I know it has been a while since we have posted anything new
and for that I truly apologize. First
off, I want to take the time to once again thank all of you who are still
supporting us on a monthly basis.
Without you the work would not be able to continue.
We made another
trip down to Chiapas
at the end of February and were able to complete 6 new wells. These wells were drilled at 5 schools and 1
clinic in three different villages in the municipal region of Tonala, Chiapas. At each of the schools, Jess was able to
teach a hygiene class and also share a Bible story with the kids. It’s always fun watching her with the kids
because she has such a wonderful heart and such a gift when it comes to serving
others. I will admit she sometimes has her
hands full when we are working at the kindergartens.
Another trip is
tentatively scheduled for May. We hope
to go to the neighboring state of Oaxaca
to complete 6 more wells at some churches and schools that have been waiting
for over a year for us to get to them.
Each trip we receive more and more requests from different villages that
have learned about the work we are doing there and the hardest part is always
having to tell them that we will get to them as soon as we can based on the
funds available. Some have to wait
patiently for over a year but they are always grateful when we show up.
We are wanting to get up to the Beaumont area and have a “get together” with all of our friends and supporters. If any of you have an idea of where we could have it and when would be a good time(we are thinking maybe April), please give us some feedback. We would love to see all of you and let you know about everything that is still going on with MRI.
As we begin a new year,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who have stood beside us
financially and prayerfully for another year. Many lives were touched this year
because of your faithfulness and for that we are truly grateful. I know that
with the economic crisis going on that things have been much tougher for many
families. I understand fully what many of you are going through, since I myself
am working multiple jobs here in McAllen to be able to continue the ministry
full time, and I am overwhelmed by your generosity and faithfulness to continue
to support the work we are doing in Mexico even in these tough times.
I’m sure most of you have heard
about all of the problems that are going on in Mexico. Unfortunately the people
that are affected the most are the ones who are already just barely carving out
a living. It is even worse now because most live in fear from all of the
violence and their daily lives have changed drastically. But, I want all of you
to know that after we finish a water well and are explaining to them that this
well was made possible by brothers and sisters in Christ in the United States
that haven’t forgotten about them, that love them, that have given of their
money to help them, it truly makes an impact and lets them know that God is
there for them and working through all of us…the body of
Again I want to thank all of you
from the bottom of my heart. You truly are making a difference in people’s
lives. So as we are entering the New Year, I want to personally invite
each of you to continue to stand with us as we begin our 9th year
reaching the people of Mexico for Christ. We have created a
brochure that gives an overview of our current work, along with our goals for
2012. Also, we are excited to present a new way you can give to this ministry
through well sponsorship. For $3,000 you can help hundreds of people with
physical and “Living” water. We will place a plaque on the well to serve as a
reminder of God’s love for them, take pictures, and report back on the stories
of how this water well has changed lives. As always, your donation in any amount is greatly needed and appreciated. If you are interested in receiving some brochures, please call, comment, or email us and we'll be glad to put some in the mail to you.
May God bless you and pour out His
favor upon you and your families in the coming
During our week in Arriaga, we were also able to complete 4 new water wells. (3 schools and 1 church) It was the week before school started back so that's why you won't see many kids in the pictures. Some of the wells with the biggest impacts are the ones we drill for schools and public places. It draws people together despite their religious or political backgrounds and causes them to work together for the greater good of their community. In one village, after we drilled a water well at the community park, the government came in and built them a huge pavilion and now the people have a place to hold their community events and the kids a place to play all kinds of sports. Having something this special promotes a sense of pride and unity in a community and the water well was a catalyst for this to happen.
On a personal note, Gabe and I celebrated our 20th anniversary while we were in Arriaga. We decided we would take a night and "get away" to celebrate our anniversary up the road along the beach. Well after having a hard time finding a hotel, driving way out of the way, passing over 5,000 topes (speed bumps), eating dinner under a palapa during a rain storm, then finishing off the night by eating gansitos (little chocolate cakes) and a bottle of a water in our room; it was an anniversary to remember! I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else, doing anything else, with anybody else! (The gansitos and water will have to become a regular tradition.)
Until next time...God bless you guys, Jessica and Gabe
"This is a true story from the Word of God"; a phrase we heard repeatedly throughout a two day workshop we held in Arriaga Chiapas during the middle of August. Three people from Living Water International, Jerry Wiles, Marisol and Jim Sampson, taught us how to use Bible story telling as a means to evangelize those who can't read or would prefer not to. By sharing 5 main Bible stories that teach Biblical truths and then following up with questions, a person can share the Gospel message and then dig deeper into the personal application of the stories.
