Our month started off great with the graduation of Joshua from Texas Bible Institute.   We enjoyed seeing him and others from Harvest playing and singing on the praise and worship teams during the ceremony.  Joshua plans to return in the fall for a special project and further studies.  In June he and Willy will be ministering in Bulgaria for a couple of weeks giving seminars on praise and worship and sharing the Word in several churches.  We would greatly appreciate your prayers for them during their travels.
The following week we started off by visiting Voz Campesina where we found the people much more vivacious and expressive than usual.  The convention apparently had a great effect on them.  In fact, they told us that they had sung all the way home after the event, and even shouted out to people as they drove by, “God loves you!” and got some really strange looks from them.
As further testimony of the convention, they all said they felt freer than ever to worship.  Tomasa said her eye was healed after ten years.  Lola, who had been away for years, attended and prayed for reconciliation between her husband and son.  When she arrived home, there was peace.   Isai said the Lord used Willy to give him encouraging words regarding his new position in the ministry as a husband.  Someone also said they were freed from fear and timidity.  Another said he was blessed by the Word shared and that there was great joy in the place.  Vicente mentioned that Omar and Miranda's workshop really ministered to him and that there was a change in all of the people.
Our time with them was touching, and there was a special, precious anointing to pray for the mothers to honor them for Mother's Day.  Then the congregation hosted a meal and fellowship.  It was the best they'd ever had, with everyone pitching in.
We celebrated Mother's Day again in Victoria with a “coffee break” and testimonies given by the mothers, one of whom testified that her son was really rebellious until Rosi began taking him to church.  When she noticed a change in him, she decided to attend too.  Almost all the ladies spoke of the blessing of having begun attending and gave thanks for the love they felt.  Several referred to the church as “family.”
While Jeanette stayed behind to attend the Harvest Christian Academy graduation the following week, Jose went to Victoria with Brother Oscar from Rio Bravo to attend the men's encounter.  We were so blessed by the willingness of Oscar to accompany him with such very short notice due to communication difficulties.  The encounter went extremely well.  Jose came back totally rejuvenated despite not having gotten much sleep.
At mid-week we got a call informing us of the kidnapping of Paco, the son of a member of the church in Victoria.  Immediately, we began spreading the word and asking for prayer.  About 5 days later, he was released unharmed.  We were so glad to see the entire family, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., who attended the service to give thanks at the next available service.   The church ministered to them and prayed for complete recovery from the shock, the stress, the fear, and the financial loss.  Jose also led Paco's father in a prayer of salvation.  (Since then, we also learned of another young man named Obed Alejandro, an acquaintance of a teen from the church in Victoria, has also been kidnapped.  Please pray for him and his family.)
We visited Rio Bravo during the week and found them doing very well and full of testimonies.  Mona testified that the Lord provided the funds for her and her sister to go to Laredo to visit their parents who were not getting along.  They were able to lead them to Christ and pray over their home.  During the service, Mona took forward a little 6-yr-old boy she babysits who had behavior issues.  Jeanette talked with him and was struck by the sadness in his heart at such a young age.  She prayed for him and also led him to receive Jesus as his Savior.  Afterward, he was seen smiling without a care.  Mona was encouraged to pray with him and share the Word with him daily.  Others are ministering to his single mother.
We also got feed-back from the folks in Rio Bravo regarding the convention.  They all agreed that it gets better every year and gave God the glory for the love and unity that abounded during the convention.  Several mentioned the workshops and how effective they were in teaching the Word.  Dona Maria was one of the presenters, and she greatly enjoyed the experience.   Abdiel, a young teen, told us the Lord removed fear from him as he played with the praise and worship team.  He said he heard God say, “Whom will you worship, Me or the people?”  His brother said the Lord gave him a specific word and taught him a song.  Nayeli also said she was delivered from the nerves and was reminded of the word ministered to her through Manuel just weeks earlier.  Sami testified that several conventions ago, she was prayed for because she had juvenile arthritis.  Since then, she by faith occasionally had to resist symptoms, but trusted in God for her healing.  Recently she went to the doctor for something, and he decided to run tests to check on the condition.  He could find no evidence that she ever had it.  At the convention, Sami also received specific instructions from the Lord regarding things to let go and things to do.  Since then, there has been a change in her.  While in the hotel, a lady's eyes were prayed for due to pain and she was healed.
Another very notable testimony was from Mari who had been away from the congregation for years due to offense in her heart, though her husband had remained faithful.  During the service, Carlos felt led to give her a word which was exactly what she needed.  She felt freedom and love for everyone, and said she should have never left the congregation.  The Lord restored her relationship with her husband and with the ladies she'd felt offense toward.  Her husband Tono also gave thanks for the restoration.  They had not planned to attend, but the Holy Spirit worked on both of them, and independently they both came to the same conclusion.  Omar quickly made arrangements for them and their children to be added—gladly!
After a service in Victoria, a young lady named Sofia came to Jeanette very concerned for her parents because they simply refuse to have anything to do with Christianity.  Jeanette reassured her that almost everyone in the church had the same story and that God promises to bring the family to salvation.  There were plenty of examples of families who have come to Christ through the faith of one family member.  Please pray for Marco Antonio Rodriguez and Sofia Castillo that the Lord would soften their hearts and send them effective messengers.
We ended the month with the first “Academia” (Academy) which is a series of lessons intended to better prepare people to be able to have their own grupo de alcance (outreach group) in their homes.  Salomon and Jose each taught a topic to nearly 50 people.  We added it to the weekly leadership classes, but are praying for guidance as to how not to sacrifice one for the other.
Thanks so much for your prayers!  They are every bit as essential as the “ground work”!
In Christ,      Jose, Jeanette, and the missions team
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