A Maze Of Grace

February 25th, 2015

3 weeks is no where near enough time to spend with these awesome people!!!

3 weeks is no where near enough time to spend with these awesome people!!!

Today is my last day as an intern for Envision here in El Salvador. As I reflect on my time here, I have so many questions and thoughts running through my mind. I came here for a few reasons; 1) My group experience last summer here was unbelievably impactful to me. 2) I know God is calling me to some sort of missionary/service life, so this was about experiencing that everyday lifestyle during the “office season” or when groups aren’t here. I had coordinated with Kevin different things that I would do while I was here, but as always in El Salvador, plans changed.

I saw God during this last month in ways I never imagined- whether it was at the beach during the staff retreat hearing Jeff Valentine’s devotions, in a conversation with Jen about the 10 year journey to get to where her family is today, or listening to Ness build relationships with people on the street- with his finger on the pulse of the Broken/Hungry ministry. Even the past few days, as I wrap up assignments in the office, and an overwhelming sense of doubt/anxiety crept in- did I do what God wanted me to do here? Was I supposed to do something else? Where do I go from here? When do I come back? For how long? And like God always does, when you cry out for help, He answered when I sought His answer. In the form of two scriptures, which were the verses of the day on the Bible app for yesterday and today: Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

For now, I return to the states with not only friendships and contacts in the mission field here, but also with the satisfaction that I came into this adventure with an open mind and open heart, and this very special team of people here let me into their lives and treated me like family. I would appreciate prayers for safe travels, not only for myself on Friday, but for the Mullinax family and Hannah this weekend! Also for all of the Cuddle Bears who will be at the game on Saturday to be at maximum health, and for continued relationship building with the Jaguars and other teams.

Mucho gracias,
Jeanette

Coaching the Jags!

February 18th, 2015

Jags

We continue to be given amazing opportunities to meet and develop relationships with people. Richard, with the help of Nestor, Daniel, and Alton, will be taking on the role as Head Coach for the full-contact football team, los Jaguares (the Jags). Ricardo told the men at his first practice that he loves winning but, as important as winning is, he wants them to be real men.

Our biggest current prayer need continues to be the need for a doctor willing to take responsibility so that we can re-open the in-patient program. We have been closed for three weeks now and cannot re-open without this in place.

Please also lift up our family’s health. We continue to be struggling with different viruses. Felice especially has been hit hard with first a stomach virus, then an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and now another virus keeping her out of school for three days so far!

And finally, our family, along with Hannah, plan to travel this weekend to Paraguay to attend Field Forum of Alliance missionaries. We appreciate your prayers for this trip and also for the staff as they work hard to catch up on many things while we are gone.

Valentine's date!

Valentine’s date!

The kids woke up Sunday morning to see that their Christmas bunny, "Kalista", had died.  They are sad and grieving their loss.

The kids woke up Sunday morning to see that their Christmas bunny, “Kalista”, had died. They are sad and grieving their loss.

Listening

February 14th, 2015

Thank you for your prayers for our staff retreat. God answered powerfully through the ministry of Jeff and MerriLee Valentine as well as through the fellowship and time of relaxation. Our observation is that there was a noticeable increase in the energy level of our team from the last event Sunday night and has remained high all through the week. We were especially challenged by Jeff’s teachings on the book of Job and the lessons God had for us. Please pray for us as we are especially keen to LISTEN as God speaks. We want to hear from clearly about so many things.

Please pray especially for the following needs:
We are currently only operating the out-patient clinic part of Love Link right now because we have no doctor who will be in the legal position analogous to “Medical Director” in the eyes of the government. We are praying for that need to be filled quickly! Many, many babies are needing the in-patient service provided at the Love Link baby house!
The Salvadoran government similar to “Department of Public Health” in the US has said that we should have a nurse on duty 24 hours a day. This means adding 3 more nurses to the one that we have operated with for years. Obviously this is a HUGE expense and the finances for the baby house are already tight.
Please continue to pray for the dissolution of Proyecto Metamorfosis as we need God’s wisdom and guidance to handle all those matters with love, respect and wisdom.
Please pray for human resources! Four of the people from Proyecto Metamorfosis are currently working in temporary positions with us as they decide about staying on and need God’s wisdom. We also need specific help in areas such as bookkeeping, care for babies, and health care workers.
Clear direction as we decide how to refocus our efforts in the Broken ministry.
For health as the entire family has been sick at one time or another over the past week including 3 home sick today.

