I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what is it to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether we fed or hungry, wether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Wow December went fast! It seems like just yesterday Valerie and Dennis came to stay with us for three weeks. Valerie brought me a book called Calm my Anxious Heart, it is a 12 week bible study that we had planned to do in 3 weeks. Well to give you an idea about what life is like here, we did half a week! Nevertheless I am now just trying to read the book my self and contemplate on what is in it. The first chapter is so chocked full of goodies that I think about it almost everyday. The above verse from Philippians is in it and it tells the story about a woman who has a prescription for contentment. Here it is.
1.Never allow yourself to complain about anything -not even the weather
2.Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else
3.Never compare your lot with another’s
4.Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
5.Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that (tomorrow) is God’s not ours
This women possessed a peace separate from her circumstances. Most of us base our contentment on our circumstances, on our feelings or on other people. However, true contentment is separate from our circumstances. Contentment is state of HEART, not a state of affairs.
I think these are my new New Years Resolutions, and I will strive to make the above verse my motto this year. Quite often we wonder why the people here are so content with the little that they have. Maybe they live by this verse too and I for one have something to learn from them.
I was going to divide this by struggles and successes like Stuart does every month, but right now I am feeling like all of our struggles are in some way successes as well.
Stuart and I were able to get away on well needed, little refreshment break thanks to Valerie and Dennis. We went to San Salvador and stayed at a hotel for two nights while the kids were kept very busy the whole time with crafts, games, painting nails, going to parties etc. We are so thankful for the two of them. The kids are off school for summer vacation right now and I would be going bonkers if I didn’t have people like Valerie and Dennis in our lives, not to mention someone we can completely trust with our kids. We were also able to do a medical clinic in Jiboa 2 seeing 300 patients. And a very successful Christmas store in Nueva Jerusalen thanks to them and all the people that brought clothes and shoes with support from their churches, friends and families in Canada.
We celebrated one year of Jacky and Oscar’s Pastorship on Day of the Pastor. We had a surprise party for them in our back yard. Many many people came together to help with the food, decor, transportation guests, etc. It is always really cool to see people collaborating for a common good. They were surprised and there was laughter and tears. All together a good evening.
This year, in conjunction with Primer Templo Christiano, we decided to do a Christmas event on the 23rd for the children in the morning, and everyone in the afternoon. Thanks to support from home, we were able to rent bouncy houses, eat ice cream and buy 200 children a gift. The youth from the church organized the whole thing and dressed u as clowns performing and singing for the kids. Later that day we had a church service and made 225 buns stuffed with chicken, lettuce, tomatoe, radish, beets, avocado, eggs, mayonnaise and a herb that we don’t have in Canada. We ran out of
food, and the church was packed to the street!
Last month Stuart wrote about the bakery program. We finished the 3 week course. We are not sure what is going to happen next, but we do know that by the end of the course, there were close to 20 people, including some neighbors of Hermana Marina that she invited to join. In the past,her neighbors would choose whether they would return her waves and salutations. They decided to come to the course. In our church we have started home groups on Monday night. Marina was talking with her neighbors and they decided to go to that as well. They accepted Christ. Lots of tears were shed. We are thankful that we had this opportunity to show the love of God through the baking program.
Daniela had her quince años. This is like a mix between a bar mitzvah and a wedding. Part of me doesn’t understand how, when only within this year, Juanita and her family hit bottom and were being throw off their land, were now throwing a party for 300 people. Juanita’s extended family encouraged her to have the party because they were all going to be in town and they were all going to help pay for aspects of the party. Where were they when Juanita needed them most? As the party got closer, there were a lot of tears because the family that said they could help started saying they couldn’t anymore and Juanita got stuck with all the bills. To top it off, more than 100 people didn’t show up and she had food for all of them. Why then did I put this under successes? Because during the time of preparations for this fiesta. Daniela, Diego, Juanita and my kids came together to prepare. Daniela and Diego were able to show their creativity making all the centre pieces to save money. Diego also designed the dress for both Daniela and Winnie, and they all spent countless hours practicing 4 dances with an instructor for the night of the fiesta. People also did come forward in a show of support for Juanita, who remembering what a great husband she had wanted to honor him in this way. Lastly, I truly believe that Daniela has matured through all this and got to have a special time only for her. Something that doesn’t happen too often in a family with 6 kids and 8 grandkids living here in El Salvador.
We have had countless teenagers in our house crying this past month. I am glad that they can feel comfortable in our home, to let out their feelings and share with us, but they all seem to be along the same lines. These are kids that we’re helping to support to go to school and their parents are mad because they want them to work and bring home money or they say that they are not spending enough time in the house. In most cases, they just can’t see past two days into the future unlike there children who see that there can be a future. It is tough to know what to say.
We got the website up and running thanks to both Darron Froese and Amy Lotis. Please check it out at www.sowersofjireh.com It is still a work in progress, but at least we can see it up now. Diego has received a few orders of 10 purses and more
The kids are enjoying their time off of school and have taken up bead making, creating earrings, necklaces rings etc. They are hoping to sell them. I think earring are $1! We are so thankful for Deigo and Daniela this month as well. Our house is pretty much like a summer camp with them as the counsellors coming up with new crafts to do and games to play.
A repeat of what Stuart said last month ... As we see success in the sewing centre, t-shirt stamping, bakery, goat farm, etc. we know that God is moving these projects forward, but the goal we hope to achieve is to see all of these as self-sustainable ventures. We want to hand over more and more of the control to people involved in the each project, and hope that our role becomes more that of a cheerleader and spiritual, mental, emotional supporter. In saying this we realize that we are not at this point yet, and there are significant cultural hurdles that will need to be crossed. Our hope is to keep moving forward, but only as quickly as God is leading us.
We hope to continue on with the bakery project and see where it takes us with the next step, and that we can get something off the ground that is both beneficial to the lives of the participants and is spiritually fulfilling
School begins again on the 14th and Daniela and Diego will be in afternoon classes while Kade, Winnie, Ellis and now Keyri and Violet will be going in the morning. As we change schedules, we hope that the kids adjust well and still get to hang out with Daniela and Deigo
- Less stress, more peace that passes understanding
- Safety and protection
- The people that are working with us will stay on a straight path
- That the Lord will have us see through his eyes they things that he does
- That we may be His hand and Feet
- A time set aside to dwell in His presence
- Patience with the children
- That we may see fruitful evidence of the groups presence here
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