Update – March, 2022

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

Dear Friends and Family,

So much has happened since I last wrote to you in January. I’d like to take a few minutes to share some of the highlights of what we’ve been up to during the last couple of months.

David and Sara Lont

Advanced School of Ministry

This year’s Advanced School of Ministry conference was different, but very good. Because of COVID restrictions, we did a live online conference, broadcast through both Zoom and YouTube. With the help of Carlos Marín and through Portland Bible College, we were able to access a Zoom account allowing several hundred people to connect at once. We also had over a hundred additional people and groups connect on YouTube.

Many pastors and leaders registered for the conference, and some groups of churches gathered in a single location to participate in the seminar using projectors in their auditoriums. Most people connected right from their homes, but it was especially fun to see church buildings full of leaders participating together.

On this occasion I didn’t teach personally, but we handled all the registrations, helped the general public, and took care of all the technical aspects of doing an online conference. Anna was especially helpful as the person in charge of the camera switching and bringing the correct speakers into focus at the right time. I spent many hours helping people without technical expertise getting registered and then, during the conference, taking care of the live broadcast and making sure everything went as planned.

Working on the technical aspects of the online conference

Our theme, “Transforma-T” (Be Transformed), was excellent, as we are living through times of great transformation. Our team was able to cover six different sessions during the two-day online event. One of the sessions even included a small group application of the concepts that were taught, using Zoom breakout rooms.

The majority of those who attended were pastors and leaders. One advantage of doing the seminar online was the fact that several pastors joined us online who had never been able to attend one of our conferences in person because of their jobs or distance to the conference. We had people across several time zones and even from different countries.

This conference was a huge blessing for many. We plan on continuing offering both in-person and online conferences in the future.

Worship Recording and Local Church

In February, we did another live worship recording in video and audio here in our living room. We’ve found these live session recordings to be very useful and effective to use during our microchurch meetings on Sundays.

Ricardo at one of our “micro-church” meetings. Ricardo and his family have been part of our church for several years. I met him some time ago at the local oil change shop and I had the opportunity to help win him for Christ there. He and his family have attended our church ever since.

Our church building project continues forward, but while our property is under construction, we have adopted a microchurch model. Small groups gather in homes for ministry on Sunday mornings using our online service, supplemented with personal ministry and prayer in each home. Of course, food and celebration are also on the agenda, so the microchurch setting allows for people to gather, eat and enjoy being together. Once each month we are gathering everyone together here outside our home for our celebration service.

Our Experience With COVID

Last month, after avoiding it for almost two years, we suddenly came down with COVID-19. It was very unexpected, as we had taken so many precautions throughout the pandemic. And now that there is so much optimism that the worst of things has passed, we somehow caught it!

Thankfully, none of us had any life-threatening symptoms, but all three of us got pretty sick. Anna fared better than Sara and me, but it took all of us about three weeks to recover. It’s only been a couple of weeks since we’ve been getting our energy back.

It was so beautiful to see how several people from our church cared for us and brought us meals. They would come by and drop hot meals off on our porch, and we’d say, “Hello!” quickly through the window, and then they’d leave. We are also so thankful to those who were praying for us during that time!

Online Bible School

In February we started our spring semester with the online Bible School. We were blessed to have Mark Simpson share live with our group as we began the semester. We’re offering nine different courses and have just under 180 students enrolled. This semester, we’re doing another new course, this time on the life of Moses.

We continue to develop new material as we’re working toward creating an entire online degree program. We’re very thankful for the positive impact we’ve been able to make on many pastors, leaders and churches through this Bible school.

Thanks for joining with us!

We are so thankful to you for partnering with us in ministry. We appreciate each one of you who takes interest in what we’re doing, prays for us, or helps us economically. We appreciate you so very much!

With love,

David and Sara with Anna

Update – January, 2022

Dear friends, family and supporters,

Happy New Year 2022! We pray that this year would be full of grace, provision, and the mercy and goodness of God for you and your family.

Everyone working on their computer on the porch.

Church building project

As some of you may know, this past fall we started on our church building project. We’ve had a nice piece of land for several years now, but hadn’t built on it yet due to uncertainty in terms of the development of the area. However, we were able to move ahead with this project and start developing the land.

Since the property was originally farmland, it was necessary to raise the level of the entire lot to protect it from flooding. We purchased many dump truck loads of fill to bring the level up to where it is now. Part of the wall around the perimeter has been built, offices and bathrooms are in the process of being built, and the foundation for the main auditorium (multipurpose room) has been laid.

An artist’s concept of what our church building may look like from the street when finished.

The next steps will be to finish the wall and office areas, complete the physical appearance of the front of the building, and plant the grass and garden areas.

We hope to have outdoor meetings in the large walled garden (about 8,000 square feet) after the rainy season starts. For the moment, it is too dry to be able to plant grass and the entire lot is brown dirt and dust. But once the rain comes, the plan is to plant grass, probably from rolls of sod.

Outdoor church meeting, January 9, 2022.

In the mean time, we continue to do online meetings, micro-church meetings, connect groups, and larger gatherings outside at our house. We’ve had a very positive experience with our gatherings here at our home over the last several months. Even though it is about a 1/2 hour drive for those who come, we’ve had a good turnout at every meeting. Our church family seems to really enjoy these simple outdoor gatherings and the times of fellowship, picnics and games after the services. And for those who can’t come for some reason, we offer the same service online simultaneously.

Online Bible School

In December we finished another successful semester of online classes with our group of Bible School students. We had around 170 students complete courses during the semester. I taught a group of students “Interpreting the Scriptures”, a course on Biblical hermeneutics. However, it was really our team of facilitators who invested time with the students and helped them to successfully complete their courses. We are very thankful for such a great team! At the end of the semester, Bill Brown ministered live to our students during the closing meeting. That was a real blessing and treat!

Now we are preparing for the Advanced School of Ministry conference, which will be held online using the Bible School platform, and then the next semester of courses will begin on February 15.

Our family

We are thankful for God’s provision and protection during the last couple of years. We credit Him with keeping us healthy and well. We’ve seen so many friends get sick and die of COVID, but so far, the Lord has protected us, and we believe He will continue to do so.

Our son David Jeremiah came to visit us for about three weeks during the Christmas season. We definitely enjoyed spending some time with him! Daniel and Elisa spent their Christmas in Washington state with Elisa’s family, but we got to say hello to them a few times using FaceTime. Anna is home with us, studying online, working with the online Bible School, helping with church and doing some youth ministry.

Youth meeting in December.

Sara has worked hard supervising the construction projects, purchasing materials, ministering to several women, and doing some of the one-on-one jobs of pastoring, such as calling people and showing them we care about them. She is very good at these tasks and it is such a blessing to have her support in these areas!

Prayer requests

Here are a few prayer requests for the next couple of months:

  1. Please pray for continued protection and health for us and our church family.
  2. We are thankful for several financial miracles that God has provided during the last several months. We praise God for these!
  3. Please pray for wisdom and provision to continue to build our church, both spiritually and physically.
  4. Please pray for the continued development of the online Bible School.

Thank you!

We thank God for each of you who pray for us and support us financially. You have a big part in what we do and we know God will richly reward you. Thank you so very much for believing in us and partnering together with us in ministry.

In His Love,

David and Sara Lont

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

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