TLM Summer Newsletter
Summer 2008 Newsletter
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This morning I’ve continued to hear the echo of my Father’s words that He has planted me in this desert place for His enjoyment. As I continue to meditate on this thought I’m struck with the idea that planting is an act of faith on my Heavenly Father’s part. He planted me here believing that my today is not the end. I trust that tomorrow will arrive and bring new life and new beginnings.
Jeremiah wrote a letter to God’s people in exile in Babylon. They’d been taken from their homeland by an enemy king. Now they asked hard troubling questions that many times I’ve asked myself: Why go on? Why do anything today when our tomorrow is so uncertain?
Through his prophet, God answered Israel: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number, do not decrease” (Jeremiah 29:5-6)
God was planting His tomorrow. He planted through the children and grandchildren of this generation. He had plans for His people. To prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This morning as I contemplate the actions of one of my spiritual baby girls I’m asked by the lover of my soul this question… Are you planting hope and a future in your spiritual children? Or in the lives of children around you – nephews and nieces, grandsons and grand daughters, the boys and girls in your neighborhood or church, the children of the streets of Mexico?
Family, think back to the men who have shaped and mentored you in the past. The men of Croswell planted seeds- seeds of faith, hope, love in my mind and heart. They cultivated a harvest. A harvest of goodness, gentleness, (sometimes) and other fruit of the spirit in my life. They invested in my today so that I might pass on a spiritual legacy for someone else’s tomorrow.
What lasting things will you plant today in the lives of the children around your feet? Do you trust the Lord to make spiritual deposits through you into them watching them grow and change? Let’s continue to make Godly deposits in the lives of the orphans of the world. Will you help give them a hope and a future???
My Dear TLM Family
It hardly seems possible that already I have been back home in Michigan for three weeks. Time spent serving in the field truly flies, and when Jesus is in it there is no labor.
To each and every team that came, THANK YOU. To each prayer warrior that prayed whether be it for a meal, a bridge crossing, a box of tile unnoticed, or language retention THANK YOU each and every one you all help make it so intensely desirable to return year after year and do what ever I can to serve.
I will leave for Harvest Language Center in Guadalajara on August 21 and remain for two semesters until December 11th. At the completion of my studies, I will immediately return to Fabens, and resume my life there.
My home church honored me with having me speak in both early and late services. The little church in the North has definitely “caught “ the TLM vision and plans to send teams each year and have voted to make the Mercy Ministry Day a standard part of their missions giving budget. They made me cry when they presented 4 huge plastic bags of hand crocheted or knitted winter hats to share in the desert next January and the congregation was challenged to continue until there were over 250, maybe 500 little hats. I was able to show our beautiful new DVD about TLM , and the congregation loved every minute of seeing what goes on there.
There are many new ideas in the air, and in the planning stages, new helpers, much need for food bags, teams of workers, hats, mittens, and donations, but always remember we are in this together… for the long run…. Dedicated to bringing the children safely home and forever mindful that prayer gets the impossible done.
To each and every one of the TLM family thank you for your dedication, your faithfulness, your ongoing determination to run the race for the children. Looking forward to seeing all your smiling faces, and some new ones too when I “come home” again to TLM.
“HIS” servant and yours
Pastor Steve and Cathy, Thank you for your vision and years of obedient faithfulness!! I love you and I am honored to stand beside you.
THE TOILETS ARE ON THE WAY!!!
THE TILE IS BEING LAYED!!!
CURTAINS, QUILTS, AND SHOWER CURTAINS ARE ARRIVING!!!
WE ARE IN THE FINISHING STAGES!!!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!
I am in awe of the incredible talent, love, and effort brought by every group that comes. May God bless each of you as you have blessed and inspired all of us here at Tapestries. We thank you and the children thank you. May they come home soon.
