“That’s a negative…”
The U.S. Border Patrol agent shook his head as Wayne and Greg asked if they could stop just inside the U.S. border line, to hand out food to the Mesticos (indigenous indian people) who were on the other side. The question came after spending 2 hours trying to get the Mexican custom officials (aduanas) to approve the load of food the guys were bringing in to the poor and needy. After 4 weeks of jumping thru every hoop imaginable, this particular night the load was rejected. And the 200 waiting people at the Tuesday night outreach, men, women and children, would not get bread tonight. What now Lord?……..
This has been a tough month for VOB in Mexico! Serious hindrances and obstacles have made bringing food to the hungry a major undertaking, even as more food has become available! A new thing that the Mexican government has implemented, in an effort to combat corruption at the border, is replacing the Mexican customs officials every 6 months. Whereas Greg, Surrender Ministries founder, and Wayne’s ministry partner, has had great favor with the ‘aduanas’ for many years, the last two changeovers, have resulted in blocked access, higher fees and many more ‘hoops to jump’ in order to get food to the needy.
The first changeover was difficult, but when officials actually saw Greg on the street giving away produce and bread to scores of people, they realized the amount of food he was bringing in was legit. So the harassment stopped. However, about a month ago, a new changeover occurred and a new head official was put in place. This man has been bound and determined to make things difficult for Wayne and Greg (while some officials give them favor, others stand in the way). Arbitrary rules have been enforced, making it difficult for them to know when they can even go into the country with food. Hour long waits to be cleared, with no discernible reason, has become commonplace. The following gives an example as to what we must wade thru to get food in:
♦ food donations can only come into the country before 3:00pm (time subject to random changes).
♦ produce MUST be inspected and only between the hours of 9:00am, and 2:30 pm (time subject to random changes).
♦ no clothes, no toys, no anything but food, and only at the right time, in the right amount, and the right ‘type’ of food.
♦ load must stay under 20 bags of bread…(amount subject to random changes).
♦ load must be no higher than the bed of the truck… (hard to do when you have a lot of bread).
♦ fee charge to bring load into Mexico goes from $5 to $20 depending on who is charging you and when.
♦ a fax ahead must accompany every load, with specifics of load and day of arrival and must be gotten to official office the day before (and hopefully the right person will see it and give it to the next right person).
There is more, but this gives you an idea. In the past, some of this has been in place, but officials were willing to bend the rules because Greg and Wayne had a good relationship with them, and they were ok with the guys bringing food in later than the stated time. It would be impossible for them to bring food before 3:00pm in most cases, due to the constraints of both Wayne and Greg’s work schedules. This has been especially difficult to work with over the last few weeks, causing a multitude of trips, increasing both time and expense ($20 a night!).
Greg, who speaks excellent spanish, has worked diligently to have an open communication with the man in charge. He has repeatedly tried to communicate the great need of all those being fed, resorting to asking those they are helping to write letters of recommendation for the officials. The response, at one point, was that perhaps the guys need to ‘just stop feeding so many people’.…WOW! While there has been some small progress made in discussions with those in charge, every day is a battle at some level.
“..For our struggle is not against flesh & blood, but against the rulers,
against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”
At the heart of all this, in the natural realm, is the idea the Mexican government has that people try to cross into Mexico and sell food and other items to make money. So they set certain rules in effect to prevent this. And of course, the government wants people to buy products in Mexico, not be given anything for free. But in the spiritual realm, this is definitely warfare. There has been a huge increase in those being fed every week, with the Tuesday night outreach now numbering up to 200 each week. And so, an increase in the warfare involved in getting food to these needy ones. As a dear missionary friend of ours told us recently, there is always extra warfare around serving the poor. She called them the Lord’s treasure. And of course, this sort of thing is quite normal for most 3rd world countries. While the Mexican government is trying desperately and admirably to stop corruption and all of the drug violence, the effect of that battle, creates great difficulties for those who are trying to help.
Please join with us in prayer this month, to see these obstacles removed, the heart of the main official changed, and the poor and needy continuing to be fed. As the battle amps up, we are calling out the troops!!!! (that’s YOU!!)
Thank you so much!!