Newsletter

 

Last Frontiers puts out a quarterly newsletter to share about what the Lord is doing in this ministry.  Thank you for taking the time and interest to prayerfully read of God’s workings here.

 

Summer 2023

 
A farmer went out to sow his seed. Matthew 13:3
 
Dear Friends, The planting season is over and now the rains have come, sometimes with just a drizzle and sometimes a downpour pounding the tin roofs. We continue to plant our field as well, physically and spiritually looking to the Lord for His nourishing rain and abundant harvest.We were eyewitnesses to the planting, watering and protecting of the good seed from those who would steal or destroy it in Chiapas years ago when the Holy Spirit worked through Ed´s parents and many others in the spreading of God´s Word to the indigenous Ch’ol. What a day of rejoicing when the harvest came.However, there is a new generation now. Only the oldest believers remember the tough beginnings and opposition that those first believers faced. This summer we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the formal organization of the Ch’ol churches of the presbytery in Chiapas. Ed was asked to tell the stories of the early church beginnings. What a joy to give an account of God’s workings. We were thrilled to meet with some of the early pioneers and old friends from his childhood. What an honor to recount God’s interventions and deliverances in the past and to encourage the godly Ch’ol pastors in their own language for their continued labors and faithfulness in tribulations.
Ed spoke throughout the day in 105 degree (40 C) heat with 85% humidity near Palenque, Chiapas. All day he spoke and taught in Ch’ol using the Bible that his parents and others translated. Here is Hebrews 11 in Ch’ol.

The men were listening intently and taking notes. Later they asked many questions as well as asking for prayer and counsel for their congregations. There are literally hundreds of congregations of Ch`ol believers and they keep growing with their own church planting. The commitment and sincerity of these men were moving.

There was praise at the beginning of each session. At the last session pastors came to ask questions and request counsel for situations in their churches.
Yet, prayer is the key. With each question there was counsel and application, finishing with calling on the Lord in their Ch’ol language.
Of course, no Ch’ol meeting would be complete without a delicious meal and fellowship. Then everyone went home truly happy in the Lord!
Handmade tortillas, chicken and vegetables in broth and black beans. Lots of great conversations ensued because these men and women came from different churches in the Ch’ol area. When it was all over we went to a waterfall in Ch’ol country across from the village where we had the reunion. Ed swam here as a young boy.
These pastors asked us to please come back to Chiapas. Oh how we would love to! We told them that years ago they were given the responsibility to lead their own people and we were called to go to a new area – one without a living witness of the Gospel. The Lord led us to Nahuatl villages. This is where we belong now. We make periodic trips back to the Ch’ols and are making exploratory trips into an area yet unreached. We are eager to go into this area and begin a new work, however we are waiting to see what the Lord indicates. There are a number of young married men who truly want to be full time in ministry among the indigenous Nahuatl. Ed takes these men periodically to the excellent Simeon seminars on expository preaching. These seminars have provided great fellowship for them and a wonderful challenge to both Nahuatl and Ch’ol believers. This is forever our challenge: to go deeper and rightly divide God’s word of truth. In this way, the seeds of the church continue to be watered and grow for a new harvest in this generation.Last week Ed had an urgent medical need which required a sudden and successful surgery- and later a benign biopsy result. This was the first time he had ever been hospitalized in our 43 years of marriage. What precious words and prayers we received. Now the recovery and the green light from the Lord to continue in the work He has given us here. We are so grateful to God.  We are grateful to you all as well. Thank you for your support of us in so many ways! Your prayers are critical and with an eternal visible effect here.Your friends in Christ,

Ed and Denise

 

Spring 2023

Springtime in the Sierra is planting season and what a community feeling to see everyone out with their hoes and their families preparing the soil to plant for the harvest they so greatly need.

Below is Paty. Her young child is in a shawl lying nearby as she hoes her field. She is enjoying the sunshine but once her seeds are planted, Paty, like everyone else, will be praying for rain. One never knows what kind of harvest awaits, It’s always in doubt. Will we lose it to plagues or bad weather? Or will we have a bumper crop?

