May 28, 2020
On January 28 as some of you know, Cristy Roberts was rear-ended as she was driving to work at the Christian school she and her husband David started years ago. A few hours later, she passed away at the hospital.
This was a shock to all of us serving here in Mexico and to the staff and board of EMM. We were expecting David and Cristy to show up at our annual board meeting just two days away. Everyone’s plans changed in an instant.
It goes without saying, David’s life has changed drastically. The school where Cristy served for so many years has also been learning to cope without her. She was on top of everything: hiring teachers, dealing with complaining parents, encouraging parents to work with and discipline their children, overseeing maintenance, overseeing the office, buying supplies for the kitchen and the office, and whatever else was needed.
A month and a half later, Paul and Eunice came down with the COVID19 virus about the middle of March. They were hosting some friends that had come in from France who inadvertently brought the virus into their home. There were some very hard days, and Paul seems to have been hit the hardest.
I share this because few people want to talk about suffering, but it is a part of all of our lives. The missionaries serving under EMM are not super humans. They do, however, need a lot of prayer, because even though others suffer in the same way, not as many eyes seem to be watching. This hit home when a young lady shared with me she has been watching our lives through the problems we have been suffering over the past few years. First of all, I thank you for all your prayers. It keeps us serving faithfully. We also ask that you keep praying for us here on the field.
April 22, 2020
A few weeks back I was visiting with the father of Jahaziel, a young man that comes to the church were we attend. His father was expressing his thanks to God because God has done a great work in his son’s life.
Two years ago he started studying to become a doctor. From what his father shared, his interest at the time was to make good money. Since then God has changed that. He is now thinking of using his medical skills in mission work.
Some of this change came because God put him through a difficult trial. He had polyps in his nose that were growing up into the brain. God used the danger of the surgery to bring him closer to Him.
Even though he has been taking some classes at the seminary for almost two years now, just recently his reason for studying has changed. He has become interested in helping out at church and in ministry.
This semester he has started going out on weekends to help out in a church plant about an hour and a half from the seminary. He has been helping one of our students with the music in this small group of seven adults. He has also been helping teaching the younger children as well as going out to witness.
Pray that God will raise up more men and women to preach the Gospel and bring many more to a saving knowledge of Christ.
April 21, 2020
Josué graduated in 2015. For the past two and a half years he has been pastoring a church here in Pachuca. He is still a young pastor but has a heart for missions.
He has been working hard to get the people in his church to evangelize. They have used different methods including opening up a coffee shop with the purpose of witnessing. They did this for about a month. People would invite friends out to coffee and take them to the church where at some point someone would get up and share the Gospel in a simple way and open it up to have people talk over what had been shared.
This past January he invited me to go with him and eight other people to the state of Oaxaca. They took gifts for children and held two different children’s evangelistic events. Both the children and the adults that came with them heard the Gospel. Some heard it for the first time.
During two of the evenings we were there, they held special services for the people of the church. One night they shared various methods for witnessing. The purpose was to help everyone see that witnessing can be done in so many different ways. The second evening they held a special missions program. They shared the needs from around the world and how their church is involved in meeting some of those needs.
Years ago one of their members was the first missionary from our churches. He ended up ministering in Pakistan for ten years.
It is men and women like Josué that make teaching at the seminary such a vital ministry. In a country where only about 40% of the pastors have any kind of training. Men like Josué make a difference.
We have had students at our school who have never heard of cross-cultural missions. If the church in Mexico is to take its part in fulfilling the Great Commission, it will need pastors that are knowledgeable in the Word and have an exposure to missions.
Praise God for what He is doing through our students.
Last spring we began building our second set of apartments for married students. Even though they were not ready to be used by the beginning of the school year, we did get the two apartments on the ground floor ready by the end of September. Immediately two families moved in.
We were able to start some of the building on the second story, but by the end of December we were out of funds.
Just this month it started raining and because the second story floor was never meant to be a roof, it has started leaking in the two apartments.
We already have one couple who has filled out their application to start their studies in August. There will be one apartment available. However, if any more married students decide to come, there will be no apartment available for them.
We would ask that you consider an offering to help us finish the second story of this complex as soon as possible.
We praise God for what He continues to do through the team that is working at spreading the Gospel in the area of Pinal de Amoles. Pinal de Amoles is the county seat. In this county there are a lot of small communities that the team has been visiting.
In December they visited for the first time a small community called Otomites. It is a community where winters are harsh. Because of the low temperatures, statistics show that there are as many deaths as there are births each year. Poverty is such that the whole community pitched in to buy the team two two-liter cokes to drink with the lunch they were served which was tortillas.