Before hand, Gabe and I went around inviting churches in the various villages that we have drilled water wells in (over the last three years), and fortunately many were able to attend the workshop. It was a reunion of sorts and very special for us to see so many people continuing to be blessed by their water wells. Also in attendance were many members of Bill and Tammy Woods' church as well as a large church from Tuxtla Gutierrez sent a group down. We are extremely grateful to Bill and Tammy and their wonderful team of people who helped us coordinate and feed around 100+ people both days. We couldn't have done it without their help.
We look forward to going back down in several months and following up on how this training has helped the church leaders share the message of Jesus Christ with others. We know that we (Gabe and I) will be incorporating it into our regular drill trips and hope to hold future training workshops as we continue to expand our drilling territory.
If you'd like more information regarding orality; Jerry Wiles has published a book called "No Greater Joy". click link to order
During the months of May and June, Gabe was able to make two trips down to Chiapas. These were the first trips we have been able to make this year due to problems with our visas and trying to work out details regarding our truck, trailer and camper that were located in Chiapas. The May trip was planned with the anticipation of an international transport company out of Houston being able to get the truck, trailer and camper moved from the south of Mexico up to the Texas border. Well that didn't happen.
When Gabe first arrived the truck cranked fine and he went about getting things loaded and ready for the transport truck to arrive later that week. After running for 3 hours, he shut off the engine and tried to start it again and it wouldn't crank. The next day he tried to fix it with everything he knew to do without any luck; while at the same time God was stirring something in his heart. We talked it over, discussed it with our board, and prayed. Finally we came to the conclusion that God wanted us to give all three (truck, trailer, and camper) to fellow missionaries, Bill and Tammy Woods, who have an orphanage, church, and ranch down in Arriaga. When Gabe told them about it a sense of peace and a release came over us; we knew it was what God wanted. Little did we know that they had been praying for a new vehicle that they could use to haul materials and people to and from their ranch.
Now there were the details of the truck still not cranking. So, Gabe had a tow truck come and tow it to the Ford dealership. He then had to leave it and come back home until they fixed it. During that trip the Lord allowed him time to drill 6 new wells and minister the Gospel to 3 different villages. Several weeks later he got the word the truck was fixed and flew back down to Chiapas to pick it up. He was able to get everything down to Bill and Tammy, with their help, and still had time to drill 2 new wells and 3 well rehabilitations in 5 different villages.
From the time we first met them, Bill and Tammy have always offered a room at their orphanage for Gabe and I to stay. He has been taking them up on their offer and this second trip he was able to spend some time just hanging out with the kids and getting to know them better. When he left, Bill, Tammy and the kids really ministered to him through prayer and spoke words of encouragement over him. They were definitely words in due season! It feels good to know that God used all of this to be a blessing and an answer to prayer for these precious servants of the Lord.
As for us, our mission and purpose remain the same...show others the love of Christ in a real, tangible way (through meeting needs - providing fresh water) while encouraging them to have a true, love relationship with their Heavenly Father...the way we are doing it is just a little different. We will continue flying from Houston direct to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. Then for getting around we will utilize taxis, public transportation, and friends. This will help us be more inconspicuous during a time in Mexico when things are so volatile. We will continue to work together with Jose Louis as he and his crew have become an important part of our work down in Arriaga. Our next trip is in August, where we will be working together with Living Water to conduct a workshop to teach believers how to share their faith through Bible story telling. Please join us in praying for a successful trip.
The Lord's ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts; but His plans are always for our good. Amen! (Isaiah 55:8,9 and Jeremiah 29:11)
In observation of World Water Day, we would like to share this video with you. This is the story of the thirsty; it is also your story. Thanks to all of you who have heard the cry for help and have answered. God bless you.
Back in 2005, the Lord led us to a Tzotzil Indian community and to a very special family. At that time we didn't speak Spanish and they didn't speak much Spanish either, but God crossed our paths for a higher purpose. When we met Mr. Sanchez and told him how we wanted to help their community with water, he eagerly took us back to meet his wife and grown children. For some strange reason he trusted us when everyone else in his community was closed off and suspicious. They had a great need for water but what we didn't know at the time was how much greater their spiritual need was.
