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August 2006
Dear Friends in Christ,
We began the month of August by attending the 'Entrepreneurial Boot Camp' in San Antonio, Texas hosted by Vision Forum Ministries. The Boot Camp had many extremely qualified speakers with detailed ideas for families working together to generate income. Our attending will assist us in helping the people of Nava with ideas to supplement their income. We learned a lot during the 3-day seminar and left excited about helping our Brothers and Sisters in Nava with family and home based businesses.
We arrived in Nava with the weather at it's usual summertime temperatures well over 100 degrees. We visited Carlos Osuna's farm and he told us that Nava has had 1 inch of rain in the past year, so to say it was hot and dusty is an understatement.
Sara, Kenny, Micah & Gita assisted with two Vacation Bible Schools held by Santos & Fini. The first Bible School was for the children of the Juan 3:16 Church, and the second was held at the Alpha and Omega Church, which is another church in Nava that Santos is pastoring. We were grateful for this opportunity and enjoyed helping. The children of Nava all love Fini's lessons and enjoy spending time with her.
Our close friend & new OSM board member, Todd Powell, joined us for 6 days in Mexico this month. Todd is a seminary student in Ft. Worth, Texas where he lives with his wife Nadine and 2 yr old son Branson. Todd had a week off and decided to come and visit us. The following is his testimony of his visit to Mexico:
There was something different this time as we passed over the border into Mexico. Moving out of Piedras Negras and into the country-side toward Nava, it was all around us. The beautiful wild sage that grows along the roads and in the open fields was covered with lavender blooms. It seems that weeks prior to our visit the LORD had blessed this region with some much needed summer showers, and the parched landscape was fresh with life and color. As we visited Rancho de Fe (Ranch of Faith) the effects of the wildfire several months ago were still evident; but among the charred undergrowth, the surprising rains had produced small blooms and fresh shoots, leaning with the evening breeze. Deborah picked some of the colorful sage for us to take back and enjoy at the mission house.
How typical this picture was of the continued ministry of OSM, here in Nava. In a social and cultural landscape where basic human existence is deficient of so many necessities, there are signs of refreshment and life. You can see it in the face of Christina and her younger sister. Thanks to the tandem ministry of OSM and Pastor Santos, these children now can attend school with the appropriate uniforms and supplies. In Julius' backyard, two small piglets, purchased by OSM, are penned and fed. They will be raised and sold in the market to supplement the family's small income.
It doesn't matter where you stand in the colonials down here, the essentials for a clean, healthy life are in short supply. The needs are overwhelming, spiritual and physical. But as I watched small children playing in the dirt among the crude houses of tarps and tin, I was reminded of hope, even in this place. In the corner of the yard grew a small sage plant with lovely delicate blooms; a reminder of the work being done here by fellow servants of the LORD.
Todd Powell
Todd, Kenny and Micah did some work on the property finishing up the windmill. They attached a long pipe to the windmill so that the water coming out of the ground will go through a shallow trench to water a small group of trees. A cement holding tank will be built later. Walking through the property we saw how much damage the fire did. We lost more trees than we first thought, yet while looking around we realized that this would be the best time to get a bulldozer and clear some pasture areas for goats, cows and other animals for the agriculture projects in the future.
Julius Cesar introduced us to a local farmer who had some piglets for sale, so we purchased 6. It was fun to take these little critters to their new homes to be raised by 3 families. Our desire is that this will help supplement these families with a little extra income or food. One family who received 2 pigs was Ismael, his wife and Mom. Because of an injury to his hand Ismael has been out of work for a while.
During our time in Mexico we traveled to Rio Bravo located across Mexico's second border. We enjoyed visiting Pastor Santos' home town where his small dairy is located. This is also where O.S.M's cows are; they are looking well and healthy. While there we visited the area where the chicken project for the children of Nava used to be. We gathered up the feeders, watering systems etc. that were left so that we can restart the project on O.S.M's property some day soon.
