Monday, January 28, 2019

Discipling and Raising Up... One Stitch at a Time!

Jan 2019

¡Hola, amigos!

One of the main-stay ministries in San Vicente is the 'Cottage-Industry Star Seamstresses', guided by Lori since 2008 (11 years now!).

Needless to say, the main-stay of the ministry is mostly Discipleship, learning solid work-habits and business 'behaviors'. Most of these women have only attended SOME schooling (usually up to the 6thor 8th grade), and ran only their houses and families.

Besides the countless days of 'sewing workshop' and 'product-making', there is much teaching that goes on, both individually and in a group.

Not only is it 'technical skills' related to sewing and the machines needed to do that, but personal disciple and responsible-work behaviors.

Each woman has a posted 'accomplishment board', with recognition for when they exhibit positive self-business behaviors... coming prepared to work, being on time with their water bottle [they get one when they join the ministry], calling ahead of time when they cannot keep an appointment ['just not showing up' is a bad-habit problem with the culture of the village here]

When the women achieve a certain level of points, they get free stuff... all very desirable...

PLUS, Lori gives 'workshops' on things like keeping your sewing-machine in good, working order...

Discipleship... day in, day out, slow-grow... the beauty of coming into Good things that God has for them!

¡Dios es Bueno!
your bro, Chris

Hat Outreach + Invite-to-Church = 10% bump

Jan 2019


We love hat outreaches here in San Vicente! The winter months can blast winds and low-30 temps. For our neighbors who live in shaky housing, with little kids... it can be serious health concern. We've given away around 1000 hats every for the last 16 years, and they are always well-received and appreciated, especially by las madres con hijos (mums con kiddos).

                    [Lori getting the hats sorted for the outreach]
                          [Gracias! Little heads covered up for the cold nights!]
One thing we've joined together is Hat Distribution outreaches with churches going into the community and inviting people to their church. So it was this past Saturday with a church co-pastored by one of the Star Seamstresses in the Ministry. We met up in the morning at the house-church (in this case, a house that gets used AS a church), divided up our 'areas', and off we went!

                        [Team plan, hit the road... good walking shoes a must!]
Our teams went to over 15 blocks in SW San Vicente, gave out over 170 hats, invited a slew of people to church, and prayed for those who would let us... that's alot of little heads!

                            [Check out the cool striped hat for the mom of the house!]
We attended church there on Sunday. Usual attendance is about 48 people (adults+kids). Six people came to church who had never been before, invited by the Hat outreach... yes!
One woman received prayer for a leg injury on Saturday, and told us her leg was significantly better that Sunday morning... yes, Jesus!

THANK YOU to the dozens of people who send us the Hats for Outreach each year.
Stay tuned for more Hat OUtreach news!

¡Gracias nuestro Dios!
Bro Chris


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Incredible! A Cafe in San Vicente!

Pray for me.

Here in the small farming village of San Vicente (around 4000 people), with only one major paved road (the Trans-Peninsular highway, right down the middle of the road), filled with ply-wood houses and cow-path roads... right here, we now have...

A cute little, coffee-tea-serving, free wi-fi CAFE!!

It's a bit off the beaten path, but it seems to be getting regular customers (like me).
It's got jazz music playing, serves hot and cold coffee-tea beverages, and some hand-made Mexican pastries (yummm).

A Christian sister, who used to run a Cafe in the US, moved here and opened the Cafe.

Yes, my friends, this very POST is being written from the 'Cafe Ronn' de San Vicente.

Pray for me, to stay focused and keep my Cafe visits in balance.

 Hermano Crisbaj

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Modern Missionary Struggles... Part 1: Far From Family

Modern Missionary Struggles... Part 1: Far From Family

¡ Hola, amigos !

On a recent trip to the Midwest, we participated in a special day-long 'Intercession for 2019' event (glorious!), and this bro came up to me, "the Lord wants me to pray for you this year... what can I be praying about on your behalf?"

Immediate answer: "... our being far from family, and having to deal with complex family issues long-distance... or getting a last-minute flight and red-eye-ing to where family are located"

Life in 2019 means that family are living all over the country... or all over the world... for everyone! This is true for so, SO many people we know. The days of the entire family living and working within a 50-mile circle have gone the way of the party-line telephone. We could unpack the WHY this reality... but it's true.

For missionaries who are serving the Lord OUTSIDE the 50-states-USA, this is especially true. Those of us who have responded to Jesus' call to GO (Isaiah 6, Matt 28) means that we... um, actually GO.

The last quarter-century of being 'missionaries serving abroad/foreign' has meant that we have family in every corner of the US map. Our daughters are in the Calif 'Bay area' and in central Texas, with our 4 grand-kids. Our remaining parents are in the 'Mid-west'. We have close family peppered all over the US.

This makes it tough to 'stay in touch', talk a few times a year, exchange greetings at holidays and birthdays, and even know what is going on in their lives. Then, BOOM! something BIG happens, like illness or tragedy, and WHOA, does life become really INTENSE.

Imagine standing in Mexico, on the phone (thank the LORD for cell phones and International calling plans!), finding out a loved one is seriously ill, just admitted to the hospital, in ICU, OR even 'nigh unto death'. Know that it's a 6-8 hr trip away from the US border, and you are wiped out from a hard week of mission-ministry. Consider how hard it is to quick-close-down living quarters and ministry center, get across the border (remember the 8 hr trip, thru 3 mountain ranges and 2 major Mexican cities?), and then you have to begin to work out finding a 5-hr flight that doesn't cost thousands of dollars, and get across the country in 48 hrs.

It is hard, hard, HARD serving the LORD and being far from family... and not seem that we've abandoned our family responsibilities, especially when the inevitable crisis comes up.

I would be amiss to not mention that over the last quarter century, the LORD has graciously guided and provided for us to get to 'where we need to be' in these family crisis. We have experienced a massive out-pouring of the generosity of God's people in providing flights, ground-transpo (airport pick-ups at 0-dark-30 are the worst), housing, and loving-kindness (God bless each and every one of you, and thank you JESUS!).

We also know that 'God did it then, and HE will do it again'.

However, it is hard, hard, HARD to serve as a 'cross-cultural missionaries abroad' AND be a responsible member of your family.

By the way, we have had this conversation with SO many who serve around the world. It is NO different for these wonderful servants of the Lord... sometimes with greater difficulty, as with our friends serving in the central African continent, where getting back to the USA can take days and thousands of dollars...

Lori and I would ask for a special 'reach up and pray for us' here in early 2019, as we are experiencing major 'family issues'... definitely, Lori needs a major amount of 'covering prayer'... and for us to be able and discern how to be family-connected, especially in crisis, while responsibly maintaining our mission-ministry commitments with our Mexican brothers and sisters.

¡ Hasta maƱana, amigos !

Jan 2019