Tuesday, June 21, 2016

May Update

A wonderful melting pot representing Cora, Huichol, Tepehuan, Mexicanero, Mexican, and American cultures!
Dear Friends,
   What a great month! So many positive developments and encouragements I scarcely know where to start. So here goes from the present working backwards. Collette, Daniela, and I are safely back in Nebraska after a smooth four-day drive. Please pray for a host Christian family to receive Daniela as she engages with English and High School studies here in the US. Collette and I are always reminded as we return home that we are so very blessed as a nation.  Yet so few understand, or are simply unwilling to share as God intends us to share.
   We are certain that the seventeen-member short term mission team from The Crossing in Gothenburg Nebraska have a greater understanding! They brought energy, focus, and lots of joy in Christ as they tackled some very challenging painting and fence building projects that brightened and secured the school buildings and grounds – Praise the Lord!  Joining forces with Jay Tenbrink and the twelve-member team from Centro Cristiano Church we cross cultured shoulder to shoulder as Cora, Huichol, Tepehuan, Mexicanero, Spanish, and English languages and cultures bubbled up during work, devotions, and fun time! We heard many of the American team reflect upon the amazing joy that came from their new friends who possessed so little material wealth. Thank God for people willing to get out of their comfort zones both to serve and receive. (For lots of pictures of the people and projects go to www.intothemountains.org and click on the link to Jay’s website and blog.)
   Our year living at the school has been both very challenging and rewarding.  We have watched Santos and the Association cope with threats and oppression from local Catholic leadership, indifference and incompetence from some Government offices, and intentional political intervention from both. Yet the school continues to prevail strengthened solely through faith in Christ.  Good progress, though much yet to be invested to carry forward this work.  We are thankful and encouraged by the many hands and hearts coming forth from friends in Mexico.  Please pray with us that His guidance and provision continue to strengthen the school, the leaders, and teachers. We treasure the prayers and financial assistance we have received from you, and hope to personally connect with you while we are back in the US.   
   Padre Pascual said “We teach the students to pray, study, and work.  The fun comes naturally!” We have experienced God in so many ways this past year at the school, many rough and challenging moments, many more brimming with contentment and joy in the Lord.  We praise God, and you the body of Christ, for guiding, helping, and encouraging this beautiful work in the far away mountains of Mexico. Jesus is speaking through His Word, His Holy Spirit, His Body of Believers. The lives of His children are being saved.   Thank you for being light in a dark and troubled world.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 
Peace and grace be with you.
Dios te bendiga.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April Update

Dear Jesus People,

A frequently asked question of us is “Why do you do what you do in Mexico?”  We ask ourselves that same question and it always leads us to the central question of “What did Jesus do?” Which often leads to the next question, “What would Jesus do?” Great questions we frequently raise during devotions with the students. We talk a lot about the Word, action and example of Jesus. His teachings about salvation, forgiveness, love and grace, service to others, choices, and consequences, life and death. Then of course there are the miracles, He gives us a clear example of how to walk the talk.

So here are four kids beginning to walk with Jesus. We’ll share more stories as we go along.

-Joel (far left) always has a smile ready, even when he’s in trouble, which has happened a few times. He got in a fist fight with another student. Consequence, they both left for a refocus sabbatical. Joel, with some help from his single mom, decided that fighting, even though he’s pretty good at it, wasn’t WWJD. He came back with a desire to do good, participates frequently in leading devotions, and has become a kind and thoughtful example for the younger boys. Extra grace required with promising change, a new Jesus guy.

-Alma, the pensive younger sister of Joel, displays a quiet competence in the classroom and the kitchen. She is an academic star who loves God and mathematics and serving others. Though shy, she has no qualms when sharing the Word of our Lord during devotions.  With a servant’s heart, her dreams are leaning toward medicine or accounting, she makes solid loving choices that gently bless others. She loves Jesus and her walk shows it.

-Inocencio (innocent) lives up to his name (most of the time) as a highly energized straight arrow guy with adult level responsibilities as the student leader. He loves the Word and learning how to live as a Jesus person. His arm around little Fidencio speaks volumes about his character as God leads him toward a life of helping and shepherding others. Walking the talk with Jesus.

Fidencio is the youngest of four siblings living at the school, a devious, ornery, and sweet six-year-old boy whose work responsibility is picking up trash. His academics are presently suspect, as he prefers to wander in and out of class at will. He is a WWJD focus kid, he needs our help.  The big right now problem is that his teeth are all rotting and he desperately requires dental attention. Both he and his family will know a lot more about Jesus as we join in their aid. Miracle needed, we get to participate!

Why do we do …? Simple, Jesus showed us the way.  And for certain, we could not do what we do without you. Thanks for being here with us in Spirit, for your prayers, for being the church, for being Jesus People. May God richly bless you.

Friday, April 8, 2016

March Update

Hello friends,
We have had a great past few weeks here in Mexico.
   The beginning of March saw a couple of days of severe weather here in the mountains as well as other areas of Mexico.  Here at the school we had loads of rain with wind.  A few trees down, wet classrooms, as there are no windows, and the continual leaky roof of the kitchen and dining room area.  We fared well.

