Tuesday, October 24, 2017

VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Greetings from Refuge Ranch here in Central Mexico….my home and the center of Fishers of Men Ministries!

I never imagined that I would one day sit down to write a blog/letter/post such as this, but the Lord knew and is in our midst;  never-changing, always redeeming, never leaving and always loving.

We are only a few days away from the one year anniversary of my husband, Victor Zaragoza’s, agreeing to go to the United States at the request of a group of five godly men in order to spend, at that point, an undetermined amount of time in the United States for counseling and restoration for habitual sins that were affecting our marriage, family and ministry and had not found healing through less extreme means.

After six months of therapy and discipleship, Victor returned to Mexico this past April, yet not to our family nor to the ministry, as time was needed to give him the opportunity to live out in tangible ways what we hoped had been accomplished in his heart and mind during his stay in the U.S.

Sadly, now, six months later, a lack of fruit of repentance, sufficiently changed attitudes and transformed behaviors has revealed Victor’s continuing choice to not submit to the Lord’s leadership in his life. 

Therefore, I have made the decision to get a divorce, with the understanding of my Pastors and family that this is a necessary step, and with the permission granted by God’s Word, thereby ending our 18-year marriage, much of which was marked by abusive behaviors that placed both myself, our children and the ministry in spiritual, emotional and physical danger.

Those who know me, know that such a decision was only reached after gut-wrenching prayer, fasting, consideration, godly counsel from my pastors, leaders and family, and after years of marriage counseling, waiting, and forgiving time and again while hoping for a transformation.

I would ask for your fervent prayers for myself, my children and grandchildren as we seek the Lord’s comfort, healing and restoration.  And, of course, continue to pray for Victor.

I am fully committed to continue to carry out the Lord’s good will and work through Fishers of Men Ministries, both the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades and Refuge Ranch.  I felt the Lord’s call on my life at age 13 and specifically to Mexico at the age of 16, much before meeting Victor and becoming husband and wife.  Therefore, my call and commitment to the Lord and, specifically, to His work in Mexico through Fishers of Men remains steady, firm and lifelong.  The Lord has provided an incredible staff at Refuge Ranch, excellent leadership for the crusades, a Board of Directors and passionate volunteers, as well as each of you, to continue to grow and minister His love and hope to Mexico!

In order to clarify, a daughter organization grew out of Fishers of Men several years ago here in Mexico.  A body of believers began Fishers of Men Pacific (Pescadores de Hombres Pacifico) following the pattern of our Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades.  While we share a common love for Christ and for spreading the Gospel, as well as a very similar style of ministry and nearly identical logos, we are independent organizations and do not share leadership nor finances.  Victor has recently been involved with their organization, so I find it necessary to explain that any communication from him or photos that appear to be related to Fishers of Men MEXICO is not so.  He is no longer associated with Fishers of Men Ministries, commonly known here as Fishers of Men Mexico. 

Thank you for your continued prayers for the ministry and, especially, for your continued and generous financial support during this difficult and tumultuous time.  Such support allows me to concentrate on loving my children through these days, as well as leading the ministry and its volunteers.

Following Christ in a sinful world where He lovingly allows each of us to decide whether we want to live in accordance with His will and way or not, does not always pan out the way we had expected.  My heart is grieving, the tears are many and frequent, the hurt is oh so real, but I choose to trust daily that the reality of Christ’s love and Word is even more real! 

May you find, in the midst of your own challenges and turmoil, the same hope, security and love that I have found through God’s Word expressed through the prophet Isaiah when he wrote:

“But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you.” Isaiah 43:1-4

Lastly, I would request that any contact with my children be limited to expressions of support and care and that any questions regarding what I have shared here be directed to me.  Thank you!

In Christ,

Julie

Monday, May 15, 2017

Zaragoza Family Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As you may recall, last October a team of five Godly men, composed of Pastor Kirk Hanger (the founding pastor of our church here in Mexico), Pastor Ruben Bonilla (our current pastor), Pastor Dave Claassen, Elder Dan Claassen and Elder Adrian Tovar, formed an intervention team that confronted Victor Zaragoza with unrepentant sin present in his life and encouraged him to spend a time of restoration in the United States, under the leadership of Pastor Kirk and his wife, Marilyn, while working with a Christian therapist. 

