Wednesday, May 18, 2016

LIVES OF SACRIFICE

MI ESPERANZA - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JUAREZ DESERT



I have known Miguel and Viridiana for about 10 years.  I first met them on one of my mission trips to Juarez, Mexico long before I moved here full time.  They are the one of the many unsung heroes that I have had the pleasure of meeting in Juarez.  This blog will briefly highlight their work along with another couple, Pastor Jose Luna and his wife Agustina.

MIGUEL AND VIRIDIANA

When I first met Miguel he was about 20 years old.  His father, Pastor Rosalio, had started a ministry for the aged and he also pastored a church.  Miguel and Viridiana did most of the work at the "old folk's home".  At the age of 20 Miguel would care for the men with all the love, kindness, gentleness, and patience that you would expect from someone much older.  Miguel bathed the men that could not bathe themselves, and on some he would have to change their diapers.  He would also get them up in the morning and put them to bed at night.  In between all this Miguel found time to do loads and loads of laundry plus 100 other jobs at the center.  I wonder: how many 20 year-old young men are willing to do that 24/7?  Viridiana helped Miguel with whatever she could plus she prepared 3 meals a day for the men.  At that time the center only allowed men, but in the last couple of years a new dorm was constructed by a team from the U.S., so now women are living here also.  Today, about 11 years later, Miguel, now 31, and Viridiana are still doing the same thing.  Except that now the young couple has 3 children of their own and they have that as an added responsibility, plus all the trips to school daily.  The center, called MI ESPERANZA, My Hope, is strictly operated by faith and whatever people of goodwill and faith will bring them.  Oftentimes they get volunteers who will commit for a few weeks or months of help.  Volunteers also help with cooking, haircuts, work around the facility, and time visiting with the men and women residing there.



 The ministry also has a small chapel where Miguel and Viridiana hold regular church services.  Of course, Miguel also plays the musical instruments. 


Most of the time in Mexico when men and women end up in retirement homes like these it is because they are adult orphans; they have no family.  Miguel and Viridiana become their family.  


Once in a while bad news comes...the death of one of the ''gramps".  Miguel and Viridiana cry and lament as if their own relative had passed away.  They have a choice to turn the remains over to the city, where they will be buried in mass graves, or they will do all they can to give them a decent burial.  They sacrifice and choose the later.  A couple of years ago they had about 5 deaths in a matter of 3 months.  Many of these men and women are in wheelchairs.  Almost all of them are on medication, which is almost a full time job just keeping that organized.  And one never knows when one of them will be called home.  In all, this is a very happy place considering  all the challenges that go along with it.  Miguel knows to call me in case he has an emergency that he needs special help with.  And I often stop in to visit and bring them food or whatever I can get my hands on to bring.  His father, Pastor Rosalio, is no longer in Juarez; he has moved to another part of Mexico to start another retirement center.  Miguel and Viridiana are left alone but no one is as capable as they are to minister to these precious ones. Surely this is pure and undefiled religion. 

PASTOR JOSE LUNA AND AGUSTINA

Pastor Jose Luna and his wife Agustina are also also unsung heroes.  Their church is in the middle of the desert outside of Juarez just like Miguel and Viridiana's ministry.  Actually they're only a couple of miles away from each other.  Less than a year ago Pastor Luna had a good size church with very good facilities.  But when you live in prime crime areas and violence is the norm you pay a price.  One day some men showed up at Pastor's Luna's church demanding money.  Of course he didn't have any.  He also operates strictly by faith also.  So the men kidnapped him in his own van after having stabbed him  several times in the abdomen and on his right side.  As they drove off with him in the back of the van they came to a place where two of the tires were punctured and went flat.  And this is what saved the Pastor's life.  The men left but the pastor remained in the van bleeding until someone found him.  Pastor Luna has left that area and has started another small church just about a mile away.  The new church is called DIOS PROVEERA, God Will Provide.  The church, located less than 50 feet from his house, has a dirt floor but the pastor has found scraps of carpeting to put down in order to keep the folding chairs from sinking in the dirt when people sit on them. He has also found scraps of plywood, boards, and anything else he can nail down to raise up the small church.  He has about 60 people who attend on Sunday morning and more are coming.  Pastor Luna has promised the Lord that he will feed everyone who comes on Sunday morning and he has been able to keep that promise.  Usually all that is collected in the offerings are coins.  The pastor and his wife work feverishly to help out the people of their church and all those in the poor community. A ministry team came recently for the U.S. to build a tiny house for one of the families in his church.
DIOS PROVEERA CHURCH
NEW HOME!!!
WORK TEAM FROM THE U.S.

