Merry Christmas everybody… !
We are so glad to finally be able to update you on everything that has been going on!
A lot has been happening, and as many of you know, it has been a particularly hard season for us after the loss of one of our youth… To be honest, our hearts are still aching after the death of fifteen-year-old “Angel,” who was both a member of the youth group we work with and the son of a family that has long been part of our church.
… There is more on that situation here, but we have had so many other prayer needs come up that we wanted to share them all with you, since we know and continue to learn that prayer is the most important thing.
So thank you… And here goes.
We first met Felipe as he was trying to steal a broom from our neighbor. As it turned out, he wound up taking our broom… which was rather unsettling as we watched him slink away with it!
Anyway, it was against our better judgement, but when he came back looking for work the next morning, we let Felipe wash the van! When we noticed that he wasn’t actually doing it very well, Kim (who is a real neat freak!) got a rag and began to show him how to clean it according to specs! 🙂
Once he gained an understanding of how to do a detailed job on something, Felipe got a few more clients in our neighborhood as people became interested in having him do work around their houses. Since then, he has become one of our most faithful employees and gained an increasing interest in the gospel.
Recently, Felipe has fallen ill with a disease which has caused him to be in and out of the hospital… And as if that weren’t enough, his tiny little paper house actually burned to the ground, together with all of his belongings, in an accident which happened in his neighborhood.
…We decided to help Felipe, so we got a new house started for him by building a main room and helping to roof it… (Actually, “we” didn’t build very much! …But there were some construction guys who did a great job… ! )
Anyway, please pray for Felipe, since God is really knocking on his door in lots of ways. He has started to attend Bible studies through a church in his own neighborhood, but do keep praying as we try to bless him while he does his chores around our house…!
MARIA SOLEDAD, a.k.a. “Chole”
Here is an example of one situation where your prayers have really made a difference! Maria is actually our pastor’s wife, whom many of you know was on death’s door a few months ago.
Maria was rushed to the hospital one morning after a strange fainting spell she’d had. When doctors discovered that her kidneys had flatlined, she waited in a coma for two days before having surgery to receive dialysis. But even after she surprised everyone by living through the surgery, doctors were very pessimistic about what they could do…
… One night one of our youth from the gang felt led to pray for her, so we took a trip up to the hospital. At that point, Maria was still unconscious, and her body was only partially responding to the dialysis. After her doctor had finished warning us that she was still very much on the point of death unless things improved quickly, he left the room.
In the silence which hung in the wake of his words, we prayed.
About a minute afterwards, a mysteriously nice nurse came in…! Glancing at the young man standing over the patient’s bed, she quickly enlisted him to help her turn Maria. Strangely, right after he did so, her body expelled all of the fluid that was missing from her dialysis earlier that day !
…The following morning, Maria woke up and the dialysis started working like clockwork. … So praise God.
… And of course as to what had happened the night before, we can’t rightly say, but we highly recommend that if any of you are having trouble with your hospital patients, you should really try using gang members to help you with some of the spiritual and practical aspects of your patient care !
Anyway, so now we cannot help but highlight our friend Carlos… Of course it’s impossible to write about all of our youth, but he in particular has a story that we couldn’t resist telling you!
…Carlos has been converted to the Lord for a while now, and has managed to hang onto his faith even in the midst of the forces of the barrio which try to bring him down.
The only bump we encountered along the road as we continued to minister to Carlos was that he had just a few too many girlfriends…! In particular, there was one very pretty girl who was the envy of the neighborhood, and would not leave his bedroom!
So, after some very “spirited” discussions with Carlos, we decided he needed a sleeping bag… And since sleeping bags can be expensive, we began praying for one! Anyway, we are not used to having our prayers answered so soon… but a few days later, a guy knocked on the door of our church… And he was selling, yes, you guessed it, a ratty old sleeping bag which was a steal for ten dollars…!
So after a few more spirited discussions with Carlos, he dutifully climbed up on the roof, with his sleeping bag… and his dog… and continued sleeping there for the next few nights until the pretty blonde girl moved out… !
And after a few strange looks from his friends, Carlos has rapidly become a powerful witness to young people in our neighborhood! He has already been used by God in helping us to expand our youth ministry and to reach families in general… !
JASMINE: More on Angel’s death…
Many of you may remember Jasmine from our former newsletters… What you may not know is that she was actually the mother of Angel, the young man who died.
Sadly, the loss of Angel was just another tragedy for Jasmine in a life marked by pain. In fact ever since we have known her, Jasmine has told us stories of suffering, including how she lost both of her parents very young, and found herself married to an abusive husband, with whom she began to have the first of her seven children.
Since Angel’s death, Jasmine has been trying to somehow move forward for the sake of her family… Many of you also know that one of her daughters has spina bifida and needs lots of attention, in addition to her two-year-old, and youngest son, who is only nine months old.
Needless to say, the loss of Angel was also a huge blow for Jasmine, especially since there was there was some amount of mystery surrounding whether or not his death was a suicide, or just a severe episode of abuse that occurred when Angel was with his extended family.
We will have more specific ideas on how to pray for Jasmine in our link below, but in general please pray that God’s grace would truly be upon her… And that we ourselves would have the grace to minister in the midst of so much tragedy that we don’t understand…
… And perhaps we never will.
Even so, we know that God is good… though at times we just have to trust Him…
…But we are going to miss you, Angel. So thank you for the years that you gave us.
Most of all, thanks for teaching us that we don’t always have to understand… just everything.
…We know the One who does.
For More Specific Prayer Requests…
about Jasmine, her family, and even us, please see this link: Prayer Requests