need (3)


There is an underlying message in what the Bible, especially Jesus, says about prayer. We need God’s hand in everything we do. You cannot pray, you cannot think, you cannot live as a believer without God's help. In John 5:30a Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing.” If Jesus was totally dependent upon His Father, should we be any less? Earlier in the same dialogue Jesus said. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself.” Are you a child of God? You too are dependent on Him.

In fact all strength, all ability, every talent or gift to man comes from God. When we become followers of Jesus we surrender those gifts and ourselves back to Him. Then they are truly activated for their true purposes. We can no more operate properly without prayer than a drone could carry out its purpose without radio control.

It is not simply that we need what He will give us when we pray. We depend on His gifts. But we need more. We need Him. He is our food and drink. He is our life blood. We need to live in union and constant communion with Jesus. The Psalmist speaks of God as "an ever-present help.” (Ps.46:1)
Read more…


What is the need of this hour? What can we do who face the moral, spiritual and intellectual barbarism of the last days? How will we present the gospel to people who have lost all sense of the sacred? How do you argue with people who no longer understand the concept of truth? How do you win those who despise righteousness and hate us who call for repentance? How do we help people hunger for heaven who believe the highest good is immediate gratification?


The only solution to the crises we face in these days is to trust in a supernatural God, a God who does the impossible in response to our prayers, a God who uses the weak to do incredible things in impossible situations, a God who parts seas of unbelief, a God who delivers the oppressed from the addiction of sin, a God who raises the spiritually dead to walk in new life.

Read more…

Reflection on my time in Guatemala City, Mexico City, and my visit to MC prison...

by Brian Bakke

I was in  Guatemala City and Mexico City visiting pastors, ministries, and churches that are working with the homeless, addicted, sex trafficked, gang members, elites,  church planting, and visiting prisons with pastors who are working among the violent street gangs incarcerated within horrible conditions here in both cities. 

I visited La Limondada, a huge sprawling slum that hugs a steep ravine in the middle of Guatemala City. The river is also the sewer for this slum and the way things are done there has made this stream the most polluted in all of Central America.  Each and every bathroom and kitchen have a pipe jutting out from the river side wall of each house that throws out all untreated raw waste all day and night. Plus families toss garbage bags and cans full of litter and waste over the bridge into the river all day. They cannot afford the $1 USD fee per family to pay for a garbage truck to come in and collect the garbage so they dump it overboard. Imagine a neighborhood the size of Shaw doing this out in the Tidal Basin each and every day for the past 20 years and you get the idea and a glimpse of the effects...

In this slum are two schools.  There are two because the river is a dividing line between the MS 13's and the 18's that claim their side of the stream.  Parents could not send their kids across gang lines because their kids would be chopped into pieces and the homes shot full of holes if they did.  Bullet holes are to be found on most of the houses as you walk down the steep steps in the heart of the neighborhood and when you walk through the narrow pathways that function as streets.  

In these two schools, there are about 180 kids from 4-17 years old. MSF helped start the first school about 6 years ago. 

And I visited the second newer school when it was just an empty building filled with trash.

Now the new school is booming and brightly painted and decorated by the kids.

It is a miracle.

I have been to this barrio 5 times now.  

And when I walk through and go house to house with Tita, the woman who founded this ministry, it is like walking with someone who is a combination of Bono and Mother Teresa. She had to go into hiding a couple of days ago due to her ministry being awarded a large national grant - which put her face, name and ministry on the front pages of the newspapers here.  This led to extortion threats and death threats from the local Mara's who want payment or she and her boy will be killed.


Later on that same day I visited with a friend (former gang member and ex-con) who has a ministry team of ex gang bangers  going into the various prisons here.  He took me to visit his newest ministry location, a max sec prison housing 130 teens who are all MS 13 or 18.

On the way into this prison, my buddy asked me what I was going to share with the inmates during the sermon/teaching time. My friend has a great sense of humor and timing.  We had a great time.  A first for me was having armed guards in the doorway with tear gas guns. 

