A couple days before Christmas, I joined a few local church friends in traveling to El Paso’s ‘other half’ – Cuidad Juárez, our sister city in México. Believers at Beth El Bible Church had donated food, toys, and clothing for the past several weeks – all to make Christmas parties possible for children in some of Juárez’s more impoverished neighborhoods. Our team leaders had planned these parties in partnership with certain churches in those communities – ones already engaging children around them, offering hope both spiritually and physically in the middle of challenging circumstances. During our day in Juarez, we hoped to encourage both the children and the churches serving them through our celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Determined to make the most of limited time, we immediately sought ways to break the ice with the kids we met… and as we gained their trust, they started sharing heartbreaking stories of families broken by drug addiction, divorce, or absent parents. We met a boy who needs surgery for a blind eye, and a 50-year-old blind man who was legally adopted by one of the churches. Wishing we could personally change the circumstances of their lives, we shared the gifts we had brought – sandwiches and hot chocolate to fill their stomachs, clothes to replace old and worn outfits, and wrapped presents which were opened with great delight. Most importantly of all, we shared the reason why Jesus’ birth brought so much hope and joy into our lives – and could for theirs as well.
In any ministry, it is hard to walk away at the end of the day. Upon seeing need, the temptation is to try to personally fill a void in someone else’s life – one which only God can truly satisfy. For us, it was no different… we saw smiles on kids’ faces and knew they had been encouraged, but also had begun to learn of other needs which fell beyond the ability of Christmas presents and new shoes to fix. It was comforting to know these churches would continue serving and teaching in our absence, bolstered by the help we’d offered one Friday in late December. But ultimately, we had to walk away releasing these kids to the same God who loves us… knowing that He would continue to pursue their hearts, hear their cries, and love them better than we ever could. In the end, that was enough.
House Construction is a Go!
With house building set to begin this March, we are launching a page to keep you up-to-date on our progress! Check out our House Construction Status page – you’ll find a link on the right-side column of each page on our blog. Details include what we are currently building, fundraising progress, our construction timeline, and a partial breakdown of cost estimates for the upcoming building phase.
QUICK NOTES & THINGS I’VE BEEN READING:
- My coworker Katie wrote that Christmas in 2018 was the first ever celebrated by Nahuatl believers, who now understand the true significance of ‘Emanuél’ – God ‘with us, in our together.’ Folks, this is why we do what we do! Check out one of Katie’s recent updates, on how this reality has impacted one of her friends in Las Moras: [Katie’s Blog: Tortillas]
- We may worry that the word ‘tolerance’ is being redefined as ‘tolerance… except of Christianity.’ Jesus too was concerned with tolerance, but He had a different focus. [The Good Book Blog: Jesus on Tolerance]
- My friend, Don Chubb, has been planning our house build… and he’s already prepared for a few months out at the job site with me, doing the actual work! [La Familia Gordo: Roughing It]
- On Christmas Day, Titus celebrated his eighth birthday… and Elayne is only days past her tenth! We love these kids dearly, but wouldn’t mind if they decided to take growing up at a slightly slower rate one of these years…
- Do you need one of our new prayer cards? Would you like to receive email notification of these updates? Please let me know; we will be happy to arrange that!
Thank God with us!
- Amy only continues improving in her recovery process!
- God keeps arranging the logistics of our house project: often at unexpected times, and in ways we could never have planned!
- We are blessed with many opportunities to connect and serve at our El Paso church, finding great joy in fellowship here.
Ways you can pray:
- For our coworkers: Rachel & Katie, working through non-stop challenges in Las Moras; Tom & Teresa, balancing new and old responsibilities in Mazatlan; and Pete & Liesl, heading to some conferences before back to mountain ministry in February.
- That – as God provides the needed people, materials, and circumstances for our house project – He also prepare our family for these coming months without Jordan at home.
- That God use our family now, during this short season in El Paso, to bless those He has placed around us here.