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February Newsletter - Founder’s Corner: An Unforgettable Trip

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Twila Belk will write the sequel to Charla’s Children. There have been several attempts, but to no avail. Janelle and I took Twila to Oaxaca and Baja so she could experience the ministry. She interviewed a number of missionaries, including Juan Merino, who worked with John Moore.

This leather-skinned Trique man swung heavy sacks of pineapples on his back. Sweat soaked his torn shirt but at least he had work. (For three years, illness prevented him from supporting his family.) Juan followed the seasonal work: pineapples then tomatoes. Rumors told of work in Baja, so Juan and his family migrated there in 1981. They discovered a more bitter reality there: a tiny room for his family of ten that stunk of raw sewage and stale smoke.

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Unattended, sickly children sat in the dirt. Juan had to accept what he could not change; he had no money to return to Oaxaca. They fought despair and both turned to alcohol and native witchcraft for escape.

Their son, Felix, came to visit from Tijuana. He spoke to them about God and His Son, Jesus, and their need to repent. He took his father to the Mission church and Juan and Maria were converted to Christianity.

Juan was given a job in the macadamia nut orchard where John Moore had covered the cost of five employees anonymously until he graduated to Heaven. “There he would eat of the Tree of Life in paradise.” Genesis 2:7

Please pray for Twila as she takes on this project.

It is a heart-wrenching story of faith in God and

miraculous answers to prayer.

Charla Pereau

Founding Director

Education

What a great start to the year!! Two main themes that have guided this school year are that God is creative and that the word of God is living and active. We want our children to enjoy using their God-given creativity, so we are working hard to make education fun and exciting in order that they will pursue life-long learning.

We also desire that each child will walk with God throughout their lives. The children are learning large chunks of scripture and every morning they jump and sing which is then followed by a story reinforcing biblical truths.

We have expanded the English portion of our program because our kids love speaking in English! We are also making sure that each child not only learns how to read, but that they become confident readers. It’s encouraging to see their excitement for reading and many come regularly to ask for more books from the library!

A student in the classroom

A student in the classroom

I enjoy seeing advances in our children. One little girl has even successfully learned how to read on her own. At the beginning of the year, when the children were asked to do daily reading, they groaned and complained. Now the children are competing to see who can read the most!

We’re reading

We’re reading

We also had a little girl start the year who had lived on the street her whole life. She had never been to school and did not understand structure at all. The beginning of the school year was very complicated for her! And now she has very clear handwriting and has learned all her letters up until the letter P!

We are excited about what this next semester holds and hopeful about the advances our children are going to make! Thank you for praying for us as we invest in these children´s lives!

Cheryl Trevor, Baja School Principal

Awesome Christmas Stockings

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We stood amazed; Vicki Gravell shopped all year to purchase age appropriate gifts for over 100 children. 

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The women of the Village Church in Laguna Woods, CA, went to Vicki’s home to fill the stockings, (really Christmas cloth bags). 

There were “American Girl Dolls” dressed by Vicki. Cuddly dolls, Legos, arts and craft material and soccer balls. It was like a giant toy store. The event was extraordinarily well organized. We were in awe of Vicki’s out pouring of love for the least of these. 
And for our children in Oaxaca, Ranell Conine from Winnetka, IL raised money with her friends so the staff there could purchase gifts to go in their stockings. 

This was the fourth year Ranell blessed our children in this way.

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Count Your Many Blessings,  See What God Has Done! 

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 Thanksgiving is an autumn day
And a tree of scarlet hue, 
A special time we set aside
When thanks alone are due. 
 
Thanksgiving is a quiet place
Where we may kneel in prayer, 
And there converse
alone with God, 
Enfolded in His care. 
 
Thanksgiving is a table spread
With bounties from the land, 
A special time to share with all
God’s wealth in every hand. 
 Thanksgiving is a sacred time
To praise our Lord above, 
For guidance through
our earthly day, 
His comfort, care, and love. 
 Thanksgiving culminates a year
Of blessings from God’s store. 
He pours them forth to all on earth
Then offers more and more. 
 
We give our thanks and
praise to Him, 
For He has blessed our days
With life and health
and blessings
In many uncounted ways. 

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING
By Al Cunningham, San Quintin State Prison

 

No words better express the spirit of this season, than these from a great old hymn: “count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” I hope your heart, as mine, is singing them today. Despite the tribulation and trials that come our way, God is good and gracious. He has seen us through another year and produced another harvest. It’s a joy to partner
with you. A blessed Thanksgiving.

Adventures in Canada

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The late Rev. Harald Bredesen, a noted Christian statesman, moved to Van Nuys, CA. We became the best of friends. 

Harold Bredesen

Harold Bredesen

Later, he was called to pastor at Trinity Christian Fellowship, Victoria, B.C. Harald said, “When we get settled in our new church, we must have reports of Baja Adventures.” Thus I was invited to British Columbia. 

Following the service, I was invited to High Tea at Colonel Bill Riddell’s lovely home. He asked me if I would be willing to share this incredible story with Rev. John Lucas, his friend in Calgary, AB. 

