October News – The Grays

     We hope all is well with you and your family. If you haven’t heard by now we wanted to let you know that we are transitioning from being missionaries at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Mexico and moving back to the U.S. Our time here in Mexico has been most rewarding, fruitful, encouraging, hard, and fulfilling. We are blessed that God gave us the opportunity to serve Him here. We are even more blessed because He gave us a group of friends and family who have supported and prayed for us while we have been here. Thank you so much it has meant the world to us.

     We really weren’t looking to move – at least not so soon. Pilar and I started talking about possibly retiring in a few years as I am now sixty-seven years old. The day to day pressures and physical work at the Bible College as the Director of Operations has been getting a little more challenging as time goes by. But I have loved almost every minute of it and it has brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction. Not so much for what I’ve been doing, but seeing God at work in so many miraculous ways. His guidance, His provision, His working in our hearts and the hearts of the staff and students, and so much more has been incredible. I have also enjoyed teaching the students while here. As we were just talking about retirement, it’s as if God started preparing us for a new season.

     It’s been thirteen years since we moved to Ensenada. It is a long way from our family and friends, and though we have many friends here now, we have missed those we left behind. Recently while on vacation we visited friends we haven’t seen in over ten years. We had dinner and talked and laughed and got caught up with each other. We have also experienced a growth in our family and have gotten a taste of how much grandkids can grow on you. Four were born while we were here. We haven’t been able to spend much time with them and are really looking forward to that. We got to spend time with three of the four while on vacation. What a treat that was playing with little Leo, his new sister Olive, and their cousin Rex.  

     We recently bought a house in Seminary Mississippi (close to Hattiesburg) and are planning to move in October. Funny thing, we moved here in October thirteen years ago. Our house in Ensenada is still for sale. We know it’s in God’s hands and look forward to when it sells. Our Mission agency has encouraged us to ask you to continue to support us during this transition. They are willing to keep us as staff for the next six months and up to a year if we need it. We hope it won’t take that long for the transition but ask you to pray about continuing to support us as we move and get settled into this new season. We are really excited to see what God has for us.

     Though it is exciting to move and we look forward to the new, it is also hard to leave behind the ministry and people here that we have come to love. Please pray for us – for God’s guidance and provision, for safety as we move, and for wisdom and opportunities to serve Him in our new community.

God Bless You,

The Gray’s

Summer News

Calvary Chapel Bible College Mexico

Hola!

Graduation went so well, and was both a happy and sad occasion.  It’s always hard to say goodbye at the end of the semester, and yet exciting to know God has equipped these students to go out and share with a world that needs to hear the good news of the gospel.

     It seems to be another quiet summer here at the college. We only have three groups coming. But there are eight students that will be on campus to help out and they’ve got their work cut out for them! A group called Lazarian World Homes is providing the funds to help build our first building on the upper campus.  It will initially be the kitchen, dining room, and chapel. Already the foundation has been poured, the Styrofoam blocks that will make up the walls are up and poured with concrete, and the roofing is being delivered this week. It’s really starting to look like a building.

Lastly we have some news we’ve been wanting to share.  Leo and I will be returning to the states.  As of now we are not exactly sure when because we would really like to sell our house in Ensenada before leaving.  This is our number one prayer request. Let me give you some background on why we have come to this decision.  Around six or eight months ago Leo mentioned to me the idea of retiring when he turned seventy (he will be sixty-seven this year).  Through a series of events and conversations with some friends it seemed the Lord was moving up the timeline.  The most amazing thing is it’s as if God just put the idea in our hearts and we are watching Him make it happen!  But this isn’t the first time He has done that in our lives, and to be honest as I’m typing these words,  my eyes are filled with tears and my heart filled with gratitude knowing He always is there leading, making the path, showing us the way!  He is taking us to Seminary, Mississippi, close to Hattiesburg, where our son Elliott and his wife Kaci live.

      During this transition time we appreciate your prayers as we go back to a different culture than what we’ve become accustomed to.  Also we ask that you continue your financial support while we move and look for jobs to supplement Leo’s retirement.  This is our second prayer request.

     As I shared earlier, just like when we come to the end of a semester our feelings for leaving this place, this ministry, and these people is hard. Yet we are also excited to see what the Lord has for us in Mississippi.  Thank you for partnering with us over these last twelve years!  God has taught us so much!  We have learned to depend on Him totally.  We have seen Him supply all our needs, protect us, stretch us, and bless us.  We are so thankful that He brought us here.  We are so thankful to you for enabling us to be a part of the work in Ensenada Mexico.

