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TixpehualOn October 16 at 4:00 pm, we will be traveling with several students to Tixpehual (pronounced Tish-pay-wall) to host an evangelistic event charged with the difficult task of spurring on a flagging work in that city.

Tixpehual is a city that desperately needs a turn-around. A site of evangelistic outreach since the 1980’s, several denominations have tried to gain a foothold among that population. Sadly, failed projects, manipulative leaders, and backslidden believers have caused the work to stall and hopes to fade. In addition, spiritism and cultic practices exercise influence over several that live in the city.

Gaby Campos, the current leader of the Assemblies of God congregation in Tixpehual (lower left photo, middle) , told us of an encounter that typifies the attitude of its inhabitants:

An old woman, having observed her activities with skepticism, approached her one day. She said, “You can do what you want here, others have in the past, but it won’t make any difference.” Gaby replied, “I won’t be the one to make a difference, God will!”

Hers is the attitude that we share as we go. We will be inviting friends and neighbors of a family that is currently attending the church to a practical workshop and a meal in the home pictured above with the goal of sharing the gospel message with them. We are busy preparing the details, organizing the supplies, and planning the schedule, but we haven’t forgotten who it is that will make the difference in that city.

Pray for us, won’t you? Pray that our efforts will pull together a memorable event for the residents of Tixpehual. Pray for the enthusiastic participation of the believers in that community. Pray for redemptive relationships to be formed among those who attend the event, and pray that this outreach will bear fruit, fruit that lasts, fruit that once and for all cuts through that skepticism that hangs over the city of Tixpehual.

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We Made It!

WeMadeItEarly Tuesday morning we loaded eight action packers (a missionary’s equivalent of a suitcase), a guitar, a violin, a dog and a family of five onto a plane bound for Chicago. Three connection flights later, we landed in Merida, Yucatan, the city we will be calling home for the next four years. Thanks to you we can finally say “We made it!”.

Gabriel Gongora, a local pastor, and his wife, Leticia, met us at the gate with Yucatecan hospitality. Julio Montejo, another friend, was there with his truck to load up our bags.

After a few delays (of those 8 action packers only 7 made it) we arrived at a house Silverio Blanco, the district missions director, has loaned us until we can find one of our own. We were met by his son, Eliú, and his wife, Doris, and son, Moisés. The rest of the day and Wednesday we spent getting new phone numbers and looking for houses. The search was on!

Thursday, we were able to enroll Joseph and Jonathan into Centro Educativo Calvary (Calvary Christian School) and see some old school friends. We also looked at three or four different houses. Thankfully, the last action packer arrived as well.

Friday we visited ‘el Centro’ for the first time since we got back, where we were reacquainted with the hustle and bustle of Merida’s downtown. We ate delicious typical foods like, Pollo Pibil ( chicken cooked in banana leaves), Panuchos (fried tortillas filled with refried beans and toped with turkey and vegetables), and Sopa de Lima (lime soup with chicken).

Later on we looked at more houses and might continue to do so for the next week. We aren’t despairing yet though. Searching for a house that meets all our needs is time consuming and requires lots of thinking and input from family members. We are confident that God will show us the right one. Thank you again for all your prayers and support. It means a lot to us.

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We’ve driven over 33,000 miles during our itineration year. We’ve driven through early morning sunrises and lazy Sunday afternoons. We’ve navigated through the night and on into the next day as well. We’ve hit rain storms and snow storms, even hail, but never have we been made more aware of our need for prayers as we travel than last Tuesday night.

It all happened in an instant. We were driving a stretch of I-44 that we had been on perhaps a hundred times before. In fact, we weren’t even on a ministry trip. Then, there was a flash of brown in the headlights and a thud. We had hit a deer.

At first there was the irony of it all. All of those miles, many of them on secondary roads through the Mark Twain National Forest, and we hit a deer in the suburbs of Springfield! The next morning, however, we began to reflect on how fortunate we were. A few seconds earlier, or a few inches to the left would have been enough to cause significant damage or cause us to lose control of the car altogether. Let’s just say that morning devotionals had a much more thankful tone to them than perhaps the day before.