Josh handing out eggs on Mercy Day
Hi! My name is Josh Barnett. I am a volunteer at Tapestries of Life. I am a staff member. I am 23 years old. I am a Drywall Contractor in Wisconsin. I also like to hunt and fish. I have been here since April 1st. I will be here until November. Well, that is my story. I hope to see you soon!
God Makes A Way
My name is Fallon Orde and January 2006 was the year that TLM changed my life. Prior to this trip I was an average 21 year-old, grew up in a stable household, with loving parents and good morals. However, the Gospel was never spoken and I had no idea that I could have a personal and real relationship with Jesus Christ.
Ever since I was a young girl I always had a heart for the Mexican culture. Throughout my teen years I traveled to many different parts in Mexico and lived in Costa Rica. I had dreams of helping the street people, encouraging the children, and loving the people that others would turn their heads from. I knew in my future that I was supposed to travel and help people that are less fortunate then me. I didn’t know where to start, how I was going to do it, and what kind of fantasy life-style I was making up in my head.
However, God heard the cries of the young-orphan child deep down in my soul and answered my prayers. He pursued me, chased after me, and fought for me when I wanted nothing to do with Him. God used a regular customer at Starbucks who gave me a free ticket to come down to TLM for a week to be the hands and feet of Christ. It was then that I became broken, accepted Christ into my life, and now have a purpose for living.
I have been to TLM three times and am now a staff member for the summer. God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called. I had never read a bible verse until 2 years ago but I can now say with confidence that I have a real, personal, and intimate relationship with Christ. All I desire is His Word and to be used for His glory. He wants us to partnership with Him, trust Him, and follow Him at all cost. The dreams, visions, and goals in our head are not our own but are from our Father. He desires to see them fulfilled but first we need to give them to Him and then partnership with Him. He will make a path where no path is to be found.
Sincerely, Fallon Orde
We are overdue for a newsletter to be sent out and for that I take responsibility! I’ll try to get one out a bit sooner next time. Here is a picture of me with a gentleman that has polished my boots for 5+ years. He knows every part of my black cowboy boots. He knows the stitching on the legs of the boot. He knows the stitching around the soles. He knows the belt with chains that go around the ankle. He knows the toes and the heels. He knows my boots better than I do in many ways. I watch as he tenderly cleans and then polishes my boots. I pray that God blesses and keeps this man and his family safe.
This is how well our Heavenly Father knows us. He knows every hair on our heads. He knew the color our eyes would be while we were still in our mother’s wombs. He knows every strength we have. He knows every failing we have. He knows the plans He has for us. He is good in every way. He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. He made us exactly the way He wanted to. He makes no junk. He knows us better than any one could possibly know us. He tenderly guides us, polishes us, and always holds us in His tender hands.
What more could we ever need than to KNOW HIM. Like Pastor Steve says, “I don’t mean know Him. I mean KNOW HIM, KNOW HIM”. Do you KNOW HIM KNOW HIM today family? If not, don’t waste another minute!
With deep love for you all,
Susie (right) with Emmy from Pennsylvania
Hi! My name is Susie Bowen. I came down to Tapestries on July 6th and will be staying until August 16th. I am a “floater” here. I do whatever needs to be done, and whatever I am asked to do.
I love serving God in everything I do, so coming down here for six weeks is an amazing opportunity to do so.
Outreach to Guadalupe!
We had the honor and privilege of serving the town of Guadalupe on our Mercy Day July 9th, 2008. It was an adventure to remember in every aspect. From driving through the flooded Juarez streets to hauling $2500 worth of food in the rain. Every detail God held in His mighty hands.
We worked with 4 local churches and with the child protection agency called DIF in this Mercy Day. We made 250 tickets (boletos) that the churches and DIF passed out to those who were in need. We drove into Juarez only to find that the main routes that we knew were either closed or about to be closed. We drove through miniture lakes to get to the mercado. The vendors were happy to see us as business has been very slow for them this year. After buying our fill of trinkets and bracelets and having our boots shined and pictures drawn, not to mention Jesse’s yummy guacamole, we headed for the S-Mart to eat (more)??
