The Lord reigns! We now have a new format for our online newsletters. We did this because we were having problems with the old way of sending them and some people seemed to not be recieving them due to hyper active spam filters. So now we plan on making and sending them in PDF format. We will also post each issue here so you can access them online at any time.
A new addition to our newsletters is the teaching section, where we will include an article on a topic or Scripture in each issue, for your edification and enjoyment. Your feedback is appreciated.
Mission Update October 2010
In this Issue...
- Church Plant Update
- Evangelism Testimonies
- A Baptism
- Propitiation: Satisfying God's Righteous Wrath
- Helping Orphans
- Other Announcements
- Support Information
Download this issue now.
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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!!!!!!!
Launching out in a Church Planting Endeavor
It is our burden and conviction that to have lasting fruit in the city of Guadalajara, we need to work on planting a biblical church. This has been my increasing conviction over time as we evangelize and see the tremendous need for sound doctrine to be taught to those who respond to the Gospel.
We are therefore now launching out with the intention to plant a church in Guadalajara. You can read more about this endeavor here.
Those of you who pray for us, please keep this tremendous work in your prayers!
We started this week evangelizing our immediate neighborhood. Since we’re starting meetings in our house every Sunday, we’re now hitting the surrounding blocks hard with the Gospel and with invitations to come to the meetings to hear the Word of God. We’re going door to door and preaching the Gospel and also engaging all the people in the streets (every evening many people hang out outside in front of their houses). It’s been a great way to reach the people of our neighborhood and we’re praying that God will save souls.
We have preached to many people and many seeds have been planted. A Please pray fervently for the salvation of these precious souls, that God would save them and raise them up as true disciples of Jesus Christ. This Sunday will be our first meeting.
Divine Appointment with a Family
This very week that we decided to launch out and evangelize more heavily with the goal in mind to have meetings and establish a biblical fellowship, we received a phone call from a contact in the USA. He told us that he has family here in Guadalajara and asked us if we could go and preach to them.
It’s amazing to see how the Lord works. The family has recently started to gather together every Friday to pray and try to read the Bible. And they’re devout Catholics! Their meetings grew and people from the neighborhood now come also. They want to learn the Bible but don’t have anybody to teach them, so they were excited when we contacted them and offered to come give them a Bible study. So we went last Friday and there were 6 people present waiting for us to arrive. They were already engaged in prayer when we arrived, and had a Catholic candle burning in the middle of the room. Strangely enough, they were praying and not reciting the Rosary, thank the Lord.
I preached to them from the story of the adulterous woman of John 8, using the Law of God to show that we are all, by nature, in the same place as that woman: guilty, helpless, condemned, and with no hope except to fall at the feet of the only Savior Jesus Christ whose finished work can save sinners forever by grace through faith alone. They seemed to understand and were very receptive to the Word. They admitted that they confess their sins often but never truly repented, and 4 of them said that they were going to repent and surrender their lives to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. We also showed them that Catholicism has many traditions which contradict God’s Word, and that God doesn’t live in temples made with hands but is omnipresent and also dwells inside those who truly love Jesus Christ. Amazingly, they showed no resistance to the Word and seemed to agree with everything. They also asked us to pray for them in the meeting, so we did. Finally, at the end of the meeting, they asked us to come back next week! They said that there’s many more neighbors around there that will come next week and that the reason they didn’t come this time was because they didn’t think we would really show up, but now that we did show up, more people will come. Oh, may the Lord get glory by saving these souls! They are all elderly people, and two of them are blind. May God prepare them for eternity!
We’ve resumed setting up our table in the local street market and have been able to plant some good seeds as we give out tracts, Gospel literature, and Bibles. We’ve been able to talk to men, women, and children.
One man that has come by our booth before returned the last time we were there and asked more questions. We gave him some more literature and preached to him. We also gave him an invitation to come to our Bible study meetings to learn the Word of God more profoundly and he seemed interested.
There are a couple of children who come along with a family member to the market to sell vegetables and they love to hang around us. They have heard the Gospel now a number of times and we continue to spend time with them teaching them. These poor children were abandoned by their parents and live a sad life so it’s been a joy to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them.
Last market day we gave out 6 Bibles to people who came up enquiring how much they cost. We also gave out many tracts and some other booklets, including a testimony of an ex-Catholic priest who came to the truth of salvation by the grace of Christ. We also invited several people to come to our meetings to hear the Word of God. The seeds are planted, now it is up to the Lord to give the increase!
Open Doors to Evangelize a Village
Last month, we traveled about 4 hours away to a coastal town in a neighboring state. Our destination was a small village that we had seen 2 years ago as we were driving through Mexico. Our goal was to find an open door to take an evangelistic film into the village to show it and as the people gather to watch it, preach the Gospel hard and strong. Before we entered the village, we prayed together that the Lord would give us a “person of peace” that would receive us and be our gateway into the village through their social connections. Well, as we went into the village, the first house we went up to was the answer to our prayers! It was a mother and daughter who were very friendly, and received the Word of God with much interest. We preached to them, gave them Bibles, and inquired about the village. They told us that there are no Christians there, and that everyone is Catholic but that the “Jehovah-Witnesses” come there every week also. They were very hospitable and as we inquired about having an evangelistic event in their town, they offered to do the groundwork for us to get all the permission we need. The woman also owns an extra house located on her property that is vacant yet fully furnished, and told us that whenever we want we can stay in that house while we preach through the village! Praise the Lord! We are praying about the right time to go back for a couple days to show the film and preach.
Way of the Master Evangelism Training
Our home church in Guadalajara has finished the basic training course for evangelism and are now going out to the community a couple of times per week to pass out tracts and share the Gospel! The course was a blessing and more are now active in preaching the Gospel to those around them. Here's some pictures; the first of the welcome table as you walk in, and the second of a teaching session.
The pastor who taught the course is also on fire to share the Gospel with everything that breathes now. He has contacted some other churches in Mexico and is planning on teaching the course in them also in order to train more laborers to GO and OBEY JESUS in the Great Commission. Let's pray that this thing explodes and that God raises up more preachers to go into the highways and biways and preach the living Christ. Once a fire gets ignited and spreads abroad it becomes impossible to quench. May the Kingdom of God advance and the truth of Christ be proclaimed throughout Mexico!
This is such an answer to prayer as we've been laboring to help mobilize this church in evangelism for over a year. As I sit here in my study, directly in front of me on the wall is a giant map of Mexico. As I sit here often and read the Scriptures and work on my computer, I look up at that map and sorrow fills my heart that there's so many in this land that don't know the Good News. I pray that God will raise up a movement of sold-out Holy Spirit filled radical soldiers for Christ who are firmly rooted and grounded in sound doctrine and burn with a passion to make Christ known who will go forth and blaze through all the towns and villages of Mexico preaching the risen Christ. Brethren, please unite your prayers together and pray for the salvation of this country. Pray that God would send forth laborers to gather this great, largely untouched, harvest. Get a map of Mexico and hang it up in your prayer closet and pray that God would send hands of MERCY in the Gospel to this poor Lazarus begging for a crumb of the Gospel on the doorsteps of the most "Christian" nation in the world.
Visiting Grace Community Church in San Antonio
Last month we took a trip up to Texas to visit this church since San Antonio is only a couple hours over the border. We had a blessed time and it was encouraging to see how God is saving souls. The picture above is from a weeknight Bible study. It was also refreshing to meet brothers and sisters in the Lord who encouraged us in the mission the Lord has set before us. Lina and I were able to stay with a very kind couple who are leaving shortly to go to Peru for the next several years to labor alongside the Richies among the Quechua people. I was also able to spend time with Tim Conway and another of the elders and get some counsel on some things. The church has a strong missionary zeal that was refreshing. If only every church (that preached the Gospel rightly) had the same passion for missions and church planting I think the Great Commission would be fulfilled by now. They have also just officially planted a church in Corpus Christi, Texas, and are considering a church plant in Laredo along the border also (in case you are in those areas and would like to visit them).
Citizenship in Mexico
We are pleased to announce that after a loooong process of trying to obtain Lina’s Mexican citizenship, we have finally got it (now she has dual citizenship)! We hired a lawyer who has been working on it for a couple of months, and it was a battle but she managed to get it! Due to some complications, the registrar didn’t want to accept her paperwork, but the lawyer actually took her law books into their office and showed them right out of the book that they have to do it. After having their arms bent backwards, consulting their hierarchy of authority, and delaying the process, they finally decided to do it. We tried to do the same thing but they continually denied us, but the lawyer managed to get it done. Thankfully, the lawyer only charged us less than $200 US to do the whole process (which was a lot of work). Now that Lina is officially a citizen now, we need to get her state ID and other paperwork done. After that, we can begin to work on getting me long term residency in Mexico! Once I then become a resident if the Lord permits, we will no longer be forced to leave the country. Praise God!