We communicate all of this to let you know that we covet your prayers! We take precautions and drive defensively, but we can never assume that we have full control over any situation. So thank you for lifting us up over the next 6,000 miles that we have yet to cover for this itineration and beyond. As our incident with the deer proves, we depend on them!

Speaking of prayers, thanks for praying on our behalf through the month of April. Since our last update, we’ve seen our monthly commitment total reach 99%! We are nearing the finish line. Please join with us in prayer for those who have committed to our support, that God would bless them with the resources to not only honor their commitment but prosper because of their heart to reach the lost!

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You’d have to question the appropriateness of the phrase as well after having spent the week that I did with these college students! As I had mentioned in my previous post, we hosted a 10 person team of Chi Alpha students and staff from American University as they spent their Spring Break here in the Yucatán. However, contrary to preconceived notions about the time period, these youth did anything but rest!

Following their arrival on Saturday the 8th, we hit the ground running with services in the morning and evening to kick off the week’s events. Our morning service was hosted by La Casa de Oración, the year-old mission in the town of Sierra Papacal of one of my former students, Guadalupe Campos. It was a time of welcome and preparation for the work among the kids that would take place during the week. The evening service was held at Eben-ezer, a church in Mérida, pastored by Gabriel Gongora, the current director of Instituto Biblico Bethel. There, I had the privilege of translating for my brother, Mike, as the team was highlighted for the construction work that they would undertake in the Bible Institute.


On Monday, the construction began. Partnering with the Bible Institute students, we worked each morning until Wednesday to lift 1500 concrete slabs into place as part of the structure that will serve as the second story roof, effectively topping our three and a half year expansion project of the institute’s dining, classroom, and library facilities.

Each afternoon we worked together to bring Vacation Bible School activities to the children of Sierra Papacal. Following our prep time on Monday, we worked Tuesday and Wednesday in the church facilities, teaching, making crafts, singing, and playing exclusively with the kids. However, on Thursday afternoon, we were able to serve the entire community with free haircuts, hygiene checks, and lunch to boot. Our closing rally in the evening was a blessing as several of the kids to whom we ministered responded to the call to pray to receive Christ.


We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results as Mexicans and Americans worked shoulder to shoulder to see God’s purposes advanced in the Yucatán. It was truly a team effort!

And, speaking of team efforts, I’d like to thank all those who had responded to our call for prayer prior to the trip. We were witnesses of God’s faithfulness in every aspects as:

  • There were no injuries whatsoever in our construction project or mishaps on the road as we traveled from place to place. In fact, I don’t even remember being asked for a band aid during the entire trip!
  • All stayed perfectly healthy; even Montezuma’s revenge was kept at bay.
  • The integration among the groups was stellar. In each aspect of the trip, both Mexicans and Americans joined together to get the job done.
  • The response in Sierra Papacal was enthusiastic. New kids were reached with the message of the gospel, kids who are now being channeled into newly formed discipleship groups.


Of course, none of this would have been possible if this team of university students hadn’t forgone their break in order to invest in the Yucatán. So thanks, Mike, and the entire AU Chi Alpha team. Rest assured your work is appreciated!

Did you enjoy the post? Be sure to take a look at the pictures as well!



Although up north the freeze is still in effect, here in Mexico, we’re preparing for spring. Spring Break, that is.

This Saturday, 10 members of the Chi Alpha Student Fellowship of American University will be descending on the city of Mérida, Yucatán to do a bit of construction and outreach while they thaw from this year’s deep freeze. In the mornings, we’ll be working at Instituto Bíblico Bethel, to put into place the beams and slabs that will serve as the structure for the roof of the second floor of the multipurpose building. In the afternoons, we’ll be returning to Sierra Papacal to assist the efforts of my former student, Guadalupe Campos, in the church, Casa de Oración. My favorite part of the trip, however, is the opportunity for our Bible school students to work hand in hand with our visiting Chi Alpha workers.

