International Ministries

Schellinger - International Ministries The latest from Raymond Schellinger https://internationalministries.org/teams/94-schellinger.rss Pastoral, Practical, Prophetic, and Personal: A Resource on Immigration <p>A resource on immigration is now available from the Immigration Task Force of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). Published in April 2015, <i>Pastoral, Practical, Prophetic, and Personal: A Resource on Immigration</i> "is designed to help us explore as devoted disciples of Jesus what loving our neighbors and doing justice mean in these concrete but complex circumstances," writes the Reverend Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of ABCUSA, in the resource's introduction.</p> <p>Several International Ministries global servants contributed to the resource, including&nbsp;<a href="http://internationalministries.org/teams/94-schellinger">Ray Schellinger</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://internationalministries.org/teams/79-mooney">Ruth Mooney</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://internationalministries.org/teams/50-bonilla-giovanetti">Mayra Giovanetti</a>.</p><p>Medley adds, "In developing this guide, we will draw on biblical resources, the perspective of our international missionaries, our ongoing work in immigration and refugee resettlement through the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, and our rich educational network through American Baptist Women’s Ministries."</p><p><i>Pastoral, Practical, Prophetic, and Personal</i>&nbsp;is available for download in <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/download/58684">English</a> and in <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/download/58685">Spanish</a>.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p style="margin: 0; padding: 0">Immigration Task Force members:</p> <blockquote style="margin: 10px 0 0 20px; border: none; padding: 0px;"><p style="margin: 0; padding: 0"> Dr. Warren Stewart<i>, pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix</i><br> Rev. Ray Schellinger<i>, International Ministries missionary in Mexico</i><br> Rev. Salvador Orellana<i>, American Baptist Home Mission Societies national coordinator of Intercultural Ministries</i><br> Rev. Sandra DeMott Hasenauer<i>, associate executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries</i><br> Rev. Dr. José Norat-Rodriguez<i>, former International Ministries area director of Iberoamerica and the Caribbean</i></p></blockquote> Sun, 17 May 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58482-pastoral-practical-prophetic-and-personal-a-resource-on-immigration https://internationalministries.org/read/58482-pastoral-practical-prophetic-and-personal-a-resource-on-immigration Happy 8th Anniversary Deborah's House!! <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--></p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> 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Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:right" align="right"><span style="font-size: 9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Tijuana, October 22<sup>nd</sup> 2014</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Dear friends,</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We are so thankful for&nbsp;you and all that you have done for Deborah's House! </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Without your generous support, this ministry would not be possible. Your faithful giving has meant the difference for all of our residents. In supporting us, you have helped to build much more than a temporary shelter for the 150+ families who have called Deborah’s House their home over the last eight years. You have created a place where these women and children could find God’s grace and love. You have given them the opportunity to escape horrific abuse and begin to build a new life, free of fear. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Many have come to Tijuana personally as part of a mission team or as a volunteer. You have invested your hearts and lives in this ministry. Your presence has been a beautiful gift to our residents, and continues to inspire them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>You have shared your gifts and talents, and spoken into their hearts a new message of love, grace and hope. They had been told their whole lives that they were worthless, and you exposed that lie for what it was, as you have given up so much to come to Tijuana just for them, and as you shared your love with them.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family: &quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Currently, we have 8 women and 18 children at the shelter. It seems that we have this regular cycle at the shelter, as a group of women arrive at the shelter at about the same time, work through their deep wounds to find healing, and then find the strength to move on to a new future together. As they arrive, they are often very hard on one another, but by the time they leave they are part of a family, and they continue to support each other, even though they are scattered across the city. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We are still at the beginning stages with this current group of women. There are a lot of trials and much stress. As we write this, we are beginning to see signs of transformation among their relationships. We see some very beautiful expressions of grace and healing as they are finding the trust to begin new friendships and to forge a new family together.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Running the shelter is a fairly expensive endeavor, and our budget is over $60,000 a year. This doesn't seem like much by US standards, especially considering it pays for four full time salaries, three part time seamstresses, and food, utilities, transportation, education and medical care for an average of 25 residents at a time. However, in this society, this is more than most people could imagine having to raise. Yet God always provides, and though our budget is tight, our residents have never gone hungry or thirsty. More than that, we have done our best to introduce to them a fountain, from which they can drink and never again be thirsty.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We recognize that one incredible way God has provided has been through your sacrificial giving. Because of your generosity, this shelter has been able to serve its residents since October of 2006, and we hope and trust that it will continue to serve for many more years to come!!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We also would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support to the World Mission Offering and to our dear colleagues working on behalf of God’s kingdom in mission and ministry around the world.</span></p></p><p><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With love and appreciation,</span><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt; font-family:&quot;Harlow Solid Italic&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Adalia and Ray Schellinger-Gutiérrez….</span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal"><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Lucida Console&quot;;mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">and our great Missionary Partnership Team!!</span></p> </p> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:19:02 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56186-happy-8th-anniversary-deborah-s-house- https://internationalministries.org/read/56186-happy-8th-anniversary-deborah-s-house- About our kids <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in">As many of you know, our kids, Michelle and Melissa, are now University students! </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Michelle is at Eastern University, PA, on her fourth and final year working on her Social Work (Major) and Psychology (Minor) degree. She will be graduating on May 9<sup>th</sup>, 2015. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">We love Michelle's passion for social justice, her compassion for the least of these, and her eagerness to contribute ending the world's problems, just as any other great kid her age hopes! Recently, she made it to the front page of her school newsletter, as she participated in a “March to End Rape culture.” The school newspaper described, in few words, some of Michelle's highest priorities in life at the moment, “Rape culture is a term used to describe a culture in which sexual violence is accepted as a part of everyday life. There are many different aspects of society that contribute to rape culture including victim blaming, rape jokes, keeping survivors in silence, racism, the use of bodies as sexual objects, the sexualization of violence, lack of education around consent, sexist media messages... the list is never ending.” </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Melissa started this Fall at the University of California, Riverside. She is studying her first year of Environmental Engineering. We thought she was going to study Art, or related Major, as she has great drawing abilities. Nevertheless, her love for Nature and Ecology weighed heavier in her heart; she decided to study something more practical in hopes of making a difference on issues that threaten God's beautiful creation. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Melissa shares Michelle's compassion for justice and for the marginalized. It is amazing to see how their similar passions have led them into such distinct fields, yet we know that they are taking the gifts that God has given them to try to make the greatest impact on our world. We are so pleased that they understand that whatever profession they enter, their true vocation is to serve God. Of any accomplishments that we may have ever had, of anything we may have achieved, nothing compares to the joy we have had raising our daughters. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><a name="en-DLNT-7518"></a>The past 22 years has gone by so suddenly. Before we realized it we have become “empty nesters.” Not having our kids around for the first time has been difficult. We miss them dearly. But I never before understood so clearly my Mom's pride in quoting this Bible verse: “I have no joy greater <i>than</i> these <i>things</i>: that I may be hearing-<i>of</i> my children walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br> </p> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:26:55 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56115-about-our-kids https://internationalministries.org/read/56115-about-our-kids What a Treat! All Staff Gathering <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">Before our 200<sup>th</sup> Anniversary celebration during the World Mission Conference, we had a previous blast during our <b>All Staff Gathering </b><span style="font-weight: normal">of International Ministries</span>. What a treat!! </font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">We worked, played, laughed, cried and prayed together as we listened to each other and tried to envision International Ministries in its near future. What gives life, health and vitality to International Ministries when it's at its best? What hopes, wishes and dreams we have for the future of IM? </font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3"><b>Responding to the Call </b><span style="font-weight: normal">will be International Ministries new guidelines as we hear from over a thousand people and churches responding to these questions. ABC Regions, staff, missionaries, missionary kids, pastors, lay people, and partners all over the world who have collaborated with us during our first two centuries of missions have been asked these questions and a </span><b>Spiritual Discernment Team</b><span style="font-weight: normal"> has been formed to process all the data as we hope to continue building God's Shalom in this world. </span><b> </b></font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">During our worship experience at All Staff Gathering, we were also invited by Mylinda Baits to use our creativity and re-purpose an old door into a Communion table to leave it as a legacy for future generations at Green Lake Conference Center where God continues blessing and speaking to our American Baptist family. </font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">One of our many activities was to create human statues representing the ways each missionary team around the world sees their ministry. Missionaries in Latin America and the Caribbean came up with the idea of a human bridge, as we see ourselves trying to build bridges instead of walls among nations. </font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">Again, we are so grateful for allowing us to serve on your behalf and for supporting God's work around the world. </font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">With hope and gratitude, </font> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font size="3">Adalia and Ray</font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> </p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:30:30 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56102-what-a-treat-all-staff-gathering https://internationalministries.org/read/56102-what-a-treat-all-staff-gathering World Mission Conference <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Dear friends,</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">This past Summer we had the privilege to be part of our 200th year celebration as American Baptist Churches International Ministries at Green Lake, WI! </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">What a joy to celebrate God's faithfulness throughout many generations! It was a humbling experience to hear and share with so many of our partners in mission and colleagues around the world about what God is doing! </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Our International Ministries staff worked very hard to have a memorable and inspiring event that would be worth of such celebration. We, as missionaries, are so grateful for having such professionalism and committed women and men of God always giving honor and glory to God, and supporting missionaries in such a meaningful way. We are also grateful for each and every local church and individual who continues generously giving to every ministry around the world. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><a name="en-ESV-24211"></a><a name="en-ESV-24212"></a> We all need each other to continue fulfilling the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” but we also need to continue reminding each other Jesus' great promise attach to this endeavor, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">With love and appreciation,</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Adalia and Ray</p> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:00:12 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56082-world-mission-conference https://internationalministries.org/read/56082-world-mission-conference No Longer Strangers <p> </p><p>Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,</p> <p>“Do not forget <i>or</i> neglect <i>or</i> refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.”<br> Hebrews 13:2</p> <p>This is a verse we have proved to be true every time we receive volunteers and mission teams in our midst at Deborah's House.</p> <p>On August 29, American Baptist leaders, among with other denominations, joined in a Prayer Vigil on both sides of US-Mexico border at Friendship Circle in Tijuana and San Diego. We prayed for Central American children fleeing gang violence and life threatening circumstances. We prayed for the nations, for the servants, for the congregations. We prayed for the politicians and decision makers in each country involved, that they may diligently, creatively and honestly work toward the formation of healthy communities in their midst. We stated “As citizens of the United States of America, Mexico, and other nations of this earth, we commit ourselves in love, hope and faith to be the instruments of peace and justice.” We asked for God's forgiveness, protection and wisdom as we prayed, “We come humbly asking your forgiveness, for those times you were imprisoned, hungry, thirsty, and in need and we did not recognize you.” We sang, “May the God of hope go with us every day, filling all our lives with love and joy and peace. May the God of justice speed us on our way, bringing light and hope to every land and race.”</p> <p>What a powerful day! To see people from different faiths, cultures, languages and traditions to humble before God!!</p> <p>In the same way Deborah's House has been blessed hosting angels eager to work for peace and justice, we invite you to prove this verse to be true within your midst, as you find ways to continue extending hospitality to strangers.</p> <p>With love,<br> Adalia and Ray</p> <p><a href="http://www.abc-usa.org/?s=Prayer+Vigil">Learn more here.</a></p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/56090-no-longer-strangers https://internationalministries.org/read/56090-no-longer-strangers Adalia Gutiérrez Lee to Serve as Area Director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean <p>The Reverend Adalia Gutiérrez Lee has accepted the invitation to serve as the International Ministries (IM) area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean.</p> <p>Gutiérrez Lee, current IM missionary in Mexico, will be succeeding José Norat-Rodriguez as IM area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean upon Norat-Rodriguez’s retirement in 2015. Gutiérrez Lee will begin as area director on May 1, 2015.</p> <p>As one of five IM area directors, Gutiérrez Lee will be responsible for working closely with IM’s 31 mission partners in 14 countries throughout Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. She will continue to foster the crucial relationships between IM and these partner organizations, with the goal of strengthening current ministries and developing new ones. She will supervise and support IM’s 40 long-term missionaries who work in this region.</p> <p>Gutiérrez Lee and her husband, Ray Schellinger, were commissioned by IM in 1994. After serving for several years in Nicaragua, in 1999 they moved to Tijuana, Mexico where they founded Deborah’s House as a ministry to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. The mission offers a variety of services such as crisis intervention, healthcare, counseling and education for victims and abusers in these situations.</p> <p>Area Director Norat has worked closely with the Schellinger-Gutiérrezes throughout their ministry. He describes his successor as a “visionary missionary,” noting that “Adalia has undertaken noteworthy projects and has an overflowing compassion that inspires and moves many persons to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God.”</p> <p>“José’s shoes are big ones for me to try to fill,” says Gutiérrez Lee, “but he has been gracious enough to tell me that I can do this, and that he’s going to be available for a couple of years to coach me and to help me out in anything I need. I’m confident, with all the affirmation that I’ve received from my friends and colleagues in mission, that God is going to continue providing and helping us to see the wonderful things that God has in store for us.”</p> <p>IM Executive Director Reid Trulson noted that a number of Adalia’s missionary colleagues recommended her for the role of area director. “Their strong endorsement supports our recognition that the Holy Spirit has given Adalia the skills, knowledge and experience that uniquely equip her for service as the area director for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. Our international partners will likewise value the wisdom and cultural sensitivity that she brings to our relationships throughout the region. We are blessed to welcome her into this ministry.”</p> <p>When Adalia begins her ministry as area director, her husband, Ray, will continue to work with Deborah’s House, facilitating relationships with churches and volunteer groups, assisting with the leadership transition and helping to find and train those that can continue this valuable ministry. Under the supervision of Area Director Benjamin Chan, he will also begin to raise awareness around the world about issues related to domestic violence and immigration, encouraging others to begin ministries to address these concerns.</p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55675-adalia-guti%C3%A9rrez-lee-to-serve-as-area-director-for-iberoamerica-and-the-caribbean https://internationalministries.org/read/55675-adalia-guti%C3%A9rrez-lee-to-serve-as-area-director-for-iberoamerica-and-the-caribbean Faith Leaders Pray for Central American Children on Both Sides of Border Fence <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><font face="Calibri">On Friday, August 29th, American Baptist International Ministries (IM) missionaries, along with faith leaders from the Episcopal, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Catholic and Jewish traditions, joined in a prayer service for Central American children fleeing violence. Faith leaders held a vigil on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border at Friendship Circle in Tijuana and San Diego.<!--?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /--><o:p></o:p></font></span></p><p> <span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"><font face="Calibri">Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, and Jim E. Winkler, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, led the prayer vigil and called upon all faith communities to show welcome to the children seeking refuge as they flee gang violence and life threatening circumstances in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.<o:p></o:p></font></span></p><p> <font face="Calibri"><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN">Also providing leadership for the event were several IM missionaries serving in Mexico: Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Gutierrez, Mercy </span><span style="color: black; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold;">Gonzalez-Barnes</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Arial; mso-ansi-language: EN;" lang="EN"> and Tim and Patti Long.<o:p></o:p></span></font></p><p> <span style="font-size: 12pt;"><font face="Calibri">“Faith communities across this nation continue to urgently respond to the physical, spiritual and legal needs of thousands children and families who have sought protection in our midst,” said Winkler. “We’re a nation of more than 300 million. We can easily muster the moral courage and resources to protect children who are fleeing for their lives from violence, rape and exploitation. It’s simply a matter of justice.”<o:p></o:p></font></span></p><p> <span style="color: windowtext; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Leaders prayed for members of Congress to maintain and extend due process and humanitarian protections for unaccompanied children. Clergy also called on President Barack Obama to end the pain of deportations and provide administrative relief to as many undocumented people as possible. Community members and faith communities recommitted themselves to work together to alleviate the injustice of this crisis.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="color: windowtext; font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Medley said, “We have come together because the love of God is not held back by borders, and neither should our love and care for our neighbor. Every day, International Ministries works to serve these people on the other side of this fence; we must do our part once they come to the U.S. side to ensure they have humanitarian protection and assistance. Today we pray these protections stay in tact and are extended to not just Central American children, but also to Mexican children. We lift up our president up in prayer, that he might be on the right side of history in creating new administrative policies that keep families together, and stop deportations.”</span></p><p><em><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi;">Read a <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/read/55130-prayer-vigil-on-the-u-s-mexico-border-noon-pct-today">letter</a>&nbsp;from the Schellingers, the Longs and Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes.</span></b></em></p><p><em><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi;">Watch a <a href="http://www.ustream.tv/channel/abcprayervigil">live video feed</a> from the prayer vigil.</span></b></em></p><p> <em><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi;"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/churchworldservice/sets/72157646598280648/">High-resolution photos</a> are available for press usage.</span></b></em></p> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55152-faith-leaders-pray-for-central-american-children-on-both-sides-of-border-fence https://internationalministries.org/read/55152-faith-leaders-pray-for-central-american-children-on-both-sides-of-border-fence Hope is not lost <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I would like to ask for your prayers tonight. As I write this, it's past midnight and I can't sleep, troubled by an encounter of a couple days ago, and a sad change of events in a woman's life.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We have had “Esperanza” in our shelter for several months. She was quite reserved when she first came, deathly afraid and withdrawn. She was brought to us by the police force in the neighboring city of Rosarito, as they were trying to rescue her and her 8 surviving children from a man who seemed so utterly evil. They had lived for many years in a small one room shack next to the parking lot for a popular camping/surfing beach a little further down the coast. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Many of Esperanza's children were born there, in the shack. None had ever received a birth certificate or gone to school. Esperanza's husband controlled his wife and children completely, dictating to them their every move. They earned their poor existence by managing the parking fees in the lot, and often stealing from the cars parked there. