I Will Lie Down In Peace...

I have debated way to long as to whether or not I should blog about recent events that have occurred here in Bachiniva.  However that quickly changed as I spoke with my dad this morning.  I was reminded that we are the body of Christ.  We are a family.  We are to bear one another’s burdens.  We are to pray for each other.  We are to rejoice with one another.  We are to comfort one another with the comfort we ourselves have received.

So, in light of those wonderful truths, why wouldn’t I share with you all some difficulties we are facing here in Mexico and ask for you to fervently pray with us AND for us?

Over the past 3 weeks there has been an incredible increase in the drug cartel violence in our area.  What appears to be happening is that two rival drug lords are fighting for our area.  The individuals who currently control our town are trying to defend it against a new drug lord and his men who are coming from a town about an hour away.

There has been 3 major shootouts thus far, last night being the most recent one.  Pastor Luis called last night to inform me that the fighting had begun again and was very close to the orphanage.  As I walked around our property to double check doors and gates, I heard the barrage of gun shots.  The Military AND State Police have now made their presence at the spot where these battles keep taking place.  They cancelled school on Monday and again today.  Obviously there is much gossip and talk about exactly what is happening, how many have been killed, what is coming next, etc.

As I stood outside briefly listening to things taking place, I could feel the fear quickly approaching.  However as soon as I began to pray and cry out to the Lord, His peace, which surpasses ALL understanding, flooded my mind.  As I walked through the building and the children’s rooms, praying for them as they quietly slept, I was greatly reminded of the power of prayer AND the verse that is painted above Ayantus bed.

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety (Ps 4:8).

Either we believe the truths that we read about, sing about, prayer about and hear about at church…OR…we don’t.  Either we believe that the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS makes us dwell in safety, that He is with us WHEREVER we go and He promises to NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  This is where, as my dad put it this morning, the rubber hits the road.

I must admit, after the second shooting, this past Saturday, I was ready to pack, get Jackie and Ayantu and head back to the states until things cooled down.  But then I began to think about our 16 children here at the Casa, and then our staff and volunteers, and then our church family here in Bachiniva.  What about them? Who don’t have the blessing of going to the states? I knew immediately the Lord was telling us to stay put, to trust in Him alone for our safety and protection, and watch the things He will do in light of the situation.

Gracias A Dios we are all safe at the moment.  The children are doing fine, most of them, oblivious to the things taking place.  Probably because they have seen or dealt with this type of thing most of their lives.

Tonight at church we will be dedicating time to pray, worship and seek the Lord for courage, strength and comfort in these times.  Many of the people in church are fearful as well as the whole town.  What a great opportunity to be apart of what we see in Matthew…

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

Honestly, my heart has been breaking for these cartel members, many of them as young as teenagers, who are lost and in need of hope.  As I was driving back down from El Paso on Saturday and passed probably 30 cartel members, waiting in the brush, guns drawn, for whatever was coming down the road, I began praying for them.  One young man in particular looked like he was 17, maybe 18 years old.  He was totally pale and looked so scared, even as he stood there holding a giant gun, waiting for whatever was going to happen, to happen.

You all have blessed us SO MUCH over the past 4 years with your prayers and support.  We ask now, more then ever, that you join us in fervent prayer during these times.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

 


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Praying & His Word...

Happy New Year to you all!  We hope that all the holidays were a very special and encouraging time for you, your families, your churches, etc.

Well, 2017 is upon us and it already seems to be passing by quickly.  The sun is shining bright, the weather is beautiful here, our road has been repaired, the children are back in school after winter break, our 3rd and newest husky, Luna (moon) is pregnant and about to have her puppies,  and things seem to be back to normal.

Unfortunately, we experienced another difficult situation with our sweet little Teresa.  If you recall, many of you were specifically praying for her three weeks ago.  Teresa was hopeful that she would be able to visit her family, just like the other children, for the winter break.  Unfortunately no one came for her and we found out that her mom had moved to another state in Mexico to work.  Through your prayers and the encouragement of the Lord, Teresa was fine and had a wonderful break here with our family and the few kids that remained behind.

To our surprise,  about 10 days ago, her father showed up at our doorstep.  It was definitely quite the surprise AND reunion for Teresa and her father.  Many tears were shed between the two of them and it was a blessing seeing him embrace his daughter.  He explained the situation how her mother had gotten sick and didn't end up going to Sinaloa to work.  He was hoping to take Teresa for a few days to visit and spend time with her mom, in San Raphael (about 3.5 hours away).

