Thursday, December 31, 2009


Wow, how to summarize our week so far? It's been hard for us to keep up with the blog because we have been so busy, and the internet connection hasn't always cooperated. I will try to summarize some of our experiences.

Saturday: As you probably have heard, it snowed all day in Chicago and our flight was delayed. It kept changing but eventually we took off a few minutes before midnight Chicago time (we were scheduled to take off at 6:39). There were a bunch of flights that were cancelled so there were long lines of people trying to get their flights changed so they could get to their destination. We finally got to bed around 4:30 AM local time, 6:30 AM Fort Wayne time :(.

Sunday: We were supposed to go to two church services on Sunday. One in the morning in El Paso at a large church that seats ~3500 and then one in the afternoon in Guadalupe, Mexico. Since we got in so late, we skipped the morning service and went to the one in Mexico in the afternoon. What a joy to worship with them even tho we could understand very few words. Their worship band was great and they did several songs that we knew. However, we all found it very difficult to remember the English words as they were singing the Spanish version. Afterwards we went to the orphanage and Steve Brewer gave us a tour and shared his vision for the orphanage in it's finished version. He said it is 90% complete but the opening will just depend on groups continuing to "put hands to the work".

Monday & Tuesday: Several people have shared some of the things we have done, so I will just add a few comments. It takes about 30 minutes for us to get to the orphanage from the "Outpost". The road the last few miles is a winding, bumpy, washboarded, potholed dirt road. We take 3 vans which are usually driven by Quinn, Duane, and Tom (from New Jersey). Tuesday night on the way back in the dark and mud (it had rained and snowed that day) we had a flat tire so had to pile 40 people in two 15 passenger vans in order to cross the border and get back to the Outpost. Our worship in the mornings after breakfast and before devotions has been awesome! The food has been great (homemade salsa, red and green, is to die for). The snow on Tuesday morning was surreal.

Wednesday: Quite a bit has been said so again just a few comments. The market was basically empty. Quinn said all the other groups that used to come to this market have stopped and they are the only group coming. Many vendors spoke good English and fun to interact with. The S Mart where we bought the rest of the food for Mercy Day was impressive. One of the more popular things for the locals were the homemade tortillas. They were right inside the front door and they had a machine they put the dough in and the finished tortillas came out the other end. They were being sold as quickly as they were being made. On the journey from Juarez to Mercy Day our van got very quiet as we witnessed some violence alongside the road. Three men were being beat up for what reason we're not quite sure. Quinn and his wife Lisa said that is the first time they have seen something like that. What a blessing to be able to give out ~40lbs of food to needy families! I don't think anyone went home empty-handed which is what we prayed for. I can almost see and hear the sounds as we circled up afterwards to pray. The sunset was absolutely beautiful, the full moon was coming up, we were praying as Duane, Steve B, Abbey (Tappestries staff member) and Steve B laid hands on a local pastor and blessed him with an offering we had taken up. I will always remember the children as they came thru the line. Katrina and I were down towards the end handing out crayons. We had to pry open their bags in order to put in our gifts because they kept dropping stuff as they despartely tried to clutch on to them without putting them into the bag.

Thursday: It was a sunny day probably in the low 50s. On the way to the orphanage we stopped at TOL warehouse and Steve showed us the 5390 lb. Amethyst gemstone that will eventually go in the foyer of the orphanage - beautiful!

It has been a great week and a joy to have this opportunity with my daughter Katrina. Happy New Year! Thank you Jesus!


Mexico Missions

We are winding down, our last day at the orphanage is tomorrow and so far this trip has been amazing. We have made friendships that will last forever. I have been humbled and inspired by those who run Tapestries of Life and those who have been on this trip. We were joined by people from Minnesota and New Jersey and they have enriched the experience beyond words. For myself, this has been a life altering experience. I have felt the Holy Spirit speak through me as never before and it is the most incredible feeling. There is a wall around the orphanage grounds that is a 1 mile walk and when I felt called to make my walk today, I felt closer to God than I thought possible in my limited, human sense of feeling. There are more stories than I can tell in a short message but I want to leave those reading with one thought.....if you think something is missing in your life or in your relationship with the Lord, come down will not be dissappointed and you will be changed forever.

Blessing on all,
Carol Wells

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Day

This Day has been moving in so many ways, from disturbing and sad to exhilarating and touching. It's been a day full of emotions that have reached into the corners of our hearts.

We witnessed the anger of men against men and we prayed for them as we drove past. It is not a common sight, we were told, yet it was gripping to watch. We looked into the eyes of women, men, and children as we gave them food that their stomachs had ached for...., many had not eaten much in days. They were all thankful, proud people who had a quiet strength that most of us can only hope to possess.

