Wednesday, January 20, 2021

January 2021 - Be not dismayed…“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” Isaiah 41:13

Be not dismayed…“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’” Isaiah 41:13 

The all-powerful God, worthy of all glory, is our God. He initiates the holding of our right hand. He says not to be afraid because He alone helps us. In Your God is too Small, J.B. Phillips reminds us that we easily become dismayed when we forget this truth. Martin Luther agreed when he warned Erasmus, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” May we refuse to define and limit His power, may we not forget God’s faithfulness to sustain us thus far, and may we get a fresh glimpse of His magnificence as He grips our right hand today and in the days to come. He is able to help us because He is powerful; He is willing to help us because He loves us. In spite of the obvious physical limitations brought about by the pandemic lockdown, the past two months have been filled with numerous opportunities to choose not to be anxious or dismayed of the gloom, but instead, to be grateful and shine the Light, taking hold of the powerful hand offered by Him who helps us

 Martín and the IBBM-Tepic church team that he is leading have been working like crazy despite the hindrances. Somehow, during select brief intervals of relief from lockdown orders, Huichol leaders traveled to the villages of Zapote, El Espejo, Palma Chica, and seven new believers are ready to be baptized at the baby church at Vizcarra. We can't meet in person, but the church is certainly not closed! Live-streamed teaching continues weekly as well as the daily application of compassion in reaching out to the most vulnerable. 

Martín has been especially in the enemy’s target with the recent loss of his brother, Enrique, and his brother-in-law, Germán. His recent eye problem, an ocular infarct, has also been challenging. The surgery to restore as much sight in his left eye as possible was not covered by insurance, but God used his people to provide. Clinging to the powerful hand of Him who helps us was yet another faith-builder. 

In addition, God continues to deliver resources from very generous friends for Project Classrooms at IBBM-Tepic. The new bathrooms are tiled. A surprise Christmas offering completely covered the electrical installation, the water storage tank and installation, and 30 new chairs for the children, the future generation of leaders at IBBM! This is one investment that can never go wrong. And that's a promise we can count on. Once again, the powerful hand of Him who helps us takes hold. 

I am still in Phoenix. Tepic is on red alert again, closed to all non-essential activity with no in-person meetings allowed. The CDC is not mincing words: “Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.” Mexico is in the Level 4 category, the highest risk level for Covid. Given recent health issues, my doctors insist that this is not an advisable time for me to return. Even if I were in Tepic, I could not legally leave my house except for essential activities, nor could I do anything more there than I am able to do virtually from here. While I’m on hold, even though I once said that I’d “NEVER home-school again,” I’m back in the saddle giving encouragement, tutoring, and a heavy dose of reading and grammar to grandkids! Praise God for the Internet that makes it possible for me to simultaneously keep up with the work in Mexico, though not face-to-face. In spite of lock-down, I'm in daily contact with the brothers and sisters we love. 

He Who holds my right hand has been at work writing a personal Pandemic/Depression story I never could have imagined. When my paternal grandmother, Anna, returned to American soil after volunteering with the Army Nurse Corps/American Red Cross to serve her American “brothers” and country in WW1 at Savenay, France, she was stationed at the Veteran’s Hospital in Tucson, AZ. She met my grandfather there. Francis was one of her patients suffering from the Spanish Flu during the 1918 pandemic. He was very ill and had to have one lung removed, but he survived, and they were married soon after he was released from the hospital. They stayed and made their home in Tucson, and the fifth of their six children was my father. 

Meanwhile, my maternal grandmother, Lenore, was the third of five children whose father, George, was a schoolteacher in Ohio. He also contracted the Spanish Flu, and in five days, he died, leaving behind his wife and their children. Their mother sold the family farm in Lebanon and moved with her children to Dayton. A few years later, Lenore married my grandfather, Eugene, just in time for the start of the Great Depression. Along with their little daughter, they made the decision to move to Tucson for work. In junior high, Anna and Francis’ son, Roy, met Lenore and Eugene’s daughter, Joan in Tucson. Roy and Joan became my parents, and the rest is history; actually, the rest is a legacy that came out of a time of great worldwide turmoil, a time of potential great dismay, but a time when the Lord God, Whose ways are above ours, kept His promise to our family: I will hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” 

