Monday, December 22, 2014

"They beat us and left us for dead..." An urgent message from AIL Ministry Executive Director Dave Miller about Eloxochitlán, Oaxaca...

***Update Below***

"They beat us and left us for dead... but the Lord gave us life again!"

That is how Pastor Chablé, our main ministry partner in Oaxaca, described what happened last weekend in Eloxochitlán, the village our medical team served in October.

This week I had planned on sharing a simple Christmas message with our AIL Network. And then real life intruded on those plans. So I am sharing something different. A story of pain, loss, and ultimately hope.

On Sunday, December 14th in the middle of the day, Eloxochitlán, more than 6 hours away from our ministry base in Oaxaca City, erupted in political violence between people holding opposing views of the role of government in everyday life.

At the end of the day, 2 people died, both friends of Adventures in Life. Gustavo, one of the dead gave his life protecting our partner Elisa. He leaves a wife and 4 kids. Manuel, Elisa's brother was also killed in the violence. He leaves a wife and two young children.

Adventures in Life Ministry, Eloxochitlan, Oaxaca, Mexico, Violence, Short-term Mission
A few of the vehicles lost in the violence
Multiple houses were set afire, houses where our medical team recently stayed. Cars, trucks and businesses were burned and people near and dear to our ministry, including Pastor Chablé, were seriously beaten. Two of them, Malena and Elisa, have been in the hospital since that day, having been beaten to within inches of their lives. Doctors are now working to save Malena's right eye and help Elisa walk again.

The houses of everyone who served with us, where we stayed while helping more than 350 people receive medical care, were the main houses attacked. Some were completely destroyed. 

Having lost everything, the families escaped to Pastor Chablé's ranch south of Oaxaca City, more than 6 hours away, to recover, rest, and consider their future.

We now have five families living at that ranch. Many of them have lost everything. Houses? Gone. Furniture? Gone. Clothing? Gone. Property? Gone. Money? Gone. Cars? Gone. The other day a local church brought some clean clothes for the kids. Finally they could change their dirty clothing.

Eloxochitlan, Violence, Violencia, Adventures in Life Ministry, Short-term mission, Oaxaca
Manuel's work truck, a total loss
Step back and think about that for a moment. They have not lost a lot of stuff... they've lost everything.

As Pastor Chablé put it, he now has a group of refugees and no way to get around town and get the things they need. His truck was one of those burned in Eloxochitlán. Stop and consider what that means. A rancher has no way to go and get food. No way to bring feed back for his animals. No way to take his young son to to school.

I doubt many of us here in America can imagine what that must be like. You wake up one morning, and by the time the day ends, you've lost everything.

Adventures in Life needs your help. Pastor Chablé needs your help. Manuel, Vicente, Malena, Elisa, David, their families and their kids need your help. 10 adults and eight children.

There is no FEMA to help in Oaxaca. The evening news is never going to publicize this and ask people to help make Christmas happen in the face of this unspeakable tragedy. No one will be starting an internet campaign there to help them.

But there is the family of God, and we can respond.

I am asking you to consider making a sizable donation to these families. We need to pay off medical bills, provide food, clothing and see if we can get Pastor Chablé another truck to replace the one he lost.

Our goal is to raise $20,000.00 in the next two weeks. That will enable us to get a truck and provide for the families who are now living at the ranch. We expect that they will be there for at least a month.

Literally there is not one person connected to Adventures in Life who has served in Oaxaca that has not in some way seen their ministry impacted by Pastor Chablé and his family.

This is one of those moments that defines ministry. 

Almost 20 years ago, Paul Lathrop and I arrived to where the village of Santa Rosa once stood north of Ensenada. The day before, the entire village was bulldozed, the people losing everything. We brought food, diapers for kids, milk and other supplies for the people of that village. It is where we built our first church.

Even today, when I see people from that village, they still talk about how God used AIL to literally save them after that tragedy.

Together, we can write another chapter in God's story in Mexico. Another chapter where his people in Oaxaca speak of God provided in their hour of need. Indeed, as you read this, we've already received over $5,000.00, 25% of our goal!