It started to rain again after we left the mercado and stopped upon arriving at the S-Mart. So, we weren’t thinking about more rain when we loaded the trailer. All loaded, off we went to Guadalupe for the first ever Mercy day in the park in the heart of the town. As we went the clouds got darker and then, the first of many drips began. By the time we rounded the big curve to the right (you that have been here know exactly of which curve we speak) it was a full downpour. As we gazed behind us, we saw the bread bags fluttering in the wind. And we were heart sick that all the bread and cookies would be soaked by the time we got there. We were very wrong. They were ALL dry. A miracle straight from the hand of God.
When we arrived they were in church service out in the open with only a metal roof to protect them and it was pouring. Not a person was swayed to leave because of the weather. They were all fully attending to God’s Word being spoken and sang from the concrete platform.
All best laid plans for set up and dispensing were foiled to God’s glory!! He had us do a new plan right there on the fly and it worked beautifully. The food dispensing line was made up of 1/2 American and 1/2 Mexican people. A glorious sight to behold.
There was a group of people that came that didn’t have tickets for food. We suspect around 300-500 people. They stood in lines in the middle of the plaza area for hours waiting to get a ticket for the next outreach on July 23rd. They stood and watched as 250 others got food. The stood in inclimate weather, with no ticket and no hope of food that day and still they stood and waited. The hungry kids stood and watched other children get bananas, cookies, yogurt, and toys, and still they stood in line with their mother’s and their father’s. Not a complaint was heard.
Not surprisely, as God often does, the food multiplied. After the 250 had come through the line we looked and what did our wondering eyes see? YES! Better than Santa, better than the Easter bunny, actually NO COMPARISON WHATSOEVER, we saw food!?! WOW! Line them up, and let more people come through the food line, we waved. And come they did. Ten at at time and then a reassessment of the food situation. We must have fed between 50-100 more families and were able to pass out the remaining tickets again to those who still stood waiting. Do you think the day and time of miracles has passed? We don’t! When we see that, we KNOW that God is still the God of miracles. And with such love too!
The town came together, the people came together, God provided the food, and the people came to see God’s love in action. It was soaking wet. To many, it was very cold. And yet, it was a most heart warming day. A love in action, God filled day that only HE could have orchestrated so well. We had the honor of doing His work. Any thing we do unto the least of these, we do unto Him who created all the heavens and the earth.
Well done good and faithful servants! Well done!
Here we have a hodge podge of things that we wanted to fill you in on! They are in no particular order and all are important to us!
THE TAPESTRIES OF LIFE WEBSITE
First, we wanted to stop a minute and say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the three faithful servants who have managed our website for years. Your hard work that has been viewed by all has been deeply appreciated. Your hard work that only God has seen, and we know that is tons of work, is deeply appreciated. Your hard work was the full foundation for the new site that is now up and running. We know that perhaps we haven’t done the best job of thanking you for everything you did for us and for that, we ask you to forgive us. We could not have moved into this new site without the years of work that you did. Thank you friends. You know who you are. God knows who you are. We love you and we thank you.
As you now know from reading the above paragraph (which should be a book) the Tapestries website received a face lift. In the true sense of the word, the foundation was there and we lifted the corners a bit. It is still under construction and does have bugs that we are aware of, and certainly some that we are not aware of. The address is the same: www.tapestriesoflife.com We are happy to hear your thoughts both positive and those that are said out of love for improvement. Send them our way at: email@example.com
We will take all comments into consideration and will implement as abilities and God lead us.
THE TAPESTRIES FOOD BAGS!!
