Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know how thankful we are this season. God has been so good to us! Our identity and destiny are found in Christ alone. He has graciously adopted us and welcomed us into His family, not only as servants, but as sons and daughters. He has given us countless opportunities to love and enjoy Him!

We are thankful for our local church. I think of all the families that have patiently endured this trying season of interruption and yet they faithfully continue on together with us as part of the local church. We’re thankful for the new levels of unity that we’ve seen at our most recent gatherings. It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which many come to worship and hear God’s word in our meetings.

We’re thankful for the leaders God has placed in our lives, both those who lead under our direction as well as those in authority over us.

We’re thankful for health, for financial provision, and for spiritual prosperity.

We’re thankful for the Online Bible School and the team of people that make it run smoothly. It’s such a blessing to count on people who are so faithful and dedicated in their work.

But today I especially want to say that we are thankful for you, as part of our group of family, friends and supporters – those who know us, pray for us, and give into our lives and ministry. Thank you for giving so much to allow us the freedom to serve full time in the things of the Kingdom of God. Thank you for “sticking with us” during the pandemic, lockdowns, during the closings of many businesses and churches, and during the financial hardships. We are so very thankful that God has used you to pray for us, encourage us, and bless us financially through it all! God is so good, and yet you are also an extension of His goodness and faithfulness. Thank you!

We pray that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving! May God bless you abundantly.

With love,

David and Sara Lont

Happy Fall, Friends and Family!

Note: You can download a printable PDF version of this update here.

David and Sara Lont

The autumn season has begun, and with it, cool weather, rain and fog here in our area. We really haven’t seen much of the sun over the past several weeks! A hurricane came through in the middle of August and brought lots of rain, which we’re thankful for, especially since we’ve had a lack of rainfall during the past several years. The months of August and September are normally very cool and rainy, and we’re enjoyed every day of God’s provision of water from heaven.

A Generator Fire

We were in the middle of an online meeting with our church one Wednesday night in September when Anna looked out the window and saw sparks and fire coming out of our tool shed (which is about 100 yards from the house), where the power generator was running. I was down the hill in our cabin in another meeting, and Anna quickly told me (over the Zoom meeting platform) that something was wrong with the generator and that I should go and check. I ran up the hill to find the plastic casing on the outside of the generator burning in flames. After quickly shutting it down, I raced to the house to get water and put out the fire. Thankfully, the fire only affected the housing of the generator and nothing else burned. We saw the Lord’s protection that night. I was even able to get back into the church meeting to close with prayer, and nobody realized that I had gone to put out a fire during the service!

Replanting a Forest

The lack of rain over the last several years affected the pine forests around our state, making the trees more susceptible to the pine beetle. This tiny insect eats through the bark of the tree, lays eggs, multiplies, and then comes out, leaving the trees “bleeding” (with pine sap) to death. Hundreds or thousands of them attack a single tree and kill it within a few weeks.

Although we had seen this happen before on our property, the beetles usually only attacked a few trees and left. But over the past year, they began attacking dozens of our trees at a time, and then moving on to the next batch. The only way to stop them is to cut down and burn the infected trees, but government regulations require special permits to cut trees, and these permits are a bit difficult to get. The beetles attacked and killed over 200 of the pine trees on our property, until finally in April, we were able to get the proper permissions to deal with the beetle outbreak.

Sara’s great-nephew helped to plant a tree.

Now we’re in the process of replanting the affected area with young trees, and praying that the beetles will stay away. It’s been quite an adventure. I hated to see the whole section of forest destroyed, but now it’s beautiful to see the area replanted with little trees. It’s also nice to have a rather large supply of firewood.

Church

Our church is moving forward with vision for establishing God’s Kingdom in our area. We are doing a combination of online and in-person services. I preach every week to our congregation on YouTube, and our small groups meet via Zoom. But we are also doing some outdoor services every month here outside of our house. At the same time, we’re pursuing a micro-church model, in which a few families can gather at a house and participate together in our online services.

