MISSION TRIP TO GUERRERO
This month, we took a two week trip back to Guerrero, Mexico where we lived for 4 months last year. It was a good time of sowing and watering with the Word of God. The Gospel once again went out to many.
CHILDREN’S BIBLE PROGRAM A SUCCESS
We were able to travel back to the village along with a team, including two sisters who are teachers of young children who came with us for the purpose of leading the Bible program for the kids in the village. They were excellent at working with the children, at keeping their attention, at teaching them the Word of God, and at showing them we care in the name of Jesus. We were able to use the large arena in the center of the town and have a variety of activities for the children: singing Gospel songs, memorizing Scripture, learning Bible stories, and more. They also allowed us to use the school grounds.
The program went on for 5 days, for 3-4 hours per day. We were originally expecting about 50 children, but on the first day, over 120 showed up, and every day there was over a 100! The sisters did a very good job at improvising and making the materials go a long way and the whole program went very well.
After the 5 days, we had a final meeting where we invited the parents to come and see their children sing and share what they learned. Unfortunately, however, a man in the village had just died and most of the adults were at the mourning site so didn’t come to see. But we were able to give the most receptive children a nice hard-cover personal size Bible to keep, and gave out about 40 Bibles. This is a good way not just to reach the children, but to plant seeds in their parents too, because the children go home and talk about what they learned.
Many seeds were planted and watered and if the Lord tarries, these children are the future of the village. We thank God for the grace He has given us with these children.
SPREADING THE GOSPEL IN THE VILLAGE
The team was also able to preach to a number of the villagers and share the Gospel clearly. We also had to combat a lot of the lies of the Jehovah-Witnesses, who go into that village every Thursday and poison minds with false doctrines. It’s so sad, but some of the people we had preached to last year have forsaken their Catholic idols after having been awakened through our preaching, only in order to start uniting with the JW’s, looking to hear the Word of God. There is nothing else in the area. No preachers of truth to show them the way. Yet even so, it was a wonderful opportunity to go back and testify to the Gospel of God’s grace once again. We are trusting God to redeem a little flock from that sin-laden, oppressed and wicked village, for the glory of His name.
TRANSFORMED LIVES FROM A MEXICAN PRISON
Last year there in Guerrero, we ministered in the prison every week and preached for a couple hours every Sunday. There was a real conviction of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of some of the men, a real genuine work of the Spirit. But they were resisting, not wanting to repent. Then, in the very last meeting, after I preached for two and half hours, I closed the meeting in prayer, and God came down. Conviction gripped their hearts. Men began crying uncontrollably. They couldn’t remain in their seats. Several hit the floor in agony of heart, crying out to God loudly to forgive them and save them. Tears flowed like rivers, and cries for mercy pierced the ceiling. Demons began to flee and one man was powerfully delivered on the spot as He cried out to God. This was our last meeting a year ago.
I was anxious to see the fruit of this and if these men were following the Lord now. I thank God that it appears that the fruit remains. I was able to enter the prison again and preach in the place of a friend of ours, and was able to talk to one of the men that were in that meeting last year. He’s following the Lord now, reading his Bible every day, and walking in victory over sin, he told me. He even writes down notes and other things the Lord teaches him as he studies the Bible and digs deep into the Word now.
Another man that was in that meeting last year, the one who was especially delivered from demon spirits, was released and was no longer in the prison. This is an amazing testimony but I can’t share all the details here because it would be too long to type. But last year his wife was filing a divorce from him and was not willing to take him back, saying he would never change. However, God changed him. He left the prison and never went back to the drugs and alcohol and filthy lifestyle. He got reconciled with his wife and she received him seeing the transformation. According to the word of him and his wife, he’s a changed man. He even looked totally different and clean and shining with joy. He told me that he is now following the Lord and reading his Bible regularly. Both of them want to sell all their possessions and move to a new city and start all over with a brand new life together.
I always ask people in these situations if they are reading the Bible. Why? Because I have found that both Scripture and experience teaches that when someone is born of God, they hunger for the milk of the Word. They may have other struggles and other things they’re dealing with in their life, but a genuine convert will always love the Word of God and treasure it and (if able to read) spend time in it regularly. I thank God that these men are continuing to read and follow the Word by their own testimony.
There was one other man, a brother in the Lord, that was in that prison through an unfortunate situation but not because of any sin he committed. He is now free, and we visited him and his family in their home and encouraged them in the Lord and were able to teach them a little bit about some important biblical issues. They were very grateful and built up by our visit and the Holy Spirit blessed our time.