We’re preparing a warm welcome for our guests, but we certainly don’t want to leave you out in the cold. We’d like to extend an invitation for you to get involved, too. Here’s how:

  1. Pray for the trip’s success:
    • Pray for safety in our work and travels.
    • Pray for the health of all involved. (Pray against sickness!)
    • Pray for the effective integration of the different groups.
    • Pray for an enthusiastic response among the people of Sierra Papacal.

  2. Send a special gift

    The Chi Alpha students have a goal to bless the ministry that is taking part here in the Yucatán. You can be a part of helping them realize that goal.

    Navigate to our giving page and send a special gift. Put AUXA in the comment section, and we’ll be sure to designate that gift to the projects in which they’re taking part.

While you might not be able to bask in the Yucatecan sun with us, we’re sure that your participation, in one or both of these areas, will bring some warmth to your weary winter days, and, just maybe, you too might be thinking that spring is in the air!


Recently, a study was done here to determine the biggest problems facing the Yucatecan society. What were they?  Drug and alcohol abuse and violent gang activity, two dangers that go hand in hand. According to those interviewed, almost 7 out of 10 felt threatened by the consumption of drugs and alcohol in the streets. Furthermore, the presence of violent gangs was felt 13% more acutely here in the Yucatan than it was nationally. Clearly, Yucatan’s problems with controlled substances have given many cause for alarm.

Still, Yucatan’s substance abuse problem presents us with an opportunity to provide a solution, and to provide that solution through the local church. Think of it, raising up centers all across the state where those looking to find a way out could find real help. Certainly, there are risks involved, but the benefits are compelling: not only would those using drugs and alcohol be helped, but society as a whole would be able to breathe a sigh of relief, and esteem for the church and its life-changing message would grow.
This is the precise reason that we’re moving to the next level in order to help our churches to begin an outreach to those with life controlling habits. We’ve already been working to resource and train the directors of two Assemblies of God rehabilitation centers. Now we’re looking to network and coach our ministers to be first responders as we battle with this all too present evil.

On November 22nd, Gregg Fischer, from Global Teen Challenge, will be with us to kick off a series of seminars based on Living Free materials designed to help pastors and leaders set up small groups where those trapped in the cycle of substance abuse can find help. Our desire, then, is to connect these leaders with our rehab directors and staff who can insure that they receive the follow-up, encouragement, and direction that they need to maximize the potential of these groups and lend a hand when necessary.  Interest has been high and the response has been encouraging, but we need your help for these seminars to reach their full potential. We need your prayers!

Would you pray for us?

  • Pray that we reach our goal of training at least 50 pastors and leaders.
  • Pray for the timely and inexpensive printing of the materials that we need in order to teach.
  • Pray for our travel throughout the district as we participate in the teaching of these seminars.
  • Pray for my ability to accurately and fluently translate the material being presented.
  • Pray for a desire on the part of our pastors to implement this ministry in their church and a clear vision for how they might go about making it a reality.

Thanks again for standing with us!



Last Friday, I was able to lead my Evangelism Class to Oxcum to host an outreach to the residents of that village. For those of you who hadn’t read my previous post, I had asked for prayer on the following points:

  1. That the authorities would grant us the public space for the event.
  2. For all of the details that go into the organization of such an event, from the supplies, personal, and equipment, to the message that would be delivered in word and in deed.
  3. For favorable weather so that all might be able to hear the message that we would be sharing and,
  4. For an enthusiastic coordination between the local mission members and the students of “Instituto Bíblico Bethel” as they work for the common goal of sharing God’s love with the people of Oxcum.

I’d like to give you an update on those requests, and believe me, it’s good news!

  1. The response of the authorities


    From the city officials to the local pastor, the response was rapid and enthusiastic. We were given full access to the town park and the basketball court for the duration of the event along with chairs and a stage, delivered on time! The lighting and electrical hookups that were included were reliable and also free of charge. There was even a police force present to ensure that the event went off without incident.

  2. The details


    There was an endless list of supplies, personnel, and equipment necessary to make the this event happen. From face paint for the kids to non-perishable food items to be handed out to families in need. All came in, and in abundance! We had hoped to provide help to 25 families. In the end, there was enough for 45!

