October 25, 2009

Hi Everyone!
It’s Sunday afternoon and I thought I’d get started on this earlier seeing that it seems to take me so long to write these updates. First of all, I’ll let you know that everyone here is just fine. I pray that all who receive this update are doing fine, too, and have experienced God’s blessings in your life this week as we have. What a busy, fun, and great time, we all had working this week. It began Monday with us finally having the funds to visit the wholesale food warehouse and purchase the food needed to stock the food pantry we built in the village of Aningas.
After building the pantry, we had locked it up and given the keys to a Christian woman named Nildete. She has proven her genuine care for the folks in her village. She is also aware of those in the village whose needs are desperate because she visits each house weekly, as a health official for the government. We know that she’ll be fair and responsible in distributing the food to those who have nothing. She was with us on Friday and told us that the town surrounded her house when they found out she was the key holder. She had to make it clear to them all, that this was just for the desperate who had no food for their families. Having made that announcement, she promptly sent them all home with nothing.
We arrived in Aningas Tuesday morning with the supplies for the food pantry, and sat in on a meeting that Nildete had called. It was made up of government people, a woman who presently teaches sewing as an instructor in a nearby town, and about sixty folks from the village. The government woman promised to help, the locale woman promised to teach, and we promised the resources as a loan, giving them the means to get started. Wednesday we picked up Nildete and went to the nearby town to see a co-op that is presently up and running successfully. We were able to see how it all functions and also get a list of the things needed to get the woman in Aningas started. There’s presently a building in the village where they will be able to set up and work. It’s structurally a good building, but will need some repairs and modifications before this is able to happen. It will need a ton of lights installed and a fair amount of electrical work. Somehow we have to get rid of all the bats that have made this building their home. They need cutting tables, special industrial type sewing machines, and I really want to give the building a coat of paint. We also got a promise from a local reliable clothing vender, that he would sub out work to the woman once they were set up and had been trained.
When we arrived to pick up Nildete on Wednesday morning, she brought us a young boy form the village and asked for our help. His name is Leandro, and in a matter of two days, he had lost his eyesight. They had no idea how or why this happened. He is an orphan that lost his mom and dad to alcohol when he was ten. Presently, he’s living with his older sister who is a single parent of three young ones. At seventeen, his labor is their only means of putting food on the table everyday; and now he’s blind. As scared as he was about losing his eyesight, he was also very nervous about a visit to the doctor’s. Never in his life had he seen any kind of physician or even ventured outside the little village of Aningas. We got him into the city and brought him to a cornea specialist, who told us that this was something he had never seen before. He had heard of rare cases when this would happen in one eye, but never both. Apparently, he has toxins in his blood, caused by some type of infection. He gave Leandro antibiotics and two other prescriptions. Along with that he also ordered a battery of tests. Friday morning we were up at the crack of dawn so we could have him to the lab by seven. And so this begins the process needed to figure out what has caused his blindness.
Thursday we left the house with two hundred and fifty sandwiches, our cooler of milk, sandals for the barefoot, bars of soap, toothbrushes, powered milk for the babies, and cous cous; all this for the street kids who have become our friends and who have become a burden on our heart. Once again we ran out of our provisions and had to skip one of our stops because we had nothing left to give the kids.
Remember the stop where I got tangled up in a street fight last week? We were approaching that stop, a little apprehensive about what might await us this week. Caroline was a little scared so we prayed that God would allow us to feed the kids without incident. Instead of a street brawl, we crossed paths with two boys we had never seen before. They told us that the intersection they normally work was a mess because of street construction. They took their last two dollars and boarded a bus, to come to the other side of the city. They made their choice, left the bus, and began to work an intersection they had never worked before.
We could immediately see a spirit about these two that was very different from the rest. They stood and waited for us while we served the others gathered around the car. When we were done with this, they asked to talk to us. They introduced themselves as Levi and Lesseo. They explained how they had come to this intersection. They both told us that they had asked God to prove that He cared about them, just last week. They told us that they felt that God had sent them to us and that He was showing them that He cared for them because they were getting a lunch and some supplies. They asked us if we were serving God, so they could know for sure that He cared for them. What a thrill it was to be able to tell them that, yes, we are God’s servants and oh, how He loves you! Their response was to tell us that they wanted God more than anything else in the world. Their life was awful. They had both gone for over a month without taking drugs, but they were petrified that they would begin again. They said that only God could rescue them and free them from their horrible life on the streets. We told them that, in their current condition, they were lost. We told them that they needed to be saved; and we explained what that meant. We told them how God hates the condition they’re in and how He gave everything He had to free them from their sin and free them from the power of the world and Satan. I watched them wipe the tears from their eyes as together they openly said we want God in our life. We told them that God’s salvation is a free gift, quoting Ephesians 2:8. Lesseo said, “I accept it.” Levi said, “I, too, accept it.” We, slightly dazed, offered to bring them to the rehab. center where Bruno is, in Pium. Monday morning at 10:00 a.m., Lord Willing, we will go to their regular neighborhood and pick them up.
Please pray for Levi and Clesseo. We believe God sent them to us because they’re truly searching. It would be wonderful, if along with Bruno, these two have truly accepted the Lord as their personal Savior. It will be a relief to see them tomorrow morning, to know that they are serious about what they said, and to see them off the streets and at a place that preaches the Gospel faithfully several times a day.
Before we pick up Levi and Clesseo tomorrow morning, we have to go to Aningas and pick up Leandro and bring him to the lab in Natal for more blood tests. It’s always a good idea to get there at opening time; the waiting room is always packed full of people and the lab closes at 11:00 whether you are seen or not.
We have also been looking at cars whenever we have free time; that has been hard for me because the cars here are boring. I have always been a car guy and there’s nothing here that I can get even remotely excited about. Along with their nondescript looks, these cars cost a fortune. For the price of a Toyota Corolla, I would be able to buy a Mercedes S-500. We will have to settle on something though because we’re spending a fortune on rentals and the cars we have don’t really serve the purpose needed for our work here.
Once again I’ve done my best to help you all understand the accomplishments of this past week. The days are so full, but it’s very satisfying to lay your head on the pillow at the end of the day and know that what you’re feeling is a good kind of tired.
Please don’t forget to pray for us and some of the very specific burdens that I mentioned in this update. We will continue to remember our family at home and pray God’s blessing on you all.
Good night.
Love in Christ,
Mark,Lori, Caroline and William

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