Tuesday, March 15, 2005
It has been a crazy month here in Leon with many big events. This is the reason why I have titled this newsletter "March Madness." I have also created subtitles for each section of news to better separate events of the month. Enjoy.
As many of you know, we are now just weeks away from our BIG groundbreaking event when we will invite our contacts and others from this community to an evangelistic campaign at our church building. The process for preparing for the groundbreaking has been a long one, but allow me to give a quick play-by-play of the steps taken this far over the last 5 months of being in Leon.
Around 6,000 door-to-door across the most southern part of the city of Leon
Around 75 s who have individual relationships with the Leon team and have been visited, or have attended various study groups or church activities
Three weekly Small Group Bible studies including one for teenagers, one mid-evening during the week, and one late night on Friday
Sunday morning time together, which averages around 15 people weekly
Face-to-face questionnaires and invitations concerning April’s evangelistic campaign given to contacts and those we meet on the street
Get-togethers including New Years and Super Bowl parties, potlucks, prayer and singing nights, etc.
Personal Bible Studies-
One-on-one studies with our contacts
The renting of a two story, six room building with two large auditorium areas to worship in. Cost of rent- $200 monthly. Excess cost to fix roof and wall problems paid from saved funds by the mission team- $2000. Money required to complete floor, paint, and plumbing from contributing congregations- $1000. Total cost monthly for rent (after including construction costs) $450 monthly. Time taken to complete building project- one month.
Beginning the first week of April, the Leon missionaries will hand out invitations in the community for our groundbreaking campaign. We will also speak with our contacts to give word-of-mouth invitations to the event.
We did just this month begin a new Bible study group in our home and have been blessed with one of our contacts named Patricia making some powerful statements during this time about her desire to follow the Lord. Patricia is going through some difficulties right now and seems to be very open to the word of God.
Starting late in February, I begin studying with a man named Roberto that I have gotten to know here. In the past, I have been joined with teammates to assist me in sharing the Bible with those who speak Spanish. Roberto is my first weekly study in all Spanish where I teach everything without outside help. The process has been very exciting to me and seems to be wonderful for my language growth.
There are others that I am working with right now, some of which are in their late teens and early twenties. Three guys in particular I am getting very close to are named Isaac, Roberto, and Neftalí. These are three very different individuals who have all taken to me in different ways. I have been enjoying trying to influence these three young guys for the Lord and ask your prayers for these, and the others we are working with.
This month I decided to “dive into the deep end” of the culture by substituting third graders! That’s right, as if life were not crazy enough, I was asked to teach English one day to two classes of kids from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Although I was teaching reading, phonics, and grammar in English, I still received lots and lots of Spanish practice as well. At the end of the day, I had lost my voice and was completely exhausted. The experience was also a slightly humbling one as the kids had difficulty with my name and a few times referred to me as “Mr. Cheese.” Still, it was a great experience and one that I’m sure to try again some day.
Jessica and I are working with a private tutor again in our home and are enjoying her weekly two-hour visits. We first met our teacher Mariana a few months ago and found her entire family to be very kind. Quickly we were then invited into their home and shown a little about their hobbies and lives. From our first interaction, it was clear that Mariana had many gifts with communication and getting to know people. Jessica and I are convinced we made a great find when we discovered Mariana. Please pray for us as we share the Gospel with Mariana and Mariana shares Spanish with us.
We were a little surprised two Sundays ago to see a turnout of over 30 contacts to our potluck after Church. Although this may sound a little like guests just coming for the food, it was actually quite different from what one might expect. The contacts that came have been involved in Bible study groups and seem to be enthusiastic about our congregation. Getting these contacts to Sunday Potluck on top of Bible study groups was a real excitement. We were so packed on Sunday that Omar and Tana’s small house could barely hold all of the people eating, and all of the playing kids. It looks like the sooner our building is finished, the better it will be to serve our contacts in events like this one.
This Church Is A Zoo
Working on the church building has been a real joy and real work. However, there is nothing like running across one of our many building pets after a long day of construction. Yes, our church building is a zoo. It seems that each time we turn over a rock or dig out a hole, we find something. To date we have discovered a rat, a scorpion, a snake, two black widows, fire ants, wasps, and a cute little puppy. By combining all of our animal ingredients we get a good formula for what little boys are made of. Maybe this is why the Leon guys have such joy when working at the zoo.
It is a crazy month as you can see. Yet, this month is just the start of the craziness. Since April is our ground breaking, March is merely preparing the soil. We can use all of your prayers as we get ready for the real tornado to hit.
Thank you for your partnership,