  3. Favorable weather

    When I sent our original list of requests last week, I checked the forecast. At that time, there was a 70% chance of rain predicted for our event. With everything that we had planned, we needed the weather to cooperate. Well I’m happy to report, it did! Blue skies and sun greeted us as we entered Oxcum, and the full moon lighted our evening service. It would have been hard to ask for better weather.

  4. Enthusiastic coordination between students and mission members


    Without cooperation, events can happen, but they’re a whole lot more difficult! Thankfully, last Friday, we had cooperation to spare. In our time of debriefing this Tuesday afternoon, the comment that I heard the most was that the event was so well organized and all of the participants were so willing to help. From the kids of the mission who passed out invitations to the students of the Bible Institute who shampooed dozens of heads to ensure that they were free of “visitors,” everyone served with a smile.

  5. But wait, there’s more!

    We can certainly be thankful for the ability to hold events like these, but we understand that the real results come afterwards as those touched by our outreach have new opportunities to connect with the church and grow in Christ. The difficulty lies in gathering the data necessary to ensure proper follow-up.

    I’m happy to report that we were able to provide the church with the data that they need to make these connections possible in the form of 41 contact cards. These came, not only from the 11 who came forward at the end of the night for salvation, but also from the dozens who sat and spoke with the counselors who were available throughout the event.

We were blessed this past Friday and so was the town of Oxcum! Nevertheless, we know that none of this could have taken place without your involvement. Thank you!

Want to see more? Take a look at the pictures in our growing album of the event.

Evangelistic Campaign in Oxcum, 2011

Evangelistic Campaign in Oxcum, 2011

I love a great adventure. As a youth, I remember traveling off to distant lands with the aid of the latest edition of National Geographic. As a missionary, I’ve been blessed to visit some of those places that I had once only read about. I’ve marveled at the volcanoes of Costa Rica, and navigated through the waters of the “Cañon del Sumidero” in the Mexican State of Chiapas. I’ve entered the ruins of the ancient Maya civilization and slept in the thatched homes of their descendants. Still, to tell the truth, although travel remains a highlight of what we do, I gain much more satisfaction from being able to identify with a group of people, establish credibility with them, and enable them to reach their God-given vision.

We have been privileged to have these types of relationships in the town of Muna, where we worked for three years in our previous term, in the town of Ochil, where we have been able to track with the people from the very beginning of their fellowship, and, next week, we get an opportunity to continue another long-standing relationship in the town of Oxcum.

Pastor Ruben (right) prays along with Dr. Andrés Perez

Pastor Ruben (right) prays along with Dr. Andrés Perez

Oxcum, a forgotten little town just a half hour outside of Merida, is a place that was supposedly established as a haven for the unsavory types that transported smuggled goods over the back-roads of Yucatan. Even today, the signs of its difficult beginnings show through: low levels of education, elevated unemployment, the prevalence of single parent families, wide-spread alcoholism and rising levels of drug abuse. It’s a place so down on its luck that it has prompted some to ask the question reminiscent of Nathanael’s in John 1:46, “Oxcum! Can anything good come from there?”

Still in the middle of this hopelessness, a light is beginning to shine. Since 2010, Pastor Ruben Sanguino has been ministering from his mission in Oxcum. We’ve worked with him, first coordinating an outreach in 2011, and later giving a conference on the Holy Spirit. We’ve tracked with him as his congregation has grown, carving out a place and an identity in that town. And while he has seen his share of difficult times, his perseverance is bearing fruit.

Ministry in Oxcum, 2012

Ministry in Oxcum, 2012

This October 18th, we have the opportunity to work with him again, this time in coordination with the students from my evangelism class at “Instituto Bíblico Bethel.” On that Friday afternoon, we will coordinate with his mission to speak of the God who sees their situation. We’ll be coming near through social outreach to children and adults alike, providing spiritual counseling throughout the event and a message from God’s Word in the closing rally. Our desire for this event is to raise awareness within the village of who the God of the Bible really is, and highlight the mission in Oxcum as a resource for establishing a relationship with Him.

Would you pray for us as the event draws near?

