This summer has been busy for us. I actually hate using the word “busy” because so often it can be confused with “productive” or even “spiritual.” But activity for activity’s sake is simply activism. Another factor in this “busyness” was short-term team involvement. How effective are short-term teams? Are they worth the time and resources invested? These are hard questions…questions hardly anyone talks about, but important ones that need to be asked.
So here’s a summary of the fruit from this summer. After distributing 80 wheelchairs, over 300 hearing aids, four concerts in Ixtapaluca, involvement in a rehab center and orphanage, a rally in a local school, soccer tournaments and more…what do we have to show for it?
Although conversions are difficult to evaluate, we estimate that at least 10 people trusted Christ during the call to prayer times at the evangelistic concerts. We praise the Lord for this!
Three new families have begun to congregate at the Santa Bárbara church.
Since the kids club in Jesus María, Larissa and her four kids have been coming to the JM church. This past Sunday three more kids who were involved with the club were at church. As I write this, my wife is taking Larissa’s smallest child to the doctor, and helping her out with medical and food expenses.
But there are more subtle, harder to evaluate results to our summer events. Many people heard the gospel clearly, including around 500 in the hearing aid, wheelchair and soccer events, and upwards of 1000 in the concerts. We have a wide open door to future involvement in a local Jr. Hi school thanks to a successful (and crazy) all-day rally. Our relationship with the local government is excellent after working together with them to distribute wheelchairs and hearing aids.
We believe the seeds sown from the gospel being clearly presented will bear fruit. Our good relationship with local government officials facilitates construction permits and opens doors to future community center and church planting opportunities.
I would be amiss to leave out many people on both sides of the border who were encouraged in their Christian walk by their experience in Ixtapaluca this summer, both visitors as well as members of the local church here. As a family, we have been blessed beyond measure by the love and commitment we’ve seen in the body of Christ this summer.
If there is a moral to this story, perhaps it is this. Reaching one family, or even one person, often requires a lot of time and energy. It is a messy thing, too, involving human need mixed with pride, desperation mixed with spiritual sensitivity. It is God’s work, a work that we are privileged to partner with Him in, to be a part of the wonder that is salvation, the supernatural work of God extending His love to sinful mankind through the message of Jesus on the cross. It is finished. All things will be made new.
Below: Another blessing from this summer…generous donations facilitated progress on the church auditorium in JM.