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We begin this month's report actually continuing to rejoice in the wonderful activities and blessings of the previous month and “squeezing in” some items that were omitted from the last report.  First, a small correction: It was mentioned that there have been 3 generations in 3 families who have been baptized in this ministry.  When discussing it with some members, one of the ladies respectfully reminded us that in her family there have been FOUR generations of people baptized in this ministry, with her mother being the eldest.  Glory to God!


Another sister had sent a testimony that was inadvertently omitted and bears repeating, for the glory of God:  A few months ago she sent one of the church's healing packets (which includes teachings on healing and a copy of the CD that the praise and worship team recorded with songs and scriptures on the subject) to Martha, a doctor whom she did not know who lives in Matamoros and had been diagnosed with advanced stage cancer.  She heard of Martha through a mutual friend who is also a doctor. This friend recently caught up with our sister and shared the following message she had just received:

    “Doctor, good evening.  I know it is very late, but I hadn't had the opportunity to tell you to thank your friend for the packet she sent me.  I have felt very comforted and blessed.  The content has blessed me, and I have felt so good having that material in my hands.  Just opening it makes me feel a strength that I cannot explain.  God is with me always!”


The Word is working in her!  Of the many tumors that she had, there is now only ONE, and it is shrinking!  We give God praise for using our sister mightily and for all those who have had a hand in producing the healing packets.


Our activities for the month began with a quick visit to the cottage and the neighbors.  After a nice chat, they blessed us with toasted maguacatas, beans from the pods of an ebony tree on our land, just as their dad used to do.  The beans are similar in size and flavor to the small Spanish peanuts, only the shell is hard.  We really appreciated the treat and the spirit in which they gave them to us.


From the cottage, we headed to Victoria where we had a quick meeting with a young lady who is dealing with a perplexing health condition that so far has been resistant to treatments.  We continue to stand with her in prayer.  The weekly discipleship class followed, and we rejoiced in hearing Pepe's testimony.  When he went to pray for his grandmother in the hospital, he encountered a young girl and prayed for her and her mother who said she had been “away from the faith.”  He invited them to church, and the mother said she plans to attend.  We are so glad that there are people in our church who are very eager and bold to share Christ, pray for the needy, and invite them to church.


After time in the Word and ministering one to another in the class, we had a meeting and meal with the leaders. The main topic was the upcoming vacation Bible school, which everyone was excited about.


In the intercession group the next day, we heard an amazing testimony of the sister of one of our members who had visited and stayed in the home of relatives who also attend our church.  A small, hand-made craft of a house with “blood” painted on the door posts to represent Passover (Exodus 12) and used in a child's Sunday school class to explain its significance to Christians was on display in the entrance of the home.  One night, while traveling by bus on a stretch of highway between Laredo and Monterrey, the bus was stopped by armed, masked men who commanded all the curtains drawn and proceeded to rob everyone and take their cell phones.  Immediately, the Holy Spirit brought to this lady's remembrance the image of that house and the blood on the door posts, and she felt immense peace sweep over her.  At first, she had thought to slip her arm behind the curtain to signal for help, but she heard the Lord say, “Your help does not come from outside; it comes from within.”  She understood that the spirit of death would not come near her nor those with whom she traveled that included her daughter who, miraculously, slept through the entire ordeal and was spared the trauma of it.  In addition, though everyone else was robbed, she was not!  After the criminals left, the driver went to get behind the wheel to proceed on the journey, but this lady said, “Stop!  We all need to give God thanks for our lives!” to which a passenger added, “It's true!  This same thing happened to my brother.  They took everyone's phone and demanded ransom money, and even though we paid it, they killed them all.”  Instantly, everyone on the bus raised their hands and gave God thanks for their lives.  Interestingly, there was another Christian on the bus, but she said to this lady, “I was so scared, I couldn't think of anything.”  We give the Lord praise that He used that small Sunday school craft to infuse faith in the lady and save the lives of this lady, her companions, and most likely every one on that bus. 


On the way into the service, one of the ladies commented to Jeanette that she was so happy because her husband dropped her off for church.  She knows by faith that it is the beginning of him eventually becoming a part of the Body of Christ, just as we have seen in so many.  At first, the believers are glad to be able to attend services, even if they do so alone.  Then, the husband begins to drive them to church.  Then he starts to wait in the parking lot.  Eventually, he slips in for a few minutes until, finally, he stays, hears the Word, and gets set free.  We trust that it is only a matter of time for this man and others who have been in our prayers!


We were so glad to see in service a brother back after having had a heart attack only a few weeks.  It was also wonderful to see a young, single mother attentively taking notes during the message.  She had not shown such interest in the Word in all the time we have known her.


The following week, we rejoiced in seeing the Pharr bridge, one of our options to cross back into the U.S., open again to regular traffic, as we had prayed just one week earlier.  Because of the immigrant situation, it had been closed, making it much more time-consuming for us to return home.  Though the hours of operation have been reduced, it is an improvement for us.


When Raul (from Victoria) and Isai (from Voz) went to minister in our church in Mante the next week, Raul was asked to go pray for the ailing sister of a member in Victoria who lives in Xicotencatl, a town nearby.  Though pressed for time, they went after service and testified to her husband and led him to the Lord, in addition to praying for her.  Afterward, they hurried to get Isai to work, and they made it just in time.


During discipleship class in Victoria, Raul also testified of an encounter he had with a lady walking around near his home looking desperate.  When he asked her what she needed, she said she was looking for a person to “sweep” her.  This is a traditional practice of witchcraft that is believed to cleanse a person of curses.  She thought someone had put a curse on her because of some missing articles of clothing.  Raul testified to her of the Truth and told her how to be free, to which she responded that her son who lives in another town is a Christian and that she had begun to attend church with some “hallelujahs” (a term used for Christians).  He encouraged her to grow in faith in the Word and not fear.  The search was off, and she left with a much different semblance.  (Aren't you glad she didn't find a person to “sweep” her and found Raul, instead?!)


