Wednesday, December 5, 2012

GEARING UP FOR CHRISTMAS We can not believe that Christmas is almost here once again and that come January 7th, we will be starting our 6th year here on Isla Mujeres. We had an exciting November as two shoe deliveries where completed and we made some new friends along the way. We also got to catch up with old friends that brought shoes for the kids as well as some neat stocking hats and glow sticks. We have been saving shoes and gifts from the kind and loving folks who have been blessing us with donations as we get ready for Christmas. There are so many kids that will have nothing this year here and it is such a humbling experience to go and give them a little something wrapped up to let them know someone remembered. Please pray for us as we continue to love on the children, and share why we celebrate Christmas. Thanks for all the loving support this past year and may God richly bless you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

STEADY AS SHE GOES

A term we have heard most of our life used by sailors abroad. The course is set, and the captain shouts, "Steady as she goes". We continue to remind ourselves of this as God has set the course we are on and we are to hold course, and keep it steady. We had the opportunity to hand out shoes this past weekend, thanks to folks from all over that continue to bring shoes, and buy some here on the Island for our ministry. Carl from Canada left shoes with Marcia, Jackie brought shoes from Oregon as well as ones Cindy , from Texas left with her, and Audrey also from Texas pitched in as well in fitting shoes. Great time was had by all as we were greeted by Shelly and her Mom asking if we wanted to use their home to hand out shoes. Tables were hauled in from surrounding homes and it was a community effort to get us set up for the kids. Over 125 pairs were handed out along with some school supplies. Who would of thought that even if they did not get a pair of shoes that they would be jumping with joy over a single pencil or a pencil sharpener. Shayla, our little helper from one of the other homes we use showed up out of nowhere and took charge with the pencils and other supplies. It is so rewarding to see the kids get involved with our outreach and minister to each other. It is easy to wonder if we are making a difference as we go, yet we keep our course and God reminds us with each adventure, "Steady as she goes." The following day we were downtown checking on our status with the ferry cards and a dear friend came over to say hello. He asked me how our kids were and I replied that our son was fine. He smiled and asked me again but added "Your kids in Guadalapana?" He told us that he was there the other day making a delivery and was talking with some of the kids. He informed us that they may not know the name of their dad but they all know Gregorio and Natalie. We continue to inch along the course God has set for us and with each rising of the sun, we hear that command, "Steady as she goes." We trust in our Captain as we look to the future and thank everyone that is helping us stay the course.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shoes for the New School Year

It has been an exciting August and September for us as we went searching for the neediest kids to bless with new school shoes for the year. The students here on Isla Mujeres must have uniforms to attend school and along with that, proper shoes. We sought out the families that we have been ministering to over the years and picked out a few of them for school shoes. It is always a hard decision to make as to who gets them and who doesn't. We have been blessed by PEACE Org. here, who has for the last two years donated money towards our efforts to keep these feet protected. This year we took their money and some of yours and 20+ kids got school shoes. If you think it is an adventure to go buy school shoes in the states, then come on down and we will show you a whole new way of doing it. First we had to go and contact the families and let them know what we wanted to do for them. Next, is deciding when a good time would be to meet them at the store. Then, explaining which store we wanted to meet them at. That could take us all day since "Lost in Translation" takes on a whole new meaning. After arriving at the store, we pray that they remember to come on the correct day and so we sit and wait patiently. Some show and some don't, so
for those that do, we get out the catalogs and start searching. We give them a basis for cost and then stand back and watch. They can spend hours wishing and hoping over some of the shoes, but we try and keep them focused on school shoes. Once ordered, then we have to set a date to meet them there again to pick up the shoes. Hopefully they remember and that they fit. If they don't fit, then we go through the whole process one more time with catalogs, wishing, hoping and finally ordering another pair. You might be asking, why not just order the same shoes just a size or two bigger? Well, they might not have them in that size or can't find it in the catalog since that catalog has disappeared. We had one pair delivered and they were both 26's, but one was a Chica and the other a Mujer. That means one was for a girl and the other for a woman. They have all received their shoes after a 6 week span
and are happy campers at school. Even though it is a long process, the most important thing of all is, we get to continue to build relationships with the families here and that the kids get to go to school. Thanks PEACE and our other faithful donors for keeping the process moving forward.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ministry that never stops

