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!
David and Sara Lont