My highlight so far has been reconnecting with Pastor Raphael and his family. It has been so good to spend time with them this week. He sends his love and appreciation to all those back home at WMBC for the tremendous impact that our home church is continuing to make in their community. We have eaten several meals at the new house and it is beautiful. They love their home and it serves them well. Pastor Raphael’s church is part of a conference of churches throughout the Fatima, Guaymas, San Carlos and Empalme area. There are approximately 80 churches that are in this conference. On Thursday Pastor Raphael was voted in as the President of this conference for a two year term. This is a huge honor for him and although this means more work and responsibility he is very excited for another opportunity to serve the Lord in this region. Please pray for him and his family. When we arrived last week I already sensed exhaustion. Together they serve from early morning until late at night, every day. Their ministry never ends. They have 3 sons. Absalon, Junior and Aseal. All three are actively serving in his church as song leaders, and are also involved in the children’s programs as well as the food programs.
On Saturday we attended our first food program. It was really great but at the same time it was extremely sad. The reality of life for these children is unlike anything we could have ever imagined. We truly have no idea how blessed we are in Canada. We are a selfish, selfish nation. Marisela has given her life to the children in Fatima. She does not have a single minute of time for herself throughout the entire week. At 5:00 am the gate starts rattling from homeless children that are lonely and usually by 10 or 11 at night she is finished cleaning up the dishes from supper that night. Normally she cooks for a group of people. Very rarely does she ever prepare a meal for only their family alone. Every Saturday she wakes up at 4 am to start preparing breakfast for the children that will be arriving for the service. This week we had 40 children arrive but normally they expect 60 sometimes up to 100 children ranging from 2 years old up to 16 years old. Normally breakfast consists of baked beans, scrambled eggs with cut up wieners and tortilla’s. They receive rice water for a drink. At 8 am one of them heads into the community with their Ford Ranger to gather the children. They are loaded on the back of the truck and brought home for the service which begins at 9:00 am. Prior to eating, bible stories are shared, they pray together and also sing songs. What would Mexico be without loud music, singing and actions! When it comes time to eat, even the two year old children lick their plates clean. They eat everything. On top of that, at the age of two they are starting to physically wash their own dishes! I couldn’t believe it.
Pastor Raphael shared some stories as well as the needs and his vision for the community. 90% of the children that arrived for breakfast do not know or have a father. Many of the children do not have a father or mother but are living with other family members and there are others that are without parents living on their own. Right now this is the case for Pedro, Alan, Brianna and Christian. For those of you that were part of the team back in January you will remember these children. Their father is the thief. We learned that their Mom and Dad are now both involved in the drug world. They come and go as they please leaving the children behind for days at a time. I know the children have been alone since Tuesday of last week. We do not know if they are out doing their business or if they have been arrested, or maybe something has happened to them? Some nights they stay home alone and other nights they stay with Pastor Raphael and Marisela. They only go to school 2 days per week. Christian is the youngest. He is 5. He has a full time job working from 7am until 7 pm sifting through garbage looking for copper and bottles for recycling. He earns 40 peso’s per day which he has to give home to his mother and father. I do not know if the other children work. I’m assuming that they do as well. As terrible as this story is, it is only one of many. We were also told the story of a 13 year old girl that was raped by her stepfather. She is now pregnant. She used to come to the children’s program but her mother no longer allows her to attend. The stepfather is on the run. She is only 13 years old. We have heard story after story of the nightmares that these children are living. The house that we built in Fatima stands as a lighthouse. Children receive love, nourishment, and guidance. They are always welcome and will always be cared for.
As you have read, the need in this community is huge! Pastor Raphael is patiently awaiting the construction of their new church facility. The new facility will also have an outdoor kitchen that will allow us to reach out to more children. This will also give them space so that the children without a family will have a place to sleep at night with the security of not being alone. The dream is to be able to feed these children 3 meals per day, every day. Along with that, continue to teach them of Gods love. Although that is the ultimate goal, we feel that there are small steps we can take that would already start to make a difference. With some extra equipment we can increase the number of children at the programs as well as reduce the amount of time needed to prepare the food. All this in due time, we will have to seek Gods will and prioritize our needs as there are so many.
We trust that you are well and we thank you for following our progress. Please make this Region a matter of prayer for you and your family. The need is so huge, it will take many to make a difference. If you are interested in becoming involved in one way or another please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are intereted in seeing some photo's of the area, look me up on facebook. At this time we are unable to upload any pictures to the blog.