Just yesterday Ed was invited into a cooking hut for tea (yes, in Mexico, herbal tea from leaves is also served, but more often it is regionally grown coffee). He was surprised when a young woman sat down at the table absolutely beaming! It was a bit uncomfortable socially because a one-to-one man to woman conversation is not usually done. However, he felt reassured since an older woman was making tortillas nearby.Why would this young woman just beam at him? As they were talking she kept smiling and said, “When I was a little girl, you would read the Bible to my father. My father came to faith and loved God’s Word too. He loved to read the Bible to us. He’s gone now but we still have the Bible.” Then it all came back to Ed. She continued, “I am married now and I have three children. They, too, love to hear God’s Word because I read it to them.”   Oh my! Even when we do not know who is listening, we see God’s Word touch the most sensitive of hearts – children´s – and God’s Spirit gives the increase and the harvest.  We are blessed too that there is a harvest awaiting because the ministry is supporting three devoted young people in Bible Schools.  
One is Samuel. He grew up in the church and longed to study the Bible full-time. This year his growing maturity made that possible. He jumped at the chance even though it meant leaving his beloved animals. When Denise said “Time to go! Eduardo is waiting for you in the truck!” Samuel replied, “Can I just put my sheep in a new pasture? Then I will be ready.” We knew he would miss his animals and family so much. However much to our surprise, the wonderful Bible school he is attending, “Living Water”, in Baja California Sur, has not only given him solid Bible teaching but they have put him in charge of their animals! Such a double blessing for him!
 
“Will you be my godmother?” Uriel, a young 12 year old, asked Denise years ago. We know that seems like an odd request as he was an adolescent at the time. However, here in Mexico you can be a godparent for any occasion and for anything related to that occasion (like being a godparents of the cake for a wedding or a godmother for a dress for a 15th birthday party). Nonetheless, for Denise, on the occasion of Uriel´s graduation from Jr High, it was a serious commitment. She took it from the Lord as a responsibility to encourage him spiritually for the rest of his life. Uriel had a rough go as a child discovering his father was really his uncle and that his best friend (his cousin) was really his half-brother. This discovery made him an extremely angry and frustrated young boy, but God has taken incredible hold of his life. Uriel has not only forgiven his father but has flourished in his knowledge of the Word. He has served faithfully at his school and worked hard to make ends meet. We look forward to this harvest as he returns to the village to work and be a vital part of the church. His change of attitude is so radical, so consistent, that all, including unbelieving members of his family, are amazed and blessed by it.
Rosaura is a jewel of a young girl who was caught in a huge extended family feud against her when she desired with all of her heart to go to Bible School. Yet with the blessing of her parents, at age 19, decided she would go. Rosaura has flourished  there! Proud of her indigenous heritage and speaking fluent Nahuatl in home and village, the school gave her a full scholarship just for that reason. Rosaura’s goal is to be used to share the Gospel with her people at the end of the school year. Yet we are concerned for the environment she will face and ask God for wisdom to help her navigate her future.
We also saw a harvest in a great way having all our children home last December for Christmas.  Everyone could come except Grace´s 2 children who needed to work on the vacation.  Thank you for praying for this delightful time after 10 years of not being all together.  Here we are!
Left to right top: Getu, Markos, Alexa, Grace, Denise, Ed, Erik, Rebeca, Michael and Marcos    Left to right bottom: Lukas, Sophia and Gelila (missing: Malachi and Nichole)
Just last weekend, Denise spoke at a wonderful women´s retreat giving 4 studies regarding “Women at the Well”. It was refreshing, relaxing and reviving for these women from different parts of Mexico, different churches, ministries and stages of life. How rewarding to hear these women say over and over, “I am going home filled!” Full of hope, full of rest, full of encouragement…80+ women attended, a beautiful God ordained time!      During the retreat Denise received word that our daughter, Rebeca, went into labor in Washington DC. All the women prayed for her during a looooong labor and cheered when the news came – a son whom they named Simeon Edward. Just as the prophet Simeon longed to see Jesus, may this child also see, know and love Jesus at an early age!
 