We are in dire need of more food bags. Both the large food bags and the kid’s bags. We have 3 weeks in a row of Mercy Day coming and are in need of around 750 food bags and as many kids bags as we can get. We only have 160 bags left on hand. We were hoping that folks would return with their bags, but often I think that isn’t possible as they use them for other things in their homes or what not. The fact remains that every time we take less bags on our day we end up using garbage bags and boxes to carry food which is quite cumbersome. Making bags is a great excuse to get friends and family together for the day. If you need any assistance just email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you linked up with folks in the know. They are easy to make and fun, and much, much needed! Start a competition, start today! And UPS them down in a hurry! By the way, the fastest made bag has been in 6 minutes and that record is held by a Minnesota man, so don’t think bag sewing is only for women!! By the way, if you beat him PLEASE let us know! God Bless your bag making!!!
OTHER NEEDS AND PRAYER REQUESTS
* Please pray for our dear friends, who are strugging with health issues, Peggy and Clyde we know that God has His mighty healing Hands upon them.
* Please pray for our military personnel, our firefighters and our police men and women as they go about their work of protecting us.
* Please pray for more work groups for September and November.
* Pray for our tilesetters to come very soon. Pray that God has favor on all everything needed to bring together this group of professionals!!
* Please pray in a full calendar of work groups in 2009.
* Please pray for more speaking engagements for Pastor Steve.
* Please pray for the provision of mercy day items such as: socks, underwear, feminine products, and toys for the children.
* Please pray for more room sponsors as we are in the finishing stages and really need to “theme up” our world! Just think of the ideas!! Sports, animals, careers, to name a few….what about a candy room?? Yum yum! What a wonderful way to honor a parent or grandparent that has passed on. A room for a child who has never had their own, with a theme picked to remind you of your loved one. A legacy that will live on long after we are all gone. Pray about it and contact us at: email@example.com
* Pray for the Mexican Government to be successful in its endeavors and lift up their leadership. Pray that they are moved to assist us with the cafeteria. Pray that God leads us and guides us in being good neighbors to them.
We have the following financial needs:
$10,000 for the Electrical
$10,000+ for the Ceiling Insulation
$8,000 for the bathroom vanities and sinks
The donation of an elevator
$60,000 for the completion of the water system
$300,000 for the cafeteria
God is so good and so faithful! He is just and true! Oh Praise Him! He is Holy!
Here are some tips to make organizing your workgroup just a bit easier:
* To hold your work group week you need to send in a $300 deposit. Your week is not confirmed without that deposit.
* Please send your payment for total participants in full two months in advance if that isn’t possible then we will accept one month out. We realize that collecting all the funds can be difficult at times and if this is true for your group, just call us and talk about it. If your numbers increase, you can always add on by notifying us.
* The purpose of having your funds to us in advance of your arrival (meaning not brought with you) is that we purchase the materials you will be working with for the week in advance of your arrival. If you bring your money with you, our staff then has to purchase the supplies in the evenings before the next days work missing valuable fellowship time with you. Thanks for your understanding!
* An important piece of information for you: Even when you combine two different work groups in to one week, each group brings their own mercy ministry money with them. Your precious gift keeps on giving long after you gone home. The mercy fund assists the people of Mexico all year round even when we are without work groups. Thanks for giving to the Lord.
* Lastly, but very important is your waiver. You must have a valid waiver signed and notarized with each trip to Tapestries. They are only good for one year, and since most of you come once a year, this means a new waiver with each trip!
Thanks so much for helping us out!!
It’s time for the back-pack drive!!!!
BACK PACK DRIVE
Give a destitute child a dollar and he’ll be on his way.
Give a destitute child school supplies and he’ll show you the way!
It’s TIME for:
CAMPAIGN FILL A BACK-PACK!!!!
Once again our goal is to give a School bag to 4.000 students in impoverished areas of Anapra, Guadulupe, Loma Blanca, Juarez and surrounding areas of Mexico. The families of Mexico have to pay to go to school, plus provide their own materials and uniforms. The average family’s income is $50.00 or less a week, if they are lucky. The children love to learn no matter what country they are from, but MILLIONS aren’t given the chance, because of a lack of school supplies. PLEASE help us! We know you can make it happen! Jesus & education is a powerful duo in battling poverty. THANKS!!
