SOM Week 6: Such an Awesome God

God bless you! He is a such an awesome God and loves you more than you know!

I am writing this very last SOM update from La Mirada. This past week I’ve been in the process of getting back in the swing of things here at home but have not forgotten to write this last update for week six in Mexico.

We finished our time in Rosarito with three final days of classroom instruction and one more outreach. On one of those final days of class we were scheduled to have a guest teacher, and to my surprise, the guest teacher turned out to be Pastor Hassan! (For those who don’t know, he’s a missionary sent from CC La Mirada.)

Pastor Hassan was able to spend four days at the school, teaching on his last full day with us, and wow, I was hanging on to every word he shared for the duration of our three hour class. God was speaking straight from him to me on the topic of faithfulness. Of all he shared, here are three of the points that impacted me most:

  • Excuses keep people from being faithful.
  • Faithfulness is characterized by finishing well.
  • Imagine if we could say in the church, “We can trust anyone here to get the job done, and to do it right. They’re all faithful!”

God used this final teaching at the school to hammer home the message He wanted me to come back with: At all costs, be faithful. So shout out to you Pastor Hassan for that teaching, and shout out to God, who is the truly faithful One!

After the three final days of classroom teaching in Rosarito, we packed our bags and headed south to Ensenada for a weekend of debrief. It was a powerful weekend of Bible study from John 13-17 (the last words of Jesus to the disciples before heading to the cross), a very sweet time of community in our last days together, and a time to discuss with the leaders our heart’s desires and next steps in our lives.

What a beautiful view to soak in as we studied the Bible. It was like being on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with Jesus, or on the Mediterranean Sea with Paul, knowing that at that time every coastline of that Sea was part of the Roman empire, and part of the “ends of the earth” that Paul so desperately desired to take the gospel to.
One heart, one mind, one purpose – that’s real community, that’s family.
God chooses the foolish things of the world. We are a weird group. Thank you Jesus!

Needless to say, God’s blessings were poured out on us that weekend, as well as the whole six weeks. But really, since the beginning of time God has been pouring out His blessings on mankind, the object of his desire. His special creation, made in His image and likeness. God loves me. And I love Him. I hope you have that same relationship with this awesome God who gives you the very breath in your lungs, it’s the sweetest thing you’ll ever know.

*PLEASE KEEP READING – MOST IMPORTANT THING ON PAGE IS YET TO BE READ!*

If you don’t have a relationship with God, I plead with you to hear me out on this. To have a relationship with God you must believe that God, the true God of the Bible, the trinity God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit – all equal, all eternal, existing in three persons in perfect relationship, having no beginning and no end, having all power, having all knowledge, existing outside of time and space and matter itself, three yet One single God) – this very God, the glorious God of the Bible, because of His unconditional and unfathomable LOVE which is so deep and wide and high it’s past understanding, sent God the Son, Jesus, to the earth to be born as a human, and to live among us, perfect, without sin, to live the life we never could, to die the death we deserve, and to raise back to life again.

Are you prefect? Am I perfect? No, in my heart of hearts I know how full of sin I am and it scares me! Yet perfection is God’s requirement to have a relationship with Him. Anything less than perfection = separation from God. Harsh? Far from it. It’s beautiful. I don’t want to believe in a God that allows sin and imperfection in His presence. There is no beauty like perfection. God is pure and perfect, and He only accepts pure and perfect.

Please listen, the eternal God the Son, named Jesus, offers salvation through His death on the cross. The sacrifice of His precious, pure, and perfect blood is the only thing that can remove our sins and bring us to God. Only God Himself could bring us back to Himself, and this is how He chose to do it so that He could display His great love for us.

The good things you do can’t save you. The “I’m a good person” or “At least I’m better than others” doesn’t work because God’s standard is perfection. Any excuse of not knowing about God won’t save you. Do you want true peace? Do you want true joy? Do you want God Himself? And to be truly loved by Him? Jesus is the only way to God, to eternal life. Apart from Jesus is eternal separation from God; a reality that is far more terrifying than it sounds. Believe in Jesus. Be washed and cleaned by His perfect and innocent blood shed for you. Come into relationship with the only God you will find after searching the whole world over that loves you, cares for you, died for you, desires a relationship with you, rose from the dead to defeat death’s power and Himself be living proof of the promise of eternal life that awaits those who put their faith in Him. He is the only God that showed us by example what true love looks like.