What a broken world we are living in, but what a powerful God we have Who has written the next and final chapters. This is no time for dismay; He takes us by the right hand and helps us





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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

October/November 2020 

…Be with the king when he comes in and when he goes out.” 2 Chronicles 23:7b 

 A divinely inspired prophet penned the miserable history of God’s beloved people of Judah as they were in serious spiritual decline, a history that concludes eventually with their exile into Babylonian captivity. The very Spirit of God Who whispered truth to the prophet emphasized His goodness and His healing for whoever would humbly pray and repent and turn from their wicked ways. 

In a brief period of time prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, seven-year-old King Joash, under the direction of the faithful high priest, Jehoiada, tore down the temple of Baal, killed the priests, and smashed his altars and images. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The secret of knowing and doing what God has planned for us in any given situation is not our ingenuity in figuring things out; it’s found in the same advice that was given to the people as Joash was ascending to the throne of Judah: “Stay close to the king wherever he goes.” 

Our current state of affairs is all too similar to that of Judah in the time of Joash and the prophetic scribe of Chronicles; while, likewise, the offer for healing and the remedy for our uncertainties remains the same: Stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

In spite of the obvious human limitations brought about by the pandemic lockdown, the past two months have been filled with numerous opportunities, both in Tepic and abroad, to humble ourselves and pray and stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 


Jonatán (Pastor Martín’s oldest son) and Paulina were married in a beautifully meaningful ceremony, way different, but more purposeful, exemplary, and God-honoring than we had imagined as we have prayed for decades for God’s will in Jonatán’s life. Due to COVID restrictions, they were unable to invite everyone who would have loved to attend, but the ceremony was live-streamed to well-wishers around the globe who have been praying for them and some who are observing what it means, in adversity, for a follower of Jesus to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

Even in the midst of this “new normalcy,” God fulfills His promise exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Five years ago, the Huichol Bible team worked hard to translate an excellent 16-page illustrated booklet, If God is Good, why is the World so Bad? After they completed the project, the printing got placed on hold. Last month, after all of this time, the sponsor informed me that the funding is in, and we can go ahead with the job. The translators are giving the draft one final review, and by the end of next month, they should have in their hands 10,000 copies of another first-rate Huichol resource for sharing the Gospel. It’s good to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

And speaking of Huichol opportunities, the church at Zapote de Picachos, celebrated her 16th anniversary since they were forced from their village to their new location. Miraculously, God has provided for their beautiful church building, and then for the project to enlarge it to more than double, and now, for an additional structure to be used for classes

Best of all, not only has He provided the places to congregate, but He has provided the people who fill it and bring others to join the family. They are diligent, joyful, generous, and appreciative of God’s provision for them. They have learned, in spite of major obstacles, to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

Never did I imagine that when I agreed to come to the US to help out with the logistics of David’s bone marrow transplant in Seattle, I would be detained for much longer than I had “planned.” The transplant is done, and praise God, David and his family are back in Phoenix … and here I am awaiting the go-ahead for my return to Mexico. That will probably be in January. Meanwhile, praise God for the Internet; I am able to keep up virtually from anywhere. Though not face-to-face, I'm in constant contact with the brothers and sisters we love, and in spite of the severe lockdown in Tepic, live streaming of services and the Project Classrooms continue. 

It’s surprising, but the government still permits select construction activity, and God is providing the resources (That part doesn’t seem crazy!). The foundation is in, the massive support columns are standing, and the poured cement roof that will serve as the floor for the projected 2nd story, as well, is complete. That represents a HUGE effort and a major answer to prayer. The next step was the completion of the restrooms, and special offerings helped supply the last part necessary to purchase and install the fixtures and ceramic tile for that. None of us had any idea how God was going to supply it. He continually uses faith that becomes sight and reminds us that neither the pandemic nor the gates of the kingdom of death can prevail against the advancement of the Church that is determined to stay close to the King, wherever He goes. 

