Yes…lockdowns are still a thing. In much of Asia and Africa, these past few months have brought another round of strict lockdowns and continued suffering for millions of people. We were scheduled to fly to S. Asia in early summer with flights booked, visas in hand and loaded suitcases packed full of ministry supplies. Two days before our departure, we were notified that the airport had shut down, vehicles were prohibited on the roads, schools / businesses / churches all closed and S. Asia once again entered a severe lockdown that is further shuttering the country.
With students at the Bible College when lockdowns hit again, we met and swiftly put a plan in place to continue classes with no one allowed in or out of the campus. Of course, we were sad not to teach in-person as planned but the reality that the equipping of the saints continued this semester both in-person and online was astounding as God’s protection was upon the campus.
Travel Ban = New Ministry Opportunities
Many of the students that studied with us in S. Asia last year and the year before, were eager to finish their studies. Given that they could not travel across state lines to the campuses, it caused Pastor John to seek the Lord about what was next. He approached us about the 8 men he had sent to us in previous semesters to meet in a bigger facility in his hometown. God made a way and they were able to gather, study, take online classes and serve in the community through local outreach. Moving forward, the intention is to set-up a ministry campus with church, bible college, and church planting hub in their city in the future.
The vision Pastor John has excited our hearts and for the winter / spring semester, the School of Ministry came together in his hometown. For many years, he has been burdened for surrounding villages and regions in his state and has wanted to plant churches. A one time gift provided the funding for the semester and made it possible for the men who had started 2+ years ago to complete their Bible College training in the midst of a lockdown. We watched God use the travel ban to allow a new ministry to blossom! Bond was able to teach online classes several days a week throughout the spring semester to this group of guys that we love so dearly.
Mexico Makes It’s Mark
Last month, we led a team of 23 young adults from CC the Rock to Mexico. For many of them, it was their first time out of the country and on a short-term missions trip. We served alongside CC Rosarito and several of the church plants that have been sent out in recent years.
It was a packed week full of covid food relief feeding programs, sharing the Gospel, visiting the dump, working alongside churches to outreach in their community, doing work projects, and hosting Vacation Bible School. Breanna especially loved giving out backpacks to the kids who came in preparation of schools reopening.
Prior to the pandemic, Bond visited the area of Homex where Pastor Eddie had been working in the dump and the surrounding colony to plant a church and meet the physical and spiritual needs. It was a great honor to watch young adults descend upon the dump, put their arms around a man who lives in the trash pile and share the love they have for Jesus with him.
We were also able to travel into the area Pastor Eddie calls “Beruit”. It is an area where a housing project was halted when the pandemic hit and the vacant buildings were left as a shell. Displaced people began to inhabit the units that had no windows, doors, electricity or running water. It was there that our team met Jose who is a diabetic and had been suffering without proper medication. He had lost toes, was unable to go outside, and did not know how to properly treat his condition. Our friends from South Jersey joined us and were able to bless him with a wheelchair and Josh (one of the young adults who is in nursing school) was able to get Jose set-up with the meter, medications and he was able to outside for the first time in months. Jose is now able to go to church at CC Homex and God is at work there.
We returned to Mexico this week and we are currently teaching at the Calvary School of Missions to train and raise up the next generation of young people who have a heart to GO! Thank you for your prayers, support and partnership as we remain focused on the Great Commission despite cancellations, delays, and detours. Lockdowns may continue and restrictions are in place, but the work of the Lord is flourishing in new ways and we are grateful to be apart of it together.
Bond, Heather and Breanna Gaona