AIM November 2010 | Known & Loved

This month’s newsletter features:

•    A Word from Our Director
•    Featured Story
•    Upcoming Trips
•    Stories from the Field
•    Videos from the Field

Dodging Bullets for the Gospel in Matamoros
| Seth Barnes

AIM has had a ministry based out Matamoros, Mexico for almost 20 years.  During that time, our leaders have been friends with a woman named Manuela, the sister of the notorious Tony Tormenta.  Tormenta headed a drug cartel until he was killed a few weeks ago in one of the gun battles ripping the border region apart.
Her brother’s notoriety exacted a terrible price on Manuela. Earlier this year, in an act of revenge against her brother, a rival gang kidnapped her daughter and killed her.

The good news is that the church in Matamoros has responded to all the violence with courage.  Knowing that Manuela is a believer, the city pastors and leaders gathered in the restaurant she owns to pray for her.  Unbeknownst to her, that same day her brother was in a gun battle nearby and died.
Several of our team members were caught in the middle of the shootout.  Seeing the bravery of the Mexican marines, they felt led to do something to encourage them and decided to cook them a hot meal.
Our leader said, “The marines seemed surprised that our group had come to serve them the delicious food.  The Lieutenant said, ‘No one has come and bring us hot food.  We are so grateful to you for coming, and show us compassion and care for us.’
“Each one in our team talked to them.  We shared our hearts of gratitude to them for protecting us, our families and the community.  We also talked about our assurance in Jesus.  We gave to each one of them a New Testament, and asked the Lieutenant if we could pray with them.  He was happy to let us pray.”
As the team was leaving, one of the marines, Joaquin, followed our team leader and said, “I want to personally thank you, I am moved.”  He looked at her with tears in his eyes…

Read the rest of the story on Seth’s blog.

Upcoming Trips

Real Life
| Spring & Summer 2011

This month, we’ve been waiving the application fee for our semester long missions trips for college-aged young adults.  Click here for the opportunities that await!

Choose Your Adventure
| Trips for Youth Groups

Now would be a good time to start thinking of how you’d like your youth group’s story to progress this summer!  Click here for upcoming adventures for your students to embark on!

Featured Story

For You Are My Beloved
| Audrey Spurgin

This month has been Audrey’s last in India; she and her teammates have been serving in India through Real Life.  While in India, Audrey met a girl who captured her heart.  

She has a HUGE personality! I mean this girl can put on a show. She is always the loudest, always ready to make a comment.  She is outspoken, stubborn, joyful, relational, giving, loyal, a friend, and more than I could ask for.  She and I are similar, very similar…

She intrigues me, because every time that we sit down to talk, she is intentional.  She lets a little bit more of who she is, and part of her story into my life.

So day two of working with these girls, she taught me an Indian dance.  This is not exactly a traditional dance, this is like a “I am a 19 year old girl in a Bollywood film” kind of dance.  We were laughing and joking around and we were constantly laughing at each other.  From this point on, we have been inseparable.

This girl has a big attitude, but a lot of love to give.  This is what makes her so special to me.  She is a fighter, a girl with a dream, a vision.  This girl has heart.  There are few things that can stand in her way. . .

This girl’s mother had passed away about a decade ago, and her father remarried.  Her stepmother didn’t want to care for her; her father essentially abandoned her.  Audrey continues,

She was rejected, left alone, so she moved in with her auntie and uncle.  She has her own room.  She is literally on her own; she cooks, cleans, works… She calls herself a burden.

She works at this place called the Soda Shop (which is well known in the area)… twice a day, except Monday is her holiday.  So as she begins to tell me all these things, it seems as though there is something more, something that she is leaving out.

Learn more about this girl by reading here.

Stories from the Field

| Lindsey Snyder

Lindsey, her Real Life teammates and some friends of theirs went to Mumbai earlier this month.  Their first couple days in the city were spent in outreach in the red-light district.  They went to a brothel, which Lindsey describes as, small, and off the beaten path.  There were over a dozen women, ranging in age from fifteen to twenty-something years old, standing in line; they were dressed in western clothing and wore much make-up.

My attention was drawn toward an older woman who was sitting off to the side in lingerie.  I asked by motioning if I could sit next to her, she smiled and bobbled her head, which meant, “yes.”  I attempted to talk with her but it was clear she didn’t know any English so we just sat next to each other.

