Black, red, blue, yellow, green, and striped ones were all the colors of the 50 winter hats (or beanies as they call them here) that you helped us provide to the men and women at our Tuesday night outreach in Tijuana. Remember the street in Postal I told you about where the addicts, recently deported and homeless, hang out? We gave each person a gift wrapped, rolled up hat. Every hat was quickly unwrapped and promptly put on each head. I wish I had a photo of the bright colored hats as they walked away and disappeared into the dark night after the outreach. Everyone was very grateful for the warm gift in addition to their various bread and sweet items. The hats looked like burrito’s when stacked under our tree.
Once again we drove home for Christmas to the East Coast. Though we ask ourselves if we are getting too old for it, we actually do still enjoy it. We had a wonderful time with family, and an unexpected extended time in Virginia due to Carol’s dad having a mild stroke while we were there. It was surely a scary time for us all, but we were so grateful to be there when it happened. Initially, he went to the hospital for a severe headache, which later turned out to be a sinus headache, and unrelated to the stroke. The Lord was truly with him. We are happy to report that he is doing excellent after a surgery to clear a blocked artery in his neck. Thank you Lord for your protection and warning signs! We are grateful for every moment when we get to visit our family and we pondered that sacrifice during the drive back . We returned to San Diego more than a week later than planned. Carol flew back to Virginia for her dad’s surgery in February. So most of January and half of February is a blur from all the extra excitement.
My job with Mental Health has certainly been interesting. I am challenged by working within a non-ministry environment where every need presented is actually a huge need for ministry. Though I am a believer in the science of psychology, and understand the principles therein, they act only as a band-aid for symptoms and they rarely address the root cause – a created human desperately needing to connect with their Creator. I am convinced that total mental serenity and good health is impossible without God. So, though I feel stuck at times with implementing behavior modification interventions to curb youth delinquency, I am grateful to be on the inside of knowing how to pray for some desperate situations and how to be Jesus with skin on in the midst. The boys I work with, the oldest being 18 and the youngest being 5, all have huge odds stacked against them. But they are worth every effort. I have just recently encountered the first father on the scene (barely with supervised visitation rights) of one of my clients. All others are being raised by single moms. My pay is often a challenge because it requires so much time for so little compensation. And my struggle is wanting to be free for more time applied to Mexico and ministering to the poor.
I, with my partner Greg, continue to go across the border every Tuesday and Sunday night, in order to deliver donations to the local Salvation Army, various orphanages, several families, and to individuals who give to other needy people in Mexico. I had to give up going on Thursday nights in order to work an additional night shift for my job. Tuesday nights continue to be holding an outreach from the tailgate of our truck. We pass out bagels, rolls and sweets (pan-dulce) to 40-60 people. These were the same people we gave the hats to for Christmas. You may remember me mentioning my friend Victor in a previous letter. He is still around and still on the streets, but is now free from heroin, praise the Lord! He is getting closer to being completely free!
Very recently, a good friend donated a used 1-ton pickup truck to our work in Mexico. This is a huge blessing! The truck has a large flatbed, and will allow us to bring more food at one time, across the border. In the last month or so, we have had alot more donations, and have had to drive two trucks over. And with gas, that costs a good bit! So this truck will allow us to be more efficient and to not have to turn away any donations that won’t fit in the other smaller trucks! Thus, more people are able to get food! We are so blessed to have it (thank you P & N) and anxious to get it registered and insured, and ‘on the road again’.
Carol’s horse training and teaching job is going well, and she is very thankful for the work. She is very serious about ministering to those she is working with. If you think about it, this would be a great area of prayer for her. There are some serious needs among those she works with, and she knows the Lord has put her there for this very reason. She is also continuing to sort out the possibilities of worship and intercession here in San Diego. This would be another area she requests concerted prayer in.
Thank you so much to each one of you for standing with us, supporting us and praying for us. As always we really appreciate each and every gift that you share with us and we do ask that the Lord would return blessings to your household as you have blessed ours! Our prayer is always that we would be good stewards of what the Lord gives to us and in return give to those whom we are called to. Your partnership is so valuable and equally a part of that calling! Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you might have when considering giving to VOB on a monthly basis. We have a lot of vision ahead and expect that the Lord will be faithful to provide for the glimpse he has given us.
“Remember, before getting rid of that “whatever” that you don’t need anymore . . . someone else just might!”
This photo of a family who received sweatshirts that had been pre printed before Super Bowl winners were determined. New England Patriots “Super Bowl” sweatshirts donated to World Vision (www.worldvision.org) ! This 3rd world family appreciated them! Champions or not!