Laughter, tears, bear hugs, amazement, awe, delight, blessing….
All of those adjectives and more apply to any visit to this amazing lady’s home and ministry. This afternoon, we went – Alan, Wilmar, Jhon, and me – to see her, to see what changes and additions had been made to her home, following the generosity of so many people. The ‘original’ house has had the kitchen totally renovated, with the addition of fridges, freezers, washing machines, and a cooker – thank you, everyone who contributed. The ‘new’ house is fully occupied by more of Ana’s ‘babies’ – thank you again to all who have given to this amazing development. Ana has 77 babies at the moment, ranging in age from late 60’s to 99…..what is more astonishing about her home, is that it has no ‘aroma’ of being an old people’s home: it is immaculately clean, the people dressed in nice, fresh clothes.
The babies are always as delighted to see me and whoever I take with me, as Ana is, and as I am to be there. As I went through the steel gate at the front of the house, there was spontaneous applause and cheering! What blesses Ana the most, it seems, is not only the level of support she’s received from people I know, but the fact that I – and others – keep going back to visit.
Due to some unplanned generosity, I was able to give her more money today. What I had no idea of was that she has a dream – no, plans – to extend the ‘new’ house already: it is a single storey house that goes ‘back’ a long way, whereas her original house is two storeys. She has estimates for putting a second storey in the new house: and she told me that this morning, when she woke, she had prayed and asked God for a specific sign that she should go ahead. At the point she told me this, she had no idea that I had some more money to give her. She showed me the estimate for materials needed to extend the house: what I gave her was just a few hundred pesos more than she needed! (There are almost 3,000 pesos to the £, and 1900 to the US$). It means she’ll be able to DOUBLE the number of babies she has in her care to 150…. I arranged for it through my dear mate, Wilmar, to be made in the form of a cheque, as if word got out that several millions in pesos had been handed over (and word would be out quicker than you could say ‘stop thief’!), she’d have armed gunmen at her gate. I also took some in the form of a prepaid credit card, so really nothing easily convertible for prospective robbers…
The hugs, the crying, the wailing, the praying….. it is heart-wrenching to see what such support means to her. She spent most of the time after being given the money in shock, silent (unusual for her!), and praying in whispers thanking God for his love, and answered prayer.
Ana is also raising a young lad in that home: Cristian. I’ve met him before, but saw a bit more of him today. He’s 9 years old. He is a product of his mum being raped, and she died when he was 5 months old. Ana took him in, he’s a great kid, full of life and energy, and shows no signs of being raised with over 75 septuagenarians and older, around him.
I saw again today, for a little longer than previously, Ana’s son, Juan Mauricio. To give you an idea of the sort of locale she lives in, and why it’s so dangerous, Juan Mauricio is a taxi driver – or rather, was a taxi driver: 8 months ago, his taxi was ‘ambushed’ by some young thugs, just a few streets from Ana’s house, demanding the keys to his car.
He refused. So they shot him, 5 times in the stomach, and he all but died. Gruesome pictures next – but life in Cali, whilst improving beyond recognition in some areas, is still a …er….demanding place, that requires a lot of common sense about where, when, and how you go….
Ana has really got her act together in the last couple of years, in terms of admin: she gave me a list of names and ages of her babies (only she could call a 99 year old a baby!). I really wanted to meet her two oldest residents: Graciela is 99,
and has been in the home for 4 years. The police brought a 97 year old lady to her (they just turn up with them, as do ambulances) in December: she had no identification at all, and no name that she knew she’d ever been known by… so Ana ‘christened’ her Amparo, and it was a delight to meet them both. Amparo does a neat line in performing the salsa, her knees doing things that mine couldn’t – yet! – and both are really well cared for, and spotlessly dressed!
It is an amazing place: emotionally so draining, yet there is peace, love, and compassion there on a level I haven’t often seen anywhere else. It’s such a privilege to be involved in Ana Beiba’s ministry, and to have her friendship. Thank YOU, all of you have, over the last year, contributed to her cause, and if you can continue to help, she would eternally grateful. She needs about £2800 for the labour to totally convert the new house, so she can double her numbers. Thank you for enabling me to have the privilege of being the one who can take your blessing to her.
This morning, Alan & Barbara were at a ladies meeting, about 75 minutes south of where we stay: organised by friends Diego & Pilar Reyes, at the home of the Colombian boss of Johnson & Johnson. They had a brilliant morning there, and had opportunity to pray for the 17 year old son of the family, who is pretty acutely autistic. Alan told them the story of Oscar Logan, from Bangor, and the Hall boys from Melbourne: always so encouraging to hear testimony of miraculous transformation for something the ‘experts’ say can’t be ‘cured’.
We celebrated a great two days with a meal at the wonderful little French bar, Absenta (Absinthe – illegal in the UK of course!), over the road from our apartment, with a lovely meal, and a complimentary glass of Buchanans, though A&B declined. I ought to tell you I declined too, but I didn’t! It was delicious….