Michael, Rebeca and their first-born son, leaving the hospital.    So many blessings! Such a harvest! We wish you all a joyous celebration of Jesus´ Resurrection this Sunday,Ed and Denise
 
For those of you who have graciously given to us, if you have not received your 2022 receipt would you email lastfrontiers53@gmail.com or call Grady Peeler at 980-333-6425.Our new Last Frontiers Mission address is below. Thank you so very much!
Visit our Website
NEW ADDRESS: Last Frontiers Mission | P.O. Box 550154Gastonia, NC 28055
 

 

Autumn  2022

     
 

LAST FRONTIERS

Autumn 2022

Dear Friends,     “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26No truer words of the Lord’s kindness could have been declared as we rejoiced while young and old believers, unashamedly, were baptized in a nearby river. Sometimes with quivering lips, they spoke for all to hear and some with smiles as wide as the river, they declared God’s works in their lives. These lives are in a little corner of the world but fully viewed by the Lord. “You are a God of seeing. Truly, here I have seen Him who looks after me” Genesis 16:13

Jireh was a quiet child who came to church since a toddler. His single Nahua mother decided to go to the States to earn more money. We counseled her not to and assured her God would help her here so as to not leave her son completely alone in their poor shack of a home. The pressures to leave from relatives who had gone Stateside, though, were intense, and off she went. She tried unsuccessfully to cross after borrowing a huge sum of money to pay a cartel. The night before the 3rd attempt she had a dream where she saw her son crying inconsolably. That did it. She came back to the village, found a job, and beamingly held her son in reunion joy. 

Jireh, now 13, came to us asking to be baptized. It was as if this turn of events made him see his need for God’s all powerful forgiveness and intervention in his life. As we stood on the banks of the river, everyone shouted for joy as he was the very first to walk down into the water. We have seen him serve and grow in the church since that moment – no longer timid, but with a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. 

Andrea was only 14 years old when she became pregnant. Her boyfriend came to church with her and to our amazement, they decided to give their young lives to the Lord. Living together is the norm in the Sierra, but these new believers planned a lovely, simple marriage ceremony attended by relatives and friends who had seen the change in them. Andrea´s young husband has stepped up to the plate ever since, working hard every day to make ends meet. She is at home with their little girl and studying. They have been faithful to seek the Lord. Andrea is 17 now – older, far more mature and committed to Jesus and her family. It really is beautiful to see!
 
 
Doña Lina. What is there not to marvel about with this woman? She has a husband who has been the absolute epitome of machismo all her married life. He had the final word on where and when she could go…and IF she could go…ANYWHERE. For decades she was not allowed to go to church. Then suddenly, permission was granted! By then her children and grandchildren had come to Jesus. What a tremendous praise to God we all felt the day she walked into church. She cried during the worship of her faithful Savior with many of her now believing family surrounding her.      On the day of the baptisms, she told her husband simply, “I’m going to the river.” He said sarcastically, “Well then, take a towel and bathe yourself.” Enough said. Doña Lina scurried herself out the door. She arrived to witnesses clapping for her with shouts of victory. One of her grandsons baptized her. Everyone knows what she has been through. Everyone knows she has been submissive even when she could have rightfully stood up to him. Everyone knows that she is working through this dilemma of honoring her husband in Christ but not being a doormat. It is taking time, but she is daily savouring her freedom in Christ, letting that freedom shine through with both respect and determination. 
Asael is a beloved young man whom we have known since childhood. He drives a small taxi truck with a frame covered canvas. It has benches in the back for people he transports from one part of the Sierra to another. Sadly, Asael fell into temptation and sin during idle work hours. His young Nahua wife and infant daughter suffered because of his coldness and anger that resulted. However, he repented and has followed through with prayer, counseling and hard work keeping his marriage and family. He thanked the Lord and his wife publicly for their love. With his family he is continuing in the Lord. We have great hope in Jesus for dear Asael!
 
