POWER Journal week 3 day 2
Up early, 6:15. Between late night crews including Van Crew, water crew, prayer team, media team, and many other tasks necessary to pull this trip off in true POWER style, most men had less than 6 hours sleep. But it’s a big day ahead, tins of things to do so let’s warm up with God’s word brought by Tim James…
After a 6:30 breakfast and then worship time, Tim brought forth an excellent word about the Power of Perseverance. Isiah says the Lord will give new strength to those who trust in the Lord, and will soar with wings of eagles (my paraphrase). And as men, in site of our nature to do things on our own (I hate asking for directions) Tim reminded us that we really have nothing to offer to God. But when we surrender to Him we have everything! Mark 6, Loaves and fishes… God will multiply our weakness and limitations, and through our perseverance He will multiply our efforts. Prayer Where we are weak, He is strong.
Matamoros and Magdiel on the list of activities today, now praying together for our Families, Safe Travels in Mexico, our Busy Day, and our Interaction with the People we meet today. Mark, Rodney, Kevin, Daemon and Bruce led those prayers. We then laid hands on Pastor Mario Perez and his wife Marta. They are sick and Mario needs to meet with the Magdiel students today about their future as leaders of faith in Mexico.
Instructions and Van assignments being made, getting ready to head out. My assignments, Van 2.
On the road at 8:15, right on time. Most guys are pretty quiet, sleeping. Those of us in front quiet talk about the day ahead. Next stop Bible College Magdiel in Matamoros.
A quick word about the Bible College. There are about 95 students there this year, living full time on the campus in very spartan conditions. Most of the students are from very poor communities across Mexico and are dedicated to bringing Gods word back to the poorest neighborhoods. They stay for three years trading to be Pastors, Missionary work, teachers, children’s homes etc. Part of our goal today is to encourage the students to find creative ways to use their education, and encourage them for the future. In fact a graduate of Magdiel from the year 2000 is now a teacher there. He is Francisco Fuentes who has since started a church in Reynosa and also, along with his wife, works with the orphans here. A very nice man of God, he has been my Facebook friend for a couple of years. Great to have conversations with him. So, it is another cool and encouraging Van ride for me!
Another stop will be Con Mis Manos, which means “With my Hands”. A school and refuge ministry for deaf children in Matamoros. That should be very special so more on that later!
Well, now we are all safely across the border, heading for Magdiel. There we will get our assignments to go with the students either to Con Mis Manos or go with students on a shopping spree… now that should be an interesting assignment.
Arrived at Magdiel, immediately we split into two groups. So a few vans, mine included loaded up a bunch of bible students who also we learning to sign in Spanish, and all of us set off for Con Mis Manos, a lot of fun on the Van, the students (girls on my van) all first year students and we laughing and singing. Sitting next to me were Fanny and Judi, who taught me a few signs, like “How are you” and “God bless you”. Not that I will remember, but still a nice time getting to know them.
Arriving at Con Mis Manos we all met in the cafeteria and presented POWER shirts to the Magdiel kids, about 24 in all. Fun time that.
A bit about Con Mis Manos. Skip this part if you don’t want to cry. So the founders and directors of this refuge Michelle and Jesus Zuniga. Michelle, who is American, had come to Matamoros here to set up such a ministry for a church in the states. Then, after about three months her sponsors pulled out of the ministry but Michelle could not turn her back on the children. She founded Con Mis Manos in 2004, met and married Jesus and have been missionary’s here since then. Michelle explained hexplained the situation and ministry to us. Basically they look for and take in deaf children. Here in Matamoros there are no protections or laws regarding deaf people. So children are victimized in every way imaginable. At Con Mis Manos ( with my hands) they are taught sign language (some of them have no concept of communication whatsoever) and skills, receive education and consoling and eventual job placement. Some live here full time due to their individual situations. Started in 2004, this is a new ministry for POWER to take on, and our first visit here. But a Holy Spirit arranged chance meeting with POWER leadership last October. led us to check this ministry out. The leadership was very impressed and immediately helped out with a big need. I love the way POWER is open to the leading of The Holy Spirit. And they decided to add Con Mis Manos to this trip. A very important addition and close to our my heart for sure. And a big opportunity. Less than one percent of deaf people in Mexico have heard and understood the gospel.