Eric shared a related story of a Christian co-worker who was in search of someone to cure her of the fright she had recently experienced when she had heard some noises at night.  Such traditional practices are also quite common.  Eric told her that she, being a Christian, could trust Jesus and be free from fear.


A man who has only been saved for not quite 3 years recently went to a family reunion.  His aunt saw him and commented that he looks so young now, to which he responded, “It's the Lord in me!”  She told him that she is now a believer, too, and that the Lord has changed her life.  Both of them continue to stand in faith for the rest of the family to enter the faith and become active members of the Body of Christ.


Lucero testified of a lady who makes T-shirts for them for special events who is usually quite unpleasant to deal with.  But this time, when Lucero went to get T-shirts made for VBS (vacation Bible school), she asked about it and stated that the father of her son wanted to bring him. It is interesting how strangers and acquaintances have expressed interest in VBS after seeing the advertisements and such.  Some of the people from church have even purchased sun shades with the message for their cars, and get a response as they drive around town.


During the service the next day, Rosi asked for a Bible and other materials to give to her brother whom she and her husband had just led to the Lord before he returns to Sinaloa where he is from. He is eager to learn as much as possible about his faith in Christ.  As we were discussing this, a new believer only saved a few months walked by.  She just finished reading a copy of “The New You and the Holy Spirit” and agreed to pass it on to Rosi to give to him the next day.  The two exchanged phone numbers, and the seeds of a new friendship were sown, along with the Word of God.


The following week in Sunday school class, the kids were a little too rowdy, and Jeanette had to send one to sit with her mother.  The moment she left, the rest calmed down, and the Spirit led Jeanette to share the message of salvation and life in Him with the kids.  When asked how many would like to pray to receive Jesus as Savior, the hands of 7 kids shot up!


Also that day in class, Jeanette asked who would like to lead the class in taking communion as they have been taking it weekly, and most were very familiar with “the procedure.”  One of the youngest boys quickly volunteered and did very well.


During the week we heard from a sister who testified that her boss, often very explosive, but rarely had been harsh with her, suddenly, and for no apparent reason, turned on her and told her it would be better if she found another job because she was “worthless.”  After her initial shock, faith rose up in her, and she reminded herself that she is a daughter of God who receives His grace.  She also remembered a prophetic word that Jose had given that many would be promoted.  So she put her faith to work, contrary to what she could see, and, according to I Timothy 1:7, exercised self-dominion in order to not fall into the flesh.  She said she took refuge in the Lord as Psalm 91 instructs and asked for revelation to gain peace and then heard the Lord say, “In this world you will have tribulations, but trust me.  I have overcome the world.”  At that moment, she felt peace and the anguish left her and she began to smile and receive joy that only confidence in the Lord can give.  She asked for wisdom and felt led to talk with her boss's boss.  When she approached him, she didn't need to tell him anything!  He offered her 2 options for promotions!  She ended her testimony by saying, “I cannot find the words to thank Him for His wonders in my life, but as our pastor has indicated, I will continue to receive the “cup of blessing” of our heavenly Father... and give all glory and honor to the Boss of all bosses, King of kings, Lord of lords, the Owner of my life and of all the world!”


VBS in Victoria went very well, and the staff seemed to enjoy it even more than the kids.  (In fact, one of the ladies commented that everyone should have a part in it and that it is a great way to discover your calling.)  There were some 30 volunteers, many of whom used their vacation time to help, and a total of 100 kids were in attendance.  For the closing service, 5 new families visited, which is one of the things we pray for as fruit of VBS. 


Several of the staff plan to take a condensed version of the VBS to Mante for a Saturday event, and then to Voz.  Praise God, even before the plans were confirmed, in a recent visit Rocio had already discussed it with the ladies of Voz who agreed to help out.  In Rio Bravo they use the materials throughout the year, instead of holding an event in the summer.  They pick up the previous year's materials when they attend the annual convention.  Though VBS takes on many forms, we are very glad that seed continues to be sown in the children of the “territory” where the Lord has sent us and so grateful for all the co-laborers he has sent us.


During the last weekend of the month, Omar joined Manuel and Herminio (all from Edinburg) to minister in Rio Bravo.  They took a large water trough provided by the church to give to the church in Rio Bravo for baptisms.  It has been a challenge to plan baptisms outside the building, so this was a very welcome gift.  Manuel later testified that a lady from the congregation who had been dealing with a stomach situation that often caused her to faint is much improved after having been prayed for by him and others.  


The men returned with Dona Maria, the leader of Rio Bravo's congregation, who spent some days with family in the U.S.  Jeanette ran into her at WalMart, and was so glad to hear that she would be able to return to Rio Bravo with some donated school supplies.  Jeanette had just prayed about how to get them over there in a timely manner since she and Jose wouldn't be able to go soon.  Praise God for His ordering our steps!  Later that week, Dona Maria also blessed the Spanish ladies' Bible study group with her presence, something she hadn't been able to do in a while.  We trust that it was also a refreshing time for her.


While the men were in Rio Bravo, David and Eugenio of Victoria were in Mante ministering, and Jose and Jeanette were in Victoria.  We are so glad for the co-laborers who span the territory assigned to us and minister to the needs of the people.  And though there is distance between us, unity and love continue to join us together.  


Thanks so much for your part in all our comings and goings!  


Love in Christ, 

Jose, Jeanette, and all the missions team


“As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (II Pet. 1:3)”

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