Thursday, August 25, 2011

Angelica's update

Antes que todo damos gracias a Dios por sus misericordias y grande amor con que nos ha amado. Gracias tambien a cada uno de ustedes que con sus donativos y especialmente sus oraciones hacen posible que podamos servir a nuestro Padre Celestial en este bello lugar de San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

En nuestra reciente visita a San Mateo en Puebla, al Centro Cultural, pudimos gozarnos de ver que hay constante actividad con los cursos de Reposteria, Bordado, Bisuteria, etc. Gracias a quienes dieron de sus recursos para poner el techo que ha dado un toque de acabado de construccion muy bueno.

Hace algun tiempo intente abrir un dispensario medico en la Iglesia y comenzaron a llegar unos pocos pero en mi corazon ha estado el dar servicio medico no solo a los cristianos, sino a todo aquel que lo necesite y esa oportunidad se presento cuando una tarde, pasando por una farmacia de Similares (donde se vende medicamentos genericos a bajo costo) vi un anuncio solicitando medico. Pense en la posibilidad de trabajar ahi y lo comente con mi esposo, quien me apoyo mucho al punto de aceptar que yo trabajase aqui de lunes a viernes de 9 a 2p.m. Asi que desde inicios de agosto estoy trabajando aqui. El costo de la consulta es de 20 pesos, por lo que la gente recibe beneficio a bajo costo y aunque no es mucho lo que yo gano, me he sentido bendecida porque Dios me ha dado la oportunidad de orar por gente con mucha necesidad.

Este horario me permite seguir participando en las actividades de la iglesia: la radio con mi program Hojas de Sanidad (donde doy temas medicas) y el de matrimonios con mi esposo los dias sabados de -7p.m. "Un Pacto con Dios." Agosto ha sido declarado El Mes de la Biblia y el 28 de agosto, el dia de la Biblia. Dios en su favor me ha concedido estar como maestra de Escuela Dominical para los adultos y en este mes hablar sobre la Biblia (el libro de Libros) lo cual es un gran privilegio.

Nuestro hijo pasa a segundo ano de kinder y en este mes, del 30, cumple 4 anos. Este domingo pasado fuimos a la comunidad de Esperanza para participar en la dedicacion de un templo para los hermanos de ese lugar, principamente familiares de los presos del caso Acteal, quienes por varias razones no tenian un lugar donde congregarse.

Bueno, que Dios les bendiga muchisimo y espero estar en contacto con uds. por email o en Facebook para poder chatear mas.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

July update

Dear Friends,

This month we celebrate our first year in Chiapas and what a year it's been! First, going back to the Spring of 2010 when we made the decision to affiliate with Palm Missionary Ministries, Inc. This mission agency came to our attention at just the right time and their vision of supporting national missionaries/ministries has helped us to focus our ministry goals. It was after joining Palm that we made the decision to leave the Center in Angelica's hometown to others in her family and move to Chiapas to help a Mexican pastor with his vision of an itinerant Bible school.

As we highlight some of our ministry in Chiapas over the past year we also want to give thanks to God for Jubilee Economics Ministries (JEM) with whom we had visited Chiapas many times over the past decade including the church we currently attend and the Bible school where we have rented a house. God has opened doors here for us to work in medical outreaches to indigenous villages, a ministry of reconciliation among groups in conflict, evangelism and discipleship through radio programs and teaching in our local church and finally theological education.

Medical Outreaches

It was 13 years ago when Angelica and I first came to Chiapas together, before we were married, to work with a young pastor from Oaxaca who was planting a church and working especially with persecuted indigenous Christians. This month we will be celebrating their 15th anniversary of the church where we are involved. Angelica has organized two medical outreaches to an indigenous village where the church has started a mission outpost and another outreach to a region where JEM has been involved. Our church has also made available a small room for Angelica to receive patients and provide medicine at low cost.

Ministry of Reconciliation

From our first visits to Chiapas during the 90's we have been struck by the complexity of the conflict with political, economic and religious ties all combining to make a solution very difficult to find. But because of our decade long experience here we have been able to gain the confidence of groups from many sides of the conflict. We have begun the process of inviting people from different sides to share a common experience with us as a way to see each other in a different light in the hopes of breaking down the walls that divide.

