Monday, October 31, 2016

September/October 2016 - “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” ~ Proverbs 13:22

September/October 2016
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…”  ~ Proverbs 13:22
The degree to which King Hezekiah trusted God as his only hope in a time of intense national turmoil was the degree to which he was set apart from the other corrupt kings of Judah. He did a lot of things right; too bad he didn’t finish well; too bad that ultimately, he was unconcerned for the future of his nation and of his own children.
It is a blessing to reflect on multiple examples of men and women in Tepic during the past two months who have inherited and acted upon the outcomes of long-term investment and God’s sovereign plan for them.
OANSA began its 22nd year at IBBM-Tepic the first Saturday of September.  The kids are enthusiastic, and 30 leaders are revitalized and anxious to continue propagating the legacy with which they have been blessed.  Last Saturday, was María’s very first opportunity to teach the “council-time”.  Her excellent lesson was, “Our God is Out of This World!”  It has been 11 years since pint-sized, 4-year-old María first joined the OANSA Cubbies.  Systematically, she has passed every requirement for leadership, and now with vigor and consistent dedication, she is reproducing that investment made in her life in the lives of others.

The legacy of teaching children to hide God’s Word in their hearts with which God has blessed IBBM-Tepic is being passed on in other locations. This past month, 

a team of Huichol missionaries carried what they have been taught to the very remote village of Guamuchilillo. UIM-Aviation air-lifted the team from Tepic to Tierra Blanca; then they hiked hours to the village with the message they had prepared to share and the materials necessary to begin the club. Local leaders from the budding church have been trained and equipped, and the next generation of children is anxious to grab hold of their inheritance.

IBBM-Tepic celebrated her silver anniversary! It’s hard to believe that 25 years have been invested in building this legacy that is continuing to grow both in number and maturity, and that these “joint-heirs with Christ” have heartily answered the call to share their heritage at home and also to carry that Good News way beyond our community. This celebration kindles a heart filled with thankfulness for the enormous team of friends who have participated to make this miracle possible.

Pastor Manuel from Zapotede Picachos could not be more grateful today for the legacy of truth that has been passed on to him and his family for more than 15 years. His 21-year-old son, Emanuel, was admitted to the hospital three weeks ago with a tumor on his neck. Actually, the doctors found multiple tumors, and in surgery they discovered that the very aggressive cancer had metastasized throughout his body. Five days later, Emanuel died, leaving behind his young wife, Elvira, and his 4-month-old son, Salem, as well as his parents and a village full of friends who are reeling at their loss. As painful as it is to say good-bye, praise God for the hope that Emanuel is an heir of salvation, purchased of God, and their separation is only temporary. What if no one had invested in Emanuel as a young boy, and he never had heard and believed in the Savior who paid the debt for his sin?

And speaking of a good man leaving an inheritance to his children’s children, just two weeks ago, Kirt’s and my first grandson, Anders Kirt, was baptized at the IBBM-Tepic church by Pastor Martín. Anders made the wise choice to place his trust exclusively in Jesus for his salvation, and then he chose to follow His example and declare that decision publicly, in Mexico. That he asked Pastor Martín to celebrate this act of obedience with him in Tepic is evidence of God’s promise to comfort, assure and empower His commissioned, obedient heirs always, to the end of the age. What ever could bring greater joy than to know that Kirt’s children and grandchildren, both biological and spiritual, are walking in the truth.  Don’t miss this 90-second video, produced byJonatán García, of the thrilling moment.

Few disciples finish well; actually, only about 1 in 3 Bible leaders did. Future legacy has always required a present investment, and it’s not cheap. Finishing well is only guaranteed by today’s choice to remember that the purpose of this life is not this life, living so that convictions and God’s promises are seen to be authentic in a vibrant, personal relationship with Him right up to the end. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.  ~Proverbs 13:22


Friday, July 01, 2016

David's leukemia has relapsed.

David's leukemia has relapsed. 

Thank you all who have had a part in praying for the past 3 ½ years for my grandson, David (Jacob and Kiki Hantla’s son). Three weeks after he had been declared cancer-free, no more chemo, “ever”, David's leukemia is back.  

Jacob wrote:
We finished the marathon and have been asked to run another one. It doesn't feel like we have the strength, but one day at a time, one step at a time, we know that God will sustain us, and we are begging for healing for David.
So now, we start the process again. Bone marrow biopsy, multiple spinal taps and intrathecal chemo, risk stratification, induction, then depending on results, we will have to run down bone marrow transplant or further chemo options.
The prospect of having him go through that again (and this is just the start) is almost too much to consider. Yet we know and keep reminding ourselves that we don’t need the strength or faith today for tomorrow, just for today. God will provide what He asks, and so our marathon begins again one step at a time, one day at a time (Matt 6:34).
The sweet thing of cancer and these trials is that they bring us to the end of ourselves. My mind and conversation with David keeps swirling around 2 Cor 4:16-18 "So we do not lose heart...For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal." And "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me....For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:9-10). As I was talking with David about these things--things he knows well--I was so grateful I memorized them last time, and all those verses so sweet to me then and since came flooding back out of my memory. And at the end, David said confidently as he squeezed my hand, "I trust God, dad." And then he closed his eyes, fell asleep, and rested well.

