Sunday, December 19, 2010

Children's Outreach

Last Saturday Christine and the kids and I went with a group from our church to minister to a neighborhood of children on the southside of Merida. A lady in our church knows a woman in this neighborhood who runs a food pantry for children in her community. Many Meridian families are very poor and because of this meals can be skipped. The lady who runs the food pantry feeds about 80 children each day straight out of her own home. The food she feeds the children come straight from donations through both local businesses and from the Mexican government. Let me show you some pictures of how the night unfolded.

This is our group upon arrival. We are standing in front of the home where the food pantry is run. The building....i.e. her home can be seen directly behind the fence on the right hand side. Joseph is in the front. Joel and I are in the back on the right.

Apologies for the lack of resolution on the picture. We are using Joseph's Nintendo DS which has a camera option on it.

The lady standing in the front on the far left in the blue and white shirt is the one who runs the pantry from her home.

This is our group setting up for a puppet show. It was a basic set up with PVC pipe and cloth curtains to hide behind. It took about 45 minutes to set up because the guy that designed it didn't come with us and no one else had set it up before.

This actually worked in our favor as it gave us more time to see a larger crowd gather around us.

The place where we are setting up is a public park directly across the street from the food pantry.

The puppet show got up and running (above left), but not until some of our group sang and danced with the children (above right). We brought our own stereo/sound equipment (not pictured). It was very loud and the sound of the music just brought people from everywhere.

About half way through we stopped and passed out candy while we set up for the second half of the presentation. The little boy on the right was getting overlooked in the mad dash for the candy so I took him by the hand and walked him through the crowd to get his share. He is a very handsome little fella. I think his name was Roberto.
This is Roberto's mother and little sister, Vanessa Jacqueline. I don't know if you can tell but she has no fingers on her right hand. Her mother was explaining to me that when Vanessa turns two the doctors want to operate on her hand.

She asked me if I wanted to hold her so of course I did.  Her mother was very attached to Christine. She wanted to know all about us and why we were there. She just wanted to be around Christine the whole time even though they couldn't communicate very well.

I was invited to attend a pastor's conference in Kentucky back in 2002. Rocky Malloy with Mission Generation was invited to preach at this gathering of ministers. Rocky and his wife Joske and their children live in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They founded Rio de Vida church in Santa Cruz many years ago.

While at the conference he told us that most people in Bolivia live in houses about the size of a master bathroom or bedroom. It was always difficult for me to picture the reality of this in my mind until I moved to Mexico with my family this year. This is a picture of a house across the street from the park. These are the types of homes that most of the children pictured  above actually live in. This home is about the size of a small bedroom. This was typical of the entire area. Many of these homes have broken windows, holes in walls..... Material poverty is common in Latin America.

The picture to the left is of the inside of the courtyard/fence of the lady who feeds these children. The picture above right is where the children eat. She feeds 80 kids on average each day.

This is our group from Iglesia Bautista Norte after finishing up. The lady on the back right is the one who feeds the local children.

She was very gracious to invite us in. She was trying to feed everyone in the group along with her regular group that comes to see her ever

God Bless,
J.E. and family