Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Bishop’s Christmas Letter

Here is a copy of our Christmas letter, enjoy!

December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas! Since this has been such an amazing year for our family, we decided to write about it in our first Christmas letter. God has gotten us through the difficulties and given us multiple blessings.

Barry – God answered our prayers in a big way this year, as Barry has seen his dream of pastoring and preaching become a reality. The year started out with a mission trip to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. Barry loved sharing the Gospel there so much that now he is helping his professor lead the 2009 trip. Over spring break, Barry had the opportunity to preach a revival near Spokane, Washington. He preached another revival in May when God sent us to Wamsutter, Wyoming. Shortly after returning from the trip, Barry was called to pastor at Hay Valley Baptist Church in his hometown of Gatesville, Texas. (We still live close to the seminary in Fort Worth and drive to his mom’s house on the weekends.) What a blessing the church has been to us! We have felt their love and have enjoyed being a part of the family. Barry had a lot on his plate this Fall: pastoring, assisting Dr. Carrigan, being ordained, and taking 16 hours of classes! But God has been gracious and good. Barry will likely graduate with his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in May.

Karen – The highlight of Karen’s year was vacationing in Estes Park, Colorado. On the way to Wyoming for Barry’s revival, our family spent a few days enjoying the awesome beauty of God’s creation at the Rocky Mountain National Park. Karen had fun this summer getting to know people from church and participating in Vacation Bible School. The Fall was very busy for Karen, too. As the Vice President of Metochai, the Seminary wives’ organization, she lined up the speakers for the year. As Publicity Chair for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), she put together the monthly newsletter. She also took a night class designed for seminary wives. But mostly, Karen spends her time taking care of her husband, children, and home.

Abigail – Our little princess turned 3 this year, and what better way to celebrate than having a princess party! She came as Cinderella, one of her favorite characters. Her biggest hobby right now is building really elaborate towers with wooden blocks. She goes to a two-hour a week preschool at the Fort Worth Museum in which she learns about a different animal or nature topic every week. She is starting to learn how to sound out simple words. Here favorite things include Dora, Curious George, BOZ, Little People, and Veggie Tales. Funny quote: Pointing at a stained glass window in the middle of the children’s sermon at Hay Valley, she shouted, “Look Daddy, there’s a shepherd! It’s Jesus!”

Reuben – Mr. Reu celebrated his 1st birthday this year with a BOZ, the big green bear, cake. He’s a very active little boy now. His favorite activities include climbing, turning knobs, pushing buttons, shutting doors, eating and playing peek-a-boo. He’s very smiley and cuddly. He’s just now starting to say more words, like “row row row” and “poo poo.”

New Baby – That’s right! We’re expecting another one in July. We’re excited and thankful to God for this huge blessing!

May you have a wonderful Christmas as you remember the miracle of the Savior’s birth. "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). –Matthew 1:23

The Bishops

Saturday, August 16, 2008

7th Heaven

Here's us on our wedding day 7 years ago:

So happy and in love back then, and even more so now! We celebrated our 7th Anniversary last Monday, August 11th. Bet you didn't know that the 7th anniversary is the "Copper Anniversary." We stayed one night at the historic Inn at Salado. We'd never stayed at a bed and breakfast before -- very romantic! We also dined at the Stagecoach Inn and went to see "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 3D. Talk about an awesome date! (Big points for Barry!)

That was the longest time I'd ever been away from Reuben, and I missed him, but he did fine with Granny. He still nurses 2-3 times a day and he walks a little bit. I can't turn my back away from him for even a minute these days without him climbing up on the table or playing with the lamp or electrical cords. The two kids are making it quite impossible to keep a clean house, but I like that they are interacting more, even if it does cause some spats over toys. Abigail's imagination has really grown and it's fun to see her pretend to be a cat or an angel. Everybody always comments on how long her hair is now. My friend pointed out that we may have to cut it soon so that it doesn't get into the potty!

We're still enjoying getting to know everyone at Hay Valley Baptist Church. Barry is doing a great job preaching on Sundays. We had over 50 kids at the Vacation Bible School last month. It was a really fun and special time for our church. Barry had to kiss a pig at the end of it because the boys lost the fundraising war against the girls. We raised over $500 to give to the Texas Baptist Children's Home for school supplies.

