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TuTP Mexico News: Calling All Pray-ers

Puebla Christian School has begun the 2016-2017 school year. Once again Abraham and I are part-time teachers there. Abraham is the PE teacher for the whole school for the fourth year, and I am the elementary students´ art teacher for the second year. Like last year, I will alternate teaching drawing techniques with teaching art history and doing a project related to the artist or art movement. Around some holidays we will also craft gifts.

We just found out that Fani, one of the PCS teachers, a lady who also has three children attending there and who was on the board of directors, was diagnosed with a brain tumor that must be operated on as soon as possible. At this point, she and her family have no other information about the tumor.

The tumor adds her to a list of people Abraham and I are praying for and helping in any other way we can. My sister-in-law has a former co-worker Alan, a 25 year old man, who is in the hospital receiving chemo treatments for leukemia. His family is poor, and the treatments, while partially covered by public health insurance, are difficult for them to manage.
Another person recently diagnosed with leukemia is Irma, the grandmother of seven of the children we do Bible study with once a week. She believes she has the cancer because some one put a curse on her.

Our neighbor Luis, the teenage uncle of three of the kids who regularly attend Sunday kids´ club (and who used to attend himself), will be having tests done next week to determine the cause of his anemia. The thought is that he, too, may have leukemia.

Finally, we are also praying for Hortensia, a lady who lives with another of my sisters-in-law. She has been down with shingles for the last two and a half weeks. The family has been trying to find creams, lotions, and natural treatments to relieve her symptoms, but she is having a very rough time. So far nothing helps much. For this family also, the expenses of treatments are causing strain, since their budget is very limited

This is just too much serious illness! Please pray for these people and their families.

On a much brighter note, we were very blessed by one of the families that Abraham and Six regularly do a Bible study with. Ernesto and Marisol are new believers, and they still have many habits to change. However, they are taking the studies seriously, and two weeks ago decided to give Abraham an offering of money for two of the sick people mentioned above.
On Thursday evening, we heard a knock at the door, and Abraham went to answer. He returned with a box of groceries that these neighbors had bought for us. How wonderful to see them growing in their faith and willing to generously give! It is encouraging to see them grow. Pray for them as they grow, because they often face rejection and mocking from their relatives who live in the same compound.

We are checking to see if we can change a Bible study that we used to do on Fridays to Sundays. The Bible study sometimes involves three generations of women, all of whom have serious difficulties in their lives. Recently only one person, sometimes two, could be at the Bible study. Last Friday, one of the ladies asked us if we could change the Bible study to Sunday, because it is the only time she, and perhaps her four-year-old granddaughter, can attend. We will try going right when we arrive from church. Six will stay with the children who arrive for kids´ club as they play, and we will return for the other afternoon activities.

What does love look like

Mexico Newsletter Huejo VBS

RACHEL GREENLEE DE LECHUGA·THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2016

Jesus Transfiguration
Jesus Transfiguration

On July 13, my sister Joy and my dad arrived in Huejotzingo. We visited a few fun places together, and they also helped preparing for our VBS. On Sunday they attended church at Dios es Amor with us, and we had Leilani´s baby dedication.

July 18 – 23 we held VBS at our home, with the theme of John the beloved disciple. For the fourth year in a row, we developed our own curriculum, a process which requires many months of work scouring internet resources, writing, and planning.

As with last year, we woke up to a feverish Abishael on Monday. It was his first sickness in all 2016. Because he was in pain from achy joints, and because the fever was not going away even with the homeopathic medicine treatment, we chose to modify the first day of VBS. Volunteers from Dios es Amor and two neighbor friends took over games and snack while my dad drove us in our neighbors´ car to the kids´ doctor in Puebla. Our very social Abish cried disconsolately over not being able to play with his friends. Both Abish and Lani, it turned out, had throat infections, and the doctor gave them a new treatment which soon had them both feeling better.

