Thoughts from the last couple of days…
Yesterday, Thursday, was a day off as the England teams traded places. We waved off the first team in the morning from the church. It was a little hard to say good bye actually. After just 5 days we grew pretty close to each other! I guess being in an unfamiliar setting and spending our days walking and praying together lays the foundation for relationships to grow. I learned so much from being with this group of Jesus lovers. It was like taking a crash course in street ministry and now part two has begun as we met and welcomed the second team this morning. This experience is very different from the one the England team had in LA. There they were busy handing out food and clothing to the most desperate living on skid row. They had 2 days of heavy rain which increased the amount of people they were helping and also washed all the garbage and human waste down the road. The hardest part of being there for this team though was the fact that just around the corner is the metropolis of LA in all it's glitz and glamour. We knew that we were sending the first team into that and are praying for God to cover them with His love, courage and peace. And so we received the second team that has just come off of that experience. It is a time for us to be able to pour into them as well as the people of San Felipe. We enjoyed our day yesterday shopping downtown and having lunch with Dave and Beth at the favourite restaurant by the water. It was a beautiful warm day.
Today I was up early…I know…it's amazing for me…so I got up and sat outside with my Bible. The sun was shining warm already and I sat and watched families leave for their days events. Most of the kids in this neighbourhood go to school. The kids wear uniforms here. I have to say, that in a place where there seems to be such disarray, the uniforms bring a sense of healthy pride. We drive past 2 schools each day we go to the breakfast diner and today we were there as the kids were outside for recess. I love watching them playing outside. Kids are kids, no matter how they look or live…they all love to play and these kids were definitely having fun together. It did my heart good to watch them for a while. I have a desire to go into the schools and maybe bring the puppets or something. We'll see where it goes. The word that spoke to me this morning from a devotion was this…"God loves us as if we were the ONLY one on earth to love." We talked about this on our way to our meeting place this morning. We asked God to impress that thought on our hearts so that we would see each person today with His eyes and as if they were each the only person on this earth that God loved. With that truth in us we prayed that those who saw us felt HIS love pouring out of us and onto them.
We spent the day walking the streets again. Initially we went to the areas that we were going to minister in and just drove around them praying for openness. Our family and a few of the Brits went to an area known to be a heavy drug use area. We drove and declared the light of Jesus into those homes and streets. When we went back with our invitations, Bibles and balloons in hand we were able to pray for a number of people and families. Again…we find most people to be open and ready for a new message of hope. Many people said a prayer receiving Jesus as their personal saviour. I love how that sounds in Spanish…."Cristo in your corazon"… a beautiful phrase that I recognize while we are walking with our teams and Spanish/English translators through the streets. What a privilege to bring the good news! It's such a simple message. I have been convicted of over-complicating the message. We tend to make it difficult on ourselves which then stops us from sharing. The message we are bringing here is one of hope, love, and access to God through Jesus. My prayer is that I will take what I am learning here home with me and walk and share with boldness the love the Father has for ALL people. Give us all YOUR eyes for YOUR children Jesus!
We spent a bit of time yesterday connecting with the people in our neighbourhood here. We didn't want to just come and go from our temporary home each day without having any contact with the people here, so yesterday afternoon we made a point of being home on time so we could do that. Before we knew it a soccer game had started and the girls and I sat with the neighbour lady watching and having a conversation with the little spanish we are picking up. It is amazing what one can communicate with a few words and hand gestures… :) Anyway…Duane was talking with the man of the house and why they were renovating the house and adding an addition. He shared that his mother-in-law lives with them and that she is basically bed-ridden due to bad arthritis. Duane asked if we could come over and pray for her. He agreed and we decided on a time that would work. Today after we were done at the breakfast diner we came home with an interpreter and went over to their house. Havier (the interpreter), Duane, and I went into Martha's (the mother-in-law) room and started talking with her. The first thing she said was that she had had a vision last night of 3 people coming to see her - one woman and 2 men. She just kept going on about that saying that she saw us as plain as day as if we were already there, right down to the baseball hat that Duane was wearing. Thank you God for your confirmation that we were exactly where you wanted us to be at that moment. Martha has a very strong faith in God. She also shared that she told her daughter days earlier that she wanted the images/idols that were in her room taken out and thrown away. She didn't need them because she had Jesus in her heart! You need to remember here that San Felipe (and many Mexicans) have a strong affiliation to Catholicism. She did that just a few days ago and since then had felt more peace in her room. She was remembering her own mother and how she told her not to have images but to believe in God alone. This was very fresh in her memory tonight as she kept talking about it. I feel like God was preparing her for our time together, reminding her of her belief in Him and how deep those roots go down. We sat and held her hands and talked and prayed. Declaring LIFE, commanding illness to LEAVE, speaking words of LOVE and HEALING over her life. She testified that her pain was easing as we prayed. We prayed more. Her faith was beautiful. Her age, weathered skin and toothless smile did not hinder the depth of her belief and the strength that she lived. I sat beside this beloved child of God weeping and thanking God for what He was doing in her life-the healing she was receiving and would continue to receive. At times I felt like the centurion…LORD! I believe! Help my unbelief! Other times I spoke out boldly and with such assurance and I realize that this trip is so much about what God is doing in our own lives. Her faith did not waver. Her belief was firm. By the time we left she had said that that pain in her abdomen was gone and that hew hands had no pain either!
Praise be to the Lord of hosts!
So, tonight ends with us sitting around our table again, talking about the days events and what God did. The kids are doing so amazingly! They are stepping out and laying hands and praying for people, enjoying the community of of new friends, being adventurous in eating, and all sleeping in one room!! (3 of them in one bed… :) I continue to marvel at the privilege of being used. It is humbling. The fact that we are here as a family is impacting this community. This will not be the only time we set foot in San Felipe…next time maybe with you!!
Tomorrow is Breakfast Diner time…we will spend time with the many that arrive to have a meal, and share our crafts, puppet plays, and soccer balls!
Thank you for your continued prayers and thoughts!
Love from ALL of us...