Barry will start the Fall semester on Thursday. I'm sure it'll prove to be difficult since he's taking 16 hours, is still grading for an Evangelism professor, and is a part-time pastor. But, we feel like we're almost in the home stretch since graduation will hopefully be in May.

I'm going to be pretty busy myself this semester. Since Reuben's officially a toddler now, I volunteered to be an officer with Metochai (seminary wives organization) and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I may have bit off more than I can chew, though. I'm just praying that God will help me be faithful and efficient, and that the women in these organizations will feel encouraged and loved.

We plan to come into Austin on August 24th at 3 pm for the service at Liveoak Bible Church. We hope to see many of you old friends there! Also, Barry will be ordained soon and we'd love it if you would come to that service. It will be in Gatesville at our church on a Sunday afternoon -- possibly September 28th.
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Monday, June 30, 2008

Barry Bishop, Pastor?

Barry just began his first pastorate! Hay Valley Baptist Church near Gatesville, TX voted on June 1st. It's a small country church. Everyone has welcomed us with open arms and has been so sweet to us. Please pray that God will use us to love and minister to all the people there. Please also pray for safe travel there and back on the weekends, as we will continue to live in Fort Worth until Barry receives his degree in May, God willing. We wanted to share some pictures with you.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Wowie BOZowee 1st Birthday!

Reuben's 1st birthday was Friday, May 30th. We had a BOZ theme, complete with a birthday cake made by me and decorated by my good friend Christina. It turned out great! BOZ is a big green bear who is like a Christian version of Barney. We have all the DVDs and highly recommend them for preschoolers. Please don't be offended if you didn't get an invitation to his party -- we didn't have much time to send them out because of our vacation, so we just did a small get-together with our neighbors.

To update you on Reuben, he can crawl on his and hands and knees, walk behind a push toy and along furniture, and climb stairs. He weights 18 lbs. 11 oz. and has no teeth. He just started saying "da-da." Everybody always comments on how happy and good-natured he is. We just love him and his big sis to pieces!
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Siblings Sharing

Abigail loves to share a "big chip" with "Baby Reuben." It's actually a rice cracker (Baby Mum-Mums).
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh yes, Wyoming!

Check out the web album I just uploaded (click above). We'll have to write more later, but as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words anyway.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Princess Turns 3

We had a blast at Abigail's 3rd birthday party! We had a princess/dress-up party -- so fun! Abigail loved being Cinderella. Here are the lyrics to a Steven Curtis Chapman song that will make you cry (it certainly made us tear up):

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I'm sittin' here wearin' the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It's been a long day and there's still work to do,
She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I'd approve of a dress
She says "Dad, the prom is just one week away,
And I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
She will be gone.

Well, she came home today
With a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says "Dad, the wedding's due six months away
And I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
(even one song)
Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

World's worst blog--What I ate today

I have started using a website called the "daily plate dot com" to keep track of the calories I take in every day. It is a really cool site!

I have noticed for some time that I have been steadily gaining weight. Okay, I've been noticing for a few years now but I haven't done anything about it. =o) I mean, when I was in my teens and early 20's I could eat a ton of junk food and not gain an ounce!

However, I have been hoping for a while that somehow I would lose the weight despite the fact that I eat junk and don't work out.

For the last two days however (Tues. & Weds.) I have turned over a new leaf, as you can see in my food journal. I have kept under my daily allowance of calories and I have done a little bit of exercise. However, today I had a biscuit with gravy which was like a calorie/fat bombshell.

I hope I can keep this up. Honestly, I struggle with food because I really like to eat and usually eat more than I should. As a Christian I want to honor the Lord with my body. Also, I don't want to be addicted to something unhealthy. I have many times thought that my overeating is a spiritual problem. I am using food for pleasure or comfort when I am stressed rather than turning to the Lord in prayer. This would be a form of idolatry and gluttony. When it is put that way then it sounds really serious!

So I would appreciate your prayers for me. I am praying that Lord will help me to have self-control, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Ultimately, the Christian life is daily yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In following Him, with the help of the Spirit you will act more like Jesus.

