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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Mission On Fire

This week we took the missions team from Montana to a Kid’s club that is run by a lady named Maggie. Maggie is originally from Guymas Mexico, a city near San Carlos. She later moved to the United States where she raised three kids. After her kids were grown and out of the house she felt the Lord was calling her back to Guymas. She sold her house, packed her bags and moved back to a small rundown house that her mother had left to her when she passed away. When she got to Guymas, she used some of the money that she had gotten from selling her house in the states and used it to buy an empty lot right next door to the house that her mother had left to her.
 Since moving back to Guymas, Maggie has turned her house and property into a mission center. Her goal is to provide the children of the community a safe place to spend their time and also to teach them the Gospel. To attract attention, she offers English classes every day. Besides English Maggie also teaches the kids form the Bible and also teaches them how to worship God.
The English classes are held in a building which she constructed on the empty lot. Unfortunately there is not enough room in the building for all the kids who show up so three of the four English classes which she offers are held outside of the building. She currently has plans to build a 2nd story on the original building to offer more room for the growing ministry.
While I was there, Maggie gave me a tour of her home. She lives in a small four room house along with three other single mothers and their children who she warmly welcomes into her home. She shares her room with the three women while the children occupy the other two rooms. The kitchen sits just off her bedroom and offers just enough room to turn around in. For this reason a good part of her cooking is done outside.
When she was showing me her house, she mentioned that the roof has some major leaks. When asked about repairing the roof, she said that for now she wants to put all her money toward building the addition on the class building. The other reason that she doesn't want to repair the roof is because she has a vision for adding a second story onto her current home so that she can offer shelter to even more single mothers and abused children. If she repaired the roof now it would be a waste of money because she would have to take it right back off in order to build the second story.
The majority of the children who Maggie takes in and works with come from very broken backgrounds. Most of them have no father. If the father is involved with his family at all, he usually is very abusive. In many cases, the mothers are forced to choose between prostitution or dealing drugs in order to put food on the table for their children. Despite their broken backgrounds, it is amazing to be able to see the transformation that has taken place in these children as they are loved and learn more about the Gospel message.
Maggie made a strong impression on me. Despite all the comforts and ‘necessities ‘ that she has given up, Maggie is one of the happiest and most dedicated Christians that I know. She has given up everything to serve those in need and count’s it all as joy. The joy of the Lord is constantly radiating from her. Having the opportunity to work alongside her in her ministry is a truly humbling experience and challenges me to be more faithful in my own walk with the Lord.

Last but not least, the Lord provided me with an affordable flight back to Michigan for Christmas. Since things looked pretty slow around the mission I decided to take the opportunity to visit my family. I’ll be back in Mexico next week. Until then, God Bless and have a Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Divine Appointment

This week I want to share a story about how God used two of the other Missionaries here at Cassa de Esperanza. This story is written by Bryan Krahn. It is an amazing illustration of Prov. 16:9 "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
The following is written by Bryan Krahn. 

A Divine Appointment

Today was one day I will never forget. Today was the day that God had huge plans for a man named Manuel, a man who was a total stranger to me but through a series of events would become my Hermano en Cristo. (Brother in Christ)

Today started off as a normal day. My plan was to go with Juan Carlos to visit the community of Potom, which is a tribal village about an hour from San Carlos. Our intentions were to scout out the community and try to make connections with any Christian Pastors that are there. God has placed it on Juans heart to connect with the surrounding tribal pastors to find out how they are doing and offer them love and encouragement. Our plan was to leave San Carlos at 10 am but little did we realize, God had an agenda of His own for us today.

Juan and I decided that it would be best to drive dirt bikes down to Potom. I do not own a dirt bike so a friend of mine was willing to let me use his. I arrived at my friends place this morning to find that the bike's rear tire had gone flat. I knew that this was going to hold us up a bit but the guys got on it right away and before long the tire was fixed and back on the bike. Shortly there after Juan arrived and we were ready to go. I hopped on my bike to find out that the rear tire went flat again. Although this caused a bit of frustration, it also gave us a sense of opposition. We started to feel that "someone was trying to stop us from going." The guys got right at it again and half an hour later the tire was fixed and the bike ready to go. We suited up once again, Juan fired up his bike and I hopped on mine, and that's when I heard one of the boys exclaim to Juan, "your front tire is flat." Seriously??? How bizarre! Yes flats do happen here in Mexico but this was to bizarre. The guys, once again, quickly took off Juans front tire and a few minutes later found 2 holes in the tube. Ironically, we had two patches left and before we knew it the tire was patched and the bike ready to go. Listo! Ready! Finally we were all fixed up and ready to go, or are we? Once again, I hopped on my bike to find that, you guessed it, the rear tire was flat. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! What is going on? At the end of our wits and patience we clearly realized taking the bikes was not going to happen. This is just too bizzar! (fyi, the tires on both bikes were checked first thing in the morning and were full) We disappointingly resigned to the idea of riding down and decided to take my truck. The time was now after noon and if we wanted to make it home for supper we really needed to get going. Juan needed to drop off his bike in Guaymas (the neighboring city) so i told him I would pick him up there after I picked up a few things from home. Off he went. A few moments later Cole and I left in the pick up on route for Guaymas. As we merged onto HWY 15 we see Juan on the side of the road waving at us. We pulled over and guess what we found out. Now his rear tire was flat too! Ok, that is 5 tires. What is going on and what are we going to experience in Pottom? We loaded up the bike inside my truck box (had to lay it on its side because of the topper) and off we were to find a place to get it fixed. We quickly stopped for a bite to eat and then after stopping at several shops we found a place that could fix the tire. Long story short, we were all fixed and ready to go at 4:45 in the afternoon.The idea of just staying home crossed our mind but Juan and I quickly realized that God had a plan. Neither of us had peace with giving up on the journey.
We had a great evening in Pottom. We were there the entire evening, connected with several Pastors and were even invited for a true Yaqui tomale supper. Lets just say it was a good experience. Although there was allot to share about our time in Potom, like testimonies of how the radio program has impacted them, I wont take the time to share them in this story. The whole purpose of this story is to share about what happened on the way home. The events of this evening have left me heartbroken, reminded of Gods goodness, and reminded of His timing. He reminded us that He is in total control and that He will use those that are willing to pay attention to His promptings.

