Where to start? I last wrote in the beginning of 2012, and fully expected to keep our posts up to date for the year, but…
- The month long trip to Chiapas in April last year lasted straight through til November for lack of anyone to direct the office.
- We moved 4 times for the better both in Chiapas and in Sinaloa. In Chiapas bigger and less rent… but much colder by December, and in Sinaloa we let go of some of our ministry space to cut back on work and expenses. Moving all our material and equipment several times in both states was very demanding even though for the best.
- We had no internet until August when we borrowed cable from a friendly Christian neighbor, after we were informed that there was no access to internet in the new office! Barrio saturated Telmex said… So it was to work off and on in a cyber… not the best place to do ministry work of our nature!
- We received 3 university aged Christians in the dormitory, adult children of Pastor A, of Chamula background, … expelled over 20 years ago from his community as guests for the year. C is studying law, M taking Computer Technology, and J started up her own small cafeteria. All have instructions from their father to accommodate themselves and to begin paying their own expenses while he supports the other 5 who are still in school. Brother A has a heart for missions and is involved in planting missions in Chamula… region known for the mass expulsions of 40,000 Evangelical Christians in the 80’s through 90’s.
- We reconnected with the groups of brethren who had been expelled from their communities in Chilil, Los Llanos, and San Gregorio, offering them spiritual encouragement and simple basic projects in knitting and sewing.
- We were able to bring in several new volunteer collaborators who made it possible to offer courses in Bakery and Regional Bread Making, Making Typical Tamales for Sale, Basic Sewing and Knitting, and also to visit distant Indigena communities. These trips opened up doors to minister to four groups at the ASAP Base in San Cristobal… but also inside the communities: 1. Pastors and Leaders, 2. Women who are much more reserved than other groups, 3. Youth, and the most responsive… 4. Children!
- We had our summer General Assembly with few on the Board arriving, but made new contacts among the local Pastors and had a small but very effective forum with several leading ministers or legal defense figures.
- At the same time we sponsored, with master material donated again this year by Noemi C from the Harvest Evangelism program Vacation Bible Schools in almost 24 churches / missions. VBS material we shared arrived as far away as Mexico City, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Tabasco. It’s certainly an activity we will continue to sponsor since as a family program, its potential is so much greater in a direct program for families.
- We had about 25 women from distant communities taking the sewing and knitting classes… with 3 communities taking home one of the machines when the course had gone as far as it could. Since the young women do sell embroidered blouses, learning how to put them together with the machine was a blessing to them and gave them a finer product to sell.
- Our 9 sisters from Zinacantan, since they can’t use a domestic machine in their work, need industrial machines. So we started paying for their classes in 3 separate communities… this year we need to find funding for 4 industrial machines that cost some $ 750 USD each. The women will then form their own community coop, sharing the machine and working together.
- A Christian couple who works in discipleship and leadership training, found their way into VOM in September … and we put them to work offering courses in two Indigena regions…and then accompanied them so as to offer Youth and Kids activities at the same time, which also opened doors to relationships of trust with the women while also sharing some lighter moments in laughter. All these groups have learned and developed their Christian faith in communities where the Gospel was not… and still isn’t welcome. They are also actively working in evangelizing others who live where the Gospel is still not preached nor welcome.
- October brought Ellen from New Hampshire to revisit the Chiapas and brethren she had last seen almost 10 years ago. She sacrificed all year to buy material for us and the projects… Bibles, discipleship material, DVD packs, movies, children’s material, a laptop, printer and so much more. Much of the material she brought was given as Sunday School packets to the pastors and youth leaders… since most do not as yet have a functioning Sunday School.
- In November we moved in both Chiapas and in Sinaloa, managed to fulfill all our obligations and set up the new ASAP Base in a space twice as large as the previous one, and a bit less expensive.
- December brought local and state collaboration to a head again with the Blessings events in 12 communities… with help from several churches and their leaders from the capital… other wonderful small scale events, many kids, lots of small presents, and many many blessings, meeting with Chilil and Yashtinin brethren… and taking the Fiestas int the communities themselves!
- It was a difficult year, with little response from the government on any level, but our brothers had a roof over their heads, food baskets each week, decent clothes… were just waiting for their hearts desire… waiting to go back to their homes.
- In brief… writing this… I realize how much the Lord allowed us to accomplish and how much didn’t make it into these points!
- Will post some of the special activities of last year and then on to 2013 … It’s time to get the new year out for you to check out!