Note: This update is available as a printable PDF here.
Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,
We pray that you have been having a great summer. Ours has been going well, including hosting a youth camp, building some kitchen cabinets, conducting women’s meetings, finishing our spring Bible school semester, and hosting our Advanced School of Ministry team meeting. Let’s talk about it!
In the month of May, we hosted a youth camp here on our property. You may know that Anna is serving as our youth leader, and she helped to organize this camp. We had a group of young people here for two nights and three days. The boys stayed in tents, while the girls slept upstairs in the loft of our lodge.
Besides all the fun activities and campfires that are typical at camps, we also had some wonderful ministry and worship times. Titled “The Awakening,” we explored themes such as identity, emotional health, living your dream, the gender crisis, and more. Our group of kids had a great time, and many were impressed by how they experienced God’s movement in their lives during our time together.
We pray that “The Awakening” will continue to have an impact on every aspect of these young people’s lives.
In June, Sara began a series of meetings for the women of our church and community called “Conversations.” Instead of just preaching to them, the idea has been to present themes as a panel of four people and simply have a conversation around the topic. On June 3, we hosted a ladies’ breakfast with catering service. With the theme “Abiding in Christ,” Sara, Anna, Adriana, and Zabdi discussed different aspects of how to remain connected to the Lord throughout our day and week.
At the end of the meeting, Anna and some of the other young girls ministered to the women individually in prayer. It was amazing to see how the Lord touched several of them, bringing them into a new place of relationship and freedom.
Our spring semester concluded on June 19, with a special meeting in which Bill Brown ministered the Word to our students. We had about 120 students successfully complete their courses as many of them work toward a bachelor’s degree in theology.
Also, in May, we completed the recording of the second part of our Genesis course with Enrique Borja, our Bible teacher from Puebla. We recorded 24 classes in two days. That was an incredible marathon! After recording, I began developing the quizzes, exams, and forum discussions for the course. We’ll be offering the course in our fall semester, which will begin in August.
Advanced School of Ministry
We were privileged to host the Advanced School of Ministry team meeting here at our house. We had the entire team stay with us for three days of meetings and strategic planning.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, Sara thought it would be best to have the kitchen in our lodge in order before the meeting, so I spent a couple of weeks in June building and installing the cabinets.
Most of our leadership group arrived on Wednesday morning and stayed through Friday evening. We hosted some of the team members, while others stayed in our neighbors’ cabins. We did the meetings and meals in our lodge, which was the perfect type of room for a planning meeting. A couple from our church did all the cooking and catering. What delicious and beautifully decorated plates of food they served!
We spent our time casting vision for the future of this ministry, working on team-building activities, and planning for the upcoming conferences. We had a good meeting!
Thanks for your support!
While there is much more to share, these are the highlights of the last couple of months. We really appreciate your prayers and financial support. You are our partners in ministry, and we’re thankful for you!
What a blessing it is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ! We know that even in the midst of challenges and difficulties, God is good. He makes all things work together for the good of those who love and trust in Him.
As I mentioned in our last update, both Sara and Anna were about to go on missions trips in March. Anna was to head to northern California for a trip to the small town of Weaverville, CA, to do evangelism and help out in the local church. And Sara was going to be in Cuba. Both of the trips were to be at the same time.
About a week before their scheduled departure, Sara’s trip was postponed due to the political situation, and was rescheduled for the end of April. This actually turned out to be very good, both for me and for Sara. Sara had been a bit ill the weeks coming up to the trip dates, and I ended up coming down with COVID (for the second time) the weekend before she would have originally left, so we’re glad her trip was changed! Anna’s trip went as scheduled.
For Anna, it was a totally new experience to travel by herself to the U.S. from Mexico. However, since she has traveled extensively with us (even to Africa), she didn’t have any problem navigating airports to get to her destination. Anna spend a week there, split between some time in Redding, and then a long weekend in Weaverville, which is located up in the mountains. Anna was a big blessing for those she was able to serve, and the trip was also a great personal experience for her. As you may remember, she has studied for two years now online with BSSM, and this was an opportunity for her to connect in person with some of her classmates and also with the on campus school. When it was over, she was very glad to be home, but also very thankful for the experiences she had on the trip.
