In 1994 a woman in California had a vision that she and her husband were to go somewhere and build a church. In this vision was a river with no water. She was American and her husband Mexican. With a definite conviction of calling but not knowing where, they began praying. Their life continued in California and the prayer for guidance was constant. Finally, in February of 2008, Margarita Lopez and Eladio Valencia Olivera knew they were to be in Mexico but did not know exactly where. Mexicali was their first stop but the peace they expected was not there. After three months they sensed a call to San Luis. There was no doubt. This was the place. They rented a very small place to stay while they began investigating the possibility of procuring property to build God's church. Property was expensive and not always readily available.
Eladio unexpectedly discovered he had an uncle in San Luis. The uncle helped in the quest for a parcel of land. One Sunday afternoon they received a call from the uncle who had a woman at his house with something for them consider. They drove to meet her. It was a confirmation of the vision. Eladio and Margarita got on their knees and prayed to God to consecrate that particular spot of ground for His work. The woman who showed them the property was a Jehova Witness. She was moved by their story and the witness of their faith. They shared more of their faith with her and before the day was over she accepted Jesus as Savior and told them they could take possession of the land. "But we have no money", they told her. "I will let you make payments as you can", was her response.
The parcel of land on which they were to build God's church was dry and barren.
They wanted a cross to place on this land as a symbol of what was to come. The only thing they could find was dead wood. Two pieces of dead wood tied together to form a cross and stuck in the ground was the physical evidence of the beginning of their ministry. It was at this point that this couple returned to California and sold everything. They returned ready to do what they had been praying about for so many years.
Having prayed for fourteen years, at some point surely they wondered "why and/or when". Elario and Margarita eventually came in contact with an American couple who had a ministry nearby. They pastored a church, had Bible studies for men, women and couples, had a large guest house for visiting mission teams etc. At the time of their meeting this couple had been in San Luis for 10 years. Their ministry was well established and they became actively involved in helping Elario and Margarita pursue their vision. This writer wonders if there was a correlation between the length of time the Valencia's were waiting and praying, and the establishment of the ministry of the American couple?
Eladio and Margarita used their funds to:
- 1. Provide a church structure. They dug four holes, found four posts to put in the ground and stretched a tattered tarp over the posts to provide a small amount of shade. A few pieces of 2X4's nailed together serve as "pews".
- 2. Feed children in the area. Because of limited funds the food that they served the children varied from day to day. Sometimes it was peanut butter on day old bread from a baker. Other times it iwas rice and some variety of beans. And sometimes there wasn't anything.
3. Build a house. The purpose of building a house was not to have a more comfortable living arrangement, but rather to have a kitchen and dining room in which they could more adequately prepare and serve food. There would also be a dining room for the children to sit, eat and listen to Bible stories.
Fast forward to the present.
- 1. The local American missionary has and is still helping procure funds and materials to complete the church. (see picture below).
- 2. Still, because of limited funds there is no consistency in the amount, quality or quantity of food provided to the children.
- 3. The house is at a standstill. Eladio takes odd jobs and they build as they can.
As work teams come to help complete the church, they also minister to the children and adults as possible. Vacation Bible School is always a joy for children. One work team introduced the possibility of teaching the women to use donated sewing machines to make simple items for their homes. Several of the women seized the opportunity to learn and turn it into a small cottage industry. They caught the vision of sewing little potholders, aprons, placemats etc. and selling them.
So, the ministry of Jehova Sama is threefold and requires funds to meet the needs of and enhance the effectiveness of what God has called them to do.
1. The church is very close to completion but will need funds for continued ministry materials such as Bibles, teaching materials, chairs/benches, tables, etc.
2. As you can see in the picture, the floor plan of the house is well under way. The bedroom is completed but the kitchen needs a ceiling, stove, refrigerator/freezer, sinks, tables and cookware. The large open area behind the half wall will be the dining room. It measures 20' by 43'. It needs a ceiling, windows (7), doors (3), tables (6) and chairs. When it is 125° in the summer, ventilation becomes critical. Hence, the large number of doors and windows. Of course every home needs a roof and floors. After the final walls are up the priority will be a roof, then the kitchen equipment. The estimated cost in American dollars is as follows;
When these things are in place there will be an even greater need for funding to help purchase food.
3.The needs for the cottage industry are not as critical as feeding children but it is a program that can greatly improve the quality of the lives of a family. Right now it is done as a group and they use the sewing machines that belong to the missionary church. It would be good for this group of women to be able to have their own machines and even better when individually they can sell enough to maybe purchase their own. In the mean time they can use funding to purchase cloth, needles, thread and of course the ubiquitous repairs that come with anything mechanical.
As of June 18, 2010, this is a new ministry area of involvement for Star of Hope. In addition to prayer, we trust that you will visit this site often to watch for new pictures and follow the growth of this ministry.
One more note - if you recall at the beginning, in her vision Margarita saw a river with no water. The Colorado River runs through San Luis - and it has no water!