May 17, 2018
We praise God for the way God continues to work here in Mexico.
On the weekend of Palm Sunday, the Pioneer Clubs held their annual camp. This year there were one hundred thirty-two campers; of these, five made their decision to accept Christ as their Savior: one lady, two girls and two boys.
Over the years we have always seen some come to Christ at these camps. One of the great things about this program is that once the campers get back home they have the program that keeps discipling them. As time goes on many of these girls grow into ministry and leadership positions in their churches. Most of them remain very active in their churches teaching Sunday School, leading women’s Bible studies, and helping out in the Pioneer Club programs.
This year, like the past few years, because of some generous gifts we were able to provide scholarships for this camp. These scholarships have been awarded to girls and women who have made significant headway in the program and for unsaved girls and women who have started coming to the weekly meetings.
This year we were able to help out with thirty-five scholarships given to women, girls and a few boys. At least one of them made her decision to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior at camp.
Continue to pray for those who heard the Word and still have not made a decision to follow the Lord. Pray that God will continue to use this program which disciples children and adults in the churches teaching them tools necessary in studying God’s word as well as leadership skills.
May 10, 2018
I am so thankful for all that God has done for us over the past several months. My transition into working full time as the Executive Director for the mission has gone well. God has helped me in so many ways.
One of my fears since I was young was meeting new people. By nature, I am an introvert. As I have been visiting churches and supporters of the work in Mexico, it has meant meeting hundreds of new people and having to talk to total strangers all the time. There have been some “frightening” times, but God has been with me. I have been amazed how God has helped me through so many of these situations giving me the right words to speak and making a host of friends along the way.
Teaching the Word of God
In January Eunice started a new Bible study with some of the women at the church. She saw a need to meet with these women who were not attending any of the other Bible Studies because of timing issues. They set the Bible study for 8:30 a.m. on Mondays. Great start for the week.
These studies not only afford a time for the women to be grounded in the Word, but a time for them to encourage each other. Sister Celia whose son is a drunk has been struggling with leaving this in God’s hands. At one of the studies, a few weeks back, most of the women chimed in reminding her of God’s sovereignty and the fact that He can still handle things like these.
One of the goals of EMM is to motivate the church in Mexico to fulfill the Great Commission. As a way of moving our churches to a greater interest in being a part of reaching our world for Christ, I organized a “mission” trip to Cuba. Since Cuba is a country where it is hard for a foreigner to minister, the idea was to expose the four young men that went with me to another culture and a different way of doing God’s work and not so much to do ministry.
One of the young guys was amazed that even though there is a lot of repression on the part of the government, there is still a vibrant church. Believe it or not it is possible for the churches to grow and for people to witness for Christ. (This is not really amazing, but we wonder how we would do it if we didn’t have the freedom we enjoy.) This has challenged these young men to make the most of the freedom we do have.
We were, however, able to share with several unsaved people about our hope in Christ, and interact with brethren from different churches.
A wedding coming up!
On June 30 our daughter Lynette will be getting married in Pryor, Oklahoma to Reed Brecklein. She met him at work, and it has been a pleasure getting to know him.
We did have the privilege of having him down to our place in Pachuca last summer. I think it was good for him as well as for us. He got to see a bit of the culture his future wife grew up in. We did take him downtown Mexico City, and he will never forget the traffic. We thought it was pretty normal and had a great time. As you can imagine, we are all excited and helping her make plans for the wedding. God worked things out for Rebecca to fly up from Venezuela during Spring Break to help Lynette go wedding dress shopping and getting some other plans made. She was also able to be there for Lynette’s birthday which was a real treat for Lynette.
Praise the Lord, Ali and the kids are doing fine. Ali has been learning to cook and bake more and is enjoying it. We continue to enjoy them, and it has been a blessing to help Ali in raising these kids.
Do pray for two up-coming conferences I have been asked to speak at:
- July 30 to August 1 at Rio Grande Bible Institute, in Edinburg, Texas
- August 5 to 11 in Monterrey, Mexico
- Pray for wisdom in working with the church in Mexico on a project to plant a new church in the state of Queretaro.
- Pray for continued strength for Paul, he continues to struggle from the effects of his Lymes disease. Praise God He is doing so much better but still goes through some very debilitating days.
- Thank the Lord with us for keeping us safe in Mexico and in all of Paul’s travels.
April 16, 2018
I just talked to José Maradiaga from Nicaragua today. After he graduated from our seminary in Pachuca, he returned to his home country to teach at a small Bible School. He was then appointed to be the director of that school.
One of the things he shared with me was that he was so thankful for an education that went beyond academic teaching. Having to help out with manual labor at the seminary, even when he didn’t like what he had to do, shaped his character and taught him servant qualities.
He also shared that the training he got has been a great blessing in both his teaching and administrative ministries. As the director of the school he has a clearer picture of what to include in the programs he has developed to train pastors and evangelists. More importantly, it has been a great help in teaching sound doctrine and recognizing false teachings that come up in the churches.
Now he is wanting to send another young man to train at our school. Why? As I talked to him, he confirmed that the number of theologically-trained pastors is still smaller in Nicaragua than in Mexico. The need for pastors with a clear understanding of sound doctrine is great.
