[The following email was received from Carmen Franchino Tuesday evening. It is exciting to read what God is doing through our team in Papolate!]
Dios Le Bendiga! (our new-found spanish greeting, meaning “God Bless You!”)
We are all well – some quite sunburned, but happy to be here serving the Lord in Papolate! The roof is coming along nicely. The handmade trusses are up and sheeted and tomorrow will be shingled. Electrial wiring has been run and lighting is being installed. We also helped with a leach line for Cati’s sink and laundry. The cement floor will be poured on Thursday, windows put in and dear Cati and her family will be able to move in – more than doubling their living space. Pray that her husband Cruz. We have not met him yet. His pride is keeping him away. He is not a believer and very shy. He promised Ilene he would come tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon and Thursday. A praise is that once this addition is finished, Cati’s son who is 13 can move back in with them! It will be good to have the family back together. There are also cabinets and a sink to be installed for a kitchen. The main construction crew is Jonathan, Dick, David (Schwartz), Tim, Pastor Chuck, Adam, Cheryl and Emily.
We have held ladies sewing classes each morning. The first day the ladies made skirts and were very proud of their finished products! Today we made fleece blankets. Tomorrow we are gearing up to do aprons. Our sewing crew is Martha, Mary Jean, Carmen, Laura. Judy and Susan were the main force behind the blankets. The girls (Hannah, Erin and Stephanie) have been watching the kids while we sew with the ladies and have been awesome! Believe me, we would not get a thing done without them. There are mucho chamachos!
Today we had a children’s program. We did puppets, sang, watched a video, played games, had a pinata and helium balloons. It was a hit. There were about 75 children. It was definitely a challenge to lead a group of 75 children who don’t speak English (nor do we speak Spanish!). But God is good and everyone had a wonderful time. We met a sweet little boy named Angel who is eight years old. Pray for Angel. He is in charge of five children all day every day while his mom and dad work in the fields. He is responsible to watch the children, make the meals and clean the house. He does not get to go to school. We are praying that he will be able to get some help and go to school. Justin, Erin, Stephanie, Hannah, Cheryl, Diana, Martha, Laura and Carmen worked together on this project.
Pastor Eliab and his wife Nayda are amazing! They love their people dearly and love God deeply. They touch many, many lives daily. It is not unusual for Nayda to have 100 people through her house in one day. Words fail me to tell you how wonderful they are. Ilene is just telling us of a man who accepted the Lord and is so thrilled with the Spanish Bible that we brought. Another woman accepted the Lord Sunday night at the service. These people are so precious. We were impressed with all the teenagers at church, so attentive to the Pastor and with their Bibles open in their laps. They were helping Diana find her place in the Scripture during the sermon.
We are eating well. That’s a bit of an understatement – we are eating like kings! Judy and company are taking good care of us! Susan (Schwartz), Janice and Mary Jean spend many, many hours preparing food and loving us. We believe it is Judy’s personal mission to feed the entire world – one person at a time. Anyone who comes within 100 feet of the building gets sucked right in for a meal. This includes a homeless man Juan at every meal. Wait until you see the pictures of Judy buying produce off the back of a truck.
Janice is heading up an effort to paint in Don and Ilene’s newly acquired rental home that they will be using for ministry. It is directly across the street. Nayda’s parents will live there and head up the hospitality. Praise the Lord for Don and Ilene. They have a wonderful ministry among the people here and are an invaluable connection for our team. They help us be able to meet needs that we otherwise would not be tuned in to.
Well, I guess I could go on all night, but I need some sleep. Pray us through the week! We love you all and are looking forward to sharing with you all that God is teaching us here in Mexico.
Love to you all and blessings,
Carmen for the Mexico Team