Nov 29, 2012

USA Post-Mortem

Post-Mortem (by Townhall columnist Laura Hollis, an attorney and professor of law and entrepreneurship, residing in Indiana.) 

1. We are outnumbered
We accurately foresaw the enthusiasm, the passion, the commitment, the determination, and the turnout. Married women, men, independents, Catholics, evangelicals – they all went for Romney in percentages as high as, or higher than, the groups which voted for McCain in 2008. It wasn’t enough. What we saw in the election on Tuesday was a tipping point: we are now at a place where there are legitimately fewer Americans who desire a free republic with a free people than there are those who think the government should give them stuff. There are fewer of us who believe in the value of free exchange and free enterprise. There are fewer of us who do not wish to demonize successful people in order to justify taking from them. For the moment we are outnumbered. It’s just that simple. 

2. It wasn’t the candidate(s)
Some are already saying, “Romney was the wrong guy”; “He should have picked Marco Rubio to get Florida/Rob Portman to get Ohio/Chris Christie to get [someplace else].” With all due respect, these assessments are incorrect. Romney ran a strategic and well-organized campaign. Yes, he could have hit harder on Benghazi. But for those who would have loved that, there are those who would have found it distasteful. No matter what tactic you could point to that Romney could have done better, it would have been spun in a way that was detrimental to his chances. Romney would have been an excellent president, and Ryan was an inspired choice. No matter who we ran this year, they would have lost. See #1, above.
3. It’s the culture, stupid
We have been trying to fight this battle every four years at the voting booth. It is long past time we admit that that is not where the battle really is. We abdicated control of the culture – starting back in the 1960s. And now our largest primary social institutions – education, the media, Hollywood (entertainment) have become really nothing more than an assembly line for cranking out reliable little Leftists. Furthermore, we have allowed the government to undermine the institutions that instill good character – marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches. So, here we are, at least two full generations later – we are reaping what we have sown. It took nearly fifty years to get here; it will take another fifty years to get back. But it starts with the determination to reclaim education, the media, and the entertainment business. If we fail to do that, we can kiss every election goodbye from here on out. And much more.
4. America has become a nation of adolescents
The real loser in this election was adulthood: Maturity. Responsibility. The understanding that liberty must be accompanied by self-restraint. Obama is a spoiled child, and the behavior and language of his followers and their advertisements throughout the campaign makes it clear how many of them are, as well. Romney is a grown-up. Romney should have won. Those of us who expected him to win assumed that voters would act like grownups.
Because if we were a nation of grownups, he would have won.
But what did win? Sex. Drugs. Bad language. Bad manners. Vulgarity. Lies. Cheating. Name-calling. Finger-pointing. Blaming. And irresponsible spending.
This does not bode well. People grow up one of two ways: either they choose to, or circumstances force them to. The warnings are all there, whether it is the looming economic disaster, or the inability of the government to respond to crises like Hurricane Sandy, or the growing strength and brazenness of our enemies. American voters stick their fingers in their ears and say, “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you.”
It is unpleasant to think about the circumstances it will take to force Americans to grow up. It is even more unpleasant to think about Obama at the helm when those circumstances arrive. 

5. Yes, there is apparently a Vagina Vote
It’s the subject matter of another column in its entirety to point out, one by one, all of the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the Democrats this year. Suffice it to say that the only “war on women” was the one waged by the Obama campaign, which sexualized and objectified women, featuring them dressed up like vulvas at the Democrat National Convention, appealing to their “lady parts,” comparing voting to losing your virginity with Obama, trumpeting the thrills of destroying our children in the womb (and using our daughters in commercials to do so), and making Catholics pay for their birth control. For a significant number of women, this was appealing. It might call into question the wisdom of the Nineteenth Amendment, but for the fact that large numbers of women (largely married) used their “lady smarts” instead. Either way, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are rolling over in their graves. 

6. It’s not about giving up on “social issues”
No Republican candidate should participate in a debate or go out on the stump without thorough debate prep and a complete set of talking points that they stick to. This should start with a good grounding in biology and a reluctance to purport to know the will of God. (Thank you, Todd and Richard.)

That said, we do not hold the values we do because they garner votes. We hold the values we do because we believe that they are time-tested principles without which a civilized, free and prosperous society is not possible.
We defend the unborn because we understand that a society which views some lives as expendable is capable of viewing all lives as expendable.
We defend family – mothers, fathers, marriage, children – because history makes it quite clear that societies without intact families quickly descend into anarchy and barbarism, and we have plenty of proof of that in our inner cities where marriage is infrequent and unwed motherhood approaches 80 percent. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, many thought that the abortion cause was lost. Forty years later, ultrasound technology has demonstrated the inevitable connection between science and morality. More Americans than ever define themselves as “pro-life.” What is tragic is that tens of millions of children have lost their lives while Americans figure out what should have been obvious before.
There is no “giving up” on social issues. There is only the realization that we have to fight the battle on other fronts. The truth will out in the end. 

7. Obama does not have a mandate. And he does not need one.
I have to laugh – bitterly – when I read conservative pundits trying to assure us that Obama “has to know” that he does not have a mandate, and so he will have to govern from the middle. I don’t know what they’re smoking. Obama does not care that he does not have a mandate. He does not view himself as being elected (much less re-elected) to represent individuals. He views himself as having been re-elected to complete the “fundamental transformation” of America, the basic structure of which he despises. Expect much more of the same – largely the complete disregard of the will of half the American public, his willingness to rule by executive order, and the utter inability of another divided Congress to rein him in. Stanley Kurtz has it all laid out. 

8. The CorruptMedia is the enemy
Too strong? I don’t think so. I have been watching the media try to throw elections since at least the early 1990s. In 2008 and again this year, we saw the media cravenly cover up for the incompetence and deceit of this President, while demonizing a good, honorable and decent man with lies and smears. This is on top of the daily barrage of insults that conservatives (and by that I mean the electorate, not the politicians) must endure at the hands of this arrogant bunch of elitist snobs. Bias is one thing. What we observed with Benghazi was professional malpractice and fraud. They need to go.
Republicans, Libertarians and other conservatives need to be prepared to play hardball with the Pravda press from here on out. And while we are at it, to defend those journalists of whatever political stripe (Jake Tapper, Sharyl Atkisson, Eli Lake) who actually do their jobs. As well as Fox News and talk radio. Because you can fully expect a re-elected Obama to try to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in term 2. 