We start each and every day seeking out guidance, through the word of God, as to what He would have us do. The opportunities to reach out to this beautiful culture which surrounds us are never ending. It would be easy to get stretched very thin trying to help those in need each day here, but the Lord's encouraging words to us have helped us remain focused on the kids and shoes. He reminds us that we can't do everything, but that we CAN do something. We see feet with no shoes each day while traveling on our Moto to pay bills, grocery shop, visit friends, etc. At this time of year, especially, we understand that the locals prefer to go barefoot a lot of the time as they go about their day, and that just because they are barefoot, it does not mean they don't have shoes to wear. (Sometimes they have "a pair" of shoes and they want to save them to keep them nice!) All in all, however, God continues to be faithful in guiding us to the areas where we can sit down on the curb, use someones house, or visit a special family and hand out shoes. We trust that they get on the right feet and know that they will get worn in the days to come. As we continue our ministry here, more days than not, we are greeted with yells of "Gregorio!" and "Natalie!" as we zoom around on our moto. It brings us so much joy knowing that we are connecting with the kids here, and that their parents recognize us as we seek to establish relationships. We do not get to meet a lot of the parents when we go out due to the fact that they are both out working or gathering the daily supplies for the family. Without running water, refrigeration, electricity, and storage space, the daily chores that we used to do in the states in an hour, can take all day for the folks here.
God has specifically placed the feet of the children here before us and faithfully we continue to place shoes on them as He provides. It is hard to imagine that on an Island only 4 plus miles long and 3/4 of a mile wide that we have not yet reached all the communities in the 5 years we have been here! With that in mind, our ministry never stops and we continue to press on for His glory in loving on the people and the feet here. Blessings from this little corner of the world into which God has placed us, and thank you for keeping us lifted up in prayer. Many thanks to all of you! As you give, we go. We could not do this without you partnership.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Making New Friends and Loving On The Kids

We have started to attend a little home church, here on Isla Mujeres the past few months, and it is great to meet new people. Through going to the home church, we have been able to reach out to the community that surrounds them and love on some new kids. Our extended family came down with some friends for a couple of weeks and brought shoes for the ministry, as well as buying some from the local merchants. It was such a blessing to have folks do the handing out with us so that we can take more photos, and also take the opportunity to visit with the people longer. As all of you who have had the pleasure of going with us know first hand it can get rushed sometimes, to say the least. Yesterday we got to go with the Pastor and his wife to meet a family with very special kids. Emma, the 17 year old girl, and Ricardo who is 14, do not speak. Emma has ear problems, and Ricardo hears well but for some reason does not speak. We took them both one of the "In Touch Ministries" recorders we obtained for more outreach opportunities here. The photos say it all as they lit up with joy hearing the word. Ricardo did not put his down or stop listening the entire hour we were there, and now and then he would look up, give us 2 thumbs up, grinning from ear to ear. It is always humbling for us, as continue to seek out His will, that He uses us for such occasions as this. As we were leaving, Martha the mom came out with a gift for us. It was a rose she had made out of fish scales. The ability so many of our new friends have to take stuff we would throw away and turn it into such beauty is pretty neat. We keep seeking out new avenues to venture down, and kids to love on, as the summer months are gaining momentum here in the Caribbean. We ask that prayer be lifted up for this tiny Island in regards to the Hurricane season approaching. That we are missed for another year here, as has been the case the last 5 years. Blessings from I sla Mujeres

