Our Mexico church planting team walked away from our first trip together with something no other team did – a memory and experience that will last a life-time. Shortly after we turned off the main highway and on to the dirt “road” that leads to village EZ we found ourselves in some trouble…some muddy trouble left behind by Hurricane Ingrid and the inexperience of driving in those types of conditions by yours truly. Thankfully there was another team right in front of us whose village they minister in is about 5 miles from ours. They were, by God’s grace, able to pull us out so we could be on our way to village EZ. Okay, so that team will never forget it either :).
After that “adventure” the Lord really blessed our trip by opening up some great opportunities. I will just hit a few highlights here:
We arrived Tuesday around noon and ate with one of the VERY few believing families in the village. After that we set out to meet some families that teams have built relationships with in the past as well as anyone else we could meet. We had no specific plans of organizing a Bible study this trip but wanted to focus mainly on catching up with relationships from past ministry in the village and make new relationships since this was a very short trip (Tuesday afternoon – Thursday morning). However, very early in our meeting with people at their homes we were being asked if we would do a Bible study to which we of course replied with a “yes!”. Thankfully we all brought some materials we had prepared in Spanish. So we held an outreach Bible study on Wednesday evening at their small, one-room community meeting house. We had what I later found out was a really good turnout – 6 adults. Pray for broader interest and God’s work in the lives of those who came. I taught on 2 Cor. 5:21.
Another great door of ministry that the Lord opened was with the children in the village. We chatted with the village school teacher on Tuesday afternoon and he invited us to come by the next day to say hi to the kids. We asked him if we could invite them to hear a Bible story Wednesday afternoon and he said sure and even offered the school room up for us to use. This was nice because it is the only air conditioned building in the community. The children were excited to see us and I read Noah’s ark (we thought this would be fitting with all the rain they had been experiencing) to them from the bilingual Jesus Storybook Bible which I had brought just in case an opportunity arose. After I read at what I am sure was a painful pace to them we had them act it out which was very entertaining – Ethan and Titus even joined in this part with them. There was about 10 kids that came and they all had a lot of fun. I made the mistake of starting only 45 minutes after the designated start time. Over half the kids showed up an hour “late” hence the empty room in the pic below. I’m still learning the culture :).
After watching their re-enactment of the story we played soccer with them for a while. Perhaps the most surprising thing to me was that only one of the children had ever heard of Noah’s ark – this just speaks to the lack of any type of gospel work happening in the village outside of our team and the testimony of the few believers in this small farming village.
Perhaps the biggest surprise to the village, or at least the teen-agers, came Tuesday night when this old gringo played soccer with them and held his own :). It’s amazing how God shapes us for his purposes. Please pray that the relationships I and our team builds through playing soccer with the young people will lead to some good gospel opportunities.
Betsy and I thank you for your prayers and partnership that the Lord uses to make our frontline work and training possible. We are blessed and encouraged by all the people the Lord has rallied around us – many we know very well and some we do not but nonetheless we are all partnering together for His Kingdom. If you are wondering how Ethan and Titus did, they had a GREAT time. They loved all the mud, some of the puddles even had tadpoles in them that they enjoyed catching and they really loved all the animals (chickens, dogs – stray or otherwise, and their new favorite – our host family’s kitty named Colores). They also did a great job using their Spanish every opportunity they could. I was a very proud dad. Praise God for a GREAT start. Pray for BIG improvements in my Spanish before our October trip!!!!