With all the festivities that take place in December, this month was one of much love and joy. And in addition to all the parties, the ministry continued to be very effective in reaching people for Christ and touching lives.


First on the agenda, Jeanette was grateful to have the rare opportunity to attend a baby shower in Victoria for Paola before racing back to the church along with several other ladies for the weekly discipleship meeting which this time focused mainly on future plans for the ministry and praying together for people and concerning situations.


The next day in the service in Victoria, we rejoiced with a sister who had previously asked for advice on what to do about her boss requiring her to build an altar for the Day of the Dead. Basically, she ignored the request, but eventually the boss, very irritated with her and the accountant for not having allocated funds for the project, shouted in frustration, “Just forget the whole thing! We're not going to do it at all!” much to the relief of our sister.


Another young sister said she asked for Saturdays off in order to be able to attend discipleship class, but her boss said he would have to let her go. She said “That's fine, but I must be busy at my Father's work.” Knowing her natural father, the boss scoffed, “What business does he have!” This sister gladly relinquished her job in expectations for a better one and rejoiced in being able to attend discipleship class.


The following week, we were so happy to be accompanied by Willy and his wife Cynde and their son Christian. We first visited the congregation in Voz for the Christmas celebration there which began with a nice time of praise and worship, followed by Willy ministering and leading the congregation in participation in the communion before a delicious meal of mole. There was also a short activity for the children followed by the traditional distribution of goodie bags which were delivered by some ladies from Victoria who accompanied us in the festivities.


During the meal, Jose enjoyed a nice conversation with a man soon to retire who mentioned, “Let's see what the Lord has for me to do,” an indication that he would like to participate in some way in the ministry. Of course, we constantly pray for more active members, so we also look forward to seeing what the Lord has in mind for him.


The same man recalled a dream he'd had a while back in which someone handed him a Bible and said, “Here's your Bible.” Later, during a service of one of our conventions, someone handed him the very same Bible and said to him the very same words. He also related to us that one night while he was asleep, three beings walked in, touched him and said, “Everything is going to be all right. You are healed.” Isai, the man's son, and his wife are the current leaders of the congregation.


We also learned that Isai just got a new job which is much better than the previous one in all respects but one: he is on call constantly, which may interfere (and has already!) with his activities in the ministry. Please pray for him!


From Voz, the team hurried back to Victoria for a quick rest and to prepare for the evening gathering with the discipleship class for their Christmas celebration. It was truly a delightful time. After a word of exhortation from Jose, we enjoyed a delicious meal followed by a fun activity (which was a real “hoot”) that involved reading the Christmas story and some dressing as the characters to form a living Nativity scene. The room filled with joyful laughter and created many happy memories with our brothers and sisters in Christ.


The next day, we drove to Mante to celebrate Christmas with our congregation there. There was an excellent turn-out of about 70 people. Willy accompanied the praise-and-worship team and ministered communion before we sat down together to enjoy yet another wonderful meal which was served by hired waiters. Afterward, the kids were gathered together and participated in basically the same activity as the adults from Victoria the night before. After a few seconds of trepidation, they giggled and wiggled as they were dressed for the Nativity scene. This was the first time that the children had such a program to “present” for Christmas. We expect to continue the tradition from now on.


The festivities continued with following week, beginning with a quick visit to the cottage to deliver to the neighbors a turkey (which they use to make tamales) and pies. Then we headed to Victoria for a short rest before helping set up for the congregation's annual Christmas celebration, followed by a late dinner and pleasant conversation with those who were involved in the preparations.


Despite the absence of several families due to a funeral and other obligations, it was a packed house in Victoria. If everyone had been there, where would we have put them?! We also rejoiced in the abundance of food shared in such a loving atmosphere; among those in attendance was a mother with her 6-day-old baby and family. Her 6-yr-old son participated with Cosecha Kids, a group ranging in age from 6 to 18 years old that played and sang some songs to the delight of us all.


From there, we made a quick dash to join the congregation in Rio Bravo. Several from Edinburg who have been frequently ministering in Rio Bravo also joined us for the party, including Pastors Max, Jaime, Stephanie, and Kathleen and Dan, a couple that prepared goodie bags and other activities for the children which they distributed in the kids' classroom after the service and meal while the adults and youth did a version of the live Nativity scene. We praise God that there were LOTS of kids in attendance. The year before, there were only a hand full. But the Lord has impressed on the heart of Lupita to drive to the distant neighborhood to pick up the children that Sister Chela had been ministering to and bring them, as well as some of the mothers, to the services. Thankfully, Sister Kathleen had prepared beyond the estimated amount needed, and it turned out that there were only a few goodie bags and materials left over when all was said and done. Including the kids visiting from Edinburg, there were nearly 30 children in attendance!


Among all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the Lord is working mightily in and through the members of the Body. As an example, Rocio informed us of a lady in her GDA (grupo de alcance, outreach group) who works in Reynosa, a place known for its dangers, was able to stand firmly on the newly-learned Word of God's protection and drive back in her car alone without any fear. We give God praise for the impact of this group in strengthening people's faith and discipling them.


Rocio also told us that her mother had been feeling pain in her hands, hips, knee, etc. As she prepared to give her mother an injection for the pain, while of course believing God for her healing, one of her little nephews who were in the house said resoundingly, “NO! Do not inject her!” So Rocio responded, “OK, then, let's take communion.” Quickly, the little boy ran to the kitchen, prepared the elements, and served them. Rocio gives praise to the Lord that not only her nephew, but all the children of the church understand the meaning of communion and the healthful benefits of all who take it in the revelation of the truth (the body of Jesus broken for our health and the blood poured out for our right-standing with the Father). Rocio later related this to his mother and his Sunday school teacher, and they told her that they have been taking communion almost every Sunday in class. Rocio added, “What better inheritance for our little members of Cosecha Mundial (World Harvest)!”


In Rocio's job, her director had been under an enormous amount of stress and attempted to resign, but his resignation was refused. He asked Rocio how she could be at such peace in the midst of such stress. She gives God the glory for having learned to remain in His rest without fear or worry as an effect of His righteousness, just as the Lord's word for the year had admonished the congregation. She said, “I don't know what the Lord will do in my job, but I am confident that He works all things for the good of His children; goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life.” Just days after her declaring this, her boss was removed from his position and she was transferred, a move that seems to be very agreeable to her.


Rocio is the leader of the group that ministers in the hospitals once a month and was recently invited to attend a program at an orphanage. She is praying about how the ministry may become involved there as well.


We look forward to the new things ahead for the new year and will be very glad to pass on the details to you as they come about! Thanks so much for being a part of it all.


Have a happy, blessed 2019!


Yours in Christ,


Jose, Jeanette, and the missions team


For we who have believed do enter that rest,...” Hebrews 4:3a

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