The time for Sara’s trip finally came at the end of April. She went as part of a group of female Mexican pastors (and pastors’ wives) who went to minister in a women’s conference. She spent the first few days in the capital city, then the following weekend in a small town near the center of the island. It was a difficult and hot trip, but many women responded in the conference and she and some other women were also able to encourage the pastors and leaders of another small congregation. She arrived home last Wednesday night.
A Note From Anna
Of all the places we could have gone to, this was the most unexpected, yet the most beautiful. It wasn’t about the crowds, or the lights, or the biggest church services, rather, it was about loving the person in front of us. Every time we served and blessed someone, we would get more blessed in return without even expecting it. The church reminded me of the Philippians – full of love, sacrifice, and devotion to God.
We saw people get healed, saved, and filled with the Spirit. Yet it wasn’t so much about the result as it was about the obedience. If we had one plan, it was this, “Pray and obey.”
We loved the church, the community, and served those from youngest to oldest. In the middle of it all we were all stretched, thrust forward, and grown. There were parts that were uncomfortable, but God met us in our weak points. I have been marked by these people and their passion for Jesus. In the words of Suki (our hostess for the weekend), “You are soldiers. Stand strong.”
To everyone who believed in me and invested in this journey both through prayer and financially, thank you from the bottom of my heart! Weaverville is under the momentum of heaven and we planted so many seeds that will one day bring about an incredible harvest. I have been marked as a person, and we have been marked as a team. Here’s to new adventures with Jesus!
Celebrating Our Children
We recently celebrated Children’s Day here in Mexico, and since it was on Sunday this year, we planned a celebration after church with some of our children. First, during the service, I preached about the value of children in God’s plan, which somehow runs contrary to today’s culture. Whereas in biblical times, children were always seen as a blessing, in many families today, they are seen as a burden or hindrance to the prosperity and freedom of the couple. We talked about how we should always see children as a gift from God and as a blessing. Afterward, we had the parents lay hands on their children and bless them.
After the service, it was time for fun! Our volunteers set up an attractive party atmosphere for the children, complete with balloons, games, two inflatable bouncy houses, a kiddy pool and ice cream. It was a beautiful, warm sunny afternoon, and boy, did those kids have fun! The parents and grandparents also enjoyed themselves, as did the youth.
Our church in Tulancingo is going forward in God’s strength. We have been enjoying great services under the presence of God and are believing for seasons of refreshing, revival, and growth. We have been placed in Tulancingo to bring streams of living water from heaven to our city and region, and we’re going forward with that vision, teaching, preaching, baptizing, and discipling those in our care.
During the last few months, Anna and I have been working on doing a podcast. We’ve been recording weekly episodes with themes based on Biblical teaching on subjects such as how to develop a relationship with God, spiritual gifts, hope and perseverance, friendships, personal finances, and many others. We have developed a format which is based on questions and answers, and we generally do the episodes as a discussion. Sara and others in our church have also participated in various episodes. We believe that the podcast will grow to become an effective means to influence many with the Gospel message, both within our church, our community, and in other geographical locations.
Online Bible School
We are currently about two-thirds of the way through our winter/spring semester with the online students. We have a great group, and most of our students are doing really well. We have students from all across the nation, and most of them are pastors and leaders in their local churches.
I’m especially thankful for all those who collaborate with us as course facilitators, content creators, and graphics designers. We have a great team!
I’m happy to report that our entire family is doing well. Daniel and Elisa, in Vancouver, WA, have been married for just about two years now. Elisa works as the head of the music program at Portland Bible College, and Daniel is the music pastor at Mannahouse Church in Vancouver.
