“After greeting them, he related ONE by ONE the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they GLORIFIED God…” (Acts 21:19-20). The Lord gave me this verse, a few weeks ago, as I was preparing for my trip to California. Once again, He reminded me of the importance of relating, one by one, the things that He is doing through the ministry down here. And there is only ONE reason for that…so that people might glorify the Lord. You see we must never forget that it is not about us, or the accomplishments we make or the acclamations we receive, or even the name or status we gain for ourselves. It is ALL the Lord…and what He simply allows us to be a part of.
Over the past 3 weeks, the Lord has allowed me to be apart of so many amazing things, that I’d like to take a moment and relate them to you one by one.
Trip to Corareyvo…If you recall, I asked for your prayers for our team of 14 and the VBS we were planning on doing in the mountains of Corareyvo. You definitely prayed and the Lord responded in a very powerful way. The 3 day trip was absolutely amazing. The gospel went forth, ears and hearts were opened, and God moved. Upon our arrival, we immediately started preparing for the first session of our VBS. Because it was spring break, and most children are not around during that time, we were anticipating maybe 15 children. Slowly, one by one, little by little, the children began to come. First there were 5, then 10, 20, 25, 30, 35….by the end of our time together, over 50 children showed up. And not only just children, but probably 12-15 adults as well, eager to see and hear what the commotion was all about.
We taught the children songs and hand motions, which most of them were too shy to participate in at first. We then divided them up into their groups and began to share the love and message of Jesus Christ. I was amazed, seeing those who had never heard the name of Jesus before, smile and listen intently to the gospel message.
The next day, not only were we able to minister to the children, but also to the adults. There were a number of ladies that came out and were just sitting around, and we saw an opportunity to share the good news with them as well. Josefina and Kim did just that, encouraging the women to turn to Jesus. Later in the afternoon, Pastor Luis taught a little through the gospel of John, exhorting those who were listening (which was now a group of women and men) to put their faith and trust in Christ.
The highlight of the trip, for me personally, was watching Erasmo, back in his hometown, a changed young man. As I mentioned, this once shy, unsaved, lost little boy, returned a young man who is hungry for the things of the Lord. Erasmo was one of our team members who held nothing back in inviting kids to come to VBS, helping lead the games, and playing the bongos for worship. I was overwhelmed with joy as I saw this new creation minister in his little town and to his family.
Erasmo inviting younger boys to VBS...
Sergio teaching the children...
Pastor Luis preaching about Jesus...
Erasmo's mom and step sister...
Trip to California…No sooner had we returned from the mountains, that I was back in the car, the next day, heading up to El Paso and then California. Calvary Chapel Natomas, in Sacramento California, invited me to come and preach/share about the orphanage. Pastor Aaron Hemness, and I actually use to be in youth group together some 18 years ago. In fact, my very first missions trip, was with Aaron and a number of other youth, that happened to come down to Bachiniva Mexico. We were reconnected a few months ago…and the Lord worked out the rest. We are VERY excited to see what plans the Lord has for their missions trip, the end of August. Lord willing, they desire to start building a house for Jackie, Ayantu and I.
Trip to Chihuahua….I returned from California on Tuesday the 29th and began preparing for our trip to Chihuahua the next day. We have been trying to get Jackie and Ayantu their temporal resident visa cards, and FINALLY, the Lord answered that prayer. We were able to finish all of the paperwork that day. We had a little scare when their computer system was having problems and it was looking like things were not going to go through. One of the workers said we could try and wait a little longer, OR, we would have to come back on Tuesday. I REALLY did not want that, so we decided to wait…and began to pray. Only a few minutes had passed, when the manager came out and said “things are working, let’s get this finished.” THANK YOU JESUS!
Missions Team From Washington…I was back up in El Paso last Friday, to pick up a missions team. Our 2nd missions team this year, consisted of fourteen brothers and sisters from Calvary Chapel Northwest, in Bellingham. We had an incredible time with them and they did an amazing job finishing our kitchen. 20 custom made cabinets, island and counter tops were built and installed. It was amazing to watch everything come together. It was an extra special blessing that it was finished the weekend of mothers day. What a wonderful gift to Jackie, who is ecstatic about the new kitchen. Not only did they work hard building, but also pouring cement and ministering to families and locals in the community. Both Jackie and I are overwhelmed with the continually growing number of churches and families who are coming along side us and the ministry down in Bachiniva. How wonderful it is to be apart of the BIGGER body of Christ!
Its A Girl…Something extra special also happened during that missions trip...which was wonderful to see the team experience. After months and months of praying, the Lord brought our first girl to the home. 6 year old Sandra Cruz (Jorge’s sister) came to us Saturday afternoon. I must admit, I was a little nervous when I heard that Sandra and her mother, Teresa, were back from the mountains and coming to the home. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since it had been over a month since she dropped off Jorge. Part of me was preparing myself for her to take Jorge back. When they arrived, Jorge was a bit hesitant to say hi, I believe, because he thought she was going to take him away from the home. In fact, when asked, Jorge said he loved it here and didn’t want to leave. Sandra made herself right at home, especially with Ayantu, and she too, didn’t want to leave. So, by the end of our time, we had processed our 4th child, our first girl. The team members from Bellingham were absolutely ecstatic and amazed, having been able to experience a child being brought into our children’s home.
Pastor Luis and Kim gave Teresa a ride back to Rubio and invited her to come to church. She said that she would, and also bring her family. Oh me of little faith, I highly doubted that would actually happened. Sunday morning, around 7:00 AM, as I was fixing my coffee and getting to read the word, Carlos, came and told me that not only was Teresa here again, but her entire family. Sure enough, out of a small mini van came Teresa, her sick mother, father and 7 other family members. A few hours early for church, but praise the Lord they were there. The men joined Pastor Luis and the other brothers at the church for men’s prayer and devotional. I stayed behind to help Jackie with the kids as well as make breakfast and coffee for our new guests. We had a great time with them and it was wonderful to see them all listen carefully to the word being preached by Pastor Luis.
Jorge was so excited to show his mom his room, clothes and all that his been learning...
Well, there you have it, one by one, the things that God has done the past three weeks. Even in writing this, I am rejoicing and praising the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness. Truly, God gets all the glory and credit that is due His beautiful name!