I can't begin to describe the past two days, and I'd be up until daybreak to capture the entirety of what we've seen God do here. This post will inevitably fit into the "you had to be there" category, but here it goes....
Our morning's VBS went very well, with nearly 60 children present. Each day we have scoured the local community giving out flyers for our week's activities, and each day we've had 10-15 new children come. In the minutes before closing I had a father come up to me and speak in good English "Do you know anyone in Chicago, Illinois? I am leaving for Chicago on Friday and want to find a church of the same religion as you to find God". To completely butcher an amazingly long and awesome story I'll sum it up by saying that he gave me the phone number and address of his Uncle who he will be staying with in Chicago, and I agreed to find a bible-believing church in his local community over the Internet. I then asked him if he died today does he know without doubt where he would spend eternity. He was unsure, so I shared with him the Gospel illustrated by the six-colored bracelet we've been using here in Mexico. I shared with him that he didn't need to wait until he reached Chicago to learn of God's love, and after hearing the story of salvation in the Bible he decided to turn his life over to God and accept Christ's gift of eternal life through his death on the cross. Please pray for Samuel, as his journey to Chicago will be long and dangerous. Also pray for his wife Anna who will be left behind with their two children while Samuel works in America.
After VBS we left for lunch, but first had to drop off clothes for cleaning at the local laundry one block down from our restaurant. This is the same laundry we used last year, as well as many other teams before us. Today the owner seemed agitated, and said that he didn't have time to launder our clothes today or tomorrow. Surprised, we asked if there was another laundry nearby. We followed his directions two blocks down, and the owner said that she would have our clothes clean today, and volunteered to stay open after her normal closing time of 8pm because we said we couldn't return until near 9pm. On our way out, she asked Abel if he was a Christian (based on two tattoos on his arms). She then asked if he could share a message from the Bible, because she wanted to learn more about God. We agreed to do so when we returned to pick up our clothes that night. It was not lost on anyone in our group that this was a God-appointed meeting.
After lunch and a brief rest we returned to the mission in San Andres with plans to launch into the nearby community to pay return visits to a handful of homes that prayed to receive Christ during visits from last week's team from LBC. We arrived at the Mission in San Andres to steady rain, but just as we were pondering how we were going to walk the streets without knocking on doors looking like drowned rats the rain cleared and the sun shone through. We visited 5-6 homes in San Andres, several of which opened up their homes for lengthy conversations. Two mothers still had the six-colored bracelet on their wrists that were given to them last week when they prayed to receive Christ. One mother is arranging for a home bible study at her house tomorrow at 7pm. Another is bringing her children to VBS tomorrow and the film tomorrow night. One even remembered the names of the team members who visited the week before (Jorge and Katiy). It was a very good night of following up with and fellowshipping with new Christians.
We then moved to visit two homes in Royal Woods, another community on the suburbs of Apizaco where a mission church is being considered. The first home was thrilled to be visited by fellow Christians, and received Dr. Logsdon and Jorge for some 20 minutes. Dr. Logsdon shared this week that the Potomac Baptist Association is looking to build a Christian church mission in this community of Royal Woods because of the population density. More on this in a minute (the story gets better).....
Tonight's team meeting ran until 11pm, and included a powerful time of prayer for all that's happened this week. I don't know the exact number, but we have had more than 10 individuals decide to accept Christ and His gift of salvation during the team's visits thusfar. The prayer time included prayer for each of these new Christians, especially that they will seek out a local church body and grow as newborn Christians.
One of the other things that happened this week is that one of our local (to Puebla) team members (Alejandra) spent time Monday night with the night clerk named Francisco at our local hotel and found that he was seeking the Lord and had a hunger to learn more about the Bible. Alejandra led Francisco to the Lord that night, and Francisco had asked that someone share more with him on his next shift (tonight) as he wanted to learn how to read the Bible. Tonight Alejandra and I spent nearly 90 minutes explaining the Bible, sharing scripture throughout the New Testament to describe and illustrate God's love for us and desire for us to accept His offer to reconcile us to him through Jesus Christ. Francisco absorbed and understood everything we shared, and our Q&A session revealed what appeared to be a heart genuinely seeking to build a Christian walk and one that understood everything that was shared. I believe it to be a clear example of God demonstrating the promise in His word that all who seek and ask for wisdom through reading God's word will find it. We exchanged phone numbers and addresses with Francisco, and asked him to show us on the map of Apizaco where his home was. After some time to get orientated, his finger fell smack dab on top of the small community named Royal Woods, where we visited tonight and the PBA is hoping to start a mission church.
All this is only that which I saw and experienced today. I haven't taken the time to list the stories shared tonight by the other team members, but suffice it to say that there was many more examples given by the other team members.
I will close with a prayer request for our activities tomorrow, but which also is a long-term prayer need for this town. David, a local church planter from Puebla, shared that last week he visited the home of a dear lady in San Bartolo named Yolanda. She had accepted Christ several years ago during a previous visit by John Fields and an LBC team. David went into Yolanda's home last week for a home bible study, and preached on holy living. He closed by challenging everyone there to consider taking a sack and putting away anything in their home that took away from their focus on Jesus Christ. The next night David returned to Yolanda to see how she was doing. When he prepared to leave, Yolanda produced a sack she had filled that day based on the words shared from the Bible the night before. David took the sack, and without looking into it turned to leave. He then felt a strong tug on the sack and turned expecting to see their young boy pulling back as if the sack included his favorite toy. Instead he saw no one, and his co-visitor later said that she saw a nearby curtain flutter as if something passed through it. When David left the home, he looked inside the sack to find it filled with idols that are common in the homes of this area and deeply ingrained in the traditions and beliefs of the people. David is certain he experienced a very real manifestation of the spiritual struggle that actively pulls at the surrounding community. Yolanda's parents just two days later (last Friday) were struck by a car, and he mother was hospitalized with injuries that threatened to claim her leg. We learned today that her mother had been released from the hospital, but then suffered a heart attack. They prayer request is this: these are circumstances that underscore to the family the reality of the spiritual warfare surrounding them, and are intended to make them question their decision to be obedient to God's word and seek God only. I ask that you join me in prayer for the health of Yolanda's mother, but more importantly that the entire family not be tempted to return to the inclusion of idols in their belief and understanding of God.
Tomorrow is going to be another full day. In addition to VBS, hosting a leading doctor from Puebla for four hours of free medical consultations, and showing a movie in the evening we also hope make several additional home visits in San Andres to follow up from last week, honor our commitment to lead a bible study in the home of one lady in San Andres, and send a team up to San Bartolo to pay crucial follow up visits with Yolanda and several other key brothers and sisters in Christ there. It will have to be a God-thing to make all this happen, something that we have become accustomed to seeing this week!
And now to find a bible-believing church in Chicago for my new friend Samuel.....
Buenos Noches. :)