During the first service of the month in Victoria, we heard several testimonies of God’s intervention during difficult circumstances and of their responses using the Word of God when dealing with challenges.  Nothing pleases us more than to hear our brothers and sisters in Christ speak the Word as their FIRST resort and to see the Word produce faith and victory.

We were also inspired by a brother and sister who chose to attend service, despite the death of their father the night before.  They desired to be with the church and receive prayer before going to the funeral home.  That same day, we prayed for others in need and led Gabriela to the Lord.  She said she could feel the change within, and left rejoicing.

The following weekend we had a wedding rehearsal and then went to the birthday celebration of Joel, the husband of a sister in Christ who has been with us from the beginning of the church in Victoria.  Joel, however, has been slow to come into the Kingdom, though he seems to highly respect us.  In fact, he refers people in need to the church!  As we prepared to leave the dinner, he expressed profound gratitude for us going and having prayed for him and his elderly parents.  We all left with the same feeling that the Lord did something in the spirit-realm that night.

Finally, the first wedding held in the new building in Victoria took place!  It was simply lovely.  The couple, Maribel and Toño, had requested the opportunity to each share their testimonies of how they came to Christ and how He changed their lives at the conclusion of the ceremony, followed by a brief message on salvation by Jose.  It was all quite touching and moving.  Then Jose led the people in a prayer of faith and asked those who prayed the prayer for the first time to let the bride and groom know.  We are aware of one lady who expressed that she did.  She also asked that the couple do a Bible study in her home to share the Gospel with her family.  What an open door!

God’s hand on the lives of the couple and their families can be traced back a few years.  Vivi recalled that Maribel had just gotten saved when Vivi and Carlos were preparing to be married.  Maribel asked if she and her parents could attend the wedding (which was about a three-hour drive away) as her parents desired to witness a Christian wedding.  They were not yet saved, but were intrigued.  The seed was sown at the wedding and reception, and her parents and a brother and a sister have entered the faith.  Now it was their turn to have a Christian wedding that would bring many friends, family, and co-workers in the Kingdom.  Among those in attendance was Joel.  God is clearly working on him.

The praise and worship team from the village of Voz was asked to play during the dinner, and they did a great job.  Our brother Beto from Mante realized that Vicente would be with the team and would not be able to minister in the regular service in Voz, so he asked if he could substitute for him.  How wonderful to see the support and love between the congregations of Voz and Mante and to see the desire that Beto has to share the Word!  He only requested that Sister Fidela initiate the service (So he and his wife swung by the village of San Isidro to pick her up.)  He attends our leadership classes at the cottage and has briefly shared on occasion in Mante, but this is an enormous step he took on his own initiative, for which we are delighted. 

We took advantage of the tables and decorations from the wedding to celebrate Mother’s Day with a breakfast the day after the wedding (Mexico celebrates it on the 10th , officially).  During the fellowship, a sister who lately is just blossoming and glowing in the Lord, after a long time of what seemed like hardness of heart, testified that the very same morning she heard literally the voice of the Lord--which sounded as though it came from all directions at once--saying, “Animo, animo, animo,” meaning “Be encouraged, be encouraged, be encouraged.”  She was so excited that God would choose to speak to her, and so were we. 

We also heard the testimony of Mari who has been saved for less than a year.  She said God has changed her life, her marriage, and her relationship with her children.  They all attend service faithfully and have completely joined themselves with the Body.  They are a precious family.

Mari also testified that her brother was recently scheduled to have surgery, and a couple from church went to pray for him.  Afterward, the doctors agreed that no surgery was needed, and he was released from the hospital.  Mari requests that we pray for her father and the rest of the family to enter the faith.  At times, her father has rejected her and refused to allow her in his home.

