This morning I was told that our former Vencedor passed away this morning. He’s the one with Fanconi’s Anemia. My thoughts were drawn to the two brothers in our dorm. Having a loved one pass away is not easy. Candy and I have dealt with the loss of our parents, so we understand the difficulties of the loss. God has comforted us during our losses and the same comfort we received, we are able to give to the two brothers. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
I dropped off our little one at school and asked to speak to the brothers. As I watched them walking toward me, I met them halfway. Immediately, the older one hugged me and we cried together as I held them both. I know that there aren’t many words that will comfort us during times like this, but love and compassion says it all. Candy and I shared our lives with them and watched them grow. As a parent, we want to protect our children and be there for them.
I remember watching my Mom lying in her bed, unable to speak and move, and the feeling of helplessness overwhelmed me. Yet, I knew that her body was just temporary. Our body is temporary. I talked to the brothers about the love of God and His promises and that God fulfilled His promises in His time. Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.”
I got permission for the brothers to leave school and have time to themselves in the dorm. I know I wouldn’t be able to focus and study after being told such hard news. They hung out in the sala and when I checked on them, they were asleep. God gave them comfort. It is so true… We love, because He first loved us.
Please keep the brothers and the family in your prayers. We thank the Lord for His love.
Lee and Candy
The quote I received today was by BJ Thompson, “The most obvious sign of pride isn’t boasting, it’s lack of prayer.” When we think of boasting, we can think of the Pharisees who show no humility, but rather a self-righteousness that is of the world. It’s a “I do this for you, I do that for you” concept. Yet, deep down this isn’t prayer, it is a lack of prayer. We can think that if we pray, we are Christians, but that isn’t the case. Many grow up in a church or in a home like Casa, listening and watching others pray. They ask for peace, provision, healing and protection, yet there is no confession. No desire to admit that we are sinners and need forgiveness. We pray…yet do not pray.
Many believers and non-believers pray to be heard by others, not God. Long flowery prayers are not what God desires, but prayers of humility and repentance. Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” We call it prayer, Jesus calls it “acts of righteousness.” We want others to hear and see us but there is no true belief in the prayers. Our Father knows what we need. He knows our pain and sorrows, and like a loving parent, He desires to have an intimate conversation with us.
Jesus said, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Prayer is asking, seeking and knocking. Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” When we seek the Lord in prayer, we “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!” When we knock, we “Pray without ceasing.” Prayer isn’t something we do because we’re a Christian; it is something we desire. It is not a lifestyle; it is a relationship. He is worthy.
Jim and Kate said the boys enjoyed the carnival yesterday, and our older boys came back from the night program with leis, sunglasses and chopsticks. We are very thankful to the Lord for sending teams here to bless and minister to the children. Thank You, Lord!
Lee and Candy
The school had a program today to start off the last nine weeks. The theme is Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Wonderful theme. All of us need the wisdom and understanding that only He can give. God’s word says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” With the wisdom that God gives us, we can make wise decisions, which not only affect us but those around us. The seventh grade shared a drama about the wise decision of Solomon. Two prostitutes came to Solomon for help. They were fighting for a child. Solomon ordered the child to be cut in two so both women could share the child. The “real” mother pleaded for the life of the child while the other wanted the child to be killed. The child was given to the “real” mother.
I watched and could not help but smile at the boys who were doing the drama. All of them grew up in Vencedores, and God is doing a good work in them. As dorm parents, that is what we ask of the Lord. To give our children the wisdom and understanding as they grow and to make the right decisions in life. We cannot hold on to them forever. They will grow and try to fly. This is the time we need to allow them to struggle and fail but be there to nudge and encourage them to try again. All of us need His wisdom and understanding.
When the program was over, I was walking out and one of the boys from dialysis came up and hugged me. I smiled and talked to him for a while, then gave him a hug as he ran to catch up to his class. The Lord is reminding me that there is a fight going on with the children of Casa. We cannot teach our children to love both the world and the Lord. The world doesn’t really care about them, but our “real” Father in heaven does and He desires each child to be saved. The battle is the Lord’s and we know that He will win. Amen and Amen.
I picked up the report card of the boys and our little one, and they did really well this past semester. Thirty-one of our boys did well, while the other seven failed a subject. That’s not too bad. So we are very proud of our boys. We will celebrate with our boys and show them that we are very proud of them.
Lee and Candy
For those of you who don’t know, we now live outside of Casa. I am able to come to Casa to help with the boys. When I’m not there, Jim and Kathleen do a great job taking care of the boys.
On Mike’s journal, he mentioned a family of brothers where one of them is ill. All of these siblings were together here in Vencedores until they went home a couple years ago. The eldest has Fanconi’s Anemia. Earlier this year, the two younger brothers returned to Vencedores. The oldest brother was hospitalized. He is not doing well at all. I came to Casa early this morning to talk with the boys and have some prayer time with them, especially for the brothers. Jim joined me.
