2016 March 1 - We just had an improptu sing-along of the English/Spanish Hymn we have been practicing in the English class. From the sound of this impromptu session, I am glad that this is not the regular English class doing this recital, just a few of them. ;-)
Let Kids be Kids, Ninos sean Ninos!
Just a collection of short videos of kids having fun at the Mission in games, dance, interactions. Every one of these children come from a home of unique need, most likely housing, clothing, income, food, health, all of the above. Yet as we reach out to help this community and many of the individual needs, we especially enjoy giving these children something to do, a place to go to, fun with their friends in a safe environment, and guidance and direction in their life as they grow.
We are so proud of many of the youth that we started with just a few years ago who have stepped up as volunteers at the mission.
Meet Carlos and his family. They have very little, living in a very meager home. Carlos was missing school for lack of shoes, until we got him a pair. Their house is a dirt floor but they are better than many in that they have a sewer linkup, just no toilet. 7 people in two bedrooms.
Leave a Legacy - In honor of our donors who have given and supported the building of this Mission, we have created a donation wall for their recognition, memorial, bible verse or otherwise randomly chosen message, to be seen for decades. We very much needed and greatly appreciate the giving in support of the building of this mission, and we need this support now more than ever so that we can hopefully get out of debt on this construction project sooner versus later.
The Mission was active, as far as the first floor goes, in October 2013. Then complete was the primary worship/meeting room, a large kitchen, a master bedroom/bath facility designed for a permanent resident caretaker, an office, and a 2nd smaller bedroom, and a community bathroom. It is quite functional with this first floor complete (still furnishings are needed), but obviously we could do more when the additional floors were completed.
Once we finished the second floor in 2015 (and a lot of work was needed to do that) we then had dormitories and bathing facilities for visiting missionaries, as well as two classrooms and an additional meeting or community area.
The third floor, was mostly completed also in 2015, providing lodging for our now resident missionary family, the Sanchez's, who are primarily supported by their home church in Mexico. They have committed to a long term engagement with the mission and are having fantastic results!! The 3rd floor has a bedroom and private bath as well as laundry room, public half bath and small kitchen area for building use. What is yet to be finished is the bulk of the 3rd floor which is an open area for meetings, socials, services, event, as well us general use for the residents and children for things like ping pong, foosball, music, and more. What's needed still for that area is the 'soft roof' installation, currently only framing is up.
The more we can do with this facility will engage the more children and families. By engaging more children, we also engage more families and bring the love of Jesus to everyone we can touch. The most important thing that this Mission brings to this poor community is a permanent sign that they are known, they are loved, and that help and love from others is here to stay, not just 'passing through'.
As an example of where your giving goes, before departing the mission in November of 2015, we purchased Christmas gifts to give the 45 regular children of the Mission, leaving them with the resident missionaries to wrap and distribute. With a wonderful incentive from a donor in California in 2015, we further engaged our local missionaries working with the local government representative to do a census of all the unchurched children that we are not in touch with in El Carmen, San Pedro, Invacion and Altura. We were then able to send funds for Christmas gifts for an additional 400 children.
This left out a very large village just to our north, El Olivos. There were some funds left over and some gifts, and buying treats, and goodies and some additional gifts (we have no idea how this stretched as far as it did) the mission was able to touch over 900 children for Christmas 2015. God was very much with this effort and all that occured to pull it off on such short notice.
Our resident mission family is now also running bible studies in the surounding villages as well, helping to seed local church gatherings in the local homes. All what is happening is amazing to watch. From this occurance we are in contact with "Samaritans Purse" to hopefully add our efforts here to reach the unchurched children for Christmas through their ministry as well, furthering the useage and purpose of dollars specifically donated to LAMA to work with these children once reached.
The success of the Sanchez's mission work here since their arrival in October of 2015, has us going further in debt (as of this writing, September 2016) to build an additional meeting and lodging building behind the existing structure. The Sanchez's need additional long-term missionary assistance and the building was not designed to house them. So we are fixing that. We also needed an additional ground floor meeting area when the main room is in use. So this 2nd building will give us both, a large meeting room on the first floor, and 4 private sleeping quarters, kitchen and bathing on the 2nd floor dedicated to long-term missionary or pastoral use. Success brings further expenses!! ;-) This building is estimated to throw us anotherr $20-30K in debt.
