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MEXICO MISSIONS REPORT FOR AUGUST 2017

 

We welcomed the month of August with a smile, one that was brought about by the email of a sister in Rio Bravo who took us down memory lane as she sent copies of notes that she had been reviewing from services and special events from years ago. That she had saved them as invaluable treasures is remarkable in itself, but even more remarkable is the fact that the Word that went forth way back then is still having an effect on her. Even more significant to us was her expression of immense gratitude for the messages which are still speaking into her life.

 

We also rejoiced in the written testimony of a sister in Victoria who recorded how her daughter-in-law, who had become very ill during her pregnancy, was healed from both a serious strain of hepatitis and brucellosis. Her doctor said he could only attribute her favorable test results to God and that in his 30 years of practice he had never seen such a miracle before.

 

Another sister jotted down a testimony of the fulfillment of a prophetic message given by Jose regarding money transfers and the scripture that promises that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous (Prov. 13:22). Upon hearing it, she received it by faith in the name of Jesus, without caring how it would come about. She said, “I just believed that I would receive it by faith and that God would do the work.” She had forgotten that she had not received certain funds that she should have had 4 months earlier, but the company had refused to release them. First thing in the morning the day after receiving the prophecy by faith, she discovered that the funds had been deposited to her account. This single mother wrote, “My joy was to worship God. He has given me so much. I have understood that what I receive I give to Him whole heartedly; He blesses me, multiplying it and returning it to me. This is how good He is!”

 

We received yet another written testimony by another sister who had gone to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, to attend a wedding. It is an extremely religious, traditional town with over 300 Catholic churches, and born-again believers are an extreme rarity there. The wedding festivities include a procession involving singing and drinking alcohol through the streets and alleys, which our sister would not participate in, leaving her at one point feeling so small and alone. Then all of the sudden, the Holy Spirit spoke to her and reminded her of who she is in Christ, and bold intercessory prayer for the people of the town erupted in her. Somehow, a shop owner perceived that she was a Christian and the two kindred spirits embraced, though the shop owner seemed to be lacking in understanding of her place in Christ. The next day, the Lord told our sister to tell her some things, though she wondered how, not even knowing the lady's name, she would ever find her again in the crowded, twisting streets. But she trusted the Lord to allow her to have another encounter with her, and so it was. She gave her the word of the Lord, and the two exchanged their personal contact information. Since then they have communicated much, and our sister has sent her Jeanette's daily devotional Gems to help edify Bertha's faith in a place where it can feel very lonely to live out a Christian walk.

 

During our first trip of the month to Victoria, we caught up with Isai and Karen of Voz who had just returned from their one-month stay in Urecho where they ministered to the new believers daily. They were well-received by the people, though they noted they are quite bashful. It was of great benefit for Isai and Karen to have spent so much time with them as they were able to answer many questions and counter many myths and incorrect assumptions that they had concerning Christians and the ministry. For example, they were under the impression that if they had gone to the convention, they would have been asked to sign some kind of contract of commitment. They also thought that if they agreed to be baptized in water, they would be held under “until they see God.” Some of their ideas appear to be due to a very legalistic group from another ministry that had attempted to proselytize the village. Fortunately, Isai and Karen seem to have cleared up many misunderstandings.

 

They also mentioned that some people have difficulty believing that Brother Oscar, the one from Rio Bravo who went with his wife and sons and evangelized his family there, has changed, though he has been born again for almost 20 years. Apparently, in his old life, he was was quite a difficult character, and the people's memories of his behavior are still quite vivid. Isai and Karen explained to them what happens when someone is born again, that the old things have passed away, and that God doesn't remember his sins. We pray they comprehend this so that Oscar's credibility among them will not be hindered as he returns to them in the future.

 

The high altitude of Urecho and the mountainous terrain were issues for the couple during their stay, despite them being in good physical condition. It is something we have to take into consideration when we send others, and is even an issue for the believers of the village; some live higher up the mountain and find it inconvenient to go down to meet with the others, and vice-versa.