9. Small business and entrepreneurs will be hurt the worst
For all the blather about “Wall Street versus Main Street,” Obama’s statist agenda will unquestionably benefit the biggest corporations which – as with the public sector unions – are in the best position to make campaign donations, hire lobbyists, and get special exemptions carved out from Obama’s health care laws, his environmental regulations, his labor laws. It will be the small business, the entrepreneur, and the first-time innovators who will be crushed by their inability to compete on a level playing field.  

10. America is more polarized than ever; and this time it’s personal
I’ve been following politics for a long time, and it feels different this time. Not just for me. I’ve received messages from other conservatives who are saying the same thing: there is little to no tolerance left out there for those who are bringing this country to its knees – even when they have been our friends. It isn’t just about “my guy” versus “your guy.” It is my view of America versus your view of America – a crippled, hemorrhaging, debt-laden, weakened and dependent America that I want no part of and resent being foisted on me. I no longer have any patience for stupidity, blindness, or vulgarity, so with each dumb “tweet” or FB post by one of my happily lefty comrades, another one bites the dust, for me. Delete.
What does this portend for a divided Congress? I expect that Republicans will be demoralized and chastened for a short time. But I see them in a bad position. Americans in general want Congress to work together. But many do not want Obama’s policies, and so Republicans who support them will be toast. Good luck, guys. 

11. It’s possible that America just has to hit rock bottom
I truly believe that most Americans who voted for Obama have no idea what they are in for. Most simply believe him when he says that all he really wants is for the rich to pay “a little bit more.” So reasonable! Who could argue with that except a greedy racist?
America is on a horrific bender. Has been for some time now. The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal responsibility are everywhere – too many to mention. We need only look at other countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in store.
For the past four years – but certainly within the past campaign season – we have tried to warn Americans. Too many refuse to listen, even when all of the events that have transpired during Obama’s presidency – unemployment, economic stagnation, skyrocketing prices, the depression of the dollar, the collapse of foreign policy, Benghazi, hopelessly inept responses to natural disasters – can be tied directly to Obama’s statist philosophies, and his decisions.
What that means, I fear, is that they will not see what is coming until the whole thing collapses. That is what makes me so sad today. I see the country I love headed toward its own “rock bottom,” and I cannot seem to reach those who are taking it there.

Feb 28, 2011

The Jenzen Group

Satan works against all that God desires for His children. Lately he has almost completely halted the normal flow of christians being blessed by coming to Baja California to minister by convincing them that it is too dangerous.

There is a remnant, however, that continues to come and one such example is the Janzen family. They are an especially good example of obedience despite fears because Mrs. Janzen is a widow with four young daughters. Mr. Janzen was killed in a car accident just miles from his home last year. He had been planning and organizing their first short term missions trip to Mexico. Three other families had signed up to join the Janzens. Everyone expected the trip to be cancelled but Mrs. Janzen and her girls decided to go ahead with it in honor of Mr. Janzen.

This year God was directing them to come back but they could not find anyone to come with them. Everyone was too busy or too afraid. Some even told her she was being irresponsible by taking her girls to that dangerous place. God's direction was clear, though, so she stayed the coarse. She continued to pray that God would provide someone to come with them. At the last minute a young woman who had grown up in Paraguay and spoke Spanish joined them. She was an encouraging answer to prayer and turned out to be an invaluable part of their team.

For two weeks they went daily to serve at the Torre Fuerte children's feeding program. They remembered most of the kid's names from the year before. They put on a vacation bible school most every day. The children from the area were truly impacted and blessed by their love and service.

During the first week they also managed to replace a roof on a poor family's home/shack. The structure was so poor that we had to do some reenforcement before it would hold a normal roof. When it was finished this small family had a dry house for the first time. No more sleeping on soaking wet mattresses!

During the second week we were able to bless a man with arthritis so severe that he cannot get around in his wheel chair. He also lived in a shack but his had an unlevel dirt floor, no door, and his roof wasn't only not water proof; it let some sunshine in too! They decided to expand his shack to twice it's original size, put a front door on it, and build a new roof over the whole thing. It was the most touching and meaningful construction project we have done in a long time.

When people gave her a hard time about “endangering” her children she would remind them that her husband had died just miles from home. As it turned out no one died but everyone had a very blessed time and God used them to impact many lives. It is beautiful when we obey even when it is frightening. After all, what do children of God have to be afraid of?

Feb 18, 2011

Greetings from Chihuahua, by Joseph Fruin

Hello all, I hope all of you have had a very wonderful vacation, full of fun and rest.

I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve been doing recently. Lately I have been having a time of trials, but also of much growth; of battles, but much learning. Here is the story one of my latest struggles, to keep you informed and to ask you to pray for me.

A few days ago I was out walking in a park near my church, when I saw a man lying half on the road, half on the sidewalk. I didn’t know if he was dead or just passed out drunk. It was a Saturday after all. As I passed him I felt like God was telling me to help him, but in my selfishness I told myself that I didn’t even know what to do. Stealing myself against the sting of my conscience, I walked on. So strong was the feeling, however, that as I walked I prayed, “Father if you want me to do something, please don’t let me walk away.” About a block and a half later, still praying, I finally stopped and just stood there, praying. Oh, how I REALLY did not want to help him. I did not want to do anything. I just wanted to go home.

Looking back now I am very thankful that God didn’t let me go home just yet. I turned around and started walking back towards the man. Almost as soon as I did it began to rain. I was only wearing a T-shirt and it was very cold that day. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t turn back.

As I turned the corner to where I could see him, I saw that he had sat up. I quickly thanked God that at least he wasn’t dead, and for the confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

During the next three hours we talked, even though he was still very drunk. We laughed. He cried. I bought him some food, he ate it. We walked and talked some more (even though in order to walk I had to hold him up). All through this time I was asking God what to do, how to help this man. Homeless, at least that’s what he said, drunk, with vomit on his clothing.

