35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
I was given a book about nine years ago. Preacher With a Plow written by Samuel B Coles. In the book he tells how he went to Africa as a missionary to teach the people about the love of Christ. He worked alongside them each day and preached to them at night, crying out to the people to repent and come to the Lord. Day after day, he did the same hard work and at night he would stand up and give them God's word. This went on for months and he saw nothing happening. He asked the Lord what he was doing wrong. What do you want me to share with them so they will respond? He tried again and again to no avail. They would not listen or respond to his messages. One day, as he was working alongside the men, he asked them, I give you the word of God and it seems as if you do not hear me. May I ask what I may be doing wrong? One of the men looked at him and said, “we cannot hear the words you speak over our growling, hungry stomachs.” He learned that day that he needed to teach them how to feed their families before they could respond to the gospel. It worked. He built a plow, started to till the land, and taught them to grow crops. Their families started to eat better and they began to respond to the gospel. Why not? Jesus did it.
Because of your support, we have been able to help centers in San Luis do this very same thing. This summer we helped to paint, lay tile, install all the bathroom fixtures, and more. This week we had the opportunity to install a new stainless steel sink and a commercial stove. We also started work at another feeding center this week. We have been given some designated money to build a bathroom. Each day after school they have 20-40 kids stop in for something to eat and then a bible lesson. She said they all have to use the restroom when they arrive, so we are installing two toilet stalls, with a shower in the middle. Both of these centers give the children food for their stomachs and then spiritual food for their souls. I had a chance to speak at one of the centers one Sunday morning. My first question was, “Where is God?" Every kid in the building pointed to their heart. It is working.
This year we have 7 houses on the books to build, with one just being completed. The septic tanks are all in and the floors are all poured. We also have 6 six families waiting anxiously for the day to arrive. Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for the teams this year.Our sponsored students have been planning for the annual Christmas party. This year we will be having a party for 100 kids and their families. The students will be feeding them, playing games, and handing out new shoes to all the kids. And of course, a birthday cake for Jesus. December 8 is the party, so please keep us on your prayer list.
We have watched these young adults grow every year in maturity and their willingness to help others. This year we have seen some step forward and take leadership of the activities planned. The fruits of the program are starting to show. Last week at our student meeting, we had a guest speaker. I invited her to come and speak to the students about the opportunity they have in front of them. Thank you to Elsa Cruz, Director of Integral Family Development in San Luis, for speaking to our students! This is a federal program that focuses on strengthening and developing Mexican families' health and happiness. She gave a powerful speech about Faith, Hope, and Love. She told the students to dream big and then go for those dreams. Every ear was attentive as Elsa presented a powerful message of inspiration and encouragement.
We ask you to please keep this busy year on your prayer list. Home builds will be done in tight working spaces again. There will also be lots of travel and activities on both sides of the border. We love you all and thank you for your continued support and prayers.
Curt and Kelly VanEkeren
We are excited to share with you that we are participating in #GivingTuesday this year. This is a program through PayPal. It gives 1% of all donations made through PayPal back to the organization between the dates of November 27th to December 31st. Please use the link above to donate!