Thursday, July 10, 2014

ARKANSAS' DREAM TEAM INVADES JUAREZ



MANY, many things have happened here in Juarez since my last blog entry. Today I finally get to sit down and write about them.  I don't like to make these blog entries too long so this will be just a brief synopsis of the events of the past two months. If I related all the details I would write a book. But I mostly want to share about the visit with the team that came down from Arkansas. The team arrived on June 7th and departed on June 16th. In the past I have referred to the team as The Dream Team.

Previously I have tried to inform readers about the ministry in El Paso (which is right across the border from Juarez) that is called Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries or SAEM. This is a tract printing ministry that prints Spanish tracts for the Spanish speaking world. Some tracts are also printed in English. SAEM is a ministry and as such it relies on the financial and physical assistance of Christians in order to survive. This summer 20 year old Michaela Lorton,  from Searcy, Arkansas volunteered one month of her time to intern at SAEM. Michaela bravely took her very first airplane ride to get to El Paso. She flew from Little Rock, to the mass confusion at Dallas International Airport, and then to the El Paso airport where I picked her up. I took Michaela to SAEM and in a few days I took off to Arkansas for my younger daughter's graduation.

Victoria graduated from High School and will be attending the University in Jonesboro this fall. I also visited my other two daughters. Melissa in Oklahoma City and Christina in Memphis. And I also visited churches and many friends. The Lord had incredible things planned for me on this trip to Arkansas and it will be a trip that I will never forget.

Once back in Juarez I began to prepare for the arrival of the team from Arkansas. Most of them have been in Juarez before and I was very excited about their return. At this point in time neither one of us had any idea of the wonderful and life-changing things that the Lord had planned for this team. It is amazing that we go through life doing our every day things and keeping a routine. Sometimes we sink into a rut and we don't ever realize it. And all the time our God, who is very busy and constantly working and planning, has something just ahead that will transform our life like we never dreamed of or thought possible. And God had something very special waiting for this team here in Juarez, Mexico, which is a place that very few people want to come to. God calls us to impossible places and He does impossible things so that we may also do impossible things with Him. If God only did the possible, He wouldn't be God. Anyone can do that! And as children of God we are called to do the impossible.

I continued to prepare places of ministry that the team would go to and visit. One day I took Michaela, the young SAEM intern, with me to Juarez and we visited and made plans with several ministries in preparation for The Dream Team.

The Dream Team consists of the Lorton family (Mike, Regina, Matthew, and Michaela - our SAEM intern), Mike Lee, and Grant Cooper. This was Grant's first mission trip ever. But Grant worked like a veteran in Juarez. Grant was lovingly given the title of "Captain America" and I imagine that the title will stick.

For this trip I decided that The Dream Team will work primarily with Pastor Manuel Martinez and his wife Dolores (who everyone here knows as Lolis). I did a blog entry about this couple and their wonderful work in Juarez on August 15, 2013 (please scroll down and refer to that blog entry).  The team stayed in Juarez for a week at Dolores' parent's house, which was very comfortable. Dolores also prepared all the meals for the team during the week. Home-cooked Mexican food every day! Dolores also happens to have the gift of prophecy.

Very briefly the first three days of ministry went as follows. We visited an orphanage that we call Cecia's (for the name of the director there). We bought food and spend a few hours with the children. Then we went to a girls Teen Challenge center for another few hours, where we also brought food and had a time of ministry. The next day we went to one of the most dangerous communities on the North side of Juarez called Anapra. There we visited another orphanage called Rivers of Mercy. Not far from there we went to another orphanage, except that this one is for young adults mostly in their teen years. It is called Tree of life. In both of these we shared food, crafts, and one on one. The next day we went to a place that the team had never been to before. I had been hesitant to bring them here in the past but I thought that it was time that The Dream Team visited this very delicate place. We were there only about 2 hours because I didn't want to make the team too uncomfortable. It is a ministry that ministers to and houses people who come off the streets. The residents are mentally "challenged", to put it mildly. Their bodies and mental capacities have been damaged due to years of drugs, alcohol, prostitution and living in the streets. Some are brought in with their bodies rotting. But the great news is that there is healing for them in this place. Many come out of here and lead productive lives. Pastor Jose Galvan,who also came off the streets many years ago, founded and operates this ministry. There are about 120 people living here and they are precious in God's sight. For more information about this ministry look up Vision en Accion Jose Galvan in Juarez on the Internet. Youtube has videos, many in English, about this ministry and reporters from all over the world come here to report on this lovely ministry. What did the Dream Team think of Vision en Accion? They said that next time they want to visit longer, serve food, and help minister. Of course, we never go to place where we don't leave a lot of food and some financial help for the ministry. And that was the case at Vision En Accion. From there we moved on to a feeding center that was once closed because the Pastor who operated it was tragically killed and the funds quit coming. Pastor Corina, his widow, has been trying to re-open the ministry which is located right in front of her tiny church. The Dream Team came to help. We bought lots of food, had Bible study, and gave away some stuffed animals in conjunction with the Bible study. We served about 100 people, about 90% were kids.

