That may surprise some of you, since our communications prior to leaving were somewhat sparse! This update is also available on http://gehrlsministry.
We arrived in San Diego Sunday around noon, and spent most of the rest of the day waiting at the airport for our transportation to be able to cross the border to pick us up! The border lines for crossing into the States are unbelievably long at times, sometimes taking three or four hours or more....waiting in line, moving a few feet, waiting again. If you've never done that particular border crossing, it's an experience all of its own. There are about six lanes of cars, all inching their way toward the checkpoint a few feet at a time. Hundreds of people actually make their living moving amongst the cars selling various foods, drinks, and souvenirs. Much of the way is lined with little shops on both sides, and you generally have time to hop out and do a little last-minute shopping while your driver inches the car towards the border!
We're staying in the same hotel where we've come for many years now, so the area is familiar to us -- complete with our favorite taco stands. There is a new burrito place, though, that looks really promising for lunch. You may wonder why we stay in a hotel rather than with a family. There are many reasons for that. First of all, CFCI does not have a location here to house teams other than the orphanage way out on the outskirts of the city. So, this provides a location that is central to the city, convenient for pickup and dropoff, and also provides a lovely place for us to meet with pastors and their wives -- which is much of what we do while we're down here. The lobby, as well as the pool/patio area are lovely and private, and there are several rooms where we can have meetings with large groups, or a private dinner in a smaller dining room of the restaurant. Additionally, most of the homes are not adequate to house guests for any length of time, and this gives us a place to have a break periodically from the intensity of the schedule while we're down here.
Yesterday morning, we attended a pastors' group that we've been to a number of times before, so it was great to see some familiar faces. We had a very interesting thing happen at the end of the time with them. We had opportunity to go around the circle and pray over each one of them, affirming their call to ministry and speaking over them what we felt the Lord wanted so say to them. After we were finished, Dave asked if anyone would like to share something. There was one pastor's wife (who also serves as co-pastor) who we had prayed over fairly briefly and moved on. At the end I felt strongly led to go back to her to minister some additional things. As Jesus Rodriquez and I prayed over her, she wept and wept and wept. We ministered to a broken heart and broke curses and hurtful words spoken over her, and asked the Lord specifically for healing. Later she shared that the morning before, a lady in her congregation had accosted her before the service and spoken some hateful things over her. She determined not to respond emotionally at that time because she had to go preach. As we began to pray for people, she told the Lord she knew her heart was hardened, but that if someone didn't pray specifically for her, she was going to leave it that way to protect herself. When I came back to her the second time to minister, she was deeply touched and subsequently received much inner healing. PTL!
Every pastors group usually includes food and fellowship...
Dave had made arrangements ahead of time to do a couple of dentist visits down here (which will save us nearly $1,000), so one of those was in the afternoon. Our dentist at home sent all the info ahead of time, which was really great. As I was working back at the hotel, I began to feel very nauseous and had a splitting headache. So much so that I've ended up in bed for the past 16 hours trying to sleep it off. Due to much prayer, I feel that the Lord touched me physically and spared me the three-day flu stuff that's been going around at home. We have more appointments and meetings today, and both the sun and I are finally up....so we're hoping for the best. I'm still feeling a bit "edgy", but not sick....so please continue to pray! Dave is doing pretty well, and has two more dentist visits throughout the week.
I was supposed to speak at a pastors' and wives' dinner last night, but obviously was not able to make it. Dave met with them, and had a wonderful time. (Of course, the Chinese food may have helped his mood!) This is a group of pastors who are planting churches in an outlying area of Tijuana....17 of them in the past two years. They are overseen by a pastor friend of ours, Daniel Nunez, who is called to plant 300 churches in that area in 5 years. It's a daunting task, but they are full of life and well under way. Pastor Steve Peterson and David Anderson will be arriving Thursday, and we will be doing Fresh Start training with them over the weekend, and forming a leadership team that will instill Fresh Start into the foundational levels of all these new churches. It's an amazing opportunity to bring healing to pastors, their families, and their congregations!
Here's an interesting fact: at the present time Tijuana is known as the City of Peace in Mexico! To us, the city feels very quiet compared to other times we've been here. When we asked Jesus about that, he said that yes, it is very peaceful right now. Several factors contribute, including that the police are not fighting the drug cartels. But also, there are many Christians at many levels of the city government. He attributes it directly to the thousands and thousands of hours of prayer that have gone into Tijuana over the past few years. Several years ago we did several PrayerWalking workshops with the Tijuana pastors alliance and it is a blessing to see some of the fruit from that today. The violence stirred up prayer, and prayer always changes things!
There is still some need to cover the expenses of this trip, so as you pray, if you feel led, please to help bridge this financial gap. This trip is under our partnership with Fresh Start so help with trip should be through www.freshstartforallnations.
org. Gifts to our personal ministry should come Christ For the City International as you normally would or at www.cfci.org. Just designate it for "Gehrls Support" or "Gehrls Work Funds" as you feel led.