The Mother of James and John
The Mother of James and John

On Tuesday Abish was no longer feeling bad, so we swung into full VBS mode. At noon the children began to sign in, and the day´s focus of Jesus calling John and James started out with songs. Once most children had signed in, we split the groups into ages 1 – 6 and 7 and up. The young kids went to the patio for snack of fishy crackers and for verse practice while the older group took to the street for games. The groups switched places, and then we all met together inside for a few more songs, announcements and welcome, and a visit from special guest Zebedee (played by Abraham). Again the young group went to the patio where they made a fish mobile with the day´s verse and then completed a page to help them remember the day´s story. Inside, the older group worked on slightly more complicated versions of the same. At the end of the work time, we all briefly returned indoors to review, and then it was time to go home at 3.

Looking at the work pages
Looking at the work pages

Wednesday´s story was told by James (again played by Abraham). The children learned about Jesus´ transfiguration. The schedule followed the same order Tuesday through Friday, with the two groups sometimes together and sometimes divided, and everything from games to snacks, songs to crafts, and verses to work pages serving to emphasize the story of the day. On Thursday James and John´s mother (played by me) told the story of Jesus´ trial, death, and resurrection and of how John stayed faithfully with Jesus throughout Jesus´ trial and death.

Friday´s visitor was a lady from the church John wrote to in 2 John. She urged the children to obey God´s command to love each other.

Jesus trial death and resurrection
Jesus trial death and resurrection

Because of the change on Monday, our VBS ran through Saturday. In addition, we decided to hold the finale on Saturday rather than on Sunday afternoon as we had done in the past . Our last visitor, played by our neighbor, was John himself. He told about Jesus´ second coming and said that we should be vigilant as we wait for him.

Four parents arrived for the finale. There was some chaos as we shepherded the children inside, reviewed the week´s stories, and called the children and volunteers up for diplomas. Finally, each child received their gifts and filed outside for the cake and juice donated by two parents.

What does love look like
What does love look like

In total we had 42 children, ranging in age from not-yet-two (Leilani) to 18 years old. Our busiest day had 34 children. We were blessed with the help of several people from church and a Christian couple who live near us. Thank you for your prayers for us in the work of putting together and hosting this year´s VBS. Please pray that the messages of the Bible conveyed through the VBS would continue to impact the lives of the children and their families.

Rachel de Lechuga Greenlee

Teach Us to Pray

Huejotzingo, Mexico

Puebla State

Summary Report Fiji 2016 Relief Operation

I was in Fiji for the last two weeks in June doing relief work among some of the victims of Typhoon Winston,
the strongest storm ever to hit land in the South Pacific. Winston had sustained winds of 186 mph with gusts up
to 230 mph. It was 200 miles across. Tidal surges reached up to 60’ with minimum surges of 10’. Almost all
inhabited islands of the nation were affected in some way, especially the three largest islands—Viti Levu,
Vanua Levu and Taveuni.

Folks on most islands lost virtually all of their staple food crops and many of their small livestock. All root crops were destroyed in most areas hit by the storm. Root crops take from 9 months to a year to grow to edible size. The problem is there are very few cuttings for farmers to plant. I was able to buy seed for a church men’s group. They will plant them in their 100 acre plot to grow food for consumption and sale. If all
goes well, they can begin harvest in about 3 months. Fruit trees like papayas, mangoes, bananas, guavas, noni and
coconuts were destroyed or severely damaged. There are tens of thousands of coconut trees that have no nuts. This affects the production of copra, coconut oil and milk, and the sale of raw coconuts, causing great financial loss to thousands of families. Many trees will never produce again. It will take from one to two years to see how many come back into production.

I saw no tropical fruits of any kind in any home, market or road side stall during my entire time on the three
islands I visited. The main farmers market in the capitol city of Suva which normally has hundreds of people
selling various items, had no tropical fruits of any kind on display. Incomes are significantly reduced by this
shortage and dietary needs are not met.

