Increasing in the Lord
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 – For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
This passage is very true to our ministry journey over these last few months in many ways. We have seen great increase in our ministry. We are also proclaiming God’s blessing over our new land as we continue to minister in the community of San Fernando.
While we have experienced great breakthroughs in our first year of ministry at the Agua Viva campus, there have also been challenges. This community is very rural and very closed to the Christian message. We have recently experienced several incidents of resistance and threats from of a small group who wish to hinder this ministry. Thankfully, God is restoring this situation, but please pray for protection and for the people to see God’s love through us.
One beautiful testimony that came through this time of testing was from a father whose boys attend our ministry activities. In front of the community, he shared how when his boys first began attending Agua Viva’s tutoring program, he was NOT happy. He did not want his Catholic family influenced by these “Christians”. But, he let them attend because they were so eager. He said that now, he can see a difference in his boys’ behavior and in how they have advanced as a result of our program. He challenged the community to see the good of our programs.
The summer months held an abundance of activities – in fact it feels that summer just ended yesterday. Here are some highlights:
We held day camps for the children of San Fernando and were able to reach many new families through this program. We studied how we are all part of the family of God while also participating in sports, games, music and crafts. We were able to provide many first-time opportunities for the children such as eating pizza and visiting the local mall to play arcade games. We celebrated the return of the school year with a huge bash where we hosted almost 200 children from our neighborhood. We had a fun time with inflatables and games, lunch and gave everyone backpacks stocked with school supplies.
We were excited to host the third annual Festiniños camps for all of the churches in our area. Youth camps are proven to be life-shaping events for children. We have seen evidence of this as each year children return with great excitement to encounter God and bringing new children along to experience the move of God. One sweet girl who has attended every year, ran up to hug me when she arrived and shared how she and her friends look forward to this event all year and how they are so thankful to be able to attend.
This was the first big overnight event for our new campground so we had many new bunk beds made to accommodate all the children. Even with this, we still had to borrow beds and put children in tents and on the floor in order to house them all. But no one minded because it was a time of great fun and amazing touches of God which included several healings. Please take a moment to watch this video which shows the testimonies of how God moved in the lives of several children.
The inner city nutrition center was able to rent a new facility which is much safer and with more space for the children to enter all at once, rather than having to wait in line. With this new faculty, we are offering lunch to 200 children each day. Many are also able to stay for homework help rather than rushing back to work.
Working with these children who experience such difficult lifestyles is always surprising. Recently, a child was stopped for violently hitting other children. The child said that he was hitting because “Daddy hits Mommy that way”. We praise God that we get to love these children and give them a warm meal, yet we pray that God will help us reach their families for Christ and allow the Spirit to transform their homes.
At our Agua Viva (San Fernando) campus, we are continuing our after school program on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. We have been able to add more qualified teachers, providing much needed educational assistance to these children. The children study English, Math, Science and the Arts. We hope to soon be able to expand this program to additional days and to offer a nutritious lunch to the children.
Christmas is now approaching and we are planning the third year of the Agape Christmas program where we will provide a Christmas party for 500 children. These are at-risk children from our ministry centers and from other social ministries nearby. For many of them, this will be the only Christmas gifts they receive this season.
Each child will receive a jacket, toys, candy, a nutritious meal and a day if fun. The cost to provide all of this is only $20 per child. Please consider sponsoring a child or several. Click here for information on how to donate.
Thank you everyone for supporting us with your funds and prayers. We could not so any of this without you.
Bobby, Tamitha, Jordan, Jonathan & James