Friday, November 07, 2008

Video Report on Guadalajara Mission

This is a video that some of my coworkers prepared last month for the Sunset Church of Christ.

Hope Foundation For Kids with Diabetes

One of the most padre (cool, wonderful) developments among the fellowship of churches in Guadalajara over the past year or two has been what the Mexicans are calling proyectos de vida (life projects). I wrote some about this here.

Out of the Garcia family’s crisis when their daughter Melanie was diagnosed with diabetes, the Lord placed on their heart a desire to reach out and minister to other families who are going through the same crisis they went through. Almost 3 years since this diagnosis and crisis, they have established a non-profit organization to serve kids with diabetes and their families (the 1st such foundation in Mexico). When I asked Gerardo about this a few weeks ago, they had 119 local kids registered in the foundation. By helping these families in crisis and partnering with others who want to do the same, Gerardo and Carola have countless opportunities to share the hope of Jesus that is within them. We believe God is using this and other similar proyectos de vida as part of God’s ongoing story of transformation—in Mexico and beyond.

The foundation is called La Fundación Esperanza. Check out their website to learn more.

By the way, this foundation is need of funds to be able to complete their 2009 objectives and plans—$23,500 USD. If you are interested in contributing to this, contact me or follow links on the website. We can send you a breakdown of the budget--all of which will go directly to serve kids and families with diabetes.

May God use this life project and others like it to help hurting people and to open doors for the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ--all for the glory of God.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Update

So much has happened since my last report!

Family News

The summer break from school has come and gone as the girls began classes again this morning. One of the family highlights of the summer was Morgan’s and Natali’s 15th Birthday Party. As you probably know, an important Mexican family tradition is the quinceañera—a special birthday party with family and friends that marks a girl becoming a woman in Mexican culture. In our own adaptation of this, we invited about 30 close friends to celebrate the girls’ 15 years and to encourage and commission them as they enter into a new chapter of their lives. It was a very special evening. We thank God for Morgan and Natali, for God’s grace in their lives and for the special community of friends who are sharing these years with them.

Another “biggie” was a trip to Texas in July/August. We spent time with family and friends and were also able to visit some of our partners in Lubbock, Amherst, Littlefield and Amarillo.

On the way back to Mexico, we also spent a week at the border (Cd. Juarez) finishing up the process of getting Ceci’s Immigrant Visa (Green Card). She is now classified as a permanent resident of the U.S. and can move freely between the two countries. At some point in the future, we will likely apply for her U.S. citizenship—she will qualify to have dual citizenship in both U.S. and Mexico. Of course, we are thankful to God for the gift of Ceci and for God’s grace in the legal process with her.

Summer Campaign Groups

In June and July we hosted youth groups from three churches: Sunset in Lubbock, Clovis, New Mexico and Grass Valley, California. Between these groups, almost 50 workers spent time showing kindness and service to people in and around our city and encouraging the Christians here. Among other things, they participated in youth clubs in two different neighborhoods, handed out food to homeless people, did clean-up and paint work in a Colonia where we live, and handed out literature and Bible DVDs to people on the streets. We thank God for these young people and pray that God causes the seeds of God’s kingdom that were planted in and by them to grow and multiply in the days to come.

Churches and Ministry Opportunities

We’ve only been back in the city a few days but as we are connecting with the church leaders we are hearing stories of God’s work—and of course evidence of the Evil One’s attacks. This past weekend, the men of the Jardines del Valle church hosted a men’s cook-out. There were 20 or so men there representing 3 of the churches. The women are having a overnight retreat this weekend…we are praying that there will be good participation and that God will work for good among the ladies of the churches. There seem to opportunities for a couple of new groups to start--please pray with us to the Lord of the Harvest.

Finally, I am especially encouraged with the Diabetes Foundation that Gerardo and Carola Garcia have been developing over the past few months. They recently hosted their first “Diabetes Camp” with over 30 kids attending. Gerardo tells me that they now have 104 kids with Diabetes registered as members of the foundation. Please continue to pray with us that God will use the Garcia family and others to help families who are in crisis and that seeds of God’s Kingdom will spread!

Thanks so much for your partnership with us in prayer!

Monday, May 12, 2008

May Update

Time seems to be passing quickly--can't believe its been almost 2 months since I last wrote!

The last couple of months have been full of ministry and events--much evidence of God's work--but as always, reminders of the Enemy's activity and his schemes to distract, divide, discourage and destroy. We want to mention a few things for your thanksgiving and prayer.

Family News
It is extremely hot and dry here--our rainy season should start sometime in the next few weeks. The girls are doing well--ready for school to be out for the summer! Their classes carry on until the last week of June. Morgan and Natali continue to play on the school volleyball team--they even one a match last week!
Ceci will turn 7 in a few weeks. Yesterday, she was telling me about the birthday party she is having at school. She wanted to know if I would go for the party. When I told her I would think about it, she was thoughful a moment, and then said: "But the kids aren't going to be able to say your name dad--so could you just call yourself 'Pancho'"?