There is no greater love than that one would lay down their life for his or her friends.
Do you know someone who would do that for you?

God has done that for you. In response, He wants you to turn away from all your sin and turn to Him, to believe in Jesus. He wants to call you a friend. He wants to call you His chosen. I’m chosen by Him. Don’t you want to be chosen by God? He’s waiting for you.

The message I just shared is called the gospel – the good news. It’s the message God is calling me to share with people for the rest of my life. It’s the message God is calling all Christians to share for the rest of their lives. It is our purpose for being on this earth. Why wouldn’t God just take us straight up to heaven after we get saved? Because there’s a message to share with others. There are people who need God’s love. And God has given the responsibility to share that message to a special group of people that is very near and dear to His heart. And it is given this one very special group of people only – the Church. If Jesus’ Church doesn’t share the gospel, no one else will. It’s our duty, it’s our privilege.

So now that I’m getting back into the swing of things here at home the plan is to serve faithfully at church (and in all aspects of life), and to be faithful to share that message that I am called to share. God has a calling on my life to be a missionary, but as for right now I’m still in the preparation period. I am living by Matthew 6:33, which instructs me not to worry about tomorrow, but to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and God will take care of the rest. He is such an awesome God.

God bless you for reading this far! I love you all dearly, and have been impacted by all of your support and the way that each of you have individually touched my life. Thank you. This school was life-changing.

With much love,
Spencer

Praying for a man at the last outreach for the school.
Last day of class for the school.
Calvary School of Missions 2020 Staff and Students!
The people you see right here are going to go on to become true world changers.
People’s souls will be touched, eternities forever changed,
God honored and sought after where He never was before,
true love, true hope, true peace, true joy known where it has been missing…
all because they have hearts that are open, willing, obedient.
God is going to use these among the nations!
There is no greater joy than to live one’s life for such a purpose.

SOM Week 5: They All Love God More Than Me!

Hello from Rosarito once again. I realize I’m probably the only one counting the weeks here (well, besides my mom), but yeah week five is down, and I have just one more to go. You know, at the beginning of this year I never would have thought that I’d be living in Mexico for six weeks in the middle of what could be considered the first ever worldwide lockdown. That’s one for the books!

Week five was filled with a lot of amazing people, people who know God’s calling on their lives and are pursuing it wholeheartedly. We were taught from two different teachers, who each have devoted the majority of their lives to go to the mission field. You can bet they had a lot of good things to say, but at this school, teachers like this are pretty much the norm…so what made this week any different? At the end of the week, we attended Calvary Chapel Rosarito’s 2020 Church Planting Conference. As I looked around the room I was amazed to see the room filled with people who have devoted their lives to building the awesome Kingdom of God and not the small kingdoms of their own lives.

As I looked around I realized: Most of these people probably love God more than I do. Most of these people are probably more obedient to God than I am.

This realization has been a repeating occurrence at this school but kinda just hit me hard at the conference seeing so many people all gathered together at once – pastors, missionaries, those starting new churches, and those sacrificing all to go help them – it’s humbling, encouraging, and challenging all at the same time. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” And that’s what I saw at the conference – a room full of people who love God and are simply being obedient to God’s call on their lives. I want to be numbered among that crowd!

Among all the great, godly people I’ve met, learned from, and heard about these past few weeks, what they all have in common is this: They’ve all admitted to failure, they’ve all confessed they’re so far from perfect, and they’ve all praised God in our presence that God would actually use them to do anything good for Him. Sounds like a great group of people right? God thinks so. Yes full of mistakes, yes far from prefect, yet humble, faithful, and obedient. God make me like this!

Included in this week were two more amazing community outreaches. The first outreach we did was at a church, and it was the first event that church had had since the COVID lockdown. One of the men who attended and heard the Gospel message repented of his sins that day and believed in Jesus Christ! Praise God!

