Wednesday, July 26, 2017



    It has been a very long time since my last blog entry...and a lot of great things continue to happen in Juarez, Mexico.  Next week will mark my six years as a full-time missionary in this very needy land.  When I arrived here six years ago Juarez was known as the murder capital of the world.  Today things are not as bad as they used to be but we still have a long way to go.  Crime and corruption still head up the list of evils.  After almost seven full months of 2017 the death toll by murder is just over 400.  A few years ago the yearly murder rate was just over 3,000.  As long as the huge demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. continues the war for the production and transportation of these drugs will continue with the drug cartels.  

In this blog entry I want to share the story of a recent horrible accident that occurred in the community of Juarez called Puerto Anapra.  Puerto Anapra is infamous in Juarez for being a community that is very dangerous due to the murder rate being much higher than in any other community in Juarez; as well as the mysterious disappearance of hundreds and hundreds of young girls and women over the years.  There are several ministries in Puerto Anapra that I have visited over the years.  I have also brought ministry teams from the U.S. to this community but we always made it a point to be out of there by sundown.  As with most communities in Juarez the people here are very poor and live in very humble situations.  I often think about the children who are raised in these communities who see this lifestyle as normal.  Many have not been anywhere else and they have no idea that life can be very different in many other places.

Just over a month ago on a dirt road and up on a hill in Puerto Anapra many young kids, ages 8 to 12, gathered to visit as was the custom every evening as the temperatures became more bearable.  Normally as many as 15 to 20 young kids would gather in one little spot on a sidewalk; but some of them had been punished by their parents and they were not allowed to attend the nightly visits.  The sidewalk had a large square opening that perhaps was created to occupy a very large tree that once grew there.  It was usually the girls who sat in the square opening (about 2 feet deep), and the others sat on the sidewalk or stood up.  About eight girls could sit inside the square very comfortably.  The street in front of this spot formed a "T", where any vehicle coming towards them would have to turn right or left.  At about 100 feet from the kids, just directly up the street, there is a tiny neighborhood store.  A man in his sixties walked out of the store and got in his pick-up truck.  The man was very drunk.  He stepped on the gas petal but since the truck only moved back he floored the gas petal.  He did not know that he had the transmission in reverse.  The truck headed straight towards the kids like a bullet reaching a target.  
The kids saw the truck coming but they had only a few very precious seconds to jump out of the way.  Some kids pushed others out of the way.  The pick-up came at them so fast  that it jumped the curb in front of them, hit several kids, crushed some of them between the rear of the pick-up and a concrete block wall just behind them, tore down the concrete block wall, knocked down a large tree just behind the wall, and some of the kids ended up about 50 feet from where they were visiting.  Immediately there were two girls dead.  Another girl's leg was crushed so severely that the hospital had to amputate it, but she died soon after.  An 8 year old boy's abdomen was cut open as the vehicle tires ran over him and his intestines spilled out. He was taken to the hospital and is miraculously alive today.  Other children suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.  Within seconds the street filled up with parents  and neighbors.  The drunk driver barely escaped with his life.  The police arrived just as the neighbors had decided to take justice into their own hands.  He is now in jail.  The total death toll came to three girls, ages 10 to 12.

I first heard about this incident over the Juarez nightly news about three days after it happened.  That night I could not fall asleep as the visions of the event filled my mind.  My heart hurt for these people and my tears would not stop.  I thought about my own three daughters.  I thought about the grief that these families were facing and all the emotions that come with all that.  I asked the Lord to help the families and the neighbors, and friends of the deceased.  

But the Lord wanted me to get involved.  Right there on my bed the Spirit spoke to me in my heart and told me to find these families, reach out to them, comfort them in His name.  I told the Lord that I knew Puerto Anapra and that it was quite large.  How would I go about finding this street and families?  And the Lord spoke back to me again.  He told me to go down the main road in Puerto Anapra, turn right into the main grocery store, and on the left side there would be a guard.  I was to ask him and he would tell me exactly where to go.  (This reminded me of Acts chapter 10 where an angel tells Cornelius where to find Peter.)  