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The oldest son was tragically killed one night as he walked along the coastal road and that's when social services and the police got involved in their lives. They took the kids from the parent's custody because of the negligence they found, yet saw how abused Esperanza had been and hoped to help her to get free of her husband's control and be able to be reunited with her children. So they brought her to us.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">While she was at Deborah's House, her oldest remaining son had managed to leave the house where they had taken the children, and he walked the 20 miles to return to his father. The remaining 7 remained in the care of the state run orphanage. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">For months we helped Esperanza through the last half of her 10<sup>th</sup> pregnancy. We took her to visit her children every week, moved her through the legal hurdles she needed to leap in order to have the opportunity to win her children back. She changed so much at the shelter, developed strong friendships, and came out of her shell. She would sit and chat each night with her housemates around the kitchen table, joking and laughing. She developed quite a rapport with me as well, and I enjoyed seeing how much of my humor she got. Slowly she began to put a plan together for her life with her children, one without abuse and with the hope for a much better future. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It is hard to overstate the degree to which we become family with the women and children in the care of this ministry. Even though more than 140 families have made their home here, we become attached to each one. In the 4-6 months that the children are with us, we become their surrogate grandparents, and we become parents to the women as well. It is difficult to see them go, but we maintain connections and form part of their support structure even years after they have left Deborah's House. We will always be family.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As Esperanza's due date drew close, we were so excited about having one more baby born at the shelter.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">And then it all changed.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Esperanza requested the opportunity to check on her 14 year old son at her old house. We reluctantly agreed, and she made the supervised trip with a team of 4 people from the shelter. In the instant it took her to see her husband she made the decision to stay with him. Those present say that she was transformed in that instant, as if she fell under a trance. She insisted on staying, and so they left her there.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Several hours later, I went along with several more members of our team, including our lawyer. We had also asked for a police unit to be present, and they obliged. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We were all sure that we could help her, if she was afraid of him we could provide the assurance that he could not harm her, and that we could help her take her older son with her then and there. But she was not the same woman that we had seen come alive at the shelter. She appeared to be under the influence of some substance, but we couldn't be sure. She was standoffish, even rude to us. She seldom took her eye off of her husband, as if she was always fearfully deferring to his will, and he didn't take his eyes off of her.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I have had a chance to work with quite a few husbands over the last 12 years in this ministry. They are often belligerent at first, but in almost every instance, when they see you truly care about them, they melt. They are so alone and hurt. They long to be heard; they long to be loved, they just never learned how. Not so here. This is one of two men in whose presence I have felt afraid. There was an energy around him which was powerful and dark.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I am not one to use this language lightly. I do not like to blame the devil for all of our human shortcomings. The way I see it, most of us are quite capable of behaving our worst without needing to blame it all on some demon which took control of our bodies and minds. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">However, on this night, I have to say that there was a power which I tangibly felt. I felt it as I spoke to Esperanza's husband, to try to offer counseling and grace. I felt it as I spoke to Esperanza, and saw the change in her, even in her very appearance. Just before we left, Rebeca, our lawyer, was trying to help her understand her legal options and risks. She made sure she knew that if she were afraid to leave, God was with her, and that God could protect her. Esperanza responded, cryptically, that there was someone else watching everything, someone else in control, that she was more afraid of. She would say no more.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As I think back about the conversation, I remember that just the day before we had been joking about baby names and talking about the menu for the next week at the shelter. She spoke about how grateful she was for the shelter and the new life that she had begun there. It seems so strange that just a day later she wouldn't want to have anything to do with me, or any of us. </p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">She asked us sternly to leave her property, and to leave her forever. Her words still hurt my ears.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">She made a decision, though. We are bound to respect her choices, even as it means that any day now she will give birth in a shack on the side of the highway. We grieve her decision to give up her fight to get her other children back. We grieve in the loss of a friendship. </p><p><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">In all things, though, we know that God is bigger than any other power, and the final word has yet to be spoken. Hope is not lost.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">If this is spiritual warfare, and it is, your prayers for her, for her husband, and for her children have more power in this battle than any of us realize.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 22:33:39 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52594-hope-is-not-lost https://internationalministries.org/read/52594-hope-is-not-lost Recovery of our Sight <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind.”- Jesus</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">This letter is about a very special child of God who has been in our care at Deborah's House for the last two years now. Erika came to us just as the state had taken away her children, and her relationship with her family had been destroyed. She had been severely abused, forced into a meth habit, sold into sexual slavery, and treated as a criminal by the authorities. What makes her story even more painful is that Erika has special needs. She has the emotional and cognitive capacity of a seven year old child. She is loving and sensitive, and even after years of abuse and neglect, is still ever so hopeful for the future. She tries so hard to please, and more than just about anything else, just wants to be loved. The only thing she longs for more than that is to be able to have her two sons with her once again.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">She has been with us so long, and will be with us for sometime more, because there are no other options, no special needs programs, and no educational opportunities for people like her; there is no where else for her to go.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Her story begins in a two room squatter's shack on a hill in Tijuana. Her family had no electricity, no running water, no sewage. To this day they use plastic buckets for human waste, which are along side the other buckets for drinking and washing water, sitting on the dirt floor of the makeshift kitchen. Her parents are very poor and do not understand Erika's special needs. They have nine children, three of whom are like Erika. Her parents describe them as “talking crooked”. All together there are 17 people currently living in their shack, as several of Erika's siblings have begun families there as well. </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">They tried to put her into school as a young child, but Erika was asked to leave the first grade after just a couple weeks. The schools simply aren't equipped to handle anyone with special needs. She would pass her time on the street in front of her house, in much the way that her younger special needs siblings still do today. Her family wanted her to help bring in money and so they took her to a main street where she could beg for change. This was her life for several years.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It was also on the streets where she fell under the control of a man who would sell her body for his own profit. He told her that that's what love is. He tore her apart from her family and threatened them when they tried to intervene. She gave birth to two sons and tried to raise them the best she could in the squalor of the dirt streets and under the complete control of this abusive trafficker. When Erika's family tried to take custody of the boys, this man saw an opportunity to make some more money. He offered to sell the boys, or threatened the family with child abduction charges if they wouldn't pay. They refused. He used his power over Erika and her desire to have her children with her to manipulate her into testifying against her mother. Her mother was put into jail, at least until DIF, the office for child and family welfare, was able to investigate the entire situation. The man fled. The children were taken into state custody. Erika's family disowned her, and DIF brought her to us, abused and addicted, with little capacity to understand and communicate everything that she had lived through.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Getting to know Erika's story, and Erika herself, has been a progressive revelation. With therapy, she has learned to speak more clearly. She has learned to be a very responsible member of the family at Deborah's House, taking more and more responsibilities as she transitions to be more informal staff than resident. We have worked with her throughout this time trying to help her be reconciled with her family and to try to gain custody, along with Deborah's House, of her two children. It has been her greatest source of pain to be separated from them, but DIF seems unyielding in their belief that she will never be able to be a capable mother, even at our facility.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">For the last two years, we have been working with her to try to help her to read. But this was such a frustrating process, as she proved unable to distinguish between letters or numbers or other symbols. Her inability to communicate clearly also made it difficult for us to diagnose the real problem. It was never an issue of Erika being able to recognize the letters, it was that she could not see them. Her vision was horrendous, but we had no idea because she never understood that it was a problem. When we finally made the realization we had to search hard for a way to help her get the right prescription. How do you take an eye exam if you can't communicate the letters or the shapes you are seeing to the doctor? By the grace of God, we found a specialist who had the patience and skill to help find the right level of correction. The breakthrough moment came after two hours with Erika in her office when presented with the image of a cake, Erika excitedly shouted, “It's a birthday.” A generous donation made it possible for us to buy her the corrective lenses she needed, and suddenly, a whole new world opened up for Erika.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As came back to Deborah's House with her new glasses, she walked into our main room and exclaimed, “Oh my God, this House is sooooo big!” She had lived there for over a year and yet was seeing it for the first time.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"> <br></p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">In the first instance in the New Testament record of Jesus telling his disciples about Gospel, the Good News, he is reading from the scroll of Isaiah. I love this passage because as I read it I can't help but to identify the plight of the families we work with those that this passage is addressing, the poor, the captives, the oppressed, those who grieve and mourn, and those who can't see. Jesus defines his ministry in this passage as Good News for those that the world has abused and forgotten. </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><a name="en-NIV-25082"></a><a name="en-NIV-25083"></a> “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;because he has anointed me<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;to proclaim good news to the poor.<br>He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;and recovery of sight for the blind,<br>to set the oppressed free,<br>19&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span id="_atssh" style="background: rgb(255, 255, 255); padding: 0in; border: currentColor; border-image: none; width: 0.02in; height: 0.02in; position: absolute;" dir="LTR"><span class="sd-abs-pos" style="left: 0in; top: 0in; width: 2px; position: absolute;"> <img name="Object1" width="2" height="2" src=""></span> </span><p> <br></p> <p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">It has been truly a miraculous thing indeed to see the difference in Erika's life as she has walked into the light and out of the darkness which had overtaken her life. In more ways than one, she has been given new sight.</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"> But the greater miracle still is the one we are so anxiously awaiting. </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"> When will this world begin to see the beauty of God's children for who they are? When will we begin to value and protect the lives of God's most innocent and precious creations so that not one more child will be abused or trafficked ? Erika is truly one of the most beautiful people we know. She is kind and loving. Yet her innocence makes her vulnerable to a world that is shrouded by the darkness. </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When will the rest of us recover our sight?</p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br> </p><p> </p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52592-recovery-of-our-sight- https://internationalministries.org/read/52592-recovery-of-our-sight- Summer time <div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9728" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><span id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9727">Dear family and friends:</span></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9725" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><span id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9724">Thank you so much for your ongoing support to our ministry. There is no way we could be here without your prayers and generous gifts. You are so much part of what God is doing at Deborah's House in Tijuana, Mexico!!!</span></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9722" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><br></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9718" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><span id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9720">As for life at Deborah's House, it has been exciting to say the least. After three weeks work of moving&nbsp;6 families&nbsp;out,&nbsp; we thought we might have a small break from the packed house. (We had&nbsp;9 families in Mid July.) For each of the families leaving, we need to help them find suitable and yet affordable housing, as well as donations of refrigerators, beds, stoves, etc. For several of these families we needed to spend several days each cleaning up and repairing the houses/apartments.It was exhausting, and yet so rewarding to see these women and their courage as they envisioned starting their lives again.</span></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9732" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9735" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><span id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9734">Almost as soon as they were gone, new families began to arrive. We are still in the process of cleaning up and repainting rooms, and yet we have each room full once again. We have 8 women currently, three of them without children. The latest to arrive was at 11:30 last night. We have been asked to take one more family, which should be arriving in the next couple hours.&nbsp;&nbsp;The dynamics will change, and we will have to make sure that we ease everyone onto a culture of respect and grace. This is harder when so many new families arrive at once.</span></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9738" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</div><div style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">The most exciting news is that of another new arrival at the shelter. An 18 year old woman, Maria,&nbsp;came last month to the shelter at 8 months pregnant. She was so solemn and frightened when she arrived. She had been living on the streets for a couple months with her abuser. After a couple weeks here, the difference in her countenance is incredible. She is a tiny little girl, but smiles so bright. She gave birth to Angel on Wednesday afternoon, August 7th. This is quite a change in her life. Please pray for Maria.</div><div style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9755" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><span id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9757">So as it is now, we have several toddlers and babies. We are buying additional cribs and mattresses. Diapers will be the first item on our needs list for months to come. Formula will be a close second. &nbsp;Life is filled with challenges. We</span><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;have hosted 3 teams over the last 4 weeks, another one arrives next weekend. &nbsp;</span>Among other projects, we have put a new deck on the back of the house to replace the old decrepit ramp. We are also designing a prayer/meditation garden there.&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9755" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;"><br></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9755" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">I ask that you please pray for us as well. I know that we are all exhausted and need to find new strength. But have no worries, we know from where that strength will come.</div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9748" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9753" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">With love and appreciation,<br></div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9742" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</div><div id="yui_3_7_2_1_1377469480401_9746" style="font-family: tahoma, 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px;">Ray and Adalia</div> Sun, 25 Aug 2013 11:33:52 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50045-summer-time https://internationalministries.org/read/50045-summer-time Impact of a Mission Trip <p> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><font face="Calibri">A ten-person team from Iowa spent the week of July 3-10, 2013, at Deborah’s House. They ranged from age 13 to 72 and included a family of 5. The work included setting foundation piers for a permanent rear exit from the second floor of the main building, the construction of permanent shelving in the laundry room for tool storage, and permanent shelving in the main building for bedding and supplies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In addition, several boxes of supplies were prepared to be given to families leaving the shelter.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>All this work was a pretext for the real work: interacting with the residents and becoming the face of American Baptists for the women and children living at the shelter, bringing them hope.<o:p></o:p></font></p><p> <font face="Calibri">At the time the team arrived there were 9 women and 19 children living at the shelter, with one on the way.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>By the time they left a week later, three families had departed and two more were preparing to leave.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>In a short week, deep relationships had been forged, and it was difficult to say good-by. The team felt that if there was an impact, it had not been because what they did, but instead, the profound influence the women and children of Deborah’s House had on them.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span>Lives had been changed on both sides of the border.<o:p></o:p></font></p><p> <font face="Calibri">We ask that as work continues, you remember the women of Deborah’s House and Ray and Adalia, and continue to support them with your prayers and dollars.</font></p><p><font face="Calibri">The Mission Partnership Team for Ray and Adalia</font></p><p> </p> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/49771-impact-of-a-mission-trip https://internationalministries.org/read/49771-impact-of-a-mission-trip Merry Christmas from all of us at Deborah’s House! <p></p>As the holiday season approaches, Ray, Adalia and those of us serving as their missionary partnership team here in the United States wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to you for your support of the ministry to abused women and children in Tijuana. We could not continue this work without you!<br><br>Thanks to you, Deborah’s House was able to shine as the face of Christ in this troubled corner of Mexico. For each of the women and children here, you have enabled us to show God’s love in such a clear, personal way. Thank you! For many here, we are the only example of Christ’s love in their life. <br><br>Thanks to you, many great things have happened this year. Here are just a few:<br><br>* A series of threats led us to realize more protection was needed for our families here at Deborah’s House. Consequently, we have -<br><br>* Hired a security guard<br><br>* Installed a security camera and additional outside lighting<br><br>* We have also found an attorney (the daughter of the first woman served by Deborah’s House!) to help us work on our nonprofit status here in Mexico to provide for long term sustainability<br><br>* Hired an Assistant for our Administrator<br><br><br>God has provided both for security needs, and personal concerns this year. Deborah’s House has been blessed in so many ways!<br><br>Adalia shares “We are hoping, as a missionary family, to celebrate Christmas with the five families living at the shelter. We are also having a Christmas party (called "posada" in Mexico) in one of our churches with all of the families that have been at the shelter and are still living in Tijuana. We are expecting around 80 people!<br><br><br>On behalf of all of us, thank you for your continued support of Deborah’s House. May the Lord be with you during this holy season, and may you have a blessed, joy-filled Christmas!<br><br><br>Ray, Adalia, Melissa &amp; Michelle<br><br>Anthony, Jan, Dale, Chris and Byron<br><p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 13:29:30 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/45908-merry-christmas-from-all-of-us-at-deborah-s-house- https://internationalministries.org/read/45908-merry-christmas-from-all-of-us-at-deborah-s-house- PEACE <p></p><p class="MsoNormal" align="center" style="text-align:center"><br></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Courier New'; background-color: white; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">At Deborah’s House we are strengthened in our resolve to create a place of perfect peace for those who need to find rest in the midst of the storms that they have lived. We know how important it is to be in a place where you know that you are protected, that no harm can befall you, where you can close your eyes at night and sleep. I remember as a child how wonderful and how secure&nbsp;it felt to be in my mother's or father's arms. I remember too how it felt as a father to hold my daughters in mine. I was filled with awe and love as I first felt their hearts beating as babies held against my chest, and as I could sense the peace that they felt in my embrace. As a shelter, this is&nbsp;the peace&nbsp;that the women&nbsp;who have dreamed of this program and have worked so hard&nbsp;to make it a reality,&nbsp;have longed to provide. It is their arms acting as God's arms in a&nbsp;loving embrace which will not let any trouble befall the ones held.&nbsp;This<span class="apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span>is the peace that our residents have longed to know,&nbsp;as they seek shelter from&nbsp;the terrifying storms.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Courier New';">Pray that God show these women the way. Pray for their spouses. They are God's children, at one time a baby in their mother's embrace, who must have held hopes for a&nbsp;better life for them. Pray that we can find a way to love them, even as love has not been our first emotion directed their way, that we can see them as that innocent children whose future were once an open book and no sin had yet stained its pages. Surely that is the way God looks at them, and at each of us.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Courier New';">&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Courier New';">We rest in God's assurance that angels unseen surround and protect us. Our faith is not ill placed, but resides in the One who would spare no cost to save His children. We rest as God's beloved held closely in this loving embrace.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Courier New';"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Courier New';">God, let us dream, rest, be in peace!