After about 45 minutes, one of our friends we were with said we should probably pray with them and head on our way.  As everyone was huddling together, the woman I sat next to didn’t join, and since I felt God tugging on my heart to pray for her specifically, I went back over there and sat next to her. I asked if I could pray with her (motioning prayer and pointing to her) and she smiled, and wrapped her fragile arm around my waist so that we were interlocked side by side.

When I was done she gestured “thank you”, smiled big and squeezed my hand.  I blew her a kiss goodbye and she returned it…. As we were walking back to the train station, I was talking to Katie and Ro about how sweet that lady was.

They said, “you mean the madam?”
I couldn’t believe it didn’t click with me that she was a madam of the brothel.

Initially, being completely honest, I was slightly mad at God and confused of why he led me to sit and pray for her specifically. . .

Find out why God led Lindsey to pray for this brothel owner here.

Shoes For A Few
| Amarja Mitsutomi

Amarja is one of the handful of women we’ve sent to Cambodia to establish AIM’s base and human-trafficking ministry.  A few days ago, the team was working with another ministry that conducts surveys among men to gain insight into the sex trade in Cambodia.  This ministry also raises awareness of HIV/AIDS and shares Christ’s love to the men being surveyed.

While participating in this outreach, Amarja’s eyes were opened to another need: kids without shoes.

Interestingly, the night before we went out I had a dream that I was in Cambodia downtown somewhere and saw a Payless Shoe Store on a pretty busy street corner.  Every night before they closed, they would apparently give away shoes that were overstocked, out of style, or had minor defects.  People knew where to come for free shoes and were so happy to have something to cover their feet.  I thought this dream was really random and it didn’t make sense to me until last night.

As we were out last night, I noticed kids walking the streets without shoes.  Almost all the kids I saw either had no shoes at all, they were broken, or only had one flip flop on one foot.  I so badly wanted to provide a pair of sandals for each of them. . .

Continue reading her post to learn more.

Spirit of Adoption
| Emma Jones

Emma has been in Swaziland on a Real Life trip.  She decided to adopt some of the ministry practices of Young Life for the thirty to forty kids (as young as three and as old as mid-twenty) that swarm the team’s “home”; they’re hungry for love, affection, attention, “and, ultimately, the gospel.”  She guides the group through songs, skits and games.  Then she begins teaching:

“Do you remember being born?  Do you remember when your brothers or sisters were born?  Has anyone ever told you a story about that day?”

The volume of the room gets fuzzier as responses stir.  “Have you ever seen a newborn baby? Aren’t they ugly?”  More stirring, a few giggles.

“I bet when you were born, you were little and hairy and needy and wrinkly and you screamed all of the time.  I know I wasn’t cute, I was pink and loud and whiney; most babies are.  But, their parents look at them and smile and love them immediately, count every finger and every toe, hold them and love them.”

Blank stares greet me.  “I don’t know if you have parents or gogos ] grandmas or aunts or uncles that love you or tell you about the day you were born, but I do know that on the day you entered this world, angels rejoiced and at least one person loved you unconditionally.”  More blank stares.

I decide to continue.  “In fact, He loved you even before you were born. He was your Father then, and He was your Father five years ago, and last week and yesterday and this morning and now and tonight and tomorrow and forever and ever until you go to heaven to be with Him.”

Eyes were locked on me and the Lord poured words of comfort, love, assurance and purpose out of my mouth to blanket this room of attentive, beloved children. . .

Read on to see what else Emma said to these children.  


Both videos come from Nick Hindes, who is wrapping up leading a Real Life team in Kenya.

IDP Camp
| Nick Hindes

Nick captured some footage of an internally displaced persons camp; many of the refugees have been living at the camp for a few years, with little progress made:

Otto’s Gift
| Nick Hindes

From Nick:

Lizzie Burks bought some clothes and a pair of new shoes for our young friend, Otto.  He is around 5-6 years old and has had a very rough life.

During the election clash, his father left and eight weeks ago, his mom left.  Currently, his 14-year-old sister is taking care of him and his three brothers, all who are under 12.  What made this so awesome was that he has never really had a new pair of shoes so this was the most exciting for him.

Otto’s Gift from Nick Hindes on Vimeo.