Recently, I was challenged from 2 different sources in the same week: “ Who are you?” How would you answer that question? Would you answer it by describing your work, your family, your interests? According to Forbes Magazine, “ Many people go through their whole lives without really answering this question. They are living on autopilot or letting themselves be defined by other people. But answering this question is crucial to achieving success and living the type of life you want to live.” If you don’t spend time trying to figure out who you are, you may spend years of life just letting it happen, without you controlling anything. You may spend years in a job that is not fulfilling, or with friends, or in activities that don’t really bring you the satisfaction of knowing you were involved in just what you wanted to do.
Jer 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love ; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Isn’t this amazing? At latest count, the population of the world is over 7 billion people! And in the history of the world, who knows? Several billion more! And in all of those people, God has loved YOU, and wants a relationship with YOU!
Ps 139:13-17 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
We matter to God. And God is Eternal. Our whole problem is that we so often do what we want, or like or think is the best without ever checking to see what our Creator wants. The result is what the Bible calls sin, and that separates us from God. It clogs our mental ears. It causes us to define who we are by the world’s measuring stick instead of God’s measuring stick. It creates a gap that causes our lives to become meaningless, or useless, or even harmful. The only way to bridge the gap is to return to God in sorrow for what we have done (repentance), to accept the power of Jesus’ death on the cross to atone for our sins, and to seek His forgiveness, which He freely gives. In fact, that is exactly why He died, is to give us a path back to God and to finding out who we really are!
If we have done that, then maybe the way we will answer the question “Who am I,” will be, “I am a child of God!
1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
And what does it mean to define ourselves as children of God? It means we take on the nature of Christ, we become transformed into people who are useful for His Eternal Purposes. What could possibly be more gratifying?
In the movie that is currently showing in movie theaters, Overcomer, we see a beautiful picture of what a life with Eternal purpose can mean! If you get a chance to see it, don’t miss the opportunity! One thing it points out is that you can read just 2 short chapters in the Bible, Ephesians 1 and 2, and learn a whole lot about who you are in Him! May we all live lives transformed by Him, with our interests, desires, and time spent revolving around Him and the things He is doing in this world!
I have to remember this when I look at and pray for our girls at Casa, and indeed, all of the kids we sponsor in our program in Palomas. Our girls have come from terrible circumstances, they have been devastated by the actions of others, and we see it constantly in the ways they act and think. The kids in our Alas program all come from very poor families, often with no father. They have learned a subsistence life-style. Worse, they can get brain-washed into thinking that is all there is for their lives. But, they are extremely important to God!
James 1:26-27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress
Our job is to help them break through! To understand that God has an eternal perspective for them A perspective that says their lives matter. A perspective that says they have been created by Him to make a positive difference in this world. A perspective that allows them to break free from all of the harm and cruelty that have trapped them, and to live a life of joyful love with their Heavenly Father. A perspective that says they can be OVERCOMERS!
Your prayers and support are what make this happen. You are making a difference! If you would like to come to Casa and see what the Lord is doing through His volunteers, please do! We go to Palomas the second weekend of every month. In September, we will be there Sept. 13-15. We would love to have you join us! We have roof repairs to do, routine maintenance, we need to spend time encouraging the kids and their families, and doing all of the things that make them feel loved. Please consider joining us!
Hello all! I hope you have had an excellent and blessed month. Since it is the beginning of the school year, I thought it would be a great idea to give you an overview of the community you are supporting. It is important for all of you to know who you are supporting and the living conditions in Palomas. I want to ensure that you are making a difference in this community.
Palomas, is a really small town in the state of Chihuahua with approximately 5,000 people. The main source of legal income for this community is domestic work, and the agriculture fields, maquiladoras(factories) with the closest one over an hour away from town. All of these job options basically put food on the table and a roof over people’s heads, but little more.
Our students are from single-parent families, no parents, or from homes where both parents have to work. Most of them also come from families with multiple siblings. These backgrounds, as you can imagine, make life hard. Many off our kids have to look after younger siblings, take care of the household while parents are working, and the older ones often find part-time jobs to help bring in badly needed income for the family.
I have had the privilege to volunteer in this program for six years. I have seen the difference this scholarship program has made in the children and their families. This last school year we celebrated 4 graduating high school students. Because of the success of our students two years ago, the program was extended to include college. We started supporting four students to attend college. Now we will have 10 students attending college in different fields. This is an amazing step for our students and for our program. Since, the students and their parents are seeing that it is possible to obtain a higher education. In Mexico, really the only way out of a poverty life style is through higher education.
Even though we have witnessed a big change in the community and more students are deciding to continue with their education, instead of leaving school to start working, there are other deficiencies in Palomas education. Until recent years, Palomas did not have a public high school. It only had a private high school. That meant that only the well-off 10% or so could go to high school We were fortunate to be able to pioneer in bringing a public high school to Palomas, which then opened the doors for all teens to attend. It is not a great school, or a school even with many resources, but it is a start. Alas de Amor helps the poor with their expenses, school supplies, uniforms, and even food, and now many more students attend high school and of course more students are graduating. I am sharing this with you, to help you picture and know the need that exists in Palomas, and hopefully help you understand where our students are coming from.
A great example of success is Edith Rosales, one of our high school graduates. She attended the Tele- Bachillerato, and finished school with the best GPA in her class. Plus Edith was admitted to the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez), the school she will start attending this school year.
Your prayers and support helped make Edith’s continued schooling possible. Your prayers and support are helping over 110 students this year. You are making a huge difference in this small town.