Our church’s building project is making good progress. Parts of the wall surrounding the property have been built. The area for the office and bathrooms is also coming along well. It has been raining a lot during the last few months, so this has slowed the construction progress some. Whenever the workers dig to make foundations, if it rains hard during the night, the next morning they find their trenches filled with water and have to pump it out. But other than this little detail, the work is progressing. We hope to have a garden area on the property completed within six months or so, in order to have outdoor services there.

I’m constantly reminding our people that the church is not a building, but rather the people who respond to God’s call to become living stones in His house. In the times of the New Testament church, there weren’t church buildings. Church meetings took place wherever the people gathered – at times, in the synagogues, in certain cities outside near the river, in the public square, or in houses.

It’s definitely nice to see some of our people in our outdoor meetings each month. We encourage them to bring something for lunch, and most stay to have a picnic after church. These have been fun and unique times.

A picnic lunch after church this past Sunday

Bible School

Our online Bible School is active and well. We began classes in the middle of August and had about 180 students enroll for the semester. As I shared with you in our last update, I have been developing our Hermeneutics course. We finally finished recording the last six classes a couple of weeks ago, although I’m still working of the weekly reviews, forming essay questions and tests. The students are currently in week seven while I’m working on week eleven, so I’m managing to stay several weeks ahead of the group.

Our course facilitators are doing a wonderful job of taking care of the students each week, grading assignments and staying in communication with their groups. It is such a blessing to be able to count on our team!

Advanced School Of Ministry

We’ve been meeting with the Advanced School of Ministry team about once a month. During these meetings we’ve been planning our next seminar (which will be online) at the end of January. It is so nice to be able to see and talk with our team members in different cities on video conferencing. With everyone now using technology, we actually get to see the team much more than before the pandemic, when we only got together a couple of times per year.

Our Family

Our son David moved to Texas A&M in August to work on his doctorate degree in engineering. David was blessed to be accepted in a program in which he gets paid to study! He also was able to purchase his first car and is very happy to not have to travel everywhere on a bicycle anymore. He often comments on what a blessing it is to be able to get groceries and not worry about how to carry them home. Although he isn’t specifically called to ministry, he faithfully attends church each weekend.

Daniel and Elisa are going on 5 months of marriage. Daniel works for Portland Bible College, and together they serve in their local church in Vancouver, Washington.

Anna is here with us, studying online as a full-time student at Bethel Church’s school of ministry in Redding, California. She is enjoying her classes and growing in her relationship of the Lord. She is also taking an online course in our Bible School and helps with the development of our material. Of course, Anna is also such a blessing in church, doing youth ministry, leading a small group, singing with the worship team and taking care of social media for us. She is a very gifted Bible teacher. Whenever the church hears her teach, we get many positive comments. We know that she is definitely called to ministry.

Thanks for your help!

Thanks so much for your prayers and financial support. We are extending God’s kingdom in the Tulancingo area and throughout Mexico and are very thankful for your help as together we accomplish the mission of preaching the gospel and expanding God’s kingdom.

Have a blessed week!

With love,

David and Sara Lont

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.
  • Sharing this letter on your Facebook page or via Twitter using these buttons:


Blessings!

David and Sara Lont

Update – March, 2021

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

Hello, Friends, Family, and Supporters.

It’s great to greet you again from central Mexico. We want to share this update with you so that you will know some of the things we are working on.

David and Sara Lont

What Does the Church Look Like?

Today our church looks very different from how it looked a year ago! Last March, unbeknown to us, we had our very last meeting in what had been our church building and meeting location since 2004.

With all of the restrictions and dangers of COVID-19, I began to study once again what the Bible teaches about the church and what the original church in the book of Acts looked like. It has been a very interesting study as well as one that allows us to see that the work of the Lord cannot be stopped by a pandemic, government restrictions, persecution or anything else. The church that Jesus Christ is building is unstoppable!

Here are just a few thoughts:

The House of God is simple. The first mention of God’s house in Scripture is in Genesis 28, where Jacob has his dream of the ladder going up to heaven. When he awakes, he calls the place “Bethel”, which means “house of God”. What was there? One man, the Word of the Living God to that man, and his answer to the voice of God in the form of a sacrifice.

