Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
Warmest regards to all of our Church family –
Well, here we are a week from the beginning of what we know as the “Holiday Season” in the United States of America. I can hardly believe it as I somehow got stuck in late summer, August it seems! My Grandmother’s words about how time would fly when I got older certainly do ring true now.
Here in Mexico, they do not celebrate Thanksgiving so we go straight from the Day of the Dead to Christmas with Nativity celebrations really beginning on the Day of the Virgin which is December 10th. I miss Thanksgiving a lot though and always try to serve a big meal to all of those to whom we minister. In years past turkeys have been donated or have miraculously appeared and I have served turkey dinner with the works for up to 120 at a sitting! It is always so awesome to see the little children’s big brown eyes light upon those birds set at table’s center! For people who struggle to eat even one full meal every few days , let alone every day, a Thanksgiving Dinner is akin to having died and gone home to heaven.
As of this writing, we have yet to recieve a turkey- may be that increased searches of all vehicles crossing the International Border Southbound – and resulting fines and contraband seizures have detained those who usually bring turkeys down from doing so. Still, we are holding out hope that the Lord will provide, if not a turkey, maybe a ham or even a roast of some kind.
As I set myself down to write this report I am again overwhelmed with gratitude. Guess I am beginning to go back over in my mind all that I have seen the Lord do through this ministry in this past year.
It has undoubted been the most difficult heartbreaking year ever for me personally and there has been no shortage of tears and questions and self recriminations. At the very same time I have seen the ministry flourish and branch out and literally touch more people than ever.
The ministry consists currently of four key outreaches-The Church, the Feeding Center, the Building Program and the School.
Our Sunday Services continue not only to reach into the pueblo where the building is but we have a steady crowd of Indians who walk over a mile and a half to hear the Word and to recieve ministry. Pastor Francisco has been led to really begin teaching the people about tithing and giving – understand that this is not an easy thing to do when you are ministering to literally the poorest segment of society-people who are practically homeless and really depending upon the feeding program t feed their children. BUT, we BELIEVE that only their understanding of the Kingdom and Yahweh’s economy, coupled with the Living fresh Word of God will break their chains of bondage and poverty. Joyfully, I can report tonight that we are beginning to see tithes coming in- in the form of vegetables, food and even the occasional chicken or blanket! We minister almost exclusively on Sundays to Indians to whom Spanish is either not known or a second language. They are
people who have left their southern home states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrerro because of the extreme extreme poverty and violence and are in search of work and a better life for their families. Once here, though, they encounter discrimination and more heartwrenching poverty now in a society whose language they do not speak nor understand. They find themselves forced to live in “company” housing which most often consists of an 8×8 cinderblock room with a cold cement floor no windows and no rtunning water or electricity. It is not uncommn fr 12 peple t live in one room. They work in the field picking or planting vegetables or flowers or in the packinghouses and they move very often depending on where the work is. This migrant lifestyle causes it to be difficult fr them to really get rooted in any one church, but we are seeing them return to church whenever they come back into town at last. Their migrant lifestyle also means that we have a constant
stream of unsaved coming in and GETTING SAVED. It is our hope however to eventually be able to send out a migrant type Pastor to follow the work circuit with them eventually.
In the last month or so , we have been really blessed to see a tremendous HUNGER for the Word frm peple that we are not even meeting in church services but in the “marketplace” in town as we go about our daily lives. As a result, at this time Francisco is teaching two Bible Studies during the week- one to youth in Maneadero and another to more youth all the way over in North Ensenada. These are all peple who literally begged for someone to come in and share God’s Word with them, mostly fresh converts and peple this is awfully exciting news to us. This is an area in which your prayers would also be appreciated.
Our little School is open every weekday morning while I am cooking the daily meal from 8:30-12. We have frm 15-25 students who we bring in daily from the work camps to learn the Word, basic Spanish , a little basic math and to get a healthy morning snack before the noon feeding. These are Trique, Mixteco or Zapotec children from age 1 and up who are not enrolled in public school fr a host of reasons-they may be in town fr only a short period or their parents may not understand the benefits of an education, again there are a host of things that keep them out of public school. Most of them are home in the camps alone all day while the adults are out working. Our vision and goal is to keep them safe , teach them the Word, prepare them for public school if that is in their future and to show them Jesus’ Love first and foremost. After a few months without a techer we have recently brught in a young couple who are loacl pastors as well to teach the children.