It is for reasons like this that we continue to believe in the need to train men and women to rightly teach Scripture. Thank you for investing in the work in Mexico and helping make stories like this continue to happen.
March 14, 2018
For the first time I signed up to be a part of a prayer chain to pray for the pastor of our church in Pachuca. He had undergone open heart surgery. The organizer wanted to have the church pray for a twenty-four hour period because he was doing poorly. When I looked at the list, about the only slots left were in the middle of the night. I signed up to pray from 3—4 a.m. I had never prayed on my own for an hour straight and was not sure I could do it. What a challenge and, in the end, a blessing. It was the next day that there was a turn around in the pastor’s condition. It was not spectacularly miraculous, but it began a slow improvement.
I share this because so often we think of prayer as something we do when there is nothing else to be done. It might also be that, in some cases, we pray because we would rather not get involved directly.
Prayer, however, is where we need to begin. So much more gets done through prayer than we imagine. That is why we encourage you to pray with us on behalf of the work in Mexico. Let me suggest a few things we urgently need you to pray for. Before putting this down take time to pray.
- God would send 20 new students to the seminary next school year.
- God would keep our pastors who are ministering in violent cities safe.
- God would help pastor Rogelio Noguera in training pastors in Chiapas.
- God would send us the help we need to work with EMM (At least one missionary)
Thank you for standing behind us in prayer and financially. I am convinced that it is in your partnership with us that we are making a difference for the kingdom of God.
March 9, 2018
Full Circle Missions
Daniel, one of the young men at our school has responded to the call to take the Gospel to other nations. Before, God got a hold of him he spent a lot of time playing soccer. He was passionate about this sport and it was more important to him than his relationship with God. The last thing he wanted to be was a pastor or missionary, but the seed was there. He grew up a pastor’s kid, and God got a hold of him.
Since he entered school he has been working toward the goal of being a missionary in Brazil. He has found that he can use his love of sports to reach children for Christ. Because of his interest, a soccer school was started on campus on Saturdays that has already won some kids to Christ and brought some families to a saving knowledge of Christ.
This year he will be graduating and was sharing with me his plans. Unlike most of our students he has planned out what he needs to get where God has called him.
After graduating his plans are to learn both English and Portuguese and get further training with different organizations to work with children and youth though the use of sports. He plans on working in his church for two years while preparing to be better equipped for his ministry in Brazil.
When I talk to him and others who have responded to the call to missions I have to wonder: When Walter Goméz and Linden Unruh started the small Bible School in the southern state of Oaxaca, did they ever dream that the school would one day be training young men and women with the same vision they had to reach those who still don’t know Christ in other parts of the world.
Because they invested in training young men and women for the ministry, their legacy is now reaching further than they ever imagined. Your gifts and prayers make sure that this still continues to happen.
Seeds that Bear Fruit
Pastor Omar Corona shared with me this past week one of the stories of what God has been doing in a very poor development in the city of Monterrey, Mexico called “La Isla”.
“Julia is a married woman and has four children. Her husband finds work occasionally so she has carried the burden of providing for the family. Needless to say they are very poor.
“She became interested in the things of the Lord thanks to the fact that her children were coming to the Saturday kid’s Bible classes. It was about three years ago that she started having Bible studies with my wife Marlene. As time went on she made a decision to trust Christ as her Savior. Last month she finished an in-depth Bible Study called Firm Foundations: Creation to Christ.
“She has grown spiritually despite the opposition she has had from her family and neighbors. In the middle of all this, she has begun to share her faith with some of the neighbor ladies. One of them has opened up to having some Bible studies.
“Her son Manuel was born intellectually and mentally disabled. Doctors told her that he would never walk. Julia saw God answer her prayers when Manuel started walking at the age of almost three.
“Her other prayer has been for a place to worship closer to home. She does not always have enough money to pay for the bus fares to go to our church. When we started building a place to meet here in the part of town where she lives, she was overjoyed. Every time we had prayer she would ask God that we might be able to get the church built.
“Now that we finally have a room with a roof, doors and windows she has started helping us pray that we might get a full-time pastor who can hold regular church services in this needy area of Monterrey.
“Julia’s life has changed greatly. Now her children are learning to trust in God because they have seen the changes God has made in their mother’s life.
Update: New Church Plant
We praise God because He has responded much more abundantly than we imagined.
We have reached our financial goal for starting the church plant; although once it gets started, we will be needing more help.
As part of the planning I have been talking with Jesús Miranda who has been helping me with the logistics of this project. He also is working on some church planting projects and was telling me he has three people who are interested in working at planting churches. It is just a matter of getting the funds to help these people move out.
I am amazed and encouraged by the vision this young man has and the energy to get things done.
Suffering Brothers and Sisters
We praise God because there are now nine Christian families in the Tzental village of Avellanal. When Rogelio and his wife visited them in their village, they realized the extreme poverty in which these brothers and sisters in Christ live. So God motivated them and their church to help them with some food baskets, blankets and metal roofing for their homes.
Jaime the missionary who in spite of threats to his life carried the Gospel to this village transated the message of the Word of God that Rogelio was able to share from Spanish to Tzental.