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Courier New';"><br></span></p><p></p> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 15:46:48 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/45869-peace https://internationalministries.org/read/45869-peace Home for More than 100 Families <p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">Dear Friends,</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">On March 10<sup>th</sup>, 2012, we had the great pleasure to inaugurate the second story of Deborah's House. <span> </span>It represents for us a vast improvement to our facilities and a much more comfortable arrangement for the families we shelter. In the past, we have housed families together in dorm rooms with 2 or three families sharing space in four dormitories. This was all we had the capacity to offer, but for many families, limited space and privacy led to discomfort and even conflict. With the new story open for residents, we have 9 individual family rooms available where each family can have more privacy, space and comfort. We still have 2 dorm rooms as well, for women without children.<span> </span>So, although our total capacity is increased by only four families, the comfort level is vastly improved. </span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri"><img style="text-align: left;" border="0" name="ACCOUNT.IMAGE.5" hspace="10" vspace="25" align="left" src="http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs021/1109843826300/img/5.jpg" width="222" height="180">We hope that these changes will encourage some women to remain with us longer. We know that the longer they can stay in an environment where they are encouraged, supported and loved, the less likely it is that they will return to an abusive relationship. The longer they can work on their self-esteem, where they can find God's grace and love and own it for themselves, the less likely it will be for them to accept abuse from anyone.</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">We know that the women who come to us are afraid and anxious, they have lived through destructive family systems and have not had the best examples to learn to resolve conflict, grow healthy relationships and raise their children. <span> </span>Often, as they arrive, they are not comfortable even in their own skin. The differences that we can see once they've been with us for several months are incredible. They find a peace and calm in their lives that they have never known before. Getting someone who is so anxious to stay that long can be a challenge, and we know that several women have left long before we would have wanted. We are hoping that this new addition to our facilities will help us a great deal in providing an environment of even greater peace and comfort, and where any conflicts that do arise will not be motive for a woman to leave before it is her time to go.</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">This second story has been a couple years in the making. We have been working since the spring of 2009 to find the resources and the teams needed to build it. It has been put together by more than 90% volunteer labor, by American Baptists and others from 12 different states. They have encapsulated this space with framing lumber, drywall, and a lot of love, and it is evident as soon as you walk in. Once you see it, we think you'll agree that the building really is beautiful. For those of you who have formed a part in making this happen, please know that you have done well. Every woman who comes here will feel your love in the protection she finds here in this shelter. She will know God's love because of the sacrifices that you have made to make this happen.</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">Within days of opening up the new space, it had already filled up, and we have eight families in residence right now, enjoying their new "digs". Each family has their own bedroom. They have a large living room to hang out in together, watch t.v. or play games. The upper story has two additional showers to complement the six we have downstairs, as well as four additional bathrooms. Over the last five years, Deborah's House has provided a home for more than 100 women who needed a safe place to rest and begin to heal. Their stories of transformation have been amazing. We are looking forward to the opportunity to continue to provide this ministry for those yet to come. And of course, we look forward to helping them begin a new story at Deborah's House.</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">We want to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who have made this ministry possible, those of you who give regularly to support our salary, so that we can continue to work with Deborah's House, and those of you who have given you talent, sweat and time to build the shelter and share directly with the families in our care. None of this would be possible without you.</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri" color="#000000"> </span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">With love and our appreciation,</span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri" color="#000000"> </span></p><p> </p><p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri;" face="Calibri">Adalia and Ray</span></p> Mon, 21 May 2012 22:51:38 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/43007-home-for-more-than-100-families https://internationalministries.org/read/43007-home-for-more-than-100-families The Writing on the Wall <p><b>Have you ever felt like giving up?</b></p><p></p><p>I was having one of the hardest weeks of my life. We had just completed and dedicated the second story of our main shelter building and I was exhausted enough from that. I had been getting everything ready and I had not slept in two days. But it seems that it was finished just in time, because the very next day, new families began arriving to fill it up. The first came just after midnight, a woman, bruised and battered with 4 traumatized children in tow. The two youngest boys were crying incessantly, inconsolably. When their mother asked them to stop, they left their room and sat outside my door, wailing loudly. I awoke, tried to calm them down and help them to return to their room to sleep. 20 minutes later, another knock at the door, another hour spent helping them to get back to bed. This happened 5 times, until morning arrived.</p><p>The next day began even worse, as I had to try and get the belongings of another resident from the house where she had lived. I had to meet her abuser and try to calm him down while getting him to agree to allow me to take all her things. I have met with, counseled, and confronted many of these men in the past. Almost always, once they get beyond their immediate anger, they melt; they long to be listened to, to have someone to talk with and cry with. It is amazing how often they let us in to see the small hurting child locked within the facade of anger and pain. Not this time. This man scared me and filled me with a sense of dread that made me shudder inside. He was so calm and calculating, and outwardly cordial. As I was leaving, he placed an arm around my shoulder, made a thinly veiled threat against the woman who had escaped, and told me to "watch out", as he formed a gun with his other hand and winked at me.</p><p>As I returned to the shelter, I had to deal with several more internal political issues, relating to staffing and convention politics. Sometimes I am more comfortable with the abusers and violent families than I am dealing with the conflicts that rise within church organizations. It is a dangerous thing when a bunch of us Christians all get together and each think that we know what God wants.</p><p>I hadn't slept in 2 days, and I was anxious to rest and try to take a nap. I returned to my computer, and opened up my e-mail. On top, the first message I saw, was about the current state of &nbsp;our missionary support. It is dismal. I don't know how to ask for money. &nbsp;There are times like this day when it is hard enough to do my job, but to think that I have to raise the money in order to do it in addition to all else was almost more than I could bear in that moment.</p><p>I sat on my bed and I cried. I asked, pleaded with God, "Is this where you want me to be?"</p><p>I was exhausted. I felt like giving up. Never in my life have I felt more like giving up.</p><p>A knock on the door. "Ray, we need you to go pick up three more families that are being sent to our care!" "Seriously? Really God? Now? Isn't there anybody else?" Somehow, I found the strength to drive across town and pick up three more women so they could come to Deborah's House. &nbsp;This is what we do it all for, this is what motivates us, this is why we have spent every effort to build the best place that we could make, so that those who are weary can come and find healing and rest.</p><p>These three women moved into the new floor and were immediately surrounded by the loving embrace of every volunteer who encompassed that space with framing lumber, drywall, paint and art. Just as with all the families that come, they are tired, afraid and timid, but you can see the change in their faces as they adapt to a place where they will not be put down, beat up, or broken any more. The shelter exudes grace.</p><p>As I helped them get settled in, I had the opportunity to listen to their stories. Of the three women who came, one is pregnant with her second child, and the pregnancy is at great risk now because of the abuse she received. Another has special needs, and has had her children taken from her by the state because she has been deemed incapable of mothering them. She wants to fight to get them back, but it will be a hard struggle. The third is from Eastern Europe, speaks 4 languages and shared her story in English.&nbsp;</p><p>She had come to Mexico from Europe with a man from the US, who had promised her to help her get her papers to legally enter the US from Tijuana. But as she arrived in a section of the city overlooking the border wall, she realized that this was all a lie. He had brought her here so that he could traffic her. &nbsp;She was so close to her dream and yet, she was so far. He beat and raped her, locked her up and tried to bend her will to resist. She fought back at every turn. She told him she would never give in and told him just to kill her. Finally, after a month of her imprisonment, she broke free and looked for help. She told us that she had no where to go and that no one would help her. She went to the border wall where San Diego and Tijuana meet the ocean. As she looked across to the San Diego skyline, it was as if it was tormenting her. She said she was planning on throwing herself into the ocean and ending it all.</p><p>She said she felt like giving up. Never in her life did she feel more like giving up.</p><p>But as she walked along the border, some of the graffiti on the fence spoke to her. She said that there were some things written there that gave her some encouragement, that let her know that someone, somewhere cared. So she decided not to give up hope, and to keep looking for help. After hours of begging for help she found someone who took her to a Christian ministry that they knew about, and that ministry called Deborah's House.</p><p>As she told us her story, sitting in the new living room, I asked her, out of the thousands of messages written there, what had she seen on the wall that encouraged her. She responded, "There were two things: First she saw 'I was a stranger and you welcomed me" -and it was signed 'Jesus', Then nearby, she read 'No wall can contain my heart.' She said that these words spoke to her, and gave her hope. She wanted to find the people that wrote those messages.</p><p>I started to cry, as I am now writing this, as I told her that a month earlier, I took a group of students from Palmer Seminary to the wall, to reflect on the meaning that it has for us. I bring people there because I want them to see and understand it first hand, to understand how overwhelming it is from the other side. I &nbsp;bring people there to read what Mexicans have written, and on this occasion, to give these students the opportunity to write something themselves, to add our voice to the chorus of poetry, philosophy and opinions written there. &nbsp;</p><p>Of the messages that we wrote that day, one person from our group wrote from her heart, "I was a stranger and you welcomed me- and she signed it 'Jesus". I wanted to write something on the wall that would let my Mexican brothers and sisters know that there are some of us who are dedicated to building bridges, even when it seems that so many others want bigger and bigger walls. I wanted to let them know that as intimidating that this wall might seem, God's love and our love as Christians still &nbsp;breaks through. So I added in my own hand, "No wall can contain my heart."</p><p>As I told this young woman that we wrote those messages, she wouldn't believe me, and she told me so in very colorful and perfect English, "No &nbsp;-------- Way!" Yes, Way! I answered back. And I showed her the pictures of us doing it.</p><p>She said that now she knew that she was where God wanted her to be.</p><p>Never had I imagined that I would hear so quickly that anything we wrote on the wall that day would have such an effect on someone's life. She was so close to giving up.</p><p>Never could I have imagined that I would hear so clearly the answer to my own anguished prayer. I felt so close to giving up, but I too learned in a powerful way that I am where God &nbsp;wants me to be.</p><p>I can read the writing on the wall.</p><p></p> Mon, 21 May 2012 15:01:25 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/42990-the-writing-on-the-wall https://internationalministries.org/read/42990-the-writing-on-the-wall Matching Grant <p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt"><var><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">Dear Friends</span></var></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt"><var><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">After two years of our latest assignment, (to Haiti and Mexico), Adalia and I are in the midst of a 3 month</span></var><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">US assignment, visiting supporting churches and making new connections. We</span></var>&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family: Arial">are enjoying</span></var>&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">our time here, and we are encouraged by the desire that we have found in people like you who want to partner with us in our ministry. However, I have to admit that we are anxious to be back full time at Deborah's House this summer, where we feel that we can serve God best.</span></var></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt"><var><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">The ministry is doing well in our absence, though Cari and</span></var><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family: Arial;color:#333333">&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">the volunteers are also anxious for us to be back there with them. They have made it clear that they</span></var>&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">want us there as</span></var>&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">soon as possible. We are working hard to make this happen, but we do need your help once again. We are quite a bit below the level of support that we need to raise and we do not have very much time in which to raise it.</span></var></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt"><var><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">The good news is that International Ministries has received a <b>matching grant </b>for new or increased donations for missionary support. This means that your gifts can be doubled and we can reach our goal much more quickly! Eligible contributions have to be received between <b>May 18th</b></span></var><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family: Arial;color:#333333">&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">and</span></var>&nbsp;<var><b><span style="font-family:Arial">July 31st</span></b></var><var><span style="font-family:Arial">. We would like to ask you to prayerfully consider this opportunity to renew or increase your commitment along with us to this ministry. We know that our ministry at Deborah's House is only possible because of you.</span></var></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:7.5pt"><var><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">Donations can be made by check, phone or on-line. You can learn more about this</span></var><span style="font-size: 14.0pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333">&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family: Arial">opportunity by clinking on</span></var>&nbsp;<var><span style="font-family:Arial">the link below.</span></var></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><var><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Arial; color:#333333"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/6">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/6</a></span></var></p> Sun, 20 May 2012 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/43071-matching-grant https://internationalministries.org/read/43071-matching-grant World Mission Offering <p></p><p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;">The American Baptist Churches World Mission Offering is used to support the work of American Baptist missionaries and our partner churches around the globe. In other words, this offering is your support of the ministries of families like mine. Many of you know I am an ABC Missionary Kid. I have lived in Latin America my entire life, and just moved to the United States two and a half years ago.<br></p> <p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;">My parents' work for the last ten years has been with Deborah's House, a shelter for victims of Domestic Violence in Tijuana, Mexico. While I was in Tijuana one of my major jobs was to help take care of children at the shelter. One of the first of these children I took care of was a five year old girl named "Marisol" (name was changed to protect confidentiality). I grew very fond of her, she would follow me wherever I would go. One Sunday we took the families to a local church, and after the service I was taking the children on a little tour waiting for our parents to tell us it was time to leave. As we walked into the church's office, Marisol asked me what this weird looking machine was on the corner. And I explained to her it was a fax machine, and I told her that this machine was used to send people notes on pieces of paper. So then I saw her pull out a piece of paper and grab one of the pens in the office and write very carefully. She then gave me her little note and said: “Send this to my dad”. As I read the note I could not help but to tear up, it said: “Daddy, I wish you could love mommy as much as I love you. I wish you could start treating her the way she deserves to be treated”. This note truly touched me; it was the first time I heard one of the kids from the shelter talk about their father. I told Marisol that I would make sure her dad received the note, and he did. Marisol's dad and mom never got back together, but both of their lives were greatly affected by the work of Deborah's House. Marisol and her Mom and brother are doing very well, and her father after much counseling is trying to learn how to be the father she needs. </p> <p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;"> It is because of stories like Marisol's that I have decided to go into Social Work and Psychology. My heart has been touched so many times by these children, and I want to learn to help them overcome the abuse they have lived through to have the kind of life God wants for them.</p> <p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;">Some of my very best friends, people who I instantly relate to, are other ABC missionary kids. I know the ministries they and there families are doing, and I am amazed by changes that they are helping to make in people's lives. They offer hope in a world that, for far too many people, seems hopeless. Many of my “MK” friends are preparing themselves to go into similar career paths, because we all want to help those who have impacted us so greatly with their stories.</p> <p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;"> Because of your support of the World Mission Offering, the ministry of Deborah's House, and ABC mission work around the world, is a vital extension of the ministry of this church. We become an extension of your hands in Tijuana to Marisol and the hundreds of other children we have taken into our shelter and into our hearts.</p> <p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;">Thanks for the support you have given to us and our ministry, and to the ministries of my MK friends. In many ways I tell you, truly, you are training up the next generation, to carry on the incredible tradition of ABC mission, bringing Christ's hope everywhere we can reach,</p><p style="line-height: 200%; margin-bottom: 0in;">Michelle</p><p></p> Mon, 07 Nov 2011 12:30:20 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/40092-world-mission-offering https://internationalministries.org/read/40092-world-mission-offering Letter from Mari <p>My name is Mari </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">A couple&nbsp;months ago I was able to escape from my house and come to the shelter where you can find me today. I suffered verbal, physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Everything started immediately after marrying my husband.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">I was 17 when we got together- when the abuse started. He changed drastically- as we were dating he was caring, loving, and very respectful. He liked to surprise me and paid attention to the little details. But then, so suddenly, he became jealous of everybody I saw, man or woman. When he sent me to the store, I had to be sure to come back very quickly. When I returned, he would insult me and accuse me, demanding to know why it took me so long. Then he began beating me.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">As soon as we were married I became pregnant, and even so, he beat me without caring whether he would hurt the baby. He beat me with his fists and he whipped me with electric cables. He broke broom handles over my back, my legs, my pregnant belly.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">He had a lot of problems with alcohol, and with crystal meth, though I didn't realize this at the beginning. He worked driving a taxi and I had to accompany him on his route every day because of his jealousy. He kept me next to him all day long, for 12 hours, without anything to eat. He was afraid I would escape at any moment.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Because of the immense physical abuse that I endured, my baby, a boy, was born at only seven months into my pregnancy. This became another motive for accusations and beatings, as he told me that the baby could not possibly be his; he accused me of being a whore. </p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When my baby was two months old, my husband came home one night, drunk, stoned, and angry because he had fought with a friend. For no other reason he began to beat me severely. He took off the dog's chain and used it to hang me by my neck from the rafters. I lost consciousness and woke up on the floor many hours later.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When I opened my eyes, he dragged me to the bed and continued beating me. The baby was there next to us and wouldn't stop crying, so my husband began punching him in the face until he was completely black and blue. As I struggled to get my baby away from him, he threw me hard against a dresser and I hit my back. Suddenly, I could not move, I had lost all strength in my legs. Even so, he continued beating me until he was exhausted and satisfied.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">That was just one of the many beatings he gave me. Afterwords, on his knees, he would ask for forgiveness and promise me that he would never do it again. But he would do it, again and again, over the next two years. I was terrified to attempt to escape, because he never left us alone. It was very rare for him to leave me at home, and when he did, he always took the baby, knowing I could never leave without my child.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Finally, one day, as he was preparing to torture me again, I left running from the house. Without any idea where I would go, I just went out into the street running as fast as I could. I knew he would follow me and so I thought that as soon as I saw the first open door, I would go in and beg for help. Without realizing it, the open door I found was a neighborhood DIF office [a government office for child family welfare services]. There, they called the police to help me to try to get my son back. But by the time we got to the house, he had taken my son along with all of our documents and important papers. He wouldn't have many places to go. My husband had just lost his taxi, because he hadn't been making payments. (As time had moved along, he spent more and more days abusing and torturing me at home than out working.) I suggested that they look for him at his brother's house. And there they found him and got my son for me.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><br></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">The day I escaped was the 23rd of November, 2010, my son's second birthday. Without planning to, I escaped from my house. By the grace of God, I was brought here, to Deborah's House.</p><br>My son was anemic because of the poor diet we had. I couldn't provide for him, as I was not allowed to have any money of my own. I had to wait for my husband to buy food which he never did. I begged for milk for the baby and he would say that that's what I was for. He wouldn't even let me change the baby's diapers because they cost too much.