We complain about things that seem so earth-shattering, but I imagine that the view would change tremendously if we were to step into any of their shoes. They have so very, very little and yet their love of God is rich and obvious. I hugged children who are so incredibly gorgeous, and I shared unspoked compassion and love with women and men who are no different than we are. I will never forget This Day.

Visiting the People of Mexico

Hola amigos of Fort Wayne Indiana! Hopefully this is meeting you all healthy and excited. :) I have felt lead to write on the blog about what God is doing and how he is using the three churchs who have met to serve our awesome God and the people of Mexico.
This morning: Most of us woke up tired. Had Breakfast and a meeting on what was going to happen today. After all of our morning chores and preperations we headed off toward Juarez to visit the markets of Mexico. An excperience I am sure most of us won't soon forget. The minute the people saw our van they started crowding, pointing us to park near their shop, and collecting their best goods just for us. You see, we were the answer to thier prayers. Many of them have them have not earned enough to feed thier family because the once great customers are now tourist to scared of the violence and sickness to vacation in Mexico. Even missionaries, like us, have avoided serving out there. In fact, we are one of the first groups in a long time to bless them in this way . The minute we stepped out we were swarmed by people. Young and old alike. Six year olds were trying to sell us what few things the had just to be able to have a meal that day, maybe even that week. All of us immeditaly gave into thier bribes and 'deals'. We shopped up and down, and all around. The minute you stopped to glance at something there was hope for the owner that you might want somthing, so they immediately started telling us about why we should buy it, why it is such a great price and so on. The hardest thing of the entire visit was saying , " No, not today." . There were so many who needed blessed with our money, and so many who didn't get a sale.

After a lot of 'oohs' and 'ahhhs' and 'no thank yous' we left for the supermarket (somewhat like Walmart). We got so much food and we packed so much food. I was sure we would have plenty but when I got to where we would be handing stuff out I was almost postive there would not be enough. There were starving poeple all the way from six months old to probably somwhere around seventy. My heart broke for everybody there, and was afraid we were going to have to turn people down; and these were starving people. The children ran towards the big Ford to come greet us all. I was worried I would have to say, " We dont have anymore food for you." But God has got it all in his hands. We prayed and got started. Half way through I looked at the bananas. I didn't want to turn down these grateful kids, but was still scared of it happening. But God knows what he was doing. After about an hour and a half the kids stopped coming. The man who was controling the line said, " no more chicas, no chicos.". There were was so much extra food, so we started giving extras to the last families in line. We still had lots left over, so we gave even more. After much handing out and being touched by many people, everyone got muchas cameta (much food). God wasn't going to let those eager people down. We are all positive he blessed that food.

Before I let you go I must tell you about our blessing; Nakashima or also nicknamed 'Thank You Jesus', and this is why. She finishes almost every sentence with a , 'Thank you Jesus'. She is so grateful of so many little things. If we all just broke out into laughter, she ends the noise with a 'Thank you Jesus, for happyness.' . She was grateful for everything, and I think we need to be like her. There is soooooooo much us Americans take for granted. Little things are given from God too, and when he blesses we need to recognize it, and thank him. I am sure all of us saw the same thing in this woman who is burning for Christ.

I want to finish this with a few prayer requests. First of all, there was this young boy who came through the food line crying. Shocked, we asked him what was wrong, and our hearts broke for this child when he replied that his mother just recently died, and he has no where to go. Join us as we pray for this boy, so that he will be able to see the warmth in the love of Christ ( if he has not already) and that God will just bless his socks off.
Continue praying for us, as we are working in the Casa de las Gemas, also known as the House for the orphaned Gems. There is alot that needs to be done still, but with God, we can do all things through him, who strengthens us.
Gracias amigos, for your support, thoughts and prayers. God bless you all!
Thank you Jesus,

Mercy Day, plus misc

Today was an amazing experience and truly eye opening. It was Mercy Day. Because I have not been able to blog up until this point I feel the need to give a little background information leading up to this eventful day. The staff here is AWESOME, sorry need for caps on that (teenager impulse). The staff at the orphanage and not lodging with us is as follows (apologies for misspelled names to come): Eddie, Germon, Leo, Ulga, MariCruis, Sandra, and Starfish.

I cannot seem to get the pictures in order as I wrote this. The first picture is of the kitchen ladies, the second has all three of the guys (depicting Leo), and then a picture of Germon playing the guitar and the last one is of Eddie.

As I am sure you have heard from others already Eddie is one of the staff members who helps with the manual labor. He plays the drums at the church we went to on Sunday. His English is impressive and he is overall a great guy to be around.

Germon is also one of the staff members who helps with the manual labor. He plays guitar at the church we went to on Sunday. His English is good and he also is overall amazing to be around.

Leo is the clown of the bunch down here. His English is poor but he is able to be understood just fine. His personality shines through no matter what. All three of the guys are extremely funny but Leo's humor sticks out to me I guess. I don't have a good picture of him but in this one is the one holding a coffee mug.