The team is affiliated with a ministry called CASAS POR CRISTO, Houses for Christ.  The team can finish a house in three days.  They even allow their children to get involved in the construction work.  I take as many things as possible to Pastor Luna including food, blankets, clothing, and I speak at his church often.  He has also received help to pay his medical bills and for repairs on his van.  And Pastor Luna and I have also worked together

AGUSTINA DISTRIBUTING BLESSINGS
OLD HOME
going door to door and ministering to the people in their homes.   Pastor Jose Luna dreams of having a church that is structurally sound.  So by faith he has started  digging behind his house to construct a church made out of concrete block and cement.  It may take several years for this to be completed but with this man of faith it WILL get done no matter how long it takes.  It has been a real pleasure to work hand in hand with this man of God. 

Both Miguel and Pastor Luna could use assistance in some projects.  Miguel started to add to their dining area but has not finished for lack of funds and manual help.  And Pastor Luna can use funds and/or manual labor in getting his new church construction going.  These are excellent opportunities for any construction teams wanting to venture out by faith to help these men of God.  So plan a trip to Juarez or help them out financially...or both!

Personally I've not seen my daughters since last October so this June I'll head to Arkansas to make my rounds and spend some time with them.  And I'm still hoping to make a trip to Puerto Rico sometime this year to visit the rest of my family whom I haven't seen in 5 years. 

Thanks to all for supporting my work in Juarez.  This year will be the greatest year of my life and of God's work in Juarez. 

Blessings to all.

Daniel


(Double-click on pictures to enlarge.  Please forgive the long gaps in this story, I could not fix them. Sorry.)
My lil friend loving some donated banana milk

Daniel Torres 
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, TX 79928

For tax receipts send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship 
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, AR 72145

Friday, January 29, 2016

2015 ENDS BEAUTIFULLY...2016 STARTS PERFECTLY

SCENES AT SAEM, EL PASO TEXAS



Some people still do not believe that it snows in Juarez, Mexico.  But we had almost a foot of snow just two days after Christmas of 2015 in Juarez.  The snow brings all the issues to Juarez that it does to any other city in the United States that is not well prepared for it.  But it was a wonderful blessing to all the children in a city that do not have too much to laugh about.  To the children of Juarez the snow was a Christmas gift from Heaven.  And it was a joy to hear all the laughter of kids playing in the snow, if only for a few days.  It was a beautiful ending to another great year in Juarez.  In this blog entry I will give just a few updates from the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.

The year also ended with a one week visit from Tyler Tucker, whom I love as a son, from Searcy, Arkansas.  We had a great week visiting and ministering at different locations in Juarez.  Pictured on the left is Tyler sitting in a donkey-drawn buggy owned by a man named Cuco, who travels through parts of Juarez selling small plants and picking up items to recycle.  Tyler was a blessing as he also spoke at a couple of ministries.  One of the highlights of Tyler's visit was taking food to the people in the very poor areas of the city.  It was both heartwarming and sad to look down the dirt street that we were traveling down and seeing people already waiting for us to bring them food.  At one of the houses that we came to, two small kids announced to us that their sister was "sick".  After asking their uncle about the sister we found out that she suffered from epileptic seizures.  I asked the uncle if he would permit us to pray for her.  Her uncle gave us permission, so Tyler and I prayed for Raquel (pictured on the left).  Since that day I have gone back to check on Raquel.  On my last visit Raquel's mother told me that after 22 years Raquel is healed and has even been taken off her medication.  We thank the Lord Jesus for that.  He is the only One that can heal. 

