Thursday, May 27, 2010

Toooday Is Your Birthday, Happy Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Aunt Debbie!

Thank you for letting us stay in your house while we are here in LA. You are spoiling us like crazy, we might just not want to go back to Mexico when it is time to leave. ;)
We didn't get to see you today before you left today, but hopefully you will see this. We love you so much, and hope you had a fun day, even though you were always.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Las Vegas

This past weekend we were with the Stoltzfus in Las Vegas.
They hold a very special place in our hearts because they are the ones that got us started with birds and were actually down in Mexico when we got our first parrot. *Aaaawwww!*

Bro. Dad preaching their church:

The view from our hotel room.

The Stratosphere!!!!
Nicole, Dad, and I went up there...
We had SO much fun...
(Thank God for camera self-timers, right?!?!)

And Nicole and I ACTUALLY went on the drop zone ride on the top of the Stratosphere called "The Big Shot". It was sooo BREATH-TAKING. Not as in "Awww, look at the view!!" But BREATH-TAKING, as in, "Why in the WORLD am I on this ride? I'm going to DIIIIIE!!" It was scary.
But now we can say that we did it, so THERE!
Now we are on our way to Los Angeles...

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Grand Canyon

I can't figure out how to get these pictures in order, but here are a few:

Tame squirrels running around the Grand Canyon...
I put food on my nose and he would get it off. It was too cute!

Then we saw the Hoover Dam...
The Wakefields: Missionaries to Mexico

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Roberto, Part 2

(First read Roberto, Part 1)
So the first night of the conference came and we went over to make our rounds. The kids directed us to this tiny square shack with a few dirty kids playing in the front yard. This was Roberto’s house. His brother’s girlfriend came out and we asked to see Roberto. She told us he wasn’t there. The kids were saying from the backseats, “These people lie, these people lie!” But…what could we do?

So we headed to church. But by the last night of the conference Roberto hadn’t shown up and we were getting desperate. So Sunday afternoon before church, we went over there again. And again the girlfriend came out and said, “He’s not here.” We had rehearsed what we would do if she said this so Jazmin jumped out and said, “I want to go look inside.”

Surprisingly, the woman agreed. One of the little kids in the yard grabbed the snarling dog by the door and Jazmin went and peeked inside the house. She turned around and shrugged. Roberto wasn’t in there. She came and got in the car and I’ll admit…I was beyond disappointed. My eyes were quickly filling with tears when the kids all started screaming, “THERE HE IS!! HE’S RIGHT THERE!!!! GO BACK, GO BACK!!” I whipped around and saw a flash of a black t-shirt disappear into the house. El Pastor jerked the car into reverse and we went careening backwards towards the house.

Again the girlfriend came out, but this time with a frown. “I told you!! He’s NOT here!!”

And again Jazmin said, “We want to look for ourselves.” The woman said ok. This time, I got out and we tried to go in, but the stupid dog by the door started lunging and snorting at us. Finally they got the dog under control and we went in. This was the one room. In front of us were a closet and a bed. On the bed was sitting a man with no shirt, tattoos all over him. On the left was a wooden dresser with a sliding door. Jazmin went and whipped the curtain on the closet open…no Roberto.

Then something moved in the wooden dresser/closet. Jazmin went to open it and the girlfriend came toward us with her arms out, “Don’t! That’s where I keep my under clothes!” We opened it anyways and there Roberto was with another kid on top of him, shielding him. After a couple minutes of begging Roberto to come out, Jazmin pulled the boy out that was on top of him. Roberto had clothes piled on him and a shirt wrapped tight around his face. I asked him why he was hiding, if he would come out and talk. He wouldn’t answer me. I talked to him, told him that his family loved him, that God loved him and was after him. I cried and prayed for him and begged him to come to church, but for half an hour he would not say one word. Then finally, finally, he started giving me one word answers. He promised to come to church next Sunday. That wasn’t good enough, but unless we tied this kid up, he wasn’t going anywhere with us.