We earnestly desire your prayers at this time as we launch forth to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of our great God and Savior. Please pray that God would radically save the most vile of sinners and convert them into trophies of His matchless grace! Pray that God would add to our fellowship those who have a heart disposed to truly seek the things of God! Pray that God would bring people to our meetings and touch them by His Spirit! Pray that the Lord would make true disciples in our midst and establish a lasting work in Guadalajara! Please brethren we are so desperate and dependent upon the power of Almighty God to do what is impossible for us as mere men. Your prayers are needed now more than ever.
We are so grateful for the prayers, help and support that the Lord provides through His people. We are supported fully by individuals and churches as we labor to proclaim the glories of the Savior in Mexico. If you would like to help, you can find information on how to support us through the "donate" page of our website.
In the last national census conducted in the year 2000, about 6% of Mexicans identified themselves as “Evangelicals”. Of course, this percentage fluctuates greatly from place to place. In some parts of the country, the percentage is over 10%! However, there are other parts among the Spanish speaking of Mexico where the percentage is much lower.
There is a section in the central western part of the country where less than 2% identified themselves as evangelical believers! It is a section composed of 6 states that share a common border. This part of the country has been identified by missiologists as “The Circle of Silence”, being named such because the influence of the Gospel has been largely silent there. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has not seriously or sufficiently penetrated this area of the country and many are much more engulfed in Catholic tradition than in other parts of Mexico, causing them to be much more suspicious of “other religions” and outside missionary influence.
The percentage of believers within the “Circle of Silence” also differs from place to place. Some small cities are dotted with a sufficient number of evangelical churches that can reach their areas with the Gospel. However, other places lack churches altogether, or have such a small number amidst the population that it’s just a drop in the ocean. Many congregations are very weak, lack training in Biblical doctrine, and are anemic when it comes to evangelism and outreach. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in this region of Mexico.
The largest city within this region, Guadalajara, is actually the second largest city in Mexico. The population of the city and the surrounding urban area numbers well over 9 million people. Many of these people come from surrounding areas, including from the highlands of Jalisco, where in many places the evangelical population is known to be just a few among a thousand. Therefore Guadalajara is strategically located as the urban center of the “Circle of Silence” and by dedicating our evangelistic efforts to penetrating the city with the Gospel, we will inevitably influence the surrounding areas. Even though there are many Christian churches in Guadalajara, if you average them out among the number of the population as a whole, you find that there is still a tremendous need to plant churches in the city. The common people just aren’t being reached by the churches.
There’s still many people who haven’t heard the biblical Gospel and the only “gospel” they’ve heard is the “gospel” of the Catholic Eucharist which is never sufficient to save sinners completely and forever. Furthermore, many of the “Christian” churches are more of a shame to Christianity than a help to it. False doctrines permeate many churches, such as the “prosperity gospel” and false ideas of what true conversion is. On top of that, not everyone who identifies themselves as “evangelical” actually holds to essential Christian beliefs. For instance, the “Apostolics” (Oneness Penetecostals) have a huge influence within Guadalajara and in some areas outnumber the real evangelicals. Yet their “gospel” is that you must be baptized in water to be saved, and that in the name of “Jesus only”, and you must also speak in tongues, or else you’re not born again. They also dogmatically deny the Trinity which is an essential, biblical, historic Christian belief. So even among the “evangelicals” many are false and preach adulterated ideas. Other cults also have a tremendous influence here, including the Jehovah-Witnesses, Mormons, Luz del Mundo, and Seventh Day Adventists. Yet even so, the vast majority still identify themselves as Roman Catholics.
But in spite of this shocking reality, and in the face of the spread of such innumerable counterfeit ways to God, the true people of God need to take a stand and launch out in holy boldness to penetrate Guadalajara with the Gospel. We must not be cowards. We must not back off and let the Devil inoculate the masses with his deadly poison without challenge. Where is our jealousy for the name and glory of our God? Where is our passion for the One whose passion caused His blood to be poured out to wash away our sins? We must stand up and proclaim Jesus Christ!
That is what we’re doing, by the grace of God. Our strategy is simple: PREACH THE GOSPEL!
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Cor. 1:18, 21)
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). Even though the hearts of men are hard, even though the nature of man is totally depraved and in bondage to sin, there is a glorious power in the Gospel which liberates men from the prison of their iniquity that they may serve God in truth. As the Gospel is preached, God is working to accomplish His purpose. As the Word is proclaimed, God by His mighty power will open the eyes of sinners and turn them from the power of Satan to God. By His own will He will bring forth sons unto glory by the Word of truth as the Gospel is preached. So that is our strategy. Proclaiming the Gospel IS the work of missions.
PRAY FOR GUADALAJARA. Please pray that God would continue to grant open doors for the utterance of the Gospel. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work powerfully to save sinners and edify saints. Pray that the Lord would raise up more laborers to work in this vast, humongous, neglected harvest field. Pray that Jesus Christ would be glorified and receive the worship that is due His name among those He’s chosen in this city.
Pray that the “Circle of Silence” would turn into the “Circle of Thunder”, a place from which God thunders forth the glorious Good News of Jesus Christ to the rest of the nation. All things are possible with God.
Open Air Evangelism
We have been blessed to see the Lord at work lately in our open air meetings. God is raising up more laborers and several more men from the church are getting involved and coming out to the streets with us. Recently, we decided to start preaching without a speaker and just go John the Baptist style (voice only). To our surprise, more people actually gathered together to listen, and we’ve been able to keep a crowd for more than an hour at a time.
Here’s some pictures from a recent Open Air Meeting, showing the people gathering:
It’s such a wonderful thing to have the privilege of preaching your guts out to a bunch of Catholics and people who really need Jesus right out in the streets where they are! Where else are we going to be able to proclaim the Gospel to them? They’re not going to just step into our churches, we need to carry the Church to them by carrying the Gospel that has been entrusted to the Church to them! To proclaim the Good News which liberates the captives from the bondage of sin and religious deception is a privilege granted to men that not even the angels enjoy! To proclaim Christ and make Him known –that, my brethren, is the Church’s high and holy calling!
After we finished one open air sermon recently, numerous people came forward asking the team for more instruction in the things of God. The crowd didn’t want to leave! Many stood around for a while, waiting to see if we would preach again, and we just didn’t have enough people on our team to engage them all in personal conversation. Also, as I stepped down from my soapbox, a young man also came right up to me and said in brokenness: “I don’t know Jesus Christ, but I want to. How can I know Him?” What a beautiful question! In another meeting, an alcoholic stood in the midst of the crowd weeping and crying out to God for mercy with a loud voice! He appeared to be desperately panicking for mercy. After letting him listen for a while, brother Aaron talked to him, and he threw away a bottle of liquor he had and they prayed together for the Lord to deliver him. The man told me later, “Your words wounded me, but his words healed me”. Glory to God, that’s the double edged sword of the blessed Word –it breaks hard hearts but then the precious balm of Gilead found in the Gospel heals those wounded hearts! In the same meeting, a brother on our team talked to a woman who listened intently for a long time. She said that she had never thought about the things of God, had never wanted to serve the Lord, but now after hearing wants to give her life to Christ! Another time, as we were preaching, a woman came up weeping profoundly. She said (paraphrased), “God has forgiven me! I know God loves me now! I surrendered my life to Christ and I felt a heavy burden lift off! Now I know God loves me! I know my sins are forgiven!” Her and another on our team wept together and prayed to the Lord in joy for the work of His Spirit. Another time, after we finished preaching, a young man came up requesting prayer for healing of some heart problems. After we prayed, he said he felt heat in his heart and like some kind of pressure left him. (Did he get healed? I don’t know, but the Lord definitely touched him.) He said that he would start reading the Bible and seeking the Lord.
These are testimonies which GLORIFY GOD. Christ is real, He is alive, and He has all power to destroy the works of the devil. He is the King of Glory, and He is worthy to be proclaimed! If His Church will mobilize and obey the Great Commission, then He will step forward and meet them in their place of need, and He will touch the lost world through His people. THIS GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED AS A WITNESS TO ALL NATIONS. This means that WE (the Church, the people of God) have the responsibility of preaching it. We are nothing brethren, absolutely nothing but DUST of the earth, and the only life we have has been breathed into our nostrils by the breath of God –it’s not ours to live, but it’s our to give… all to Christ, all to His glory.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2).