During the last few days of October 2015 I was giving Pastor Duarte a tour of that very same poor area of Juarez.  Pastor Duarte was my host when I visited Cuba last summer and he was now visiting me and Juarez.  As I drove down the dirt streets I noticed a ministry to my left that I had not seen before even though I travel this area very frequently.  Immediately I heard the small still voice of the Lord asking me to go back to the ministry so I made a U-turn.  The ministry is called VALIENTES DE DAVID (DAVID'S VALIANT MEN).  And soon we learned that it was a re-hab ministry for ex-addicts.  The Pastor at the minisry as well as the men were very kind and extremely glad to meet us.  I found out that the ministry had only started a few months prior to our stopping there and that they had a lot of needs.  Besides needing food and everything else for the cold weather that had already started, their facility was very, very tiny.  One of the very first things that I brought them was a wood heater that also serves as a stove.  I have brought them food on a regular basis, many blankets, and just about anything they needed to make life a bit easier and comfortable.  I also connected them with my great friends, Pastor Manuel and Lolis, who have also taken them under their wings and have helped them tremendously.  One of the things that amazes me about people in Juarez is when I see the needy help the needy.  It blesses me tremendously when ministries unite and help each other out.  I know that it makes the Lord smile.           
Last year a paintball facility was remodeling so they donated the old walls to Pastor Manuel.  Pastor Manuel in turn donated the walls to these men.  They quickly used the walls to quadruple the size of their ministry.  By American standards the place may appear shabby, but this is an area in Juarez where pallets and cardboard are used to construct houses.  The roof in this ministry is just boards and sheets of plastic but I believe that in time all that will improve.  Three months after meeting up with this ministry the Lord has blessed them in many, many ways.  It's exciting to see how God moves to bless His people. 

Another exciting ministry is the church and orphanage directed by a precious friend, Pastor Martin Nuñez.  Pastor Martin's personal testimony is the most incredible testimony that I have ever heard.   

Pastor Martin and his wife Leticia have been picking up orphan children from the streets of Juarez for many years.  One of the first ones that they picked up as a child was Luis who also has an incredible testimony.  Luis is now a young man who is an outstanding preacher and is currently attending a university.  Luis is studying to be an attorney.  The facilities housing these kids, currently 19 of them, has been a constant challenge for Pastor Martin.  Most of the ceilings were falling down and everything else was in very poor condition.  The poor conditions may not have mattered too much to these kids who once lived in the streets and who are accustomed to looking at the moon and stars as they lay down to sleep.  After all, they now get plenty of love and care from their "Dad and Mom"; and that's the main ingredient to making any child happy.    
 
But Pastor Martin's dream has always been to give them a decent place to live.  Lately I have been blessed by several people who have given me donations to pass on to Pastor Martin.  With the funds he has continued to remodel the facilities.  All the pictures of the facility were taken on the same day.  The progress already made can be seen, as well as what still remains to be done.  Pastor Martin is an excellent speaker and one of my challenges is to bring him to Arkansas, or anywhere else, so that others may hear his incredible testimony.

In my travels around the poor areas of Juarez I often stop and visit with folk out in the streets.  Days after the snowfall in Juarez I was driving around and came across this family on the left.  The mom, sitting, is keeping an eye on her pot of beans while her daughter washes the dishes.  It's warmer outside when the sun is shining.  This is not a rare sight in Juarez.  I asked them what else they had to go with the beans and they were surprised at my question.  


Beans was all they had and the mother was hoping that the pot of beans would last at least three days.  I had a bit of food with me and I left it with them.  The tiny one-room concrete house on the left is occupied by a young couple and their four children.  They had been using a blanket for a door.  But when I got there a man was putting up a door for them.  Eventually I return to these families and bring them food, blankets, firewood, and whatever else I can help them with.   


I have known Jose (left) for about a dozen years...long before I became a full-time missionary in Juarez.  That was back when I visited Juarez with an Arkansas team on missions trips.  When I first met Jose his residence consisted of two 55 gallon drums with a piece of plywood on top of them.  Jose lived under the sheet of plywood.  Today Jose, 82, lives in a one-room concrete block house in the same poor neighborhood.  I consider Jose to be one of my special friends in Juarez.  The lady sitting next to the pot of beans lives down the street from Jose.