Anita had wanted to go to church for a long time. She told her boyfriend that she wanted to join him when he went on Sundays. Then he was murdered.     The Sunday after his tragic death there she was- weeping, singing and giving her young heart to the Lord. We feel for Anita. Yet, even in the death of the one she thought she would marry, she is finding, as she wrote in a note to Denise, “new life in the family of God.” Eduardo had visited her Nahua parents since she was a child and they are noticing the change and devotion of their daughter, despite the hardships she has emotionally faced as a young woman. We pray for her future and trust in the hope God has truly given her.
Many more were baptized that day. They had waited anxiously for the skies to clear so this could happen. The day was a glorious one – with everyone bringing food afterward where we sat by the water and had so much fun visiting and playing in the river.      The church goes on. Despite ¨many a trial and snare” it goes on. To see the lives of young as well as old standing in their community for the truth of the Scriptures, for the visible love of God and for concern for the lives of their families and neighbors, is a transforming work only the Spirit of God can do. What an honor to be witnesses of this change from death to life, from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.Please pray for us as we continue with our team to plant and water – all the while knowing that it is God and only God who can give the increase.May you be encouraged in your faith in Christ,Ed and Denise
 
 
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Dear Friends,      How can one calculate the value of a changed life? Over the years we have seen that God has used His own adoption of us as His sons and daughters to radically turn our worlds rightside up.We have also seen the lives of 11 children changed through adoption. From their desperate earthly situations each was given godly upbringings and opportunities to call on His name and be changed in his or her physical and spiritual lives. Only Jesus can do that.In Mexico there is a beautiful tradition honoring a young girl when she reaches 15 and celebrates her “Quinceañera”. It is usually such a beautiful occasion that the young girl often chooses to have a party with family, friends, godparents and a cake that may be as big or bigger than she is! There are songs, speeches, dances and prayers for her life. She wears a beautiful, long dress – all reminding us that she is a young flower that is blooming. The festivities celebrate the guests’ love for her and honor her value.Fifteen years ago, a tiny, premature infant was put in an incubator in a rural clinic after her mother died in childbirth. The desperate father, not knowing us, offered the baby to us. He was grief stricken over the loss of his wife, lived in abject poverty and could not care for the child. We paid a dear young, single mother in the village church to go to the clinic to touch, hold, sing and pray for this child through the openings in the incubator. Day and night she kept to the task for one month. We looked for a family that loved the Lord to adopt the infant as their own. 

 We had a group of 10 men here on a work project when the infant was released and given to us. Each man eagerly awaited his turn to hold the new baby. One friend, Jim, said, “Let’s call her ‘Gloria’!” So Gloria it was. By God’s mercy, we were able to present Gloria to our friends for adoption on Mexican Mother’s Day (May 10th). They have loved their daughter dearly all these years. Little Gloria Noemi turned 15 in April and the party was planned.

The party took place in our yard and was one of the most beautiful, Christ and adoption-honoring events in our lives. Gloria Noemi has grown to love with all her heart not only her parents, but Jesus Himself. The “Quinceañera” was deeply moving.   

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Gloria Noemi

Yet, only a few steps away from all the happiness of the festivities, another young girl lay on a bed inside our home. She was in great discomfort and her life was far from the joy-filled life of Gloria Noemi.This 14 year old had become pregnant by an evil, obsessed man. While the ceremony was continuing outside, she was being examined by two Christian doctors who had come for the party. They told us she had preeclampsia and needed to be taken immediately to the hospital for an emergency C-section. Imagine, a C-section at 14 years old!  She was terrified at the possibility of death with this emergency surgery and bringing a helpless, little infant into the world. 

What a sharp contrast of joy and pain, love and abuse, celebration and fear! What would become of the young girl and her child?

Literally shaking like a leaf, young Irene (not her real name) had a C-section two hours later. The little guy wailed for hours into the night in an inconsolable manner as though he had carried all his mother’s pain. Irene knew she could not care for the baby. She had no way of providing for him. She wanted to go to school which her blind mother had denied her from attending. She was so grateful and happy that adoption was a possibility for the care of the life she had carried inside of her. 

Then the depression of her circumstances set in. She could not go back to the village and face the danger of this obsessed man who she knew was frantically looking for her. Just the day before the birth, Irene was playing with dolls in our home and drawing pictures with crayons. She was still a child in so many ways! 