We are paying this couple about $50 a week and feel that it is an investment not only in the children’s lives but also in this Christian couple’s lives, who before they started teaching here were really struggling and often going without food so their own children could eat.
A big part of the ministry, which brings Glory to God and really has folks around town talking and praising Jesus is the feeding Program- we are entering year three of feeding a daily meal t the neediset children around. Children who are SO hungry that they still ask me for plastic grocery bags to take home other people’s table scraps to feed themselves and their family. We have several small children (age 5 to 7) who show up to eat with a little pot or slop bucket to gather the scraps to take home. People can’t figure out how we manage it and in fact I can’t reconcile the numbers, but we are now feeding an avergae of 300 full meals plus dessert every week. I KNOW the Lord regularly multiplies the food, because I cok it and I knw what’s in the big pots and time after time it just keeps coming when it should in fact be gone!
Some people do not really understand WHY we do this or what is has to do with the Lord. Simply put, it glorifies the Lord. We want everyone to know that we serve a God who is LOVE and that He cares for His people- what more real way of showing people that He really cares than by putting good warm food in a hungry child’s tummy? We pray that through their contact with the program and with us that these same children will come to know the Lord and all of His Goodness!
The increased Border controls have really hurt the ministries in Northern Mexico that serve the most impoverished people. Just this ministry alone has lost a huge bi-monthly shipment of staples and dry goods due to the new laws. We are still praying for the restoration of our shipment of hundreds of pounds each of beans , rice, potatoes and much needed powdered milk that ceased this past August. The loss of this food has caused a huge bump up in what we must spend on food every week. We shall not panic though! We would ask that you would set yourself in agreement with us that the Border would be miraculously opened for these shipments, in Jesus’ Name! Keep in mind that this food has already been donated and is mliterally sitting up in California awaiting a way over the Border and we KNOW the Lord can cause that to happen.
This year the Building Ministry has focused on building classrooms for our pueblo’s elementary school. We have built one classroom, made numerous improvements in general and have a building crew coming in the first week of December to finish up the sixth grade classroom. Pastor Francisco and his crew have the floor and walls all ready to be roofed and to have the windows and door installed during that week, praise God- to get it finished out before year’s end.
This year has also seen the addition of a monthly medical clinic to indigenous people which provides medical care, medication and vitamins free of charge.
After many years of prayer for this to happen, the Lord connected us with two Christian couples in Idaho who are sponsoring this clinc-our meeting them and finding a local Christian doctor who actually prays with our patients is a miracle in itself!
Harvest of Faith Ministries remains our most constant most generous supporter financially and spiritually and the only supporter that actually provides fr us to live on the mission field. We know that it is your obedience to the Holy Sprit in giving that makes all of this possible. The Lord really makes things happen through you all. We want to state again that your giving has a direct impact on the lives of many many people. We recieve about $120 a week designated for groceries for the feeding program from another source and every now and then a one time offering will come from a new source. But by far , Harvest contributes the most, is the most faithful, and enables us to do so many important things! I mean we are providing clean drinking water free of charge for about 25 families currently. Children who wouldn’t normally eat even one complete meal a week are eating EVERY DAY. The Word of God is going forth on a regular basis and the unsaved are
getting saved – we are able to do this because Harvest of Faith ENABLES us with finances to preach the Word. The people in our little pueblo are constantly thanking us for the feeding center or the Church and we can explain to them how we are enabled by God through you all to do what we are doing. I wish that those of you who are so generous with your prayers and your giving could actually come here and hopefully some of you will but until then all I can do is say thank you on behalf of the people here and tell you from the bottom of my heart how very much your giving means to this ministry and to so many people and how very much your expressin of Jesus’ Love means to us personally.
WE keep you constantly lifted up in prayer before the God of all Glory that He will bless and enrich and protect you and yours.
Enjoy the best of Thanksgiving celebrations and please remember us here in Mexico.
Sis. Deedee and Bro. Francisco