Pastor Hortencio requests that we continue to pray for his ministry and for the growth that they have been seeing in their church. For protection for his family. Also that God will provide chairs for the mission church that they have just started.
"God's care for us is more watchful and more tender than the care of any human father could possibly be." Hannah Whitall Smith
Pastor Ezekiel requests that everyone be filled with the blessings of God and their church is in need of musical instruments. He says that they have an old guitar ready to be retired.
Pastor Leoncio requests prayer for his spiritual walk, for his church, and for a new drum set for his worship team.
Pastor Mere requests that we please pray for the construction of his new church (the roof). Also that God will continue to bless with the growth of his church and all the mission churches that they are trying to help with resources. Please keep my mother in prayer as she has diabetes and is having some kidney problems, her name is Maria Natividad.
"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.
Here are some pictures of children who modeled our lovely quilts that we received from the organization "Wrap Them In Love". Look at their beautiful faces!
This last Firday I drove to Tecate, Mexico to visit our pastors there. We have meetings every month to see how they are doing, if they have any issues to address, if they have any specific needs or just to let them know what is happening at our office in San Diego. We enjoyed partaking together the joys of hearing stories of families that have been blessed with the reality of God's perfect love. We spoke about how we can go beyond our families expectations in blessing them with vital resources. For example, back to school supplies, toys for Christmas, food bank, emergency relief packages for families that have lost a home, and church supplies. They know that only God will be able to meet their needs, but they also are praying that God will touch the hearts of those who are able to give. I'm excited to see how God will provide.
This is the church of Pastor Leoncio where we had our meeting.
Here is Pastor Hortencio and Pastor Ezekiel as we break bread together. Yum! Carne Asada!
This is Pastor Mere writing down the praise reports so that I can share them with everyone!
A supporter donated brand new T-shirts from their company and so here we have the pastors modeling their new shirts.
I was able to take with me to the meeting a box of Spanish Bibles so each pastor was able to take 6 Bibles each and Pastor Leoncio placed them on his church shelf to be ready to use in the next service.
"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
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
When I finished college I knew that I would go to World Evangelism Bible College to be trained as a Sign Language Interpreter. An interpreter you might ask? I thought you were going to be a missionary? Well, once I was away from home (the college was in Baton Rouge, Lousiana...Cajun country) I thought I was called to be an interpreter. Far from Mexico I tried to make my own plans in life. Funny God had other plans!... The pivitol point while I was there was when the college had a praticum fair (everyone needed to be involved in some kind of volunteer work to put in practice what is learned in the classrooms). At the fair each "practicum" offered a convincing display of photos of why you would want to join them. One such booth I stopped by caught my attention. This club's main focus was to go out and minister to the migrant workers of Louisiana. In Louisiana there is a large population of migrant workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. They work hard and get paid very few pennies for a long and tiresome job. They work from sun up to sun down only to raise money for their families back home. Well, I signed up to help not really thinking what I was going to get into. It changed my life! These men and women risk their lives to cross an unforgiving terrain to some how reach an impossible dream. They are soon dissappointed by the low wages, horrible working conditions and unfair farm owners. Then we come along. A group of college students some fluent some not so fluent in Spanish with a Bible in their hands and a song of life in their hearts. I saw many miracles during those two years working with them.
Here is our group. Try to find me!
This family was amazing! They all worked in the strawberry fields. The woman to the far left brought her children with her sister-in-law (the far right) because her husband had died and she had no money and no where to go. Atleast here she had work.
This is my friend Kim Roof and Dawn. Kim is a missionary kid and she was raised in Ecuador. Dawn learned Spanish in high school and praticed a lot with the kids. We are playing "Jericho Wall" a game that I invented. I love to see the kids have so much fun.
"There is no limit to God's love. It is without measure and its depth cannot be sounded." Mother Teresa
These kids are so loving and I had a collection of stuffed animals that needed a better home than my dorm room!
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!!!
Why I thought this journal would be a good idea was because it might be an encouragement to budding missionaries. The journey has not been easy, but as you will read from my journal entries you will realize that with God all things are possible. Keep up with the journal and I pray you will be inspired to missions!
Just today I went to the Coronado High School to pick up a donation there. A donation of sturdy, hardwood chairs that were from their library. They are remodling their almost 40 year-old high school to a more modern and more expanded campus. They found out that we could probably use some of the items that were soon going to be destroyed by bulldozers. I was blessed in meeting the faculty and staff who were ending a long school year and heading out for summer vacation. Still, they took heart to call us up and offer the chairs. They will be placed in churches that due to all the homes we have been building they greatly expanding or homes of families that have received homes.
Thank you Coronado High School!