 

Our debriefing with Karen and Isai was very informative, and we also discussed strategies for Voz. They plan on visiting each home in the village and continuing the ministry with the kids. However, in order to avoid the problem of the deliberate scheduling of catechism classes at the same time as our activities, they will not announce them in advance. Instead, they will invite them to attend just before they begin. Also planned is a monthly ladies' meeting to be led by Rocio G. of Victoria accompanied by one or two other ladies. (One of the ladies approached had had a dream which involved ministering in a village with ladies, so when she was asked, it was confirmation to her and to Rocio who had already heard about the dream.) In addition to helping disciple the ladies and encourage consistency in their attendance to church, we expect that the monthly meetings will be especially helpful and encouraging to Karen, the young leader of the church.

 

Vacation Bible School reports and more details continued to come in this the month. There was great participation and involvement of the children who were the ones who prayed for the food and blessed the class, etc. The lessons were geared in such a way that the children learned how to apply the Word according to life's situations. Also, the children went home daily and told their parents the memory verse that they had learned. Some parents in Victoria expressed their gratitude and said they were glad for the VBS which took their kids away from the electronics at home and occupied them with something positive. The adults who had served at VBS were thrilled with what the Lord had done and their part in it and said it was the best VBS ever. Also, a teen who had attended past VBSs served this year as a helper. The closing service went very well in Victoria. About 12 new families attended, and the praise and worship team made up entirely of children performed.

 

Mante's VBS also went well. Because the lady over the children's ministry just had a baby, Sister Araceli helped get it all organized and had a turn at teaching the lessons, depending on the Lord for help since she had never taught children before. About 30 children attended at least one day, and they all enjoyed it very much. We praise God that He supplied the necessary amount of help, and it was commented that there was great cooperation among the teachers and helpers.

 

About 26 children attended the VBS in the village of Mariposas, and it was great that Rosi had the help of some of the young adults who used to attend her children's program there. In addition, a couple from the church in Victoria helped out. It was especially significant that they had the VBS in this village, as there have been violent incidents, and other ministries no longer go there.

 

During our first discipleship class of the month in Victoria, we rejoiced in the striking testimony of Carlos who had escorted his wife Vivi to Mexico City for her job. They had purchased bus tickets from one bus line, but suddenly Vivi told him to change his to another bus line for his return trip to Victoria without her. The bus that he would have been on had he not changed lines, crashed, and there were many fatalities.

 

The following week's discipleship class was another very effective one with more testimonies, including that of Raul who also had been sent to Mexico City for some very intensive evaluations that in the past caused him great stress because failure would mean dismissal. But now he says that since he is in Christ, he trusts the Lord and has peace. Now he takes the exams and doesn't give them another thought, while his co-workers fret about them until the results arrive—which could take months. He says that God is his source and that the Lord has already manifested His love and power in so many ways that he has no reason to worry.

 

After maternity leave, Paola returned to find that her substitute had been given her job. They offered her another position that would not have been convenient at all for her and tried to pressure her to sign in agreement. But, led by the Spirit, Paola did not sign, so they referred her to the personnel department where she was offered another position which turned out to be a much better job than the previous one, with better hours, closer to home, and less pressure. “All things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28)!”

 

Samuel told of how he encountered the wife of a Christian co-worker, crying after a big argument with her husband. She suspected him of cheating, though she had no evidence. She was on her way to ask for a divorce when Samuel came across her and felt led by the Spirit to pray for her and minister to her. The next day, she reconciled with her husband, and the family went away on vacation.

 

The team that visits the hospitals reported that the premature baby born weighing only 700 grams now weighs about 5 pounds is out of the hospital. Her parents have been attending our church services while they are staying at the hospital's guest house.

 

During the first Sunday service in Victoria, 4 people went forward to accept Christ! A sister had invited the family to church so that the lady could receive prayer for a persistent pain in her arm. The sister had testified to them of how the Lord has healed her from so many things and assured them that she would be healed, too. The Gospel was shared with them prior to the service, and they received from the Holy Spirit all throughout the service so that they were quite ready to receive. The lady's arm was also healed.

