Sunday, March 01, 2009

January/February 2009

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24

He said it! He did it! The past two months, again, prove it. During the month of February, I was invited to participate in missions conferences and give presentations in four churches. In each opportunity to share, I was impressed with God’s faithfulness in doing as He promised. In every circumstance in which He opens a door, He also accomplishes the task.

We still don’t understand why, but after 14 years of jumping through bureaucratic hoops, at long last, the first week of January we received the news that the official, legal registration of the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Tepic (IBBT) is complete. Along with the registration, we now have the legal right to display a sign. We were forced to accept the word “misericordia” (which means mercy) in our church name; but the longer we have it, the more we love it. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5 A lot has happened since that Sunday, 17 years ago, when the first service held in our living room marked the birth of a baby church; but the truth is -- He said it! He did it!

Thirteen-year-old Luis Armando was invited to IBBT when the church was still in its infant stage. Luis, full of hostility, pain, and scars from a very dysfunctional home came sporting a gigantic chip on his shoulder, spiked hair, enormous sagging pants, a tormented wanna-be gangster expression, and a heart begging to be loved. Kirt met him at the door with arms spread wide waiting to give him the last thing he wanted to be caught accepting and the first hug he remembers ever receiving. When he heard of a Father who really loves him and who was willing to forgive him for anything and everything, he couldn’t resist asking Him for forgiveness for his sins and for a place in His family. Luis gave his life to Jesus and began the systematic process of “becoming new.” In spite of many difficult tests in Luis’s life, he has remained faithful. He’s a fine leader and an extraordinary Bible teacher. After passing the “test of time,” on February 1, pastors José Luis, Nacho and Martín handed off to Luis the official ministerial baton of youth director of IBBT. It seems like just yesterday that Kirt passed their respective batons to José Luis, Nacho and Martín. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. He said it! He did it!

Every one of these victories is cause for great rejoicing, but that in no way minimizes the reality that each task to which God has called has been met along the way with multiple attacks from the adversary in the process of completion. The Huichol Old Testament translation project is no exception. As the mother-tongue translators and the linguist consultants completed the 6th Huichol OT translation workshop, the importance of the project was made more obvious than ever by the severity and relentlessness of the attacks. In spite of great physical, economic, and spiritual hardships, the team members, like the prophet Isaiah, have their faces set like a flint for the task at hand. Joshua, Zechariah, 1 Kings, and part of Exodus, all in various stages of revision, have been added to the Huichol collection. A second miniature solar-powered computer was donated to the project, and that will help expedite data entry in the village of Los Aires. The 7th 2-week workshop is scheduled to begin March 23. He said it! He will do it!

For the second time (Who knows why?), we were selected by the Samaritan’s Purse organization to be the recipients of 500 gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child. One thing everyone knows is that very little passes through the border at Christmastime, so our boxes didn’t arrive until February. We organized three big evangelistic outreaches, two in the Huichol villages of Zapote de Picachos and La Bendición, and one in Tepic. Five hundred children received personal invitations, lovingly-packed gift boxes, and best of all, the opportunity to listen to the true story of the greatest gift of all, forgiveness of sins and a permanent place in God’s family. Only time will tell how many of those little children are the Martíns, Nachos and Luis’s of the next generation, but one thing is sure, He said it! He will do it!

Along with Ben and Karley, on February 18, our family gratefully welcomed their fearfully and wonderfully made little daughter, Brianna Lynn, into our arms and hearts. That’s grandbaby #4, if anyone’s counting! We pray with them that as they instruct, guide and set an example for her, she will accept the everlasting mercy and truth that endures to all generations and that He that began a good work in her will indeed perform it. He said it! He will do it!

Quick Reference – March-April Prayer Requests:

Huichol OT translation project – 7th workshop
Huichol NT - MegaVoice Mp3 player distribution to Huichol villages
Iglesia Bíblica Bautista de Tepic – increased vision and continued faithfulness
OANSA children’s Bible clubs