1 Peter 4:10

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Friday, December 26, 2008

December's newsletter

Moving forward

I’m taking our worn down mini –van down the dirt and rock road, on my way home from interpreting at a bible school for our deaf Pastor Carlos. I bottom out a few times, but it goes with the territory and my mind wanders to the bumpy road it’s been since our last letter to you in May. *whew*

Like the road, it’s been rough. It’s the first anniversary of when Carlos lost his wife-my best friend- and he was left with his two young children and a small but growing deaf congregation—Many people ask how he is doing. He is moving forward and keeping so busy that he is perpetually exhausted.
Then, during our summer trip, Lonnie got so bad, he was continuing to lose weight and had no strength or energy—It got real scary, and he was hospitalized a couple of times -so we had to look at some serious questions about whether or not we could move forward too.

Out of necessity, the deaf ministry was scaled down during this time so we could focus on family,-but the ministry continues. When we are not at doctor appointments we’ve been busy with interpretations, Sunday worship, continuing to meet with Pastor Carlos on a weekly basis and being a help to him as much as possible, and we’ve set a tentative date for our next deaf women’s retreat for April.

The good news is God answers prayers and on January 9th Lonnie is scheduled to receive a kidney from his brother Kerry from Missouri. We anticipate at least three months of recovery—but after that everyone expects a full recovery and Lonnie will go back to being “normal” again—at least as normal as Lonnie ever was. ;-)

Lonnie’s brother is sacrificing more than his kidney. So Lonnie and I are raising funds to cover some of his lost wages—if you’d like to help- please make a check out to Baja Compassion with a note or memo indicating that it is for Kerry.

We ask that you cover Lonnie and the family- extended and otherwise -in prayer during this time!

Thanks all!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A baby boy born.

OK - I'm cheating since I didn't think to pull out my camera the last two times Rita came by with her new baby boy (Born August 6) - but little Nelson looks very much like his sister pictured here.

And Rita looks just as happy!
She went to church on Sunday (amazingly, and against all the cultural norms here! A mere 4 days after her boys birth) and then she came over afterwards and I had the honor of teaching her how to nurse her baby.
This is her third baby and she formula feed her others. She said that she tried to ask the nurse in the hospital for help but they couldn't do it. They tried, apparently, and failed. But, really, they were quick learners and the baby latched on with just a few adjustments.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

From the Pastor

CC Horizonte deaf ministry. The deaf congregation continues to grow with a faithful attendance of about 25 people, and that has been the amazing hand of God! Also, God is working in the hearts of the hearing congregation of CC Horizonte and they to are starting to join with us! I truly believe that God has used Virginia’s passing to capture the attention of our deaf. Before they believed that they had plenty of time, and now we see a change in their attitude, aware now that their life is a gift and they may be called to account for it at any time.

The deaf are learning so much, yet we come into the same difficulty that they get caught up in the difficulty they have to read and understand the bible. My heart really wants to make a Mexican Sign Language (LSM) bible on video. It’s very needed because the deaf culture doesn’t just pick up and use books like the hearing culture does. To pick up and read a bible to study it is a foreign idea. They are much more visual and pictures and videos are an easy means of obtaining information. But I find myself so overwhelmed and my energies spent. Plus, there are some signs in LSM I don’t know, so I don’t feel my vocabulary is up to par. I really need your prayers in this area.

Likewise, the deaf being so visually tuned, I have a great need for a laptop with a portable projector so that I can make my studies on the computer and then project them onto a screen, and make the lessons more accessible and comprehensible to the deaf.

Nevertheless it’s exciting; right now 4 hearing people from the church are learning about deaf culture, learning sign language and little by little are getting involved, hopeful to help with interpretation in the future! These 4 have been faithful to Tuesday night sign class which I teach. I teach this class at no cost, no profit to myself, it is a ministry for such a time as this.

I have a praise God for our group of about 40 people, both hearing and deaf, that went to Rancho Sordo Mudo two weeks ago. 40! That was an awesome show of support and it was a very pleasant time enjoyed by all. We hope that it touched them and inspired them with the need to GO! Praise God.