David Jeremiah continues his PhD studies at Texas A&M and works in the lab doing experiments. He has also had the opportunity to visit Upperroom Church in Dallas, on several occasions.
Anna just graduated from BSSM Second Year studies from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. We have seen so much personal and ministry growth in her over the last couple of years. She regularly teaches, leads worship and is also in charge of our youth ministry. Besides that, she is also my assistant, working almost daily on our Online Bible School as a content creator and course facilitator.
Please help us, as we pray for the following ministry needs:
Our Youth Camp which will be held at the end of May. Please pray for the preparations, for the young people who attend, for the presence of God in the meetings, and that there will be a lasting impact in the lives of all our young people.
For our Advanced School of Ministry planning meeting which will be held in June. Please pray that the Lord will lead us as we begin a new season with this ministry
Sara and I are so thankful for your love, prayers, and financial support. We are a team. Those who pray and give are partners with those who go and preach, teach, and disciple.
Note: There is a PDF version of this update located here.
The Changing Seasons
Dear Friends, Family and Supporters,
Hello from warm and sunny Tulancingo. Just a month ago, it was close to freezing almost every night. Now, a few weeks later, we are coming up on the warmest season of the year for this region of Mexico, high in the mountains. We go from cold to hot, without much in between. April and May are normally the hottest months of the year, but by June, the temperature will drop again.
Another interesting thing about March here is that this is the month in which all the leaves fall off the oak trees. It’s warm, it’s almost spring, but the several dozen oaks we have on are property are shedding all their leaves. In April the oaks are bare, but by May all the leaves will have grown back.
Seasons mark the constant changes in nature each year, and every geographic location has it’s own seasons. In a similar way, God has ordained seasons and cycles for our lives, ministries, churches, and so many other things. As the Bible says, “He has made everything beautiful in his time…” (Ecc. 3:11).
We clearly see these seasons in our work and ministry. The year 2023 marks something new for our church family, and it is a bit different when we compare it to the last several years. I believe it is a new season of life and rebirth for our church family; its a time for renewal, a time for new vision, a time for new purposes.
As I shared in our last newsletter, in December we moved to our new location, which is across town from where we previously were located. We have now been doing our Sunday meetings there for just over three months. It has been a new adventure, and many in our congregation love our new location and atmosphere.
We have gone back to our roots – simple church and simple worship. One of the things that I believe the Lord put on our hearts as we made the move was to go back to simplicity in our church life. It is so easy to become entangled in church programs, schedules, a multitude of ministries, meetings, etc. All of these things may be good and produce great fruit. However, we feel that in this season of our church life, we need to focus on the basics and the simplicity of our relationship to the Lord Jesus. We are focusing on simple but deep worship using a small worship team, teaching, preaching and practicing the Word of God, and living lives that usher His presence into our daily interactions.
The Advanced School of Ministry
In January, we celebrated our first in-person Advanced School of Ministry seminar in Cuernavaca since the pandemic. On this occasion, we had about 600 people attend in-person, plus another 200 online. Over 80% of those attending were pastors and leaders of certain departments in their churches.
We had great teaching, with two different guest speakers, each of which focused on different aspects of ministry. Mel Mullen, from Canada, focused on ministry within the local church, while Ian Green, from England, focused on transformation of society by bringing the Kingdom of Heaven out of the local church context and into the market place.
It was a great joy for me to work alongside of Ian Green, since I was his translator. He shared some very powerful yet challenging concepts with our group of pastors and leaders. So often we focus mainly on what goes on within church meetings. Ian challenged us to take a closer look at what the Kingdom of God is, and how we can partner with Him to bring heaven to earth. Part of that message includes how we see and practice evangelism and discipleship. Are we looking to bring people to church, or are we working to bring the church to where the people are at?
On the technical side, I was in charge of many aspects of the conference, such as registration, the editing and printing of the conference workbook, coordinating the live stream, setting up interviews with our guests, providing hosts for the online attendees, and coordinating times of personal ministry. Our daughter Anna did a great job training our online ministry team, and we received several reports of people who were really impacted by these additional sessions of personal online ministry.
