Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fiestas Patrias - 2011 week one

Well, we're in our 4th day of Frank Bejo's presentations at the fiestas. We have videos but need to edit them, however we're still learning how to operate the video camera so please have patience with us.

The first night started off a bit slow...7pm was way too early since it doesn't get dark until 9pm. Not much of a crowd at 7pm, however, we held off as long as we could. Despite our schedules, God had it all under control...as always. After Frank painted we had an art teacher who came up and was totally blown away with Frank's gifting. He spent some time talking to us and said that he was going to have his art class join us the next night. We also had some young people there, and the Lord was obviously doing something in them. Good first night.

The 2nd night was as different as it could possibly be. We had arrows coming at us from all different directions. On the night before we had locked all the supplies in one of the offices...a doctor's office. Wouldn't you know that the office was locked when we got there, and the doctor was off in another town. He FINALLY showed up at around 9:30pm. Prior to that we had a dust storm that started swirling in the courtyard and then it started to rain. Then in the midst of all this, there was a shooting incident about 2 blocks away and quite an unsettled spirit floating around in the plaza. Alot of people opted to stay home as a result. However, we felt that we should go ahead and continue as God was our shelter and protection and foremost He is the one for whom we gather. We had a good late crowd of young musicians who came and joined us so it was another good night. Again, we had several people who were very touched by the exhibition.  God is absolutely amazing!!!

The 3rd night (Saturday) we were placed on the Main Event Stage...early in the evening. Somehow the young man that was to go on first did not show up so Frank had to go first. The MC had attended the previous night's exhibition and just could not stop talking about it. He was encouraging everyone to see it. It was really cool. He kept touching his heart and saying that it really touched him and people should go check it out. Although we had some issues with music (getting Spanish songs), setup, and time constraints, the Lord was so gracious to us and caused each event to make an impact, and He just worked wonders all around us.

Sunday night's event was another different situation. Frank was painting a new scene (one which he had not really done before), and it was very (beautifully) detailed. It took a bit longer than his other paintings, but the end result was amazing. The crowd was another late one, and they sat there immobile for quite some time taking in the painting and the accompanying scripture. Though we have observed Frank paint many times, it still catches us off guard as the scene/picture begins to unfold. They're all our favorites!!!
Please continue to pray for us as these are physically taxing evenings...we don't get to bed until amost 2am every day. Frank is still adjusting to the 5-hr. difference. He has had some special requests and will be attempting to meet those requests. Please pray for his family at home as he will be away over 3 weeks. When he returns he has another exhibition in Seattle a few days thereafter so he'll be off traveling again.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tototlan Update May 15, 2011

Shaloha & Hola All:

It’s been some time since I’ve sent out any update regarding our time here in Mexico. First and foremost, I’d like to thank the Lord for our first year here. It’s been an interesting year and full of growth. I don’t really know what I expected, but rest assuredly, it has been much more than I expected or had in mind.

We left Kaua`i on March 23, 2010 with four suitcases in hand and grandeur plans (in my head) for…the things I felt God wanted us to do, the things I wanted to do and the things I thought would happen. We had a chance to visit family & friends in CA, OR, TX, AZ & WA before heading down to Mexico on April 4, 2010.

After arriving, there was lots of work to be done just in our living situation. The “casita” where we would be living sits behind my nephew’s main house which they occupy. This casita was their first home for about 13 years. My sister lived in the big house in front. My nephew & niece (Chato & Chata) were married almost 9 years before they had their first and only daughter. Then a year later Chata developed uterine cancer. After chemo and a total hysterectomy, she has been cancer-free for almost 6 years and doing fabulously…a testimony of God’s healing and plan for her life!  (During Chata’s chemotherapy, my sister began receiving dialysis which pretty much had my nephew going bonkers.) Eventually they moved into the big house to care for my sister until she passed away 3 yrs ago this month. Little did we know with all our visits before and after she died that God was preparing us for our move here.

As it turned out, we arrived just in time for the “Tototlan fiestas”. These fiestas last almost 2 weeks…24/7 LITERALLY (fireworks start at 6am!), and during this time not much is “normal”. Everything revolves around the fiestas. Work (such as the work being done to our casita) was at somewhat of a standstill. Parades, fireworks, church services, LOTS of music, food stands, rides, flea markets...all pretty much dominate the time…as well as, sleeping in from the previous night’s activities…thus a job is just about placed on hold during this time. I might add that tequila production is one of the top industries here in Tototlan…so consumption (especially during the fiestas) is right up there, too. (I guess it's better to halt work than to come and do a bad job.)

Here in Mexico, each town has its own patron saint and celebrates its saint's day once a year. Tototlan’s patron saint is “El Señor de la Salud” which translates “Lord of the Health” (aka “God The Healer”). Thousands upon thousands converge into Tototlan to celebrate the fiestas. Not only do you have the vendors, musicians, specials guests, etc., but people come from all over Mexico, the United States and other countries to enjoy the spectacular event. Some come for only a few days or weekends while others come for the entire event.