This seemed fine with us and we agreed and came up with a game plan.  On the day that Teresa was scheduled to come home (January 2nd), like the other children, to start school, we received a phone call from her mom and uncle.  Teresa's father left for Sinaloa to work and Teresa was now even deeper in the Sierra Madres, about a day's walk from San Rafael.  Teresa's mom is not well and she is very hard to communicate with.  She wouldn't tell us exactly where they were, but if we wanted Teresa, we'd have to go for her.

Unfortunately while this was taking place, there was mass protesting, looting and rioting all over Mexico due to an increase in gasoline prices.  We were without gasoline for about 3 days.  It got so intense that protestors were shutting down roads, toll booths and even certain border crossings to the United States.  As much as we wanted to go for Teresa, we couldn't due to road closures and barriers, and no gasoline.

Its been a week now and we have heard nothing from Teresa's mom or dad.  We have tried every phone number that we have for them, but can never get through.  My cousin Nieves and his family were going to go try to find Teresa this past weekend.  However with the protesting and road closures, they were unable to go.  It has been heart breaking knowing that Teresa is somewhere up in the mountains, who knows where, with who knows who.  Obviously this is where the enemy wants to mess with your mind, thoughts and emotions very greatly.  A thousands things and "what ifs" can race across your minds.  However, we are taking heart and being encouraged through the Prince of Peace and through His word.

Our church here in Bachinva is reading through the bible together in a year.  The staff here at the Casa as well as some of the children are doing it as well.  It has been so encouraging seeing the kids having a desire to read and understand God's word.  As I was reading one morning, I came across this verse....

"And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord" (Genesis 18:14)?

I kept repeating that line over and over again, "is there anything too hard for the Lord?"  And the great peace that I received that morning, and continue to receive to this day is NO ... there is NOTHING too hard for the Lord.

And so our prayers will continue FERVENTLY for little Teresa and her situation.  We want her home with us so badly, but trust God completely for what He is doing because we know that He IS doing something.  Would you please join us in praying for her safe return?  Muchas Gracias!!!

This picture brings such a smile to my face AND tears to my eyes.  These three little rascals (Ayantu, Valeria and Teresa) are classmates, playmates and best of friends.  All of the children miss Teresa and are praying for her to quickly and safely return home to us!

This picture brings such a smile to my face AND tears to my eyes.  These three little rascals (Ayantu, Valeria and Teresa) are classmates, playmates and best of friends.  All of the children miss Teresa and are praying for her to quickly and safely return home to us!

 

 

 


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Tis The Season Of Changes...

I have often referred to the words of Solomon since I have been down here in Mexico; in particular, those found in the book of Ecclesiastes…

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (3:1).

As our 4th year of being down here in Mexico is coming to a close, lots of changes have taken, and are continuing to take, place.  As the year comes to a close, I wanted to take moment to share with you some those changes, new seasons, and ways that you can continue to pray for us down here!

Over the past 4 years, we have had the blessing of being able to provide jobs for 14 individuals here in Bachiniva.  On top of that, we’ve had a number of different interns, volunteers, and missionaries help, serve, and minister to the children as well.

Some of those have served with us for a short period of time, others, from the very beginning.  Anytime someone leaves or moves on to something new, I tend to worry a bit or wonder how things are going to get covered.  However, I’m not worrying about that anymore, because I know the Lord always works things out in his perfect timing, in the midst of different times and seasons.

Staff and Volunteer Personnel…

Jairo Gonzalez, has worked for us for the past 2 years.  I’ve actually known Jairo since he was a little boy.  Jairo has served as our children’s administrator.  He’s done an incredible job overseeing the children’s school schedule, meetings, doctors appointments, government issues, etc.  During his time of working here, he met his wife Jessie and they were married this past June.   Last week, Jairo received his paperwork to be able travel to the USA and become a resident.  We are very happy for Jairo.  Although we will miss him greatly, the opportunity he has now to experience things in the states for the first time will be very exciting.

Jose Nieves, my cousin, has played an invaluable role here at the orphanage from the beginning.  He is one of the board members of our Mexico non-profit as well as serving as the assistant director.  Nieves’ schedule continually became more challenging as he balanced working at the orphanage and serving as the youth pastor at Capilla Calvario de Bachiniva.  A few months ago, the Lord began stirring on Nieves’ and his wife’s hearts to minister to the Tarahumara Indians up near the Sierra Madres.  After continual prayer and seeking the Lord’s will, God revealed His plan for Nieves and his family.  A tremendous door opened up to take over pastoring a small church in the town of San Juanito (about 3 hours away).