<br><br>I never had any control over my own body, not even birth control. So, secretly, when my first child was born, I asked the doctor to put in an IUD. I didn't want to get pregnant again because I knew that another child would suffer just as my first baby was suffering. But this also led to new problems. As I wasn't getting pregnant again, he began to feel that he wasn't capable of being a father, and therefore the first baby wasn't his. Once, as he sexually abused me so badly I suffered a severe hemorrhage and by some miracle, he agreed to take me to a doctor. To avoid more conflict, I asked them to remove the IUD. Soon after, I was pregnant once again.<br><br>But now, we are in a whole new world. Today, as I write this, I am six months pregnant. In Deborah's House, they took me to my first ultrasound, something that I hadn't even known existed before. I know that I'm going to have a precious baby girl; the great difference is that this child will be born in a place filled with love, care and attention. I give thanks to God because there exist places like this, where they tend to all my needs, psychologically, spiritually and physically. They've give me legal help to protect my rights and to seek justice for what is been done to us.&nbsp; They're helping me to formally register my first baby whom I have given a new name, “Moises Ernesto”. They are helping me to have contact once again with my family in Veracruz, most importantly, my mother. They're helping me with the birth of my second child, whom I am calling “Adalia Michelle” in honor of a most excellent woman. Being at Deborah's House is wonderful because I'm surrounded by people, who without even knowing me, have given my child and me the best of their love and attention. Everything I own in this world they have given me here, from food and clothing, to the greatest of my emotions. My son smiles now, which he had never, ever, done before. So do I!<br><br>We have no worries, much less mistreatment or abuse, and we joyously and anxiously await the birth of Moises' sister. When the right time comes, Deborah's House is going to help me return to my family.<b><span><br><br>Blessed be God</span></b><b> and blessed are those who make it possible for places like this to exist.</b><br><br>Here we have learned so many new things. For instance, I've learned to knit hats and sew my own clothing. We are even learning English. Most importantly, we are studying the Bible to learn about God and Jesus Christ and his wonderful teachings. We are learning to love God and to love ourselves as we discover how to enjoy our qualities and abilities as women.<br><br>My bad experiences were horrendous, but I'm sure that in this shelter my good experiences will be far greater still. As time passes on, little by little, instead of fear in my mind and in my heart, there will only be immense happiness.<br><br>I could spend a lot of time sharing what my husband did to me but I would rather spend my time enjoying my son and my <span>pregnancy. Th</span>e little that I shared looks like it comes straight out of some soap opera. Perhaps it is hard for you understand the fear which kept me imprisoned for so long, and which forced me to tolerate so much. Yet it was that same fear though which sent me running into the street that 23rd of November, a day I will never forget.<br><br>Perhaps you will judge me for staying so long. Perhaps you will try to understand me. However, the only thing that I ask of you is that you <b>“Corran La Voz!”,</b> <b>let your voice run!</b> Please, shout it out! Let all others who are suffering what I suffered know that there are places like this beautiful shelter! Truly, I say that this house, aside from being a normal building of block and mortar, is a house which breathes the warmth of home.<br><br>When I arrive back home with my family in Veracruz, I want to put into practice all that which Deborah's House has taught me. Most importantly - to live well with my children and my mother. I cannot turn back time but I can begin to live again a life truly happy in the company of my God and my family. How wonderful it is that I begin this life here and now with my new family at Deborah's House.<br><br> Tue, 22 Mar 2011 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/34197-letter-from-mari https://internationalministries.org/read/34197-letter-from-mari About Our Lives This "School Year" &nbsp;<b>Greetings to all our Missionary Partners</b> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">We appreciate so much the care and support that we feel demonstrated by your contacts made through e-mail, facebook, phone calls, and invitations to your churches. The financial under girding with on-going support commitments as well as one time gifts that keep our ministry with International Ministries moving forward have been so encouraging and welcome and necessary. Thank you!</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><b>Tijuana-Philadelphia-Haiti</b></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">We are well into our year of combined ministries of continuing the support and construction of Deborah’s House in Tijuana and working in the Philadelphia area as regional missionaries helping to coordinate work teams and medical and microeconomic training programs as part of ABC’s relief efforts for Haiti. Last time I went to Tijuana, I was able to reconnect with the Board at Deborah’s House and the progress of the work there. It was a real time of reunion with the women and volunteers who are either serving at the shelter now or who have been through the program of recovery or served as volunteers with us in the past. A great week!</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><b>ABWM and Deborah's House</b></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Ray and I have been working with the American Baptist Women’s Ministries to obtain a grant for establishing small businesses that is available for women at risk. Sadly, we have seen that single mothers in Mexico, especially those who have been abused, are at risk of prostitution, because of the culture they are living in and the choices they have made and changes that occurred after their decisions. ABWM decided this year, to give the women at Deborah’s House the grant, and I was able to tell the women about this new resource for Deborah’s House. It was a big boost to the moral of the capable and intelligent leading women in the recovery program who have been frustrated by their lack of resources to help women in more real ways to start new lives of independence and ability to support themselves and their children. This grant is a spark of life for the women in the shelter as well as those who have left the shelter and are struggling on their own. It will open up opportunities for them that haven’t been available in the past, but are so necessary for them to succeed in making a new start.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I will be in Tijuana this coming week as we prepare our first <b>Micro-Enterprise </b><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal;">workshop on October 16</span><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal;">th </span><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal;">, lead by Oscar Camacho, member of FBC Napa, CA. We are so thrilled to have as Deborah's House this opportunity as we continue to minister these families even after they leave the shelter. </span><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Ray is now in Haiti with the “Economic Development Team”, a group of ABC missionaries working with the Haitian Baptist Convention leaders to start a long term program for Economic Development in Haiti. I am part of the “Medical Team”, also a group of ABC medical missionaries who will be traveling to Haiti to strengthen relationships with our brothers and sisters there for the long term medical support. Thanks to your <b>One Great Hour of Sharing</b> contributions we are not only helping with short term needs, but building long term relationships and support. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Ray will be in Tijuana for three weeks in November to keep the ties with Deborah’s House in good shape. We have a system going so that at least one of us is always here with the girls. They are back in school, of course. Michelle is already overwhelmed with homework and all the colleges’ applications. Melissa is in 9th grade, facing another change this year, since it is the first year of High School in this area (although in Mexico is still consider her last year of Middle School).</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">We are holding our own in gaining on-going support but are hoping to increase the number of those making financial commitments to our ministry. We are looking for ways to expand our supporting Missionary Partnership Network, to strengthen the ties that bind us together. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">We thank God for you, for thinking of us, praying for us, supporting us in so many ways,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Adalia</p> Wed, 06 Oct 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/27214-about-our-lives-this-school-year- https://internationalministries.org/read/27214-about-our-lives-this-school-year- New Home <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">The hardest thing we ever have to do is say goodbye. <br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">Over the last several years running Deborah's House, offering shelter to women and their children who are escaping family situations of extreme violence, we have had the opportunity to work with dozens of families at the most trying times in their lives. They come to us afraid and alone, with no possessions but the clothes on their backs. They don't know who to trust or what will happen to them when they get here. Their self esteem is destroyed from the years of insults and criticism, being told that they can do nothing right. Their bodies are swollen and bruised, and they can't seem to inhabit them well, as if they don't know that their own bodies belong to themselves anymore.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">Our work, while they are with us, is first to give them a safe place, where they can not be threatened anymore- where no one can hit or hurt them, with fists or words. In this environment of grace, they will begin to heal their spirits, minds and bodies. Little by little.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">While they are in the shelter, they will also learn life skills, take classes on nutrition, job skills, English, and sewing. They will have counseling from our team, psychologists and social workers. Parenting classes are important in helping them find a better way to raise their children, without the fear and violence that they have only known before. Most importantly, they will learn to love themselves and to know grace. The change we see in them after several months is striking. Women whose faces projected nothing but despair, who could not smile at all, begin to laugh. As surely as if they had been dead to this life, they are reborn to a life of joy, a life of love.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">And then we have to say good bye. </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">As with all ministries of empowerment, whether it is pastoring a church to new vision, parenting a child, or running a shelter, there comes a time when we must lead those in our care to be able to stand on their own. Anything less would be fostering dependency. </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">However, the world we have to send them back into is a cruel world indeed. The jobs that are most readily available, in the assembly plants, pay less than $1 an hour, require long days, and provide no <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1285949274_1">child care</span>. Rents are high for apartments that are barely livable. The public schools where their children will go are overcrowded and sub standard. How does a single mother find her way in such a world on her own? </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">We have tried to help them find the best jobs possible, and to supplement their income selling jewelry, quilted bags and clothing that they learned to make at Deborah's House. Even so, survival is always a struggle. What they can earn in this economy is barely enough to pay the bills. The temptation to go back to an abuser is great, even if only as a means to survival. That most of the women of Deborah's House choose not to go back is a testament to the fact that they have learned to love themselves far more than to allow themselves to be abused again. They know that they deserve better.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">We have a new bright star of hope for us in the Deborah's House <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1285949274_2">Constellation</span>.&nbsp;Gloria* was the first woman we helped to leave a situation of <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1285949274_3" style="border-bottom: medium none;">domestic violence</span>, a home where she was enslaved by a step father and sexually abused from when she was nine years old until she was 33. In the seven years since her liberation, she has been finding her strength, determined to live with dignity and to make sure that other women, especially her daughters, would never know that kind of abuse. A couple months ago, after years of perseverance and through blessed friendships and divine intervention,&nbsp;Gloria bought her own house. Like Deborah's House,&nbsp;it is a home full of love and grace. It is also an inspiration of hope. </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">The world to which we send them became a little less impossible, a little less cruel. </span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;">THANK YOU AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES USA FOR HELPING DEBORAH'S HOUSE MINISTRY TO BECOME A REALITY FOR SO MANY FAMILIES IN TIJUANA, MEXICO!</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: 12pt;"><br></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">*This article was also published for the IM Mission Study Guide. Names were changed for confidentiality</span></p> Thu, 30 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/26881-new-home https://internationalministries.org/read/26881-new-home The New Life Has Begun <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">For any Christian, baptism is a cause for celebration, a passing from one life to another, from darkness to light. For the two women of the Deborah’s House who were baptized at the beginning of this month, this event also symbolizes the transitions that are already happening in their lives. But of course, in order to appreciate the new lives they have now, you need to know what they were living through before.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span>When Rosario* came to the shelter, her face was covered in bruises. Her husband had hit her so hard that her jaw had become dislocated. Not only did he abuse her, but he also hit her seven-year old son. Jorge tried to keep his mother from finding out about the violence that he was suffering, but it was only a matter of time. When she finally realized what was happening, she had the incredible courage to leave her husband, together with her two children, and to come and live at the Deborah House. Rosario is now getting back on her feet. She now has a good job at a plant not far from the shelter. Her face has healed, and so have some of the emotional scars left by her husband. She dreams of having her own home, of opening up a beauty salon, of a better life for her children. This is the new life that is now possible for her.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span>Marta* and her son Juan* came to the shelter about a month after Rosario. While most of the women in the shelter come from some part of Mexico, Marta happens to be Cuban. She left her country years ago when she met and married a Mexican man – the same man who abused her. She is now in the process of getting her papers in order so that she can stay and work in Mexico, at least for a while, although her heart still remains in Cuba. Marta was very nervous at her baptism, which took place on a rocky beach near Tijuana. She said that the water was so cold that she felt like she was going to die. One of the <i>hermanas</i></span><span>&nbsp;joked to her that she did die – to her old life.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span>Life for these women is hard, even once they have reached the shelter. Their bodies and spirits need time to heal, time before they can start to recover from the nightmare that they were living in for so long. They still face many struggles that range from the lack of privacy in the shelter itself to homesickness to trouble raising their children, who have often been affected by the violence that they saw or experienced at home. Life is not perfect for them, and it never will be. &nbsp;However, thanks to the Deborah’s House and everyone who supports it, they now have a chance at living a life with dignity and hope. These two women experienced the mercy and grace of God in the support and help of everyone at the shelter. Now they have made a public commitment to live in that grace for the rest of their lives. The new life has begun!</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span>By Becky Hall, volunteer at Deborah's House, september 2010-January 2011. *Names have been changed for confidentiality</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><span><br></span></p> Tue, 28 Sep 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/26614-the-new-life-has-begun https://internationalministries.org/read/26614-the-new-life-has-begun To My Daughters &nbsp; <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">WARNING SIGNS: What I want to make sure my daughters know</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">We try so hard to protect our children, even as we prepare them for a future where they will be as independent and as strong as they need to be to survive on their own. We know of the dangers that the world can present and want to ensure that they will not fall victim to accident or random violence. But the scariest thing for us, is that we know that the greatest danger for women does not come from the random stranger, but from the people that they invite into their lives. Two thirds of the violence against women is done to them by people they know – and the most severe violence, by intimate partners.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Did you know that one of every five high school girls in the US is physically or sexually abused by a dating partner? During the course of their lives almost one in three women will be physically or sexually abused by their husbands or boyfriends. For the past eight years, I have worked with domestic violence and I have seen the damage that this violence does to women and to their children. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I am also a father and I do not want my daughters to ever end up in a relationship where they are being beaten up and put down, where they are made to feel as if they aren't as intelligent, beautiful and wonderful as we know them to be.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">As my oldest daughter is getting ready for college, I am shaken by the murder last week of a lacrosse player at UVA by the hands of an obsessed former boyfriend. They were graduating seniors with such great potential and their whole lives ahead of them. Now one is dead, and the other's life is destroyed. We read these stories from time to time in our newspapers and we are affected by them, but for the most part we see these stories as aberrations. We don't see them as part of the much larger problem of control and obsession as it plays out everyday in the lives of millions of families wrecked by domestic violence. Though this story stands out because of the tragic ages of the young woman and her killer, it will happen four more times today in the United States. There will be four more tomorrow, and the day after that …. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The most frightening statistic that I have seen is that a woman is 75% more likely to be murdered immediately after she leaves an abusive partner. This is when the stakes are highest, when emotion rages out of control and when we need, as a society, to take seriously the protection that victims require.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Equally important, is helping young people understand the risks and the signs of danger before they enter into relationships which will spiral into violence. There are almost always signs of an abusive personality that can alert us to the danger, if we are tuned to see them. The following are some of the most common indications that the people they are with may become abusive toward them. I ask you, as you prepare to send your children out into the world, to share these with your daughters, and with your sons. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Sudden Emotional Attachment</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">People with abusive personalities tend to move into relationships very quickly and develop excessive emotional attachments almost immediately. As a young person who has romaticized love, it may sound wonderful to you to hear someone say, again and again, how much they love you, and that they don't know how they could live without you in their lives. We all want to be loved. However, this sudden and complete emotional attachment is not often love at all, but rather the expression of a needy person's desire to fill a hole within themselves. This hole cannot be filled, and can grow to consume you. It may also be an indication that someone may become violent. When someone believes that you are absolutely essential to their happiness, they feel entitled to do anything to keep you. Though we often think about marriage and relationships as a way to complete ourselves, the truth is that we can never enter into a healthy relationship unless we are healthy already. This means that we must love ourselves enough to be well with or without anyone else in our lives. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Jealousy</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Jealousy is often interpreted as a sign of someone's love for you, but in truth it is a sure sign of insecurity and possessiveness. It may begin almost innocently, as he/she may want to be with you constantly and ask you about every moment of you day when you are not together. But soon this jealousy can become suffocating, especially when he/she is trying to verify where you are all the time and questioning if you are being truthful. She may accuse you of flirting every time you interact with another person. He may call you constantly and make a habit of dropping in to check up on you. This is not love. This is a lack of trust in you, stemming from his own insecurity about himself. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Control and Isolation</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Control is often disguised as concern for you and your safety. Though it seems at first as a desire to protect you, it grows into an overarching desire to regulate all of your time, friendships, and decisions. An abuser will often check the time it takes you to come home from work or school and ask you why it took longer today than yesterday, perhaps accuse you of being dishonest about where you've been and who you've seen. Even your choice of clothing will be called into question. Putting your decisions down and making you feel guilty is a method of eroding your self esteem and gaining more control over your life. Control moves to isolation as the abuser will try to limit your friendships and the time you have to spend with your friends and family. He/she will insist on spending all his/her time with you and limiting friendships where he/she is not allowed or comfortable. He/she will try to drive a wedge between you and anyone who is seen to be a threat to that control.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Blame and Guilt</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Abusers have a very difficult time accepting responsibility for their actions and as a result are looking for scapegoats on whom to project their feelings of shame and guilt. They tend to anger quickly and project this upon others. They will blame coworkers, employers, parents, and anyone convenient for anything that goes wrong, regardless of fault. If you see this emerging as a pattern, beware. It will not be long in your relationship before they will begin doing this to you as well, making you to feel responsible for their problems, exaggerating the severity of mistakes made, and heaping guilt upon you. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">As this progresses, you may reach the point where you don't even feel as if you are being blamed for everything. You might get to the point at which you believe that everything IS your own fault, and that you can't do anything right. Many victims learn to question everything about themselves because after hearing it said so often, they believe they are responsible. If you begin to feel inadequate, incapable and unintelligent in all that you do, you need to know that this is a lie. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Violence and Destructive Behavior</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Physical violence in a relationship is often not directed to the partner first. It may come out as dishes are thrown, or walls are punched. Sometimes agression is shown toward pets, children or others outside the relationship. Abusers can explode upon anyone who gets in their way. The blame is always directed to someone else. Often the first physical violence shown a partner is as someone will attempt to restrain and control their partner, keeping him/her from leaving a room, for instance. You must know that any show of physical strength against another person, even without blows, is violence. In the same way, the threat of violence is also domestic abuse. When someone attempts to control another person by threatening to harm them, actual physical violence is never far behind. The first time someone threatens to harm you or makes you afraid of them, you need to get out of the relationship. That is not what love is, and you deserve far better.