Monday, December 2, 2013

Spring Trip to Papau New Guinea

I (David) have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to travel to Papau New Guinea February 19 - March 14, 2014.  Details of this trip are found below and I am asking you to please keep this trip covered in prayer. I need to raise the funding for this trip in a short amount of time and ask you to please consider partnering with me to help meet the financial need for this trip as I go to train indigenous pastors and spend time in solo village living there. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Greetings from the Tex-Mex border!

We hope this update finds you doing well and we thank God for your partnership in our mission work.  The past few weeks have been filled with learning more about church planting using the 7 commands of Christ, creating multiplication strategies with a focus on everything we do being able to be reproduced in the culture we are serving and a focus on what it would be like to serve in a "closed" country with emphasis on how we would be the church in that culture and remain faithful to the commands of Christ in that environment.

In October, David was blessed to serve in a different village in Mexico.  He went a little further down into Mexico and served in a different "Village M".  They had the opportunity to share the gospel with several different people in the village, held a praise and worship session and learned of a need for bilingual Bibles.  One of the men even gave David a Mexican riding crop to bring home! 

Several of you have asked about things we could use in our ministry and for our family.  We have added a list of items that would be helpful to our ministry as well as personal and fun items for our family.  You can view the list on our partnership page

We are also looking forward to being back in Alabama for the Christmas holidays from Dec. 20 - Jan. 3.  We hope to see many of you during our time there and look forward to sharing more about what God is doing in our lives.

We thank you for your continued partnership in our mission work and for keeping us lifted up to the Lord in your daily prayers.  We are currently at 26% support and if you would like to partner with us financially and help us reach our goal of 100%, click here for more information

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 2013 Update

Our 1st month of school is already behind us!  The picture above is our required reading books for this year.  As you can see, this is going to be a very busy school year for us.  This month we've been learning more about Exposition in Missions.  We had some training in this last year but will be doing much more of it this year.  Our focal books for this particular study were Matthew and Acts.  We also had a week of instruction on "Biblical Theology of the Heart" which was very beneficial not only for life on the mission field but so much of it could be applied to our everyday lives as well.  This has also been an exciting time as we are getting to know the new missionary families on campus and making new friends from all over the US & Canada.  Of course, it was good to see all of our friends from last year again and we are enjoying sweet fellowship and building relationships with everyone through our mentor groups, classtime, chapel and Ekklesia.  
Hurricane Ingrid decided to make landfall in Mexico the same exact time our teams were scheduled to be in Mexico.  Due to the unknown impact of the hurricane, we delayed departure by one day.  Despite heavy rains and some areas of flooding, our team was able to make it into "Village M" for their trip.  They reconnected with the believers there and also had the opportunity to share the gospel with 3 people they had never shared with before in this village.  They also are continuing discipleship efforts with the believers in this village.  As always, God is good to us and our team and God's hand of protection was most certainly upon our team on this particular trip.  Please continue to pray for "Village M", for the Christians in this village, for our team and for To Every Tribe staff as they make decisions concerning the advancement of the gospel in this area.  
We had our annual To Every Tribe "Ladies Day" last week and it was such a blessing. We spent the day at Chachalaca Bend (our new campus) and enjoyed an encouraging and fun day together. The theme of our day was "Let's Get Real".   Mrs. Jane spoke to us about the "reality" of life on the field as a missionary/wife/mother, I led 2 sessions of praise & worship that focused on the realities of who God is and what He has done for us, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and fellowship time, we played a fun "icebreaker" game, we made a scripture craft and we spent time in small groups for prayer.  While we all love our husbands and kids immensely, it is certainly a treat and such a special time to just be with other ladies and spend time together away from the everyday routine of life.  
For God to give us clear direction as we move forward in this last year of training
For "Village M" and the advancement of the gospel there
That in the midst of super busy schedules, we still find ways for "family time". 
For the Lord to raise up more monthly supporters on our behalf.

We are currently at 30% of our monthly support need. 
Choose our name (Johns, David & Gretta) under Gift Designation

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Huge Praise!

