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May 2008
Dear Friends in Christ,
This month we had the joy of hosting our long time precious friends in Christ, Pastor Isidro and his sweet wife Flores. They arrived the beginning of May bringing their son Eliezer whom we had not seen in 5 to 6 years. Eliezer is now 18 and needs to learn English for his college degree. Pastor Isidro and Flores arranged for Eliezer to stay with us for the month to practice his English. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him.
This month also marked the 8th anniversary of the Juan 3:16 Church. We celebrated the event with the brothers and sisters from the church. Many of the members met at the outskirts of Nava in the morning for baptisms. There were 7 people who were baptized, each sharing a testimony of the work Christ has done in their lives. This was in the same spring fed waters that several of our children were baptized in 7 years ago. It brought back many memories for us and was a very emotional time. Later in the afternoon we had a special church service after which everyone shared a meal that we all pitched in to help prepare. There were around 200 people who attended the service and stayed for the meal. It was encouraging to see so many families who have been touched by Pastor Santos, Hermana Fini, and the ministry of the Juan 3:16 Church.
Most of our time was spent on Julio's home, pouring the floor and installing all new electric. We were grateful for the Lord's provision of the funds for this project! Kenny, Micah, and Eliezer got started with leveling the ground and then chiseling the walls out to run electric lines. One of the church members named Norberto came to stucco the inside walls of the new bathroom. Ken nicknamed Norberto Bob, which he seemed to like. We enjoyed getting to know him and his family better and developing a friendship with them. Bob was in need of work and we were glad for his help. Another brother of the church, Stephen, is a skilled mason. He helped us by supervising the project, making sure the cement was poured and finished properly.
During a visit to the carpenter shop with Kenny and Toncho to inventory the wood, we discussed the need for a teacher to teach woodworking and disciple the boys at the same time. Toncho, who is a church elder, said that although he doesn't have a lot of carpentry experience he would love to learn and be willing to give this project a try. On a trial basis, we arranged for Toncho to work Tuesday through Saturday at the Carpenter Shop. Meanwhile he is taking classes to learn more about woodworking. We are very excited at this idea as we have felt the need for a man to be witnessing Christ on a full time basis in the Carpenter Shop. We see the Carpenter Shop as an excellent tool to be spending time with the men and boys. If you or someone you know who is a Christian man and has woodworking abilities, would be interested in coming to Nava to teach for a week or however long, please let us know. We would love to have your help with this ministry.
With Ken and Kenny spending extra time with Toncho, they became aware that he has been slowly working on his home in much the same way as Julio. Going into Toncho's addition on one of those very wet days, they realized he lives on a dirt floor. Feeling very moved for Toncho's family, we felt led to provide them with a concrete floor. Kenny was very excited at the idea, as he has been close to Toncho for a long time. We stayed a few extra days, longer than planned, but in doing so we felt very pleased to have completed the floors for Julio and Toncho, both of whom are leaders of the Juan 3:16 Church. Their families are excited to be on concrete floors, and we felt honored to be a part of this whole project.
The Dorcas House was in full swing this month. Sara stayed busy working with the church sisters making many new dresses and skirts to be brought home and sold. She left them with new designs and lots of fabric to keep them busy over the next several weeks.
Our days in Mexico were very full, often the guys didn't stop working till late in the evening. We came home very tired and worn out but also fulfilled knowing that God is working in Mexico. We praise the Lord for His wonderful love and provision. He protected Ken from what could have been a very bad fall, with a ladder crashing on top of him. He twisted his ankle, but was able to keep working with an aching reminder to take it slowly the next couple of days.
As our time with Eliezer came to an end we were sad to see him go. He told us that he probably didn't learn a lot of English while staying with us, but what he did learn was much more important. He enjoyed staying with us, and he worked very hard, as we ministered in Nava. What a blessing to have an 18 year old share his heart in that way!
It is so hard to believe that on Saturday, May 31st, at 7:15 p.m. was 3 years since our precious Shelby left us to be with our Lord. We look forward to joining her one day. The excitement is that as Christians we have that future to look forward to, eternity with Christ and our loved ones, who have given their hearts to Him. We cannot remotely imagine going through this without knowing Him. We still greatly grieve her loss, yet we are definitely comforted in the fact that she is with our wonderful Lord, Jesus Christ. She committed her life to sharing the love of Christ with those around her. Her life has been a challenge to each one in our family to show His love and enthusiasm for life, which she had because of Him. She had a smile for everyone, even to the end of her life. As children of our Heavenly Father, heirs to an eternal kingdom, we too have much to be grateful for and reason to share Him and our happiness with others. Whether we are working in Haiti or Mexico, we see the results of her testimony in the lives of many people she touched for Christ, especially within our own family, who knew her the best.
Thank you all so much for your prayers in our behalf. It is truly an honor and privilege to represent you to the brothers and sisters in Nava, the surrounding areas, and Haiti as well. We always tell them why we take so many photos, and they appreciate hearing that many Christians help send us to them. Through you, the Lord allows lives to be touched and these projects to take place. May He touch your hearts and homes in a very special way, allowing you to know and feel His love.
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family
~Prayer & Praise ~
Praise the Lord that Julio's home is very close to completion.
Toncho's floor was poured on faith, please pray that the Lord provides the funds.
Please also be praying that God will provide the support for a full time teacher in the carpenter house. This will be a $300 monthly expense.
We praise the Lord that our son John's severe headaches seem to be subsiding. Please continue to pray for his safety as he serves in Kuwait.
We praise the Lord that the Haiti sponsorship is covered to the end of August. Please pray that the Lord would continue to provide for the work in Haiti.
Please continue to pray for or border crossings as we take many supplies across for different projects.