Sometimes God really opens the floodgates.
The last half of November was one of those times, in a good way. So much was accomplished, so many new connections were made, and so much of our ministry moved forward that it’s hard to believe it all occurred in two weeks.
Progress on the House of Refuge leapt forward thanks to the hard work of a great group of guys from Canada and our hard working employees at Los Olivos. Thanks to their efforts, all the exterior window and door trim was installed, all the stucco work was completed, and all of the concrete work around the building was completed. In addition, in the week prior to the larger team’s arrival, all the final plumbing work in the Refuge was completed and the kitchen and bathroom cabinets were installed. Such a huge thank you to Richard Wilkie, John Frede, Chris Les, Rawlyn Thiessen, Andrew Fralick, Tom Hildebrand, Dale Thaler, Isaias Vasques Lopez, Hector Alvarez Moralez, Ivan Islas Cabrera, and Maria Sigler. All of your efforts moved mountains in those two weeks.
Last month, a chance meeting in the grocery store with the operator of a local, unpaid ambulance service/ ministry also led to some amazing new connections that have led to both enthusiasm and support for the training of staff for the House of Refuge. Over the course of a couple of days our new friend, Hannibal Reyes, introduced us to several individuals: a young woman who counsels teens at the local high school, the head of human rights for indigenous women in San Quintin, and the Director of the Women in Defence of the Woman indigenous women’s centre and shelter in Lazaro Cardenas. All of these women were excited to see what we are building for the rescue, protection and healing of abused girls. Margarita, the director of the women’s shelter, really put things into perspective when she said that, upon seeing what we were building, it felt like a personal gift to her to see such a building honouring women. On a visit to her facility a couple of days later, when we asked how One Life One Chance could support their work and how we could come along side them, the answer we received was that we were already doing it by building a facility where they could send abused girls, where none like it existed before in this community.
In the middle of all this activity and progress, we were also blessed to have two ladies come to visit our facility from Mexico City. Nicole and Ixel work in a home called El Pozo de Vida (The Well of Life), which rescues, shelters, and brings healing to women involved in sex trafficking. Their organization, 1a1, has provided One Life One Chance with an invaluable resource in a copy of their policies and procedures manual, as well as contacts to help us find and train staff. They have even offered to loan us staff at startup, to work with our staff to train and support them, and to return in the new year to San Quintin to empower local workers to teach a course that 1a1 offers to teens on how to avoid become victims of human trafficking.
We also were blessed to have two great friends, Rick Cogbill and Craig Skinner, serving with Mercy Tech Mission, come to train local men in auto mechanics and welding. It was great to see all the teaching going on as One Life vehicles received some much needed attention. A number of pastor’s vehicles and an ambulance were also worked on. What a blessing this partnership is becoming to all involved.
To top off this amazing two weeks, Hannibal also introduced us to an organization in San Diego that distributes nutritious food for another organization called Feed My Starving Children. On the last day of November we were able to meet Judd from Hilarious Givers in San Diego and pick up, free of charge, 1,381 lbs of good tasting fortified rice and soy protein food packets, appropriately called Manna.
The next day we were able to bless, amongst others, the special needs children’s home in Zapata run by Eternal Anchor with 300 lbs of food, the women’s shelter in Zarahembla run by New Beginnings with 300 lbs of food, and Women in Defence of the Woman women’s shelter in Lazaro Cardenas with 240 lbs of food. One Life also kept some food to feed His children ourselves as needs arise. What an incredible blessing for One Life One Chance to not only be God’s instrument to bless these other ministries, but to strengthen our connections with them as well. We love partnerships!
What an incredible outpouring of our Father’s care and support for the work He has called us all to in the Baja. We really look forward to how these new connections will help us move forward in several different areas of our ministry and how we serve His children. Did I mention that this was all part of just two weeks in November?