Video Update and Prayer Calendar- Peru Trip Overview

Below is a video update giving an overview of my upcoming 22 day exploratory trip to Peru as well as a link to our prayer calendar so you can know where we are each day and how you can be praying for us. We appreciate your prayers as we seek the Lord’s will for where HE wants us long-term on the mission field.

PRAYER CALENDAR PDF

 

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Putting the Bible in Their Hands

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

team picOne of the most important things a pastor or missionary can do is teach their people how to properly read and understand the Bible. This is what our church planting team began to teach during our most recent trip to our church plant in Village CO in Northern Mexico. The church came together every night we were there and we went through Scripture with them teaching them the importance of understanding: Genre, Context, Reading and Rereading, and making observations of the text. We will continue with more principles when we return for a week in April. Below are some pics:

A beautiful sight. The church gathered with Bibles and pens in hand taking notes and engaging in the text together.

A beautiful sight. The church gathered with Bibles and pens in hand taking notes and engaging in the text together.

One of the brothers (left)  giving his testimony as we began a night of study

One of the brothers (left) giving his testimony as we began a night of study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Come to the school tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. and we will let you share with the whole school.” This is was what the director of the primary school told us when we stopped by to see if we could start an escuelita Biblica (little Bible school) with the kids like we do in the two other villages we work in. Of course, in those villages we do it at the school after school hours. We were amazed that the Lord opened up a door for us to do this with the whole school during school hours. We have been praying for several months that the Lord would allow us to do an escuelita with the kids in Village CO and now He blew our expectations out of the water. Escuelita is a great avenue to share Christ with the kids of the village and open up gospel-relationships with their parents.

There are a total of 68 kids in the school. The day we were able to have escuelita about 30 had the day off so we were blessed with the opportunity to share the creation story with about 40 kids. When we arrived they had all the kids pull their desks to the courtyard area. Afterward, we were invited to have coffee and sweet bread with the director and some of the teachers. It was great to get to know them better and they emphasized how much they appreciated us coming and invited us to come back. They reminded us that these children see a lot of violence and bad news in their village so to have people come bring good news is refreshing. Below are some pics:

escuelita reading escuelita older girls at escuelita

Posted in Church life, Evangelism, Mexico, Partnership, Updates | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Forbidden by the Spirit? Prayer requests for this week in N. Mexico

The Lord’s ways are often mysterious to us and this is no different when it comes to mission. Think about this: Paul and his missionary team had every intention to go to Asia but were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they came up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bythnia but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-7). Yet as a result of a later missionary journey Paul was allowed to go preach and teach in Asia even to the extent that we read, “This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10).

In what way did the Holy Spirit forbid Paul and his team in Acts 16? Was there a supernatural revelation such as a voice that told them they could not go? Or perhaps, there was some sense of unity in the Spirit that they all agreed it was not the proper time; or maybe there was some sort of circumstance happening along their route to Asia that made it not the right time and they were seeing that as from the Holy Spirit? The reality is we do not really know and Luke did not think the particulars of the situation were the main point but rather that the Holy Spirit was in complete control of where and when Paul and his team were to go.

Many of you know that last week my church planting team was planning to go into the villages we work in in Northern Mexico but due to a sharp and “sudden” growth in violence the national believers in our villages told us not to come that week. Was this the Holy Spirit preventing us to go by using His people to give us sound direction? Perhaps and we thank the Lord for the way He uses His people to help direct us.

However, after a week has gone by and now both us and them have a better understanding of the situation and the wisest game plan to go forth we will return to Village CO today through Thursday. We will be focusing most of our time working with the members of our church plant there teaching them how to understand the Bible for themselves. We will be working with them each night at 5 pm. We will also spend time visiting them and others throughout the days strengthening and encouraging believers as well as building relationships and sharing the gospel with unbelievers.

Please pray for:

  • God to be exceeedingly pleased and glorified in all we do
  • The believers to come eagerly to learn and understand how to study the Bible on their own
  • New believers added to the Kingdom of God
  • Boldness to proclaim the gospel with love
  • The Lord’s protection as we travel and minister in the village
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Filling Cavities for the Cause of Christ!

What does a diet of drinking coke at every meal and not brushing your teeth get you? Lot’s of pain due to cavities, gum disease, and worse. This is the reality for many people just a few hours over the border. So, as a way to serve the physical needs of the villages our church planting team ministers in we held a dental clinic in our main village, Village CO (this is where our church plant is located). After a few days of training our “dentists” were ready to roll. I was so blessed to lead, organize and oversee the clinic in which we served about 50 people in 2.5 days. Our team all worked great together to love and care for many people who were in a lot of pain. Lot’s of cavities were filled and new relationships built as we sought to couple the compassion of Christ toward physical needs and His greatest act of compassion – the saving work of the gospel.

