Excellent Christian education is provided at our children’s homes. Art and sewing instruction are offered as electives in our primary school. Some of the boys have a keen interest in sewing and have no trouble learning this challenging technique. In 6th Grade we are reading the story of George Mueller, “Father of the Fatherless,” and in 5th grade, we are reading “Charla’s Children.” The children have a great ability to remember details and the experiences of faithful men and women.
We celebrated the 100th day of school in a park, starting with a devotional and 100 things for which to be thankful. We finished up with a delicious cake made by a housefather and the students.
On the eve of my wedding, I look back over my life. At age five my two sisters, brother and I were taken to the orphanage. We had been victims of the drug culture and abused. We slept outside of our parent’s hovel and ate from the trash; we never knew love from my parents. When we arrived at the orphanage I felt like we were in paradise. They bathed me, gave me my own clothes and my own bed. It was beyond imagination. I was loved by my houseparents and so I learned the love of God, my Father.
I was given the opportunity to attend school, but had difficulty learning to read. I never thought I would finish elementary school, but was given hours of tutoring, and thanks to God I passed. I am thankful for the outreach team which rescued my mother from addiction. She received Jesus Christ as her Savior. My brother passed away at age 15 and there were people who gave us the strength we needed.
Thank you for teaching me the importance of family and the love of God. I will leave this place with thankfulness and gratefulness for all the blessings I have received in my life. You have planted love and a smile where there was only grief and sadness. Charla, you will always be my Abuelita (Little Grandma).
Editor’s note: Gloria married into a very good Christian family.
The cold and winter rains have come to the Baja desert. We have distributed countless blankets, quilts, and tarps. In a back corner of the warehouse, a hidden treasure was found … two boxes of jackets, sweaters, and hats for His little ones.
Are you aware that people live in garbage dumps? Our Outreach team prepared a hot meal for these poor souls and gave them blankets.
The Outreach team distributed 268 boxes of food to single moms with children, the aged, and the infirm. The boxes contained oil, beans, rice, and flour for tortillas, which are all the staples of their lives.
There was a continual stream of people into our Mission soup kitchen. Between 100 and 200 daily breakfasts were served to the children at the Breakfast Club in Las Aves.
Our young people from the mission church held a “sweaterthon.” They collected sweaters, jackets, and warm clothing to distribute to those living in San Francisco, an isolated area near the mountains where it is very cold. Hot chocolate, homemade donuts, and the love of God was served.
Without your support, none of this could be accomplished.
There are 12,500 orphaned children as a direct result of the drug war in Sinaloa. We believe God called us to build a children’s home for these destitute little ones. We will also expand our outreach to the migrant camps in Culiacan and to the south.
The migrant workers come from every state in Mexico. Thousands of farm laborers are trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds, and sometimes without functioning toilets and a reliable water supply. Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages and prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods. They work six days a week for the equivalent of about $8 a day or less.
David Colwell is in the process of construction of housing for work groups and ministry teams which will be coming to Sinaloa. The Board has chosen a beautiful piece of property for the children’s home. Through very generous donations, we now have one half of the purchase price. Please join us in prayer and consider contributing.
High up in the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca, over 600 men, women, and children were driven from their homes. They walked 40 miles down a rugged dirt road to a place of refuge in San Pedro, Ocotepec. Some of the men stayed behind to protect their homes. The anxious, fearful group of refugees was camped out at the municipal building. The children were traumatized. Pastor Emiliano Garcia and these Christians were persecuted, watched, and blamed for everything.
Ian and Elaine Croft took a group from Wainwright, Alberta, Canada and a truck load of donated food to the refugees. The women in the hosting town cooked and served these poor displaced people.
Allen Bechtel brought an anointed message of God’s love in Spanish and the Holy Spirit moved in a powerful way. Many came requesting ministry.
Please pray for the misplaced, persecuted people. There is no word as to when they can return to their homes.
Allen and Claudette posted on Facebook, “Wow! It was a 5-hour trip to the remote region. An overnight stay, but we can’t stop giving thanks. Definitely an upper room experience.”
Our precious sister and friend, Eleanor Cowpersmith, has graduated to heaven. She has finished well. She and her late husband, Jon, served in Tijuana, Salamanca, and for the last 25 years at the Mission in Baja. Eleanor served as secretary and ministered to the poorest of the poor, the sick, and dying.
Jon and Eleanor’s sons, Benjamin and Daniel, their children and grandchildren, made the long trip to the memorial service.
Testimonies of her life poured in after her homegoing. Here are a few that were shared with us.
“We knew when we were hungry that we could go to Eleanor’s house and she would feed us.”
“She visited me in prison.”
“She brought food to our family when we had none.”
“She drove up an all-but-impassable road to minister to a family in need.”
Eleanor paid weekly visits to invalids who were house bound. Her nephew, Mark Cowpersmith, shared these memories of Jon and Eleanor.
