September 2008

His face was twisted with grief and pain. He acted desperate. "I have tried everything and nothing seems to work" he told me. "Well, have you tried Jesus?" I asked. "I don’t know how" was his reply. Working in the Whatcom County Jail saps my energy but the rewards are so great. This man Saul is typical of what happens nearly every week when I do ministry there. Men and women come full of trouble, anger, and anxiety, some are addicts, 99% of these people are far from God. After sitting in jail for a week or so their life seems to stop, reality settles in and a lot of thinking takes place. I have the privilege to introduce many people, not just Hispanic,s to a loving, supernatural God. Today, Saul is absolutely a different person. His smile lights up the room. Yesterday, he introduced me to a new inmate name Jacob. Jacob, a father of 3 children, was in tears and mentioned that he was thinking of suicide. "I can’t stop crying" he told me, "I am at the end of my rope." My dear reader, can you guess the question that I asked him?

"Pastor Jose, can you come to our house? My husband is acting very strange." Sure enough when I arrived Manuel couldn’t remember anything including which car was his that was parked in front of his house. I took him to the emergency center in the hospital and sat with him most of the afternoon. Finally, I had to leave because I had a Bible study that night. 15 minutes after I left, Manuel had a major stroke right in the emergency room. Manuel and Angelica have 6 children between the ages of 5 and 16. Since then Manuel has been having a lot of tests etc. and still is not doing so well. Manuel was the first member of our church in Mt.Vernon. Pray that God would grant him enough years so as to raise his children.

Northwest Hispanic Ministry is supported by a host of volunteers. No church or organization can make it without the involvement of a lot of people. Mary Ann Rientjes and Marv Apol are Sunday School Superintendents and work tirelessly. Many board members have spent years serving with enthusiasm. Jim and Cheryl Bratt and Karen Visser of Lynden are always present, teaching, leading and encouraging the Amor Viviente Church. My wife, Nellie, puts countless hours into music practice and leading worship in our Vida Nueva Church. I am also very appreciative of First CRC of Mt. Vernon and Third CRC of Lynden for allowing us the use of their facilities free of charge. Bethel CRC of Lynden provides a van to pick up kids for Sunday school. Then there are a host of people and churches that support us with prayer and finances. For this we praise God. We work together watching and experiencing His kingdom spread throughout the whole earth. Thank you for participating with me.