We live about 5 or 6 blocks from the “plaza”, which is the center of town and the location of the main events. A huge gazebo is the plaza center point which provides the venue for mariachis, singers, theatrical groups and shows. A huge Catholic cathedral stands across the street, as well as, the local Police Dept. There are parades each day…a town parade which is much like your local home parade (mayor, floats, local businesses, beauty queens, etc.). Then there are parades for the ethnic groups (mostly indigenous Indian tribes in their regal colors and costumes). Then there’s the parade of the Señor de la Salud. This parade begins at the church and goes up and down many streets while picking up people along the way. It’s route is ornately decorated by each block it passes through, and by the time it returns to the church there are over 10,000 people in the parade. All during the time it is moving down each street the spectators and the paraders are shouting “Viva el Christo Rey!”, “Viva Jesus!”, “Viva el Señor de la Salud!” “Viva, Viva, Viva!”. It is quite the scene…beautiful.

Last year as we walked around and took in the festivities the Lord opened up several opportunities for us to pray for some people. Interestingly, most of these individuals were ex-cons deported back to Mexico after having served their time in U.S. prisons. We saw some great healings and expect no different this year.

Now to the present…the fiestas are just around the corner…May 25 to June 5. God has put it on our hearts for greater participation this year. Mexico is very imagery conscious and expressive, so after much prayer and brainstorming, we’ve got some doings & ideas.

·         We have a weekly fellowship time at our house on Tuesday nights centered around a meal. We desire to see people encounter God thru prayer, Bible, and worship and to see the various gifts of God come forth thru His people. This is sort of a “supernaturally natural” time of allowing the Lord to minister. As we pray for one another the Holy Spirit many times will bring out “words” of encouragement and insight, Scriptures, prophetic pictures (visions), etc. as well as touch people with His love and healing power.

·         We will be painting the fronts of homes in town offering residents free paint and labor with the proviso that they help us paint their neighbor’s place. Sort of a "pay-it-forward" type thing. Most people here cannot afford new paint nor labor (if they can't do it themselves). By offering a little bit of a "makeover" we hope to give hope and a blessing to a needy people. We also believe that Kingdom seeds will be planted that spring up and grow exponentially.

·         We’ve invited Frank Bejo (a dear friend from Kaua`i) to come join us for the fiestas. Frank is an art teacher at Wilcox Elem. in Līhu`e. Frank has a tremendous gift of painting/drawing with his hands. Frank has participated in many occasions on Kaua`i such as the KHOP (Kaua`i House of Prayer) 24-hour prayer events, the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast/Luncheon…to name a couple. Frank is arriving on May 23rd, and we’re very excited that God has made this possible.

·         In searching for a place to set up for a demonstration of Frank’s gifting, God opened the door for us to talk to the Mayor today. Chato thought that maybe the courtyard where the Mayor’s office (known as "La Presidencia" here) is located might be a good location…right in the center of town. As it turned out, the Mayor was in his office, and we were able to talk to him and get his permission to hold it there. He will even provide lighting and seating!! Thank you Lord!!

·         Chato is a great artist, too. He does a lot of pen and ink drawings. He has drawn up some stuff for us to use in making some t-shirts & caps. We’ve already taken them to someone who has all the t-shirt-making equipment and looks like we may have some t-shirts ready for the fiesta.

·         Kerry has developed a THOP (Tototlan House of Prayer) virtual event on Facebook inviting people to join with us in prayer for Tototlan. As you all are aware, the violence in Mexico is rampant. Although most of the violence is centered around the border and larger cities, Tototlan is not absolved from it. Though it is not as bad, nonetheless, we have had some incidences. We are totally dependent on God for our protection.

Well, before I completely overwhelm you with more details, I will bring this update to a close with these requests:

·         We covet your prayers. As I mentioned, the violence is rampant. Please join us in praying for protection as we continue to do what we believe God has sent us here to do.

·         We have seen God do so much and look forward to greater things. Please pray for MORE of God and His manifestations in healing, deliverance and restoration.

·         Most of what we’ve done here in Tototlan has been through our personal finances. Please pray and join us in asking God for finances for these ideas and the mission work here in Tototlan. Should you be led to partner with us, you can either write a check to KHOP (Kaua`i House of Prayer), P. O. Box 333, Līhu`e, Kaua`i, Hawai`i 96766-0333 (KHOP is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization) noting “Mexico” on the subject line...or go online to www.kauaihop.com and make your donation through Paypal.

Until the next time, may you enjoy God’s blessings upon your lives of life, love and joy!!

…Annie (and Kerry)