Family: with Virginia gone I’ve been grappling with the question “Now what.” Where we live the house is too big for me. Yet I don’t want to leave Ensenada, move to another place, no, instead me and my family will continue to live here. Because the deaf are here, and the ministry goes on. So please be praying for us, that God leads us to another house that we can afford and the right size. Meanwhile I am learning how to be a single parent, and what they say is true, it is not easy! With my attentions going towards the children and trying to continue with the ministry here, I’m finding I need to relearn my balance . . . like learning to walk again.

Leilani and Jerimias? Leilani continues at school, and now Jerimias has joined her. I have explained to both of them that their mother has gone to heaven. Still, they both will come to me to ask question about their mother. Leilani understand her mom is in heaven, although she misses her greatly. And she will go through highs and lows. But Jerimias will come to me again and again asking where mom is. So again and again I explain that she went to heaven, and then he comes back with the question “mom went to heaven” . . . ah yes, he is 3 and will be 4 in August, so the understanding will come, it’s just taking some time.

I can not thank you enough for the generous support you have shown towards me and my family. It has been a struggle and your generous giving has been lifesaving. Please continue to pray for this support to continue, I am tempted to get a job, but I just don’t know how I would be able to fit it in. I would appreciate, if you feel that God is sharing something with you to share with me, please feel free to tell me. And again thank you all, and do not stop praying now! We have only just begun.

Friday, June 6, 2008

So . . . what is going on?

We are so excited to have our first group come down!

They are expected this last week in June.

With them we are busy planning a surprise baby shower for Rita (deaf) who is due with her third baby in August and her husband (also deaf) is out of work.

Also we are going to have a deaf BBQ social open to all the deaf around . . . I'm really hoping that we see some new faces then!
It is just so exciting -

Oh, and one more thing before we go - I just relayed a call for Rita's husband to inquire about a job and they said that he should come down, fill out an application and they have interpreters there standing by !!!!

So he is on his way now.

Go ahead, cover him in prayer. He needs the job.

I am so excited about this; Mario (Rita's husband) just got back, and he said that he got the job! And those other interpreters? A hard of hearing young man who is a close friend of ours! How cool is that?!
God be praised.

Our May newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

A new face was in church last Sunday. A young man maybe about 13, tall, skinny, curly black hair. He was with his dad, who seemed to know a few signs. This young deaf youth seems to know less. You could tell he was a bit shy about being with us.

I wonder if this is the same young man that was mentioned to me by another mother from my daughter’s school. I gave my sign language book away to be given to this youth and his family. They didn’t want to send him to the residential deaf school near by, and instead, tried to mainstream him without the help of an interpreter—only now they are hitting a wall, because he seems to be getting nowhere. Praise God he’s here now!

It’s a “Praise God” post folks!

The deaf congregation is growing every week! And the interest that the hearing congregation is starting to grow. A couple is studious in learning sign, and wanting to take a part in the deaf congregation a little bit, more and more, and there are others . .

The deaf women's retreat was such a blessing to all! Yamile Grey from Washington state was our guest speaker full of God’s Spirit and a heart, which she left here when she went back. We were 11 in all. And thanks to Grace of Seal Beach we were able to treat these ladies to a special treat out at a fancy restaurant to tie into our theme of “Come, Dine with Me.” (thank you!) We were able to minister to new Christians in the faith, and minister to some old hurts—God’s grace was abundant!

Plus we have started our deaf women’s bible study that meets in our home, sometimes Yamile leads the study via web cam! Yamile signs so fast that her hands are often a blur! So full of God’s passion! What a blessing!

And suddenly it is summer. In June we are busy making preparations with a visiting church group. Among other things, we are planning a barbeque outreach to reach more deaf in the area. Then we are planning our trip up North to visit friends, family and churches. Sharing what God is doing here and catching up with everyone . . . We are so excited! If you are interested in us sharing with your church, let us know!

Carlos and his family are doing well. His little 6 year old girl has had the hardest time with the loss of her mother, but she lead her class in a signed song for a public performance last Sunday. When I spoke to her teacher afterwards, her teacher said that she really started to come back to life as she was able to teach those around her sign. So please keep them in prayer.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

when God fills in the gaps

Often - and I do mean often - I feel like I am barely getting by.
You know, that you are doing so many things that you are doing little well.
Well, every since my friend Virginia passed away, my efforts towards the deaf women's retreat have been half hearted.
She was my co-conspirator - ya know?

