Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Out There with the Beams -- April 2013



Hi! This is Vanessa writing this month. I love this opportunity to connect with all of you and remind you how important you are in the lives of everyone in our ministries and to us personally. Whether you support us financially, pray for us, send out our mail, send us teams, or raise funds on our behalf, we are so glad and grateful God has put you where you are and that you are being obedient to our Father. I know being obedient is not the easiest thing, I know it can be very hard and at times feel wrong, so THANK YOU!

Some things are new:
I know this is last minute, but if you haven't already heard, today, Tuesday April 16th, our friends at at Crossroads Christian Church (our beloved home church) are sponsoring a “Bolivia Benefit Night.” They are having a dinner and have invited as a very special guest Mr. Joe Castillo whom many of you know from the show “America’s Got Talent.” We would like to extend the invitation to you, so if you are in the area, please go and have fun and support our ministries! Tickets can be purchased at the church itself or contact Jason Newland via Facebook.

At the transition house we have 3 new girls, one of them has a beautiful baby called Matias. These three girls have come to us from three very different backgrounds, yet all very painful and sad. Out of respect and confidentiality, I cannot share more with you about these girls, but I do ask you to pray for each one of them. Pray for their salvation, that they will see Jesus in a powerful way that no one and nothing can take away from them. Please also pray for their future, for their jobs (for bosses with integrity), for their babies’ health and for their hearts to forgive and move on.

We also have one other girl who is with us for the second time. I have seen the change in this girl since the time a dear friend of mine prayed with her and she saw Jesus coming to be with her, and then despite all the sad memories and pain, she said: “it is going to be okay, He is here!” Of course I know becoming new in Christ takes some time. During her first stay with us she made some poor choices and had to leave. This girl would not make eye contact, she didn’t want to be hugged or even kissed on the cheek as we do here for a greeting, she challenged us in everything we said and did. She was gone for about eight months--she kept in touch for a while but then kind of disappeared without telling us her new address. Finally, one day she called our director saying she needed help to find a new home for her baby. We were surprised, knowing how much they loved each other and how attached she had been to her baby for 2 ½ years now. When she came to us, we saw the misery and poverty in her clothes and in her eyes. She and the baby were wearing rags again. As she told her story we found out that the baby had become extremely sick and had to be in the hospital for several days. Because she could not show up for her shift, the mom had been fired from her job. They lost or sold “everything” they owned and were practically living on the street. She finally came back to “Ruth and Noemi” desperate for another chance. Of course we took them back in with open arms and shared a warm meal and gave them a bed.

She stayed, and after a while she confessed to us all the terrible things she had done to feed herself and the baby. When she told us, Dorcas and I hugged her and cried with her. I was mad that she had been too proud to call us when she first needed help, but in her mind those appalling things she did were the only choices at the time. We spoke truth about how there is always hope in Jesus, that the devil is a liar who makes us feel desperate and choice-less at times, but we need so seek until God opens a door. I am so very glad and grateful that she did. She called!!

God is so big. This second time the same dear pastor who prayed with her the year before was in town again!!! She had even more amazing personal time with Jesus again! These days she has a job in a nursery where she is allowed to bring her little girl. She is preparing to take an exam to become a certified nurse’s aid, also thanks to someone who was here on a team and is a nurse and who encouraged this girl. And she encourages the other girls by example on how to work, talk and even dress.

Sometimes we look at someone’s life and see no hope, but I try to remind myself to “look with the eyes of God.” He changes hearts and He changes circumstances. I have seen how He has done this for this wonderful, beautiful girl and her baby. He has used you, my pastor friend, my nurse friend, everyone who has painted and worked and visited at the Transition House. Thank you for being a part of this ministry. I am so blessed to be here and have the opportunity to see the results from the seed you have sown.

Urgent Prayer Request: Last night, Maria, one of our girls at “Ruth and Noemi” had an appendicitis attack. She was extremely sick with pain, fever, and vomiting, so we took her to a public hospital emergency room at 11:00 PM. They did laboratory analysis and said she needed surgery immediately but that they could not help us. We drove around the city to five other hospitals before we found a doctor who could perform the surgery. Thankfully, the doctor caught it in time. Pray for a quick recovery for Maria. This “Bolivia Benefit” night in Lexington could not be happening at a better time. Your generous support will help us cover the costs of Maria's medical bills.

Blessings,
Vanessa

Monday, March 11, 2013

Out There with the Beams -- February 2013


Dear Friends and Family,

Here are some interesting facts about Bolivia, according to a recent poll: Bolivia is 81.6% Catholic; 10.3% Pentecostal or charismatic; 2.6% non-charismatic Protestant; 1.7% Mormon or Jehovah's Witness; 0.4% Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist; 0.1% native religions; and 3.3% have no faith. So even though Catholics, Pentecostals, and mainline Protestants may not agree on the details, the overwhelming majority of Bolivian's believe in the same God. That is a great place to start from in a conversation about God's love and forgiveness. There has been a good bit of discussion in the public media in Bolivia about Mother Earth and the resurgence of traditional religions that worship nature. If this poll is accurate, it doesn't look like too many people are buying into that theology. Vanessa and I try to share God's love with everyone regardless of their religious background. We know that God calls each person to Him and that He has the power to heal all pain and provide for the needs of everyone in Bolivia. Pray with us that we can be a conduit to that end.