The kitchen ladies down here make great food. Breakfast is American and so is dinner, lunch is Mexican (yum, spicy!). This is a picture of all of them together after a meal.

Now that you have survived more of the information others have surely given, time for Mercy Day information (crowd applauds in background). Before we bought food for the giving at the plaza, we stopped by a local market. Sad news, we were the only ones there as far as I could see. There were children who quickly gathered around our group when we arrived selling necklaces and bracelets and all sorts of things. Once we were able to escape from the children (after buying goods of course) we walked through the market. It was dead. The people were desperate for us to buy from them, we were the only ones supporting their families. It sadden me because markets should be full of people and lively and joyful, laughing and having a great time.

It was hard to say no to them. Even after repeating "no thank you" they insisted that we have a look at their merchandise. These people, trying to earn a honest living, were being put out of business because of the violence showed on the news. These people's families were going hungry because of the violence on the news. Children are suffering because of the decrease in tourism, because of the violence on the news.

After enjoying ourselves in the market and helping the families that we could, we most of us ate lunch at one of the local restaurants. I had a fabulous cheese enchilada and chips with guacamole.

Our group left the market and went to a local grocery store to buy the food to give out to the people. There we bought food if we hadn't already eaten (and if we had). My dad (Stan) and I had some wonderful frozen custard, I had cookies and cream and he had strawberry. We also had some wonderful bakery goods, a churro and a custard filled pastry.

Once the loading of the food was finished we headed to the plaza. We began setting up the food stands, one side had things for children to keep with toys and such, the other side had food for families. Each person was given a post and had to hand out the assigned object. I was assigned to crayons in the children's line.

As the children walked through the line with their smiles I handed them their crayons and talked (with limited Spanish) to them. There was one little girl who sticks in my memory, Martia. As she came to my spot in the line she got this huge smile on her face, eyes wide open, and softly whispered "crayons" with such joy on her face it hurt my heart. When I was a child I did not think so much of crayons and here Martia was and I had just made her year. There was a little boy, not sure what his name is, who had tears in his eyes as he came to me and as I gave him his little box of crayons his smile widen (I didn't think it was possible) and he held those tight and I am sure no one would have been able to snatch them away.

Almost every child that came to me didn't want to put the crayons in their bag, they wanted to hold on to them as if they were afraid they would lose them. They would grip them tight and hold it close to them. By giving them a simple box of crayons I had just made their day, or week, or year. Growing up always having crayons available when I wanted made this experience even more touching.

We had bought enough food for about 350 people, many more had come and each gone away with food, everyone was touched. God answered my prayer, and I am sure many others, I asked Him to multiply the food and toys so every child, woman, and man would be blessed with our supplies.

Throughout the day not only were the people blessed, but I was blessed. I got hugs from children I had never met before I got smiles as wide as the sky, and tears of joy from little ones. Today has been amazing, no, it has been more than amazing, it has been indescribable. It has been God's day.

God Bless You All,

a few thoughts...

Thank you for following the blog and more importantly, the stories of those who are here serving. It is because of your support that this is possible. There is so much that I would like to say, but I will leave that for another time. Others from the group will share tonight. I believe you will here incredible stories from their journies. God is big, bigger than I'm willing to acknowledge sometimes, but I'm growing. I am incredibly proud of the team that is here. They have worked hard, very hard, they have loved people unreservedly, and they have served with the most contagious & fun attitudes though it all. It would be easy for me to continue, but allow me to pass the blog & may God touch your heart as you continue to read the stories.

Pastor Duane

P.S. Amber, if you are able, will you please add the song that Genny mentioned to the blog. Thanks and thank you for creating such a beautiful blog for the team, they appreciate it very much!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stairway to Heaven

First off, this is my first time blogging, so...please bear with me as I try to speak my heart. Secondly, I really wanted to share this yesterday, however, we had to make a late night run to Wal-Mart. As we were crossing the boarder back to the U.S. side, we spoke to an extremely nice CPB (Customs and Boarder Patrol) agent. He informed us that if we were planning on coming back the following day, we should be prepared to dress warmly. The forecast was for five inches of snow and for the temps to stay below 30. We were suddenly scrambling for warmer clothes, hats, gloves, long undies! Anyway, as a result, I did not get to blog the amazing time I had with my Lord and Savior in the Stairway at the orphanage. To begin my story, I have to go back a few months. After Pastor Steve Brewer came to our church and spoke his heart about the orphanage here and I had already committed to come on the trip, I had a dream. In the dream I was scraping a concrete floor under a stairway. I didn't think much of the dream at the time. I thought it was a might bit weird that I was dreaming about doing manual labor, but I have a lot of really strange dreams so...Fast forward to yesterday. We were given the choice of what tasks we wanted to work on for the week. We could drywall, paint, sand wood work, tile, and many more odd jobs that needed to be completed. I thought that I would like to learn how to do tiling. I filed along with my other fellow tilers to La Bodega (the warehouse). We selected the tools we would need to complete the work that the Lord set before us. Before any tile could be layed, we needed to prepare the floor to receive it by chiseling off anything that made the floor uneven. I grabbed my knee pads, chisel, ear plugs and saftey glasses and started to work. It didn't take long for me to forego the ear plugs for my ipod. I was working away at the even surface. I was facing south working on the far wall. I then turned my attention on the west side of the stairway. I was in the same position that I had been in, in my dream several months ago. I had an overwhelming feeling come over me, that the Lord was in control and had me right where He wanted me to be. The song that I was listening to on my ipod was "Set the World On Fire" by Britt Nicole. You will have to bear with me as I take the time to copy the lyrics for you.