I consider Jose to be a craftsman with a very special gift.  He carves wood and makes beautiful horses.  He also carves out other things but the horses are his favorite.  He makes these with the naked eye and a photographic memory.  There are no elephants in Juarez!  I've always picture Jose sitting at a booth at Silver Dollar City carving out horses while customers stare in amazement.  But the poor people in Jose's side of town can't afford the most basic necessity, so a horse is of no use to them.  Jose had been working at a truck shop as a guard for many years with only half a Sunday off a week.     
He was barely making any income there and for about 4 years I've begged him to leave his job, go home, and dedicate himself to the hobby he loves.  A couple of months ago Jose finally left his job.  Right now I have so many people that want to purchase his creations that he needs to live beyond 100.  And he makes much more money doing his horses.  I pray that my friend Jose is blessed with many more years of life.  It's always a joy to visit him.  Jose is living proof that a person who is "dirt poor" still possesses God-given talents. 

I close this blog entry with a couple of pictures of the sunsets in Juarez.  They are a reflection of the awe and joy that I feel as I serve the Lord as a missionary in Juarez, Mexico.  Many thanks to all who sacrifice to help feed and supply blessings to some of the poor of this city. And many thanks for allowing me to bring the message of the cross of Christ to them.  In that, they become rich! 
Pastor Martin, Pastor Duarte, and
Little Sarita, who was dropped off at the
orphanage addicted to drugs.
Today she is perfectly healthy.

And Tyler,...the door is always open for another visit!     
  

 Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928

For tax receipts send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship Church
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72145

*Double click on the pictures to enlarge.




Friday, December 25, 2015

GOD REJECTS NO MAN



I have a wonderful story to share. 

First allow me to say that as humans we often have the tendency to not only reject other people, but to discard them from hearts like yesterday's trash. Not so with our Heavenly Father. God is no respecter  of persons and everyone is precious in his sight. While we were yet sinners God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. Jesus was not sent to rescue a perfect humanity. He was sent to rescue us when we were falling headlong into hell in our sins. 

Here starts the story: 

I know a couple in Juarez, Mexico who pastor one of the churches in the city. A few years back the pastor's brother in law, his wife's brother, fell into sin. At one time he was a productive member of their congregation and also the music director. In the past he had also recorded a christian music compact disk (CD). All the words to the songs on that CD were even written by him. 

This man had fallen to adultery and the family carried the weight, the embarrassment, the burden, and the fruits of his sin. He no longer attended the church. 

Recently this man's nephew (the pastors son) found a stack of the CDs that were stored and long forgotten at their house. He angrily brought the stack of CDs to his mother to show them to her. She held them in her hands and for a few fleeting seconds her mind was flooded with thoughts of her brother; the things that had transpired, and things that could have been. Deep thoughts of a life gone wrong. And very painful memories of things still being dealt with. 

Her son woke her up from her deep thoughts and demanded that the CDs just be thrown in the trash; which is what he wished that he could do with his uncle. His mother didn't think that throwing them away was a good idea. But at her son's insistence she slowly let them fall out of her hands and into the trash basket. Later, as they always did, their trash would be taken and thrown into a dumpster behind a gas station and a restaurant a few miles away. There the CDs ended up and were forgotten. 

Many days later a very poor man who lived at the community close to the church came to see the pastors. The Pastor's wife met him outside the church. The man proceeded to tell her about how his whole life had been recently changed. He said that he wanted to start attending the church. He actually had been to the church many times with his wife and two little boys, but only because the church served food to the poor. The man had never committed himself to the Lord or to attend a regular church service in the past. 


Then the man explained what had brought on his very recent change of heart. He explained that his family lives off other people's trash and that he had recently been sifting through a dumpster some miles away from home. There he had found an entire stack of CDs. He took them home and decided to listen to one of them. The words and the music in the CD touched his heart so deeply that he wanted to become a follower of Jesus. As he explained all this he reached his hands into a bag and pulled out the rest of the CDs and gave them to the pastor's wife. He wanted her to have them all. He thought that since his life had been touched so much by the words and the music that she would want to hand them out to other people so that they too could be blessed like he was. In her hands she held her brother's CDs  that she so angrily deposited in a dumpster a few miles away from the church some days back. As she looked at her full hands she not only thought of the CDs but of her brother's life. His eternal destiny. 

I happened to be at the church that day. Someone came inside and told me that the Pastor's wife was outside speaking to a man and that she asked if I would go outside to her. And it just happened that the man also had saved a CD for the "missionary" in gratitude for helping him in the past. As I looked at the Pastor's wife I saw the stack of CDs in her hands as she held them tightly. And I also saw the trail of tears running down her face. At that time I had no knowledge of the story behind the CDs. I only wondered what was going on but soon I would know.

