We had another wonderful, life changing trip up to the mountains of Corareyvo.  All of your prayers were not only felt, but the Lord responded to them.  It was incredibly encouraging making the 7 hour trek into the beautiful mountains, with hundreds people praying for our team.  For those of you that joined us last Tuesday, for our prayer night, thank you as well.  It was a wonderful time together, even in the midst of difficulties. Pastor Luis’ brother, Jose, is incredibly sick and in ICU in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Pastor Luis and Kim left after our prayer meeting, to be with his brother and family.  Please pray for Luis, Kim, and especially Jose, for the Lord’s will to be accomplished.

Even with this bump in the road, the Lord still paved the way for our team of 12 to bring supplies and the gospel message into the mountains.  We made the trip safe and sound, in record time.  They are building a new road and we were able to enjoy all of the ten foot section that they had finished thus far.  It was short and it was very sweet.  Upon or arrival, we headed up to Nena’s parents house, to see the family and begin loving on the children.  It was nice being back in the mountains, drinking instant coffee and taking in the beautiful scenery.

One of the things that was extra special to me, was observing the children (about 15 of them), and adults, do and learn things for the very first time.  Before dinner on Friday night, we handed out little bags, full of peanuts, oranges, candy and bubbles.  After taking a few moments to figure out what in the world those little bottles and sticks were for, the next hour or so was pure enjoyment.  One little boy kept screaming, “look, look” in sheer enjoyment, as he blew bubbles He obviously was having a good time.  Even long after the bubbles had subsided, every once in a while, we’d hear the scream, “look, look.”  It was as if that kids bubble container was endless.

After dinner we gathered for a time of worship around the bonfire.  Once again, by the looks on faces, it was as if they had never experienced worship, guitars, a djiembe and clapping, before.  My cousin Becky and I, switched off leading songs, which a number of them included hand motions.  The crowd picked things up very quickly and soon we were singing loudly “Jesus Loves Me”  I paused from singing as I glanced over and watched one of the dads (probably in his late 30’s), do the hand motions.  He probably had no idea who Jesus is, or why He loves him so much.  But, I know, that Jesus does, and that the Holy Spirit was moving in that moment.

Our time that evening ended with a message of Jesus’ love and why we were there and then we prayed and walked people home.  The village is still without power, so by the guidance of the moon and stars, as well as a few flashlights, every child made it back home safely.

I woke up early, started a fire and began to pray and seek the Lord for wisdom and direction.  Obviously a big reason why we were up in the mountains was to see about the 5 children.  If you recall, we’ve been praying to see if the Lord might bring, Judith, Erasmo, Marianna, Carolina and Luis, into our care.  Unfortunately, Judith was not there.  She left sometime ago, with a group of young teens, to find work in the nearby state, Sinaloa.  This of course, broke my heart and part of me started blaming myself.  I thought back to our first trip, and how Judith wanted to come now with us then.  We weren’t ready at that time, and yet now I was incredibly regretting that.  I started asking myself,  if only…”, or, “why didn’t we…” or “we should have…”  My cousin Nieves, must have seen me bummed, because he so wonderfully reminded me of one of his favorite verses…

“And we know that all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28).

I felt it was time to talk with the grandparents, and aunt and uncle, to see if things had changed since our last visit.  We sent all of the children and neighbors with our team, to pass out the rest of the “buckets of joy” supplies.  Once again, we shared the vision of Casa de Bendicion, as well as our desire and willingness to care for any or all of the kids that wanted to come.  The aunt shared that they would like the 3 younger ones, Marianna, Carolina and Luis, to stay and finish school (which only goes up to 6th grade), but hoped that Erasmo would come with us now.   Erasmo was very quiet, and said nothing, understandably.  What a hard choice for a young 13 year old to make.  I was hoping that the grandparents would just make him come, but they wanted it to be his choice.

It was getting late, and we needed to start the drive back.  Regardless, we wanted Erasmo to get a bucket and supplies, as the other children did, so we all went back down to Nena’s house.  It was as if Erasmo was a kid in a candy store, grabbing toiletries, toys, socks, underwear, anything we would allow him too.  Once the supplies were depleted, it was time to make one last trek up to the children’s house, to drop off food and say our final goodbyes.  Erasmo was still not talking, so I told him we were leaving in 20 minutes.  We would wait for him, if he wanted to come, but would eventually need to leave.  As we loaded the van, and then waited for Nena and her daughter, to say goodbye to her family, 20 minutes turned into 30 and still no sign of Erasmo.

I was sad, anxious and praying like crazy.  Everything inside of me, wanted to see Erasmo come walking over those hills.   As I laid back on a rock, looking up to the hills, the Lord put Psalm 121 on my heart.  I started reciting it over and over again…

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth…” (Psalm 121:1-2).

Lord, I know your my help, and Your will is perfect...Thy will be done!

And then I saw people walking towards the van, some of the children and even Erasmo’s grandma, but no Erasmo.  That was it…we couldn’t wait any longer…it was time to leave.  I got up, still confused, yet trusting in the Lord, and loaded the last few things into the van. As we were getting ready to climb in, I looked to the hills, one last time.  And then….there he was, Erasmo walking towards us with his jacket on and nothing in hand, but his blue bucket full of supplies.  Tears rolled down my eyes as I looked at our first youth to care for in the ‘House of Blessing’

He didn’t say much.  I didn’t ask much, other then if he had anything else to bring.  Erasmo said, no.  “Don’t worry”, I told him, “we’ll get you some new clothes”, and as I looked down at his worn, tattered sandals, “…and some new shoes”.  He responded simply with a smile and “gracias.”

The drive home was one of the happiest moments of my life.  All the time, effort, sweat, money spent, work, etc, over the past year and a half had paid off.  We stopped for pizza on the way home, something Erasmo had never tasted before.  Jackie and I tried our hardest not to stare, but we were so excited, to have him with us.  When we arrived back in Bachiniva, it was after 10 PM and everyone was tired and exhausted.  After we got Erasmo situated, showed him the bathroom and toilet (which he’s never seen before) as well as explained he can take a hot shower in the morning (something he’s never had before), it was lights out.

Although I tossed and turned, and a new batch of things to do raced through my mind all night long, I slept great.  Why?  Because truly God fulfilled His promise, and that was enough to bring me rest!

“Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised…” (Jeremiah 33:14).

And so it begins……!

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Learning how to "thresh" the corn...to make tortillas

IMG_9262 Ayantu couldn't wait to hand out her present to this little girl

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Antu's new little friends

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The best way to start a campfire...with a propane tank

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2 little brothers...excited to take their bucket home

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Nieves and Erasmo's Grandpa

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Signing paperwork to come to the "Casa de Bendicion"

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Saying final goodbyes to his family...

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First time eating pizza...and a lot of it!

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