May 28, 2009
Thinking of Amitai... and all the children like him.. Jesus Loves You, Everything will be OK ?
The Voice of the Martyrs Blessing Program for the Children and Women of Persecuted Christian Leaders is one of the ways that we get to know brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their Christian faith... a way to show them in the name of Jesus, that we care and are concerned for them, and others like them around the world. We, in Sinaloa, who are a part of the hopefully new VOM Mexico mission, don't have the funding behind us like other larger ministries present in Mexico, and started out between 4 of us: with Jaimee, me, Karina, and Janeth just making odds and ends in a workshop area in my home for the first Blessings celebration in Ocosingo in 2005... for believe it or not about 450 children. The major costs were paid for by VOM/USA through the colaboration and leadership of the Spanish speaking office in Costa Rica. We have develped a small group of faithful supporters who contribute clothes, small toys, hair doodads, etcetera every year, and several who have offering cans in their church to collect change that is passed to us when it is close to full, or we have the need. The second year when over 1000 children were invited, we were blessed by the participation of 24 churches in the state of Sinaloa... something that sadly we have not been able to repeat. But Praise God! What a wonderful year it was! Since we are now working independently, it is so much more imortant to find faithful supporters, first in prayer, second in offerings however small they may be... since few projects are without some cost, and then in donations of materials like you see in this photo: Biblical coloring and bilingual or Spanish story books with pictures, educational and recreational material... baby dolls, "hot-wheel" cars, farm and animal figures, hair doodads, hygiene objects, that are not bulky and all time kids' favorites. I have collected the equivalent of pennies, nickles and dimes for several years now from small rural churches... and sometimes I have even financed my trips to Chiapas that way. Why bother struggling like that? How valuable is such a program? I'm thinking of a little boy named Amitai ( like so many others arround the world), 9 years old, living in Oaxaca, who lost his home, all his possessions, and his father to lack of medical care... all because his parents accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour... and were expelled from their home and community last year.When his father, who was confined to a wheelchair, died last March from fever and complications, he and his mother were kicked out of their tiny apartment, and moved into a smaller room for the two of them. Even with that she is struggling to care for them both. She is a tiny thing, like me. You just want to hug here and say, "Don't worry, it'll be okay. Jesus loves you". But it's not always ok... and she and Amitai will probably suffer some more. She's worried about how her son, who lost more than a year of schooling when they were expelled, will be able to continue studying. Although it is supposed that schooling in Mexico is free... it is far from it. Children have a huge list of what they must buy before they enter school, up to and including the toilet paper for the bathrooms, and the water for the classroom. Although it is required to attend school through secondary level, in cases like Nereida's, the hard truth is that children need to work to help put food on the table and a roof over their heads. In the name of our Lord, and through Voice of the Martyrs, I want to hug Amitai, and his mom... and all the children and their moms from the Acteal Evangelical Prisoners group and say... "Jesus loves you... especially when life is hard, and so does the Body of Christ. They pray for you. They are concerned for you and others like you in places where they suffer even more than here in Mexico. In His name, we are going to stand by you, encourage you in His Word, and where it is possible help you in other ways through the sacrifice of brothers and sisters in Christ who also love you. You are a blessing to us!" Please join us in the ministry of encouragement and support for those who are willing to pay a price beyond pearls for their faith in Jesus Christ. As I drink my coffee comfortably here in Sinaloa, my heart aches for those I personally know who need encouragement and a helping hand ... how many more are there in this world who need a hug, and someone to say, "It'll be okay... Jesus loves you! and I do too!" Matthew 25: 31-46