Ministry Updates—Agua Yaku

We recent took a road trip of sorts, traveling up to the highlands of Cochabamba to drill a water well in a rocky valley and to do a little more research for our new water filter project. We were contacted by a fellow missionary, Craig Oliver of SIM, who is helping provide clean water to Quechua communities in the Vacas municipality of Cochabamba. He would like to drill wells manually in this area, but wanted us to come in first with our equipment to see if it was possible before he invested to much of his time and resources in the project. I was pessimistic after seeing a narrow valley surrounded by rocky ridges at over 12,000 feet in elevation. A number of families had already successfully made hand-dug wells up to about 10 meters deep and Craig was hopeful we could penetrate the ground with our manual drilling system. The first attempt was not successful. In four or five different locations we hit rocks within the first couple of feet that we could not drill through. On the second day we drilled into an existing 6 meter hand dug well and were able to drill to about 14 meters without hitting any more rock. This greater depth will allow the family to pump water throughout the dry season, providing clean water for both consumption and for the irrigation of a second potato crop each year. So it looks like if Craig and the families of Vacas can get passed the top layer of rocks they will be able to successfully drill wells down into the deeper water aquifers and will have access to good clean water year round.

A second reason for our trip to Cochabamba was to speak with the staff of Food for the Hungry (a Christian relief and development organization), who had completed a pilot project with Sawyer filters in Cochabamba to study the health benefits of using water filters. The study was completed in a peri-urban squatter settlement where the residents do not have access to the city water supply. They have to purchase water from private companies who truck it in on a daily basis and sell it residents for $5.00 to $7.00 a week (10% to 20% of an average family income). There is no guarantee to the safety or cleanliness of the water they purchase. The drivers say they get the water from deep wells or other clean sources, but the residents say the water often smells of fish and they know it is unsafe to drink. I personally saw these tanker trucks pumping water directly from a filthy river flowing through the middle of downtown Cochabamba. Two years ago Food for the Hungry distributed 1100 filters to project participants and trained them on how to use and maintain the filters. They found that after four months of use, the occurrence of diarrhea in children under five years old had decreased by more than fifty percent.

While we are certain of the link between clean water and better health, we weren't so certain that people would change their old habits and continue to use the filters after the study ended. Jason and I went to the project community and interviewed Karina, a local FFH staff member, and also a number of families who began using the filters two years ago. Even though Sawyer guarantees the filters for 1,000,000 gallons, we were doubtful that families would actually perform the regular back-washing necessary to insure long-term functionality. We were pleased to find that the majority of families who received filters through the study were still using them consistently and reported marked improvement in their families health. Karina said many new families had moved into the settlement since the study and that there was a tremendous need for additional filters in the area.

We in Agua Yaku are excited about this new phase of our water project and cannot wait to get the first shipment of filters in from the U.S. The Bolivian paperwork is almost completed and we will soon be an official importer and distributor of Sawyer filters in Bolivia. A donation of $80 will help us provide a family in Bolivia with clean water for up to ten years.

Okay, since I'm (Danny) writing this month, my focus has been on water—but Vanessa is also going strong with her ministry in the Ruth and Noemi Transition House for Girls. So please don't forget to prayer for and support her ministry as well. Next week we will be hosting a team the Ames E Free church in Iowa who will be split between drilling water wells in Isosog, and helping Vanessa out in at Ruth and Noemi and the Talita Cumi children's home. If you have come down to Bolivia on past teams or just feel God calling you to support these ministries please click on the donate link and become a financial partner with us in these ministries. If you have read this far into our newsletter, I know you believe in what we are doing. In order to continue serving in Bolivia, Vanessa and I need additional partners for our personal support as well as for the projects. Please consider making a monthly pledge of $25, $50, $100 or more a month. We know that God will richly bless your faithfulness.


Blessings,
Danny and Vanessa

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Out There with the Beams -- January 2013

News from Ruth and Noemi
As for the ministry, it is going really well. I am learning about God's provision. We feel held by Him. In the beginning of this ministry we had a few big donations which made it really easy to do help young ladies, we were even able to provide education then. But now we are still operating, we have reduced all our costs and expenses and even though money comes in slowly and little by little, I can almost see God holding Ruth and Noemi in his hands and saying: “I've got you, you are OK, just trust me” So here we are, trusting the Lord for the next month and the next girl that will come in our doors. Right now we have two girls, Jenny who is coming from Talita Cumi and Carolaen with her baby Sarai. Vicky another one of our girls just left. She just got married and the wedding was beautiful, very simple and very sweet. She has married into a very loving Christian family that loves her and her baby already. Reminds me of a young me! Isn't our God great? He changes lives in one day!