PS The fruits of the Spirit are found in those who have been born again (John 3). This is because those who have been born again have the Holy Spirit (John 14 specifically verse 16). If you examine your life and find you do not have any of the fruits of the Spirit found in Gal. 5:22-23 then it very well could be that you have not been born again ("saved," "regenerated.") The good news is that there is hope. Click here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Christmas 1993 - woah!

My cousin Les (a.k.a "Gator") sent me this picture a few months ago and only now do I have the courage to post it.

From left to right are my Aunt Leslie, Dori (brother's girlfriend), my brother Ray, Aunt LaQuinta, Uncle Murl, my grandma Jewel, my mom Mary, Cousin Les, and (sigh) me.

Notice that I am the only one wearing shorts. I guess it was because I wanted to show off my chicken legs. However, I thought legs were supposed to be dark meat, not pasty white. I estimate that I was 14 at the time of this picture. You could say I was at that awkward stage but honestly I looked this way for the next 7 years after that.

Thank you, Les, for the picture. It brought back memories of the good times at Maw-maw Bishop's house.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Snow Day

After losing all hope of seeing snow this year, God surprised us yesterday with the unexpected!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Please Pray for Me

I have an opportunity through the seminary that is exciting and terrifying! March 16-19 I will be preaching during revival meetings in a church outside of Spokane, Washington.

Please pray that God will send revival in my life, among the people of that church, and their community.

However, you may be asking, "What is revival?" Good question, I'm glad you asked. Here's two quotes that help describe it:
"[Revival is] the strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessings." --Stephen Olford

"The renewal of the first love of Christians, resulting in the awakening and conversion of sinners... It reclaims the backslidden church and awakens all classes." --Charles Finney

In others words, it is when God visits in a powerful way that results in the salvation of sinners and the renewal (revival) of the saved.**

Since it is a move of God we, as Christians, cannot generate revival by having special meetings, music, or guest preachers. All we can do is pray and ask the Lord to revive us and leave it in His hands to do so. However, we may not be able to control or predict the wind, but we can set our sails so that it catches the wind if it does blow. For this reason, we have revival meetings.

So what are revival meetings? In my case it will be four days of special meetings at the church, sharing the Gospel in the community and doing other visitations. I will be preaching evangelistic messages for the congregation and any guests they bring as well as sermons geared toward following Christ.

Again, please pray for me. I took this assignment on faith. I have preached about 5 times in my life and now I will be preaching 5 times in 4 days.

I have to admit that I am extremely weak and to accomplish something like this is beyond me. But I want you to know that God is God and He can do awesome things through weak people. I hope to report to you in a month or so all the awesome things He did during that week.

Please pray for me. Did I mention I would like you to pray? On your mark, get set, pray!

**To see if revival is biblical, check out the following places:
  • Gen. 35:1-15 - Jacob's household
  • 2 Chron. 15:1-15 - Asa
  • 2 Kings 11-12; 2 Chron. 23-24 - Joash
  • 2 Kings 18:4-7 - Hezekiah
  • Nehemiah 9-12 - Nehemiah
Also, "the Lord calls the church to repent and return to an intimate love relationship (Rev. 2:2-4, 14-16; 3:1, 3, 15-16, 19)"

A lot of the ideas above were taken from the book Revival 101 by Dale Schlafer.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mexico Mission Trip Report and More

I just returned from a mission trip to Ciudad Acuna in Mexico (just across the border from Del Rio, Texas). Our mission was to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many as possible. It was an awesome time of seeing the amazing work of God! 30 of us seminary students, with limited resources, time, and language skills were able to share the gospel hundreds of times (maybe even thousands), and give out over 10,000 gospel tracts. There were hundreds that responded to hearing the gospel by repenting and professing faith for the first time in Christ alone.

Below is a travel journal that I kept. It is pretty long so if you plan to read it you may want to read it one travel day at a time. Enjoy!

January 5, 2008

Today has been a day of travel. We left this morning at 6:30 and things went smoothly. Unfortunately, I have carried a lot more baggage coming into this trip than what I packed in a suitcase. What I mean is that I am still emotionally drained from the difficult semester I just finished, the hectic pace of my holiday travels, and the everyday worries of finances and future. Therefore, my prayers today have been to ask God to calm my heart. Also, I have asked for forgiveness for the bad attitudes I have been carrying and my ungodly worrying.

