Update – August, 2021

This update is available in PDF format here.

Hello, Friends and Family!

Have you been enjoying the summer? Here the heat is over and it’s mostly cool, cloudy and rainy. We’re once again using our heaters, fireplace and wood stove here in the mountains outside of Tulancingo, Hidalgo. For the most part the warmest time of the year is in April and May. After that, the rainy season starts and with it, cooler weather. We’re very thankful for the rain! It makes everything so beautiful. The wild flowers are in bloom in the fields and the mushrooms begin sprouting here in the forest. It is truly a nice time to enjoy the beauty of God’s Creation.

Bible School

We finished our spring semester in June. After a brief break, our students are heading back to classes on August 18. During this time, we have been working on putting together a new course on Biblical Hermeneutics. We are using Bill Scheidler’s material, translating it and adapting it for our school. Anna is working with me, doing most of the work on the material. I am teaching the courses on video (24 sessions) and creating all the assignments for the students. It takes many hours to get a new course set up, but once it’s ready, it can be used for many years to come.

During this time I have also been working a bit on our online platform (the program that makes the online learning experience work), adding a few features that will hopefully make for a better student experience. I have finally been able to localize most of the system so that the students will be able to work in their own time zones and pay for the courses according to the country in which they live.

Anna is also doing a great job with social media posts and advertising for the school. It is such a blessing to have her help!

Our Church Family

Church has definitely been different these last 18 months, but we’re excited to let you know that we have been enjoying celebrating some services with groups of people. On several occasions we’ve had people over to our place to have outdoor services. This past Sunday, we had a larger group (about 60) for a service here on the lawn. It was so good to see several of the people that we hadn’t seen “in person” for over a year.

We continue to do online services as well. Even when meeting in person, we also produce an online version of the service for those who can’t be here. I was a bit surprised that this last Sunday we had about 75% of our online attendance at the same time we were meeting in person.

COVID-19 continues to spread with the Delta variant in our area. We know of several people who are very sick right now, including one of our online course facilitators. We pray for God’s mercy to end this diabolic plague and His protection upon us and our extended church family.

Building On Our Land

The building process for our church has begun. The cistern has been dug and the foundations are being laid this week for the wall that will surround the property. We plan to build a large walled outdoor garden area that will eventually be able to host about 500 people, a smaller café and multi-purpose auditorium (for seating smaller groups indoors), bathrooms, a kitchen, offices and a storage room. Please pray for Holy Spirit wisdom for us, the architect, and the workers, to get all of this built. We also need favor with the local government to get through all of the bureaucracy. Sara is doing a great job supervising things, getting permits and trying to cut through all the “red tape”.

Our Family

We praise God that we are all healthy and well. Daniel and Elisa are now married and living in Vancouver, Washington, where they serve in their local church and Daniel works for Portland Bible College. Our other son, David, graduated from Western Michigan University and is about to move to Texas to work and study a doctorate degree at Texas A&M University. Anna graduated from High School and is working with me this summer for our online Bible School and church. She will begin studying online with Bethel (BSSM) in September.

Prayer and Praise

We are happy to report that God has continued to bless His church in the midst of the pandemic. We are thankful for health, life and provision throughout this time.

Here are a few prayer requests we currently have:

  1. Please pray for protection and health for the pastors, leaders and members of our church and Bible School. Several have gotten sick and a few have passed into the presence of the Lord over the past few weeks. Please also remember the pastors in Uganda.
  2. Please pray for Raúl Méndez and his family. He is a member of our Online Bible School team and is battling COVID. Please pray for a quick and complete recovery, and especially that he wouldn’t have any severe complications.
  3. Please pray for our building project.
  4. Please also pray for this new semester of the Bible School.

Thanks for your help!

We are very thankful to you for your prayer and financial support. Thanks for being our partners in the Kingdom of Heaven. God has called us to manifest and extend His kingdom in the Tulancingo area and throughout Mexico. We’re very thankful for your help and support as together we accomplish this mission.

We would love to hear from you, even if it is just a short note saying that you received and read this newsletter. It encourages us to know that some of you actually read these updates all the way to the end!

Have a blessed week!

In Christ,

David and Sara Lont

Update – June, 2021

Note: You can download a printable PDF copy of this newsletter here:

Dear friends, family and supporters,

How have things been going for you? We have been enjoying this spring with warm weather and now a bit of rain. Actually, here in the mountains, April and May are the warmest months of the year. By August, we’ll be using our wood stove again to stay warm.