I know that much goes through our minds when we give. First and foremost should be to the need, the cause, and the effectiveness. There are so many great charities out there, and many of them do things local and for great causes. So why give to us?
- Personally we too support, first and foremost, many local charities in our home country and state and local community, schools, school children, scouting, local church, needs, military, etc. What we always check is also who is asking and how much of what we give will actually go to the cause, and not to the overhead. Many times (for example) I would rather give the money to the scout troop rather than take the boxes of cookies they are offering, since that way 100% of what I give gets used for the local needs.
- We also strongly believe in tything and we tythe FIRST and foremost to our church, before giving elsewhere.
- No, we are not a local charity, we are a 'where the need is' focused charity attempting to help people in our same geographic hemisphere recover from a devastating earthquake of 9 years ago, and also very needy poor people to help them get started, have a great spiritual focus and opportunity in life.
Our country needs it's immigrants, but even more important is what we do for the countries that they come from so that they don't NEED to immigrate, that we CAN help them to make a better life in their native location. We need to make more countries that are self-sufficient, able to support their populations, help their poor.
(One of the best explanations on immigration and how best to help the world, is the 'gum ball analogy given by Roy Beck in video on right).
- We focus 100% of what we receive as donations on the causes we serve: getting needed eyeglasses, shoes, clothing, rebuilding a busted wall, bringing a bathroom indoors, improving someone's current 'cardboard & plastic' housing, providing water filters, teaching, helping with homework, providing entertainment, encouraging good relationships, prayer, a safe haven for children and far far more.
We have no overhead, we are all volunteers from the people on the board of LAMA to the missionaries serving in the field. No donations go toward travel, salaries, meals for any of us. All provide for themselves. In fact even the utilities to run the mission are paid by the missionaries that live here. This allows us to focus the precious donations that you give to the need directly. In fact, as founders and as our 2nd tythe commitment, we match every dollar that is given so that your donation (which is 100% tax deductable as a 501c3 charity) works twice as hard, being 200% effective. Please compare our giving, our accounting, our overhead or lack there of, with any other charity out there. There are many great charities, my point is that effeciency and need also should be weighed strongly.
Please do come visit, plan a church group trip either young or old, support the sending of a missionary either long or short term. If you are in touch with doctors, dentists, nurses, or other mission services that you can muster, we can definitely pull together the needy for you to meet with. God bless you now for your prayers, your support, your sharing this message with others. We simply seek to give back to this area of need and leave a mark that they know that it is the love of Jesus that they are seeing and feeling from those like you.
Thank you, one and all, for your financial support. Admittedly many of the engravements on brick surface are not as clean and pretty as if we used granite or marble, but that would have eaten up cost. We love the "rustic-ness" actually of the message and will continue to refine our skill in making these sandblasted and painted messages. (If anyone that made an early gift would like a redo onto a second brick, no problem, we will do !! But thank your for your early giving and the more rustic, the earlier you have been with us! Thank you! ) We will continue to improve, maintain, touch up all the engravements, and assure each of our current donors and future donors that their message will remain seen for decades from now.
If you care to leave a message on our donation wall, please click on the "purchase a brick" image on the upper right. We definitely need your support. For other ways of giving, please click on the graphic at lower right. Every dollar counts. It takes a village!! Most of all, we need you to keep us uplifted in your prayers, that we will remain focused, and always being wise with the resources God has given us, to do what He needs us to do for these people, and not what we want to do. Lord help us to build on this ministry to your children and be the instruments of your desire. Amen
We left the middle of November and prior to doing so had done some Christmas shopping for the 40+ children who come to the mission regularily. Upon returning back to the United States, we arranged for some additional funding for the Sanchez's and the Mission to be able to reach beyond the Mission children to many of the un-churched children in the surrounding villlages. Before doing so, we worked with the Distrct representatives to do a children census to get an accurate head count of all children up to 12 years old. These funds went farther than we had thought and although we never really did a census of the large village to our immediate north, el Olivos, we were also able to fund getting treats to all the children up there as well. So this Christmas, with a lot of participation, funds and the hand of God, we were able to reach up to 900 children within walking distance of the Mission. Thank you Julio, Yareni, Victor, Mirella, and many Awana volunteers ... but most of all, thank you Jesus!!
You can also see most of the photos (and a few more) in this video montage from Christmas as well.