VOB News January 2023 “The Making of a Missionary”

Usually this time of new year we reflect on the old year and often like to highlight several things the Lord did among the worship and compassion ministry of Voice of the Bride. There are so many things to mention that God is faithful in.  But there was a recent occurrence that blessed us, so we felt it deserved the mention! 

As you know we traveled to the east coast again to be with our family for an extended season of caretaking, for Carol’s mom. Typically, when we are going to be away from the Mexico ministry, Wayne makes effort to stock his weekly food recipients so they have some provision during his absence. Last year, when we unexpectedly were gone for a longer time, we sorted out a way to provide funds for our ministry colleagues, to purchase food for those we care for. 

This holiday season I did the same. But instead of having a ministry partner come by a couple of our adopted family homes, I enrolled one of our adopted family members to help. We have spoken of Ivonne often through various events that have surrounded her family over the years. She is the oldest  daughter of Veronica, and the oldest sister to Karen, Jasmine, Carlos Jr and Fernando. She is also mom to daughters Alexandra, and Gabriella and raising her brother’s son, Carlos III (Carlos Jr has gone through some rough times since losing his father tragically, but we are keeping check on him and he is doing better.). Last year, with your help, we built the house they all live in now. They are so grateful, and have been so blessed for over a year now, with their home they call ‘a blessing from GOD.’ This summer, they sent us photos of the family working together to paint the inside of the home since that had been left as an unfinished project for later. The family did so with great pride and joy!  This Christmas, they were super excited to show us how they put up a new ‘first’ Christmas tree. 

After we left San Diego, to drive to NC before Thanksgiving, I arranged to wire money to Ivonne, in order to buy food for her family for that month. I asked if she would mind also buying a bit more food, and delivering it to an elderly neighbor who lives around the block from her. Amelia has been one of our friends also, for many years. She lives alone, and welcomes the help and visits. Ivonne was so happy to do this. Without us even asking, she sent a photos of all the items she bought, one of Amelia putting her items away, and a photo of her daughter, Gabby, with Amelia. Our heart was touched by how much joy it brought them to serve!! 

It has always been our overall goal, for the compassion mission in Tijuana, to be one that helps the folks help one another. For years, we have undergirded the ministries of brothers and sisters we call partners, so that they can care for the folks in their communities, and share the Gospel in practical ways. It just seemed extra special to have one of our families raised up, to also accomplish that goal. When Ivonne was eager to do the same again at Christmas,   delivering gifts to Amelia, it occurred to us…we have empowered our first missionary!! Praise the Lord!! Certainly a highlight of 2022! 

p.s. As you receive this newsletter, we will be in process of helping Carol’s mom transition to living with Carol’s sister full time, with a part-time caregiver. We appreciate your prayers for them and us as we then load up our truck and drive back to San Diego. 

VOB News May 2016 “Don’t give up!”

This morning, I stumbled upon an article on Facebook, about a missionary couple in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. William and Clara Leslie spent 17 years laboring among the Yansi people, as well as other local villages, in the Vanga region, only to return home discouraged and downtrodden. The American Baptist Missionary Union couple had seen very little fruit for all their years of labor. The beautiful part of the story, however, is that 100 years on, there are thriving churches all throughout the area, with hundreds of believers, a medical missionary hospital, and a legacy of many others who have lived and ministered to the people of that area for decades!

Even though Dr. Leslie & Clara returned to the U.S., thinking they had done very little, today many of the people who live in that jungle area, know and serve the Lord!!  Many of the comments on the article, were from people  who were born at Vanga hospital, whose parents were missionaries there over the years, or who, themselves, served the people of the area. The legacy is quite amazing.  (If you are interested in the story, google Dr. William Leslie & Vanga mission).

When I finished reading the story, I was encouraged to share it  with you, because, like Dr. Leslie & his wife, Clara, many of us who are serving the Lord, get discouraged.  We labor on and on for years, often seeing very little fruit.  There are moments where we wonder, “Is it really worth it?”  “Can I keep going on?”  In all honesty, we’ve had those thoughts. But reading the story of Dr. Leslie, and how the Lord truly used the work he and Clara did, brought real encouragement to my heart. It just so happens, that I’m also reading in Hebrews, about the “great cloud of witnesses“.  I am reminded that there are many who have gone before us, who did not see the promise of their faithfulness either.  They had to wait to get to Heaven before they saw THE Promise!  But they continued on, not giving up.  Many have been persecuted & have died for their faith.  In many parts of the world, just owning up to being a Christian, is cause for a death sentence.  And yet, regardless of where we live, there are just days where it’s not easy to stand strong in the Lord.  Especially when we feel like we are groping about in the dark.

And so, in reading a story about a man & woman who did their best for many years, but maybe never even knew the outcome, I’m encouraged to go on, standing for the Lord Jesus, in all that He has called us to do.  I’d like to encourage you to do the same.  Be strong in who the Lord has made you to be & keep going!! Don’t give up!! Even if you don’t see fruit, the Lord is using you. And as a side-note, maybe send a word of encouragement to a few missionaries you know! You’d be surprised at how it can uplift someone who may be in great need of hopeful words. It might make the difference between a very dark day, and a day full of joy & encouragement.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of faith, Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, & has sat down at the right hand of the throne of GOD.” Hebrews. 12:1-2

Thanks for standing with us, as we labor in the harvest fields!  You are a part of our team!

Doubling on a bike ride (something we both probably have not done since we were much smaller), after watching the start and finish of the Amgen Tour of California cycling event. Carol got to see some of her favorite professional cyclists.

GOD bless you!!  Love Wayne & Carol

p.s. Border Update: We still wait for our normal operations to resume. We are allowed to bring food across but it is still being handled as cargo verses donations. Thus, we are paying full tariff fees for importing “cargo”. It has been a daunting, and expensive process, but God has been faithful and provided all along the way, including the provision for getting Greg’s truck back and all infraction fees paid in full! Gracias a Dios!