Church is not about big crowds. Jesus said that where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst of them. This is so good to know since so many of us have been gathering in homes during the past year. Instead of gathering in a building, our church has been gathering in about 40-50 houses all across the city (plus a few in other states).

Church is not about buildings. While buildings can be useful to gather the church for meetings, church buildings are not essential. Most of the churches in the first few hundred years after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (and the birth of the church) didn’t have buildings, but rather, met in houses, outside town by a river, in public squares, or in borrowed locations.

The church tends to multiply when under pressure. We see in Acts that persecution caused the believers to be scattered, but wherever they went, they preached about Jesus Christ and the number of disciples multiplied. While the pandemic is not exactly persecution of the church, the fact that churches have had to close to in-person meetings has, in many occasions, caused true believers to walk closer to God and some unbelievers to begin to desire God. In our experience, we’ve seen several families come to Christ through our online meetings.

As we continue forward through this year, we definitely don’t know what to expect in terms of the pandemic and its effects, but we do know that God is moving in the midst of everything! Christ continues to build His church.

Bible School

Online Bible School

Several years back we began designing and building a Bible School that pastors, leaders and others who serve in any capacity in their churches, can attend without having to leave their job, church, and community. We’ve designed it to function totally online. This was a great blessing before the pandemic, but now it’s more important than ever! We were able to continue with our classes without any interruption during 2020, and now, in 2021, we continue to make progress as we train servant-leaders to build up the church.

On February 17 we began our spring semester with around 170 students. We have a team of about ten course facilitators who attend to the daily needs of the students, check homework assignments, and personally encourage each student in their course work.

Testimonies

Have a look at what a couple of our students have said about the online school.

“Thanks to Fundamentos Ministeriales I have gained much knowledge, which has helped me in my personal life to effectively exercise the calling that God has placed on me.” – Francisco Bermúdez (working in Chiapas)

“I have been studying at Fundamentos Ministeriales for about five years and it has brought great blessing to me. I have received a better understanding of the Scriptures, and the best thing is that my teachers have shared their experiences with me.” – Nancy Chávez (in Mexico City)

Thanks For Being On Our Team

Remember, you are part of our team! Thanks to you, we are able to continue forward with our work, even during this difficult COVID season. Please pray for us over the next couple of months for:

  1. Direction for us as we lead the church during this season of so much uncertainty, that we would be able to discern and do God’s will for the local church.
  2. For the members of our church, that they would continue strong in faith, connected with God, and that they would keep sharing the Gospel with others.
  3. Health and divine protection, as so many around us have been sick and some have gone before us to heaven.
  4. Finances for the Bible School, the church and for us personally. Please agree with us in prayer for God’s continued provision!

We also continue to pray for you, that the Lord will sustain you, uphold you in His perfect peace, give you health, and that you may grow in Him.

Your Help Wanted

Do you know someone who might be interested in what we do? We could really use your help spreading the word that we are looking to grow our partner team. This includes our mailing list as well as our prayer and financial support base.

How can you help?

  • 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.
  • Sharing this letter on your Facebook page or via Twitter using these buttons:



Blessings!

David and Sara Lont

Happy New Year

David and Sara Lont

As I write today, it is the last day of 2020. I know that many people are happy that 2020 is over because it has been quite a year! As we begin 2021, all of us hope for something better for this next season. Even though 2020 was a difficult year for most of us, it definitely hasn’t been a waste of time in God’s calendar. In His sovereignty He has been calling the attention of the nations to change their hearts and place their hope in the Lord. This present world, with its pain, affliction, grief and difficulties, continues to be under the care of a loving Father who sent His Son to redeem it and bring His people back to communion with Him. How thankful we are for Jesus Christ who makes it possible for us to live in peace and harmony with God, even in the midst of the chaos!

This past year was full of challenges for us, but at the same time, it has been a good year. The Lord has allowed us to continue ministry in several different but interesting ways. Here is a little of what has happened with us and our family during 2020.