The man left with promises of coming back to church. And he departed without knowing the full story of the CDs, the tears, and the lesson he left behind. Maybe someday in the future when the story could be told without a deluge of tears he will come to the knowledge of the rest of the story. 

God works in mysterious ways.

There a many morals to the story. But the main lesson is that man may dispose of others, but God never does. There's always hope with God. There's a loving Savior with arms open wide searching for you. If you feel like a discarded set of CDs God will pick you up, rescue you, and restore you. Just ask. His throne is not called The Mercy Seat for nothing. You need not be the prodigal any longer. Let the hope that God gives you become a reality. Only you can make that decision. Look up out of the "dumpster" that you're in. Come to Jesus. TODAY!!!


Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928




Friday, November 27, 2015

CUBA...56 YEARS OF COMMUNISM, SOCIALISM, AND PERSECUTION



SOME PASTORS ENJOYING A FREE MEAL DURING A CONFERENCE
Twenty minutes after landing in Havana, Cuba I was already in trouble. I knew that I had landed in new and possibly dangerous territory. As I followed my way through the hot, extremely humid, and unventilated terminal to get to the baggage claim area my heart pounded heavily against my chest. And against my back. I was nervous about being in a foreign communist nation and about doing something culturally wrong that would bring me attention. Terrible stories of Cuban prisons and concentration camps flooded my mind. The very unfriendly faces from the workers dressed in military uniforms did not help. My eyes were like powerful vacuum cleaners; absorbing everything that there was to see. Ron Gartner, another missionary making this trip, and I finally found the baggage claim area. Ron saw his baggage and retrieved it while I waited for mine. Everyone on the plane got their baggage except me. The conveyor belt stopped and still no baggage for me. Finally after about 10 more minutes my baggage fell from the chute. I breathed a sigh of relieve and pick up my bag. Immediately there was a tap on my right shoulder and I turned around. Behind me was a Cuban lady dressed in military style. She asked if the luggage was mine. I said, "Yes." And she said, "Well then, come with me." I didn't know what was happening but I suspected that it had something to do with the 6 Bibles and the hundreds of gospel tracts that I was carrying. She took me to a room where there had placed several others. I was separated from Ron. In Cuba there are no phone connections with an outside phone. I couldn't call anyone. You must purchase a Cuban phone if you want to call anyone. The heat was almost unbearable and my heart was racing at warp speed. 

ONE OF THE BICY-TAXIS
Ron Gartner and I do evangelistic outreaches in Juarez, Mexico. A few months prior to leaving for Cuba he asked me if I would like to make the trip to Cuba with him. He had been to Cuba 19 years earlier and the Pastor that hosted him at that time had made another invitation. I knew that the Lord had sent me to Juarez, Mexico some years back, but recently the Lord had spoken to me on different occasions about sending me to visit other nations. So I told Ron that I would seek the Lord's direction and get back with him. Almost without hesitation the Lord said to me, "Did I not tell you that I would send you to other nations?" That was easy!!! But the next hurdle was how the Lord would supply for the expenses. I spoke to Al and Carla Fowler from Covenant Fellowship Church about this need and they immediately handed me a check for ministry expenses that would cover the trip entirely, with lots left over for the work in Juarez. The check came as a gift from many who support the work in Juarez. Ron and I began to make plans and get all the paperwork ready to enter into Cuba. We would also need a special religious visa from the Cuban senate to be able to minister in Cuban churches. (This makes it possible for the Cuban government to send out spies and control where you can and cannot go. We were denied entry into a large congregation in Havana.) Our flight initiated in Juarez, then to Mexico City, and finally Havana. The same route was used on our trip back. Part of our time in Cuba would be spent in Havana and the other part in Las Tunas, which are about 12 hours apart by vehicle.

OLD CARGO TRUCKS CONVERTED INTO BUSES
The nervousness and the intense heat in the room at the airport in Havana caused me to break out in heavy perspiration. I had over two hours to pray and activate my faith. I was told to move from one line to the next by one guard, and then scolded for having moved by another guard. I knew that what I was going through was nothing compared to others who have had to make the ultimate sacrifice for the gospel. My faith and strength began rise. I finally made it to the front table and no matter how rude they spoke to me I responded with respect. A young man and woman spoke to me. I was asked to put my bag on the table and unzip it. The man lifted the clothing in my bag and I knew that he saw 2 of the 6 Bibles at the bottom. Immediately he slammed the bag shut, had me to zip it back up, and told the young lady to clear me and let me pass. After she keyed in something in her computer I was finally free to go. I quickly walked outside where Ron and our host Pastors were patiently waiting. Ironically, I was also carrying a backpack and another carry-on bag which were both filled with more Bibles and gospel tracts...but it was as if they never saw them. 