Minutes later he was on the phone with John saying,  “John, a Lutheran lady spoke at our Sunday morning service. She has an amazing story of how she and her husband adopted a Zapotec Indian baby which opened the door to their current ministry in Mexico.” 

I overheard John’s reply, “Why would I be interested in the testimony of a Lutheran lady? I’ll call you back after I’ve prayed about it.” Twenty minutes later, John called, “Fly her to Calgary and I’ll have her speak at the mid-week service.” 

Pastor John Lucas

Pastor John Lucas

It was a short flight from Victoria to Calgary, AB. As I stood at the airport waiting to be picked up, a young man inquired, “are you Charla?” I replied, “Yes.” Then he said,  “Missionaries don’t usually wear hoop earrings.”

I was puzzled by his statement, but then was driven downtown to the Immanuel Assemblies of God church where I was received with the warmest of welcomes. This invitation opened the doors to ministry across Canada. 

Our Baja adventures were shared in small and large congregations from Ft. McMurray, AB
to L’Assomption, Quebec. I was invited to be the plenary speaker to 10,000 attendants at Mission Fest, B.C. in Vancouver. 

Our dear friend, the late Rev. Percy Gutteridge recommended that I share the amazing story at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Churh in Mission, B.C.  

While speaking there, I met Olive Kieler, who was the church secretary and
 cook at Camp Luther. 

She caught the vision of bringing work groups to  the Baja Mission. Her husband, Larry, was the bus driver and they gathered up young people from all over Canada who would have their lives changed forever by the trip to Mexico. 

Pictorial journeys with Larry and Olive were amazing adventures of joy and yes, a few tears. 

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Larry Kieler was a master mechanic/bus driver. He provided the transportation to Mexico. Olive made all arrangements for their sojourn. When the Kielers and their crew arrived he was sent to the auto shop. There were vehicles waiting, including our back hoe, which was always in need of repair. Olive was met with a truck load of tomatoes. She knew how to can. Olive and her crew canned thousands of quarts of tomatoes.

Often Pastor John Lucas drove me hundreds of miles to speaking engagements that he had arranged on my behalf and Olive did the same. There were times when I scheduled my own itinerary and ended up hitch hiking.

I was guest speaker at Burnaby Christian Fellowship in British Columbia and had an evening service in Anacortes, WA. There was no bus transportation. What could I do? I walked a few blocks away from the church carrying a suitcase, a slide projector and put up my thumb. Sid Fluvog picked me up and drove me all the way to the church. I will forever be grateful.

Nick and Zoya

Nick and Zoya

From Anaimo, B.C. I met Nick and Zoya Andruff. They were certainly heroes of the faith. He was a master maintenance man.  She, a gourmet cook and a healer of the broken hearted. 

The Andruffs used their van to do procurement and made a weekly trip from Osborne Neighborhood Church in Arleta, CA to the Baja Mission. For 14 years they picked up everything from nuts and bolts to restaurant supplies. 

If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, you must be servants of all. Nick and Zoya Andruff were certainly servants of all. 

Class of 2017 - Ketta Faith VandenBos

The VandenBos family of Lynden, WA, served at the Baja Mission. Steve, as our builder and Sherry, as our piano teacher and tutor. The VandenBos’ were strongly led to adopt Ketta. The following is their letter:

“Dear Chuck and Charla, 
We are sending you a video of Ketta’s senior violin recital. We hope this is a reminder to you that one of ‘Charla’s Children’ has been given a second chance at life. Praise God! We have seen God’s hand on Ketta’s life since she arrived at ‘our’ orphanage. We thank you for listening to God when He gave you the vision of the field ripe for harvest. Thank you Chuck and Charla! Ketta has been the biggest, most unexpected blessing in our life.

Now we are excited to see where God leads Ketta next. We are SO PROUD of her. To God be the Glory.”

Nancy Benning represented FFHM at Ketta’s graduation and at her violin recital. Ketta enjoys many activities including running on the cross country team, playing tennis, volunteering in the junior high youth group and church ushering. Ketta will attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ , majoring in accounting.

Bringing Light into Darkness

Hugo and Lizette serve in a suburb of Culiacan, Sinaloa. They minister in the migrant laborers’ camps, which surround the city. 

If you want to reach all of Mexico for Christ, Sinaloa is the place to serve. Laborers come from every state to work in this coastal, fertile valley. 
But it’s the drug capital of Mexico and possibly the world.

We have felt strongly led to establish an orphanage for the countless children left orphaned in the Southern part of the state. 

Through generous donors, God provided the funds to purchase property. But it wasn’t to be had as there were disputes among the sellers. So we are waiting and trusting for God’s timing. 

We want to have a beautiful property that will bring peace and healing to the lives of children who have experienced violence and abuse. And we want a property located near migrant camps so we can continue the work of reaching the lost in this area.

Pinocchio

Our children receive a Christ-centered education. As we mentioned in our June newsletter, ACE and AMO curriculums are used. Aida Carrasco and our children were invited to the community of Tlacochahuaya to present the Pinocho (Pinocchio) puppet show.
Even though they couldn’t openly evangelize in the public school, they were able to share biblical principles of obedience, honoring parents, integrity and always speaking the truth.