I really want to be used by God to share the Gospel in Ciudad Acuña because peoples’ souls are at stake. But first I have to get over my own selfishness.

As the day’s travel progressed my attitude improved. Also, I began to think more of the team and our mission in Acuña. I also got excited a little about the prospect of seeing God work firsthand in people’s lives.

By the end of the day I also felt less lonely as I got to know more people on the team and began to feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself.

The day ended at Acuña with a bright week ahead.


Thank you, Lord, for allowing me the privilege of sharing the Gospel. Please help me to love You enough to obey You and to love others enough to share your truth with them. Please give me clarity and boldness tomorrow. Amen.

January 6, 2008

The day began at 6:00 for me. Although this is a little early for me, I felt refreshed after getting some sleep since the previous day was so tiresome from traveling. I read my Bible and was challenged by Genesis 7-8. Noah is protected from God’s judgment by the ark and in the same way we are protected by being covered by Jesus. I vowed to take this point and share Christ with others today.

Next, at 8:00, I went to Dr. Calvert’s devotional meeting. It was great because he used the story of David and Goliath to encourage us to go forth in the strength of the Lord.

Next, my group traveled to La Iglesia de la Roca (Church of the Rock) where we were to assist with Sunday morning evangelistic visitations. When we arrived at the church our team of 6 broke into 3 and 3. I was one of the three who stayed behind to help with the children during the normal Sunday service. To be honest, I would have rather gone out to share the Gospel but our leaders decided the groups based on language proficiency.

However, it was good to serve the church in this capacity. There were a lot of children and I know that our help allowed their parents to worship God and listen without distraction. Actually, we helped the pastor’s wife with the kids and she was really good. We played games and colored and learned Bible verses through simple activities like having the kids write “Fe es un regalo de Dios –Eph 2:8” (“Faith is a gift of God.”) At the end of the Sunday morning service the rest of our group returned and reported that 6 people had prayed to ask the Lord to save them! That really excited me. We had a good lunch and got to know some of the local pastors better. When we returned to the hotel, I used the time we had before the evening service to pray and play worship songs on the guitar. I wanted to make sure my heart was right before God because I had to help lead worship at the church that evening.

Later, when we did lead worship it was a great experience because I heard the congregation praising God in their own language. At times while I was playing the guitar I would sing out in Spanish. During the song “Cuan Grande es El” (“How Great Thou Art”), I sung the chorus with all my heart but I am not sure others heard me above their own hearty singing. It did not matter though because I was truly praising God—even in another language!

I am usually not very charismatic or emotional but this time I found myself saying things spontaneously like “Thank you, Jesus!” during the song. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit pealed back the hardness of my heart tonight long enough for me to see, hear and praise Him.

After we sang, Chris preached the Gospel and Nelson translated. Nelson did such a wonderful job in translating that I can not help but wonder if he was spiritually gifted to do so. There were no salvations tonight that I know of but God was glorified all the same. I look forward to tomorrow and to hitting the streets to tell others about the saving love of Jesus Christ.


Lord, please humble me and let me rely only on You. Amen.

January 7, 2008

Today began with Bible reading and personal prayer. I read about God’s promise to Noah in Genesis to never again destroy the world by water. I thought about the rainbow in the sky that God said was a sign of that covenant and I thought about how many rainbows I have seen in my life. God is so faithful! He never forgets. He keeps His promises. And yet I was reminded by this passage that a day of judgment is coming when God will judge everyone according to what they have done. Those who did not trust Jesus alone and His death on the cross as the payment for their sins will spend an eternity in Hell. I wanted this to motivate me to share the Gospel with people for the day.

Dr. Calvert lead a devotional time again this morning at 8:30 and this time he talked about putting on the full armor of God as mentioned in Ephesians 6. Also, Dr. Calvert talked about there not being gloves in God’s armor and made an analogy that we need to touch people’s lives and not be afraid to get our hands dirty with people who have messy lives (drugs, mistresses, alcohol, etc.) This was an encouragement to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with everyone, including someone who we might consider a “moral leper”.

