Dedicating Joel Abraham
Ruben, Carolina, Joel Agruel
Mylinda Baits & Baptist Youth
Mylinda & Women's Bible Study
Young Baptist Women
Monte de Sion in San Jose
Worship at Monte de Sion
Preschoolers at Monte de Sion
THE MIRACLE BABY
Ruben and Carolina have been our friends and colleagues in Mexico since we arrived in La Paz in 2000. As liaisons from the First Baptist Church of La Paz, they helped us launch the ministry to English Speaking people. Married in 2001, they looked forward to starting a family. But the blessing of a child did not immediately come and, as the years passed, was possibly never going to happen. We spent many tearful and painful conversations with them as they sought to understand their infertility and if they should explore other options. Imagine our surprise when almost a year ago we got the phone call that Carolina was pregnant! Like Sarah in the Old Testament, she was finally going to give birth to a son. Joel Abraham was born on November 16, 2013. He was dedicated to the Lord at Crossroads Christian Fellowship on January 5, 2014. A miracle baby to remind us, “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND
We had the privilege and honor of hosting three of our missionary colleagues in the last several months. Near the end of November, Regional Missionary Mylinda Baits came to address the topic of Human Sexuality & Trafficking. She met one evening with a group of Baptist youth, engaging them in a creative exercise that explored their gifts and God-given talents. She urged each of the young people to examine their own unique calling in order to understand their strengths in ministry. Then she shared how God could use those strengths to minister to others in need. Using Judges 19 as her text, she also led a group of women in a theological reflection about Biblical sexuality, how it can be misconstrued and abused, and then had us grapple with these two questions: “How does God redeem women who have no voice? What is our role in this redemptive process?” She also preached Sunday morning about the bent-over woman in Luke 13, challenging us to all consider where we need to stand up and find healing in the name of Jesus.
In December, Northern Baja Missionaries Ray and Adalia Schellinger-Gutierrez visited with us. Adalia addressed a group of young women at a Baptist Youth Camp about human sexuality. Sharing from Genesis, she taught them about God’s original intent for healthy sexuality, and how do we implement that in our lives today. She strived to give them ways to be positive about their sexuality instead of approaching it from the usual stance of “This is what you don’t do.” Ray preached at Crossroads about the ministry of Deborah House. He shared the vision of how the women’s shelter came into being, and how it has grown in the last 12 years. His theological reflection and stories of hope about abused women touched the hearts of many. Several individuals spoke to him afterwards about volunteering at Deborah House.
We are honored to serve with colleagues who are committed to seeing transformation happen through the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
A PEOPLE REDEEMED
Monte de Sion organized on January 4 in San Jose. Pastor Marcos Rodas and his wife Sulema are the founding pastors. Marcos has a heart for starting new churches. He resigned from El Buen Pastor two years ago—another church he helped start—so that he could begin this new ministry. The church is situated near the airport, in a growing area of San Jose. Comprised of poor working-class families, Marcos has spent hours evangelizing and sharing the Gospel. His desire is to see people redeemed in the name of Jesus. David preached there on January 12 and it was a joy to fellowship with our Mexican brothers and sisters in Christ. There were 33 adults and 39 kids—wow! They have no musicians so they sing a cappella from memory—there are no hymn books or song sheets. Their Sunday School rooms are small square rooms with one bench for the kids to sit on. The teacher stands, facing them. There are no tables so they use the floor or the bench for crafts and coloring. But the lack of resources is not a deterrent or cause for complaint. In fact, at the end of Sunday School, before worship began, each class (preschoolers to adults) stood in front and shared what they’d learned, recited their memory verse, and often sang a song. They are some of the most joy-filled people we’ve ever worshipped with. Jesus’ love is tangible in their midst!
GOD IS DOING NEW THINGS!
Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Perception is the key to recognizing new things, God’s new things. We hope these stories give you a glimpse of how God is making a way in the Baja Wilderness. May God anoint you with wisdom and discernment as you seek God’s new things where you live and minister in 2014.
Your ambassadors in La Paz, Baja California South, Mexico,
David and Joyce Reed