Monday, September 28, 2009

Yesterday at Church

It was cool to see God at work in his church yesterday.  My family and I made our way up to a poor colonia in Guadalajara called Nueva Santa Maria to be with one of the house churches that lives and meets there.  When we arrived, Jose Luis had chairs and up-side-down buckets set around in a circle in area outside the door of his small house.  After about 15 or 20 minutes, Jose Luis welcomed about 23 of us (at least half not-yet Christians) and explained that we had gathered to praise God in song, read and discuss scripture, encourage one another and remember Jesus around the table—which we did for the next couple of hours.  Later we walked to the corner for roasted chickens and continued the feast until late afternoon. 

I especially liked how the group discussed God’s Word yesterday.  After a prayer recognizing our common need and desire to hear a living word from God, we began to read the text from Genesis 6, 7 & 8—a story that had been chosen beforehand.  Then Liliana retold the same story on a level that helped the kids to understand and be drawn into the story—so cool to see the children and adults alike really engaging the Bible.  Then, for the next 30 or 45 minutes, while the children continued to draw pictures about their ideas from the story, the adults engaged in a conversation about God’s sadness concerning the sin and violence in his world, God’s plan to make everything clean and new again and the possibility that we humans can join God in this plan.  I was blessed to see God working among us. 

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Dengue Fever, H1N1 Virus and Going on with Life in Mexico

This past week, the newspapers are full of stats and warnings that the H1N1 virus is making a comeback here.  Some are calling for the closing of schools again like we did last April and May.  However, for the moment everyone is emphasizing washing hands, not greeting one another by shaking hands and kissing cheeks, and wearing a cubreboca on your mouth if you are sick.  

Yesterday afternoon, about a dozen women gathered at our house to continue an ongoing workshop on spiritual formation in children.  It is especially geared to help families and house churches think more carefully about how they will take responsibility for the teaching and spiritual formation of the children among them.  There continues to be lots of interest in this semimonthly workshop.  

Here Juli is shown telling the story of Creation yesterday at the workshop using the props she had prepared since the last class—with a cubreboca on her mouth since she had cold symptoms.  

Also, Dengue, a serious illness carried by mosquitoes has reached epidemic levels here lately.  At least three members of our church fellowship have come down with this illness in the last few days, including Carola Garcia who was diagnosed with it this past Friday.  Please continue to pray for Carola, Diego and Sebastian…and for Mexico.  

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Running with Jose Luis

I got back a few hours ago from an “Independence” race with my friend Jose Luis.  It was Jose Luis’ first race and we had lots of fun.  We ran from the Centro of Guadalajara to the Basilica of Zapopan.  Pretty cool to run the streets of Guadalajara with 3500 Mexicans celebrating Mexican Independence!  It was especially fun to be with Jose Luis. 

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fiesta Mexicana

Viva Mexico!  This past Tuesday night, about 80 people (members and friends of the various house churches) celebrated Mexican Independence Day at our house.  The party started about 6 pm and was still going strong after midnight.  Good food, fun and friends! 

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Thursday, September 03, 2009


Its hard to believe that September is already in full swing. The last couple of months have seemed filled with out-of-the-ordinary things. Of course God has continued to bless us as a family. We also see evidence of God's work around us among the churches and in the lives of our Mexican brothers and sisters. A few things for thanksgiving and prayer:

Changes with Missionary Families

In July, two of the missionary families who work with us made moves to the U.S. Tim and Kim Rush and their children moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where they plan to spend the next year on furlough working with their sponsoring congregation and preparing to come back to Guadalajara in the summer of 2010. We've heard from them and they seem to be doing well. However, please pray for Kim's mother, Kay as she has been diagnosed with cancer. Pray for her this next Tuesday as she will be undergoing an operation.

Also, after 11 1/2 years working in Guadalajara, Joe and Elaine Pruett and their boys moved to Texas in July. They will begin a new phase of their life and ministry in San Antonio, Texas. Joe got a job teaching school. Please pray for the Pruett family in this important transition time. Pray for the Mexican churches as they continue their life and ministries without these two wonderful families.

House Churches and their Leaders

The Mexican house churches seem to be going through what we hope are growing pains right now. We know that difficulties are fairly common, but we are praying that God will help them grow stronger through the trials. We are especially praying for the Mexican leadership during this time. With so many changes among the missionary families, the Mexican leadership is being challenged to grow. Each of the groups has emerging leadership that is developing and maturing. However, Gerardo Garcia and Martin Iturrabiatez are growing to provide leadership and care among the churches. Please pray especially for these men and their maturity.

We believe one of our main assignments for this year is to walk alongside these leaders, encouraging and mentoring them, but all the while allowing them to resolve problems and discover how they want to lead. Of course sometimes the balance feels delicate. We are trying to do this through weekly one to one prayer and study times, monthly leadership group meetings and ongoing Bible studies. We are also seeking to participate with different house churches each Sunday. The churches have recently renewed their committment to meet all together once each month. Please continue to pray for the Mexican leadership and for our ministry among them.

Mexico in Crisis

We ask you to continue to pray for Mexico. The global economic downturn of the last year or so is hitting Mexico hard right now. I recently heard an analysty comment that the number of people in "extreme poverty" has increased 38% this year. He also quoted statistics saying that 48% of Mexicans (more than 50 million people) now live below the poverty line.

As you know along with this has been the recent escalation of violence associated with organized crime and drug trafficking. The government has made confrontation of this crime one of their main priorities. Yet it seems that this has exposed even more the deep-seated corruption in the society and the lack of a functioning judicial system. Even when criminals are caught, there is little confidence that they will stay caught.

Please continue to pray with us for a radical change in Mexico. Pray that the rule of God would come more fully to Mexico--that there would be a grassroots movement of God that would change everything!

We continue to thank God for his grace and goodness in our lives--for our partnership with Mexicans who long for change--for our partnership with you.