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Irasema [David's 3rd and Final Blog from Mexico]


When I first met Irasema in 2008, she could not walk or lift her head

Irasema

David’s 3rd and Final Blog from Mexico

Dear Friends,
Any time that I visit Mexico missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, there is one special little girl whom I must always see. Her name is Irasema Flores Ramirez.
The first time I met Irasema was in September of 2008 at an evening evangelistic meeting at which Jason was preaching. Irasema was 6 years old. She was being held in the lap of her listening father as he sat at the edge of the crowd, and I could tell that something was very wrong. Her entire body was limp, like a rag doll.
During the singing prior to Jason’s preaching, I watched Irasema’s father take her hands in his to make her clap along with the songs. After the meeting, he carried her home in his arms to their tiny shack. The hopelessness of her condition coupled with the family’s poverty made it hard to hold back tears.

Here’s a photo I took in 2008 of Jason’s evangelistic meeting, with Irasema being held by her father on the far left
I asked Jason and Nicole if they knew what was wrong with her. They had already paid to take Irasema to a local doctor, but he could produce no diagnosis.
At one time, Irasema was a perfectly normal little girl. But one day she started losing her balance, and her condition progressively worsened until she was unable to do anything. Now she was hardly eating and was losing weight.
So I offered to pay what her parents could never afford, the expense of taking her to a city some hours away where there was better medical care at a children’s hospital.
Some weeks later I heard from Nicole that Irasema’s condition had been diagnosed. She was afflicted with dermatomyosits, a connective-tissue, muscle and nerve disease. The doctors told Jason and Nicole that the disease had progressed untreated for too long. But they put her on two medications and daily physical therapy, which Heaven’s Family also funded.
Within two months, Irasema was able to stand on her own and walk a few steps. Our Critical Medical Needs Ministry continued funding her medication and therapy for years. Eventually Irasema was able to run and play like other children. Yesterday I visited her at her school, where she is in 9th grade and doing well. And I also visited her parents, and they are prospering by growing plants, including coffee, of which they gave me a freshly-ground bag. Irasema’s father is now a pastor.
Thanks for reading my three blogs from Mexico! My next overseas trip is not until November to the Philippines.

David
 

Mudslide Setbacks


Missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick standing in their ministry compound’s pavilion and cafeteria. The chest-deep wall of mud to their left extended to where they are standing, but progress is slowly being made to clean up after the disaster.

Mudslide Setbacks

David’s 1st Blog from Mexico

Dear Friends,
Greetings from Puebla State in Central Mexico, where Heaven’s Family has been partnered for years with amazing missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick. I’ve been with them numerous times over those years, visiting the many churches they’ve planted among poor descendants of Mexico’s original Aztec people and meeting the “least of these” whom they serve. That includes orphans, sexually-exploited children whom they’ve rescued and raised, widows, the handicapped, and recovering drug addicts. Much of their ministry centers around a compound they’ve slowly constructed since 2008 which they’ve named “The Village,” built on land cut from a jungle mountainside.
Unfortunately, during torrential rains on August 6th, part of that mountainside gave way in the middle of the night. One major mudslide poured waist-deep mud into the Village pavilion and bent a pylon, and another mudslide left a dangerous ledge directly in front of a dorm walkway (see photos above and below).
At least 120 people in the region died as a result of the flooding and mudslides. None of the Villagers were hurt, however, due in part to Nicole evacuating everyone and leading them to safety in the middle of the night. They walked for two hours in the darkness and rain, adults and teens carrying the children, and praying for protection from mudslides, lightning, and downed electrical lines. (Jason was several hours away at the time in Mexico City.)
Since then, most of the Village children and adults have been living in cramped quarters in a large rented house in a nearby town.

Most of the children with some of their adult caretakers, at the new, temporary location

A little different perspective of the encroaching mudslide and clean-up progress in the Village pavilion
The question remains of whether or not the Village location can be made safe enough for habitation once again. As I surveyed the damage with Jason, Nicole and my son, Stephen (who directs our Orphan’s Tear Ministry), it appears that it could—via additional soil terracing coupled with replacing wooden dorms with concrete ones. Erring on the side of caution, however, Mexico’s Family and Child Protection Services will not allow the re-establishing of a home for children on the land.
So the current plan is to repair the damage and use the Village as a ministry headquarters, drug rehab, conference center, and fish farm, and to purchase property elsewhere that can be used to house the Village children and their caretakers.

When the earth moves under your feet (almost): Nicole showed us where she watched upright trees disappear into the darkness as the land gave way.
In the meantime, Heaven’s Family has helped via our Disaster Relief Ministry with funds for a better kitchen and a dining area at the temporary rented house, part of which Jason and Nicole were already renting in order to safely house girls whom they’ve rescued from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. More about that…in my next blog.
Every blessing,

David
 

A Village Story


“Marley”

A Village Story

David’s 2nd Blog from Mexico

Dear Friends,
When you start asking missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick about the many children who live at “The Village,” be prepared to be shocked by some of their stories. The abuse that some of them have suffered before coming to the Village is almost beyond imagination.
Take 8-year-old “Marley,” in the photo above, for example. She, along with her three siblings and mother, previously lived in a tiny wooden shack in the mountainous and primitive region where the Fitzpatricks serve. Marley’s father is long gone. When her mother was absent from home, Marley’s drunken grandfather would regularly tie her up, hang her from the rafters, and sexually abuse her. He similarly sodomized her 10-year-old older brother.
Thankfully, Marley, her three siblings and their mother have all recently been rescued from their victimization, and they are now living at the Village (which has recently changed locations due to mudslides…see my previous blog).
The three older children (which includes Marley) are receiving schooling for the first time in their lives. Before their rescue, none of the children had ever used a toilet or experienced a warm bath or shower. When Nicole took them for the first doctor’s visit of their lives, she was told that they are all years behind on the growth/weight chart.

Marley’s older brother (who was abused like Marley) and younger brother
Nicole will also tell you that emotional scars such children suffer take time to heal, but the love-filled and pure environment of the Village has proven to work wonders.
Of course, the Fitzpatricks work with governmental and legal professionals in order to accomplish such rescues. Perpetrators are prosecuted. It is risky in a country where criminals are organized and police sometimes work in conjunction with them, but Jesus’ love drives Jason and Nicole to take those risks.

Marley’s younger sister
Heaven’s Family is involved with the Village children via our Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry and Orphan’s Tear Ministry, (and those are means for you to be involved as well).
We also partner with the Fitzpatricks by (1) supporting national missionaries whom they have trained and raised up (though our National Missionary Ministry), (2) providing food for all the Village children (through our Food Ministry), (3) providing Bibles for impoverished new believers (through our Strategic Bibles Ministry), (4) providing training for pastors (through the printing and distribution of The Disciple-Making Minister via our Books for Discipleship Ministry), and (6) through regularly meeting medical needs (through our Critical Medical Needs Ministry). I’ll tell you about one of those medical needs that we met years ago, and a little girl’s life who was changed because of it, in my next blog.
Every blessing,

David

Old friends: I have some photos on my laptop of Village children that I took in 2010. Little Evelyn is growing up! Her father, separated from her mother, was an alcoholic, but both came to the Lord through Jason and Nicole’s ministry. That was about ten years ago. Today, Evelyn’s mom helps care for the Village children, and her father is a full-time church-planting missionary, supported by Heaven’s Family. Evelyn wants to be a doctor some day.