Currently, Nieves is helping out here at the orphanage 3 days a week, the church 1 day a week, and then he and his family spend the weekend up in San Juanito.  As soon as they finish remodeling their place to stay, they will move up to San Juanito full-time.  We are REALLY excited for this and what doors might open with Nieves being up there.  Most of our children come from the Sierra Madres and San Juanito is sort of the hub for all those smaller villages.

Amanda Wiebe, first came to intern at the orphanage almost 2 years ago.  It was during that time that the Lord called her to the mission field full time.  After raising support from her home back in Canada, she moved down and lived onsite as our girls side dorm steward.  Amanda’s heart to see the young gals of the casa come to know Christ is tremendous.  God used her in a powerful way during those years.  Now, God has put a number of other things on her heart, including moving out into the local town, as well as, ministering to the mothers of our children.  She still helps out 2 days a week, however, she wants to devote most of her time to helping out at the church and continually being a light to the Tarahumara mothers both here in Bachiniva and in other towns.

The Heist family moved down to Bachiniva 2 years ago with the intention to serve full-time at the orphanage.  The Lord, however, had other plans, and as they got settled into their new home in Mexico, the need for them to serve full-time at the church was very evident.  Pastor Luis and his family spent a year up in El Paso while applying for his US citizenship.  During that time, Isaac and Tara oversaw the worship and children’s ministry along with helping in other various areas.  Upon the Vargas family’s return, the Lord once again began redirecting steps and opening the door for them to serve more here at the orphanage.  Isaac has been a huge blessing already, helping me with administrative stuff 3 days a week.  We are excited to see what other opportunities open up for them to serve here more.

Sanchez Living Quarters…

One of the hardest things for our family when we moved down to Bachiniva was leaving our lovely little 917 West Main house in Puyallup, WA.  You could say we downsized a little bit, going from an 1100 square foot, 3 bedroom, 1 bath house to 2 small rooms in the church.  We started off with bunkbeds, Jackie and I on the bottom and Ayantu up top.  After 3 months of that, we moved into a bigger room in the church, which allowed us to have a little more privacy.  The only draw back was having to walk across the path to shower inside the church.  When we moved into the orphanage, 3 years ago, we had the biggest room yet we still needed to walk through the orphanage to get to the bathroom.

Fortunately, all that has come to an end as our new, lovely, wonderful house is complete and finished.  We were able to move in the week of Thanksgiving.  We cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have privacy, Ayantu not sleeping in a closet anymore, AND only have to walk a few feet to our own bathroom.  WE can’t thank all those enough, who dedicated their time, effort and finances to help build our family a home.  Hopefully you all will be able to come down at some point for a visit, meal, or just to sit on our couches and have a cup of coffee.

Christmas and the New Year…

Each Christmas has been a little different for us over the years because we never know which of the children will actually be with us.  Friday will be the last day of school and the children will have 2 weeks of vacation.  Most of their mothers of family members will begin trickling in this weekend to pickup their children.  Normally this would seem to be a positive and joyous occasion, which for some children it is.  However, most of our children will be leaving the safety, security, warmth, and love of our home to spend two weeks in random places, poor living conditions, inconsistent meals, and with a lack of proper supervision and love.  As much as we would love the children to be in our care, we know that time with their family is important.  This is why we pray and ask you to join us for all of our kids who will be leaving the home.  Please pray for their safety, health, well being, as well as for their families, that somehow Christ would shine bright in their lives this Christmas season.  Also, please pray for those few children that will stay here with us who are true orphans and have no biological family to spend time with.

I think that is about it for this holiday post.  Thank you again for a year of support, prayers, visits, and encouragement.  I am already excited to see the greater things that are still to come in 2017.

For those of you who have asked or are wondering in what ways you can be involved with Christmas and the children: this year, we are purchasing most of the gifts, clothes, jackets, etc. down here in Mexico.  We don’t have anymore trips up to the states for the remainder of the year so mailing presents or items for the children won’t work out this year.  If, however, you would like to donate money specifically for presents and festivities during Christmas, you can do so via PayPal, through our website www.thehouseofblessing.org, or you can mail a check made out to “House of Blessing” to 1902 South Meridian Puyallup Washington 98371.

Praying you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

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