OLD CARS ARE EVERYWHERE. I SAW SOME AS OLD AS 1920s
In my 12 days in Cuba I learned a lot about this nation, about socialism, and about communism. But mostly I learned about how the Church of Jesus grows "under the whip", as the believers call it. They call communism and socialism "shared misery". Anyone who thinks that this form of government is such a great idea needs to experience it first hand. The citizens of Cuba are slaves to the government. To be very blunt and cut to the chase the Cuban government is Satanic in origin. The heads of the regime, their families, and other leaders are heavily involved in Satanism, voodoo, witchcraft, and the occult. When the regime first took over the nation they made a promise that within 5 years not one Christian will be found in Cuba. Yet 56 years later the Church is still growing and thriving. A testimony to the power of the gospel. 

SAINTS WORSHIPING
When a child first registers for school he will be asked about his faith. If he states that he is a Christian he and his family are immediately denied some of the few government benefits available to others, including education into the most coveted careers. Currently there are about 3,000 churches in one denomination alone that are due to be bulldozed by the government. In one of the Pastor's conferences that we spoke at I asked the Pastors to tell me how we in the U.S. can pray for them. The response was always the same: "Please pray that my church building does not get destroyed." Many times, as these church leaders shared their stories with us, it was hard to keep back the tears. One leader shared about how he went to his church one day. As he turned the corner there was nothing there. Nothing!!! The government came during the night and destroyed his church buildings and hauled it off. Leaving no trace of a church building. But yet when these believers get together they stand up and sing God's praises as if they were in Heaven itself. How is it possible that we in the U.S. are so cold? 

MANY OF THESE ARE ON THE ROADS
While in Cuba we were not allowed to stay at the home of our hosts. In Las Tunas we rented two rooms that were owned by 3 medical doctors (a husband and wife, and their daughter). They rent the two rooms behind their house to make ends meet. A Physician in Cuba makes about $20 a month. (This is not a typo!) So when a tourist comes (which are few and far between), they hit a bonanza. We paid $20 per day, per room; and a great breakfast was included. When asked about help in finding someone in the neighborhood to do our laundry their eyes got big and they smiled. They said they would do it. The next morning I looked out the window and one of the doctors was washing my clothes by hand. By the afternoon everything was washed, folded, and ironed. They charged me about $3.70US. Another eye doctor in town runs a bicy-taxi service in the afternoons. He has a three-wheel bicycle that he uses to pedal people to and fro for a few cents. Another medical doctor makes lollipops to make ends meet. 

A SMALL CHURCH WITH ONLY A ROOF 
Here are a few more unbelievable facts: 1). Ron, our host pastor, and I went looking for bottled water, coffee, and a hammer one morning. We went to about a dozen stores and we came back empty-handed. Shelves were practically bare...yet full of rum. 2). The ten years after the year 1990 were extremely difficult. During this time they had no toothpaste, soap, new clothing, and other necessities. Food was extremely scarce. One pastor's wife related how they cooked their mop after cutting it up in pieces to add to the small amount of food. 3). We stopped at the car dealership in Havana. Cars and scooters for sale are really just for show. Just so that the government can say that they have cars available. A used car, with 200,000 miles runs between $82,000 to $110,000US. Used scooters were $9-12,000US. Consider paying these prices with salaries of $20 a month. 4). The government will help you build a church if it's a Satanic church. 5). It is against the law to eat beef or fish for the common citizens. Beef and fish are only for government officials and for exporting. I met a 37 year old man that has never tasted beef or fish. Also, if someone kills a cow it's 15 years in jail. Kill a human and it's 7 years in jail. 6). A gallon of gas is about $5.50US. (This list can be endless. I just wanted to show a picture of how different things are in Cuba.) 

CONFERENCE IN HABANA
The only reason that Cubans survive their economy is because their relatives and loved ones who have escaped the regime for the past 56 years send them financial support. 


