September 2016 Trip Report

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Thank you for your prayers as we went on this trip.  God is really using Pastor Wenceslao and his family in Mexico.  Please continue to pray for Pastor Wenceslao and his family and the churches in Jalpan and Landa.

On Tuesday, September 20, we flew into Queretaro, Mexico.  Everything went smoothly in the airport.   When we got there, we met our translator Josue at the airport.  Then we drove the four hours of very curvy roads to Jalpan.  That night we ate with Pastor Wenceslao and  his family and some of the church people.  I actually didn’t eat with them because I was still getting over the curvy roads, so I stayed at the hotel.  Everyone that did go said it was a great meal.

On Wednesday we went to the medical brigade site and met Diego, the man who put the brigade together, and helped set up.  I mainly helped Alice set up the glasses area.  That night at supper a lady from the church bought a big cake for Jenny’s birthday.

On Thursday we did the medical brigade!  That morning when we got to the building we had a devotional with everyone who was helping.  Then we got started!  There were not a lot of children so I helped with glasses.  After lunch there were some children so we got to take care of them.  The children were so cute and awesome.

On Friday we did the medical brigade again.  I helped with the glasses again until lunch.  There was a lady not far from the building that was the school’s cafeteria cook and was paid by the mayor to cook for us every day.  The food was really good.   After lunch there were a lot of children.  I made about thirty animal balloons in ten minutes for only ten children because I did not know how to say “you are only allowed to have two balloons each” in Spanish!!

On Saturday we did the medical brigade again.  This was the day with the most people.  I helped with glasses and the kids in the morning.  We went to eat lunch in three groups and Anna and I were in the first group so poor C.J. ,who helped with the children, was all alone, and when we walked out of the building we saw about six boys coming in the door!  Let’s just say he was soaked with sweat when we came back from lunch, and he looked like he was going to pass out.  Somehow he survived with all the children.  After the medical brigade was over that day, we said good-bye to all the doctors and people who helped with the brigade.

On Sunday we went to Pastor Wenceslao’s church in Jalpan. It was so awesome to get to worship with them even though we couldn’t speak the same language.  After church they fed us an amazing meal.  We got to go back to the hotel and rest.  Then we drove to the church in Landa.  After the service they fed us another amazing meal.  Sadly, we had to do the hardest part in the whole trip by saying good bye.

On Monday we drove back to the Queretaro airport.  On the way there we stopped at a little town called Bernal to look around and eat.  Then we flew back to Louisville.

God blessed us so much through this trip.  I’m thankful for the team I got to go with.  Our team worked really well together even though there were several different personalities.  I’m so thankful I got to go on this trip.  I would encourage you to pray about going on the next trip.  I now you probably have many fears, but I did too, and God worked through those fears.  I was scared about everything,  but God showed me that I just needed to trust in Him.  If I had not gone, I would have been mad at myself for not going and letting my fears control me.  I would love to go back to Mexico, and I’m sure you would want to go back if you went.

By Sarah

 


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September Trip!

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We are excited about our upcoming trip to Queretaro in September! Our team members are John, Anna, Sarah, Mel, Jenny, Alice, CJ, and Josue. Please be in prayer for this team and the ministry opportunities they will encounter. During this week trip they will assist with a medical brigade and encourage the local church. Prayers are appreciated as all the final details come together!

 

Prayer Requests!

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~Pray for Pastor Wenceslao and his wife Nina as they lead the churches in Jalpan and Landa. Pray for strength, boldness, and growth in the churches.

~Pray for Jerry, Diana (Wenceslao’s sister), and their daughter Talita as they move away from Jalpan, and for the church during their absence. Pray for comfort for them and for Wenceslao, Nina, and their daughter Yelitza , as they are a very close family.

~Pray for the people who were impacted by the street witnessing and hospital ministry during our recent trip, and for all the people in that area, that their hearts would be softened to the saving gospel of Christ.

~Pray that the Catholic church would lose its great hold on the community.

~Pray for Hilda (one of the ladies from the church) as she witnesses to her sons, brother, and sister. None of them attend church, and she is very burdened for their souls.

~Pray for Flor, a lady to whom the church in Landa has been reaching out. She needs salvation.

~Pray for Sonia, a lady from the church in Landa who is having serious medical problems. She is in the hospital in Mexico City.

~Pray for Manuel, a pastor friend of Josh and his family. He has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

~Pray for the medical brigade coming up in September. Pray for a willing team, smooth travels for everyone involved, and follow-through on the part of the mayor. Pray about going yourself!

