Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Orphans - helping out flood victims with food

Hello all,

I wasn’t going to share these photos or this little story but after writing Monday’s 5 Minute Message about the Lord being well pleased with those who share, I decided to make a short blog post and show you guys some photos of the orphans sharing with others.

There was recent flooding in the states of Tabasco and north Chiapas here in Mexico and we wanted to involve the orphans in helping out the affected children and families. (this flooding was basically about the equivalent to the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina…it has been about 3 weeks after the flooding and there are still about ½ million people affected). For three days, there was a food drive here in Teopisca and we took the children up to the market to buy beans, corn, and rice to take to the food drive. We gave two bags t0 each child and they took them to the food drive and had the women at the food drive explain to the children why it is necessary to help out those in need. The children, at least those that could understand, were very excited to help out others that were not as fortunate as them. It was a good day and one that I believe we can build on as we try to continue to teach them the ways of the LORD.

That is all for now...dont fall over at your computer because this update is so short...i will make up for it later :)

May the Lord bless you all today,

Lance and Sarita

at the market getting the beans, corn and rice....

taking the goods to the food drive....

This same day we took the orphans to see our little widow friend Emellia...
oh, and Ricardo got cold so I let him wear my pullover...just a little big dont you think!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dappen Family - Casa de Misericordia (house of mercy)

Hello everyone,

(((pics below)))

I thought it was about time that I updated you guys on what Sarita and I have been up to down here in south Mexico. We have been very busy as of late…actually since we have returned from Dallas we have been on the go more than usual. A few weeks ago, we went and spent time with the Dappen Family. I think that I have mentioned them before but just incase I have not; I will introduce you to them right now.

The Dappen family came to Mexico from the U.S. over 30 years ago to begin their work as foreign missionaries to Mexico. Around 1977 the Dappen family was only 4 strong…today they are 19 strong. The two oldest children live in the U.S. full time and one other is living in Dallas, TX to learn a trade and then will return in the near future. The “original” Dappen family included 10 children and Mr. and Mrs., but over the last decade the Dappen family has adopted 8 Hispanic children. Many of these children have birth defects or other illnesses and frankly were not wanted or claimed by their maternal parents…two of these children have Cerebral Palsy. Mr. Dappen went to be with the Lord last year, very much unexpected, which left Mrs. Lynn Dappen to care for the remaining children. Actually, there are 4 “original” Dappens 19 years of age or older living here in Mexico, so I should say that these 5 are caring for the remaining children…the 5 would be Lynn, Matthew (28), Susan (26), Bobby (23) and Jimmy (19)…Joey (20) is in Dallas.

Praise God that the year before Mr. Dappen went and joined the great cloud of witnesses before him, he was able to see the completion of his vision (at least the first part). The Dappen family spent many many years developing a curriculum for teaching Hispanic children how to read in the home. Actually, the curriculum is not only for children but also for adults; for there are sooooo many adults that can not read or write here in Mexico. The difference in this training material and others, is that this material is biblically based. For each letter of the Mexican alphabet, there is a biblical character, a character quality, a story, the pronunciation, a song, and photographs (there may be more, but I only saw the cd for about 10 minutes…we have one but not with me at the moment). For example, the first letter of the Mexican alphabet is A…so when you click on the “Letter A” you will see the following:

Abraham Agradecido (which means “Thankful Abraham)
A short story about Abraham explaining the characteristic that he possessed
Associated audio for how to pronounce the letter A
A song using words starting with the letter A
And photos and pictures of various items and articles that begin with the letter A: such as avion (plane), agua (water), azul (blue), armadia (raft), alabanza (praise) etc.

(Maybe a verse but I can’t remember)

As you can imagine, this material is greatly needed in this culture for teaching children at home (in other words – home schooling). I mean, how can a parent that can’t read or write themselves, teach their children how to do so. But most importantly, the material is so greatly needed as it incorporates the word of God into each day of instruction. What a great tool, and how gracious is our God to allow Mr. Dappen see the finished product!