Pastor Chablé was taken to the hospital after being beaten in Eloxochitlán. He refused to stay because he told me his sheep, his people, needed him.

Chablé and his people need us. 

Today as you consider how you can respond, let me challenge you to go big. Seldom do we have the opportunity to step up and make a real stand for Jesus. To do something that will make an instant kingdom difference.

This is that time.

This is when we can live the community, the love, and hope that we profess each year at Christmas. This is our chance to help provide a Christmas miracle to God's people of Oaxaca.

If you want to help us raise the $20,000.00 we need to help these families, you can send us a check to our office [address below], use the donate button on this page, or give online through our web site. 

All donations are 100% tax deductible and will go directly to Pastor Chablé, his family, the ranch and to help the people now living there from Eloxochitlán.

Update... To date, Adventures in Life has collected over $50,000.00 in relief funds for Eloxochitlán. We have helped cover medical bills of some of the victims, purchased vehicles, and helped restore the businesses that were lost in the violence. We also provided food and shelter at our ranch in Oaxaca City when people had to be in the capital for medical care, to meet with government officials investigating the attack of because they no longer had a home in which to live.

We have also set aside an account of money for the people of Eloxochitlán to use in the future for development of micro loans for small businesses and other projects designed to benefit the entire community of this isolated mountain village.

Adventures in Life Ministry
A 501(c)3 non profit corporation
3243 E Warm Springs Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89120
Federal Tax ID 95-4434963

Monday, December 01, 2014

Giving Tuesday and the Gift of Water through Adventures in Life Ministry

Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Two days America joins together to shop, shop, shop.

Here are the numbers. Americans spent over 50 Billion Dollars during the Thanksgiving Weekend on everything from Christmas trees to Legos to Elsa, the heroine of the hit movie Frozen.

Today, known as Cyber Monday, will be more of the same as retailers are expecting upwards of 2.5 billion. That's quite a bit less than the Black Friday numbers, but let's be honest here, 2.5 billion is still a lot of money, or as a good friend of mine might say, cabbage!

Tomorrow, December 2nd, is known as Giving Tuesday. It's a day set aside in the Christmas shopping season to give back to those in need. This year, Adventures in Life Ministry needs your help.

Everyday when you get up in the morning you brush your teeth with clean water. You brew a pot of coffee or a cup of tea with clean water. You put your glass under the kitchen tap, turn on the water and instantly, that glass is overflowing with clean, drinkable water.

But what if you were unable to do that? What if the only water available was not drinkable? What if you could not afford to have clean, fresh water in your home?

That is the situation I encounter everyday in the villages where we serve in Oaxaca. Places like San Pedro Amatlán, San Baltazár and Eloxochitlán. 

Recently I was in Eloxochitlán for a medical clinic. Two of the doctors helping us were from Oaxaca, and as I've written before, they were stunned at the conditions they witnessed. Lack of potable water was literally killing people in this village bit by bit.

I shared with them that AIL Ministry could get portable water filters that families could use in their homes. Dr. Milton, in his review of the week shared that effective water filters could essentially be a game changer. People could literally take river water, filter it, and get a clean glass of water.

This Giving Tuesday, and throughout the Christmas season, we would like to ask you to give a water filter to a family in Oaxaca. Each water filter, from Sawyer Water Filters, filters about a million gallons, enough water to last a family of four a lifetime.

The cost is $99.00. For only $99.00, above your regular giving, you can make a donation that will literally change lives. 

Earlier this year I was in a village known as San Ildefonso. The pastor of the church came up to me pleading for help in getting more water filters for the people of his village. The same is true in every village and town where I work and serve in Oaxaca.

Simply put, these water filters save lives and give us the chance to share about the true living water. 

Can you help? To make a donation, just click this link and you will be directed to the support page of AIL Ministry. Make your tax deductible donation of $99.00 and we will send you a thank you note and let you know what community will get the water filter you provided.

Our goal this Christmas season is to provide 100 families with clean water. With your help, I know we can get this done.