Through your prayers!
Team Mullinax

Road trip!  The staff retreat this past weekend was a great time of bonding as well as spiritual and physical refreshment.

Road trip! The staff retreat this past weekend was a great time of bonding as well as spiritual and physical refreshment.

Great teaching!  We were especially blessed by the Jeff Valentine’s teachings on the book of Job as God taught us so many lessons about the many stressful and painful experiences of 2014 that had left our team threadbare.

Great teaching! We were especially blessed by the Jeff Valentine’s teachings on the book of Job as God taught us so many lessons about the many stressful and painful experiences of 2014 that had left our team threadbare.

Renewal

February 5th, 2015

Precious prayer team-

Thank you so much for lifting us up during these difficult days as we adjust such a drastic change in the ministry with the shut-down of Proyecto Metamorfosis. We appreciate your continued prayers for the complex process of unwinding that ministry in a way that is legally appropriate and beneficial to as many people as possible. We are especially grateful for the refreshment brought a group from New York who ministered to our entire team.

Please also intercede for our entire team all weekend long. Thanks to your giving to the GCF and a generous donation from the US specifically for this purpose, our team gets go on a staff retreat this weekend. Missoula Alliance Church has graciously sent down their lead pastoral couple, Jeff and MerriLee Valentine, who arrive tonight to bring bible teaching all weekend. Jeff’s book, “Focus in the Fog: Beams of Light from the Book of Job” is a great resource for many of our staff who are soul-sore, lagging energy, or even burned-out from all the turmoil over the past four months.

Please pray that we would 1. Hear from God about future direction. 2. Be refreshed physically, spiritually, and mentally, and 3. not be distracted by sickness or other craziness going on around us (many have been sick lately and even today Richard is home from work).

Through your prayers,
Mullinax 6

Journeying together.  We are so thankful for two families that visited us last week.  They ministered to our entire team and made a great connection with the nineras of baby house (Love Link).  We feel very blessed by them on many levels and they have inspired us to do a “biggest loser” weight-loss and fitness competition starting February 21st.  Please also pray for God’s clear direction on a great ministry opportunity they presented us.

Journeying together. We are so thankful for two families that visited us last week. They ministered to our entire team and made a great connection with the nineras of baby house (Love Link). We feel very blessed by them on many levels and they have inspired us to do a “biggest loser” weight-loss and fitness competition starting February 21st. Please also pray for God’s clear direction on a great ministry opportunity they presented us.

Cuddle up!  While our flag-football team Cuddle Bears lost 44-33 last Saturday to the two-time defending league champion Warriors, we felt the game served its intended purpose of helping us build a relational bridge to people in need of Jesus.  Also, Alton had a great time scoring on three plays and running back an interception almost all the way for a touchdown.  The same day Richard ran a practice for the Jaguars, a full-contact team that has asked him to consider being their head-coach.  Please pray for God’s clear direction this weekend on this opportunity as well.

Cuddle up! While our flag-football team Cuddle Bears lost 44-33 last Saturday to the two-time defending league champion Warriors, we felt the game served its intended purpose of helping us build a relational bridge to people in need of Jesus. Also, Alton had a great time scoring on three plays and running back an interception almost all the way for a touchdown. The same day Richard ran a practice for the Jaguars, a full-contact team that has asked him to consider being their head-coach. Please pray for God’s clear direction this weekend on this opportunity as well.

Breakthroughs

January 26th, 2015
Our team have given their all and sacrificed so much to the Metamorfosis Project.  Although, we are sad and grieving the current loss of the Project, we are also confident that God is guiding us to the best.

Our team have given their all and sacrificed so much to the Metamorfosis Project. Although, we are sad and grieving the current loss of the Project, we are also confident that God is guiding us to the best.