Her older half-sister, who has custody of Irene, had been the whistle blower in this situation. She brought her sister to our home and asked us if we would help them find a Mexican Christian couple to adopt the baby. The risk of being jailed and legal implications of all sorts were too high for an international adoption to be feasible due to possible child trafficking accusations.        A personal friend and pastor recommended a childless couple who had been praying for 11 years for a baby. They loved the little baby from the start! The legal process of adoption has begun for the infant. But what of Irene´s future?She had lost hope of an education.  Irene had no idea of where her future food, clothing and shelter would come from.  We are so happy to say that she is now in a loving, caring home that assists children whose lives are in danger. We have been assured that she cannot be traced or reached by anyone who would want to do her harm. Denise visited her last Saturday on the Mexican “Day of the Child”. Waiting for Denise at a picnic bench, Irene´s eyes brightened when she saw her. Irene shared that she is happy, and has already made 3 friends; she likes the food and her lower bed on the bunk. There are 10 girls in the room. She has to recover a little more but cannot wait to go to school and play sports with the other girls. “Estoy contenta” (I’m content) she said with sparkling eyes. “I am too!” Denise replied joyously, giving her a hug. Her older sister talked to Denise by phone and said, “I can already tell she is different – so much happier and free!”*
We look forward to seeing her come to faith and grow. God makes new and makes “beauty from ashes”. How grateful we are for His continual redemption in the lives of those we work with, as well as His redeeming and teaching us daily.
+      Blessings to you all and we ask for continued prayers for this situation. We also say, “Happy Mother’s Day” to all you beautiful Moms, Grandmas and Mothers of the heart,Ed and Denise

 

 

 

 Winter 2022

 
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January 2022

On Christmas Day, we went to visit several widows – some so destitute that their supply of corn had completely run out.        As God would have it, we planted and harvested by hand 2 tons of corn to give to those most in need. We only required that each bring a sack to put the corn in.One of the widows looked at us in disbelief. She raised her hands and pointed to heaven. “How I thank God for this!” she said. “I was at the point of needing to buy corn, and with what could I do that?” She broke down in tears.Another told us, “I was so discouraged. I went into my room, shut the door and knelt on the ground. I told the Lord, ‘I won’t ask You for much, but I have one need, Lord. I have one great need.’ And look! He heard and answered this very day!”This verse becomes real, “Open thy mouth and I will fill it.”

Psalm 81:10

View when the corn is received
Video above of a widow receiving her corn
Why does the Bible talk about widows and orphans so much? It is not only because they have to depend completely on Him for their deepest needs, but it is also that God wants to use His people to meet those needs and forges ties of kindness, love and provision for them, in Christ’s name.
We not only visited widows but other women who were alone with profound inner needs.       As we came to Aurora’s (not her real name) cabin, we saw her round the corner, a tumpline on her head and firewood on her back. She leaned back and dropped her load squarely on the ground as the perspiration drenched her face and back. It was the perfect time to speak with her. No one else was there other than her young half-brother.  Aurora has a tragic past – at only 23 years of age. When she was 14 her wicked step-father raped her. She didn’t even know what was happening. Months later she gave birth to a baby in the cornfield.  Overwhelmed by fear, anger and shame, Aurora walked into the hut of the family’s kitchen with the baby hid behind her back. Suddenly she revealed the baby and angrily threw the newborn down on the dirt floor in disgust. Her bitter hatred of the step-father’s repeated abuse was shown in one terrifying outburst.Aurora’s sisters saw the infant was still alive, took her to a hospital but the baby did not survive. From that point, Aurora became dead inside too.

On this Christmas Day, we knew God was at work when we found Aurora home alone. We wish you could have seen her there in a single wood cabin with dirt floor. She received not only our fresh corn but also our words of acceptance. We spoke of assurances, not judgement, of being worthy and loved by God the Father. We shared the truth that God would never, ever defraud her.

She looked down the whole time we spoke with her, fiddling nervously with a paper in her hand. We prayed for her and as we went to leave, she looked up with tears and hugged each of us so tightly that we thought she was not going to let us go. Yes, the Word will not return void even when it appears that the person we speak to is cut off. The Lord, in this new year and every year continues to reach for the lost.        Thank you for praying, supporting and believing,Ed and Denise