Friday, March 28, 2014

January/March 2014 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

January/March 2014                
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? Proverbs 27:23-24

God’s advice to us through the writing of wise King Solomon is that if we want it to be there tomorrow, we had better take care of it today.  No single element of this ministry in Mexico has been a more useful tool or had a greater effect on the endurance and the saturation of every generation by the Truth of God’s Word than the OANSA (AWANA) program of IBBM-Tepic. With the Gospel, it has affected people of all ages, all social strata, all stages of Christian development, and it has been a multi-cultural vessel for fulfilling the divine mandate to reach out and tell Good News to the world around us.
We will be celebrating our 20th year since representatives from my sending church, North Village Baptist (NVBC), came to Tepic to present IBBM-Tepic with the opportunity to join. Pastor Martín had just recently been married, and he and his new bride, Erén, who had just moved to Tepic from Culiacán, accepted the job of joint-commanders of the OANSA club.

Two years later, Martín and Erén’s first baby, Jonatán, was born, and the OANSA club had grown. Jonatán is now 18.  He and lots of his friends have progressed through the ranks of Cubbies, Sparks, Flames, Torches, and Leaders-in-Training hiding God’s Word in their hearts and growing like Jesus did in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Jonatán is now a full-fledged leader of his own OANSA group. He constantly uses his gifts and talents to serve and recently designed and produced a video preview in anticipation of our upcoming 20-year anniversary. It’s entitled: On Course…20 Years (Rumbo a los 20 Años). See Jonatán’s 3-minute video clip here: (Click on “English Subtitles” for the translation.)
Not only has the OANSA club in Tepic been an effective tool for evangelizing, discipling and training children and young adults and their parents at IBBM-Tepic, but also it has served as a utensil for missions outreach in remote Huichol villages of the Sierra Madre.  The NVBC AWANA club is now a “grandmother” as the Tepic OANSA club has reproduced itself in 3 Huichol villages.

The initial investment that NVBC made in presenting OANSA to IBBM-Tepic is about to come full-circle in reaching out to needy children in yet another country. The Libanus Baptist Church in Llanfairfechan, Wales, has invited a group of 6 leaders from NVBC to present the AWANA program as they did 20 years ago in Tepic. Erén and I have been invited to join in the effort as co-laborers from IBBM-Tepic. This marks a very important moment for IBBM-Tepic in that one of our own will be crossing the Atlantic to share tangibly in spreading the Gospel outside of Mexico’s borders. What a thrill it is that this third-world-country church, instead of being a recipient, has been asked to send an ambassador to the United Kingdom to be on the giving end of setting an example to future generations both at home and overseas. There are lots of obstacles to surmount for this to happen. First, Erén will need approval for a U.S. Visa (easy to say…) since flights to London from Mexico route through the U.S.  Her decisive interview at the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara is on April 1. Also, brothers and sisters at NVBC are working hard to raise funding for the trip (also easy to say…); Erén and I are trusting that God will provide for her part knowing that finances should be the least of concerns for an obedient daughter of the King of kings. There will be much preparation and language and cultural obstacles to hurdle, as well. Pastor Martín and Erén and many others have been diligent to know the state of the flocks and to look after the herds during the past 20 years, and there has been a rich harvest as a result. Now this door of opportunity is opening for IBBM-Tepic to help carry the spark, flame and torch for the cause of THE Kingdom. This cannot happen without the vital part friends and family play in praying and sharing with us.

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