VIDEOS of Open Air Preaching
Blessed be the name of the Lord, who has allowed me by His grace, to recently preach my first sermon in Spanish.
See here: Jesucristo te puede librar.
Here’s a couple of open air preaching videos from the last month (English w/ Spanish translation):
Are you Ready for Judgment Day?
Come to Christ and be Saved!Here’s a video of Aaron preaching in Spanish:
Hay Salvacion en el Evangelio.
Other Highlights from this Month:
-Brother Aaron has arrived and has been with us for about a month now.He has been with us preaching the Gospel and evangelizing in the city and translating teaching materials to distribute to brethren in the Spanish speaking world.
-The Way of the Master basic evangelism training course in Spanish, produced by Ray Comfort, is now being taught in our church. It is a 4 week course in all, with 8 lessons, taught for 2 nights per week. There are about 180 people that are attending. The church has worked hard to present it appealingly and has even made professional banners and Powerpoint presentations to go with it. Hopefully it can be used in other churches in Mexico also. We are praying and hoping that it will stir up more brethren to get serious about sharing their faith with strangers and bring more souls into the Kingdom of God. We've already been hearing from some of the people that it is encouraging them and equipping them and they're getting bolder in sharing their faith with strangers. Our church has even ordered thousands of tracts to give to the people each week with homework assignments to pass them out and start conversations with strangers and come back and share testimonies about what they experienced. Here’s a few pictures:
-Aaron and I went with the pastor of our church to minister to a man who has become completely crippled by a horrible accident. He lost nearly all movement of his limbs and cannot even talk. He can barely move his head and one of his arms. His wife has been faithfully taking care of him for the last few years ever since the accident as he requires constant attention day and night. It was so sad to see this man helpless and unable to even talk. But he seems to understand everything and the way he says “yes” is he blinks his eyes really hard. As we prayed, and as the pastor shared the Gospel with him, he seemed to take it all in. Streams of tears began to flow down his face. As the pastor was asking him, “Do you want to repent and believe on Christ? Blink your eyes hard if you do.” –And the man blinked his eyes as hard as he could. The pastor said, “Cry out to Him! Cry out with all your heart and ask Him to save you!” The tears streamed down and he began to make audible groans and move around. It was such a tremendous experience. Before this, the man was perfectly normal, a tall, healthy, respectable man with a job, a family, and a normal life. But now he is reduced to a state more helpless than a little child and living off a feeding tube. I pray to God that he truly believed on the Lord and surrendered his heart to Christ. His wife congregates in our church here and she often reads the Bible to him and plays CD’s of the sermons from the church for him to listen to. To see her love for her husband remain the same even though he became helpless and has nothing to offer her anymore and to see her serving him day and night with such patience and longsuffering showed me a glimpse of the servant-hood of Christ on behalf of unworthy sinners like us. And this is not even half the story, but I can’t betray personal details. The Lord really used this experience to teach me a lot, blessed be His name. We have no idea how blessed so many of us are to even have a voice with which to declare the glories of the precious Savior! God gave us our lives, our voices, the strength of our bodies, our minds, our abilities, and everything we have for the SOLE PURPOSE OF GLORIFYING HIM. Don’t waste your life!
-I have been teaching every weekend on basics doctrines of the faith. So far we have given an overview of the Bible, talked about the necessity, inerrancy, inspiration, and clarity of Scripture, reasons why it is the Word of God, and what should and shouldn’t be included in the canon of Scripture. We’ve also looked at how to interpret the Bible and I taught on basic principles of good hermeneutics. The feedback has been very positive thus far. The next couple of weeks I will be teaching on the doctrine of the Trinity, followed by an overview of the attributes of God. All these lessons are being typed out in English and Spanish and Lord willing, I will release the first few lessons on our website soon so everybody can read them. Ultimately, it is my hope to develop it into an entire course of training in Christian doctrine to distribute to Christians around Mexico through correspondence and internet, especially to those in remote villages who don’t have access to theological training and lack financial resources to buy good books, if we can develop a method to get it into their hands. Such a program, I think, would be very effective in spreading the pure Gospel truth of Jesus Christ around Mexico. Pray that the Lord would reach Mexico with the truth of His glorious Word!
-Brother Artemio has also continued to come to our house every week. I am continuing to instruct him in sound doctrine and have also started showing him the Way of the Master DVD’s in Spanish. It has been a great time of fellowship and he says that he’s been learning a lot. The brother doesn’t have a lot of resources, and has been asking the Lord for a new Bible. Here’s a picture of his current Bible that he’s used for years:
As you can see, it’s falling apart and it’s all raggedy. Also, as he’s getting older it’s getting harder and harder for him to read the small print. Blessed be the Lord, we were able to purchase him a new Bible with bonded leather, large print, and thumb tabs. It has been ordered and we hope to give it to him soon. As a side note here, just look at his Bible again... how many of us soak ourselves in the Word of God so much that our Bibles turn out looking like that? When a man has a Bible that looks like that, all beaten up, torn up around the edges, taped together, and highlighted on every page, you know that he's spent some time with God. Brother Artemio also has over 200 songs that he has written that he sings to the Lord. It's been a blessing to know him and to be able to help him out. Here's a picture of him preaching in centro (he's in the center with the blue shirt):
-There’s much more I’d like to share, but I just don’t have time to keep writing. Tomorrow Lord willing I'll be preaching in a drug rehab center that begged us to come and give them the Word of God. Then in five days, Lord willing, we'll be travelling to a small village on the West coast of Mexico to distribute Bibles and preach the Gospel. We're also going to survey it and see if it's a good place to show some evangelistic films and do follow up. Then when we return we’ll be traveling up to San Antonio, Texas to handle some important paperwork and also spend a week with Grace Community Church and a missionary couple there. Upon our return, we hope to begin having meetings in our house and invite the neighborhood to come hear the Word of God. Your earnest beseechings before the Throne of grace on our behalf are greatly coveted, my dear brothers and sisters. And also I send a hearty giving of thanks to the Lord for those who have helped to hold the rope for us as we labor in Mexico. May you share in the joy of the reward of our labor. My sovereign Lord will not forget about your kindness to us, His unworthy servants.
FOR THE GOSPEL IN MEXICO.
HE COMES QUICKLY.
How to Help Support Us
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Preaching on Resurrection Day
We were blessed to be able to go to the central Catholic Cathedral on Resurrection Sunday to preach the Gospel to the crowds who were there. It was a blessed day to the glory of God. We stood outside on the steps and as people were exiting the Cathedral after Mass, we were lifting our voices like a trumpet and declaring salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to Scripture alone for the glory of God alone!
At one moment, an angry Catholic man with a murderous spirit became furious with us, shouting at us with all his might, commanding us to get down from off the steps of the Cathedral and go somewhere else with the Gospel. He shouted curses and profanities in our face and even tried to snatch away the microphone. Another joined him, rebuking us sharply in religious fanaticism. A large crowd gathered at such a sight, and for a moment it appeared that a riot may break out. But the angry man soon stormed off in a rage, and the devil won for us a nice sized congregation in the open air, people curious to hear what could have caused such an uproar. I proceeded to thunder forth the blessed Word of the Gospel, denouncing counterfeit religion, exalting Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior, and calling the listeners to repent from vain religious traditions and to believe solely in Christ alone to save them. Blessed be the Lord, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us disperses the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ among those who are perishing!
Many who stepped out of the Catholic Mass stepped right into an open air Gospel meeting, and heard the truth that the Christ who died is no longer dead but risen, and alive, and at the right hand of the Majesty on High, whose perfect finished work can save, completely and forever, all who come to God through Him with broken hearts of repentance and empty hands of faith. The power of His resurrection can break the yoke of sin and set religious sinners free from the bondage of Romish deception. He is a perfect Savior who accomplished for us a perfect salvation, and we can be secure in the mercy of God forever by simple childlike faith in His blood.
