This month, we celebrate our 20th Anniversary! A Light House in Palomas. How time flies! In the early years, we primarily provided a shelter for young children, children of parents who were not able to provide for them. We often had over 30 children in the shelter, and we took in kids of drug addicts, as well as the very poor, who didn’t have a home for their kids. We regularly met with Pastors and sought to bring unity among them, as well as encouraging them to work in outreach, especially to the youth of Palomas. Milestones over the years include:
2000 completing the first 2,000 sq. ft. of our shelter.
2001 developing a Pastoral network of churches in Palomas.
2001 developing a food ministry to help the poorest keep food on the table.
2003 developing a helps ministry to complete home refurbishing for poor families.
2004 completing an additional 4,000 feet of our shelter.
2011 developing a scholarship program for needy children in Palomas to attend school.
2013 developing a true orphanage for teenage girls in cooperation with the Children and Families Dept. (DIF) in Chihuahua.
2015 providing primary support to develop a public high school in Palomas.
2016 expanding our scholarship program to help youth go to college.
2017 building a Tortilleria (which one of these days will help provide financial support for the Orphanage, and even now provides work for some of our girls)
2018 our first group of girls from the Orphanage to attend college.
I remember when we first went to Palomas, people used to look at us skeptically. So many Americans had gone to Palomas before, promising to do this or that, and yet nothing ever happened. Everybody thought we would be the same. 20 years later, we have proved them wrong! Now, we are a respected major part of the community. Pastors look to us for support, politicians seek our favor, and the townspeople in general have a solid respect for us. Even the local drug cartel respects us!
Our volunteers over the years, as well as our staff at Casa are the ones who have made this possible. We have many amazing people working with us who have contributed so much of their time, their talents, and their treasures to make a difference in Palomas! And today, our volunteer group is stronger than ever, with amazing talented people running our scholarship program (Alas), our Pastor support program, and the Orphanage. Of course there is always room for more volunteers!
In addition, all of you, our faithful supporters, have given out of the abundance of your hearts to make this all work. With a monthly budget of about $7,500 for all of the programs, somehow, you have helped us keep all the bills paid, the lights and heat working, and over 150 kids in school every year!
You are all amazing! God bless you for your support!
All of this does not mean things come easily. For example, 2018 was a year of difficulty, trauma, life-threatening sickness, and yet blessing at Casa. I have been thinking about how we must all deal with the traumas of life, and we either overcome them, or allow them to overcome us. We are instructed in
Ps 34:17-20 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken.
And so, although we see many hardships, adversity, sickness, and barriers raised up against the work in Palomas, we also feel the protective hand of the Lord watching over us and guiding us.
One of the guiding principles in my life is to look around and see what the Lord is doing, and then to join Him in His work. God is always moving, He is always seeking those who will help the orphans, the poor, those who feel hopeless. God’s heart is to not only rescue them, but to restore them. This is the work we are all involved in in Palomas, and we feel the power of God’s Light pushing back the darkness there. What will the next 20 years bring? Hopefully, REVIVAL! I pray we will be there when it happens!
During our February reunion the youth group from La Trinidad shared the extraordinary story of Job. If you don’t know the story, God saw Job as
Job 1:8 … blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.
Job 1:9 Job was loved and protected by God, but one day God allowed Satan to take everything he had, because Satan was sure that Job was going to curse God.
Satan was obviously wrong.
Job 1: 20-22 … He (Job) fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of
the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
I truly believe this is great story to share with our students, since it is important for them to understand that God is always there for us, even when we they are struggling in life. The only thing he wants from us is our praise and unconditional love, and he will be faithful the same way he was with Job.
Job 42: 12 … The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part
Last month, we helped two of our high school seniors apply for college. We are excited to start the preparations for college for our graduates. It is a blessing to be part of this ministry, because we get to see the lives of our students change for the better. Remember that your monetary contribution and prayers are making a real impact.
Keep us in your prayers. May you have blessed month.
Jim, Pat and Bere