It was early morning on March 18, 2010, when nine of us – Norm, Sharon, Christina, Warren, Hannibal, George, I, and Luis and Arturo from the rehab at Sembrador – left the compound with two pick-ups and a suburban fully packed. Our destination was a mission to Guerrero Negro and San Francisco de la Sierra. The hills, mountains and valleys were all greener than normal due to all of the rain which had fallen recently. We stopped along the way to drop off some rice and beans and, for a short visit with Mama Espinosa. Arturo got his guitar out … …and we sang some songs with Mama. She loves to sing and sang along with us as tears streamed down her face. We arrived in Guerrero Negro in the afternoon, checked in at a motel, and then went on to a very large CREAD, AA Drug and Alcohol Centre to hold a service. Arturo lead the worship – I had met Arturo only two weeks previously at the Sembrador Rehab and he played the guitar with such an anointing. We needed help in the Outreaches and he and Luis were allowed to come, so I felt God wanted them on this Mission Outreach
This Rehab had not previously permitted Christians to minister there; however, a lady influential in Guerrero Negro and a new Christian, received permission on our behalf. We prayed much and God met us there. Arturo began the singing with George and Luis leading. Men and women interns filled this place. Amazingly, many knew the songs. These folks had previously been in churches and learned these songs in their youth. The presence of the Lord filled this place. George, Luis and Arturo gave their testimonies, as all were previously drug addicts. I spoke a little – especially to the women. There were many tears as the Holy Spirit moved and lives were surrendered to the Lord. Afterwards, we gave out Bibles and T-shirts. When we were leaving, the Director asked us into the office, where we were thanked and invited back again anytime. He recognized me from the Ministry in El Socorrito, where I, and a brother have a weekly ministry.
From there, we were invited to a fried chicken supper at Juanita Patron’s. A fellowship and singing with Arturo leading, followed later. After a good night’s rest we were served breakfast at Juanita’s again, and then we left for San Francisco Sierras. It was a two and a half hour ride into the mountains. As we went along, the road got narrower and rougher, with very deep canyons but the beauty was breathtaking. As we neared our destination, we saw a huge herd of goats grazing up the steep hills to the top of a mountain. When we arrived at the village, there was a school, some houses and an open community hall. We were warmly welcomed, as the people had received word we were coming. We unloaded clothes, toys, shovels, hoes, food (hot dogs and fixings), drinks and packages of chips. Arturo got out his guitar and the service began. Women, their husbands and all the children were there clapping their hands to the songs. Again, the men gave their testimonies and Arturo gave a salvation message. Almost everyone came forward for prayer. It was wonderful! Then the children all received two gifts each, the men got shovels, hoes and socks, and
the women chose clothing for their family.
This is a very old and quaint village. The community subsists on making goat cheese and selling it in Ensenada and to other markets. We were told that there are 10,000 goats in the community flock but yet, all know to whom they belong and where they belong. We heard about another school five kms further into the hills which is only accessible by burro or walking. It is a residential school – here children stay all week and go home on weekends only – but we were unable to visit them at this time.
On the way back home, a man offered to show us the “raton” (meaning mice) caves of ancient paintings from hundreds of years ago. This area was once home to a people who disappeared but left an outstanding collection of rock paintings. Remarkably well preserved, no doubt due to the dry climate and inaccessibility of the site, they are mute evidence of a lost civilization. They show human figures and many animal species, illustrating the relationship between humans and their environment. The paintings reveal a highly sophisticated culture and we were in awe of their creation. We were glad we came to see them!
From there, we began, our trek back to Guerrero Negro stopping to take more photos of the beauty of the area. Sharon made sandwiches, then back to Juanita’s house again. Some friends were invited and we sang and sang some more. Then Arturo spoke. The Holy Spirit moved in a very precious way as lives were touched. After prayer, we enjoyed a treat – goat cheese drizzled with honey served on melba toast – very good!
Back to the motel in Guerrero Negro and a good sleep. On our way home, we stopped at Catavina where there was an elderly Christian couple living in an adobe house. They offered us coffee and Sharon and Christina made sandwiches. I asked Arturo to get his guitar and we sang. The old couple was most appreciative of this service. Hannibal had agreed to bring the man to Guerrero to the hospital but he was not ready to go, so we left, stopping again, at Mama Espinosa’s Restaurant. We ate a special dessert prepared for Easter. It is a bread pudding with fruit and nuts. It was very good!
We arrived home safely late Saturday afternoon and were rejoicing in the Lord for all He had done when we received other sad news – two houses had burned down in Rancho San Francicso, where we minister on Saturdays. Both families were Christian and known to us. Victor and Yolanda had gone on Friday, the day this happened, to see what they could do. Sunday, we loaded the van with all the supplies we could gather for them and were on our way to minister at our new church. On Monday morning, Abram gathered lumber and other materials which were taken there to assist in re-building their homes
We praise God everyday for His goodness and mercy as He supplies needs and opens doors of service.
In His glorious service,