Evangelism and Discipleship

Our local church organizes evangelistic campaigns throughout the year and we participated in one in an indigenous village though we concentrate our efforts on our radio programs reaching out through medical themes and marriage counseling. We also have helped to solidify some cell groups from our church through a balance of prayer, praise and Bible teaching. Dan especially enjoys meeting young people who come to Chiapas interested in the revolutionary atmosphere as he did 30 years ago in Nicaragua trying to convey the idea of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the most revolutionary idea in the history of humanity.

Theological Education

This was the main ministry that initially brought us to Chiapas last year and Pedro's vision for the itinerant Bible school has expanded with groups in three cities, intensive courses with visiting profs., theological forums and book presentations as well as collaborating with our church's newly formed residential seminary. The Bible school where we are now living also has 15 years of experience with popular theological education among indigenous villages and we hope to have a closer relationship with them this coming year.

With gratitude in our hearts

When we look back on this first year in Chiapas gratitude is what fills our hearts as we have seen so many doors opened to us to use our callings and gifts in the service of national ministries. Please continue to scroll down this blog to see more of what God has provided for us with pictures as well. We thank all of you who have entrusted to us from your finances allowing us to experience God working through us in so many ways. We also continue to seek your prayers especially for: 1.) Pedro's precarious financial situation supporting his family as he launches the Bible school. 2.) The increased incidence of violence in indigenous communities due to the complex mixture of political, economic and religious affliliations. 3.) The fledgling theological groups that have been started that they might solidify with consistent students and more educators to teach classes.

As always, we love to have visitors and in true Latino fashion we say with an open heart that "Nuestra Casa es tu Casa" (Our home is your home).

Muchas gracias,

Dan, Angelica & Jacob

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

May/June update

First, we are very excited that due to a generous gift from La Villita friends we were able to put a roof over our Centro in Angelica's hometown in Puebla. This will allow us to open the Cafe which can host concerts, seminars and workshops for the benefit of the community. Gracias!

This month we moved into this brand new construction on the grounds of a Bible school that we are helping with our rent. It is beautifully done inside with three bedrooms 1 1/2 baths and large living/dining area downstairs with a good sized kitchen. It should also be warmer during the winter months. This is the view from our front door with the large yard and a vegetable garden. Volunteers are scheduled to come this summer to clean it up and make it more fruitful. The Bible school is just below us thru the open door. The mountains are so beautiful!

So we also obtained a puppy since we have the large yard and as a friend for Jacob. Since he is the color of smoke I suggested calling him "humo" but Angelica thought the English translation sounded better..."smokey."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April update

Aside from our regular daily activities like: leaving and picking up Jacob at his pre-school, shopping and other necessary errands here is a rundown of our activities:
Monday: Angelica's craft class with displaced Christian women from indigenous communities. Dan is an invited guest on the pastor's early morning radio program.
Tuesday: Dan attends class at the church's seminary taught by the pastor and checks on remodeling progress for their dormitory.
Wednesday: Visit to indigenous communities in the Acteal region where tension is still high 13 years after a massacre of 45 people. Bible study/prayer meeting with displaced indigenous Christians living in San Cristobal.
Thursday: Angelica's radio program on medical issues. Teachers from our Jovel Biblical Institute teach courses at our church's seminary.
Friday: Angelica is invited guest on another Christian radio program. Prayer meeting at the church.
Saturday: When not traveling to another village we use this day to clean the house, rest and our family day until our 6-8p.m. radio program on marriage.
Sunday: Services at 10am and 6pm with a meal out in between usually with another family from the church.
No time for: Angelica's growing consultation practice as more people are calling for appts. Dan and Pedro are in desperate need to find more time to study and prepare course material for more opportunities to teach in various locations. We so appreciate your continued involvement with us through finances and prayer in our ministry here in Chiapas and ask that you specifically pray that correct priorities are maintained: God, family, ministry.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March update

We will call this update "Spiritual feeding" beginning with Jacob's unquenchable hunger for his "leche" (milk).
Our family recently visited these awesome waterfalls known as "El Chiflon" which reminds us of God's unquenchable desire to continually feed us through his Word.

