I made it through the first month! I am sorry that I haven’t updated in a week or so, but this week has been so busy! It has been a great week, but so busy. I didn’t go to school on Monday because the IMB missionary asked if I would lead a team from the States around the city prayer walking, so I got to skip school. We went to one of the large churches here where they have a huge celebration coming up on December the 12th. Please be in prayer for that time, people will be crawling on their knees as an offering to Mary. I had a good time, but it made me miss Grace and the truth that is taught there concerning missions and the doctrine of the church. Then Tuesday Paco asked me if I wanted to miss school again to go feed homeless people and drug addicts, so I did go and missed school again. It was such a great time! My heart has been so broken for the people here who worship the santa muerte. There was a homeless man there that had a muerte necklace on and God placed upon my heart to go and talk with him. I began asking him why he worships the muerte because Jesus has killed death and it is going to send him to hell. We talked for almost 30 minutes and he confessed that he is so afraid of the muerte and what she will do to him if he does not worship her. There was a cologne bottle laying in the street so I picked it up and asked him to worship it and he told me no that it would be foolish to do so, so I asked him what the difference was in him worshiping the muerte, and he began to get very uncomfortable as he came to an understanding of the ignorance of serving something carved by the hands of a wretched man. At the end of our conversation I asked him if he would give me his necklace and he said “No! It’s my muerte!” My heart sunk. Who is this god that can be possessed buy a human, that can be contained in the form of a skeleton on a string? He was so fearful of this little piece of metal. Sin has such a hold on these people! Thursday as we were in the park feeding the homeless, prostitutes, and druggies I met three guys that were all worshipers of the muerte. I feel like if there is anyone within a mile of where I am the Lord will allow our paths to cross. My heart was so broken for these men so I walked up very boldly and asked why they would worship something made by evil men? I think they were a little taken back by my boldness, but the Lord opened a huge door for me to reason with these men. I got myself in a little deeper than my Spanish could handle, not to mention that I was so fired up and just couldn’t contain it anymore, so I had to ask Kristi to come translate. Kristi is a missionary here, has lived here for six years, and has such a heart for the people on the street. She has also been such a blessing because her Spanish is very good, and she has been so willing to help translate for me. So she came and helped me with these guys. I spoke the truth very boldly to them wanting them to realize the how stupid it is to serve such vileness! I told them that the muerte is based on conditional love in that they believe she tells them that if they do something for her than she will give them stuff, and that God is a God of agape love. One of the guys at this point realized the truth of the muerte, but because of his fear was not willing to crush that idol in his life. When we got back to the house I asked Kristi how she thought it went, and she said she thought well, but that she thought I was going to get punched in the face. The Lord is good and has protected me so well! Our church meets on Fridays, and I have been teaching through the book of Romans. Last week Kristi translated for me, and the IMB missionary was suppose to this week. Although I am learning so quickly my Spanish is so bad. We start church at 7 on Fridays, and at 7:40 the missionary hadn’t shown up yet. We finished singing, and Paco stood up to read the text for the message. I began to pray that the Lord would fall down on me and give me the gift of tongues, because I had no idea what we were going to do! Paco prayed and told the people that I was coming to preach the message. I got up and just started preaching in Spanish. It was my goal in coming that I would preach in Spanish within four months, but even in that I have been so worried that I would not be able to preach with such zeal and passion. I was just taking it one verse at a time, and the Lord was as always so good! I was hoping that I would do as best as I could in Spanish for ten minutes or so, then they would show up and be able to translate. Friday night I preached in Spanish for an hour and twenty minutes in Spanish, and I am sure it was some messed up Spanish, the people understood and were so attentive! In some ways I felt like I was able to express myself better and with more passion than I do in English! It just goes to show that God is so sovereign and will do what pleases Him. After we got done Paco told me that I will not use a translator anymore and would preach all in Spanish. For those of you that know me and how well I speak Spanish know that it had to be a work of the Father!
The Lord is doing such great things here and is opening so many doors to minister! I truly feel at home here in Mexico, but I do miss you all so much! There is a group coming in December and I am so looking forward to seeing the scars on their hands from holding the rope as God has sent me into the well. The SBTC wants to send a group of pastors here the last week of January for a vision trip, and we need men willing to come! If you are interested please contact me through email so we can get you involved. It is not only for pastors, so if God is working in your heart concerning this please follow hard after what He is saying.
Food for thought:
This last week I have really struggled with a thought…
2 Corinthians 5:19 says “That is in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” That is a tremendous statement of the Grace of God, but here is my struggle…in Proverbs 17:15 it says “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both like an abomination to the Lord.” God justifies wicked men and calls it a righteous act. The Lord knows the wickedness of my heart, and yet He justifies me and calls me righteous! How is that not an abomination?! That is the mystery of the gospel! If you want to know what heaven will be like, it will be, for all eternity, kneeling before the throne trying to understand how a holy righteous God could save such a wretch like us! I know as some of you are reading this you are thinking that this sounds so harsh, but it is all about grace! Not only does God not count our trespasses against us, He entrusts us with His name, calling us His righteousness. God is right, and we are the display of His rightness. This has been on my mind so much lately! I know that it is made possible because “He made him to be sin who knew no sin”, but why would God do that? I do not understand how people can put man at the center of the gospel! If God justified the wicked solely for the wicked to spend all eternity with Him it would be an act of unrighteousness, but it is so He could look at the ones that are his and see his work! That is Grace! I am so troubled that we have reduced this mystery to four spiritual laws, or five things you need to know about God! In the Old Testament the priest would go through so much cleansing to meet with the Father, Christ died so we would have direct access to the Father, but we have taken the seriousness of our sin and the fact that it took the slaughtering of Christ as he bore the wrath of God for his elect, and reduced that to telling people that if they simply repeat a prayer they can enter that fellowship! God cares more for the price that was paid than to cast redemption on one who out of emotion repeats a mantra with no intention of repentance! Church we have got to get back to the place where in our preaching and evangelism we are teaching biblical regeneration which is preceded and followed by repentance! God does love us and has shed his son for us! Although I do not fully understand the love of God it is his promise, and that is the mystery of the gospel!
-Pray that God would break the strong holds that the santa muerte has here.
-Pray for the group that will be coming in December. They will be here the 21st-28th.
-Although I did preach in Spanish, language is still such a barrier.
-There are about four people in my class that I have been sharing the gospel with.
Thank you for all your prayers and support! The Lord is using your prayers and gifts to reach this tribe, tongue, and nation. If you have time please write me! I want to hear what is going on in your world!