Tuesday, May 31, 2011

EMMC to Michoacan: May 15-21, 2011

I am excited to be translating this blog from Spanish into English in order to share it with you. Adrian and Vero (two of our staff members at Refuge Ranch and Victor's two right hands on crusades) keep up a Spanish Fishers of Men blog where they do a great job sharing about all that the Lord does on the crusades. Since my world is nearly consumed by all that happens at Refuge Ranch, I sometimes forget to share with you all that the Lord does OUTSIDE of Refuge Ranch! So, enjoy a trip outside of Refuge Ranch!

On this last crusade, we visited the beautiful state of Michoacan. We worked in two different locations: in the city of Morelia with Pastor Pinon and in Copandaro with the missionary pastor Israel Arroyo. Why have we decided to call this crusade the "humility crusade"? Because in this crusade we saw the power of God in his servants that are humble and we were witnesses of the spiritual and physical needs of the people of Michoacan.

We were blessed once again with the presence of Dr. Miguel Angel, one of the most recognized dentists and professors in Morelia, who gave his time, along with Dr. Leslie, to attend to the needs of individuals who had never before been to a dentist. Brother Juan is one of the most recognized hairdressers in Morelia, who normally only accepts clients by appointment (most hairdressers in Mexico work with walk-ins), but on this crusade he made an appointment with God to be able to attend to others with love and give encouragement to the newest and most humble believers. Together with his coworker, Dolores, they were able to physically and spiritually transform lives. In the same way, Dr. Martin Cortes, an orthopedic doctor, helped us out with his specialty, as well as donating medicine and Christian literature to help spread the gospel. We glorify God that Fishers of Men is able to provide such excellent and free care to those who attend the crusade.

In the city of Morelia we were able to serve in Becky’s church, one of the evangelists on the crusade team. We saw powerful testimonies of people who received treatment. One example was Guadalupe, who visited the gynecologist, Dr. Elizabeth. Besides the physical treatment she received, she experienced spiritual healing from the trauma caused by her husband who repeatedly told her that she was a piece of garbage. She discovered that God Almighty didn’t think that about her and that He loved her and wanted to restore her life. Guadalupe had previously met Brother Joaquin, Becky’s own father. While Brother Joaquin had shared the Gospel with Guadalupe, she had never made a decision for Christ. Now Becky had the opportunity to harvest the seeds previously planted by her own father as she led Guadalupe to pray and accept Jesus Christ. Glory to God!

Pastor Pinon, pastor of the church in Morelia, has a musical group, along with his sons, of Norteno style music (from northern Mexico). It was a great opportunity to sing a new song to the Lord!

On our day off we went to visit the pastor on the island of Janitzio, where we held a crusade several years ago. (There is a large lake in the state of Michoacan. The island of Janitzio is situated in middle of that lake.) The local Christian brothers and sisters invited us to a delicious meal consisting of the island’s traditional foods. We ate in their new church building, which was built with much hard work and love offerings from generous brothers and sisters in Christ. We were able to tentatively plan a crusade to Janitzio for next year, 2012, Lord willing.

The second place where we worked was the town of Copandaro with Brother Israel Arroyo and we saw God’s powerful hand as the Good News was spread. Do you remember the day of Pentecost where there were people from all over the ancient world celebrating Passover? A similar situation happened here. There were people from many communities surrounding Copandaro present in order to participate in a governmental social program “Opportunities.” We weren’t expecting that, but the Lord worked it out so that those individuals had the best opportunity of their lives – to know Jesus Christ! Many of those present for the government handouts took advantage of the chance to get a free medical exam and, through the crusade, found the Lord of lords. People from many different towns accepted Jesus Christ.

One of the women who accepted Christ was a prostitute, but the love and dignified treatment she received from the crusade team moved her heart and sensitized her to God’s call on her life to rescue her. She later went and got a friend of hers, also a prostitute. The result was the same! After feeling loved, respected and dignified, she opened her heart to the Lord.

The place where we held the crusade in Copandaro was the home of Mr. Jose, an elderly man, widower and who lived alone. He agreed to loan us his home because his grandson, Manuel, is one of the few members of the congregation of Copandaro. Throughout the days we were there, Mr. Jose could see Jesus in each member of the crusade team and he ended up accepting Christ! He cried and could not contain his excitement, calling each of his children who live in other states to tell them that he was a Christian. As fruit of his conversion, he offered to donate a piece of land so that a church can be built and to sell another piece of land in order to help with the cost of building the church!

We would like to share with you a bit of the testimony of Brother Israel, a servant of the Lord and a man of prayer. Having been pastor in a comfortable situation with a strong church, he left it all to become a missionary in the town of Copandaro, obeying God’s call. Copandaro is a town full of idolatry and he was asked by some of the local people to leave. Brother Israel responded that he would leave town when there were no more alcoholics, prostitutes or drug addicts. Even though he has very few financial resources, when there is a family in need, he gives all that he has. We ask you to pray for him – that the Lord may continue to strengthen and bless him. He has a special prayer request – that the Lord would send him a wife, his helpmate, since he is single and, as a responsible and respected pastor, knows that he needs a woman who loves God in order to minister to the women and share her life with him.

We glorify God that we were able to attend to 574 patients and that 205 souls accepted Jesus Christ in our five days of work. We know very well that without Jesus and his backing nothing of this would be accomplished. We are simply instruments in His hands and we feel honored to have the opportunity to serve Him. We thank each of one you for your collaboration, prayers, offerings and attention and we pray that the Lord may continue to bless you. May you know that you are very much loved in the Lord!

Team members on the Michoacan crusade, May 15-21, 2011: Victor, Dr. Escamilla, Dr. Martin, Adrian, Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Leslie, Dr. Miguel Angel, Dr. Isabel, Miram, Magda, Becky, Marisol, Dolores, Juan, Rosa, Dulce, Vero, Amado, Mark, Gaby, Helen, Martha and Mimi.