Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Psalm 119: 37-38 (NLT)
Boy, has our focus been changed! A few months ago we planned our monthly trips to the larger cities (3 hours away) to purchase beef, snacks, frozen food, the things we were used to having when we lived in the states. We would go and spend time looking in department stores, grocery stores and hardware stores just to see what was there. On March 15, 2020 things came to a standstill. Stay at home regulations were put into place, restaurants & stores were closed as were schools. The first couple of weeks were OK as I did a lot of cleaning, separating summer & winter clothes, straighten dishes and food shelves and took care of some yard work. Gene continued his work with the Georgia company, prepared lessons to teach on-line classes with his South West School students and did general computer stuff. But the third and fourth week, well, it was difficult for me. Daily devotions and prayer continued but I’m a “worker bee” and ran out of things to do! It’s a funny thing how God puts things together at just the right time. The devotions centered around “be still and know I am God”, trusting God when you don’t know what to do next, and praying at all times in all situations. These are things I know but have never HAD to put into practice. The tension and boredom melted away when I chose to acknowledge God and put my time, my life, my desires in His hands. Doors opened up for us to help our community by providing food and distributing it. Since helping others is my gifting, the world suddenly looked brighter. We sent out request for financial and prayer assistance for this undertaking and you stepped right into place! We (I) can’t thank you enough for your generosity! Now, two months down the road, everything is still about the same. The major difference now is that so many people have not worked for two months but still have family to feed. With no savings, no government checks, nowhere to get money to feed themselves or their family, people are hungry and desperate. Your giving has turned into blessings of food and supplies for those in need and your prayers have brought hope to our city. We continue to work with the Mayor’s office and as of the end of April, around 3 thousand families have been given food bags.
Also, with your donations to our community project, we were able to help missionary friends who live just outside of our city in a community called Yamaranguila. They direct a school for handicap children with about 12 or 13 precious, special needs children. When I asked about how things were in their area she mentioned that she and her husband had received special permission to visit and help their students. Most have single moms and with schools being closed the women haven’t been able to work because they had used the school as a place to leave their kids during the day. During this time, with special permission, our friends have been taking food and supplies to the families as well as continuing therapy for the kids. For example, one week they made packets for each student of play-doh, paint and puzzles so the children would stay active while at home. Thank you for blessing these children and their Moms!…and thanks to our friends who work so hard to help these children learn and grow in the love of God.
The amount of food in each bag we pack and deliver has been increased to cover two weeks based on the needs that have been seen in the communities. Sometimes special items are donated, like lettuce or cheese.
A two-week food bag consists of:
- Rice – 5 lbs.
- Beans – 5 lbs.
- Flour – 4 lbs.
- Eggs – 5
- Sugar – 4 lbs.
- Powdered milk – 1 package
- Maseca for corn tortillas – 4 lbs.
- Salt – 1 lbs.
- Solid Shortening – 2 lbs.
- Spaghetti noodles – 4 packages
- Tomato paste or sauce – 2 small packages
- Coffee – 1 lb.
- Margarine – 1 package
- Sardines – 1 can
- Chicken bouillon – 20 cubes
- Toilet paper – 2 rolls
- Soap – 1 bar
- Laundry soap – 3 bars
- Diapers as needed
- Encouraging Scripture and note
Each bag costs approximately $20.00 and blesses each family that receives it. As we hand out the bags and watch their eyes look-over what they have received, the sad faces burst into smiles and hope comes alive. Several times I watched as the mothers take the bags and start walking away, a child standing by the road begins to smile and runs to their mother to help carry the bags. I always try to send them off saying bendiciones (blessings) or Dios le bendiga (God bless you), they pause and smile thankful for all they received.
Our city of La Esperanza has had 4 confirmed cases of the virus. All were from the same community. So that community was locked down and no one could enter or exit. Sadly, one lady died. Earlier this week we received news that the 3 remaining persons had recovered! Praise God! The community is still on lock down but should open up next week allowing the people to join the schedule of the rest of the city going out one day a week according to the last digit of our I.D. number. After the 4 cases were confirmed our city went on total lock down for a week. No one was allowed to go out of their yard and only pharmacies and hospitals were opened for emergencies. With no warning and the announcement coming on Sunday, many people were short of food. With no delivery trucks coming into the town even the mayor’s office food distributing team could not help that week. Thanks to all who prayed, this only lasted one week.
One day as I looked out Gene was standing in at the fence talking with the guard who was inside the fence across the street. I noticed our neighbors dog prancing down the street staring at the fenced-in hombres (men) talking –ha, ha! Who would have thought dogs could run free while people had to be fenced in.
In the midst of all this we can say, “It is well with my soul” and hang on to the promise of “I will never leave thee or forsake thee”.
We serve a great big wonderful God,
Gene & Robin Willis
Heart of the King Ministries
115 Creden Pl
Alabaster, AL. 35007
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