It is with much joy, thankfulness and excitement that we share a HUGE praise in the lives of our family.  Last week, we received a large donation from someone who owns a business back home in Alabama and the amount they gave us was designated to pay-off our tuition AND cover the cost of our school books for this last year of training!  God is so faithful to provide for His children in His timing!!  We have been praying daily for the Lord to financially provide in 2 very specific ways:  1)  that we could get our tuition paid off before we graduate in May and 2)  that we would reach 100% support by the end of May.  We give Him all the praise and glory for answering one of our very specific prayer requests. (We're continuing to pray over the 2nd one).  Prayer works dear friends!  A Bible verse also came to mind when we read the letter that accompanied the donation and those verses read:
"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."  ~ Mark 11:23- 24
We are also excited to share with you that our monthly support level has increased to 30%!  That means we are just 70% away from being fully supported financially. To think that we started out at just 3% last July and to see how God has been faithful, continually provides, touches peoples heart's to want to partner with us, and how He is still working as we continue toward 100% is totally amazing!  If you would like to join our financial partnership team and become a monthly supporter, you may do so by clicking here.  Simply choose our name:  (Johns, David & Gretta) under Gift Designation.  No amount is too small and each monthly donation helps us get closer to our goal of full support.

We praise God for each and every one of you who are faithful prayer warriors on our behalf and those who are on our financial partnership team too.  To God be the glory!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Our final year of training has begun!

We spent the last week in "Orientation" for our final year of training here at To Every Tribe.  This year's orientation was quite different from last year but we found that it was really fun, kept us on our toes and was family-friendly too. Not only did we cover most of our 41 page training manual in great detail but they also had some really fun activities planned each day too. We will give you a little recap of our fun week.
We are typically in a "drought" condition most of the time here in south Texas.  It rarely rains and when it does the ground is so dry it just soaks it up quickly. However, last week it rained a ton and I mean....hard, flooding rains!  We desperately needed it and we are thankful for it but it made for yucky weather for orientation week.  Each day they had a "team building" activity in the afternoons.  On Monday, they sent us outside to play frisbee golf.  The catch was that we were going to be playing in knee-high grass, it had rained all morning, they didn't let us see a map of the course or show us our targets and we were going to be blindfolded when it was our turn to throw.  We had to rely solely on our teammates to direct us which direction to throw, how hard to throw, how to find the frisbee after we threw it, etc.  It was lots of fun and quite challenging.  By the time we were done, we were all eat up with mosquito bites, soaking wet and yet all still smiling and laughing.  
Tuesday afternoon, they sent us to the beach and we had a time of praise and worship and a discussion on Christian conduct.  Then they gave us our team assignment which was to build a Mayan temple in the sand that was 2 feet at the base and had steps leading up to the top.  The catch was....we had no sand tools or anything to use to design it with. We had to scavenge the beach to find items we could use to build it.  Our team built a pretty good one considering our lack of tools and we even included a head that had rolled down the stairs from one of the sacrifices (we buried Wyatt in the sand so all you could see was his head....and he loved it!)  We were pushing for all the creativity points we could get!  
The entire day Wednesday was spent in financial training so there was no team activity that day.  Thursday, they sent us on a scavenger hunt but the catch was that all our clues were written in coordinates so we had to use "geocaching" skills to figure out where to go.  They sent us all over Los Fresnos and Brownsville to 6 different locations.  Each stop had a task or tasks you had to complete in order to get your next clue.  We had to act out a story from the Old Testament at the local park, figure out what 2 people were saying who were speaking nothing but the Flemish language at the zoo, find a pirate statue in the local tourist gift shop, come up with the most creative basketball shot at the sports park, complete 3 tasks in the local library and figure out how to negotiate and handle being extorted (which is a common issue in foreign countries) at a local gas station.  