“They were, and still are, an inspiration to me of what humility and true Christian service looks like. After Jon died, I was hesitant to visit his grave – somehow it just seemed like such a loss to me. I finally went with Eleanor to see where he was buried. We found this unmarked grave in the middle of a dusty cemetery. It seemed very unjust at the time – here was a man who lived a selfless life of service and he didn’t even have his name on his grave. Later it struck me that he was buried as he lived – in humility. Jon was the most unreligious person I ever knew. Never irreligious, just unreligious. He had the most natural relationship with God I have ever seen. I came up behind him one day as he was walking home. He was in mid-conversation with God. It was like listening to a friend simply talking to a Friend. The key to his holiness was his almost complete lack of self-focus. He was truly a humble man. Eleanor was like him in her humility. They have finally received the recognition and reward that they richly deserve.”
Here’s a sweet love story about two of our faithful servants—Eunice and Pablo— laying their lives down for ministering to the least of these.
It all started in Oaxaca in the ‘90s. Frank Ticknor and Raul Garcia were our ambassadors to Oaxaca sent to spy out the land. They found the beautiful property in Tlacolula, Oaxaca. After the purchase was made and construction began, they met a man wanting to give away five acres of land with a building and 39 dissolute children on the opposite side of Oaxaca.
Frank took Corrine and me to see this orphanage and left us there. Conditions were deplorable. Two young women were caring for the 39 children. They had little or no food and were trying to cook beans over an open fire. There was no propane for the stove. The buildings were infested with every creepy crawlers and flying insects. The sewage system had failed and the ground was spongy from raw sewage.
They needed our help!
Larry Swayze, from Canby, OR, was called. Larry, now a pastor, was a cesspool contractor. He came with his crew eager to help.
Eunice was one of the young women laying her life down for these abandoned children. That was 1999. She has faithfully and selflessly served as a mother of the motherless for 17 years. Pablo Mendez was born in Oaxaca, like Eunice. He worked in an orphanage in Tamaulipas for four years. He heard about our Bible Institute in Vicente Guerrero and decided to attend. After he graduated, he went to work at our mission in Oaxaca for six months for his internship where he met Eunice. And it was love at first sight. Pablo and Eunice were married at the Mission in Oaxaca in December. Both have given their lives for children.
Sara Petersen writes—The call came from Ensenada.
“Please pick up three super cute girls, His little ones.”
Denisse is 14 months, Itzel is 6 months, and Victoria is 4 months old.
All three girls are adjusting to life in the cuna, which is Spanish for nursery. Each one has suffered abandonment. We are giving them lots of love. I have seen the effects. Denisse was very leery of all people. She didn’t smile or want to be moved. She is coming alive right before our eyes.
We pray that each one of us will be the light of Jesus brightening the darkness that has been in their lives.
God bless you for being their Valentine.
A faithful volunteer in the “cuna.”
Chuck Pereau goes to mailbox number 74000 each morning, opens all the precious pink envelopes and a few white ones. And then there’s the mailing. It requires 60 hours to affix the 20,000 seals on the US newsletters. The 1,600 Canadian newsletters are put into envelopes. He oversees both mailings and takes them to the post office. The complex procedures for this mass mailing require additional 30 hours each month, and is mostly compiled in the Pereau’s living room. “Chuck, when you’re done with that, can you pick up donations? It’s only a single mattress and some other stuff.”
There are 30 other faithful volunteers who work on the mailing, but we must honor Charles and Robin Nahas. In spite of physical limitations, they are the first to arrive and the last to leave.
There are 2,800 volunteers who come to serve at our missions. They did everything from rocking babies to working in the sewing room with mountains of mending new drapes, curtains, and costumes for the children’s opera. They worked in the nut house They did preparation for the 50th Anniversary by painting, beautifying, landscaping. The Mission never looked so beautiful. They all say, “We’ll never be the same.”
John Alvarez and Ted Holmes led tradesmen to complete major building projects.
We so appreciate our snow birds and other retired volunteers. These saints know how to fix stuff.
A child receives milk at our outreach program.
An average of two thousand children attend our weekly child evangelism classes. Bible stories are presented in creative ways, and all who attend receive a cup of milk and a scoop of peanut butter. Weekly adult evangelism and discipleship classes are offered. Weekly adult literacy classes are held with average attendance of 25.
Our soup kitchen is another place where the love of God is manifested. The hungry are fed and given a portion to take home.
In an area blighted by poverty over 100 children are given breakfast before attending school.
Over 4,000 attend the Baja Mission’s “Night in Bethlehem” Christmas Pageant. All who attend receive hot chocolate, Mexican sweetbread, and the Word of God. We have another outreach to the community on Mexican Independence Day, where the Gospel is presented.
Rancho de Cristo, our rehabilitation center, offers a one-year program which includes literacy and vocational training. Hans and Nancy Benning and Tito Quiroz are also vitally involved in the Benning Music Academy in Ensenada, where over 700 students, including prisoners, are given the opportunity to study music.
There are 250,000 migrant field workers in Sinaloa from all over Mexico. Our ministry teams help provide for their spiritual and physical needs. Sinaloa will be the next area of expansion for His Ministry.
Enrique Perez supervises the expanding prison ministry in Oaxaca. Thousands of inmates are now housed directly across the street from the Mission. Enrique hosts a weekly radio broadcast to the Mixteca region.
We support missionary Maria Villa Pablo and the radio station transmitting Christian programming to remote areas. Modesto Velasco, although blind, serves courageously in a hostile region.