I have been in rooms with machine guns pointed at me and the inmates, but not tear gas.  And as soon as the youth stepped out of the room we were using, the guards told the kids to pull of their shoes and socks and then searched them.  Then the youth were marched off to their cells. I had not seen that since I taught the art class in County Jail and 26th and Cal.


After this, I visited a ministry called Mi Casita.  This is a safe house for kids who were being raped, beaten and abused by their parents.  A good number of them used to live in La Limonada.  Now 18 of them live, play, pray, and worship together in a safe, beautiful and HUGE house filled with respect and love.

The highlight for me was when a 5 year old girl with a cute gap toothed smile asked me to push her in the swing, and demanded that as I pushed her, that I speak English to her. Within a couple of minutes the swing set was full of adorable kids all repeating my simple 4-5 word phrases:

Birdie birdie in the sky

I got doo doo in my eye

I'm a big boy I dont cry

I'm just glad cows don't fly

And other soon to be classics regarding such noble themes as washing hands in the toilet, putting food up your nose, and such.

I finally got 'busted' by one of the bilingual adults.  But the kids loved it as they were repeating each phrase I gave them.

This was so therapeutic for me as it brought out the small child in me that longs to play with other kids.


After a day of seeing such brokenness, it was a joy for me to be there, to eat supper with the kids (plantain and beans) and to hug and kiss these impossibly beautiful kids and let them know that Jesus really does love them.


The next several days, I had meetings with church planters at a conference with mission, ministry, denominational and seminary leaders from all over Latin America.

Then I had a very special trip in Guatemala City. I visited the national forensic institute.

Me and four others were greeted at the door by a lovely young woman in native dress

Led into the building past a wall of tiny baby sized caskets

Past stacks of cardboard boxes with numbers 

Past the lab with technicians and scientists working on remains

We were told the following:

The institute opened before the cease fire in the late 90's

This center is one of 3 world wide that has the technology that can ID remains from bones that have been buried for more than 30 years

That the attack on the World Trade Center in NYC created new ID technologies that this and other centers now make use of

The director started at the center when she was 17 years old!

There are multiple teams of people doing either of three tasks:

interviewing witnesses to mass murders in various places around the nation

digging up the remains of mass graves across the nation

cleaning, numbering, x-raying, and reassembling remains here in the lab

The director was late because she thought we were supposed to meet at a city dig.

This is the first GC dig, which is now 30 years deep, a huge dig that is where the army dumped bodies

The center has reassembled more than 5,000 bodies so far

There were more than 200,000 people, mostly ignorant rural peasants that were massacred by the US sponsored government troops over the course of 30 years  of dirty civil wars in Guatemala

We went into the lab, which had about 10 people working

There were two cases being worked on:

One was an army base where people were kidnapped and brought, tortured and executed and dumped

The other is a large rural dump site from another part of the country

We stopped at one of the tables that had a mostly complete skeleton assembled

It was a young teenaged boy

Each of the bones and even fragments were all numbered:

four letters (for inst) and then 4 numbers and then 4 more numbers, corresponding to the institute (doing this work) the site location, mass grave date, and so on...

Another technician picked up the boy's skull

It was cracked in several places.

He called our attention to deep gashes in the side, top and back of the skull

These were made by machete he told us.

All told this boy was hit deeply cut and finally killed by 7 blows to the head by a machete

We walked across the room to a small tray with the bones of a small child laid out.

We learned that Gen. Rios Montt the leader of the army during the war, who is now on trial for war crimes and genocide ordered the murders of adult and children alike about 35% of the people he murdered were small children like this one whose body we were looking at

We learned that the Institute gets notice of a lawsuit filed by a family or a village about a murder that took place 

The cultural anthropologists go and interview each and every witness

The archeologist team goes to where the witnesses said they saw bodies being dumped and dig.

Each grave site is documented by photos and by a team that takes great time and care

"We must follow up on each lawsuit, because if we do not do this, nobody will, and the survivors will be victimized once again"

The remains are brought back to this building in cardboard boxes, with numbers corresponding to the date found, location, court case number and so on.