In March, all churches were shut down across Mexico and many nations of the world. We immediately moved everything online, which was a challenge but at the same time an interesting change for us and many of our people. We began prerecording our services in more of a “studio” style and delivering them simultaneously to our people via YouTube, using Facebook and WhatsApp as our main ways of keeping our congregation connected on Sundays. During the months of June/July, Sara did an online parenting course, and Anna and I also prepared weekly devotional material for each family to use during the week. Then, a few months into the pandemic, we also started small groups on the Zoom platform on Wednesday nights. Those groups went over really well and allowed our group leaders to continue to minister more personally to each member of their groups. At the same time, these small groups began getting involved in helping others in our church and community with groceries, small offerings, and other little blessings. God allowed us to reach several new families in the midst of the pandemic and we’re thankful to see some of them now growing in their relationship with the Lord and they now consider our church their home.

A couple of weeks ago we did a larger Zoom meeting on a Wednesday night, and just under 50 of our families connected online. It was great to see so many of them all together for that meeting! It was also wonderful to confirm that many of those who considered themselves members of our church before the pandemic have continued with us through this very different time. Each Sunday morning we try to engage in the chat with the families who connect to our services on YouTube. We’ve been able to minister to several this way, praying with them for certain needs that they have. We’ve also done counseling using video calls and have been able to reach people outside of our local area.

We are now officially a church without a building. We have been renting for many years, but during this past year we only used the building for three months. This next year will be very interesting and is full of “unknowns”, but we believe that the Lord will direct our steps as we move out into new experiences with our congregation. During this year we have been constantly reminded that the church is people, not a building or a piece of property. Where will we meet once the pandemic is under control? We don’t really know yet, but we know the One who is in control of the future.

Our Online Bible School has continued to move forward through the year of 2020. We developed and recorded three new courses and had an enrollment of around 170 students during this last semester. Our homiletics course was a new experience for us, as we taught on principles of preaching and then had the students practice preaching online via Zoom group video calls. Their final exam, a message recorded and placed on YouTube, was a challenge for many of them. Almost all the students did very well.

As a family, it has also been a very interesting year. Our son Daniel, who is in his last year at Portland Bible College, is now engaged to be married to Elisa Kaylor. He and Elisa came down here to Mexico for Sara’s birthday in September. Our oldest son David, who is studying at Western Michigan University, is currently with us. He will be going back in a couple of weeks. Anna is here with us in her last year of high school and plans to continue her studies online next fall. Our family is doing well.

We pray that the Lord will bless and keep each of you. He is faithful and His Word will never fail!

Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support during the year. We appreciate each of you and all you do for us!

Blessings!

David and Sara Lont and family

Update – October, 2020

David and Sara Lont with our daughter, Anna.

You can download a copy of this letter in PDF format here.

Dear friends, family, and supporters,

It’s a joy to greet you once again from the autumn fields here in the mountains, just outside of Tulancingo. Summer has gone by, and now it’s starting to get cooler again. We’ve have several nights of hard frost in our area, changing the beautiful green fields of corn to a dry, brown color and slowly transforming the luscious green pasturelands into varying shades of yellow. It is the cycle of life, the turning of the seasons, the very way God created nature to function. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT).

Everything is beautiful in its own time. Even during this season in which a plague of disease and death has come upon the earth, causing the lives of many to suddenly wilt away, God continues to reign above it all. He continues to be beautiful, faithful, true, holy and good. We can continue to place all of our hope in Him, for He still cares for us. Yes, there is nothing that can separate us from His love! We have eternity in our hearts, even though we cannot fathom the entire scope of God’s work within the affairs of our lowly human existence. Yet we trust Him who created us, because eternity has been planted in our hearts. We know that even when the oceans roar and the mountains crumble, our God remains the same, and when we are planted upon Jesus Christ, our Rock, we will continue to stand steadfast.

