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mission report April 2012/convention report

 

MISSIONS REPORT FOR APRIL 2012

Most of our efforts this month revolved around Resurrection Day and the 12th annual convention.  While we stayed States’ side to celebrate Resurrection Day, others in Mexico spread out.  Some went on vacation while others filled in to minister.  In Mante, Araceli and Beto led the service at their house where they host weekly meetings and did well.  In Victoria, the leaders from Voz preached and led the praise and worship service.  Dante joined the guys from the U.S. on a trip to San Antonio and then attended service at WHTC, followed by lunch and spending the night at Omar’s and Miranda’s.  It is wonderful that the members from the various places can commune with one another and serve one another in love, a sign of great unity.

The following week at the leadership class, we needed to encourage our brothers and sisters because of some very difficult events experienced during the week and even just hours before the meeting.  Some were so tired of the evil occurring so close and affecting loved ones. To break the heaviness in the atmosphere, each person was asked to declare a scripture that would lift them up.  By the time everyone was done, we were all rejoicing in the faith produced by the Word.   Scriptures like “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…” take on a deeper intensity and meaning for them.  Blessed are they, though we wouldn’t wish these experiences on anyone.

During a time of prayer, we learned that Celina, the wife of a believer’s cousin, recently accepted Christ and needed prayer for complications in a pregnancy.  Her husband Francisco has yet to come into the faith, for which we prayed.  Arturo is still battling mental illness, and Yolanda needs the strength to withstand difficult physical therapy.  We also prayed for Diana Belen who has a high-risk pregnancy, and for Marcelino’s wife who needs healed from diabetes.  It was a powerful time in prayer with the group of some 28 people joined together in faith.

Later that evening we found out what most likely is the source of the strong hold of violence in the area:  there is a statue of the Death Saint (the Grim Reaper) in the center of the city in the market.  Since they erected the statue, the very atmosphere and appearance of the market place has deteriorated.  It is up to the Church to break the hold it has on the people!  When we heard of this, we were reminded of the Philistines who had stolen the ark of covenant and placed in the temple of the idol Dagon.  It could not stand in the presence of the ark.  Nor can that statue stand in the presence of God within the believers who take their place in faith!

A couple of days later at the conclusion of the service in Victoria, a brother told us a dream he’d had days earlier.  He said he saw people who seemed to be believers in a circle.  Then a fierce, bald, evil-looking man approached, and the people were scattered.  He knew in the dream that the man’s name was “Pillar.”  The dream shook him to awake.  When he went back to sleep, he dreamed the same thing again.  We believe that the dream has much to do with there being a pillar in the enemy’s team of death and destruction.  Now we know his name and can attack with the authority that Jesus Himself gave us to stand and tear down strong holds.  Before we could discuss it with the brother, just days after the dream, some prominent believers from other churches, one a close friend of his, were killed.  Please pray for the churches who suffered loss.

It was a very encouraging service.  The praise and worship team read from Ezekiel where God asks the questions, “Shall these bones live?”  The people drew strength from the Word to declare life over the city.  And there was a strong anointing to meet the needs of the people for emotional healing.  We also prayed for the father of Isaac Rodriguez who has yet to be returned home, despite the fact that his parents have paid the ransom.  He will come home, in the name of Jesus!

We were called to pray for a young lady who had also been kidnapped, and she was returned home by the next day.

We were thrilled to see an elderly gentleman enter the service with a friend.  He is the patient of Dr. Rocio whom she had given a booklet of the book of John to read to obtain true life.  He read it and later called her to thank her for the peace he gained and to ask where the church is to attend.  He has attended twice in a row.

A man nick-named Chano (Cipriano) and his family started attending regularly about 6 months ago.  Before that, some from the church and another believer ministered to him since about 3 years ago. Chano owns a humble restaurant, so we decided to stop by to give him some business.  It thrilled him, and he asked us to return the next week for a special meal of fish and shrimp.  Desiring to give him an opportunity to sow seed and an opportunity for us to get to know them better, we returned and had a delightful meal.  Gourmet style!  Now that he has given his life to Christ, we expect his business to bloom.  Already, he looks like a different man, and there is peace in his family.

We went to visit Emilia, a lady who just had a mastectomy and was to begin chemo.  She is the one who heard the Lord say to her, “Animo.  Animo,” meaning “Be encouraged, be encouraged.”  She says now she knows why God told her that, and she is encouraged.  Just a little over a year ago she truly began to enter the faith, and she really is drawing from it.  We were encouraged by her uplifted spirit.        

A brother named Jorge has informed us that he has entered the political realm in hopes of becoming a chaplain for one of the parties.  God be with him and guard him.  It is not an easy place to be, but it could be that the Lord desires to put someone on the inside to be a positive influence.

We taught a little Word and took communion with our neighbors across from the cottage.  We had told the neighbors that we planned to come by, and when we arrived we found two other neighbors were invited to join us.  It was a precious time where we did not come to them as pastors but as simply believers concerned for their well-being.  Don Lupano has advanced prostate cancer, but no one has told him.  We encouraged his wife to tell him the truth so that he can fight in faith.  They plan to take him to specialists in Monterrey this week.  Others are facing other serious problems, and their word-level is at or near “zero.”  It is so urgent that they take hold of the Word to live by it.