The Ruth and Noemi Transition House has three local regular donors, four in the US, and one in Canada. That makes $330 coming in every month. We need at least $1500 a month to keep the doors open. Something you can do to help is tell other Christians around you, maybe the Lord is also calling them to support a girl and her baby and be part of a God's force that can change two lives.
To our regular donors and prayer partners: THANK YOU, because of your obedience the ministry stays with open doors waiting for our next girl. We love you and we pray for you every Tuesday morning. We hope you can come and visit us soon! We would love to have you and we do promise adventure!

News from Agua Yaku
Agua Yaku recently made a short trip to the Guarani village of Pirirenda, in the dry desert mountains about four hours south of Santa Cruz, to demonstrate how using a Sawyer filter can clean a dirty water source, making it fit for consumption. It was exciting to have Erwin, a Baptist pastor from the nearby town of Gutierrez, join us to give us an introduction into the community and to translate our Spanish presentation into Guarani. Also joining Danny and Jason were North American missionaries David Rossi and Steven Mullins who have been working in this area for several years. Pirirenda is an ideal place to begin our new filter project because the ground water is too deep to effectively drill water wells. We visited one private ranch in the area that had a water well drilled within the last year. They had to drill over 300 feet deep, through a good bit of solid rock before they reached water, and it cost over $12,000. Most Guarani families live on less than $500 a year. Even if they saved for an entire lifetime they could not pay for such an expensive well. There are no rivers in the area, so they survive by collecting rain water from their roofs and carrying buckets of water from stagnant ponds back to their homes. Pastor Erwin is planning a return trip shortly to present a Sawyer filter to the local school teachers and to encourage community residents to begin using the filters.



It costs Agua Yaku about US$ 80.00 to provide a family with a Sawyer filter bucket system, that will ensure clean water for many years, and the training necessary to improve their family’s health. Sawyer filters are guaranteed to safely filter 1,000,000 gallons of water, but what is so innovative and appropriate for the developing world is that Sawyer filters can easily be back-washed in under a minute and will never require replacement filter cartridges. We are asking families in this community to pay a nominal fee (about US$ 15.00) to help cover the cost of the filters. We do not do this to be mean, or even because we are under-funded, but rather so they will become “partners” with us in improving their family's and community's health rather than just “receivers” of charitable donations. We do not want to perpetuate the culture of dependency that has been created from decades of hand-outs and ill-conceived mission project or development projects. Hopefully this required contribution will help them understand the value of the filter and the importance of clean drinking water. We also don’t want this counterpart payment to be so high that it is a hindrance to receiving clean water for the poorest members of the community. There are 42 more rural Guarani communities just in the province of Gutierrez alone. It is our goal to insure that each and every family has access to clean drinking water. It is our prayer that each person in every community will come to know Christ’s love along with drinking boundless glasses of fresh clean water. Meeting “spiritual” and “physical” needs of the less fortunate is what Agua Yaku, and every Christian, is called to do.  Join us in this ministry. A gift of US$ 80.00 will give a family clean water, a gift of US$ 1,000.00 allow us to give a family their own water well. How many families do you want to help?

Family News
We hope you have had a very restful and fun Christmas and New Years' break. For us it was very special since our son Nathaniel came for a long visit, we had him here for almost a month. The boys (Danny, Isaiah and Nathaniel) went backpacking and the girls (Vanessa and Luciana) went to visit family in Peru right after Christmas. Luciana and I (Vanessa) had a lot of fun in Peru, the land of delicious and cheap fish! And of course it was wonderful to see my grandparents and brother and cousins again and to meet my precious little niece for the first time. Sometimes, I wish the Lord would call us to Lima- Peru so I could be close to my family but for now He has us here in Bolivia. I am also very thankful to the Lord for all the wonderful dinner/cooking times, outings and conversations I got to have with my son Nathaniel. It is so different being the parents of a grown person rather than just partents of kids! But nevertheless it is still a lot of fun. Nathaniel is a very sweet and gentle spirited man, besides being very smart and humble. We are proud of him.

As you may know we are in our super hot summer months right now, so while you all enjoy cold weather and perhaps snow, we here have gone hiking in a river! It was very challenging for Lucy and I since we are the only two in this family with short legs! It makes it hard to jump into unknown deep waters. The other two kids are also doing great. Luciana is in her senior year. Please pray as she makes decisions about college and life in general. And pray for protection during her senior year. Isaiah is growing up to be just like his dad and his older brother, wild and adventurous. He keeps on getting stuck high up in trees! He is a lot of fun, and since he is 10 he still kisses and hugs us a lot! I see God's image and provision in our kids! Please pray for all three of them, that they may continue in the Lord's path, that they may see Him and hear Him in their lives.

Blessings,
Danny and Vanessa


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Contribute

You may make an online donation using a credit card, or set up an automatic monthly contribution by visiting the EFCA website at the following links.






