Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ the risen Son of God. Grace and peace to the saints in His name.
March 16, 2008
PLANTING, WATERING, AND HOPING
We’ve been laboring for a month now in the slum village and are continuing to instruct and teach the souls to whom God first sent us. Namely, Lucy our friend, her family, and her friends and a few others in the vicinity. Though we have seen no harvest as of yet, we have been doing lots of sowing and watering and trusting in God to give the increase. Though I was getting somewhat discouraged because we have had no definite, radical conversions take place among them, the Lord gave me hope by quickening this Scripture to my remembrance:
Mar 4:26-29 - And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; (27). And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. (28). For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. (29). But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
We have sown, and are watering and watering, and rising up time and again to check the seed that has been planted, and it appears to be slowly growing. There is more understanding coming to their minds, and more fruit showing in their lives. They even sat down amongst themselves this last week and had a Bible study group by themselves, and have been slowly molding their lives to the message of Christ. However, the new birth needs to take place, and they need to renounce a life of sin and be baptized in the name of Jesus and cut off the world once for all. This is what we’re hoping for, yet at the same time, being extra careful not to pluck unripe fruit and force a false conversion. They know the cost of following Him, and need to be ready to forsake all to follow Him alone or else their spiritual tower will only get half built and fail (see Luke 14).
We have also been feeding the children hot meals and teaching them lessons from God’s Word, being attentive to present the Gospel to them in doing so, in a clear and simple way they can understand. And some of them are, praise God! We have a large full color picture chart that goes from Adam and Eve all the way to the Great Throne Judgment and Hell, and this has had a good effect on the kids. –Especially seeing them come to a realization of Judgment Day and of the wrath of God, what fear they get, that all adults should have who haven’t fled to Christ for refuge! We also have a large dry-erase board where we have drawn pictures and write scriptures to teach with. We have moved our feeding program from twice per week to once per week now, so as to free our time to do other things and preach more. And we teach the children when we gather to feed them in the name of Jesus. The good thing is that we hand many of them Gospels of John and tell them to take them home to their parents, and their parents are hearing about Jesus through it as well.
Sean, along with Lina and I, have also open air preached in another local market. It’s just a big street market with stands on both sides. While one of us would preach, the other would stand on the side with Gospels of John, and every now and then people would come up and ask for the booklet in our hands and we’d give it to them. While crowds don’t stop and gather to hear us, there are definitely a few attentive ears and hungry hearts that stop to hear the Word. We plan on continuing to go back to the markets more often, Lord willing.
OPEN DOORS TO PREACH TO RECOVERING ADDICTS
I was reflecting on our work the other day, and what we’ve been doing and preaching and the progress we’ve made thus far. My heart and burden and utmost desire is that the lost would hear about my precious Savior, especially those who need the Gospel the most. And God sent me here. I began to pray, and as I did, the Lord quickened the knowledge of this Scripture to my remembrance:
Col 4:3 - Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.
And with that, I began to pray that God would open a door of utterance to us, open more doors to preach the Gospel through and more opportunities, to present the message of Christ to the lost. The very next day a friend of ours in the slum village stumbled into a man on the streets that ran a local drug rehabilitation center. It is also in the slum village. She told him about us, and he was thrilled to hear that we would be willing to go in and preach to his men. We met him, and he offered us an opportunity to preach to his men.
This place houses about 40 men. We went on Wednesday evening, and preached the blessed Word of God. I preached about how their main problem is not drugs or addictions, but SIN, and how drug addiction and bondage is simply a manifestation of sin, and preached Christ and Him crucified, and His resurrection and power to deliver and set free from sin and bondage. I preached on simply the depravity of man, the issue of sin, eternal judgment, Christ, the virgin birth, His sinless life, vicarious death, liberating resurrection, ascension and sending of the Holy Ghost, with a call to repentance and faith in Him as Lord of all, and the new birth, as if they never heard the Gospel before. And, the fact is, some of them never have. They’ve never heard the Gospel clearly, they’ve never read the Bible. After about two hours of preaching, a number of the men came forward, saying they wanted to renounce their sin, give up their own lives, and believe in Jesus and serve Him. After praying with them and pointing out a few key scriptures, we sent them back exhorting them to seek God, confessing their sins, calling on the name of the Lord, until they are ASSURED that He has forgiven them, telling them that once they’re born again, they’ll know it, and God will grant them a new heart and peace in the Holy Ghost, and warned them against the wiles of the Devil to pull them away from God.