On our way home Juan and I were talking about the bizarre series of events of the day and wondering what the purpose was. Why had we been delayed for so long. Was it dangerous for us to be hear earlier in the day? Was it Satan trying to stop the meetings from taking place? What was it all about? We experienced great connections with new Pastors but we still didn't feel like that was the purpose for everything that happened. Juan simply stated, "maybe we wont know before heaven." I thought about it a few minutes, looked at Juan and found him fast asleep. Cole also sleeping in the back seat.
Ready to get home I stepped on it, my hwy speed down here is rarely under 130 kms per hour so I set my cruise and got comfortable. Maybe 15 minutes down the road the strangest thing happened. I cant put it into words. I saw a man, sitting in the ditch. He was surrounded by long grass but he was in a clearing. He came so clearly into view. It was like he was a beacon or like a spot light was on him. He was way down in the ditch. To this moment I can clearly see his face as he sat there. Clearly in distress, waving on of his arms in the air. (Remember, it is pitch black outside, and I'm going 130, I only saw him for a second yet it felt like 10) I started slowing down and woke Juan up immediately and told him what I saw. We pulled into the ditch and started to make our way back to him. We were shocked as to what we found. This man was in agonizing pain. His leg and arm very clearly broken. I was trying to make sense of the scene. How did he get her. I assumed there must be a motorcycle here somewhere, he must have slipped of the shoulder and rolled it? As I looked for the bike Juan looked at me and said, "Brian, he was hit by a semi trailer!" I looked at the man in shock thinking that he should be dead. We tried and tried to call an ambulance but we had no cell reception. Car after car drove by, no one stopping to help. We soon decided we had to get him to a hospital. Knowing the danger of moving a person in that state we reluctantly lifted his broken body into the back of my pick up and slid him in. Juan sat with him in the box and i closed up the topper and sped off to Empalme. In Empalme I found a Police cruiser on the side of the road, pulled over and told them what happened. They escorted us the the Hospital. From there he was in their care. We did everything that we could and now it was time for someone else to take over.

I took a few moments outside the Hospital to recap everything. Clearly this was the reason for the delays. God knew this man would need Juan and I specifically to pick him up. No one else would do, He wanted us there. Wouldn't you know that as I was rushing this mane to the Hospital, Juan was in the back of the box with Him sharing the message of salvation and forgiveness. There in the midst of his agonizing Pain, in the back of my truck that man accepted Christ as his personal saviour! I believe with all my heart that each driver that passed him never saw him there, God opened my eyes to see him so that Juan could share Christ. Wow! After all the delays, the frustration, and the confusion, God revealed why he needed to slow us down. He wanted to open the door for Manuel to receive Christ as his savour and ask forgiveness for his sins. As I stood outside the truck with Juan and we went over all the details tears rolled down our faces. God had a Divine appointment for us today. An appointment that required us to leave home at 4:30 not 10am. Required a truck and not motorcycles. One that required a Christian, not an ambulance attendant. God needed someone to meet the spiritual need of Manuel as well as his physical need, and he chose Juan and I to meet it. What an Awesome God we serve!

It was decided that Manuel would be transferred to Hermosillo. After he was prepped and loaded into the ambulance Juan had the opportunity to say good by. When he saw Juan he recognized him and said look, "here is the man that saved my life." Juan smiled and said, no, "God saved your life."

What a day. Juan and I are both exhausted. I'm so glad that we were persistent and went even though we felt like staying home. I feel horrible for the frustration I felt during the day when things were not going the way i would have liked. But tonight, I'm so full of joy knowing that Heaven has a new resident to prepare for. Angels are rejoicing, Gods will was done.

All Praise and Honor to Him!

ps, sorry, i quickly wrote this out and didn't bother with much of an edit. please forgive my writing, it is a weakness of mine but I really felt i needed to share what happened today.