Friday, December 21, 2007

"We have a video presentation to show you, but as you saw on the way in, we already have tons of people waiting, so let's get to work! Girls over here, and guys over there!"

This was our greeting as we entered Mission For All Nations. This mission is found in South Omaha in a place I never knew existed...Little Mexico. I knew there were Hispanic people in Omaha, but not that there was a street or two that look as if you are IN Mexico! I'll bet the food is awesome down there!

But we were there to serve, not eat!

The ladies got busy packing dry goods in boxes and sorting donations. The guys were split up. A few went to help gather frozen goods to give away, and the others (myself included) headed outside. We poured salt on the sidewalks to help melt the snow.

As people came through, they were given toiletries, frozen goods, dry goods, and then we put them in shopping carts and assisted the people in getting them to their (or their friend's) cars.
This went on non-stop from 12:30 to 4:00 PM. I was barely able to get a bathroom break! At the end, Pastor Josue held up a stack of papers and guessed that we had served over 300 families that day.

Josue and Mary Anaya are the founders of Mission for All Nations. Josue came to this country from a South American country (El Salvador?) in 1984. His friend took his money, and left him all alone in a foreign country with only the clothes on his back. He spoke little English and it was like 15 below zero in Des Moines. Someone from a local mission spoke Spanish to him and he gave his life to Christ, and promised to help others. He later would marry and start the Mission.

At one point, they had no money left as they started refurbishing the 100+ year old buildings from which they helped locals. They prayed fervently, "God, if You want us to continue this work, then they money has to come from You."

As the workers broke into one of the walls, they saw something inside. They took it out, gasped, and ran to show Josue and Mary. It was $3,000. And it dated back to 1984, so they believe that God "set it aside" for them since Josue gave his life to God.

Josue and Mary have 10 children (ages 20 down to 3 months) and they still keep people in their home from time to time.

In fact, the lady who separated guys from girls in the beginning had once been a meth dealer and done jail time. Because of Josue and Mary, and the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, she is now pursuing a degree, volunteering at the Mission, and drug-free!

1 comment:

Theresa said...

That's really neat! I had never heard of Mission for All Nations, but Spanish Club once a year sponsors a family and/or donates $ for meals to the Chicano Awareness Center and the Juan Diego Center (division of Omaha Catholic Charities). I've been looking for a way to get them more involved volunteering instead of just donating money, and this sounds great! The other agencies required more committment, and on their website Mission FAN as they affectionately refer to themselves welcome one-time volunteers.

By the way, the next time you're going to South O, let me know. Every once in a while, I'll take Hannah down there for fun and we walk around and eat! The best bakery EVER "The International Bakery" (La Internacional) is on 24th street, just north of Q (West side of the street). Restaurants are too hard to pick, but the prettiest (great food too) is La CabaƱa di Franko on 24th & M-ish. It has these little booths/cabanas with Christmas lights, flowers - so pretty. Get a huarache - they aren't sandals - YUM!