After a while a lady came by, told me that it wasn’t worth it, that I should just leave him alone, even that I was going to get in to trouble just being with him. I kind of shrugged it off, but began to pray even more. Later she came by again, trying to help, I’m sure, and tried to persuade me to leave him. She said, “There’s social services, but not for people like him.” “Just put him in a taxi and leave”. Well I thought, “What good does it do to put a drunk in a taxi?”, but he actually gave me an address when I asked him where he lived, even though before he had told me he was homeless (after all, he was very drunk), but after trying a while I still couldn’t get him into one.

All said and done, I really did almost nothing. I bought him some food and some water.
But looking back I’m very thankful that my Father didn’t let me leave him there that day. I left him with a smile, a written phone number and the knowledge that some people really do care.

This all made me realize that if we don’t help, who will? I almost left him lying there. We can be the good Samaritan, we MUST be the good Samaritan, or who will?

I ask that you would pray for me, that I will always do what is loving, and never leave someone lying there that God wants me to lift up. Whether they are lying there physically or spiritually.

Jan 31, 2011

God at work

     It's been so long since our last letter that now there is too much to tell. We can't cover all of the news so we have decided to highlight some of the ways that God has been providing and working in our lives.

     God has been, of course, faithfully supplying all of our real needs but we had wanted to continue working in the poorest part of town and we didn't have the gas money to get there and back very often. With the tool trailer in tow the cost runs about $35 per trip. In November, we decided to sell our gun collection and safe to raise money in order to continue to minister in Tijuana. Our first thought was to sell them on consignment through a San Diego gun shop. That idea did not go very well. We would only be able to get half of what they were worth. While driving around talking to various shops my cousin's car was impounded (delinquent registration). The police found it necessary to run a check on every serial number and give us a generally hard time. It was a low time and we were really questioning and crying out to God. We sensed that God was leading us to try selling them ourselves. We made up a page to show them off and sent out an email to see if any of our friends were interested in purchasing one of them. The response was incredible. We had immediate offers one of which was from a friend that wanted to buy the whole collection and safe so that we could, if ever we wanted to, buy them back. Thank you God!

     Since before we came to Mexico Andrew had hoped that the family could do some musical entertainment and training for the orphanages and for some time our Pastor had been giving our family the opportunities to serve by playing or singing for the church. Each time, though, the children were too shy. In December God gave Sandra, Sarah, Mary, and Anna an opportunity to be in the Christmas musical. They did famously and had a fantastic time. Now that the ice is broken the family is finally ready to stop being nervous and help out.
     We hadn't been able to care for our van very well in some time. It lacked registration and insurance and was no longer legal to drive in California. It had several problems and we did not expect that it would pass a smog inspection. We wanted to be able to visit friends in California but did not see how we could. We had been asking God to fix our transportation issues and if we could go see our friends. The answer came in the form of an old friend and customer of Fruin Communications who asked Andrew to come up and do a job for his company. He said he would be willing to pay for the whole family to come up. It turned out the cheapest way to accomplish that was to have our van fixed, re-registered, and insured. Additionally we were able to spend the last week of December and the beginning of January there. Not only were we able to visit with many friends but we actually got to stay with friends as well! It was a very blessed and refreshing time.

Oct 4, 2010

The Poorest Man In The World

A painfully true story

The Meeting

       It was dusk on Friday evening as we were driving up the dirt road that we call the short-cut to our home that sits in the middle of a ranch in northern Mexico. We were on an uphill, curving section that is very stony and rutted. The combination of road conditions and deep shadows required my undivided focus. "Watch out," cried my wife, "I think that's a man!" I had not seen anything but, directed by her gaze, I saw what did indeed appear to be a man just beside the right front corner of our full sized van. His dingy clothing served as camouflage on the unpaved road. I had just missed putting our wheel directly through his body lengthwise. He did not jump up. He did not dodge. “He must be passed out,” I thought to myself. He had moved ever so slightly assuring me he was not dead. The terror of nearly accidentally killing someone began to fade and, as will happen at times like these, was replaced by anger and indignation. “Some fool had become so inebriated that he passed out in the middle of the road,” I reasoned.

       It is a rule in our family that no one travel this one kilometer stretch of road at night as it is too isolated and dangerous. As it was almost dark I decided not to stop. It was as likely to be a ploy by road bandits to get a vehicle to stop as anything else.  I thought I might have felt the small prompting of God's Spirit directing me to stop and help him. Still, I pressed on. I wouldn't be stopping tonight. Certainly not with my wife and all of our children in the van!

       That night I was experiencing the clear undeniable bite of conscience. "Should I have stopped, Lord?" Yes. Of course I should have. "I'm sorry I didn't listen, Lord, but if you will give me another chance I won't miss it." The next morning my oldest son and I were headed off to do what we had come to Mexico for, to volunteer our construction labor for orphanages and comedores (feeding kitchens for poor children). I purposely headed out via that same road. "Father, please give me another chance. I know I was wrong not to stop right away when You told me to."
Anticipation was building in my stomach as is normal when I am determined to do something that I find uncomfortable. Like the feeling that comes when getting up in front of a critical audience, or asking someone to forgive me for sinning against them. Would he be there? I can't remember for sure whether I was hoping that he would be or that he would not be. I do remember how nervous I was as I rounded the final turn to where we had seen him.

       There he was staggering dramatically right in the middle of the road, still badly inebriated! How could I help him if he was still that drunk? It was almost a certainty that I would not be able to understand his slurred Spanish. Experience had taught me there was not much to do for a man in that condition. I was wavering on my commitment to help this guy. "Do you really want me to, Lord?"

       I pulled up slowly intending to come alongside and speak with him through the window. As we drew nearer he fell right in front of the car. God had left no room for doubt. He was clearly directing us to deal with this man in some way. As he regained his feet, using the front of the vehicle to assist, and made his way back to my window I noticed something odd about his movements. They looked reminiscent of the labored spastic motions of a cerebral palsy victim. The restricted, coiled posture of his left hand confirmed it. These thoughts were churning in my mind as he grasped the door for stability and I had my first close look. It was true. He was not drunk. The violently repulsive smell was not that of alcohol. It was nothing I had ever smelled before - more foul than an open septic tank. His clothes were filthy. No. You're probably not picturing them foul enough. The jacket he wore had not been removed in months, at the least. His pants had split at several places along the seams and were soaked with body fluids. His right sock had no bottom and the remnant of the left sock dangled from his ankle. His skin told the story of someone who had lived unsheltered from the sun and without bathing for some time, the dirt built up on his nearly blackened hide.