THE DREAM TEAM WITH PASTOR JOSE GALVAN (SECOND FROM THE RIGHT)
During these "planned" days of ministry the Lord always opens doors for things that we do not plan. I always tell the teams that we have to be flexible and nothing is written in stone. We go where the Holy Spirit leads. My favorite word about this is: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. One such stop was at a nursing home for older men. I had to stop there to visit the Pastor and director of the ministry. While there we found out that the roof on one of the buildings was in dire need of repairs. Immediately we made plans for the ministry to get the $400 needed to fix the roof. And today the roof has been fixed. One day I was also called to help with a dying man in another part of town. I took Grant with me and we left while the team continued their work. We transported the man to a hospital where 8 days later he passed away. But not before having heard the gospel of love. We dealt with other issues in Juarez that were not scheduled and we were blessed for being flexible.

Mike Lee
For the next three days I had an outdoor evangelistic campaign planned at Pastor Manuel's church. It was the first campaign ever in that church. I work with a team of 3 other ministers and we do at least one campaign in Juarez per month. I made all the arrangements and with the help of The Dream Team we had a very successful campaign. The team supplied food for everyone who came for three days, they visited the adjoining neighborhood and invited people, they helped with the children's ministry while the adults were being ministered to, and they set up for the campaign every night. The Dream Team also brought enough dresses and pants to clothe over 150 kids. They were all made by the ladies at their church, The River Church, and those were handed out one night. Many people accepted the Lord and many were also healed. It was wonderful. A few days ago Pastor Manuel and I baptized those who came to the Lord at a public swimming pool.

Our prayer and sharing time in the mornings were always very special. Sometimes we would spend 2 hours or more on this. On one particular morning the Lord led me to do something different. We moved all the chairs out of the way and we began to pray for each individual on The Dream Team. It was here where the Lord began to move though Pastor Lolis in prophetic messages. God began to call people out into pastoral work. Grant Cooper, aka Captain America, was given a Pastor's heart. Gabi, a 27 year old woman who helped me with translating, was given a Pastor's heart. Mike and Regina Lorton, were not only given a Pastor's heart but were directed by the Lord to move to El Paso for the ministry. Mike Lee received special honor as being God's servant. Michaela and her brother Matthew were given special instructions for the future. I received a message about a stronger and wider ministry reaching to other Nations along with a promise of a helpmate. It was a morning that we will never forget.

And it was a week that we will never forget. It was a week where all things became new. New horizons, new possibilities, and new visions were opened.
NEW DRESSES

Thank you Dream Team for blessing me and our City. Our work is barely beginning. I'll see you very soon.





P.S. Anyone who wants to join The Dream Team may contact me. There is a possible trip this fall from Arkansas to El Paso to work at SAEM. Along with a visit or two to Juarez.
 









 
CHANGED LIVES
Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
1-501-827-7679

Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, AR 72145







Tuesday, May 6, 2014

RESULTS AT FESTIVAL OF HOPE AND SAN LORENZO



Greetings to all!!! I have gotten behind on sharing about Life In Juarez....and I have some catching up to do. 

We met for weeks planning the Festival of Hope.
  The City of Juarez, Mexico is still slowly climbing out the hole that it fell into some 6 to 7 years ago when it received the title of the Most Dangerous City In The World.  It has been a real slow process but most things are heading in the right direction.  The mayor that came into office last year, Enrique Serrano, has been good for the City of Juarez.  He has opened up a special office in City Hall for the handling of religious affairs and Edilberto Royval Sosa, the Christian brother who heads up that office, has done much to help the churches.  The Mayor has taken a strong and serious stand against corruption, amongst many of his new agendas. I have also seen both the State and City governments realize that they need the help of the Christian Churches in order to improve the quality of life for its citizens. 

The havoc created by all the problems that the City of Juarez has faced may be compared to the destruction seen recently by the tornadoes that hit Arkansas and other States.  There has been much suffering and clean-up will take a very long time.  The emotional trauma will be the most difficult to deal with.  And as with every disaster it will be a time for the Kingdom of God to shine forth His glory. 


Woman moved by a blanket given to me by a church in Oklahoma
Some weeks ago, after months of planning, we finally had The Festival of Hope, which had to be cancelled last November.  The event was a great example of the City helping the Churches and the Churches helping the City for the benefit of the masses.  Simultaneously, across the border the City of El Paso, which is the safest City in America,  was hosting a Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham, which also took months of preparation.  The fact that both events were called "Festival of Hope" and the date fell on the same day were purely "coincidental".  For the Festival of Hope in Juarez the City and State governments provided many free services to the 2,500 families that arrived on that day.  The governments provided many medical services, including eye exams (which I donated reading glasses for them to give out), medicine, vehicle registry, job opportunities, vaccines, scholarships, haircuts, mammography, legal aid, discounts for past due utility bills, and games.  The Churches provided different types of ministry including worship music for the 8 hours that the event was held.  We also had professional Christian wrestlers put on a performance followed by the sharing God's word by the wrestlers themselves.  This was a very popular event. 


