Dear brethren and friends,
Greetings to you in the name of our matchlessly glorious, unfathomably sovereign, inconceivably almighty, awesomely holy, overwhelmingly majestic, unimaginably wonderful great God and Savior Jesus Christ! To Him who washed us from our sins in His own blood belongs glory and honor and praise and dominion forever and ever!
We have been keeping a weekly log of our church planting effort and in this update you can see the progress that has been made.
We have noticed increased resistance to the Word of God ever since we’ve set out with the intention to plant a church with the fruit of our evangelistic labors. It’s eerily strange, yet we know it’s no coincidence. No doubt, the hand of the adversary is behind it, but we’ve faced more opposition lately than ever before. Various sinners we preach to are more hostile to the message of the cross than ever –and most of the verbal and now, physical persecution, has come from those who profess to be part of the true Church. Yet Catholicism is far from the apostolic church. Judging by the fruits of hatred and bitterness and murderous spirits of those in her fellowship, it is not the apostolic church but the apostate church, full of the unclean spirits that have caused that great harlot to be drunk with the blood of the saints of the ages (see Revelation 17). Yet we recognize that persecution is not a cause of sorrow but of rejoicing! Christ will build HIS church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it!
Last weekend, a man became enraged at us during our open air meeting downtown. He tried to fight various brothers. He punched Lina in the stomach. Full of bitterness and cursing, he threw his arms around and provoked me (Josef) to fight him. Yet we stood firm on our ground with the weapons of our warfare being not carnal, but spiritual, and mighty through God, and our response was to continue preaching the Word of God. Why was he so enraged? Why did he want to rip up our tracts and Bibles? Because we weren’t Catholics. Because we bore witness to the Word of God. That is how the harlot has kept the reign of her power since the rise of Constantine –through violence, intimidation, even bloodshed. We must preach the TRUTH about the GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ and the VICTORY of the finished work of His cross, the NEW BIRTH, the power of His RESURRECTION, and the glorious truth of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH. This place needs Jesus Christ desperately. They grope about in darkness, bound in sin, worshipping images, idolizing saints, and thinking they’re doing God a favor by resisting the pure preaching of the only truth that can SET THEM FREE.
Below is our weekly log that is updated to the present. You can read the date and then the update corresponding to that date on the progress of our house meetings which we intend to become a local church. Also, just a word of clarification, we are not aiming at “breadth” but at “depth” in this work –that is, our goal is not numbers but rather true believers who are real disciples of Jesus Christ. The numbers are included here as a way of measuring our progress (obviously a local church needs a certain number of people in order to be a local expression of the “Body of Christ”, and not only a certain number and variety of people, but also a core group of believers who see our particular local fellowship as their church, being committed to congregating and contributing their time, resources, and spiritual gifts to the edification of the Body). But as we progress, we are taking great care to discern the spiritual state of those present and to spend time discipling those who show exceptional fruit and desire to serve the Lord, praying for a true work of grace to penetrate deeply into the hearts of those who congregate with us and for the Lord to raise up and send forth laborers from their number to preach the Gospel in Mexico.
CHURCH PLANTING LOG:
Monday, July 19, 2010
Launched the effort to plant a church in Guadalajara! We began inviting people to meetings at our home during our evangelism activities. Preached every day of the week with door to door evangelism in our colony and open air preaching in the city and gave out flyers with invitations to everyone we preached to.
We soon discovered that our colony is EXTREMELY Catholic and many houses have stickers on their windows or doors that say: “This is a Catholic home, we do not accept Protestant literature”. It’s tough soil.
Sunday, July 25, 2010 / Attendance: 5
We had our first house meeting. Two guests came. A lady from our colony came who says she’s a Christian. She found one of our flyers at a market stand. A young lady who lives in a different neighborhood also came. She came as a result of an invitation by a sister in the Lord. Thus there were 5 of us in all.
Sunday, August 1, 2010 / Attendance: 5
Had our second meeting. Two other guests came, different from the guests during the first meeting. A different lady from our colony who also claims to be a Christian came. Also a young lady came who we met recently. She seems to have been recently soundly converted. Josef began preaching through the book of 1 John. Thus once again, there were 5 of us in all.
Up to this point we have given out nearly 500 flyers/invitations in our immediate neighborhood. Thus far, not a single Catholic has responded and come to the meetings.
Sunday, August 8, 2010 / Attendance: 8
All the week prior, every day, Aaron and Josef open air preached in downtown Guadalajara. Lina and another sister also went out in the neighborhood to go door to door one evening while the brothers were preaching downtown.
We had our third house meeting. This time, 5 visitors came. 2 of them were returning visitors (one of which is from our immediate colony –she is the lady that visited us two weeks ago on July 25th for our first meeting). An old man from downtown also came whose name is D**** (he is the fruit of the open air preaching downtown). After the meeting, he told Josef that he’s no longer a Catholic and that he truly wants to follow Jesus Christ. His questions were innumerable but he shows great interest in the Word of God. Brother Artemio also came, a 62 year old man who is an open air preacher (he was meeting with Josef for intruction in Biblical doctrine and theology). He recently left his church (because of their lack of evangelistic zeal) and Lord willing will be fellowshipping with us from now on. Also, a zealous young man named Gi******* came who has been converted for about a year now and seeks to be taught more and to evangelize with us. Thus there were 8 of us in all.