It was a busy but really good conference. From the feedback we have received, we know that the 800+ pastors and leaders who attended received some really good teaching and ministry, and returned to their local churches refreshed and equipped with new tools to build their local churches.
On February 15, we started the spring semester with our online Bible school with around 130 students. We have again added a couple of new courses – one on the book of Genesis, which we recorded in November, and another course based on the contents of the Advanced School of Ministry seminar. We continue to be blessed with a faithful team of course facilitators and content creators which help us make it all happen.
We also continue to press toward the goal of making this a full time online Bible School and the basis for a degree program. There are so many pastors, leaders and young people who are called to ministry, but can’t afford to move away from their towns, families and jobs to attend a Bible school. We are providing a way for many of them to further their education in a very practical way.
Please continue to pray for us, especially in the following areas:
For both Sara and Anna, who will be going on mission trips in a couple of weeks. Anna will be going with a group from her school to minister in a small town in the U.S., and Sara will be going with a group of Mexicans to minister in a communist nation.
Please continue to pray for the leadership teams of the Advanced School of Ministry and the online Bible School, that we may be led by the Lord to make good decisions as to the future of these ministries and how to best build them.
Please continue to pray for our local church.
Once again we thank you for your love, notes of encouragement, Christmas cards, prayers and financial support. We couldn’t do it without you!
It’s once again a new year, and, although many things are just a continuation of what was happening at the end of last year, this is the time in which many people make new purposes and begin new projects. Most of what we’re doing this January is part of the plan that we’ve been developing over years and decades, but there are a couple of things that are new, or at least different.
As many of you know, during the pandemic we did many online services and other ministry. Now that most things are getting back to normal, we have decided to use what we’ve learned about video and audio recording to start a podcast. This podcast is being hosted by Anna, and I’ll also be involved regularly.
In many ways the podcast will fill in the gap for those who have been following us online over the last several years. Now that we’re back to weekly church meetings, we are no longer doing weekly video online services, but our podcast will continue to reach some of the same people with Bible teaching in more of a conversational-style format. We published our first episode on January 1 and plan to release a new episode weekly. Our intention is to reach people with the Gospel and Biblical principals by having conversations and hosting interviews.
Our Local Church Family
We shared in our last update that we were about ready to move to our church property to start meetings there. We are happy to inform you that the first Sunday of December we had our first meeting there and have been hosting our regular weekly church meetings at our own facilities since then.
God has blessed us with 1,600m2 of land for our church. About half of that has been developed into a walled garden. Over the last year and a half we were able to build the wall around the perimeter, bathrooms, a couple of office spaces and a storage room. We are currently meeting under temporary tents, but work is being done on a more permanent large tent structure which will become our meeting place. We are especially thankful for those who have given toward this project!
Eventually, we hope to build an auditorium on part of the property. Right now, that area is fenced off, as it has been set apart for a future building.
Our people were excited about our new church home! We had a great turnout for our opening service and many positive comments about how nice the property looked. It was really quite a change from how the property was just a few months before, when everything was just dirt and construction materials. God has been so good to us!
Advanced School of Ministry
Most of my time during the last couple of months has been dedicated to the Advanced School of Ministry. We are currently working on putting together all the details for the conference in Cuernavaca, which will be held at the end of this month (January 23-26, 2023). This year we will be doing the conference both in-person and online, so there are some new challenges and details to take care of. I’ve been in contact with our team, the guest speakers and many others who will be involved. We’re currently training a small team to do personal online ministry for those who will be attending remotely and also working to make sure the online audience will feel just as welcome and well cared for as those who attend in person.
