This past weekend two carpenters arrived from Ontario, Canada. Gary Aikema, who was here with a team in the beginning of December, and Pete Kamstra came for a week to work on building and installing eight cabinet units in the boys’ dorm. They will be returning to Canada tomorrow (Saturday 25th) after a very successful week. They made the eight units and put the wood trim on six units. This is a huge help for us! We just have to sand the units and put some vanish on the wood and they will be completed. Thank you!!!
The Men of Hope team (15 men)returned after a very successful trip to Queretaro. They stayed at Pan de Vida and were able to accomplish many projects but most importantly they connected with the children of Pan de Vida. They were able to minister to the Otomi an indigenous group up in the mountains about an hour and a half away from the orphanage. Also they spent a day at Esperanza para Ti another orphanage and worked there for a day and bonded with the children. Also they spent some time at the boys and girls transition houses to do some repairs. Children of Hope is so thankful to these men and the families they left behind to help out at these ministries. Their servant attitudes and lots of energy they did some amazing things. We thank God for each of them. I have included a few pictures highlighting projects and activities.
Tuesday, 08 January 2013
Happy 2013 to you all!!! I hope you had a great time bringing in the new year. The children at Dulce Refugio did! They enjoyed a great time of fellowship praising God for all the blessings of the past year as they look forward to a new year under God’s grace and provision. They also enjoyed some delicious posole (a corn soup), which Marce made. The Children even got to stay up till past midnight…those that could anyways!
In Mexico, January 6 is celebrated as the Day of the Kings (Dia de Los Reyes) in reference to the magi giving gifts to Jesus. Since the children got so spoiled for Christmas, Dulce Refugio hosted a party for the neighbourhood children with the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas boxes from the Operation Christmas Child program. 150 tickets were handed out and 200 people showed up…not a surprise really when the word gets out. When Dulce Refugio hosts one of these events we make sure that there is alot of control factors set up. For instance, the parents aren’t allowed on the property but can see from outside the fence. Only 30 to 50 children are allowed to enter at a time, and there are five stations set up.
Esperanza para Ti just hosted a team from Abbotsford so we wanted to show you the work that was accomplished. They made a big difference to the property there.
The FaithWorks team left us on December 14th, even though they didn’t finish all the work we had planned for them…..just to finish the whole boys’ dorm in 8 days!!! I mean that can’t be an impossible task can it? No we were very happy with all what the team accomplished including making 70 windows….I lost count of how many they actually made! The recreation room on the third floor got a coat of paint and is pretty much finished, including the border tile! They also helped in tiling a bathroom as well. I think it was a successful trip all around for them. The tiling project. We are tiling one of the four bathrooms that is part of the Canadian Embassy project. It is coming together well, and Aaron is learning to tile…
On November 12 to 14, Children of Hope hosted a leadership retreat for its employees in the town of Cuidad Valles, about a 5 hour drive from Aguascalientes. Children of Hope has planned a retreat three out of the last four years. The motive is to spiritually motivate and lift up the missionaries, and to give them a bit of a break as well. This year there were 11 people as part of this conference, with the guess speaker being Ezra Okoti from the Northview Community Church church in Abbotsford, BC. Ezra is originally from Kenya and it is amazing to hear his story in how God has used his life for His kingdom purpose. There were four sections where Ezra shared about the cross and Chrisitan ministry and about the importance of Prayer and how it reflex’s how God is involved in your life. I still have to go through the 8 pages of notes I took about all what he shared! We stayed in a beautiful Hacienda hotel in the middle of Ciudad Valles. I have only been in this city once way back in 2005 for Ana and my honeymoon. It has been a while! After this retreat, Brian, Betty, Myriam and Norm came to Dulce Refugio to visit. I took this opportunity to bring Brian and Betty to Guadalajara to visit a soup kitchen ministry called Brazos de Amistad (Arms of Friendship). This ministry was started three years ago by Pastor Alfonso and Adela and their daughter Veronica and her husband Eugenio, along with many dedicated volunteers. They help physically and spiritually feed over 50 children. Since Brazos de Amistad doesn’t receive any large amount of funding all most all the food is provided through donations from the local community. Their dedication is amazing. We pray that eventually teams and volunteers can go and visit Brazos de Amistad as well as to send funding their way for different projects. They are in great need of better kitchen facilities, a patio that needs a concrete floor, and construction funding to build more classrooms and office space to grow the ministry. We will see where God will lead with is special ministry. Please pray for this ministry as they experience God’s grace and blessings on a daily bases, as well as the challenges of facing a broken and fallen world. The leaders, Eugenio (left) and Alfonso (right), discussing the ministry with Brian and Betty Heppner. This ministry is with the Calvary Chapel church, with Alfonso being the pastor over the ministry. The church has been in existance for over 13 years in this community.
On December 3rd the FaithWorks team from Ontario arrived for a 12 day trip. The team is adjusting to life in Mexico well. They have gotten their hands dirty with a lot of different jobs around the orphanage. The three guys on the team have been making windows for the boys’ dorm. There are over 55 windows to make so it is a big job. Hopefully they will be able to make about half of them since there are still more window materials to buy in the future. Duane decided to make our own windows since it will save us over 50% on the costs. Plus it provides work for the teams as an added bonus!
Well it is back to the grindstone after a great time in Canada, visiting family and friends. It is a blessing to be able to do this every year. While we were in Canada, Ana and I participated in the first ever Children of Hope fundraiser. The aim of this fundraiser was to raise funds for the general running of the organisation. There were about 150 people who came to enjoy a Mexican meal at the NorthView Community Church in Abbotsford, BC. There was a silent aution with over 150 items up for grabs. Brian Heppner, the director of Children of Hope, shared a little about the organisation in a speech he gave. Ana shared her testimony of how God has been working in her life over the years in the Pan de Vida orphanage. So to continue to help Children of Hope cover their expenses, I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to consider impacting this ministry by helping Children of Hope to “keep their lights on”. In the recent months funding to cover the basic costs of running Children of Hope have been diminishing. Your gifts will provide Children of Hope the possibility to continue to help the children in need in Mexico. Click on the following link and go to the, “Help out where most needed”, section. Thank you,
Pan de Vida had a special day surrounding the Olympic finale in soccer between Mexico and Brazil. Sika, a local business here in Queretaro, organized for a huge theater size screen to be brought in and set up so all the children and their employees could watch the game together. Mexicans are very patriotic and for the children to be able to support their country while viewing was very special for them. There were about 150 in total watching so the cheers could be heard for quite a distance and what a proud moment for them when Mexico took Gold! After the game, the employees hosted environmental workshops. There were lessons on composting, recycling, conserving energy and water. They also had products from their company that they demonstrated as eco friendly. They set each area up so that it was entertaining and drew the interest of the children. Then everyone was treated to a lunch and the rest of the afternoon was spent with activities in the auditorium. Sika did an amazing job of organizing everything and providing a day that will be remembered for a long time.
Pan de Vida was yet again blessed by the service of a team from the 1st United Methodist Church of Martin, TN. It was also extra special for Ira and me because our daughter, her fiancé and his parents were among the team members. This gave us an opportunity to not only serve together, but get to know each other better since we will soon be family. Upon arrival, everyone was pleasantly surprised at the nice weather because there was a heat wave of over 100F temps that had been hovering over West TN. The first night it rained steadily and everyone enjoyed a much needed rest from a heavy travel day. However, at breakfast, as we all chatted and discussed the joy of sleeping to the sound of rain and the opportunity to have the windows open and feel the fresh air, Freddy arrives to tell us that the heavy rains caused the drains to back up and all the classrooms in the school had flooded. Welcome to Mexico!