Friday
Sep242010

A Taste of Living Water: Karen Lee

I have just returned from Honduras and, as always, I found that even though this was my 14th trip, God still has lots to teach me.  Some may feel that with our failure to get water, the trip was unsuccessful.  They would be so wrong.

The village of Tablencita is one of the poorest villages I have been to and in dire need of water.  I worked with the children on the front porch of a house on the side of a mountain owned by a grandmother named Maria.  Every day a man with his donkey came by and made the long trek down this mountain side to a spring.  Curious, we decided to follow him.  He was kind enough to slow his pace so that we could keep up with him over this rocky, uneven descent, and after a very sweaty, arduous ordeal we came to a spring where Pablo started filling his water cans.  His donkey carried 3 cans on his back weighing 120 pounds each, and unattended started back up the path while Pablo followed with a 4th container on his shoulders.  I was exhausted after one trip down and back even though I made the trip empty handed.  Pablo and his donkey made 2 more trips while I was recovering on Maria’s porch.  I had adventurously decided to make this trip one time … Pablo has no choice. He makes it at least 3 times a day, every day.  And to make this story even more heart breaking, this water he laboriously carries up the hill every day was tested and found to be polluted

My school on the porch included 14 children who were excited and appreciative to have markers and scissors to work with.  We read Bible stories, learned hygiene lessons and made crafts.  With a tooth brush, comb, shampoo and soap for each child, we taught dental and personal hygiene.  Checking teeth, we were shocked to discover almost all of the children had teeth that were eaten away with decay.  Most of the children’s hair was infested with lice so on one exciting day we took our 14 students to the women’s health and hygiene class and had a much needed hair washing day. Something as simple as soap and shampoo made such a difference in their appearance and something so easy to give, our love and attention, made such a difference in their attitude.  We may not have been able to bring them clean water on this trip, but we brought them the comfort of knowing someone cares and hopefully a taste of living water.

Friday
Sep242010

A God Given Experience: John Martin

My experiences have been God sent.  Constant renewal of my faith by helping other by drilling and repairing water wells.  I can use my natural abilities to do the labor involved and harvest the results by seeing the people of each village rejoice in the fact they now have clean water.  The joy of brotherhood with other members of the missionary teams is rewarding in itself.  The confidence in knowing that I cannot out give God in the time, treasure and talent required to be a missionary.

Friday
Sep242010

A View from Southeast Mexico: Rosine Carter

Recently, I was asked to join a team going to SE Mexico. Actually, I was tagging along, my husband was asked to go to help evaluate livestock projects and the water issues associated with them. This being my first mission, I really didn’t know what to expect.  Everyone I talked to gasped and asked if we were worried about safety in Mexico.  No, we weren't. However, after a while we did begin to wonder, since so many were worried for me that maybe I should be.  That was not going to deter us one bit.

Our mission was a virtual tour of the Anglican Diocese of Southeast Mexico, guided by Bishop Juarez and his staff.  The geographical area of the diocese is larger the than the Diocese of West Texas it operated, however, with only 13 priest or deacons and about 16 missions. We flew to some locations and drove the rest, 2200 miles in 8 days and I know we walked at least 3 million steps.  From celebrating the Eucharist in the home of a young family to a shelter on the mountain, it was evident that the foundation of Christ had been laid. The people, the country, all, are shining lights of Christ. Oh, and security, I forgot I was even supposed to be worried about that. Actually, there are cities in the US that I worry for my safety more. It is not to say that there are certainly some issues on the border, but I never once was afraid, except for the taxi drivers in Mexico City. Actually, they really weren’t much different from the drivers in New York City.

Everywhere we went, people gathered to greet us, rang the church bells, it was truly joyous. In most of the villages we visited, the need for clean water was apparent. People were carrying water anywhere from ½  to several miles. There was a bread making operation in Arroyo Zacate, where the women make bread to sell, they have to carry water in a wheelbarrow about ½ mile uphill just to make bread. This was common in many areas we visited.  We visited the Hogar Infintal and we were particularly awed by the happiness of the children and their carefree spirit.  They are doing well, though there are many opportunities of us to help them in future missions. We celebrated the Eucharist in the chapel with the children, it was a wonderful service. They currently have a livestock project raising pigs, goats, and chickens run by the older boys of the center.  The pig project is very well run and a clean operation.  They would like to expand it and the benefits are great.  There are so many opportunities for mission trips in SE Mexico, my mind is continually spinning. It was a great opportunity to see their needs first hand and not leave it to our own imaginations.  Often, we can dream up things that people need, reality is that we don’t need to impose my wants on them.  We have to remember, what works here, doesn’t always work somewhere else.  In Christian life we often think others need what we need and we fail to remember the common denominator, Christ. He is already there in SE Mexico, we need to listen and let him guide us.  Bishop Juarez truly loves the people of this area, it is apparent just watching him with them.  The opportunities will reveal themselves as we continue are discussions.  The joy and love of Christ these people have is an example to everyone.

Back at home as I busy myself with the everyday happening of my life, I often think, what can I do for SE Mexico? What I really need to ask, “What does God need me to do in SE Mexico?”  I need to ask him and not take it upon myself.  There are many opportunities there, I just need to be still and listen to where he wants me to start.

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