Victor’s visa allowed him to stay a maximum of six months, which has now expired.  Therefore, he returned to Mexico on Monday, April 24th, where the restoration process continues.

As a part of this process, Victor is not living at the Ranch, but rather with his parents, while maintaining communication and visitation with the children.  He will also not be attending our same church.

As far as the crusade ministry, according to the decision of the Fishers of Men Board of Directors and the intervention team, Victor has agreed to not be in charge of nor participate in the crusades.  Adrian Tovar will continue to lead that portion of the ministry.

So, Julie Zaragoza, under the leadership of the Fishers of Men Board of Directors, now holds the position of General Director of Fishers of Men Ministries, Inc., which includes both Refuge Ranch and the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades, with Adrian Tovar serving as the Crusade Coordinator.

We thank the Lord that in these last 6 months, both ministries of Fishers of Men have continued to fulfill God’s plans and purposes!  At Refuge Ranch, the construction of the new main house continues to move forward!  In the last 6 months, we have poured over 60 columns and the entire first floor and are now working on all of the first floor headers!  Of course, the focus of Refuge Ranch is not on building a house, but the lives of our children.  Each of the 13 children at home, and the four children that live elsewhere, continue to grow, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually!  As for the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades, we finished out the 2016 calendar as planned and, by God’s grace so far in 2017, we have held five crusades and a two day volunteer training retreat.

We continue asking for your prayers for our family, for Victor, and for the ministry as we walk through this next stage of life, seeking the Lord’s full restoration in each of our lives, in our family, and His continued grace and power in the ministry!

In Christ,

Julie Zaragoza – Fishers of Men General Director
Bob Siler – Fishers of Men Board President
Don Current II – Fishers of Men Board Treasurer
Ashleigh Weis – Fishers of Men Board Secretary

Jen Yoder – Fishers of Men Board Member

Thursday, February 16, 2017

January Fishers of Men Photo Album

January Fishers of Men
Photo Album
The year started out with a wonderful work team, like nearly every year, from Blooming Glenn Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania.  Fishers of Men Board Member and dear friend of the family, Jen, organizes the team each year and Dave Moyer, with his incredible earth moving equipment, transforms the place!  This team does more in one week than what we could do in 6 months on our own!
The team poured the entire first floor of the main house!

A view of the entire work site.


The entire floor was poured using two hand-fed gas powered mixers.

Bucket after bucket after bucket after bucket...(you get the idea)
of gravel!
Adrian and Joseline
Cement bags, cement bags and more cement bags!
Our Fidel, Leo and Joseline with Beth, one of the team leaders
Leveling the cement
The view of the new house with the floor partially poured and
the excavating equipment working on the drain system.
David and Dave...a blessing each January with his giant earth moving equipment!


Hammering away!  If there is something we've got at the ranch....it's rock!
And then to move the dirt and rocks!
Working on the drain system.
The relationships developed, around a gravel pile or a card game,
are what makes these times so rich!


Jen, work team leader, Fishers of Men Board Member,
and dearly beloved friend of our family, with our eldest, Angie

Our son, Miguel, with Josh...friends are the best!

Carolina having fun with Josh!

Jen always lovingly purchases flowers for Danny's grave
and accompanies us there to remember.

 On January 21, Fishers of Men held the first Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade of the year, a local one day crusade at our church, Peace Christian Church.  During the day of work, 213 attentions were given and 22 individuals prayed to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The crusade team

Adrian, our crusade coordinator, leading morning devotions.
Vero leading worship during devotions with Joel and our son, Leo.

