Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Don Clemente

A donation of First Aid Kits was given to Don Clemente
and his son and daughter-in-law.
                The first time we entered the community of “White Hill,” we met Don Clemente, his face shining with kindness and gentleness. He answered all of our questions and told us a little about himself. As we talked, he sent someone to buy some soda. Before we left, he loaded us up with peaches, a squash, and some corn from his fields.  As we drove away, it was obvious that we had found a man of peace.  Through the years, our focus was on “Pine Hill,” so we didn’t see Don Clemente often. But always when we stopped in to visit, he was kind and generous with both his time and the fruits from his fields.
               One night, our son got sick and we took him to see the doctor in the clinic. To this day, I believe God used our son’s illness to put us in the right place at the right time, because when we got there, the clinic was packed with people. Most of the conversation around us was in ZK, so we didn’t understand much at the time, but we did realize that there had been an accident of some kind. Clay decided to take a closer look and learned that it was Don Clemente who had fallen while out cutting firewood.
After the handrail was installed,
Don Clemente was able to leave his house!
               The terrain all around “White Hill” is steep hillsides. Don Clemente had slipped and he fell many feet down the side of the hill. (I can’t be sure, but I’m thinking it was 300 feet.) He had hit his head and twisted his back. He was paralyzed from the fall, which for many in this area is like a death sentence, but he refused to go the hospital.
               A few weeks later while we were in the city, we were introduced to a man who was a homeopathic chiropractor. He traveled all over Mexico, giving treatments. Surprisingly, he had been to “Pine Hill” before and he assured us he would come to help Don Clemente. For the next few months, this man came every other week. Little by little, Don Clemente began to regain his strength until he could walk on flat ground.
               A year ago, a mission team from Ohio helped put in a handrail outside of Don Clemente’s house to help him have more freedom. And last summer a mission team from Idaho helped us hold a VBS for the children in the community. Since the VBS we have been visiting Don Clemente every Tuesday. We sing praises with him and the children who gather, and we tell a Bible story.
               Yesterday, being Tuesday, we visited again. After the story, Clay and Don Clemente chatted for a bit. Don Clemente is trying to encourage his sons to study the Bible with him, which we are excited to see. Because of this reason, we have been asked to give them time as a family. To be honest, I’m not sure how to take it. We’ve been kindly asked not to keep coming to the house for Bible Study.
               So, we ask that you pray for Don Clemente and his sons. Don Clemente’s plan is for the family to read the Bible together for 10-15 minutes a day. Our prayer is that God will reveal Himself to this family through His Word!
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17           

Saturday, March 17, 2018

It's What We Do

         People often ask what we do on the mission field.  Sometimes that's a hard question to answer because often no two days are the same. One thing that never changes...we are always ready to tell a Bible story.

          Recently, Clay had the opportunity to visit a man who was dying. While in the small community, Clay had the chance to share the Gospel and to pray with the man. We may never know what was in the heart of that man, but we know that we were faithful in what God calls us to do.

          After the man died, we continued to visit this community. We've shared many stories of God's forgiveness, and his plan for our lives.

         Often, we are asked for medical advice. We fully acknowledge that we are not experts in the medical field, but the "common sense" that we have acquired from growing up in the US has given us great opportunities to help others. Sometimes it's as simple as checking a child's ears to determine if they have an ear infection or not. Other times, it was to share some eye drops to help an eye irritation.

        The kids are sometimes quite curious. I like to take selfies with them. When they see their picture, it makes them smile and giggle! Others tend to be shy and don't want to get too close.

               I wouldn't trade this life for anything! It's definitely not glamorous, and sometimes it's not even comfortable. (The photos don't show the bugs that are crawling on us...or the filth that surrounds us.) But the privilege of sharing the Gospel...of explaining God's great love...the joy in praying with someone who wants to honor God with their life...there's nothing quite like it in all the world!


Divine Power

               Recently we shared the story of when Jesus was tempted. He had been in the desert, fasting for 40 days, when Satan came to him and tempted him. First, Satan told him to turn stones into bread, because he was hungry. Next Satan took him to the pinnacle of the temple, where he told Jesus to throw himself down because God would send His angels. Third, Satan took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. Satan offered these kingdoms to Jesus if he would bow down to him.
               As we shared this story with the ZK, we talked about the common temptations. For many ZK men, alcohol is their greatest temptation.  For the women, it’s often gossip. We discussed how, for me, Satan isn’t going to try to tempt me with alcohol because that’s not my weakness. But it’s important to understand our personal weaknesses.
Honestly, I know that I am inclined to listen to Satan’s lies. That’s my weakness—the lies that try to convince me that I’m wasting my time in Pine Hill. The lies that my children are missing out on all the American experiences—sports, music lessons, Sunday School, etc. How do I defend myself against the temptation to believe these lies? 
               The greatest lesson from this story is how Jesus overcame the temptations that Satan was throwing at him. His greatest weapon was the Word of God! If Jesus used Scripture, shouldn’t we also? And if we plan to use this mighty weapon, we must first train with it. Read it! Study it! Talk about it. 

