Wednesday, August 29, 2007

July-August 2007

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

For my first "real” missions trip ever, I was honored to be invited to go to Hungary during the first two weeks of July! When Kirt was promoted to heaven, and I told the Lord that I would walk through any door He opened, I never imagined how many unlikely doors that would include! North Village Baptist Church (NVBC), my sending church, is earnestly involved in training and equipping all of its members to be effective in “Crossing Streets, Crossing Cultures and Crossing the World” to share God’s love and light. One of NVBC’s objectives is to establish a greater grassroots personal relationship with believers around the world by adopting and networking with specific sister churches that can mutually and effectively join efforts in fulfilling the Great Commission. I was invited to go along for the purpose of serving as a liaison for my sending church in Phoenix, NVBC, my home church in Tepic, IBBT, and our new "sister" church in Szolnok, Hungary. If you are interested in some personal highlights of this unforgettable trip, read the following Szolnok, Hungary, trip summary, and click here to watch the corresponding slideshow.

Back in Tepic, the month of August began with a visit from Pastor Gregg Cantelmo and seven members of his church in Phoenix. Pastor Gregg did an excellent job teaching a series on The Emotions: God's Motivators, and Timmy did an excellent job serving as interpreter for him. The team played a big part in acting as "God's Couriers" of 5 large suitcases full of blankets made by the VBS children of the Tri-City Baptist Temple in Oregon and a large box of Huichol New Testament Mp3 players that we are steadily getting in place for distribution to the Huichol villages. The blankets will be presented to the Huichol children of Zapote de Picachos on November 2, the third anniversary of that village church. The team’s servant's hearts and willingness to roll up their sleeves, tromping through the tropical mud, and contributing to the max the gifts God has plentifully given them for reaching out to the needs of other people will pay off eternally in the lives of the recipients of their vision. Pastor Gregg's statement that “God loves us just as we are, but He loves too much to let us stay the way we are” is the key to all Christian service. May none of us ever forget it, and may we be prepared for the commitment that it requires. See a slideshow of some of the Bridgeway team’s Tepic activities click here.

Still another privilege this month was the presentation of the 2nd annual Kirt Mellberg Memorial Scholarship to Marisol Rojo. 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 moved to Tepic seven years ago with her mother and 2 older brothers. Her father had just been murdered mafia-style, in the state north of ours in a drug-related vendetta, and her mother determined to leave that region so her children would not be further entangled in the lifestyle. Marisol, a tiny 12-year-old girl who in her short lifetime had been exposed to way too many of the world’s activities and snares, was invited to AWANA club at the Tepic church, and soon gave her heart to Jesus. She was faithful to church and obedient in memorizing and applying God’s Word, and after graduating from AWANA, Marisol became a prized AWANA club leader and a Sunday school preschool teacher. Kirt challenged her to use her musical abilities to learn to play the violin. He offered to loan her a violin and to pay for her classes, and he told her that after one year, if she would play a special song in church, she could keep the violin. She worked hard to follow through on her commitment, and she played Silent Night at the annual community Christmas celebration. In time she learned to play along with the congregational singing every Sunday morning, and she motivated 3 younger children in the church, David, Shadai, and Erika, to follow in her footsteps. They can’t wait to master the violin enough to be asked to accompany on Sunday mornings. When Marisol graduated from high school last June, she announced that she felt God was leading her to attend a Christian college in Monterrey, Mexico, to become better prepared to serve. She will be studying elementary education and music. What could be more fulfilling than for one of Kirt’s little people to be this year’s recipient of a scholarship offered in his memory? To see some pictures of Marisol’s faithful involvement in the Tepic church click here.

In previous prayer updates, I have mentioned the pressing need to remember the newest Huichol believers from the village of Guásima del Caimán as they have faced severe persecution from unbelieving villagers and rural, government-appointed officials. Thank you for your prayers for them. The little family of believers has decided to relocate on the outskirts of the village of Puga, about 40 minutes from Tepic, where Pastor Valentín leads his growing flock. They have pooled their meager resources and the sweat of their brows to build temporary housing on a section of land that Pancho, a believer from Puga, owns. As a priority, they have joined ranks and are buying a plot of land for their “new church building.” As always, after the rainy season has passed, getting water will be another issue. It has been a very difficult decision for them to uproot from the place many of them were born, but the advantages of solidarity with other more mature believers, increased access to medical treatment, and better schooling opportunities for their children convinced them to move. In spite of those advantages, the new believers recognize and are very concerned about the dangers of closer ties with “civilization” and its corresponding temptations. They are thirsty for God’s Word, and their pastor, Refugio, is determined to learn to be a worthy shepherd. This is all still in the very beginning stages of "what to do," and it is important that they be directed by the same God that directs us in "what to do" when the need arises. It is also the stage that is very tempting for the "great white fathers" to intervene and tell them what is best for them. It is best for us to pray our heads off for them and be supportive of the decisions God lays on their hearts. Please continue to pray for God's wisdom as they work out the spiritual and physical combining of the two churches, Guásima del Caimán and Puga.

I am grateful for the unanticipated opportunity God has given me to participate in His great and mighty things surrounded by the most humble, generous, loving, caring, and hard-working brothers and sisters from both sides of the border, on the face of the earth! Thank you for your part in making it all possible.

Quick Reference Version of July-August Prayer Requests:

· Bible Baptist Church of Szolnok, Hungary
· Marisol Rojo – Bible college student
· Guásima del Caimán/Puga - transition, faithfulness, growth
· OANSA – club begins September 1
· Huichol Old Testament translation project
· Huichol New Testament Mp3 project



At 11:24 AM, Blogger Ninette said...

La escuché por medio de la web esta mañana en su participación en KCBT. Soy salvadoreña, miembro de Iglesia Bautista Miramonte desde hace 25 años y tuve el privilegio de estar bajo el ministerio del hermano Jeff por dos años, aqui en mi iglesia. Fue de tremenda bendición para mi escuchar su testimonio, especialmente porque muy pronto estaré dejando mi país para seguir sirviendo al Señor en tierras muy lejanas, en otra cultura y un idioma extraño!!! la animo a seguir adelante y seguir dando su vida al Señor como hasta ahora! Bendiciones!!!!

At 5:54 AM, Blogger debbiemellberg said...

Gracias, Ninette, por tus palabras tan alentadoras.

Las conferencias aquí en Kansas City han sido de mucha bendición, mucho más de lo que esperaba o imaginaba. Aunque he conocido al Hno. Jeff desde hace más que unos 30 años, es la primera vez que he tenido de estar en su magnífica iglesia. Todavía me encuentro en Kansas City; terminaré con las conferencias aquí hoy, y esta noche estaré volando a Phoenix.

Mañana tengo 2 juntas con grupos de personas interesadas en el proyecto de la traducción del AT en Huichol. El domingo estaré con los hermanos de mi iglesia enviadora, North Village Baptist, para hacer últimos arreglos para la visita de 10 representantes (incluyendo a Jacob, mi yerno y a Kiki mi hija) para acompañarnos en celebrar nuestros 16 años como familia en la Iglesia Bautista Bíblica de Tepic el día 7 de octubre.

¡Te felicito por tu anhelo de servir a Dios en un lugar donde Él te ha mandado! Estaré orando por ti. Tal vez sea de bendición saber que el Hno. Jeff te mencionó (sin decir tu nombre) en su mensaje de anoche. Tus comentarios a su blog también fueron de ánimo para él. Si tienes oportunidad de escuchar su “podcast,” valdría el esfuerzo.

Con muchos deseos que Dios te bendiga donde quiera que te lleve en Su ministerio, te ama mucho,



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