By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord. Let all the inhabitants of the world STAND IN AWE of Him” (Psalm 33:6-8) Just as David exhorted us in this verse, to stand in awe of the Lord, I am definitely doing that, as I think about everything that took place over the past 3 weeks.
My last blog post came at the tail end of a missions trip, and the beginning of my trip up to Seattle. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week back home, full of family, friends and ministry opportunities. The main focus of my trip, was to support and be a part of our 5th annual “Golf Invitational” that benefitted the orphanage. I am definitely in awe of how well things turned out. We had the highest number of players participating this year, as well as raised over $5,000 to support the orphanage. I was able to sit on the 13th hole and meet and talk with every player that came out. Over half of the players, were not familiar with the ministry or orphanage down in Mexico, so it was wonderful being able to share a little bit about it in between shots.
It was also great, having the opportunity to lead worship and teach at 3 different churches. God continues to rally new people and churches that have a desire to come alongside Casa de Bendicion and the future care of children in Mexico.
I was at a Starbucks on a Thursday, preparing for one of those teachings, when I got a call I would never have expected to get. It was my cousin Nieves, informing me that Spencer, the young man who had been down serving with us, was bitten by a rattlesnake and taken to the hospital. Of all the things that could happen, and especially the timing of it happening, while i’m gone in WA, Spencer had to go and get bit by a snake. There were definitely some scary moments, wondering what the outcome of this snakebite would be. But, rather then letting fear and worry overtake us, hundreds of people went to prayer and seeking the Lord, for Spencer to be healed.
How did it all go down? Well, Spencer was working on the orphanage property with our team, clearing brush and branches, to prepare for planting. He felt what seemed to be a prick on his finger, and then saw part of the snake. Fortunately, the snake was only able to get one fang in the bite and they were able to squeeze out some of the venom. However, the venom that was left inside began to spread through his arm up to his elbow. The swelling was intense enough where they had to make 3 major incisions in his hand, arm and bicep, to try to drain what was in there. The doctors in the hospital did a wonderful job taking care of Spencer and thankfully no serious damage was done. After 6 long days in the hospital, Spencer was released and then able to fly home the next day.
Spencer showing his battle wounds and "Toy Story" band aid from Ayantu!
It so happened that I had been meditating on Psalm 27 that week, and felt that that’s what I was to share with the churches. When I got the news about Spencer, verses 1-2 helped me resolve some of the fears that satan was trying to discourage me with...
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
My trip ended on a Sunday, teaching at our church and then catching a plane back to El Paso, with my nephew Charlie, to meet our next missions team. Charlie is 13 and this was his first missions trip. It was such a blessing having him apart of the team and watching the Lord work in his life.
We had a total of 25 people, from 3 different churches in 2 states, come down for our 5th missions trip. Normally, when you have a group that large from different churches, there can be challenges. That wasn’t even the case with this team. It was a wonderful group of young, old, men and women that came together with one heart and desire...to love and serve Jesus and the community of Bachiniva!
Once again, I was in awe of all that we accomplished during our time. We were able to build bunk beds and visit homes to pass out some of the over 200 pounds of school supplies and toiletries that have been donated. Lots of cement work was completed at the orphanage, including pouring two patio slabs and one sidewalk. We were hoping to be able to finish both sidewalks of the building, but we had a slight setback. We tried to hire a backhoe, from two different individuals to clear and level one side to pour the sidewalk, however, they never showed up. Rather then giving up and doing something else, a team of people stepped up with shovels in hand and wheel barrels and cleared all of the dirt alongside the 105 foot long facility. It was long, tiring, and incredibly hard work, which was only accomplished through the strength of the Lord. At one point, as we neared our quitting time, my nephew turned to me and said, “this is the longest 2 hours of my life.” I chuckled and encouraged him to keep going. When the last wheel barrel was relieved of its dirt, it was as if we had just moved a mountain or something. The cheers and excitement of our victory will not soon be forgotten.
The bunk bed crew and finished product...
We split up into teams and spent time praying over every room in the orphanage
Shoveling and clearing the dirt to pour the sidewalk...
Passing out food, toiletries and praying with people at the hospital...
The only hard part of the trip was having to say goodbye to the team. Its one thing, when you get to go back home with them after the trip. But is another thing to see them on the plane and know that your heading back down to Mexico. I’m not complaining at all, but I would be lying to say that it hasn’t been a bit lonely and quiet, now that teams are gone and summer is winding down. Fortunately, again, the Lord has been using Psalm 27 to strengthen our hearts. Sometimes we can rely too much on missions teams, church services, discipleship groups, retreats, etc...for our spiritual fuel and encouragement. And although those are all good things, they don’t compare to the encouragement and comfort that we can find in the Lord. That is what led David to desire and seek ONE thing in his life...
“One things I have desired of the Lord, that I will seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27: 4).
Lord, please give us a desire to dwell in Your house, not just on Sunday’s or Wednesdays, but every single day of our lives. For in that we get to behold your beauty, inquire and learn more of you and then stand in AWE of You. Amen!