May 2016 Trip Report

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First of all, thank you for your prayers and support as we went to Mexico on May 24-30, 2016. We could definitely feel your prayers as everything seemed to work out no matter how the situation appeared. The trip was a huge blessing to our team, as well as the churches in Landa and Jalpan.

We flew into Queretaro on Tuesday, May 24. The flight down was fairly uneventful, except for Jenny’s checked bag getting stuck in Dallas. We were assured that the bag would be delivered to the hotel the next day. We met our translator, Josh, at the airport and with his help rented a minivan for the week. We squeezed ourselves and all of our luggage in, and started out on the four-hour drive to Jalpan. When we got there, we checked into our hotel and then ate a delicious dinner at the church with Pastor Wenceslao and other church members. Afterward, we headed to the boarding house where we would be working on Wednesday and Thursday. The church goes there every Tuesday night to have a brief Bible study with the children. When we first got there, the children surrounded us eagerly, asking how to say things in English. Our team agreed, we’d never seen children so eager to learn English!

Wednesday morning we worked with the children, doing ESL through various fun crafts and activities. At the beginning of the day, Jenny shared the story of creation through our translator Josh to all the children. Then we broke them up into smaller groups and rotated them through various stations, almost like VBS. At each station, the craft or activity they did had something to do with the story and also taught them basic English words and phrases. After we finished with the children around lunchtime, we got a few hours to rest before we headed out for some street evangelism with the church. We each went with a member of the church to pass out Gospels of John or New Testaments to people around the square. Our team’s job was to hand them the materials and pray while the church member invited the person to the square to hear Bro. John share his testimony in a few minutes. Several great conversations took place that evening about the gospel.

Thursday morning we worked with the children at the boarding house again. Most of the children there live too far out to drive in to school every day, so they come live at the boarding house during the week and go home to their families on the weekend. We did basically the same thing as Wednesday, except this time Anna told the story of Jesus calming the storm and we focused more on sharing the gospel. Thursday afternoon we met with the mayor’s staff in Pinal de Amoles, the location of our next medical brigade in September. They were very excited about the brigade, and agreed to everything we asked for, which was a huge prayer request answered! We also got to visit the venue for the brigade. That evening, we met up with the church members to pass out more Gospels of John and New Testaments in the town of Ahuacatlan. Several more great conversations took place that night. Afterward, we ate together and then had a prayer meeting and sang together. It was so awesome to get to pray and worship together with other believers, even though we didn’t speak the same language.

Friday morning we finally received Jenny’s suitcase, but she was such a trooper throughout the week as she washed her clothes out in the sink every night. We never heard a word of complaint leave her mouth! Friday and Saturday mornings we worked with some other children in the town of La Lagunita. We did basically the same thing as on Wednesday and Thursday but on a much smaller scale. On Friday and Saturday afternoons we took the opportunity to visit some open air markets and some ancient ruins, which were all very cool. Friday evening we went to a local hospital and invited people from the waiting room to come to a little covered area where we passed out food and water and Debbie shared her testimony. The members of the church were able to have more good conversations and pray with people. Afterward we took Pastor Wenceslao and his family out for pizza, his favorite!

Saturday evening one of the ladies from the church, Hilda, made tamales for us and we all ate together at the church. Afterward, Pastor Wenceslao, Bro. John, and our translator Josh were practicing for Sunday morning, figuring out which songs they were going to play on the keyboard and guitars. The rest of our team and some of the church members sat around singing along, and it really became a worship service. They were singing in Spanish, and we were singing in English, so we weren’t singing the exact same words, but we were singing the same praises to the same God! It was really an awesome experience! On Sunday morning, we worshipped with the church in Jalpan, and Nate got to preach on sharing the gospel. Afterward, we ate lunch with the church, then headed to Landa for the evening worship service, where Bro. John preached on abiding in Christ. We had a final farewell dinner together, and there were some tears shed as we said goodbye to Pastor Wenceslao, his family, and the rest of the church. Monday morning we got up early, stopped for breakfast and a little sightseeing in the city of Bernal, and said goodbye to our translator Josh at the airport. Then we flew home!

God really blessed us through this trip. Our team worked so well together despite being from different backgrounds and having very different personalities. We were able to share the gospel with over fifty children as we were teaching them English. Seeing the boldness of our Mexican brothers and sisters in sharing their faith even in the midst of great opposition from the Catholic community really humbled us and encouraged us to share our faith more as well. Their boldness and sincerity in worship of our sovereign God was encouraging and challenging to all of us.