 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have
divine power to destroy strongholds.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In Bloom

   I purchased this plant in May as was part of my Mother's Day gift...
my attempt to brighten up my kitchen.
It did well for about a month, and then things went downhill fast!

It didn't help matters that we went on a trip for a few weeks. I placed it outside, and 
gave instructions to the neighbor on how to care for it. Unfortunately, there was a torrential
downpour while we were gone and the pour thing nearly drowned. 

A few weeks after that, we had another trip. This time, I asked the neighbor
to take the half-dead plant to her house so that it wouldn't get too much or too little water.
It had 2 leaves when we left...and 1 1/2 leaves when we got back.
The neighbor's chickens were trying to eat it!

I continued to care for my pour plant. It was quite
pitiful, really. But, I watered it regularly. I didn't give up, even though I was tempted to
pitch it in the trash and buy a cactus. 

On Christmas morning, there was a bud that just about to bloom!
I was so excited! I figured I had another day or so, but that afternoon, I was surprised 
to find a beautiful pink flower decorating my kitchen window.

Of course there is an illustration to be made, right?

The week of Christmas was kind of a rough time. It's always just a
little bit sad to be so far away from extended family. The kids are extra nostalgic,
thinking about previous years when they were with grandparents, or seeing the Christmas lights.
And to be honest, we were discouraged with the ministry. We've poured five years into "Pine Hill,"
and we haven't seen much return.

On Christmas morning, God whispered encouragement into my heart. 
Sometimes, it's not easy. Sometimes you want to just through it in the garbage
and start over. But, how much sweeter it is when you can see the beauty that comes
from care and patience.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What Does Your Pantry Look Like?

         While visiting at a friend's house, we were impressed by their "pantry." They were storing their corn in the corner of the room. We thought it looked like a good amount of corn. They said the harvest wan't that good this year.

           Who wouldn't love a beautiful set of baskets for decoration? But these beauties are not just for decoration. They're used to store corn, beans, or coffee. I especially love the 3 different colors. They all would have started out like the light one on top. But with age (ahem...smoke), they turn colors.

          This basket was holding some coffee beans.

          This is my friend Teresa's kitchen. Could you imagine trying to make dinner in this kitchen? The work surface is about 10 inches off of the ground, so Teresa often sits on a low stool to be close to the fire. The pot on the stove (with the blue lid) was full of tamales!

         In the foreground is a blackened pot. It's what Teresa uses to make coffee. Can you imagine tending the fire all day to keep the coals just right? Today was a good day to be around the fire! It's the only source of heat in the home, and it's cold--inside and outside!

          This is Teresa's mom. Isn't she cute?! She can't live on her own anymore, so Teresa is taking care of her. She keeps her walking stick handy. She was very concerned for our well-being tonight. She made sure that we were offered coffee and hot tamales! She explained that since this is the Christmas season, many are hosting holiday festivities. Since she can't get out like she used to, they made their own tamales.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sewing Class

          In July of this year, we received a volunteer from our home church in Idaho. Rose was a blessing in many ways, but one ministry that she headed up was a sewing class. We started off with a simple project--a sewing kit. For some, this was an easy project that provided them with some sewing staples at their fingertips. For others, it was one of the first sewing projects that they had ever attempted.

Listening closely...

         Another important element of sewing class was childcare! Ellie was in her element, caring for the little ones and keeping them safe...which is easier said than done when Mommy is working with pins and needles!

The class was a success in many ways. The women each were successful in making an article of clothing. We built relationships. And we shared about Christ's love through Bible stories. There is more interest in at least one of the women. Would you pray for more opportunities to share Christ?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Spreading the Word


     As I stood under a coffee tree, I thanked God for the opportunity to share of His great love. We had been invited to talk to a young man who expressed a desire to know more about what happens to us after death. He had just lost his grandmother, and the thought of death was scary.
     We thought we'd be sharing in a home, but God has taught us to always be prepared. So we shared on the side of the road, under a coffee tree. And instead of sharing with one young man, we shared with about 20 young people.
     We may never see the young man again, but seeds have been planted. The rest is up to God.