It was a damp, drizzly and cold day in January 2016 when we, Greg and Jean, first visited this small village located slightly more than an hour away from both La Campa and Gracias. A small team from Atlanta, GA had come to spend a week with us to teach on the importance of prayer. The teaching was put into action by visiting families in Mescalio to actually pray with and for them.
Arrangements had been made for us to go with Juan, one of the church leaders from neighboring Mataras, who had been doing house visits in Mescalio. The homes are fairly spread out across the mountains and it is difficult terrain. That particular morning it was also a little muddy as we went on foot in the streets and narrow trails, climbing across fences and walking through pastures to visit several homes. As noon approached we were ready to call it a day but Juan had another idea and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He wanted to visit one more family and the looming storm on the horizon was not bothering him so off we went.
At this last house lived a family who had recently moved to Mescalio and were operating a pulperia, or small convenience store, out of their house. This is one of the many ways they work hard to make ends meet in an isolated village with few opportunities. As we were all talking, the mom, Gloria Marina, shared with us how difficult it had been for them since their move. There were many reasons for this including that there was no evangelical church for them to attend. We prayed with Gloria Marina and her family, we committed to visiting again, and left thinking our visit had been very encouraging to them.
In March 2017 a team of builders and nurses from several churches near Louisville, KY came to build the first evangelical church and conduct a medical clinic in Mescalio. It was then that we met Rubén, one of Gloria Marina’s neighbors. Rubén had been shot in October 2016 and was paralyzed from the chest down. When we met him his spirits were low and his overall health was poor. One of our interpreters shared the gospel with Rubén and he accepted Christ as his Savior. Even though Rubén was still physically paralyzed, he was spiritually healed.
In early 2018 Rubén was hospitalized with a high fever due to various infections. His physical condition was grave but his spirit was not. Despite his struggles he always had a beautiful smile and was encouraging to us. We learned from the hospital staff that while Rubén was there he told some of the other patients, if you will come here I will pray with you. He could not visit others bedside but he cared enough to want to pray for them. How awesome is that! Rubén is proof that God can and does use any of us when we are willing to serve Him.
Over time as we visited Rubén we got to know his family. Marlen, Rubén’s now 12 year old sister, had completed 6th grade and was helping care for Rubén. As she would run from Rubén’s bed to get water, a towel, or whatever else was needed we would talk with her. During one of these talks we learned that she wanted to become a nurse so that she could better help her brother and others like him. However, this was an impossible dream for her because there are no educational opportunities beyond 6th grade in Mescalio.
But when Marlen and her brother moved into La Casa de Rubén in April 2019 everything changed. He is now getting the care and physical therapy he needs while she is attending 7th grade in pursuit of her dream to become a nurse. Will she achieve her dream? Through her hard work, favor from God, and our new scholarship program we think she will. But above all we want her to have the opportunity to learn about God and Jesus and grow into the person that He designed her to be.
There is much work to be done in Mescalio and La Casa de Rubén. Will you ask God to show you how He wants you to join in His work in Mescalio? Will you pray for the love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to continue to be shared and received in this community? Will you pray for Rubén, Marlen, and everyone else who comes to stay at La Casa de Rubén? There are many ways to support the work in both of these places. Will you prayerfully consider how God may be calling you to be a part of this work He is doing?