The account number should already be filled in, but if not be sure to designate the gift for Daniel and Vanessa Beams, specifying acct. #001-0116 to contribute to the Beams support account,  #001-0083 for Agua Yaku, and #001-0141 for the Ruth and Noemi Transition Home.


First things first, we need your prayer support. With a strong prayer team behind us, God will use us in this ministry to reach many people for Him.  Also important--we are seeking ministry partners who can support us financially. The EFCCM provides the structure of a church family, prayer, and spiritual and financial accountability, but they ask that we raise our own financial support to pay for living expenses, travel, ministry expenses, etc. Please pray for our ministry and prayerfully consider your financial investment in this ministry.

We need to raise approximately $6,000 a month to cover our living and ministry expenses. We currently receive about $4000 a month in support, so there is plenty of room for additional partners. Approximately 7% of what we receive is used for EFCCM administrative costs, 93% is used in Bolivia. If you would like to designate your gift for a specific project, please include a special note stating such when you make a contribution. If you know of anyone else (a church or individual) who might be interested in this ministry, please share with them what we are doing and have them contact us.

Because the EFCCM is a Canadian organization, donations made directly to the EFCCM by U.S. residents are not tax deductible. However, U.S. residents may make tax deductible contributions to this ministry through the EFCA—the Evangelical Free Church of America. All Contributions received by the EFCA will go directly to the EFCCM for the Beams support. A year-end tax receipt will be sent to the address you provide confirming the donations.


If you do not need a U.S. tax receipt, you can help us out by sending contributions directly to the EFCCM in Canada, and thus avoiding the 5% administration fee that the EFCA charges. You can make an on-line contribution directly to the EFCCM at the following link.

EFCCM online Donation

Be sure to and use the pull-down menu to designate the donation for the “Beams, Danny and Vanessa,” or select "other" and specify either: Agua Yaku--acct. #2-5035, or the Ruth and Noemi Transition House--acct. #2-5033.  To make your contribution a recurring monthly contribution, please follow the instructions on the donation page and email the home office with your request.


Old-Fashioned Mail: Use the following links to print a mail-in form to send in with your check to either the EFCA or the EFCCM.



For more information write to us at: beamsclan@gmail.com or visit our ministry blogs at: www.beamsclan.blogspot.com, and www.aguayaku.org.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Out There with the Beams--December 2012


Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas! We hope this season finds you with lots of time to spend with your loved ones. We are excited that our family will all be together here in Santa Cruz this year. We want to take this chance to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported our ministries with prayer and financial gifts over the past year. We could not continue working in Bolivia without your support.

We just finished up with our last volunteer team of the year. We spent a great week with a Crossroads Christian Church team from Kentucky (our home church). Half the team stayed in town with Vanessa and worked at the Ruth and Noemi Transition House. The other half went with me and the Agua Yaku staff out to drill water wells in a Guarani community about eight hours south of Santa Cruz.

Ministry Updates

Ruth and Noemi: The girls and staff from Ruth and Noemi are getting settled into their new home in the El Alfarero ministry building. Vanessa and Dorcas (the director) are preparing to receive several new girls in December and January. It is a tight fit, but the new apartment has a capacity for up to eleven women and five babies. Ruth and Noemi has been fortunate enough to be supported by several large donations over the past couple of years, but now they need to grow their monthly support base so they are always sure of steady support for their monthly budget. The girls continue to make jewelry and tee-shirts to help pay for their room and board. Soon they will be volunteering in the El Alfarero cafeteria, which will be serving between 500 and 1000 students each day.

Agua Yaku: We are changing things up a bit in Agua Yaku. While we will continue to drill water wells, we will begin to focus more specifically on providing access to clean water and improving health through HWTS (household water treatment and safe storage) and WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) programs. Because of a number of limitations (financial and technological) we have not been able to drill wells in every community where clean water is needed. In many communities where it is not possible to drill wells, the residents have to drink water collected from rain water or other surface sources that are unsanitary. The World Health Organization has determined that clean water can reduce water-related deaths by 21%, sanitation (latrines) can reduced water-related deaths by 37.5%, and hygiene (hand washing) can reduce water-related deaths by 35%. Improvements in all three areas could practically eliminate water-related deaths!

Through a new filter technology we hope to place a water filter system in each home that does not have access to a clean water source. Sawyer (http://www.sawyer.com/sawyersaves/default.html) has developed a hollow-fiber membrane filter that can filter up to 500 gallons of potable water a day (cleaner than U.S. bottled water) and is guaranteed for 1,000,000 gallons. This is a huge leap in filter technology. Would you like to help Agua Yaku provide a family with clean water for life. For $100 we can provide a family with a Sawyer filter and training on how to use and maintain the filter, and training on how to improve their family's health through sanitation and hygiene. We have a big goal: we would like to place 100,000 filters in Bolivia in the next five years, which would provide clean water for around 1,000,000 people! How many families would you like to give clean water to for life? As we implement this program we will continue to work through local churches, pastors, and missionaries to make sure the poor are ministered to and that everyone hears about the love and truth in Christ.  