I focused our resources helping members of 5 small isolated rural churches on Vanua Levu and Taveuni Islands
that had been overlooked by prior aid efforts. We were able to provide significant food relief to 37 families,
consisting of about 475 individuals. I provided 63 water purification filter systems to these families so they can
have clean drinking water. In some areas typhoid has become a problem. Dirty water kills more infants and
children around the world than any other factor, including malaria.

TUtP also assisted fishermen on the small island of Kiou just off Vanua Levu. Provision of fishing gear helps the
400 people who live there. Fishing is their main source of food and funds, though they do some farming as
well.

Kiou Island has a severe potable water shortage. Their main spring, source of all water for the village has dried
up. They open their water taps for ½ hour every morning. That’s all the supply of fresh water available for all
needs during the remainder of the day.

There is a spring on the opposite side of the island away from the village that has an abundant, constant supply
of fresh water. I am now trying to raise money to provide pipes that can connect that spring to the main village
distribution tank. The villagers will soon provide me details regarding the distance from the spring to the tank
so we know how much pipe to purchase. We also must know the height of the hill the water must traverse so
we know what kind of pump we need to buy. Villagers can do all the work required to set up the system. Once
the pipe is in place and the water begins to flow, gravity will siphon water continuously, so the pump only
needs to be available to fill the pipes again should they ever break.

Thanks to all of you who provided the funds necessary for this project. Thanks for all of you who prayed that
we would be able to reach these folks with this help. They thank you for what you have done for them.

Day 15 Weds. June 29, 2016 Fiji Relief

This morning involved a bit of last minute shopping. I bought a large fishing net and a spear gun to help one of our fishermen feed his family and possibly make a bit of money selling the fish he catches. This involved some comparison shopping since prices on such items vary quite a bit from shop to shop. I had already looked at spear guns on Vanua Levu Island. Prices there were outrageous. I felt I could do much better on the main island of Viti Levu. That turned out to be the case.

Many shop keepers don’t post their prices, but determine what they think they can sell an item for depending upon how much they feel their customer can pay. I must say my years of bargaining all over the world is a big help in negotiations.

I had hoped to meet Vuniani Nakauyaca sometime during my trip. Vuni is the founder of the Healing of the Land team I have written so much about in the past. I’ve known him since 2003 when I first came to Fiji. He’s an incredible man of prayer. I’d tried to call him Sunday when I got to Suva but couldn’t reach him. Finally I got a return call from him this afternoon and arranged to stop by the H of L Center located on the way to the airport. We had about 45 minutes to catch up with what God has been doing in our ministries before checking in for my flight.

It turned out to be a good thing that I arrived early at the Nausori Airport. I was told when I bought my ticket that I could check in for my international flight at that airport and go directly through customs when I arrived in Nadi. Not true. I had to collect my bags, wait in line and then clear customs. My original flight schedule would not have allowed enough time for my connection. Fortunately there was an earlier flight leaving within a few minutes of when I got to the counter in Nausori. By taking that flight, I had more than enough time for everything including sending this last report before I board my flight to LAX.

Thanks again for all of your prayers. You are an essential part of everything the Lord accomplished during this trip.

Blessings!

Day 14, Tuesday, June 28 Fiji Relief

This morning Aisake and I went into town and purchased the seeds the church men’s group need to begin planting their 100 acre farm plot in Savusavu. We also bought the screen and other materials needed to build a greenhouse. I am awaiting a call tomorrow morning from Chuck, the manager of our beekeeping project, to see how we can best leverage that program to position us to be able as quickly as possible to increase aid those who can benefit from help in that area.

Since we already have the quotes for necessary fencing to keep animals away from crops and trees, it will be possible to wrap up TUtP relief efforts before I leave for home tomorrow night.

I had lunch with John Samisoni, the Christian businessman who has been a close friend and partner with us in all our outreaches since 2003. It was good to touch bases and catch up in a number of areas. John will continue to play an important role together with us as we go into the future.