Nothing Can Stop The Kingdom of God

It is just amazing how many things can be done from the home today! So many of us thought that we needed a special building or an office to get “real work” done. However, combining the pandemic with technology, we have suddenly realized that many tasks once considered almost impossible to accomplish without leaving the house, today can be successfully carried out right from our homes. Since March, we have been leading several weekly Bible studies from our home, recording Bible School classes, transmitting our church services, doing counseling, praying for people, and just about everything else from home. It has truly been an interesting season, and something I would have never imagined. Yet, we’ve found that most aspects of ministry continue to be just as effective or perhaps even more productive than when we were able to constantly meet in person. And although we long for the day when so many limitations on personal and corporate gatherings won’t be necessary, still we realize that history has in some ways taken a bend in the road, and that the world we knew before March, 2020, may never be the same. How should we respond? We simply need to adapt!

One of the more interesting aspects of ministry since August has been with our Online Bible School. We began our fall semester in August with around 170 students. About 40 of those students are studying homiletics – the art of preaching. After receiving lectures on the subject during August and September, we moved into the more practical aspects at the beginning of October. Each student must prepare and deliver three sermons live, using a video conferencing platform. Their facilitators and classmates join the live stream to watch, listen, and evaluate their sermons and delivery. When they finish, we give them time to make constructive comments, and then send in an evaluation form, which is delivered to both the student who preached, and the course facilitator. What a varied group we have! Some are pastors with years of experience, yet they have never studied this topic. Others are young people, college students, older church leaders and even children’s church teachers. It has been a joy to see them, hear them preach, and give them direction as they continue to hone in on the skills required to effectively communicate the Word of God to an audience, be it in a church service, a small group, a classroom, or an online setting.

Our church continues to meet online. Although technically it is possible to meet in a very reduced capacity at this moment in our area (and some churches are), we have made the decision to continue for the time being mostly online. Legally, we would only be able to have in-person services with about 25 people in our building, and no children or senior citizens would be allowed to attend. I felt that it is much more practical to continue to invest our time and resources in online and remote ministry, as we are reaching many more of our people in this form. We know of other churches that began in-person meetings, but they were only able to do it for a few weeks, and then had to go back to online-only, because of an increase in COVID-19 cases in their areas.

Can the church continue on its mission to extend the Kingdom of God and make disciples during this season? I definitely believe we can! After all, we are the church; we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The true church of Jesus Christ has never been a physical building. It has always been a group of people who have been redeemed by Christ and who gather in His name, working to make disciples and to extend His kingdom. This is something we can and should continue to do, whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic, a natural disaster, or persecution. The Word of God will continue to flow forth and the Kingdom of Heaven will continue to expand!

I want to thank each of you who continues to pray for us and support us. I know that things have been difficult just about everywhere during the past half year, but God continues to be faithful. And Sara and I wish to express our most sincere thanksgiving to you.

With love,

David and Sara Lont

Update – August, 2020

You can download a copy of this newsletter in PDF format here:

Hello, friends and family!

We hope you’ve had a good summer. I’m sure it’s been a bit different than a “normal” summer, since we’re in the middle of the pandemic, but summer is always a wonderful season. Here in our area, this is the rainy season, and we’re enjoying cool weather, sunny mornings, and rainy afternoons and nights. We’ve had around seven inches of rain since the month of August began, and the fields are a beautiful shade of green.

Online Bible School

As you probably know, our Online Bible School is one of the projects we spend quite a bit of time on. The last time I wrote to you, we were finishing our Spring semester. Now, we’re about to start our Fall semester. Enrollment is currently open, and we will begin classes on August 19.

Over the last couple of weeks I taught and recorded the material for our new homiletics course. (For those who don’t know, “homiletics” is a fancy word to describe a course on how to preach.) I taught 18 lessons on the subject of how to write sermons and preach, and these lessons will cover the first 7 weeks of the course. The remaining 8 weeks will be used to have our students practice what they have learned by preparing messages and preaching in front of their peers and facilitators live via Zoom. The students will be evaluated both by their peers and their facilitators, and will be receiving constructive feedback. It should be a very interesting experience!

We will also be offering several other courses, including Old and New Testament Surveys (4 courses), The Life of Christ and Systematic Theology.

We’re looking forward to starting once again! Several students have already signed up, and I’m sure many more will register for their courses over the next week or so.

It is such a blessing that we had prepared this Bible School several years ago to be totally online. We don’t have to worry about canceling in-person classes, and we can accept students from just about anywhere around the world!