We must speak the truth to Catholics
There are two short sayings that devoted Catholics who don't know Christ personally still don't understand, and those are, "It is Finished!" and "He is Risen!" This is because in Catholicism, Christ's atoning work isn't finished but is continued every Mass as the Eucharist becomes the literal "body and blood, soul and divinity" of Jesus Christ and is offered again and again as a "propitiatory sacrifice" for those present. Thus the Catholic "Jesus" can't atone for sin once and for all, but needs to keep being offered on Catholic altars as a "victim" during every Mass to suffer again for the remission of sin (contrary to Heb. 10:11-14). Furthermore, since such a "Jesus" needs to be offered continually, there is no triumphant resurrection in their theology which guarantees perfect divine forgiveness and new life for those believing. There is no real resurrection power of Christ to transform, impart new life from above, and make sinners into new creatures who have victory in salvation by faith. While they acknowledge the resurrection in their theology, they know nothing of its power in their experience, because the Catholic “Jesus” needs to keep being offered as an atoning sacrifice every Mass.
I have a burden to reach such priceless souls with the truth of God’s grace, love and mercy. Though we expose the darkness of Catholicism, we do it by shining the light of God’s Word, the light of the Gospel of Christ. As we focus on preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ as the perfect Savior and only sovereign Lord, we lift up the Person and finished work of Christ high, calling all to repent and believe on Him. As we do that, His glorious light exposes evil deeds and false religious traditions. So it is not that we’re just going around and bashing Roman Catholicism. That’s not our purpose, our aim, or our style. Instead, we go forth preaching Christ the living Savior, and as we do, the Word of God exposes the lies of the devil by unleashing the truth of God which sets sinners free. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Though our focus and emphases is on the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must not be cowards with the truth of God. We must cast down everything exalted against the true worship of God. It is Biblical to correct and expose religious deceptions which blind people from seeing the truth. At Sinai, Moses destroyed the golden calf religion and grinded it to powder. At Mt. Carmel, Elijah executed divine judgment on the prophets of Baal. In fact, all the Hebrew prophets preached strong and hard against idolatry. Jesus Himself didn’t permit the religious lies of the Pharisees and Sadducees to go unabated, but rebuked them harshly all throughout His ministry. The apostle Peter accused the Jews who crucified the Lord of glory in the name of religious zeal, pointing out their sin and calling them to repentance. Paul exposed the false religious system of Athens, being moved by a holy compassion, exalting the one sovereign God and calling them to repent from their idolatry and worship the One who will judge the world in righteousness. Even Timothy and Titus were told to rebuke “with all authority” religious teachers who were stuck in false doctrine and deceiving others. Therefore, it is biblical to use the sword of God’s Word to destroy the vain idols of religious tradition when that religion contradicts the truth of God’s written Word. This is not unloving, but is the duty of true love. According to the Lord, it is unloving to let people continue in fatal error and lose their souls. “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” (Lev. 19:17)
Of course, as ministers of Christ, we must examine our motives, that everything we do and say be done in humility and love for the glory of God. We must “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). But while it may be possible to speak the truth without love, it’s certainly not possible to love without speaking the truth. So-called “love” without truth is just carnal affection. And truth without love is Phariseeism. But true love cannot cease to proclaim what is true, since love “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). If we love souls, we must be bold to preach the Word and not adulterate it for the purpose of pleasing men (see 1 Thes. 2:4). Those who are too cowardly to proclaim the truth have no place among the soldiers of Christ –they’re place is with the rest of the cowards in the lake which burns forever (Rev. 21:8). God is jealous for His truth.
But oh, my dear brethren, if only I could rip out my heart and spread it out before you that you may see the love contained therein for these perishing souls! So many precious souls are lost and dying and being thrust over the edge of eternity into a perpetual night of eternal despair! We must warn them! We must cry out and lift up our voices! We must plead and pray and preach and persevere until we spend ourselves in the service of God! We have no time to be lukewarm, no time to divert ourselves with worldly amusements, no time to play the hypocrite and sing smooth songs of sweet Christian lullabies as we cozy ourselves to sleep on padded pews! The King is coming and He will not tarry! On that Day, He will stain Himself with the blood of those who haven’t washed themselves with His blood! (Rev. 19:13) Saying, “But oh, they’re not the elect if they end up in Hell” is no excuse! If you’re doing absolutely nothing to reach out with the truth of Christ then their blood is on your hands! Oh, far be it that I enter through those gates of glory all alone, with no souls following my lead! Where then will be my glory and crown of rejoicing in that day? (1 Thes. 2:19) The church of Jesus Christ needs a baptism of urgency in this final hour. If I am “beside myself” here, it is unto the Lord (2 Cor. 5:13). Oh, if only a few more of us would lose our carnal dignity and turn crazy for Christ, that we may “become fools to become wise” (1 Cor. 3:18).
Open Air Preaching
We have not ceased proclaiming Christ in the open squares of this giant city. Recently, we had one of the best open air meetings we’ve had in a long time. As I preached, and Lina translated, people really began to listen and gather around. We used no gimmicks or tricks, just the pure Word of God with a Bible in our hands. The grace of God was upon us as we expounded to these persons the way of everlasting salvation. I began preaching at about 7pm. Eventually, the speaker died out and we continued with our voices. Faces were showing evidence of the Word at work. Some rejoicing, some angry, some broken, one man even weeping in front of everybody. Spontaneous questions burst forth from time to time, mixed with a few hearty “amen’s”, some angry comments, and a couple hecklers. By the time I stopped preaching, now running out of unction and longing for a drink of water, and stepped down from the stool, it was past 10pm. I had preached over 3 hours! And Lina had translated all that time without stopping! I had to dismiss the crowd, who still was waiting to hear more, and we spent the next hour talking personally with those who were listening.
We’ve also been preaching in another place next to a different Catholic Cathedral. Here, there’s a long line of people waiting to get on a bus every Friday (about 50 people at a time). It takes a good 20 minutes between buses, and not everybody fits on when the bus comes. So we get at least 20 minutes to preach the Gospel to the people. Many of them listen intently as we preach and take tracts and Gospels of John afterwards. It’s been wonderful.
Recently, my soul was cast down within me and I was discouraged. Yet, I was able to talk to a brother in Christ by telephone, and he exhorted me to keep pressing on for the glory of Christ. His words were a refreshment to my soul. We went to the bus stop shortly after that, and I preached the Gospel to the line. The Lord gave me consolation, as three different people came forward acknowledging their sinfulness and need for Christ, telling us that they want to get right with the Lord. Three precious souls genuinely expressing their need for salvation, who otherwise may have never heard! We left them with Scriptures and instructions on how to cast themselves upon Christ in simple faith, with exhortations to read the Word and seek Christ desperately until they know they’ve found Him. May God get glory from them. “Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9)
Outdoor Street Market Evangelism
We continue to go to the nearby street market to set up a Gospel booth and give out free Bibles and Gospel literature to those passing by. My goal with this was not to be there myself all the time, but to use it as a way to get some of the ladies in our church involved in evangelism. So far, the plan is working! Praise God! Just last time, Lina and I didn’t have to be there at all (other than I had to go just to help set up) as two ladies filled the position and gave out tracts and witnessed to passers-by. There’s been some interesting conversations with people of all kinds of beliefs at this booth. Though the people are mostly all Catholic, there’s been some run-in’s with a new-ager, Jehovah-witness, and more. It’s a great place to plant seeds. There is still much to do, and things we can do to improvise this outreach, and more people that can get involved. Pray that the Lord would make this outreach fruitful and use it to get more involved in reaching out to their communities!
Last update, I mentioned that there’s a street preacher here in the city that was in need of a solid doctrinal foundation, and that it was my intention to begin teaching him. His name is Artemio. Since then, he’s been coming to our house every week and we spend a good 4 hours or so together going through a course called “Fundamentals of the Faith” and also going through some things I’ve prepared. This brother is 60-something years old and preaches on the streets every week with fire and passion. He’s hungry to learn and is very bold for Christ. His Bible is falling apart though and so we’re hoping to be able to purchase him a new one if the Lord provides. Being elderly, and having a family, and not having a steady job, he is poor according to the world’s standard so he can’t purchase Bibles and other helpful literature. But he has read everything we’ve given him and has been very receptive to truth, wanting more things to study. It is my hope to be able to put more materials in his hands for his personal edification, and to continue to help him with Gospel tracts and evangelistic materials. Here's a picture of Artemio and I:
In two weeks, Lord willing, it is my plan to resume teaching every week in our local church. My theme will be basic doctrines of the faith and I intend to systematically teach through basic theology. The believers here are in great need of basic theological teachings, as most of the teachings they receive have a “practical” or “devotional” emphases. Though they know how to live a practical Christian life, they get confused often over doctrinal issues. There needs to be balance –all “theology” with no practical emphases will result in a bunch of knowledgeable believers who lack passion and devotion, but all “devotional” and “practical” exhortations without theology will result in spiritually immature believers who don’t know how to rightly interpret Scripture or clearly discern doctrinal error and heresies. So it’s my hope, seeing this great need, to bring things back into a proper balance and fill in the holes where there are things missing, if the Lord permits. In order to be spiritually mature, believers must be trained to be “skillful in the word of righteousness”, weaned off the milk of the Word and slowly be fed a little meat, that they may, “by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:13-14) May the Lord give us grace.
