August 17, 2019
What a blessing to see and visit with pastor Javier Valencia at our annual national conference of churches.
Wednesday night he shared how God saved him from a life of alcoholism and changed him completely. He was so amazed by God’s grace and the freedom he found that he immediately began sharing about Christ with all his friends. He even traveled from the city where he was living to Mexico City to share Christ with his family and former friends.
Then God called him to serve Him. He studied two years at the seminary and then, for lack of pastors, got sent to pastor a church in Guadalajara. For six years he has been serving there and has continued his studies. This coming year, Lord willing, he will graduate.
Through all this he has continued to reach out to those who desperately need Christ. His passion for souls has not diminished despite the fact that people ridicule him and one time even punched his daughter in the face as she was sharing the Gospel out on the streets.
It is men and women like these that keep us faithful in the task of training leaders for the church in Mexico. Thanks for helping us in spreading the good news of the Gospel in this country where there are yet so many unreached people.
July 18, 2019
God has been blessing the efforts to plant a church in Pinal de Amoles.
Chuy Miranda who is helping coordinate this ministry has been working with the local government officials to open up the doors for the preaching of the Gospel. One of the strategies that has been used is to not only preach the Gospel but also meet some of the needs of the community.
This area of Mexico is very poor with no industry of any kind and very poor agricultural conditions. Most of the people in the area live in extremely poor conditions.
One of the projects that has been proposed is to build a community shelter to house some of those in the most dire conditions. The local officials have agreed to allow Miranda to build such a shelter with the condition that we can also use these facilities to preach the Gospel to these people.
This strategy has opened up this area to the Gospel. Places like these are, in most cases, very closed to the Gospel. Since we started working in this area most of the people have heard the Gospel preached in three of the towns. There are still several outlying towns that have yet to be reached, but they are very open to having the team visit them.
July 6, 2019
Can You Help Please
"We have had several children commit suicide. There also are several older people with no one to take care of them. We don’t know what to do! You are the first to come and offer help. Will you please come back and help us?” This is what the leaders of the town of Ahuacatlan in the state of Queretaro told those working on the church plant in Pinal de Amoles.
Because this is a totally new area where the Gospel has never taken hold, the strategy has been to first reach out to the leaders of the community an offer to help them with some of the needs they have. The needs are overwhelming. Most people in this area live in extreme poverty. Homes are poorly built and do not keep out the cold. People live without hope.
So far the team has been able to make contact with the community leaders from Pinal de Amoles, the county seat, and a few of the surrounding villages. This has been accomplished by the team working on the church plant along with some volunteers from a church in the state capital. The goal is to reach all 200 community leaders.
Reaching out to the heads of these communities has paid off. The team has explained that we want to help, but will also be preaching the Gospel. They have given the go ahead. This is amazing because usually in places like this people are fanatical about keeping their ancestral religion.
Not only has the team contacted the leaders, but they have made sure the Gospel gets preached. With the help of some churches from the state capital they held an event at the end of April to celebrate children’s day. They held the event in Pinal de Amoles and Ahuacatlan. About 600 children showed up for these events along with 200 adults. Praise God they all heard the Gospel message.
Not Only Reaching Children
Blanca shared the following with me after having gone to northern Mexico to teach a course on how to reach and teach children.
“Luis came up to me toward the end the course I was teaching in Frontera, Coahuila. He said, ‘I have been a Christian for ten years and have often asked myself why God has not called me to serve Him. After the teaching you have shared with us this week I realize that God calls us in many ways and constantly. I had not understood this until now.’
Another exciting opportunity God gave me was to train a group of younger people to organize a VBS in Nuevo Laredo. I was asked to come to this church because the ladies who have been organizing VBS for years realized it was time for some of the younger people to get involved in this ministry. Praise God for these very willing young people who took the course. They showed a real interest in working for God in reaching children.”
Pray the Lord of the Harvest Will Raise Up More Workers for His Field Here in Mexico
It is that time of the year when at the seminary we start thinking of the new students who will be joining us for the new school year. We are praying that God will give us a good number of students. Can you help us pray for at least fifteen new students this next semester?
Already two young ladies have submitted their applications. They are from Colombia, South America. They learned to know of our seminary through our Bible correspondence office. The student that was taking care of this ministry encouraged them to come to our school. Our prayer now is that immigration will grant them the necessary visas to come as students.