So for about 2 months now, Roberto has been promising us that he is going to come to church “next Sunday”. At first he wouldn’t come near Nicole or me and even had a hard time being around the rest of the youth. Then one day he came and hung out with us when we went to the caves. That was a HUGE deal.

Then the night we were packing up to leave for the U.S. a bunch of people from the church came over to say goodbye and Roberto came too! Again, Roberto promised to come to church. I told the kids, “Don’t give up on him, keep inviting him, he has to give in one day.”

Juan C and Roberto

Well…….!! We've been in the U.S. for 3 weeks now and yesterday morning our assistant pastor’s son messaged me and said, “Bethany!! I’ve got awesome news!!! Roberto came to church last night!” He said Roberto came up front and his whole family gathered around him and began to pray. They said he just broke down crying.

They sent these pictures:

All I could do was cry and say thank you, Jesus!! God is sooo good!
When I hear more news, I'll update here.
Keep praying for Roberto!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Roberto, Part 1

The kid in the middle is Roberto and this is his story.

His dad died in August of 2008. A short time later, his mom ran off with another man. You can imagine the heartache he feels...
Roberto is the youngest of 8 kids, all of his brothers are living with their girlfriends, looking worse and living an even wilder life than Roberto. It’s easy to see whose example he is following.

Three months after the death of his dad, we met Roberto. I was a little surprised at his appearance. To see this scrawny 12 year old with a mohawk, piercings, dyed hair and painted eyes was quite a shock.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to respond. He was shy—friendly enough— but I was definitely out of my comfort zone. What do you say to someone whose life has just fallen apart? I was thinking, “Do I act like nothing is wrong? Do I hug him or would that embarrass him? Maybe I should just ignore him.” That is what I normally would do when I saw these kinds of kids on the streets.

I remember one of the first services that he came to. It was song service, the Holy Ghost was moving and most everyone was dancing and shouting…some of the kids and I were in a circle holding hands, dancing and praising God when I look over and see Roberto. He’s watching us, but so intently with this hunger in his eyes.

Then Eduardo comes over, taps my shoulder and says, “Roberto wants to dance too.”

So I took a deep breath…and waved him over. (At this point, all I could see was the porcupine hair). He hesitated for a moment, but came over. I watched him as he tried sincerely to praise God like his cousins, jumping and raising his hands. He had a huge grin on his face the whole time. I guess he really had wanted to dance.

That was his last service.

I forgot about him for 2 years. Then one day, the guys were over working on our house. Israel was telling crazy stories about when he was a kid and casually mentioned something about Roberto, then went on. But for the rest of that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about that boy.

Of course I’m thinking, “Uh oh. God…no way. No way, no way, no way! Not me.” I did not want to have to get close to this kid…he made me nervous. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that wouldn’t go away. That first day I thought maybe something was going on with him. Maybe Roberto was in trouble. I prayed and prayed, but the heaviness wouldn’t go away. I went to bed that night still crying and praying. So I’m trying to get to sleep when I hear the front door open and someone say, “Armando and Israel are here!” (Roberto’s uncles). I thought, “…Oh great. They’re coming to tell us that something happened to Roberto.” My imagination was running wild…hospitals, crashes, blood…

But they were just bringing over el Pastor’s birthday present. Haha!

So the praying continued. For days and days and weeks, just thinking about Roberto’s hurt. The young people were fasting, everyone was praying. Through all of this, our church, especially the young people, were AWESOME. They got a hold of this burden for Roberto.

After-church visiting time sort of turned into “Roberto News Time”. Had the kids seen him lately? If so, what was he doing? Did you talk to him? Where has he been living this week? What is going on with his brothers and sisters? We would sit around and talk about what we would do if he refused to come. Would it be wrong to trick him into coming? We could tie him up…We would laugh, but we were half serious. We would go over to his house looking for him and he would refuse to come out or would run away.

Then our April conference rolled around. I had been begging God, “Bring Roberto to the conference.” I really believed that this was when Roberto would come to church. I knew that if he could just come to ONE service, he would feel the presence of God and NEVER want to go back to that pitiful life he was living.

I'll finish this tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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