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.
SO "DIOS SIEMPRE GANA" "GOD ALWAYS WINS"
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!