Now we know what all the boxes, stacked from floor to ceiling have in them...

Our entire building is filled with boxes waiting to be opened, and reassembled.

We learned that the teams of scientists - after each bone is found, given proper ID and assembled, are then placed inside one of the baby caskets we walked past in the entry way.  The remains are brought back to the village where the families live and there the bones are taken out of the casket and placed in an adult sized casket. Women in the village weave new clothes for the dead, and the scientists actually dress the bones with these new clothes, and then there is a burial ceremony according to the traditions of the Mayan culture.

Joel told us about the profound theology of going through all of this care to honor the dead and the family and the culture in a way that brings closure, healing and rest to the families that have been waiting for years and years for word on what happened to their loved ones.

The trial of Gen. Montt is front page news here. It has captured the attention of the entire nation and of all Central America.

One would have to search for news about this in the local papers or TV news in the USA. 

Letter about Ruth and Emilio Beltran in Mexico City Prison:

Greetings in Christ. I am sending you this letter to inform you about the current situation of Ruth and Emilio Beltran. The Beltrans are Evangelical Christians, pastors, and close personal friends, who created and operated a home in Mexico City for street children called Casa Adulam.

Ruth and Emilio have been unjustly kept in Mexico City prison for the past three years.

Casa Adulam was a place of hope, safety, joy, and unconditional love for children who had been orphaned or tossed out of their families. Casa Adulam grew into a ministry that had a huge facility in the central part of Mexico City housing many children, and had room for them to play, learn, and grow as healthy kids.  Due to their faithfulness and passion to rescue children, their ministry grew to include houses for orphans across Mexico and in several other nations.

Casa Adulam became an international model of inner city ministry and was THE connection point between the Mustard Seed Foundation and the grass roots ministries of Mexico.  I have worked personally with Ruth and Emilio since I joined the staff of the Foundation in 2001 and have come to respect, love and admire them deeply.  From the day of my first visit to Mexico City as a MSF person, and each time I traveled to Mexico City, the Beltrans stopped what they were doing and helped the Mustard Seed Foundation connect with local grass roots ministries that we would otherwise never hear about.

On May 11, 2010, Ruth and Emilio were accused of enslaving the children (trata de personas), and Emilio was also accused of raping 7 girls, once a week, for a year.  The arrest was based on the accusations of a pastor on staff of Adulam who had been stealing money from the ministry and had been fired.  This January, the Court ruled against the Beltrans and sentenced Ruth to 72 years, and Emilio to 220 years in Mexico City prison. They are currently in a formal appeals process that should be completed by the end of  May. 

You may continue reading for more details on their situation if you desire.  In consultation with Ruth and Emilio and their friends who are working for their release, I include the names of the people who have played a part in putting them in prison so that you have the full story. Even if you do not feel led to read the details, please pray for the Magistrates to see that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing and to release them from prison immediately.

Even if you do not feel led to read the details, please pray for the Magistrates to see that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing and to release them from prison immediately.

The Back Story:

Just before all of the problems started with Casa Adulam, Mexico City was rocked by the events that took place at another Evangelical orphanage called Casitas del Sur.  Casitas was accused of selling children.  People in Mexico City whom I trust have told me that this other ministry was actually guilty of placing children into new adoptive families without going through the endless laws and regulations that cover such activity.  A huge scandal erupted wherein this ministry was publicly accused of selling babies and children.  It was not true.  But the media made such a huge deal of this that it so thoroughly embarrassed the Mayor of Mexico City.

With all this scandal brewing in the public media, a trusted pastor who had worked on staff at Casa Adulam, named Eleazar, and who had been caught stealing money from the Casa Adulam had been fired. He and his family received less severance pay than they asked, but Adulam paid the amount the labor court determined. The pastor was not happy. In the following months his son, who had also worked at the home, wrote up a long and detailed accusation against Ruth and Emilio claiming that they had abused children, working them as slaves, and pimping them out to strangers as sex slaves. 