I Skyped my wife, Judy both in the morning and just before she went to bed. She’s been able to eat a limited amount of solid food today, which is encouraging. We both appreciate your prayers for her.

Thanks and Blessings!

Day 13 Monday June 27, 2016 Fiji Relief Project

Aisake and I spent most of the day going around Suva getting estimates and quotes for greenhouse and fencing materials for our efforts to rehab his garden area after Typhoon Winston. It is remarkable how widely prices can vary among vendors for the very same items. By mid-afternoon we had determined who to buy from and we made the purchase. He’ll be able to pick up the screening, etc. before the end of the week. He’ll have to leave the items with a friend in Suva until he can arrange for transport via ferry to Vanua Levu Island where he lives.

Once the greenhouse and fencing are in place, he can begin to grow veggies again. Now anything he tries to plant is eaten by goats, pigs and the few cows that his neighbors have. That is a great frustration when virtually every food crop was destroyed by the storm and it is really important to get new crops planted and growing.

I came into town by bus ahead of Aisake and had opportunity to walk through the central farmers market in this capitol city. There was not a single piece of tropical fruit to be seen anywhere in this usually thriving market. I mentioned previously that I had not seen any fruit on Vanua Levu or Kiou Island except for one small mangosteen. I had expected to see at least a few papayas and bananas in this major city. The stark extent of the loss to this storm could not have been more adequately displayed than by what I did not see today.

It will be several months before the surviving trees begin to produce again. A huge number of trees have been totally destroyed. Getting new planting stock is almost impossible. Tomorrow we will see what seeds we can find for Aisake to take back to Vanua Levu for the church men’s coop group to plant in their 100 acre plot.

My wife, Judy says she still can’t eat solid food, but she is beginning to at least feel hungry which we think is a good sign. She has been able to drink water, some juice and some broth. The pain in her hip was fairly severe last night because she didn’t take any pain medication in case that was contributing to her nausea. This evening she had already taken some Tylenol in hopes of being more comfortable. So appreciate your prayers. I’ll be home on Wednesday.

Blessings!

TUtP Mexico: Reconnecting

We recently reconnected with a lady that Abraham used to do Bible studies with. She lives Huejotzingo, but not particularly close to us. After being out of contact with her for quite some time, she showed up at our house one morning to tell me about the December murder of her 23 year-old granddaughter, the single mother of two small children. She said that the family was now living in poverty, although they had the help of a Christian lady near her home.

Abraham reinitiated Bible studies with her. Not long after that, our kids and I also began to go with him so that the lady´s grandkids could have some friends to play with during the study. Depending on the day, the lady is there. Her elderly brother is always home and listens to the study eagerly. Sometimes other family members also participate. The family has a great many chains to break as they learn what God´s best is for their lives. The mother and sister of the young lady declared their faith in Jesus just this past week, and we pray that their declaration is real.

We are gearing up for our annual vacation Bible school coming up the third week of July. We still have quite a bit to do to prepare.

This last week, after a year and a half hiatus, I started the cooking or craft class with teen and pre-teen girls. We stopped the classes because the participants moved away, and no new teens arrived. Last month, three of the girls moved back and asked for the class again. Our class last week was making cream cheese bites. Yum!

Please pray for us as we plan the VBS, continue previously established studies and English class, and reinitiate the study and teen class. Pray also for our church which is going through a difficult time.

Day 12 Fiji Relief Effort, Sunday, June26, 2016

I was able to meet with my pastor friend this morning after service and give him the Journey materials he requested. The men in his congregation approached him last year and asked if he would meet regularly with them and help them become better disciples of Jesus. They realize they need a stronger relationship with the Lord. They also know they need to live out their faith in better ways towards their wives and families. Wife beating and child abuse are big problems in Fiji. There are far too few good role models of Christian marriage and child-rearing.