Below are some pictures from the week:

Our dental team outside the church building which we used a our clinic

Our dental team outside the church building which we used a our clinic

 

 

 

 

 

Gerry working on patient
jill working

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixing the compound to make the filling material

Mixing the compound to make the filling material

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
todd at workthree people working

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

krysta on kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me leading a bible study with a few of our church members the night we arrived. I taught on Acts 4 and how physical healing is a means of love and opportunity for gospel proclimation

Me leading a bible study with a few of our church members the night we arrived. I taught on Acts 4 and how physical healing is a means of love and opportunity for gospel proclimation

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Pics and Upcoming Dental Clinic Prayer Requests

Tomorrow I (Trevor) will be leading a team of newly trained missionary “dentists” to Village CO where we will host a dental clinic for the community on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We will hold it in the church building of our church plant in that village.

Please pray that:

  • We have good gospel discussions with those who come
  • We are able to build many new relationships in the community
  • Our “dentists” do well and are able to help many people
  • The Lord allows us to travel to and from safely, we are able to minister without hindrance, and He protects us from the schemes of the evil one

CD church building

Me working in a dental clinic last year.

Me working in a dental clinic last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are some pics of some of our time sharing the gospel in Village CO on the Day of the Virgin Guadalupe (Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe). It is day of festivals celebrated by Catholics throughout Mexico. The day is to celebrate the belief that a man encountered the Virgin Mary, Mexico’s patron saint, in Mexico City on December 9 and 12, 1531. It is a day full of idolatry and is very sad to observe. Our village had a small parade and a celebration at the Catholic church building. When I asked what happens in the celebration in the church building I was told that they bring out a statue of the Virgin Guadalupe and they sing to it, dance before it and pray to it. Our team stood in the village plaza adjacent to the Catholic church sharing the gospel and passing out cookies with a Christmas card/gospel presentation attached.

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All the girls wore special outfits with bells and images of the Virgin Guadalupe

All the girls wore special outfits with bells and images of the Virgin Guadalupe

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This is what the ride home looks like after a long day in Mexico

This is what the ride home looks like after a long day in Mexico

Posted in Evangelism, Family, Mexico, Partnership, Updates | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Ways to Win the Battle Against Satan and His Demons

secret warSeptember 11, 2001 changed the course of American history forever. Any of us old enough to remember that terrible day can probably recall exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard that the first tower went down and turned on the television to just in time to see the second tower go down. Then shortly after the dust settled we find out that this abnormally tall and thin Middle-eastern man named Osama Bin Laden who led an obscure group grown call Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack.

It was then that most in our country realized that we were engaged in a war that we did not even know we were in. And it was precisely because we did not realize we had an enemy intent on destroying us at any cost that we were so vulnerable that day. Finally, we have since learned that our enemy has many tactics, will exploit any weakness it can, is ruthless and when they lose on one front they shift focus to another.

Sadly, there are many parallels from the above story to how many Western Christians approach the cosmic battle that wages for their souls. The New Testament is clear that we are in a war against a defeated yet angry and dangerous enemy. He has many schemes and will exploit any weakness possible. What is worse is that most of us live in a pre-9/11 mindset when it comes to spiritual warfare – we have a dangerous enemy that is waging a full-fledged war against us and we are naive to the whole thing. Only in this war we have lost countless battles and yet we continue to ignore the reality of the fight.

I am writing about this, not out of expertise, but out of conviction – conviction that in many ways I have been guilty of the pre-9/11 mindset when it comes to spiritual warfare. Thus, I began to dive into my Bible to see what God says about how I can win the daily battles against the already defeated army of Satan and his demons.

1. Realize that spiritual warfare is real
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12)
As mentioned above many of us fail to realize the reality of the spiritual battle that is waging all around us and against us and thus we are unprepared wield the weapons God has provided us to live the victorious life that Christ died for us to live.

2. Pray for deliverance/protection (Matt 6:12; Ephesians 6:18)
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (also translated ‘the evil one’)” (Matt 6:12)
Part of Jesus’ model prayer for his disciples included the reality that we need God’s help against the evil one. The prayer itself is very short so it is notable that he included protection from the evil one. Also, notice that Jesus’ prayer uses words like “Our Father” and “deliver us” (emphasis added). We are not to pray simply for our own deliverance/protection from the evil one but for our brothers’ and sisters’ deliverance/protection as well. This is the thrust of Ephesians 6:18 as well.

