Though our first trip of the year started off on a cold and rainy day, it was one of great joy. We began with our discipleship class in Victoria and were thrilled to see our brothers and sisters in Christ beaming with gratitude for all the Lord did in 2015 and great expectations for this new year. Marvelous plans and goals were discussed, including a new GDA (grupo de alcance, outreach group) for young professional men, as well as a monthly larger meeting of mixed young adults. Carlos also mentioned that he would like to begin a music class and praise and worship team made up of children.


Reports of the Christmas activities were particularly joyous. As an example, last month, Vicky and Roberto, along with several others from the church, delivered toys to some 60 children in a needy area near the city and shared with them the true meaning of Christmas. They also preached the Gospel to the adults who were at hand. Regarding another instance at a family get-together, a brother heard his 4-yr-old son intervene in a family squabble, commenting to his aunt who is not yet a believer, “Don't let the enemy gain the upper hand. Don't give him the satisfaction. When I'm upset, I control myself because I don't want to please him. Just control yourself.” His comments affected her to the core. We give God thanks for this child's godly parents and teachers at church who have had such a great influence on this boy at such a young age.


The following weekend we continued our discussions, reviewing the year's summary and looking ahead. We discussed having a better follow-up on people who have not attended in a while and established a committee to lead the efforts. A future workshop on parenting was also mentioned.


During the Sunday school class in Victoria, Jeanette presented the children of her group with a very long thank-you note sent by the children of Queretaro who were recipients of gifts purchased with the offering that the children of Victoria had sent them when Chela, Oscar, and their family returned to minister in December. The thank-you note included the outline of the hands of the kids with their names written in them, upon which the children of the Sunday school class laid their hands to pray for them and bless them.


On our way back to the US, we gave the lady at the toll booth another KCM magazine for which she expressed great gratitude. She says it helps her family a lot. Her son had fallen into depression upon the death of his father, but since receiving the magazine, he has drawn much strength. She also asked if other materials such as books on the subject of teen and young adults were available as she wants her children to grow in faith. We were so blessed to see her hunger for the Word of God and her growth in faith since we met her.


The following weekend we enjoyed a good time with the family of God in Voz and were pleased to hear plans from the leaders for improvements in the ministry and the property. After our visit, we headed to the cottage for a night's rest before going to Mante to spend time with the brothers and sisters in Christ there. The leaders of Mante had gotten together the day before to also make several plans for the new year. Among them: to visit the hospital every 2 weeks to minister to the ill and their families and a weekly prayer meeting every Saturday morning.


While we were in Mante, the brothers and sisters of Victoria were holding their third annual Expo Cosecha which was to showcase the various ministries and activities of the church and help to make everyone aware that the activities of the Body go far beyond just the weekly service and encourage everyone to be involved. After a time of praise and worship, the congregation visited the booths representing all the ministries and activities, enjoying cookies and coffee as they passed to each stand, and signing up for drawings of prizes to be announced at the end of the meeting. In one particular booth, they had pens, notebooks, candies, cookies, etc., all packaged and printed up with the group's info., creatively displayed among flower arrangements and such. We received good feedback from the participants, many saying how fun it was, and there was a great response with several signing up to help in the nursery and classes. As the other congregations grow, we hope to duplicate this very fun, dynamic event in them, as well.


Speaking of sharing, the literature produced by Sofi and Karina are now also on the church's facebook (Cosecha Mundial Victoria). Also, children's lessons created on the topic of “The Body” (a series of 5 lessons) have also been completed and will soon be copied and provided to all the teachers of the four congregations.


The next week, Jose received lots of loving attention in celebration of his birthday, beginning with the leaders in the discipleship class. While mingling and enjoying lots of great food, there was also much effective conversation concerning the ministry ranging from the praise and worship team's plans to record shortly another CD, to a sister feeling led to begin her own GDA for ladies, to plans for a way to collect testimonies, etc. The next day, the congregation wished Jose a happy birthday and celebrated with a fellowship of cake and coffee.


During the fellowship, one of the ladies testified of her healing of endomitriosis and her son's deliverance from depression. She said that since she began attending, she has learned how to declare healing and stand for it.


From Victoria we drove to Rio Bravo where we found the sanctuary decorated with balloons and a birthday banner in honor of Jose's birthday. During the service, Jose shared the Word with the adults while Jeanette taught the children. Before class began, a little 4-yr-old boy went straight up to Jeanette and asked for prayer for his eyes and complained of them burning. It was impressive that the boy would have understanding of the benefit of prayer and boldness to request it. The celebration continued after the service with a delicious meal and great fellowship in a warm atmosphere that most did not want to leave. Among the conversations was one with a young lady whom the Lord had “rescued” from an unhealthy relationship that was headed for marriage. There were many who expressed their utter relief that the relationship had ended and their prayers were answered. It was a perfect example of how the loving brothers and sisters in Christ interceded for her, just as the Church should do. We were also very pleased to see during our visit new families among them and great advances in the construction of the sanctuary.


This month the congregation of Rio Bravo was also blessed with a substantial offering from the U.S. congregation to provide for the completion of the children's classroom which only has the outer wooden “shell” and a tin roof. The completed classroom should make it easier to cool in the hot season and warmer during the winter.


During the last weekend of the month, we made a brief trip to the cottage before heading to Victoria to teach the monthly marriage class. It was a very effective meeting and quite pleasant. Following the meeting, a sister shared that she has received yet another promotion in her job. This is her third in just a few years. At her request, we prayed for her to have wisdom, favor, and grace for this new position, and we rejoiced for her prosperity.


The next day we enjoyed our time with the congregation in Victoria. One sister told of how beneficial the literature is for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. As an example, she said that when a lady in another state was in crisis due to the death of her husband, she sent her some literature to help comfort her. That lady is now a believer and regularly attends church where she lives. On this side of heaven, we cannot know how far the Word of God is being sent and all its amazing effects on the people.


During Sunday school class, a 10-yr-old boy said, “My baby brother isn't like me. He was born in the church and will grow up in it to one day be a pastor.” The older brother has been with us for about 4 years, and he, too, will grow up to serve the Lord. Even at his young age, he expresses great faith. He arrived to class without his Bible, something quite unusual for him. When asked about it, he said he had given it away to a kid that needed to learn about God. We happily gave him another.


The activities for the month ended with a wonderful marriage seminar in Rio Bravo, put on by Cynde and Willy. It was a real blessing to see some spouses who do not attend the regular services among the some 32 people in attendance. Response from the participants was very positive, including that of an elderly man who tearfully thanked Willy for the teaching them and another man who accepted Christ that night. We thank God for the very effective seed that was sown and expect in the future even more fruit from the event. In addition, it would appear that this might be the beginning of something very good as a ministry for Cynde and Willy to touch further marriages beyond Rio Bravo. What a nice way to end the month and look ahead to Valentine's Day.


Happy Day of Love and Friendship!

Jose, Jeanette, and the missions team

1 Pet. 1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

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