Our prayers regarding Project Metamorfosis were answered last week but, not in the way any of us had hoped for. When Richard and two Salvadoran board members of Vinculo de Amor arrived at a meeting to ask for more resources to help Proyecto Metamorfosis succeed, they found several people already seated at the table waiting for them. It was immediately evident that they had already made decisions and had set up the meeting as a charade. After allowing those with complaints to say many malicious things they announced that they wanted to to remove Foundation Vinculo de Amor as the implementers of our own program and instead transition the program quickly to be under the management of a cooperative of workers from the project. This means that the factory is shut down while we wait for a written agreement to be made to transition the leadership of the factory over to cooperative. In a very few days, the program will officially no longer be a part of our ministry in El Salvador.

While it was sad to see this matter handled in such a sneaky, conspiratorial way, we are grateful that God answered our prayers for some amazing, unanticipated solution to the big problems that have plagued us as we have sought for months to bail out a sinking ship. Our entire team is grieving the loss of a program we sacrificed so much for but, we are also relieved that so many resources (human, economic, and creative) are now freed up to focus on our ministries to families with malnourished babies, and deportees.

We are currently negotiating the terms of the handover of the leadership of the factory to the cooperative. Please pray for wisdom and grace. We have every intention of loving them and blessing them so that they can succeed while also stewarding well the resources that God has entrusted to us personally and the foundation.

The cuddle bears had their first win this weekend!  As we were leaving, some members of a full-contact team were so impressed with our offense, they asked Richard if he would consider coaching their team!  Please pray with us for wisdom in this!

The cuddle bears had their first win this weekend! As we were leaving, some members of a full-contact team were so impressed with our offense, they asked Richard if he would consider coaching their team! Please pray with us for wisdom in this!

This week we are blessed with the visit of two families!  Travis and his wife Cyndy, Journey Fitness, have shared generously of their time, talents, and finances with us and our ministry.  They are whipping us into shape!

This week we are blessed with the visit of two families! Travis and his wife Cyndy, Journey Fitness, have shared generously of their time, talents, and finances with us and our ministry. They are whipping us into shape!

Progress

January 19th, 2015
Love Link, Inc. board met Tuesday to discuss how we could re-open Project Metamorfosis.

Love Link, Inc. board met Tuesday to discuss how we could re-open Project Metamorfosis.

Last Tuesday we met with the Salvadoran Board of Love Link, Inc. The meeting was focused on Project Metamorfosis and what it will take to re-open it. The board members saw the greatest need lacking was leadership. They asked Richard if he would be willing to step in and lead the project, which would mean he would need to have a presence at the factory every day. For those that do not know, Project Metamorfosis is located in Santa Ana, a 75-120 minute drive, depending on traffic, from our house. Please pray with us for wisdom in this decision! As we mentioned in last week’s update, we had a businessman willing to donate $5,000 to the project if we were able to match it. The donor counted a $3000 matching donation we had from December. Thanks to your continued prayer and support, we now have $4,518.05, including allowance money donated from our kids! The donor decided to go ahead and write his check and we have only $481.95 left to raise! Thank you!

Friday we met with Sam and Julie Hawkins (founders of Love Link, Inc.) to discuss more details regarding the transition. It was a good meeting and progress is happening. Love Link, also known as the Baby House, has always operated with the help of Salvadoran medical students serving for one-year periods (social year). This year, there is a serious lack of medical students in the country. Sam and Hannah were told yesterday, that the country has under 100 students versus 200 last year, and 1000 in years past. Because of this short-fall, we currently are without a doctor, other than the pediatrician who overseas things. For the present and also in looking to the future, we see the need to actually hire a doctor, rather than relying year to year on a medical student that may or may not be available. Pray for not only the funds to be able o hire someone but also for the right person to hire!

Enjoying an outing with some of the staff, including Hannah's sister who was visiting.

Enjoying an outing with some of the staff, including Hannah’s sister who was visiting.