Spring Is In the Air

April 2021                                                                    

Spring has to be one of the best times of the year. Everything starts turning green, the flowers start blooming, the winter weather starts letting up as the days get warmer, and the daylight hours get longer. We hope you had a good Easter Sunday this year.

Pilar and Mom working on potholders for the kitchen

We took Easter week off for Spring break to visit Leo’s Mom, Granny, in Florida this year. She lives in an older neighborhood in Pensacola called East Hill. It has a lot of older flower bushes and trees and it is just beautiful this time of year. The Dogwood trees in her neighborhood take the prize for being the prettiest this year. Living in the dessert in Baja, there’s a whole different set of trees and flowers to enjoy too. Granny is 91 years old and still walks a mile every day after breakfast. We really enjoy spending time with her. She seems to always have a project going and has a schedule to keep us busy. I think my favorite time is after supper and after Wheel of Fortune. We sit around the table and play Skipbo or some other game she likes to play. We were staying close to her home because of Covid, but did manage to visit some of our friends while we were there.

Architectural drawing of buildings for the upper Campus

We do have some good news about the Bible College this month. We have most of the work done on our lower campus, Phase I, and will start building our first building for Phase II very soon. The plans are for the building to be a kitchen, dining room, and a Chapel. It’s exciting to work on the plans and put out the stakes for the building location knowing that the building will allow us to have more students and room to grow.                                  

We have a couple of needs before we can start the new building. We have to put in some of the infrastructure – the most expensive is the electrical service. It will serve our needs for all of Phase II and provide the electricity for all the buildings on the upper campus. The cost is approximately $8000. If you would like to make a gift towards the new building you can send a check to CCBC Mexico 591 Telegraph Canyon Rd. Unit 167 Chula Vista, CA 91910. You can put “Infrastructure” on the memo line. If you would prefer to give electronically just contact me at leo@ccbcmexico.com and I will get those instructions for you.                               

Spring 2021 Students 
The semester is going well. Spring Break is here and a lot of the students will be going on a Mission Trip to San Felipe over on the Gulf side of Baja. They will be working with churches and other ministries in that city for a week. We are praying for them to have a safe trip and many blessings as they serve with our brothers and sisters in ministry there.

We hope you are doing well and want to let you know how much we appreciate your prayers and support. We really consider you as partners with us in the gospel as we train the students to reach the world for Christ.  Drop us a note or email some time, we would love to hear from you. Email addresses: Pilar@ccbcmexico.com or Leo@ccbcmexico.com or you can write us at: Leo and Pilar Gray   3621 Vista Campana South Unit 75     Oceanside, CA 92057.

If you would like to support us financially you can send a tax deductible gift by check to: Saving Grace World Missions     17451Bastanchury Road  Suite 203  Yorba Linda, CA 92886 write Leo and Pilar Gray on the memo line or click the Become a Financial Partner button on our web page for credit card or bank transfer at www.SGWM.com/gray.

God Bless You,

Leo and Pilar

February Update

What a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been. The final count is forty-one students this semester. The first week we got back we were getting everything ready and then we had Orientation week.  

Spring Semester 2021 

Our theme this semester is Run With Endurance from Hebrews 12:1. We had a local pastor as the keynote speaker during Orientation Week and he gave us six tips for running the race that is set before us. I never thought about how God has a special race that we each must run. You cannot run my race for me and I cannot run your race for you but we are all called to run with endurance or patience. I took notes so Pilar suggested that I share the six points with you. 

Here they are: 1: Look back and look around you – we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. When we look at those who have gone before us and those we know who are in the race with us we can find encouragement from them as they cheer us on. 2. You might have to let some things go – lay aside every weight and the sin that easily ensnares you. 3. Run with determination – the race has been set before us by God and we should determine to finish well. 4. Keep your eyes on Jesus – He’s the author and finisher of our faith. Take your eyes off of Him and you can get distracted and even go off course in the race.  5. Don’t get discouraged when God is correcting you. He wants to get you back on course in the race you are running. Verse 6 says for whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges. That is how He corrects us when we go astray.  6. It’s time to get up and get back in the race if you’ve gotten discouraged or may have dropped out.

We were encouraged by his tips and hope you will be too.

When we got back from our Florida trip there was a big surprise for us . We had heard there was a fire on Christmas Eve and even saw a few pictures online. We found, living here in the dessert, that fires are not that uncommon. We have seen several fires over the years but none really close to the Bible College. It was amazing to see how much property burned in that fire. Even more amazing was where it burned. It did come on the Bible College Campus but just around the edges. Some of the staff here told us of how they prayed and the fire just stopped burning in some of the areas. What a testimony and blessing that none of our buildings were harmed at all. It has rained a couple of times since the fire and things are already turning green again.