At the same time, Rosi Orozco, a member of the ruling party at that time, the PAN Party (Partido Acción Nacional), was positioning herself as "the savior of the kids" in Mexico and aligned herself with the Mexico City Mayor.  Ms Orozco, a Congresswoman, who was running for the Senate, is a leader in the Evangelical Christian community in Mexico City.  To boost her political career, she began cooperating with the Mayor to take down Adulam.  Ms. Orozco, and the Mayor waited for the perfect moment, and then used the accusations of Pastor Eleazar's son to formally accuse our friends. In Mexico, one is still guilty until proven otherwise. 

The Arrest

On May 11, 2010, Rosi Orozco called a trusted friend of Emilio and Ruth, asking that Emilio call her. Emilio and Ruth called and then went to Mexico City to meet her. Leaving the appointed spot, the judicial police were there to jail them. Several days later, on May 17 they raided the Casa Adulam orphanage.  The TV, Radio, and newspaper press were told in advance about this so that they were in attendance to document this high profile arrest.  All children, and the home psychologist were detained. Ruth and Emilio were accused of enslaving the children (trata de personas), and Emilio was also accused of raping 7 girls, once a week, for a year.  This was a HUGE scandal in the front page and lead story of the TV news.

Eleazar was no longer working at Adulam when they were taken. What he did do when he left was take all the info he needed to write up his case from the Adulam computers.

On July 11, 2010. Emilio, Ruth, the psychologist and the Administrative manager were formally charged. The Administrative manager remains in hiding. 

Meanwhile, the children that lived in the Adulam orphanage were put into government run orphanages, although many escaped to the streets, as they were forced to work long hours and live in very poor conditions. The older kids went back to the parks, back under the highway bridges, or down into the storm sewers.  (I visited these spots with Emilio years ago and can attest that these horrible places are the only option for the older kids who were kicked out of Adulam when the City closed the ministry.)



The Long Slow Process:

Over the course of 2010 and 2011, most of the Adulam staff members were set free due to lack of proof of any wrongdoing.  Only the Adulam psychologist and Ruth and Emilio were left in prison at the end of 2011.

The way the courts work in the Mexico City is that lawyers present stacks of written documents, which are supposed to be read by the Judges.  There is little verbal testimony, and little option for the accused to face his or her accusers and stage their defense in person.  What there is, is mountains of paper!  In a typical serious case there might be several books of documents produced as the proceedings are written down. With the Adulam case, there are over 25 books of legal documents (each about 5 inches thick) that have been produced during the proceedings.  The chances that a Magistrates listening to an appeal have read all 25 or so volumes is thin.

One of the 3 Magistrates judging on a requested "amparo" or stay of justice, issued a private opinion stating that the children living in the orphanage having chores to do each day was not a case of exploitation.  And furthermore, while they understood that the accusations required the Beltrans be jailed, they did not see sufficient evidence to sentence Ruth and Emilio.  No secret stash of money was found in their personal or ministry bank accounts.  So the charges of running an organized criminal operation and of exploiting children have been struck a serious blow. 

In spite of this opinion, the ruling judge was able to side step the order to provide further evidence before sentencing. 

I recently learned that the evidence against Ruth and Emilio consisted of written statements, actually written by corrupt police officers but signed by children who lived in the Casa Adulam orphanage.  The kids had no idea what they were signing.  And the statements by the kids provided absolutely no proof, no witnesses, only their word.  Over the past two years, the Beltran’s lawyers have proved over and over that all this so called evidence was completely false, however, the new Magistrates have not accepted these facts.  Not yet.  Pray they do!

One other note:  a few days after Emilio and Ruth were jailed, Maru, a teenaged girl who really was like the Beltran’s daughter, was also jailed.  However, in exchange for a declaration against Ruth and Emilio, she was set free.  She has since recanted and says she is prepared to tell her story to the appeals court.  At one point she told the Beltran’s lawyer that she could round up some of the others who had lied about being raped.  Pray that the Magistrates allow these new testimonies!