So, our King doesn’t just leave us to figure things out on our own. He has a plan and a purpose. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, and we want to know all of the bullet points for getting there. But it’s sufficient to know that He has a purpose, and His advice is: “Stay close to the King…wherever He goes.” 

Thursday, October 01, 2020

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~Philippians 1:6

 
God doesn’t walk away bored and leave stuff incomplete. Like a giant puzzle, He puts together the lives of those united with Christ by grace through faith, transforming each piece and placing it in its proper place, in His time. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture, and sometimes the pieces don’t seem to fit. One thing is sure, He holds the box in His hand, He knows when and where each piece will be set, and He knows exactly what the finished product will look like. He will complete what He began, perfectly. 


The past two months have been filled with numerous bits and pieces that are being placed in a perfect masterpiece that only the Omniscient Designer would know how to coordinate. In the midst of a confusing time, Jeremiah asked God to pick up the pieces of his life and put him back together again; He would get the honor and praise. We know just how Jeremiah felt. 
First, thank you for praying for little David, my grandson, who received his bone marrow transplant in Seattle. He passed the 100-day post-op follow-up period and was to have been back in Phoenix by now, but he is hospitalized again with complications. This piece of the puzzle is not fitting into place as we had hoped and expected. His other grandmother, Lorie, has joined the family, and I am back in Phoenix helping out with homeschooling for other grandkids while awaiting the green flag to return to Mexico. The latest US Embassy advisory calls for avoiding travel to most of Mexico, including the state of Nayarit. People are still asked to stay home for all non-essential activity. Meanwhile, I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve, constant online connection and interaction with our family in Mexico, and for God’s sovereign open and closed doors.

Along with this puzzle piece that is hard to place, comes a very encouraging one that seems to have jumped into its spot! Check out this article that tells that though we “can’t pinpoint exactly which Bible was translated into its 700th language,” it’s quite possible it was our Huichol version! The 700 translations make God’s Word accessible in the heart languages of 5.7 billion people! There are days we are tempted to lose sight of the big picture, days that seem like the box is full of fragmented pieces that don’t seem to fit anywhere. This is not one of those!


Another encouraging piece firmly in its place is that the Tepic Church (IBBM-Tepic) just transmitted its 27th live-streamed Sunday service since the lockdown. In the process, the electrical wiring to the entire church had to be replaced, so the past four weeks were transmitted from my house across the street. Not a single service was missed; not a single piece came up missing from the divine puzzle, and His workmanship is beautiful! 

 In addition, Project Classrooms is continuing slowly, but surely, as God provides resources for materials. The towers and formwork are in place awaiting the concrete that will be both, the roof for floor one, and the floor for the upper story. Speaking of puzzles, this kind of construction is a real brainteaser for sure! How thankful we are that God has provided a bunch of pieces that will fit together for its intended purpose, and the classrooms will serve to help prepare the next generation! 

As for the next generation, another piece to this puzzle that has fallen into place even when the way seems unclear, is the IBBM-Tepic youth group. They have named themselves “Dunamis,” a perfect term from Greek used 120 times in the New Testament to describe God’s power to transform and use every fragmented piece in the box. The leaders are from the group itself, valuable pieces whose lives have been made meaningful and powerful as they have been taught, mentored, and discipled to use their various shapes, colors, and gifts to serve. Some of those over-achiever, hyper-active, leader-type pieces are the brains and drive behind the technical production of live streaming made possible on a super-tight budget at IBBM-Tepic. They meet virtually, every Saturday evening, dreaming up a creative weekly theme to present Bible truths dynamically to the group at large, and there are more students checking in and being directed to Jesus than ever. 