Local Church Ministry

Since the middle of March, we had to cancel our normal church services due to the pandemic. We immediately moved everything online, using a combination of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, WhatsApp, and our own website to reach our people. Our state is still basically under stay-at-home orders, as the Covid-19 numbers continue to rise. We can only drive our car 3 days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The local hospital here in Tulancingo is completely full and is sending patients to seek medical help in other cities. It looks like we won’t be going back to in-person services at our church possibly for the rest of the year.

However, online ministry has given us the unique opportunity to reach people that normally wouldn’t be reached by our church, including the extended families of some of our church members, some of which live in other cities and states.

We recently had a family over for an outdoor online service.

We had a good series of classes on parenting in June and July, connecting with parents using recorded teaching on YouTube, then question and answer sessions using Zoom.

Besides our Sunday services, we are also doing small group ministry on Zoom and Google Meet, with a special emphasis on growing in love, unity, communication and personal ministry. We start with a group activity, move into Bible Study, then finish with a time of personal ministry. We are calling these groups “Connect Groups”. We started last Wednesday, and our congregation is really excited about participating. We currently have seven different groups, and each group has between 10 and 20 members.

Our Family

Our son, David Jeremiah, has been working at Lowe’s during his summer break. He will be continuing with his last three semesters at Western Michigan University. Daniel is in Portland, Oregon, where he is studying at Portland Bible College. He has been working in the school offices with their online Bible School program, and he took a second job at Amazon. During this summer, he sometimes worked over 70 hours a week!

Daniel, leading worship in his church online

Anna is doing well here at home with us. She has been a great help in ministry, sometimes singing and playing the piano for our services, writing devotional material and teachings, proofreading our online Bible School material, and more recently, doing graphic design. She will be starting 12th grade in about a month. Anna is a great Bible teacher, and she has her own Connect Group on Wednesday nights.

Sara continues to work with me as a team. Sometimes we teach together; at other times, she helps by participating in our online services, proofreading material for the Bible School, and helping in so many areas. She is such a big blessing for me and for the church! She is also hosting and leading probably the largest of our Connect Groups online.

Life is busy during this pandemic, but we are enjoying it. We’re working pretty much 100% from home and have converted the living room of our cabin into a video recording studio. I am writing from one of the bedrooms where I have my little office. Who’d have thought? Remote ministry from a cabin!

Thanks for your prayers and support!

We are so thankful for those who continue to pray and support us each month. It is wonderful to know that we have a group of intercessors and partners who stand by our side and help us to effectively reach many people each week with teaching and ministry from God’s word. Thank you!

Update – June, 2020

Hello, friends and family.

Picture of David and Sara Lont

What a different season this has been! Just a few months have passed since most of the world has gone into chaos, but it seems like it has been much longer. We certainly hope and pray that you have been well during this time in which COVID-19 has spread literally across the globe, affecting both the health and the economy of most nations.

We are happy to report that we have all been pretty much well after a bit of a rough start this winter. You may remember that in February and March we all had Typhoid Fever. That’s pretty much over, although the effects tend to linger and come back every now and then. But we’re thankful for health!

Right now there are many people sick and dying here in our country. We know of several pastors who have died of COVID-19, including one who was a personal friend over the last 23 years. He went to be with Jesus this past Saturday night, June 13, leaving behind a wife, a son, and an influential church in the city of Puebla.

The country is beginning to reactivate the economy, opening businesses and getting back to a supposed “new normal”, even as the infections and death rates soar in many communities.

We plan to be very cautious during the next few months, continuing with our online work with the local church and avoiding large gatherings. There may soon be official permission to open some churches, but we feel led to continue to invest online with our people and perhaps open only small groups in homes, if that becomes a possibility later on.

Our experiences with online ministry

Over the last few months, we’ve ministered extensively online. Each week we do our online service via YouTube with a decent turnout. Although we pre record and produce our services usually on Fridays, they go live at 10:00 AM on our YouTube channel Sunday mornings. This allows us to maintain the experience of everyone gathering their families together to be a part of the service at 10:00 AM Sunday mornings, and yet gives us the flexibility and quality of a well produced program.