Beams Family Support: While Vanessa and I would much rather raise support for our projects, we also have to raise support for our own salary. We are a bit low on our monthly pledges and for 2013 we need an additional $1000 in monthly support to help cover our salary, insurance, travel, etc. It would mean so much to us if you could give $25, $50, or $100 or more a month to help support our work here in Bolivia.

If you would like to donate to Agua Yaku, Ruth & Noemi, or to our support account, please follow the links in this email. If that is too confusing, give us a call at: 011-591-3351-1087 or contact us by email at: beamsclan@gmail.com and we will walk you through it. We wish each and everyone of you the best during the Christmas season and the coming new year.

Blessings,
Danny and Vanessa

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalms 25:5


Friday, August 24, 2012

Hello!
This is Vanessa writing.  I am very new to the whole "tech era" I mean I know it has been around for a while but I just couldn't make very good friends with it.  On our last trip to the U.S I realized that we have now lived here in Bolivia longer than in the U.,S.  So this is an effort to keep connected and to help you, dear prayer worrior, sponsor, friend, neighbor, grandparent, parent, brother, sister, niece, nephew, library friend, teacher, student and kid friend to see and share what our life and ministry is like here in the poorest country of South America.  I will be sharing stories of things I see as well as random facts of our life here.
As you might already know I run the Ruth and Noemi Transition House, which is basically a Christian refuge for young women and their babies.  A couple of weeks ago, right after we returned from the U.S I had  a meeting with my dear friends Dorcas and Marizabel who help me run the house, we had to go to a cafe since the house is very small and the "walls have ears" if you know what I mean, the rest of the building is not yet finished so we really had to get out of there.   As my ladies were updating me in everything that happened during my absence a little boy walked in singing a song "I have a friend who loves me and his name is Jesus"  we saw he was alone and begging, when he came to us I asked him where his mom was, he shrugged his shoulders, then he said he knew all his times tables and he would recite them for us if we wanted to hear them, we said no and Marizabel gave him half of her chocolate cake, I told him to sit while he wait, he sat but didn't eat.  I asked him why he wasn't eating and he said he was saving it for his little sister who is seven.  Then he told me he lived with his blind grandmother and he and his sister begged so they could eat.  I couldn't help but just stare at him and fight some tears, he said he had been told by grandma' that their mom had left them when they were babies.  He is ten, his name is Wilson.  I turned to Dorcas and said "how unfair this life is"  I asked him if he would like his own piece of chocolate and he nodded so we got him some and some strawberry juice.  Dorcas asked him if he didn't want us to take him to a "home" (orphanage) he said "no, I have been to one and didn't like it"  he didn't say why or what home he had been to.  I really wanted to hug him and put him in my car, buckle him up and bring him to my house. This guy from another table called him and gave him two coins.  I though "why, are you doing that?" "don't touch that kid!" I mean he is 9, walks around and takes the bus alone! my mind started racing with all the worst possible things that could happen to this little kid.  My youngest son is 10! I cannot picture him leaving our neighborhood alone.  When we left we asked Wilson again if he was sure he didn't want us to take him to a home and he said no, I mean we could have taken him anyways, but I would be writing this from jail!  I asked him if I could hug him and he let me so with an awkward hug and kiss on his cheek and desperate prayer we left him.  All the way home I felt this horrible thing in my stomach.  I thought: " he needs parents, a safe home, Jesus, a loving mom, and you gave him cake!"  I cried to God that He would hold this little kid in his arms, that He will protect him from evil, that He would provide everything he needs and that Danny(my husband) prayed with me that Wilson, with God, would grow to be a good man, a loving person.  I went back the next day to see if he was there, I asked the people in the cafe and they hadn't seen him.  I can't forget his face, there was no joy in his face but he was very cute and his hair stuck up straight without any gel.
I am telling you this story because Wilson and I need you to pray.  Pray for him, for his family, for his future, for angels to protect him and for radical change in his life.  It is very difficult to accept the fact that I can't do anything else at this point.  I don't understand!  During my time here I have seen many other children like Wilson, and I wonder if they are telling the truth but even if they are not; their circumstances are very very far from ideal.  Children here are very often seen as worthless little slaves.  I know there is pain everywhere, but here it is just something that we see everyday.  Poverty, abuse and corruption have a hold on this country.  I pray that God will pour his Spirit here, heal lives, encourage us, I pray He will find Wilson's mom and talk to her, help her take care of her children and I pray that He will come back...tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Out There with the Beams -- October 2011