Cuddle bears

January 8th, 2015
Our flag football mascot

Our flag football mascot

As the NFL season winds down, the Cuddle Bears (our flag football team) are gearing up for our season. We are practicing hard to get ready for our first game at the end of January. As you know, flag football is a great way we meet deportees as we are passionate about reaching them with the Good News. Some of you know David, who was planning to be on our team. He is going through a difficult time right now and in great need of prayer specifically for strength and wisdom in the situation he is in and for his physical protection due to threats of gangs in his neighborhood.

After a much needed break and rest, we are back in the office and moving forward with the transition at Vinculo de Amor. Continue to join us in praying for this transition as there are still some details to be worked through including a VERY important meeting this Friday at 1PM (Chicago time). Metamorfosis is closed until at least January 19th and we continue to turn this ministry over to God hoping that he will rescue it. Today a business man met with Richard and told him he had a $5,000 donation for the project if he could get it matched from the US. Please pray!

The kids began school again this past Tuesday. Please pray for this transition and getting back into the routine. Lisa Schuenke and the kids returned to Wisconsin on December 21 and our kids have strongly felt their absence especially in school. Please keep both families in your prayers for the losses they’ve experienced. We are also asking God for new friendships for the kids and a support network here. Thank you so much for supporting us and our family!

Happy New Year! The Mullinax’s

We were honored with an invitation to Gloria's house Christmas Eve.  With the help of Melissa, and with a lot of love, she served us an amazing traditional meal!

We were honored with an invitation to Gloria’s house Christmas Eve. With the help of Melissa, and with a lot of love, she served us an amazing traditional meal!

On December 21, we celebrated Arrow's 7th birthday - Colts style!

On December 21, we celebrated Arrow’s 7th birthday – Colts style!

After sharing a nice meal out, Wired celebrated Christmas with a White Elephant exchange and amazing desserts!

After sharing a nice meal out, Wired celebrated Christmas with a White Elephant exchange and amazing desserts!

Hannah’s 2014 Recap

January 6th, 2015

Wow. 2014 was an incredible year. I took classes in Virginia in the spring (still working on my RN-BSN), fundraised, and moved to El Salvador in May.

I had a fundraiser BBQ dinner with tons of support!

I had a fundraiser BBQ dinner with tons of support!

I have witnessed incredible acts of God such as provision and reconciliation. I went to Mission Training International in August and was very convicted by God that not only are my “strengths” to be used for His glory, but also my abundant weaknesses and failures, which I am not so fond of.

So many neat missionaries I got to know at MTI.

So many neat missionaries I got to know at MTI.

I have become more involved at Vinculo de Amor, seen Proyecto Metamorfosis go through crisis after financial crisis until it is barely hanging on. I have seen God provide for our Wired building with funds and a long-awaited construction permit.

It is a privilege to care for the malnourished babies at Vinculo... like the one in my lap here.

It is a privilege to care for the malnourished babies at Vinculo… like the one in my lap here.

I have grown closer to my Wired team, and walked with them through joys as well as intense loss and suffering.We have done battle together.

I love praying with my team!!! This is the real battleground.

I love praying with my team!!! This is the real battleground.

With so many various difficulties, griefs, pains, and changes, I ended the year feeling a bit beat up. In fact, as I was reflecting on how I felt, I thought “I am toast”, “I feel plowed up”. I’m not sure what caused me to phrase it that way, but as soon as I did, I remembered …I prayed for this!!! Several months ago, I specifically prayed Hosea 10:12.

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.”

Fallow ground is crusted over, unused, like a field that has laid waste all year. I asked God to plow me up so that my heart would become fertile ground for Him. This He has done. It has been rough, let me tell you. But in all of the hardship (it doesn’t feel good to get plowed up) I have never been more convinced of God’s love for me. I know that He is real, that He is faithful, and that He has called me here. He is jealous for His glory and wants to be glorified through me (and you!)

Foreground: dead field. Background: volcano Izalco

Foreground: dead field. Background: volcano Izalco

San Salvador is a dark place. El Salvador has a dark history of racism, civil war, massacres, poverty, drugs, malnourishment, violence, corruption, gangs, and immorality.

Centro (downtown San Salvador)

Centro (downtown San Salvador)

However, as I think about being here, and my prayers that God would break up the hardness of my heart and bring revival to this city, I am encouraged. That verse in Hosea talks about God raining down righteousness. Earlier in Hosea, it says, “Let us know; let us press on to know that LORD; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Can you imagine this city seeking God, and God raining down righteousness on it??!