Our new calendar for this year's training is posted on the "Calendar" tab if you want to see some of the main courses we will be taking.  We are excited about some new changes in the training this year.  We will be in "Mentoring Groups" this year and we are looking forward to learning and growing from our mentor.  They have also implemented 2 new things for women:  a monthly missions practicum day designed specifically for ladies and things we may encounter on the field and the ladies will have a monthly Exposition in Missions class to learn the method of TNT Training (Training National Trainers).  Our "Village M" team added a new family from Colorado and we have a new translator who is a single girl from Flordia.  We are looking forward to getting to know these people better and serving in "Village M" together.  

As you can see, we are very excited about this last year of training!  We are still working to reach our need for 100% support.  If you would like to partner with us, you may do so here.  Simply choose our name (Johns, David & Gretta) in the Gift Designation box.  Thank you for continuing to keep our family in your prayers and please continue to pray for the people in "Village M" as well.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

We've Been on the Move!

We were blessed with a wonderful trip back to "sweet home Alabama".  We were able to spend 5 weeks visiting family and friends and sharing about our mission work and all the Lord has done in our lives the past year.  It was a privilege to be able to speak at 3 churches and also share with a youth group and a children's ministry program during our time in Alabama too. We made some great memories with family and friends and are thankful for every opportunity we were given to share and visit.   

It was good to get back home to Los Fresnos though and settle back into our lives and ministry here.  We have a huge praise to share with you too.  Our church here in Texas has a "missionary home" (much like a church parsonage) and they have very graciously offered to let our family live in their missionary home for the next year! The house sits right across the street from the church and is only about 5 minutes from To Every Tribe's new campus at Chachalaca Bend.  They are allowing us to stay here rent/utilities free which is a huge financial blessing and helps us out tremendously.  
The main entrance to our new house!

The very next day after we arrived back in Los Fresnos, we began packing up our campus apartment and moving into our new house. We spent several days packing, moving and then deep cleaning our campus apartment. We are very thankful for the year we had of living on campus with all our fellow missionaries and their families and we will miss the "community" atmosphere but we are also very excited to have a home again too.  The kids are enjoying a fenced in backyard to play in and we are all enjoying having a lot more space to call home.  

I will begin homeschooling the kids on August 19th. We have a 7th grader, a 5th grader and a 3rd grader this year and they are looking forward to a new school year.  Last year was a hard year for us in homeschool because we were all adjusting to a new place, new schedule and the fact that David & I were both going to school too! We are anticipating a better homeschool year this time as we all know more about what to expect, we feel comfortable here now and we've learned to all "school" together sometimes!  

Our last year of missions training will begin on August 26th.  We are excited to see what all God has in store for us as we complete this last year of training and as we continue to work in Mexico each month too.  There are lots of new families coming to campus within the next few weeks to join To Every Tribe and the end of August will be an exciting time of year for us as we begin our last year of training and make new friends too.  
One year ago last week, we sold most of what we owned, left behind everyone and everything that we knew to be "home", packed up and moved to south Texas.  We never visited Texas or To Every Tribe before our move.  We just stepped out on complete and total faith that this was the direction the Lord was leading us and the door He had opened for our family and we wanted to be in His will.  We left Alabama with just 3% support (and a lot of people thought we were crazy!) but the Lord was so faithful to us this past year and He sustained us in every way so that we were able to stay here despite our low support. We are excited to also share with you that within the past year we have gone from 3% to 25% support! While we still have a long way to go (100% is our goal!) we continue to trust the Lord to raise up faithful financial partners on behalf of our family.  If you would like to partner with us financially, you may do so online by clicking here (choose Johns, David & Gretta for your gift designation) or email us your address and we will mail you a support form.  

