December 5, 2018
Fruit After All These Years
One hot summer in 1984, Eunice Koop, now my wife, helped teach at a VBS held in Monclova. Her father picked up kids in his VW van in another area of town and took them to VBS. Among these kids was a young girl who was one of about a hundred kids in Eunice’s class. Her first day she made a decision for the Lord and when her parents found out they refused to let her go back to VBS or church.
We just found out a few weeks ago that this summer she hosted a VBS in her home. Now she has a group of people that are meeting on a regular basis and holding services in her home.
This is why we believe in training people to work with children. We also believe it is money well spent to invest in children’s correspondence courses and evangelistic events. Over and over we have seen children who were reached at a young age grow up to serve God in different ways.
Short on Space But Not Enthusiasm
Victor Chavez and his wife have been planting a church in the border city of Reynosa. This church plant was started when Victor with some of his school mates went across the border while studying at Rio Grande Bible Seminary. Right from the beginning they started working with children.
Victor is now pastoring a church that grew out of this effort. As part of this church plant, he is working with the children in the community. One of his latest efforts has been concentrated on using AWANA material. Not only has this been a blessing to the children, but through this more of the adults have become involved with this ministry.
Every Saturday 15 to 20 kids gather to be taught God’s Word. Their club is held in a two story house that is only 790 sq. ft. with a very small yard. This has not held back the enthusiasm the teachers and kids share during this time.
More Apartments Needed We Want to Build to Bless
The week our new semester started at the seminary, while enrollment was still open, a man called wondering if we had space in the married student complex. His sister had come to study at our school and now he is interested in studying for the ministry but he is married and needed a low-rent place to live with his family. We had to turn him away.
We already have six married couples studying and only four apartments. One of them is living else where on campus, and the other had to find a home off campus.
In years past, most Bible Colleges were filled with young students newly graduated from High School. Housing, classes, scheduling and even the "Rule Book" were oriented around this group of enthusiastic young people on fire to serve. We still see this group each new college year, but today we also see a significant number of more mature married men and women who have answered God's call and are walking away from jobs, careers and more. In some cases, these married students already hold college degrees in a variety of secular fields from science, engineering, business, finance to law and education. In our shrinking world, this trend is not unique to any one country. In fact it might even be greater in many rapidly evangelizing countries like some parts of Latin America. This trend in fact mirrors the early church and even the first twelve men called to follow and be Christ’s disciples.
Paul writes to Timothy "Let no man despise thy youth" but also writes in the guidelines of a bishop (pastor) "Not a novice" God has allowed these transitioning men and women to spend time in other careers learning many valuable skills and disciplines before calling them into His service.
We have discovered that there are married couples, ready and willing to follow the calling but currently blocked financially by something as basic as housing. This is the case of each of our married students.
Your donation, no matter how small, will make a difference
It might seem insurmountable to them, yet so insignificant and trivial if this expense can be removed by a large number of believers each contributing a small part of it.
We are looking for people like you who are willing to help make this possible.
Our goal is to get at least two of the apartments built before school gets started next year. That means we must start as soon as possible.
Update on New Church Plant
I have been texting with Pastor Zavala who is church planting in Pinal de Amoles.
He writes, "Downtown is really beautiful, but in the surrounding area there are very poor people. There are few jobs to be had and the few there are pay poorly. Men spend the little they own on drink and the youth on drugs.
"We are praying that God would free and save these families. We are praying that we might be able to take some men to the special men’s meeting that will be held in Castaños about ten hours north of here.
"We have visited two outlying villages to look up some people with whom we have made contact. We are seeking to build a friendship with these people to open the door to be able to witness to them more freely."
We will continue to visit some of these villages with a church that is helping us in this way.
We are asking that you help us pray for the following requests.
- Pray that God will place people in our paths with whom to share the Gospel.
- Pray for Juanita and her family who need the Lord.
- Pray that we might have wisdom in deal-ing with those enslaved by alcohol and drugs. That God might free and save them.
- Pray that we might acquire a better means of transportation. They roads out to the outlying towns are really rough.
Mexicans Laugh at Death
There is a popular saying that says Mexicans laugh at death. The truth of the matter is that Mexicans do have a day on which they celebrate the dead, November 2. They make special candies for the occasion to put on the altars honoring dead loved ones. They also write special poems at this time poking fun at death and some of the famous people that died during the past year.
It is sad because death is not a laughing matter. Thousands are dying without Christ. We are working to train men and women to make a difference and bring men and women to Christ.
October 12, 2018
As I sat taking care of business with Twila, she all of a sudden said, “Have I told you about María who came to know the Lord?”
Five days a week, Twila sits at her desk taking care of our bookkeeping at the office, but one afternoon a week for the past seven years she has been teaching Bible Clubs in some of the government housing developments here in Pharr. About seven years ago, she got to know Hector, Maria’s son, in her classes. Later she started taking him to the AWANA club at one of the local churches. As time went on, she also got to know his mother who in times of need has called on Twila asking for various kinds of help.
Late on September 14, Maria once again called Twila asking for help. She was very agitated and had not been sleeping well for several days. She wanted Twila to pray for her. The next day Twila took another lady from a Hispanic church who knows more Spanish to visit her. Together they were able to lead Maria to the Lord.
Since then she has been reading her Bible every day and Hector asked for a Bible so they can read together. Then last Sunday, even though she had not slept well the night before, she went to church and really enjoyed it. Later she told Twila, “Satan wanted me to stay home, but I won.”