Jonatán (Pastor Martín’s oldest son) and Paulina are two of those key leaders at IBBM-Tepic. They will be married in November, though the big celebration they had planned has to be canceled due to the lockdown. It is nothing short of miraculous to witness their trust in God’s piece-placing in their lives as they share the Gospel, set an example to everyone around of the real purpose for their upcoming marriage, and prepare to unite efforts in modeling the relationship of our Savior with His bride. God still holds the box in His hand, He has known all along when and where each piece will be set, and He still knows exactly what the finished product will look like. It will be a magnificent display of His artistry and for His glory in those with whom He began a good work and continues to fit together perfectly. He will bring His work to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 




Thursday, July 23, 2020


July 2020

It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:4


















The Bible, the message to us from the changeless Creator of the universe, is the only measuring stick by which we can distinguish truth from error. His Word tells us what God is like, how much He loves us, that human nature does not change on its own, how we can be saved from our sin and its ultimate consequence, how one truly gets to heaven, that saving faith comes by hearing, and it is as relevant and essential for us today as it was when He breathed it. His inspired Word keeps us from wasting years of our lives on that which does not matter and will not last. It is a book not merely for reading, but for studying and applying. The power of Scripture comes from the story it tells that is infused with the authority of Jesus and the Spirit, Who bring restitution to all who believe. Praise God, we have it in our language!  Praise God, the Huichol people now have it complete in their heart language, as well!















This is amazing news! The Huichol Bibles, Kakaɨyari Niukieya Xapayari Wixarikaki, are finished! They were printed, bound, and shipped 21051.21 statute miles from the port in South Korea, across the Pacific Ocean to Port Manzanillo on the west coast of Mexico. Then they were trucked overland to Mexico City and on to Tepic. All 2000 copies arrived at my house to await distribution.













With all of the impossible factors in getting this done, (at the peak of a pandemic and a world crisis when everything around is on hold!) God went before, and we got delivery three months before they were even due to be finished printing! Who ever heard of that? The plan was to have a big village-hosted Huichol/Mexican-style fiesta in October, just after the rainy season ends, inviting friends from all over the world to dedicate and celebrate the completion of this monumental task and spark the send-off into the mountains, but as much as we love a party in our neck of the woods… We certainly don’t want to deliver Covid to the uttermost parts of the earth, and we DO want the Word out! So, with a token thanksgiving celebration in the village of La Bendición, without much fanfare, the send-off has been expedited, and the long-awaited treasures are being distributed throughout the Sierra Madre mountains to hands and hearts that have been super-anxious, but so patiently begging, to have God's Word in their own language. Seriously, this IS nothing short of a miracle!
















Enjoy a collection of pictures from the translation process, including some from the original New Testament job in the 1950s and the July 2020 mini-dedication, here.


In February 2003, Joe and Barbara Grimes came to visit us in Tepic. The Grimes, with the help of several Huichol friends, had spent 16 years completing the translation of the New Testament into the Huichol language during the 1950s-60s. When they left Mexico for another assignment in 1967, after presenting the printed New Testament to Román, the very first Huichol believer, the translation consultant said: “Román, here in your hands you have a copy of the true Word of the one and only God. You have participated in the effort to translate it into the Huichol language, and you have learned to read it. Read it, memorize it, obey it, and share it with your people. I will no longer be with you, but the Almighty will, and I will pray with you that God will provide you with strength and that He will send partners to help you with this task.”

















There were few believers, but they were determined. With the Word of God in their hands and in their hearts, these believers began to obey the command to go throughout the world and announce the Good News to every creature. With their faith, much prayer, the help of people who love the Huichol people very much, and the power of the Holy Spirit, they began the work throughout the Sierra Madre mountains. Not everyone wanted to listen, but many did. When the Grimes returned to Tepic for their visit, they met some 450 believers in a single day. One of them was José López who had recently asked Kirt, “Why don't we have the Old Testament in our language?” He continued to insist: “The teaching of the Old Testament was important to Jesus, and it is important to us!” Kirt and Joe agreed and reinforced their deep desire that the Old Testament be translated into Huichol, too. We knew that there were Huichol people working alongside us who were very capable, able to learn, and ready to do the job, and we were willing to offer any resources that God placed in our hands. The wheels started turning. Dr. Grimes sent a letter to Kirt in February 2005 to share with Huichol leaders, a team of potential translators, to encourage them to go ahead with the challenge, even though it would be an enormous, long-term commitment. The Huichol believers were convinced that they needed all of God’s Word in their heart language, and the task would be worth the effort.

