Thursday, March 23, 2006

One of the biggest blessings for our team while in Mexico was our interpreter, Jose'. He lives there, and is a member of the church we stayed in, and worked with. He is the most humble and gentle man I have ever met. When children came into our midst and began to interact with him, it was like they had been plugged into an electricity source. They just lit up, got silly, and had a wonderful time because of how he interacted with them. They adored him as much as we did.

His life has not always been this way. Jose' has had a rough past. Before he invited Christ into his life, he lived in the states for a time. He was a liar, and was very good at it. People believed whatever he told them, because he has a very genuine way about him. He used to use it for personal gain. As a result, he was wanted in several states and had to move a lot. He and his wife had moved into a home with another lady and her two young girls. He became the only father they knew, and he loved them dearly.

Another man who interacted with the family became a problem. He would get drunk, get out of control and threaten them. Jose' confronted him, told him he was not afraid of him, and that he had to leave the family alone as he would protect them. This man apologized, and promised not to do this again.

Unfortunately, his ability to refrain from drinking was absent. The alcohol spoke for him when he again showed up. He was carrying a knife, and threatening the family. Jose' intervened. They wrestled to the ground, and Jose' got the knife. In those moments, he wanted to kill this man, to alleviate the source of terror. Jose' lost control, and repeatedly plunged the knife into this foe.

Jose' wept as he recounted this story to us in testimony form.

The police came, and he ultimately spent years in prison for this and other outstanding offenses. Though the man did not die from his 10 wounds, Jose's remorse is overwhelmingly evident. Not long after his incarceration, he came to know Christ, through a prison ministry. He began to grow as he submitted to Christ's authority in his life. Things were beginning to get better.

Then, the unbelievable happened. His four year old "daughter" passed away.

The uncontrollable flow of tears began as he shared his heart and the incredible pain that still resides.

Doctors said there was nothing physically wrong with her. She had died of a broken heart because she missed her "daddy."

It was no wonder that this man had such an impact on the lives of every child he encountered. He loved them in a way few do.

His heart surrendered to Jesus, yet broken over his loss, he was released and deported from the U.S. when his time was up. He now resides in Nuevo Laredo, and serves his King. Oh what a servant!

On his days off, he heads to his pastors house and mops his floor, and works in his yard. He counts it a privilege to be able to serve him. He does it with pure joy! He praises Jesus that he gets laid off each time a mission team from the U.S. is due. This allows him to minister to his people, while serving the gringos. Jose' has seen hundreds and hundreds of people give their lives to Christ. He has been instrumental in many of these decisions. He is who we give our response cards to after ministry is over, so that the new believers can be discipled, and pulled into a local church body.

This is what a man of God looks like. His past matters because it allows him to minister. He is who he is because of Christ in him. He is so humble gentle and available because he loves Jesus, and puts him first in his life.

I am proud to call him my friend. It was my privilege to serve beside him. Worship beside him. Cry with him. It is my privilege to call him my brother.

Praise God that He does not discard us when we fail! He loves us through the dirt and grime we bring into our lives! He is King!!!

Serving Him beside you,


I'm home again, Yeah!!! It so good to love on my girls, and sleep in my own bed!


At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome home!

Praise God for His awesome work & His desire to have us join Him!

Continuing to lift all of you up!


At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jesus for the Jose's of the world, for their ability to reach the lost like noone else can!

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This morning, standing in front of the mirror as I began to get ready for work, a poem came to mind which my mother used to steadily recite to me when I was younger:
"Three Gates".

If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, "Is it true?"
Then, "Is it needful?" In your mind
Give truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, "Is it kind?"
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result may be.

I came to work with it still in my head, and in a pause of the morning, it jogged my thoughts in a round-about-way to seeing what you and your family were up to these days.

After I read your blog today, I can say that, like Jose, you are also ministering to others in everyday testament through sharing and caring your sentiment. Your telling story of Jose has passed all three gates: it is true; it is needed; and it is kind.

I appreciate you taking part in my day: just as you feel a priviledge to call him "brother", I know many-myself included- still feel a kinship to your family as well.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome home, dad. Thanks for the very touching story of Jose's life.
Mark, OH

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Lattany said...

So glad you're safely home. What a phenomenal story. How kind He is not to leave us as orphans and enemies, but to seat us at His table and calls us friends, sons, daughters, fellow heirs with His Son.

What an inheritance.

Fairfax, VA, USA

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jose is blessed to have found Christ -- and we are blessed that he is ministering to those who are lost and broken.
A life in Christ is revealed; lost - found - living in Christ - and held in eternity! Glory to God!!

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been waayyy too long since i commented in here! Thank you so much for that story about Jose! It was such an encouragement, and such a blessing to hear about how God uses difficult circumstances to bring people to Him.

A couple of nights ago, me and a friend were hanging out in Barnes and Nobles, drinkin coffee and just looking through interesting books. I spotted a book that looked familiar, so i grabbed it from the shelf. It turned out to be "Don't Waste Your Life" by Piper... the book that BJ was reading before he got sick. So many times I have thought about buying the book and reading it, but I never got around to it. Just looking at the book brought back soo many memories and feelings and thoughts! I just had to sit down in the aisle in the middle of the bookstore, clutching the book and cry. WOW. I can't explain it. But it felt like I was coming home. Like something that had been missing for too long was finally found. I don't know what wisdom the book is going to bring me, but I can't wait to find out!

Know that you guys are still in my thoughts and prayers! Love you!
Mary Leestma

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

One of the stories Kristen couldn't wait to tell us when she got home after the Mexico trip was--you guessed it--Jose's story.

What an incredible example of how God can use a life that most of us would think was broken beyond repair.

Thank you, my God, that you take our brokenness and use it for Your glory. I see that daily in the lives of Brent and Deanna. May others see the same thing in my life--

because YOU live (Gal. 2:20)


At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey parents--

I've heard that that cement floor in Nuevo Laredo can be QUITE hard..glad to see you made it through ok =) I think the natives you meet on your trip are my favorite part. we still keep in contact w/some of our interpreters.. its great to have that bond across the ocean!

anyway.. i'm glad you're home..i bet your family is too!

love you guys..praying always.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger Barbara Ann said...

Thanks for sharing what great things God has done in Mexico. I cant wait to hear more. I got a list of names of who is going to Chile this summer. One of the girls that is going to 13. She said that she is one of the 97 that said they would take Beejs place this summer...and think God placed her on my team! Wow...what an incredible God! I cant wait to share with her, and more importantly hear all that God has taught her these past months.

Again, I am so awed at all that God has allowed to happen through BJ. Yeah, I miss him so MUCH, and all the chats and fun times.
And oh how thrilled that I am to serve such a Great and GLORIOUS God!

Oh Father place an even more inverted homesickness for the nations on my heart!

love you!
Barbara Ann

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you all for keeping this website up. I saw a boy in our church a few weeks ago with his t-shirt, and it was powerful. Sometimes it is hard to see God's hand in crisis, even if the crisis is not your own. I pray for blessings for you all.


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