A FAMILY IS REVIVED TO THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL
We were very encouraged to visit a family who lives in the nearby city. A year ago, when we were staying in this area, I preached in a number of different churches. They were members of one church that I preached in. This particular church however, was absolutely horrible –prosperity preaching, almost every sermon about tithing, failure to preach foundational Biblical truth, tolerating serious sins in the members, etc. Though this family was really genuine about serving the Lord, they were being influenced by this deception. But it was no doubt the hand of the Lord that led us across their path. Just before we left that region to come to Guadalajara, I saw the urgent need testify against this “gospel” of greed that’s being beamed everywhere in Mexico through the TV networks, so I wrote a booklet and had it printed. We then distributed them to every believer we knew in the area, and gave them to others to take to their pastors. Just before we left, we visited the man of this family and gave him a copy of the book, of course having no idea how it would be received. I also ordered some books by David Wilkerson and had a sister that owns one of the only Christian book stores in the area to start reading and promoting his books. This family received one of those books too, and it started a revolution for Jesus. This was all a year ago.
Now, when we just visited them on this trip, they were overjoyed to see us! They said they had believed the prosperity message before, but now their eyes are opened. The Lord not only showed them the truth about that, but many other things as well, and enabled them to have discernment about the error of the churches there and to understand the truth of the Gospel clearly. They ended up leaving their backslidden church shortly after we left the area last year, but they haven’t left Jesus. The man of the family was full of the Word of God when we met up with them, and full of joy in the Lord. He owns a large clothing store, and now every Sunday, they open up a section of it and have meetings in it to teach the Word of God. God brought a personal revival to that man and his wife. It was beautiful to talk with them and to hear what the Lord has shown them over the past year. I was amazed at the things they were saying, that the Lord has shown them. There is such a freedom in Christ once the yoke of religious bondage is broken and one can truly love Christ in the simplicity of the Gospel without being bogged down by false pastors and religious harlotry.
THE STATE OF THE VILLAGE
This village is in a fairly remote region of Mexico and is not likely to see any other Gospel missionaries passing through any time soon. It is far different from anything in the USA. Here’s various pictures taken from around the village. There’s not much of the people or of us preaching in their homes because we don’t want to intrude and make them uncomfortable and skeptical of us.
This village is in desperate need of a church plant. I don’t know what else to say. This is the same village we just visited again and did the children’s program in. If we moved back there, we would need to purchase land, build a house for us, and build a chapel to hold meetings in and start preaching. There is already a group of Christians who would be the core group of the church to begin with. There are many others that are open to hearing the Word of God and are possibly on the verge of conversion, if somebody would move there and live there and keep preaching to them. The harvest is truly great, but the laborers few. What do we do? The problem is that the need is great everywhere, and I only want to go where the Lord sends us. Please pray that the Lord will build His church in that village. There is land for sale right now in a key location to construct a house and a chapel, but we don’t have the means to purchase them now or else we would, and then move there at a later date. We are praying for God’s perfect will to be done. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!
It really seems like the Devil hates us being in that village. There are so many obstacles we’ve faced there. Even just this last time, it seemed like dangers would jump out at us! The last three nights we were there, we ran into three dangerous creatures. The first of those nights, we came back at night into the house where we were staying, and there was a tarantula waiting for us next to our tent! The second night, we came back to the house and in the place of the tarantula, now there was a very large scorpion! I managed to stomp on him and kill him though. “I give you power to trample serpents and scorpions” (Luke 10:19). Then the last night, as we were walking to the house, a large dog was waiting along the road. He came up growling ferociously, and then lunged forward barking and growling at me, apparently intending to bite me. As soon as he did that, I turned to him and said, “Go away in the name of Jesus!” and he backed off. Praise God! You might not think it’s a miracle but when there’s a big ferocious dog ready to tear your leg off and the name of Jesus saves you, you might think differently. This village is not a pleasant place to live, but it is the home of many people who need Jesus.
- We are working on obtaining our Mexican citizenship, first for Lina, and then for me. If we’re able to secure this, we will have all privileges in Mexico except for voting privileges. Then there will be no need to cross the border every six months and be unnecessarily attached to the US. It would give us dual-citizenship. Praying that if this is the Lord’s will, He will bring it through.
- A brother is coming to visit us later today (Thursday) from the US and will be staying for a week. We’re praying that our time will be edifying and glorify the Lord and further the Gospel here.
- We will be visiting Texas in February, possibly driving up to Dallas. If anybody is in that area and would like to host us during that time (one to three weeks) please respond and let us know. We’re not picky, can provide our own food, and can even sleep on the floor. We are required to spend at least a couple weeks there it looks like in order to work on citizenship in Mexico.
In Chirst –Josef & Lina Urban
More Pictures below:
1. The two sisters who taught the children on the left. Me and brother Luis on the right. I was feeling extremely ill that day!
2. A mountain range just outside our village.
3. A tarantula that we found in our house.
4. A pastor with his family and some brethren with us in their house after a church meeting.
“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” -Charles H. Spurgeon