The Journey materials provide a 9-month guide to address core issues. I pray we are able to see these materials used effectively all over the nation within the church.

I made phone contact with a key business associate, John Samisoni, who has been a close friend and ministry partner since 2003 when I first began to minister here. Aisake is on the overnight ferry from Vanua Levu Island to Viti Levu Island. He arrives in Suva about 5 a.m. Monday morning. Aisake and I will have lunch with John Tuesday afternoon to discuss a variety of ideas for future ministry.

Later tonight I’m supposed to meet with Pastor Reggie Kumar and his wife. Their son, Reggie Jr. is now a dentist. I’ve known him since he was a teenager. He’s indicated a desire to become more actively involved in our medical outreaches.

I Skyped Judy twice today to see how she’s doing. She still can’t keep solids down. She’s eating rehydration popsicles and drinking broth. She even has problems with the broth. She’s made an appointment with her PCP so we can hopefully determine what is going on. Thanks for holding her up before the Lord. I’m glad I’ll be home on Wednesday.

Blessings!

Fiji Relief Project Day 11

I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop in Nadi town after meeting with one of the three people I’d hope to meet with during my brief visit to this lovely town. One person I’d hoped to make contact with is in New Zealand and won’t return until tomorrow whey I will be in Suva. The other, a pastor friend, has moved and I don’t know his new location. Still, meeting with Gabe and Cuvu was worth the stop over. They are long-term ministry partners and fantastic friends. We discussed some things we hopefully will see develop over the next few months.

Tried to Skype Judy again, but the internet here wasn’t working right. When that was finally resolved, our home in the States was without electricity. I was able to phone, though. Judy is still not as healthy as we would like, but she did want me to proceed to Suva rather than coming home tonight. She has been able to eat a very little solid food. We definitely need to get to the bottom of what is causing this nausea.

Shortly I’ll eat my evening meal and make my way back to the Nadi airport for my 1/2 hour flight to Nausori and my 1/2 hour drive into Suva.

Appreciate your prayers. Blessings!

Fiji Relief Project Day 10

This morning Aisake and I drove over to Dreketi to meet with the pastor of the church where TUtP held our last medical outreach. It was a pleasant drive over the mountain spine of Vanua Levu Island. There are some incredible views, including a rain forest overlook.

While we were having lunch with Pastor Henry, we discussed a 240 acre plot of land the church trust owns. The property has a lake at the top of a small hill, has already been planted in pasture and has very good beekeeping and farming potential. It is possible that after the first of the year it will come up for long-term lease with an option to buy. This would be a fantastic place to base TUtP work on the island. Lease terms would only run about $550 U.S. per year. We will definitely keep an eye on this.

I gave the pastor copies of the materials Band of Brothers Journey Group uses in the States for discipling men over a nine-month period. I’ve asked him to review the manuals and books to see if he believes, as I do, that the church in Fiji can use them. I’ll give another two sets to one of my pastor contacts in Suva on Sunday with the same request. The pastor in Suva already has men pleading with him to disciple them. He has been meeting with groups from his church for the past year, but doesn’t yet have a well developed program to use. Journey Group materials have proved very effective around the States and in Tanzania and Uganda. I hope they will make a positive impact in Fiji.

We were planning our medical outreach for the first two weeks of December, when our beekeeper can most likely join us for the many training opportunities we have. Even the government is pleading with us to provide more training like we have done over the past few years. Looks like a go on all levels.

Early tomorrow morning, Saturday here, I fly to Nadi where I will spend the day making contact with a number of people we work with in Fiji. That evening I’ll continue on to Suva for meetings over the next four days prior to returning home.

Earlier today I sent out a request for prayer for my wife Judy. When I Skyped her this evening, she was doing better, so for now I will not revise my schedule for the next few days to return home earlier than planned. Will keep you updated. If things change, I will not hesitate to come home early.

Thanks and Blessings!