August has been another incredible month. Each one, as a matter of fact, each day seems to be different as we seek to follow Him and His activity.
We have been busy equipping refugee children to begin their new school year next week. To do this, we supplied brand new back packs, basic school supplies, uniforms where needed, gently used clothing for the teen girls (don't need uniforms) and new school sport shoes. I can't wait to see them line up to catch the bus on Monday morning with their heads held high. Since some of the Bhutanese youth have opted to not attend school at all and are roaming about getting in trouble with the police, anything we can do to encourage them to go to school is needed.
There has also been an increase in ladies coming on Thursday for items not supplied by government assistance, but necessary for proper hygiene. The Dollar Tree is a great resource for laundry detergent and dish soap, and Target is a great resource for diapers in large quantity already divided and packaged for easy distribution. We all have learned a lot about meeting needs and loving with the love of Christ.
But Satan has been causing disturbances with the Christian and Hindu Bhutanese population. It was rewarding to me to hear one of the Hindus say "Margie Mom" treats everyone the same. That is exactly what the Lord spoke into my spirit several years ago. It is easy to love my brothers and sisters, but more difficult to love those who worship idols and are not seeking Him.
The hardest question I have received came from an elementary student. She said, "You teach us to honor our parents and obey them." Yes ,that is true, I said. Then she said "But we want to follow Jesus and they tell us to follow Daegan and Lama (probably a reference to the Buddhist who are Tibetan and follow the Dalai Lama)." Then they proceeded to tell me how the parents told them that all gods are the same and Daegan and Jesus were friends, etc, etc., and then they changed the subject to reincarnation. So, I shared the story of the rich man and Lazarus. One girl looked very disturbed. So, I said, you pray to God and ask Him to show you who is real. She said "I don't know how to pray." So we had a brief "prayer lesson" and she bowed her head and prayed the most sincere prayer. A week later, she came to me glowing. She said she prayed to Daegon, Lama, and Jesus and Jesus was the only one Who answered. Then she prayed that Jesus would protect her from a beating when she told her mom she wanted to be Christian, and He did.
Thank you so much for your support. The money you send helps support the ministry van and allows me to take donations to the families and pay expenses (it currently needs $1,000 in repairs). Without that support, I could not afford the gasoline and expenses to travel the 35 miles to St. Cloud Apartments. I am also grateful for the funding for food. More and more families are in need of rice and fresh vegetables. Last month we served at least 20 families that did not have food stamps. I expect more this month.
You are such a blessing to me. I wish I could share specifics, like names of the children that want to follow Jesus and pictures etc, but it is too dangerous for them. The Holy Spirit knows and I just ask that you pray for them to be safe and that their faith be strong in the face of persecution from family and friends and community.
I will never forget the words Dr. Billy Graham spoke to us during the Atlanta Georgia crusade many years ago. After thousands of successful crusades all over the world and one year of preparation in Atlanta, he said on the eve of the crusade "do you think anyone will come?"
That is the way Naina and I felt this morning. We both arrived timely at 9:30 am but no ladies were waiting for us. We reasoned that some were sleeping late because their infants kept them up all night. Others, may be cooking for their husbands and children, or they could be shopping. It was so quiet in the apartment, but it would not be that way for long.
I had talked to a man the day before who said a mission team had come to town and they had prepared some bags of toiletries for the Bhutanese. He said "we will bring them at 10 a.m." Well, I thought, we would at least have SOME visitors.
Soon two Bhutanese women came and Naina began giving out the packages of toilet paper and paper towels we had prepared on Tuesday, and the detergent. diapers and dish soap.
Suddenly the front door opened and a parade of about eight people entered the apartment bearing gifts (huge brown boxes). The gift bags in the boxes contained nail clippers, lotion, combs, toothpaste, tooth brushes, a wash cloth, and hand sanitizer. We added them on to whatever we were giving away and the ladies had much fun. The team interacted with the Bhutanese ladies, held babies, gave out ice pops, listened to their stories and loved on the Bhutanese ladies for about an hour. Then, they left to go get some of the local Indian food.
Naina worked and worked throughout the morning. After everyone left, I looked at our donation sheet and we had served 27 families. Three men came and shopped for shirts and suits, children came for toys, and women came to shop the clothes for babies and themselves.
But, the most fun was watching God at work through the donations. As one lady, who follows Buddhism, waited we were able to sow some seeds about the difference in supreme gods of other religions, and the one true God. At the very end, as Naina and I prepared to put things away, a lady came who recently arrived from the camp and asked about the ESL class. We told her about that and then she said she wanted to go to church. Naina asked her if she had a Bible and she said "no". It just so "happened" that Melinda brought some Nepali Bibles yesterday to apt. 435 and she was given one of those. Does God provide or what??? After everyone left, I went to study the Bible with one of the Bhutanese Christian ladies and another lady joined us. We had much fun.
Yesterday was Mother's day in Nepal and most of the women at St. Cloud apartments did not have the opportunity to spend it with their mothers. Either their mothers are dead or still in Nepal or in another state or country. In their culture they generally live with their mother in law. I asked a few women how they celebrated mother's day in the camp and they said they would fix a meal for their mom. (sounds good to me) Ha!
One of the Bhutanese ladies that I have known about 3 years asked me to come to her apartment at 3 pm. When I arrived she had prepared some special dishes of beans rice, and potatoes. She explained that her mother was dead and that her mother in law was in another state and she wanted to celebrate mother's day with me. I was honored and humbled when she handed me a bouquet of beautiful red roses that she had purchased from Fiesta. Why do those who have the least give so generously, I thought. As I sat and ate and we chatted, I asked how the donations helped her. She said her husband brings home barely enough to survive.and without the help of diapers, she would not be able to afford them and she tries to stretch what we give her. She said they have $200 per month in food stamps and spend $80 per week on food.
We were busy yesterday and served families with baby diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, toothbrushes etc.and shoes and clothes. Those coming for assistance were truly in need and the numbers have doubled. It is not that the ladies don't want to work, it is that there is no affordable child care for them and they will be working minimum wage jobs.
I thank God for those who give and allow me to give to the "least of these". Following is the story from the friend who helped me yesterday:
"Today was crazy! We needed diapers... so this morning I headed to Wal- Mart to buy some. Then went to the warehouse to get the sizes I knew we had (we have tons of size 3)... Much to my surprise Margie had gotten a donation from a Pasadena church and we have every size! Praise The Lord! That will supply us for a few more weeks. I am completely amazed how Father provides for every little to big thing we need.
As soon as I got to the apartment people were coming... It's like they can smell us or something. It's crazy! I was kind of worried because people were coming for diapers that I wasn't expecting, but The Lord provided diapers for everyone who came. I was amazed because I thought I didn't have enough. Amazing!
We had a total of 21 people come today and no one left empty handed! Praising the Most High! I left around 1:30 and Margie was still at it, so who knows what happened when I left. :) It was a great day!
May He be Glorified!!!"
We were so blessed with the Indian American Association medical camp. Many of the Bhutanese did not qualify for "gold cards" and needed help. They were not only examined, but also given instruction on how to find free clinics.
First Baptist Bellville brought a mission team and played with the children and told the story of Jesus from creation to the cross to many children from several nations.
The ESL team took their ladies and gents to the Houston Zoo. When we practiced English during donations yesterday, I asked them what animals they saw and was amazed at how many they could name in English!!