       His mouth was ringed in foam as he tried to greet us. "Puedo ayudarte (Can I help)," I asked? I have no notion of the intended meaning of his words but he confirmed his need for help by reaching toward me. I shook his hand, an essential gesture in Mexican culture. As I shook his hand he gave me a quick confused look. The whites of his eyes were a smokey yellow. He then reached again and I realized he had not intended it as a greeting. He was trying to indicate something. His speech was no help. I looked in the direction of his gestures and saw my son's and my lunches sitting between the front seats - a couple of sandwiches, apples, carrots in little baggies, and two water bottles. I offered him a sandwich. He looked mildly annoyed at not being understood and pushed my hand that held the sandwich aside. He continued to point in the same direction. I tried the apple. A little less annoyed, he took it and, after three tries, got it into his jacket pocket, but was clearly still focused on something else. He tried, as well as his muscles would obey, to display a drinking motion. "Oh! El agua (the water)," I cried out! "Yes!" said his hands, spastically grabbing in the direction of the bottles. They were three-quarter liter Gatorade bottles refilled with drinking water. He struggled momentarily with the twist top before I, embarrassed at my thoughtlessness, reached quickly to open it for him. He drank with passion and finally the obvious burst into my mind. He was dying of thirst! The eyes, the froth-lined mouth, the uncommonly dry skin. After finishing the water bottle we gave him the other bottle and a sandwich. He tried to thank us and took a step back to let us move ahead. He set to work consuming the apple.

       We said good-bye and began to roll the van to the side of the road to make room for the two cars that had approached head-on and were waiting, watching all this transpire. I drove slowly watching the man in the rear-view mirror trying not to run him over. He was just at the rear bumper when he collapsed to a seated position in the middle of the road. The two oncoming cars were effectively blocked. The road was only one lane at that point with barely room to move out of the way to allow oncoming vehicles to pass. I felt an urgency to move quickly. My feelings of compassion were, oddly, focused on the people that had to wait for him and me. I slammed the van into park, jumped out, and ran back to help. After a moment of scanning for options it became clear I was going to have to lift him. He could not stay upright for more that a step or two without something to hang onto. I grabbed for his shoulders to help him up. The feeling of a skeleton under a canvas jacket worked with the stench to create a knot in my stomach. He didn't have sufficient flesh to lift him that way. It would have been too painful for him. I tried with my hands under his arms, grasping his sides. He reacted with a grimace. In desperation I grabbed handfuls of his jacket front and lifted him to a stand. His left foot doubled to the side at the ankle so that he walked on the side of his foot. The other ankle exhibited little strength or stability. I had to continue to support his weight as he and I struggled to get him to the side of the road. Once he was seated comfortably I tried to say good-bye just as I would to a good friend but I doubt my expression was convincing.

       We pulled off of the road and, as the first car passed us, the driver called to us, "Gracias!" What did he mean? Was that “Thank you for getting an obstruction out of my path”? The look of affected grief on his face made me think it was something more. Something closer to "Thank you for helping that man." His face and tone seemed to convey that he was moved by what he had seen, but he had not left the comfort of his car at any time to help and as he passed the man he didn't even look at him. I didn't understand.

The Counsel of Friends

       As we drove away I had the distinct feeling that God was not done with me. I was poised to repeat my mistake of the night before to a lesser degree. “What more would you have me do, Lord?” God brought the story of The Good Samaritan to mind. I had simply not done enough. As I drove I prayed for wisdom. What could be done? What could I do? I called a Pastor friend and asked his advice. As well as I can remember , he counseled me to ask Mexican National friends and local pastors what they thought. I drove aimlessly towards town with the unclear plan of seeking counsel from someone there. I drove to our senior pastor's house but he and his family were out. As we went back down the road I realized that we had dear Mexican friends that were clearly the ones to ask. We drove to their home, unannounced, and caught them in the middle of breakfast. As good-mannered Mexicans they were perfectly gracious and invited us to join them. I could see the questions on their faces as they read the graveness on mine. I relayed the pitiful condition of the man as best I could. Neither of them looked up much from their plates. As they began to explain things it was clear that they wished God had not brought this conversation their direction. They slowly and reluctantly relayed to us the cold, grotesque facts. My son thought that the man had been trying to say something about the police. They explained why.

       The Mexican Government has no program to care for the infirm. If their condition is treatable, there are free hospitals. If they are mentally deranged, there are free care facilities. They knew of nothing, however, for those who are unable to care for themselves due to degenerative or terminal medical issues. Apparently there was a wonderful Christian facility near Mexico City but they were unaware of any others. With no Governmental provision, and little other choice, the chore naturally falls to the families and rightly so. If there is no family or they are unwilling or unable then their only remaining option is begging on the streets. If they are found to be a nuisance on the streets the police pick them up and take them down some rural road where they dump them to die like an animal. It gets worse. If you have compassion on such an individual and take them in to care for them or even give them a ride to the hospital, you are held liable for their well being. If the sick person dies while in your car or in your care you are held responsible! Mexican law is not based on the principle of “Innocent until proven guilty.” Quite the opposite. You will be held in jail until such time as you can be cleared of any wrong doing or liability. Our friends strongly urged us not to try to help this man. They were afraid for us. As they related the situation to us we could see that they were sorry or maybe even ashamed for the lack of a solution but that was just how things were.

       In order to help, and to protect us from making the dangerous mistake of taking the man into our care, they called a mutual acquaintance that ran a nearby drug rehabilitation home. He agreed to help. If we could get the man to where he was working that day, he would check him out and see about taking him to the rehab home for care. We made one more stop to get the opinion and advice of another of our pastors. His counsel was Godly, wise, and encouraging. Though there be dangers, if God was asking us to do something, then we should do it, but with all caution and getting counsel at each decision point, praying constantly. He also noted that, because the rehab home was not setup well to care for a person like this, it should be viewed as a short term solution.

