Note: You can download a printable PDF version of this update here.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
David and Sara Lont