Wednesday, October 31, 2012

September/October2012 “For we are laborers together with God…”



“For we are laborers together with God…” I Corinthians 3:9
We who belong to God’s family work together as partners.  Collectively, we are His field in which He brings about growth, His building of which Jesus Christ is the foundation, and His body where His Spirit dwells. Aristotle philosophized this biblical concept: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” These past two months have been a graphic example of the synergism of that class of teamwork in action in which the combined effort of many brothers and sisters has effectively produced a product for the cause of the Kingdom far greater than the sum of individual efforts.
The month of September started off with a quick trip to the States where I was invited to share the work in Tepic with people in two churches. Ladies from both churches lovingly used their time and energy to make toys and beautifully knitted gifts for Huichol children and babies in the villages of La Bendición and Zapote de Picachos. Pictures here:
Then “Grandma from Mexico” got to welcome Ben and Karley’s beautiful baby, Brynley Diane, into the Mellberg family on September 10. She’s grandkid #8, an exquisite gift from our Father, and we share our middle name!
The same week, the Mellberg kids and their spouses organized a big surprise FIESTA at my parents’ house to celebrate my birthday. An enormous thank you to friends and family close to home and around the world for your much appreciated birthday greetings! I thank God for the life He has given me and for the army of people who have surrounded and loved me during these 6 decades that have seemed “but a vapor.” May we continue to labor together this year to share His love, truth and joy with all we meet.
The Iglesia Biblica Bautista Misericordia-Tepic celebrated her 21 anniversary the first Sunday of October. Pastor Luis Medrano from New Life-Scottsdale, sponsored by friends who love him and love this ministry, shared his personal testimony and a timely, unforgettable message entitled “Kaleo-The Call,” encouraging us to continue the task of reaching out together, not only in Tepic, but in all the world.

Pastor Phil McKeown and 3 men from North Village Baptist celebrated with IBBM as well. Then on Monday, they headed to the remote village of Zapote de Picachos to labor together with Huichol brothers and sisters to install a cement OANSA game court. It was a titanic task that started a year ago with NVBC working together to raise funds to cover the cost of materials and transportation and with the Huichols hauling 1000, 5-gallon buckets of sand and 775 of gravel from the river a half-hour hike away from the village. The 150, 110-lb. bags of cement, rebar, lumber, and a cement mixer had to be transported to the Agua Milpa dam, then up-river by boat, then carried on backs and by burro uphill to the village. After the cement work was completed, David Wolf of UIM, who was here to fly selected Huichol teachers to their respective isolated mountain destinations for teaching the next installments of Theological Education by Extension (TEE), airlifted the Phoenix workers from Tepic to Guadalajara for their flight back home. The following week  a team from Lifehouse Church in Rocklin, CA, led by UIM missionary friends, Don and Janie Nellis, came to labor together in the village of La Bendición building wood-saving stoves that emit reduced smoke and installing 10 much-needed latrines at strategic homes in the village. They set apart one workday to travel to Zapote de Picachos to trace and help paint the lines on the new court. Praise God, even for the abundant obstacles we knew we could expect because the enemy really didn't want the jobs done.  He never does. Praise God for the final product that in terms of relationships and lasting outcome was far greater than the sum of individual factors.  

For nearly a year, the Sunday school children from IBBM-Tepic have been saving their money and contributing to a special fund to help pay off the church property. Last week they chose four representatives to hand over their $1000-peso offering. The children are learning the importance of taking responsibility and laboring together for the cause of the Kingdom. Please help me pray that the IBBM family members who are making unbelievable sacrifices to pay off the property will continue to be faithful and will see God’s hand of blessing for their faithfulness. We are a little past the half-way mark on reaching this enormous goal.

Eleven Huichol brothers from La Bendición took it upon themselves to give up a week of work in the fields to travel back to their home village of Guásima del Caimán. Remember, the Bendición villagers left Guásima 5 years ago because of severe persecution from their neighbors brought about by the wise decision of the believers to accept forgiveness of their sin and the gift of salvation that Kakaɨyari, the one, true God offers. Since then, their amazing testimony of God’s love and provision for them has made its way throughout the Sierra Madre Mountains, and many have come to Christ following their example; including many of the ex-persecutors back home in Guásima. So significant has been their witness, that all of the village shaman’s adult children, except for one who is in prison, are now believers. The guys from La Bendición went back to Guásima del Caimán to help the new followers of Christ there erect their new church building
At every level, these past two months have abounded with examples of synergism; the effort of believers from every imaginable social strata, from distinct countries, villages and homes, speaking a variety of languages, all having in common hearts changed by God’s Word and His enabling power and a willingness to labor together to achieve what individually we could not, bringing about a product far greater than the sum of its parts.  Thank you for your vital share as team participants.
“For we are laborers together with God…” I Corinthians 3:9 

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