Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The first door (part 2) was opened last week when my friend Juan, the drunk man that showed up at our door (two days in a row) a month ago. He is the man that showed up after we came home from church one Sunday and I was able to read the word of God to him and talk with him for about 2 hours that day. Then he showed up the next day, drunk again, and I talked and read with him for another hour. But last week he showed up sober and brought Sarita a little gift and invited us to his house. We accepted the invitation and went to his house 2 days later. The first hour we simply talked with him, his wife Maria and children about general things and just got to know the family. They told us that they were Catholic but did not really attend church or do all the things that strong Catholics did.
We also talked about how Sarita and I could help him and his family make a better living…He and Maria have 12 children, 7 of which still live at home. They live in a wooden house with one large room probably measuring 20feet by 40feet and a dirt floor. Gabby, their oldest that lives at home, has worked at a bread shop for the past year; 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. They would like it if she would not have to work so much as she is really beginning to be tired a lot…imagine that…I mean anyone would be tired, much less a 16 year old. Sarita and I brought up the idea of a sewing machine and they seemed very interested in this. There is much that needs to be done before Gabby would be able to produce an end product suitable for sale, but at least we are moving in that direction. Before we left home, my uncle gave us a sewing machine, so at least this little venture won’t cost too much to get off the ground. Please pray for wisdom in this area.
The second hour I was able to talk to him, with his wife intently listening in from a little ways away, about God’s word. During our discussion he asked me if I would teach him the bible, to which I said yes of course. He was proud to pull out a plastic sack with three bibles in it…all three were New Testament and Psalms Gideon Bibles (praise the Lord for those Gideons!) but of course, as I already knew, he knows very little of the bible. Since he was sober this time, I took advantage of the time and asked him why it was that he says he believes God’s word and is a good man of God, but showed up to my door two days in a row drunk. He responded by telling me that the demons in his head talk to him a lot and they talk him into doing bad things. I told him many things, but I made sure that I told him that this was contrary to God’s word and was sin and that God was not pleased with people that do things contrary to His word (Psalm 7:11 “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”) Please pray with us, that God would allow Juan and I to sit down when he is sober so that he can hear the full gospel story and that he may be convicted of his sin and, in repentance, turn to the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
The second door (part 3) was opened up when we received an invitation from our neighbors to go into Comitan to do a little shopping. We accepted and left a few hours later. During the hour drive into Comitan, we talked about how God had moved in Sarita’s and my life and the events that led up to us getting married and coming to Mexico for mission work. But on the return trip (which took about an 1 ½ because it started raining…of course it started raining, as it seems to do all the time here right now during rainy season) I was able to talk with the father Rojelio, with his wife Bettye and son Royo and daughter Anna listening in. This family is Catholic as well, but unlike Juan, Rojelio knew much about the bible…at least the story of Christ and His death upon the cross. As we talked, I saw that Rojelio did not understand the good news of the gospel as was evident when I asked him how he could receive forgiveness for his sins and he said that he had to believe in Jesus Christ, stop being a sinner and do the good works that God says in the bible to receive pardon from God. I told him he was close but still did not fully understand what the bible says concerning salvation.
We returned home and I wanted to talk with him just a few more minutes so he and his wife came into our house to talk a little more. I told him that he had some very good answers to my questions concerning God and the Lord Jesus but that he was missing one very important ingredient to the plan of salvation that God speaks of in His holy word, so he asked me to tell him what he was missing. I told him that yes he needed to believe in Christ but, try as he might, he would never be able to stop being a sinner, for Jesus says that even the littlest thought in your mind that is contrary to God’s word is sin…not just the actual doing of the sin. I also told him that the bible says that he could never do enough good things in his lifetime to make up for the sins that he has committed already and will commit in the future. I explained to him that the bible makes it very clear that going to heaven requires a man to see his sin, see his need of a Savior to pardon, confess and repent of his sin and place his faith in the Lord Jesus as his personal Savior. Of course I said much more but I will not write our entire 2 hour conversation here…you can thank me all later J. Please pray with us that this family will come to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior and that they would see the beauty of Christ and find Him delightful and sufficient for all of their needs.
Now the God of peace be with you all,
Lance and Sarita
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
These are our neighbors...from left to right we have Anna, Royo,
Bettye, and Rohellio...and of course my lovely wife and yours truly...
These three photos show my friend Juan and I outside of our house on those two days that he came by...
First two pics show us on the first day (Sunday) and the last pic is the very next day (Monday)when he came by...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Two days ago, pastor C (my pastor), his son Carlitos (8 years old), one of our mutual friends Elias, and I drove about 2 ½ hours up into the mountains to spend some time with a dear friend of pastor C. We traveled to a small indigenous community up in the mountains of Chiappas, Mexico where a new Baptist church has been built. In the little “town” where the church is, there are only about 100 people but within about a 2 hours walk there are about 2,000 people. There are many people that attend this Baptist church (which is a fairly large structure for this area of Chiappas) but there are also many lost people in the area that need to hear the good news of the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We left Teopisca about noon on Wednesday and arrived there around 4:00pm after making a quick stop to meet up with Senor Vicinte, a deacon in the church, so that he could show us the way up to his community. There was a good welcoming party there to meet us when we arrived and we unloaded our gear into the church and then we went out and began visiting with the people. As it turns out, the men above 25 years old can speak Spanish and 1 or 2 other dialects but the women and children seemed to only be able to speak their own dialect. SO communication was a little difficult for us, especially for me since everyone was just speaking a hundred miles an hour and I was only getting about 60% of what the men where saying (although by the end of our short trip the men realized that I could understand much more if they just slowed down a little and spoke more clearly).
