Greetings from Tijuana, MX
We're nearly finished with a full week of ministry here in Tijuana, and wanted to take this few minutes to update you a bit.
Please note! Ruffles cheese-flavored chips taste different down here! This is a discovery within the last 5 minutes...who put the jalepeno pepper dust in there?
At our last writing, I (Sheryl) was still recovering from the "bug" -- whatever it was. Thankfully, everything has been fine since Tuesday morning, and the week has been very full. We've had opportunity on this trip to meet with several couples that we've known for a number of years. It's been very encouraging to us to hear what the Lord is doing through their ministries here and how He has continued to work in their lives since we were last in Tijuana. We've been privileged to have had the opportunity to speak into their lives when they were at significant turning points, and making decisions that would impact the direction of their ministries. The Kingdom work they are accomplishing, and the fruits of their ministries keep us challenged to press ahead ourselves. One of these couples is beginning to pastor two churches that were initially planted by his parents. The father is now passing the church to the leadership of his son, and we are walking together with both couples through this period of transition. Another couple are doing intensive leadership training in California, in preparation for planting churches back here in Tijuana as soon as both of their kids graduate from the University. It will be a family endeavor, and they have thanked us for encouraging them and ministering to them personally when no one else was doing that.
We spent all day Wednesday back out in Rosarito, the area where we were a year ago this month. We met with the pastoral alliance there, and were excited to see how they have been building a strategic plan for reaching their city since we were last here. We're hoping to return to that area after the first of the year to spend a week with them prayerwalking the city, and developing a strategic outreach plan with them -- as well as doing personal ministry with the pastors and leaders, and conducting some pastoral training times. The primary church we attend out in Rosarito are profound worshippers, so we always enjoy meeting with them and participating in their services.
On Thursday Pastor Steve Peterson and David Anderson arrived, and jumped right into the flow. Dave taught that evening in another church where we've been only one time before. The pastor moved to the area called El Nino and took over his first church. In the past two years, they have planted 17 other congregations, and he and his leadership team are presently giving pastoral oversight to all of those young couples. The vision in his heart is to plant 50 churches during his lifetime, and our suspicion is that he will do much more! They simply follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into an area, and then ask "Who will go here to pastor?" Someone comes forward and says, "Here am I, send me!" Sometimes they begin with a building, sometimes the congregation, and sometimes only the leading of the Lord to open the area. We are challenged by their vision, and the simplicity of their obedience....and the profoundness of their faith! One of the main purposes for our being here this time had to do with presenting Fresh Start to these young pastors and their wives....giving them an effective tool to use with the care of their congregations of new Believers. It has been an opportunity to plant the principles of forgiveness into the foundation of these new churches, and to help facilitate healing in the lives of the pastors and their families. Pastor Jesus Rodriquez (our CFCI Base Director here) will also be working with Pastor Daniel, assisting him with counseling and pastoral care. Already these 17 churches are averaging 50-75 people each, so there is much need and much opportunity.
Yesterday afternoon, we met with the CFCI affiliated orphanage staff here, and Pastor Steve trained them in using Fresh Start with the kids in the orphanage. We prayed with a number of the staff, too, just to encourage them. And, of course, we took time with Eduardo and Ana (the Directors) to encourage them, to discuss some issues they are facing with the home, and to pray with them. Last evening was a meeting with those pastors and leaders here in the city who are interested in working with Pastor Jesus to form a leadership team, using Fresh Start in their churches.
Seems to me there were other meetings along the way, but we're at the end of a very full week, and the days are beginning to blur into one another! After a very long workshop day way east of the city, we'll be taking the evening to spend time with Jesus and Rosa at a Chinese buffet (yes, in Mexico!)....which they tell me is excellent! Tomorrow we'll be in Pastor Daniel's church once more, and then crossing the border into San Diego in preparation for our flight home on Monday morning. Oh, did I mention the line at the border will probably be 4-5 hours?! Just be thankful you don't have to commute to work across the border every day! Traffic in Omaha doesn't seem so bad after this! One more thing I'm thankful for -- our grandson, who is a very new driver, is home at our house with our vehicles.....babysitting our dog! ....and I'm thankful he's driving there rather than here! Everyone should experience traffic in another country at least once in their life!
Thank You so much for your prayers and words of encouragement, we read and appreciate every email.
A few expenses for this trip remain to be covered, and we will be looking at another return trip in February. Please continue to pray for us for health and safety, and effective ministry throughout the day tomorrow. And if the Lord leads you to be involved financially here is the info: 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".
Dave & Sheryl, Pastor Steve Peterson and David Anderson