Hello from Bolivia again.  This is Vanessa writing this month.  I love sharing with all of you how the Lord is changing us, changing our lives and changing the lives of those around us.  As some of you know, we recently hosted a volunteer team from Brazos Pointe Fellowship in Lake Jackson, TX.  These ladies are obviously daughters of God, they are wonderful!  They can renovate, decorate, counsel, share testimonies, comfort, help save lives, and be beautiful all at the same time! Unfortunately, one of the Ruth & Noemi girls fell off a horse during our retreat, breaking a rib and bruising a lung.  She spent three days in the hospital.  It gave us a scare, but thankfully she has now almost fully recovered.  Even with the accident, we had an amazing time in Samaipata.  We laughed a lot, cried a lot (it was of course, all ladies) and hugged a lot!  For some of our girls, none of these things (laughing, crying or hugging) come easy!  Even for us as the staff at the Transition House, I felt like for a while we had lost the ability to cry!  And would just fall into a—do, do, do mode.  But not up there, not after we heard all the amazing stories, of people who have been broken and restored, let down by people or circumstances but picked up by God himself!  The only response was to happily and hopefully cry.   Even for me, for the longest time, crying has been a sign of weakness, I think “strong and mature children of God shouldn’t cry.” Plus seeing sad things everyday sometimes just hardens you.  So it was just great to cry and be held!

Also, during the retreat, one of our girls accepted Christ! Which is awesome!  It is the full circle in a way—for our girls to understand that all the help and encouragement they are receiving has one reason only and that reason has a name: Jesus.  Please pray for her, her name is Carolaen, that as she goes on, the hope of knowing her Savior will stick around! That she will be strong and gentle with her little girl (Sarita) and that her needs will be met by our God.  Our Juanita, is also doing much better.  She is the one who fell off the horse.  She is not back to work yet, but she is getting around faster and smiling a lot!  And God is showing her (without us preaching empty words) who her real family is!
When you pray for us, please pray for our future transition into the Alfarero building coming up this next year.  El Alfarero is a new ministry in Santa Cruz.  It is huge and exciting.  They are going to have a coffee house, Christian library, counseling center, pregnancy crisis center (Centro de Vida), nursery and conference center and us, the Ruth & Noemi Transition House, all in the same place.  They are located amongst most of the colleges in Santa Cruz.  Alfarero is a university student focused ministry, and the goal is to have 1000 people in and out every day!  I will be waiting tables, counseling, and serving with Ruth and Noemi, and I am very excited about it.  There are lots of advantages for our girls here in this new place: job opportunities, living in community with other Christian youth, having the easy access to the counseling center and the nursery and being able to serve as volunteers in the cafĂ©.  I believe serving others gives us significance in Christ! We do have some challenges though, one of them is that our family will grow!  We will have capacity for ten girls now! So please pray for our staff and pray that we will be able to hire a new person if needed.

Our Family:  Isaiah is having a pretty good school year. He has a wonderful teacher this year and we are learning how to parent a child whose brain works at light speed and whose emotions are proper for a nine year old.  Luciana is playing soccer for her school and managing to have excellent grades and a fun social life.  Nathaniel is in Dallas (man, do we miss him!) still working toward becoming a professional cyclist.  All three of them are our joy and there are no words to thank God for them.  Please continue to pray for their protection, not just physical but spiritual and emotional as well.
I am still struggling to become a U.S. citizen, and having to travel too much between Bolivia and the U.S.   Please pray I will be able to get it soon so that Luciana can go to college in the U.S., which is what she wants to do (that is coming so close!)  Pray for my next trip—still awaiting the date!
Danny and Warren (our co-missionary) have embarked on yet another project to create low-cost efficient housing; and are building an earth bag house at a Mennonite women’s refuge center as a model to figure out exact costs, procedures, etc.  It looks great!  And it is hard work!  I did it for two days and then I hurt in places I didn’t know I had, so if some of you guys want to come for a visit and a different type of work out please do! We would love to see you.
Another praise, after four and half years we finally have our one year residency visas for Bolivia (which are now only good for eight months) but we got them! I used to think that if adversity ever met us here, like money being short, or paperwork being difficult, that meant it was time to go, because surely God would provide everything the way I wanted it and when I wanted it, but then I read “The Heavenly Man” and realized that I was wrong!  All I can say now is that God specifically called my husband to Bolivia, to serve his people, and He called me to Him, and I want to live in his will because I love him, so for now this is where we are serving with all we have, and each one of you with your prayers, or visits, or financial support make it possible too.  So thank you!
Blessings,
Vanessa

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Out There with the Beams -- August 2011


What a great, but chaotic, summer here in Bolivia.  We have recently hosted four volunteer teams in a row, and have another one from coming in a couple of weeks—and we love every hectic minute of it.  Many of you know we had planned on traveling to the U.S. this summer, but because of residency visa issues here in Bolivia, we have had to stay put for the time being.  We did make a quick, one week, trip to Kentucky to complete some paperwork for Vanessa and Luciana’s U.S. residency and citizenship applications.  I won’t bore you with the inane details, but please keep our immigration challenges, on both continents, in your prayers. 
Just a short note—and plea—concerning our financial needs.  First, thank you to everyone who has faithfully supported us throughout the years.  We wouldn’t be here without your prayer and financial support.  We know economic times are tough in recent years.  I think because of this we have lost a few faithful supporters and our donations are now below the level that we need to continue serving in Bolivia.  We love serving in Bolivia and don’t want to have to leave this ministry.  If you feel God’s leading, we would love to have new partners supporting us monthly.  It is easy to get started, just click on the big donate button up in the corner.  Now on to more interesting news. 