Recording For the Online Bible School
In November, we were privileged to have Pastor Enrique Borja here to record a course consisting of 24 lessons on the book of Genesis. Pastor Enrique was extremely efficient recording, and we were able to go through all the lessons in three days. That was a new record! He did a wonderful job and I feel he connected very well with the students through the recordings. His teaching was deep yet very applicable and he spoke to the students on a level that they will easily identify with. This new course will be released in February, with part two of the course to be recorded soon.
Sara and I are so thankful for each one of you. Thanks for praying for us and supporting us in all we’re doing. It is such a joy to be able to count on you.
Note: You can download a PDF version of this update here.
Dear friends, family and supporters,
I’d like to share with you a little family and ministry update. I last wrote in August, and now it’s already November! Over the last few months many things have been happening.
Church Building Project
Our church building project is finally nearing the end of the first phase. It has been an incredible journey with many hurdles. However, we are about one month away from the end of the first phase of this project.
We started out the project in July of 2021, with an architect who was in charge of the entire process. However, after finding several problems with the way the project was going, we decided to suspend building until we could correct these issues. We then hired another team of builders last March, and I asked Sara to be the supervisor of the project. She gladly took on this project, but soon we ran into problems with permits (as I mentioned in our last newsletter). This caused another delay of a couple of months. In August, the permit processes were finalized and we began construction once again.
The first phase of this project involves building the wall around the perimeter of the property, creating a parking lot, entrances, bathrooms, offices, a patio, an outdoor kitchen and a large garden. Within this garden we will be hosting our meetings under a tent on the patio especially designed for this purpose. We also already have the foundations in place for the general purpose building (auditorium), but we are leaving the rest of the construction of this building for a second phase.
Sara has been at the construction site almost every day, and has been in charge of buying materials and the general supervision of the project. She has done such a great job! She has been given a divine grace to negotiate prices and deal with the providers of the different materials needed. She has also done so well dealing with the masons and making sure everything is being built correctly.
Last week we finally had sod planted in the garden, and now we’re finishing some details, such as putting in doors and windows, flooring in the offices, etc.
In the next few weeks we’ll be having the tent made and then moving in for our dedication service on the first Sunday in December. We are excited and full of anticipation to see what God is going to do in the lives of the people of Tulancingo as we take this next step. We are believing the Lord for radical encounters with Jesus and life transformation!
If you would like to help us pray for this project, we’d appreciate it. We need the Lord’s provision, especially for the tent. Please also continue to pray for the safety of the workers and that we can soon finish all the details.
Bible School and the Advanced School of Ministry
A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to the U.S. to meet with the people at Christian International, in Florida, to talk with them about our degree program which is offered through their school of ministry. For over 30 years now, our Mexican Advanced School of Ministry has been able to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, thanks to our connection with their school. I am now taking on the responsibility of the program here in Mexico, and needed to meet with them. I had a very profitable visit and enjoyed getting to know some of the staff at Christian International. They are happy with our plan to move the Advanced School of Ministry forward in the next several years and will continue to back our degree program.
We’re now preparing for the big conference which will be held at the end of January. I’m receiving material from our conference speakers from Mexico, translating material from our speakers from the U.K. and Canada, and preparing conference registration.
This year we’ll be doing the conference both online and in person. We plan to provide exclusive features to our online audience, including interviews with conference speakers, and personal online ministry. We’re excited about what God is going to do during this conference called “Generational Transformation”.
Our family is doing well. As many of you may know, Daniel and Elisa live in Vancouver, WA, where they both work in ministry. Elisa is the head of the music department at Portland Bible College and Daniel is the music pastor of Mannahouse Church in Vancouver, Washington. David graduated in 2021 from Western Michigan University and is now doing a doctorate degree at Texas A&M.
Anna is here with us. She is studying online at BSSM and works almost full-time in ministry with the online Bible School doing curriculum development, social media, teaching and also doing youth and general ministry. It is an incredible honor and blessing to have her helping us with our church and online Bible School.
Once again I want to thank all of you who so faithfully pray for us and support us. We appreciate each one of you so much!