You can download a copy of this letter in PDF format here.
Dear friends, family, and supporters,
It’s a joy to greet you once again from the autumn fields here in the mountains, just outside of Tulancingo. Summer has gone by, and now it’s starting to get cooler again. We’ve have several nights of hard frost in our area, changing the beautiful green fields of corn to a dry, brown color and slowly transforming the luscious green pasturelands into varying shades of yellow. It is the cycle of life, the turning of the seasons, the very way God created nature to function. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT).
Everything is beautiful in its own time. Even during this season in which a plague of disease and death has come upon the earth, causing the lives of many to suddenly wilt away, God continues to reign above it all. He continues to be beautiful, faithful, true, holy and good. We can continue to place all of our hope in Him, for He still cares for us. Yes, there is nothing that can separate us from His love! We have eternity in our hearts, even though we cannot fathom the entire scope of God’s work within the affairs of our lowly human existence. Yet we trust Him who created us, because eternity has been planted in our hearts. We know that even when the oceans roar and the mountains crumble, our God remains the same, and when we are planted upon Jesus Christ, our Rock, we will continue to stand steadfast.
Nothing Can Stop The Kingdom of God
It is just amazing how many things can be done from the home today! So many of us thought that we needed a special building or an office to get “real work” done. However, combining the pandemic with technology, we have suddenly realized that many tasks once considered almost impossible to accomplish without leaving the house, today can be successfully carried out right from our homes. Since March, we have been leading several weekly Bible studies from our home, recording Bible School classes, transmitting our church services, doing counseling, praying for people, and just about everything else from home. It has truly been an interesting season, and something I would have never imagined. Yet, we’ve found that most aspects of ministry continue to be just as effective or perhaps even more productive than when we were able to constantly meet in person. And although we long for the day when so many limitations on personal and corporate gatherings won’t be necessary, still we realize that history has in some ways taken a bend in the road, and that the world we knew before March, 2020, may never be the same. How should we respond? We simply need to adapt!
One of the more interesting aspects of ministry since August has been with our Online Bible School. We began our fall semester in August with around 170 students. About 40 of those students are studying homiletics – the art of preaching. After receiving lectures on the subject during August and September, we moved into the more practical aspects at the beginning of October. Each student must prepare and deliver three sermons live, using a video conferencing platform. Their facilitators and classmates join the live stream to watch, listen, and evaluate their sermons and delivery. When they finish, we give them time to make constructive comments, and then send in an evaluation form, which is delivered to both the student who preached, and the course facilitator. What a varied group we have! Some are pastors with years of experience, yet they have never studied this topic. Others are young people, college students, older church leaders and even children’s church teachers. It has been a joy to see them, hear them preach, and give them direction as they continue to hone in on the skills required to effectively communicate the Word of God to an audience, be it in a church service, a small group, a classroom, or an online setting.
Our church continues to meet online. Although technically it is possible to meet in a very reduced capacity at this moment in our area (and some churches are), we have made the decision to continue for the time being mostly online. Legally, we would only be able to have in-person services with about 25 people in our building, and no children or senior citizens would be allowed to attend. I felt that it is much more practical to continue to invest our time and resources in online and remote ministry, as we are reaching many more of our people in this form. We know of other churches that began in-person meetings, but they were only able to do it for a few weeks, and then had to go back to online-only, because of an increase in COVID-19 cases in their areas.
Can the church continue on its mission to extend the Kingdom of God and make disciples during this season? I definitely believe we can! After all, we are the church; we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The true church of Jesus Christ has never been a physical building. It has always been a group of people who have been redeemed by Christ and who gather in His name, working to make disciples and to extend His kingdom. This is something we can and should continue to do, whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic, a natural disaster, or persecution. The Word of God will continue to flow forth and the Kingdom of Heaven will continue to expand!
I want to thank each of you who continues to pray for us and support us. I know that things have been difficult just about everywhere during the past half year, but God continues to be faithful. And Sara and I wish to express our most sincere thanksgiving to you.
David and Sara Lont