Feeding families. Rice provided to me by SAEM.
Medical exams at Festival of hope
I arrived two hours before opening of the gates to the Festival of Hope and found about 200 people already waiting in line.  I was blessed to have been involved in a very special aspect of the event.  I worked with the prayer team.  The way we worked it was that on the way out every family would receive a very generous amount of food.  But in order to get to the food and the exit the people would first have to cross through the Prayer Tent.  At one time the lines coming through the Prayer Tent were blocks long.  So we decided that we would bring about 25-30 people under the tent at one time, give them a two-minute gospel message, have prayer with them, and send them on their way to pick up their food before exiting.  The plan worked great.  The crowds were very patient.  Not one person complained.  The Holy Spirit touched lives and many thousands of seeds were sown into His kingdom.  I called it the "Gospel Express".  It was a great day.  In the meantime the 2-day Franklin Graham Festival of Hope in El Paso brought in almost 1,000 souls into the Kingdom. 

Lucas and I enjoying a wonderful time with Pastor Manuel.


I spoke of the City of San Lorenzo at the last blog entry.  Two weekends ago we marched into that City to bring the gospel message.  Although we faced many obstacles and in spite of some planning errors I believe that the gospel message was shared with the people and that soon San Lorenzo will have its first Christian Church.  I asked for assistance from friends to purchase some bikes and soccer balls to attract a good crowd.  I purchased 6 brand new bikes, 6 soccer balls, and also handed out reading glasses free of charge.  I believe that it was the raffling of these items that brought out the children and adults to this outreach.  I don't know exactly how many people came to the Lord over that weekend but I know that there were many, plus many seeds of love and hope were sown into many hearts.  I was thrilled to have Lucas Anderson from Arkansas join me for this event.  Thanks to Lucas for his sacrifice and the blessing of having him in Juarez and San Lorenzo. 


FESTIVAL OF HOPE
Our four-men team continues to have monthly campaigns in Juarez or wherever we are invited to.  Our most recent campaign did not see large crowds but the Lord moved in a mighty way and we saw many saved and healed.  I was also blessed to have met two very unique families with very special needs.  I still continue to visit these families and help them in any way that I can.

On a sad note I recently visited Pastor Corina Torres at Colonia Granjas Del Desierto.  Back when we made many mission trips to Juarez our Arkansas team always visited the ministry that her husband Pastor Rafael started.  Pastor Rafael was killed six months ago by a vehicle as he changed a flat tire.  His widow was finally forced to shut down the children's feeding center that Pastor Rafael and her operated because she could not raise the funds needed to keep the center running.  A newspaper article announcing the closure of the feeding center that she pasted on the lunchroom wall is a sad testimony of what happens when aid to this city stops flowing because of the fears of coming here.

Waiting on eye exams.

Michaela Lorton, from The River Church in Judsonia, Arkansas, arrived smiling in El Paso yesterday.  She will be joining Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries (S.A.E.M.) for a month as an intern.  The team from Arkansas and Michaela's family will arrive here in one month for a one week adventure in ministry to Juarez.  Once that week is over Michaela will ride back home with her family.  If anyone is interested in joining the Arkansas Dream Team from June 7-14 there is still room available.


Food give-a-way.
Here are a couple of side notes on S.A.E.M. :  SAEM is a gospel tract printing ministry.  Most of the tracts printed by SAEM are for Spanish speaking Nations.  SAEM is in need of an experienced printing press operator to come to SAEM a few times a year.  The position will be ideal for a retired Christian individual or couple.  SAEM is also having a tree drive to enhance the landscape of its four acre campus.  This will make an ideal memorial gift for a loved one.  Anyone interested in donating funds for the Tree Drive or the printing press position may contact me for more information.


Prayer Tent.
Prayer Tent at Festival of Hope
The trip to Mindanao, Philippines that I have mentioned in past blog entries is still up in the air.  I will need $3,000 to be able to make the trip.  If the Lord makes it possible it will be great, and if not, there's plenty of work to be done in Juarez.  
SIX BIKES FOR SAN LORENZO

As usual I can't give enough thanks to all who pray for me and help support the Lord's work in Juarez, Mexico.  Summer is around the corner.  The usual 105°+ temperatures everyday becomes a challenge.  But I am blessed to have a nice vehicle with air conditioning this summer.  Please pray for the Arkansas Dream Team as they prepare to be here next month.  They will be staying in Juarez during the week to avoid daily crossings to El Paso.
May the Lord bless everyone richly.
 
    Daniel Torres
    650 Linwood Drive
    El Paso, Texas 79928
    1-501-827-7679
    d_torres@yahoo.com


Double click on pictures for enlargement.