Brother Aaron is scheduled to arrive in Guadalajara on May 12. We have moved to a new house which can accommodate us all, and hope to preach a lot for God’s glory.
After Aaron arrives, we hope to start having meetings in our home on Sunday evenings, to pray, sing, and teach the Word of God. We will invite a core group from our church, the neighborhood around us, and the people from the center of the city that we preach to every week. We may also begin visiting another drug rehabilitation center once in a while to share the Word and testify.
How is my Spanish coming along? I have written out my first sermon in Spanish and plan to preach it soon in the open air. Of course, I will read it word for word. But Lord willing, it will go well, for I feel like a child who cannot speak.
Resources for your Edification
- TESTIMONY: On Resurrection Sunday (my spiritual birthday) I had an urge to testify to the grace of God. So here is my video testimony, right in one of the squares we preach in. Go to www.youtube.com/puregospeltruth and watch the most recent videos to see all three parts.
-LATEST ARTICLE: “Our Great Necessity for Evangelistic Power” –An exhortation to the church to seek God for personal renewal and revival, that God may use us to reach souls. Read it on the blog here. -Please leave your comments! Share your testimony related to the subject, comments, etc. I want to hear your thoughts.
We earnestly solicit your prayers over everything mentioned in this newsletter, and for the Lord to be with us, and for physical provision in these days of trial.
How to help support us
We greatly appreciate all the help and support we get from the people of God. Your help truly makes a difference and is much needed. If you would like to help support us, you can do so on our donate page.
MAY THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!!!
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 1:11)
Greetings in the name of Christ!
Here is a brief update of what’s been going on lately. My thoughts may be kind of choppy, so bear with me, as I wrote different parts of this update at different times.
LABORERS BEING RAISED UP
Prior to our trip to the US in the month of May, a brother from our church in Guadalajara stepped up to fill in the gap for us while gone, leading the evangelism team to the streets and preaching in the usual spot. He had never open air preached before in his life, yet has been since. I was able to instruct him a little in some practical lessons on open air preaching before leaving, and he’s been preaching the Gospel to the lost and the Lord is really working in him. Now that we’re back, he is still continuing to preach on the streets. He is really a dear brother in Christ and I’m always edified to be around him as he overflows in testifying about Christ and the things of Scripture. It is my desire to spend more time with him and help to equip him with more solid doctrinal foundations which will enable him to teach the Word of God more effectively.
This was really an answer to prayer. I view our labors here as a success if, after we (the foreign missionaries) leave, the work continues on and keeps bearing fruit in our absence. For this, the natives must be equipped and trained to do the work of the ministry. This is great progress thus far, but is just a small taste of what is my great desire to see here in Guadalajara.
We also have a steady team that is sharing the Gospel with strangers regularly, with or without us, and going out to the streets on a regular basis for the purpose of proclaiming Christ. May more laborers be raised up to testify to the Gospel of grace, and more souls be brought into the Kingdom of God!
Of course we are still evangelizing in the city center. It has been a little slow lately, but the Word of God is still going forth.
Sometimes when we go out, it seems like it’s all in vain and nobody responds and we have no good conversations. Other times, it seems like it’s just an awesome time and God really moves. Recently, we had one such time. Numerous people came to us seeking to know more about the way of salvation after open air preaching. I had two men in one night at different times say to me personally, “What must I do to be saved?” It’s always a joy to explain God’s way of salvation to those who are sincerely inquiring under a sense of their sin. For street evangelists, that is the most beautiful question to hear!
We’ve also been having GREAT conversations with the police officers who work in the area we preach in. They actually have stopped next to us while preaching, but not to stop us, but rather to listen to us! Even further, they ask us if we have any Bibles! This has happened twice now. We were able to give them to them. Believe it or not, one of them is a Christian, we found out (he appears to be a true believer). That one has been testifying to his co-workers, and seeing his good testimony, another officer has been under the conviction that these things are true. At first, his co-worker told us he too was a Christian. But then, as we continued talking, we found out that he was living in a fornicating relationship, among other things, which seem to strongly indicate that he doesn’t truly know Christ (because of a lifestyle of willful sin). We admonished him with Scripture, explaining to him what it means to be converted. He confessed that he’s never been born again. Yet he remained really open, and the Lord really seems like He’s had His hand on him. He just seems so close to the Kingdom. He even tears up when he talks to us, and has such a sincerity about him, asking many questions about different topics and spending time, while on duty, conversing with us about the things of God. That would be wonderful to see him soundly saved. I gave him a copy of my booklet about the Gospel and he read it, saying it was very clear, and that he needs to surrender his life to Christ. Pray for the police officers of Guadalajara!
One of the great needs here in Mexico is teaching simple, but important, Biblical doctrines to the believers. Some have been in the church for years but still lack any solid foundation in this respect. Many of them see their need for this too. Because of this, I am currently working on discipleship materials which I can use to instruct them and equip them effectively. These will be used to teach the believers in our church, as well as to instruct new believers who come to the Lord.
There is a need for this with another open air preacher in this city also. He does not fellowship in our church but lives some distance away. Yet he regularly comes into the city to preach and evangelize. He also teaches in churches and home groups in his area. We regularly give him tracts and other materials (literature teaching sound doctrine) and see him from time to time. He is a powerful preacher with a deep booming voice and a passion for proclaiming Christ. But though he knows his Bible fairly well, he is really lacking in some solid understanding of basic Bible doctrines. I gave him a booklet a while back entitled, “Bible Doctrines Simply Explained”, which was originally written for children, being simple enough for them. However, this brother loved the book, said he learned so much from it, and even began teaching it to others! So that which was meant for children is able to teach preachers here (this brother is about 60 years old). That is the serious lack I have seen on all sides. Discipleship is truly lacking, and instruction on how to “rightly divide the word of truth”. Those who have been in Christ for years have never received basic foundations of Bible doctrine. We have talked to this brother, and it is our desire on both sides to meet together regularly so I can teach him these things more thoroughly. Such will equip him to be a better teacher and preacher, and to be more fruitful in his ministry. If I’m able to thoroughly instruct him in sound doctrine, and he retains it effectively, able to teach and preach in an accurate, God-glorifying manner, then it is my hope to help support him regularly with Bibles and other materials for his ministry.
Sometimes people look at open air preaching and street evangelism as a less effective sort of way of doing evangelism, not seeing any visible fruit among those who do it. Yet public proclamation of the Gospel is sorely needed all over the world in our day. There is no other way to get the Gospel to all the common people.
There is a man who, almost exactly one year ago, responded to our message when we were open air preaching in the center of Guadalajara. His name is “Jesus” (pronounced, “Hey-zues”). Or we can call him “Chuy” (a nickname for “Jesus” in Mexico). After hearing us preach, he continued to come to our Bible studies week after week. Each time, the Word of God seemed to pierce him, but not convert him. He had heard some Christian teachings, having attended periodically an evangelical church in the past. However, pretty much everything he learned had to be unlearned and destroyed because it was false (for instance, when he first met us he thought he was saved because he said the sinner’s prayer even though his life didn’t match up to anything the Bible describes as a real Christian, and he also thought that the “prosperity gospel” was taught in the Bible). He eventually got to the point of being undone. In one of the messages I taught, he broke out weeping openly, interrupting the message (I always love these types of Holy Spirit interruptions!) by confessing he’s a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness, causing us to stop the teaching and start interceding before the Throne. –And get this, it was in the middle of a message not about the depravity of man, the wrath of God, the law of God, or the justice of God, but was a message about mercy! It was as if he saw God’s mercy and love and it melted him as he saw how merciful God was, but how much he didn’t deserve it. Yet he still didn’t get converted.
A short time later, he visited our church. After the meeting, numerous people befriended him and asked him about the state of his soul, if he knew he was saved. If you are a visitor at this church, you will probably not get out until at least three people, recognizing you as a visitor, seek to know where you stand before God and if you have a testimony of salvation. If they hear anything questionable, they will proceed to evangelize you. After we left, he told us, “I felt like Judas Iscariot on trial! They didn’t believe I was saved, or what?” We then asked him if he knew he was saved, because we weren’t sure either. He admitted to us he’d never repented because he can’t stop sinning no matter how hard he tries. He had the false idea that you have to repent in your own strength before you can come to Christ, and that “to repent” means to stop sinning. So he was trying to clean the outside of the cup before surrendering his heart to Christ in true repentance (change of mind and heart, from serving sin to serving God) and faith (trust in Christ alone for salvation). We explained to him the way of God more thoroughly and he received it with astonishment as to what saving grace is.
