We trust that you and those around you are well. We are seeing that it has been almost 2 months since we wrote our last update! We did not intend for so much time to pass without writing. These weeks have been filled with life: some challenges and many blessings. As we think about the last few weeks we want to mention a few things for your prayers and thanksgiving to God.
Morgan and Natali finished 7th grade classes yesterday. Final exams are this next week, but the girls, due to their grades and attendance record, are exempt from all but one exam. They would say they "survived" 7th grade--probably all and all their most difficult year (relationships, adolescence, peer pressure, etc.). Natali says that it was like a roller coaster ride--one that she wouldn't buy the ticket to ride again. We are very proud of them and see them being formed into strong and faithful young ladies. Of course, we pray for their ongoing formation.
In our last update we told you that Ceci's adoption had become final. Since then, we've made two trips to Mexico city. Besides having her official adoption sentence, we now have her Mexican birth certificate with her new name: Cecilia Grace Schroeder Burris (two last names in Mexico--paternal and maternal). Last week we also got her Mexican Passport. With her past and abandonment, this is a big deal! We are now getting all of our documents together and translated into English so we can make application for Ceci to be recognized by the US Government as our family member. U.S. citizenship will come later, but this will allow us to travel with her to visit many of you along with our family in Texas. We are hoping to present all of this next week to Pedro Alonso, the I.N.S. officer at the American Embassy in Mexico City. If we are approved, we will be traveling to Texas by mid-July. We are praying for Pedro Alonso and the interview we will have with him in the next few days--that he will be helpful and kind--that we will be approved to be able to travel to the US. We are tired of working through all the red tape...but are thankful for Ceci and the blessing of being almost finished with the process! We are certainly learning alot!
Ministering Among Luke 10 Communities
We see God's ongoing work in and around Guadalajara and across central Mexico. Many of us continue to reflect on Luke 10 as a way to envision ourselves as "sent ones" who are going before Jesus into the neighborhoods, towns and cities where Jesus is planning to begin something new. Praying and knocking doors (usually figuratively), we are looking for a household (usually a network of family and their friends) that will invite us in to proclaim in word and deed the good news of Jesus and the Kingdom. Of course, our desire is to see some of these (all of them!) "households of peace" become vibrant churches of Jesus Christ from which Jesus and the Kingdom will continue to be proclaimed and incarnated among others in the immediate vicinity. One of our roles as missionary church planters is to help begin some of these groups as "sent ones," and then to continue ministering to clusters of churches as they learn to follow Jesus as his disciples.
The Schroeder family continues to focus attention on two such family groups. Please continue to pray for the Camarena family and the church that meets in their house in La Piedad, Michoacan. Martin and Rosa Camarena continue to minister among their family members and among of addicts and their codependant family members. This past weekend, they helped lead a retreat for alcoholics and ministered to at least 20 people. We are praying that the Lord of the Harvest will raise up more workers from this group to partner with Martin and Rosa. We are praying for Martin's and Rosa's continued trust in Jesus and for their growth and transformation.
The other group that we are working with lives near and meets in the house of Luis Bernal and his mother, Rosario in the Las Pintas Colonia here in GDL. Among this group we envision ourselves still in the early stages of entering their "household." Chadd is mentoring Luis. The group is very diverse and most everyone is having their first experiences with Bible reading and contact with serious followers of Jesus. Most all have been formed by Mexican Catholic traditions and much superstition. In one of our recent group conversations, the group began working through their beliefs and practices regarding the Catholic and local Saints. We heard numerous stories of their fears and experiences with local saints/powers like the "niño de cacahuate" and the "niño de palomitas." At this point we are trying to help them gain confidence in reading the Bible for themselves. While listening to their diverse stories and accepting their hospitality, we are trying to speak of and model a faith that is Christ-centered and connected with scripture. Please pray for the Las Pintas group, for Luis Bernal and his growth as a servant leader. Pray that Jesus Christ and the Kingdom would truely come to this Colonia.
Our fellow workers in Guadalajajara and central Mexico are living similar experiences. To name a few: since our last update, the group of Christians that live in Cerro de Cuatro (another area of GDL) has begun thinking of themselves as a young church. We are praying for this young group, and for Gerardo and Martin as they help the group in their growth. We are also praying for Tim and Kim Rush as they have recently begun to work among a new Luke 10 community living in San Juan de Ocotan (outskirts of GDL) and another nearby colonia.
Also, the church in Mariano Otero celebrated three baptisms since our last update: Alfredo and Susana Garcia, and Salvador Jimenez. We are praying for the maturity of the church in Mariano Otero, for Joe and Elaine Pruett as they help this church, and for these young disciples. The church in Jardines del Valle is having many new opportunities for growth and outreach lately.
We pray that the Lord of the Harvest will continue to raise up and multiply workers with similar stories in the cities of Cuernavaca, Mexico City, Toluca, Morelia, Leon, Lazaro Cardenas, Tampico, Tlalpan, La Piedad, and Aguascalientes. We are praying that God will raise up and connect a band of Mexican workers who will be committed to seeing the Kingdom truely come to this region. We are also praying for Hispanics, Latinos, Mexicans who live in the U.S....are praying for workers and for the spread of the Kingdom among this group.
Mexican Presidential Elections
You are probably aware that Mexico will choose its next president next Sunday, July 2. We are praying for this process--that God will work in these things also to bring about good for the Mexican people. Most sources point to an extremely close decision between two men with what seem to be radically different positions. I found a recent video clip from the Washington Post that describes the situation from one perspective. This link should take you there if you are interested: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/mexicovotes/2006/06/obrador_profile_and_campaign_v.html
Most of all, keep this in your prayers this week.
As always, we thank God for our partnership with you. Hopefully, we will see many of you in July/August.
Chadd, Nancy, Morgan, Natali and Ceci Schroeder