International Ministries

Deborah’s House Dedication

September 22, 2006 Journal
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On October 7th we will be dedicating our new shelter at Deborah's House. It has been a long time in coming, and many months past the date we hoped that we would have it ready.But it is here and the house is almost complete.We are putting floor tiles in the last rooms, installing the kitchen and bathrooms, and touching up the paint.With God's help it might even be ready on the 7th.

I am not a builder and have never attempted anything like this project before.I would hope to say that I will never again, but I know that there are some more facilities we need at Deborah's House in addition to the three buildings that we have now, and we will want to start soon to put those in place.But not just yet, please.I need at least a day or two to stop and relax and enjoy what is accomplished.

As I think back on the last year, I am amazed- amazed at my naiveté as we began the project, thinking that it was something that I was even capable of leading. If anything is clear to me now, it is that I have been wholly inadequate to the task.But that is what to me has been most amazing.At every juncture, when my resources were not enough, when the money ran out, when I had no idea how to move forward, miracles happened.

God has stepped in, over and over, to make this house possible.Just as I reached the point that I could see no way out, God moved in.Although we might hope that God's miracles would just drop out of the sky, and bam, the house would appear, the way God has acted here has been so much more beautiful.God has acted through you, through the hundreds of people who have sacrificed so much and shared so graciously, at exactly the moment when we needed it most.

More than 200 people have come as volunteers, spending a week of your time doing the most unrewarding labor, anointing this ground with your sweat.You stayed in less than perfect conditions and put up with bad plumbing in order to do so (but the food was great).Hundreds of American Baptist Women from several regions chose Deborah's House as your special project and gave from your hearts so that women that you might not ever meet in this life, but are so closely bonded to in eternity, might be able to live in a place of peace.Churches that we have spoken in, and some we have never heard of, have sought out this ministry and supported Deborah through gifts and donations of clothing, toys, blankets, La Gloria September 06and more.Several dear friends, knowing of a need at one time or another, have made overwhelming gifts which have sustained us and this ministry.

In every case, I know that these were no small gestures or symbolic amounts to any of you.To know that you have all sacrificed so greatly to give what you have has humbled me.My prayer is that we can prove worthy of all that you have given and that this shelter will embody the love that you have poured out upon it.

Last week I received a call from a pastor I met several years ago in Oregon.We had spent two days together at his church, as I was invited to share about Deborah's ministry with his congregation.His phone call was to let me know he was dying of cancer and that he was trying to organize his memorial service while he still could do so.He wanted to ask my permission to have gifts sent in lieu of flowers to Deborah's House.I didn't know how to receive that call, that gift.How can we be worthy of such gifts as these?

The truth is, of course, that we cannot be.But I suppose that is the wonder of grace. I have tried my best here, and though I have come up short quite a few times, God has made some pretty great things happen.You are invited to come and see for yourself, at the dedication or anytime you would like.Bring some work gloves and a work team if you can. Just be ready to see a miracle.

At the dedication service, we will be setting beneath our cornerstone, a time capsule, which will have the hopes, thoughts and prayers of those attending.We want to invite you to write something as well, you could bring to us in person or send to us by e-mail, schellingergutierrez@yahoo.comor to: PO Box 777, Chula Vista, CA 91912

With love and amazement,

And with deep, deep gratitude,

Ray