3. Through repentance, humble yourself before the Lord, draw near to Him, avoid worldliness, and stand firm in the faith (James 4:1-10 and 1 Peter 5:6-9) 
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8a)
Often times we continue to lose spiritual battles and live a life of defeat not necessarily because Satan or his army have changed tactics or are even doing much in terms of leveling attacks. Rather, the attacks have been successful, we have given in to temptation, self-exaltation, or whatever the attack was and we continue in that way. As a result, we fail to draw near to God in humble repentance as the passages above instruct us to. Furthermore, the passages above instruct us that another way of winning the spiritual battles waged against us is simply to pursue godliness and avoid worldliness. Finally, it should be noted that we are not to blame all (probably not even most?) of our sins on attacks from Satan and his army of demons (James 1:13-15). In reality, no matter how the temptation to sin came about we need to own up to our actions and humbly repent and draw near to our loving Savior.

4. Remember and live in the victory of Christ  (Col 1:13-14; Romans 8:37-39; 2 Cor 2:14; 1 John 2:13; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:18-19)
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14)
Paul David Tripp has been a modern voice that rightly reminds us of our need to preach the gospel to ourselves. The reality is that many of us lose spiritual battles simply because we fail to remind ourselves about the great victory that we already have in Christ. this is where saturating our minds in Scripture is crucial. We have a slogan in our family, “Either your Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from your Bible.” It is in Scripture that we are reminded that we are no longer part of this “domain of darkness” and that we belong to the Kingdom of God. Christ has crushed Satan and his power in our lives through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Satan no longer has any authority of us. Jesus is our King and he has given us His Spirit so that we can live in the victory that he has won for us. Therefore, we must constantly remind ourselves of the power and reality of the gospel in our lives and so live in it!

 5. Pursue fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you seethe Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Fellowship with other believers, primarily in the context of the local church, is crucial to living victoriously through Christ. We are all subject to growing weary both physically and spiritually and therefore need to be encouraged and encouragers, edified and edify-ers, prayed for and pray-ers. We need our burdens carried and to be burden carry-ers. God, in His infinite wisdom, has designed us to need community and fellowship. Thus if we are to win the daily battle against the evil one we must pursue fellowship especially when we do not feel like it.

I will close with Paul’s encouragement/exhortation to the Ephesian church regarding the spiritual battle we believers are engaged in…

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

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My Goals for 2015

2015In the past I have made a New Year’s resolution or two but, like almost everyone else, failed to keep them. They were often vague and somewhat unrealistic and had no actual plan behind them. For example, I might say I would pray more or I want to read the Bible four times this year.

This year, however, I decided to set goals in the form of priorities. And in order to reach my goals I have some actionable plans that I believe will lead me to success. I am hoping that with the encouragement from Betsy and blogging about them once in a while I will have the much needed accountability that I have also lacked in the past. If I am able to be diligently pursue these priorities I am confident that I will have one of the most fulfilling years of my life.

Priority #1: Having a strong, vibrant, RELATIONSHIP with the Lord Jesus

  • Wake up at 6:00 every weekday morning for personal worship
  • Keep a journal of prayers, reflections, meditations, etc
  • Read spiritually edifying books (I have a book list of 12 books I will be working through)

Priority #2: Having a beautiful, honest, edifying, fun-loving relationship with Betsy

  • Maximize night time (after the kids go to bed) with Betsy (we made a list of activities for a few nights a week that we will do together to make our time more intentional)
  • Read a devotional book with Betsy (7:00 a.m. – we chose New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp)
  • Plan at least one date night every two weeks
  • Do one job for Betsy everyday that would serve her in keeping an orderly home

Priority #3: Loving, leading and enjoying my children

  • Spend 15 minutes of one-on-one time with each of them every day
  • Alternate weekly one-on-one outings
  • Have a heavily guarded weekly family night for games, movies, etc (Fridays)
  • Family worship every night after PJs are on
  • Participate in home schooling whenever I am home for it

Priority #4: Staying healthy and energetic

  • Run three days per week
  • Do not eat after 8:00 on week nights (M-Th)
  • Be in bed no later than 11:00 (M-Th)

Priority #5: Making good use of my free-time

  • Read at least 12 books in 2015 (one per month)
  • No movies or TV shows on Amazon Prime before bed (M-Th)
  • No surfing the web after 9:30 p.m. (M-Th)
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