We made plans to come back at a later time and show the "Jesus" movie. After having a few setbacks, the enemy tried to cancel our plans but the Lord was in control, we finally came to their home one cold evening and around 30 of their family members huddle up to watch the movie. We'll never forget that night...you could hear someone translating the movie into their native tongue for the grandmother, while the kids sat with their eyes glued to the screen, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was undeniable. After the movie, Gabe spoke while Gris translated. When he asked that simple question, "Would anyone like to receive Christ as their savior?", one man and one women said "Yes". Then Gabe asked, "Is there anyone else?", and the couple answered, "No, you don't understand, we all do." That night, their journey began. That journey, that we all go through, when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and our lives with never be the same.
We've seen how the Lord has lead them and taught them even when they didn't have those ingredients that most Christians think are necessary for growth; like a church or a pastor. Their pastor was and is Jesus Christ himself. Unfortunately, they live in a place and culture where ignorance and fear rule. As the number of Christians in the area began to grow over the years, their neighbors grew in their hatred toward them and their "religion". At the end of 2009 and throughout 2010, life for our dear friends became very difficult. It started with people cutting off the electricity and water source from the houses of the Christians and escalated to the burning of Christians houses, cars and even setting one man on fire. It affects their everyday life with their businesses and simple tasks like going to the store.
When we saw the Sanchez family in October, they met us with tears in their eyes. They've gone through a lot. Mr. Sanchez and his wife are still having to live in another town because they are not safe in their home due to him speaking out publicly against the violence towards Christians.
The "beauty from ashes" side of the story is that today some of the same people who were involved in the mass burnings have now become followers of Christ! Also, some of the same former enemies have contributed to the building of a temple there in Nachig. It is the most beautiful little concrete building, that ironically sits in the middle of town on top of a little hill where it can be seen by everyone. It's a shell right now; no windows, doors, sturdy benches, etc. When we asked them their greatest need for the temple, they replied "a sound system with a keyboard". They want to be able to praise the Lord and let it be heard all around. We told them that we would share their story with you all and ask if there were any fellow Christians who would like to help them purchase this equipment. They only need $3,000 to buy what they need.
We wanted to share this need with you. For those of you who have supported us, you have in turn helped us be a support to them. If God is leading you to help these brothers and sisters in Christ, you can send it to us at: 210 Holmes, Lumberton, TX 77657 We will be seeing them again in March or April. We plan to show the "Jesus" movie again; this time in Tzotzil and in the temple.
I've included a link to a video that someone produced documenting the persecution of the Christians in Nachig. The words are in Spanish and at the end the man who is speaking to the reporters is Mr. Sanchez. I hope you'll take the time to watch it.
Our last trip down to Chiapas was wonderful! Thank you to all who prayed for us; the prayers definitely made the difference. We started our trip down along the hot, humid coast of Chiapas and finished by spending a couple of days in the chilly mountains of central Chiapas, around San Cristobal de Las Casas. One morning we were at sea level and by that afternoon we were at over a mile high in elevation. In our next post we will update you on what's going on in the central part of Chiapas.
Our efforts of bringing a cup of water in Jesus name along the coast of Chiapas have started to become more defined and established. The area is becoming saturated with clean water wells as a testimony to God's love. At the same time, God has provided for our needs by bringing us together with a Christian man, Jose Louis Candelaria and his crew, who are well drillers. We have spent this whole year building a relationship with them and they have helped us accomplish what physically would not have been possible for us by ourselves. On this particular trip, all of our projects were in and around the village where they live. So they were able to witness first hand the other aspects of our ministry, sharing the Gospel and evangelism. We feel that this helped them to see how their help with this ministry goes beyond just meeting a physical need; it is about building the Kingdom of God as well.
The first well completed was at a middle school. I (Jessica) distracted the kids while Gabe and Jose Louis installed the pump. I was literally suffocated by all the kids wanting me to tell them about my kids, where I live, my faith, how to speak English, etc... they were full of questions. I was able to teach a hygiene class where they learned about how sickness is spread and what they can do to prevent it. After the class, each one was given a booklet with scriptures explaining the way to God.