 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SAN LORENZO

      
          Many times when someone in Juarez has a challenging task they usually come to me for help.  I do not know why this is but perhaps it is because they know that I have a difficult time turning people down.  About two weeks ago Pastor Durok Hernandez contacted me about a small town about 3 hours away from our City of Juarez that has never received the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  He was hoping that I would join him in evangelizing San Lorenzo, which is located in our State of Chihuahua.  How can I turn him down?  When he first mentioned this to me I immediately thought of a trip that a small team from Arkansas took about 5 years ago to another city in Mexico that had never heard the gospel message.  It was the City of Zacatipan in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico.  To my amazement we found out that the report was true. No one in the small town knew who Jesus was, except for the Jesus who lived down the dirt road with his wife.  Ironically, he also happened to be the town's carpenter.  We left the town leaving about 35 people who had accepted Jesus, the Son of God, as Lord and Savior.  To me it was an unforgettable adventure.  This is a missionary's dream: to bring the gospel to those who have never heard it.  We know that many places have never been evangelized because Jesus said that when the message has reached the whole world then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). 

So Pastor Durok and I made arrangements and we visited San Lorenzo a few days ago.  An hour before reaching San Lorenzo we stopped off at the tiny City of Benito Juarez to pick up a friend of Pastor Durok who would guide us to San Lorenzo.  His friend's name was Israel and he and others from the City of Benito Juarez were the ones who had spoken to Pastor Durok about San Lorenzo. 
 
San Lorenzo is very far from any other town.  It is a town of less than 1,000 people and it is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and rivers.  

Walking around San Lorenzo was very interesting.  The front door to the Catholic church was opened so we walked in and looked around.  Right inside of the church, at the very front and to the right, was the burial site of a young girl whose grandfather was the governor of the State of Chihuahua many years ago.  They placed a statue of an angel over her tomb.  On the front and left side of the church sits the confessional booth and right next to that is a small doll, dressed in white, enclosed in a glass case.  On the outside of the church and high up on the building is the construction date of the church: 1892.   

One very interesting outdoor phenomenon in San Lorenzo is a spot of ground just big enough for one person to stand on.  When a person steps on this spot and speaks their voice changes.  I had to try it and my voice made a very noticeable change.  We were told that no one understands why this happens and that there is just one other place in the world where this happens.  The town marked the area by putting pink square cut rocks, called cantera, at about a 15 feet radius of the site. The rocks are for visitors to sit.  They also put concrete around the ground, leaving a radius of about 6 to 8 feet of dirt around the area where the voice change occurs.
 San Lorenzo reminded me of Andy Griffith's town of Mayberry.  But after touring parts of the town and learning about it I understood why San Lorenzo had not yet been evangelized.  One word: Religion.  

For many, many years some Catholics in Mexico have accepted and added idols to their religion.  One of them is the Virgin of Guadalupe, who has just about replaced the Virgin Mary.  Another idol has been the Santa NiƱa (The Holy Girl), which is also known as La Santa Muerte (The Holy Death).  This Santa Muerte is characterized as a skeleton dressed in a white dress, often a wedding gown.  Usually those people who are about to commit a crime make offerings to La Santa Muerte and ask her to deliver them from their enemies and give them success in whatever crime they are about to commit, including murder.  Even those who have no plans to commit a crime bow down and worship this idol.  In Juarez there are several churches that are strictly Santa Muerte churches.  I have known Christians who have come out of this cult and their stories are horrifying.

Without a doubt these practices are very dangerous but they are exercised in San Lorenzo.  The only church in San Lorenzo, the Catholic Church, shows evidence that the Santa Muerte is worshipped there.  So anyone who has thoughts of bringing the gospel message of Jesus to the town of San Lorenzo knows that they are coming up against a strong Spiritual battle and demonic strongholds.  And we are prepared to face them.  
Place where voices change

Pastor Durok in orange shirt
Surprisingly enough when we went to get permission for a two-day event to bring the gospel to San Lorenzo we received the permit.  We have April 26th and 27th reserved.  The permit, which will cost 1,000 pesos (about $80US), allows us to use the town's gymnasium and  the town square, which are right next to each other.  We even got permission to close off the street between the two sites, in order to connect the two.  We also have permission to place posters throughout San Lorenzo advertising the event. 


We are well aware that in similar towns in Mexico where others have tried to bring in the gospel message the ones doing so have come against much opposition including stoning and loss of lives.  But the message must be delivered.

Since San Lorenzo is so far away there is a possibility that we may rent a furnished house to stay during the two days of the event and possibly some days before.  We have a worship team that will go with us along with others from the cities of Juarez and Benito Juarez. 
 
In order to get as many people to come to this outreach I want to bring gifts.  I would love to bring soccer balls and hopefully several bicycles to give away.  Also I would love to bring food to give out.  If anyone would be interested in helping with the cost of these please contact me. 



Gymnasium in San Lorenzo

Without question we need as much prayer as possible in order to get the gospel message to San Lorenzo.

Currently we have two other outreaches in the City of Juarez that I want to mention briefly. 

Pastor Henry Becerra, a friend of mine from City Church International in San Antonio, Texas, will start a 4 day outreach in Juarez on March 27th.  The big event in this outreach will be on Friday 28th when Pastor Becerra will be speaking at Benito Juarez Auditorium.  We were able to get the auditorium from the City of Juarez without cost.  Pastor Becerra has an amazing testimony of how God raised him out of a wheelchair.  Pastor Becerra's ministry supports tens of thousands of orphans in different places throughout the world.