 

Willy returned to Rio Bravo, this time accompanied by Pastor Jamie Gonzalez, as well as Manuel and Erick, all from WHFC. He submits the following report of their visit:

 

“On this trip ...the men were blessed to fellowship with one another and with the Body of Christ in Rio Bravo. The service began promptly at 7pm and the praise team led the people into a peace-filled time of praise and worship. Willy then encouraged the people to come to the altar and experience a new level of worship, and they did so with a new spiritual song that echoed beautifully in the building. People were filled with joy and were energized with HIS power. They enjoy and flow with the praise team so much that it seems that everyone in attendance is the praise team-Glory to God! Pastor Jaime then ministered a powerful and anointed message on Vision! He shared what God has placed in his heart and he let them know that their part and privilege in the Kingdom of God is vital for growth. He mentioned that when they lead someone to Christ, they change that person’s world. After the well-received message, Dona Maria shared regarding the vision of the church and how all things are possible as well for Rio Bravo. Brother Manuel closed the service with a powerful prayer and dismissed the congregation. The service ended, and more fellowship continued. It was a great service and a great time of fellowship in Rio Bravo.”

 

The following weekend, Willy joined us on our trip to Victoria where, after a nice meal and very effective discussion of the ministry's plans, vision, and instructions in the home of Carlos, he and Carlos left to minister in Voz with Ramon and Leonel (who had not been on such a trip before). (During the conversation, it was learned that Leonel had sold his accordion so that people would stop inviting him to play at parties.)

 

There was great attendance in Voz, after several had been inconsistent for some time. During the anointed service the men led the congregation in praise and worship. Then Willy shared the Word and led a young man to Christ. A meal and fellowship followed, and then they headed to Mante for a discipleship meeting and more fellowship. They then spent the night in Mante so that they could minister the following day in both music and the Word.

 

In the meantime, Jose and Jeanette remained in Victoria to minister at the discipleship class and the regular Sunday service. In the class, Eugenio testified that he had been led to pray for his girlfriend and declare life, just as she was dealing with a very serious health crises as a catheter had been incorrectly inserted. Minutes later he learned of her near death experience and went to be by her side. Both praised God for His protection and healing power.

 

Also in Victoria, a lady caught up with Jeanette to pass on a message from her aunt who, a year ago, lost her husband and other family members in a fire that destroyed her home. She was taken to church for prayer in a very heavy state of grief. After being ministered to, the weight of the grief could be seen visibly instantly lifted off of her, and she has had the peace of the Lord ever since. She sent a message of greetings and gratitude for the prayers and support that she received that day in the name of Jesus. Later, we met up with Willy to head back home rejoicing for a very effective trip.

 

The following weekend, we first stopped off at the cottage to check on the neighbors and tend to the house before heading to Voz to drop off school supplies and meet briefly with Isai and Karen. It was a nice, edifying talk with them. Isai has been visiting with a doctor in the area to share the Word with him. Isai will also help the praise and worship team in Mante from time to time.They also have plans to invite two of the young couples to their home for dinner. This type of assertiveness is something new for them, and we are very glad to see it. Afterward, we returned to Victoria and enjoyed sitting under the anointed teaching of Carlos and Vivi in the monthly marriage class. There, a couple told us that their children had insisted on staying for the duration of the VBS instead of going of the planned family trip to Monterrey. Following the class, we held a meeting with the leaders to discuss the registration process and other ministry issues.

 

The month's activities ended with a bang. We received word from a lady that she had been separated from her husband for 4 months, and after prayer, her marriage has been restored. Also, Vivi testified that she not only has been approved for a raise, but has been offered a job with less stress, better hours, and a higher salary (in addition to the raise). Praise God! And even better news, after the service, 6 people were baptized in water, including one lady who had been putting it off for years out of “timidity.” It has truly been a very blessed month!

 

Thank you so much for your prayers and support for the ministry.

Love in Christ, Jose and Jeanette, and the Missions team

 

He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings. There He makes the hungry dwell, that they may establish a city for a dwelling place, and sow fields and plant vineyards, that they may yield a fruitful harvest. He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; and He does not let their cattle decrease. Psalm 107:35-38

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