We have had a wonderful month to the glory of God. How can I possibly begin to describe the things the Lord has done? My words fail to adequately detail His mercy and grace toward us and toward the people we have been given the privilege to minister to in the name of Jesus.
VISITORS FROM THE USA
This month, we have had three different brothers from the United States come down and visit us. We have also had a few different brethren who are in Guadalajara meet up with us for fellowship and street ministry. They were all a blessing in helping us and in sharing the Word of God faithfully.
The first team that came down was Warren and Saul from California. Here is a picture:
These brothers were such a blessing to have around. Saul is originally from Guadalajara here, and so we were able to visit some of his family and share the Word of God with them. His Dad has recently become a believer, and we were able to spend a night with him and share some teachings with him from the Bible (the picture above is from his Dad's property). This was Warren's first time being outside the USA, and he was a tremendous encouragement to us to have his fellowship. Both of these brothers joined us in preaching and evangelizing.
The other brother, Judah, arrived the day after they left and stayed for 10 days. Here is a picture of him playing Amazing Grace on his saxaphone on the street:
OPEN AIR PREACHING IN THE PLAZAS
We have had a blessed time open air preaching several days per week in the busy city center. This month we've been able to preach to hundreds of people and proclaim Christ and Him crucified openly as a testimony to His grace. We have seen some good fruit come out of this, and a number of people whose hearts were pricked and came forward asking us for prayer and help.
We currently have a permit to preach over our speakers on Fridays and Saturdays, from 4pm-9pm. We have been encouraged to see people respond to the preaching of the Word with a desire to know more about the ways of Christ.
Brother Saul who was visiting has a great burden for the city of Guadalajara here. As you probably know, Guadalajara is over 90%+ Roman Catholic. Saul grew up in this area as a professing Catholic, and no one had ever shared the Gospel with him. He had no idea what the Gospel was. It wasn't until a brother shared the truth with him later that he ended up believing and being converted. So even though he was fearful of open air preaching (as we all are when just starting!), he stepped out in boldness and PREACHED the GOSPEL in the OPEN AIR for the very FIRST TIME!!! The Lord really blessed him with joy in the Holy Spirit and he had a burning passion to share the Gospel from then on out, both open air and one-to-one. He would also translate for me when I preached since he knows fluent Spanish.
We also had another missionary brother from the US come on the outreach with us, and he also open air preached for the first time, sharing his testimony.
I remember Warren saying how he would read our updates about people breaking down and weeping under conviction when the Word is preached. He thought, "oh that's great" to himself, yet had never seen that happen in the USA even though he goes out preaching every week. Yet when he was here, the Lord allowed him to see more than one person respond to the Gospel in such a way. So many people in this city have never heard the true Gospel and are hungry for real truth that can deliver them from their bondages, burdens and sins. Their hearts are ripe to receive the truth.
PERSONAL EVANGELISM AND SHARING TRUTH
When the Word of God is being proclaimed abroad in the open air, the Lord always has just a few souls that He's drawing and really working on. Without personal work in dealing with them where they are spiritually, there will be little lasting fruit as a result. We have been so blessed to have brethren come out with us and help us to do the most important part of evangelism -dealing with people as individuals and showing them our care for their souls and love of Christ through personal sharing and relationship building.
In answer to our prayers, the Lord has sent us a brother named Tonyo to do this very thing. Every time we preach, he is busy handing out tracts and ministering to people one-on-one. He invites them to our Bible studies. He takes the heat with the difficult people and hecklers. And the receptive souls he brings to us so we can talk to them. When we first met Tonyo, he had a lot of struggles with much of the Charismatic goofiness going on in so many churches. He had been taken advantage of by false apostles and been manipulated for a long time. We gave him my book on Prosperity Preachers and when he read it, his eyes were opened mightily. We have continued to teach and admonish him, and he has come to have his eyes opened to many things, including the "sinner's prayer" practice in evangelism and the necessity of preaching the whole counsel of God and not just the "bless-me" parts that people like to hear. We have been giving him books and sermons in Spanish from Paul Washer and David Wilkerson and he's devouring them in a hunger for truth and is experiencing a revival in his own walk with the Lord. So this brother is faithful to be there on every outreach we have to help in any way he can, even though he works a full-time job as a garbage man and is extremely busy. May the Lord send more laborers into His harvest!!! Here's a picture of us with Tonyo and another brother, Chris, that came out with us:
We have all had countless discussions with individuals about the state of their souls before God. It was a blessing to have Chris (on the right above) come out with us and share the Gospel with people, especially since Chris is nearly fluent in Spanish. We also had another missionary, Brian, from the same missions ministry as Chris, come out and preach with us.
A HOMELESS MAN GETS OFF THE STREETS
There was a man in the city of Guadalajara that was in a real bad situation. His name is Javier. He was homeless because he was a chronic alcoholic. He had been drinking wine every day (or almost every day) for the last 20 years. He was in slavery to the bottle. He couldn't even eat solid food without washing it down with wine or liquer or else he would throw in back up. He was filled with hopelessness, depression and despair. He would throw himself in front of cars hoping to get run over. He would get into fights with people on the streets. His parents had kicked him out of their house, telling him not to come back unless he's sober. He was without hope in the world.
