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October 2006
Dear Friends in Christ,
This month we headed to Mexico to remodel a home we built back in 2000. The home was built on the John 3:16 Church property for a mother of 6 little boys who stole our hearts. After some time, Guadalupe (the mother) deserted the house leaving her sons with their grandparents to raise them. Since then the house has been used for miscellaneous storage for OSM. Guadalupe and her sons were very rough on the house and being used for storage it didn't receive any care or maintenance, so it was in need of much repair before it could house a family again. Ants and roaches were everywhere; plywood walls were rotting and grass was growing in between the walls and floor. Most of the windows had been broken, and gray soot was all over the ceiling from cooking. (Later a team from Tennessee built a double house for the 6 little boys and their grandparents. One of the boys is Pedro who we have written about frequently.)
In our August newsletter we shared about the need for a home for Jose, Angelica and their 4 beautiful children. They were living in a small patchwork home that didn't provide any protection from the weather. Every time it rained all their belongings got soaked. The walls were made of scrap wood, tarp, crates and even cloth. With winter coming we knew that their need was urgent. We praise the Lord for providing the funds for this project through a dear family from Georgia!
We were so happy to have Joel Wean, Krissy Pucek, Micah, Holly, Heidi and Hallie Wakefield come down and help us with the remodeling for a few days. Work began with pulling out rusty nails and replacing them with new, galvanized nails. When we originally built this home we were still using Mexican lumber and materials. Quite a few additions and improvements had been made since then and we wanted to incorporate as many of them in this restoration as possible.
The exterior of the house was washed to remove the years of dust and dirt. Several sheets of plywood had to be replaced and the windows reframed. A new steel front door was installed and the exterior was caulked and painted with two coats of paint.
Meanwhile a group stayed busy on the inside. The interior walls were insulated, the house rewired and a ceiling fan installed. OSB plywood was used to cover the interior walls and painted different shades of blue. The ceiling was scrubbed before receiving two coats of white paint. (We have always heard that it is easier to build a new house than to restore one, we now know this statement to be true, as this project took much longer than we thought it would.) A local young man named Carlos who was in need of work tiled the shower and floors. He did a beautiful job!
We learned from Pastor Santos that Carlos is a new Christian who had been a drug addict. When we asked him if he would do the job, he agreed asking that we pay him with groceries instead of money. Sara and Debbi were happy to take his wife Elizabeth grocery shopping. She was timid to put any more than small packages in the basket, but with some encouragement and help she left with enough groceries to last them and their 2 sons about a month.
A few days before we finished the work, Pastor Santos told Jose and Angelica that the home was to be for their family. They both cried tears of joy as they had not expected a home like that to ever be theirs. It was exciting to see the interior walls and floors finished as we had never totally finished out the inside of a home. Amazingly it turned out to be one of the prettiest homes we have ever built! The day we finished, Pastor Santos came with a group of people from his church, and we did a small dedication of the home to the Lord. It was very touching to once again be involved in helping our Brothers and Sisters in Christ to have a better home in which to raise their children.
Christian school materials were purchased and delivered to Marco and Veronica who are teaching students who have fallen through the cracks, so to speak. They live in the Vida Nueva Church and are teaching illiterate children and adults several days a week. Please continue to pray with us that we might receive the finances to build a home for them. Marco and Veronica have become an integral part of the Juan 3:16 Church, helping to lead the worship and helping Pastor Santos with many of his ministry endeavors.
As cooler weather is coming upon us, we would like to make the opportunity to purchase heaters available to you again this year. The weather in Nava gets down to the 20's and 30's during the winter months and many families still live on dirt floors with almost no protection from the outside weather. For most families the source of heat through the winter is burning charcoal on a tray in the middle of their home. The cost for sponsoring a heater and small propane tank for one family is $300. Please let us know if you would like to be involved in this project.
Arriving home from Mexico we had 1 day to unpack and repack so we could drive up to Ft. Sill Oklahoma. Our son James graduated from Army boot camp on October 27th. James passed all the tests the first time around when many in his platoon took two or more times to pass. He even aced his physical tests with a bad knee. They plan to do an operation on his knee before he goes to his job training in El Paso, TX. Because of the operation James will be spending most of November in Ft. Sill recuperating. It sounds like after job training James will eventually be sent to Germany to await orders. Please keep James and John (in Afghanistan) in your prayers.
It's hard to believe another month has flown by and we are already at the end of October. We are blessed with what the Lord has allowed us to accomplish through your prayers and support. May this Thanksgiving be special to each of you as you look back over the many blessings our loving Father has poured out on this beautiful nation. We are grateful for each of you and the encouragement you are to our family!
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family