Sara continued work with her sewing ministry this month along with the other projects we were doing. While traveling to Mexico she studied a book on smocking so she could teach it to the ladies that sew for her. After practicing herself a few days she held a class teaching 10 ladies to smock. They sewed and fellowshipped together for several hours at our home in Nava. The rest of us entertained their children and prepared a big lunch to serve all. We enjoyed this time with the ladies and were blessed to see how much they enjoyed it too. Most of them wanted to know when the next class was going to be. Sara hopes to do more teaching in the future. She was also able to spend time working in the Dorcas house with some of the Sisters from the church. More projects, designs and materials were left for them to continue working on while we are gone.
Angelica, one of the church Sisters involved in the sewing projects, her husband Jose, and their four children recently moved to Nava after losing their home and all their belongings by fire. In the colonia she is walking distance from her mother Letty, who is a Juan 3:16 Church member and one of Sara's main seamstresses. Work seems extra hard to find right now in Nava and Jose is among the jobless. Sara has been so blessed spending time with this family and is trying to keep Angelica busy with sewing projects. She feels it a humble experience paying Angelica for her work knowing that it is all the money they are making with four children at home who need food and school supplies. The family is living in a pallet, tarp and cloth home, which leaks badly if it rains and is little protection from the blazing sun. We delivered an extra bed that we had to Angelica and Jose, and somehow they managed to fit it in their house. Even in these living conditions you rarely see Angelica without a smile. There is nonstop talking and laughter when their family is together. Her husband Jose helps in any way he can. Sara found him drawing little flower patterns for his wife to embroider; he even did an embroidery himself! He has been doing a lot of the cooking for the family and invited Sara and Gita to one of the meals he made while they were out working in the Dorcas house. We were able to give Jose a few days work while we were there and left him with a small stucco job to be working on. We hope to help this family move into a better home soon. We have an idea for remodeling a house which we built on the church property a few years ago and is now being used for storage. Pray with us for the funds so that next month we can have a work team remodel the house for Jose's family.
Another family we hope to minister to is Marco, Veronica and their 2 sons. This couple helps lead praise and worship every Sunday morning in the Juan 3:16 Church. They just moved to the colonia 'Vida Imagin' where they are living temporarily in the Vida Nueva Church. Their desire is to serve the Lord and the people in this location. They plan on providing classes for children and adults of all ages who have not received an education and cannot afford to go to school. They have started having classes on Saturdays, meeting in the Vida Nueva Church. We will purchase Christian school materials to help Veronica with the vision that God has laid on her heart. Our Hope is to help their family with housing needs as well.
The pews that were donated by Calvary Baptist Church a few months ago have been put to great use. Right now they are being used in the Sunday school rooms for Bible schools and other small group meetings. Santos and Fini are very grateful for them and have enjoyed seeing them fill up with children and adults each Sunday eager to learn. Eventually they will be moved into one of the churches but even as they await their final destination they are a great blessing to the community.
OSM has many dear friends who care for and bless us daily. One such Brother in Christ is Ken Echols. Ken is an ace mechanic that floats between at least 5 new car dealerships helping other mechanics with repair problems they have not been able to solve or complete. You can imagine how helpful this is to the ministry we are involved in. This month we were able to purchase 4 new tires for Pastor Santos' truck & 2 for the tractor. Ken delivered and installed the tires and made many other needed repairs to Pastor's truck. We are very grateful for Ken's help many times over!!
As our children grow up and leave, we are greatly feeling the loss of so much help at home. This month, our 17 year old son James joined the U.S. Army. James came to live with us when he was 7 months old and we were blessed to adopt him at 18 months of age. Please pray for his physical and spiritual safety and for us as we adjust to yet another child gone from home.
We are very grateful to our Heavenly Father for His goodness in our lives. We are also blessed by each of you who allow us to represent you in Mexico and Haiti. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We send our love and appreciation!!
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family