We praise God because even those working here at headquarters are making a difference for the kingdom leading Spanish speaking people to the Lord. Thanks for making stories like this possible.
September 5, 2018
God has been so good to us these past few months which have been very busy. We ended up traveling almost 10,000 miles over the months of June and July. We do praise God for keeping us safe on the highway, and for kids that did not fuss too much for having to sit for endless hours in the van.
Visiting Post Oak Church
One of the highlights of this summer was visiting the MB Post Oak Church in Oklahoma. The day before on June 23 Eunice and I, Ali and the kids, and Rebecca traveled to Lawton, OK. Then on Sun-day I shared at the Post Oak MB church which was the church that Walter Gomez’s parents worked at as missionaries among the Comanche people when he was growing up. It is also the place where he and Lois, his wife, chose to be buried next to his parents. Eunice and I had heard about this work since we were kids but had never had the opportunity to visit.
During the service on Sunday morning they sang two songs in Comanche. This was quite a treat for us. Then after the service we were invited to have lunch with one of the families that gather every Sun-day to eat lunch together: Grandparents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It was fun to share this time with a houseful of people. So much like some of our gatherings here in Mexico where there are not enough places at the table and people sit where they can.
On June 30 we welcomed Joseph Reed Brecklein as part of our family. We got to Pryor Oklahoma, where Lynette lived, on June 27 and started helping with getting things ready for the wedding.
As I had done for John E’s and Paul David’s weddings, I made and decorated the wedding cake. Eunice helped out with entertaining our guests who showed up a day early and spent time with us before and after the wedding. Rebecca, who was the maid of honor, helped out with decorations and making sure that different things got done in time.
We had a great time together as a family; although, there were bitter sweet moments since JohnE, who was so worried that his sisters would not get married, was not there to be with his sister on this special day.
Visting Friends and Family
The week before and the weeks after Lynette’s wedding we were able to visit some of Eunice’s and my family.
Although we didn’t get to see everyone we would have liked to have seen, we were able to visit with some of Eunice’s cousins and her Uncle Paul and also Aunt Louise who live in Kansas. This was special since Rebecca was with us and was able to meet some of the cous-ins whom she had not seen since she was quite young. Ali was along with us also so they got to see three of our grandkids also.
The second week of July we were able to visit some of my family in the state of Washington. I am especially thankful because we were able to wind down and rest a few days at my Aunt Kathy’s house on Birch Bay, before our five day trip home.
On the way back, we were able to visit some friends in Torreon, Mexico whom we had not seen for almost thirty years.
We finally made it home on July 22 to be at the annual convention of the churches here in Mexico. Then on Saturday after the meetings were concluded, we headed back up to Texas.
On Monday through Wednesday I was able to share with the staff from Rio Grande Bible Institute at their staff retreat. I was asked to speak on the topic of perseverance. I was glad they also asked Eunice to share with the women in one the meetings.
- Pray for Eunice’s Bible Study on Thursdays that new ladies would come.
- Pray for continued strength for Paul.
- Pray for Paul’s travels rep-resenting the mission.
August 22, 2018
“The people from ‘La Brecha’ that used to meet with us are now meeting on their own. My brother is one of the ones who is going to take care of this group of brethren” This was the news that brother Fonseca greeted me with at our annual national convention last week.
It will be a year now in September that we were able to help this church plant in Salina Cruz buy a piece of land to build a church. They had already reached out to a group in the nearby city of Tehuantepec by that time. This second group has now grown and is meeting as a separate church plant. Someone has already donated a piece of land for them to build a church.
We praise God because the Gospel is being preached and people are coming to know Christ. In these two churches being planted four people came to know the Lord, also three people reconsecrated their lives to God.
Later in visiting with pastor Elmer from a church in Oaxaca, he shared how one of the churches they have planted in a small town forty minutes from the city has already put up the four walls of their small church. They are buying a piece of land and have started construction. Now they are needing to get a tin roof up on their church and are looking at various options. A few years ago I was able to meet with them on Sunday morning in a small room they had built. We praise God because they have outgrown this and are now building something larger.
Listening to stories like this is part of the blessing of being at our convention held on the Seminary grounds every year. Pray that God will continue to bless the preaching of His word and that many more souls would come to know him.
Thank you for your part in making stories like this happen.
July 18, 2018
We praise God for the seed that is planted in the lives of children every week here in Pachuca and around Mexico. We know that in the end this will all bear fruit and bring many more to salvation.
So many children in Mexico, growing up in poor conditions, are lured into making “big bucks” in the drug and crime industry. A while back, I heard one of our students say that a kid told him, “I know that selling drugs might get me killed at an early age, but at least in the mean time I will eat better and have a better home.”
We know that the gospel can give them a much better life —happier families, lives with a purpose. We also know that reaching children increases the chances that they come to know Christ with so much more of their life ahead of them.
Blanca is currently working on organizing several VBS programs in some of our smaller churches. Do help us pray that the children that are reached this summer might respond to the Gospel and remain faithful in their commitment to the Lord.
As a result of the camp she helped organize this year, Blanca was able to speak to a group of adolescents in one of our churches. Several of the kids approached her, as well as some young people that were present, and shared that her message had been very helpful in decisions they are making.
This ministry, thanks to you, is making a difference in young lives.