Flora Blossoms in Her New Family


Flora, after receiving the grace and mercy of the Lord

Dear Friends,
Flora is over 80 years old and is not totally coherent. She cannot even remember her last name. What is known about Flora is that she spent her life working as a maid, never having a husband nor children. Increasing in age and infirmity, Flora became unable to work, resulting in her being evicted from her rented shack. Having no other options, Flora ended up living on the streets of Huauchinango, Mexico.
A kind couple noticed her terrible condition and began caring for her as best they could, but eventually they brought her to Heaven’s Family missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick. When Flora arrived, she could neither eat nor control her bowl movements.
But now, after much prayer, love and hands-on care, Flora has been nursed back to health—thanks in part to gifts from our Food Fund. She now eats well and her “plumbing” is working properly. Flora has many around her now who, in Jesus’ name, provide her with a family—including the children and grandchildren she never had. Although she is still very tiny, she looks much more healthy. Flora is even beginning to make sense when she talks!
Your prayers and generous gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Food Fund connect you to the “least of these” like Flora. Thank you so much!

Flora sharing a meal with some of the children of her new family


Furthering the Kingdom together,

Diane Scott
Director, Food Fund

Riding High



Beto (in front) with his brother Edgar having fun on a donkey at The Village

Riding High

A testimony from a young boy who once lived on the mean streets of Mexico

Dear Friends, I suppose having a tender heart is part of the job description for the director of Orphan’s Tear. But sometimes I feel that my heart exceeds the tenderness requirements! That possibility entered my mind as my eyes teared up reading a letter I recently received from a little boy in Mexico called Beto (translated by our dear friend and ministry partner Nicole Fitzpatrick). I hope Beto’s words touch your heart as well…
Hello, my name is Albert Puyicatla Hernandez. I am 8 years old and I have 3 brothers. 2 of them live here with me at The Village and 1 lives with my grandparents in Chicahuaxtla. I have lived here for going on 2 years. Before I lived here, I had never gone to school and could not read or write. My mama could not send us because my dad had abandoned us all and my grandparents do not have any money.
When I lived in our small town, I was always in the streets with my brothers and cousins. They smoked marijuana and would force us to smoke it, too. They would blow smoke into my little brother’s face until he was real high. We’d leave our shack early in the morning and would be like vagabonds in the streets, looking for food to eat and things to steal.
But some brothers from The Village would come once a week preaching in our town and one day they came to my grandmother’s home to preach the Gospel and that’s how my brothers and I learned about [a place where they would take care of us]. When my mother came home one weekend (she works far away in the city) she took 3 of us to The Village. I love living here because they take very good care of us. Now I am studying and I love Jesus. My teacher’s name is Andrea and our school room is very pretty. I am happy.
Thank you for helping Mama Nicole take care of us every day. Thank you for sending us money for food, school, clothes, and everything else you are always doing. We are all very thankful for Orphan’s Tear.
Love, Beto
I’m so thankful that God is in the redemption business and that we get to be stockholders! The dividends are absolutely heavenly!



Elisabeth Walker
Director of Orphan’s Tear

 

Another Life Saved [Mexico Trip]



Josephina Lopez Ojeda with her husband, Roberto Morales Cruz, and 3 of their 7 children, in front of their simple house. The door on the right is the entrance to the kitchen, the inside of which you can see in the photo below.

Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick have planted over 30 churches in the impoverished mountain villages of Peubla, Mexico’s poorest state. Many of those villages were previously untouched by the gospel. Today we traveled two hours up winding, mountain roads to reach one of them, the village of Ozomatlan, inhabited by descendants of the Totonaco Indians, who are cousins of the Aztecs. Most live in small, wood or concrete block shacks with dirt or concrete floors. Their poverty is almost unimaginable to most North Americans.
In Ozomatlan, we stopped at the tiny home of Roberto Morales Cruz and his wife, Josephina Lopez Ojeda, both of whom came to Christ through Jason and Nicole’s ministry.
In December of 2010, Josephina was dying, but she didn’t know why. She had suffered for eight days with pain in her abdomen, fever, loss of appetite, and no bowel movements. On December 22nd, I received a concerned call from Nicole regarding Josephina, and we immediately wired funds to Mexico for tests and medical attention. Those tests revealed a ruptured intestine, and doctors were amazed Josephina was still alive. They ended up removing a section of her small intestine and colon. Her full recovery took months.
As I interviewed Josephina and her husband today, they expressed their profound gratitude, knowing that she would have died apart from the compassion of God’s people. Josephina said that during her long recovery, none of her blood relatives came to visit, but the family of God continually ministered to her. I told her that the money Heaven’s Family had sent during her trial was not from me, but from many of her spiritual family members outside of Mexico—whom she will one day meet in heaven.

David


Josephina (at left) in her dirt-floor kitchen. Notice the cut branches in the upper left-hand corner of the photo, which are the fuel for Josephina’s stove below.

Coffee, Tea and Justice


The beautiful young employees of La Aldea Café, a ministry that helps victims of human trafficking (One of these girls, Ana, has a younger sister still being abused by traffickers, but every effort is being made to rescue her as you read this)

Coffee, Tea and Justice

Creating a business model that helps trafficking victims start new lives…and helps fund the rescue of more

Dear Friends,

Question: How can fresh coffee, tea, fresh fruit juice, grilled sandwiches, quesadillas, jams, jewelry and, of course, lots of yummy cakes and muffins, fight human trafficking?

Answer: By providing formerly trafficked girls with new skills to help them find work, and by providing income that is needed to rescue children—some as young as 1 and 2 years old—from the evil employ of those who use them to earn money to feed their drug addictions.

The café is just one way that Nicole and Jason Fitzpatrick, Heaven’s Family missionaries to Mexico, are fighting human trafficking and slavery. Profits help meet the needs of the girls who work in the café and live in a safe house not far away—girls who have been rescued from traffickers.

Here are a few of the truly “child friendly” labels they’ve designed for their homemade products: (l-r) apple butter, blueberry jam and strawberry jam. Each one also says it’s 100% homemade, and across the bottom, Thank you for helping us be the voice for those who have no voice. One day at a time and one child at a time…we are making a difference. The café is named after La Aldea (which means The Village), the restorative Christian community at the heart of the ministry.
Nicole told us their “goal is for the café to eventually allow the safe house to become sustainable,” providing rent, food, clothes, medical care and schooling for the girls, “so we can extend our efforts to rescue more girls from this horrendous crime.” From her vantage point living in a country with one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the world, she says “the plague grows daily…It is fast and easy money for a poor unwed mother, drug addict or pedophile,” in a culture that often does not value life.
Nicole went on to say… “[At the safe house] they are kept safe from harm’s way while the perpetrators are either arrested or put through the court system—or grow tired of looking for [the girls]. There we love them, protect them, tell them about Jesus, and help them find healing and forgiveness in Him.

The café and the work of Nicole Fitzpatrick and her staff were highlighted recently in a local newspaper, giving greater credibility to the team’s work and educating readers on the horrors of human trafficking
The safe house is also a place of mentoring, discipleship and “big sistering.” Older girls—those who have been rescued from trafficking and who lived with us in Village 1 for many years, receiving much counseling and healing—help “pay it forward” by living at the safe house while they attend college. They know the unimaginable horrors of life as a trafficking victim—the beatings, emotional and sexual abuse, fear and loneliness—and are able to comfort younger girls who find refuge there.
Nicole is tirelessly working to free more girls (and sometimes young boys, who are also prostituted). Their stories are tragic and appalling—but we can do something about it.
Fighting for them,

Jeff and Karin Trotter
Directors, Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry

 

Straightening Bent Lives…and


Cristina is hiding something. 