April also marked 2 full years since Ceci's adoption became final. We thank God for Ceci and the gift she is to us and so many others. Since two years have passed, we are now able to make application for her citizenship in the U.S. We've put in all the paperwork and are now waiting to be invited for an interview at the border--are hoping that this interview will coincide with a trip in July to Texas. Please pray with us that all of the legal work will happen easily and quickly!

Youth Weekend with the House Church in La Piedad

A little over a month ago, we participated with the house church in La Piedad in their outreach to youth and children who live around them. With them and members of 2 of the other churches in Guadalajara, we spent Saturday and Sunday in and around their house with nearly 30 kids and youth. These are kids who have a background of broken families, parents with addictions, violence and despair. So many things about this are awesome: the participation with our Mexican brothers and sisters...seeing them minister incarnationally and in ways that so clearly connect to their own woundedness and healing in Christ...seeing Jesus minister to hurting kids through his body...seeing signs of transformation at multiple levels.

We thank God for his work and light in this dark area. We pray for protection against the Enemy's scheming...we pray for countless kids and their families. We pray that God will help more of his people to discover their mission to the people around them.

All Church Retreat Last Weekend - May 9-11

This past weekend, we participated in our annual all-church retreat. About 80 of us gathered at a rustic retreat site outside the city. The group was made up of members from five house churches (Mariano Otero, Jocotan, La Piedad, Jardines del Valle, and Cerro del Cuatro) along with several seeking visitors and a slew of kids.

It was a great time for fellowship, Biblical teaching (Joe Pruett gave several hours of teaching on spiritual formation and our practices), mutual edification and lots of fun. We saw evidence of God's work in so many ways. We are especially encouraged to see clear growth in shared leadership and responsibility among our Mexican brothers and sisters. We praise God for this important growth.

On Sunday, two new sisters were immersed into Christ--they are family members of the Cerro del Cuatro church: Manuela Juarez Cantero and Maria de Rosario Medina Benitez. Their family calls them Manuela and Rosa! We praise God for his salvation in this family--we pray for continued growth and maturity. I'll try to put up some video footage of the baptisms soon!
Leaders' Retreat - May 2-5
Two weekends ago we facilitated a leaders' retreat for several of the house church leaders from Mexico City and Guadalajara. We spent 4 days (including travel) at a mountain retreat site between the two cities. 6 Mexican families and 3 missionary families participated in this time (33 people I think)--what a wonderful experience to see these leaders connect with one another, share stories of struggle and victory, pray and study together, fellowship and build one another up. We were especially impressed with the deep pain and suffering that almost all of these leaders have experienced--how that pain has found healing in Christ--how their faith has grown through this--and how these experiences have contributed to a deep maturity in them.
We thank God for this maturity--We pray that God will continue to shape and mature this group--that their numbers will grow.

Upcoming Activities
We anticipate alot of activity in the next few weeks. Please pray specifically for these things:
  • The arrival of a team of missionary apprentices from the Adventures in Missions Program (AIM) this week. We are expecting 6 young people to arrive tomorrow. Our coworkers Cory and Toni Burns will be coordinating their apprenticeship. Pray for God's grace and guidance for all of them. We especially pray that God will use them to connect with unreached people.
  • Youth groups from at least 3 churches (about 75 campaigners) will be with us in June and early July. We pray that this will be a good experience for them--that God will also use their time to serve needy people and open doors into new groupings of people.
  • Marriage Encounter Seminar. We hope to offer a marriage encounter seminar in one or two colonias in the next few weeks. We are talking with some of the house churches about the possibility of hosting us and inviting friends and neighbors to a seminar designed to promote healthy marriages. We are praying that this will be a help to hurting families--that it will give opportunity to speak of Good News and connect families with God's people in those colonias. Pleas pray for God's grace and guidance in this.

As always, we thank God for you and our partnership!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ceci and Her Tonsils Separated!

No problems with Ceci's operation yesterday. We were in and out by about 3:30 pm. Ceci slept through the night and is eating ice cream, watching TV and resting on the couch.

We are thankful!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ceci's Tonsils Look to be Coming Out a Day Earlier

We just found out this afternoon that Ceci will be having her tonsils out a day earlier than we had thought. The doctor scheduled the operation for Thursday--which works for us too.

Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, March 07, 2008

March Update

We trust that you are well today. The last few weeks have seemed full of important events and ministry. We see much evidence of God’s work—as always, we also see opposition. We want to mention briefly a few things for your thanksgiving and prayers.

Family News

The girls are doing well—ready for the Holy Week break starting next weekend. Here in Mexico, the schools shut down for the entire week before Easter Sunday. This week is called Semana Santa (Holy Week). School is also out for the week after Easter which is known as Semana Pascua (Easter Week). Things really slow down for these two weeks—of course there are many religious celebrations. No school sounds great!

Also, Ceci is scheduled to have her tonsils out next Friday, March 14. It is planned as out-patient procedure—she should be home later that afternoon and will get to take advantage of the 2-week break for recovery. Please pray for her and the doctors who will be treating her—pray for God’s healing for her in the days afterwards.

