VOB News July 2020 “Looking back then and now”

A partnering missions organization recently asked, to highlight in their newsletter, who we are and what we do particularly in Mexico. We thought we would share it with you:

I (Wayne) spent 8 years serving in an administrative pastoral role in a local San Diego church. Also one of my roles, was to lead the youth group. Several times we took the youth to Tijuana Mexico to do some simple building refurbishing chores and maybe create some fun time for the children there. A few years later while working for another ministry in Kansas City Missouri we were leading a missions trip in the Philippines. As I worked with the very poor there I was stunned by their amazing outlook on life.

I bought myself one of those scrap rugs in the Philippines. I step out of bed everyday onto it to remember my “deal” with the Lord!

We were worshiping the Lord in the poorest area I had ever been yet the folks behaved as though they were the richest ever. It reminded me of my few times in Tijuana in the earlier years. I realized that we had lived 20 minutes from a third world while living in our little San Diego apartment working in the church office. We had been contemplating returning to San Diego. That day, while worshiping in the Philippines with the richest of the richest in spirit, among the poor, I made a deal with the Lord (while standing on a little rug by the door, handmade of scraps to wipe the dust off your feet). If He helped Carol and I navigate back to San Diego, I would serve the poor in the nearby third world of Tijuana, Mexico.

He did and I did!  13 years later, we have taken incredible full truck loads of food across the border 2-3 times regularly a week. We have made connections and relationships with brothers and sisters, and churches, that are invaluable to us, as they know their communities, and know where the greatest needs are. And better yet, they desire the Lord be glorified and lifted among all people. Tijuana is an important place to be. There are amazing people who work harder than most I have known. Limited by resources, and overlooked by their government, the people of TJ make the most out of what they have.  We are so privileged and honored to be a part of making what they have, more substantial. Our greatest desire, is to work with the locals, and help them help their communities, keeping ourselves in the background of service as often as possible. We deliver food to a great number of people and facilities, children and elderly homes, infirmaries, rehabs, and many colonia’s, both rural and urban, where the folks provide best they can for their families on limited budgets. These days, in this recent world pandemic, Tijuana is affected no less, if not more. No stimulus checks. No government aid. And yet many people have been forced out of work, due to the health scare closing many businesses. We had learned years ago that many of our Mexican partners do not have savings or long term financial plans. They live day to day, week to week, on minimal pay. They do not store a lot of food, as they buy what they need to feed their families on a day to day basis. Often I am asked, “isn’t the donated food near date and shouldn’t it be cooked and consumed soon?” It is always easy to reply, ‘no worries, these folks will put this on their family dinner table tonight,’ because it is today’s provision. 

Throughout this pandemic, food donations have ebbed and flowed. We are grateful for every call we receive, and any amount of provision versus, it going to waste. Prayers are greatly appreciated in seeing that those connections continue to be made. Many businesses are stressed with the hardships of the changes in normalcy, this pandemic has brought on. But, we believe there is a great abundant blessing to all who make the effort, to not over ook the needy. Thank you for praying that the needs of the poor, will remain visible, and continue to be met!

DID YOU KNOW?

When I was a child (Carol), my mom and dad took my sister and I on vacation every summer.  On two occasions, we went to see “Unto These Hills” in Cherokee, NC.  The play dramatizes the Cherokee nation, and the lead up and removal of the people on the Trail of Tears.  I remember, as both a small child, and a young teen, being deeply moved by this story, and wanting the Cherokee people to fight back, and not leave. I was so sad that they were forced away from their homeland.  I look back on this, as the spark to the fire that GOD has put inside of me, to see the First Nations people of North America, come to know that Lord.  I really cannot explain it.  I just know this fire is deep in my heart, and I am thankful to be able to serve thru worship & prayer, people of all nations.

Covid19 update:  our ministry trip to the Cheyenne River reservation, in South Dakota, like so many things, has been put on hold for the time being.  Some of the reservations in SD, have been put on lockdown, or in a phase of lockdown that does not allow visitors on the reservation.  Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River are among these.  The hardships the Native people face, when dealing with the virus, is heavy.  There are few to no hospitals on the reservations, and even the one hospital available on a reservation, will only have 6 or 7 intensive care beds.  When everything is shut down, goods have trouble getting in & out to an already isolated population.  Please pray with us, that the Lord will turn what the enemy means for evil, into good.

 

You can see the published highlight, on VOB, from our missions partner Circle of Concern here:

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