VOB News Jan. 2021 “Thanks & Gratitude”

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

Happy New Year!  

Voice of the Bride sincerely wishes you a HAPPY new year.  It goes without saying that 2020 was quite the rollercoaster.  For all of us.  For us, we had some extra craziness thrown in, with Carol injuring her rotator cuff, sustaining a concussion in late October, and arriving back from 7 weeks in VA (helping her parents through significant health issues), only to have a cracked tooth, rear it’s ugly head. Wayne’s family also had a serious health emergency, and he also spent part of our holiday with pain from an infected ear. All of this in addition to the pandemic, the elections, the demonstrations and so on (as you experienced as well).   Still, we continued doing the day to day work of the Lord, feeding the needy, worshiping the Lord, praying and encouraging.  

With all of that, we can honestly share that there has been grace for this journey for us, and for Voice of the Bride.  We are very thankful to the Lord, for how He has sustained us through each thing.  We are certain that our story is not much different from yours, in terms of how we are all navigating this bizarre period of time in history.  Certainly, there have been moments of great desperation, anxiety, and stress.  Fear, seems a daily force. Nevertheless, Carol happened to be reading Psalm 27 the other day, and was particularly struck by the following verse: 

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living”.  

Goodness is still out there.  GOD is still moving and working.  We see evidence of that, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.  We see that in Native Americans moving out with authority in worship and prayer…we see that in the grateful hearts and faces, of those we have the honor of serving in Tijuana.  We read and hear stories of good/GOD doing amazing things around the world.  Keep the faith brothers and sisters..…

“GOD is Love” (I Jn 4:8). “Perfect love casts out all fear” (I Jn 4:18)……guess what, GOD is perfect, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  Lift up your eyes to His throne!  Be encouraged, even in the midst of the chaos!  And thank you for continuing to be a part of this work!  You are one who is bringing the ‘goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.’  Psalm 27:13

Urgent prayer request for crossing the border:  A new change of leadership in Mexican customs, has brought about extremely strict ‘new’ conditions to meet, before being able to cross with food.  We have been limited—severely limited—in the food we can take. Including even being refused entry into Mexico with our loads.. Even as recently as today (1.22.21), there was somewhat of an unavoidable incident that put Wayne in potential conflict with customs agents. Please pray.  Also, Carol would appreciate prayer for health: concussion residue, rotator cuff, teeth!!  

PS.  You might want to read Psalm 27 as your prayer for a few days….you’ll be encouraged. For sure!

VOB News Dec. 2020 “Photo of the year”

As we reflect over this past year, and all that has gone on in the world, this photo stood out to us for many reasons. Wayne sees this dear elderly woman every week in Tijuana. She is always in the street just in front of her house, always standing with two brooms that are worn down to the last bristles. She sweeps little piles of street dust, dirt, leaves, and tree budding flowers that fall. She is always there and always doing the same. Wayne had noticed her along his route often but never stopped, to avoid alarming her.  But, earlier this past year, he stopped and gave her some bread and a little pastry. Though you can’t see her delightful smile behind the mask we provided her, she has the kindest face, and is so grateful to have Wayne stop now, each week. In attempting to talk with her, he discovered that she is not fully capable of mental faculties, whether due to aging, or something else. He has not yet been able to even determine her name.

Wayne maintains a safe distance, due to pandemic, thus sitting and visiting with her longer,  is not possible right now.  As best we can tell, she lives at the top of a narrow and steep, very old, concrete staircase. Many collected items, perhaps of significant importance to her, are stacked along the way, and into the entrance of her home.  To watch how carefully she comes down the last couple of steps, it is hard to imagine how she climbs up them. In ongoing effort to maintain safe distance, we don’t wish to burden her with a heavy load to carry up. This is often a struggle, when wondering how much more she might need. She seems healthy, and well groomed, and at times a neighbor will nod or smile as we drive off, so it would seem that she is watched over in her colonia. The red sweater in the photo and scarf around her neck, appeared in recent, cooler days, so she seems to be either provided for or able to look after herself. We also came to realize that the brooms, while equipping her in sweeping up the daily grime of a busy crowded street and dusty hillsides, also keep her steady on her feet, as she has difficulty walking. She always takes a brief rest on the stoop, when Wayne arrives, to see what delights may be in her specially packed food bag. 

This sweet woman, represents many around the world, whether impoverished, or among riches. Many of whom are likely isolated, at this time. Many are unable to communicate, not even with a simple smile or expression, veiled behind a mask. Some may even be forced to use whatever resources are on hand to stand steady. Perhaps some have little to do, but tend to unending tasks, so as to pass the time, each day. Those we may never even meet or know about whom we intercede for. Like the many among Native America Carol stands in the gap in worship and intercession for. Wayne is convinced that the Lord is very near this precious lady, as He is to many in these situations. We hope to encourage you that He IS near you in your current circumstances. But we also know that He asks us to be His hands and feet. If you are not already doing so, reach out to a neighbor. Check in on one another. Show kindness to a stranger whose name you might not even know. But know that the King will say to you:  

      “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me”.    [Matthew 25:40]

Also keep in mind the Lord transcends space and time, so He is NOT bound by shutdowns and closures. Finding new ways to worship and intercede, and going back to something more simple, is a cool reminder of that fact!!  

Please know we are so grateful for the support we receive from each of you in prayer and provision. Neither is greater or lesser than the other! We know the many values of the Kingdom! Love Wayne & Carol

p.s. We are taking a short break from ministry over the holidays. Your prayers are needed and so appreciated for travel mercies, protection and health concerns as we care for our families at this time.