The Dappen boys all desire to continue the legacy and vision of their father and it has been such a great blessing for Sarita and me to have met them and to have been able to spend some time with them. The Dappen family just recently moved from the Mexican state of Guerrero to Chiapas state. They live in a city about the size of San Cristobal de Las Cases but 1 hour in the opposite direction. BUT, they must pass through our town of Teopisca on a weekly basis as they travel into San Cristobal; so we should be seeing much more of them in the near future…and on a regular basis.

Two weeks ago, Sarita and I (along with the Dr. Ramiro Marrero family-good friends of ours) went to visit the Dappen family in their new home (a rent house with only three rooms…meaning all the 10 boys are in one room and the girls split into 2 other rooms…can you say cozy!!!…but as the apostle Paul would say, “all for the sake of the gospel.”

The photos below document some of the things we packed into ONE Saturday!

I don’t have photos of our first 2 ½ hours on Saturday with them, but we (meaning the men and boys…all of them) got up a 3:30am and met about another 15 men from their church in a field of corn at 4:00am. They meet Monday – Friday at the church at 5:00am before the men go to work and on Saturdays at 4:00am because many times there is more work to do on Saturday than the rest of the week. We had a great time out under the dark dark skies of Mexico, with only those billions and billions of God’s creation sparkling and illuminating our way…what a glorious morning with my brothers.

These pics are of the Dappen family, the Marrero family and the Keeling family in morning devotions. Every morning, for many years, the Dappen family has gathered for morning devotions before breakfast. Currently they are in the Gospel of Luke. I believe that I understood Matthew to tell me that they usually cover one verse a day. What a blessing it was to be in a room with 26 or 27 or 28 people singing hymns, reading Scripture (particularly the proverb of the day with each person taking a turn to read the next verse) reciting memorized Scripture, listening to the teaching of the word, and of course prayer.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

These photos show us unloading a flatbed FULL of bricks. Directly after breakfast, about 9am, we left the house and headed for the church where they are constructing a second house on the grounds of the church. Man, when I saw the flatbed truck pull up, I started looking around for the forklift that “normally” accompanies the truck…but then I had to rethink again and remind myself that we are not in America anymore. About 45 minutes into unloading this truck, Bobby Dappen got this BRIGHT IDEA (yeah right!!!) to start throwing the bricks up directly from the truck onto the second story building…well guess who ended up on the truck tossing up these bricks…yep, you got it….yours truly. It wouldn’t have been so bad but I didn’t have any gloves and in order to get the brick up to the second story I had to really give it a heave...and even after trying every conceivable way so as not to rip my fingers up, I finally decided that messing up one of my thumbs we better than the other 4 fingers…so I just had to let ‘em fly and not worry about the consequences…until later!!! (still got some skin missing) ok…enough of the whinning right!

By the way, I can write this about Bobby’s idea being real bright because he is already a good friend of mine.

Below you will find pictures of our next task. We got finished unloading the bricks around 11:30am or so and headed out of town about 2 miles to a piece of land that the church owns. The church is building several structures there for a project called “Casa de Misericordia” (translated “House of Mercy”). This House is going to be used for rehabilitation of alcoholics. Eventually this House will be able to accommodate 24 men but right now they want to finish up the first dormitory which will house about ¼ of that…but they are working fast and furious so it shouldn’t take too much time to finish this entire project. Although there are places such as AA in most cities in Mexico (because alcohol abuse is so wide spread), this place is different because the word of God will be preached and proclaimed and shared with all the men that come through there. Let us pray that this project is completed soon!

remember...there were about 10 boys (ages 8-14) that were working on this project this particular Saturday...all of which had been up since 3:30am that morning for prayer...a little different philosophy for the younger ones here in Mexico than in America don´t you think! And i don´t mean just standing around...they were digging, hauling, cutting (with a skill saw...yeaks), hammering, leveling, measuring...you name it and pretty much, they were doing it...

BREAKTIME for lunch!!!! mmmmmmgooood!

can you say....things that you should not be doing!!!

a little of the finished project...finished at night so the photo is not good!

the whole gang!!!!

nada mas