This month has been busy in laboring in the Gospel. Typically, I have been on a schedule of preaching 5 times per week between the outreaches, rehab-center, discipleship, and Sunday meetings. In addition to this, we have been fellowshipping at a local church in Guadalajara here and meeting with the pastor to pray for conversions and revival. I have also re-enrolled in a Spanish language school and am studying for hours every day of the week in and out of school. My Spanish is getting a lot better, and I am able to understand much of what is being spoken, but still find great difficulty in speaking it myself and am unable to communicate appropriately. At the current pace, I hope to be conversational within 4-5 months, Lord willing.
In Guadalajara, we are attempting to make not just converts, but real disciples of Jesus Christ who love the Lord and truly follow Him. Of course, this takes labor. Lot’s of it. It is utterly impossible apart from the power of God. We are recognizing our great need more and more. We need a Holy Spirit visitation from on high to grip the hearts of sinners and squeeze them into submission to Christ through the grace of the Gospel. No true lasting work can be established here apart from genuine spiritual awakening in the souls of men.
“Missions” in Christianity today tends to be so shallow, so cheap, so systematized, that it’s sick and grieving to God. Some men boast of planting dozens of churches within a few short years, yet never speak of true visitation from God in converting sinners radically, which means that the churches they’ve planted are most likely filled with false converts. I’ve seen some of these churches, where the “converts” that are in them are nothing more than people who have prayed a “sinner’s prayer” and made a “decision for Christ” and have continued in it by being religious and going to a meeting, but lack genuine fruit of Christian love and holiness evidenced in their lives and totally lack any true commitment to Christ. I am completely convinced that planting a church is a laborious process of sowing, planting and watering and working in the Word until the Lord brings the harvest. It can take years to establish a single small Biblical church apart from an extraordinary move of God. Dear fellow brethren, pray for us, pray for the people here, that they would be awakened and converted!
So we are continuing to open air preach in the market squares and to teach through the Bible in a hotel conference room every Sunday. Our attendance is discouraging at times. One week we will have just one person show up, then the next week six people, and then the next week 5, then the next week only two. Now I don’t take pride in numbers, but it’s pretty discouraging when you preach the Gospel to literally hundreds of people, and a couple dozen express their desire to find genuine Christian fellowship and to be taught the Bible, and say they are going to come to the meetings, yet when it comes down to it they never show up and there is very little commitment among those who do. We continue to labor as unto the Lord, and not unto men.
The Lord has ordained our steps and led us to a local church in the city here that preaches a true Gospel and holds to sound doctrine (on majors). The pastor of this fellowship is truly a man of conviction. We’ve had some blessed times of fellowship with him. We’ve also met some brethren who are a part of that fellowship and they’ve even come out on the streets with us to evangelize. Two young ladies from there came out with over a month ago for the first time, and they had never evangelized before. Though they were nervous, the Lord took over and they have been sharing the Gospel boldly on the streets every since, both with us and apart from us. The people around them in the church are telling us now that they’ve been “revived” since coming out with us and have such a passion for the Lord. Glory be to God! There are also some others from there that have come out to preach with us, including one of the elders one day.
We’ve been having some great times of sharing the Gospel with certain people on the streets. People just being affected by the Word, and expressing signs of conviction and desire for repentance.
There was a man who met us on the train the other week. He came up to Lina and I as we were talking in English and said, “Excuse me, but are you guys Christians?” We said, “Yes, why do you ask?” And he replied by saying that he couldn’t understand what we were saying, but he just saw something different about us. He said that he had a recent conversion. We talked with him for a few minutes before we had to exit the train. Well, last weekend he ran into us again, this time as we were preaching in the city. He told us that recently he had a dream, and in the dream we were preaching to people that they need to read the Bible every day. He even described something that I tend to do when I preach that he had seen in his dream, and it was true, even though he had never seen me preach in real life prior to that. So he got convicted because he wasn’t reading his Bible all the time, so when he woke up, he went out and bought a new Bible and has been reading it since. This just shows me the ability and power of God, apart from human means. I commented to Lina that it’s kind of nice preaching to people in their dreams, it didn’t take me any extra work! Glory to God. Truly though, God can use His servants in any way He pleases, and He can also operate outside the natural bounds of how we tend to limit Him, and do as He wills when He wills.
We have also been able to purchase a small printer recently which enables us to print Christian literature in Spanish for a cheaper price than getting them printed elsewhere. So this should be a good means of getting some solid teaching into the brethren here that we fellowship with and run into. We plan on printing out more articles and booklets that I am writing along with certain study guides, Bible reading guides, puritan writings, revival literature, and some solid theological teachings on various subjects as needed. Those who have supported us in prayer and in giving have certainly shared a part in this work that the Lord is doing, and we are so very grateful, and certain souls I am sure will be eternally grateful. I thank God for the love of our brethren back in the US, many of whom are going through tough times themselves, yet show the love of Christ in generosity and support anyways.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
There is so much more I could say, so much more that has been done, so much more to testify to the grace of God, but here I conclude. We need your prayers, that the glory of God can be known to a people who don’.
In Christ –Josef Urban