One of the many interesting blessings of being a missionary is that you get to see the Lord do some amazing things right before your eyes. In these six years that we have served in Peru and Mexico we have seen God pull off some really cool stuff. Your prayers are always a part of this. We are so dependent on you doing your part in 'holding the rope' through prayer. Obviously, you are doing your part.
This week one of our great USA church partners came for a return visit to their adopted community in southern Mexico. This community is several hours out in the mountains and is only found if you're really searching for it. This is one area of southern Mexico where there are no life-giving churches. There are a few institutional churches that are pushing a certain brand of religion. Because of this, USA churches are praying for and coming to southern Mexico to share the Gospel, train Christian leaders, and plant new churches. This particular church from the USA was hoping to meet some people in this village with the hopes of getting permission to work and live among the people of the village in the future...maybe months down the road.
There is certain amount of fear involved in going into some of these communities. Cross cultural workers who rarely leave the city tell stories of how closed these communities are to outsiders and how dangerous it is to get out of your vehicle. I (Jeff) have traveled all over southern Mexico and have yet to find one of these communities. But, I'm still a little nervous with all of these stories in the back of my mind. These stories often are more influential on my thinking than, say, the promise of scripture in Joshua 1:9 that assures me that The Lord is with me wherever I go.
God really showed out this week. I led this team to their village and we got out of our vehicles to see who the Lord would allow us to meet. We had no place to eat or sleep in the village. Remember, our intention was to just meet some people and hopefully find an open door into the village in a few months. However, immediately we were greeted by Ellen* and her children. We had met them several months ago. Ellen invited us into her little restaurant and cooked lunch for us. We then met Jackie* who allowed us to rent some space so that we would have a place to sleep for the night. This all happened within one hour of getting out of our vehicles. A new friend named Allen* greeted us and showed us around the village. While in the center of the village I noticed a group of men standing in front of the City Hall building. I greeted them and introduced myself and sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to speak boldly and ask for permission to live and work in the village. So, that's what I did. And they said, 'YES!'
I was somewhat surprised at this so I went to get the leaders of the USA church that were with me. I brought them over and again we asked permission to live and work among their people. Again, the leaders of the village said, 'Yes! We want you here!' Our next option was to find a more permanent place in the village for ministry teams to be able to live in the future. Standing beside us was a lady named Lucy* and she spoke up and said, 'I have a place.'
We toured Lucy's place and it was perfect. Lucy and her husband have basically built a hotel in the this little village. Remember, this is out in the boonies. Nobody is coming out here looking for a hotel! So, in the span of three hours we had met some new friends, gained permission to live and work in the village, and had found a perfect place for ministry teams to lodge in the future. The Lord is with me wherever I go. Indeed.
So, here I am sharing with all of you so that you will know that your prayers are powerful. Over the past months we have seen the Lord take our little plans and make them so much bigger. He has expanded our influence in exponential ways so that His Name is being proclaimed. You are a part of this work. Actually, you are the most important part.
Please join us in praying for these needs:
- Pray for Kat, Hannah A., Jasmine, Shelley, Hannah B., and Sarah. These are young adults who have given up four months to live and serve the people of southern Mexico. They have long days and some tough assignments. Lift them up.
- Pray for Jim who has come out of retirement to spend a few months serving these sweet people in Oaxaca.
- Pray for two USA churches who will be exploring communities over the next couple of weeks. These churches are seeking open doors for planting churches among communities in southern Mexico.
- Pray for Jackson, Haylee, Liesa, and Jeff to be faithful to Jesus and to be able to complete the task given to us.
We are grateful for your partnership in prayer and your giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program.
Jeff, Liesa, Haylee, and Jackson