Straightening lives that have been twisted by abuse and neglect has become a special calling of God on the life of Nicole Fitzpatrick, a Heaven’s Family missionary in Mexico. She has learned that Jesus’ love, poured out liberally and consistently over time, makes even the most broken and bent souls straight.
Cristina is one of those souls. Cristina was abused and then abandoned when she was 12 years old. When Nicole learned of her tragic situation, she took her into her own family, which consists of her husband and their two natural children, plus dozens of other children with stories similar to Cristina’s. And as time and healing went on, Nicole enjoyed seeing a joyful smile find its way from Cristina’s heart to her face, just like she’s witnessed on the faces of all her kids—kids who, when she first met them, didn’t know how to smile either.
But now 18, Cristina’s adolescent self-consciousness prevents her from doing so for fear of showing her mouth full of unattractive, crooked teeth. Nicole has felt compassion for Cristina’s plight, but only ever has funds for critical medical needs. One day, however, Nicole stepped out in faith and told Cristina that she believed God would provide so that she could get braces. Little did either know that their faith would be soon be rewarded, and in a way that unmistakably had God’s fingerprints all over it!
Knowing that Nicole’s children had general dentistry needs, we sent $300 from Orphan’s Tear’s Special Projects Fund this month to help provide for such needs. What we didn’t know was that $300 was the exact amount needed for Cristina’s braces. Now Nicole, a passionate servant of Jesus who has helped straighten many broken and bent lives, will also be helping to straighten teeth!


Cristina with her braces—and daring to smile again!

I love it when we can be a part of God’s plan to bless orphans…even with braces. Thanks to those of you who have given to the Special Projects Fund, Cristina will one day be able to flash a smile that reflects the joy and gratitude within her heart—a smile I believe you’ll one day see in heaven!
Thank you for your partnership that is bettering the lives of orphans!

Elisabeth Walker
Director of Orphan’s Tear

 

Food for a Special Village


Children and adults gathered around tables eating
An Easter feast for the poor at the “Village” in Mexico

Dear Friends,
I just received a letter of thanks from our partners Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, who live in a remote region of central Mexico. They serve forgotten descendants of the Aztec Indians, members of the “least of these” who need our love and support. As you may recall, the Fitzpatricks established what they refer to as “The Village” several years ago, a community where they live and work with the people whom they disciple, educate, and teach vocational skills.
Here’s what Nicole wrote:
God is so good! Last Sunday we had a great Resurrection Sunday at The Village…. about 60-70 people showed up from La Gallera, San Lorenzo and Cutzontipa to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and partake of the Lord’s Supper here…. Pastor Costa, Bishop Juan, Bro. Asher and Deacon Pedro led us in a beautiful time of worship, teaching, and breaking of bread.
Thank you for the money you send each month, making it possible to feed the church body when they come to worship our King Jesus together with us. It is a pleasure to feed them often, both spiritually and physically…. Thanks again and may the Lord Jesus bless you!

Thank you for making this ministry possible!
God bless!

Chuck King
International Director, Food Fund Director



 

“Our Pimps Want to Kill Us!”


NOTE: This blog update is inappropriate to be read by children.

ALSO NOTE: This blog was originally restricted for security reasons, but that restriction has been lifted because the danger posed to those discussed in the text has been virtually eliminated. In addition, our partners in Mexico asked for this status change so that this important message can reach a wider audience.


This little girl, neglected by her mother to wander the streets of Mexico City, is not only at risk from automobile traffic, but from sex traffickers 

Dear Friends,
Little Girl for Sale. The message is never quite so blatantly stated, but it is a reality just the same. All around the world, but particularly in developing nations, little girls and boys are up for sale—or available to rent by the hour.
Last week I led a short-term team to Mexico City, where we visited missionaries Jason and Nicole (last name withheld for security purposes) whose multi-faceted ministry includes rescuing children from sex trafficking. Mexican children regularly disappear, never to be heard from again, and as I traveled with Jason and Nicole, it became apparent to me why Mexico City is a prime target for traffickers.
I observed the tiny girl in the photo above for some time as she played alone with a piece of cardboard and a plastic sheet near busy city streets. No one was watching her. Alarmed, I pointed her out to Nicole, who approached her to ask (in Spanish) where her mother was. She led Nicole across and down the street to her mother, who was working as a street vendor, and who was unconcerned that her little daughter had been out of sight.
As we walked away, I could not help but be concerned that her little daughter would end up being another statistic. Nicole told me that many poor and single Mexican mothers are so desperate to feed their children or a drug habit that they sometimes rent their own daughters (or sons) to pedophiles, or even sell them to pimps. I hoped that such was not the case concerning the negligent mother we had just left.
At times Nicole learns of girls in their teens or early 20s who have been forced into prostitution—some since early childhood—but who desperately want to escape. It happened again this week during our visit. Nicole received an urgent phone call. Two girls, one with a young child, had just fled from their pimps (who also had forced them to sell drugs). They were certain they’d be killed if they were caught by those who had enslaved them.
In a tense meeting in a parking lot, Nicole listened to their story and agreed to provide them with shelter at one of the ministry’s safe houses. She knows the road ahead will be difficult for both girls—their experience has taught them to trust no one—but there is hope that they will stay at the safe house, hear the gospel, and begin new lives. It is still too soon to tell how their story will end.

A photo of Nicole’s parking lot meeting, intentionally blurred for everyone’s safety
But there have already been some happy endings, and towards that goal Heaven’s Family is continually working with Jason and Nicole. Their government-sanctioned city safe house, which shelters rescued children, was opened last year in part because of gifts to our Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund. During our visit to that safe house, we found 18 children and staff living there. They receive daily school lessons and are learning all about Jesus.

At left, a safe-house English class is taught by guest teacher Sheree, one of our team members; at right, my wife Karin takes a photo of some of the children, who always rush, with giggles and happy screaming, to see themselves immediately afterwards on the camera’s LCD screen

Some children cannot stay at that safe house, however, due to concerns that its city location is less secure for those being pursued by traffickers or abusive parents. When that is the case, those children are relocated to a remote community of believers, far outside Mexico City and far away from their malefactors.
During our visit at that community, we met over 60 happy, playful children…many of whom were once trafficked or horribly abused by drug or alcohol addicted parents. In an upcoming Heaven’s Familymagazine article, I’ll be sharing the story of two sisters who were once trafficked but who are now followers of Jesus, and growing up happy and healthy under the care of Jason and Nicole and their wonderful staff.

Those happy children, made even happier by the new bath towels, gifts made possible by a Colorado friend of Heaven’s Family


Your gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund put you in direct partnership with Jason and Nicole on the front lines of their life-saving ministry. Please keep them in your prayers. Their work is often dangerous, and they’ve received several death threats from those who prefer to exploit children rather than see them safely nurtured in Christ.

Because of Him,

Jeff Trotter
Director, Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund

A Brother and Sister Who Need Our Help



Daniel Tellez with Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick. Although he is going blind, Daniel’s eyes are very sensitive to bright light. 


Dear Friends,
Daniel Tellez lives in the shadows. That’s because the 18-year-old is going blind. Claudia, his younger sister, is going blind too. They also both suffer from epilepsy, and live with their widowed mother in heart-breaking poverty.
After scraping together a loan, their mother finally brought Daniel and Claudia to visit a doctor last year. The doctor recommended a treatment plan to arrest the condition, but could not get further financial assistance. Unable to pay for the treatments, they returned home and their condition worsened.
Heaven’s Family founder David Servant, along with missionary partners Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, met the family for the first time a few weeks ago when David was in Mexico (you can read his report by clicking here).
In response to their sad situation, Heaven’s Family would like to send Daniel and Claudia to the children’s hospital in Puebla, Mexico. Transportation, medical tests and doctors fees will cost about $350. If you would like to contribute to the Critical Medical Needs Fund to help, please click the blue button below.
Thank you,

