Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Shoes keep getting put on the feet of the little ones here on Isla Mujeres and relationships keep growing, as you continue to share in the ministry we are a part of. We had visitors that came to buy and build a playground station but when they arrived, God changed our direction and they bought 60+ blankets for the families of the Island. What a treat for them as it has been a cold winter for us. We know that it sounds silly to call the weather in the Caribbean cold, compared to the winter you have been having, yet low 60's- sleeping in a hammock in shorts and a tee shirt- no blanket- 80% humidity, it becomes cold very fast… especially in tar paper shacks. Blankets, shoes, literature, no matter what the means we have to reach this community for His Kingdom, we seek out the truth in the Scripture, to fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that His name may be glorified.
They other day we rode down the street on the Moto, Greg, as usual, looking for trouble ahead (as most of the cars here have no brake lights or lights at all for that matter) and Natalie looking at the feet of the children and praying for opportunity to minister. Natalie gave the command to turn around as she spotted a kids flip flop laying on the sidewalk. Greg asked why and Natalie let him know that she saw the foot that it belonged to further back in the arms of a mother walking down the road. We gathered the goods and pursued them around the corner. As we reached them, the other flipflop fell off with mother not knowing she had lost both shoes! She was so thankful for our kindness and Greg was so blessed to have been exposed to what Natalie really does on the back of the Moto as we go about the days here. Little things done, so that His name may be glorified.
Our main outreach, area here on Isla, is the community of Guadalapana. It is a shanty town of about 250 families huddled together in their tar paper shacks. We completed a large outreach there last Thursday with the Perkey family from Oregon and were blessed in many ways. Then we found out on Saturday morning that a fire had broken out Friday night destroying 20 homes. In the rubble, we stood praising God for no injuries or deaths, yet saddened to see these families with nothing. We bought shovels and rakes, rolled up our sleeves,(figure of speech of course since we were all in tee shirts) and helped them remove the ashes. With the Perkey’s help, we also purchased hammocks, blankets, clothing, shoes, and toiletries to help meet the most immediate needs. It did not take them long to clean up the mess since tar paper and wooden poles burn pretty clean. We were amazed at how God put us in this particular spot at the perfect time as Natalie spotted some files of melted plastic about ready to go into the trash bag. She retrieved them and saw that they were photo albums. We asked Cynthia if we could take them home and try to save some photos. We spent yesterday prying open the pages and were able to save all the photos except about 10. Wedding photos, birth of their twin girls, birthday parties, etc. You know, their whole family history and the most treasured thing they owned. Handing her the new photo album, and a few other things we had gathered around the casa to bless them with, was so humbling as we sat and watched Cynthia with some of her friends pour over the photos with joyful tears and laughter. She has invited us over for dinner as soon as their new dwelling is up and secure. It almost has a roof on it and then we pray for material for the walls. We are continually humbled to observed the love they show by simply putting up another set of hooks for an extra hammock, breaking bread together when they hardly have enough to go around for their own families, and how they invite us into their homes and hearts. Another connection made by the grace of God.
We keep pressing on for His glory each step of the way as He leads us day by day. Our hearts long that everything we do will glorify His name. The photos attached are from the outreach and then what it looked like 2 days later. They keep moving forward with smiles on their faces even in the midst of tragedy. We see people living out scripture before us even if they don't realize it. "Gods mercies are new every morning and His grace is sufficient" Do we truly trust in His unfailing love even when disaster strikes us? Do we truly get up every morning and rejoice in the Lord for ALL things that might come our way? Do truly do all things as unto the Lord so that His name might be glorified?
Do we trust Him to bring beauty from the ashes?
We continue to learn so much about life on this Island from the beautiful people here as we interact with them on a daily basis. We continue to see the importance of the words to "Be still and know that I am God", in the midst of our busy world. Love has no boundaries and ours keep expanding as He leads us each day to new relationships and ministry.
We can't express the love we have for all of you warriors that are fighting the good fight on our behalf. Blessings from Isla Mujeres as we fix our eyes on the Creator of all.
Seeking and serving in Mexico:
Greg and Natalie