Dear friends, family and supporters,
We would like to share with you some of our most recent activities. The end of our summer has been very busy but quite productive. Here is an update on what has been happening.
We shared with you in our last newsletter about the church plant we were about to make. The team sent out to the new location was officially commissioned and released during a special service on August 13, 2017. Pastor Homero Ríos, from Monterrey, was our guest speaker that Sunday morning, and together we prayed for and ministered to the new pastors with the core seed group.
The following Sunday morning, August 20, I preached in the first service at the new location in Jaltepec. Actually, I preached in both churches – Jaltepec in person, and in Tulancingo, through FaceTime. We haven’t been back to minister there since the first service, but the report from Pastor Gabriel is that the new work in going well.
Recording for Bible School
Pastor Homero Ríos came in August to record systematic theology for our Online Bible School. After ministering in church on Sunday, we spent the following week recording a total of video and audio sessions. He did a wonderful job teaching his subjects. As a Hebrew language scholar and very capable teacher, Pastor Homero’s participation has been a great asset to our theology course.
I also taught and recorded many sessions myself in order to complete the first part of the course. By the time we were finished recording, we already had 24 students signed up to start taking it! Since then, I have also been working on editing the online notes and course work.
Online Bible School
The week on which we recorded was also the enrollment week for our fall semester. We began the semester on August 23 with 122 students, which is the largest group we have had so far. We have students from many states across Mexico, a few hispanic students from the U.S. and a pastor in Argentina. Many of the students know us from the Advanced School of Ministry conferences in Cuernavaca which we do each year.
With the help of six course facilitators, we have been working hard to check homework assignments, help students, and maintain communication with each of them. It has been much work, but at the same time it is very rewarding. It is a tremendous blessing to see many young people as well as older pastors and leaders from many cities and smaller towns enter into a more complete understanding of the Word of God.
I’m sure you probably know about the earthquake we recently experienced here in central Mexico. The earthquake hit on the anniversary of the large earthquake in 1985 which left thousands dead. On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at about 1:14 PM, there was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake right between Puebla and Morelos, only a few hour’s drive from here. We felt it, although it didn’t do much damage around our area. However, in Puebla, Morelos, and especially in Mexico City there was much damage. In many areas whole houses and large building collapsed.
Just a few days before, there was another very large earthquake in the southern part of the country, that one being of 8.1 magnitude. It destroyed many rural homes and communities in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. Then on Saturday, September 23, a 6.1 magnitude rocked the country for a third time.
Many of the churches in the affected areas are now involved in relief and rebuilding efforts. Our church has also been active in donating food, tarps and other supplies to be used in the villages that don’t get much media attention or state funding, but have been devastated by this series of earthquakes.
I personally believe that God is using these events as a “wake-up call” to the country. It is time to seek the Lord, repent, and pray. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:26-27, “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words once more indicate the removing of what can be shaken–that is, created things–so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” (NIV) It is time for the church in Mexico to arise and proclaim that which is eternal and will remain, even when everything is shaken. We must invest in eternity, in peace with God, in repentance, forgiveness, love, and worship. Man made structures easily fall, materialism will fail, but the Word of God and those who follow it will remain for all eternity.
In September, we had the opportunity to minister in Xalapa, Puebla. Sara shared in a breakfast meeting for women, then I ministered to a group of leaders and to the general congregation on Sunday morning. Sara did a great job speaking to about 200 women present for the breakfast. Pastor Alejandro and his wife were very gracious hosts and we definitely enjoyed being with them. The church is very open and receptive to the Word of God, and I believe our weekend with them was productive.
On our way back home, the car suddenly started making a strange noise. It had rained extremely hard, and we had hit some puddles with enough force that the inside of one of the front wheel wells started to come loose. A piece of plastic was rubbing against the tire. We tried to break it off, but the plastic was too hard to rip by hand. “If only we had a knife”, we said. Just then, Sara looked down, and there at the side of the road, exactly where we stopped in the middle of absolutely nowhere was an old knife! Within a few seconds Sara was able to reach in next to the tire (my hands didn’t fit into the small space) and cut the piece of plastic with the knife. We praised God for His supernatural provision of the exact tool we needed right there on side of the highway, and the we continued our trip back home.
We want to thank each of you who prays for us or gives. Thanks for being partners with us in this great ministry adventure!
David and Sara Lont