Greetings from beautiful Morelia Mexico!
It's a cool but sunny morning. We have been busy with small groups of classes, staff Bible study and outreach to our community.
We continue to give away food bags every month in different areas in and around Morelia. And we continue to have our "Heart to Heart support a child program. We are also starting up a new ministry to give school scholarships to young people who have faithfully participated at the Victory Center. These young people would not be able to continue studying without some financial help. And we are opening up a short term loan ministry to families who have had to close or reduce their family business as a result of the pandemic.
This is Liz. She's been a participant of the Victory Center ministry since she was just a little girl. She's now going into 9th grade. She is compassionate, joyous and a gifted leader.
Yesterday as I drove her and another youth up to our leadership camp Liz shared some of her heart with me. She said, "Susan, can I tell you something? I'm scared that I don't know how to socialize anymore. I don't know what to say to people. I used to be outgoing but now I feel very stressed when I'm around people. I've been closed up in my house for so long." So many young people are overwhelmed with interacting with others after not having much contact with people during the pandemic. I thanked her and encouraged her for taking this step to be interactive even when it stresses her a bit.
A little while later Liz said, "Susan, can I ask you something? Why am I here and not some of the more "popular" girls. I expected to see so and so here or this other girl but they're not here and I am. Why is that?"
I was surprised to hear the insecurity in her voice and to realize that she was struggling to see her own potential. I shared with her that we had made a list of the people we thought might be invited to this training and then we began to pray and ask God who He would have come. I told her that she was chosen to come because of her loving heart and openness to God. And I told her that God knew what she needed, when she needed it. She was surprised that God would choose her.
Our leadership camp theme is: Who is God and who am I? Liz is one of six young people at camp this week learning just who God is as their creator, father, friend and savior. And learning who they are in Jesus. What a perfect topic for young people who are struggling with their Identity after being isolated for so many months. God knows what we need, He knows when we need it.
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Each month we learn of more and more people with great need for a little extra help. We continue to give out food boxes in various ministry areas. Sometimes receiving food is a blessing and a challenge. So many people need the support but struggle with the idea of receiving "charity".
It has been our joy to remind these people that this food does not come from a person nor an organization but rather from our loving God who touched many hearts to send donations because He wants them to know that He is there for them. That He, the Lord God almighty loves them and sees their challenges.
As we share, many of them have opened up and shared with us their problems and heart heaviness. It is a privilege to be able to listen, share and pray.
For many years I had a very special woman support me in the ministry of the Victory Center. Fatima was the cook at the Victory Center during the time that we worked as a girls home for street girls.
After several years she had a chance to make the long trip to visit us. Some of the girls and their families came by to spend some time with us. It was so wonderful to see them all. (Shortly after visiting us, Fatima was diagnosed with breast cancer. Please keep her in your prayers)
My dear friends Miguel and Fabi have been called to the mission field right here in Mexico. They have moved to an area about five hours away where they are helping out in a country church leading praise and worship, youth group and helping out at an outlying church mission in an area overrun by drug traffickers.
We miss them so much but at the same time we are excited for them as they step out in faith to live a new life adventure.
Both Erika and I have started offering individual classes (in a socially distanced and safe way) to kids that are in one way or another struggling with online classes. As time goes by they're getting the hang of it but boy has it been difficult to learn all the ins and outs of studying online.
Many of our families do not have the finances to be able to pay for internet. That means that their child just receives a text message once a week with assignments for them to do before the end of the week. Without a clear explanation of these assignments, the kids are really lost, frustrated and overwhelmed. We are doing our best to help them advance in their classes. This is no small feat as we seem to be almost as confused as they are on how the system should work.
My dear friends, you are often in my prayers. I know that many of you have been strongly affected by the pandemic in one way or another. I pray for you to be encouraged in heart, to know God's provision in your lives and to experience the presence of the Lord in these difficult times.
** Continued financial provision for food for the poor.
(give here: https://uwm.org/projects/65498/ )
** Healing for Fatima and for the Doctors to have wisdom.
** That I would know how to best help the people we serve.
May your day be rich in the knowledge of God's tremendous love for you.