless to say I spent many years helping in the Sunday schools, food programs and interpreting from visiting groups.
This is Mama Stamps like we all call her.
One very frustrating day when I was about 11 years-old I cried out to God, "How can you use me when I have nothing to give?" God didn't look at my "now", but looked at what I was to become. It just took a lot longer for me to see that.
This is the site of 3 de Octubre a community where Amor Ministries often build homes for families. Mama Stamps and the crew landed on this hill late 1991. We were the first relief workers to arrive. There was an influx of families dislocated from an area of high risk. Though they were moved from their homes they were not secured another piece of land so all these hundreds of families claimed 3 de Octubre as their own.
Our first Christmas there we handed out hundreds of toys and 1,000 meals to the people on "The Mountain".
The role my family played in the community was that my mother was Mrs. Stamps interpreter, I taught hundreds of kids and my dad who was not a Christian at the time help build the church on the mountain.
One of my most funniest moments is when one very cold and windy day Mama Stamps went to the mountain to feed the people and give them the gospel message. The wind was so strong that it pick up dirt and sand from the ground which covered everyone. On one side of the van Mama Stamps shared the gospel to the adults. On the other side I was teaching about 100 kids! Two kids had to hold my skirt down because of the gusts. Still no one left. They all clearly needed God's help. I just know that my hair was filled with dirt and it took a week to get all the sand out of my ears!!!