Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank you so much for caring. I love having you for friends.

Thank you for praying for Kirt's mother, Helen/Little Grandma. When she was admitted, she was not expected to live more than a couple of days. She has wanted for a long time to move to her heavenly home, it's just that the transition is very hard both for those who are in the process of moving and those left behind. I have called her several times, she has told me that she's not in pain, and she's been perfectly coherent. We've enjoyed sharing loving and upbeat conversations in which she shares that she's been praying for the Mexican and Huichol churches here. She is going home from the Casa de la Luz Hospice facility today. It is going to be a difficult move because she has developed a blood clot in her right leg that could easily become dislodged. Assuming everything goes well with her transfer home, her prognosis is still less than 4 weeks.

As for an update on Victor; it turns out that Victor's legal name is Vicente. It's amazing what you learn when you start asking for documents! The results of the MRI indicate that he needs surgery to implant a metal plate at the site of the fracture. Many of you have asked about getting involved tangibly with the expenses, and some already have. Before I say more, I want to make it very clear that these prayer requests and updates are not for the purpose of requesting financial support for Vicente, but they are intended to give specific answers to questions I have received and also to give pertinent information so that you may pray for those specific needs.
Also, before I say more, it is important that you know that a while back Vicente was involved in some activities that were harmful to both his testimony and that of both churches, at La BendiciĆ³n and at Zapote de Picachos. He has been forgiven for that sin, and the first time he has been back in fellowship with the congregation was at the anniversary celebration at Picachos where the "accident" happened.

The brothers from the 2 churches I already mentioned are following our Savior's example and reaching out to show mercy at its finest, rallying as if they were the human authors of 2 Corinthians 8 to show their abundance in their extreme poverty, overflowing in a wealth of generosity to him, both in love and money. Gumersindo continues to head up the job of jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get the materials necessary for the surgery. The hospital and surgeon's fees have been completely underwritten; at this point, we are in the process of getting the metal plate, pins, and screws that will be implanted in Vicente's back. The cost of these surgical materials is the responsibility of the patient. Gumersindo has been to every government office requesting assistance, and $11,400 of the total $26,000 has been covered.

It has been important that we stand back and observe the local body respond to the need as they are able. The Tepic church is having a part, as we should, the *Kirt Mellberg Memorial Fund has had a part (through the Tepic church channel), and the Huichol brothers themselves have taken out a no-interest loan for the balance from the fishing co-op of which are members. That will have to be paid back during the next 6 months.

This is one of the most difficult challenges for me of working alongside people in extreme poverty (in physical, NOT spiritual terms); helping them learn to rely on the same Heavenly Father Who so abundantly meets our needs, and not replacing that personal relationship between them and Him with the supply of the "Great White Mother," but being available to come alongside and share the burden. Thank you for praying for the characters in this difficult chapter (including the "Great White Mother" who would love nothing more than to wipe away all the pain in her own power).

*The Kirt Mellberg Memorial Fund was set up at Pastor McKeown's (NVBC) request. After Kirt's memorial service we had in Scottsdale, he requested that 10 interested individuals or churches represented at the service volunteer to commit to contributing $50 per month for 1 year to a special fund for unexpected needs or needs that would be a heavy burden for the Tepic church in the Huichol ministry (like finishing the buildings in Los Aires and in Zapote, for example) as they were taking the baton and running with the weight of the newly acquired job of church leadership and while I waited for God's direction. At that time, I didn't even realize I would be returning to continue serving in Tepic; actually, I didn't realize it would be an option! So that's how the fund got started. At the end of the year, after I had returned to Tepic continue working here, I wrote thank you's to the 10 contributors and included an unbelievably long list of all the things that, by God's grace alone, the fund was used to accomplish. I made it clear that God had supplied more than I ever expected, and the 1-year commitment was up. Two of those who were involved in establishing the fund have continued to periodically send offerings to the fund, so that's why it still exists. From the very outset, I didn't expect it; I didn't ask for it; and I didn't think there was a need for it, but apparently our Father did. So as needs arise, He supplies. It's pretty simple; and quite frankly, I'm still the most amazed of all!


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