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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