The following month, Kirt graduated to heaven. Though all of us were reeling from our great loss, even that would not stop the impetus, and the team was all the more determined to carry out the job. We held the very first of 48 translation workshops in Tepic from January 29 to February 9, 2007, with Joe and Barbara Grimes, Elizabeth Willett (the project language consultant), Debbie, and five mother-tongue-translators (MTTs), José López, Emilio, Hilario, Manuel, and Joaquín. After a short time, there was a team of eight MTTs who stuck with the job until its completion in 2019.

God provided the necessary resources, the support of many of you who are reading this, and faithful and persevering translators for 12 long years. Not only did they translate the Old Testament, but they also chose to do a New Testament revision, as well as the audio recording of the entire Bible to upload to Scriptureearth.org for free, worldwide access. Glory to God! All of the digitized files from the Old Testament translation and New Testament revision were handed over to the publishers for formatting and preparing for the printing of the treasure they hold in their hands today.


In his magnum opus, Knowing God, the late Dr. J.I. Packer, whose faith now is sight, asserts: “What will make heaven to be heaven is the presence of Jesus, and of a reconciled divine Father who loves us for Jesus’ sake no less than he loves Jesus himself. To see, and know, and love, and be loved by the Father and the Son, in company with the rest of God’s vast family, is the whole essence of the Christian hope.” And the truth of that worldwide hope is made known perfectly by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We, and now the Huichols, can be filled with nothing but gratitude that we have access to it in our own languages.


See a video summary, made possible by Jonatán García, of the dedication service for the Huichol Bible, July 10, 2020.

Monday, June 01, 2020

May 2020 - Great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22, 23

May 2020

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22, 23

Washington is beautiful right now, and being able to help with Jake and Kiki and their kids during this time is an unexpected blessing. This household is mostly on lockdown since David cannot be exposed to ANYTHING, but we do get to take short walks near the house where we’re staying.

COVID-19 is taking its toll on everyone, world over, and now increasingly in Latin America. Everything in Tepic is closed up tight. There are police patrolling the streets to make sure people are not unnecessarily out of their houses. The Mexican government published a map this afternoon showing the entire country at the maximum level of risk and alert, with the exception of the state of Zacatecas (They’re “only” at high-risk.). The reality is that as the virus has spread exponentially, hospitals remain nearly helpless with extremely limited staff and supplies, and many of Mexico’s citizens live day to day. Great is His faithfulness.

This continues to be quite a challenge as well as an opportunity to live out the purpose for the church. IBBM-Tepic is rallying to the cause to share generously with those in great need. Sunday services are being live-streamed, and there are some people in “attendance” who weren’t there before. Daily ministry doesn’t miss a beat in spite of adverse circumstances.
                                               Great is His faithfulness.
The construction of the classrooms project at the church continues. The foundation is complete, and the 10 support columns are standing strong. That represents a HUGE effort and expense since everything has to be done by hand with picks and shovels. Surprisingly, construction is considered a “necessary reason for leaving home.”

















Taking advantage of obligatory “downtime,” the OANSAmobile got a facelift with the money that was left from my dad’s memorial gifts earmarked for Tepic OANSA. It’s ready to roll as soon as the “go ahead” is given to start up again. We’re so sad we had to cancel weekly club meetings, the awards celebration, and the annual AWANA fair scheduled for the first Saturday in June. The kids are eager to return, and so are the leaders. Hopefully, that will happen the first week of September. Great is His faithfulness.










The printing job in South Korea of the Huichol Bibles is FINISHED! That is way ahead of schedule and a MIRACLE. They’ll be sent by ship to the port at Manzanillo, then overland to Mexico City, then to my house to await the dedication and distribution (assuming we’ll be able to do a “formal” dedication). All of this movement will take a while given the obvious. The plan is for October, but that’s subject to change. COVID may get in the way of that plan, too. There’s still a lot ahead of us before they can be distributed, but it’s refreshing to see the light ahead. Great is His faithfulness.