Thank you for praying for our family as we continue training, working in Mexico and serving the Lord. Please continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters and the people in "Village M" in Mexico and for the seeds that have been sown there. We will be returning there in September. Pray for the Lord to raise up more workers willing to go into His harvest also.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  

"And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.'" (Rev. 5:9)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

May Update & Summer Plans

And here we are....10 months later and it's official....we are done with our 1st year of missionary training and we are now officially "2nd year students" meaning we only have one more year left before we will move into a foreign country to serve!  We look back over this last year and stand in awe of what God has done in our lives.  The way He so faithfully provided, the ways He sustained us, cared for us, comforted us and His amazing love. We've been blessed by the work that we are able to be a part of in Mexico and the way we have watched God go before us and move in hearts there. 
In the past year, the people here on campus (who are from all over the US & Canada) quickly became dear friends and "family" to us and we have formed lifelong friendships with them.  We have laughed together, cried together, prayed together, studied together, served in Mexico together and even played a few pranks on each other throughout this past year.  
Our kids were blessed as well because they made many new friends this past year too and they never lacked for a playmate! The picture above shows all the "MK's" (missionary kids) who were here on campus this year.  The kids were really fun this year and very entertaining.  We had a lot of fun spending time with them and having them in our home for play dates and spend the nights throughout the year too.  
May 30th, To Every Tribe held their official graduation ceremony.  This year there were 4 graduates this year and they will be moving into 3 different countries to spearhead the gospel in these regions.  The Cooney family is going to Indonesia, the Giordano family is going to Mexico and Matt Taylor and the Sanders Family are going to Papau New Guinea.  While we will miss them all very much, we are excited as they begin this new journey in their lives.  Please join us in praying for them and their ministries in these countries too.  
Since the year is officially over that means we spent about 10 days saying lots of good-byes.  Goodbyes are never easy but we have quickly learned that as missionaries goodbyes are going to be something we do often. We prefer to call them "see-you-later's" rather than goodbyes because even if we never see them again this side of heaven, as Christians we do have the hope of seeing them again in heaven!  

We are currently still in Los Fresnos.  We stayed around to help with our church's Vacation Bible School (which started Monday, June 10).  David & I are leading the "Imagination Station" center which is where we do science experiments each night with the kids but they teach a Biblical concept. We will be doing VBS every night this week.  We are blessed to have a great church family here in Texas that has been a huge blessing to our family and our mission work throughout this past year too.  We are thankful for opportunities to serve alongside them in children's and youth ministry activities.  
We are headed back home to Alabama next week though and we will be in Alabama from June 18 - July 19th.  We cannot wait to get back and spend time with our family and friends!  We look forward to sharing with everyone about what the Lord has done in our lives this past year and about our future plans too. 
After our month in Alabama, we plan to come back to Texas and prepare for classes to start again in August.  Lord willing, we will be able to take the kids and go down to "Village M" for a visit as well before training starts again in August.  

We must a huge "THANK YOU" as well for each one of you that are monthly supporters of our family and our mission work and for those of you who are faithful prayer warriors on our behalf and keep us lifted up to the Father. We could not be here today doing what we are doing if it were not for each of you.  We still have a long way to go in raising the 100% support we need so if you would like to partner with us as a monthly supporter, simply click here and choose our name (Johns, David & Gretta) for the gift designation.  If you would like to support us monthly, choose "repeating donation".  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Mexico Trip to "Village M"