This past January 13, the Magistrates ‘reviewed’ the piles of documents in their case and ruled against them. And they were sentenced to prison terms of 72 years (Ruth) and 220 years (Emilio).  Emilio explained to me that rapists get 10-15 year terms. And assassins and murderers, if caught and convicted, might get a maximum sentence of 30-40 years.  A notorious bank robber or narco trafficker might get 20-40 years.  Having given this sentence, the judge went on to apply a law which allows one to serve sentences in parallel. In reality Emilio must now serve 22 years, and Ruth 8 to 11. No small sentence for innocent people.

The Appeal:

The official court case is now under ‘Apelacion.’  Legally, Ruth and Emilio have two remaining appeals left.  Their lawyer hopes the result of the appeal will be to further reduce the sentences; maybe to as low as 1/4 of the present number of years they must serve.  This would let Ruth out free, and reduce Emilio’s term to 5 or 6 years. 

The first appeal in play at the moment, is an official appeal by their lawyers.  This appeal was filed in February of this year on behalf of the Beltrans.  Three Magistrates will rule on this appeal by May 31 – just 19 days from now! 

If this appeal fails, there is one Final Appeal in December.  If both of these appeals fail, their lives are set and they will live in this hell for many more years.

Life in Prison:


On April 20th, I visited with Ruth and Emilio for the third time, in the Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente.  This is one of four State Prisons within the Districto Federal (DF) of Metro Mexico City.  It is located at Calle Reforma #50, Col. San Lorenzo Tezonco, C.P. 09800, Deleg. Iztapalapa.  It is southeast of the center of the city and houses about 11,000 men, including Emilio.  Ruth is housed in a women’s prison a few miles away in another part of the city.


In 2012, they were granted conjugal visits.  Ruth comes to the men’s prison on one night per week, and Emilio goes to her prison for one afternoon per week.  Emilio pointed to the ‘luxury suites’ where married couples can have a few hours of privacy. “But the bed bugs, the stench, the unclean bedding, and noises of others make it nearly impossible for us to even talk to one another.  And we have to pay a corrupt prison guard and another inmate a lot of money for the honor of using this filthy ‘hotel.’  Other people here operate these suites as a business. Everything here is business!”


In my conversations with Ruth and Emilio, I have learned that some terrible things have happened to the Beltrans, since the January sentencing.  Before the sentencing, Emilio was a pastor and co-leader of a church and small group ministry in Reclusorio Oriente.  I met all of these pastors in my visit last year. Each of them actually confessed to the judges in their respective cases that they had committed robbery, murder, and one even raped children.

Up to the moment he was officially sentenced, he was a trusted and valued member of the pastoral leadership council in this prison, and told me of the intensive 5-year discipleship course he and the other pastors were implementing in the prison.  Before Emilio was put into prison, the church had dozens of small groups and a large prison-wide church that held several services per day.  Under Emilio’s care, the small group ministry grew to include several thousand inmates, 24-hour prayer and fasting groups, and the church held 12 services per day!

But after his extreme sentence, the other pastors turned their backs on Emilio and tossed him out of the church.  Emilio told me that he was tossed out because the scandal and notoriety of the 200-year sentencing was too much for the other pastors to be seen praying and ministering with him.

This has been a blow to Emilio.  Once again, he has poured his life into other Christian men who have turned their backs on him. 

First were the hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders whom he ministered to and mentored over the years of his leadership in Adulam.  Many times they literally gave their office, staff, administrative gifts and visionary planning process away to other ministries, churches, and associations that asked for help. But none of the men and women whom Adulam has helped over the years have come to visit them in the time they have been in prison.

And now on top of this, these other inmates who are behind bars for real crimes committed, who became pastors after getting put into prison, have rejected Emilio completely.  It is a testimony to his character and strength that Ruth and Emilio can endure such rejections like this without being so totally crushed that he simply gives up.