When we arrived the children were still in school so the Magdiel students and our guys started a couple of projects. Waterproofing paint for the roof, building shelves and preparing a bow project. Oh, and painting a classroom.
The kids, when they came out, were a ton of fun. Very shy at first, and of course very quiet, they soon warmed up to our guys, playing basketball, with the natural dads pushing little ones on swings, and of course the inevitable soccer game. Inside there was a bow making session with another group and of students.
Some our guys were quite good at that, I won’t mention names but his initials were MM. in fact I had reports that Mark (oops, I said his name) could have actually have taught the class. Great job Mr Middlestead. (Dang, I did it again).
Then a group of Magdiel boys all went on the rooftop along with a group of POWER men, working together on the waterproof paint. This is a big roof, and rollers were flying everywhere! A great opportunity to forge new relationships. And those Magdiel boys were hard workers. Very cool! And a shout out to Dick Middlestead who, as our eldest member was the first to pick up a roller, and the last to put one down. Well done guys!
A side note…
One thing I noticed about these children is how expressive they are. Really, I guess it goes with the territory. To watch the interaction between them and their teachers was inspiring. Big sad faces when they were wrong, and happy joy when they were right. Big expressions that draw you in irresistibly. And to see them praying in sign is a thing that was beautiful and moving. Amazing! They have melted more than one POWER man’s heart today.
Well, finally at about 1:30, 32 pepperoni pizzas arrived, and everyone had a great lunchtime feast. Lots of laughter and great integration with the guys and the students, sitting at table and telling jokes in Spanish and English, which somehow were understood by both sides.
Eventually we loaded up and took the Magdiel students back to school. They appreciated a day of skipping school for sure. We pulled out of Magdiel at 4:10, and are waiting in line to cross back into the USA. It is now after 6:00 and we are still about 10 vehicles from the checkpoint. Thank you Jesus for watching over us this day in Matamoros! We rejoice in all things, (even in long border crossing waits). Really, this long line has allowed me to cull through my photos for the day (Down to about 300) as well as get this journal up to date. So there!😎
Briefly, and I mean very briefly. I spoke to a couple of guys that went on the other assignment today. It looks like everyone had a blast! They went to a mall on a scavenger hunt with the second year students, really a social time of fun and shopping frenzy. Don’t know if anything was actually bought, they took photos of the items on a list. The day was meant as an encouragement for the second year students, teams of eight just out having fun. Now I do like having fun.! So a great day all around. Okay, so maybe this was not so brief, but if anybody knows me they will tell you I am never brief…
Oh, and for the third year students POWER provided a formal dinner to celebrate their upcoming graduation. Our guys tried to do some of the prep and cook work, but I believe they were thrown out of the kitchen…So 33 students graduating to a life of impact for Jesus. Pastor Mario Perez spoke to them about the challenges ahead and different avenues they can take to serve. From pastors to missionaries, to orphanages or medical outreaches to wherever God leads them, so much opportunity is before them. We pray for all of these graduates that they make maximum impact for the gospel!
And last but not least, in fact these were our big guys, it wouldn’t be a true POWER day without some construction. We sent a van full of men who could drive a straight nail (most of the time) to a church in Matamoros, Templo Emeus to build a large divider wall across a big room, as well as two large bathroom walls. In basically half a day they finished all the framing including the top plate into a steel I beam. And if I know standards of construction south of the border, there is a good chance that nothing was plumb or level when they arrived. But the wall came out great. Constantly amazed by the energy and talent of our construction crews. And a shout out to Cody Gibbs, who comes down every year to prep job sites and and lead crews. He led this crew as well, a humble, quiet and competent brother. Once again, I am inspired.
Finally, being processed across the checkpoint, back in the USA at 6:45👍
9:00! We just finished eating dinner at Golden Corral Buffet…we are big on buffets by the way, at least this one. Met there with a lot of guests, local missionaries and and families. They give and give without reservation and it is an inspiration to see them. Tons of happy conversations and friendship between brothers…
Anyway, we’re just a 10 minute ride from the hotel. Late night duties, prayer group and media people’s sleep time has just gone up. Whoohoo🕺 So back at the hotel for a final meeting with a recap of the day, and a preview of tomorrow. Very successful day, the first time we have done anything outside of the grounds of Magdiel. Out in the city was very cool. Tomorrow, carnival at the orphanage Refugio de Ninos. Another busy and fun day ahead.