The Ruth and Noemi Transition House for Girls (from Vanessa)
The Ruth and Noemi House is doing well.  I don’t remember if I mentioned this previously, but the Centro de Vida (Pregnancy Crisis Center) that we work closely with has practically closed its doors because of financial shortfalls.  They have only kept one staff person and she has moved her counseling office into the Transition House.  So, as you can imagine,  with that has come some change.  We used to have capacity for six girls but now we only have capacity for four.  Although until not very long ago we had five girls and three babies!!  Two babies were recently born, praise the Lord! He is so full of mercy.  These babies almost didn’t make it, but now they have been born! One of them was given for adoption to a very sweet Christian family.  What a huge sacrifice of love this was for the mom though.  As I watched as this young girl held her beautiful baby girl for the last time and then gave her away to her new mom, I just praised God for his provision in my own life, allowing me to keep my little baby girl (who is now sixteen, can you believe it?).  The other baby has now gone home with his mom and grandma who came to the house and took them on good terms. 
We are grateful at Ruth and Noemi to have the privilege of serving God in the restoration of relationships.  All of our girls have huge problems—emotional, spiritual, financial, etc., yet I can see God’s incredible love as He has brought them to Ruth and Noemi and they are safe, at least for now.  It is a battle talking to them about God and trying to make them understand His unconditional love when all they have seen is the very opposite from people who were nearest to them.  Despite that, two of our girls have recently received Jesus in their heart!  I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you that somehow have helped us in this battle, support comes in so many ways, not just money!  You have listened and obeyed and believe me I know obeying is not easy. 
Personally,  I am learning to hang all the problems from work on the imaginary hanger outside the house.  I just give it all to Jesus, with those exact words, and when I come in, even if there are toys everywhere and a mountain of dishes on the sink, life is wonderful.

News from Agua Yaku—a water well drilling ministry (from Danny)
Agua Yaku continues to expand in scale and scope, drilling lots of water wells throughout Bolivia.  We recently sent a team to drill a well in the department of Oruro, high on the altiplano of Bolivia.  We have now drilled wells in five of the nine departments of Bolivia.  Our primary focus continues to be in the Guarani Indian communities in the Izozog region south of Santa Cruz.  We have had great success there both drilling wells and working in evangelization with local pastors and churches. 
Soon we will begin a partnership with a sister Christian organization that is doing river ministry in the Beni department.  More than 400,000 people live on the rivers in eastern Bolivia.  The only way in or out of their rural communities is by river boat.   There are almost no clean water wells in these communities.  Agua Yaku has the perfect, simple and transportable, technology to drill wells and provide access to clean water in these rural communities.   Visit our website (www.aguayaku.org) and download our recently completed manual on how to drill using the Baptist method.  We hope many organizations and communities around the world can use this manual to begin inexpensively drilling their own water wells.  

Expanding into new ministries:  As you can see from the photos, we have been experimenting with a new building technique that will allow us to build, and teach others how to build, strong inexpensive houses in impoverished areas.  As it is in many parts of the world, affordable housing is a great need in Bolivia.  We ran across this building technique, called “earth bag building” or more formally, the “flexible-form rammed earth” technique on the internet and thought we would experiment with it a bit to see if we could incorporate it into our ministries here in Bolivia.  The current project you see in the photos is a house/office we are building in Pailon (an hour outside of Santa Cruz) on the property of the Casa Mariposa, a transition house for Mennonite women and children escaping oppressive situations in their colonies.  If you are interested in learning more about this building method visit: www.earthbagbuilding.com for a quick primer on the topic.  

We apologize for the recent scarceness of ministry updates.  That is either a sign of our laziness or busyness.  I would like to think it is the latter.  In any event, we promise to do better.  Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support.  Please write to us, or better yet, come for a visit to Bolivia.

Blessings,
Danny and Vanessa

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Out There with the Beams -- April 2011


Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from way down south.  Thanks for all of your notes, prayers, and support of our ministries in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  As we mentioned in our last update, we were planning on traveling to the U.S. for the summer break.  The key word is “were.”  Sadly, the paperwork for our Bolivian residency visas is progressing more slowly than expected.  If we attempt to travel in June, we would have to abandon our current application and would lose thousands of dollars in the process. So for the time being we will have to stay in Bolivia at least through June.  Pray for our Bolivian papers, as well as Vanessa’s application for citizenship in the U.S.  After so many years of immigration problems in the U.S., Bolivia, and Peru, we feel a bit like a family without a country.  