Shortly later, he called us on the telephone to tell us that he had just surrendered his life to Christ. Keep in mind that this was after a couple of months of being broken in contrition under the weight of feeling his sin. He said that now he feels like a burden was lifted off of him and has a lot of peace and joy that he never had before. This was about 9 months ago. We have not had contact with him since. This is because he found a job right after this surrender to the Lord and works a lot, on a completely different side of the city from us. So it’s hard to keep in contact. But Lina just talked to him the other day, and according to his own testimony, he is still serving the Lord, living a sanctified life, and is reading the Word regularly. The only thing he said is that he’s not congregating anywhere (this can be a good thing, since there’s so few churches, and many of those few are pretty corrupt and deceptive).
Now I’m not saying the man is certainly saved, as I dare not presume upon God, but from the appearance of it all, it seems like he has a definite testimony of salvation now, along with a good amount of time to confirm it by obedience. At the very least God has done something with this man, and very possibly has saved him. Just think, if we had never gone out and proclaimed the Gospel publicly, this would have never happened! There’s a reason that Jesus tells us to “Go INTO ALL THE WORLD to preach the Gospel to EVERY CREATURE”. That can only be done by actually going out into the places where every creature gathers and proclaiming the Gospel where the sinners are.
THE GREAT NEED FOR BIBLES AND BIBLE LITERACY IN MEXICO
One great, lacking and desperate need of the people of Guadalajara is Bible literacy. What I mean by that is there is such a gross ignorance to the most basic truths of the Bible among the vast majority of the population to such a degree that the average person is not only Gospel-ignorant (as to the true meaning of the Gospel) but is also Bible-ignorant to the most basic Bible knowledge. Now this is to be expected in los campos (the remote, small-town farming regions) where many don’t know how to read, but here in the city, education is given high value and there are very few who can’t read. Therefore it’s mind-boggling to think of how great a lack there is of knowledge of the Bible itself!
Of course, the fact that Catholicism has reigned here for centuries doesn’t help, nor the fact that Guadalajara is in what is arguably (by the word of the people we talk to around Mexico, and by certain missiologists) the most Catholic region of Mexico. A religion that holds precious souls in bondage to ceremonies and superstitions with a form of godliness but denying the power of true salvation by grace is the major culprit behind much of the evils we find ourselves confronted with here as we labor to spread the knowledge of the glory of God in the Gospel of grace. A religion that has historically discouraged the reading of God’s precious Word and martyred those who fought for such liberty, drunken with the blood of the saints of Jesus, is certainly guilty of veiling the message of God’s salvation from the common people all in the name of “the one true church”. The power of tradition is a stronghold that only the mighty power of the love of Christ can break, and only the Word of God taught and followed can unleash the truth that will set souls free from the bondage of such religious deception (John 8:31-32).
Some Christians think that Catholicism isn’t so bad –that we have much common ground between us and Catholics and that such is helpful in trying to evangelize them and win them over to truth. While the few things we have in common must be used as a bridge to relate to them, (i.e. the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, etc.) they have mixed these truths with so many lies which contradict God’s written Word that most of what they have learned in the religion of their fathers needs to be unlearned before they can understand grace aright. The whole system is the Devil’s crafty counterfeit of the true church and since it gives the outward appearance of godliness, it is all the more deceptive.
Charles Spurgeon said: “Did the apostles preach the sacrifice of Christ?—the devil’s apostles preached the sacrifice of the mass. Did the saints uplift the cross?—the devil’s servants upheld the crucifix. Did God’s ministers speak of Jesus as the one infallible Head of the Church?—the devil’s servants proclaimed the false priest of Rome as standing in the self-same place. Romanism is a most ingenious imitation of the gospel: it is the magicians “doing do with their enchantments.”
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
In the face of this harlot that rides the back of the kingdoms of the earth (Rev. 17) we are battling for truth. And I firmly believe that the best, more sure, and effective strategy is by getting God’s written Word into the hands, heads, and hearts of the common people.
First, into their hands. Every person must own their own copy of the Holy Scriptures. If they don’t have immediate access to the Bible, they are far less likely to read it. Putting a Bible in every home gives everyone access to the saving truth of God. It opens the door for the Holy Spirit to enlighten their understanding, which is the first step of conversion. Without knowledge people perish (Hos. 4:6).
Second, into their heads. The people must read their Bibles. To facilitate this, they should be taught how to understand the Bible and its’ most basic truths regarding its key salvation-related themes; to see Christ in the Scriptures (Luke 24:27) that He may reveal Himself to them in a saving way (2 Cor. 4:6). The Word must also be preached, because it is the foolishness of preaching which God has ordained to save those who believe as a result of that preaching (1 Cor. 1:21). Good preaching and teaching will simplify the truth of the Bible so everybody can understand (Neh. 8:8) “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.” (Psalm 25:8)
Third, into their hearts. Once they possess the basic knowledge of salvation from God’s written Word, they will have a firm foundation upon which the Holy Spirit can impart saving faith to their hearts; a faith by which they can lay hold on eternal life. When the people come to understand God’s redemptive purpose and the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and why they need it, God will be gracious to sovereignly give the increase and bring forth an inward work of grace in salvation among those who are appointed to eternal life (1 Cor. 3:6-7, Acts 13:48), and thus He will glorify His name in the work of redemption by demonstrating the riches of His grace to those who least deserve His favor.
Historically, the Bible being put into the hands of the common person by translation and distribution, and put into their heads by preaching and instruction, is what resulted in that truth penetrating their hearts, and in the response of their hearts which liberated world history from the dark ages of Catholic reign. –THESE are the things which sparked and fueled the great Reformation. THESE are the things which changed the entire course of world history. THESE are the things which have given us all the privilege of sitting right here, right now, knowing the truth of God and rejoicing in the salvation that has been revealed to us. And it’s because of this that, in addition to proclamation evangelism, the ministry of distributing Bibles to the common people is such an essential, important ministry anywhere, especially on the mission field in regions where biblical Christianity has not seriously penetrated the pagan beliefs and culture of the common people who lounge under the shadow of darkness. That is why we are committed to purchasing and distributing Bibles in Guadalajara in addition to preaching and teaching God’s Word wherever the opportunity comes, that God may get glory where He is currently not worshipped in spirit and truth.
The ignorance to the Bible among the majority of Guadalajara is staggering. Many do not even know what the New Testament is when we have given them out alone, looking at it as some strange book, not knowing that it’s a part of the Bible! (NOTE: This is one reason why we must distribute complete Bibles and not just New Testaments.) Many do not know the most basic facts about the Bible, or have even heard the names of the books of the New Testament. Many have never even heard the 2nd Commandment of the Decalogue which forbids making and worshipping images (the Papacy conveniently removes this command from their version and splits the 10th Commandment into 2 in order to keep an appearance of having 10). Many exalt and pray to Mary to the extent that Jesus Christ is delegated to a second place position of honor, and they will freely admit this. One time, we even found that a group of children actually thought that Jesus Christ was the husband of Mary, and that He was still dead, not knowing He was the Son of God, that He bore our sin, nor that He is risen and alive.
There is gross Gospel and Bible ignorance in Guadalajara, as well as in the rest of the country of Mexico. Therefore, we must stand up and combat the forces of darkness and shine the glorious light of the truth of God’s Word to the farthest corners of the city and nation. We must distribute Bibles in the marketplaces. We must assimilate Bible-saturated literature. We must proclaim Christ in the public squares. We must instruct sinners in Gospel truth. We must meet the people where they are and confront them with the truth of God in love. We must take a stand against religious traditions which nullify the commandments of God. And we must equip the remnant of saints who are already here to be solid disciples of Jesus who can effectively reach their own people, demonstrating for them how to reach the lost most effectively, that the task may be finished, the elect may be harvested, and the Lord of glory may return.
MARKETPLACE MINISTRY & BIBLE DISTRIBUTION
We have been blessed to obtain a central location in a local tianguis (outdoor street market) close to our house in Guadalajara, where we’ve been given permission to set up a table every week in order to distribute Bibles and Gospel literature and to share the Word with passers-by. The Lord really opened this door and we were offered the booth for free. Every Tuesday the entire street is shut down and early in the morning it is filled with vendors selling everything imaginable. It is a great place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and other groceries, so nearby residents frequent the same market every week –an untold number of people. It’s a wonderful place to set up a booth to evangelize from, and that’s what we’re doing.
