For just over a month now we have been hosting computer classes in El Anexo La Arrocera (The Rice-growing Annex). We wanted to give you an introduction to our new ministry here and the people in it.
El Anexo is a poor neighborhood filled with alcohol, drugs, abuse, prostitution, and other effects of poverty and sin. Cody Whittacker (our new partner) and I are giving computer classes as a vehicle to get to know better the young men in this community and help them in any way possible – especially to know Christ.
D- is 14yrs old. His father died when he was 4. He was abused in school by a teacher not too long ago. He is a loner to begin with, but being chubby causes other kids to exclude him. His close relatives think that he might have homosexual tendencies. His mom begged us to be father figures to him. He is a nice kid, and loves the computer classes.
Juan is 20 years old. He earns about $150/mo to support his girlfriend and 2 kids. He has a good attitude, a serious but youthful personality, and a strong desire to be in these classes.
Enrique is 26 years old. He is the only one of the group who is officially married. He has a cheerful, funny attitude… with deep pains and despair. We came out to visit the community one day and found him drunk, watching his kids play soccer in the street. He was clearly embarrassed, and does not need to be told that it is wrong – he told us himself how wrong it was. He needs, instead, someone to befriend him and love him enough to show him that his life is worth correcting, and that God’s ways are worth following.
Manuel is 17 years old and can hardly read and write. He may have learning disabilities. He is very quiet and his family is very poor. His little sister, about 8-9 years old, still has the brightness of child-like hope in her eyes. Manuel seems to have had it knocked out of him.
Lennin is about 17 years old and is helping us teach the classes. He is a smart young lad and wants to go into information technology. Being a resident of El Anexo, his family shares in all the community problems. A few days ago he was beat up by drunkards just outside of his home. Pray for his recovery and protection.
Alvaro is a father, one of the older men in the class. When he introduced his 5yr old daughter to me, she had a black eye. Of course, that doesn’t mean he did it, but someone did. One of the pastor’s wives who work in this community has told us that physical abuse is rampant in the neighborhood: Men with wives, mothers with children, older siblings with younger siblings, younger siblings with the dogs… and so the chain goes.
We made a fund raising video to try to raise funds both for Clarissa’s education and for projects in El Anexo. Don’t feel obligated to give, however the information and pictures in the video are a good introduction to our new areas of work this year. Follow the link for the video: https://vimeo.com/62270767
“Old Ministries”: Of course, we haven’t stopped what we were doing. Our Leon discipleship girls will celebrate 1 yr with us next week. We’re going to have a slumber party. One of the girls will be celebrating one year of sobriety at that party (granted – 3 weeks prematurely). In general, the group is really beginning to feel like we are making progress and gaining stability. Glory to God, and pray for protection.
Without you – we wouldn’t be here. Our Leon girls would still be sleeping with boyfriends, cutting themselves, getting bad grades, living in unforgiveness towards their parents, fighting one with another, often drunk, playing with suicide, struggling against homosexuality, involved in the occult, and who knows what else. So much of this has improved and some of it has a feeling of being “conquered”, though we warn them never to let their guard down. And that is only one part of our ministry!