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.
Open doors and windows without glass allowed lots of air through the full church. The anticipation was high for “La Pastorela” – a Christmas play in the Veracruz mountains. How we thank the Lord for the Believers there who invited so many relatives and friends. The beauty is that everyone who was invited came!
Our own children were there seeing friends from their childhood. They watched answers to their prayers in seeing people who were once far away from the Lord now drawing near to Him, now part of the Body of Christ.
At the end Ed gave a brief, penetrating message. He shared why the Christ child came, grew and was crucified and rose to give them life. We truly have had the chance all these years to “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere”. Many said it was the best play and Pastorela message ever!
Three 240 pound hogs were killed to feed hundreds and the visiting time was a joy. Our grandchildren were delighted to be with their friends. Many villagers recalled stories of “little” Marcos, Rebeca and Alexa telling them stories running up and down the trails and in and out of houses! Rebeca spoke at length with Nahuatl friends who came from a village she often hiked to. Their clear remembrance of her was heartwarming. “It was the highlight of my night!” Rebeca said. There simply was Joy to the World everywhere.
A few weeks before, a young man who was there that night, Chucho, asked if he could talk to Ed after the Sunday service. Chucho had come to a brokenness with the realization of his sins. He said, “It has to stop. I want to be right with God more than anything.”
A few days later, December 30th, Chucho was traveling at night in our Toyota truck when he was sprayed with machine gun fire. We have since learned there is one other truck in the mountains like mine and the owner is a known drug trafficker that a cartel wanted killed. What a tragic case of mistaken identity!
With his mother and brother in the truck, and thinking they only wanted to steal the vehicle, Chucho stopped the truck. Trying to escape could get them all killed. Raising his arms in the air, he offered them the truck and possessions. As one friend said, “Chucho believed the best of everyone. He never thought they would kill him.” A machine gun riddled him with bullets piercing his head and heart. He died instantly.
Chucho is on the left. Marcos, second from right – on the night of the Christmas play
The loss is immense to us personally and to the community! Only days earlier he was earnestly giving every aspect of his life to God. His last words to Denise the night of the Pastorela were, “Once the New Year passes, I want to talk with you and Eduardo more about the Lord.”
What a sobering, sad beginning to 2021!
A few weeks before Chucho´s brother, Nazareth, gave the Sunday message. Nazareth, a beautiful believer, was home from Mexico City for the lockdown. He knew God wanted Him to use this time to reach out more than ever to his large family. Nazareth was in the truck that night, as was his now wheelchair-bound mother. They were both hit by the bullets and heard the scores of shots that killed their brother and son.
|Prayer for Nazareth
At Chucho´s open-air funeral with over a thousand people coming from villages and towns, Ed was asked to give the message. Such an honor, such a responsibility, such an impacting response!
Chucho was a truck driver as many young men are in the sierra. Truck drivers from the region came by the hundreds and at one point a lead trucker said, “We are going to take roll.” One by one the names were called and the men raised their hands strong, swift and proud with the words, “¡Presente!” (Present!) but when they came to Chucho´s name there was complete, respectful silence… until one truck horn was honked, then another, then hundreds in honor of him.
Oh the opening to the Gospel the loss of his dear life gave! Chucho´s family knew he was changing. He was “putting his house in order” without realizing that it would be his final preparation. The family and the whole town were so jolted by his murder that the ministering to hearts and lives lasted for days and continues.
Chucho´s 10 year old son, Diego, arriving at the funeral in his dad’s truck
We have ever before us Psalm 90:12
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
We are sojourners. The timing and manner of our deaths we cannot know. After last year´s heartbreaking parting of so many friends and loved ones, this truth is underlined in our hearts and spirits even more for 2021.
Despite all the trials that may await you and us, we want you, dear friends, to have everything in a Divine perspective with a daily, Christ-filled new year.
We can say with the Apostle Paul…
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have complete boldness, so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
In hope, steadfastness and thankfulness for what we will see God do in this world and in our lives by His Sovereignty this upcoming year,