Also on Saturday April 5th we have an outreach called Festival de Esperanza (Festival of Hope).  This is an outreach that was planned for last December but was cancelled because food that was coming from the United States was stopped at the Mexican border and was not allowed to get through. Even though the event was cancelled in December due to the problem of not getting the food across to Juarez about 8,000 people still came.  They were ministered to under the extreme cold temperatures.  The shipment of food is finally here in Juarez.  So we are expecting at least 20,000 people this time.  During this event we plan to give out 5,000 bags of food.  We also have events and ministry for every age including haircuts, legal services, distribution of reading glasses, games, special services for children and adults, prayer tents, hot food and many other things.  At the same time Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will be speaking for two days across the border in El Paso. 

The next few weeks will be very busy weeks and we need as much prayer support as possible.

On a personal note I plan to be in Arkansas for a few days in May for my youngest daughter's graduation.  Victoria will be graduating from high school. 

I also have been invited to minister to churches and Pastors in The Philippines in July.  The Christians in the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines are facing much persecution since the island is 50% Muslim and we would like to bring some encouragement to these brothers. It would take about $3,000US to make the trip.
 
In June we have a team coming from Judsonia's The River Church to minister in Juarez for one week.  Along with that we have a young lady, Michaela, also from The River Church, coming down to intern for just over one month at Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries (S.A.E.M.). 
 
I want to express my deepest thanks for all those that continue to support the work that is going on in Juarez.  Feel free to contact me with any questions. Blessings, hugs, and my love to all.
 
 
Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
 
For Tax-deductible contributions:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72145


P.S. Double click on pictures for enlargement.
         












Sunday, February 2, 2014

................................................................2014: THE VISION....................................................



         I have spent the last few weeks of December 2013 and most of January 2014 seeking God's guidance for this new year.  I have been living in Juarez, Mexico for  2 1/2 years and I feel that the Lord wants me to open up new ground.  This is not to say that I will stop doing what I am already doing in Juarez.  At the end of 2013 I, along with three other men, went to the State Capital of Chihuahua to minister to a group of men at a two-day Men's Conference.  The Conference went very well; even better than my own expectations.  Later I was asked to speak during the Sunday morning service at the church where the Conference was held.  This event opened the doors to other such events and I also felt the need to do this more often.
 
I want to quickly give you an overview of the doors that are being opened for ministry.  But first of all I want to share the new things that I feel the Lord is leading me to do in Juarez.  The vision for 2014 takes the call FORWARD and HIGHER, without borders, limits, or boundaries.
 
Right now the main thing that the Lord has put in my heart is to prepare a group of believers to evangelize a neighborhood (we call these neighborhoods Colonias).  I have been praying about this for over a month.  I am to set up in a church, a store front, or a house in one of the most dangerous Colonias in Juarez and prepare a team to go into the streets to reach the lost (of course, I will have to move and live in this area).  The team does not necessarily have to be made up of mature Christians.  If I have to win them to Christ first and then teach them to evangelize the lost it will be even better.  Those that say that this sounds too dangerous or impossible do not understand the call of God, His never ending desire to reach the lost, and His divine protection over us.  I have no fears about doing this; I am actually very excited about it.  I realize that this is going to be a leap of faith, but hey, I'm already living in Juarez, Mexico.  I have sought the counsel of others, including some Pastors in Juarez.  They are behind me all the way and they are praying for me as well.  I am not looking to build a new church, although it's fine with me if that's what the Lord eventually leads me into.  However, I do not think that I am supposed to go into full time Pastoral work.  I would rather train and raise up men and women to go to other local churches to be a catalyst for the Lord's work there. The evangelism technique will be very unique.  I will explain that in another blog post.  I have been driving around in some very dangerous Colonias and streets seeking God's guidance for a place.  I ask my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord who constantly pray for me to cover me more with their prayers concerning this new adventure in Jesus.
 
In other areas, the men that I have worked with in the past will be doing more speaking in the Churches of Juarez.  We will be doing indoor and outdoor evangelism.  The Lord has also opened the door for ministry in the State Prison system.  We will be traveling throughout the State of Chihuahua in the months to come to speak to prisoners.  A few weeks ago I was at the jail in Juarez visiting a young man that I have known for many years.  We were able to attend the Libre En Cristo Iglesia (Free in Christ Church), located at the jail campus.  When I walked into the sanctuary the service had already started and the power of God was so intense that all I could do was stand by the back pew, close my eyes, and feel my tears run down my face.  The inmates were all standing and worshipping the Lord like I had never seen before.  I did not want to move; I did not want to leave. 
 
Our team will also be traveling and holding conferences for Pastors and their wives.  We have invitations that will take us outside of the City of Juarez and the State of Chihuahua.  We do not charge or take offerings for any of these outreaches.  We cover all the expenses.
 