Sunday, August 15, 2010 / Attendance: 13
Josef and Aaron only went out to the streets to preach a few days during the week because Josef got sick and had to rest during the week. The days spent on the streets seemed tough and the devil seemed to try to provoke us to discouragement. There were a lot of mockers and Josef and Aaron even got attacked by an insane woman. It was a discouraging week, yet we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!
Besides us three, we had 10 persons this Sunday. 5 of them are returning guests that have come to the meetings before (4 of which give all evidences of being soundly saved). The Christian lady from our colony brought a friend with her. Also, a man came that we preached to the week prior in the downtown area, and he too claims to be a Christian (yet we do not know him well enough so as to reasonably observe the fruits in his life). This man showed a great interest in the Word of God and desire for fellowship. Also a sister in the Lord that attends GCC (John Macarthur) from the USA that is visiting here came and brought two family members with her. There were 13 of us in all.
Sunday, August 22, 2010 / Attendance: 12
This Sunday, in addition to us three (Josef, Lina, and Aaron) we had 9 persons who came to the meeting. Of those 9 persons, 6 of them have come to at least one previous meeting. Of the 6 that have come to previous meetings and fellowshipped with us, 2 of them (both of which show all fruit of being real believers) see our fellowship as their home church. Thus we now have 5 of us in all that are currently committed to this local expression of Christ’s Body as their home fellowship.
The lady from our colony that has come to all the previous meetings (except for one) returned again. We also had a young lady who just moved to Guadalajara from another state 2 weeks ago, come to the meeting for the first time (she came as a result of our open air evangelism in downtown Guadalajara). This young lady claims to be a Christian and said that she was radically converted from a life of slavery to drugs and rebellion. Also, the other young lady recently converted that has been fellowshipping with us returned, and it is wonderful to see the work the Lord is doing in her life.
Also, D**** (the former Catholic who on August 8th said he wants to follow Christ) returned again. From all evidence, it does not yet appear that he has been born from above, yet he continues to show great eagerness and openness to the Word of God and assents to the truth of Christ and continually expresses his desire to follow Christ. If there has not yet been a genuine work of grace in his heart, may the Lord in His mercy grant it. He needs to have the earnest prayers of the saints poured out over him. David also invited a couple of friends who profess to be Christians but do not have a local church and they came to the meeting and stayed for fellowship afterwards too.
The young man in his early 20’s recently converted named Gi******* came again for the third time. We have also been meeting with him during the week in order to disciple him and he has been coming out to evangelize with us. He has been growing tremendously in the knowledge of the truth in the short time we’ve known him. Maybe the Lord will be pleased to place a gift of preaching and teaching upon him as he matures in the faith –the zeal is there, but the knowledge and maturity in the faith is a work in progress. Aaron and Josef plan on continuing to spend much time with him to disciple him continually.
The professing Christian man we preached to in the downtown area that visited for the first time last week on August 15th also returned. He does not appear to be truly converted, but if facial expressions mean anything, seems to manifest a penetrating conviction during the preaching of the Word in the meetings. May the Lord have mercy and save him!
Thus far, there are 4 persons that are coming to the meetings that are the fruit of our evangelism and open air preaching downtown. 2 other visitors came that were invited by one of those 4, thus in total 6 persons have come because of the open air preaching and evangelism downtown. Who says that open air preaching doesn’t work anymore? God has chosen to use the FOOLISHNESS of preaching to save them that believe! May the Lord be pleased to radically convert some pagans, transform them into saints, and add them to the fellowship of His church!
We desperately need the prayers of the saints during this time. Please lift us up before the throne and cry out to God for the work here my brothers and sisters!!!
- That God would strengthen us in grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in the Word, to teach and preach the Word effectively, and most importantly, to live the Word in our daily lives. If we don’t have the grace of God upon us and in us and through us then it’s impossible to minister that grace to others.
- For lost sinners to be converted and added to the fellowship of the church.
- For those who are already saints but cannot find biblical fellowship to be led across our path.
- That Christ would build His church in our midst and increase the small group both numerically and most importantly, with the deep work of the Spirit upon the hearts of those congregating, that the unconverted would be soundly saved and that the believers fellowshipping with us would truly grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- For David to be genuinely converted. Please pray hard for this!!!
- For the other man from downtown to see his sin and his desperate need to surrender to Christ and be converted.
- That the Lord would raise up more laborers to work with us and carry out the Great Commission in Mexico.
- That the Lord would keep a hedge of protection around us from murderous people, from sickness, and to continue to provide for our physical and material needs so that the work may press on.
As I, Josef, write this update, I cannot help but to express how utterly insufficient I feel for this missionary task. “Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (Jer. 1:6). I am truly going forth in weakness and fear and trembling and crying out to God for continual grace, for without His grace I can’t even tie my shoes. Your prayers are truly and earnestly requested.
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. -1 Corinthians 4:1-2
What a thought! Oh, what a solemn thought!
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. -2 Corinthians 5:10-11
There is so much more that has been happening but time and space fail now to tell it all. Lord willing, we may be sending out another update shortly which will tell of the ministry to orphans.
How you can help support our mission
We are very grateful for your prayers and support as we press on to preach Christ. Your support enables Josef, Lina and Aaron to continue to live in Mexico and labor full time in the Gospel toward church planting. Information on donating can be found here.
MAY THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!!!!!!!