Jose Luis

       When we returned, we found him right where we had left him. All of the food was gone but he still had a little water. Broken greetings were exchanged and we did our best to decipher whether he was interested in going to a care facility. It seemed clear that he liked the idea so we helped him into the van. The ride was excruciating. The smell was so overwhelming that I had to drive with my head out of the window. Just one breath with my head in the car was enough to make me dangerously nauseous. Later that day, after the van had been airing out for hours, just walking by it would turn my stomach. He did not possess the basic ability of relieving himself in a sanitary manner without help, and he had not had help in a long while.

       The director of the rehabilitation home was working with a crew of his men at a local orphanage. He performed a quick check-up and interviewed the man immediately upon our arrival. He concluded right away that his internal health, aside from the obvious physical impairment, was dangerously poor and needed to be checked by a doctor. He was able to partially converse with the man and learned a little about him.

       The man's name was Jose Luis! He had been in a managed-care home of some sort but did not know the address or how to get back to it. He had two daughters or sisters, it was uncertain which, that he believed to be alive but, likewise, did not know how to contact them. He was not a Christian but one of his old patrones (a man for whom he had worked) had taken him along when he went to church. One possible scenario is that his family felt unable or unwilling to care for him any longer and arranged for care in a facility. Then, at some point, somehow, he became separated from that home. We can only surmise how as his ability to communicate was insufficient for that discussion.

       He was sane, though, and somewhat able to communicate so the director agreed to take him, clean him up, give him some new clothes and shoes, and get him to the free General Hospital on Monday. We might end up caring for him in the future, but there was no way that we could do better than these men at getting him cleaned up. We gave them what money we had to cover any expenses they might incur. I finally felt that I had obeyed and done what God had asked of me, at least for the present. We returned home in the confidence that we had done right and all was well.

       Not more than an hour later I received a call from the rehab director. As Jose Luis laid on the bed and the men readied him for a bath, removing his old rags, he vomited all of the food we had given him along with a disconcerting amount of blood. The men rushed him towards the bathroom to finish undressing him in the bath tub. Half way there Jose Luis squatted and passed waste mixed with blood all over the floor. Seeing the urgency of his medical condition, the men changed plans. They wiped him up, put him in some fresh clothes and rushed him to the General Hospital, calling me on the way to request that I meet them there. My family gathered a backpack of clothes, shoes, a wash cloth and towel, water bottle, tooth brush, comb, and a sleeping bag and my son and I headed off to the hospital.

       We found them sitting outside of the entrance to the emergency room. When Jose Luis had realized that they had intended to take him to a doctor there, he refused to go in. I mean refused! He would not allow himself to be made to go through the door even by three stout men. Upon repeated questioning we determined that he believed that if he was admitted to the hospital that they would kill him quietly through an IV. We tried to convince him that his worries were preposterous as we would be with him. I promised him I would not leave him but that did nothing to dissuade his fears. He was terrified. He was certain that they would purposefully kill him. After an hour of reasoning, explaining how sick he was, and that if he did not see a doctor he would almost certainly die soon, he won. We gave up and arranged for the men to take him back to the rehab center.

       The director called and arranged for their volunteer medic to check him out at the home on Monday and then come up with a plan to get him seen by a doctor. I imagined that the medic might have to sedate him to get him into a hospital. The director was clear, however, that they would only be able to take care of him for a few days. He could not risk having a man die at his center. They would certainly be shut down during the inevitable investigation. We gave him the backpack and sleeping bag we had prepared and the director reassured us that he would give us a status update at church on Sunday.

       While driving home our thoughts and conversation were occupied by possible ways we would be able to care for Jose Luis as he was dying. We though it might work to mimic a hospice. He could stay in our fifth-wheel camper where we could care for him and spend as much time as possible with him to add dignity, comfort, and love to his remaining days.

What did we learn?

       We never saw Jose Luis again. The rehab director was not at church that Sunday. I had given him the last of our money and could not afford to purchase more minutes for our prepaid cell phone in order to call him. Time passed and I had not seen or heard from them. Finally I was able to call. The director said that he had met some nuns at a gas station that had agreed to care for Jose Luis. He did not know what order they belonged to or where their monastery was. As of this writing I am still trying to locate Jose Luis and the monastery but I do not believe he could still be living.

       On any scale of wealth that I know of Jose Luis was impoverished. He had no money or possessions. In the poorest of health he was greatly physically handicapped and apparently dying. He was uneducated and unable to communicate clearly in speech or in writing. He had no one that loved or even cared for him. Not his family, friends, or society. Worst of all he was spiritually bankrupt. He was headed toward death without having repented or being forgiven by God. He was the poorest man that I have ever known and will always serve as a potent reminder that things could be much worse.

       "Why, Father, did you bring Jose Luis into our path? What would you have us learn?"
I am convinced that one of the answers is that Mexico needs Jesus Christ! Right up to the highest levels of government and society. Not just so that they will take care of all of the needy but so that others can help without fear of being punished. It is not right that we should have to risk imprisonment for murder in order to help a sick person. It is not right that a care facility director should have to worry about being shut down if he takes in a sick client.

       Another thing that God taught me is closely related. It is that spiritual poverty is more important and should be more heart rending than physical poverty. I saw the physical and it was naturally more compelling to me, but God's desire is that I would become more like Him and see things as He does. All of God's creation is a physical analogy or image of the spiritual.  God used Jose Luis' astoundingly low state to show me how He viewed his spiritual need. Did I feed the spiritual need as soon as the physical hunger and thirst were quenched? Would he have been any better off if I had taken care of him and made his life comfortable to its end? It would have been good and kind to do but what would it have benefited him in eternity? He would still have suffered in hell separated from God forever.
We came to Mexico to care for the fatherless and the extremely poor children and to tell them about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Now I see that my reversed priority is even evident in how we state that purpose. I need to be telling the spiritually fatherless how they can be adopted children of God's through Jesus Christ and feeding the souls of the spiritually poor. Then, when I can, help the physically fatherless and poor.

       "Please forgive me, Father, for my out-of-focus compassion and for allowing people to die without Your Good News. Please help us to love one another as ourselves."

