Oaxaca Update: Spring 2018
Dear Friends and Supporters of the ministries in Mexico,
A quick update on Don’s progress… we are home in Christmas Valley and have a place to stay when needed in Bend. Don is healing well; his health is good. This week, however, we were told that no further out-patient therapy nor progression for the prosthesis can happen until after Don has the gallbladder removal surgery… Wednesday May 30th. Perhaps a week after surgery we can begin again.
Pastor Diego Gutierrez is Director of Ministries in Mitla, Barrio de Ceniza, and Chapultepec. He recently sent an update for us all to see. We are so thrilled. Quotes from Diego will be in italics.
All pending construction projects are completed. The last thing that was finished was the bathroom of the apartment, which consisted of putting tile and installing the toilet, shower and sink, now it is in operation.
Chuy went to work at the Summer Institute of Linguistics on April 26, is learning new things. The salary is not much but will be of great help to them. They are doing well. In the ministry they have been very supportive in teaching children, vehicle maintenance, Chuy has taken the Thursday evening prayer services.
The church is doing great and maturing in the Lord. The congregation has accepted the challenge of starting constant pastoral economic support. They will start with $500 pesos ($28) dollars per week and they desire to raise it as soon as possible to $750 pesos ($41) dollars a week, according to how the treasury prospers.
A fixed budget has been implemented where several spending areas are contemplated. For example: contributions of 10% to missions, 10% evangelism and compassion, 50% for staff (which includes the pastor's salary and other expenses), 15% for programs such as the children's school, discipleship and others, another 15% for maintenance costs of facilities and vehicles. I think those are the figures, I'm not sure, but it's something like that. As soon as this implementation begins, it will surely undergo adjustments and changes in practice.
Brothers, this step the congregation is taking is much greater than you may realize. For many years, perhaps 40, in Mitla, there has been distrust and skepticism of churches and the role of pastors. Many pastors had opted to distill and sell liquor to have larger salaries. Any tithe or offering funds went into the hands of the pastor with no accountability. This may be the only evangelical church there now that has the congregation accountable for receiving and dispersing tithes and offerings.
Our Pastor Diego integrity, honesty and willingness to live by faith, has made a great impact in this historical town of Mitla. It has taken these five or six years for this level of trust by the congregants in Diego and Luz Elena to take this historic step in setting up a budget and pledging to begin providing economically for their pastor.
It is also huge that these believers are taking the step of faith to give tithes and offerings on a regular basis.
Diego is a man of integrity, a man of God. We are so grateful to the Lord for being part of seeing Diego receive Christ, complete seminary, go on to work in missions, and plant a church that is making a difference.
Baptism in Milta: April 1, 2018
Barrio de Ceniza, Oaxaca
Pastor Beni and Nati and son Omar have been in Barrio for a number of months now, and all is well. They are considering returning to Papalote in July. They now have a grandchild and desire to be a part of his life. They also had a fruitful ministry in visitation and evangelism there last year. Please pray with them regarding this decision.
Diego reports, 'The heavy rains have started there. Sheetrock in the church is in process.
My father-in-law, Pastor Senen, wants to know if we can go ahead and put a cement entry floor at the entry door. The need is approximately 10 thousand pesos ($570 dollars).'
Here are recent pictures of the church building and the congregation. One picture is of the entry door. The rains have made the entry into complete mud. All in all, everyone is thrilled with the new facility. I haven’t heard from them directly for a few weeks as they didn’t want to interfere with Don’s recovery, but I know the Lord is blessing their ministry. The family has been given economic help to visit Baja CA for Manuel’s graduation from Seminario Bíblico Baja and Family Camp in July. They are all excited.
Opportunities for Intercession
Thank you for your continued support and prayers for these wonderful men and women of God. Their lives demonstrate true worship and their walk is by true faith.
1. We desire to be able to give all our ministers economic support so that they can spend special times with their families and times of rest. This has not been a reality and we desire it to become so. These families receive gifts from individual supporters of between $300 to $600/month. As you can see, this is not enough to be able to take times of spiritual retreat or time with the family away from home. We would like to be able to add a specific amount to their monthly budgets to meet this great need.
If you desire to provide consistently in this way, please make a note on your gift.
Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
2. Keep Don and I in your prayers in the following weeks as we anticipate the gallbladder surgery. We are planning to take day trips to see parts of Central Oregon we have not visited in the past.
3. Please pray for good health; continued encouragement in maturity; a vibrant vision given of God to each minister and congregation to reach Mexico for Christ; and the economic power to send more laborers into the fields.
En His Hands y En Su Servicio,
Hermana Ilene and Hermano Don