The good part is that the director of this rehab center, who originally invited us and calls most of the shots, is one of those men that came forward with tears of contrition. He also humbled himself by publicly coming forward at the invitation and is hungry to know more about God. And he has given us a weekly spot to preach every Wednesday at this drug rehab to all the men, and if we want (which we definitely will), to visit individual men and lead corporate Bible studies every Sunday. So glory be to God! A measly little feeble prayer for open doors to preach the Gospel lead to a mighty privilege to honor God by sharing His love and seeing men changed by His power! HALLELUJAH!!! WHAT A MIGHTY AWESOME SOVEREIGN GOD WE SERVE!!!
Please pray for these men. The director’s name is Marco. Pray that God would save him to the uttermost! We are hoping for a baptism soon.
THE OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE IN THIS VILLAGE
The slum village we are working in with the children, the Bible studies, and the rehabilitating men, are all in a section of Tijuana. There is a tremendous opportunity in this part of the far outskirts of the city. Most of the people are not from this area –they are from DEEP in Mexico. They are from Chiapas, and Oaxaca, and other states. Many of them have come from places where there is little to absolutely NO Christian influence. There are literally THOUSANDS of “squatters” who come up to this city from deep in Mexico looking for a better life, but failing to find it, end up “squatting” in the slums by propping up a house. One of the particular colonies we are preaching in is only about 13 years old, which means all the people have moved there in the last 13 years, most of which are from deep down in Mexico. So by preaching in this village, we are preaching throughout Mexico as a whole by reaching people from all parts. We are constantly running into people who have never heard the Gospel. I know this is hard to imagine for Americans, but it’s true. People who may have heard the name of Jesus, usually by the Catholic Church, but don’t know what He came to do and how it applies to their lives and have never heard the most basic truths of the Gospel presented.
A MEETING PLACE
We are currently praying about obtaining a place to hold meetings in, so we can bring in the surrounding community to sit down and hear about Jesus, and be taught the Word of God. If we actually had a facility or storefront or building, we could point everybody we share the Gospel with on the streets to a definite place at a definite time where they can go to hear more or receive counsel and help. It would also give us a place to bring in converts and instruct them in the things of God and teach systematically through the Bible. Please pray that God would provide for us an adequate place to hold meetings.
There is much more I could say, but let me summarize by asking all our friends and supporters to pray for us! May Jesus Christ the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world be exalted far above ALL. May He receive the reward of His suffering!
To every compromising Christian, let me remind you that Christ indeed is coming back soon, very soon, and He would rather you be hot or cold, but the lukewarm He will vomit out of His mouth, and those He finds flirting with the world, playing the harlot by cheating on God with the things of this world, and living a life of sinful pleasure, He will most assuredly not claim as His own. Now is the time to repent from all compromised living, and examine your heart, and deeply renounce every tie of sin and every lukewarm tendency, while the Spirit of God will empower you to obey God and live a life acceptable in His sight and cleanse you afresh by the washing of the water of the Word and His presence. There is truly victory in JESUS!!! Hope for the discouraged, strength for the weak, joy for the sorrowful, freedom for the captives, and glorious resurrection power for the bound! Oh, Jesus will never disappointment the truly desperate of heart! Thrust yourself upon Him wholly, fully, completely, entirely, and forsake all to follow Him, and serve God to glorify Him and fulfill the purpose He has for your life! And remember, most of the things on TV are wicked abominations to God. Turn off that idol, and pick up the Bible!
And to the true saints of Jesus Christ, grace and peace! What hope we have in Christ our Lord! He who came to save sinners will one day soon redeem us fully by quickening our corruptible mortal bodies to be made like unto His glorious body! “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor” (Eph. 5:1-2 ). Stand fast, with the victory of faith, and keep your guard against the wiles of the Devil! Hold your hope firm, as an anchor of the soul, grounded in the finished work of Christ’s Cross, holding it firm unto the very end! He who overcomes, He who holds fast the Word of life and perseveres unto the end indeed shall be given the crown of life and receive authority over nations! The King comes! Quickly…
In Christ – Josef Urban