  • Pray for a favorable response from the authorities who would grant us the public space for the event.
  • Pray for all of the details that go into the organization of such an event, from the supplies, personal, and equipment, to the message that will be delivered in word and in deed.
  • Pray for favorable weather so that all may be able to hear the message that we are sharing.
  • Pray for an enthusiastic coordination between the local mission members and the students of “Instituto Bíblico Bethel” as they work for the common goal of sharing God’s love with the people of Oxcum.

Blessings on you as you continue to stand with us in the work here in the Yucatan, and beyond!

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This past Wednesday we had the opportunity to hand out our first Proclaimer Audio Bible. The following is a description of the experience in San Isidro Ochil:

The environment was a familiar one–the congregants were standing together to read the Bible aloud in Spanish. This time, however, there was something different. Many did not have their own Bible and were left looking on to the copies of others or left out completely. Some who did have a Bible read with such difficulty that the public reading was out of sync to the point of being almost indecipherable.

You see, Ochil is a town where the Maya language is spoken predominantly. Many inhabitants understand Spanish, but with difficulty. What is more, many do not read in either Spanish or Maya. Therefore, the traditional ways of doing service, especially congregational reading, is less than effective.

That’s where the Proclaimer has such potential. Reproducing the Bible in audio in Maya, the Proclaimer gave many in the congregation their first opportunity to hear the Word of God in their own language, and their interaction following the reading of Matthew chapter 1 showed their enthusiasm. Several people who had been disconnected during the previous elements of the service were engaged and asking questions. I was particularly taken aback when an elderly woman, who seemed withdrawn before, made a comment about Jesus’ birth. The people were having an experience with the Bible!

This congregation and several like it will be making a commitment to meet together for one hour each week to listen to and discuss the Bible. We look forward to seeing more experiences like this first one in San Isidro Ochil, and we anticipate the inevitable growth that will come when a people has access to the power of the Word of God on a consistent basis.

Would you pray for us?

  • Pray for us as we continue to expand this program to other villages.
  • Pray for each village that they would make the commitment to listen and to study the Word of God together each week for an hour.
  • Pray that God’s promise that his Word would not return void would be fulfilled in each separate context where it is introduced.

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Incoming 2013-2015 Yucatán District Leadership

Incoming 2013-2015 Yucatán District Leadership

We just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all who prayed for the Yucatan District Council, which took place last week. Your intercession was appreciated! Not only was it felt during a particularly tense voting session, but we’re sure it was instrumental as well in generating more contracts as we continue with our Jesus Film Church planting efforts.

On a side note, I noticed a recurring theme of Pentecost throughout the District Council. There is a growing concern among our leaders about the lack of believers reporting to have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was glad to see the call for a renewed emphasis on this essential experience for ministry in these Last Days.

Below, I’ve listed our incoming District Leadership Team. Please continue to lift them up in prayer. Pray for a renewed vision and commitment to accomplishing God’s will among them. Pray as well that the godly example of outreach and compassion that they set will be caught throughout the district.

New District Leadership Team:

Superintendent: Tomas Vera Moreno
Secretary: Raúl Sánchez y Molina
Treasurer: Samuel Vázquez Salazar

Regional Presbyters:
North Region: Manuel Díaz Sanchez
West Region: Juan Hau Pech
Central Region: Fernando Moctezuma Dorantes
South Region: Rosendo Cabrera
East Region: Cristino May Rejón

Department of Christian Education Leadership:
President: Alfonso Vera Moreno
Secretary/Treasurer: Fernando Díaz Cab
Local Church Studies: Manuel Pech
Theological Studies: Natanael Ku
Secular Studies: Juan Baeza

Missions Department Leadership:
Director: Felipe Sabido Escalante
Secretary/Treasurer: Abel Can
Coordinator of Ministry to Ethnic Groups: Miriam Pech

Evangelism Leadership:
Director: Moisés Charmin Díaz
Vice President: Julian Magaña
Secretary: Carlos Maas

Spiritual Retreat Leadership:
President: Magaly Balam
Secretary: Andrés Vera
Treasurer: Franscico Can

Sectional President, Mérida Northeast: Natanael Ku

Thanks again for your continued support!

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