Martha (33) started first. She and her husband Arturo (37)came to Esperanza 5 years ago seeking help for their drug addictions. At Martha's "Quincenera" (the milestone 15th birthday party), instead of receiving gifts, she got introduced to hard drugs. A pregnancy followed, then another, and lots more drugs. She and her boyfriend knew they needed help but were not looking for God. Yet He found them and transformed them from desperate, quarreling users who were neglecting their 2 young daughters, to a radiant couple serving God together.
Martha goes every week to the Zona Norte (Tijuana's red light district) to teach a Good News Club to children of prostitutes. Their 2nd daughter took her first steps when Martha was in rehab. Her oldest daughter was 7 when she came to Esperanza and was one of the children we prayed for when I started "Madres Unidas Para Orar" 5 years ago there. Martha has asked her daughter's forgiveness for those early years she failed her as a mother and Martita has obviously forgiven her--in fact she is her mother's best helper at the Saturday children's club. Arturo and Martha have a 9 month old son fittingly named "Emmanuel" (God with us).
Danya (17 years old next month, and the creative director, producer and main actor of the mime) shared about how her quest for the love that she didn't find at home led her to the street where she found bad company and dangerous practices. She sought the approval of people who wanted to harm her and was heading fast down a path to destruction but a timely accident diverted her to Esperanza. Realizing that she needed help, she had asked someone to take her to a rehab center, even though using drugs was not her problem. She just knew she needed to get away. But on the way, they got into an accident and had to return home. The next day someone told them about Esperanza and Danya found herself at a different center, Esperanza, under the loving care of Lidia Marquez. She's finding that the love she sought in all the wrong places is GOD! and all that He wanted to give her... Love, acceptance, and so much more....Now Danya is filling her mind and heart with God's word.
Hebrews 11:1, Ecc 12:1, I Timothy 4:12 and I Peter 2:9 are among her favorite promises to claim.
Lourdes ("Lulu," 44, who played a toothless old woman mocked by 2 young girls in the drama--until Kindness was introduced) was also starved for love. Twelve years of using crystal meth did their damage. She had given up on herself, but even though she had left her 3 teenaged children to move in with another man, her children urged her to seek help. She came to Esperanza but then returned to the drug lifestyle; however, the love and commitment of Christ, personified in Sheila at Esperanza, drew her back. Having somebody who believed in her and loved her kept her from killing herself. John 16:24 is the promise of answered prayer that she clings to. We are praying for her to get the victory in the battlefield of her mind where she feels like such a failure. Pray that she will apply @ Cor. 10:5 and learn to take every thought captive, making it obedient to Jesus Christ. Praise God for her children who visit her and believe in her.
Sheila first met Lidia when she was 5 years old and a neighbor of the family. Although her home life was rough, she would catch a ride to school with her classmate Enoch--Lidia's son. She liked the peace she felt around Lidia and would hang out at the Marquez home, helping with the dishes or playing with their children. At age 14, when her alcoholic father and hardworking mother (neither of whom had much time for Sheila) split up, Sheila took off too, looking for answers. She found a lot of wrong ones, including a pregnancy that turned her into a single mom; the father of the baby didn't stick around. Despite all her own problems (or maybe because of them?), something inside her made her think that perhaps Lidia needed help at the women's center and she reconnected with Lidia. That's when Sheila discovered that although she had not felt loved growing up, God loved her and was giving her an amazing capacity to love and help others. She has become the assistant that Lidia has been praying for. Pray for Sheila who wants to help Lidia but also wants to be with her child who is now almost 2 years old. Her mother is taking care of the baby during the week and Sheila goes home on Saturday. If she had a stipend to afford diapers and baby supplies, she could perhaps have her baby with her more of the time. Kind of a catch-22, isn't it?
Noemi was in my small prayer group several months ago. She and her boyfriend Cesar entered the rehab at the same time, and like Sheila, she has a son who is almost 2. Noemi's drug of choice was heroin and she shot so much that at times she couldn't find a good vein on her body. You wouldn't know it to look at her, because Noemi is gorgeous. But it was during those years of heavy drug use that she got pregnant and had her baby. Her 3 months of rehab wasn't enough and when she left Esperanza, both her boyfriend and she regressed. Her eyes are opened to the fact that her boyfriend of 5 years has lost interest in getting rehabbed and that if she stays with him, she'll likely go right back into her previous lifestyle. In fact, she just got word that Cesar nearly burned to death when a fire broke out in the house he was shooting up in. He used to preach to others about Jesus--Pray this will be a wake-up call for him. Noemi's also helping Lidia and sometimes has her little boy with her. They live in a small house just outside the Esperanza fence, but need diapers. Why do diapers have to cost so much?! Makes me appreciate the Chinese system of split pants for their babies. But that's another subject..... Pray for the health of her little boy who had a bad start and is not eating well. But he, along with his mom, has been given a new beginning. Noemi quoted Isaiah 41:9-10 as one of her favorite promises. But like Danya, she could rattle off verse after verse and it's obvious that God's word is changing her from the inside out.