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Sep 19, 2010

Joseph Goes to College

       For a couple of years now Sandra, Joseph, and I have wondered and watched for direction as to what would be God's best for Joseph's continuing growth and education. One afternoon as we were questioning Mike McDonald, a friend and bible teacher for the local Calvary Chapel Bible College, he began to think that we should check out a bible college and training program that New Tribes had here in Mexico. Later he arranged a visit and Mike, Joseph, and I went to check it out.

       The idea of Joseph going off to a tribal group to learn their language, create a written system for that language, and then translate the scriptures into their language was a completely new thought for me. God quickly showed me, however, that He had been preparing Joseph all of his life to do just that. We weren't sure that He was directing Joseph to go to the New Tribes school but it seemed that tribal missions were in his future.

       We continued to seek God's direction. We didn't have the money but more and more it seemed clear that Joseph's desire and God's were converging on IMT Bible College. Then two missionary families that we work with, within a few days of each other, told us that they wanted to help with the cost by sponsoring Joseph a certain amount each month. The total was almost exactly equal to the tuition! We decided to proceed with the application process and see if God would guide by opening or closing that door.

       After several weeks, with the deadline nearing, we still had no response. Then Mike, who had been intending on giving Joseph a ride to the school (~1000 miles), had to cancel. We were counting on that ride because, at the time, we lacked the funds to get Joseph there any other way. The days ticked by and it seemed that perhaps the door might be closing. This was very confusing because we had felt God had been clarifying in our spirits that He wanted Joseph to go.

       At last it seemed time to buy a bus ticket or admit that we had misunderstood. There were less than two weeks before classes would start and we still did not have an acceptance letter or the money for travel when the School Administration called one of Joseph's references and asked, “Who is this Joseph Fruin? We have no application for him”. Apparently their email had blocked Joseph's application because it was too large. It really looked like the door was closing now.

       In faith we prepared a smaller version of the application, resent it, and Joseph began to pack. It seemed doubtful, though, that they could review the application and make a decision in time. We prayed and prayed some more.

       Only a few days later the school had emailed that the decision board had unanimously agreed to accept Joseph, we had received some unexpected money, Joseph's bags were packed and we were heading to the bus station. Joseph is now attending, and doing well at, the Instituto Misionero Transcultural Bible College in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico.

       Many times throughout the process it would have been easy to succumb to anxiety or doubt but hindsight has taught us over and over how foolish that would be. God is faithful! I think He purposely unfolds His plans with unexpected turns and delays in order that we can learn to rest and trust in Him.

       It's been more than a month but instead of the pain of missing Joseph fading it builds with time. We miss him increasingly but there is no question in us that he is where God would have him.  

Jul 5, 2010

Olympic Bible Fellowship

      We had the privilege of working with a fantastic group this week. Pastor Rich Hay and his wife, Diana, brought 5 others from their church to work on a variety of projects in our area. They are not new to Mexico, they were just new to us. A fellow worker here, Ivan Martinez, has been working with them for years and invited us to come along side this week. My children Sarah, Mary, and Jonathan worked as translators for the group in there Vacation Bible School program they conducted at a feeding kitchen for poor children. They used the AWANA Gate Test as their curriculum it worked well. They also put on an AWANA Grand Prix (pine wood derby) race for the kids. The children received a piece of paper to design their cars then the group worked that night to cut each one out and shape it. The next day the children decorated them with markers and stickers. It was a huge hit!
      One of the men that came, Jerry, was a contractor so I worked with him on building new stairs and a deck to replace a delapidated and completely unsafe set. It also turned out beautifully.
      The theme that God had for the week was loving those who you come to serve and serve with. The people are more important than the program, the schedule, the project, and even more important than our own desires. Through many trials, schudule disruptions, and difficulties the group faithfully reminded one another of that throughout the week. It was a great bit of wisdom that I would highly recomend to anyone in ministry and everyone in ministry knows how hard it can be.
      They showed how experienced they were at doing missions trips to Mexico by scheduling two visits to the beach and a little time to go rock climbing. Always a good idea! Two of the men that came, Jed and Cory, love to climb and found a nice spot nearby. To bless us they invited our boys, Joseph, Jonathan, and David to see how they would like it. They loved it! Jonathan was absolutely hooked.      They come every year so, like most groups we have worked with, we will miss them all year and anxiously await their return.

Jun 19, 2010

God's Soup Kitchen for Kids

           A common ministry in our area of Mexico is a thing called a comedor. The word means something like "a feeding place" but they are really soup kitchens for poor children - children that may not get a nutritious meal at home. They feed the children and make use of the time to tell them about Jesus Christ. From my observation most of them are ministries that are after God's own heart.

      We have been working (doing construction) at one of these comedors for some time now and I have been so moved by the ministry that I wanted to tell you about it. It is run by a small family. Daniel and Dolores and their two daughters Nancy and Joanna. They also have a five year old boy named David but he is very little help. They are some of the poorest people I have ever known. Their home is not what most of us would call a house. There was no bathroom until recently. The whole family sleeps in one room. Their only vehicle is a very old van that was a gift. It is nearly completely delapidated and no longer functions at any level that could be called reliable. Families like theirs are not terribly uncommon here. There is no shortage of poverty. The interesting thing is that this family works hard and sacrifices much to reach the "poor" that live at the railroad tracks a couple of miles from their home. Daniel is a night watch-man for a shopping center in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Tijuana. After work each morning he comes home to help Dolores with the comedor. They feed fifteen to thirty children three days a week. The schedule changes from time to time depending on how much money is available.

       They started ministering at the railroad tracks by purchasing a little shack and hanging a sign that said Torre Fuerte Casa de Oracion which is Strong Tower Prayer Chapel. Their focus has always been to reach the impoverished people that live along the tracks with the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Starting a comedor was just a natural progression in their search for ways to reach the people.

           I have grown to love them and they are an encouragement to all of us. But I'm not writing this to honor Daniel and Delores. Their amazing life and choices are a witness to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, the Light and Savior of the world. Please join with us and all who know of their work in glorifying God for the great love He shows this world through those who love Him and are called by His name.