The next Tuesday, we visited the congregation in Rio Bravo for their Mother’s Day celebration.  The young praise and worship team there played and sounded great.  Omar and Miranda cross the border every weekend to train the teens and pre-teens and minister to the church.  They are doing a fabulous job working with them.  Sami, age 13, is not only growing musically, but also in the Word.  She shared three scriptures with the congregation recently and was very effective in expressing herself.

During our visit, we learned that they are preparing to make their last installment for the property where they worship, which is really an old house.  God has supernaturally provided each time payments were due, despite the congregation being made up of about 25 people, and most having not been able to find work for months.  However, things have really begun to turn around.  They all have recently gotten jobs, and a heaviness among them seems to have lifted.  There is joy in the place.  The next project is to believe God for finances to make necessary expansions and repairs in the building.  They will need about $10,000 (U.S.C.) to lay the foundation for the expansion.

A week later, Willy went with Omar to minister in Rio Bravo and returned with good reports of the growth of the people.

On the 14th, Jose and Jeanette stayed in the U.S. in order to attend the graduation ceremony of Harvest Christian Academy.  Meanwhile, the brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the border served in many capacities in Vox Mante, and Victoria.  We can be confident that the leaders are well prepared to fill in and serve the Lord in every way necessary. 

At the leadership class in Victoria the following week, we had a visitor named Nadia.  As the leaders were praying for one another, Jose felt led that we should pray for her.  As we placed our hands on her, the Spirit gave us the words to pray over her regarding wisdom, new revelation of the Word and her giftings.  After we prayed, she thanked us and said that that day she had ended a fast in which she was asking God for the exact things that were prayed over her. We really enjoy seeing God do things among us by His Spirit!

The next morning we held leadership class at the cottage before heading to see the brothers and sisters in Voz.  We were “greeted” with temperatures of over 100 degrees, but our reception of the congregation was even warmer and yet definitely more pleasant.

At dinner that evening, we were amused by Salomon who commented, “We have fallen into complacency!  We are not doing enough as a church.  We need to evangelize and train everyone to bring people to Christ.”  It was amusing because this congregation is the busiest we’ve known, and is excellent when it comes to inviting people to church or to know Christ.  However, Salomon and others agreed that we should do more, so out of the conversation was birthed the evangelization department, a group that will meet to train in the various ways of introducing people to Christ and will also have activities that will offer venues for sharing Christ.  The congregation can refer them to loved ones to share the Gospel, or they may visit the hospitals, set up movies, etc.  We are very excited about the prospects.  Salomon will head the committee.  We’ve lost track of how many people he has led to the Lord.  In fact, just this week he led another customer to Christ.  He most definitely has the gift of an evangelist.

The next morning, we were greeted as they entered the church Francisco Javier and several family members who wanted to thank God for the wonderful bill of health that several specialists just gave him.  He had been seriously ill of the heart, kidneys, blood sugar, as well as other conditions.  On several occasions, he had been told that he would not live.  Yet he walked into the building just as spry as ever and gives God all the glory.  He says that he testifies to the doctors and to his friends who frequent his used auto parts business.

During leadership meeting the following week, we were surprised by an urgent request of  Sister Sylvia (Chipi) to be baptized the next day.  She just didn’t want to go one more day.  Sister Pati also got baptized, but it took her five years to get around to it.  Since it has been considered dangerous lately to baptize at the river, another sister who has a pool offered it.  She said she would have offered it sooner, but thought that baptisms could only take place in a river.

On our way back to the states, we were stopped at a federal police check point.  When an agent asked what we do, Jose told him.  Then he asked José what Psalm could he recommend for during these troublesome times.  Jose told him Psalm 23 and began to quote it to him.  Then the agent grinned and said, “Yes, and Psalms 140 through 143!”  With a boisterous grin he exclaimed that he, too, is a Christian.    It gave us great  joy to find someone on the same side!  Immediately, we read the scriptures he recommended.   What a nice way to end this month’s activities.

Be blessed!  With love in Christ,     José, Jeanette, Josh, and the rest of the missions team  


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