At the other outreach, we did manual labor serving with our hands at the house of a lady named Sulyma. She had recently returned to a relationship with Christ, and so we wanted to show her what the love of Christ looks like in action. She needed trenches dug for a wall and rocks to be taken from the nearby riverbed to build the foundation of the wall. Even though we were only there for a couple of hours, our group of 25 or so put in SO many hours of man power, it would have taken her husband WEEKS to find the time, and will power, to do what we were able to do in such a short amount of time. That’s not a pat on our back, that’s a thanks to God for opening the door to help Sulyma and her family in this way. Sulyma was so thankful to God and to us, and we were thankful to be the hands and feet of Jesus that day. Pray for the salvation of her husband.

Love you all! I pray God is speaking to you during this unique time in our lives. I haven’t been checking the news at all and don’t know what’s going on back home, but I pray God’s voice is louder in your life than all the other voices. Thank you for reading, thank you for your interest and investment in my life, you all are a blessing and gift from God to me.

With much love,
Spencer Pierschbacher

“Uhh…I have to leave in a week? All I wanna do is stay and eat tacos.”

SOM Week 4: Eternity in Mind

Every week here at school has been great, but this past week was a confirming week for me. For so long I’ve said, “I want to be a missionary”, but with that desire came so many doubts, worries, and fears. And so since I’ve graduated college, I’ve really been dancing around the idea of being a missionary. But these doubts, worries, and fears are not of God, and I know I cannot settle for anything other than what God is calling me to do because eternity has been planted too deep in my mind and heart.

So this week God confirmed that the next step for me after the school of missions is to go back to my church and be faithful to build up the missions ministry there, stir up the church body to be involved in missions, learn the Bible more, and make disciples in the ways I can where I am. It’s such a simple call, I’m the one who complicates things. What am I going to do about the teaching credential I was pursuing? I don’t know. Will the church get excited more about missions? I don’t know. How do I build a successful missions program? I don’t know. There are so many things I don’t know, but thank you, Jesus, the more I don’t know the more room I have to step out in faith.

Class time this week was very heavy and eye-opening. We were learning about the state of the gospel in the world and the fact that there are still 3 billion people in the world who do not have access to it. What does that mean? They cannot even make the decision to accept or reject Jesus because they don’t even have access to that message. It’s not, “They don’t want to be Christian”, it’s “They don’t even have the ability to be Christian.” Does that rock you? It rocks me. It troubles me. It hurts me. I pray God sends me one day, but for now I know what He’s asking me to do.

Outside of class, one of the highlights of the week was an outreach among the Kumeyaay tribe deep in the hills of Baja. I was asked to share a message from the Bible at the outreach, and it went very well. I taught on Matthew 6:19-21 with the message: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I encouraged and challenged everyone there, even myself, with this simple message, and I encourage and challenge you as well: Will you choose to treasure the things of this world? Or will you choose to treasure God above all else?

After we got back home, I was encouraged to hear this story from the outreach: One of our leaders at the school, Aaron, was talking to a man after the Bible message. This man, named Lino, almost didn’t come to the outreach. He was really debating in himself whether he should attend or not, but in the end, decided he should. During the worship songs and the message he knew God was speaking to him because God had previously been part of his life but unfortunately, he had started drinking again and was caught up in that lifestyle. He said he had been letting his life go to waste. After talking with Aaron, Lino decided to recommit his life to Jesus. Praise God!

Thank you for being faithful to read my updates. Every week I send these out I don’t know who reads them and who doesn’t, but I just pray that each update would encourage you and stir you up, even just a little, for the things of God and for eternity. Please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit’s unity among our group, for more lives to be impacted by our outreaches, for an end to the evil COVID virus, and that the last two weeks of the school be saturated in good things that the Lord has planned. 

With much love,
Spencer

Just a little taste of heaven.

SOM Week 3: Beautiful Things

It seems as if I just wrote and sent out my last update. This week flew by! This is the halfway point of the School of Missions. We’re three weeks in with three weeks left to go. One of the strangest feelings in life is feeling as if time has flown by, and yet the past feels so far away. It feels like I’ve been here forever, and yet the three weeks have flown by, and surely the next three will also. Thankfully though, no matter how fast it feels like time passes, each week is always filled with beautiful things.