After the devotional time the group that I am a part of traveled to the church we are helping this week and we went door-to-door sharing the Gospel, handing out tracts, and talking with people. We walked around in some very poor and dirty neighborhoods near the church. Stray dogs roamed the bumpy, dirty streets.

However, from what I have seen of Ciudad Acuña, I am not sure that this neighborhood was any dirtier than others. To Americans like me, this kind of environment can evoke all sorts of emotions like sympathy, or even pride and disgust. More important than the environment though was that people—souls created in the image of God—lived there and needed the life-giving message of God.

I discovered that the people here in Acuña Mexico are friendly and transparent. They are all so easy to talk to and open to hearing about God. Of course some of who we talked to today wanted to hang on to their own good works and righteousness or put their trust in the Catholic Church for their salvation rather than Jesus. Many, however, listened to us patiently and 14 people today prayed to ask Jesus to forgive them and save them. That was just from our team of 6 people alone and there are 4 other teams!

I shared the Gospel with several people in broken Spanish. I shared the Gospel with one girl, who was about 14, and she said she agreed to all the facts that I had asked her about (“does she believe in God, Jesus, that she is a sinner, that Christ died for her sins...”)

However, when I asked her where she would go when she died (Heaven or Hell) she said “I don’t know”, then she timidly said “heaven?” I asked her why she thought she would go to heaven but she did not know a reason. So I shared with her again the Good News that although she was a sinner and therefore deserved hell from a righteous God, that God loved us so much He sent his Son to die on a cross and pay for her sins and if she trusted in Jesus alone she could be totally forgiven. I told her she needed to pray and ask for forgiveness and to trust Jesus alone.

At the beginning of our conversation she was a normal 14year old—bubbly, excited, and laughing. By this point she had changed enough to be quiet and misty-eyed. She said she understood now and wanted to pray. I was very touched and humbled that God would use me to share His Good News and change the life of this young girl.

We continued sharing with as many people in the neighborhood as we could. Later, I was rushed to a church (Nuevo Jerusalen) to help play worship songs. We were late and got lost on the way but arrived just as the service started and we were able to play. God is so awesome! One of our fellow missionaries preached and at the end of the service many in this small church came forward to pray and cry. I am not sure what each of them prayed for but it was evident that God was moving in people’s hearts. I am shocked to see how God is working here and I am hoping to have a revival in my heart as well so that my indifference and callousness towards the things of God is removed.


Lord, I am sorry that I have a let the trials and busyness of life close my eyes to loving others and You. Please forgive me. Amen.

January 8, 2008

Today is a great day! During the morning devotional time, Dr. Calvert talked about building up others with our speech (and tearing them down with negative speech). Our speech has such power in it. Ironically, with the same mouth that we praise God, we say curses.

At 10:00 this morning we returned to “la Roca” and went to the surrounding neighborhoods to share the Gospel. We broke up into groups to walk down the street and share with whoever was outside or whoever would answer their door. We would use a questionnaire that is in Spanish to share the Gospel and when we reached the end we would usually grab a translator (someone on our team who is proficient in Spanish) to clarify whether the person understood the Gospel and if they wanted to respond to it and be saved.

However, our little group got separated early from the others and I ended up being the translator for our group. I did not think I would be able to be a translator before coming on the trip but God helped me today. In fact, some of the first people we met were three guys leaning on a truck. All three understood the Gospel and prayed. ¡Gloria a Dios! All I can say is that God uses our meager gifts for His glory.

For lunch we went to Sorianos (a store very much like Super Wal-Mart) and after eating in the deli we went out in the parking lot to share the Gospel with people there and at the bus stop. One of the guys there said he would come to church the following day. That made me excited because I will be preaching during that service. Later in the afternoon we went to the neighborhood around a local church (Iglesia Bautista Bet-El). Again I was the translator for my small group. Basically, the more small groups the team can break up into, then the more ground we can cover.

This time I had a lot more confidence in translating since God had blessed us so much earlier in the day with communication and salvations. I do not quite remember how many people we talked to in a short time but something like 4 or 6 people prayed to be saved.

