New life after years of inner barrenness is what resurrects even the most discouraged heart. As the Word shares, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”. Psalm 27:13
We have seen this goodness in our work. We have seen a resurrection power that would be inexplicable apart from the Cross tearing down the dividing wall and the Holy Spirit drawing men to Himself.
When we participated in the baptism of 24 new believers in a nearby mountain stream, the rejoicing in everyone´s heart was palpable, the sense of gratefulness to God and of new life and community in Christ permeated all! From the young to the elderly – each shared the same commitment in word and in Spirit. Will you rejoice with us this Easter for the lives of these brothers and sisters in the faith? They need our prayers to be continual lights in their villages.
Victor Hugo visited church with a friend and without delay gave his all to God. The soil of his heart had been tilled and he was ready. He believed and prayed faithfully for his close family to join him. All but one has come and he continues to be a light – studying, singing, praying. He is a leader in the making and a testimony to other young people in his town.
Rosa suffered terribly as a child with both her alcoholic parents. When they died, she lived as an orphan with her mean godparents. They required her to work day and night, 7 days a week, from the time she was 12 years old, to pay off her father’s debts. They fed her last, if at all. She was paid 1 peso a week.
The change Christ made in her seemingly forgotten life has been remarkable. She said, “I never understood before about God but now I do. I want to be baptized and I am going to dress in white!¨ She is the most radiant, resourceful and responsible woman you could ever know.
Luis wanted to be baptized with his wife. However, the day before the baptism, his wife´s son fell to his death from a building in Mexico City where he was working in construction. Luis was torn. His wife urged him, “I want you to go and be baptized even if I can’t right now.” Luis´s love for the Lord is real. He went into the water with a seriousness and a conviction that he had truly been buried with Christ and risen. He is “unashamed of the Gospel.” Luis can not read but is an excellent auditory learner. Without notes, he preaches with authority and conviction. He is quick, always ready to respond insightfully to questions during our Bible Studies. Pray he will learn to read this year.
What a change came to Juanita´s life! She was mistreated as a child. She lived at a time when it was the custom to marry out of obligation, not for love. When she did, she was subject to even more abuse. Due to all this she became a bitter, bitter woman. Christ renovated her heart and life! Now, at 79 years old, she is, as Magdalena put it, “Beloved, generous and firm in her faith.” She was the first in her village to want to be baptized and to encourage others to obey this commandment. She had a new blouse to wear that day and she made tacos to share with others afterwards!
The complete testimony of Maricarmen is heart wrenching and also glorious. As a single mother, she gave her heart to the only One who could truly love her and help her care for her son, Kevin. He watched as his mom was publicly declaring her love for Christ. Little Kevin loves Jesus too and it is heart-warming to see them come each Sunday to a little cabin to hear God´s Word -he with his little children´s picture Bible and she with her Bible. God has become her husband, the father to the fatherless and the worker of all things together for good and to provide for her needs in her young devoted life to her Savior. We love them so much!
In Mexico you can be a godparent for many reasons. Denise is Uriel´s godmother from a graduation from school. His life has been marked by anger and uncertainty about who his father was. Yet, he has given himself to following Jesus and letting the Lord fill with Himself the terrible gaps Uriel has suffered. Here Lito, one of the leaders of the church, affirms Lito´s faith and walk in Christ. For each of the 24 people baptized, there was a friend or relative in the church who first affirmed him before he or she made a public statement of faith. Uriel faced that freezing water just in his trunks – tough young man – and we are praying for his inner strength and focus amidst many temptations in the village.
Tollan and Remedios are a delightful young couple with two children. They have found joy and companionship in church and with other believers. We are seeing more young marrieds at church and we rejoice in this. They were baptized together and we pray for them to derive their oneness from the One who has broken through in their lives for eternity.
There were many others baptized publicly that day. Each one came to faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit and the testimony of real believers. To God be the Glory. This is the fruit of the labors of many and the fruit of your prayers.
The fruit of the labors of Ed´s parents were seen in a place we never expected. When our grandson, Lukas Edward, was born, we had the joy of visiting him and also the immense blessing of going to the phenomenal Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. One whole floor is creatively devoted to Bible translation. We looked for Ed’s parents translation of the Ch’ol Bible. There it was! To see Ed, our son Marcos and daughter Rebeca looking at their grandparents’ life’s work was so moving. Ed’s eyes teared up as he read passages to them in Ch’ol. The best part is that there are thousands of Ch’ols who love God’s Word and read it in their own tongue every day.
Thank you for the love, joy and fellowship we share. None of your prayers are in vain! God is working even in the smallest corner where no one sees. We are honored that you read and rejoice with us in what He has brought to life.
A Blessed Easter to you!
Ed and Denise in Mexico