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.

VOB News October 2020 “Rosebud Report”

Being on the Rosebud reservation, with my First Nations friends, was a breath of fresh air, after these long months.  And even more so, it was awesome that Wayne and I were able to travel and minister together.  Watching Wayne voluntarily serve the leaders of the gathering, in the way he does, was so cool. Even more fun, was seeing Wayne’s delight, as he played the djembe and hand drum with me, for the 1st time in years!    It added so much to worship, and was such a blessing to both of us. 

The Lord often speaks to me through His creation, and fortunately, we had a chance to take a side trip on our way back to Rapid City, South Dakota, through the Badlands National Park.  We saw buffalo, prairie dogs, and pronghorn sheep, in this very unique area. At one point, we stopped on the side of the road, to watch a group of buffalo.  All of a sudden, this big guy ambled across the road, shocking us by stopping right in the middle, right in front of us!  He stood there, just sort of ‘surveying his kingdom’, looking this way and that, not at all in a hurry. It was as if he was letting us know,  “Hey, I live here, this is my land, and I’m definitely in charge, people!  I’ll move when I am ready.” No problem big fella, cause LOOK at you!!!  (and he was not at all intimidated by our little compact rental car) Finally, he decided to leisurely continue on his way. 

The group of smaller buffalo, skittered behind him, trusting his judgement.  And one even larger guy came along, keeping the young ones on track, and in their place.  What a picture! What a massive experience!

Going into this event, I really prayed, because I felt so rusty at leading worship, since the covid shutdown.  I asked the Lord to please lead me, as I partnered with my friend and fellow intercessor, Betsy, to lead the Mountain Movers gathering in worship.  He most definitely did! And HE received the praise due His Name! I should’ve known, really. Just like the smaller buffalo that followed the big guy, all I had to do was go along behind Him, and let Him lead the way, my trust and confidence knowing that this was HIS land, HIS people, and HIS thing.  Whatever deposit was left, I know HE will use it to further His Kingdom.   Our confidence is in the Lord, and in Him alone. The moral of the story is, whatever you do, as you serve the Lord in life, have your peace in Him, the Lord of the Universe.  He is definitely the MOST large and the MOST in charge.  All we have to do is follow.

We arrived home Monday night, quite late, after a 7 1/2 hr layover in Salt Lake City.  Long story….could’ve made an earlier stand-by flight, but in praying, we just felt the Holy Spirit say ‘stay’.  We weren’t sure why.  But we seemed to have a divine connection with our waiter, at the airport restaurant.  When we got back home, our late night Lyft driver was from Iran.  We were able to talk a bit about what we do in worship and in compassion and about the Lord. They both seemed to take it in.  It was fun for Wayne and I, I think, to go back to our roots a  little, and be in ‘street evangelism’ mode.  That’s how we came to fall in love many years ago, so doing this trip together was special in that way.  

One last story from our sojourn in the Badlands.  Along the way, we picked a spot to stop, trudged up to the top of a hill overlooking the valley, and went into worship and prayer over the land and the people.  As we were worshiping, we heard a sound across the valley, coming from a distant hill.  We recognized a Native American song/chant and saw a young man at a great distance, dancing and praying.  Wayne felt impressed to drive over where he was, to speak with him.  He was a young man looking for his way.  He wanted to tell us that a sweat lodge would show ‘us’ our way.  But we know who the TRUE Way is, right??!! Before we drove over to see him, as we watched him finishing up his song and dance, I lifted my voice, again, and began to sing and proclaim over the land, and into the atmosphere, that JESUS IS LORD!! I know those words are ringing out over the Dakota badlands, and thru the heavens. And His Word does not come back void.   Ever!!!

On the Mexico front things are going fairly well. We have been getting incredible truck loads of food. Although there was a glitch with Mexican agriculture customs last week, and our colleague got refused entry. But the Lord made way for Wayne to get in just an hour later.