Here is an overview of our trip to "Village M" in Mexico this week!  We wanted to give you some pictures so you could visually see what we did and where we were as well.  Thank you so much for each of you who were covering us and our children in prayer this week.  We had a very good trip into the village this month and our kids did great with the sweet couple they stayed with here on campus as well.  Now to share about our time in "Village M".  For safety & security purposes, we have been asked not to use names.
(Our suburban after the drive into the village)
We arrived in "Village M" in the late afternoon.  It had rained quite a bit in the days prior to our arrival so the roads were pretty muddy and the potholes were really bad.  We had decided that our team would provide dinner tonight for a family of believers in this village so we quickly unpacked and started cooking the food we had brought.  
(Enjoying meals together)
These are a family of believers in the village who often have us to their home for various meals and activities.  For dinner, we made carna asada (meat), beans and rice and enjoyed the fellowship with them on the night we arrived.  
(Breaking down I Thesalonians 
during team Bible study)
The next morning, we woke up and ate breakfast and then had a team Bible study. We went through I Thessalonians chapters 1-3 during this time.  After our Bible study together, we spent time walking around the village and talking to people within the village. 
(Spending time with one of the villagers)
 Some of the people we simply invited to the Bible Storying we were doing at 4:00pm down by the ocean and others we spent time sharing the gospel with as well as following up on studies the team had done last month with certain people in the village. We talked to "Mr. T" & "Mr. S" (who are both believers as well) and encouraged them to continue studying the Word and following Christ.  We met with "Mr. U" who has been studying but has not yet made a decision to follow Christ.  We spent time in "The D's" home with her and her husband.  They are an elderly couple and "Mrs. D" recently became a Christian.  On this day, she told us that she wanted to be baptized out of obedience but her husband (who is still a practicing Catholic) told her that if she got baptized again she would have to leave their home.  We spent time sharing with her and praying for her and her husband as well.  Please pray for "Mrs. D" to have strength in the face of persecution.  
(Mole Chicken lunch)
The family of believers invited us to their home for lunch and we had a delicious dinner of Mole Chicken, rice and corn tortillas.  Mole (pronounced moe-lay) is a very famous Mexican dish and there are lots of variations of it. I had never eaten Mole before but it was really tasty and I loved all the different flavor combinations in the sauce.  There is even chocolate in it!  Here's a Mole Chicken recipe if you want to try Food Network's version of it.  I really enjoyed this lunch!  
(Bible Storying) 
Later that afternoon, we had a Bible Storying time at one of the buildings down by the water.  We had walked throughout the village inviting people to come hear our story and had a decent turnout considering that a lot of people in the village had gone back out to fish again.  Matt shared the story of Jesus crucifixion with them and then asked them a few questions.  We also had some cookies for the people to enjoy while they listened.  

We ate dinner with "K" that night.  He is a man who lives in sin and yet he has spent a lot of time this year studying the Bible both on his own and with the team when they go into "Village M" each month.  He even quoted Psalm 23 in English to us after dinner and did a beautiful job! Continue to pray for "K" that the seeds of God's Word that have been planted will continue to grow in his heart and that he will turn from his sin, repent and seek a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  
(David & I with the family of believers)
The next morning, we spent more time as a team studying I Thessalonians chapters 4-5 and then looking at the book in its entirety. After team Bible study, we went to the family of believers house and spent some time with them.  We gave them Paul Washer's "One True God" Bible study workbooks in Spanish and asked them to start working their way through them this summer.  We (as team members) will also be completing this same workbook ourselves and in September (when we go back to Village M) we plan to go over this material with them.  In true Mexican fashion, the husband wanted a siesta so we took that time to go back and eat lunch while he rested.  
(Playing UNO)
After his siesta, he invited us back to his house to play UNO with him and his daughter.  I must admit, I enjoy playing card games but 9 people playing UNO is really fun and a little competitive too.  We had lots of laughter and good times just sitting around playing a game together.  
(Dinner of fresh fish and shrimp)
For dinner that night, "Mrs. M" cooked fresh fish and shrimp that her husband had caught while we were there.  Now I am not a fan of fish fillets at all, but this fish was so delicious and did not tasty "fishy" at all.  They served it with limes and a fresh, homemade salsa too.  I ate 2 fish fillets and 4 shrimp because it was so good. After dinner, David & I spent time in the kitchen area with the wife and her daughter and 2 of the villagers.  Their daughter can speak a little English and our Spanish is "un poco" (a little) so we had a good time trying to talk to them in Spanish and them trying to talk to us in English.  I have learned this trip that we need to work on our Spanish a LOT more but also that just getting in there and trying to communicate with them (even with limited knowledge) helps people feel like you care and want to get to know them at the same time.  We also watched the first 45 minutes of a soccer game with the husband but we were pretty tired and couldn't stay up to see who won the match.  
We loved getting to go to "Village M" and serve together as husband and wife.  David has been going to "Village M" each month since August 2012 and he has formed great relationships and friendships with the people there.  Since our kids do not yet have passports (we are still waiting on finances to allow us to purchase those), we have not been able to go into Mexico as a family each year.  The sweet couple that lives above us at the apartments offered to keep our kids so David & I could go together and that was such a blessing.  It was wonderful to get to see "Village M" personally, meet the people we have been praying for the past 9 months and experience life there myself.  In just 4 days, I felt very close to the family of believers and they were so welcoming and inviting to me during my time there.  David & I greatly desire to be able to bring our entire family to "Village M" at some point this summer so the kids can experience it and meet the people there and so we can continue to encourage them in their Bible studies and encourage them in their Christian living.  
We went 4 days with no showers, no running water, no air conditioning of any kind and very limited electricity but it was a wonderful 4 days despite those conditions.  The one thing that was still hard for me to get used to on this trip was the Federali (the police) that drive these type vehicles on the roads.  It was always weird to see men in the back of trucks with M16 machine guns in their hands going down the road! 