The amazing thing is that I have been a Christian for almost 10 years. I have shared the Gospel many times but today is the first time I have ever led someone in a prayer of repentance and is was about 6-8 people. All I can say is that God is awesome.

Later that night at a church service we played music again. At one point during the service everyone was praying and crying out to God while Jacob and I sang. I looked over at Jacob while we were playing “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and tears were streaming down his face. God is at work in Mexico and I am so encouraged by this because it made me realize that God is moving not just here but when I return home to Texas (if I will only trust Him).

January 9, 2008

What can I say? Today was an answer to many prayers. This morning after getting out of bed and getting ready for the day, I sang a song as a prayer:

Take my life and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee

Take my Hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love

At the impulse of Thy love

I believe God answered this prayer. A group of about 8 of us went to share the Gospel in the neighborhoods near the church, Bet-El. I was struck by the contrast between the beauty of the landscape and the trash around the ramshackle, cinder block houses. Now that I think of it, it is an analogy for the beautiful, precious souls of the people who live here and the filthiness of their sins before a righteous God.

Today I did not have the privilege of leading someone in a prayer of repentance but I did have the privilege of sharing the Gospel many times. We would walk to houses, knock on doors, and engage people with the Gospel (at the very least we gave them tracts). We dodged a lot of dogs. Many people have guard dogs and not all of them are on chains! One man we spoke with was a solid Christian and that was encouraging. Two teenage boys listened carefully and intently to the Gospel but wanted to think further about it before surrendering to God. One man talked to us on the porch for a long time. He was very friendly and listened carefully to us. His wife is a Jehovah’s Witness but he is not. We have encountered quite a few Jehovah’s Witnesses here. It is sad to see so many people deceived by another Jesus (one who did not die on the cross but the archangel, Michael, did), and another gospel (of works). The sad reality is that no one is spiritually neutral. We are all created to worship but many have not turned to the true God, the God of the Bible.

We ate lunch and got some authentic Mexican food. The food here has been good but a little spicy and full of beans, which has been tough on my digestion.

After lunch my team went back to help La Roca and we put on a futbol (soccer) camp for the kids of the neighborhood. We played all sorts of games with them for hours in an empty lot. At one point we stopped all the games and had the kids sit down. Using a specially colored soccer ball we shared the Gospel (the black represented our heart, the red the blood of Christ, the white a pure heart cleaned in salvation, the green growth in Christ, the gold for riches in heaven.) The children listened and answered the questions about the colors after we repeated them a few times. We also shared with adults who were walking by the empty lot or hanging out at the corner store across the street. I have never spoken so much Spanish before in my life nor shared the Gospel so many times and so intently—thank you God! I feel like God has shown me it is possible to obey Him and tell the Good News to everyone everywhere you go. There have been times on this trip when I have handed a Gospel tract to someone in a truck, car, and on a bicycle and horse. At times, I have quickly run to people to catch them and give them a tract. The amazing thing is that not one person has responded with offense but rather they were thankful and friendly.

At 6:00 we returned to the church for the Wednesday service. We played music for the service again tonight. Chris shared his testimony and I preached. God is so good because he allowed me to share the Gospel clearly through an interpreter which is hard to do. I preached from Mark chapter 2 about the paralytic and how our biggest need is to be forgiven, not healed. Also, Jesus has the authority to forgive sins but he came not for the righteous but the unrighteous. We must realize our position before Him and cry out to God. Many came forward to pray while Pastor Juan prayed over them. I am not sure if anyone got saved but the people were touched and wanted to pray before God. We played some songs in Spanish that I did not know but Pastor Juan sang and the whole place was clapping, smiling, and shouting out things like “Glory to God!” It was easy at the end of the day to thank God for the joy that I have in Him.

January 10, 2008

In devotional time this morning, Dr. Calvert talked about the mountain-top experience of Elijah against the prophets of Baal and how his great victory was followed by despair. Dr. Calvert talked about how this week is a mountaintop experience of sharing our faith but when we return to Fort Worth we will be tempted not to continue to share our faith. Like Elijah, the Lord tells us to go back the way we came. In other words, before this week, we had expected God to do great things and we prayed that He would—and He has! Why don’t we do this every week? That is the key.