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I hope that you know that as human beings, our relationships are meant to build us up, to strengthen and encourage us. The person you choose to spend your time with, to love and to marry, should help you to be the best of what you can be. They should help broaden your horizons and not limit your opportunities. They should help you know what love and forgiveness really mean, and not mire you in guilt and self loathing.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Be careful to establish your friendships and relationships on acceptance and love. If you see these warning signs beginning to emerge, then deal with them head on. Let your partner know that you will accept nothing less than mutual respect and understanding. Don't be afraid to leave someone who is hurting you; it is not you failure. And, most of all, don't be afraid to ask for help. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">As a parent I want to let my daughters know: Michelle and Melissa, this can be a tough world, and as much as I would like to protect you from its pain, you may get hurt. Just remember, no matter what it leads you to believe about yourselves, no matter how badly you may feel about the choices you have made, we will be here for you. We believe in you, and know that you deserve the best. Don't ever be afraid to ask for our support, you will always have it.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">With love,<br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Ray</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">If you would like additional information about domestic violence and its warning signs and characteristics, the following sites have further information:</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><a href="http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/">http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/</a></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><a href="http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm">http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm</a></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><a href="http://www.turningpointservices.org/Domestic%20Violence%20-%20Warning%20Signs.htm">http://www.turningpointservices.org/Domestic%20Violence%20-%20Warning%20Signs.htm</a></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> Thu, 06 May 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/21032-to-my-daughters https://internationalministries.org/read/21032-to-my-daughters Surprised in Haiti &nbsp; <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">There is nothing that can prepare you for what you see as you step off the plane and into Haiti. Sharing the journey with you are Haitians coming home to find loved ones and to see what's left of the country they once knew. Relief workers and mission teamers from around the world share information with one another, about where we will be working, what we will be doing. We have high expectations of what can be done and how we will help, which will soon get a jolt of reality. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The doors open and the hot humid air slaps your face and awakens you to a new reality. There is some disorder as people rush off the plane to get through immigration and then find bags in the old hanger adapted for this purpose, as the old terminal is too badly damaged to be used. You are waived through customs and then you are on the street where young men compete to be able to carry your bags for a small tip, and cars jostle with makeshift taxis in the rubble strewn street for a space to park to pick up their charges. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Traffic barely moves around the chaos of the airport whenever the planes arrive. It barely moves most of the rest of the time too. As you slowly make your way down the old streets you see the blur of people trying to move in any way possible, by foot, by car, by bus, dodging the mountains of debris, and each other, against the backdrop of fallen buildings. Everywhere you look, it is the same. Nothing seems to have been left intact; no building is standing straight. Those that haven't fallen into piles are bent and broken, slanted at angles that make no sense. The people are gathered into tent cities of blue and white. They spend their time looking for things in the rubble to sell in the markets along the road.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">For the two hours that it took to get to Grand Goave, it was all the same: broken houses, lives on hold. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I thought that I knew what to expect when I arrived in Port au Prince. I had spent four years in Nicaragua and was there when it was so badly devastated by Hurricane Mitch. We had participated in the relief efforts there in the immediate aftermath. The destructive power of that hurricane was so immense, wiping communities completely off the map, yet it was nothing in comparison to what I was seeing everywhere I looked in Haiti.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">As American Baptists, we have partners, missionaries and volunteer teams working in many places throughout Haiti. I had the opportunity to spend a week in Grand Goave and the surrounding area which was hit particularly hard by the earthquakes. ABC is working along with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the local Baptist churches to rebuild a school, to put in wells for drinking water, and to begin the task of rebuilding homes. There is a base of operations established to host volunteer teams from the US, to work beside our Haitian brothers and sisters as they rebuild their communities. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">It is one small step, but a step that needs to be taken. We hope that we will be able to place a new team from our churches there every week for the next few years, as this rebuilding takes place. </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">It would be understandable, given the immensity of the problem, to give up hope, and to do nothing at all. The truth is that the situation is overwhelming. But we must not be overwhelmed! We must know that every effort we make will make a difference. I am reminded that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, so small that it can barely be seen, yet it grows into a huge tree. We plant this seed in every person's life that we meet, as we accompany them in the midst of their greatest trials. We plant this seed among our Haitian brothers and sisters, as we work beside them, letting them know that they are not alone.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I was not prepared for the destruction I would see in Haiti, but my biggest surprise was not in the scale of the tragedy, but in the hope that still exists. In the face of a disaster which would have shaken my faith to its core, I found a hope among Haitians that will always be an inspiration to me. As I asked them what they saw for their future, they told me that they saw a country better than it has ever been before. As I asked them where their hope came from, they told me that it came from all those that have come from around the world to be minister to them, to bind up their wounds and to stand together with them as they forged a new beginning. They saw hope in our presence with them</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">The kingdom is being planted. It may appear as a mustard seed now, but it is there, planted by those faithful servants who were willing to go way beyond their comfort zones, and to share in the lives of those who most needed to know that they were not alone. It will be watered and nurtured by those who keep coming, in the months and years to come.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I will tell you now that this will be difficult. It will require a sacrifice of your time and money. It will be hot and uncomfortable. The work will be hard. You will have no more priviledge or privacy than those you are serving. But you will glimpse a little seed begin to grow into something great. In as much as you are willing to take God's love to the least of these in this world, you will see the kingdom of God take root and grow, and it will grow in you. Nothing could be more worthy than this.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">If you or your church is interested in taking part in a mission team to Haiti, please contact Angela Suderman at <a href="mailto:Angela.Sudermann@abc-usa.org">Angela.Sudermann@abc-usa.org</a> or by phone at 610-768-2164, or 1-800-222-3872 x2164.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Contributions for Haiti relief can be made through “One Great Hour of Sharing” at International Ministries website, <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/">www.internationalministries.org</a> . 100% of your donation will go toward the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Grace and Peace,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Ray<br></p> Wed, 28 Apr 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/20593-surprised-in-haiti https://internationalministries.org/read/20593-surprised-in-haiti Shelter <p>I have just returned from 2 1/2 weeks at Deborah's house, where I was able to host some good friends who accompanied me there to&nbsp;bring our second story into full use.&nbsp; It was also extremely important to encourage our partners in this ministry as they have faced some struggles and are trying to hold on.&nbsp; So much of my life with the shelter since 2005 has been such busy work, and I have had little time to sit, reflect and enjoy.&nbsp; This trip was no exception, until, late one night, with almost everyone asleep, I took a walk around the shelter, prayed some, and just tried to take it all in.&nbsp; This place has become what it was intended to be, an oasis in the midst of a difficult world, a rest from life's storms.&nbsp; It has become sacred ground, and I felt so good to feel it that night as I was saying goodbye once again, until August.&nbsp; This is the poem that I wrote as a reflection that night, and I share it with you:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> </p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">early spring's night falls gently on Deborah's House</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">mist condenses</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">the dew covered swing set shimmers in moon's soft light</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">a chorus begins in some far away street and slowly draws near,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">dogs barking at shadows and each other</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Tango and Wolfgang join in for a stanza</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">and then curl up again on the porch</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">dusty gringos sprawl out on bunks</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">exhausted from hard labor</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">building this small piece of the kingdom</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">encapsulating new rooms with love and drywall</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">downstairs are women and children</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">refugees from the world out there, beyond our gates</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">they struggle to adapt to a place where</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">their bodies aren't beaten</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">their spirits aren't broken</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">they try to sleep through the night</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">to not be afraid anymore</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">a child cries, a mother comforts</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">maybe tomorrow …</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">Chayo keeps vigil over the night</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">a shadow moving earth in the garden</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">planting seeds which will blossom in time</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">to greet new arrivals with bright colors and new hope</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I stand here as a witness</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">stopping for the first time that I can remember,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">basking and admiring,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">the calm and the accomplishment.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">I see it now,</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">this is sacred space</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;">it is good.</p> <p style="MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0in;"><br></p> Thu, 25 Mar 2010 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/19440-shelter https://internationalministries.org/read/19440-shelter $1 Million Requested by Haitian Baptists for Earthquake Recovery Contributions totaling <span style="font-weight: bold;">$254,000</span> in relief funds have been received by International Ministries (IM) in the wake of the destruction caused by the January 12 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. A draft proposal identifying $1 million for immediate and medium-term needs has been received from IM’s partner, the Convention of Baptists in Haiti (CBH).<br><br>The proposal included a summary of the extensive damage. Of the more than 21 Baptist churches in the convention, 11 church buildings were damaged and at least four were completely destroyed. Two pastors died in the earthquake along with 29 other church members. More than 400 congregants were injured. Among convention congregations, 438 homes were destroyed and 673 were damaged.<br><br>The CBH proposal outlined an immediate three-part action plan that calls for contributions to be allocated for distributing mattresses, tarps and other shelter necessities (50%), providing food for families (48%) and establishing a medical clinic and providing basic personal hygiene items (2%).<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Dr. Emmanuel Pierre</span>, general secretary of the CBH, expressed appreciation for initial assistance: “Thank you very much for the funds from IM and special thanks for the clean water system you sent via Dr. Vic Gordon.” Dr. Gordon, a pastor from Ohio and former IM board member, visits Haiti regularly to teach at the Christian University of Northern Haiti.<br><br>IM missionary <span style="font-weight: bold;">Steve James, M.D.</span> and Scott Hunter of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are working with the CBH to refine the action plan and continue to identify needs among the Haitian churches. A plan for the longer-term rebuilding phase will be developed in the coming months.<br><br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Kristy Engel</span>, a pediatric nurse practitioner and IM missionary in the Dominican Republic (DR), continues each week to lead rotating volunteer medical teams from La Romana, DR to Port-au-Prince. These teams, composed of volunteers from the U.S. as well as Dominican physicians and volunteers, are providing medical care to victims housed in tent cities. In one such city, a single team treated nearly 1,000 patients during just one four-day rotation period.<br><br>Some of these teams have been composed of more than 75 people. <span style="font-weight: bold;">Ketly and Vital Pierre</span>, who serve as IM missionaries in Nicaragua, and <span style="font-weight: bold;">Adalia Schellinger-Gutiérrez, M.D.</span>, an IM missionary in Mexico, have been among members of those groups. “Over the next several weeks,” Engel reports, “we still need doctors and physician assistants to help fill the needs of our medical clinics. If you are able to assist in those areas, please send an email to BIMvolunteers@abc-usa.org to register.”<br><br>IM missionary <span style="font-weight: bold;">Madeline Flores-López</span> has remained in the DR. She and her Dominican colleagues are continuing to provide shelter and medical care to quake victims being brought to the Contreras Hospital in Santo Domingo. They also have been giving each earthquake victim a "duffle bag" where they can put their personal things like soap, clothes, medicines, etc. Flores- López says, “They came with nothing, now they can take a least a bag and clothes with it” – a reminder of God’s love being shown by God’s people.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Dr. Stephen James</span>, an IM medical doctor, recently visited the larger medical institutions in the north of Haiti to assess the response to earthquake patients that are being transferred by the hundreds from Port-au-Prince. He and his wife, Nancy, a registered nurse, have been serving as IM missionaries in Haiti for more then 20 years. They recently observed, “It is rare to find someone in Haiti today who has not lost a family member in the earthquake. We who have been in Haiti for many years have witnessed terrible tragedies. Yet this present disaster has shaken all of us in the scope and breadth of pain for so many. Still there are signs of God working through His people in Haiti, like a Haitian doctor in the slums of Port-au-Prince serving by himself for long hours with few supplies or a Haitian nurse caring for the wounded next to a demolished clinic a few miles from the epicenter.”<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Emergency donations</span> continue to be needed. Donors can give through the IM website: <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/items/80">www.internationalministries.org/items/80</a>, or by check to: “OGHS – Haiti Earthquake Relief” and mailed to: International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851. Support can also be given by American Baptists through their church by making checks payable to the church with “One Great Hour of Sharing – Haiti Earthquake Relief” written in the memo section. These gifts will be sent from the church through the American Baptist region and then to International Ministries.<br><br>A new tax relief law allows people who contribute to Haiti earthquake relief by March 1, 2010 to take a tax deduction for the contribution on their 2009 tax return. This means donors can receive an immediate tax benefit, rather than having to wait until they file next year’s return. Donors may deduct these contributions on either their 2009 or 2010 returns, but not both. See: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=218645,00.html?portlet=7">www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=218645,00.html?portlet=7</a><br><br>The ten people arrested for alleged child trafficking in Haiti are not members of churches affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA or with International Ministries. Some media sources have labeled these individuals as “American Baptists.” While the people involved are Baptists from the United States, they are not related to ABCUSA or IM. Thu, 04 Feb 2010 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/18242-1-million-requested-by-haitian-baptists-for-earthquake-recovery https://internationalministries.org/read/18242-1-million-requested-by-haitian-baptists-for-earthquake-recovery THANKSGIVING <p class="MsoNormal" style="TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">As many of you know, our family has been back for US/Puerto Rico assignment this year, from August 2009-June 2010.<span>&nbsp; </span>We have been blessed by many friends, churches and family who have made possible for us to locate in the </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Philadelphia</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"> area, back to our origins as a family, where Ray and I met at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer) twenty years ago!!!<span>&nbsp; </span></span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Yes, time flies, and now our daughters: Michelle and Melissa are in 11th and 8th grades at the public schools in this area.<span>&nbsp; </span>We are so appreciative for the overwhelming love that has surrounded us from brothers and sisters in Christ who made possible our time here.<span>&nbsp; </span>We also love the fact that we have been invited as “Missionaries in Residence” at Palmer for this academic school year.<span>&nbsp; </span>So many wonderful memories!<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>God willing, we will be able to attend the Seminary’s Homecoming this November, in the midst of all of our deputation among our American Baptist Churches.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">We will be traveling around the country.<span>&nbsp; </span>So far we have several commitments in different regions to help spread the Good News that God is doing around the world, particularly in </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Tijuana</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">, </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Mexico</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">, where we serve at Deborah’s House.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Diondra Marchus, a member of Crosswalk, FBC </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Napa</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">, CA, and our current volunteer at Deborah’s House shared with us last week:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"></span>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">“Cha Cha”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I've been given a lot of great nicknames in my life (Punkin, Dio, Dinozaur, Dino, Diodactyl, "D.O. double G," Tiny) but I have to say, my favorite so far is "Cha Cha."<span>&nbsp; </span>I have been dubbed "Cha Cha" by our two-year old at Deborah's House, Brisa. Because Brisa is two and just learning to talk, she only says the ends of words. "Pelota"(ball) is "ota!", "Galleta" (cookie) is "eta!", and "Muchacha"(young woman) is "Cha Cha!" </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">So, according to Brisa... I am "Cha Cha" <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In the mornings when I walk into the kitchen for breakfast and I'm greeted by this bundle of cuteness clinging to my leg while squealing "Cha Chaaa!!!" all I can do is thank God for leading me to this place. I am so honored to be a part of this little girl's life.<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Moments like this one, so full of joy, happen often with the Deborah's House women and children...to the point where I sometimes have to remind myself what they've been through and why they're here. In the past few weeks we've been able to take them to the beach, to the movies** and to the </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Tijuana</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Cultural</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"> </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Center</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"> where we saw an Egyptian mummy exhibit. It's wonderful to see that despite the horrors they've faced, they can still laugh and play and the kids can still enjoy being kids.<br><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The reality is:<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Teresa is tired some days because dreams about her father trying to shoot her mother wake her up in the night and she can't get back to sleep. Rosalinda and her three pre-teen kids were completely uprooted from their lives and friends in southern </span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;">Mexico</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; COLOR: #333333; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"> taking nothing with them but the clothes on their backs when they fled. They spent three straight days on a bus to get to the shelter. Ines left her job as a teacher to come to the shelter when she found out that her husband wasn't just physically and psychologically abusing her, but sexually abusing their five year-old son as well. Now, as she's looking for a job so she can start over, no one is hiring. Her old boss is begging her to come back but she can't because her husband has already been there looking for her... Domestic abuse is so much more than black eyes and bruises. It can be a total loss of freedom.<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, as I said, despite all the pain they've suffered, they are resilient. The happy times we have together here and the smiles on their faces are a testament to that. I'm sure that in their private moments and in therapy they are wrestling with the sadness, hopelessness, fear and anxiety that their situations warrant...some of them, in their first weeks here, were even made physically ill by the stress. But while their bodies may tire, their spirits are incredibly strong.</span><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 10pt;"><span>&nbsp;</span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span></p> Thu, 22 Oct 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14896-thanksgiving https://internationalministries.org/read/14896-thanksgiving Gifts to the World Mission Offering Over the past couple years, we have had the opportunity to provide shelter for more than 60 women and their children.&nbsp; At Deborah's House they have found respite from violent storms and the opportunity to begin life anew.<br><br>One of these women who has just recently left the shelter is “Esperanza”.&nbsp; When she came to us she was barely communicative, having suffered from extreme abuse.&nbsp; She came with her three children, and the oldest daughter, “Sarah”, 16, had been abused by her step father and was pregnant with his child.&nbsp; <br><br>Esperanza, non medicated bipolar and obsessive/compulsive, no longer knew how to cope with any of this and spent most of her time retreating into the recesses of her own mind.