Please continue to pray for "Village M" in Mexico.  Pray for strength and continued steadfastness for the believers in this village and pray for those that our team has been studying with throughout this year but they have not yet made decisions.  Pray for continued protection and safety for all those in "Village M" as well.  Pray that our family will be able to financially afford passports ($345.00) for our 3 children so we can go as a family into "Village M" and serve the people there this summer and within the next year.  Thank you for all the prayers lifted up on behalf of our family this week while our kids remained on campus and while David & I were gone to "Village M".  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

April Update

The month of April offered wonderful classroom training.  David Depew taught a week long course on Team Development - something that is vital to missionaries as we prepare for the field and once we are on a team serving in the field.  Chad Bresson presented a TNT course (Training National Trainers) on the book of Psalm.  Realizing that the Psalm were written to be sung together as one unit and we are actually declaring to the Lord that we will do what the Psalm teaches was not only a very informative training but also a very worshipful one too.  Greg Van Court also presented a very engaging theological study.  We touched on church history, the history of the Reformation and how God has dispersed the church throughout the world was an amazing study.  Our prayer is that the church will unite under Christ!  
A few months ago, we had applied for a Training/Tuition Assistance missionary grant through the Veit Foundation.  In April, we received a letter informing us that our family had been selected by them to receive a grant in the amount of $1,000 to be used for the purpose of tuition assistance.  We were so excited by their generosity and so encouraged by this blessing. We still have a ways to go on our tuition but every penny helps us reach our goal of getting it paid off.  
(This is what Giardia Lamblia looks like)
April also gave us a "missionary first" for our family as David was diagnosed with Giardia Lamblia, a parasite that attaches in the small intestine.  Everyone joked that this would be the first of many parasites we would probably encounter over our time as missionaries.  While we are not sure exactly how he obtained the parasite, the doctor felt like it was more than likely from his trips to Mexico.  The blessing of this parasite was that because of his sickness, we found an amazing family doctor here in Texas that is a Christian and even prayed with David at his appointment.  The treatment for the parasite was a really strong antibiotic for 5 days. Thankfully, he is all well from the parasite and back to feeling good again.  He said having a parasite was a blessing because it made him rely on the Lord more too.  
Due to David being on medication for the parasite at the time of the April Mexico trip, we did not get to go on the trip this month.  However, our team went into "Village M" on a cold and rainy trip but there was some more progress made and encouraging news as well.  Oscar is making much progress in his growth as a Christian and enjoying the discipleship time they are able to spend with him on these trips.  He asked us to pray for his oldest daughter to be saved as well.  Continue to pray for Erbano and Kiki that God will reveal Himself unto them and set them free from the bondage of sin and death.  