Enough people wanted the women's deaf retreat to happen that I quite literally trudged on. This time planning with a co-missionary interpreter, Yesenia. She also is a mother to three young boys. So between that mother and this one, I'd say our planning and organization could best be described as "winged".

But you know, God filled in every gap where we missed it . . . . the speaker, Yamile Grey, was a deaf, on-fire, spirited Colombian who really really had a heart for these ladies.
We had 7 women come - so including us (Yamile, Yesenia and myself) we were 11. That is Grrreat, really!

The place right on the ocean was beautiful, and God really anointed the classes.
It was thrown together, but came out beautifully.

One special note, back when Virginia and I were first planning this we had said that if we could get a church to sponsor it we'd like to surprise all the ladies to a fancy dinner since our theme was "Come dine with Me."

After she passed away I was able to get that sponsoring so then my next task was to find a restaurant to take them to. I was blessed to be able to work a deal with what in downtown Ensenada is considered one of the more fancy-er places to eat "El Rey Sol". French/Mexican cuisine and french decor - The women LOVED IT! They said they felt like queens!

They kept taking pictures of the entrees as they came in.

I took a moment and pointed out that this is exactly what Virginia had hoped for them. And although we wish she where here with us, we knew she was at a banquet much finer than this . . .

Yesenia said "Thanks for making us cry, Michelle"

It was a blessed time.

Now for pictures!

There is one picture thrown in here of a close up of me - very non-flattering - it is a shot of an allergic reaction I had to who-knows-what that made my eyes swell up. The picture is actually of me doing better, but you can still see the puffiness . . .
And the baby is mine. The only guy allowed on this trip because he's still nursing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From the Pastor

Dear Friends,

First and foremost I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for the great support in both monetary form and in the much desired prayer! And also the support via the kind words, your comfort, your shows of your care for me, this ministry and my family . . .

The time from when my beloved Virginia got sick until her death was a mere 56 days.

On December 14 she went to bed with a very bad head ache. At about 8:30 the next morning, December 15th, after a restless night where the head ache did not go away, she was making her way to the bathroom and fell unconscious.

My family, my friends, my church and several different groups help me to pay for the medical cost and other expenses. Virginia’s mother came to stay by Virginia’s side and help care for her.

During this time there was a man who came by selling tamales. He is a regular to our door, coming every Saturday, and a Christian too. We’d communicate by writing our messages back and forth – but he had an interest in learning sign, so Virginia and I would teach him some sign language whenever he came by.

He was able to share with Virginia’s mother about Jesus. Since she does not know sign, our attempts had fallen . . . well - on deaf ears, or more accurately, a deaf heart. It had been a long time prayer of Virginia’s for her salvation, and this man was able to lead her to Christ! When I told Virginia about this, at that time Virginia was able to sign with one hand, and she said “No, you lie!” When I assured her I was not, Virginia was so happy!

Then my daughter had her 6th birthday January 15th, and we carried the cake into the room where Virginia was and showed her the cake, and blew it out with our little family crowded around Virginia’s bed.

Also my wife had her birthday on the 31st of January. It was amazing to see how many friends came, both hearing and deaf! Our home was PACKED with well wishers! Unfortunately, she was in a great deal of pain. 4 days later she spiked a high fever and was vomiting. It was now the 4th of February and we took her to the general hospital.

Oh! so many things went wrong at this point . . . and as she worsened we had her moved, with Rancho Sordo Mudo’s director Luke Everett’s help, to a private hospital where she would get better care. That was Thursday afternoon. On Saturday the 9th of February she died.

We would have celebrated 9 years of marriage on the 20th of February.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Update on my dear friend Virginia.
She got a feeding tub put in her nose today.
She's not out of the woods yet.
And I am working on the deaf women's retreat. I should be working with her and every moment, every decision that I'm making, and all the planning makes me miss her more.
She would be so glad to hear how well things are falling into place.
We have a guest speaker coming. Her name is Yamile Grey.
There is a good possibility that we will be having the retreat here!
Now to raise funds for a surprise for the ladies at the end of it, and air fare for our guest speaker. . .
Virginia needs to be a part of this.
Keep praying!