Mexico along with much of the southern hemisphere it would seem has been spared from the worst of the virus, but nevertheless social distancing has been put into effect here in Mexico City, with stricter guidelines (site in Spanish) just issued yesterday (Sunday, March 22), calling for the closure of movie theaters, sporting events, churches, museums and more (although malls and restaurants remain open). Those restrictions begin today. We live outside the border of Mexico City, in the State of Mexico. So far the restriction placed on social gatherings in the municipality of Ixtapaluca calls for limiting an assembly to 20 people or less. Because of this, the three churches this past Sunday took different measures to limit numbers. We went to an online YouTube live service at the Palmas church. The Santa Barbara church had three different services with people designated to attend each service, to reduce numbers. The Jesus Maria church canceled their service. Interestingly enough, the Catholic church had services like always. We’ll see if this changes going forward.
Some of you may be receiving an email via Mailchimp for the first time in perhaps a long time. So…let’s take a break from corona-news, and give a short summary of what’s going on in the ministry here. You can click on the links in the text if you’d like more information.
1. We are currently involved in the third Bible church here in Ixtapaluca. Sunday services for this third church began in Novemeber, 2016, so the church is three years old. Current attendance hovers between 50-65.
2. Recently the women had an evangelistic breakfast. 30 women showed up, and several made decisions for Christ.
3. All three Bible churches in the area, as well as a church we ministered with in Iztapalapa, are involved in an ongoing theological class called Bible Training Centre for Pastors and Leaders. Around 50 people took the first 40-hour hermeneutics course, and 42 are involved in the second 60-hour OT Survey course, including 10 people from the Palmas church.
4. On Sunday, March 15 (before social distancing!), 25 young people from the Palmas church went to a district youth activity. Over 100 youth attended the event (picture below). Lots of young people in our young church, nearly half the total attendance.
5. Although classes have been suspended for now, the Tiempo de Vivir community center has been offering tutoring and testing prep for those wanting to go to high school, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Approximately 20 students, the vast majority non-church kids, are attending these classes. I teach an English class from 1-2 p.m., and other sports activities are being offered in the afternoon.
6. The Jesus Maria church celebrated their 10th anniversary in March. Hard to believe that it has been 10 years already! Here is Fabian helping to prepare the facility for the festivities. We thank God for His faithfulness in raising up a local church in this very needy neighborhood.
7. The kitchen in Jesus Maria is coming along very nicely! A big thanks to Samuel and others for their work on this important part of church life and ministry outreach…preparing good food!
8. We’ve been involved in the recognition process of Josue and his wife Patty, from the Iztapalapa church. Both Josue and his wife attended the Puebla Bible Seminary for the last several years, and have also participated in our theological classes in Ixtapaluca. Lord willing, Josue will be formally recognized as pastor of the Pena de Horeb Bible Church in Iztapalapa in June. This church is where we were involved in church planting ministry from 1997-2003. I remember when Josue’s family responded to an ELA World Cup tract, way back in 1998! Great to see how the Lord has worked in this young couple.
9. We are tentatively planning to receive a group from Word of Life Chapel this June, and also looking forward to the teaching and relational ministry of Kirk and Valerie Belmont, from Hope Community, but with all the travel restrictions, I guess we’ll see if that happens.
10. A young lady from our church, Frida Corona, is finishing her first year at Word of Life Bible Institute, Mexico. It is a joy to see her participating in all sorts of ministry activities with WOL.
Finally, a prayer request. Hansel, the young man on the right hand side of the header picture, will have surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) to remove a tumor from his abdomen. He is already in treatments for testicular cancer, and his family has a history of battling with cancer. Please pray for him, especially during these days. Hansel trusted Christ last year at a Word of Life Bible Institute Mexico youth camp.