Can you imagine this city seeking God, and God raining down righteousness on it??!

I ended my year somewhere I wasn’t expecting. I was given a plane ticket home for Christmas, where I got to see my whole family and meet my littlest niece. I spent a delightful week doing nothing but resting and enjoying my family. What a gift!

My family =) I'm in the bright red shirt

My family =)
I’m in the bright red shirt

I thoroughly enjoyed the week of rest, but am now back at home here in El Salvador, ready for 2015. No doubt it’s going to be extremely tough. It’s filled with 365 days of unknowns. But that’s ok.

As I sat in the plane on the flight back, I was so refreshed as I looked out on the sunrise and drank a cup of tea. I was reading The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, who encourages believers to focus on Christ and to pursue the presence of God. How I want that to be the ultimate purpose of my life! As I reflected, I was re-envisioned and renewed. I want to slow down this year and know God more. I want to love Him more. I am not so concerned with getting anything accomplished, but would rather just experience more of God. In the end, that is what glorifies Him; and the glory of God is the chief purpose of man.

God makes beautiful things.

God makes beautiful things.

Relying on Him

December 16th, 2014

Great news! We received official approval from the city to move forward with construction at the Wired facility! We look forward to beginning soon! Thank you for praying through that long process!

This past Saturday, FUNDE (the organization that helps fund the project) held a gathering for Metamorfosis staff and their families at the lake.

This past Saturday, FUNDE (the organization that helps fund the project) held a gathering for Metamorfosis staff and their families at the lake.

Your prayers are so vital and powerful! We have seen and felt this as we minister here. That is why we again ask you to join us in fervent prayer for Metamorfosis. The program remains in a delicate state. Possibly now more than ever. We need God to intervene in a big way in order for it to continue. Pray also for wisdom and discernment for Ricardo as he leads.

Richard and Felice join in on the games played on Saturday

Richard and Felice join in on the games played on Saturday

Sometimes it is hard to get in the "Christmas spirit" with warm weather, so Hannah offered to come over and help us bake christmas cookies!  We are so thankful for our supportive teammates!

Sometimes it is hard to get in the “Christmas spirit” with warm weather, so Hannah offered to come over and help us bake christmas cookies! We are so thankful for our supportive teammates!

Richard and I were able to join Alton's class on a field trip recently to visit some Mayan ruins.  Please keep our family in prayer as the Holiday season tends to be a lonely one and some of us are really suffering from homesickness.

Richard and I were able to join Alton’s class on a field trip recently to visit some Mayan ruins. Please keep our family in prayer as the Holiday season tends to be a lonely one and some of us are really suffering from homesickness.

Cared for

December 5th, 2014

We are so grateful for those at National Office who “Keep watch over us as those who must give an account” (Hebrews 13:17). These past few weeks they have been working with extreme diligence and self-sacrifice to help everyone here deal with the difficult situation on our team we have been asking you to pray for. This past week Tim Meier, Director of Envision International gave up a week with his family to help our team and family in person. Your giving to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) makes it possible for them to care for our team and family in so many ways. Would you consider a special year-end gift to the GCF so support those who work so hard to support us? You can give online (https://secure.cmalliance.org/give/) or by mailing a check to

C&MA National Office
Attn: Donor Accounting
P.O. Box 35000
Colorado Springs, CO 80935

Please continue to lift up the team situation that we have mentioned before. Please also pray for Project Metamorphosis as a quality control issue and some bad attitudes are combining for low production during a month when we are mandated to make some considerable extra payments to the workers. Finally, please pray for our family as we are pretty tired now and yearning for Christmas vacation in a couple of weeks.

Grace and peace,
Mullinax family

Thanksgiving: Our Wired staff worked very hard to prepare a magnificent Thanksgiving meal complete with football as an outreach to Hungry — the church we are planting for people who don’t like church. Many of our friends from the American football league miss thanksgiving and were glad to come out.

thanksgiving 1

thanksgiving 2

thanksgiving 3