The registration area.
Nursing

General Medicine
Dentistry
Dentistry
Cleaning dental instruments
Massage therapy
Our daughter, Ana, sorting medicine.
Hair cuts with evangelism
Evangelism
An aerial view of the sanctuary doubling as the crusade site.
I, Julie, had the privilege of working in children's ministry.
These kids LOVED playing with the flannel board after we were done with the lesson.
Working the puppets.
 
Clowning

Handing out Operation Christmas Child Boxes from Samaritan's Purse

Then, on January 28th, we had the enormous joy and privilege of celebrating the 15th birthday of our daughter, Joseline.  While she has chosen to take a trip with me as her gift, which we will go on later this spring, we had a special gathering of friends and family at the Ranch to celebrate her life on her birthday!  And quite the celebration it was!  Thank you, Jesus!

Joseline and Adrian

The worship service 

Our beautiful daughter, Joseline

Vero sharing a wonderful message from God's Word!

The fifteenth birthday celebration at Refuge Ranch.

The most important people in Joseline's life praying a blessing over here:
Myself (Julie);  Mireya (her teacher) and her husband, Jorge; Pastor Ruben and Ely;
Vero and Adrian; Isma and Mari (her youth leaders)

My precious, precious daughter!

Leading worship

Joseline and her candy bar

Me and (most) of my kids!

Adrian, Joseline, Isaac and Vero

Cake!!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017...(dot, dot, dot)

2017...(dot, dot, dot)

Those three little dots after a date, or after a phrase, hold so much unknown!  What do they hold for 2017?  How much living, dying, joy, pain, success, failure, tears and laughter are hidden in those three little ink spots?

We may not know what those ink spots hold for this coming year, but we can know who holds each of the more than 31 million upcoming seconds contained in the dates whose commas will be followed by 2017.

"But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in your hands."  
Psalm 31:14-15a

The anticipation that comes with following Christ can nearly take your breath away!  Not knowing what the future holds, yet having the privilege of personally knowing the One for whom the future has already passed, creates a security beyond human comprehension and provides the freedom to move fully into a future fully safe in His hands!

Those of us entrusted with the leadership of Fishers of Men Ministries feel this sense of anticipation as we begin to get glimpses of what the Lord may desire to do in this year!  In upcoming blogs, I will share more about His moving here at Refuge Ranch, but today I want to share with you what we trust the Lord has prepared for the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades!

2017 Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade Calendar
(Local one or two day crusades are written in normal font; while bold font represents full length crusades.)


January 21

Iglesia Cristiana de Paz, 
Ixtapaluca, State of Mexico
February

1 & 2
3 & 4

EMMC Inventory
EMMC Conference

February 13 - 20

Comala & Remudadero, Colima

March 4

Chalco, State of Mexico

March 15 -18

Chilpancingo, Guerrero

April 1& 2

El Triunfo, Mexico City

April 10 -15

Durango, Durango

May 8- 12

Teziutlan, Puebla

June 12 - 19

Oaxaca & Puebla
July

12 & 13
14 & 15

EMMC Inventory
EMMC Conference

August*

Jalapa de Diaz, Oaxaca

September 4 - 10

Uruapan & Lombardía, Michoacán

October 3 - 12

Los Mochis**

November 6 - 10

Veracruz

November 18

Xola, Mexico City
December 4 - 8


Cuautla, Texcala, Morelos




"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." Matthew 9:35

The Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade (EMMC) teams seek to emulate this verse as they take the good news of the kingdom to the towns and villages mentioned above, working through the local church and healing as many diseases and sicknesses as the Lord empowers them to heal!

Thank you for praying for each of these crusades: for the volunteers, their safety, the provision for all of the earthly resources required to carry out a crusade (anywhere from $1500 to $2500 for a weeklong crusade during which hundreds of individuals receive free personal care and attention), the local churches that host each of the crusades, and, most importantly, for each and every individual that will receive free medical care and have the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and find true and eternal healing from the greatest illness of all....sin!

We especially covet your prayers for Adrian and Vero Tovar and their son, Isaac, as they lead the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade ministry!



So, let's get on with the dot, dot, dot and see what God has in store for 2017!