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May 2006
Dear Friends in Christ,
We celebrated with our Brothers and Sisters in Mexico, the 6th anniversary of the Juan 3:16 Church this month. We have many wonderful memories of being a part of the building of this church. We thank the Lord for the many fathers and full families attending now. This is such a blessing, because the church began predominantly with women and children.
While Kenny and James were working on the windmill project at the Ranch of Faith, they saw heavy smoke and were informed that a huge fire was rapidly making it’s way towards them. They quickly headed for the main road and joined a large group of men, fire trucks, and tractors working hard to get the fire under control before it reached nearby homes. The ranch has been under drought conditions for some time, therefore the fire moved so rapidly they often had to turn back from the smoke and flames to get to safety. After hours of working the fire finally subsided, only to start up again the next day. They spent a lot of that day also fighting the fire along with other volunteers. In the end about 350 acres, including all of Pastor Santos’ land, and O.S.M.’s 30 acres, were burned. We praise the Lord that no one was injured and no homes were touched.
We have been able to help Julius Ceasar add on to his house, thanks to one of our monthly supporters who wanted to help fund a special project through O.S.M. Praise the Lord this home is being doubled in size, and a much needed bathroom is being added. With three little girls having an indoor bathroom with plumbing, is something Adrianna is very excited about. What a blessing this project is to their family!
While in Mexico we delivered food to Pedro’s family. Recently his Grandmother, a precious Sister in Christ, went to be with the Lord. As we visited with the family, Pedro’s father told us that he would like to start a tire repair business. He has been driving a big truck for the coal company for quite some time now. The work is so unpredictable that he cannot make enough money to feed his family. He had an old compressor that wasn’t working, and a few tools. He wants to teach his sons, especially the older ones, Pedro (14) and Luis (16) a trade, while hopefully making a living for his family. He has 6 sons with little education, therefore very vulnerable to the local drug dealers. We agree with the father that the boys need to learn a trade and have some responsibilities. We were able to purchase a new compressor and a few tools to help him get started. He was very excited when Pastor Santos and Kenny delivered the new tools.
While in Mexico we got word that Tuesday May 16th, Papa Kennedy (who turned 91 on May 1st) had quietly gone to be with the Lord. It was very emotional, but we knew he was with our Savior and with Shelby. What a mixed blessing! We closed down the projects that we were working on, packed up, and headed to San Antonio. Along with Pastor Santos, who we were so grateful to have join us, we headed for Florida the next day. As we came into May, Kenneth’s father’s health was rapidly deteriorating. We were blessed to visit him as a family this past Christmas, and again last month. He had shared that he did not want us to worry about him. He would be going Home to Jesus, and would be seeing Shelby. Time for them would be nothing and soon we would all be together again. He was at peace with stepping into eternity, which gave us assurance for him.
On Friday we attended the service for Papa Kennedy. It was a military funeral, he was retired from the Navy after serving 21 years. He had spent much time on the U.S.S. Indianapolis serving in the Pacific during World War II. He was an excellent Father, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather. He had a deep love for our country and was an honorable Christian man. He had talked with Kenneth, cried with him, and encouraged him in his walk with Christ as we walked through difficult times when Shelby left us last year. His faith has been a tremendous encouragement. He and Shelby spent many hours together, Shelby writing his life stories, learning family history and hoping one day to write a book about her Papa. Now they have eternity to share and more special and exciting times to spend together.
After the service on Friday, Pastor Santos was thrilled to get a fishing line in the Atlantic Ocean Saturday afternoon. As some of you know, he loves to fish, it brings him fun and relaxation, which he does not get often.
On our way home we stopped at the home of our dear friends, Jimmy and Jean Wales in Louisiana. This gave Kenny and Pastor Santos time to visit the Wales daughter Carol Ann, and son-in-law Travis Morgan, who have the dairy mentioned in the February newsletter. The machines and equipment were all very fascinating to Pastor Santos who has a small dairy in Mexico.
We were also able to visit the church in Slidell. There Pastor was introduced to the Brothers in Christ who had donated many desks, tables and chairs to the Juan 3:16 Church in Mexico. It was exciting to be able to introduce Pastor Santos to many family members and friends who have heard about him, but have never had the opportunity to meet him.
Going into this month we have anticipated that it would be difficult emotionally for our family as the last day, May 31st is the anniversary of Shelby going Home to her Heavenly Father. We were right in our thinking, one minute we could be talking and doing fine, the next minute one or both of us would be crying. The hole that Shelby has left is even larger than we had thought. Her uplifting spirit, her endless enthusiasm and optimism, her words that challenge us to trust the Lord in what He is doing, are all so greatly missed.
We are very grateful again for your love and prayers and financial support. These make it possible for our family to continue ministering in Mexico with Pastor Santos, and in Haiti with the schools and feeding programs. It is a privilege to serve our Savior in this way. Thank you for the blessing you are to our family!
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family