Almost Missed it!
And if they had, it would have been because of me, The Missionary.
A major objective of Until They Know, is to be sensitive to local community & culture and respectful of their normal processes and practices.
We never want to disrupt life in a family home or community to accomplish what we envision. For this reason, we only get involved in projects that the local leadership – pastor or community board – invite us to be a part of. It is their vision and direction for their community that matters, not ours. The same is true in an individual home.
That being said, we also want to be led by the Holy Spirit when we are spending time with a person. We don’t want to consume their day or disrupt their normal. The conflict in that comes when God wants to disrupt their life and use a UTK mission team or staff person to do so.
Kacie served as UTK summer staff this summer and was doing the water filter program with a mission team. She and UTK staffer, Paul were heartbroken over what was going on in a particular family. Fenicio and his family were in a struggle. They had been listed to receive a Limpiafil water filter from UTK and participate in the 5 day education program that goes with it and their time had come.
During the course of the program, Fenicio began to share more and more about his family situation. He told of his son Efrain, that had been struggling with mental illness for the last 2 ½ years and how he was in and out of hospital care and heavily medicated. In fact, he was in the hospital at the time. This father also shared that his wife was exhausted and anguished over the situation with their son and that the medical care had landed them in financial stress and debt.
Fenicio lived in a nice home and had a little shop and a small arena on the property. If you spend time in the DR, you know that arena to be a cock fighting ring and the shop was a liquor store. He was making money in those things and losing it just as fast trying to care for Efrain. He was at the bottom. He appeared a happy man, but as the team heard how they could pray for him, they heard pain and desperation. They shared the story of Living Water and the Woman at the Well. He saw his need, but struggled to see how he could be loved and forgiven by God. How a man who was destroying families with his work could be forgiven by God. (Cock fighting rings are a gambling center where a lot of money and possessions are lost, conflict occurs, and time is spent away from home; and alcohol is destructive in many ways).
Paul and Kacie were burdened for this man and his family. They were impressed by the Holy Spirit that we needed to do a worship time in the cock fighting ring to show Fenicio that God can use whomever and whatever to accomplish things that bring Him glory. They asked and even insisted that we worship with him on the day the filters are delivered and invite some of his neighbors. They were even as bold as to tell him that maybe the cock fighting ring could become a church and maybe he would be like the Samaritan woman and lead others to Christ. His response was “no way, for so many reasons”. God had a plan to destroy those reasons.
We really didn’t have time for a worship service in the schedule that day and I was worried about getting to other commitments and invading his life. But, we had a service that I thought would be knocked out in an hour – needless to say, God had another plan. Hallie, one of our summer staff shared on Facebook later that day:
“Today, we worshipped and prayed in a former chicken fighting arena. God works in such incredible ways. In a place that was formally meant for destruction and darkness and sin, joy was felt today as we worshipped our Savior. The schedule we had was thrown out the door. All the plans we had were put on hold so we could love on this family and let the spirit move. The man who owns the arena has been on the fence about becoming a Christian, because of the things he’s been a part of and the questions he has. We were able to speak life to him and pour out love on him about how his life can change.
We also got to pray for his son Efrain, who has been battling serious mental illness. The Holy Spirit was so strong as we prayed on his behalf for healing. The son was so heavily medicated that he could barely open his eyes, but we could see his spirit lighten up as we prayed for him to be released from what was hindering him. His wife, Carmen is constantly overwhelmed and the women were able to pray for her as a mom and wife.
This is one of the days that reminds me why we do this. Days like today make it all worth it.”
We were in awe of the work of the Holy Spirit. What was intended to be an hour long worship service lasted 3+ hours! God moved by answering every excuse and reason Fenicio had for not accepting Christ and giving his family and son’s well-being to God was met with a testimony and the love and grace of God. HE GAVE HIS LIFE TO CHRIST! HE GAVE HIS FAMILY TO GOD! HE GAVE HIS COCK FIGHTING RING TO GOD! All because the Spirit moved in a couple of people who sensed God wanted to do something special and The Missionary got out of the way. All because God has a plan for the community of Loma de La Bestia and wants to use a sinner saved by Grace to accomplish it.
Bonus News:We have begun a Bible Study in the former cock fighting ring Thursdays at 3 and the family and other neighbors join UTK staff and friends there to study God’s Word and Worship. By the way, Efrain has not taken medication since that day and is sleeping through the night and eating and even holding down a job. He says with a huge smile, “I was healed that day!”In fact, a family was healed that day.
Please join us in praying:
For this family.
For their growth in fellowship with God and the impact of this Bible Study on their neighbors and the community.
Another exciting aspect of this story, is bringing the family new sustainability options. Fenicio has obviously closed his businesses and wants to go back to his previous work; pigs and dairy cows. His debt from the medical care and continuing debt from the development of the ring and store are keeping him from restarting. A UTK partner has offered to match funds that come in for this purpose.
The total need to help move the family forward would be $14,850.00. This amount will go a long way in re-establishing the family by:
paying off existing debt
renovating the area where pigs will be pinned
purchasing 10-12 pigs & 2 dairy cows
providing some initial care for the animals
removing the chicken coups from the ring area to make way for the future development of a church plant
Will you ask God to show you how you might Fenicio, Carmen and Efrain?