In this past week, we were able to do two outreaches. At one of them, I was able to share my testimony (story of how I came to believe in Jesus and what Jesus has done in my life since that point). Unfortunately, I have no photos 🙁 but that’s ok, just imagine me on a small stage with a translator in front of a crowd of about 25 people. It was nothing big, it was nothing grand, but it was a privilege to share my story with everyone there.

The main point at the end of my testimony to encourage the church with was: It doesn’t matter if you’re an ex-drug addict and gangster, or if you’ve had a relatively easy life, it’s a miracle that ANYONE is saved. For the drug addict and gangster, it’s a miracle they come out of that lifestyle. For the person who’s had an easy life, it’s a miracle that they would see their need for God since usually, we tend to forget God when life is easy. Salvation is pure grace, purely a gift from God, purely a miracle from God since none can believe in God without Him first revealing Himself to us. That God would choose ANY of us to be His children, that ANY of us so full of sin would choose Him – a pure miracle. It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you, Jesus.

The other outreach we had planned was an all-day event, traveling 3 hours south to San Vicente to do some youth ministry at a church including games, testimony time, Bible study, and food. (Side note: For those of you who know what Rancho Genesis is, we actually drove right past it on the main highway. I could see the camp in the distance! We would have been there this week…pray for Monte De Dios! I know we all miss our kids.)

So anyway, everything went according to plan except…no youth ministry! Instead, we did hard labor! The youth were a little uneasy to come to the event because of COVID but that’s okay, God knew, and we were able to bless the church with many, many hours of manpower.

We went out to a ranch near the church which is in the countryside of Baja California. Carlos and Pilar, a couple in the church, recently started a women’s home where women come to live with their kids while getting their feet back on the ground after coming out of prison or off drugs and alcohol. It’s a beautiful ministry and going to be a beautiful place after all the work is done. Despite things not going according to plan, nobody complained, and because of God, we were able to find joy in doing hard manual labor. Afterwards, we had dinner together, and the founder of the women’s home shared her testimony, which was a powerful one of Jesus taking her from drugs, alcohol, prison, and creating in her a new and clean heart. A beautiful thing.

At the end of our time there, even though all of us only had been together for half a day, it honestly felt as if we were leaving family. Why? How? Because we actually are family – blood relatives in the blood of Jesus Christ. When God’s children get together there is a connection because it’s really just a family reunion – the family of God. A beautiful thing indeed. (I say all of us because a few youths did show up, and the pastors were there with their families, as well as a few other church members.)

There are so many beautiful things that occurred this week – awesome team unity, amazing class sessions, moments of being poured into, building friendships, worshiping God, reading the Bible…Should I go on? Reaching hearts, touching lives, seeing people get saved, working hard, being part of the family of God…Is there anything else? Living in perfect peace every waking moment of my life knowing my eternal destination, having a perfect Father in heaven who watches over me every second of every day, having a healthy body to do God’s will, having people in my life who love me, have partnered with me, invested in me, and that are praying for me…

God, thank you for all of these beautiful things.

Praying over one of our
teachers and his family.

Being halfway through the school I’m feeling very thankful. I do miss everyone at home though and am excited to return to you all. I miss my church family, I miss my co-workers, I miss my family and friends, and even though there are still so many beautiful things here at the school to experience, I know I will be back with you all soon. As you’ve been, please continue to pray for God’s direction and leading in my and the other students’ lives, pray for God’s will to be done despite COVID, pray for team unity and for a strengthening of relationships among students and leaders at the school, relationships that will surely continue after the school is over. Please respond to this newsletter update saying hello, and please let me pray for you as well. Thank you for your involvement in my life, it is a beautiful thing.

With much love,
Spencer

What is home to me? Who is family to me?
My home is in heaven and my family is the family of God.

SOM Week 2: With Man It Is Impossible, But With God All Things Are Possible

Another wonderful week of the 2020 Calvary School of Missions is in the books. Two weeks down, four to go… 

For those who don’t know, the purpose of the school is two-fold: 1) to lay a biblical and practical foundation for those who believe they are being led by God to long-term missionary work, and 2) to allow for an extended time of laying down all our wants and desires in life to seek God’s direction and leading in our lives. Through daily prayer, reading the Bible, the daily classes, required readings, service and gospel outreaches, and worship and prayer nights, the purposes of the school are without a doubt being accomplished.