Wednesday night we sang some worship songs and then pastor C preached to probably about 70 or 80 people. The message was translated by Gregorio, the pastor of this church, into the dialect of the people and at the conclusion of the message, many people confessed their sins and prayed to the Lord for forgiveness. Please pray with me that these people have truly seen their need for a Savior to pardon them and free them from the sin that has kept them in bondage for all these years. And pray that they would be transformed more into the image of Christ day by day and that they would begin to hunger and thirst for the righteous that is found in the only true and living God of heaven and earth.
After the preaching of the word of God, we showed a movie about the life of Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China in the mid to late 1800’s. It was a great movie about the faith, dedication and perseverance of a servant of the Most High God that was used to bring the saving word of the Lord to many in China before it was “Big Red.” If this movie did nothing for anyone else in the room, I can definitely say with all truth that I was further encouraged and strengthened by what I saw and heard from the life of this faithful man of God, Hudson Taylor. What hardships this man encountered throughout his life as he sought to see men go from death to life, darkness to light, hopelessness to full of hope and misery to joy and peace. One of Hudson’s favorite passages (a passage that the Lord used to give him strength to continue fighting the good fight of faith) was John 15:5 which says, “I [Lord Jesus] am the vine, you [Christians] are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” What a word of exhortation and encouragement to our lives today…whether we are missionaries to the uttermost parts of the world or a teenage student in school in the good ‘ole U.S.A. We must remember that we can do nothing in our own strength but rather, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
All in all we had a good, and I hope, profitable time with our brothers and sisters. We discussed with the pastor about maybe visiting this community on a more frequent basis so that we could do more bearing of one another’s burdens and share in each other’s joy. I think we have decided that maybe a bi-monthly trip would be best for everyone involved. I pray that this will be the case as I truly enjoyed my time with these people of another tribe and tongue.
BUT, one thing that I did not mention in my report above was what we encountered about an hour from this small community. The night before (Tuesday night) this area had very heavy rains, which caused many landslides and “hole sinks.” These rains also caused havoc with the roadways as you can see from some of the photos below. The biggest problem though was that it washed away the biggest bridge that we had to cross in our route up into the mountains. I remember the strange feeling I had when looking at where the bridge had once stood and thinking that just 15 hours before, there was a bridge here.
In order to get our gear across to the other side of the bridge and into the “taxis” on the other side to complete our journey, we had to carry all of our gear downstream about 300 yards where the river became more narrow. That morning, 4 large trees were cut down and laid across the river for a temporary bridge for transporting all the products that the people of this area took into San Cristobal and Tuxtla Gutierrez to sale in order to make a living. It wasn’t the safest of bridges as there was a vary thick layer of mud built up on the logs which were constantly being splashed with water and new fresh mud from the continual stream of people crossing to the other side.
But we made it across to the other side with no problems (including our return trip) and made our way back up the hill on the other side for another 300 yards to where our transportation awaited. I know I did this kind of stuff 10 – 15 years ago in the military but it has been a while since I did so…and besides I was in the Navy so it wasn’t like I did this everyday like those in the Army or Marines.
Take a look at the photos below and please pray for these people and the salvation of many.
With much affection,
Lance and Sarita
This verse came to mind as I saw the great struggle of these brothers and sisters as they live from day to day and also when I saw the movie of the life of Hudson Taylor:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
These 2 photos show what the heavy rains did to the roads while traveling up to this small community. As you can see from the first photo, there is really not much left of this road and i would think that in due time it would all fall apart.
These 2 phots show the where the bridge should have been.
These 4 pics show us carrying the gear those 300 yards to the temporary bridge where the trees were placed across a narrow part of the river. (don´t be fooled into thinking that i wasn´t carrying anything since i have nothing in my hands in the photo crossing the bridge...i got stuck with carrying the 55 pound speaker/amp...or should i say, i was a willing servant of the most high god and graciously volunteered to carry it) :)
These 2 pics show the ¨taxi¨that took us another hour or so up into the mountains. As you can see from the photo below, the roads got smaller and smaller as we traveled further up into the mountains.
3 photos of the new church that was recently constructed.
This first photo shows how many of the men still dress in this area He is the father of one of the deacons in the church. Most of the men that dress this way are older men as the younger men have stopped wearing their traditional dress and now where slacks and dress shirts or tee shirts. The other photos show the everyday tribal dress that the women wear. In one of the pics below i am playing a game of marbles with the kids...except they are so poor that we were playing with rocks...even in Teopisca where Sarita and I live the kids use actual marbles.
Pics of pastor C preaching and photos of the congregation. As you can see from the second photo, all the men sit on one side and the women on the other...Sarita and I don´t abide by this so every time we go to church in many parts of mexico (including where we live), Sarita is the only women sitting on the mens side.
NADA MAS !!!!