The cartel is making its presence known more and asking questions to villagers about our team.  They also know what our vehicle looks like now too.  Because of this, our housing situation in "Village M" is still not secure.  Above all, continue to pray for our ministry in "Village M" and that God would be glorified in everything we do during our time there each month. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Update

March was a busy but fun month for our family.  David was gone to Oaxaca, Mexico the first part of March.    Then we had our official "Spring Break" from classes/training March 18-22.  We didn't do anything special for Spring Break but enjoyed a full week of just being home together as a family and resting.  
My family (Gretta's) came from Alabama to visit us the following week.  They actually arrived on my birthday, March 24th and were here on campus with us for 6 days.  My parents had previously visited back in September but this time my sister, brother-in-law and our 17 month old nephew were able to come too.  My parents stayed at our apartment with us and my sister, brother-in-law and nephew stayed at the speaker's apartment here on campus.  It was great having them all right here experiencing campus life with us, introducing them to our campus and church family here in Texas and getting to show them around down here in south Texas too.  
Lord willing, I will be joining David and our team as we travel to "Village M" later this month.  One of the instructor's wives has graciously offered to keep all 3 of our children here at our apartment during the trip so that I can go into Mexico with David and our team. I am really looking forward to this trip and excited to experience "Village M" personally. We have some specific prayer requests regarding "Village M" that we would appreciate you lifting up in your prayer time as well.

  1. Pray for Urbano.  The team had the opportunity to share the gospel with him and he has begun asking more questions about what he is reading.  He seems to be understanding more clearly. Pray for salvation for Urbano.
  2. The cartel is becoming more active and making their presence known in "Village M" more heavily now.  Please pray for strength and protection for the believers in this village. 
  3. Due to the increased cartel activity, the house our team has been staying at is no longer available.  The man who owns the home is not a believer but he has been allowing our team to stay there each month.  He has asked that we no longer use the house when we come each month because he is afraid of the cartel.  Please pray for Mr. V that the Lord will continue to work on his heart and that he will desire a personal relationship with Jesus Christ too.  
  4. Pray for the people of "Village M" that their hearts will be softened to the gospel message we are bringing to them each month, that their ears will be open and their hearts will be receptive.  
  5. Pray for our team as we go into "Village M" this month.  Pray that God would grant us protection from the schemes of the enemy during our trip.  Pray for our children and the sweet lady caring for them as David & I will be both going to "Village M" this month.  
Thank you to each of you for your prayers, emails, notes of encouragement and financial investment in our mission work.  We praise the Lord that He is using you and us in this way to accomplish His purposes.  It is a privilege and a joy to be involved in the Lord's work with you.  

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"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God."  - Romans 8:18-19

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oaxaca, Mexico Trip Report

Each year, To Every Tribe sends missionaries on trips throughout the world.  This year, we had a team in Papau New Guinea, another in India, one couple from To Every Tribe went to scout out Malaysia/Indonesia and we had a team in Oaxaca, Mexico.  After much prayer, David chose to be part of the Oaxaca, Mexico team.  We have been serving in northern Mexico each month and God has really been putting Mexico on our hearts for long-term mission work.  The need is huge in Mexico and there is so much work to be done there.  The kids and I remained on campus while David went to Oaxaca, Mexico for just over 2 weeks.  Oaxaca is pronounced "wa-ha-ca" by the way.  This was the longest David and I had been apart and God gave us amazing strength, grace and comfort during our time apart.  
Pictures from the motels they stayed at in Mexico

The trip to Oaxaca, Mexico was a 3 day drive for team.  They stopped in 2 different cities along the way and spent the night to get some rest. This was the furthest into Mexico that David had been and he loved watching the scenery and landscape change throughout the trip. 
That's a volcano on the far left!

Did you know part of Mexico is in the "Ring of Fire"?  So one night David sends me an email telling me he is loving all the volcanoes in Mexico.  I was like "Volcanoes?  What volcanoes?"  So I shared his email on Facebook and my Dad commented "honey, Mexico is in the ring of fire". I honestly didn't believe him so I looked it up and sure enough, it's true! Should have known my Dad (a big History/Geography buff) was right and where I was in Geography class in 9th grade when they taught that?!  (Don't answer that Dad!)  Anyway, after 3 days of traveling the team finally arrived in Oaxaca City, Mexico.  To Every Tribe has a few missionary families already in that area completing language school and some actually in villages in Oaxaca working to reach tribal groups with the gospel.  
David rode in the truck bed around Oaxaca City