Anyway, I’d love to share with you a few things that we’ve been working on.

Online Bible School

Our online Bible School is going strong. We started out our spring semester with about 170 students enrolled in courses. Most of them have stuck to their studies throughout the semester and many have grown both spiritually and in knowledge of God’s word and in their ministries. Most of our students are either pastors, leaders, or serve in some capacity within their local churches.

We are working with a group of about 12 others who serve as course facilitators, editors, designers and technical help. We also have six Bible teachers who teach the online courses in audio and video.

History of the Online Bible School

The school started as an idea that John and Bill Brown had about 10 years ago. (Bill is a spiritual father to us, and John is his grandson.) John Brown worked here in Mexico for several years and brought many fresh ideas to the Advanced School of Ministry team. However, he returned to Canada before being able to develop the online school. I took the vision from there. I started by developing the software on which to build the school (I couldn’t find any free software that satisfied our needs), and then we launched the school just within our congregation, as a trial. After successfully developing and offering a couple of courses to a small group of our people here locally, we decided in 2015 that we would launch it nationwide through the Advanced School of Ministry. We grew from about 40 students during our first semester to about 170 now.

We are continually developing new courses. Each semester we offer at least one new course, and we have the goal of developing a complete Bible School curriculum.

At the present time, each student who completes a course receives a certificate of completion which counts toward the Advanced School of Ministry bachelor degree program.

Our Local Church

We have been meeting online with our church since March, 2020, when the pandemic started. The change was abrupt, but our congregation has adapted well. We meet in small groups on Wednesday nights for Bible studies, and our Sunday services are transmitted via YouTube and our church’s web page. As I have stated before, this has worked very well. However, we do desire to get together with the entire church soon. We no longer rent a building, and it’s still not the best idea to meet indoors here, so we’re looking at other options.

Our church owns a piece of property, and we’re currently working on plans to build a garden (or yard) in which we’ll be able to have some outdoor meetings. In the meantime, we’re starting to get together in small groups for outdoor meetings at our home and soon at the homes of others in our congregation.

We’re in the process of transitioning into a type of “microchurch” model, in which the teaching will continue to be centralized, but delivered via video simultaneously to the different groups meeting in different locations. In this way, online church will continue, but we’ll also be able to get several families together in a safe way. We’re excited to see what God will do in these meetings. I truly believe that He is about to pour out His Spirit in new and fresh ways!

Anna, leading a time of worship with a few of the girls

Our daughter Anna has continues to lead a group of adolescent girls. The hunger that they have for the presence of God has been awesome! They’ve been meeting online throughout the year, but just recently they also began meeting in person outside on our property. Anna teaches a simple Bible lesson and leads them in worship. At these gatherings we’ve seen the girls break down in tears as they worship the Lord together. The Holy Spirit is doing some really deep things in the hearts of some of them.

Our Wednesday meetings (online via Zoom) also continue to flourish. I have been developing all of the teaching material in the form of Bible themes based on questions for discussion. Our Connect Group leaders direct the discussions and then pray and minister to the people in their group. It has been so awesome to see how the Spirit of God touches people during these Zoom sessions. The Holy Spirit isn’t limited by distance or technology!

Our Family

On May 15, Daniel and Elisa graduated from Portland Bible College. The next Thursday, May 20, we were privileged to attend Daniel and Elisa’s wedding. We now have a married son and a new daughter! We are very happy for both of them, and feel blessed to receive Elisa into our family. Elisa spent a good share of her childhood and teen years in Japan as the daughter of a missionary family, and Daniel was born and grew up in Mexico. Even though they are from different places and experiences, both had a very “American” upbringing (including Veggietales).

Daniel and Elisa, at their graduation

For the moment, they plan to continue to live in Vancouver, Washington, and work with Portland Bible College, as well as continue to serve in their local church.

Thanks!

Thanks for being on our team. Your prayers and financial support make our work possible. We are thankful that you have continued to stand with us throughout the COVID storm!

Do you know someone who might be interested in what we do? Please go ahead and share this message with them. You may do this by:

  • Forwarding our email communications to your contacts who may be interested in what we are doing.
  • Personally telling others about us and asking them to contact us: dsm@desert-streams.org.
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Blessings!

David and Sara Lont