With all of this, it appears that God’s plan is for me to hang tight in Seattle. One day at a time. David had his surgery today to remove his port and insert the central line he will need for the next phase of his treatment.  The second CAR-T therapy he had 3 weeks ago here in Seattle was effective in getting him back into remission with no evidence of cancer in his CSF, so he can have the bone marrow transplant they’re working up to. At this time, that’s his only medical option. The donor lady in the UK is already taking the medication necessary to condition her marrow for maximum success. That’s very painful; she’s an angel! They’ll be harvesting her marrow on Tuesday and airlifting it immediately to Seattle. It will be frozen and held in quarantine to assure that they don’t implant Corona! David starts cranial radiation also on Tuesday, followed by full-body radiation and mega doses of horrible chemo to totally wipe out his own marrow and the production of red blood cells where the leukemia lives. The bone marrow transplant is scheduled for June 12. He’s in for the biggest, longest battle of his life. We’re praying for healing, of course, but even with healing, the radiation and chemo he will be receiving this next week has life-altering negative side effects. We know that God’s plan, whatever that may be, is best. We’re so grateful for your prayers and those of friends all over the world.  Great is His faithfulness.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

March/April 2020 The Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:10-11


March/April 2020

The Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.  Psalm 29:10-11
The pressure of these trying times that are bigger than we can handle, higher than we can reach, and heavier than we can carry underscores how very much we are dependent on the Sovereign King Who offers life, strength, peace, a future, and a hope that no pandemic or loss on earth can touch. This past couple of months have been filled with evidence of God’s power and peace in His Kingdom in the midst of worldwide turmoil.
All of our friends in Mexico are very concerned about the coronavirus. The reality is that as the virus spreads, hospitals are nearly helpless with extremely limited staff and supplies, and many of Mexico’s citizens live day to day. That is and will continue to be quite a challenge as well as an opportunity to live out the purpose for the church. Lockdown brings significant implications that direct our confidence to the Trustworthy One more than ever and offers enhanced opportunities to share His provision and the Truth with those who are struggling. At church, though at first, many didn’t believe the threat was urgent, in compliance with civil authorities, we canceled group meetings. A few of the high school and college kids got their heads together and modified the equipment we had used for the audio recording project of the Huichol Bible, and they figured out how to customize it for live streaming Sunday services…VERY resourceful and very useful! We canceled the Huichol youth camp that was planned for Easter week, as well. That makes EVERYBODY sad. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
As most probably already have read, little David, my grandson who has had cancer for seven years, was scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant in Seattle last month. I had offered to make happen whatever was necessary to come to the States and help out with their family while he was hospitalized. The amazing team of workers, musicians, and teachers in Tepic, not knowing what was ahead, were more than willing to carry the extra load that my absence would produce in order to make it possible. I got a message from the US Consulate that the border would be closing, and I would need to leave soon if I planned to go. Because of the risk to his highly compromised immune systems, it was necessary for me to be quarantined in the US for 14 days before heading to Seattle. Meanwhile, David’s cancer relapsed for the 4th time, so the transplant was called off. Instead of the transplant, David underwent another CAR-T infusion and has just returned home from the hospital. Please pray for wisdom regarding the next step in David’s treatment. We know that everything God allows is good, and the Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. 
As for the Huichol Bible project…God miraculously provided for the astronomical cost of the printing and binding of the Huichol Bible. Miraculously! The project has arrived in South Korea, and assuming there are no further obstacles, the job should be completed by the end of June, with shipping in July, and arrival in Mexico in August. Just last week, Pastor Manuel from the village of Zapote de Picachos made a “socially-distanced” trek down the mountain, up-river, and to Tepic to deliver an offering that the brothers and sisters from his church collected to help subsidize the cost of Huichol Bibles for those who can’t afford them when they do arrive. To say they are anxious for the day, at long last, that they will have God’s Word in their heart language is a major understatement. We’re tentatively planning the dedication service for October. A lot of factors have to dovetail for that to happen, but here’s hoping. Meanwhile, the audio technician continues to work on the recordings, and he’s uploading them to Scriptureearth.org, making them available for download to cell phones and other devices. The Lord is enthroned as King forever.
In addition, the church at Zapote is gathering a special offering to add to gifts that have been given toward Project Classrooms – IBBM-Tepic. Phase 1 of that construction project is going on at the church right now, even with the lockdown. It’s a mega project for us, and we stand amazed that so far, everything is in its place when we need it. The digging is done, rebar is in place, and the team “poured” the foundation last Saturday. They’re using a cement mixer that a construction “contractor” offered me way below market value a couple of days before I left Tepic. We just “happened” to have funds from a special offering for the purchase. And now, it’s in operation! Here we go again with God’s unexpected, but perfect provision! The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.  Don’t miss Jonatán García’s video update of the project.
I’m thankful for online connection with people I love, and I’m thankful for God’s sovereign open and closed doors. Mostly, I’m thankful that the One Who gave His crucified and resurrected Son for my grandson, our friends in Mexico, my friends and family in the US, and for me, is in charge.
The Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.  Psalm 29:10-11