Every time I stood in front of a church or a group of Pastors to speak I wondered why the Lord brought me there. I felt that I needed to sit down and let them speak to me. I always wondered what I could possibly say to encourage these precious brothers and sisters, some of which had been to the concentration camps. One day at one of our pastors conferences one pastor stood up to thank me. He said that he had learned so much that day and he was glad that he came to the conference. When he said that to me a knot formed in my throat and I had to swallow hard. Just about every conference had a least 100 attendees. Yet there was never one car or bicycle parked in front of the churches. The pastors either walked or used the very poor public transportation system to get to these conferences. 

I made some very good friends in Cuba. As a matter of fact our host pastor in Cuba, who is about 80 years old, was able to get permission to make a trip Colorado to visit his son. From there he made a bus trip to the El Paso/Juarez area. He was with me for 12 days recently. He shared his stories and preached in several churches in Juarez, Mexico. 

Will I ever return to Cuba? That is one of my dreams. Now that I've been there once I will be better prepared the second time. My prayer is for Cuba to be released from the bondage that it finds itself in. 

I thank the Lord for allowing me to make this missionary trip to Cuba and many, many thanks for everyone who helped to make this trip possible. And also for the continued support in Juarez, Mexico. 

I plan on writing another blog entry soon to share about other things going on in Juarez. Blessings to all. 

(P.S. Double-click on the pictures to enlarge.)

Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
d_torres53@yahoo.com

For tax receipts make contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, AR 72145


Sunday, June 28, 2015

DREAM TEAM VISITS JUAREZ... JUNE 2015



PART OF THE DREAM TEAM ENJOYING THE
BEAUTIFUL SKY FROM A MOUNTAINTOP.
I recently read a story about a group of people invited to have breakfast with the president of the United States at the White House. The story and the pictures vividly revealed the group's excitement at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My mind quickly thought about the recent week that a team from Searcy and Judsonia, Arkansas spent in Juarez, Mexico sharing meals and ministering to the poorest of the poor.  If you ask any of the twelve people from the Dream Team (as I like to call them) if they would have preferred to go to the White House, all of them without a doubt, would have chosen to be in Juarez with the downtrodden, the forsaken, the suffering, the widows, the orphans, and the heroes of faith. 



A MASTERPIECE!!
After months of preparation, fund raising, and prayers the team arrived at a Spanish gospel tract ministry in El Paso, Texas known as Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries (SAEM) - our meeting point before crossing into Juarez. We spent a day at SAEM making some final preparations, planning, and having more prayer. For many weeks I had been preparing for the Dream Team's arrival and I had organized a very busy schedule for them. We wanted to seize every moment for Jesus while in Juarez.   On June 8th we crossed into Juarez, Mexico with a greater excitement and anticipation than visiting the White House. For some this was the first time to ever set foot in Mexico, but not to be the last.                  (Michaela having fun →)


REGINA AT AN ORPHANAGE.
CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. 
I quickly took them to the house in Juarez where they would sleep and then off to our host church with Pastor Manuel Martinez and his wife Dolores (Lolis, as she prefers to be called). The host church, Dios Con Nosotros (God With Us), prepared all our meals and also helped us prepare the daily meals that we took with us as we set out to different areas in Juarez to minister and feed the people. Every morning at 8 am left the house and headed to the church for prayer, breakfast, and to prepare for the day's ministry. And every evening we would end at the host church for sharing, dinner, and often we worked around the church. It was hard work but we enjoyed the beauty of the desert as we watched the sunset and we also enjoyed the beauty of working for the Lord Jesus. 


SWEET LITTLE GIRL
CONCENTRATING WITH MIKE. 
SOME DRESSES MADE BY THE LADIES OF THE
RIVER CHURCH, JUDSONIA, ARKANSAS. 
The very first day in Juarez at 3 pm we had a feeding and ministry time at a feeding center started by a young widow by the name of Celestina (scroll down to blog entry of March 9, 2015 for further information on Celestina and her work). Many kids from around the poor neighborhood came out as well as adults. We had games, a short drama skit, feeding and ministry time. Many kids also received sandals. The ministry time was great as many kids and adults made a confession of faith. Celestina currently feeds 50 to 60 children and adults six days a week. About 80% to 90% of the food support at Celestina's comes from those people and churches who support the work that I have been called to in Juarez.  