Here is what we would like each Child to have:
Younger Child’s Bag (tie a green ribbon on a strap)
1-pack of loose leaf paper wide ruled
1-pack of pencils
1-pack of blue or black pens
1-pack of crayons 16 count
Middle/High School Student Bag (tie a red ribbon on strap)
1-pack of loose leaf paper-college-ruled
4-2-pocket folders with rings
1-pack of pencils
1-pack of blue, black & red pens
1-college ruler with metrics
1-large eraser or small pack
Send Packages via United States Postal Services to:
Tapestries of Life Ministries
PO Box B
Fabens, TX 79838
Send Packages via UPS to:
Tapestries of Life Ministries
791 Fabens Island Road
Fabens, TX 79838
PLEASE SHIP BY AUGUST 29th
In This Issue
Outreach to Guadalupe!
BACK PACK DRIVE
Entwined Hands for One Purpose
We are hands and feet. Specifically, we are God’s hands and feet…..His instruments, tools and devices used for His glory and purpose. The Bible speaks of believers as being parts of a body. Each part of the body are different with a different purpose, but have equal importance. (1Cor 12) Never has that illustration been more clear to me than while on a mission trip to Mexico, serving God by serving with other souls at a place called Tapestries of Life Ministries.
Having never been on a mission trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect…..I just knew it had something to do with “working in the desert on some cross shaped structure that would someday be an orphanage for a few hundred kids.” Sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? Ah, but then this trip was about being God’s instruments; His hands. It was not about my agenda, my expectations or my limitations. It was about having a willing and sacrificial heart and a desire for God to get the credit.
With those words, I set out on an experience that was used to break, remold and shape my heart; shift and clarify my focus; open my (usually) clenched hands and mind; and give to others who I have never met. Why? Because they are part of the same body that I am a part of.
We gathered from every background and walk of life — never married, newly wed, young family, grand parents and divorced. We were a group of seasoned veterans and fresh faced “newbies”, recovering from life’s disappointments, or “had nothing better to do,” placed under the hot Mexican sun, participating in God’s plan and miracle of giving hope. Hope for today as well as hope for tomorrow. It was, in essence, a family reunion where lives were touched, and hope was the dish that was freely passed. A reunion of souls — this side of heaven.
Our time together ended too soon — and the dream of a home in the desert is not complete, yet. Some of us will return to the desert — some of us never left. Surely, none of us were the same after our experience. We were impacted and shaped, cast and framed into a miracle in progress; eager for the dream to become a reality; eager for the “cross shaped structure” in the desert to be a home; eager for the day when all members of the One body will be giving glory and praise to the One who designed and orchestrated a group of servants to join hands together one week in May, 2008.
That will truly be a reunion of souls — inside of heaven.
Kris from Michigan
Blessed to be a Blessing!
My wife and I just recently did our first (of a hopeful many to come) missions trips with Tapestries of Life. We were extremely blessed by our trip. It would take me all day to list in what ways so I’ll just mention three.
The first way we were blessed was in seeing how Big and how Real our God is. Jehovah Jireh, our provider, never meant much to me until I saw a 60,000 sq. ft. orphanage in the middle of the desert, built by a guy with no money. That doesn’t happen (humanly speaking.) We witnessed first hand the power of praying with complete faith that God will provide according to His will.
Another way we were blessed by our trip was to see that there’s more to life than everything that we’re taught is important in America. In America we value health insurance, college funds, retirement funds, a nice house and two new cars. When much of the world values just enough food to feed their family one meal. Being in a financial pinch in America doesn’t compare to being in a financial pinch in Guadalupe, Mexico.