&nbsp; Sarah was overburdened trying to deal with the responsibilities that her mother neglected in caring for her two younger siblings, at the same time that she had to deal with her own abuse and <span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1256324654_0">pregnancy</span>.&nbsp; For most of her stay at the shelter, she never made eye contact with any of the adults.&nbsp; Her gaze was always fixed on the floor.<br><br>Esperanza's duties in the house were to mop the floor, which she probably did 5 times daily and more than that if she could get away with it.&nbsp; When she washed clothes, we had to supervise her closely or she would wash the same load ten times before she would hang them to dry.&nbsp; I am not exaggerating.&nbsp; She once used a whole box of detergent on one load of laundry.&nbsp; And whenever we had to negotiate limits with her she would become angry or retreat once more into her room.&nbsp; Alone, she constantly pulled out her own hair, and in public always had to use a hat or a wig.<br><br>She was resentful or withdrawn almost all the time.&nbsp; Everyday we would ask her how she was and everyday she would have something to complain about.<br><br>She made progress at the shelter, but we were still worried when it came time for Esperanza, her two youngest children, and an extremely pregnant Sarah, to leave the shelter.&nbsp; They moved to a home a cousin owned quite a distance from Deborah's House and from the area she had always known.&nbsp; How would they cope?&nbsp; <br><br>We helped them to move in, found the family a stove and refrigerator, and made and installed a kitchen counter and sink.&nbsp; We returned a couple weeks later to bring some more supplies.&nbsp; Esperanza was staring out the window into space when she suddenly began to cry and said loudly, “I didn't know people like that existed.”&nbsp; I looked out the window to see who she was talking about.&nbsp; There was nobody there.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I asked, “People like who?”&nbsp; Still staring out the window, she said, “People who help you and never ask you for anything in return. People like you. All of you.&nbsp; Deborah's House.”<br><br>This was unexpected.&nbsp; After all the complaining and griping, we didn't see this coming.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;She got it. She finally figured out that we didn't want anything from her, but for her own well being.&nbsp; I suppose that Esperanza had never been in a relationship with anyone that didn't want something back from her.&nbsp; She had paid such a steep price for everything in her life, and always much more than anything she had received in return.&nbsp; Now that has changed.<br><br>Just as we were getting in the car to leave that day, Sarah called out for us to stop.&nbsp; She looked us in the eye, and crying again, said, in well rehearsed English “Thank you very much.”&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Then she hugged us, and said good-bye.<br><br>I share this with you because I treasure that moment of gratitude from Esperanza and Sarah so much, and because it rightly belongs to all of you.&nbsp; We have only been able to be a part of this shelter because of people like you.&nbsp; People who give of their time and money, encouragement and prayers without asking for anything in return.&nbsp; <br><br>Without you, Deborah's House, and Adalia's and my ministry with it would not be possible.<br><br>Without you,&nbsp; Esperanza would still be with her abusive partner.&nbsp; Without you, Sarah would still be living a torment greater than we dare contemplate.&nbsp; <br><br>We invite you to continue to partner with us.&nbsp; &nbsp;We thank God for people like you. <br><br>With love and gratitude,<br><br>Ray and Adalia<br> Thu, 22 Oct 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/14901-gifts-to-the-world-mission-offering https://internationalministries.org/read/14901-gifts-to-the-world-mission-offering Swine Flu Just One of Many Communicable Diseases IM Missionaries Face Daily <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 12"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 12"><link rel="File-List" 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mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">The <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">U.S.</st1:place></st1:country-region> is a wealthy country, a land of abundance where common diseases like the flu are usually not life-threatening.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Yet we are in the midst of an unusual medical scare.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The appearance of the swine flu in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">U.S.</st1:place></st1:country-region> has ignited fears of a lethal virus that is touching every city, burb and village in this great land.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">The widespread concerns raised in the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">U.S.</st1:country-region></st1:place> lead us to think about how the swine flu is affecting corners of the world that are not blessed with our abundant resources and advanced health care system.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">International Ministries missionaries are so often at the epicenter of sudden and devastating viral pirates.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If not acted upon quickly, diseases like the swine flu stampede through cities and villages, taking lives and leaving broken families in their devastating wake.<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">For <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/artifacts/11052">IM missionaries in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region></a>, where the flu strain was originally identified, the effect was felt mostly in the precautions taken by the government in shutting down schools and workplaces.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>In addition, the decrease in tourism further impacted local economies, already hurting as a result of the worldwide financial downturn.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">Of course, dealing with communicable diseases is nothing new for missionaries.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/57">Dr. Bill Clemmer</a>, medical missionary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) says that common cyclic epidemics in his area of the world include “cholera, typhoid, monkey pox, measles, and even hemorrhagic fever (Ebola).”<span style="">&nbsp; </span>For <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/66">Dr. Rick Gutierrez</a>, medical missionary in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">South Africa</st1:country-region></st1:place>, the specter of HIV/AIDS is a sobering constant.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>In one rural Zulu community, he noted that “the pastor spends every Saturday doing one funeral after another the whole day because so many people are dying from HIV.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It really is unbelievable.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">In Mexico, where confirmed swine flu cases have so far been responsible for more than 60 deaths, <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/94">Dr. Adalia Schellinger Gutierrez</a> succinctly captured the balancing act missionaries face in trying to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of people.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>“</span><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;" lang="EN">What worries me the most,” she said, in reference to the possibility of a sudden and devastating epidemic, “is losing the human/spiritual side of things as we become overwhelmed looking for ’survival,’ and we stop caring for other people.”</span><b style=""><span style="color: white;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 10pt;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Calibri&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;">Disease carries with it a stigma that, unfortunately, keeps many away from helping to meet the needs of the infected.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>IM missionaries work to meet those needs, body and soul, and fight the battles against curable and, presently, incurable diseases in developing countries.</span></p> Wed, 20 May 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11529-swine-flu-just-one-of-many-communicable-diseases-im-missionaries-face-daily https://internationalministries.org/read/11529-swine-flu-just-one-of-many-communicable-diseases-im-missionaries-face-daily Is the Swine Flu affecting IM Missionaries in Mexico <span style="font-weight: bold;">Six IM missionaries weigh in…</span><br><br>The swine flu is making news in the U.S., and has already claimed lives in Mexico. See how the flu is affecting six IM missionaries serving in Mexico right now:<br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/46">Rick Barnes</a>: “[The flu] is affecting my ministry minimally right now.” (scroll down for more)<br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/74">Patti Long</a>: “The fear of this new disease on top of the daily fear of violence…is very unsettling for the children.” (scroll down for more)<br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/94">Adalia Schellinger-Guitérrez</a>: I worry about “losing the spiritual side of things as we become overwhelmed looking for ‘survival’.” (scroll down for more)<br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/91">David and Joyce Reed</a>: This is “an opportunity for Christians to band together to speak boldly, to pray boldly, about the PEACE that only Jesus can give, to bathe Mexico in the light and love of God.”&nbsp; (scroll down for more)<br><br><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/missionaries/351">Chuck Shawver</a>: “A group of folks from Rocky Mountain Region…postpone[d] their visit until June.” (scroll down for more)<br><br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Rick Barnes, Baja, Mexico: </span><br>As I think about the swine flu, I honestly get more concerned about this than I do with the violence of the drug trade. With the violence, you basically can avoid certain areas and be reasonably well assured that you can be safe. The face of the swine flu is the 23-month-old toddler and the 70-year-old grandmother and the 25-year-old college student. Since we know so little about source and transmission issues, this great void of knowledge leaves us vulnerable. We don’t know who has it or not. We don’t know where it will go. And we don’t know whether this is the tip of an iceberg, or a flash in the pan. <br><br>This is affecting my ministry minimally right now, other than just being concerned. The Mexican government closed all public schools in Mexico this week. I wonder if this is an overreaction, or legitimate concern. The problem with diseases like this is that by the time you realize there is a problem, many people have already been infected. But to shut everything down and have something minimal happen is like crying wolf. Our seminary functions normally. I am sure that the church activities will continue normally short of a documented outbreak in our region.<br><br>I think this demonstrates how interconnected we are in this world. I know there are those who would want to close the border and all would be fine, but things just don’t work that way. And this nonsense of certain commentators saying that infected illegals are responsible for the infections in the U.S. is simply xenophobic.&nbsp; I do wonder why those in Mexico are more adversely affected than in other parts of the world. Maybe these are the consequences of poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Maybe there are many more factors than we know.<br><br>And I don’t have any theological understanding of this, other than that God grieves with those who grieve a loss, and God is very present with us during times like these.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Patti Long, Mexico and the U.S.</span><br>Since my ministry is teaching special education in Tijuana, on Monday morning I went to school as usual. We spoke with the children about the flu, being more careful about hygiene, etc., yet were faced with the problem that there is seldom running water at the school and dust is continually flying everywhere.&nbsp; Some children came to school wearing masks and I took an extra supply of antibacterial wet wipes.&nbsp;&nbsp; At about 10:30 the school received notice that all schools were to close immediately and not to reopen until May 6.&nbsp; We stopped our classes and brought the children into the chapel to explain the situation and to pray.&nbsp; Different from what one might expect, the children were not happy about this.&nbsp; For one, Thursday April 30 is Dia Del Niño (Children’s Day) which they all look forward to and now will miss.&nbsp; Also, the fear of this new disease on top of the daily fear of violence in which all of Tijuana lives, is very unsettling for the children, and school is generally a place where they feel and are safe.&nbsp; I am very sad for all that is happening in Mexico and I miss my students very much.<br><br>&nbsp;I worry about the health and emotional impact of this fear in the lives of my children. Many come from the poorest and most vulnerable areas of the city. If there is an outbreak of the flu in Tijuana, many of these children and their families very likely will be affected.<br><br>There is still so much that isn't known about the disease, but the Mexican government is taking it very seriously and making every effort to educate and provide necessary resources to even the most marginalized communities.&nbsp; But living in dire poverty, often without water and with many people living very close together, it is very hard to contain illnesses.&nbsp; So far, thankfully, we have not heard of any confirmed cases of the flu in Tijuana, but with the constant influx of people from all over Mexico, it will most likely become a serious problem.&nbsp; Please pray for people to be able to fight off the disease and for it to fizzle out in all parts of the world!<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Adalia Schellinger Gutierrez, Tijuana, Mexico:</span><br>As a medical doctor, I have had many medical consultations/check-ups from people with regular colds and/or laryngitis to make sure they are out of danger.&nbsp; My regular advice is to rest, drink lots of fluids, take precautions so they don't infect anybody near them, work on building their immunity.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br><br>What worries me the most about it as it relates to my ministry is losing the human/spiritual side of things as we become overwhelmed looking for "survival,” and we stop caring for other people. <br><br>We ask people in the U.S. to keep praying so that people who already have the disease might build enough body defenses to fight the illness; keep praying that the flu stops spreading worldwide; be precautious but never panic, nor lose hope: we are in God's hands.<br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Joyce and David Reed, La Paz, Mexico</span><br>People are scared, and the media is throwing people into a panic.&nbsp; As far as we know, there are no reported cases in La Paz, or Southern Baja, yet. But public places are deserted.&nbsp; Tourists are canceling trips.&nbsp; This is having a dramatic impact on our already weak and tenuous economy.&nbsp; A friend of ours who runs a fishing tour company had three groups cancel today.&nbsp; Restaurants are deserted.&nbsp; People are taking extreme measures instead of just precautionary measures.&nbsp; At a pastor's meeting today, David heard a conversation concerning Sunday's worship.&nbsp; Should they cancel church on Sunday to protect people's health?&nbsp; No consensus was reached.&nbsp; We have found ourselves doing a lot of listening, trying to sift through the fact vs. fiction to calm people's fears, and helping people make accurate risk-assessment based decisions.&nbsp; We are reminding people that God is sovereign, even over flus, and that panic-striken thinking will lead none of us to healthy, holistic lives.<br><br>What worries us the most is that Satan is gaining control as people give into fear and panic.&nbsp; In a country already ruled by idols and syncretic beliefs, Mexico's part in this flu epidemic is feeding a frenzy that Satan thrives on.&nbsp; However, it can also be an opportunity for Christians to band together to speak boldly, to pray boldly about the PEACE that only Jesus can give, to bathe Mexico in the light and love of God.<br><br>The most important thing that our friends in the U.S. can do is maintain a godly perspective on this pandemic.&nbsp; Bathe Mexico and our world in prayer.&nbsp; Pray that God will work through our Christian communities to bring healing and peace to a world already shaken by economic turmoil. <br><br><span style="font-weight: bold;">Chuck Shawver, central and southern Mexico</span><br>So far, other than concern for colleagues in Mexico City where the problems are most prominent, we have not been directly impacted.&nbsp; Schools are closed but we do not have school-aged children.&nbsp; Lots of folks walking around in blue surgical masks.&nbsp; I just got off the phone with a group of folks from Rocky Mountain Region who had planned to come to Mexico next week on an exploratory visit.&nbsp; They made the decision last night to postpone their visit until June.&nbsp; I have several other groups with summer plans but I suspect that they, too, may be reluctant to spend money on airline tickets until things seem safe.&nbsp; So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Chiapas that I know of, so we are not dealing with families who have been sickened by the swine flu.&nbsp; Our colleagues in Mexico City are all safe, but the city is certainly a different place and all church and school activities have been suspended until May 6 as a precaution.&nbsp; Folks are worried and the mood there is somber. <br><br>To make a financial contribution to any of these missionaries’ support or to the ministry of International Ministries, click on Give on the tool bar above. Thank you for your support of International Ministries.<br><br> Thu, 30 Apr 2009 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/11052-is-the-swine-flu-affecting-im-missionaries-in-mexico https://internationalministries.org/read/11052-is-the-swine-flu-affecting-im-missionaries-in-mexico Finding grace <p>One of the questions that I get asked a lot from our churches, is if we ever have trouble with the husbands of our residents finding the shelter.&nbsp; Before Simon, I was always able to say “No”.&nbsp; But things changed quite a bit for all of us when he showed up. &nbsp;</p><p><br>I suppose you could say that this is the story of how my pants saved me.&nbsp; Simon wanted to kill me, but his knife got stuck in my pants.&nbsp; It was rather fortunate for me, I should say, that he was wearing them at the time. &nbsp;</p><p><br>Let me tell you the story.</p><p><br>Simon was married to a woman who had been at Deborah’s House months before.&nbsp; Blanca and her two children, Simon Jr. and Sandra, spent several months with us over the summer of 2007.&nbsp; She was having a rough time of it at the shelter.&nbsp; She had a tough time sharing limited space and trying to control her kids.&nbsp; Adorable as they were, they were also capable of causing a lot of problems.&nbsp; Simon Jr. particularly was prone to vicious acts of anger.&nbsp; When he thought no one was looking, he would kick a younger child, or stomp on a dog’s tail.&nbsp; He had so much rage bottled up inside him, but he was also capable of wonderful acts of beauty.&nbsp; Deep down, he was crying out for love and attention.</p><p><br>Just when I thought we were making some breakthroughs with the entire family, Blanca decided to leave, to go back to her husband.&nbsp; We couldn’t convince her otherwise and of course, the women at the shelter have to be given the right and power to make their own decisions.&nbsp; Although we were sad for Blanca, I hurt most for Simon Jr. &nbsp;</p><p><br>I thought he had made great progress, and that we had made such a strong connection.&nbsp; Every time I arrived at the shelter, he ran to greet me and hug me. He was so desperate for my approval.&nbsp; I think I was the only man that he ever knew who didn’t hit him or hurt him. &nbsp;</p><p><br>As his mother prepared to leave, he tried to stay.&nbsp; He didn’t want to go back to the vicious reality that he had known before.&nbsp; My heart broke when he begged me to let him live with us, crying alligator tears, and I was powerless to do anything at all.</p><p><br>Three months later, Blanca called for help.&nbsp; She had been stabbed three times and her face was beaten almost unrecognizably.&nbsp; We took her to the police, but the courts said that they could do nothing because her wounds were not severe enough.&nbsp; They would heal in less than three weeks.</p><p><br>She needed to leave Simon, but we could not take her back to Deborah’s House.&nbsp; It was too likely that Simon knew where our shelter was and could show up here looking for her.&nbsp; We found space for the family at a shelter run by a Pentecostal woman. &nbsp;</p><p><br>Two days later Simon began calling.&nbsp; Our first contact with him was the messages he was leaving with members of our churches who had reached out to Blanca as she was living with him again.&nbsp; Several women, members of our board, had been doing follow up with Blanca to make sure she was ok.&nbsp; They prayed with the family and invited them to cell groups nearby.&nbsp; Simon now had Blanca’s phone and all the numbers for these dear women.&nbsp; He began harassing them and making threats.&nbsp; The week before Christmas, he told them that he knew where our shelter was, and if he didn’t have his wife and kids by that Friday, he would come and kill everyone at Deborah’s House on Christmas morning. &nbsp;</p><p><br>Nice present. &nbsp;</p><p><br>We beefed up security and tried to get a police presence there as often as possible.&nbsp; We also looked for him at his home.&nbsp; Accompanied by a domestic violence unit of the Tijuana police, we went to his apartment hoping to find him.&nbsp; He was never there. We left messages explaining that she was not with us anymore, but offering to help him with his problems.&nbsp; I left my phone number in hopes that he would stop harassing everyone else and call me. &nbsp;</p><p><br>Now he had one more number to call.&nbsp; But it took him several weeks to decide to call me.&nbsp; I told him that I could help him, but that he needed to stop threatening everybody else. We agreed to meet at a public plaza, but before we could, he took off.&nbsp; He was paranoid and left when he saw a police cruiser nearby.&nbsp; My intention was to have him arrested and the police were there for that purpose. &nbsp;</p><p><br>Later that day, he called back and we tried again.&nbsp; This time the police didn’t show up and Simon did.&nbsp; When I finally saw him, I saw Simon Jr.&nbsp; I saw that little lost angry child locked up inside, he was not the monster that I imagined, or perhaps I should say that he was not only the monster.&nbsp; He was certainly capable of evil things, but I saw that little 12-year-old boy there and I knew that this is where his son was heading.&nbsp; My heart broke once again and I just wanted to help.</p><p><br>Simon was strung out on “crystal”, methamphetamines, and the signs were obvious.&nbsp; He ranted and raved and demanded that I deliver his wife and children, but he also cried out just to be listened to.&nbsp; I let him know that the only way that could ever happen, was if he could get off the drugs and to deal with his violence, so that someday he could become a man worthy of being his children’s father. I suggested rehab to start. &nbsp;</p><p><br>To him, part of his addiction was to his family, and the control he needed over them, more powerful than any drug.&nbsp; The need was too immediate and a plan which would take months was way too long for him. &nbsp;</p><p><br>I told him to call when he was ready for rehab.</p><p><br>He kept calling, and harassing.&nbsp; We met several more times, and I tried to gain his trust.&nbsp; I gave him some of my old clothes to replace the rags he was wearing.&nbsp; My smallest old Dockers had a 32 waist, which almost could fit twice around his drug ravaged emaciated frame.&nbsp; He had a velcro back brace which he wrapped around the pants as a belt to hold them up the next time I saw him.</p><p><br>In our conversations he could be calm as he talked rationally about his problems, or he could be given to fits of paranoid ranting about my participation in a huge multi- government conspiracy to take away his wife and children.&nbsp; It was my fervent hope that at the very least I could give him a person to talk to, so that he would leave our churches and the shelter alone.&nbsp; Simon, however, never stopped.&nbsp; His one mission, 24 hours a day, was to find his family, his addiction demanded it. &nbsp;</p><p><br>He showed up at Emmanuel Baptist church one day, screaming and trying to break down the door.&nbsp; He was yelling threats for the world to hear, that if I didn’t show up immediately he was going to start killing anyone he could.&nbsp; They called Adalia and me, and then we called the police to have them meet us there. &nbsp;</p><p><br>When I arrived, Simon was still upset.&nbsp; He was wearing my dockers again, and was walking a bit funny.&nbsp; The police were not yet there, of course.&nbsp; He wanted to talk, and so I tried to calm him down and stall him so that he could be arrested.&nbsp; I walked with him a half block, to where I could keep him with his back to the street from where the police would come.&nbsp; This left me with my back to a block wall.&nbsp; Smart, huh? &nbsp;</p><p><br>As we talked, and I waited, he kept fidgeting with his pocket.&nbsp; He was a bit crazier than usual, which is saying a lot for Simon.&nbsp; I told him I just wanted to help him.&nbsp; Simon has a sixth sense for danger and knew immediately when the police rounded the corner that something was up.&nbsp; As I’ve heard said before, “Just cause you’re paranoid does not mean that they’re not out to get you.”</p><p><br>He reached deep into his pocket and began to pull out a long metal shank that he had made and sharpened just for the occasion.