This week, God has been communicating to me clearly my need for Him to do things in my life that I thought I could do alone. I am coming to understand I cannot do these things myself, only He can do them. Things that are impossible with man, but that are possible with God.

The first thing is that one night during the week I up woke in the middle of the night with “2 Timothy 2:21” in my head. I remember thinking in my half-asleep state, “I really need to look this verse up but I don’t have a Bible next to me.” And then I fell back asleep. Of course when I got up at 5:30am I forgot all that happened, but at about 7:15am as I was preparing to pray to God and read the Bible the verse came back to me!

“20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

2 TIMOTHY 2:20-21

I don’t have space to explain fully what these verses mean, but basically, verse 21 is saying – Cleanse yourself from SIN, and you will be made useful for God, set apart for His purpose, not your own purpose, and you will be prepared for the good works God has planned for your life.

Sounds great! But cleanse myself from sin? Sanctify myself and make myself useful?? If I could do such a thing I wouldn’t even need to be saved, right? This verse speaks to me so clearly – I NEED God to work in my life. My need for God is so great. God does the cleansing, God does the sanctifying, but I must desire it and pursue Him.

Secondly, we’ve been reading a book called Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray, which is really a radical call to exactly what the book is named for – absolute surrender to God. A quote in the book in which the author is communicating God’s heart for those whom He’s saved struck me…

“I have surrendered myself as God absolutely to you; I became man and died for you that I might be entirely yours. Come and surrender yourselves entirely to be mine.”

Absolute surrender?? Not just the vague, “Oh yeah I’m a Christian, I gave my heart to Jesus” type of surrender, but literally surrender every desire? Every longing? Every want of mine? ALL of me surrendered at the foot of the cross where Jesus surrendered ALL of Himself? But God! I can’t do that! I don’t have that ability within myself – I NEED God to work in my life. One might say, “But doesn’t such absolute surrender seem unattainable?” What God has shown me is that IT IS unattainable…when I am trying to do so in my own strength.

With man these things I just mentioned – cleansing sin from my life, being made into a vessel set apart and useful to God for good works, and surrendering all to God – are impossible, but with God all things are possible. I NEED God to work in my heart and in my life. I need Him more than I know. That is my conclusion this week. These lessons are spiritual truths, but I must understand them and grow in them to be an effective missionary. God wants to use me, but He doesn’t want any of me on the missions field. Does that make sense? Paul the great missionary of the New Testament was one who let God work these things in him. How else could he get stoned to death, among all the other sufferings he endured, and continue on? Because God did a great work in Him. And God wants to do that work in any who desire it…who desire Him.

So I don’t have any pictures for this since it’s a work in my heart, but hopefully sharing this encourages or even challenges someone reading this.

On a different note, this has been a great week at the school. It’s been a bit slower than the first, but looking at the schedule it’s more of a “calm before the storm” type of thing. Things are about to ramp up in a good way!

I will attach some pictures below from this week because I don’t want to leave you guys hanging. Love you all, thank you so, so much for your support which sent me here, and for your prayers which are accomplishing things in the spiritual realm. I am indebted to you all! Please continue praying for the leading of God in all the students’ lives, for God to anoint the teachers with wisdom in class, for more salvations when we do outreaches, for COVID not to affect the school in any way, and for God to work in each of us – things that only He can do!

With much love,
Spencer Pierschbacher

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Gospel outreach in a very poor community in Rosarito. The poverty here matched what I’ve seen in Haiti – makeshift shacks, trash everywhere, people hurting and in need. Glory to God, we were able to bring them something immaterial and something that can last forever – love, hope, smiles, and God’s offer of eternal life, and in fact, one woman’s eternity was changed forever that day. A comment from the pastor that oversees this weekly outreach – “We haven’t had teams coming because of COVID, but you guys came…”
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Starting class with a couple songs of worship.
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Street witnessing (talking to people about Jesus) in a park. I was at the “Kid’s table” and it was a serious blast. (I love the kiddos and miss my elementary school PE job!) We made balloon animals and butterflies with coffee filters, markers, and clothespins, and one of the students from the school talked to the kids about Jesus. It was a beautiful time.
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Of course we gotta get some good volleyball in. I love how it brings everyone together.
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Peace out till next week! ✌️

School of Missions Week 1: Radical Commands, Radical Obedience

Calvary School of Missions staff and students 2020!

