Tuesday, April 30, 2013

March/April 2013 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

March/April 2013

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!  ~Psalm 100:1, 2
No one has done more good to me than God. Serving God is the greatest privilege of my life, and the way we serve is a direct reflection on Who we serve. ~ S.Altrogge    There have been plenty of motives for serving with gladness and singing in His presence during these past two months in Tepic; the following are just a few of the high points.

A couple of UIM pilots arrived in town from Chihuahua for the job of transporting the Huichol TEE teachers, José and Manuel, to the villages of Los Aires and La Quemada for a week of theological training in their respective villages. At the end of the week, without skipping a beat, before they flew José and Manuel back to Tepic for returning to their own villages, the pilots transported Pastor Hilario and a team of Huichol student-teachers from Los Aires to Codorniz where they in turn taught what they had learned to the believers at Codorniz. The closest airstrip to Codorniz still requires a hefty 4-hour trek through the mountains to arrive in the village.

UIM contracted with videographer Nathan Johnson to prepare a promotional video of Pastor Martín and his wife,Erén, and their participation in the Huichol ministry for use in UIM aviation conferences. Martín is the lead pastor of IBBM-Tepic. He and Erén are an amazing pair of God’s faithful, creative and energetic servants, and I am more grateful by the day that God has answered in such an astonishing and remarkable way our prayers of a lifetime (and not just with Martin and Erén, but others, as well) for home-grown, national leadership in the churches we had a part in starting. This is proof-positive that God does the orchestration, truly using the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. Thanks, Nathan!

We stepped up the tempo to a fast and lively allegro making preparations for the Huichol youth camp that we hosted the last week of March. Eighty-four campers, 9 leaders, and 9 cooks who came from 6 different Huichol mountain villages attended the camp. The theme was Against the Current. Fourteen IBBM-Tepic, Mexican young people, who originally came up with the camp idea, gave up their Spring Break to serve alongside the adult leaders from the Tepic church. Among the details there were a lot of mouths to feed, transport costs to underwrite, campground fees to pay, and scripts to compose and lessons to prepare. This recital was certainly not performed A cappella. It was a combined effort in which many willing members participated, including many of you who are reading this update. It was a marvelous opportunity for Mexican young people to learn to minister to Huichol campers and for Huichol campers to hear the Gospel and be discipled in a very out-of-the ordinary setting.  Several recognized their need for a Savior, and the campers left begging for an encore next year.  

As soon as camp was over, the Huichols returned to their villages to celebrate what we call Holy Week, because He lives! New believers were baptized in several villages; 6 in Loma Alta, 11 in La Bendición, and 14 in Zapote de Picachos.   See more pictures here: 

Thank you for praying for our “little boy named David.”  He is in remission, and that’s a big praise. That doesn’t mean he’s cancer-free, just that the first round of brutal chemo treatments did their job. He has begun the next round, but several treatments have had to be postponed because his ANC levels have been horrifyingly low. Short of a total miracle, we are in for a very long concert…minimum of 3 years more. We would never choose the minor key of this interlude, but obviously, He Who loves David more than we could ever love him is conducting David’s song for His glory. May we not be tempted to forget that! 

May we of all lands continue to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, serving Him with gladness! May we come into his presence with singing! May our song of praise and harmony be sung in unison and without dissonance as a direct reflection of the privilege we have of serving the greatest Composer and Conductor of all.

…and speaking of a JOYFUL NOISE…

Who would have imagined that when little 10-year-old Caleb (Pastor Nacho and Lorena’s son) said he wanted to learn to play the sax, loving friends would donate just the instrument he would need? Who would have dreamed when he enlisted himself among the ranks of the budding young instrumentalists in the Tepic church, that in four short years he would have become such an excellent student of his beloved saxophone and the clarinet, as well? He never misses a worship team practice, and he plays along with David, Shadi, Érika, Josué, Luis, Christian, Jonatán, Chava, Carlita and me every Saturday evening for the IBBM-Tepic youth meeting and for Sunday morning church. His brother, Josué, is mastering the violin, and now, his little sister, Rebeca, along with her young friend, María (who first heard of her need for a Savior in the IBBM-Tepic OANSA club, and whose sister and parents have also believed and are now faithful members of the IBBM-Tepic congregation), will be taking the entrance exam this month for the school of music. They have decided the church orchestra needs two flautists, and the girls are committed to the task. I am committed to seeing that they get flutes.

I will be in the U.S. the last week of May and will need to bring two student flutes back to Mexico in my suitcase; I have no idea what to look for. So, the question is:  Is there anybody who would like to participate in helping me find the instruments María and Rebeca need to add to the “joyful noise” ensemble in the land of Mexico?