I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. (I Corinthians 3:6-7)
Five years ago we had a conversation with Doug and Diane Phillips, a Christian couple from Southern California who had been vacationing in Baja for many years. With backgrounds in child psychology and social work, they were now wondering how God might use those gifts more actively in Mexico. We talked with them about the lack of resources for children coming out of abusive, neglected, or abandoned family situations, the need for more orphanages or homes for children at risk. The next day was Sunday and, at that time, we held an English worship service in our home. In front of about 35 people, David spoke of Doug and Diane’s desire to work with kids in Mexico, that they were discerning God’s will for their lives in this arena, and that perhaps God was calling them to begin an orphanage for troubled kids. He asked people to pray for them.
Doug later told us, “I looked at Diane in surprise and shock. Is that what we said?!”
About two years after that conversation on our front porch, we met Doug and Diane again. They were in the process of moving to Southern Baja full-time, and working with government officials about how to launch a ministry to children-at-risk.
“It’s all your fault!” Doug joked with us.
“What do you mean?” we asked, baffled.
“When David announced that we were starting a ministry for children in Mexico, God began to work in our hearts until we said yes!”
David and I looked at each other. We vaguely remembered the conversation at our house. David had no recollection of what he’d said in worship that morning. “Really? I said you were going to start a ministry?” David asked incredulously. “Must have been God because I don’t remember a thing!”
Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit Doug and Diane in San Lucas which is about 10 minutes outside of Santa Rosalia, a seven-hour trip north of La Paz. What’s in San Lucas? The Miracle of Love Center is there, which is a children’s home for kids-at-risk. It officially opened on Sept 24, 2007. When we visited in June, there were eight children in residence. Three full-time staff live there, and work with the kids. What type of kids might be there? One story was of two young children whose mother is dying of cancer and the children were frequently seen in the streets hungry and dirty. The children do not have relatives who can help, so they were in need of a home. They now live at the Miracle of Love House.
In addition to beginning the orphanage, Doug and Diane also felt a burden for the spiritual needs of San Lucas (population 500). They partnered with local leaders to build a church. Doug said, “This is our home now. We care about these people. Jesus loves them. Of course we’re going to build a church.” In addition to the church, they are also assisting with what they call a mercy ministry by distributing food and clothing. The local delegado (town mayor) thanked them for providing a church as it will help reduce social problems in the community such as drug abuse and teenage pregnancy.
We had no idea that what seemed like an ordinary conversation five years ago, would result in the Miracle of Love! But God took a seed that we unwittingly planted in Doug and Diane’s hearts, and grew a desire into a dream into a ministry.
Growing God’s Kingdom is not about being American Baptist, or even about being missionaries in Mexico. It’s about being available to be used by God. We’re beginning to realize that no conversation is ordinary when God is in the middle of it. So, who have you talked to lately?!
In Christ’s Love,
David and Joyce
La Paz, Mexico
For more information about Miracle of Love, visit their website at www.Miracleoflove.us