Since being shunned by his inmate pastoral council buddies, Emilio has been working hard to start a new church in the prison.  “Since January 2013, God has raised up a team of 22 other pastors that now work with me and who go cell to cell seeking to pray with and minister to the other inmates in Oriente. We now have a church with about 50 small groups of 10 men each – in just a few months! The Lord is working in amazing ways.”

I also learned that from the first day that Emilio was formally sentenced in January, he has had to endure a regimen of reporting and presenting himself each hour on the hour, to sign a document that states “I, Emilio Moctezuma Beltran Saldana did commit crimes worthy of 200 years in this prison…”  Ruth told me that it did not matter what he was doing, or where he was in the prison, he had to run like crazy to get to this one specific office and present himself as “One of the top-ten felons” held in this prison of 11,000 men.

In April the prison let up on Emilio, so now he has to present himself and sign this official document once every three hours.

Emilio’s cell is 13’ by 8’.  It has 21 other inmates living in it. There are 7 beds in this cell. So he “cuddles” up next to another inmate each night.  Those that are lower on the prison pecking order sleep while sitting on the open toilets in the corner of this cell where they are bitten by bugs and rats all night long.  Emilio told me that he is infested with fleas and is waking up at all hours of the night to kill huge cockroaches that crawl over his body all night long. “I killed 34 roaches just last night!”

The inmates (those convicted and those awaiting trial) in this prison have to pay multiple bribes each day just to get through the day.  Everything in the prison is a business.  Some inmates have family members that visit each week and bring food, personal toiletries, or small items for their loved one to sell inside the prison so that he can afford to live there.  Those that do not have any family that can visit and bring supplies, have to rely on other activities to help pay all the bribes.  If there is no other option, an inmate becomes a ‘puta,’ a bitch, and sells himself as a prostitute to get the money to pay bribes.

On my first visit to this prison, I was assaulted by a group of inmates who fought each other and wrestled with me demanding that they be my official prison tour guide – for a fee.  Every single other family member or friend who comes into this prison has to pay bribe after bribe to get face to face with their loved ones as I do to see Emilio.  The first two visits cost me about $20 USD each. My most recent visit cost me about $100 USD. Talk about inflation!

Multiply the bribes collected by the 3,000 or so guests that come into just this one prison on a weekday and you begin to understand the amazing amount of money the guards, prison chiefs, and inmates are taking from people. The irony is that in each of my three visits into this prison, I had to pay bribes to guards who were standing in front of huge official government signs that declared, “There is NO corruption tolerated here!”

Once I finally got in to see the Beltrans, we sat at a rented table and shouted at one another for 4 hours.  We had to shout because of the noise made by the outdoor worship service a few steps away, and the boom-boxes playing music, and the musicians serenading each family, and the many people hawking their wares to earn money.  Oh, and we were surrounded by little tents created by stringing heavy lines from bars to trees and light poles, with blankets thrown over them, which housed couples enjoying conjugal visits.  Shouts from behind a blanket, “Oh God!” on one side…and a chorus of “Help me Lord” thundered from the other side.

Oh, and lest I forget, we endured the dancing of two inmates who were dressed as women, who were busy drumming up business – sex for hire – with any other inmate who had money to pay.  We also tried to avoid the stares of women who were ‘friends or sisters’ of the inmates who were visiting that day only to be pimped out by an inmate to help him raise his bribe fund.  I used the bathroom when I visited the prison.  On each visit I was escorted by Emilio or by one of his disciples so that I would not be abducted.  An inmate would negotiate my fee and pay for me so that the ‘tall gringo’ would not be seen reaching into his pockets and pulling out money.  This would be too tempting for others watching me, not to resist rolling me for whatever money I had with me.