By Joanna

 

 

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On Our Way!

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An exciting opportunity is quickly approaching. Five others, and myself are gearing up to head to Queretaro, Mexico. Thank you for those who have been praying for this trip and our team.  I have been praying for an opportunity to go on this mission trip for quite some time. I am so thankful that this is the time that the Lord has provided me the ability and time to go. I am so encouraged and grateful to be part of a church who loves the gospel, and desires to share that with those that are lost in our own community, and abroad.

A week in Mexico may seem like a good amount of time. However, a lot will be packed into those few days. We plan on being at a children’s home for two days. During those two days, we will be doing ESL classes. We will be telling bible stories, and through that we created crafts, and other activates to help teach the children English in a fun way, but also incorporating the Bible as much as possible. We will also be going to a local hospital to be an encouragement to the people there. We will also be working with the local church doing different activities. We are told to be flexible. Like I said, a lot is planned in those few short days.

There are many questions and unknowns about this trip. Preparations have been made, but can you ever really be prepared? I am not sure. We have been told from the beginning to be flexible. This is hard for my ‘type A’ personality. I have heard stories of riding the winding, switchback roads to Jalpan, the interesting sleeping accommodations, and many other stories from past trips. While many of these aspects may put me out of my comfort zone a bit, these temporary struggles are completely worth it when eternal matters are at hand! I am thankful that God is sovereign. He already knows how this week will go, and every aspect of it.

A lot of the details of the trip are coming together, however there is still plenty to pray about. Pray for the people we will be coming into contact with during our time in Mexico. Pray that their hearts are open to hearing the gospel. Pray for the local church we have partnered with. Pray that we are useful and effective to share the gospel, and God will be given all the glory. Pray that we rely on God for our needs while on the trip.  I can’t wait to experience what all God will do during this week, and to share with you what all God did when we return.

 

by Jenny

A Prayer Update

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We are excited about our next team going to Jalpan, Mexico for one week this month! The team members include John, Anna, Debbie, Joanna, Jenny, Nate, and our translator Josué. This team will be teaching ESL at a children’s center, making ministry visits to a hospital, encouraging the local believers, visiting homes, and much more.

Ways to pray for the upcoming trip:

  • Pray that the team will have safe and smooth travels.
  • Pray that the temperatures will decrease before the week of the trip.
  • Pray that the team will remain healthy.
  • Pray that plans will be carried out decently and orderly.
  • Pray that the team members will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction.
  • Pray “that God would open to us a door for the Word to speak the mystery of Christ.” – Col. 4:3
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare their hearts to receive the Gospel.
  • Pray for Bro. John as he leads the team.
  • Pray for our new translator Josué.
  • Pray for Pastor Wenceslao and his family to have health and strength during this busy week.

The 2015 Medical Brigade Trip

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The Medical Brigade trip on August 1-8 was a success! During the three days, there were approximately 800 brigade patients. 80 patients were saved, and 40 patients wanted to join a home Bible study.

Here is one team member’s story of their experience helping with the Medical Brigade.
“We had 3 suitcases full of coloring books, coloring pages, crayons, markers, and craft supplies.  Joanna and I thought we were prepared for working with the children at the brigade.  I had forgotten the first rule of mission trips, “Expect the unexpected.”
While we did have children who came for a short time, we also had what Joanna & I called our “regulars,” the children of volunteers who had come to help in the brigade.  Some of them had traveled 6/7 hours to Jalpan.  These children ranged in age from 3 to about 10/11 and were with us for the entire day, all three days.  By lunchtime the first day, we knew we needed a different plan, more of a daycare set up instead of short term – “keep them busy for a little bit.”
The Lord knew our needs, and gave us two helpers, Isela and Alex, and a schedule that included music, crafts, outdoor games, snacks, and Bible stories. A mother and her two daughters from FSBC had made puppets for us to give to the church in Jalpan.  Isela and Alex were able to use those to tell Bible stories to all the children.  Every child, whether a regular or a short timer, heard Bible stores.  We had them in the mornings and the afternoon.
When getting supplies, I had felt a strong urge to have the children make bead bracelets in the colors of the Wordless Book:  black, red, white, yellow, blue and green.  I had no idea how I would share the meanings of the colors of the beads, so the night before the brigade, Kelly helped me figure out what to say, and I wrote it out phonetically so I would know how to pronounce the words.  I was just trusting that the Lord would supernaturally take the words I said and make them understandable to the children.  The children laughed as I stumbled through it.  However, Alex understood, and took over, helping the children, both regulars and short timers, to make a bracelet and explain the meaning.  God used me to provide the materials, and Alex to make it all work.
We were able to do so much more with the children this time because of what we learned last time.  Not only did the adults hear the gospel, but so did the children.”
Praise the Lord for an amazing trip!
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Mexico, otra vez!