Over these last few months I’ve seen so many smaller churches here in Mexico place a cell phone in the back of their auditorium and try to reproduce the “live” church experience in this way on Facebook, but most obtain a very low quality production and ministry experience. Right from the start, we decided on producing the highest quality content and ministry experience we can, using the resources we have available.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is being able to “connect” with our congregation on Sundays, even though we’re actually ministering in front of a camera on Fridays. There is truly a spiritual connection that can take place, transcending time and physical location.

We’ve also enjoyed very interesting times of worship utilizing members of our worship team. Although we haven’t been physically together in one location to play and worship, many times I’ll ask for the participation of two or three members of the worship team who then record their own parts in their homes using their cell phones. They send me the videos, and I put everything back together. It’s really amazing how this can work! (You can have a look at how this comes together by playing a little of the video below.)

On Wednesday evenings, we do small groups via Zoom video conferencing software. Just a couple of months ago, barely anyone even knew what “Zoom” was, and now many people in our congregation use it regularly to meet for Bible study and fellowship. We’ve also done online counseling with several people, helping them sort through their marriage or personal situations.

New opportunities

The pandemic has brought many problems, but God uses what was meant for evil and turns it for good!

People coming to know Christ

Even during this time, people are coming to know Christ! In our church, there is one family in particular, that has been able to bring the gospel to their family members in Mexico City via our online ministry. Several of them have given their lives to the Lord during the last couple of months and now meet weekly in our online groups.

Remote ministry

I’ve also had the opportunity to minister to another congregation in Mexico City via Zoom, thanks to Pastor Raúl Méndez. What a privilege to minister simultaneously in over 70 homes scattered throughout Mexico City, and to be able to see each family as they participated in the meeting!

Anna’s online devotionals

Anna continues to teach her little group of adolescents online every Friday, and she also started a devotional blog which many people have been reading. There is one lady in our church who has been using Anna’s devotional material to present the Gospel each week to her coworkers in an online Bible study that she started. (You can have a look at Anna’s site here. Sorry, but it’s all in Spanish.)

Anna’s online devotional blog

Parenting classes

Sara and I also recently started an online parenting class for the families in our church. It will run for a total of 6 weeks, meeting online Monday nights. First, we present 1/2 hour of material in video via YouTube, then 1/2 hour in a question and answer session live on Zoom. I’ve also prepared beautifully formatted written material for each session, including lesson notes and some questions for each couple to discuss together. That material is delivered by email. This past Monday we had our second session, and it is going well.

Online Bible School

We are in the final two weeks of our Online Bible School courses, and around 150 students are currently taking their partial and final exams. We’ve had a good semester. The great majority of the students will successfully finish the semester with a grade of 80% or higher.

The nice thing about this project is that it was designed to work entirely online and has been going strong for several years now. So when the virus came around a few months back, we really didn’t have to make any major adjustments. Actually, the only minor adjustment I made was to eliminate the break we normally had to take for a week of vacation during Easter. All vacations were canceled because of the quarantine, so we were able to “plow straight through” and finish the semester a week early.

For the last several months, all three of us (Anna, Sara and I), have been working on courses. Sara has been facilitating a course on the Holy Spirit, I’ve been producing the reviews, quizzes and exams, and Anna has been my proofreader, finding and fixing all the little errors. We’ve also had our team of about nine other course facilitators working with us.

Thanks so much for continuing your support!

We are so very thankful to each of you who continues to give and support us during these most difficult economic times. We are definitely facing some challenges financially, as many people are. The lack of our physical presence in our church building has impacted our ministry finances, but the Lord has and will continue to sustain us, the work of the church, and other areas of ministry.

Our prayer is that you and your family would be blessed in abundance, even during challenging times such as these, so that you can continue to bless and reach out to others with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Update – March, 2020

Hello, friends and family!

I know that most of you are probably confined to your homes right now; we also are! However, it has been a very busy time for us, even while working from home. I wanted to get this update out to you sooner, but several things had prevented me from doing so, including illnesses in February and the beginning of March, and more recently, a rapid migration to online church services.