The team has also been invited to travel to Mindanao, Philippines this summer.  This is the largest  island  in the Southern part of The Philippines.  Mindanao is much more dangerous that Juarez, Mexico.  It is about 50% Muslim, meaning that if a Christian does any evangelical work in the streets they are likely to get bombed.  Many churches in Mindanao are blown up and the people must start the work from scratch.  In Juarez most of the murders are over drugs and money; in Mindanao most of the murders are over religion.  Christians in Mindanao live in fear.  Pastors and the churches in Mindanao need to be encouraged.  This invitation to the Philippines is something that I am leaving in the hands of the Lord.  The trip takes from 25 to 30 hours travel time and I will need approximately $3,000 for expenses.  The Lord will have to supply the funds if I am to go.  If we make the trip it will be for about 2 to 3 weeks.  
 
I want to refer to the blog entry of August 15, 2013.  My connection and love for Pastors Jose Manuel and Maria Dolores has gotten deeper.  I know that the Lord is going to bring many special blessings to Juarez through their church and ministry.  They need a lot of help to keep going forward with God's vision for them.  This coming June a team from River Of Life Church, in Judsonia, Arkansas will be coming to Juarez for a week.  We will be doing a lot of work in this church as well as a few other places.  In the meantime I will continue to help these Pastors with the work that the Lord has called them to do.  
 
People in Juarez are still puzzled about the fact that their brothers and sisters in the Lord from the United States, who used to visit them long ago, have all but abandoned them during their worst time of need.  The churches here have been forced to look only to the Lord for their survival.  But the needs are unspeakable.  There is still a lot of suffering even though the crime  rate has fallen.  We need a lot of help here and we need for the teams to return.  Anyone interested in bringing a team to Juarez, Mexico may contact me.
 
My daughter Victoria graduates from High School this year and I will be going to Arkansas for that proud moment.  It looks like it will be a busy year with lots of traveling.
 
I wish to once again thank all those who form a hedge of prayer around me and the work that the Lord has called me to do.  I am forever grateful to those who sacrifice with their financial support to keep me in Juarez.  We are all part of this Jesus team!


Please forward this blog to friends and relatives.

 
God's richest blessings to all.
 
 


Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
501-827-7679
d_torres53@yahoo.com

For Tax Credit send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box  8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72415


P.S.  I met a lady at the poorest of Colonias in Juarez whose right leg had been amputated about a month ago due to a severe infection.  She appears to be about 30-35 years old.  I have found an organization that will provide her with a prosthesis for just over $500.  Considering the choice of sitting in a wheelchair or being able to walk, $500 is a very small price to pay.  I have spoken to a representative of this organization and she will have to wait 5 more months for her leg to heal up and for the swelling to go completely down before they can fit her with the prosthesis.  Anyone wanting to help her please contact me.  I have pictures of her but they are poor quality. I will take better ones soon.  Gracias.  










Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LETTING THEM OFF THE HOOK




Last Monday morning I attended a small men's prayer and Bible study in El Paso, Texas that I enjoy very much.  The men meet every Monday and I get excited every time that I am able to attend.  The men that attend are mostly ministers and most of them have been in the Lord's work for many, many years.  For me it is a time to receive and also to pour into their lives.  

One of the men shared with the rest of us an experience that he had recently.  That is the reason for this blog entry.  I wanted to share with you the simplicity and the power of what he shared with us. 

The man that shared this story has been serving the Lord, along with his wife, for many years.  I am always amazed when this particular brother shares about his service to the Lord and the things that he has gone through in life.  He admitted to us this past Monday that he and his wife had a falling out very recently, proving that even those who are strong in the Lord have issues once in a while.  His wife, a very Godly woman and used mightily by the Lord, was having a difficult time with the recent problem in their marriage.  At one time the word "divorce" was used and he suggested to her to give it until the end of the month before anything was done.  

In the meantime there was a planned trip to Denver to visit a daughter and her family.  While at the daughter's house their grandson (I think his age is 9) wanted to go fishing with his grandparents.  This couple had a habit of taking their grand kids to a particular fishing place.  The fishing spot was a catch and release place.  So any fish caught had to be taken off the hook and released.  But they always enjoyed visiting this fishing spot.  He told us that his grandson had already caught and released about 9 good size bass.  They would all watch as the fish were unhooked and released back to freedom.  In no time the fish released were out of sight again.  

But even in the midst of the fun of fishing with their grandson the couple was still troubled about their issue.  As they fished, the wife was praying about their situation.  As she occupied herself fishing and praying she suddenly heard a voice say, "Let him off the hook".  The voice was unrecognizable so she turned to see who spoke the words.  She heard the words again.  No one around her had spoken these words.  Then she realized that it was the Spirit of God speaking to her, in the fashion that He spoke to the prophet Samuel when he was a young boy.  LET HIM OFF THE HOOK!!!

There is so much beauty in how God speaks to us where we are.  "Let him off the hook" were words that she immediately understood.  She knew that she had to forgive her husband and she had forgotten how to do that.  She had to let her husband off the hook.  God was showing her how simple that it was.  LET HIM OFF THE HOOK!!! So simple, yet so profound and life changing!!!  She "let him off the hook" and the problem between them disappeared.