We have also had one couple show interest in coming. They are from one of the church plants in the state of Oaxaca. Pray that God will lead them and provide for their needs.
Heading Out to Serve the Lord
On Friday May 17, five more of our students graduated from the seminary.
Omar and his wife Estrella and two kids will be posted to church now in July. He told me, “I am willing to go wherever God would take me, even if it is a small church in an out of the way village.”
Damian, one of the single men, was immediately posted for the summer to one of our churches which did not have a pastor. Everywhere Damian has gone to serve he has fallen in love with the people and has been torn by the needs he sees.
Damian along with two of the other graduates who are married students, and one young lady are waiting to be given their posts as pastors and Christian Ed workers at our annual national conference held the third week of July. Pray that God will give wisdom to our church leadership to send them to the best place for them to minister.
Israel our other graduate, left the day after graduation to take up pastoring the church his parents had planted in Mexico City. During his time at the seminary, he has already been working at this church taking on most of the responsibility since his father passed away his first year at the seminary.
Trying to Make the Deadline
The masons have been working hard to make our August deadline a reality. We are at the point of pouring the concrete roof on the first floor of the the building.
I talked to our accountant here at the seminary and asked him how we were doing on what has been sent in for construction. He says we have actually overspent what was designated specifically for that project. Because he wants to see this get done in time, he has used some money that is from our seminary general fund.
Can you help us in a last push for this first part of the project? We are still about 30,000 dollars away from our goal. Praise God has already brought in over half of what is needed. The roof will be another big expense, but we know that God will provide for this.
Improving Our Teachers' Ministry
I praise God for our director at the seminary. He has been filling this position for only one year now. Seeing the need to help our teachers improve their teaching in the classroom, he brought in a Christian university teacher who gave us a conference on how to make better course and lesson plans for our classes. He is also a pastor and encouraged us in this important ministry of training pastors and Christian leaders.
June 24, 2019
Graduation day is always a joyful time for me. Spending all those hours preparing for classes and teaching pays off in the end.
It is a time for reflecting on all the changes God has made in the lives of our students. It is heartening to see what He does in them over four years. At times my patience runs short, and I wonder if He will ever make the necessary changes in their character for effective ministry. God is faithful, and He does.
It is also a time to celebrate God’s goodness that He has extended to us and to our graduating class over the past four years. Watching at close range some of the struggles our students go through because of health, family issues, or finances makes us grateful for the certainty of God’s faithfulness. The same holds true for the school and all our teachers. Graduation day means God has brought us through another year.
It is also a time to see our students go out into ministry. After graduation, Damian was sent to pastor one of our churches over the summer until he gets his full-time appointment in July. As I visited with him a few days before graduation, he shared some of his dreams. He talked of pastoring one of the churches in the hills of Veracruz, or a church in Monterrey that is desperately looking for someone to lead them. I could see he was torn by the needs he sees in so many places. At the end he said, “I do want, however, to go where God takes me.”
Thanks for being a part of our ministry and making things like this happen.
May 23, 2019
This past weekend I was able to sit in on the last Bible study at the youth camp held on the seminary grounds. What a blessing to listen to the testimonies of thanksgiving several of the young people shared.
Edward, one young man from Pachuca, who was part of the musicians who led the singing shared how he personally saw God work. As a team they practiced hard to play and sing with excellence, and then the day before camp started he got sick and some others did too. When they were setting everything up the sound system was not working right. However, when it came time for worship, despite all the problems, no one seemed to get distracted or bothered by the bad quality of the sound system. His words, “God was working”. He finished by saying, “Be encouraged, God has been moving among us”.
Then a young lady from Aguascalientes shared that she has been struggling with discouragement. To begin with, she had not really wanted to come to camp because she was feeling so low. At camp she realized that much of the discouragement she has been facing has been for lack of convictions. She realized that during camp she had grown in her understanding of God, and that He had restored her.
Why are testimonies like this such a blessing to me? First of all because God is working in the lives of young people — men and women who will later be the leaders of our churches. Secondly, because for several years we had quit having youth camps. Three years ago I encouraged the leader of our child evangelism department to have a camp for middle schoolers. This jump started our youth camps again. Three years ago there were only 30 campers and last year 180. This year there were only 105 campers plus leaders. There were fewer campers than last year but more churches were represented this year. Thanks for making stories like this possible.