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On August 1st, a team will fly to Queretaro, Mexico, then drive the winding switchbacks to Jalpan. The team includes David Bankes, Mike Burke, Kelly Dillon, Kris Keepers, and Debbie and Joanna Woolsey. The team will be assisting the church in Jalpan with a youth event and with a medical brigade. They will return home on August 8th.

When the team arrives on Saturday evening, they will hit the ground running by helping at the youth event with either Kris or Mike speaking that evening, and the other will speak Sunday morning. The team will worship with the Jalpan church on Sunday. Monday will be spent learning how to fit people for reading glasses and a brief time of rest and gearing up for the medical brigade. Tuesday is set up day, and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will be the days of the brigade.

God has paved the way for this medical brigade. The mayor of Jalpan, a city of just over 20,000, has agreed that the city will provide the venue, free hotel accommodations, and three free meals for the team as well as the doctors who will be providing free medical care. The team will be helping with child care, registration, fitting people for reading glasses, and most importantly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Everything is coming together, but there are prayer needs. Please pray for smooth travels, and good health for our team and for the doctors and Diego, the medical brigade coordinator. The team will be taking about 700 pairs of reading glasses for handing out at the brigade. The team is finding it a bit of a challenge to pack them in a manner that will ensure they arrive unscratched and unbroken. Please pray that the team will be effective in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and that everything will be done for His glory!

April Trip Report

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Our trip to Mexico in April was very fruitful, and there were several great opportunities to give testimony, witness, and build upon the earlier foundation of our ministry in the region.
The day after arriving in Jalpan, we visited a boarding facility where children stayed for the week while attending school.  Busses picked up kids throughout the area and brought them into town, and the location we visited gave the children a place to stay before and after school.  Children could also receive extra tutoring at the facility.  David Bankes had a chance to share a Bible story with the children.  We learned from the director that they would be open to having a team come and teach ESL, as the children are hungry to learn English.
That evening, we visited a local hospital, where Lenard shared his personal testimony and the plan of salvation with a group of 12-15 people who were waiting on loved ones who were receiving treatment.  Pastor Wenceslao then spoke to the group, inviting them to come to Christ.  We distributed tracts and had several good conversations with some of the people. We learned afterward that the church in Jalpan will have a regular opportunity to visit the hospital and minister to the people.
On Saturday, we had two opportunities for door-to-door evangelism.  First, we went to the town square in Landa, where Lenard shared his testimony and the plan of salvation with a small group of people.  We handed out tracts, and pastor Wenceslao spoke.  Following that, we broke up into teams and walked around the town, stopping to talk with people we met along the way.  Kris Keepers had a chance to share with a woman in the square, and Lenard shared the plan of salvation with Javier, a man who was eating lunch at an outdoor cafe.
On Sunday, we met for church in the morning in Jalpan, visited a home in a nearby town where the children had a Bible study, and then had church services in Landa in the afternoon.  It was Children’s Week in Mexico, and Kris Keepers preached in both services a message about the importance of the family and the responsibility of fathers to teach their children about the Lord.  It is such a blessing to hear the Word preached and to sing praises to the Lord with our brothers and sisters in Mexico!   After Sunday afternoon’s service, we shared a meal and played games.
On Monday, we went to meet with the mayor of Jalpan to set the stage for the medical brigade mission trip in August.  At first, the mayor was not in, and it looked like we would not have the opportunity to see him at all.  After a few more minutes, we learned the mayor would be there in the afternoon, and could meet with us after all.  Thank God for answered prayers!  The meeting went very well, and the mayor was very open to helping us make the brigade happen, and to support us in a substantial way.  We shared a meal that evening with Pastor Wenceslao, his family, and members of the church in Jalpan.  There is such a sweet, sweet spirit of joy in those people, and it is very hard to leave them!
We left on Tuesday for home with a sense that the trip had been a success in many ways, and that the ground work had been laid for the trip in August.
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