Monday, October 28, 2013

The Dead Shall Live
Marigold flowers are used in large quantities
Yesterday began el día de los muertos (day of the dead) in Mexico.  It is actually almost a full week when people remember their dead, cleaning their tombs and setting up altars.  I have read many opinions about how día de los muertos is a wonderful way for people to remember their loved ones and how children grow up without fear of death, because they learn to see it as a natural part of life.  To a casual observer, perhaps this looks true.  Pretty flowers, freshly painted graves, offerings and altars, families passing the day at graveyards, cleaning the tombs and picnicking there.

 But just as pretty wild flowers hide piles of trash and graffiti around Huejotzingo, so do these practices hide some ugly truths.
The altars are built in people´s homes with offerings of what the dead person used to favor in life.  The families who set up the altars invite the spirits of their dead to return for a visit during the día de los muertos.  People put crosses of marigold petals outside their doors so that the spirits can find their way.  However, the Bible is clear that we should  not call on the spirits of the dead;  in the Old Testament, those who consulted the dead were condemned to death.
Simply talking with people shows that the fear of death is just as strong in Mexicans as it is anywhere else.  Although children grow up visiting graveyards each year, the familiarity with death´s reality does not remove fear.&nbsp
This coming Sunday we will celebrate life in the children´s club.  We will tell the story of Ezequiel 37 in the valley of bones. "The Lord put his strong hand on me. His Spirit brought me away from my home. He put me down in the middle of a valley. It was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them. I saw a huge number of bones in the valley. The bones were very dry. The Lord asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Lord and King, you are the only one who knows.” he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones. Tell them, ‘Dry bones, listen to the Lord’s message. The Lord and King speaks to you. He says, “I will put breath in you. Then you will come to life again. Then you will know that I am the LORD."  

What a beautiful message of LIFE!  Please pray with us that the children receive the light and life of Jesus within them, and that they share the message with others.   Pray that the fear of death can be swallowed up in the assurance of eternal life in Christ for those who believe in him as the only Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A new ministry and others vacation Bible school ended, Abraham and a Christian neighbor who had helped us during the week discussed how they could continue following up with the pre teen and teen boys that had attended.  Dany, our neighbor, knows how to play guitar, so Abraham and he decided to start a guitar class and study time on Sunday evenings after kids´ club ends.  They now have a regular group of four who learn guitar chords and then read and discuss a chapter out of Josh McDowell´s book No Dejes tu Cerebro en la Puerta (Don´t Leave Your Brain at the Door).  Abraham says that the teens have many questions and enter into the talks with interest.  Two of the four teens do not attend any other activity that we have at our home, so it is especially encouraging that they come on Sunday evenings.

There are many Bible verses about idolatry
Recently two adults joined the kids on Sunday afternoons to hear the Bible story and participate in the activity after the story.  They are neighbors who live across the street from us.  The mother and two of the children are Christian, but the rest of the family is not.  The father has talked with Abraham several times, and he has many questions.  On Monday he asked for a list of Bible verses addressing idolatry.  Please pray for him and his family.  He struggles with alcoholism, just like many of the Huejotzingo residents do.

Practicing vocabulary in advanced class

Although we have few students in the English classes, the ones who come are consistent.  We have two levels of classes.  The more advanced students have class on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the newer students attend on Saturday.  We hope to open a new group for some adults who already speak English - most of them lived in the States for quite a while - but they want to practice so that they don´t forget what they know.  We will read the book The Blood of Lambs by Kamal Saleem for an hour each Friday, if the time works out for the various adults.  If that class opens, it will start in the next few weeks.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  We are encouraged by the new ministry opportunities, but there is still so much need in the community.  Pray for safety and health and for wisdom as we live and work here.  Please also pray specifically for one of the young ladies we have known for a long time.  A few weeks ago, just a week after her fourteenth birthday, she asked during prayer time that we pray that she not be pregnant.  Shortly after that, she went away with her grandma to another state, supposedly to learn to be a beautician, but that seems strange since there are many places she could learn in Huejotzingo.