Patti Samuels
Director, Critical Medical Needs Fund


Lalo’s New High

The Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund at Work in Mexico

Bob Collins, Prison & Rehab Ministry


drf-lalo
Eduardo “Lalo” Guierrez Del Angel, a new man in Christ

It was a new low for the one they called Lalo. Born Eduardo Gutierrez Del Angel of Pachuca, Mexico, Lalo had already lived more than a dozen years in drunkenness. But this night, as he lay in a rat-infested abandoned building, he awoke from his stupor to find a stray dog trying to eat his eye out. When I heard that awful detail, I couldn’t help but notice the scar under his left eye. Lalo confessed that was one more night when he contemplated suicide.
The deck was stacked against Lalo from the beginning: his parents separated shortly after his birth, and four years later his mother remarried a man who considered Lalo’s light skin and gray-green eyes to be indicative of a curse. So, as a condition of marriage, he insisted that Lalo’s mother “get rid of him.” She dropped him off at his grandparents’ house, and Lalo only saw her occasionally after that. By age 14 when he quit school, Lalo was a smoker and a drinker, just like his alcoholic grandfather.
When Lalo turned 18, he tracked down his birth father whom he had never met. At their first and only meeting, the man who abandoned him as a baby, as well as his mother and older brother, accused him of wanting to meet only to ask for money.
After that rejection, it was all downhill for Lalo. He began living on the streets and in abandoned houses. He didn’t cut his hair or shave. He did whatever work was available just to survive and purchase more alcohol. The only time that his extended family members knew his whereabouts was when the police contacted them after they’d find him lying drunk on the street, or when he was admitted to a hospital for injuries sustained in fights.
It was during yet another one of those alcohol-fueled nights that, during an argument, a drinking buddy split Lalo’s head open with a broken wine bottle, and Lalo awoke in a hospital bed to the voice of his sister-in-law, Esmeralda. She pleaded with him to commit himself to a drug rehabilitation program she knew was helping other addicts. Lalo had already made sincere attempts over the past decade, in drug rehabs and through self-proclaimed folk healers, to escape the chains of alcoholism, but to no avail. He eventually lost hope of finding deliverance. But because Esmeralda was his relative and she was so insistent, he agreed to try one more time.
The rehab that Esmeralda persuaded Lalo to commit to was a Christian community called The Village, started by Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, missionary partners with Heaven’s Family. In fact, Esmeralda first came to repentance and faith at a home church that Jason and Nicole had started. Since then she had seen God transform other addicts, and she believed He could do it for Lalo.
When Lalo arrived at the Village, he was overwhelmed by the love he received. Rejected all his life, the defenses around his hard heart began to weaken. He sobered up, heard the gospel, and after a few weeks, repented and believed. As he studied the Bible and joined in corporate worship, he experienced cleansing and healing.

drf-montage
At left, Jason baptized Lalo on May 4; Lalo with many of the residents of the Village; at right, listening to Lalo’s remarkable testimony 

Since then, Lalo strayed from the narrow way on one occasion, and found himself once again drunk and sleeping in an abandoned building. But brothers from the Village searched for him, and with the Lord’s help, found him, and brought him back to the Village. Their love in action melted Lalo’s heart once again, as he realized that Jesus had not given up on him either. From that day, Lalo has remained sober and full of the Spirit, and he continually witnesses on the streets and in the local prisons where he serves with some of the other brothers from the Village. Everyone who knew him from before his new birth is amazed at the transformation of his life. Lalo is truly a trophy of God’s grace, now very “high” on Jesus!

Fire Water Quenched by the Spirit


Missionaries and their fruit: National missionaries Pedro Carballo and Juan Velazquez standing behind recent converts Juan, Josefina, and two of their four children.


Dear Friends,
I’ve got a story from Mexico that will make you smile!
Juan was a heavy drinker, and he often abused his family members. His wife, Josefina, and their three young children lived in constant fear, imprisoned in a little shack made of scavenged sticks and discarded plastic sheeting—the place they called home.
About two years ago, Josefina learned that she was pregnant with their fourth child. Rather than rejoicing, Josefina feared that she would not be able to feed another mouth. Juan wasted their meager income on his “fire water” addiction, making it difficult to feed the three children they already had—and impossible to pay for schooling for any of them.
Desperate for help, Josefina began attending a house church pastored by national missionaries Juan Velazquez and Pedro Carballo. She turned her heart over to the Lord and began blossoming into a woman of God. And she began to fervently pray for her husband’s salvation.
Juan could not ignore the changes in his wife. Her transformation convicted him of his own sin, and he finally came to the Lord last January, repenting and forsaking alcohol. Now being discipled by pastors Pedro and Juan, he is learning how to take responsibility as a godly husband and father. Instead of wasting his income on alcohol, Juan is saving what he can in hopes of providing his family with a small wooden house.
Josefina’s eyes well up with tears as she marvels at how God miraculously redeemed her marriage and replaced abuse with love. Please keep this wonderful young family in your prayers as they start their new lives together.

At left, three of Juan and Josefina’s four happy children; at right: Josefina’s joyous baptism

Juan Velazquez and Pedro Carballo are faithfully serving the Lord as national missionaries in Mexico, striving to reconcile their fellow countrymen to God. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with either of these servants of God, enabling them to better fulfill their callings by helping them pay for travel expenses, gospel literature, and living expenses?


Your fellow servant,

Jody Walter
Director, National Missionary Fund
 

Separated Siblings

A street kid's search for his lost family

Stephen Servant, Orphan's Tear Ministry


isaiah
Isaias, a determined young man

“I will not give up until I’ve found my sisters and my brother!”
After months of fruitless searching, 13-year-old Isaias was determined not to quit.
They were, originally, four siblings living under one roof, born to an alcoholic father among the indigenous people of Mexico’s Sierra Madre: Isaias, the oldest, fraternal twin sisters Marisol and Matilde, and little brother Joel. When their mother died, their bedridden father parceled them out.
Marsol and Matilde, both age 4, went to live with a poor grandmother who was already burdened with caring for other grandchildren. The twins rarely saw each other, however, as their grandmother dished them out to live with neighbors or relatives who used them as their child servants. Worse, after a few years, she allowed Matilde’s aunt to force her to view pornographic videos in order to educate her on how to service local men.
Neither girl ever attended school. Beatings were common. They usually ate just one meal per day.
Baby Joel’s circumstances seemed more hopeful after he was adopted by a Mexican woman, but she died 6 years later. So Joel found himself in the same hellish circumstances as his older twin sisters, first living with his grandmother, then farmed out to live with others; neglected and abused by them all.
Isaias, separated from the other three, never found a welcome home. He lived wherever he could find a place to sleep—usually in fields or along dirty streets. He worked at any odd job that a street kid could do to earn enough to eat.
After some years passed, Heaven’s Family-supported missionary Nicole Fitzpatrick happened to encounter Isaias, then 12 years old, while he was wandering the streets of San Lorenzo. She asked him if he would be interested in living with a community of Christians where he could go to school and be fed. It sounded too good to be true. He agreed.
“The Village,” as it is called by Nicole and her husband, Jason, although primitive, was like heaven to Isaias—a place of love and joy. There he learned of Jesus’ love. Having never forgotten his three siblings, Isaias eventually requested Nicole’s permission to search for them and bring them back if he could locate them. Nicole granted him permission under the condition that he be accompanied by a trusted older companion from The Village. And so Isaias began his quest to find his lost siblings.
Every weekend, for months, Isaias trekked from village to village in the region, even through monsoon rains, freezing wind (in the high elevations), and scorching sun. After 2 years, his determination finally began to pay off. He found each of his siblings, one by one over a period of months, all living separate nightmares.
Isaias pleaded with each of them, in turn, to join him at The Village. “No one will hurt you,” he promised, “and you’ll eat 3 meals a day!”

reunited-siblings
Joyfully reunited siblings: Isaias, Joel, Matilde and Marisol

With the help of a social worker and an attorney, Nicole succeeded in gaining custody, and all four children now live at The Village where they’ve been thriving. Emotional scars are fading, all are attending school, and dreams are beginning to blossom. Matilde wants to become a doctor some day so she “can make people feel better.”
But there’s more to this story.
Learning that their ailing father was close to death, Nicole brought his children to visit him. Suffering from the advanced stages of diabetes, he had lost his vision, and both of his legs were gangrenous. Having learned about the forgiveness God offers and expects of those He’s forgiven, the children tearfully told their father that they loved and forgave him. As they did, he broke down, apologizing for all he had done to them. He then asked Nicole if she thought God could ever forgive him. She assured him that yes, God’s love and forgiveness are available to all who come to him in repentance, and she then led him in a prayer to receive Jesus.

siblings-montage
Find a child to sponsor at OrphansTear.org

Last year, our Orphan’s Tear Ministry began partnering with Jason and Nicole through our child sponsorship program, in order to help all 37 children with similar stories living under their care. All of those children are now available for sponsorship on the Orphan’s Tear website… including Isaias, Marisol, Matilda and Joel. 
 