When my dear brother shared this with us my mind began to paint another picture.  It was a picture of how when someone does us wrong we "hook" them and we feel that they "owe us" for the damage and the hurt that they have caused us.  We think that we are holding them liable...as prisoners.  They are indebted to us.  But we don't realize that we are causing ourselves the damage.  That's why we MUST let them off the hook.  When we do that, we are setting ourselves free.  We may be the ones holding the rod and reel but when we "hook" someone there's a line that binds us captive to them.  

Is there someone at the end of your line?  LET THEM OFF THE HOOK!!! ...And set yourself free!!!   


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.



Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
(501)827-7679
d_torres53@yahoo.com


For tax credit send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, AR 72415





Saturday, September 21, 2013

ADVENTURES AT THE POST OFFICE


 


SPANISH AMERICAN EVANGELISTIC MINISTRIES DIRECTOR, BETY GARCIA

 
 
Here is a facebook entry that I posted this past week:
 
Sometimes things in Mexico do not operate as efficiently as we are accustomed to in the U.S. At times just one step becomes a high hurdle. Here is my latest adventure: For many, many months some church leaders in Cuba have been asking Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries in El Paso for gospel tracts. Letters from Cuba were coming in about every month pleading...begging for gospel tracts. The problem is that S.A.E.M. cannot ship to Cuba. But we have been wanting to get the tracts to Cuba so we decided that I can take a box of tracts to the Post Office in Juarez and ship them to Cuba. Piece of cake!!! No Problem!!!...So I thought!!! Last week I had someone show me where the only Post Office in Juarez was located (at one time I didn't even know we had a Post Office in Juarez). I saw the building but NOWHERE did it say that it was a Post Office. And I did not have the box of tracts with me. By Monday I had picked up the box at S.A.E.M. and was ready to mail it in Juarez. First you find a parking space in the busy downtown district and feed the parking meter a few 2 peso coins. However, the Post Office was closed. Monday September 16 was a National Holiday here. Back home!! Tuesday I returned, loaded the parking meter, box in tow, and wait inside the Post Office in line. I get to the front and the man wants to know where the Customs Agent had stamped the box. I told him that I didn't know anything about having it stamped by Customs. "Where is the agent", I ask. He said that the customs agent left at noon. I asked when he will be back from lunch. He said tomorrow at 11am. The agent is only there from 11am til noon. The time on my cell phone: 12:04pm. Back home!!! Today (Wednesday) I returned before 11am to check with the very busy customs agent just after I fed the parking meter. At 11am the agent was across the way visiting with another person. Me and an older lady waited on her for about 15 minutes. She comes over and I have to tear the tape off the box to have it inspected. I used my pen as a knife; Post Office has no box knives. She quickly glanced inside, told the Post Office man next to her that it was ok and...I looked at him. He just looked back at me. I looked at him some more. Finally I told him that the Customs lady said that the box was ok to ship. He said that he knew that...but that the box was opened. I looked at him like a mule looking at a new fence. I was wondering why he hadn't whipped out some tape and taped it. He told me that I had to tape it myself. I told him that it was no problem and I asked him for the tape. He said I had to supply my own tape. Of course, I had no tape in my back pocket. So he grinned and told me that there are stores down the street where I can buy some. I left the package there (I knew that I shouldn't have but my blood pressure was keeping me from thinking straight). Down the street they had tape for 16 pesos (about $1.30 for a single wide roll). I came back, taped the box, and we're finally on our way...or so I thought!!! He put the box on the scale and saw that it was headed to Cuba. So he told me that I had to go to the Cuban consulate in a City about 20 hours from Juarez and have the box approved (groan!), OR...I can repackage the contents into three smaller boxes. Packages to Cuba must be 2 kilos or less. He smiled again. I told him that I had mentioned to him yesterday that it was for Cuba. But he said that he thought it was going to a city in Mexico with a similar name. And he gave me another Liberace smile. So apparently there is another city in Mexico called Manzanilla Cuba (I researched this later and there isn't one). I tried hard to remember that I am a Christian man and didn't want the headlines to read: MISSIONARY GOES POSTAL. PULLS POSTAL WORKER OVER THE COUNTER AND BITES HIM ON THE NOSE. Back home!!! I must remember to get more 2 peso coins for next time. BTW..., did I mention that the Post Office is about 30-40 minutes from my place?
 
Now here is the rest of the story: 
Third try...:  I returned to S.A.E.M. and repackaged the tracts into, not three, but four smaller boxes just to make sure that I didn't come no where near 2 kilos per box.  The next day I head back to the post office promptly before 11am after feeding the parking meter 6 pesos.  Customs agent is off visiting again but after she returns to the desk my boxes (that I had left un-taped) are given the thumbs up.  This time I was loaded with tape in hand but the man says I can't tape them up at the counter.  I have to tape them at the tables behind me. So now I lose my place in line. All four are taped up and I head back to the line. After a little while I make it to the front of the line and all finally goes well. Each box is 167 pesos (just over $14US per box). I was thrilled that the gospel tracts were finally off my hands and hopefully on their way to communist Cuba. Then I quickly made my way to the car (I had 15 minutes left on the parking meter) and started to call Bety Garcia, S.A.E.M. Director, to tell her that the mission was finally accomplished. Before I had my phone to my ear there was a tap on my car window. I rolled the window down and the lady responsible for the tapping asked me if I was leaving. I nodded. So she asked me to hurry up because she needed my parking space. I promise....none of this was made up!!!
 