I said, “I wanted to come and talk to you about our Hope. All of us have fond memories of the older brother, and Candy reminded me about how ‘cute’ he was when he smiled. He had the biggest grin. When he smiled, his eyes almost disappeared, and he looked Asian, like me. We miss him very much and we know you do too. When someone we know has a disease like this, we always want to know why. I don’t know why some have diseases and others don’t, but I do know what God says.
“All of us will have difficulties in our lives. Nobody will go through life without problems or illnesses. We live in a sin-filled world and while we live here, we will be affected. Remember Job. God allowed him to be afflicted with sores. ‘”Skin for skin!” satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”’ Are we any different? We question God for our suffering and sometimes we blame Him. Job’s wife said to him, ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ What did Job say? ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ We are not going to have perfect lives, but we do have a perfect Lord. We will have difficulties in our lives and when we do, we do know that He will be there for us, walking with us and many times carrying us.
“The most we can do for those we know who are going through difficulties is to pray. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, and He revealed the will of God. ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…’ We pray that God will heal us or our loved ones and we know that His will be done. If not here on earth, it will be done in heaven. That is a promise that He has given us and a promise that will be fulfilled. We need to believe Him.
“When Lazarus was ill and died, his sister Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’ What is God’s will? Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ Do I know if the brother believes? No, but God knows and if he believes in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he will live. This, I do know.
“God loves us so much, and He desires for us to be with Him. Nothing or nobody can separate us from His love. ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?’ We are loved by the Lord. He loves us so much, He died for us and He gives us life. Eternal life. Yet, we are not alone. We do not wait to be with Him, He is with us. He lives within us. ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.’
“One day, there will be no more cancer, no more Fanconi’s disease, no more Alzheimer’s, no more high blood pressure, no more diabetes. The old order has passed away. Jesus said, ‘I am making everything new!’ We are blessed. We are loved. We are forgiven. We are His. How can we not love Him?”
Afterward we gathered around the two brothers and prayed over them. From his prognosis, it doesn’t seem as though the older brother has much time left. Please join us in praying for him, his two brothers, and the rest of his family and friends. This is a difficult time.
We received a new boy today. I haven’t met him yet, but, God willing, I’ll see him tomorrow. Thank You, Lord!
Lee and Candy
Due to our change in schedule, Jim and Kate will be ministering the boys just a tad bit more. Jim will also be leading devotions with the boys. He is definitely a 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 man. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” I definitely don’t fit this category. I’m more of a “bull in a china shop.” Please keep Jim and Kate in your prayers for strength, patience and rest.
Yesterday, we celebrated three birthdays. We made a bunch of hot dogs for them along with chips and a soft drink. I expected them to wolf down the hot dogs, but it was another disappointing hot dog eating contest. The max they ate was four hot dogs. How many hot dogs could I eat? The answer will always be the same…one more than the max. Of course, I don’t have to worry about it with our boys. Coney Island is different. I won’t even try to compete. Something about wetting the bun and having it slide down the throat just doesn’t appeal to me. If you’ve ever had a Tres Leche cake here, it is the same type of texture problem for me.
We had visitors today. The Humans Rights group came by to inspect Casa. I guess when they leave smiling, it is a good thing. Sue and I were standing by the school gate, waiting on the little ones, and they were talking to Sebastian. One of them turned and said goodbye to us, in perfect English. Hmmm…You never know who is listening.
Lee and Candy
This is test week so normally we would allow the boys to study before school… just to wake up those brains cells. I wanted to encourage the boys to do well…not just in their studies, but in their lives. I read 1 Peter 3:13, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.'”
I said, “One of the biggest problems everyone is going to face is peer pressure. Children aren’t the only ones affected by this. Adults are, as well…in jobs, ministries, churches and families. God wants us to what is right in His eyes and not the eyes of the world. The world is selfish and only desires to please us. What is the cost? Friendship? A job position? A bad grade? A good grade? What are others going to do? Tease you? Mock you? Pressure you to do what they desire? God encourages us to do well and even if we suffer for doing what is right, we will be blessed. God gives us blessings and curses. Which do you prefer? Who is more important in your life? Your friends? Your pride? Yourself?
“God encourages us not to fear what they fear. What do they fear? Failure? Loss of job? Loss of friendship? We need to always remember what God has promised us. Joshua 1:9, ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ He will be walking with us and many times when we do not have the strength, He carries us. He’s with you in the classroom, in the dorm, outside when you are playing and in the blue building. If God is with us, who can be against us? That should bring us comfort.
“I encourage you to use your time wisely. Study for your exam, do what is right and you will be blessed. If the test is difficult for you, resist the temptation to cheat and accept the grade, knowing that you need to do well and study for the next exam.”
The boys had VBS with the Texas team in the afternoon. Everyone had a good time. God has blessed us with such helpful and loving teams.
Lee and Candy