Thursday, August 9, 2012

Update #2 The days of VBS with PIB San Juan

Before I get started.

Here is an update from Aaron Sutton on the Psalm 67 blog that was actually typed while in Texas about half way through the week. 

Also I have tried to make a time line that you can see on the left to give you some context (and hopefully help me remember everything as well)

Primera Iglesia Bautista San Juan, First Church Baptist San Juan, shortened to PIB San Juan or sometimes Primera San Juan. This was the church that our group was put in contact with through the leadership at Cristo el Rey, the church we have been working with from the beginning of our time in Texas up to this point. 

It will be good for you to know that in all probability we are not looking at working with this church, Primera San Juan, on just a one time bases. It is also very interesting to note that it may be God's providential plan for us to become more involved here in the future. The reason I say this is that Cristo el Rey, who for so long has been struggling with the lack of a pastor and with such a small core of members, now has a pastor. And they have decided to make him more than just temporary pastor, I believe. AND the message that we heard last Sunday at Cristo el Rey completely blew me and Aaron away. Taking us much by surprise. I am very glad that both me and Aaron were able to be present. I had tears in my eyes after just the review portion as I realized I was hearing Christ exalting, powerful, EXPOSITIONAL preaching on Ephesians chapter 2 (Efesios 2:4-10 5a Parte) is the message the week before the one we heard), the sixth message in a series of sermons on Ephesians. 

I may be able to get back to that and explain more of how encouraging that message was but for now know that it is very interesting that the same trip that a Biblical pastor comes to one church we are introduced to a new church in need. One that while it appears to have a more stable membership core is both without a pastor AND without a church building. Their former building that they shared with the Anglo Baptist church in San Juan was condemned by the government so now they are meeting in a members home in the city of Donna. It seems strange to us to have a Primera San Juan meeting in a different city than it's name but maybe that just points out our need to realize that the body of Christ is not in anyway constrained to certain building structure, or city, or culture. 

This again was our theme for Vacation Bible school (as we call it). We used material from Desiring God ministries. Sunday was the first day. We gathered kids and invited people each evening around 6:00pm or so, tiempo latino (we ran late almost every night). It was a similar format to what we have done before with three groups. We always seem to start with four groups, older/younger boys and older/younger girls, but we end up with three because the girls join groups (this actually helps though). Daniel and I did the games with the kids, Sarah Weber did the crafts, Gennie and Kim tackled the challenge of teaching and leading the very young kids, Rick Clausel taught the lessons, and Aaron Sutton taught the adults. 

I think the two biggest blessings from the VBS time (feels a little strange calling it VBS when it involves adults and families) were with these last two of the team. While each of us did our part to encourage the kids to learn their Bible verses and each of us took time to pray with the kids during our time with them, whether that was in games or whatever, it was REALLY encouraging to see Rick teaching those boys and girls about our God who ALWAYS wins. While each of us outside had our times of chasing down runaways and corralling kids together and spending 15 minutes just trying to get the kids quiet enough to pray with them (I know my temper got way to close to blowing at times), Rick was able to teach them while they listened to stories about how God utterly defeated Kings and Armies, false gods and idols, Satan and death itself, AND how he's coming back again one day to complete his final victory. 

While I'm sure Rick can tell you stories of his own struggles with teaching the kids, it was very precious to look in the window and see the kids sitting and listening, and then when they came out to games and crafts being able to ask them and hear from them what they learned about God, and how he ALWAYS wins. "DIOS SIEMPRE GANA" is something they should not forget for a long time, hopefully never.

Another encouraging thing was Aaron's Bible studies with the adults. For me at first it meant that I couldn't hand over misbehaving kids to Aaron for him to handle, but by the end of the VBS it meant that God had moved in more ways than I could see. Three people made professions of repentance from sin and a turning to God that included tears of sorrow and joy. PRAISE GOD! and pray for them that God would use this church to faithfully lead and disciple these new believers. From what I understand several of the adults that came were simply parents who's kids had been invited and who had been invited as well to come and learn about God and the Bible. 

Through our time there we made many friends some of which grew close in such a short time. We were able to work along side the members there in a stronger way than we've been able to in the past. We even drove around with some of them speculating on what building might be good for a future meeting place, and how we can work together to reach the surrounding villages in Donna and Alamo with the gospel. 

Please pray that God would bless the seeds that were planted in the kids at Primera San Juan. 
Please pray for the church body that God would take care of them and bless them and keep them focused on serving him first and on reaching the neighbors with the gospel as they help those in need.
Please pray for us and our future involvement with Primera San Juan that God would direct our steps (that can sometimes be a little blind on our part, but our God sees all!)

Thank you for your prayers!!!  Dios te Bendiga!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First post on Psalm 67 Mission trip

Lots to post and no time to type


Actually its probably just that I've not made time to. Its been three weeks now of camp at Bates Creek and VBS/mission trip here in Texas and I am getting somewhat tired of feeling tired, but I want to try to update and get back on track.

I am going to post out of order a little bit I think. I will save the Bates Creek camp photos and stories for later and skip to the team in Texas up dates for now.

The Team to Texas this time consists of Aaron Sutton, Sarah Weber, Kim Lee, Gennie Jackson, Rick Clausel, Daniel Noah and me.
We did VBS Sunday (July 29th) through Wednesday (August 1st) with Primera Bautista San Juan (First Baptist San Juan) which is a church we made new contact with in the area. They are actually meeting in Donna (one town east of San Juan) because their building was condemned by the government.
It is Saturday now. We've been very busy during our time since Wednesday and I will fill you in on some of the details (I have a list of items to mention).
First though I wanted to mention some of the details of the trip as a whole. We have been very blessed in many ways. In many ways this trip and VBS has gone smoother and has been more organized than before. With the VBS we had help from the church members every day allowing Aaron to teach an adults class every day evening that we did VBS (we had VBS from 6:30-9:00pm). We have been very blessed by both the members of the church Primera San Juan and by all of our family in Christ here. One of our struggles this trip has been financial. With not having Rachel Sutton here to fix us good food to keep us going the girls came into this trip with the mindset that they were going to be fixing all the meals for the group. Well the Lord had other plans for us. We have been so blessed that I don't think we've bought or made a single breakfast for ourselves and so much of our other meals have been provided for each day. It has become a joke almost for our group "Well of course you can invite us to breakfast! We've not had to make a single breakfast yet for ourselves. Why should we start now?" lol!
That's what happened this morning. We were invited back to have breakfast with some of the members of Primera San Juan we've grown close to. We wanted to spend some more time together before we left for the north tomorrow.

OK there's more to tell of the blessing, but also I want to share some of the struggles of this trip. For me.
Also there are many needs we've run into with the families here. But God is good!

Right now though I need to go pick up the team at the border. They should be crossing back into the USA in a few momentos.
I need to share a prayer request when I get back to this. I no longer have my camera or my passport in my possession. The probability of getting them back at this point is very slim to none. But God can take care of that as well. Hasta luego...

... Ok, so we are back from the border now. We are all the way home now actually. In Missouri. Our trip back went well. Now I am trying to get back into routine while at the same time finishing thing that need to be done from the trip.

Instead of trying to make one long post about everything though. I am going to try making shorter posts. Remember I have no camera or pictures from this trip so I am going to try and be a little more descriptive (pray for me!). Where others from the team have written or have posted pictures about the trip I will point these out to you.