Also we were blessed by the relationships built with the staff and with our friends on the trip with us. We’re all going through different things spiritually, but often time a brother or sister in Christ has already been through the same thing we’re currently going through. On this trip we learned to just put our faith in the fact that God knows what’s best for us. And that in itself would have made the whole trip worthwhile.
Andrew from Arkansas
Stepping out in Faith!
When I first saw the insert in the church bulletin I knew I had to go. My heartfelt the tug and I just knew. I decided to step out in faith acnd actually do something with it. I hate flying and the thought of leaving my babies for a week but I knew God intended for me to go, I just needed to listen.
A few weeks later Travis and I were waiting for a check to arrive so we could make the first payment for the trip. The check finally arrived and it was about $2,500 more than what we had expected. Travis called to check on the mistake and was told that it was not a mistake and that it was ours to keep. God had provided us with the funds to cover the trip, the plane tickets, and the passports. If that’s not a sign of God telling us to GO, I don’t know what is.
It was the most amazing trip and I long to go back. I have never been more at peace than when I was working on the orphanage in the desert. As I worked, I would break out into songs of praise without thinking and I would ask God to bless the children who would someday live here. On the last day, as I was cleaning paint off of light switch covers in the various wings, I would pray for all the little hands that would turn these lights on and off, and that they would find God and let their light shine for him.
Sasha from Minnesota
What will be important when you go home?
Last week was my ninth trip to the desert as part of TLM’s effort to build the “Casa De Las Gemas” and bring the children HOME. In many ways it was the best trip yet. The team from New Life consisted of “only” nine people, but from the first training session the team came together with a unity that only the Holy Spirit can provide, and once on site in Mexico (and headquarters in Fabens) worked together to accomplish more than one would expect of a team of nine.
As always the highlight of the week was the Mercy Ministry time, but this year for a different reason than usual: The day was filled with flooding–LITERAL FLOODING! All of the previous Mercy Ministry days in which I have participated have been sweltering hot. Many of the women standing in line had umbrellas–to produce shade. On this day, though, rain poured from the skies and drenched the team members as we unloaded the trailer and vans. Thankfully, a pavilion had been constructed three weeks before we arrived in Guadalupe (Whose timing was that???!!!), so we were able to set up the food distribution in a somewhat dry environment. We had enough food for 250 people, and we gave out food for about 300! (If you’re new to the e-newsletter, read that last sentence again.)
It always works that way on Mercy Ministry days, but it’s always amazing how God provides. Once again, the reality of seeing people standing in line for an hour or more to receive a bag of food, or in the case of one little boy to receive one banana, reminded the team of how different the situations of people can be simply because of where they were born.
As I walked the wall God shared an important question with me: “What will be important when you go home?” In the desert it is easy to put listening to God first—there are so few competing voices and noises. In the desert it is easy to put relationships first, because you are with the team 24/7, and once again there’s no television, or electronic devices to distract you. In the desert God speaks through His word, through Steve, through the Tapestries team and through your own team members, and there’s lots of time to reflect on what You hear. Then comes the trip home, and how easy it can be to step right back into the “rat race.” How easy it can be to let the competing noises drown out the voice of Jesus.
So far—4 days—God’s voice is prevailing. I’m reminded by so many things of the “world” I left on Saturday, and how much it has to teach me in the “world” in which I live here. If you have never been to the desert, to serve Jesus through TLM—PLAN to do it. If you don’t plan it, you won’t do it. If you have been there—plan to go again. The orphanage is so close to completion now that it’s time for a push to the finish line—or should I say the STARTING line, since the completion of the building is the START of the children coming home!!!
God’s blessings to all who support this work of Jesus in any way—through prayer, finances, work, whatever, but remember—If we don’t go, the children will never know—they will never know the reality of Jesus in their lives. It’s time for them to come home, time for them to know!
Pastor Chris, Pennsylvania
Tapestries of Life Ministries Inc • P.O. Box B • Fabens • TX • 79838
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