This first week at the Calvary School of Missions has been a fantastic one. Between engaging class sessions on the purpose of the church and the biblical model for missions, personal study/reading time, outreaches at various church plants, and making new friendships among the other students here, every moment has been amazing. I’m so thankful I came and so confident I’m supposed to be here.

One of the highlights for me this first week was the required reading for week one. We read the book entitled Radical by David Platt, and in it the author shares his observation of the radical commands that Jesus has given us in the Bible, and how easily we forget or ignore what the radical life of the Christian is supposed to look like. The author’s main purpose in the book is this: to challenge Christians to live a radically obedient life to the instructions of Jesus found in the Bible. Jesus proclaims some really crazy things in there. This got me thinking – if I do what Jesus tells me to do with my life is this really radical or is it just simple obedience to the One who saved my soul? I’d love to hear your response and your thoughts on the matter. I highly encourage every believer to read this book!

The content in the book has very strangely lined up with what has been taught in the class sessions in the past week (which nobody planned – we were originally supposed to read the book next week). So, if you want to get a taste of what this school has been like so far, go read the book!

Besides class time and personal study/reading time, we’ve gone on a couple outreach trips around the Rosarito and Tijuana areas in the last week. In these outreaches we’ve seen the hand of God moving. I’ve now been in Mexico for 7 days, and in those 7 days we’ve seen 7 adults and at least 15 children ask forgiveness for their sin and put their faith in Jesus for salvation! God’s hand is moving and working in the missions field because the harvest is plentiful!

Visiting families whose homes and material possessions burnt down in a community in Tijuana. I was able to encourage Juan, the young man in the brown and white stripped shirt, with a message from Psalm 139 that God sees him, knows him, thinks about him, and that God allowed him and his family to survive the fire so that they still have a chance to know God and have a relationship with Him. Through our group’s encouragement and the message of the Gospel, the young man decided to pray to receive Christ into his heart and was connected with the local pastor in that area!
Gospel outreach in a huge housing project community called HomeX, just down the road from the Rosarito dump. This is the moment 3 adults and the 15 or so children opened their hearts to Jesus! The pastor was so overjoyed to have us and for the fruit of the outreach. What we did was so simple. We made ourselves available to be used by God, loved the people, fed them food, and fed them the Word of God. Through our simple actions God does so much.
Street witnessing in a park next to Rosarito beach. This man, named Martin, was reading a newspaper so we approached him offering him a Gospel of John booklet to read. It turns out he believes in Jesus but hasn’t been to church in 8 years. He asked us a peculiar question while talking to us – “Does Satan ever attack you guys?” We all answered yes. I shared with him a picture that entered my mind as we were talking: I saw two opposing armies, one good and one evil, then I saw one of the good soldiers separate himself from his army, and standing alone the enemy came to attack him. I asked Martin which is the better place to be – in the midst of the army fighting together or standing alone? He knew the answer right away. He said he would see us at Calvary Chapel Rosarito on Sunday!

This has been a fantastic week, and one of the best parts is to be surrounded with other students and leaders who are seeking God with their whole heart. It’s not an easy thing to surrender to God. I’m not gonna lie, it’s not all rainbows and flowers here, my heart is being challenged and like I said in my last newsletter fear rises up in my heart. Fear to step out, fear to speak up, fear to put myself in a place that requires FAITH. But I have to fight against it. God has been and is continuing to use others in my life to stir me up and encourage me to live in radical obedience to His radical commands. It’s far from the easiest life, but what other life is worth living?

Thank you all for sending me and praying for me. God is showing me His goodness through you. Please continue praying for God’s leading and direction in all the students’ lives, for the humbling of our hearts and for absolute surrender to God’s will for us. This has only been week one. God has so much more.

With much love,

Spencer

Rooftop view from where we’re staying in Rosarito. In this photo we’re enjoying a sweet time of sharing testimonies (the story of God saving us and working in our life) with one another.