Widows Warmed for the Winter


 

Simple gifts that show our love to those whom Jesus loves

Dear Friends,
In August of 2014, we traveled to Mexico to meet Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick and to see the amazing work God has led them to do. Since then, we’ve kept in touch with their ministry through emails and social media, but since we became directors of the Widows & Abandoned Women Ministry earlier this year, we’ve been even more watchful of their efforts. Having met firsthand many of the widows and abandoned women they love and encourage, we looked for an opportunity to come alongside them.
That opportunity came recently when Nicole asked for help purchasing a blanket and a bag of food for 20 poor widows. But God had even more blessing in mind. In all, Nicole was able to provide a blanket and 2 bags of food for 40 widows and abandoned women with the funds she received!

 
“Tons” of supplies were put together by the community of believers living at The Village—women who know hardship and are now able to be a part of helping others

 
Nicole shared with these ladies how much God loves them, and reminded them that they are not alone. She said, “God really moved and they were moved to tears as I laid hands on them and ministered to them.”

Here are more smiles from those who received winter gifts:
 
 
 

We love being a part of a process that first touches our hearts with compassion to help and then concludes with smiles and joy—something we couldn’t do without your generosity to the Widows & Abandoned Women Ministry. Thank you very much for partnering with us so that we can show the love of Jesus through simple things like blankets and food in Mexico!
Blessings,
Bruce and Patty Harris
Directors, Widows & Abandoned Women Ministry

An Unforgettable Day at the River

An Unforgettable Day at the River

Author: Jody


Five freshly-baptized believers standing alongside their baptizers, Pedro Carballo (second from left) and Juan Munoz (far right)

Dear Friends,

Just a few weeks ago two Heaven’s Family-supported national missionaries baptized five believers. They descended with the young men and women into the clear waters of the San Felipe River to be united in Christ through baptism. Each has been radically transformed by the power of the gospel (Read the captions under the photos below to learn more about the testimonies of these new believers).

All five have found a home in the body of Christ like nothing they’ve ever experienced before: they’re now loved, supported, discipled and, most importantly for them, they’ll never be abandoned again. Thank you for supporting missionaries like Juan and Pedro who are rescuing the perishing in places you and I will never reach.

I’m sure it was a day none of them will ever forget!


At left: Formerly a raging alcoholic who would mercilessly beat his wife and kids in his drunken stupors, Juan is now a new creation in Christ and a responsible family man. At right: After leading a selfish and worldly lifestyle, Noemi was abandoned by her husband and has since turned to the Lord. Her newfound passion is serving others.


Emilia comes from an extremely impoverished family. Through the power of Christ, her family is breaking the chains that have so long bound them in dire poverty. After her salvation, Emilia has been blossoming into a joyous and outgoing young woman of God.


At left: Enedina was young and afraid when her live-in boyfriend verbally abused and abandoned her, leaving her with no way of caring for their four young children. After finding Christ and being adopted into His family, local believers have given Enedina a safe haven and are helping her to raise her children. At right: After hearing the Good News, Leonarda’s family turned from their idols and now worship the living God. Leonarda is often persecuted and ridiculed for no longer partaking in her former pagan celebrations, but remains steadfast in her service to the Lord.

Yours for the Kingdom,

Jody Walter
Director, National Missionary Fund

Full House

"Where do you get all of the children?" "
"Where do you find them? "
"How do you know which ones to take in?"

Those are questions I am often asked, by both Americans and Mexicans, when they find out we have so many children. Well, each child has his or her own distinct story. I would like to share our two newest children's stories...
Inline image 1
It is 1:20 am as I sit on my bed with a dim light going. Jason told me I should get some sleep, but we are heading to The Villages today and my writing time is super limited (nearly impossible) there- plus sleep is so far from me right now. Jason is resting next to me...and so is little 5 month old Beto, breathing gently, jumping ever so often, and then dozing off again. His name is Alberto Cristian- but I love  nicknames, so we call him Beto:) He has 4 older siblings that live in a shack with their impoverished grandmother way up in the mountains, over 5 hours from this over crowded, sinful city. Why is he here? Well, Beto's father left his mother for another woman and now Beto's mother owes a lot of money. She came to the city in hopes to pay off that debt- but no one will give her a job because of her baby. I found out they were sleeping on the floor at the dirty, dangerous, downtown subways and I could not bear the thought. I sent for them and they came. A friend's sister offered her a job at her small restaurant today, with free room and board. Beto's mother signed custodianship over to me to care for him and be his mother until she is back on her feet again and her debts are paid off- which we hope will be by this August. Then, we hope to return her son to her and restore them both to their home village (where we do have an established house church:) and then supply full paid scholarships to her other 4 children so they can enjoy an education and have a mother to care for them again. Poverty, corruption, sin, and desperation can cause a person to do things that even they, at one time, never thought possible. There are children all around us that need a chance at life...something more than a dirty subway and crumbs. Please keep little Beto and his family in your prayers!!
Inline image 1
This is Mariana. She is 15 years old...she will be 16 on March 12th. Jason received a phone call last week- asking if we had room for one more girl. Our answer? "Of course we do:-)" Mariana's story is one of complete rejection and abandonment. She never knew her father. Her mother has younger children and has never once cared about Mariana. She has been house to house since she was 4 years old. A national pastor that heard about our ministry here in the city had recently taken her in- but he and his wife already have 2 children, plus have taken in 2 more- and live in a one room house. Mariana has been looking for love and acceptance all of her life and lately had taken it to other extremes of piercings and drugs. Should we give her a chance? WWJD??? Late last night, when we went deep into the city to meet her, we asked her if she had any goals or reasons for wanting to join The Village family and she said, with tears rolling down her cheeks, "I want to find God." Good enough reason for me! Sweet Mariana and I locked our arms together as we followed Jason and headed in and out of the subways and mini van transportation the hour and a half trip home. As we drove past the trash piles, graffiti-ed buildings, and homeless souls, and listened to the filthy music blaring and police sirens screaming, I had to ask myself- "Are we making a difference???" Well, I continue to believe we are, in spite of the sins around us. One day at a time, one life at a time, Christians worldwide are making a difference. Greater is He that is in me, than He that is in the world! 1 John 4:4

Thank you for sacrificing to make these missions possible. Jesus is moving among us and we thank God for all He is allowing us to do in His name. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We love you and keep you in our prayers! 

Valuing Life, Nicole

The Rescue of Two Little Girls

The Rescue of Two Little Girls (David's 8th and Final Blog from Mexico)
Posted by David Servant
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Warning ! This blog not suitable for children


One of the little beauties who lives at The Village with her family. Her father is a national missionary supported by Heaven’s Family.

