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February 2013

“Sell your possessions and give to charity;
make yourselves purses which do not wear out,
an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

~ Luke 12:32-33 ~

Dear Friends in Christ,
When we visit our friends in Nava, it’s a wake up reminder of how blessed we really are. Our basic necessities such as a roof over our heads, 3 good meals a day, warmth in winter, and air in summer are considered luxuries and far fetched dreams for others.
The presence of the military in Nava has provided a little more security to the area. The Mexican Marines are “cleaning house”, so to speak. They are enforcing laws on a “no questions asked” basis. However, things are far from normal. Many loved ones have disappeared and families are left to assume the worst. Crime is rampant and goes unreported for fear of retaliation. Pastor Santos shared an incident involving a group of men who wanted to purchase the John 3:16 bus. He refused their offer explaining that the church uses it. As a result, they intentionally crashed into the side of the bus one day while Toncho was driving it. For safety reasons, the assault was not reported. One young lady, a daughter of long time members of the Juan 3:16 Church, was taken and her boyfriend was murdered. No one searches for the missing. They automatically know what has happened. You cross drug gangs and you put not only yourself, but your family in danger as well. The best thing to do is to not get involved and mind your own business and you’ll probably be okay.
On a more encouraging note, it was a blessing to give away some heaters and food dispensias this month. One heater went to an elderly Sister and her son, Evangelina and Juan, who go to the church. They were very appreciative to have heat for their home. Next we stopped and gave Carmen and her family a food dispensia. Carmen and her husband Pablo, have been very active in the Juan 3:16 Church for years. Later Pastor Santos shared with us that their son is in seminary in Monterrey.
We drove to another colonia where the New Life Church is located and where Pastor Santos preaches. We stopped at the home of a woman who attends the church. Some of you may remember Deborah whom we have helped in the past. She and her husband and 5 children are living in a cardboard house. Deborah’s daughter, Victoria, built a small addition to their home for a kitchen. It was made of cardboard and had an open fire burning inside. We gave their family a heater and a dispensia. They were very appreciative for both of these gifts.
We also visited Rosie who now has 4 children. She lives with her Mom, her husband, and 4 children in a cardboard home as well. When we went inside, they had a small open fire burning to stay warm. The children were playing and walking close to the fire which greatly concerned me. Rosie’s little girl Deborah, who is now 3, fell in an open fire when she was a baby and burned her face badly. She is doing much better now and her scars have healed. Praise the Lord. Rosie now has another baby girl who was in a walker playing by the fire to keep warm. As we were driving through the colonia, Pastor Santos was looking for the children of a woman named Oralia. We have given many dispensias to her and her family. We were heart broken to learn that she died recently as a result of being gang raped and severely abused by a group of men. She left 5 children behind. We found one of her little girls named Betty. While talking to her, an older girl came up to us. She said that her family had taken in 3 of the children. They had been living in a cardboard house but it burned to the ground. They had to rebuild, this time with block. We left Betty and her adopted sister with a food dispensia. After leaving that colonia, we visited Maria’s home to give the family a dispensia. We left more food with Pastor Santos and the church leaders to be given out later. Each family who received dispensias was grateful for them. Thank you for your generous gifts which we were able to share with many families on this trip!
There were many sad stories that I shared in this newsletter. Mexico is definitely a harvest field ripe for harvesting. Many people are hurting with the loss of loved ones, not sure where they are or if they will ever see them again. Yet, they continue to turn to the churches and ultimately to Jesus Christ for support. He is our only Hope, our Rescuer and our matter what our circumstances.
The Dorcas House and the Carpenter Shop remain busy each day. Lety still has many girls coming to participate in Bible study and to learn sewing skills. She was grateful for the materials some of you donated to the Dorcas House ministry. For safety reasons, Toncho only teaches a few boys at a time. About 12-15 boys come throughout the week to work with him. He regularly takes them to the Ranch of Faith. They assist with feeding the cows, goats and chickens, build fences, and clean up. Learning skills and spending time with Pastor Santos and Toncho is a much better option than “hanging out” and getting into trouble with many of the other young men.
The Lord has blessed the Good Shepherd Church in Reynosa. Pastor Isidro and Flory’s church has grown out of the building they rent. They have purchased property and have begun clearing it. Praise the Lord! We are excited with them for the growth and God’s blessings over them. They stepped out in faith, leaving a well established church and many friends to go to a new area without a church to share Jesus Christ. There are over 1 million people in Reynosa, a border city with lots of drug and gang problems. The church members have continued to reach out to the lost through street evangelism. They encourage new converts to share their faith openly which also strengthens their faith. To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
Kenny has been home with us this month. In Nava, he transitioned immediately and began speaking Spanish with Pastor Santos, Toncho, and the boys. He was a little concerned since he has been speaking and thinking in Creole for several months. We are blessed to see his love and willingness to serve in Mexico and Haiti. On March 2nd, he will be returning to Haiti to build more homes for the families still in tents. He continues to enjoy the many opportunities God gives him to share His love with people who are often overlooked. Please keep him, his travels, and safety in your prayers.
Please keep the pastors, teachers, school children and their families in your prayers. Daily we hear, see and experience the effects of evil. We know there are physical and spiritual needs all around us. We are all called to share the love of Christ, to help when and where we can and together we can help with some of the needs of Haiti and Mexico. It is our privilege to represent Jesus Christ and you to our Brothers and Sisters as well as the lost. Thank you for your prayers and gifts and financial support which enables us to minister in the ways we have shared. May the Lord bless you and your families.
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family