I want to set the world on fire,
until it's burning bright for You.
It's everything that I desire.
Can I be the one You use?
I, I am small, but
You, You are big enough.
I, I am weak, but
You, You are strong enough
To take my dreams
Come and give them wings.
Lord, with You there's nothing I cannot do.
Nothing I cannot do!
I wanna feed the hungry children
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
and mercy in the Father's hands.
Take my dreams...Come and give them wings Lord!
My hands, my feet, my everything, my life, my love...Lord use me!
I want to set the world on fire...Lord with You there...

Seriously People!!! Could you get any more perfect? I really don't think so. That is so how He works though. I am not sure how God is going to use me through this trip. Tomorrow, we will be going into Jaurez to feed the hungry children. We may not be reaching across the farthest land, but we are reaching with His hands and we are going to share His love for those hungry, cold children that He loves. He is giving us His heart for them. Our hearts are broken...we can only share His. We will tell them that there is healing...and mercy as we share food and toys....and Pan de Vida (bread of life).

Thanks for listening...and bearing with me as I ramble. I will leave you with some pictures of the Mexico.

Again, thanks for listening,
P.S. I hope someone blogs about today...It was quite the adventure...and I am not talking about the snow!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our First Worday

We finally started the work this morning. After a very cold breakfast (outside) we all were assinged different tasks. We quikly became painters, drywallers, sanders, tilers, artists and electricians. Pastor Steve Brewer continues to share more of God's vision for the children of Mexico. We also took a collection for one of our cooks, whose husband was heading to Afganistan in the U.S. Army. I think we are all challenged to be open to the needs of the world. We cannot turn our backs on God's precious resourses. Pictured above is Eddie and German, two great guys who helped lead worship Sunday in church and the worked here at the orphanage on monday. We see God's work in the people of Mexico and are blessed by them more than they are by us.
Allen Shaw

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tapestries of Life Mission Trip

What an amazing place God has brought me to. Not in terms of location, but of understanding how GREAT our God is. I have lived my life on "microwavable" prayers, wanting instant answers and my needs met. But God doesn't work that way. When you are aligned with God's will and purpose- meaning you are praying constantly to be led by Him and in fellowship with Him- He is always soveriegn. Steve Brewer, Tapestries Founder, has prayed for things in this ministry that he had to wait five years to get or have an answer to, but he kept praying. I know that God will always answer, but I also know it is extremely hard to wait. I encourage all who are listening to take more time to listen to God. Follow Him with your whole being.

An amazing thing happened today. Here I am, being called into the desert of Mexico to serve for a week in building an orphanage, and God is using this experience to open up a door to restore relationship with my earthly father. I pray that God would surround him with His love.

All who are listening hear that the Lord is good! He is alive and well. He has not forgotten about his children here in Mexico who are living homeless on the street- more than 10 million of them! God loves each and every one.

We can not fear for our safety. We have a mighty God and we are the children of the Most High.

Psalm 91. Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy. Praise be to the Lord Most High!

Rebecca Sanchez

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Flight Delayed

The team arrived safely in Chicago after an uneventful 4 hour drive. However, they've been sitting in O'Hare for 7 hours waiting for their flight. They've just been told the plane and crew are BOTH ready and they will be leaving "soon." The estimated time of arrival in El Paso, Texas, is 2am. Everyone is still doing well and having a good time. (As reported to Megan, from Duane, for the team)

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Night Before...

We leave tomorrow from AMC at noon! Praise God for His faithfulness throughout the past several months to make this possible. There are so many people who have committed to pray for the team while we are serving Tapestries of Life and who have given financially. Thank you. Please continue to pray with us that above all, God will provide the necessary funding and teams so that the orphanage can open its doors as soon as possible. So many children need a home.

Our goal is to update the blog each evening, though we will not know for sure about internet connection until we get there. We'll keep you posted, as frequently as possible!

Working Together to Bring the Children Home-
AMC Mexico Team 2009