When we were preaching one night, we noticed that this man was standing off to the side with tears streaming down his cheeks. We pleaded with him and prayed with him and he was humbled under the Word. Recently, he ended up running across us again. When we were preaching one night, he came back and wept and wept for a long time as we preached. He came back several times on different nights, and the conviction seemed to grow heavier and heavier upon him. Until one night, as I preached, he dropped his box from which he would sell candy right on the ground, and fell on his face crying out to God to forgive his sin. "My sin is so great!" he would keep saying. He stayed on his face for almost an hour crying. We stopped preaching and prayed with him. He said he wanted to stop drinking and change. So long story short, we ended up taking him into our house. On the way there, he threw his last bottle of wine into the trash, and then stayed with us a few days. He battled with the temptation to drink, but every time he would get really bad we would pray for him and he would feel better. He would sweat and shake and appear to be zoning out, but when we'd pray he would feel peace. We would read the Scriptures to him and showed him a couple of Films about Jesus since he's unable to read. After those days he was here, he ended up wanting to go back to his parent's house, confident now that they would receive him since he was sober. The day he left, he was looking really good. Please keep him in prayer. Here's a few pictures of him:
BIBLE STUDY MEETINGS
We have been teaching Bible studies in a central location in the city where we invite the people we preach to during the week. This gives us a chance to get into the Word with them more in depth and to teach them the commands of Jesus. This is a picture from a few weeks ago when brother Saul shared the Word:
Carolina, the young lady who is pregnant whose boyfriend used to beat her (who has since left) has been coming to our meetings. She is ready to give birth any time now to the baby that was going to initially be aborted. She has been coming under conviction and alarm to see that her soul isn't right with God. Please pray both for her conversion and for the safe delivery of the little girl.
Last Sunday, in addition to myself, Lina, and Judah, we had six other people show up to the meeting. I began a series on the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5, 6, 7), teaching verse by verse through this glorious sermon of our Lord. A man in attendance had never heard the Gospel. He was blown away at the things we would say. Literally, his eyes would open wide and his mouth would drop open and he would jump in his seat when he heard certain things, such as that Jesus is the only way to God and that praying to saints is idolatry.
We are praying that the Lord will bring more people to these meetings to hear the commands of Jesus taught straight from the Bible. It's amazing to see how utterly revolutionary the Lord's Word is. May the Lord raise up disciples who love Him and obey His precious commands.
OPEN DOORS IN DRUG REHAB CENTER
The Catholic drug rehabilitation center that I mentioned in the last update has now opened its doors to us to preach for an hour every week. But there's only one exception: we are not allowed to expressly and clearly preach against Catholicism. But they told us that whatever is in the Bible, we can preach. So we have gone in on a weekly basis to share the Word with these men, emphasizing the truths that they'll never hear in the Catholic Church. We preach Christ and Him crucified and His perfect, finished work, and His ability to justify completely and forever all who believe in Him. We explain true repentance and the glorious power of God in the New Birth. I know that as the true Gospel is preached, the strongholds of Satan will be torn down, and those who the Lord is drawing and saving will have their eyes opened to the apostate religion around them as the Holy Spirit gives them new spiritual life and light.
DISCIPLING A COUPLE OF BELIEVERS
There are a couple of young ladies that came to us, hungry for the Word, requesting discipleship and teaching. They wanted to join a Bible college or institute, but have no money. So we told them that we would be willing to disciple them and give them the same type of teaching you can get in the institutes here (and even better). They were excited at the opportunity and have been coming to our house every week to receive teaching. We generally have a 4-6 hour day each week in which we teach them and show them videos by Paul Washer and others. I gave them a homework assignment to do a book report on a book by a friend of ours, and also to read and write an overview of each chapter of the New Testament every day with key verses written out and questions to discuss. One of these girls is Tonyo's daughter. We are praying that the Lord does a genuine work of grace in their hearts and sets them ablaze to burn with zeal for His glory.
2,000 SALVATION BOOKS PRINTED
Thanks to the provision of God, we have been able to print 2,000 copies of "The Great Plan of Salvation" with a nice glossy, colorful cover this month. We were able to print them at a local shop for about 50 cents a piece. So we have been giving them out to those who are receptive to the Word, and have even already heard a couple of good testimonies come from reading them. It has been a blessing to give them out for free to all who show eagerness to hear the Gospel. We are so grateful for our brethren in the States who have been so generous in supporting this mission of the Lord's work, and trust that your prayers and generosity will certainly continue to bear fruit.
Though we originally arrived in Guadalajara with the intentions of just staying a couple of months, the Lord has had plans otherwise. Our hearts have grown to have a burden for this sin-sick city. It sits under such religious bondage and demonic strongholds of all kinds, and yet has so many precious souls who are hurting and in desperate need of the mercies of the Savior. The Lord's hand is in this work every step of the way. We intend to stay longer, as long as the Lord leads, and hope to establish a work and disciple believers who will continue to bear fruit even after we move on.
There is so much more that I could share in this newsletter, so many wonderful things the Lord is doing even in our own lives, but must cut it short. Please pray for us that the Lord will keep us from temptation and sin, that He would give us grace in the Holy Spirit, that He would use us as vessels of honor for His glory, that He would pluck souls from the fire, and that He would continue to edify and strengthen His church here in this final hour, and prepare His Bride to face the great shaking ahead.