Agua Yaku Update:  We are gearing up for several volunteer teams who will be helping us drill water wells in several Guarani communities in the Isosog area of Santa Cruz.  A Canadian church team will be drilling with us next week, and then a team from Texas will arrive mid-June.  We have already drilled approximately 25 wells in three communities in the Isosog area and have at least that many more lined up in neighboring communities.  We are so thankful to have found a local Baptist pastor, Victor, who speaks Guarani and Spanish and is helping us spread the word about our project and set up the work.  We drilled a well for Victor and his family with a team from Kentucky last fall.  Since then he has become an expert well driller and indispensible partner to Agua Yaku in this area.  There has been a tremendous response to the Christian films we have been showing in the communities.  We often set up a laptop and projector (powered by a small gasoline generator) in the evenings and project movies on the side of churches or schools.  There is no electricity in these communities so a movie is quite an attraction with sometimes hundreds of people turning out to watch.  These gatherings are a great evangelistic opportunity to share the gospel. 
Agua Yaku is also recently beginning to partner with a fellow missionary in Cochabamba, with whom we will soon begin a well drilling project deep in the jungles of Beni and Cochabamba.  We will be working in villages that would normally require days and days of travel overland and by river boat; however, via a small airplane we can arrive within an hour or so from Cochabamba.  We will try to cut down the size and weight of our drilling equipment and pipes so they will fit in the airplane.  We hope that this experiment works out so we can bring fresh clean water to people in places that a big truck drilling rig could never travel.  

Ruth and Noemi Transition House Update:  Continue pray for Loly, the previous director of the transition house, who is having triplets!  She will have to remain in the hospital until the babies are born at the end of May.  Also, please keep praying for decision making; we think we have found a new person to replace Loly.   This time we have hired a person full time since now we have five resident girls—with three babies and one more on the way—and we are soon expecting the arrival of one more girl from Tarija ( a city in the mountains).  Our jewelry business is still progressing. The new girls are now learning to make things from the girls that were previously here.  God continues to teach us that the only way to receive healing for those who have been abused is to draw near to God and be repentant, to receive a spirit of courage, and leave behind the spirit of victims.  This is all only possible through the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts.  Please pray that as our girls learn basic life skills they will also learn who God is and who they are in His eyes.     
It is so encouraging to know that you all are back home praying for us and supporting our ministries here in Bolivia.  We could not be here doing this work without partners like you.  If you have been reading our updates for a while and have been considering sending in some support, please click on the donate button and follow the links to the appropriate information.  Join us in our calling to share Christ’s love with the people of Bolivia.

Sincerely,
Danny

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out There with the Beams -- March 2011


Dear Friends and family,

Hello! This is Vanessa writing to you now.  I cannot believe March has already come and gone.  We had a great Christmas and New Year time with my family and friends in Peru whom we hadn’t visited for seven years.  I love my beautiful family and country and miss them a lot.
Nathaniel came here and went to Peru with us, so that was a very special treat.  Also Luciana turned 16!!  Can you believe it?

At the Ruth and Noemi things are going great.  But I am really sad to announce that our director Loly is having to quit after March since she is expecting triplets and she is considered high risk.  I am really sad to see her go, please pray for her and her family, for provision and good health. She has been very efficient and loving and also has been key to starting the jewellery and T-shirt business at the house.  We need your help with prayer so that the Lord will provide someone else to work at the house who loves Him and loves the girls as well. This letter is full of prayer requests.  We need prayer as well for all our girls, we have four right now.  Two of them have babies, one little boy and a little girl who was born two weeks ago, she is precious!  Another girl who is new and pregnant is struggling and has said she wants to leave.  And then we have our only one student who does not have any babies and has finished culinary school and has started to work at  a restaurant.  All of them need sanity and miracles for their lives.  Such  as the miracle of forgiveness, provision and families for when they leave the Transition House.
Sometimes I get depressed and overwhelmed thinking about the girls and their lives but Jesus reminds me that they are his and not mine.  Please remember to pray for Marizabel and her health, she’s been struggling with several issues and allergies.
I would like to tell you and at the same time praise the Lord for all our volunteers, without them and their hard work it would be impossible to keep sanity.  Our newest volunteer is Liz, she came from Canada and has been a real asset to the house.  She is very caring and hardworking and super easy going.  She makes beautiful jewellery too!  I just wish I could keep her.  Oh ya, the best part is that she does not speak Spanish.  Oh the things God can do that we don’t even imagine!I don’t remember if  I have mentioned this or not but Loly, Marizabel, Angelica,  and I are training to become counsellors. Our class, called Biblical Counselling, has been hard but at the  same time I have received a lot of healing through the class.  I don’t particularly see myself as a counsellor but we definitely need the skills with the girls so I can be a means of healing for the Lord.

On a personal note, we really need prayer for paperwork in general.  I went to the US last month to renew my U.S. residency and to apply for U.S. citizenship.   So pray that the citizenship is granted quickly and without any problems.  Tonight we are all traveling by bus to Salta, Argentina for a couple of days so we can begin again to apply for residency visas in Bolivia.  It is an overnight 18 hour bus ride from Santa Cruz to Salta.  Fun!

This summer we will go to the US to share with some of you guys about our ministries.  If you would like us to come speak in your church or to your small group, please let us know and we will put you on our schedule. 

Blessings,
Vanessa