Greetings from Atoyac, a small town on the western side of Mexico, about an hour northwest of Acapulco.
Today is January 23. I arrived Thursday from Chiapas, where we had just concluded a week of ministry. We had a Women’s Conference with a group of ladies from Preston Wood Church of Dallas. The group was headed by Judy Pogue, who did an incredible job of ministering. Thursday, the group and my wife, Mary Lou, returned to Dallas, and I came here to Atoyac to check on the medical clinic and churches. I am sitting on the porch of the small house that I built some 32 years ago having coffee with Tom Shaffer, director of the medical ministry and Julio Maya, my first convert here in the early 1980s. The clinic looks great, and the Atoyac church looks fantastic. The people doubled the size of the auditorium.
I will return home on the 25th, and two days later I will be in the Northern area of Mexico, again doing the same thing. Visiting pastors and their churches. After this, I return home for about a week, and then back to Chiapas.
Some may ask “Do you ever get tired?” Physically, sometimes. Mentally, no. There is still so much to be done. Pastor Dan Dean of the singing group Philip Craig and Dean was with us in Chiapas a year or so ago. He had come to visit the church that he had financially built. As he looked at the building and the congregation, he said, “Why was I born in the United States where we have so much and the people here have so little?” I think the answer to that question is in order to help fulfill Isaiah 61. To take Good News to the afflicted, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners. Also, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress. (James 1:27) You will notice on the back of this letter a picture of one of our favorite orphans. Seleni is 15 years old. She cannot speak, but she can smile and pray. God understands her smiles and her unspoken prayers.
I will not bore you with a long letter. Let me just tell you that today is a very special day for me. Looking back over these last 39 years. Remembering the days of hard work and sweat, constantly praying for financial help to keep the work going. Every once in a while, God would leave a little nugget, much like what the Word describes in Ruth 3. “As Ruth was gleaning in the field of Boaz, he said to his harvesters, ‘let her glean among the sheaves, and do not insult her, and also pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean. And do not disturb her.’” Another translation says, “handfuls on purpose”.
Last week, God dropped another little nugget for me. A young man, perhaps 30 years old, was on his knees praying at the end of the service. I knelt by him and prayed with him and for him. When he stood up, I saw a puddle of tears on the floor. I do not know his need, but I am sure that our Lord knows and will help.
That’s what drives me onward. That, and knowing that you care too.
God bless you and keep you safe.