One day this past October, in the town of Tenango de las Flores (which is just a few miles from The Village), six little girls never came home from school. Their parents waited for days, then weeks, hoping for a ransom demand from the kidnappers. But none was ever received. And that means only one of two things. Either their daughters have been killed for their body parts—which have been sold on the organ transplant black market—or they are being exploited somewhere in Latin America as forced sex workers.

Tragically, what happened in Tenango de las Flores is not uncommon. According to Mexico’s statistics bureau, there were 105,682 kidnappings in the nation last year. And according to Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick whose ministry I’ve been highlighting in my Mexico blogs, children regularly disappear from the remote villages where they serve. Rarely are there any criminal investigations. Police demand payment.

As they combat Mexico’s darkness by the power and demonstration of the gospel, the Fitzpatricks have found themselves engaged in rescuing children from sex trafficking and familial sexual abuse. Heaven’s Family is involved through our Human Trafficking Fund, directed by Jeff Trotter. Jason and Nicole not only battle against perverse people who exploit children, but with inept and corrupt authorities.

Nicole related to me a heart-breaking story of two young girls whom she and Jason been working to rescue from their stepfather, who not only sexually abuses them himself, but rents them out to his friends.

Below is part of that story—in Nicole’s own words—in which she describes her first interview of Mia and Florencia* in 2010 when they were ages 4 and 6, due to the fact that she had good reason to believe they were being sexually abused. (Warning, this is graphic, but I want your blood to boil so you’ll get involved with us in helping Jason and Nicole.)

I asked the girls where they lived, if they went to school (no), if they were happy (no), and if they felt safe (no). That is all it took. Little Mia began to tell me what their stepfather was doing to her older sister, Florencia.

When I asked Florencia if it was true, to please trust me and tell me, she began shaking, rocking back and forth, and pulling her hair out by the hand fulls. I am not exaggerating at all. I did not know what to do. She told me that every morning, when her mom was outside cooking her “dad’s” lunch to take to the field, he would begin undressing her. That is how she would wake up every morning. He would kiss her body all over and tell her to keep quiet and not move while he would molest her with his hands and objects. Then he would attempt penetration. She was 6 years old at the time. I had never imagined the things she was telling me. She said that when she cried and asked him to please stop hurting her, he would tell her to shut up or else he would do the same to little Mia.

This continued in their bed throughout every week. On Saturdays when they would accompany their mother to the river to wash clothes, Mia would stay playing by her mom and her step-father would take Florencia to a rock in the woods and do the same thing. He would force her to “massage him.” I was so sick hearing this.

Nicole conducted further investigation and all the facts were confirmed beyond any doubt. So she employed legal assistance and pressed charges along with one of the girls’ relatives in 2010. For a short time, Mia and Florencia lived with Jason and Nicole at The Village when their very confused mother permitted it. But then the family disappeared again.

Two years later, a search, paid for by friends of the Fitzpatrick’s from Arkansas, paid off. The girls’ stepfather had moved the family to another state in Mexico to avoid legal charges. Neighbors at that location told Nicole that he rented out both girls every evening to his drunken friends who took turns with them inside a shack on his property.

He then moved to another state in Mexico, to a city that is notorious for child trafficking, corrupt authorities, and “Auto Hotels,” where, on Friday evenings, vans full of little girls are delivered for the weekend. On his trail there, Nicole interviewed a landlord who had evicted Mia and Florencia’s stepfather upon the discovery that he was taking Florencia into the shower with him for as long as two hours every evening.

Finally, while undercover themselves out of concern for their own safety, Nicole traced him to his current place of residence. Nicole shares her emotions when she saw Mia and Florencia from the window of their van:

It took us all day, but we found them. I saw the pain in their eyes, their backs all hunched over. It was all I could do not to jump out of our tinted-windowed vehicle and grab them. But I couldn’t. Or I would be charged with assault and kidnapping.

On this single case, Jason and Nicole, with help from Heaven’s Family, have spent over $7,000 in fuel, legal fees and paper work, and “encouraging” Mexican authorities to do their jobs. They are now working with an attorney in the city of the girl’s current location and hope that Mia and Florencia will be rescued soon. In anticipation of that rescue, Heaven’s Family is funding a one-room addition to a simple house belonging to relatives of Mia and Florencia who have agreed to take legal custody of them once they are rescued, but who are required by law to provide them their own room.

I’ve only told you one story of many that could be told about the Fitzpatrick’s work to rescue children from trafficking and abuse, a growing part of their ministry in Mexico. They are now praying to purchase a place in Mexico City that they can use as a safe house and rehabilitation center for rescued girls. We hope to help them through gifts to our Human Trafficking Fund.

This is my final blog from Mexico. Thanks for joining me and thanks for caring enough to read. As you are reading this, I’m on my way to Myanmar for three weeks. If I can find internet access, I’ll try to send a few blogs from there as well.

Amar a Jesús con usted,

David
*Names have been changed for security purposes.

Preachers

Preachers (David's 7th Blog from Mexico)
Posted by David Servant

Eliminating the middle man: Jason Fitzpatrick, standing in the middle, hopes to work himself out of his present job through the men of God whom he mentors every day.

When Jesus is ruling over the earth, I suspect He’ll be putting Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick in charge of Mexico. If anyone deserves the position, it would be them. They are deeply burdened for the Mexican people, and they’ve been making a big difference in the lives of hundreds of them by the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

Although the Fitzpatricks don’t operate a Bible School, preachers are being raised up by the same method that Jesus modeled—relational discipleship. Jason’s preachers are men who live at The Village (the subject of yesterday’s blog). It is there that they work, serve, learn and grow, and it’s from there that they are sent out every week for several days to preach the gospel, during which time they walk many miles to remote villages.

Through our National Missionary Fund, Heaven’s Family supports four of Jason’s missionaries, all pictured below, in part because of monthly sponsors in Arizona, Michigan, California, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Canada, and The United Arab Emirates. When their sponsors receive monthly reports from their sponsored missionaries, they rejoice, knowing that they are making their ministries possible.

Clockwise from top left: Juan Velazquez Munoz, Pedro Carballo Luna, Javier Galindo Salgado, Jaime Galindo Salgado.

Jaime (bottom left) was an alcoholic wife-abusing Catholic and a mason by trade who would often work with his neighbor, Juan (top, at left). Juan and Jaime’s younger brother, Javier (bottom, at right), often witnessed to him. It wasn’t until his wife began suffering some serious health issues, however, that he started to listen, and both he and his wife ultimately opened their hearts in repentance. Shortly after that, Jaime’s wife was completely healed. Jaime has been proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ ever since.

There are several other dedicated missionaries, including Jaime and Javier, whom the Fitzpatricks have raised up who could use the partnership of some rich people like us, and who only need a few dollars a day to support themselves, their families, and their ministries. Jody Walter, the director of our National Missionary Fund, can give you all the details if you are interested. Just email him at Jody@HeavensFamily.org.

If you live in the U.S., have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. We have so much for which to be thankful!

Muy agradecido para usted,

David

Jason Fitzpatrick, Juan Velazquez Munoz, and Guardian, a Rhodesian Ridgeback and The Village dog.

An Unusual Funeral

An Unusual Funeral (David's 4th Blog from Mexico)
Posted by David Servant

Sergio Hernandez with his daughter, Brenda, holding copies of the “Blue Book” in front of his auto parts store.

Dear Friends,

I’m so contento [glad] that we had time to alto [stop] today and visit with hermano [brother] Sergio Hernandez, an effervescent auto parts store owner who prefers to spend his tiempo [time] preaching the gospel and planting churches. (Just trying to impress you with my Spanish.)

Sergio is probably our primerio distributor of The Disciple-Making Minister in Mexico. Thanks to the work of missionary Jason Fitzpatrick and HF staff member David Warnock, director of our Teaching Ministry Fund, we’ve printed 2,000 copies of the Spanish translation in Mexico, and most have been distributed to Christian leaders.

