Friday, December 28, 2012

Valley Bible Journal Part 1

We still have a couple of wheelchairs from the last batch of 25 that we received.  This one went to a Christian family in our former church plant in Iztapalapa, a chair that Patricio had requested.  Here, Patricio's wife Fidelia, with David.

I remember a dynamic team from Valley Bible Church of Hercules, CA, doing ministry out of this house, way back in...sometime around 2000.  Among friends made during that trip, Ted Montoya, second generation Mexican who now pastors a young church plant called Boundless Grace, in Vallejo, CA, Salvador Flores who has roots in El Salvador, Joel Chan who is second generation Chinese, Jon Galescu with Hungarian roots and a whole lot of other great young people.  We touched base with several of these friends when we visited Valley Bible several years ago.  We are very grateful to be supported by this church!

Here's a part of a brief journal entry from that trip: 

I picked up the team of 13 on Sunday morning, April 13th, after they flew all night with a layover in Guadalajara.  Apparently price was an issue.  Of course, the other price they paid was that they were zombies pretty much their first day in Mexico.  After arriving at 8:30 that morning, they did two dramas for the church service at 11 a.m., then ate an awesome potluck dinner.  I figured if they could eat a church carry-in dinner and not get sick that would pretty much cure them for the duration of their time here.  Sunday evening they did dramas at a youth meeting.  To their credit and to God’s glory, I never heard one of them complain.  We sang songs in Spanish and songs in English and songs in Spanglish, and played crazy games and began to see the imprint of our Father on us all.

The team’s composition was remarkable.  Among them, Salvador and Adrian from El Salvador, fluent Spanish speakers.  Joel Chan (nicknamed Chad by me) was second generation Chinese.  Noel was part Cuban and part Irish.  Leah boasted to having every possible major ethnic group in her background.  Bernie and Ted were second generation Mexican.  Jonathan had Hungarian roots, and could have easily appeared in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Mike had a Mexican father and an American mother.  I never got around to talking to Tim or Cristina much about their backgrounds.  Kirby Hughes was the token white boy in the group, who I am told is headed to the armed forces, and who looks like he’s already there, with a buzz job an a wild look.  I remember this last name because it is colorfully tattooed across the top of his back.  Jared looked like an average American kid on the outside, but on the inside was a bi- or tri-lingual/cultural missionary kid from Senegal whose parents were with New Tribes Missions.

With a group resembling the 13 disciples I knew that God was going to do something.  It was a joy to see how the Lord has carefully chosen each team member, and how each own contributed wonderfully to the good and effectiveness of the whole.

My sermon that first Sunday was on Acts 8:5-25.  Philip was being used of God to extend the church both geographically and racially.  Peter cruised up from Jerusalem to use one of his keys of the kingdom and let the despised Samaritans in.  No room for prejudice in the church of Jesus Christ.  Galatians 3:28 is a reality, or should be.  I looked out at our swelled congregation and thought…this is just a little piece of heaven here.  Due to the Iraq war, anti-American sentiment in Mexico is at an all-time high.  Nevertheless, here we were brothers and sisters, worshiping the same Father.

In their seven days in Mexico City they presented their evangelistic dramas 8 times, in the context of the church service, in open-air settings, a “Jesus” film presentation and at an orphanage.  Around 12 people made professions of faith.  During one of these times, Ted was able to share his personal testimony with Israel, one of the young adults at a housing project very much involved with drugs.  Ted shared with me his evangelistic approach…combining God’s story with your story as you listen to the person you’re sharing with tell his story.  Got it off the web somewhere.  Sounds good to me!

More from Valley Bible's time in Mexico City tomorrow.

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