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.