Monday, February 20, 2017

Rising waters

We are asking for prayers for the community of Nuevo Egipto. They are very special to us. We have worked with them for almost two years now. Their community is off of the beaten path. They are surrounded by rice fields which employs most of the town. On one side of the town is a canal and on the side is a river.

Last week disaster struck Nuevo Egipto. At 2:00am on Wednesday the canal overflowed its banks and swept through town. As it swept through town the excess water overflowed the outdoor bathrooms which then contaminated everything.

Many people spoke of waking up because the rising waters soaked their beds. It was then that they started alerting their neighbors and the cleanup began.

We received a call midmorning from Max, our fellow missionary, explaining the situation because his family lives there. Taylor immediately jumped on his motorcycle and headed to Nuevo Egipto. When he arrived he found a mess. Houses that were built out of mud bricks were partly swept away exposing the sticks used to frame it. Houses without cement floors now had a soppy wed mud floor. The feces was mixed with everything which will cause illnesses if not removed. No one really knows how many items were lost when the flood waters went through. But it is our guess that many people lost clothes, shoes and their personal belongings as well.

Taylor came home to report on what he found and to call in backup from our fellow missionaries. When I heard his report I broke down in tears. This community is so beautiful. They have a living faith and they willingly give all they have to anyone in need.

Taylor, Andy, Max headed back to Nuevo Egipto to assist in the cleanup along with two visiting nurses from Spain. They spent the afternoon moving contaminated mud and assisting wherever they were called. Taylor helped a single mother with young children spread gravel in her house to create a new floor. Her floor was a sloppy muddy mess but as they laid the gravel it made walking possible. At one point Andy and Taylor had to move a paralized man from his bed. His family had no way yo move him out of their waterlogged home. The water level was to the mattress on his bed. His family abandoned the home knowing that if the waters continued to rise he would most likely perish but they could not move them on their own. The family was overjoyed by the help they received from Andy and Taylor. They were able to move the man across town to a family member whose house was not badly damaged.

Unfortunately none of our missionaries thought of taking photos during their time helping the community. They were so focused on helping the people in need that it did not cross their mind until after they returned home.

Please pray for the community of Nuevo Egipto. Please pray that the waters reside and that the rain stops for a bit so the cleanup can finish. Please pray that the people will not get sick from working in the unsanitary conditions. We are also asking prayers for the people who need to rebuild.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Is just one soul worth it?

This past Sunday we had another opportunity to celebrate a first for a community. The small community of Nuevo Canal received mass for the first time ever. It was such a joyous event!

Padre Paco celebrating the first mass in the community of Nuevo Canal Sunday February 12, 2017.
Nuevo Canal is a little community that Taylor initially found by searching on Google Maps. Taylor enjoys looking at our zone through this application. It was during one of his searches that he stumbled upon the little pueblo. Upon further investigation through the church archives it was determined the community was never visited by anyone from the church partly because it was not on any maps. With the permission of the priests Taylor decided to head out to the community to see the state of their faith. 

When Taylor and Max arrived they were greeted by Damel. He was so excited to see them and so happy to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Damel lives in the pueblo with his family and two other families. Taylor, Max, and our whole family has spent many days ministering to this community. We have brought them their first Bibles. We have taught them their prayers. But most importantly we have taught them about our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Max, Taylor and Gamel the first time in Nuevo Canal.

When people first heard that Taylor was driving out to the pueblo to minister to the three families the response he received was it wasn't worth his time. ''Only three families?'' ''They can travel to one of the other pueblos to attend mass and receive catechesis.'' ''Why would you trouble yourself and waste a day traveling and teaching the people when there are so few of them?'' 

As we thought of these questions we remembered Abraham and his courage in interceding before God for Sodom, see Genesis 18:16-33. It was here that God shared His plan to destroy Sodom for its wickedness with Abraham. Abraham boldly asked the Lord if He would spare the city from destruction if there were 50 righteous men. Abraham continued to ask the Lord if He would spare from destruction if He found 45, 40, 30, 20, and lastly just 10 righteous people. The Lord agreed to spare the city if He found just 10 righteous men. For just 10 people the Lord would have spared a whole city from being destroyed. Even though the city was destroyed God did save the only righteous people in the city, one family.
Taylor leading a Bible Study in Gamel's house.

Jesus Christ would have also died just for one person. If everyone but one person in history rejected Him He would have willingly gone to the cross for only that one soul. His love for us is so great that He willing went to the cross for each one of us. He knew our names and each of the sins He was dying for. So why can't we have that same sort of love for just one soul?

The answer will always be "YES!" Just one soul is worth. When we write and prepare our studies we are hoping that many people will come to our study but if just one soul has a personal encounter with Christ everything we sacrificed to get there is worth it!! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy 1st Birthday Asencio!

Today is a day to celebrate! Little Asencio is turning one! I do not think that anyone expected him to 
turn one when he was born a year ago. Praise be to God that Asencio was healed and has made a full recovery. If you have forgotten his story you can Read his story here
Here is a picture of Asencio from February 11, 2016

Those trips to the hospital were worth it though! I spent hours in Tarapoto with Keisy and her sister-in-law. We talked about family and I fought with the doctors to have Asencio's tests taken quickly. I know I talked about God's love. I remember bringing Keisy a bible to read while she waited those long hours day in and day out. I do not remember all that I said and I am pretty sure that what I said in those moments did not even matter. I think my example spoke more than my words. 

During those days I showed Keisy and her family what God's love actually meant. She was able to feel it. My words matched my actions. My words were LIVING through my example. I held her as she cried. I listened. I spoke with the nurses to help us speak with the doctor. Much of my time was spent waiting and praying. But I was present and I was there. 
Keisy, Asencio and Stiven. My has he grown!

 A few weeks later Asencio was cleared to go home. He could leave the NICU and join the rest of his family in Caspizapa. That day there was much rejoicing in their house. It was then that Taylor and I learned how God was using those days to call this family to Him. Keisy and Henri asked us if they could enter the church through the sacrament of marriage. Henri said he wanted to be this example for his three small children. Keisy and Henri were married on October 8, 2016 and Asencio was baptized into the faith  as well. It was a emotional day for everyone in attendance!
His first birthday party this afternoon.
Faustina and Adele enjoyed dancing and eating all of the snacks!

Asencio returned to the hospital in the middle of last year. His urinary tract was blocked. This was a huge complication. Unfortunately it couldn't be treated with medicine. Asencio ended up needing three surgeries to repair this problem. Since his surgery he has not had anymore complications. He is doing well and growing fast. We are all so excited to say "Feliz CumpleaƱos" today!