SUPERB JOB!!!
GIRLS ENJOYING REGINA'S VISIT.
On Tuesday morning we visited a neighborhood to hand out flyers inviting the people to an evangelistic service on Friday. Here the Dream Team entered one of the shacks where the poorest of the poor live. Words cannot describe what they witnessed that morning. Later we drove to another part of Juarez to visit with Pastor Martin Nuñez, his church and orphanage. I had Pastor Martin share his testimony about how he came to know the Lord. It is one of the most incredible and moving testimonies anyone has ever heard. Most of the young kids living here have come off the streets of Juarez with lives filled with crime and drug abuse. Our hope is to someday invite Pastor Nuñez to Arkansas to share his testimony and the incredible work he and his wife Leticia are doing in Juarez. Without a doubt he is one of the heroes of faith.


EDUARDO (RIGHT) ACCEPTED THE LORD
DURING LAST YEAR'S TRIP.
NOW HE WORKS HARD AROUND THE CHURCH.
On Wednesday we visited and ministered at another orphanage which has about 55 kids. It was another incredible day of ministry. One of the things we did here was to give the kids pillowcases for them to color what they had received from us as far as Bible lessons and stories. Some of the art work was amazing. The pillowcases would be a nightly reminder of what they had learned from the Dream Team. Many of the adults at the orphanage also enjoyed coloring a pillowcase.


Thursday was an amazing day at Casa De Refugio De Jovencitas (House Of Refuge For Young Girls). Here we were allowed to take pictures but not publish them. After an amazing and very moving time of testimonies and sharing God's Word the Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of the young girls like very few people have witnessed before. We spent about an hour in solid prayer filled with weeping and lamentation. Later we shared a very special time getting to know the girls in a deeper, personal way by doing pedicures. Even some of the men of the Dream Team got in on the nail painting. Days like these are never forgotten. 


MIKE VISITS AT VISION EN ACCION
Our last day in Juarez was very busy. The Dream Team got a quick tour of the City of Juarez that they had not seen yet. They also had a short time of souvenir shopping before taking off to a ministry called Vision En Accion (Vision In Action), which houses about 120 people who have come off the streets. Most of them reach this place with severe mental and physical problems. Those that are a danger to others or have committed violent crimes are locked in tiny cells for the security of others. We spent time visiting these precious ones and praying for them. You can see a 4 minute video of this ministry by searching this site: Vision En Accion - CSJ Award Winner 2012. Josue (pictured below), who is seen in the video was our tour guide. From this ministry we rushed back to our host church to prepare for a 7 pm evangelistic campaign, where about 300 came to be fed and hear God's word. Dale Donnell, member of the Dream Team, preached to the adults while I translated. After a very busy, very productive, and very blessed day and week we had to head to the border that very night and return to El Paso. 


JOSUE - OUR GUIDE AT VISION EN ACCION WITH MIKE. 
On Saturday back at SAEM we had a time of sharing and prayer. It was hard for me to watch as the Dream Team once again prepared to depart from me. I wept. But it was a week that would mark their lives forever. I heard the statement, "this week has changed my life forever" more than once. Somehow I doubt that the group that visited the White House had the same sentiment. Thank you Dream Team for a wonderful week of allowing the light of Jesus to shine through you and for blessing my City of Juarez. 


OTHER NOTES:

--I want to remind everyone that I will leave Juarez on August 13 to head to Cuba for almost 2 weeks of ministry. I need your prayer support. 

--There's a lady in Juarez who had a leg amputated due to diabetes. I also know of a ministry that will fit her with a prosthesis for about $700US. That is a small amount to pay to have her walking again. Anyone wishing to help her with this need please contact me. 

--The Dream Team will be returning to Juarez again. Anyone interested in joining the team or starting your own team may contact me for more details. The Dream Team will be sharing their recent experiences in Juarez at The River Church in Judsonia, Arkansas in the upcoming weeks. 

Blessings to all and may God richly bless everyone for their continue support and prayers. 

(Note: To enlarge pictures double click on them).



Daniel Torres
TYLER AND MIKE. ALWAYS TIME FOR FUN!!!
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
501-827-7679
d_torres53@yahoo.com


For contributions needing tax receipts:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, AR 72145