Wow! Time can sure get a way from you! It´s been a while since we´ve last posted. We want to catch everyone up on what´s been happening here in Mérida and what we´ve got coming up.
During the month of March we were able to take some time off and head back to the States for a visit with family and friends, speak at some of our partnering churches and attend a Global Impact Celebration in Cassville, MO. More on that in a minute. It was wonderful to catch up with friends and family and love on our nieces and nephews.
We had a great time of relaxation and renewing and were excited to come back to Mérida and prepare for our upcoming summer. Not too long after we arrived back we had our first group of the summer. This is our second year working with this group from Boyce, Louisiana. Check out our photos page to see more pictures from this group. We love hosting groups here, but just as much, we love just serving along side groups and serving them as well. We were able to travel with them to many different villages around Mérida as well as here in the city and were just overjoyed at the response that we got in those places.
We´re in the process of planning for our upcoming trips for this summer and are excited to see where God will have us working. We plan to visit some of the places that we´ve been in years past but are also excited to be taking groups to some new places where Sports Crusaders has never been. We are excited about these new opportunities to share the gospel! Please be in prayer for our teams this summer, our planning to prepare as well as the people that will be ministered to.
When we were in the States, we were able to attend a Global Impact Celebration at First Baptist Church, Cassville, MO. What an amazing opportunity that we had to be a apart of this event. We were able to share more about ourselves and the mission that we are on and meet other missionary families who are serving all over the world. This truly was a time of renewal both in the Spirit and also in excitement for missions! With such an emphasis on missions and GOING to the nations, we were reminded of our mission not only here in Mexico, but also the mission that we all have right in our own backyards. In our churches, there are so many times that we feel like we have to make a choice of whether we send a short term group out or choose to stay and work locally. My prayer is that rather than making that choice, that we will pray and ask God to allow us to both. We tend to put our own human limits on God instead of trusting Him in faith to use us to reach the nations–both across the ocean and in our own backyards.
Both through individual study, and through study together, Tyler and I have discovered that although we certainly have a heart for the lost and most certainly want to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ, we both see our mission field as a little different. We both feel a strong conviction for those who will call ¨Lord! Lord!, but will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.¨ (Matthew 7:21 reference) We find ourselves surrounded by people both here in Mérida, and in the States who have grown up believing certain truths of tradition. Because of their Catholic background, many people here in Mérida are open to us sharing about God. Most people here believe in God and a majority are practicing their religion. But how do we share Jesus with them? Many here have a strong faith in God, but not in the truth of the grace of Jesus. Our prayer here is that we will succeed in demonstrating the grace of Jesus that is free from the chains of law and tradition.
I think the reason that we feel such a strong pull towards these conversions is because that is the type of conversion that we have both had. It wasn´t until we truly had that conversion of the grace of Jesus that we became free in Christ. We realized that there is so much more to ¨church¨. Growing up, we learned how to ¨church¨ quite well. And we worked hard in church. A lot of us excel at ¨chores¨ in the church. These are the things that need to be done to keep the church going. But we can´t forget about the work that needs to be done outside of our churches. This is where the true definition of church comes in. Our church buildings are filled with chore-doers, but are they filled with disciple makers? In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus tells his disciples to go, baptize and teach new disciples to obey. And we know that this isn´t limited to those that he was speaking to at the time. This is the instruction for all Christians. This is disciple making. God has given us all talents and gifts to make up our part of the church, but at the same time, he has instructed ALL of us to Go. Baptize. An teach new disciples to obey.
As we prepare to receive teams this summer, and as you prepare to send out teams from your own churches, we pray for the conversion of hearts not just to do the ¨chores¨ of church, but will truly have a heart to make disciples of all nations.