         Thank you for joining me in prayer for:
                  1. Comfort and pain relief for David 
                  2. Complete remission and healing
                  3. Peace, strength, and faith in the process
                  4. Wisdom to know how to proceed with treatment

May/June 2016
But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. Ex. 1:12
These have been two months of crazy physical and emotional affliction for my family. My mom was hospitalized with a heart attack the first week of May. The following week, my dad had surgery to insert a g-tube to alleviate his chronic swallowing difficulties. A week later, my grandson, David, now 4 years old, was diagnosed with relapsed leukemia, this time in the central nervous system, after completing 3 ½ long years of chemo and having been declared cancer-free just weeks prior. I had oral surgery including a bone graft in Guadalajara last week. This stuff is not easy, nevertheless, we know well that it, too, is a good gift from our Father, and He has a perfect and sovereign purpose in it.
My last lesson before summer recess for the IBBM-Tepic Women of Excellence was about God’s provision of a liberator/redeemer for Israel in the very most intense times of affliction. The children of promise found that in spite of conditions much worse than we can imagine, in a world full of the vilest of infidels making multiple unacceptable, unbearable and ungodly demands upon them, God was faithful; and surprisingly, at that moment at least, they were faithful to Him. He provided through His providence exactly what He had promised.  I love Exodus 1:7. They “were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.” We learned that the word Moses (actually, God) uses for “filled” specifically denotes “swarmed” with them!
This recent personal affliction of ours doesn’t really hold a candle to the suffering that the Hebrews endured at the culmination of their 400 years of bondage in the hands of Egyptian despots. But it does put into perspective the immense joy that comes with witnessing fruitfulness, great increase, multiplication, excessive strength, and the filling of the land with faithful followers that God delivers in the face of simultaneous suffering. And the following are a few examples of the swarms of fruitful increase in and around Tepic these past two months!

IBBM-Tepic celebrated its mothers the first week of May. The church platform was swarming with its beautiful ladies who are striving to follow God’s direction for loving Him and their families well.

The IBBM-Tepic OANSA club has been fruitful and increased greatly; it too was swarming with OANSA kids and leaders receiving their awards for a year of fulfilling requirements for unashamed, approved workers. María and Lynethe began coming to OANSA when they were 4 and 6 years old (along with their parents). They have passed through the ranks of Cubbies, Sparkies, Flames, Torches, and Leaders-in-Training and are now sporting their official OANSA leaders’ uniforms. The following week, the church was filled to the brim with happy clubbers as they spent their hard-earned OANSA-pesos at the annual OANSA fair organized and operated by their generous, hard-working leaders.

Juan José and David also are growing exceeding strong as they have placed their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation and have obeyed His mandate to follow Him and be baptized.

There has been fruitful increase in the Huichol village churches, as well.

In 2003, Pastor José led a little group of Huichol missionaries on a long trek through the mountains to the very remote village of Mojarras. A few who heard the Gospel believed. Since then, Pastor Hilario from Los Aires has stepped up to the challenge of continuing steadily to disciple and evangelize, and the little body of believers there has multiplied and grown exceeding strong. They have worked together under the leadership of their very own Pastor Felix, along with Pastor Hilario, to build a little church building from handmade adobes. In the previous prayer update, I shared some of the affliction they suffered in getting the roofing material to the village that is totally inaccessible by vehicle. The job has been done, and our faithful brothers and sisters there are filled with gratitude to their beloved Redeemer.

In the village of Zoquipan, yet another shaman has made the decision to trust Jesus as his Savior. For lots of years Asunción was a passionate persecutor of the believers at Zoquipan and the neighboring village of La Quemada. After he inherited the religious relics and position of shaman from his father, he grew even more antagonistic. Recently lots of personal afflictions stirred Asunción to begin to question his life-long trust in his false gods. While Pastor Manuel from Zapote and José Luis from La Bendición were visiting, teaching the book of Acts segment (When the Church was Young and Bold -- Ha! How ironic, right?) to the TEE (Theological Education by Extension) students at La Quemada, Asuncion put aside his pride and hiked to the neighboring village to hear the truth. He asked Manuel and José how much it would cost for him to become a believer. Manuel wisely answered, “Everything you have.”  The shaman made the wise choice to place his trust in the One, True Savior.  A day later, he burned all of his powerless charms and religious trappings making a public statement that he, Asunción the shaman, was now a follower of Jesus. And the more they were afflicted, the more they multiplied and grew.

None of this multiplication and growth and fruit just happens. Many of you who are reading this have had a vital part, for a lot of years, in answering the call to participate in the logistics of the increase that God only gives in Tepic. For that I sincerely thank you; it has not been in vain. My sending church, NVBC (North Village Baptist), has stood valiantly alongside this Tepic team for more than 40 years. This past month, they sent another crew to help out. It was a daunting and humanly impossible task for the little band of hard-working servants, but as a result of literal blood, sweat and tears and national collaboration, the village church at La Bendición now has a fabulous OANSA game court! Our prayer is that the outcome of some momentary affliction will be a generation of Huichol children who will know that we love them, that God loves them more, and will believe and offer their lives to multiply and spread abroad the Good News of the Liberator/Redeemer.