International Ministries

New Year: One Word

January 31, 2015 Journal
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One Word

“Every January I like to choose one word as my theme word for the year,” shared Pastor Bob Santilli, the Bible Study leader of our 2015 Baja Mexico Missionary Retreat.  “Words like hope, courage, prayer, or steadfastness are examples of ones I’ve used in the past.”  He looked at each of us as his eyes traveled around the circle.  “It’s a word I come back to again and again as the year unfolds.  What is God revealing to me through the promise held in this one word?”   Suddenly, the room was brimming with unspoken words.  Possibilities.  Dreams.  Challenges.  What word would be the 2015 caption for each one of us?


Pastor Guillermo Escobedo and Pastor Hernando Gonzalez have dreamed of pursuing their Master’s Degree for years.  They each pastor a church and teach at the Theological School of La Paz, and Hernando also serves as the School’s director.  Through scholarships and their own savings, they began their course work this January at Lacy Baptist Seminary in Oaxaca.  Please pray for them as they undergo this rigorous course work.  They will periodically travel to Oaxaca for on-site coursework, while completing other assignments at home.


Some of you are familiar with Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people.  Every year their Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes filled with gifts to children around the world.  This past year the Baja Peninsula was one of the targeted areas to receive gifts.  Many of the churches we partner with in Southern Baja were able to receive shoeboxes for the children in their communities.  Many of the churches we partner with in the U.S.—YOU!—were the ones who bought the gifts, packed the shoeboxes, and sent them to Mexico.  Thank you for your generosity!  The spontaneous, exuberant smile of a child shouts “Jesus” to us every time.


Do you ever stay home from church because you’re too tired, it’s too cold, you’re upset with the pastor, or the pews are uncomfortable?  Excuses can roll off our tongues.  After Hurricane Odile last September, several Baptist churches were severely damaged.  One was completely blown to smithereens.  Another’s roof was gone and its cement walls comprised.  But did this keep people from meeting for worship?  Definitely not!  They put up tarps, gathered plastic chairs and wooden benches, and gathered together to praise God for no loss of life.  So what if they didn’t have walls, or a roof, or carpet, or Sunday School rooms, or a sound system, or even money in the bank . . . they still had faith . . . they still had each other.  The Mexican Baptist National Convention and The American Baptist Churches sent Disaster Relief Funds and these churches are slowly rebuilding.  They trusted that God would supply what they needed when they needed it.  Their determination in the face of great odds often humbles me and reminds me of what’s truly important.


In 1887 a hymn was published called “More About Jesus.”  The second stanza and chorus are as follows:

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

This is the word David and I have chosen for 2015: More.  We want to spend more time with God.  We want to know more about Jesus.  We want the Holy Spirit to teach us more.  We want more multi-cultural diverse community.  We want more justice.  We want more joy.  We want more compassion.  We want more grace.  We want to hunger and thirst more for the Kingdom of God.  It’s a lot to undertake, we know.  But we’re tired of settling for less.  For refusing to follow a dream because someone said it’s impossible.  For not trying something new because we think we lack money, or talent, or time.  It’s time to be bold.  To want more . . . more of Jesus!

So, what’s your word for 2015?  Send us a note and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

Joyce and David