Martha, Danya, Lourdes, Sheila and Noemi's stories in PDF
I was addicted for a long time to drugs, and wavered between "La Santa Muerte" (a cult that venerates death) and Jesus Christ. Today, by His power and infinite grace, I have been freed from it all. Thanks to God and the power of prayer, Sincerely, Daniel Morales (brother of Flor, the director of CdFE) PDF
I am an alcoholic. My name is Efren Garcia. One day I was strongly desiring a drink and as usual, found a "compadre" to go drinking with. Just like always, once we were drunk, we headed to my house. I lived near my friend's small ranch and we all arrived drunk. My children were sleeping. I, drunk, woke up one of my daughters and sent her with my "comadre" (friend's wife) to bring a bottle of "mezcal" (a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant) and my daughters sleepily went to bring the bottle. There were dogs around and when the girls started to return with the bottle, one of the dogs chased them. Scared, they dropped the bottle and it broke and when they arrived home without the bottle, I exploded with anger. I took a machete from my belt and hit my daughter. At being beaten, she stuck out her hand and I struck her, not noticing--because I was inebriated--that the machete had turned and the sharp blade cut her hand right off. Now when I see that stump where her hand had been, as she has grown up, I am consumed by remorse and I don't know what to do.
I don't drink anymore.
To whom it may concern, thank you,
Efren Garcia PDF
My name is Gabriel Medina Lopez. I am an inmate here at Campamento de Fe where Sister Kathy comes to visit. Through her we are writing letters to people like you and thus offering our friendship and telling you how I happened to end up here. It was because of an accident. Although I had known the Lord, I had been away from Him and here I reaffirmed my faith. On the 7th of July I was baptized, arriving at the feet of my Lord and it was an incentive for me. My accident happened 7 years ago. I needed a surgical operation but I couldn't get it until I first obtained health insurance. I recently got it and was operated on 15 days ago and everything is going well up to this present time. I hope that you also are healthy--this is basic, everything else is secondary. Believe in Jesus Christ and He will give you victory. I encourage you to keep on going and never, ever give up. Look for Jesus. He loves us. Thank you. " Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NLT) 4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. 5 It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.
I have been here for 10 years. Half of my lung was removed and I have had 2 accidents to the same leg, also my spinal column was injured and I cannot walk.
My greatest desire is that the men here be able to leave and be reconciled to their families. This is my goal. God bless and keep you. PDF
Mi nombre es Jesus Morales. Soy una persona alcoholico! Drogadieta que todo el tiempo se la llevo haciendo maldades. Entonces en el trayecto donde anduva en los vicios me enferme de la piel y me interne en un centro. Y como ay, no me hacian caso de mi enfermedad, conoci un pastor que me trajo a Campamento de Fe. Alli fue donde empeze a conocer la palabra de Dios. Al dado caso que me empezo a gustar mucho. Entonces yo en mis oraciones, le empeze a pedir que no me quitar a la dicha de estar con el para siempre. Que hasta este momento me ha estado fortaleciendo, y me ha estado mollando, gracias a mi Dios, amen.
I am grateful to God for the opportunity that He is giving me to still be alive. Praise be to God, Father ofour Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us from the celestial regions with all spiritual blessings in Christ. That is the word of God. My testimony is that I was in a coma as if I were dead and by the grace of God, still alive. I had one broken leg, my stomach was open, and my two arms were broken. Because of God's mercy, now I can take my first steps and move my arms and my stomach has healed. As Luke 7:7 says, 7 "I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed."
May God bless all of you in the same way. Amen. PDF
I am at Campamento de Fe where I met sister Kathy, sister Lesley, sister Josefina, sister Carolina, etc. I am temporarily sick and have been given a place to stay here for the last 4 years. My desire is to be liberated and reunited with my family. Also I want you to think about our Savior Jesus Christ. Seek the Lord. I leave you with my favorite verse:
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
God bless you all, Thank you. PDF
First I want to give thanks to God for another day of life. I am here because I am sick with anemia, but it's not so serious and I think that God has been caring for me and healing my infirmity. And this year I ask God to bless me and give me the privilege of being with my family, together. Well, my desire this year is to wish the best for all of you, wherever you are, that you be well and that God watch over you and give you much strength to follow Him this Christmas and New Year. PDF
Collection of the mens testimonies in PDF
When my kids were toddlers I used to teach kids that didn’t go to school or their grades were not good. As my children grew up, I took care of the babies in church. At that time I was having a recurring dream-- that I was in this place with mud everywhere and rocks; there were many kids in this place, and the kids were reaching out with their hands....
Continued in PDF
At the age of 8 or 9, Chela was already reaching out to children less fortunate than herself. She lived near an orchard and seeing all the fruit lying on the ground gave her an idea. Why not gather the fruit and share it with the many hungry children that were always around? So she did. And their joy encouraged Chela to extend her hospitality. She started inviting these kids right into her home and feeding them. She probably should have asked her mother first, but then, her mother had always set an example of cooking food for the hungry and taking it to those in need. One thing led to another. A natural leader, Chela started entertaining the children as well as feeding them. She recalls putting on dramas for them or hanging a sheet in front of candles and creating a shadow play with her fingers. One time she lined up about 50 kids on the sidewalk, some of them probably older than her, and taught them how to dance. They put on a wonderful performance, at least in her eyes....
Continued in PDF
Collection of the Children testimonies in PDF