Today a group of 15 of us guys went to a local prison. There are about 150 prisoners in this Mexican jail. We guys had to prepare ourselves spiritually and emotionally before we went into the jail.

A local pastor, Fernando, goes to this prison every Thursday and ministers to the prisoners. We went along with Fernando. He brought food for all the prisoners.

God was so good to us because many prisoners came into the courtyard to see what we had to say. We shared the Gospel through our testimonies, through magic tricks, and one guy named Brent used his amazing strength to rip up phone books and roll up a frying pan. All of these things were amazing demonstrations of how God can save us from our sins when we trust in His Son alone. We shared the Gospel in at least 20 different ways. I think many of them understood it. After the presentation, Nelson challenged the prisoners to step forward, put their trust in Jesus and be saved. “Who wants to come and pray?” he asked them. Eight people came forward and in front of all the other prisoners they gave their life to God. It was an amazing testimony of God’s power and I am so glad I got to be a part of it.

After lunch we went door-to-door in the neighborhoods to present the Gospel orally to as many people as possible or at the very least to get it in their hands through our written testimonies and tracts. We have been keeping track of how many people we are contacting, sharing the Gospel with, and seeing the Lord save. We do this in order to judge our team’s effectiveness in sharing the Gospel. Of course, salvation is a work of God and the fact that we are seeing hundreds profess Christ is not our doing—we are just the messengers. Much more goes on than just the numbers alone though. Hundreds, thousands, and even ten thousand tracts have gone out and I can not help but wonder if we will see bigger results than we expected when we reach Heaven. I came to this trip a discouraged and preoccupied person. Also, I was somewhat apathetic in ministry but God has revived me in this short time. He has shown me that He is big and at work in the world and He can use me. I am full of joy that God is using me as a messenger of His grace and I want to continue burning for Him when I return.


Lord, continue the fire You kindled in me and let me be Yours alone everyday. Amen.

January 11, 2008

Today was the last day of the mission in Acuña. Tomorrow we travel home. As a final push, we wanted to distribute all the tracts that we had left which was around 4,000. So instead of our morning devotion we went to a plaza downtown to catch people in the morning. We worked in small teams on both sides of a busy street and we gave a Gospel tract to everything that moved! We did it with a smile and a “God bless you.”

I discovered that if you hand out hundreds of Gospel tracts there will be a few people who will ask you what it is and have questions about the Gospel. These are people who God has prepared because they are asking us about how to be saved instead of us having to chase them and convince them of their need. For this reason, we presented the Gospel many times today as a team even though we had only planned to hand out tracts as quickly as we could. I know of several more people today who God saved through these Gospel encounters.

I am overwhelmed by God’s power this week. He has done more than I ever thought possible in our mission here. Everyday I have been stretched to share and do more than I thought I could do in sharing the Gospel. I am so encouraged by God’s faithfulness and I realize I need to trust Him more everyday and not just on a mission trip.

At the end of the day our whole mission team, all 30 of us, gathered at a local church building. We had a special time of praying, singing, and testifying to what the Lord has done this week in Acuña.

Is anything too difficult for God? No. That is part of the testimony of this week.


Thank you Lord for opening my eyes to Your power and Your work in salvation. Help to realize each week that Your kingdom is advancing and to labor for You while I still have time. Amen.

January 12, 2008

Today we got up early and spent the day in travel back to Fort Worth, Texas. Things went smoothly again on the trip. We got through the border with only a slight delay. As we stopped along the way to eat or take a break we continued the mission by handing out Gospel tracts in English. The people here in Texas were different when we approached them. A few of them rejected the tracts. However, I was not discouraged. I realized that the culture in America is different than the Mexican border town we had just left. I knew that there was plenty of work to do in America and that the same God who had saved so many in Mexico could do the same thing here.

Furthermore, I am just a messenger. I am called to be faithful in sharing the Gospel. How people respond to the message is not in my hands.

I am thankful to God that He allowed me to see in a week what mighty things He can do to change lives. I vow to believe Him to be able to do more than I expect even in this cynical and jaded generation.