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.
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.
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.
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