Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Urgent Needs at Felipe Angeles in Juarez, Mexico

The needs here in the community are large, physically and spiritually. This summer, as I managed groups with many different work projects in the community, we (Tim Gamwell and I) look for the needs in the community where mission teams are able to help. There is also a committee of ladies from the area that are set up to manage a co-op of food and clothes as well as keep up with the needs of their own neighborhoods.

About half of the way through the summer, it begins to rain, at least twice a week. This is rain is NUTS. It pours for however long, and then just quits, leaving ruts that you could lose a tire in through the roads and yards. But worse than that, most of us here in Filipe Angeles don’t just see the rain and want to go outside to play in our rain coats and rain boots (like I, myself, once loved to do). That's because we don’t just feel it when we take a walk in a field or on a sidewalk with a sweatshirt while it drizzles. No. We see rain as a constant drip; it destroys our stereos and TVs and rots the wood of the countertops (for those of us that have countertops). We feel it as a new drip forms directly above the mattresses we sleep on, staining all the fabric by the morning.

Please know, this is NOT because we’re not-so-intelligent-Mexicans that don’t have the brains to put a pot or bucket or pan or jar under the drips. Those of us that have it so bad is because their roof has so many holes that they do not have enough pans and pots and buckets and jars to catch all the drips. Also, if it rains all night, it can rain hard enough that you have to wake up every hour to go empty all the water catchers, all because the roofs here are of very low quality, guaranteed to last only 3 yrs. Most of the roofs with holes are at least 6 years old. At the end of the summer, 3 weeks into the rainy season, I had lists from the ladies who found everyone with leaky roofs, and my lists compiled more than 40 families.
Some roofs only need to be patched with roof tar, which - more or less - costs about $17 for a 5 gallon bucket, depending on how many patches they need. These jobs could take a half of a bucket of tar, or two buckets. Other roofs will need tar as well as plywood to replace the rotted and sagging roof, new tar paper and shingling that both come in rolls. If you need to do this with a roof in one or two spots, the materials will be about $50. (This is the average weekly wage here in Juarez). Other houses actually need a entire new roof, beams and all, which could cost between $150 - $200. A good size house here has the square footage of a small-to-average sized living room area in a US home.

Concerning the roofing project, the Missionaries in Training (MIT) Campus, the gas for LCI vehicles, or even the food for the Tapias crew...

when money is given to LCI projects, it goes to the project the Lord has laid on your heart. All of it. We firmly believe that if the Lord desires to fix roofs, He will burden His servants to provide what is necessary, and if He desires our cars to run, He will provide for that too. I personally ask that you don’t just give because I’m telling you about these needs, or out of duty as a "Good Christian." "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills…" please just obey Him, because maybe your neighbor across the street needs this money right now, and maybe this community in Mexico needs to learn that they must come to Christ before any good will come. It is not up to us, so I urge you to listen to His Holy Spirit, and don’t hold back a nickel.

I want to thank you with everything in me. By your interest in what our Lord is doing here, I am humbled, because I am just NOT the guy I wish I was, but PRAISE OUR HOLY FATHER AND HIS SON, BECAUSE HIS GRACE… and I need it.

In His Great Love,


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