So it has been a little while. Oops.
Some who have visited Ixtlan over the years will remember Roberto. Roberto had a hernia surgery a couple of weeks ago and during the surgery they discovered that he really had relatively advanced stomach cancer. The doctors said there was nothing they could do and have given him anywhere from a month to a year.
Roberto is an older brother in the church here with an incredible amount of love and passion for the church. He is always excited to see visitors in church and will always come up to greet them with his wife Sister Rosa following behind. It's always fun to watch him as he welcomes American visitors who often jsut look back smiling without understanding a word, but with complete recogntion of the love behind his words. Roberto can't read, but loves to be in church. Loves singing. Loves the word. Loves Christ. Roberto loves the hymns "Con que Pagaremos" and "Engrandecido Sea Dios", one of which he will call during each service. Roberto is passionate for God and one of the most, if not the most, grateful man I have ever known.
Roberto's response to hearing about the cancer was essentially "Whatever the Lord wants." (I don't know exactly what he said) He immediately placed himself in God's hands and gave God reign in his life. An incredible testimony of faith and confidence in God's goodness and mercy. We pray his faith can be a testimony to the church, his family, and his community in San Cristobal, a nearby town.
We are naturally sad with this information. It is always difficult to loose a loved one and someone so appreciated by the church, but behind the sadness is the joy of knowing that he is going home. Joy of knowing that he is finishing his race, he is finishing the fight in this life, and that he is going to his reward.
Pray for Roberto. Pray for God's hand to be present with him, comforting him and continuing to give him peace. Pray that his faith would continue to strengthen. Pray that his testimony would grow stronger. Pray for God's will to be fulfilled in his life.
Pray for Rosa, Roberto's wife. Pray that she has strength and courage to face the difficult times ahead. Pray that her faith too would grow strong. Pray that she would stand strong by her husband and take joy in knowing his future is in heaven. Pray that she would embrace God's will and be thankful knowing that it is being completed.
Pray for Ana Rosa (his daughter), Robertito (his 7 or 8 year-old grandson), and Eric (his recently born grandson). They need Christ badly and above all our prayer is that this can bring them to him. Pray that Roberto and Rosa's testimony will show the truth of God's love and the hope we have in Him clearly.
On a very different subject. We are pleased to have started a new outreach/church in Mexico. I don't know technically whether it is called a church yet or not, but it's on its way at the very least.
Lalo, he was a minister here in Ixltan for a time, moved to Queretaro with his wife (and now 3 children) about 4 years ago to help his family. Lalo has recently started up church services in his home there on Sundays. We are excited about this new opportunity and the potential outreach that we have. Lalo has many contacts and from all reports are good. There are a couple of families that have been coming as well as a nephew of Lalo's who has given his life to Christ and repented.
It is exciting to know that the ministry here is definitely expanding and that there is need all over Mexico for solid Christian churches. For those that are curious and don't know. Here are our outreach locations in Mexico at this point.
Ixtlan: There is the church, school opening to at least first grade next year and multiple other outreaches in the community.
Magdalena: There is the orphanage, church, and there community outreaches and much more for the future.
Morelia: This is about 2.5 hours from Ixltan and there are three members there and three converts. There are also many American visitors that go through when they study Spanish at the Baden-Powell Institue (a language school).
Queretaro: About 3 hours from Ixtlan. Newly formed. See above.
Barra Vieja: About 30 minutes from Acapulco, or 15 hours form Ixtlan by bus. There are four believers there that are expecting to be baptized in July, Lord willing.
Those are the Apostolic Christian Chruch's ministiries in Mexico. God is definitely working here and is going to do some mighty things in the coming years.
1. See above requests for Roberto
2. Pray for the new ministry in Queretaro and the other ministries here in Mexico.