Advanced School of Ministry

The last week of January was our Advanced School of Ministry conference in Cuernavaca. The meetings were very good with a good attendance (around 1,000 pastors and leaders), great teaching, worship and prayer times, and a wonderful atmosphere of the presence of the Lord. We were blessed to be a part of many aspects of the conference once again, including handling the registrations, compiling, writing and editing the teaching material, producing the student notebook, translating and publishing a book on the Holy Spirit, and teaching at the conference.

Sara, teaching on the “Attributes of God” at the Advanced School of Ministry conference

Our daughter, Anna, was in charge of translating the book The Holy Spirit Today, by Dick Iverson. She did a great job and worked on it during almost half of the year. I did the final editing and layout, and our son, David, did the cover design. Sara was my proofreader and helped us get all the little errors and typos out before going to print. It is wonderful to have a family that works on projects like this together!

Recording for our Online Bible School

Shortly after the conference, our friend Mark Simpson, who is a great Bible teacher and missionary, came to record our newest course for the Online Bible School. The Person and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, as we have called it, takes student on a study of who the Holy Spirit is, what He does, and how we can relate to Him.

Recording Mark Simpson at our church

Mark did a great job teaching 24 classes in four days. What a marathon!

During the afternoon of our third day of recording, I started running a fever. That night, I went to the doctor, and after doing a blood test, we discovered I had Typhoid Fever. That put me “out of the game”, so to speak, for the rest of the recording. Thankfully, we could count on Anna and Zabdi, another young girl in our church, to finish the recording sessions without me. I felt really sorry to suddenly disappear and leave Mark to do things without me, but I really didn’t have a choice. (Sorry, Mark.)

In spite of all this, we got the entire course recorded and all the sessions edited, uploaded and processed in time for the start of the semester, which was on March 4.

Taking Time out to Recover

I had to use the last couple of weeks of February and the first part of March to get some much needed rest and recover from Typhoid Fever. During this time, Sara and Anna did a great job filling in for me at church.

Sara, Anna and Alejandra, ministering together to our church on a Sunday morning

I ended up missing church for two Sundays in a row. That was pretty incredible! However, even during those weeks I continued to work with our online Bible School, getting things ready for the start of the semester.

We also missed the planning meeting for the Advanced School of Ministry which was held during the first week of March. We were very much looking forward to this time, especially being with Bill Brown and his wife, in warm, sunny Acapulco, right on the ocean.

A couple of weeks ago, Sara and Anna also were tested for Typhoid Fever, and both of them also had it! We’ve all been through treatment and are recovering, little by little. I am finally feeling quite a bit better, although still a little weaker than normal.

Life in Quarantine

Covid-19 has affected almost the entire world! Here in Mexico, few people even knew much about it in January and throughout February, but during the last couple of weeks that has all changed. We are several weeks behind what everyone in the U.S. is experiencing, but the reality of the impact of this pandemic is finally starting to sink in here in Mexico.

A couple of weeks ago, some of the major schools began to close and only offer courses online. Then an official statement came from the government, asking everyone to self-quarantine by remaining home. All group meetings are canceled, restaurants are closing, and all schools are canceled.

We have been working hard to move our church services and meetings online during the last couple of weeks. We’ve done two Sunday services this way so far, and both have had a good online attendance. But I must admit, it is much harder to try to pastor a church without seeing the people personally! We continue to work to make personal contact with our people via messages, phone calls and Skype calls.

Our Online Bible School continues forward without any interruptions. We have over 150 students taking courses right now, and since everything is already online and all the students and facilitators work from their homes, there has been no problem continuing forward with this ministry. In fact, many of the students now have more time to study online with us, since so many other activities are canceled.

Thanks so much!

We definitely understand what so many of you are going through right now. There are so many people without jobs in a failing economy, but we also believe that God will provide for you and for us during this season!

We pray that the life-giving power of Jesus Christ would fill and sustain each of you in both health and economy as we go forward proclaiming the Gospel and teaching the Word of the Lord.

In His love,

David and Sara Lont