   The following week we had a “spiritual retreat” for the students in the neighboring village of Cangrejo.  Fifty kids hiked the “canyon of death” as we called it 14 years ago when we hiked it for the first and last time.  They made it in half the time it took us, about 3 hours.  We were so fortunate to have Jay Tenbrink and friends from Centro Cristiano church in Cofradia with us.  They provided daily lessons, music and drama workshops, and lots of good humor for our students and the children of Cangrejo as well.  This was a time of intentional teaching of the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Christ to the students to learn the ‘why’ of Holy Week.  Though we cannot fully know the understanding the kids have, many made professions of faith.  We had goosebumps listening to them sing several songs they had learned.  It was a very special and inspirational time for all.  We have a link to Jay’s blog on our website where he will soon have pictures and videos posted from the retreat.  Please check it out.

   We are so very thankful for the continued financial and prayer support from all of you. Please know your prayers make a difference.

   That said, we are asking for prayerful consideration for another need.  We are hoping to find a family in the US who would be willing to provide a home to a young lady who wants to attend high school in the US.  We believe she is an excellent candidate for many reasons.  She has US citizenship, so papers are not an issue.  She is a student with really good grades, participates in her church youth group, is the oldest of 3 kids, is used to cleaning house, taking care of younger siblings, and I might add, she considers herself a professional at making tortillas by hand.  She comes from a Christian family and her mom and dad are hard workers.  We took her with us to Phoenix when we went last Christmas, and were impressed by her thoughtfulness and manner.  Daniela will be ready to begin high school this coming fall.  If we find a family for her, we would like to bring her back to the US with us in June.  We hope to have a video of her and her family shortly on our web page.   Would you join with us in praying for a family for Daniela?  If anyone has an interest, please email us for more information.

   As we plan for our trip home for the summer, please know that we are willing to visit you or your local churches if there is an interest in learning more about our ministry here in the mountains of Mexico.  We do plan on returning next fall, but have not nailed down dates or time yet.  We would love to see as many of you as possible.

   Other prayer requests include receiving finalization for the school to have non-profit status in Mexico, which would mean they could receive substantially more financial support here and see the rebuilding of a large portion of the school as it is 50 years old and unhealthy for the kids.  We have promises of donations of materials, but still need to raise money for labor and classroom items such as desks and chairs.

   We are still praying for a young missionary couple to come and join the work here.  A love for working with kids, a willingness to help out as needed in the classrooms, gardens, kitchen, teaching English and Bible classes, playing soccer or volleyball, etc.  Please pass on this need to anyone you might know interested in serving.  The need is great.
As always, we thank you for your prayer and financial support.  Please keep it coming!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Update

Dear Friends,

   We pray you are well and walking with Jesus this Year of the Lord’s Favor. The Lord has Big Kingdom Building Plans for Padre’s School this coming year, but first, praises for some of His many blessings.

  • Jesus transforming the hearts of these kids in the Sierra Madres. His Word and His example are life changing, we see Him in the work, study, smiles, and laughter of our students and we praise the Lord! Two student leaders, Inocencio and Lucio, are leading devotions and eager to learn more about Jesus and the Word. We are beginning to see fruit.  John 15

  • For the warm clothing and personal hygiene items sent by loving hearts and hands here in Mexico and from friends in the US.  Our everyday “take it for granted” stuff is a big deal in these parts – thanks!

  • For OCS Army buddies from 50 years ago, battle tested men of strong faith, who tracked us down and started sending support for the school. They are brothers in arms, more importantly brothers in Christ - an encouraging, humbling reminder that God has our back on this eternal journey. Gracias Hermanos.

  • For Jay Tenbrink coming alongside the school in so many ways, recently organizing two Samaritans’ Purse outreaches – for the school, and another for friends across the canyon in Cangrejo.

  • For Felix and Yolanda Cedillo, son Jose, friend Isaias, and longtime friend Carl Borne for driving a van full of wonderful supplies down from the border only to blow their transmission, spending the night on a mountain top before we could we come to the rescue.  Thanks to Fanny and Buddy and all of our dear friends in south Texas. May the adventures and the blessings continue forever.

  • For your faithful prayer and material support, for being “the Church” as often taught by Jesus and his radical friends.  What a blast. Thank you for sharing your blessings. Praise the Lord!

  • Thank you and the good Lord, we continue to meet our fishes and loaves budget. We are at $20 per student per month, watching the kids grow like weeds with good nutrition, and paying the teachers to boot! Up at 5:00 AM in bed at 9:00 PM lots of Jesus and character building in between. The real deal.

Please pray the Lord’s Favor upon Big Kingdom Plans that only He can accomplish.

   Santos and all of the School team are planning a Holy Week Retreat before Easter for the students. It will combine adventure and focus on Christ.  Please pray with us that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of all of the students to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Matthew 19

   Join us in prayer for the Lord’s hand upon the formation of a body of believers here in Mesa del Nayar and in Cangrejo.  We know there is great need. Please pray for a miraculous moving of the Holy Spirit that will set many captives free.  Isaiah 61

   Please pray for equipping and provision for the Jay and Faith Tenbrink family move to Mesa del Nayar.

   Pray His provision - we need to improve classroom space with a new building. Santos has arranged donations for design, most materials, and engineering/ technical support. Over the next year we are praying to raise $25,000+ to cover the labor and incidentals. Thank you for your presence in ministry with our Lord, may He richly bless you.