In the Victoria service a week before the convention, a couple who had just entered the faith a few months ago desperately asked us for prayer because someone had stolen their taxi which is how they make a living.  They said they were confused that that would happen to them since they have given their lives to Christ.  We encouraged them that God makes all things work together for our good and that we would pray for the return of the car.  During the convention they ran to us to testify that just four days after their car was stolen, it was returned in tact.  They were so excited to see the hand of God in their lives.

Convention was a huge success.  From the U.S. side, Willy, Bobby, and Joshua joined us on the trip while Pastors Max and John, as well as Belen, Omar and Miranda accompanied the folks from Rio Bravo by bus.  God did many very important things in the convention that stretched into two days.  A more concise report is attached.

May all the mothers receive a special “saludo” on behalf of us and the missions team on their special day.

Feliz Dia de la Mama!

Yours in Christ,                        Jose, Jeanette, and all the co-laborers

 

WHTC 12TH ANNUAL CONVENTION

04-28-12

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,

 in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  Acts 2:42

Willy, Bobby and Joshua rode in with us to Victoria the day before the convention and practiced with the Victoria musicians on Friday evening.  Then we all headed to Pepe’s house where he and his family hosted a B-B-Q with several from the church.  Then the guys stayed the night there.  The second evening, they stayed again, along with Pastors Max and Jon.  The fellowship between them in the late-night talks was quite special and established a very special bond.

Finally, the day arrived.  As we waited to begin service, we had an activity that asked participants to identify the people and situations in various photos left randomly on the tables.  The winners who investigated and filled a card of ten names and situations won a small prize.  Many enjoyed reminiscing and telling their stories from the photos.  At the end, several people were able to keep the pictures that they found themselves in.

Altogether, there were nearly 300 in attendance on Saturday, including 36 children.  The children were sent to their own special service after the praise and worship time.  The atmosphere was very festive as also celebrated the Day of the Child, a holiday in Mexico that coincided with convention, complete with a piñata, goodie bags, and so on.

The Lord gave us special instructions for this year’s convention to focus on fellowship and communion among the brethren.  Activities throughout the convention were geared to involve everyone in many ways and to showcase the ministries in Mante, Voz Campesina, Rio Bravo, Victoria, Edinburg, Oklahoma, and overseas so that everyone could appreciate the “bigger picture” of the Body and how each one is connected to it.  Representatives from each ministry projected pictures showing the members, activities, and projects, most involving construction.  Pastor Max shared about the camp in Oklahomo and discussed how the ministry is related to several in other countries in fulfillment of the name “World Harvest Training Center.”  Most people there had not known the extent of the reach of the ministry and gained a better appreciation for what they are a part of.

We also ordained 13 deacons and 2 elders from the various ministries and prayed for the sick and for some with other concerns.  When the invitation for all those who desired a new life to go forward, an estimated 10 people went to the front where they were led to Christ.  The exact number of salvations, healings, etc., is difficult to ascertain due to the large amount of people who were being prayed for by several leaders at a time.

The following day, everyone was asked to return for a breakfast and continuation with the plans for what the Lord had laid on our hearts to do.  Some said that most would not return, but everyone did, with the exception of those from Voz who had to return home Saturday night.  In addition, there were several who attended Sunday who had not attended Saturday.

Before the breakfast, we had a powerful, anointed, joyous time of praise and worship.  We also had a tender moment as Jose ministered the Lord’s Supper to us.  After also a quick word given by the Lord of the joy of coming together in convention as in a wedding, resembling the great wedding between the Lord and His bride, the Church, as mentioned in Rev. 19:7-9, there was more gladness and giving Him glory before we sat down to fellowship with the meal.  There was an abundance of food and love spread among us all.  By the end of the service, our mouths were so dry from so much smiling, singing, and talking.

The Lord provided in many ways for several details of the convention.  He provided free transportation on a government bus for the folks from Rio Bravo, complete with the driver and the fuel!  For the children’s program, there were items to be rented which ended up being lent to us instead.  Many other materials had already been donated months ago, sparing us the expense.   A discount was given to us for the flowers that a sister needed to make arrangements for the tables.   Valuable books, CD’s, etc. on living by faith/the Word were donated for the publications table that we always provide at convention to offer the people free of charge.  Photos for the game were supplied. The prizes were donated, some by people unrelated to the ministry who just wanted to pitch in.  Finances also came in to meet the expenses.    And it did not rain!  It had rained weekly for some time.  We prayed that the rain would not come during convention, and it did not.  We must also acknowledge God's hand of protection on so many who traveled near and far and express our gratitude for His shield of protection.

In addition to the many ways the Lord provided materially for the convention, He also provided greatly in laborers.  Each grupo de alcance (outreach group) was asked to pick an area in which to organize or help.  There were many other volunteers, as well.  So many people were involved in the planning, preparation, and completion of the convention that it is impossible to count or name each one, though we wish we could.  We are so grateful to everyone who had a part in the success of the convention and for everyone who attended.  It was a divine appointment, and we look forward to next year’s convention with great anticipation.  The tentative date will be Saturday, April 27, 2013, should the Lord tarry.  If not, the convention with the Body will be MUCH sooner and much more glorious!

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