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:

VOB News May/June 2020 “Chaos or Opportunity?”

Chaos.  There is certainly a great deal of  chaos in the world today. I have wondered, if we are not experiencing the same concerns and fears of other generations, as upheaval has occurred, throughout the ages.  And yet, in spite of what is taking place, the small, day to day details of life, are what bring true light and love into the world.  As believers, it is our job to simply, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31.   It may not seem like this could possibly make a difference, but it does.  Why? Because “light shines in the darkness, & the darkness cannot overcome it”.Jn 1:5. Jesus is the Light of the World, Jn 8:12.  If you have received Him into your heart as your Saviour, you now carry HIS Light in the world. (and if you haven’t what’s stopping you?) It doesn’t have to be some grand/glorious gesture.  It can be something as simple as holding a door open for someone; picking up something someone has dropped; smiling at someone who might be having a bad day; taking a meal to one who is bereaved or ill, or struggling; sending someone a text to let them know you are thinking/praying for them; being brave enough to say, “Jesus loves you!” In these chaotic and tumultuous times, where it seems as though everyone is angry, be the person who brings joy.  Bring Jesus.

Be His Light!!!

We continue to do our best to carry His Light to the world.  It’s been a strange season, with so many restrictions on the travel side.  I (Carol), have been unable to travel to any reservations, or anywhere else, really, most of this year.  This seems to be shifting.  Please pray for us, as we make plans to travel to South Dakota, to the Cheyenne River reservation, to be a part of leading worship at the Mountain Movers Prayer gathering. This will be in late July, GOD willing. I love the people of South Dakota, and long to see the Great Sioux nation find a breakthrough with Jesus.  Thanks for partnering (it’s no joke; these things require some heavy duty prayer)!

Continue to pray for Wayne’s border crossings 2x a week (Monday and Friday, to be exact), and all this entails.  Although border restrictions have been in place for essential crossings only, we are considered humanitarian aid and thus allowed. We have seen food donations ebb and flow, depending on how various merchants and vendors are doing in their own businesses.  In many of Wayne’s normal food collections, there has been quite a bit less, but in other, unexpected situations, there has been an abundance. Just the other day, we had so much food donated, it was concerning as to whether our flatbed extra heavy duty truck could haul the capacity! Easily, nearly 4,000 pounds (2 tons) had been collected. Just to give you an idea, we had 500 pounds of carrots, 1500 pounds of canned and boxed goods, 250 pounds of string cheese, 500 pounds of bottled water, and easily another 1500 pounds of tortillas and bread (you have no idea how heavy a bag of bread can be). But what a great blessing for much greater needs! We know times have been tough for everyone around the globe, but we are seeing much greater hardships than ever before, in Mexico. A friend and ministry colleague, Rebekah Prager with Baja Christian Ministries, recently said it best: For more than 3 months now, no work, as the local fabricas (factories) shut down in mid-March, which is the livelihood for the majority of people in these areas of TJ. Some factory workers are receiving a “minimum salary” of about $27 per week (less than half salary). These are the lucky ones. There are no stimulus checks, no government unemployment, any food handouts are minimal and far between. Many people have signs on their fences saying they are in need of food, because they were told maybe the government would be bringing them dispensas (food rations). There was a desperation and discouragement that was palpable.” 

This is what we are seeing. We so appreciate you helping us help those in great need at this time, greater than we have seen in our 12 years of serving Tijuana. See photos to get some idea, including where we were able to provide tarps to cover shanty homes during the rainy season. Their gratitude was humbling at best. A quick awareness share to Facebook, put many of you in action to provide these temporary reliefs.
These are the days that our faith is really put to the test. Do we have enough? Can we continue to give to those who have less…and not worry about our own provision. Our answer is YES! God is able! God is faithful! “Be anxious for nothing” Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us! 

May we all be encouraged!  Love Wayne & Carol

We can use any extra financial help these days that you may have to send:

VOB Ministries

PO Box 99057

San Diego, CA 92169

Paypal: vobministries@sbcglobal.net

or direct link to Paypal: voiceofthebride.net/donate