Partners’ Meeting Last Month

We were blessed with a great weekend this past February 8-11. 26 visitors from 8 partnering congregations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Washington spent a long weekend here. It was a great time to fellowship with one another, discuss our mission partnership in Central Mexico and spend time with members of the Mexican churches. We though one of the highlights was our time together on Sunday—especially the time after lunch when a dozen or more (Mexicans and visitors from the U.S.) took turns telling stories of God’s transforming work in their lives. We thank God for this blessing and pray for deeper partnerships.

On a sad note—one of the participants in the partners’ meeting, Tim Hartman was killed this past Tuesday in a plane crash in Oklahoma. He was a husband, father, deacon. We pray for his family and loved ones.

A Proyecto de Vida – Ministering to Families with Diabetes

Gerardo and Carola Garcia are Mexican co-workers who live in Guadalajara. You may remember that their 13-year old daughter Melonie was diagnosed with diabetes just over 3 years ago. As they’ve learned to live with this disease, they have become increasingly convinced that God wants them to minister incarnationally to other families with children who have diabetes—that this service is connected to their proclamation of the Good News of Jesus and the formation of new churches. They talk about this as their Proyecto de Vida (Life Project)—a mission assignment from God that is closely connected to their own life and that gives them a clear door into the lives of hurting people. They believe that God wants us all to discover our unique Life Project—they talk about this every time they get a chance. Since the last time we wrote, Gerardo and Carola have put in the paperwork to begin Fundación Esperanza para Niños con Diabetes Mexico (Hope Foundation for Children with Diabetes in Mexico). This is a huge thing for them—an important step in realizing one of their dreams. Gerardo and Carola have been working with another diabetes association for the past couple of years. They are gifted educators and are offering counseling and teaching to other families. Two weeks ago, they began this new association that is unashamedly Christ-centered. We thank God for his grace in their lives—and for God’s grace through them into the lives of others. We pray that the understanding of proyectos de vida would spread like a virus through God’s people—that more of us would discover our unique, God-ordained mission into the lives of others. We pray that God will continue to bless and guide them in their ministry to families with diabetes.

Note: Gerardo and Carola are presently in need of funds for their mission. One of their needs is related to getting this new diabetes association up and running. They are especially in need of a lap-top computer and projector which would be used to educate groups of families with diabetes. If you are interested in partnering with this family with one-time or monthly funds, please contact me.

Upcoming Youth Weekend with House Church in La Piedad, Michoacan

We plan to travel in the morning to spend the weekend with the church in La Piedad. This group is planning their second (1st was back in November) kids/youth weekend—basically it’s a campout with 30+ kids in and around their house! Leaders from two other house churches are going with us to accompany them in this event. Nearly everyone connected with this group has a past (and usually present) in drugs and alcohol. This church sees ministering to the kids and youth around them as their way to be on mission with Jesus and incarnate Jesus in their world. It is their Proyecto de Vida. Please pray that the kids and youth would experience the healing presence of Jesus in their midst. Pray for Martin, Gerardo, Jose Luis, Juliana, Carola, Rosa and my family as we spend the next couple of days playing with kids, telling stories from the Bible and ministering to kids who have often suffered horribly at the hands of those enslaved in addictions.

I guess I’ll stop there. We thank God for your partnership with us in prayer. We pray God’s guidance and blessings for you in these days.

Please continue to pray for the fellowship of house churches—for their continued growth, maturity and mission—for the leadership of these churches. Please pray the Luke 10:2 prayer with us—that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up workers from and for the harvest in Central Mexico and beyond.

Monday, January 14, 2008

January Update

We trust that you are well—that you enjoyed a blessed holiday season. We are well and want to mention briefly a few things for your prayers and thanksgiving.

Christmas Trip To Texas

We had a great time on our recent trip to Texas. We spent about 10 days with our family in Lubbock and Amherst. It was Ceci’s first Christmas with family so it was especially fun to see her experience family Christmas with her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. She really wanted to see snow and make a snowman. Though it wasn’t much, there was about an inch one of the mornings a day or two after Christmas. Natali made a tiny 1-inch snowman on the hood of our car. Though Chadd preached and taught the Sunday we were in Amherst, the time was mainly about hanging out with family, eating good food, and enjoying our loved ones there. We thank God for this special blessing!

We’ve been back here for just over a week and are encouraged with what we have heard and seen from our brothers and sisters here. We anticipate God’s work in and through this group of churches in the weeks and months to come. We continue to pray to the Lord of the Harvest that more workers will be raised up for and from the harvest in Mexico!

Upcoming Partners’ Meeting

We want to remind you of the upcoming Guadalajara Multiple Church Planting Project Partners’ Meeting which will take place the weekend of February 8-11, 2008. We ask you to pray that it will be a useful time to consider and celebrate our partnership in God’s mission.

Please remember the deadline for registration is January 15, 2008. Let me know if you have any questions. If you would like to participate in this time but have not contacted us, it is not too late! We still have plenty of room and can get you all the information you need.

As always, we thank God for you and your partnership with us and the mission in Guadalajara. We pray God’s guidance and blessings for you in these days.

With love,

Chadd, Nancy, Morgan, Natali and Ceci Schroeder