Greetings to everyone back home at Harvest of Faith!
I have high hopes that this letter finds you all doing well. The sun is just dropping like a ball of orange fire into the Pacific as I write this.I know you all will laugh at this , but it has been so hot here today! Okay, I am spoiled , it is in the high 80’s and to us that is rough. I know you are enduring worse… guess it is all just relative. Anyway, the heat here has everyone using more water and it seems almost a full time job today just dispensing it and attending to the many children and mamas who bring their empty jugs up the hill to the mission home. It has become such a blessing though to see how they are also getting some revelation of giving as well- my kitchen counter is stacked with lovely purple, green, red and yellow bell peppers, pearl onions, lemons and chile gueritos right now as almost everyone who comes for water brings an gift of the current harvest. That is very exciting and just really means a lot to me. It feels good when people express their appreciation AND I always need the vegetables. Oh and I forgot enough broccoli for a meal on Monday.
The fertile farmland here with its bountiful harvest is drawing more people in as well- today , here at the house I have met representatives of 4 new families. Hopefull they will come to church tomorrow, iF they are not working. We are considering changing Sunday Service to an evening service as so many are working 7 days a week right now.
Francisco continued to work on the classroom at the elementary school today, he is anxious to finish it for them. It is all formed up and ready for the cement truck to come in to pour the foundation and floor in one fell swoop on Monday. This is first, having a cement truck come in instead of mixing it all by hand, but now it has become economical enough to be practical for us to do. I was happy to see the letter from the principal posted on the blog today. Yesterday as I hunted down a classroom key so we could turn on the water pump at the school I ran into two teachers who re really really SO grateful for this project and so happy not to have to teach two classes in one small room next year. They say that makes it very difficult for everyone involved and makes learning slower. They just could not stop saying thank you. With the finances that you all provide us with so faithfully we have been able to really make an impact on the school this past year.
In January, Francisco made a pledge to purchase the drinking water and the utility water that comes by truck each month which is something that no one was doing. The bathrooms, with no water were just shameful, you can imagine I am sure and very unsanitary. We just thought that that was sending a message of unworthiness to each child and did not think that we could allow that to continue. Francisco and his group of three younger guys who are in an unofficial discipleship program with him have done tons of work around the school, painting, installing windows and ceiling fans, building their trash incinerator and developing the soccer filed. Finally, last week we hired a backhoe to come in a level the field as they just could not get it done by hand. The school come a LONG way from one room in a tent 6 years ago and all of you who support us financially have a huge part in that so THANK YOU very very much. I pray that we will see the fruit of this labor when we see these children staying in school but also the fruit is in the community seeing the CHURCH as an entity which demonstrates the love and faith that it preaches with real acts that impact them on a daily basis! This the Kingdom ya’ll!
The feeding program continues to bring only glory to the Lord’s name as well. We are still feeding an average of 52 poeple a free nutritious meal EVERY DAY! I am still cooking and Bro. Marcial is still washing dishes as he heads into his 8th year free from addiction to heroin- praise the Lord. Some of you may recall that this is a man who battled the demon of addiction from age 18, saw it destroy two marriages, wound up doing several stints in prison due to it, who went through 9 rehabiltation centers and who finally on eday wound up on our doorstep about 8 years ago. It so happened that a day after his arrival and deep in withdrawals as satan tried to convince him to give up and return to the streets- Pastor Richard flew into town for a scheduled visit to the new mission. Thankfully, Marcial was able to submit to and recieve ministry from Pastor Richard and the Church. Pastor has relayed the story that at the time he prayed for Marcial he actually had a vision of hundreds of cockroach-like demons scurrying from his body. and Marcial bears witness. Praise Jesus, from that point forward he was totally healed of the addiction that had plagued his life and has NEVER had a desire to use heroin again.
By the way, on a trip into the town to buy groceries last week, we found ourselves being funneld through a military roadblock to check for drugs and weapons. Although they still make me somewhat nervous I am getting pretty blase about them and this time I just kept on reading my book as they poked and prodded the bags in the back of the car in search of contraband. Suddenly , I noticed Francisco’s voice go up an octave and snapped to attention to find a handsome soldier sort of rushing toward my open door…….”Sister!” Don’t you remember me? From the prison, then youyr house!” This stout young man had come to recieve the Lord some 8 or 9 years ago in the prison ministry and when released had come to live with us for over a year. He is now a sergeant in the army. It wa s a very very sweet surprise and a gift from the Lord to encourage us, I think.
Next Friday is our monthly medical clinic. It will be the fourth time we have done this. Each time we see at least 30 ptients and they are provided with necessary medications and all recieve vitamins. This has become an awesome blessing to the community and it is an answer to many years of prayer on my part. I am very excited to hear the heartbeats of the babies of the newly pregnant women as the Clinic now owns a Doppler for that very purpose. It was purchased by two couples in Nampa Idaho who have been divinely appointed to us by the Lord. They have formed a group called Eagles Wings and are funding this clinic. They had applied for grants to do so last year but none came through so they decided to step out in faith and I tell you, the Lord is really honoring that faith. At this early stage we have a really well stocked little medical clinic and dispensary, praise God.
Most importantly, the Church is remaining very stable and we are seeing new faces every weekend. We have a good group of people who come faithfully every Sunday and they are all indians hailing from three different tribes. I ask that you all really pray for the Church and for their understanding to be opened constantly and especially for them to be able to overcome the division between people groups( or tribes) as this is something that we struggle with somewhat. It is so wonderful to be able build buildings , to provide water and medicine and to feed the hungry, but it is only the Gospel that will save people and change their lives and we must never ever forget that!
Well, the sun is gone now and my stomach is growling so I will sign off for now.
Thank you so much for your generous giving. Make no mistake , none of this could take place without your gifts and that I hold constantly before me.
May the Lord bless you abundantly and keep you in the fold of His Mighty Wing, Sis. Detra and Pastor Francisco arriaga Avila Baja California Norte, Mexico