The pastoral house was completed in 2011 and we are excited with not only in taking the next step in this project but also in the way that God is using this couple to touch the lives of those in Fatima. Currently, various teams have constructed the church building, a well as 2 dormitories that will begin housing foster children from Fatima in the coming year. This ministry continues to be a beacon of hope and light in their community.
A New House & A New Testimony
One exciting story that came out of working with Pastor Rafael and the community in Fatima was concerning a young woman named Ilse. She has two young children, a two year old and a 3 month old. During the time when the Winkler, Manitoba Youth group was working in Fatima, her situation was came to the attention of the team. But first some history.
In the spring of 2010 while a team was handing out food hampers in the community, one group came across Ilse. Asking the recipients for prayer requests, she shared with them her life at the time, a lifestyle caught in drugs. She asked that the group would pray that she would be free from that lifestyle. Shortly there after she started going to Pastor Rafael's church and to God's glory, has not only left that lifestyle behind but has faithfully been in fellowship in Pastor Rafael's church since then.
Ilse's husband had left her and she was living with her mother. Unfortunately, though, it was not a healthy situation neither for herself nor for her boys and was living temporarily in the church. Her situation pulled on the hearts of the youth team that was here and taking an offering among the members of the youth group, they decided to build her a 12' x 16' house.
The adult team came right after and was able to complete what the youth had started, painting and furnishing the little quarter with a bed, a stove, food, curtains, and whatever they could to give this single mom who had nothing, something that she could call her own and a place to call home for herself and her children. In an emotional fairwell, they handed her the keys and with tears in her eyes, she expressed her gratitude.
Ilse was baptized at Easter of that year, and is growing daily in her faith as studies God's word. It is a thrill to see her, as she tells of the promises God continues to give her, the peace that her children have, and the gratefulness of heart she demonstrates. She is truly becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.
One of the many outreaches in the neighborhood of Fatima was a tea party with the community ladies. It was amazing to watch the ladies from both countries try and dialogue through translators and sometimes just resorting to hand gestures to make communication work. That afternoon there were a number of guests who usually do not attend the church. It was a great outreach as not only crafts and food were shared, but most important of all a message of hope.