New Stories From Mexico

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Two of our most prolific blogging missionary families are based in Mexico. In the last couple of days, they’ve both added updates that are certainly worth reading!

You can get to Lane and Sheri’s by clicking here.

And you can read Greg and Shelli’s by clicking here.

We’re Back in Action! (Updated)

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After a very refreshing and positive time spent in prayer and community with the EFCC and EFCCM leaders, we are back at it. For most of us, this involves catching up with the myriad of correspondence that accumulated in the absence of internet access. And speaking of internet access, there’s one fact that I should alert you to:

Our site this month saw 14,600 hits! Because I don’t toot numbers on here too much, let’s put this in perspective. It is more than twice as many as our previous record! Thank you for your part in helping this site grow toward being the community we’ve envisioned for it! As we continue to foster its ability to share stories, and develop relationships, we hope you’ll return often, and contribute your thoughts here.

Update: we ended up with 22,158 hits for the month. Those came from many sources, including nearly 1,000 returning visitors (is that an oxymoron?). That’s the number that I’m really excited about, as that means that we’re really starting to gain momentum. More than that, interaction is beginning, and we encourage it. So if you see anything that needs your comment, this is your invitation!

EFCC Prayer Summit

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For the next couple of days, the EFCC Home Office will be joining the EFCC leaders for the annual prayer summit. We invite you to pray for us as we consecrate our leadership and our decisions for the year ahead. This is bound to be a good time of celebration, fellowship and camaraderie, as we focus on God, Scripture and worship.

This means however that the office will be closed until Friday morning. Any comments that you make may not get approved until next week. We appreciate your patience!

Casa Mariposa Progress

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The following comes from Jake and Mary, who are close to completing the Women and Children’s Shelter (also known as Casa Mariposa).

The place is coming together beautifully. Four of the apartments already have tiles and are ready for paint, as are two bathrooms. The laundry room is completed.

I am sure many of you are wondering what is happening with the Mennonites. You have heard horror stories and wondering what the latest is.  Well, we haven’t written much about it for a while because we have heard so many conflicting stories that we are not sure anymore what is true and what is not. Sadly, we often hear that it is still going on.

Last Sunday we had strangers in church, so after church I introduced myself and found out they came specifically to talk to us. I  invited them for dinner. We had a good visit. Then she told me her father was one of the men in prison. And he is supposedly the ring leader and the one making the spray, but she said it was all a set up. Meanwhile we are hearing that the rapes are still going on. Her 17 year-old sister was a victim and they need help for her. Since she was drugged and raped she has not been herself. They knew the boys; they confessed that they had drugged her but did not say with what drug. Saturday they had found her at the cheese factory taking her clothes off and coming on to all the men. They said that this behaviour was not like her at all! Before all this happened to her, she had given her life to Jesus and was just a normal teenager with good morals and was helpful around the home.  She really needs professional help.

We recommended that they take her to a mental health facility in Paraguay that we have heard many good reports from. It is run by a Christian organization which does not resort to simply using more drugs as some do. When we phoned for more information, we found out that their doctor was visiting Santa Cruz. Now she is in their hands but they said they would like for her to come to Paraguay for three months. At a cost of $1,000 per month the family said that was out of the question. But we told them not to give up — we would seek help on their behalf. Since then some money has come in, and our church will do what it can. Now we are asking if there is anyone else who wants to contribute to this. You can do so by sending a donation with the details below:

Account #2-2881 Jake & Mary – Special Projects

(You can also contact Home Office to give by phone or cheque.)

Our youth pastor Willy Reimer is still doing visitations  at the jail in Catoca. Three of the men know and confess that they are saved and the others still seem to have many questions, but they enjoy his visits. The living quarters are awful but some have said that this is the best thing that has ever happened to them! Through this they have found the Lord. And of course they are all saying that they are innocent. Thank God he knows the truth.

We have new neighbours from the Manitoba colony that have moved in about two weeks ago — a young family with three little girls. They will face a process of transition as they make the adjustment to off-colony living. But already that are sleeping more peacefully than they have for a long time. A lot of colony members live with constant fear and anxiety, and for them just moving away is a big relief. For some unable or unwilling to move away as a family unit (the social costs are severe!), we hope that Casa Mariposa will offer them the healing and tools to be able to face their situations and improve their lives.

In other news, we just sold our first papayas. We sold them to a lady that takes them to Tarija, they help pick and then she pays 2 bs a piece. We are looking for a good contract to sell them. We are hoping to get at least 3 on the yard. We will wait and see. They trees look very good. We estimate we can harvest 50-60 papaya per tree, but we think that they will exceed that by far. But we’ll see. (Papayas will be used to help offset the costs of running Casa Mariposa, as well as give residents life skills in basic agriculture and economics.)

Special World of Hope Report: Lithuania

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The following update just came in from Nathan and Dawn, serving with us in Lithuania. I’m excited to see how some of the needs of Lithuanians have been met by generous Canadians. May we see these gifts supernaturally multiplied!

With rising costs of living and increased unemployment leaving many families struggling to feed their children, and some even devastated by the loss of their homes, the unusually long winter in Klaipeda has been particularly harsh. As the line-ups at the city’s few soup kitchens and social organizations grow longer, the supplies on the shelves quickly run out.

At one church in our city, a weekly food bank helps to provide those who are in need with staple foods, as well as a sympathetic ear, prayer and spiritual encouragement. So, when desperate families, single mothers,  young couples, and pensioners line up with their empty grocery bags on Thursday afternoons, there is often a question of whether or not there will be enough food to help everyone.

Through the World of Hope project, “A Step Up,” our goal was to provide the church’s food bank with enough supplies to make at least 20 individual bags of dry groceries. For a few people, these foodstuffs could mean the difference between feeding their families and going hungry. Through the generosity and concern of people who responded to this need, we are thrilled to report that the World of Hope project has enabled us to purchase supplies for 70 bags of groceries! In addition to the purchased dry foods, the city has also begun a program of collecting dated items and spoiled produce from local grocery stores for distribution through selected charities. This new initiative is helping to expand the resources of the church’s food bank, and is providing extra food, more variety, and increased nutrition to both the poor and homeless.

Each bag of groceries includes:

  • 1 bottle of cooking oil
  • 1 bag of sugar
  • 1 bag of buckwheat
  • 1 bag of dry split peas
  • 2 tins of meat or fish
  • 1 can of vegetables
  • 1 package of pasta
  • 1 box of tea
  • 1 package of cookies