-->See some March/April 2020 Tepic activities here.





Sunday, March 01, 2020

January/February 2020 - "for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."

Then children were brought to him … the disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 19:13-14

A heart in line with Jesus’ heart places a priority on children. They're important to Him. If we’re followers of Jesus, children will be important to us, as well.
More than 15 years ago, Pastor Martín’s brother invited a co-worker (military) to bring his little daughters to the Tepic church OANSA club. María and Lynethe were just four and five years old, and they cried every single Saturday when their dad, Armando, dropped them off at “Cubbies.” Finally, at long last, they realized how much they really loved coming to play games, hear stories from the Bible and hide God’s Word in their hearts, how much the leaders loved them, how much Jesus loves them, and that He gave His very life that they might be saved. Years have passed; the girls have grown in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and those He placed in their paths. They have fulfilled all of the requirements for every level of OANSA and leaders-in-training, and now they are dependable leaders, willing servants, and Sunday school teachers who train others. Their faithfulness, love for Jesus, and their determination to follow His perfect plan in their lives have spilled over on their parents, and they, too, have believed.

Their dad, Armando, no longer “drops them off,” but he also has been discipled and grown in grace. Pastor Nacho is teaching an adult Sunday school series, When the Church Was Young and Courageous. He was invited along with his family to the wedding of a young couple in Culiacán, and Nacho asked Armando to fill in for him, teaching his very first Sunday school lesson. It was nothing short of a miracle to witness the transformed life of Armando, a now-retired military officer, the father of those precious little “cubbies,” teach a well-prepared and personally-exemplified lesson from Acts 6 where the fledgling church was instructed to “…choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom,” that the apostles might turn practical responsibility over to them and thereby give greater attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.   …for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven…

Nearly eight years ago, Isidro, a dedicated and faithful worker and leader in the Huichol church in the village of Zapote de Picachos died unexpectedly leaving fatherless his little family of four young children. Secundino, the oldest (14 years old), went to work to support the family. Four years later, his younger sister, Elvira, who was 16, married Pastor Manuel’s son, Emanuel. Before long, they were expecting their first baby, but Emanuel died of cancer shortly before little Salem was born.

A year later, Emanuel’s cousin, Fernando, married Elvira, determined to give little Salem a father who would discipline and instruct him the Way. Fernando’s brother, Joel, married Rosa from the village of La Bendición. Together they have given their lives to serve in their church, and they have been amazing workers with young people, especially in the Huichol youth camp.

Joel was super-impressed with the theme of last year’s camp, Jesus is Coming Again, and he mentioned several times that he couldn’t wait! Just before camp last year, their little son, Joel, was born, but that didn’t stop them from serving at camp. Last month, Joel got really sick, and finally ended up in the hospital with hepatitis and advanced liver disease.
While his brother, Fernando, who came to stay with him during his hospitalization, was out buying the medication the doctor had prescribed (The hospital has little medication on hand, so everything has to be purchased outside from local pharmacies.), Joel died. Please pray for little Joel, Jr. and his mother, Rosa. Joel’s graduation to heaven will leave an enormous gap to fill in his family, in his church, and in the upcoming Huichol youth camp, Lead Me to the Cross. Praise God that Isidro, Secundino, Emanuel, Elvira, Salem, Fernando, Rosa, Joel, and many others who the world may rebuke and deem undeserving of Jesus’ time, have heard the Gospel as children, responded to it, and given their lives in gratitude for His service.  
for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven…
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