On August 15, Children of Hope hosted a volunteer appreciation evening for all those who are part of the Hope for Children thrift store. About 40 of the 70 volunteers came to hear updates from Aaron Toews, Brian Heppner and Jeremy Van Beelen about the work in Mexico. A big THANK YOU to all the efforts of the volunteers in helping the children in Mexico. Please pray for the thrift store ministry and that another 30 volunteers will step forward to help in the store. Spread the word and donate your goods to the store!
On November 5, 2013, we welcomed Faithworks team from the greater Toronto, Ontario area (plus 1 from Vancouver, BC). It was an awesome 10 days filled with many firsts. First missions trip, first time trip leading, first team to stay in the dorms with the kids, first time taking the kids to a pro soccer game, first team I have hosted, first time mixing concrete for some… The team was busy all week scraping paint, digging trenches, pouring concrete, bending rebar. Those were the things they did for the kids. What they did with the kids was even more challenging, rewarding, and in my opinion impactful. They took the kids to a nearby mountain for a early morning hike, stoked the fires of futbol dreams by treating them to the local professional futbol (soccer) team- Necaxa, and of course the ever popular Sunday afternoon park trip. Even in their “free time”, the team gave of themselves spending many hours playing futbol, doing hair, and all around loving on the kids and just spending time with them. It was a beautiful thing to watch. They exemplified Christ’s love to the kids by being His hands and feet. By far, it was the best team I have ever hosted…………(and also my first). They are now part of the Dulce Refugio story, and I think and hope that many of them will be back to visit soon. Here’s some of the highlights:So when you add up over 5 tons of cement mixed, 3,000 lbs of rebar, 56 kids, 10 team members, a little sickness, a little soreness, and 10 days of memories… I’d say you’d have a pretty great week. Thanks for reading! Jesse
On October 27th, two girls from Pan de Vida celebrated their 15th birthday. This is an important milestone for Mexican girls and is celebrated with lots of fan fare! There was a special ceremony prepared for the girls as well as a great meal for everyone afterwards. Many people came to be a part of the event and to share this special time with the girls. A big thank-you goes to all those who helped with buying all the special items to make this event so special for the girls. On October 28 to 30, Children of Hope hosted its yearly leadership conference for its missionaries in the state and city of San Luis Potosi. Pastor Eduardo Paulin, director of the Otomi House, led the conference on the topic, “The necessary ministry of the Holy Spirit”. There were three sessions over two days. It was a great time of spiritual up-building for all involved. On November 15th, the Men of Hope team from Winkler, Manitoba visited Pan de Vida. This team of 15 men were busy completing some different projects in the new boys’ dorm. A kitchen was made for the directors, window projections for 31 of the 40 windows were welded together, some clothes cabinets were started, and some tile was laid in the different patios around the Pan de Vida property. Most of the vehicles were also checked by two mechanics on the team. The Men of Hope team had the opportunity to visit the Esperanza para Ti orphanage to pour a 80-square-meter concrete pad for a new pig pen. The team also visited the Otomi house in the mountains close to Queretaro to seal and paint the building, install a new sign and give breakfast and donations to the children. The Pan de Vida orphanage was blessed with a new boys’ dorm. This project was started in July of this year and the projected end date is December 7th. A lubricant company from Switzerland called Sika provided three-quarters of the funding, and a Mexican bank called Banamex provided the remainder. At times there are 23 construction workers building this facility. There are three parts to the facility: a dorm for young and medium-aged boys’ dorm as well as the director’s house in one part; an adolescent boys’ dorm in another part; and the last section is a big kitchen /dining room and TV room. There are plans to build a second storey in the not-so-distant-future, funding permitting.
I thank each one of you who partnered with the team praying and helping with financial support. God’s will was accomplished.
The Lord gave me the opportunity to go on a women’s Mission’s trip in April. I prayed before the trip, so that I would be ready to be stretched by him. It wasn’t my first or second trip, I have been in various and every time I realize that the Lord has taught me something. This time I was able to experience His teaching before the trip, for the first time I sowed some bags that the team was taking for the girls at the orphanage. Also before the trip the Lord taught me how to drive a 15 passenger van. To be honest sowing and driving a big van hasn’t been my gifting but I know that the Lord works through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The team held a conference for the teen girls called “New Creation in Christ” 2 Corinthians 5:17, where some of the girls committed their purity to the Lord. It was amazing to see those girls very comforted and feel pure and new, with so much courage and hope in Christ.
During the trip I was taught many new things. I experienced the love of God in a new way and I wasn’t expecting to have such a close relationship with teen girls. I’m thankful for that.
The volunteers at the orphanage one more time taught me how to serve whole hearted, without hesitation. One of the teens taught me what forgiveness means when she asked prayer for her family and said that even though they don’t love me, I want them to be saved.
The Lord called on one of the teens and she became a Christian and other girl re-committed her life to the Lord.
The team was able to accomplish painting, sowing, clean up a storage room, host a volunteers tea to be grateful for their commitment to the orphanage and to the Lord, took the girls to buy undergarments that properly fit them, outreaches to the Otomi Community (Otomi House), Esperanza para ti orphanage (Hope for you), spent a wonderful evening of fellowship with the girls that live on the transition house; praying, sharing testimonies and worshiping our Lord. The team also was able to purchase kitchen supplies, Sunday School supplies, Fans for the hot season, water dispenser, boys undergarments, supported financially for the Youth summer camp.
On my way home the Lord gave me instructions to make amends with some very dear people, as well as He showed me how I can be a better wife for my husband.
I thank the Lord for the privilege to go in this mission. He didn’t need me, but He gave me the opportunity to be part of this team.
I encourage you to be part of a team: women’s team, men’s team, mixed team, doesn’t matter your age, skills or finances, because the Lord provides and uses us all.
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.
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.