During our visit, Sergio told me how he had recently given away 50 copies of the Spanish TDMM at a funeral. I wondered how he pulled that off, and Jason explained. Apparently the funerals of pastors can be well-attended and drawn-out. Proportionate to the length of the service, very little is actually said about the deceased, and the many pastors who attend take turns giving exhortations and sermons. (Pastors are going to love eternity.)

At this particular funeral, six pastors had each testified how the “Blue Book” had altered their thinking and benefited their ministries. Sergio told me that he could not resist standing up to tell all those present that he happened to have 50 copies of the Blue Book in his car! But he told them he could only give them to pastors, and only pastors who would promise to read them. Before long, about 50 lined up. Sergio put the Blue Book in their hands, and the funeral service continued! (To read the original story we wrote about Sergio the Surprising, click here.)

Dios es bueno,

David

Although this guy looks a little intimidating, he didn't mind me taking his portrait (I think)

Heaven



Heaven
David's 6th Blog from Mexico
WARNING: This blog not suitable for children

Safe at last: "Josefina and Jorge." There would be some potential risk for 
this mother and son if I revealed their real names. Their story is below. I've 
also purposely not revealed the names of any others whose portraits are included 
in this blog.

The centerpiece of the Fitzpatrick's ministry in Mexico is a place they call La Aldea, which translated from Spanish means "The Village." When Jason first took me to the site of The Village a few years ago, it was nothing more than a remote hillside jungle. Today on that same spot there is a hodgepodge of simple wood dorms, some of which Heaven's Family funded, and a common kitchen and dining area.

The Village has been borne out of the Fitzpatrick's conviction that the church is a family, and that those who believe in Christ are expected by Him to lay down their lives one for another, and in particular, to serve the "least of these." So The Village is a community of Christ's followers who truly "hold all things in common."

Most of the 70 residents, however, don't have much to share in the way of material things. The reason is because they are children, many of whom Jason and Nicole have rescued from horrifically abusive homes.

Two of the tiny residents of The Village

Let me tell you a story about two sisters who now live at The Village, one of whom is pictured at the top of this blog with her son. It might help if you first understood that the impoverished region where The Village is located is a cesspool of idolatry, drunkenness, murder, revenge, abuse, incest, prostitution, and sex trafficking. A very dark place in a very dark nation. (Mexico's social service agency reports that there are more than 16,000 children engaged in prostitution in Mexico.)

Sisters Josefina and Gabriela were age 6 and 9 when their parents were murdered. They were taken in by their aunt who treated them like animals, regularly beating their heads with sticks, clubs and belt buckles. Josefina consequently suffered neurolgical damage that affects her to this day. The girls never attended school. At night they slept on a cold, hard dirt floor.

Josefina was frequently sent by her aunt up the mountain to "feed the pigs," where her aunt's father-in-law would stuff his underwear in her mouth, hold her down, and viciously rape her, often with his drunken friends. This continued for six years, 4 to 5 times a week.


Josefina's aunt didn't believe her reports at first, but when she did, found both herself and Josefina threatened into silence by her father-in-law.

Two more Village residents

Eventually, the family sent Josefina and her sister to Jason and Nicole because she "was lazy and did not want to work any longer." And she was pregnant by her step-grandfather.

Josefina was welcomed into the family of God at The Village, and the Lord began healing her from inside out as she experienced a love she had never known. A few months after her arrival, Josefina's baby boy, Jorge, made his grand entrance.

Two more Village residents

Josefina is representative of many of the other children who live at The Village. A recent email correspondence with Nicole sent shivers up my spine when I read it:


The children we have taken in have horrid stories. Some more than others. Some "only" suffered abuse and abandonment, but most of the girls suffered molestation and rape from early ages---by those who should have been protecting them---fathers, brothers, and so on. Some were rented/sold by their mothers and aunts. Little girls who were taught porn at very early ages so that they would know how to please a man and get $50 a day. Human trafficking at it's worst.

It would appall you if I told you some of the little girls' stories that I have had to sit through and listen to at night when they first arrive---when they wake up with nightmares---or when the lawyer/psychiatrist probes them for answers and I am sitting there holding them as their new "guardian." I have to hold them tight to prevent them from chewing their nails till they bleed or pull their hair out by the hand fulls. Sometimes I have had to calmly excuse myself. I walk far away, cry, and put a towel or what ever is nearby in my mouth so I can scream as loud as I can for a minute. Then I wash my face and go in to comfort them and tell them they must forgive and let go. That they are safe now and everything is gonna be alright.

Two more Village residents

The Village has become a heaven to scores of precious children, a refuge from the hell they knew. Each day they are fed by faith. Heaven's Family is helping in that regard through gifts to our Food Fund. We are also pursuing finding monthly sponsors for some of the children through Orphan's Tear.

You Can Visit The Village Next Year...
I'd wish every Christian who, like me, lives in Disney World, could come here and visit the poor indigenous Mexican saints whom the Fitzpatrick's serve, and live at the The Village for a few days. I'm thinking about having one of our staff members organize a mission team to visit here next June for a week. If you think you might want to join that team, let us know. It will be an easy trip to get here, just a couple hour's flight from Houston to Mexico City. And then a few more hours by van. You will fall in love with the children and saints at The Village. You may not want to ever leave. (Fear not, there are a few modern conveniences here, even hot water...as long as their are enough dried corn cobs to burn.)

Part of your mission on that June mission trip, however, will be that you raise and bring at least $2,000 with you that can be used for some good purposes to serve the "least of these." The Fitzpatricks also have a Village #2 and Village #3 going in other locations. Do let me know if you are interested, and if there is enough interest, we can start making plans. Email me at David@HeavensFamily.org.


Todas las alabanzas a Jesús,

David

The Homes of the Poor



The Homes of the Poor
David's 5th Blog from Mexico


This particular home is a mansion compared to most of the tiny 
homes I've been inside this week. This single dirt-floored room 
serves as kitchen, bedroom, living room, work shop and wood shack.

I've had the thought hundreds of times: If the average American/European/Australian could visit the homes of the world's poor, they would be aghast. As I've traveled with Jason and Nicole around Mexico's state of Puebla checking up on projects we've been doing with their help, we've been inside many humble residences.

The first thing I always notice is that the children have no idea that they are poor. Those who live in dirt-floor homes are just as happy as those who live in homes with carpeted floors (if not happier).

Neither are the adults who live in shacks sitting around depressed. It occurred to me that they don't have to worry about carpet stains, window smudges, furniture scratches, and cluttered kitchen counters. They don't have to vacuum, dust or scrub. When your floor is dirt, you don't have to be concerned about someone tracking in dirt.

Most of the homes we've visited this week are just one or two rooms. If the floors aren't dirt they're rough concrete. The walls are cinder block or wood planks. There are no ceilings, so you can always see the rafters, made of tree branches, and the underside of the roof, either corrugated tin sheets or tar-covered cardboard.


"Kitchens" are just corners where there might be a crude table to chop greens. Kitchen utensils are a few old bowls, a knife and maybe some spoons. There is always a place in the main room for an open fire for cooking and keeping warm. Smoke wafts through window or gable openings. No one eats three meals a day. Many eat one, and there is little variety in the menu.

At left: This is the home of one of the widows whom we've helped 
start a chicken business. Her house is nicer than most, as the 
concrete blocks have been plastered on the exterior, and her 
floor is concrete. At right: This house is also inhabited by some 
saints whom we've served in various ways. Their un-plastered 
concrete block is more typical.

There's never indoor plumbing. Outhouses are holes in the ground surrounded by old tarps that are hung on posts.

Bedrooms are nothing more than a bed in a corner of a multipurpose room, and the beds are just a raised, crude wooden platform with a worn, dirty blanket that serves as a mattress. I've never seen pillows.