The next day my wife and I were on our way.  I turned right into the main grocery store in Puerto Anapra and right there on the left was a friendly guard who gladly and precisely told me how to get there.  Amazing!  We arrived at the location of the accident; I immediately recognized the wall that had been destroyed by the pick-up truck.  The wall was now under reconstruction.  There was a lady crossing the street and I stopped her for more information.  Maria was a Christian woman and knew the families very well.  But everyone had gone out to the cemetery when we arrived.  Maria gave me more information about the three families and we also exchanged phone numbers.  I was especially surprised to hear that no one in the three families was a Christian and that the services for the 3 girls were done in the front yard of one of their houses.  A neighbor who was a Christian said something at the parting ceremony in front of the house, but no pastor came to deliver an eulogy.  Maria became our contact with the families and within a few days one of the families agreed to have us pay them a visit at home.

    I had absolutely no idea what I could say to anyone who had suffered such a terrible loss.  I only trusted that the Holy Spirit would guide me.  And of course, He did.  We had a wonderful visit with the family and later a young man was asked to go and bring some other family members of the girls involved in the accident.  They were all very, very kind.  It was through them and especially Belen, a 12 year old girl who had suffered a deep cut to her left foot in the accident, that I received most of the details about the accident.  Belen, with a very sweet voice and with many tears, described the accident to me.  They even took us outside where the accident occurred to describe to us the exact events.  But even in their friendly ways they shed many tears as they spoke of the events.  My wife Blanquita and I tried to comfort them as much as we knew how with the help of the Spirit and we gathered around for prayer before we left.  It was a great visit.  I also wanted to find a church nearby that would allow me to have a special service for the families.  Maria's church was nearby and after visiting her Pastor he allowed me to use his church.  The families had already agreed with me that they would like to have a special service.  

We held the special service last Saturday.  I had never done that kind of service before.  I had prepared a message of comfort, the love of God, and also forgiveness.  Many more tears were shed.  
A few days before the service I had gone out and purchased three trees to plant after the service in memory of each girl: Pamela, Melissa, and Evelin.  So right after the church service we headed back to scene of the accident to plant the trees.  Previously I asked the families if they wanted the trees planted at each home or at the scene of the accident; they chose the scene of the accident.  Men from each family prepared the ground for each tree.  The trees were quite tall; each about 9 feet tall or more.  As they began with the shovels more and more neighbors came out to observe.  We planted the trees and each family wanted pictures of themselves by "their" tree.  It was a very moving experience.  I know that each one of the little things that were done and each drop of tear that was shed brought each family member a little bit more healing.  I also gave each family a gift bag containing a Bible, some gospel tracts, and a movie called GRACE CARD (about the accidental death of a little boy and the years that the father lived in remorse and unforgiveness until Christ came into his heart).  We visited with the families there on the dirt road and again tried to comfort them.  More hugs and handshakes were shared and of course more tears.  

Blanquita and I left knowing that we had done a few things but our work with this community was not over.  When the men finished planting the trees one of the men opened up to us and spoke to us about what he felt in his heart.  He said that knew that he needed God.  In a society where machismo (manhood) is so overpowering, it was a huge thing for any man to confess this.  We told them that we would be back soon.  And some of the family members said that they wanted to invite us over for dinner.  

There is a time to plant and there is a time to sow.  You can't sow where no one has planted.  Christians or not these families needed someone to reach out to them and I have felt very honored that the Lord chose us to meet these hurting families.  They're all very precious and they need God's love in their lives.  I am also very glad that the Lord opened up their hearts to receive us as wonderfully as they did.  Someday, hopefully soon, the many seeds planted here will be harvested; and the harvest will be great!  When God shows you a need it's an invitation from Him to act.  We live in a hurting world and people are hurting everywhere.  Don't ignore the hurting people around you; just open your eyes and your heart.  We're called to be Jesus to this world.  

Many, many thanks to all those who have supported the work in Juarez, Mexico for these past six years.  It's been a wonderful journey.  And now that the Lord has blessed me with a wonderful wife the journey is richer.  

This ministry still needs more support so please contact me if you want to be part of reaching Juarez, Mexico for the Lord.  In the future I know that the Lord will be sending me to other nations to minister there as well.  There are many, many feeding centers and ministries in Juarez that are in dire need of help.  Right now we help several but we are not able to help the many that ask for help.  Also please write your comments on the comment section below; I would love to hear from you.  You may also call me or write.  Blessings to all.


Daniel Torres

P.S. Click on pictures for a better view.

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