Our church sponsored an evangelistic campaign for three nights in the bull ring of San Cristobal which was well attended mainly by indigenous people from the periphery of the city whose hunger for God's Word is bringing revival to the whole city.

This is a local church in a small town about an hour from San Cristobal where our church has opened a residential seminary where Dan and Pedro are teaching two days a week.
We pray that you also continue to hunger and thirst after knowledge of God's Word especially in these difficult days of economic recession, earthquakes and wars. Peace be with you all!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Life of Justice

Psalm 112 provides us with a glimpse of what a life devoted to God's Reign yields. Someone who fears the Lord and delights in his commandments will see his children's children become mighty in the land, wealth and riches will be his, he will be light in the midst of darkness and his righteousness will endure forever. He will be generous, lending freely to any who ask and run his business with integrity. He will be steadfast, his mind and heart unshakable even when bad news comes and will live to see his enemies defeated. As his righteousness endures forever, he will give freely to the poor and be able to walk with dignity among all.

I recently preached from this text in a small church in southern Mexico and when we finished going through the chapter I asked what do you think is the main point. What seems to be a common concept? A 10 year old girl spoke up from the front row and said, " la justicia." You see in Spanish the word "justicia" appears three times and the noun "justo" another three times. That word has become notorious for keeping us from understanding biblical texts or at least providing us with an excuse for not practicing its demands. In the English text vss. 3, 5 & 9 use terms such as righteousness, honesty and integrity where the Spanish always uses "justicia."

In the Hebrew language the idea of justice has the meaning of rightness, integrity, and without obstruction on a variety of levels. In vs. 3 it is referring to an individual's relation to God. In vs. 5 it refers to a person's dealings with his neighbors, clients, customers and all those with whom he is in daily contact. Finally, in vs. 9 we see a much broader context where justice is being done on a societal level. This verse carries echoes of the "Year of the Lord's favor" that we hear about in the Jubilee, Is. 61 and Lk. 4 when the poor will have the good news preached to them, debts will be cancelled, land re-distributed with equality. The word translated power or dignity which will be gloriously exalted (v.9) is literally in the Hebrew "ram's horn," or the instrument used to announce the year of Jubilee.

The concluding verse of this psalm departs drastically from all these wonderful fruits of a life of justice when it says that this kind of life will provoke anger, resentment and violence from those who profit from the politics of hate, division and war. While the fruit of justice will be peace (Is. 32:17) we often are reminded of the violence that inevitably comes before such peace is obtained. News just came today that a Pentecostal pastor from Honduras who was also the founder of the Latin American network of Christian lawyers was assassinated in what has become an all too common event in that small country. Let us pray, struggle and be in solidarity with those around the world who attempt to live a Psalm 112 life only to fall victim to the reality of its final verse.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Feb. update

Our six month time of introduction and preparation officially came to an end with 2010. After a week with the family in Puebla celebrating Christmas and a wonderful time with friends at the Rocablanca mission base helping with their Festival providing medical consultations to any of the more than 2000 attendees, it was back to Chiapas where we have been blessed since July of 2010 to have found numerous opportunities to serve. First, with our local church with medical consultations both locally and in indigenous communities. Second, sharing via their local radio station programs related to medicine and marriage. Third, preaching and teaching in their Christian Ed. program and fledgling seminary.

Dan continues to collaborate with the Yobel Center for Biblical Studies which this year adds two new professors and an additional location for courses. We have numerous visits planned by distinguished Biblical scholars from around Latin America offering intensive courses. A small book store has been launched in the capital city of Chiapas and we continue to request support to help pay some of our debts with Christian publishers in order to be able to expand our selection.

We also continue to visit the indigenous communities in and around Acteal where a horrible massacre occurred some 13 years ago. As most of those implicated in the massacre (justly or unjustly) now have been released from prison our call is to work with all parties involved toward reconciliation and forgiveness. It is not an easy task but we take heart from the story of the prophet Hosea who reminds us that despite the continuing unfaithfulness of God's people His love and mercy never fails.

As always, we invite anyone with the heart (as the indigenous here say) to come to a place like Chiapas where lessons are able to be learned in abundance precisely because it is a place of such destruction, despair, resistance, love and hope. Please pray if you feel God calling you to visit this "Holy Land" because it is only through seeking that we will find. "The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them" (Hosea 14:9).