So far we have been there a few times, and they were a real blessing. We were able to share the Gospel clearly with quite a few people, young and old alike. Most are practicing Catholics and proud of their religion, but God has given us grace to share the truth in love with those who talk to us, and we have found some open hearts.
Here’s what it looks like: We have a little table with Bibles, tracts, and booklets, and a little sign on it that says, “Un Regalo Gratis Para Usted” (A Free Gift for You). We set up from about 9am to 2pm while the market is busy. We are right between a women selling fresh cut chicken and a man selling flea market type trinkets. As people walk by, we give them tracts and tell them that we’re there giving out for free everything on the table. Those who stop, we quickly engage with the Gospel and try to engage in meaningful conversation about their eternity. Some at this point will proceed to browse through the items on our table, and when they find something interesting, they will ask, “how much does it cost” (despite the sign and despite us having already said it’s all free). We tell them again, “it’s all free” and they will take something and thank us. But though we have a variety of appealing Catholic-looking tracts and other booklets, the thing that excites some people the most is the Bibles.
The Lord is giving us divine appointments and sending those to receive Bibles who really seem to be on the verge of encountering the true God. I can’t describe here every person who’s come for a Bible and what they’ve said, but those who had recently intended to read the Bible and seek the Lord yet didn’t own a Bible have run into our booth and received not only a free Bible but a divine confirmation that God is calling them and that now it’s time to seek the Lord.
We’ve only set up three times thus far, but both times the Gospel went forth. The first time, we gave out about 10 Bibles. The second time, we gave out 15 Bibles. In addition, hundreds of tracts and many booklets were distributed. Dozens of great conversations were held with individuals, some of whom were holding back tears. Amazingly, those receiving a Bible had not owned one and were clueless as to how to start reading it, so we explained to them where to start and how to read it.
Last week, there were a number of good encounters:
-A middle-aged man got blindsided with the Gospel and seemed deeply impacted. He did not own a Bible nor know what Jesus did to save him. By appearance, he looked like he would never have considered the things of God, but he was extremely open to talk to us and hear the truth about salvation, humbled under the Word. He left after we put a Bible in his hand, saying he would seek the Lord.
-A group of young girls (early teens) stopped by the booth as Lina preached the Gospel to them. They were gathered all around the booth. One of them, though so young, was already very Catholic. Yet there was something different about her –she said that almost every day she would read the Bible. She knew many stories from it. Lina was able to take them through the Law, show them their need for a Savior, and explain to them what Jesus did to save them. They saw their sin and their need for repentance.
-A middle-aged woman who was a devout Catholic stopped by our booth. She was excited to find Bibles, and very gratefully took one. As we engaged her in conversation, the subject of Mary came up quickly as she asked us, “What religion are you?” –Christians, we answered. “Do you believe in Mary?” “–We believe she was a blessed woman, but we do not believe she is a mediator between us and God nor that she is to be worshipped or prayed to.” With that, we took her to Exodus 20 to read the 10 Commandments. She was shocked to read the second commandment. Then she told us that she had built a shrine to Mary! As we talked, she appeared to see her error, and saw her need to study the Bible for herself and not just accept religious traditions blindly.
There are more such encounters I could share with you, but time and space fail me. Yet needless to say, this is a great way to reach out to our surrounding community in this corner of this vast city of countless multitudes. I know the Lord has opened the doors for this and I’m hoping to get other believers involved in this type of ministry in other parts of the city, namely from our local church. It’s a lot less intimidating to sit behind a table and pray for God to lead those to you He’s preparing, and to talk to those who approach giving them free gifts then it is to randomly approach strangers on the street and confront them with the Gospel, especially in an open air preaching context; thus I think it will be easier to get others involved who really have a desire to reach out to the lost.
The Lord has also brought us to partner with an apologetic ministry called Lighting the Way Worldwide (www.lightingthewayworldwide.org) which has already been doing this type of table ministry around the USA and in different parts of the world for years. They are graciously helping us with Bibles and materials for the table as they’re able. We can never have too many Bibles to distribute, especially at a pace of giving out 50 or so per month! And more Bibles would mean more opportunities to expand the outreach. We are so grateful for all who help us to be able to labor in this type of ministry and make the Word of God available free of charge to the people of Guadalajara. It will certainly bring forth eternal dividends as God gets glory for His name!
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PRAYER POINTS
-Brother Aaron (see previous update) will be arriving here in Guadalajara on May 12 to preach the Gospel with us.
-We are moving from the current house we’re renting into another one that is slightly larger so that Aaron can stay with us (the house we’re in now just has absolutely no room for the three of us). We’re praying for the perfect place, also with the intent to have Bible study meetings in it, and that God would provide for the move.
-We are still working on paperwork to try to obtain permission to be in Mexico long term. This is a process but so far it’s coming along.
-Many of our brethren inquire frequently about our health. Along these lines, both Lina and I have had our battles recently. Both of us have had to go to the hospital within the last month. Lina is fine now, and I’m getting better. I somehow contracted some miserable stomach virus which laid me out for a couple days. It was so bad that I went to the emergency room. Thankfully, we know a doctor who works there who is a brother from the church, and he gave me a diagnosis free of charge in the name of Jesus. He put me on an anti-biotic and some other medicine, which helped to heal me up. It took about a week to return more or less to normal, but now I’m feeling a lot better.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.” -Ephesians 6:10-19
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. -Luke 10:2
Dear Brethren in Christ,
We are on a temporary visit to the US right now. There is so much to share and so much to update you on, but I want to announce what appears to be a real answer to prayer for the Lord to send more laborers to help us. Recently, a dear brother in Christ came down to Guadalajara to visit us and spend some time fellowshipping and ministering with us, and it was a blessed time in the Lord. This brother is the one that has translated some of my articles and booklets into Spanish, and in fact, the first time I met him (and the only time prior to this) was when he translated for me as I preached the Gospel at my own wedding. Well, we didn’t know each other very well, and a while back he contacted us saying that he wants to visit with the possibility of the seeing if the Lord was leading him to work with us.
So when he came down to visit, I didn’t know him very well, and didn’t even know his exact theological views on some important issues, or even his convictions on many things. And my prayer has been that if the Lord sends someone, they will be equally yoked and we’d be able to be of one mind, especially since it is my heart to make disciples and raise up a more lasting work in Mexico, starting in Guadalajara where we’re stationed. When working with a team to establish a lasting work (i.e. disciples & not just converts), it’s necessary that the team see eye to eye on doctrine and practical issues so that the work can continue and we can keep our eyes on advancing against the powers of darkness without having to deal with internal struggles. So praise God, we were of one mind and one heart in the Gospel, and it appears that the Lord is now bringing this brother to our city to preach with us.
His name is Aaron Block, and he spent two years as a missionary in Peru. Some of you may have seen him translating for Charles Leiter at a Heartcry Conference. He has some health issues that have caused him a lot of pain, and almost a year ago he went back to the USA where he’s from in order to seek medical treatment. But when he was with us preaching and ministering there was a lot of grace and he was able to minister without being held back, and really got some good preaching in at the center of our Catholic-pagan city. So that gives you some background, and I will let him tell the rest.
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.
Brethren and friends,
Much has been happening here and the Lord is being glorified.
Here’s some highlights:
- We are still evangelizing in the city every week with our little group. We are planning to begin evangelizing in new areas in the city starting next month. There are many great places to evangelize in this city and there are countless people. We need more laborers!
- I’m still ministering to the youth/singles group in the church. It has been going well. As one brother commented to me recently, it is one thing to be an evangelist and to jump around everywhere preaching to different people but it is entirely another thing to actually get in the church and minister over time to real people and to see all their faults, problems, and struggles. Please pray that the Lord would pour out His Spirit on this group and convert those needing real salvation, revive those who have fallen asleep in the light, and send those into the fields who are called to reach the perishing!
- We are also discipling a couple of new believers every week in their home. This has been going very well and they are showing signs of growth in the Lord. We now have about 4 or 5 months meeting with them. Part of the Great Commission is not just to preach and to make converts, but to make disciples, to teach them the Word of Christ and to obey His commandments. One true disciple that bears lots of fruit for God’s glory is better than a hundred converts that show little fruit.
