Friday, November 6, 2009

Tijuana: Wed-Thur

Sheryl reporting...

What an interesting week we’ve had thus far! It’s been very different from other trips in that we’ve not had a lot of large group meetings. Rather, we’ve had time to spend with individual couples continuing to develop friendships and relationships….to hear what’s been happening in their lives and families, and to speak words of encouragement to them.

I just love telling you about the people and all that comes with them. We may have inherited a beautiful 15 yr. old daughter of a wonderful pastor friend! She has a deep desire in her heart to study in the States, so we have offered the option of living with us in Omaha when she’s ready for the University. Her wish is to study in the area of Criminal Justice, which she could do there at UNO. She loves the Lord profoundly, and would be a joy to have living with us….although we’re not sure we really want to parent teenagers again! Fortunately we all have 3-5 years to pray on it before any decision would be made.

We spent yesterday morning with Pastor Raphael and his wife Juanita. You may remember him as the former president of the Ministerial Alliance here, or as the friend who held the “carne asada” picnic in honor of Dave a couple of years ago. We were privileged to be with them about a year ago when they renewed their wedding vows on their 25th anniversary. This has been a very challenging time for them both spiritually and financially, so we were thankful to be able to meet with them. Dave will tell you more later, I’m sure.

This morning we spent some time with Pastor Cuco, director of Operation Light – the Halloween outreach his church does here in Tijuana every year. This year they had well over 1,000 individuals in the church for 5 separate “programs” during the evening. People started lining up an hour before the doors opened….all dressed in an amazing array of costumes. We’ve seen the pictures, and it was totally organized chaos!! They closed the street off, and no one even objected! Many people gave their lives to the Lord, and there were 250 new visitors in the service Sunday morning. The big project now is how to organize discipleship for all these new Believers. They’re very encouraged with the results, and haven’t even heard from the other churches yet as to how things went. Pastor Cuco’s church is also establishing a 24 hr. house of prayer here in Tijuana at the church. We saw that today, and heard the vision for its operation. Totally amazing vision from God! They hope to have it operational by April.

In the midst of all of that, the Alliance has a variety of huge concerts, events, and outreaches going on all at the same time. It’s really pretty exciting to watch! Next weekend will be a concert with about 3,000 tickets sold already. In order to get the most out of the rental for the facility, they are also holding a youth purity conference earlier that day….expecting well over 1,000 kids at that. And then there’s the SUTL training going on in the city, in conjunction with Marked For Life, and Fresh Start workshops, and initiating a police chaplain corps, and a pastoral training school that begins with a course in theology next Wednesday evening. All of this and more in the middle of an extremely challenging economy, community health issues, political corruption, and violence! God is definitely at work in this city! Please continue praying for our brothers and sisters here as they try to get the Tijuana harvest in.

Because the economy is so difficult here, many of the pastors have not been able to get together as much as they used to do. It’s been good for us to be here because it has given them opportunity to get together, and to connect with Pastor Jesús again. The problem is that all of our “friendship events” tend to focus around meals, cafecita, lunches, breakfasts, food, food, and more food! Dave still sticks mostly to carne asada with rice and beans….but I’ve been eating some of the strangest things ever this week! I can have rice and beans at home. Jesús and I had a seafood “chowder” of some kind at noon today that appeared to have come directly from the sea! In addition to the zucchini, carrots, onions, potatoes…..there was everything imaginable in it in a bowl the size of an ice cream pail! We’re talking clams (complete with shells), half of a crab (yes, bringing its shell along and hanging over the side of the bowl), shrimp, and four other seafood items which I preferred not to ask about!! Last night we hit the taco stand two blocks away, and oh, my goodness! Dave was absolutely right that this is the best one ever! I’m sure the Health Department in Omaha would have been aghast, but the tacos and mulitas were the best!!

Our health is holding up well, (although Jesús has been somewhat sick all week with a bad cold), and we prayed for a girl this morning with the flu. You should have seen Dave hesitate at that one when they told him what she was sick with! Guess it comes in the category of drinking poison and picking up snakes! Hand sanitizer has become a very good friend these days. We’re sleeping very well, and Carlos (the hotel manager) is taking very good care of us. We’re looking forward to having Lincoln join us tomorrow afternoon, and then the marathon weekend begins until we return home about 11:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. Pray for the training time on Saturday with Pastor Linc. There are approximately 100 pastors and leaders planning to come. Each of them will return to train their own leadership teams in SUTL. The new “Marked for Life” edition in Spanish is being overnited hot off the presses at Woolverton Printing Co. yesterday afternoon.

Thanks for caring and praying!
Dave and Sheryl

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