&nbsp; It was about 15 inches long and extended through a hole in the pocket down his pant leg.&nbsp; But as he was pulling it out, it got stuck in the frayed threads of the pocket itself.&nbsp; He yelled out as he reached for it, “I’ll show you!” and then remained stuck there, grabbing, pulling, but without being able to lift it out any further.&nbsp; His mind also remained stuck at that same moment.&nbsp; He kept repeating, over and over, “I’ll show you, so this is what you mean by help? I’ll show you!” and different variations of the same. </p><p><br>I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.&nbsp; Seriously, I didn’t want to offend him. But the image of this guy fighting with my pants which were wrapped around him two times and held in place by a velcro back brace, and losing the battle, was too much.&nbsp; It seemed to me to take about 5 minutes for that police cruiser to make its way to where we were and for an officer to stroll over.&nbsp; All the time, I was wondering if I would have a chance to use that Tae Kwon Do that I spent all that time learning.&nbsp; Years of blocking drills and counter punches honed as razor sharp instinct to use in the flash of an eye at the precise moment necessary.&nbsp; Instead I just sat there watching this strange drama unfold as if I weren’t really an interested party, listening to Simon tell me, “Ok, now, I’ll show you, here it comes, O just wait, I’ll show you.”&nbsp; “Still waiting, Simon,” I thought, biting my lip.&nbsp; I must have gone over 10 different techniques in my mind that I thought might come in handy, but couldn’t decide on any in particular.&nbsp;&nbsp; I didn’t need one anyway.</p><p><br>The policeman arrived, asked which one of us was Simon, which I thought was kind of obvious, and then placed his hand on Simon’s shoulder.&nbsp; He released his grip on the metal shank and it dropped a couple inches twirled around a couple threads and fell, clanking harmlessly to the cement.</p><p><br>The police collected Simon and the knife and told me where to meet them to make my declaration.&nbsp; I arrived fifteen minutes later and went to the judge's office where I found Simon denying that the knife was his.&nbsp; It was a plant, he said.&nbsp; The judge was on her first day on the job with the domestic violence unit.&nbsp; She took the statements, listened to the testimony about the threats Simon had made, looked at the knife and then asked if anyone had actually been harmed.&nbsp; I said “no,” omitting the damage inflicted on my lower lip, when I had bitten it to keep from laughing at Simon. &nbsp;</p><p><br>The judge said, no harm, no foul.&nbsp; The fact that he didn’t actually draw the knife was enough to keep her from sentencing him to any serious time.&nbsp; She agreed to hold him for 36 hours in order to see if there were any other charges pending.&nbsp; As the police were taking him away in handcuffs, Simon turned to me and said, “I’ll call you tomorrow night”.</p><p><br>He did.</p><p><br>He couldn’t understand why I refused to see him again.&nbsp; I told him again, that when he was ready for rehab, I would gladly help him to get to a good center.</p><p><br>A month later he made the call. He had hit bottom, and he had no where else to go.&nbsp; I picked him up and we went to the first of several Christian rehab centers that he would know over the following months.&nbsp; I saw him there every week, and over time that is where I got to know the real Simon.</p><p><br>He confided in me things which he had never told a soul in his life.&nbsp; He shared the accounts of abuse and rape that he suffered as a small boy, and about how his father had found out about these things and became so ashamed of his son that he didn’t let a day go by without beating him.&nbsp; He shared with me the guilt and shame that he has internalized because of what was done to him.&nbsp; Then, he told me about all the things he has done to his own wife and children and the ever increasing guilt he feels.&nbsp; Not a day goes by, he says, in which he doesn’t think of the rape.&nbsp; “I beat myself up every day because of it, and that’s why I beat everyone else.”&nbsp; He deals with his pain with drugs and violence.&nbsp; Like so many men, in their feelings of weakness and shame, he lashes out at others not because he feels strong, but because he feels so weak. &nbsp;</p><p><br>In him, I see his son, and I see the life that Simon, Jr. might have in store for him if we cannot, if Simon cannot break the cycle of violence.</p><p><br>Simon clung to me just as his son did, and he wept in my arms.&nbsp; How much I wanted to let him feel in me the loving embrace of the father that he so much needs, who can tell him that it’s alright, that he is alright, that he is worthy of love and need not bear this shame anymore.&nbsp; How much I wanted to be God’s arms for him on that day and to take away his pain.&nbsp; How much I want, I need, to feel God’s embrace myself.&nbsp; But it is so elusive, and I am such a poor substitute.&nbsp; God wants to give this grace so freely, but we are so hard on ourselves, and forgive ourselves so slowly.&nbsp; I see this in Simon as I see it in me, and I know that this is what drives him to do those things which only compound his shame.&nbsp; Isn’t this true for all of us?</p><p><br>Simon has made progress, and he has slid back.&nbsp; He left the rehab center after two months and was back on crystal.&nbsp; He was back to calling me with his delusions.&nbsp; And then I didn’t hear from him for a month.&nbsp; I was worried, and then I saw him last week outside the prison a couple blocks from my house.&nbsp; There had been a big riot there and Simon was on his way inside. This time not as a prisoner, but as a part of a work team put together by the rehab center where he is now residing.&nbsp; He was going in to help clean things up after rioting destroyed much of the prison. &nbsp;</p><p><br>He hugged me and cried and said he was doing well.&nbsp; He looked fantastic, had picked up a little weight and could almost fit into those 32 inch dockers now.&nbsp; He told me that he wished he had listened to me sooner.&nbsp; I cried and told him that it’s never too late.</p><p><br>Inside every monster, no matter how cruel, how evil he may act, is a little child, a child of God who our Father wants to lift up from the depths to which he has fallen, and redeem to His purpose, and to enclose in His embrace. &nbsp;</p><p><br>That is the hope for every one of us, His children.&nbsp; Inside every one of us, is that child that God made and loves, and yearns to lift up and hold on to.</p><p><br>My prayer for Simon, for all of us, is that we may know and rest in that embrace.</p><p><br>With Love,</p><p><br>Ray</p> Wed, 29 Oct 2008 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/7931-finding-grace https://internationalministries.org/read/7931-finding-grace Deborah’s House: Our One-Year Anniversary Dear friends: Sorry that we have been so slow in getting updated information to everybody. We have been overwhelmed at times and are struggling to keep our heads above water. Despite our challenges, we are very happy with the ministry at Deborah's house. At the moment we have 18 people in the shelter, including six women and 11 children (ages one month to 10 years). The shelter has been running full time since February and we have seen many other families come and go in that time. All told, we have provided shelter for 14 women and their children for an average of 4 1/2 months each. There is a need to help more women, of course, but we don't have the resources or space yet for more than six or seven families at a time. This has been a great experience with many new challenges, and through trial and error we are learning how to do the best that we can in helping these women with what they need most. Thank God for dedicated volunteers who have given so much to make sure that the women have what they need. Particularly, our administrator, Tere, works tirelessly spending hours at the shelter almost every day, after her full time job. Others come and do Bible studies, game time with the kids, and other activities to try to make the shelter a warm and fun place. In addition, each of the women is seeing a psychologist and also a social worker once a week. One of the greater challenges has been to provide for their medical attention. Adalia does most of the doctoring, but sometimes their needs have required much more. One of the women came to us in her seventh month of a high-risk pregnancy. She is deaf and cannot read, write or sign. She had a few close calls but her baby was able to make it to full term and was born just one month ago. The baby is beautiful and is a wonderful addition to the house. Her name? Deborah of course! All of the women have received so much abuse and have many physical ailments as a result. One suffers from severe migraines, another is losing her vision, and another has back problems. To make matters a little scarier, we have just found out that one of the women was exposed to TB for several months in the kitchen where she worked before coming to us in August. We just received the news that one of her coworkers died and another is ill. We are waiting for the results on their tests the second time around (the first results came negative six months ago). We don't believe she has contracted the illness, but it's better to be safe than sorry. The kids are all healthy now, but last week we had to treat several for bronchitis. In such close living quarters, it seems that if one child gets sick, they all do. The older kids are all in school and are doing well. They go to a school at one of our Baptist churches which has an excellent program for special needs children. The school has been very supportive and has been very flexible in making arrangements for students that sometimes have to enter or leave mid year. This is something that the public schools won't do. Furthermore, the class size there, about 20 children per room, is less than half of what the public schools have. The kids get some special attention from another of our American Baptist missionaries, Patti Long, who works at the school several days a week. One of many needs we have now is for scholarships. Although far less expensive than most schools, we need about $60 per child per month for books, supplies, transportation, and lunch. It may sound like a lot of work, but believe me, it is wonderful work. For more than one year I spent all of my time going to the shelter trying to get the house built, organizing work teams, buying supplies, etc. It was the job that would not end, and the house was always the "construction site." But now, when I arrive I am almost always greeted by the cheers and screams of these precious children as they run out to meet me. They can't get enough of me, and constantly jump all over me and ask that I throw them into the air, etc. They haven't had a lot of time with men in their lives, especially with ones they can be themselves around without worrying about getting yelled at or hit. I love my role as uncle to them and I know I am privileged to have it. It is hard to believe, that what for so long was a distant dream has become reality. The house is full. It is full of needs and challenges and difficulties. But it is also full of joy, and hope, and love. Thanks for your part in making this dream come true, Ray and Adalia Current needs: diapers, all sizes. clothes for boys sizes 8-10 cleaning supplies feminine hygene products cosmetics non-perishable foods money (our weekly expenses have been about $550, for: school, food, utilities, gas, etc. work teams to help us build the next building on the site (a 20 X 60ft. two-story, wood -framed building for dorms and day care) Prayers!!!! Thu, 11 Oct 2007 03:04:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/3670-deborah-s-house-our-one-year-anniversary https://internationalministries.org/read/3670-deborah-s-house-our-one-year-anniversary Experiencing the Grace of God in Tijuana <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Chelsea</span><span style="font-family: Arial;">, like many other people from different mission groups, has been able to experience how God has changed the lives of women in Tijuana through the ministry of Deborah's House.On October 7th we had a beautiful dedication <img src="/uploaded/time%20capsule_sml.jpg" alt="" />service, but we haven't been able to open our doors to full ministry because the house is not yet connected to the sewage system in the city.Please, pray that God might open the doors for us to soon have the shelter functioning in its full capacity.Chelsea recently wrote about her experience in Tijuana and we would like to share her letter with you.</span></p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"></span></p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Experiencing the Grace of God in Tijuana</span></p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Sometimes in life the unexpected happens, and a person does not realize what just occurred until they stop and think about it later.That is exactly what happened to me while I was serving on a mission trip in Tijuana two summers ago.The Tijuana mission trip was my first mission experience out of my hometown.To be <img src="/uploaded/bathroom_sml.jpg" alt="" />honest I did not really know what to expect, but throughout the week and a half that I was there, everyday brought a new surprise.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The project that we were working on was a house for women and their children that were victims of domestic violence.It is called "Deborah's House."Several years before the missionaries even arrived, a group of women had started praying that a shelter would be built for the women and children that needed a safe place to live.They had seen a need in the community and made the decision to act on it.Through the power of prayer their wish is now being granted.This house would be one of the first houses made for this cause <img src="/uploaded/showers_sml.jpg" alt="showers" />in a city of two million people.I honestly cannot even imagine how many women and children are living in horrible situations in Tijuana, without any hope of ever having anything better.While this house was being built the only place that women and their children could stay to escape from domestic violence, was an emergency shelter that could only house two families at a time. </span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The third day we were there, we started work on the house.Our first day of work was harder than I had imagined that it would be.I was put on the digging crew, which meant that we were using picks and shovels to dig down about a foot into hard rock.The goal was to level off the ground so that cement could be poured to<img src="/uploaded/kitchen_sml.jpg" alt="kitchen" /> make a sidewalk running along behind the house.I can honestly say that it was the hardest work I had ever done, but something kept me going.I guess I knew that when it was all done, I would be happy that I had been able to help.I looked at it in the way that it was my turn to share some love because of all the love God had shown me.During the time that I was working my mind kept wandering, and I thought about the families that would live in this shelter.By the end of the first day I was whipped and did not know how I would make it through the rest of the week.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">While we were staying in Tijuana, we slept at La Iglesia Emanuel (The Church of Emanuel).Later in the week, the lights went out one night around eight o'clock.<img src="/uploaded/bunkbeds_sml.jpg" alt="bunkbeds" />That same night within the hour a woman and her three children arrived at the church.The girl was sixteen (the same age as me at the time), and the two boys were fourteen and four.Because the lights were out the family was able to eat in privacy, which is something that they needed.I came to find out later that they had been walking all day to get to La Iglesia Emanuel.It must have been hard for them leaving their home and all of their possessions behind, knowing that the only thing they had was each other and the clothes on their backs.The mother had made the decision earlier that day to leave home when she found out that her husband was sexually abusing her daughter.This family is an example of a family that was torn apart by domestic violence and was in need of a safe place immediately.The home that we were working on would become, with God's grace, their home when it was complete.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">The next morning I was able to go with the mother, daughter, and the sons to the emergency shelter to help them get settled in.On the way I tried to talk to the older boy a little.I knew some Spanish, but not a whole lot.He was pretty quiet and probably really afraid so eventually I stopped asking questions and just observed.The whole ride I was thinking about what it would be like to be in their situation, and I do not think that I came even close to imagining what they were actually experiencing.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">When we reached the emergency shelter I helped sort through boxes of clothes that were donated by other mission teams in hope of finding some clothes that would be suitable for the daughter, mother, and two sons to wear.After we found some clothes that would fit them we blew some bubbles for the four-year-old boy and some of the other little children that were already living at the shelter.I was amazed that something as simple as bubbles could brighten up a child's day.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">It was an eye opening experience for me because I was able to see whom exactly we were making the house for.I did not see the girl again until we were leaving.It was kind of an awkward moment for me because I was not sure whether to hug her or just say "adios."Eventually I decided that I would give her a hug if she wanted it and was amazed to find that a hug was exactly what she wanted.She hugged me for a few seconds and then gently kissed me on the cheek.Even though I hadn't really experienced a goodbye like that, I knew that she was saying thank you for helping her and her family.As I walked away from the house I looked back and could see her eyes full of renewed hope and sadness at the same time because of the uncertain future that lay ahead of her.</span></p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;"></span> </p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Out of the whole trip to Tijuana, that was the moment that changed me the most.I realized what it is to make a difference in someone else's life and at the same time what it was like to feel myself change.That moment made me realize that my life was meant to be used to make a difference for others in the world.It inspired me to observe life from a different perspective, seeing how I could make a difference in other's lives.It may be simple things like asking someone if I can bring their grocery cart back to the store for them, or it may be big things like <img src="/uploaded/living%20room2_sml.jpg" alt="living room" />becoming a missionary doctor.Whatever it is, the slightest gesture can make the biggest difference in someone's life.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Today, the house is almost completed and soon mothers and children will be living there safely.I cannot help but wonder who will be moving in and how the girl and her family are doing.I wish that I could be there to see the day that some families move in.I want to see the looks on their faces when they see their new home that I was able to help build.In my opinion, the house serves as a symbol of hope and new life.The women and children can live there and know that they are safe.They are beginning life again with more options for their future, and the futures of their children, because of their brave decision to leave the abuse and search for the light.</span></p> <br /> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Chelsea Sneller</span></p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">(currently living in Costa Rica with Gary and Mylinda Baits)</span></p> <br /><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span style="font-family: Arial;">Calvary</span><span style="font-family: Arial;"> Baptist Church, Salem, OR</span></p> Mon, 06 Nov 2006 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/2013-experiencing-the-grace-of-god-in-tijuana https://internationalministries.org/read/2013-experiencing-the-grace-of-god-in-tijuana Deborah’s House Dedication <p><span>On October 7th we will be dedicating our new shelter at Deborah's House. It has been a long time in coming, and many months past the date we hoped that we would have it ready.But it is here and the house is almost complete.We are putting floor tiles in the last rooms, installing the kitchen and bathrooms, and touching up the paint.With God's help it might even be ready on the 7th.</span></p> <p><span>I am not a builder and have never attempted anything like this project before.I would hope to say that I will never again, but I know that there are some more facilities we need at Deborah's House in addition to the three buildings that we have now, and we will want to start soon to put those in place.But not just yet, please.I need at least a day or two to stop and relax and enjoy what is accomplished.</span></p> <p><span>As I think back on the last year, I am amazed- amazed at my naivet&eacute; as we began the project, thinking that it was something that I was even capable of leading. If anything is clear to me now, it is that I have been wholly inadequate to the task.But that is what to me has been most amazing.At every juncture, when my resources were not enough, when the money ran out, when I had no idea how to move forward, miracles happened. </span></p> <p><span>God has stepped in, over and over, to make this house possible.Just as I reached the point that I could see no way out, God moved in.Although we might hope that God's miracles would just drop out of the sky, and bam, the house would appear, the way God has acted here has been so much more beautiful.God has acted through you, through the hundreds of people who have sacrificed so much and shared so graciously, at exactly the moment when we needed it most.</span></p> <p><span>More than 200 people have come as volunteers, spending a week of your time doing the most unrewarding labor, anointing this ground with your sweat.You stayed in less than perfect conditions and put up with bad plumbing in order to do so (but the food was great).Hundreds of American Baptist Women from several regions chose Deborah's House as your special project and gave from your hearts so that women that you might not ever meet in this life, but are so closely bonded to in eternity, might be able to live in a place of peace.Churches that we have spoken in, and some we have never heard of, have sought out this ministry and supported Deborah through gifts and donations of clothing, toys, blankets, <img src="/uploaded/la%20gloria%20sep%2006%20004_sml.jpg" alt="La Gloria September 06" />and more.Several dear friends, knowing of a need at one time or another, have made overwhelming gifts which have sustained us and this ministry.</span></p> <p><span>In every case, I know that these were no small gestures or symbolic amounts to any of you.To know that you have all sacrificed so greatly to give what you have has humbled me.My prayer is that we can prove worthy of all that you have given and that this shelter will embody the love that you have poured out upon it.</span></p> <p><span>Last week I received a call from a pastor I met several years ago in Oregon.We had spent two days together at his church, as I was invited to share about Deborah's ministry with his congregation.His phone call was to let me know he was dying of cancer and that he was trying to organize his memorial service while he still could do so.He wanted to ask my permission to have gifts sent in lieu of flowers to Deborah's House.I didn't know how to receive that call, that gift.How can we be worthy of such gifts as these?</span></p> <p><span>The truth is, of course, that we cannot be.But I suppose that is the wonder of grace. I have tried my best here, and though I have come up short quite a few times, God has made some pretty great things happen.You are invited to come and see for yourself, at the dedication or anytime you would like.Bring some work gloves and a work team if you can. Just be ready to see a miracle.</span></p> <p><span>At the dedication service, we will be setting beneath our cornerstone, a time capsule, which will have the hopes, thoughts and prayers of those attending.We want to invite you to write something as well, you could bring to us in person or send to us by e-mail, <a href="mailto:schellingergutierrez@yahoo.com" title="mailto:schellingergutierrez@yahoo.com">schellingergutierrez@yahoo.com</a>or to: PO Box 777, Chula Vista, CA 91912</span></p> <p><span>With love and amazement,</span></p> <p><span>And with deep, deep gratitude,</span></p> <p><span>Ray</span></p> Thu, 21 Sep 2006 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/2012-deborah-s-house-dedication https://internationalministries.org/read/2012-deborah-s-house-dedication Because She Had a Pastor Who Dared <p><span>This past week has been a tough one in many respects, leaving me dejected in some respects but with some new found hope and a renewed sense of purpose.</span></p> <p><span>On Wednesday, I attended the second annual Men's Leadership Forum against domestic violence in Tijuana.I have been a part of the planning for the event, along with representatives of the government offices Human Rights, Women's rights and Child and Family welfare, the domestic violence department of the Tijuana police and several other NGO's.</span></p> <p><span>Our purpose in organizing the event was to sound out a cry for men to take leadership in the effort to end violence against women.Several hundred people who were in attendance learned about the subtle forms of violence which can be anything but subtle in the destruction they cause.The press also covered the event well and hopefully will help us get word out that violence has no place in our families.The men present signed a declaration stating that we will end our silence and assume our responsibility as leaders in the community to end violence.