There are no bookshelves. There are no books.

If there is any electricity, it feeds a solitary low-watt lightbulb that hangs unshaded from a center rafter.

There are no toys for the children. If they own a ball, it is usually a tightly-wrapped bundle of plastic bags that have been scavenged from roadside trash. With those trash balls, kids play soccer in bare feet.

At left: This is the tiny house of widow Lourdis Ortega Morales, who is standing 
in front of it. Heaven's Family funded bed frames and mattresses for her and her
 children, as well as the roof, and a simple exterior kitchen. Lourdis grows 
ornamental plants (behind her, in soup cans) that she sells wholesale to provide 
food and clothing for her and her one daughter who still lives at home. At right: 
This is one room of two at the house of a church planter whom we visited.

I've also found myself thinking of how the poor people I've been meeting are so rich in at least one way. Here in central Mexico, we've visited only the homes of believers, and I often find myself admiring the quality of their relationships. Their lives are stripped down to the essentials, and there is little to distract them from each other. No one's heads are buried in laptops or riveted to smart phones. There are no appointments to keep, no TVs or movies to watch. So they talk to each other, listen and laugh. Among those who live at The Village, a Christian community started by Jason and Nicole that I'll be telling you about tomorrow, there is the fragrance of heaven.

I don't mean, in any way, to romanticize the lives of the poor. Life is very hard for them. They have no opportunity or hope of bettering their lives. For those who don't know Jesus, it is worse. As I've learned from the testimonies of the saints, the lives of unbelievers here are often characterized by superstition, idolatry, witchcraft, alcoholism, unbridled promiscuity, incest, and family abuse of hellish proportions. The stories can make your eyes tear up or your blood boil. At least when redemption occurs in this darkness, it shines big and bright. Jason and Nicole have witnessed it hundreds of times.

On behalf of Him who came to preach the good news to the poor,

David

A Rag Doll is Resurrected



A Rag Doll is Resurrected
David's 3rd Blog from Mexico



Dear Friends,

I met Irasema in September of 2008 when I visited Mexico to investigate the incredible ministry of Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick for the first time. Irasema was just six years old then. Tragically, a few months earlier, she had contracted a strange illness that affected all her muscles. She was reduced to a rag doll, unable to walk or even lift her head. She had lost her appetite and was losing weight.

Because of gifts to our Critical Medical Needs Fund, we were able to provide what her very poor parents could not---specialized medical tests at a far-away hospital. After weeks of tests, Irasema was diagnosed with dermatomyosits, a connective-tissue, muscle and nerve disease.

The doctors told Irasema's parents that her illness had progressed untreated for too long. But they put her on medications and daily physical therapy, which Heaven's Family also funded. Within two months, Irasema was able to stand on her own and walk a few steps. Eventually she was able to run and play like other children. Over the past five years, we've continued to help with her medical treatment.

I made a point to visit Irasema today at her parent's humble home, and I'm happy to report that she is still doing very well. Although the doctors said that she would be on two medications for the rest of her life, she is off one entirely, and the other has been cut in half, for which we thank God.

We published this photo in our June, 2009 magazine, that shows Irasema 
when I first met her. She is slumped in her father's lap at the far left. I remember 
watching as her father clapped her hands for her during worship, as she was 
not able to do that herself. To read my original story, click here.

Irasema is not the only life that has been saved in Mexico, at least in part, through help from Heaven's Family's Critical Medical Needs Fund. The Fitzpatricks face a never-ending stream of medical needs among the impoverished believers in their churches. So much so that I've decided to ask Patti Samuels, who directs our Critical Medical Needs Fund, to send money regularly every month, if possible, that can help Jason and Nicole meet at least some of the medical needs they encounter.

Today my heart was broken again as we visited the simple home of one of the poor widows whom we are helping to start a chicken business. Two of her children suffer from epilepsy, and one is growing progressively blind. She has no money to even make the journey to a neurologist. If you have ever contributed to our Critical Medical Needs Fund, you'll soon be receiving a mini-update from Patti Samuels about those two children.

Thanks for caring,

David

Nakaliyakniyakgelhtauakganiyatit - One Totonaco Word



Nakaliyakniyakgelhtauakganiyatit
David's 2nd Blog from Mexico


Nicole Fitzpatrick and Hortencia Joselin Pedro Perez, who lives in the tiny 
mountain village of San Martin, one of the many villages where the Fitzpatricks
have planted a church

Dear Friends,

Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, our primary partners in Mexico, have planted at least 40 churches here, primarily among two tribal groups. They are the Totonac and the Nahua, whose ancestors lived here long before Europeans arrived. Interestingly, the Nahua People are thought to have once lived in what is now the southwestern part of the United States, migrating about 1,500 years ago to what is now central Mexico.

For want of any opportunity, Mexico's native people are extremely poor. None of the churches that Jason and Nicole have planted among them have church buildings. They all meet in small houses, which works just fine most of the time.

In the case of five or those churches, however, Heaven's Family has provided funding for pavilions, making it possible for crowded congregations to meet outside and stay dry when it rains. Over the past two days we've visited four of those church pavilions, all high up in the mountains. It rained most of both days, so I witnessed firsthand what a blessing the pavilions are to those four congregations, who prepared their best native food to serve us upon our arrival. Below is a photo of one of those precious congregations of Totonac believers under their new pavilion (notice it was raining):


We also briefly visited an American couple who are Wycliffe Bible translators, Gerry and Julie Andersen, who have been living for many years among the Totonac people in the Sierra Norte. Interestingly, Totonaca is not known to be related to any other language or language families. And there are several dialects of Totonaca that are mutually unintelligible.

Gerry told me about a 32-letter word in the Totonaca dialect that he is translating. Here it is: nakaliyakniyakgelhtauakganiyatit. It means, "You all will be boldly conversing to them about it," a word that is now found in the Totonaca New Testament in Luke 24:47.

Through our National Missionary Fund, Heaven's Family is proud to be supporting four special missionaries who are nakaliyakniyakgelhtauakganiyatit-aling about Jesus all over the Sierra Norte! I'll be telling you about them a few blogs from now.

Dios te bendiga,

David

Fooding God's Way



David's 1st Blog from Mexico

87-year-old widow Raymunda Ojeda Escamilla, who lives in Ozomatlan, an 
impoverished village high up in Mexico's Sierra Norte. She is descended from 
the Totonac tribe, some of Mexico's original people, and she is the beneficiary 
of an Heaven's Family Opportunity Grant and Loan, through which she has 
purchased chickens.
Dear Friends,
My dear friends, American missionaries Jason and Nicole Fitzpatrick, are my hosts this week in Mexico. They've been bearing fruit in Latin America for decades, making disciples. Heaven's Family has been partnering with them over the past five years through our various Focused Funds.
One of those funds is the Food Fund, directed by Diane Scott. Diane knows that the best way to provide food for the poor is by helping them to produce their own food whenever that is possible. To that end, Diane offers grants and loans to believers who face food insecurity.
Today I met with a number of the beneficiaries of Diane's work, all of whom she met when she visited Mexico this past May. All are Christian widows and descendants of some of Mexico's original tribal people. All live in abject poverty in crude concrete-block shacks in Mexico's Sierra Norte. All belong to one of the 40-or-so churches that the Fitzpatricks have planted over the past ten years. And each received a combination of a grant and a loan from Heaven's Family totaling about $275. With that money they purchased chicken wire, chicken feed, and (you guessed it) chickens. Their goal? Raise chickens. Eat and sell chickens and their eggs. Earn an income. And share with those who have need.
So far, so good. Roosters and hens have been getting along. The hens have started laying eggs every day. Loan payments begin in January. (The grant portions were $150 



David



 


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