Our month of activities began with the discipleship class in Victoria.  It was quite different this time as we included--in addition to sharing the Word, singing, and praying for one another-- sharing testimonies of how each one came to Christ. We stayed much later than usual, but no one wanted to leave, and everyone took great joy in telling their story. 


The next day before service in Victoria, a brother who usually doesn't talk much testified in conversation of how his life, and the lives of his family members, changed dramatically once he came to Christ.  He said, “There's no turning back.  Where else would we go that could give us such peace?”  We also rejoiced in learning of the release of a kidnapped relative of one of the members unharmed.  However, just as one was released, we had to pray for the niece of another member who had recently been kidnapped.  We later learned that she was released after service.  Following the service, we baptized ten people, most of whom were of the same family, with the help of our assistants.


During the week, the ladies in Victoria held a ladies' conference entitled “Your New Look” that went very well.  Some ninety women attended, and several ladies participated with the presentations.  At the next service, two ladies entered beaming with joy because of the conference.  They really enjoyed it and were impressed with how well-organized it was.


The theme was taken from a booklet that originated at a conference that took place years ago at WHTC.  The booklet had later been translated and used at a previous conference in Victoria, and for this conference it was graphically improved greatly by Sophia, Pepe's wife, who studied graphic design.  Copies of the booklet will be shared with the other congregations so that they can hold their own version of the conference when they find it most convenient.


The next weekend we headed to the house near Llera to tend to chores, pay bills, and pray with the ailing aged neighbors.  Later, on our way to Victoria for the discipleship class, we were glad to give five New Testaments and tracts to soldiers at a check-point.


The next day at the service in Victoria, Jeanette took time to converse with a fairly new couple who always arrive early and haven't missed a service (except once due to illness).  They said they can't wait to be there and don't want to lose even a minute of what God is doing. 


We also had a visitor, relative of a family that attends, who raved about her experience during the service, saying her church in the U.S. was nothing like it.  She said she could feel the love of God so strongly there and was very grateful that through some of the members her nephew and family had come to Christ.  In addition, she urged the members to continue supporting the ministry.  Truly, there was an extraordinary sweet presence of the Lord during the service, and many people were touched.


At mid-week, Don Tino of Rio Bravo was hospitalized in McAllen in serious condition, but we watched him improve daily and was released within a week.  Please continue to declare complete divine health over him.


While Don Tino and Dona Maria were in the U.S., we headed to Rio Bravo to spend time with the congregation.  Before service, a fairly new member testified of how Sister Chela's GDA (Grupo de Alcance, outreach group) for children shone light for the whole family and brought her into the Kingdom.  At first, she had wanted nothing to do with it, but one day she was feeling really badly and heard within herself that she had two options: the Bible or death.  Then and there she got on her knees and told God she wanted to be His daughter.  Then she told her grandson to go get Chela.  When Chela arrived, she told her she wanted to accept Christ.  This decision has cost her many friends who now laugh at her, but she said there's no turning back.  The Lord healed her, and healed her daughter of anemia, and the grandchildren love the weekly GDA.  They look forward to some day learning to play musical instruments just like the ones they see played during the services because they really enjoy praising the Lord.  The youngest, age four, gathers the kids together and “holds service.”  She prays, has them sing, and preaches to them.


Joining us the next weekend were Willy, Cynde, Joshua, and Tanya to attend the wedding of Paola and David, a couple we most enthusiastically could bless as we can see their union is most definitely God-inspired.  It was a precious, blessed time, and we were so grateful that the threatening rain and hail was pushed to the side of the outdoor wedding.


Josh and Willy accompanied the praise and worship team during the service the next day, and we had a great time together in the Lord.  In addition to it being our anniversary, another highlight of the service was a baby dedication which we always look forward to.


The first VBS in Victoria was held since last year's split and change of the church's location to a rented banquet hall and smaller room.  It went great.  They had lots of help from the congregation and some seventy kids participated.  The closing service went very well, with some thirty visitors in attendance.  The VBS materials were then shared with the congregation in Mante, then to be passed along to Voz, and finally to Rio Bravo for future use.


We opted to miss the closing service so that we could accompany Willy, Sandra, and their family as their brother unexpectedly passed away during the week.  We praise God that Willy some years earlier had led his brother to Christ.  During the two memorial services and the funeral, the Gospel was preached by Willy, Pastor Jaime (his cousin), and the pastor of Willy's parents.  The atmosphere in all services was one of peace and joy, something that even those who did not know Christ had to acknowledge.  In fact, several commented that they wanted to know more about this “religion.”  They'd never seen anything like it.  To God be the glory!


Directly following the funeral service, we headed for Kansas for a short vacation, swinging by Pastor Max and Linda's house in Oklahoma for a brief visit and to pick up Tanya and Joshua who had stayed an extra couple of days after the praise and worship team's visit with the local church.  The leaders of the congregations in Mexico did a great job in our absence.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time with family and friends, including our visit with Pleasant Hill Community Church for their closing night of VBS and the Sunday service the next day where we were given the opportunity to share about our ministry briefly.  We rejoice in the growth of the church and their need to expand the building that has been in existence since 1889.  May the Lord provide the finances and wisdom for every decision, and may the congregation flow together in unity and love as they adjust to the necessary changes.  During the week we also had the delightful experience of attending a service at a Cowboy Church.


It's been a whirl-wind of activities, but it's been fun, and we look forward to what the Lord has for us for August.  We'll be sure to let you know.


With love in Christ,                                        Jose, Jeanette, and the rest of the Missions Team


I Corinthians 16:13, 14 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.

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