There are times in life when everything goes smoothly and other times when it feels like the Holy Spirit has just dragged you onto the scariest rollercoaster ride of your life.  For me, February and March was one of those rollercoaster rides here in Culiacán.  Here are some of the highs and lows.

Valentine’s Day Marriage Event

On February 3, we held our first couples’ event of the year.  We were blessed to have Pastor Hugo visiting us as the “guest” speaker and took advantage of the date to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or “The Day of Love and Friendship” as it’s called here in Mexico.  The theme was, “A Holy Covenant.”  At the end, there were very few dry eyes in the room as 40 couples renewed their vows and two couples professed faith in Christ for the first time.

Forty couples renewed their vows at our Valentine’s Day couples’ event and two couples professed faith in Christ for the first time.

The Death of a Saint

The Bible tells us that the death of the saints is something beautiful to God.  It marks the beginning of that person’s eternal life with him.  However, it often marks a very painful ending for those left behind.  On February 5, one of my best friends lost her mother.  It was a loss felt by many in our congregation, and we pulled together to love on Patty and help her through her grieving process.

Experiencia IDÓNEA #7

Just 5 days later, we held our first women’s conference of the year.  This was a huge leap of faith for us, because after Pastor Hugo and Brenda’s departure, we had completely restructured the women’s ministry, and this was our first event.  The theme was “New Beginnings: Women of Faith and Determination.”  Three days before the event, we had less than 20 women registered, but by faith, we printed material for 60.  Thank goodness for that step of faith, because nearly 60 women came, many of them first-time visitors to our church!  Several made professions of faith, several others have now become regular attendees of our church, and all were ministered to.  I was most touched watching Patty help host the event with a genuine smile on her face.  What an example of Faith and Determination!

Patty prays with Betty before she preaches to the nearly 60 women who attended our women’s conference and later prays with a new believer.

Reaching Valle del Agua

One week later, we held our first outreach in a very poor community known as Valle del Agua.  When building the homes in this community, there was a problem with the water services, causing all construction to cease.  Almost immediately, squatters moved into the area and took up residence in the abandoned construction projects and unclaimed lots.  Now, as a result of the ministry we plan to start there, these people will be given new hope for a bright future.  Please pray for all the children who attended, and that God will move the hearts of their parents to attend as well.

About 20 children and a dozen adults attended our first outreach project in Valle del Agua, a poor, marginalized neighborhood on the outskirts of Culiacán.

Beach Bungles and Microphone Troubles

We finished February on a high note with the annual church-planting conference in Mazatlán.  On the 3-hour drive to Mazatlán, home to Calvary Chapel Maranatha and its 4 church plants, we stopped at the beach for an hour to relax, enjoy, and take some pictures.  The picture below was taken just moments before a huge wave surprised us from behind, soaking my shoes and leaving me barefoot or in borrowed shoes for the rest of the weekend. LOL!  (Thanks, Jenn!) 

The conference was amazing! I had the privilege of translating for two of our Culiacán pastors and several workshops.  In addition to the amazing worship, food, and fellowship, pastors and teachers from nearly 20 churches taught us about the necessity of church planting and its Biblical base, how to strategically reach large cities and unreached peoples, how to reach adults through children’s ministry, and the importance of faith, perseverance, discipleship, prayer, integrity, and above all, intimacy with Jesus in order to make all those things happen.   

In the midst of all my translating, however, I was reminded of my limitations.  Apparently, holding a microphone was too strenuous for my injured neck and shoulder, causing me a lot of extra pain and loss of mobility for several weeks.  Thankfully, renewed and intensified physical therapy has made a huge difference in the last two months, bringing me almost back to normal.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

“The Best Camp Ever!”

Camping, swimming, volleyball, soccer, food, worship, teaching, devotions, teams, games, relays and rallies, the reenacted Bible stories, talent show, bonfires, bonding…  Our annual Family Camp the last week of March did not disappoint!  As a matter of fact, it was declared by many to be “the best camp ever!”  More than 300 people from 14 different churches in 4 different cities loaded up their tents and ventured out to Hacienda Lago Encantado campground to spend 4 days playing and praying, eating and competing, working and worshipping together.  Many people made professions of faith or were baptized, and many marriages and families began the process of restoration with Christ as their center.  But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll leave you with these…

Having a blast at “The Best Family Camp Ever!” VUELVE 2024 – registration, worship, team building, devotions, bonfire, Christ-centered teaching for the whole family, swimming, baptisms, intense competition, and more!

More Twists and Turns

We also attended or participated in women’s conferences in Calvary Culiacán East and Calvary Santa Fe, one of our newest church plants, went to a homeschooling conference at Calvary Maranatha Mazatlán, had a baptismal service in Calvary Culiacán North, started a new discipleship class for new believers, and watched a total solar eclipse!

And as always, God has been extremely faithful to me and my family. After a very rough first job experience, Ruby has a new job. She now has good pay and benefits as well as a healthy work environment. Sammy had his debut as an official children’s ministry TEACHER and celebrated his 11th birthday.  And, after a whirlwind house-hunting experience, God provided a new home for us that meets and exceeds all of our needs!  We made the move in 4 days’ time with the help of many friends from church, and now, one month later, we are ALMOST settled in. 

In addition, I joined a Friday morning prayer group called “Mexico and Beyond.”  Spanish-speakers from all over Mexico and the U.S. pray together for all of the Calvary churches here in Mexico, all of the unreached peoples in the world, and all of the laborers that God is raising up to reach them.  We also take time to pray for each other and the needs of our particular churches.  It has been a huge blessing to me!

Coming Soon…

The rest of April and May promises to be just as busy as ever!  You can pray with us for the following events: 

  • April 24 and May 15 – I will be preaching at our Wednesday night women’s ministry
  • April 27 – children’s outreach with Calvary Aguaruto
  • April 28 – Children’s Day service in Calvary Culiacán North
  • May 2-6 – our next trip to work with the Kuáre in Nayarit
  • May 11 – our next EXPERIENCIA IDONEA women’s conference (I am coordinating)
  • May 11 – Mother’s Day event in Calvary Culiacán West (I will be preaching)

Final Prayer Requests

Here are some other things you can be praying for in the coming weeks:

  • I lead the Wednesday night worship team, and we recently lost several guitar players and worship leaders. Pray that God raises up new people to continue this ministry.
  • Pray for our Culiacán pastors and their families. Many are struggling with illness and family- and ministry-related problems.  Let’s cover them in prayer!
  • Please continue praying for my neck and shoulder – that I will finally recover full mobility and be pain-free soon.
  • Pray for Sammy’s school and upcoming national testing, that he will be able to stay on top of all of his work in the midst of all this month’s activities.
  • Pray for Ruby’s continued success in her new job and that she would remain faithful in church-planting school and the other ministries she is involved in.
  • Pray for our finances – that God would raise up new monthly supporters and help us to be good stewards of what he has given us.

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