The Christmas Eve Fire

I wanted to get this newsletter out early because we have an urgent need for prayer at the Bible College. Though we have been blessed with no Covid related illnesses on campus until now, this week several of our students and staff have had symptoms and have tested positive for the virus. Most of the cases seem to be mild and we are praying for God’s help and healing during this time. We have quarantined all the students on campus and we are working from home. I’m thankful for technology that allowed me to teach two classes this morning.

All this in the midst of some of the most exciting times that we have ahead for us that I’ll share with you next month.

God bless you and thank you for your prayers for us.

January Update

The Grays/ CCBC Ensenada Mexico

     We had a wonderful holiday visiting with our boys and their families.

We started out in Florida spending time with Jacob, Alex, and Oliver and their families. We have three grandkids there, so we got to watch them and give their parents a break to go shopping, go on a date night, or just be there to have a good time with the grandkids. Ollie’s wife Jenifer has a brother who passed away from cancer while we were there.   He was only thirty three years old.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Last June her father was killed in an automobile accident. 

It has been a hard year for their family.   Also while we were in Florida we had the chance to visit with Leo’s mom and sister, Angie for a few of days.  Granny is doing well. She still walks a mile every day and can still play a mean game of Skipbo. 

     Last stop on our trip was Hattiesburg, MS. Our youngest son, Elliott and his wife Kaci live there. He turned 29 this year while we were there.  His father-in-law took us fishing down on the Mississippi coast for a day to celebrate the occasion and we came home with a cooler full of fish.  The Lord was good to us as always.

     It looks like this semester we will have forty-four students on campus.  A handful of students arrived early and are helping make everything look good for orientation starting next week.  While we were gone, a team from California came down and built a pergola for outside dining.  The one we had previously was starting to cave in because the bougainvillea bushes got so big and heavy.  It was a shame to have to cut them down, but this new pergola looks beautiful and it won’t take long for them to grow back. 

     Leo will be leading the Operations team and teaching two classes this semester, Growing Strong in God’s Family and Bearing Fruit in God’s Family. Pilar will be working in the Campus Store and managing the students who work with her. We are both looking forward to having the students back and being a part of what God is doing in their lives.

     Thank you so much for supporting and praying for us. We really consider you as partners with us in the gospel as we train the students to reach the world for Christ.  Drop us a note or email some time, we would love to hear from you. Email addresses: Pilar@ccbcmexico.com or Leo@ ccbcmexico.com or you can write us at: Leo and Pilar Gray   3621 Vista Campana South Unit 75     Oceanside, CA 92057.

If you would like to support us financially you can send a tax deductible gift by check to: Saving Grace World Missions    

17451 Bastanchury Road  Suite 203  Yorba Linda, CA 92886

write Leo and Pilar Gray on the memo line or click the Become a Financial Partner button on our web page for credit card or bank transfer at www.SGWM.com/gray.

April News

Pray for peace the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee. Psalm 122:6

March 23, 2018

Dear friends and family,
It has been a hard couple of months for Leo and me. There’s been joy and tears.

Our middle son was married to a sweetheart on December 29th. It was a joyous occasion and we are delighted to have Jennifer as part of our family! The Lord gave them a beautiful sunset, but what made it even more special is Leo’s father officiated the wedding.

As some of you know, Leo’s father passed away in February. He was a wonderful man, and he loved large. Not only his family, but his community and those he came in contact with. He fought the good fight and was a faithful servant.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support for us and all our family. We see God’s grace in all of it. Part of that grace was being there when normally we would have been back in Mexico for the start of the semester. But the Lord gave us a trip to the Holy Land with some wonderful people from Hattiesburg Community Church and so our stay was longer. And in the midst of the turmoil he gave us time to walk where He once walked and be with fellow believers whom now we call friends.

Thank you Hattiesburg for taking us and sharing in our suffering.

Leo is still in Florida helping his mom. He plans to come home in a couple of weeks. Please pray for him as he makes the drive back. I came home a couple of weeks ago because I needed to renew my Mexican visa, and I am happy to say that I now have my permanent residency card paperwork in!
The semester is at its halfway mark, and there are around forty students going on the spring missions trip next week. Please keep them in your prayers for traveling mercies and protection along with the Spirit of God to use them as they share in service and giving people the Good News.
Thank you again for all your support. Please continue to pray for us and for Mexico ?

God Bless You,

Leo and Pilar

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Oliver and Jenifer Gray

Mom and Dad /  Ed and Agnes at the reception