Someone recommended that I try using DHL in Juarez to mail packages to Cuba. I looked up their location and went there just to find out how much they charged to send 2 kilos to Cuba. Another long line. I found out that with DHL you have to take the package to customs at the border, where they review it and seal it so you can then take it to DHL. DHL doesn't have a customs agent sitting there from 11am to noon. But the DHL price was the shocker. Two kilos (4.4 lbs.) to Cuba was 1,163 pesos (about $98US). Fourteen dollars is better than $98 any day!!!
 
Here are some facts that I found out during my postal experiences: Cuba stopped receiving packages from the U.S. after the World Trade Center events of 9/11 in New York. Packages to Cuba must be 2 kilos or less for "security reasons", and even then they are opened and reviewed in Cuba at their postal site. Not all the contents inside the box are guaranteed to make it all the way to the final destination. Along the way some of it is "lost". Christian books are not allowed to be sent to Cuba. Christian books are supposed to be burned if any make it to their post offices. Bibles, however, can be shipped to Cuba; again...some being "lost" along the way. In Cuba a Bible is taken apart book by book and one church may share one Bible with parts of it scattered around amongst many of its members. Any gospel literature in Cuba is like gold, which is why I was so determined to see that the gospel tracts got off to Cuba. We need to get as much literature into the hands of the church leaders in Cuba as possible. They are desperate for it.
 
Here are more facts: S.A.E.M., Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries, in El Paso, Texas, prints gospel tracts and ships them to Spanish nations upon request. Bety Garcia, director at S.A.E.M., was recently showing me packages to be mailed off. One small package of tracts to Peru was almost $70 for shipping. Another small package going to Guatemala was close to $30 for shipping.  S.A.E.M. sends out these gospel tracts at no cost to the churches. The cost of printing and shipping comes from the S.A.E.M. flex fund, which is a fund that churches and individuals from the United States contribute to throughout the year. S.A.E.M. is a non-profit organization which next year celebrates its year of jubilee (50 years of supplying gospel tracts to the world). S.A.E.M. has a lot of expenses. They have Terry Knippers, who drives down from Oklahoma to El Paso, who does all the printing. He, along with his wife, Amparo, stay at S.A.E.M. for weeks at a time to print enough tracts for a few months...and then he returns and prints more, as the funds allow. Besides Director Bety Garcia all the other work done at S.A.E.M. comes from volunteers. Currently, S.A.E.M. is in need of funds for supplies, shipping, and upkeep of the printing presses. The ministry needs short term and long term volunteers. An intern or a missionary knowledgeable in Spanish and English would be wonderful. Volunteers to help with the upkeep of the buildings and yard work are needed (when I get a small team who is coming to work in Juarez I usually have them devote one day to S.A.E.M. and they really enjoy doing that). S.A.E.M. can accommodate a small team with housing - which is very comfortable. S.A.E.M. and I have worked together for about a year. The bread and most of the other food items and clothing that I carry into Juarez have passed through my hands because it was donated to S.A.E.M. The ministry also allows me to use their address to receive mail because I don't have a physical address in the U.S.
El Paso, Texas (foreground) and Juarez, Mexico (background)
 
I encourage all my readers to please send S.A.E.M. a small check. Even $5 would help tremendously. Let's help keep this ministry strong for another 50 years. Let's also keep forwarding this post to your friends and family through e-mails, facebook, or other means so that S.A.E.M. can get as much help as possible (please see the address below).
 
Other brief news from Juarez, Mexico:
~Juarez has suffered another challenge as we have had severe flooding. Many thousands are homeless and without food and clothing. Thank the Lord that I had absolutely no damage in my residence.
 
~Pastor Dr. Jimmy Hayes, from The River Church at Nashville, TN was in Juarez with me for 3+ days. The Lord spoke to him about helping with the "Greatest Spiritual Awakening that the world has ever witnessed". Right now decisions are being made about which stadium will be used in Juarez for the onset of this great revival. Dr. Jimmy Hayes and his team will be returning soon. Once we get going with this most of my time in Juarez will be devoted to these events. I am very excited about this. Once I have a little more information I will write a blog post about this. Pray for these outreaches.  
~I still have not been successful in initiating the border-to-border conferences in Juarez but I expect to know more about this in the next few weeks. This is one of my God-given visions so it's just a matter of time. Pray for this please.
 
 
Again, I want to thank all those who have sacrificed to keep me in Juarez. Those who pray regularly for me have more things to pray about as described in this blog post. Thanks for all your prayers and support.
 
 
Remember....re-post this blog!!!! Thank you!!!
 
 
Daniel Torres                                                 S.A.E.M.
650 Linwood Dr.                                            650 Linwood Dr.
El Paso, Texas 79928-7607                             El Paso, Texas 79928
501-827-7679                                                915-852-2525