The second well was placed in the central plaza of the same community. There is a small public library beside the plaza and the ladies who work there were so excited to have this water. One lady mentioned that when the kids are there studying they get really hot and thirsty (on most days it's around 115 degrees), some kids are so poor that they can't afford to go and buy a bottle of water. This well will provide a much needed source of water. One night we showed the movie "The Hope" in that same plaza. The local pastors were invited to come so we could present them to the crowd and show that there was unity among the body of Christ. There were many who came and sat up front, but there were many more who just stood around along the street to watch out of curiosity. After Gabe gave a short message and invitation, around 10 people came up for prayer. We tried to make sure every person present received a booklet with scriptures explaining the way to God.
Another well was drilled for a church who is in the process of constructing their building. The well will help speed up the process, as well as, provide water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathrooms once they have completed construction. We also drilled a well for the local high school on the land where they will be constructing their school. Right now they are renting two classrooms but before the end of this school year they should have their new building. I also taught a hygiene class with this group of students. I always love the part of the class that involves me making poop out of play dough and then asking them to guess what it is; some of the answers I get are hilarious!
We finished up by drilling 2 more wells in a neighboring village; one for a school and another for a church. At the church, we showed the "Jesus Film". Afterward, we all gathered in the church for a time of prayer and thanksgiving. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit there with us. We wanted to really bless this group so we gave them reading glasses, medicine, Bible study material, and Bibles. Our time there was short but very precious.
Our next trip is planned for March. We are still hoping to have a big summer trip and would love to bring some of you down with us. Pray about it and if it is something you would like to do, let us know. God bless you and thank you for all your prayers and support.
This nursery rhyme was the theme of our last trip down to the coast of Chiapas. We arrived the day that Hurricane Alex was passing through the area and the rain didn't subside until the day we left. Fortunately, the rain didn't stop the drilling because water and mud are the ingredients of well drilling; there was just a little more of it. The ministry was dampened a bit though because most people stayed in their homes and didn't venture out much in the flooded streets. We were able to complete 5 new wells and 1 rehabilitation well in La Gloria; bringing our total number of wells drilled in this community to 25!!! This is huge in comparison to other villages where we normally drill 5 or 6 wells.
La Gloria is unique in a couple of ways...first there was an enormous need for water, they only received a small trickle of water in their outside faucets a few hours every 3-5 days. Second, there is a spiritual darkness that plagues the people with poverty, distrust, and hate. For example, on the Sunday that we arrived there was a revenge killing that took place in La Gloria; a man was shot beyond recognition with a machine gun. This man, who was murdered, just 8 days earlier had shot and killed a young man in a local bar. This is just one example of the lifestyle these people live. Add with that thievery, witchcraft, lying, adultery,etc....you get the picture.
We believe that it was God's heart that we showed them His love through all 25 of those wells, giving them a tangible free gift of water. Coupling that with teaching them the basic truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to show them a better way to live and how to have a hope of an eternal life beyond this temporal, sinful world. During these multiple trips, we have seen glimpses of fruit from these efforts. We believe that this was our last trip to La Gloria and God has released us to move on to a different village that has been waiting for over a year for us to come. As we leave La Gloria, we stand in faith believing that the word of God is true when He says that His word will not return to Him void. We also pray for the seed that has fallen among good soil, that it will reap a harvest in the lives of the people in La Gloria. Our God is able!!!
We recently returned from Guatemala where we attended a conference called Watershed with Living Water International. The purpose of the conference was to create a unifying vision and plan for the organization. During that time we were blessed to meet some wonderful people involved with LWI; those who work in the HQ office in Houston as well as those who work in the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru. This was an encouraging time for us to get to know others who are working in the same type of ministry and face some of the same victories and challenges that we do.
We began partnering with Living Water International in the fall of 2007. Since that time they have been an integral part in helping us (MRI) continue the work of providing fresh water to the poor people in Southeast Mexico. We appreciate the opportunity to be able to come together with the other Latin American countries and have the opportunity to voice our thoughts and ideas for the future of LWI.
It was reassuring to find that one of the top goals of all the people present was to keep Jesus Christ as the foundation and purpose for all that we do. Without Christ as the focus, we are just another humanitarian organization and the opportunity to share eternal life with them is wasted. Thankfully that is not the case with LWI or MRI. We are continually seeking the Lord for the best way to share the Gospel message with those that we serve.
Thank you to those who support us and help us reach out to others. Whether you are our friends and family back home or a supporter of LWI, we recognize how we all have a part in the work of spreading the Gospel through the Word and water. Thank you for helping us give a "cup of water in Jesus name".