This post has been a long time coming.  When I talk about being missional to individuals or groups, our good friends Scott and Shannon often come to mind.  Scott and I got to know each other when I was on staff at a church in Phoenix and he and his wife, Shannon, volunteered in the children’s ministry.  We formed a quick friendship and have kept in touch with each other over the years, even though we left Phoenix over 8 years ago.  God has taken these 2 friends on a similar journey that we have been on only down a slightly different path.

I admire our friends for their courage and immense amount of faith it takes to do what they do.  They are neither concerned with making it big for themselves, but are all about making God’s name great.  They serve as an example to me and a challenge of faith quite often.  Scott continues to be a dear friend and an encouragement during good times and challenging times.

The following post is about their heart and passion and ministry in Mexico.  If you are looking for somewhere to do missions or if you are looking for a worthy organization to support, then you needn’t look any further than this.  I highly recommend this couple and believe in what they are doing.  Finding one person with a heart and commitment to follow Jesus no matter what is rare.  Finding a couple that is doing it and willing to lay down everything (literally) is rarer still.

Enough from me though.  I’ll let you hear from this incredible couple about their awesome ministry.

You can describe i6eight by the following quote taken from the office of Wes Stafford, president of Compassion International: “Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” On the surface, i6eight appears to provide housing to the poor and marginalized in Mexico, which is true but is certainly not the whole story.

You could, however, describe i6eight accurately with just two words: “Jesus” and “relationships.” We believe Jesus is the answer to everything wrong in the world, and we believe this truth is made known through relationships. How does this look in the real world of cross-cultural missions? Let me share a story that will explain.

yulany1Yulany is 8 years old, beautiful, spunky and sweet. We met her about three years when we hired her dad to help us with some maintenance. Yulany and her family lived with us for about 6 months until we built them a small home in the barrios. Yulany truly became part of our family, as has her sister and parents. When we built Yulany’s house in December of 2010, my cousins and their two daughters traveled from Indiana to join us in providing her family a home. My cousin’s daughters, Kamryn and Nicole, immediately found a best friend in Yulany. The weekend proved to be life changing for everyone involved. Kamryn and Nicole returned to Indiana with a new best friend in their heart and a determination to make a difference in her life (apparently a house was just the beginning). They began praying for Yulany, and they began earning and saving money to make a difference in her life.

Fast-forward a year and a half, and the praying and saving continued and turned into a return visit to Mexico to see sweet Yulany. With their money jar in tow and their hearts full of excitement, Kamryn and Nicole returned to spend the weekend with Yulany. They handed me the money jar and explained to me that it was to be used for whatever was needed — these young girls, who live several thousand miles away pray every night for Yulany and her sister. This is one of my favorite moments in this ministry. What would cause two young girls to be so connected and so heartbroken over the living conditions of a friend with whom they don’t even speak the language? How will Kamyrn and Nicole’s lives be different because they have been exposed and impacted at such a young age by Yulany? How will Yulany’s life be different because she grew up knowing that she matters? That people care? That people love?

 

Yulany

Yulany

What we didn’t know at the time is that one of Yulany’s favorite parts of having a home is that she doesn’t have to be afraid anymore. We asked her what she used to be afraid of. With tears in her eyes, she told the story of her family being evicted from a house they were renting. The landlords waited until the middle of the night to evict them and literally threw them on street. Imagine being a 4-year-old little girl; imagine how scary and traumatic this experience would be. No longer does sweet Yulany have to be afraid. Not only does she have a safe home but her mom and dad have also met Jesus and are now a part of the local church. How different Yulany’s reality is, how different her future looks.

Praise be to Him.

This story embodies the heart and purpose of i6eight.

We would love to share our confliction with you. To find out how visit us online at www.i6eight.org, www.facebook/i6eight, or the old-fashioned way — give us a call 602-628-0260.

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