Wednesday, September 01, 2010

July/August 2010

“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy...” Zephaniah 3:17a

Pastor José López is finally scheduled for surgery on September 13. It helps a lot if you agree to go to the surgeon’s private office and pay through the nose for examinations rather than jump through the hoops at the indigenous hospital. The surgery entails cutting through the bone below the knee and readjusting it, then reinforcing the whole works with an exploded sputnik-looking erector set (rented from the orthopedic supply company...owned by the doctor, of course) until it heals straight. The problem is that all his bow-legged life he has been abusing the cartilage in the knee to the point that there is no more...he’s pounding bone against bone with each excruciating step. The only reasonable solution for him (based on 4 different opinions) is to straighten the leg and replace the missing cushion with who knows what substance. That’s the job in a layperson’s nutshell. The recovery time will be about 2 months before they can remove the pins and external stainless steel brace from his leg, but according to the doc, he will be able to walk carefully, out of the hospital the day after the surgery. The brothers at Loma Alta (Puga) have said they would consider it a privilege to care for him there; they even offered to buy him a bed, since he’s used to his in his home village, Carlos a la Torre. That’s a sacrifice, for sure. It is no small surgery, and the orthopedic surgeon (who has also operated on both, Ben and Jeremy) said that when that’s done...it won’t be long before the other leg will need the same procedure. José is not a candidate for knee replacement because that’s only good, at the very longest, for 8-10 years for people who are basically sedentary...not for 65-year-old country boys who spend their lives trekking to every remote corner of the Sierra Madre Mountains spreading the Gospel of Peace.

Please keep praying with us for wisdom and compassion for the surgeon, patience, provision, and complete healing for José, who is a valuable member on the team for Huichol Old Testament translation and the lead pastor among the Huichols.

“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy...” Zephaniah 3:17a

Marisol Rojo is the worthy recipient of the 5th annual Kirt Mellberg Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship fund, donated by interested sponsors, is a living investment awarded in Kirt’s memory for the purpose of recognizing and encouraging students who have distinguished themselves as leaders, who exemplify the servant qualities of our Lord Jesus Christ, and who are actively preparing themselves for ministry in missions or in a local church. Marisol gave her life to Jesus under Kirt’s ministry, and in spite of many obstacles, she has been faithful to her calling. This is her final year at the Universidad Cristiana de Las Americas (UCLA) :) in Monterrey, Mexico.

It’s official! The ½ acre plot of land directly adjacent to the Tepic church about which Kirt and I sent a letter 10 years ago requesting special prayer has been placed up for public auction again...“legitimately”! The federal government had confiscated it for back taxes nearly 5 years prior. We were told that Hacienda (the Mexican equivalent of IRS) would be auctioning the land to the highest bidder within the month, and many of you prayed with us and got involved financially in that project. After nearly two years of litigation, it became obvious that the “month” that was originally promised, for some reason we have yet to discover, was thwarted. We opted to return funds that had been designated for that auction, though many of you requested that we use your contributions for other work-related needs or save it in the property fund account, which I have done. One friend of this ministry, who is now in Heaven, responded with the following encouraging note: “We believe with you that the Lord will provide that property next to the church, and we are also sure that His timing is perfect. He will overrule even the cleverest schemes of men to interfere with His will.” We have clung to that truth as we prayed and waited for this day. Suddenly this week, with no previous notice, the property appeared on the government site to be auctioned on September 16.

The existing Tepic church campus is not only attractive, but also has been very practical and mostly adequate for our needs; however, the children’s classes are meeting in the Aldaco’s garage, and adult Bible studies meet in my living room (Thankfully, we both live next to the church.). That’s not bad, but we are land-locked, and as you can see in Kirt’s hand-drawn plan, this is a marvelous opportunity to make room for more! Please pray with me for our church leaders as they offer in the silent auction whatever God has provided. The property has been assessed with an exorbitant “suggested value” for bidding (about 5 times the suggested price 10 years ago) as property prices ironically have sky-rocketed in this plummeting economy. Nevertheless, we know by personal experience that God delights in using the ridiculous to confound the mighty. Pray that the auction will be carried out without fraud, but most of all, that the Church, which is not the building and property, will continue to serve God joyfully and in unity regardless of the outcome.

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