- A young woman from the city where we evangelize has now been coming to every meeting in the church and is being discipled by the older women. She has shown a great hunger for the Lord and is showing a lot of signs of genuine devotion to Christ.
- We just finished the evangelism teaching meetings in the church after concluding by teaching for the past month and a half about Roman Catholicism. Most of the people here in the city are Catholics, so we studied their doctrines in comparison with the Word of God in order to know how to best reach them with the truth of the real Gospel of God’s grace. Many were edified and blessed by the teachings, and I believe are gaining confidence in sharing with others.
- I’ve been seeking the Lord for direction about ministry plans for the new year, and it is our desire to continue working in Guadalajara at this time. We have some brethren from the USA coming to visit us early next year, and I still need to work on my Spanish, in addition is our desire to see a more solid work established in this city that will bear lasting fruit. We are making disciples, not just converts. So we need more time here in this city to see a more solid, deep, and thorough work established. I don’t want to move on anywhere else until I see that what we’ve done here will continue to multiply significantly in our absence. I don’t know what the future holds, just trusting the Lord to lead us to do what He wills.
MISSION TRIP TO GUERRERO
The inner regions of the state of Guerrero, Mexico is like a world all of its own. It is about as different from Guadalajara as India is from England. It is rural Mexico where there are still many villages isolated from the Gospel and without any solid Christian witness in their midst. We lived there for 4 months, and now we’re going back for a short visit.
So we’re planning on taking a one-week trip back to the village. We’ll be there from December 26 thru January 3. It is an 11 hour drive from here into the heart of Mexico through the Sierra mountains. This time, we are bringing a team from our church, a group that consists of a couple professional teachers of young children (who are solid Christians) and a couple of brothers. We are excited to go back for a visit and to see the brethren there we know.
We are taking these teachers to the village to conduct a one-week Bible boot camp for the 50+ children who would come to our meetings when we lived there. We’ll be using the town hall in the center of this small town of 600 persons in order to conduct activities with Bible teaching every day for 5 days straight. We have the whole curriculum planned out with activities, and most of all with teachings from the Bible. We’ll also be bringing gifts for the children as well as free Bibles for them to have. When we were staying in this village, we saw the children as a key to reaching the adults, and sure enough, as we ministered to the children, some of the hearts of their parents would soften to the Gospel and they’d want to hear us preach too. Reaching these children is crucial for the future of the village if the Lord tarries, so this is an important ministry. We must suffer the children to come to Jesus. Please pray for us as we go.
We will also be going around to houses and sharing the Gospel with the villagers when we’re there, especially me and the brothers while the women are ministering to the children. I may also be preaching in some churches when we’re there and visit the men in the prison we used to minister to in the nearby town to check up on them and see where they’re at with the Lord. One of the brothers from the prison has been released and he begged me to visit his home when we go so he can have a feast for us and rejoice in the Lord! He wants to buy and slaughter a goat to eat (a delicacy here in Mexico) and have us preach to him and his family. I’m looking forward to it. This brother was in tears when we left to come to Guadalajara, so it will be great to see him again and exhort him in the Lord.
Since we left this area, a couple of sisters in the Lord have also made an exodus from a horrible church they were a part of. The culprits behind their leaving is the truth of the Gospel and some books of sermons by David Wilkerson that we gave them. Now I don’t go around recommending people to leave their churches, but when the church is dead and the leadership is unconverted and more lies are preached than truth and almost every service is a manipulation tactic on behalf of the leadership to extort money from the people, the Word of God commands us to separate from it. So we hope to visit them and see how they are doing in the Lord.
We are hoping to have a safe and fruitful trip. The area is very dangerous, from scorpions to mafia, so please pray for us all to have a safe and successful mission. The Lord’s will be done.
THE NEW YEAR
Another year is coming, and what will it hold? Only the Lord knows. This last year we have seen the Gospel preached to literally thousands of people. Preaching in the city almost every weekend, twice per week, we have seen a lot of people hear the Gospel. Most of them, however, are not from the center of the city but from places farther away, and so it’s hard to keep contact with them. If we had our own meeting place to preach the Word and worship the Lord, I’m am sure we would be able to see more visible fruit from our evangelism. This next year, Lord willing, we may do just that. We had a few steady followers when we did early this last year, and they were very sad to see us stop the meetings in the hotel conference room when we did. So we’re praying about starting a new work, separate from the established church we’re a part of right now. Church planting is a serious calling, and we can’t do it alone. If it’s the Lord will, He will send more laborers to help us.
My Spanish is definitely improving. I’m now at a basic conversational level. I’ve been able to witness and share the Gospel with people all by myself now and understand their conversation. This new year, Lord willing, will see my first sermon preached entirely in Spanish. I’m excited about it. It’s certainly been no easy task thus far. We must press on in the Lord, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!
In Christ –Josef & Lina Urban
I would like to share a few testimonies from our inner city evangelism as of late.
DOES JESUS STILL HEAL PEOPLE?
Recently, as I was open air preaching and Lina was translating, we finished by inviting people to come forward to hear more about the Gospel, have their questions answered, receive Gospels of John, or to receive prayer. An old man came forward very slowly, limping and stumbling very slowly, obviously having a great difficulty walking. As he approached, he told us that he had a sciatic nerve problem and that nothing he does can cause the pain to be relieved. No matter which way he stands, or sits, or lays, it hurts just the same, and he could hardly walk. So in faith, the man asked for prayer. We prayed and laid hands on him in the name of Jesus, and the pain ceased. He told us that it felt warm when we were praying, and that it doesn't hurt any more. Then he quickly walked off without limping and without any difficulting walking! Actually, he walked off so fast that we didn't even get a chance to talk to him any more, and barely managed to get a Gospel of John in his hands!
OPEN AIR CAMPAIGNERS
We have also managed to meet another brother that open air preaches in the city. He is with the ministry, "Open Air Campaigners". These guys are known for their sketch board method, where they paint and preach at the same time on the streets. This brother brings a blacklight and florescent paint and as it gets dark in the city squares, the paint glows on the board and it attracts a lot of people. We have been meeting up with him lately to preach. Just this last weekend, they had a whole team come in from Canada and do an evangelistic campaign in the city. It was a great time of witnessing to all the people that gathered, and all of us had some really good conversations with people about their eternity. We have a couple of contacts from this outreach of people requesting that we come to their home to give them personal bible studies.
EX-DRUNKARD STILL CHANGED
Some of you reading this may recall Javier, the man we talked about around 6 months ago. He was a man that lived on the street, homeless, and was one of the worst drunkards we ever saw. He couldn't even eat without washing his food down with strong liquor or else he would get the shakes and vomit. As we would preach in the city, he would frequently stand by weeping and crying out to God for forgiveness. During that time, not only was he homeless, in bondage to alcohol, but he was also violent and suicidal. It was just a matter of time before he died on those hard streets. But one day when we were preaching he finally said he wants to change. So we took him to a Christian rehabilitation center in the city and get this, they rejected him, saying he was too far gone. They told us to bring him back in a few days if we can manage to keep him sober for that long. So having no other choice, we took him into our home.
During that time, he wept constantly. He went through withdrawls, through shakes, through mood swings, etc. But every time he would get bad we would pray for him and he would feel better. Well, after that few days of staying in our house, he was sobered up and feeling better. Now he didn't want to go to that rehab center any more. So we put him on a bus and sent him to his parents' house.
Now his parents had rejected him and kicked him out of their house because of his drinking problem. But now that he was sober, he was going to try to go back. Since then, we hadn't really heard from him.
Last night, we ran into him as he was walking through the city. He actually stopped to hear the brothers with us preaching, and we saw him there. He looked different! No longer dirty, smelling like alcohol. He was clean, nice clothes, and had glasses on his face! He would always tell us that he wanted glasses so he could see but he didn't have any money, and he wanted them so bad that we prayed and asked the Lord to give him glasses. Well, now he had them! He told us that he was now living in his parents house, which means that he's not drinking like he used to. And also, he had found a job at a tire shop and was working. His next step is to learn how to read.
It doesn't appear that he is converted yet, though it is hard to tell seeing that even if he was, he wouldn't be able to read the Bible and so his spiritual growth would be greatly stunted. He has heard the Gospel numerous times and even seen evangelistic films about the life of Jesus, so he does have enough knowledge of the Word to produce saving faith if the Lord grants it. But all this is a tremendous miracle to the glory of God. This man appeared to be past hope, the worst of the worst, the most filthy of all people in bondage to sin, but the Lord has done a work! Christ died to save sinners! He is the Great Physician to those who are sick!