A Catholic church in Oaxaca City, Mexico

While in Oaxaca City, they spent a day resting and looked around the town.  They visited some of the missionaries from To Every Tribe who live in Oaxaca City and got to stay at their houses overnight too.  
Randy & Sue - Bible translators for Wycliffe

The team also went to Mitla, Mexico to the Wycliffe Bible Translation facility there.  Randy & Sue wanted to live in "Village Q".  Their hearts desire was to learn the native language, create an alphabet and create a grammar system and translate the gospel into their native tongue. However, their request was denied but their heart burned so strongly to bring the gospel to this village that they began working from outside the village to accomplish their goal.  They were able to make friends with a couple of people from Village Q who were willing to help them but it took 27 years for them to be able to complete the translation of the New Testament into the language of Village Q.  In February 2011, the New Testament was finished and ready for distribution to these people.  Praise God for steadfast warriors who do not allow opposition to stand in the way of doing the Lord's will. 
The mountain pass to "Village Q"

The next day the team packed up and drove up into the mountains from Oaxaca City to reach the people in Village Q. Village Q sits at about 7,100 feet up in the mountains and it took about 8 hours to go just a few miles on this road.   A cold front had moved into the area and it was in the 30's at night with a strong wind while the team was there.  You may not believe it but southern Mexico can be really cold!  Yet, the daytime temperatures were really warm.  
A picture of Village Q - it sits on the side of the mountain

The purpose of this trip was to host a dental/medical clinic for the people in this village.  David was again able to do dentistry for 3 days on people in the village.  This service gave him and the team the opportunity to personally serve the people of Village Q.  David also led praise and worship time for the team and he even played guitar for some of the villagers there just for fun.  One day in the village, he got to talking to a man named Mr. M. This man invited him to come into his home for coffee (grown right there in the village) and he took a few other guys from the team with him. Mr. M knew a little bit of Spanish so David was able to communicate with him in Spanish (although David only knows a little Spanish so far) and they worked on learning words in both Spanish, Zapotec (the language of Village Q) and English for Mr. M to learn.  At the end of their time in Village Q, the village president came to one of our missionaries that lives in Oaxaca City and indicated he would be willing to write a letter of invitation for some of our missionaries to come live in their village!  Because of new Mexican immigration procedures and tribal village government, a formal invitation is required to live among these unreached tribal groups in Mexico.  Please pray for Village Q and that To Every Tribe will receive an invitation to come live and work among that village. 

The need for missionaries in Oaxaca is great as there are still dozens of unreached villages all throughout the mountains just like Village Q.  Our family is prayerfully looking to move to Oaxaca to serve after we complete our training in May 2014 to serve as long-term missionaries there.  We would love for you to cover us in prayer as we continue to serve in northern Mexico each month, complete our training here in south Texas, continue to raise support and prepare for that move to Mexico! 
A Skype call from Mexico

One final note, can I just say how thankful I am for technology these days!  While David & I did not get to talk to each other personally every day he was able to email me each night and sometimes in the mornings the first few days thanks to internet cafes and wi-fi in towns where they stopped along the way.  Once they arrived in Oaxaca City, he actually called me on Skype (see picture above) and I cried I was so happy to see and hear him.  When they went up into the village we had no communication at all as these are primitive, tribal villages.   In fact, you couldn't even take pictures in the village as these people still believe you can still their soul by taking a picture with a camera!  It is such a blessing to know that when we move to Mexico we can still keep in touch with family and friends via Skype, emails, Facebook, least until God opens a door for us to move into a village!  

Thank you to each and everyone of you who prayed for David, the team and our family while he was gone.  Thank you to those who used our Oaxaca Trip Prayer Guide to pray specifically for the team and the needs we listed.  We love knowing are surrounded by faithful prayer warriors as prayer is one of our most powerful weapons!  

In case you haven't seen it yet, we have a new missions video and you can learn how to partner with our family and join in our mission work too.