Mar 31, 2010

The Langley Immanuel Youth Group

by Sarah E. Fruin

       Over the last three years we have had the pleasure of working with the youth group from Langley Immanuel Christian Reformed Church(LICRC)from Langley, British Colombia, Canada. For many years now, youth from LICRC have given up their spring break to serve here in Tijuana. This past March we were able help with translating and project direction. We spent about eight days translating, handing out invitations for an outreach, shoveling dirt side-by-side with them, and eating ham sandwiches with chipotle mayonnaise. God truly blessed us through them.

       They met our physical needs in a variety of ways. Before they even arrived they sent the funds to grade our driveway! Our driveway had been a point of great difficulty because we could not drive out when it was muddy, and we had spent many hours working on it. Then when they came they helped to shovel away the extra dirt that had been deposited on the sides. At that time we were very tight financially, so we were very grateful when they brought cart-fulls of groceries and household items.

       They invited us over to their base for dinner twice to eat and fellowship with the entire family. A few were quite taken with the little girls and made them very happy by listening to their little stories and playing with them; the rest of us had fun getting to know everyone better in a more relaxed atmosphere.

       We were also very encouraged by their hard work and willingness to serve. As we all went to work in different places, sprinkled all over Tijuana, it was clear that God had sent them to bless many people. One work site where big things were accomplished was a children's feeding kitchen. They built a bathroom and a retaining wall there that were much needed. They handed out fliers to neighborhoods to invite people to a church outreach. They taped and mudded the drywall at a pastor's home. They also weeded for another missionary family.

       Finally, God grew us through them. Andrew had to learn to trust that God was going to take care of his three oldest children in dangerous areas of Tijuana when he was not with them. Joseph grew in confidence and leadership skills as he was leading a construction crew. Sarah and Mary took another step toward being comfortable translating. And our faith was strengthened through seeing God fill our needs through some of His children.

Feb 28, 2010

4 Ninos Group

By Mary J. Fruin

       We just had a group of three families, similar to us in many ways, come all the way from central Canada to help build a comedor infantil (a feeding kitchen for poor children). It was a huge blessing not only to the directors of the comedor and the children that go to eat there, but also to us.

       It was an interesting project because the mission board required that the building must be able to be dismantled, put it on a truck, and hauled away at any time. The building is 16' x 32' and is built entirely out of 4' x 8' panels bolted together. Floor, walls, roof, and all! It was a lot of work both designing and building it. The group were lovely people and hard workers. Even though many of them were young, everyone worked together and got the building built in two weeks.
       During the second week some of us did a small VBS for the children that attend there, with crafts, stories, games, and singing. Everyone had great fun! Each day we also ate with the children and enjoyed Dolores' (the director's) wonderful, traditional Mexican food! The group not only brought money down for the building and supplies for the VBS, they also brought with them money so the children could eat a full meal every day they were here. They were a blessing to all.

       They came over to our house for their second to last evening in Mexico. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with christian brothers and sisters. That night we said a sad goodbye, but with the hope of seeing them again the following year.

       It was a very encouraging couple of weeks filled with hard work, lots of laughter and singing, and a lot of hot sun on the construction site.

       Click here to view the photos from the cultural day -
       Click here to view the photos from the construction project -

Dec 31, 2009

Where has all the money gone?

       For many years I had told God that, if we could ever afford to, I wanted to go to Mexico to try and help the orphans and extremely poor children there. In November of 2002 my mother passed away leaving us a property in Atascadero, California. God confirmed that it was time to go to Mexico. We had God's direction and His provision. Our church, Berean Bible Fellowship, wanted to support us but that just didn't seem to make sense. We had sold the property and had sufficient provision for at least two years. God had blessed us and we were set. The church prayed for us and sent us on our way.

       Mexico was much more expensive than we had expected. Most everything was the same cost or more than California. By the two year mark we were out of money, or near to it, but God has faithfully provided every day. “Please give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus said. In many ways it has been a joy going through this faith building time.

       At one point we thought God was directing us to start a new business of creating 3D computer models ( to provide for our ongoing needs. If an architect, contractor, or home owner sends us CAD files and/or pictures we can email them back a 3D model. Though we have not had any paying clients to date, it has been very useful for the construction ministry. It has been invaluable as a tool to estimate costs, manage construction phases, and communicate to volunteers what needs to be done.

       We want to continue in ministry here, serving the poor orphanages and comedores (feeding kitchens for poor children), but the financial realities are limiting. Currently we do not have the funds to continue. Please pray that we would clearly understand what God would have us do.

       You can view photos of our some of our models at

Mar 31, 2009

The Langley Immanuel Youth Group

       We were privileged to work with the group of Dutch high schoolers from Langley Immanuel Christian Reformed church again this year. They have become our favorite group and we look forward to their coming all year long. They are a focused, hard working, fun crew. 

       This year we took part of the group to insulate and drywall the house of a man named Lamberto. Lamberto's testimony is one of persecution and forgiveness. He used to work for the railroad but after being injured on the job the railroad compensated him with a small piece of land adjoining the railroad tracks in an undeveloped area east of Tijuana. A few years ago he offered his land to be used for a church plant to minister to the surrounding, extremely poor, neighborhood. Two years later, the church was thriving and Lamberto had a small house built for himself and his family.

       A woman who was attending the church was the wife of a drug addict. Her husband did not like that she was attending church, yet the woman continued coming. One day, as Lamberto was walking down the street, her husband attacked him from behind. He beat him almost to death with a baseball bat. His skull was fractured and the resulting brain injury left him mostly paralyzed and unable to speak clearly. He was housebound and his house was not insulated or drywalled and it gets very hot in the desert where they live.

       To insulate and drywall the house would be a big job, especially since the group was made up of high school students. It was made more difficult by someone starting the job and doing such a poor job that we needed to redo their work. We only had three to four days so, all things considered, this was going to be a real challenge.

       Work, however, progressed quickly and we finished before our deadline so that we were able to add an awning onto the front of the house to provide a shaded porch. We were also able to build some much needed shelves in the kitchen.

       By God's grace Lamberto has been healing and is now able to speak clearly and use a wheel chair. He is slowly regaining control of hands. He has forgiven his attackeer and prays for him that he, too, may know the grace of Jesus Christ.