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April is disappearing in a hurry and the heat is starting to come upon us for the summer months ahead. Greg is going to be completely done with the painting he took on 9 months ago at the condominiums and what a celebration we are going to have this Friday. We have had a lot of visitors this past month that have blessed Islazapatos with tons of shoes and a whole lot of love for the kids here. We have been blessed with the continued flow of shoes coming our way along with another opportunity God gave us. A dear friend gave us a website through In Touch Ministries that give out little recorders with 35 messages and the New Testament on them. They come with a charger and are also solar powered for those without electricity. We qualified and received 30 of them a few weeks ago. Our beloved friend Cecilia was the first recipient and what a blessings to see the peace of God wash over her as she sat and listened to the word. She is one of many folks we have met here that are illiterate so needless to say we are so excited to hand these out and allow His word to minister to them. Gods grace continues to give us good health and protection from the many things we face each day here in the Tropics. So much is taken for granted in our lives but we always give thanks to God for the little things each day as we pursue His Kingdom and love on the wonderful people we have gotten to know over the years.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

People Who Love...





There are so many people who share their love for the children of Isla Mujeres by giving of their time, their resources, and their creativity! We want to thank each and every one of you for your gracious love and support for Zapatos Para Los Ninos. Denny and Rose brought us a unique gift this year. A Papa Noel Zapatos bag! We can't wait to deliver shoes from this cool sack!!!! Also, Debbie picked out these sparkling shoes for one of God's special little princesses. Some little girl is going to have a huge smile on her face when she walks away in these! Ryan gave us some beautiful photos, and along with Alicia, took the time to help us deliver shoes. We would like to thank you all by name, but your names are already indelibly printed on our hearts and imprinted on the lives of the people here, whom you have so generously given to. You know who you are, and God has seen you water the garden of His precious little ones. Our motto continues to be, "As He has given to us, so we give to you..." , and as you give, we go! It is a tremendous blessing to be supported by YOU, and as we start into this next year of ministry here, we look back with grateful hearts for the wonderful people who have been, and are, standing beside us in partnership. We love you all, and from the bottom of our hearts say, "Muchas Gracias"!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Back on Track



Well, it has been a long 6 months for us around here to say the least. Greg started a repair and paint project on our Condo building back in August of 2011 thinking it would take a couple of months to complete. Here we are almost to March 2012 and he still needs to put the finishing details around the building to be completely finished. We have seen how easy it is to get busy and how it tilted ours lives to a pretty amazing degree of upheaval. Natalie had to start doing little things around the house that Greg had been doing for four years. We have not even had time to go to the beach and say hello to all our friends that work there as Greg's exhausting schedule kept him working eight hours a day, six days a week. Natalie became his biggest cheerleader and kept him looking towards the final time he would have to set up and tear down the scaffolding around the building. Shipped it back to Cancun last week and he is now back on solid ground for the rest of the painting. Praise God for giving us the strength and support to make time for several shoe drops and to love on the kids of Isla Mujeres. They are always so appreciative for the shoes and we are so blessed to be able to hand them out in the name of Jesus thanks to the folks that continue to give for His glory.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blessings In The New Year


Meet Nancy (in the orange dress) and her little sister. Nancy's mother is blind and Nancy is constantly seen leading her mother to her school in the morning. Once there, Nancy's little sister leads mama home. They are a beautiful sight to us and a wonderful example of caring for others in life. We pray that in the New Year, you may be blessed to hold the hand of someone in need, or that someone will see your need and hold yours! We always take comfort in knowing God's hand is constantly stretched out to us. He is our ever present Help in time of need. Loving Him and you in the New Year, Greg and Natalie

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Shoes

We want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year, and to thank each and every one of you who have been a part of Zapatos Para Los Ninos! On Christmas Eve we were able to deliver almost 300 pairs of shoes, and for the first time, every child who came for shoes got them! Whoo hoo! We had many generous helpers who brought shoes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, new clothing, hats, blankets, and special gifts. It was a real festival! Our local friend, Manuelin, blocked off the road so he could set up several piƱatas. Chairs lined the street, a few of the local ladies made tamales for everyone, and then Santa Claus showed up for a visit. It was so special to see the children all dressed up in their best clothes, and excited for new shoes. When we first began delivering shoes to certain parts of the island, almost none of the children wore shoes. Now when we go to deliver shoes, we are more likely to replace an old worn pair! Praise the Lord!And thank you to Kirk Blackburn for putting together this slideshow! video