</span></p> <p><span>It was a great moment and I couldn't have been more encouraged by what was taking place.Until…</span></p> <p><span>The last part of the forum was a panel discussion among religious leaders in Tijuana who were there to let the community know that our churches too will take a stand.There were four leaders representing Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals and Adventists who had agreed to participate and who would represent their churches by stating clearly that violence is not allowed in our practices. Or at least that's how it was supposed to be.</span></p> <p><span>We had decided to include this panel in the forum because for too long women have been subjected to abuse not only by their husbands but also by religion.Far too many of the women we have worked with tell us that for years they had been abused and the only intervention of their churches or pastors was to tell them that as a wife they must remain subject to the husband and perhaps by humbly submitting to his brutality their example might win their husbands for the Lord.Though they will counsel the husband to be less violent, the husband knows he can always ask forgiveness and keep going on the same way; as long as he knows that she will never find permission from the church to leave, he has little incentive to change.</span></p> <p><span>We had asked the leadership of various congregations if they could speak out in favor of victims and these four said they would.In interviewing them beforehand, I had asked them if they could all, despite any other differences they might have, be able to state loudly and clearly that they do not condone, can not justify and will not tolerate violence against women.They said yes.</span></p> <p><span>As the first panelist, the Pentecostal, began, he shared his analogy of a boxing match.As the fight is in progress each fighter is trying to kill his opponent, after the bell rings the two fighters will embrace and all is forgiven.You can only imagine where he went from there as he told the shocked room about his philosophy on raising and correcting children and wives.His point was that the violence that he has had to use in maintaining discipline was by no means an indication of a lack of love, and that a father and husband needs to maintain discipline.Though there was no way to go from here but up, the other panelists couldn't seem to figure out how.</span></p> <p><span>The Adventist began his remarks talking about how radical feminists are destroying society and family as they try to push women into roles that they shouldn't take.Not one of them would clearly and unequivocally state that violence toward a spouse is wrong.</span></p> <p><span>It seems to me that they each became defensive about their faith and were reacting to some ideas from earlier speakers who talked about total gender equality, equal rights and equal authority in the family.This became clearer as one of them remarked that they must be careful in limiting the authority of the man (to not abuse his wife) because some women will take those liberties too far.</span></p> <p><span>How sad this was for me, to hear that we can not speak out clearly to a forum on men's leadership about our responsibility as husbands because women will then take that out of context.We weren't there to talk about the responsibilities of women, but rather our responsibility to do no harm as men. </span></p> <p><span>The final question put to the panelists was by a woman.She asked them how they would respond to her if she came to them as an abused woman asking for their permission to leave her husband.The answer she received was that the bible is clear.She must stay with him and submit to him, and perhaps by example lead him to God.</span></p> <p><span>Though the session was supposed to end on that, I asked for the mic and tried to share a different word.I told the women that my advice would be to run, far and fast.The best hope for husband, wife and children would be away from that cycle, where perhaps they might all find healing.As I said before, he has little incentive to change as long as he knows he doesn't have to, that she will be there no matter what.Run, find help.</span></p> <p><span>I know that I don't speak for God and am trying to discern His will in some very difficult circumstances and with some very difficult passages.I may be wrong, but I don't believe that a woman should be sacrificed for our theology.And I can't really believe that the Jesus that I know would want that for her, for him, or for their children.The cycle of violence deepens with every new act of abuse until there is no where left to go but the grave.Is the hope that in her death he will repent and find God?How many women lose faith because they are presented with a God who seems to be on the side of the abuser?What about the hope for life and salvation for the children, growing up seeing this abuse, learning some twisted idea of love, expressed so clearly with right hooks and left jabs? </span></p> <p><span>On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Adalia and I were invited to give a series of conferences on counseling for our Baptist churches along with several pastors.On Thursday the focus was on early childhood development, Friday on adolescence, and Saturday, on marriage.</span></p> <p><span>I spoke on that last day about the biblical view of the couple from Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5.My emphasis was on how God created us to be in relationship.The greatest thing about that night was not anything any of us said, but rather who was in attendance.</span></p> <p><span>One year ago, we began working with a woman, "Blanca" who was beaten continuously by her husband.She had been hospitalized several times and it would only be a matter of time before she was killed.She is the first person that we took into our shelter, along with her four sons.In fact, we moved up the opening date for the shelter because of her.Her sons were out of control, having never learned to show respect to their mother or that she was anything other than an object to be abused.It took a long time, but she has learned to love herself and to demand the respect of her sons.They have also grown tremendously and have learned to live at peace and in peace.They wouldn't stop fighting one another when they first came to us, now there is no sign of violence in them.Well, maybe a little, they are normal boys after all.</span></p> <p><span>She and the boys are now living on their own, and doing fairly well, though we continue to work with them.</span></p> <p><span>Blanca's husband, "Carlos", came to us after a couple months, looking for help as well.He wanted his wife and sons back, but he also admitted that he needed help and would do anything we asked of him.Adalia has been counseling him since November, once a week, and he has changed remarkably.We have been able to provide an opportunity for him to see his sons and to help him learn how to be a better father.He knows that he will probably not be able to be with Blanca again, but he still wants to do what is right and has been struggling to support them as much as he can on very limited income.</span></p> <p><span>Adalia required Carlos to be at this conference on Saturday, and he came.Blanca, knowing that he would be there asked if she could attend as well and so one of the women of Deborah's House made arrangements for her to come too, with the four boys.</span></p> <p><span>As I spoke, it was so heartening for me to see them seated side by side, with four boys crawling over their laps and them both trying to learn how to be the best parents and people that they can be.I have no idea if Blanca could ever get over the pain enough to allow him back into her life or if Carlos could prove worthy of her forgiveness.But what I do know is that they are trying to live the best lives that they can.They are no longer living in a turbulent hell, but have found some peace and stability.I know that their sons have never been happier or healthier or had a better chance for a good future than they do right now.</span></p> <p><span>This is only possible because she had a pastor who dared to tell her that she could and should leave.This is only possible because that pastor knew a group of women from a ministry called Deborah's House where she could find peace.</span></p> <p><span>I am so hopeful having seen Blanca and Carlos and I am glad that they have helped me put Wednesday's experience into a new context.But I know now too that there is a whole lot more work to be done out there. </span></p> <p><span>God Bless,</span></p> <p><span>Ray</span></p> Tue, 30 May 2006 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/2011-because-she-had-a-pastor-who-dared https://internationalministries.org/read/2011-because-she-had-a-pastor-who-dared God’s Light Shines for Us Still <p><span>Dear friends:</span></p> <p><span>Sometimes, living in a city like Tijuana, it is difficult to look out into the world around us and not be filled with despair.We feel the pain and anguish of our brothers and sisters as they struggle with poverty, abuse, illnesses, and violence.</span></p> <p><span>But as Christians we can find hope in the midst of hopelessness.We know that it was into a place like Tijuana where God chose to be born.Like Tijuana, Bethlehem was far from the centers of power, a seemingly unimportant crossroads.And like the many people who arrive here every day, his parents were newly arrived refugees searching for someplace, anyplace, to find shelter from the elements.Theirs is a story we see repeated again and again.</span></p> <p><span>But it was in Bethlehem that God became flesh to live among us. It was as a defenseless human baby that God's power was made manifest on Earth, in order to bring salvation to us all.It was into the darkness of a stable that God's light began to shine so brightly and shines for us still.</span></p> <p><span>We are here today, working with Deborah's House because of that light.It is the grace of God's salvation which compels us to share that grace however we can.<span> <img src="/uploaded/deborah%20house%20logo%20small%20grayscale.jpg" alt="" /></span>It is Jesus born within our hearts who leads us to stand beside the women of Deborah's house as they serve "the least of these" in our world.</span></p> <p><span>It may seem impossible for many who live here to see beyond the despair.But we as Christians have hope.We can see the light.This has been a big year for Deborah's House. </span></p> <p><span>In addition to counseling and education ministries, Deborah's House has opened a shelter in a home lent to us by a member of our board.We have had the opportunity to help five women and their children to leave severely abusive homes and find refuge.</span></p> <p><span>The construction of our permanent shelter in La Gloria has begun and, thanks to the dedication of volunteer teams from Baptist Churches in the US, and the generous offering from several American Baptist Women's Regions, we are very near completion.Soon the program will be able to move into the new facilities and help many more women with more space and services than we can provide now.</span></p> <p><span>We want to thank all of you who made this possible, for sacrificing your vacations, your sweat and hard labor, and your contributions, in order to build a new home.</span></p> <p><span>This project has been constructed on the foundation of your love and so we know that it will last a long time, for that base has been proven solid.We, along with the women of Deborah's House, will continue to build on that which you have left for us as we bring this ministry to fruition and offer new hope to those who live in a world of despair.</span></p> <p><span>The women send their greetings and their gratitude, and ask us to remind you that "nuestra casa es su casa", our house is your house, and you are welcome here anytime.</span></p> <p><span>&iexcl;Feliz Navidad!May your Christmas be joyous and blessed,</span></p> <p><span>Ray and Adalia</span><span> Schellinger-Guti&eacute;rrez</span></p> Wed, 21 Dec 2005 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/2010-god-s-light-shines-for-us-still https://internationalministries.org/read/2010-god-s-light-shines-for-us-still Thanksgiving <p><span><img src="/uploaded/portland%20&amp;%20oregon%20city.jpg" alt="Portland and Oregon City, OR" /> </span></p> <p><span>This summer we had the privilege to host 8 groups from different ABC churches that so willingly and generously came to share their love, time, energy and resources in order to build Deborah's shelter.</span></p> <p><span><span><span><img src="/uploaded/emerald%20baptist%20or%20(some%20people%20missing%20in%20the%20picture).jpg" alt="Emerald Baptist, OR" /></span></span></span></p> <p><span>We are thankful for each of them and for what they have added to our lives and ministry.</span></p> <p><span><span><img src="/uploaded/calvary%20baptist%20or.jpg" alt="Calvary Baptist, OR" /></span></span></p> <p><span>We are thankful for our mission partners, and the dedication that these Baptist women have to serve some of the neediest families in Tijuana, Mexico, victims of domestic violence.</span></p> <p><span><span><img src="/uploaded/springfield%20or.jpg" alt="Springfield OR" style="WIDTH: 207px; HEIGHT: 175px;" /></span></span></p> <p><span>We are thankful for friends and family who continuously support us in so many different ways: volunteering, serving, praying, becoming members of our Mission Partnership Team or Mission Partnership Network.</span></p> <p><span><img src="/uploaded/montana%20group.jpg" alt="Montana Group" /></span></p> <p><span><img src="/uploaded/discovery%20team.jpg" alt="Discovery Team" /> </span></p> <p><span><img src="/uploaded/deborahs%20group%20and%20kim%20kushner.jpg" alt="Deborah's Group with Kim Kushner" /></span></p> <span> <p><span>To all of you, who care and express God's love and grace to your neighbor:<img src="/uploaded/memorial%20baptist%20church%20%20in.jpg" alt="Memorial Baptist Church, IN" /></span></p> <p><span>Thank You!</span></p> <p><span><img src="/uploaded/desert%20streams%20az_sml.jpg" alt="Desert Streams, AZ" /></span></p> <p><img src="/uploaded/roof_sml.jpg" alt="The Roof!" /></p> <p>Adalia, Ray, Michelle and Melissa Schellinger Guti&eacute;rrez </span></p> Sun, 20 Nov 2005 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/2009-thanksgiving https://internationalministries.org/read/2009-thanksgiving Discovery Team Member Shares <p><span>Jan Grogan, one of our Discovery Team members, shared with us some of her experiences this past summer, while building Deborah's House:</span></p> <p><span>The story continues, as Monday morning dawns and we prepare to begin work on the site of the future Deborah House, Casa Debora. All of us are awake so early because our bodies are on Eastern and Central Standard time, so being ready is not a problem. Loading all the tools and equipment, water, Gatorade, lunches and the personal things everyone needs to be out in the sun all day is our first job. Everything of value is stored in the church and taken to the site each day. It is about a half-hour van and truck trip in the morning traffic, with a stop at the lumberyard to make some final arrangements for supplies.</span></p> <p><span>A piece of hillside land on the edge of the city has been given to the ministry by the Baptist Baja Region in Mexico. The site of the building had been leveled and<img src="/uploaded/worksite.jpg" alt="Work site" /> 28 square holes for the foundation dug by machinery before we arrived. The foreman was ready for us, and he explained that we needed a trench 12 inches deep and 8 inches wide to hold reinforced concrete between each 2 meter square hole. The holes would hold the cement pillars to support the concrete slab and become the foundation of the building. With picks, shovels, bars and wheel- barrows we went at it and made good progress making trenches on the foreman's chalk marks. Just when we were getting pretty tired, a crew of workmen arrived to dig, and we were shown the skills needed to cut rebar, measure and cut heavy reinforcement wire, and straighten the curved wire so that it could be formed into various sized rectangles to be wired to rebar and make the support pieces. So began our week's work, and it felt good to be straining our muscles, and pushing our endurance. </span></p> <p><span>Lunch time was a welcome break. As you can see in the photo, there was no shade and the sun was so bright and warm. The actual temperature was great <img src="/uploaded/break%20time%20in%20the%20tijuana%20sun.jpg" alt="Breaktime in the Tijuana sun." />(80's) but we found the little strip of shade by the church a perfect place to rest. We learned that in Tijuana the sun is so nearly directly overhead that buildings don't have much of a shady side. Coolers that held our personalized sandwiches made by each of us at the church before breakfast, fruit, chips, cookies and drinks were just what we needed.</span></p> <p><span>Back to work for a short afternoon, then the tedious job of loading all the stuff into the truck for the trip back to the church and beckoning showers. Dinner was prepared by several of the women who are part of the Casa Debora ministry and they filled our plates with a different Mexican specialty each day. </span></p> <p><span>It was pointed out to us by someone in the group that night, that this day was really what it means to "Love the Lord with all your mind and soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself."</span></p> <p><span>Through these continuing messages, it is hoped that you will feel a part of this ministry that is so close to the heart of our missionaries, Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Gutierrez, and now to this Discovery Team.</span></p> <p><span>Jan Grogan, MABC participant</span></p> Mon, 07 Nov 2005 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/2008-discovery-team-member-shares https://internationalministries.org/read/2008-discovery-team-member-shares Redeeming Lives One at a Time <p><span>Tijuana</span><span>, the fastest growing city in Mexico, now has 2.5 million people, seeking a better life and employment at the US border. Families are in crisis, with so many leaving the roots of their homeland and family ties. Tijuana has a very high rate of spousal violence: 80% of the women experience some kind of abuse in their relationships. </span></p> <p><span>The vision of a group of Baptist women in Tijuana, Mexico, has become a reality this summer as mission work teams from American Baptist Churches have <img src="/uploaded/group.jpg" alt="" />begun to build the safe house, Deborah's House, a refuge for women who have been living in abuse and violence. The foundation, walls, porch, and electrical work are completed, and work continues, in hopes that we will move in by December.</span></p> <p><span>Our ministry to the Baptist churches in Tijuana has included leading workshops on violence and abuse, counseling both women and men who want to break the cycle, and responding to crisis situations. We knew we needed a safe house for these families, and one of the members from our Board of Directors offered her two-bedroom house rent-free, until Deborah's House is ready.</span></p> <p><span>One of the women (and her four children) who live at our safe house, heard about our ministry from friends. She went to find help at Emanuel Baptist Church, where we have the Deborah House office. She took her four boys, ages 1, 3, 4, and 9, and walked for two days through the city, spending the night huddled in an alleyway with her boys. A taxi driver helped her find the church, even though she had no money to pay him. When she arrived she was covered with injuries and <span><img src="/uploaded/adalia%20with%20children.jpg" alt="" /></span>bruises, and still feels terrified of leaving the house. We ask for your prayers so that she may regain confidence, and might re-build her life.</span></p> <p><span>Adalia uses her medical training to minister to the women and children, giving frequent medical check-ups and teaching the mothers how to give the medicine.</span></p> <p><span>Deborah´s ministry is about redemption, redeeming lives that are lost in violence and abuse, redeeming people through the power of Jesus Christ and His love for them. </span></p> <p><span>Pray also for the completion of Deborah's House, and for God's love to shine through to all of the women and children who enter.</span></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2005 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/2007-redeeming-lives-one-at-a-time https://internationalministries.org/read/2007-redeeming-lives-one-at-a-time Building God’s World <p><span>Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,</span></p> <p><span>Life is indeed hectic here, though we are seeing God in the midst of all our difficulties and our faith is strengthened through his tender mercies.</span></p> <p><span>We have been building the shelter over the summer, and though we had hoped to be further along by now, the construction has gone quite well. Our summer was filled with one work group after another volunteering at the worksite, and though it<img src="/uploaded/building%20the%20house.jpg" alt="Under construction..." /> enabled much to get done, work groups also need their proper care and feeding, almost a 24 hour a day job. The end result was that I pretty much worked 16+ hours per day from June 1st to September 3rd without a day off. The groups are gone, but the work goes on. Hopefully we will have our roof poured by this coming Friday and then we begin doing the finishing work; plastering the walls, tiling the floors and installing kitchen and bath. Soon and very soon we hope to have the shelter up and running (perhaps by mid November). We will need some more help in these things and would love to have some.</span></p> <p><span>What has been most amazing is that God has provided the perfect people at the perfect time to get done what we have needed to do. There were times of stress when people that we really thought were key had to back out at the last moment, and I had moments when I was about to lose it. However, with a lot of help from Adalia, I was able to commit all of that to prayer, and I have not ceased to be amazed what God has done. I have not been the perfect project manager this summer, and the Lord knows I have no credentials for this job, but I have tried my best and committed that effort to God, and God has been amazing. God will indeed work through our weaknesses to prove His strength.</span></p> <p><span>The summer was also busier than expected in that we began operating our first full time shelter in mid June. We have had between two and three families in the shelter most of the time since then, with Adalia having to dedicate much of her time to coordinate the needs of these families and to provide their medical care and counseling. As we have started to house women full time in the house that our treasurer has lent us in Otay Mesa, it seems that the floodgates have opened and we are seeing new cases daily which need help and shelter. What we are doing in Otay Mesa is not only giving us the experience we will need to run the larger shelter in La Gloria, but also confirming the need for it.</span></p> <p><span>On the personal side of things, as we finished with our work teams, we had hoped that we would have a couple easy weeks to begin the school year. The kids are <img src="/uploaded/our%20girls.jpg" alt="Our Girls" />starting at a new school this year, a German school, and it has presented new challenges. They have spent the last several months beginning to learn the basics of German so that they would be ready to take two classes completely in German: German language and mathematics. They are doing well, but they have a lot of homework and they each need a couple hours of our help every day to meet this workload. </span></p> <p><span>Just as we were getting started, Adalia had to travel to Mexico City this past Monday. Her mother, who has been paralyzed and bedridden for the last two years from a stroke, has been diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer which has metastasized into her lungs. Her time with us is probably not long and Adalia has gone down to be with her and share the best of the time that she has left with her Mom. </span></p> <p><span>If you could, would you remember Adalia's mother, Edna, in your prayers. She has suffered through a lot the last two years, and I hate to see her suffer more. We had so much prayed that she would survive her stroke and recover. She has been determined to recover and had been making some great strides, though never able to move much more than her right arm. You have to know how blessed I have been to have her as my mother in law, to have her treat me and love me as her son. We want to ask God not to let us lose her, and yet at the same time that she not have to suffer.</span></p> <p><span>Please remember Adalia in your prayers. Adalia lost her older sister to cancer 4 years ago, and her father to cancer just 3 years before that. She is strong, and has inherited a faith from her parents that I've never seen equaled. We have no doubt of the precious world which awaits Adalia's mother. But Adalia also inherited a family which was strong in love and steadfast in their support of each other in all that they faced. As her family has suffered through these terrible losses, I know that she feels each time more alone, precisely because of how close and loving a family they are. It is a lot of love that she is losing, that we are all losing. </span></p> <p><span>Please pray also for me, that I can be that love for Adalia. That I can support her in all that she needs. There is already a big hole opened up in her heart and I don't know how to fill it. Pray for me over the next several weeks as I try to help the kids with their school work and everything else that they need, as well as to help them cope with their grief and their need for their mother, while also trying to get a shelter built, handle all of Adalia's counseling appointments and get all the rest of my work done.</span></p> <p><span>May God Bless You,</span></p> <p><span>Ray</span></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2005 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/2006-building-god-s-world https://internationalministries.org/read/2006-building-god-s-world