       Another project we were privileged to help them with was replacing a dilapidated fence at the Alcanzando laVision orphanage. This is an orphanage of about fifty children in a very dangerous area of Tijuana. The existing fence was falling down but the wire was still usable. Our task was to dig eleven holes in rocky ground to support new fence posts, cement the posts in, and rehang the cyclone fence wire. No one but the locals were prepared for how difficult the digging phase would be. The ground was like baked clay filled with large rocks. This was truly a labor of love. It turned out to be a real test of endurance and perseverance. God blessed our efforts and in the end there stood a beautiful and secure fence. It had taken the whole team but we were all able to enjoy a great sense of accomplishment.

View the photo album

Dec 31, 2008

Our First Tests/Trials

       Shortly after getting settled in Rosarito Beach my motorcycle was stolen. The following Thanksgiving our house was broken into and many expensive things were stolen. What was God up to? Well, in regards to the motorcycle, it had been a distraction from family and my God and was an icon of pride and escapism. It needed to go. Thank you, Father! God also used our responding to His grace and praising Him right from the start to be an encouragement to others.

       The house robbery was good for us as well. It was a good reminder of how little “things” really matter. Much money in goods was stolen and yet nothing that we really cared about or missed. God showed us that we had (and still do have) many items left over from our opulent life in California that are neither appropriate for Mexico or for His children. How can we say we love the brothers and sisters around us and yet hord such comparatively great wealth. He has blessed us with many opportunities to share and meet various needs that His family has had. We have since begun to downsize even more, selling what we can on eBay and Craig's list. We have a long ways to go but it is freeing to be headed in the right direction.

        Another test was the difficulty of living in town. We are country folk unaccustomed to dogs barking all night, sirens, horns, loud speakers mounted on cars, etc. The lot behind us was used by some local fishermen to clean their daily catch and repair their nets and the house next to that had a pig farm on their cement roof. The noises, smells, and interruptions seemed too much. We weren't sleeping well or living well. God had given us this wonderful house but we were struggling with the surroundings. He had an important lesson to teach us. We were excited about being in exotic Mexico but there are uncomfortable, or even bad, things about this culture. We were called to come to Mexico and commanded to love His children. This wasn't going to be cozy and that was OK. At home in California much of our effort was focused around creating our version of heaven on earth. How perfect, comfortable and rewarding can we make all of our surroundings? Well, that was sin and needed to go, just like the motorcycle.

       Once we had settled in a little and began to learn these lessons He provided us with a beautiful country home in the middle of a large ranch near the coast! Much more to our liking! In addition, the house was owned by the mission we work with and they wouldn't let us pay rent!

Oct 26, 2008

Getting Started With Work

       Scott Pepito introduced me to an orphanage in Tijuana called Alcanzando la Vision B.  A local church started this orphanage on faith (they didn't have the means to support it) and found an amazing couple, Victor and Gaby, to be the parents and run it. There are twenty-five of them living together in a fifty's vintage, two room, one bath bungalow. In the states it would have been condemned. On our first visit we worked to get the bathroom in working order. The tub had fallen through the floor revealing a situation that defies description. The plumbing had been broken for some time turning the sub-area into a cesspool. The Pepito's oldest daughter became quite sick after working to clean out the area below. With God's help we were able to replace the plumbing and the floor. A couple of weeks later their was a working toilet, hot water and a cement double shower. The double shower was a blessing because many of the young children were afraid to bathe alone and required the help of an older sibling. Thankfully sibling groups are not usually separated in Mexican orphanages.

       Our next project was to build twelve beds in a ten by twelve foot room. This required custom mattresses and a special bed design. God provided a man who could design the beds and also a factory that was willing to donate custom mattresses at their cost. As if that wasn't enough He brought that man and his whole family down to help build the bunk beds! Now the girls had real beds with storage drawers underneath.

        The boys were not yet so fortunate. The twelve of them slept on the cement slab floor in the living room. It wasn't too bad though, most of them had a blanket to themselves. It was heartbreaking really. We asked God if He would provide for an additional room for the boys. He did of course. He sent a group of young people who had some experience building in Mexico. They got the foundation, a few walls, and the roof up in just one weekend. God also brought another group of young people who were interested in a long term relationship with the orphanage. With their help (financial and labor) we were able to add two new bathrooms as well. One for the parents and one for the boys! Wow God!

       The next hurdle was beds for the boys. My sons and I had designed and built a triple bunk that was rock solid. It seemed perfect for orphanages. It was simple enough to be constructed by teams of volunteers and they were stout enough to last through a hundred years of abuse by boys. The problem was that they were quite expensive. God's solution, a team of men, rich men, wanted to come and do something for the orphanage. Thanks again God! They came and not only paid for but also built four sets of triple bunks for the boys. The day before they arrived I discovered that the beds wouldn't fit! We would need to make some creative adjustments. Help God! He wasn't as surprised as I was. He had already arranged for a couple of carpenters and some other very handy men to be on the team and they came up with workable solutions for every difficulty. For the first time in over a year (and for some the first time ever) the boys slept in real beds, with mattresses and linens.

       Victor and Gaby, the parents, had been living in what most of us would call a small office or a large walk-in closet but now, at least, they had a private bathroom. It is hard to express how special God has made Victor and Gaby. They gave up all expectation of a comfortable life for a life of complete servitude. They don't get vacations. They seldom get any sort of a break. They have three children of their own that now have to share their parents with many others. Not just twenty-three to thirty children at a time but that number of children, all with extra needs. They seldom have enough of anything. They have no privacy! They never get to experience a peaceful night. They took up this cross with no promise of regular support. Just an abiding faith in God's goodness.

      The children who are not actually orphans all have a horrific story that is their past. The Mexican version of Child Protective Services (DIF) doesn't take a child from a home unless the situation is criminal and Mexico doesn't call the same small things criminal that California does. Most of the children were not only unwanted but hated as well. Some could not come home until they had begged, stolen, or earned enough money to placate their parents. Some were put into childhood prostitution by their parents. Virtually all were abused. One boy could no longer make himself speak and all that DIF knew of why was that he had seen his father cut another man's throat. God is amazing though and all of these children have repented and confessed their need for Jesus to save them and are well on their way to leading blessed lives. It is beautiful to hear the boy who could not speak tell his testimony of how God has changed him and helped him to forgive his father.