Emilio told me that beatings are common. We all endured the beating of a younger smaller inmate by 3 other bigger inmates for some infraction committed against the informal “rules of conduct.”  He was knocked down and pummeled a few feet from us.  If this happened on my street I would step in and stop it.  But Emilio told me that my doing so would invite “correction” from a group of other men who would take great pleasure in hurting me.  Emilio told me that another younger man, barely 18 was dragged down into the basement below his cellblock and was ritually murdered.  “This happened last week. His heart was cut out and sacrificed to Santa Muerte.”  This death cult has millions of followers in Mexico and has become the god of narco traffickers and assassins.  “Churches” are built to honor this god, and the prison is no exception.  Groups of death worshippers are known to beat and kill others in order to appease this god.  One drugged out inmate handed Emilio his hand carved Santa Muerte sculpture.  I told Emilio I would throw it away for him so that those watching would not get angry watching an Evangelical break up their god and then seek revenge on him later on that night.

Ruth and Emilio told me that their food and water is filled with insects and disease.  After his sentencing guards took great pleasure in peeing into his food and spitting into it when they could not pee.  His body is filled with parasites and he suffers from worms.  He has lost over 50 pounds since going into prison.

Emilio told me that at any moment, without cause, the prison chief could order him to be put into solitary.  This means a tiny room without any light or window, a bare floor, a hole in the corner for a toilet and nothing but bugs and rats to keep him busy all day and all night.  “Food” would be thrown through a slot in the door onto the floor.  If they wanted to make an even bigger statement, they could strip him of his clothes as well.

On my visit in April 2013, we met in a garden courtyard that surrounds a basketball court.  Inmates and corrupt guards cooperatively run this garden as a business.  They charge inmates about $150 USD per visit per couple to get about 5 hours together – on a rented blanket (extra), under a rented canopy (extra), and at a rented table and chairs (also extras).  All guests in this garden are entertained (whether they like it or not) by a roaming band of troubadours and interrupted by traveling salesmen (inmates selling candy, smokes, pens, plastic jewelry, socks, you name it). 

Emilio has to pay a fee for each section of corridor or hallway he walks through, plus a fee to use the bathroom, and so on.  “I have to pay about $15 USD in fees each day, just to move through a normal day in this prison.” Emilio’s family gives him and Ruth money to live in this prison.  To supplement his income he sells children’s books and Ruth sells jewelry to families that visit their loved ones in prison.

Ruth held up a pincushion with earrings and said, “This is what got us in trouble in the first place.  Rosi Orozco told the Police that we were forcing small children to sit in a windowless room and assemble necklaces and bracelets like these while not feeding them or giving them proper care…Now selling these things in the prison is keeping me alive.”

Ruth has better living conditions that Emilio.  She has two other cellmates in a cell that is 13’ by 32’. The women’s prison she is living in has slightly cleaner facilities than the men’s prison.  She is the senior pastor of a church in the woman’s prison, with about 70 members at this moment.

The Beltran’s Family:

The Beltrans have a son and daughter now in high school.  They are living by themselves in an unfinished house that the family owns in another part of the country and is close to their grandparents.  (Robbers recently broke into the Beltran home and stole all the pipes, wires, interior doors and fixtures.  So the kids walk over to their grandparents’ house to bathe and wash clothing.) The kids get into the prison to see their parents twice a year these days.  The trip takes several buses and a taxi, and costs a lot of money.  Ruth and Emilio’s parents are now living on the Mexican equivalent of Social Security so they are not able to help pay for these trips to prison and back.  Emilio’s brother, Tomas, used to visit about once a week, but he is now unemployed and cannot afford the bribes.  Lisa and I are helping to pay for the kids’ food and school expenses.  Jack Honey’s church is helping to get them clothes, donations of food, and supplies.

What you can do!

I urge you to pray that God will release the Beltrans. They are sick, tired, and are buffeted by wave after wave of despair and bad news. The Lord is using them while they are in the prison for sure.  But they feel so abandoned by the Church in Mexico and so disconnected from their family.  The separation is painful, but then to have to endure the humiliation that they have endured at the hands of corrupt people with power – is too much.

Please pray. And please send this on to others whom you know and trust, and if there are any people you know that have a position of influence with the US or Mexican government.

If you do read all the way to the end of this letter, God bless you!  Let me know if you would like to receive updates on the current appeal.

Brian Bakke

Read more…