As a means to open up the people to allow them to minister they took clothes to help with the winter cold.
Poverty is great but the need of the Gospel is greater. Because they have no hope there is a high index of suicides and the people speak of a lot of loneliness. Only Christ can make a difference in this.
In an unprecedented way, God is opening up more and more communities in the region to hear the Gospel. Pray that God will provide the people and the resources to reach these people for Christ.
One of our former students wrote to me, “One day God told me, ‘Leave your city, your family, your business, and your friends. Leave everything you know and go to the seminary that I will show you.’ At that moment I said, “Yes, Lord.” In less than three days I left everything I knew and went to the seminary in Pachuca. “This was not an impulse. It had taken God five years to get me to this point. God finally had made it clear: “Are you going to do my will or not?”
“During my second year and after much prayer, I went to the director and asked if I could plant a church where no church had been planted. The director answered, “Yes.”
I decided that I needed to work with others as a team and we would get more work done than if I worked on my own. After two years we were able to start a small congregation. Because of the “yes” of the director, Felipa, a lady of about 100 years old came to know the Lord before she passed away.
“Because of so many “yeses” to the Lord by others and me, I am now working with a team to plant churches in places where no one else has planted a church.”
What is God asking you to do, and to what do you need to say yes?
God is using our correspondence courses even during this time that people are supposed to stay at home. One of our pastors writes the following.
“We have just started the study called A Country Called Heaven. Those studying the courses are very encouraged. Even during this time of having to stay home the brethren have been making the most of their time continuing to study.”
Another pastor writes, “We have been using the course Prisioners Together with Christ and some others. We work mainly with drug addicts and prisoners. These courses have helped them understand the Word of God. These are people that are in great need of Christ.
April 16, 2020
We are so blessed to have so many praying and giving friends. These past three weeks we have been overwhelmed by the prayer support we have had through our COVID19 ordeal. However, we praise God because we have Him with us all the way through everything we experience unlike those who don’t know Him as their God. Praise God we are well although still a bit weakened from this virus.
Teaching at the seminary
Teaching continues to be one of the highlights of my work. As time goes on, I realize more and more the importance of investing in the training of men and women to preach the Gospel. Having my students go out to plant churches and go out witnessing on a regular basis is so rewarding. Men and women like this are why the seminary was founded.
This semester I have been teaching the class on Galatians and Ephesians. It has been my first time teaching this class and it has been nerve wracking to keep up with preparation for each of my classes. I, however, have learned so much, maybe even more than my students.
I was also given the Bible class on Exodus and Leviticus. I had taught this years ago, but have had to renew my notes and make PowerPoint presentations. Again keeping up with this and the other class has not been easy.
Then in the evenings I have been teaching a class on teaching techniques. This is a fun class because my students get to try their hand at teaching using different methods other than just conference style teaching. This has been stretching their abilities in teaching which I think is great.
My students in Leviticus are an inquisitive group. It always encourages me to know that my students are thinking about what they are learning and then putting into action.
Visit to Papaloapan, Oaxaca
In January I was able to visit a village in the mountains of the state of Oaxaca. Papaloapan is a small village close to a town my father visited in his first years in Mexico. Very near this place men tried to kill my father.
I had to think that it was a great blessing that after all these years the Gospel is making headway in towns my Dad was not allowed to enter because of his faith.
It was because my father and Walter Gomez had a vision to train Mexicans to preach the Gospel to their people that the Good News has spread to places they were never able to go.
With mixed emotions I shared the Word with the small group of believers, thinking all the time I wished my dad could have been there.
In March Eunice and I came down with COVID19. It took Eunice two weeks to feel alright, but Paul took longer to recuperate. We however spent over 25 days without leaving our house. We praise the Lord we are over it now. We also thank the Lord for our Mexican brethren who brought things to our house during the time we were in quarantine.
April 9, 2020
Thanks to all who have been praying.
I am so thankful because for the past three days I have finally been feeling pretty good. Still struggling with some nausea and a bit of pain in the abdomen but not like before. I am able to eat pretty normally. Well the normal is food that is not too condimented. Most Mexican food is off the menu. My cough is slowly subsiding. I have been able to work some at my desk. Yesterday, not sure why, but I felt very tired all day. The previous day I was able to get quite a few hours of work done, but yesterday I had to do a lot of resting. Today I have been able to get quite a bit done again. God has been good to us and finally seeing the end to this.
Eunice has been doing pretty good for several days now. Today after 27 days after the first symptom she has gone out to do some shopping.
Ali seems to be doing much better. Her sore throat is gone, but she has had a lot of light-headedness. Today has been a little less.
The grand kids are still doing well.