Instituto Biblico Bethel

You are currently browsing articles tagged Instituto Biblico Bethel.

Where you are, I imagine fall means cooler temperatures and the anticipation of seeing the leaves of the trees change their colors. It’s a great season to spend outdoors, especially after the heat and humidity of the summer.

Here in the Yucatán, however, where rainy season is in full swing, we’ve been seeking shelter from climate, never venturing outdoors without a trusty umbrella at our side. Still, our loss is your gain! Our time inside has afforded us the opportunity to produce our latest newsletter!

Click on the image, or hit the link and you’ll get in on all of the details about:

  • The task of mobilizing for ministry within the District Evangelism Department.
  • Updates on our church planting pilot project and the graduating class of Instituto Biblico Bethel 2017,
  • And updates from our family as we move into the new school year.

Remember, our newsletter in PDF format viewable in Adobe Reader. If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it free here:

http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/

Tags: , ,

Summer is fading into memory: lazy summer mornings are being exchanged for the rush of getting the kids off to school, trips to the pool are being traded for commutes to extracurricular activities, and the sweltering heat is being replaced by more moderate temperatures.

It’s the time to anticipate the changes of the season: crisp fall mornings and changing colors of the trees. It’s the time to root for your favorites as the baseball postseason begins to take shape and football occupies our Sunday afternoons. It’s also the time to look forward to our latest newsletter!

Click on the image, or hit the link and you’ll get in on all of the action with:

  • An encouraging update on the our building project at Instituto Bíblico Bethel.
  • Plans for the extension of our church planting initiatives,
  • And updates from our family as we move into the new season.

Remember, our newsletter in PDF format viewable in Adobe Reader. If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it free here:

http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/

Tags: ,

IMG_0492

Isn’t it amazing how a deadline can motivate you to reach your goals? Since 2010, we’ve been working to provide Instituto Bíblico Bethel with modern, adequate facilities to help stimulate its mission of training ministers to reach the lost here in the Yucatan and beyond. While the first floor of our new multipurpose building is now complete and functioning, featuring a kitchen, open cafeteria, and administrative offices, progress on the second floor had been steady but slow. However, a special donation of books from Latin America/Caribbean Library Services set to arrive in October has accelerated the pace toward the completion of the work.

Things began with a special gift from Licking Assembly of God, which enabled us to purchase the materials and contract the labor to finish the interior walls of the second floor. Encouraged by this contribution, the administration sent out students in the month of May to preach in area churches and collect an offering to continue the work. In that week, they were able to collect almost $2,000 to put towards the construction. With those funds in hand, steps were taken to secure the second floor, installing handrails and walls in areas previously open to some pretty dangerous drops.

In the month of June, we were blessed to receive the assistance of a team from LifeStream Church in Washington, MO. Their team of six worked together with Bible school students and local construction workers to pour and level the entire subfloor of the second level of the building, preparing our library, classroom space, and dormitory for the final step of laying the tile floors.

As we enter the month of July, we look forward to partnering with First Assembly in Eldon, MO, as they send 11 members from their Pulse Youth Ministries to help install the electrical service to the second level as well as work in various projects around the Bible school complex.

As you can see from the photos above, the visual difference is marked. What you can’t see, though, is the change in attitude toward the project. Previously a missions project fueled primarily by outside funds and labor, now students, faculty, and administration are now joining together with our short term teams to ensure that the deadline is met and these facilities can finally be utilized.

Thank you for your contribution towards moving this project towards completion. Your prayers, donations, and your labor has done much to bring us to this stage, and we are confident that it will see us through to its completion.

Tags: ,

IMG_0399

From March 5th through the 12th, students across the United States were celebrating their Spring Break. Many of them planned to catch up on some much needed rest. Others were on their way to more exotic destinations, but one group of students had different plans. Sure, they started out as many of their peers, making their way from Dulles International Airport to Cancun, but the rest of their itinerary was drastically different. They skipped the parties to take up paint brushes and cashed in their chance at sleeping in for the opportunity to spread some joy to the people of the Yucatan.

IMG_0401

Yes, just last week we had the pleasure of hosting a combined Spring Break team of Chi Alpha students from American and Virginia Commonwealth Universities. The team of 14 students and staff, including my twin brother Mike, worked together with Bible school students at Instituto Bíblico Bethel to advance our construction project and give the existing buildings a much needed fresh coat of paint. They ministered in area churches, blessing congregations with their songs, skits, testimonies, and messages. They also spent time in Sierra Papacal, preparing the church land for upcoming construction while hosting services for children and adults alike.

But these Chi Alpha teams are valuable for more than what they leave behind, be it roof raised, or a wall painted, or a service celebrated. They serve as catalysts for new and continuing ministry.

Through our eight years working with short term missions trips, we’ve seen how they’ve facilitated pivotal relationships with people that we count as partners to this day. We’ve watched as their foreign investment has encouraged nationals to move forward to complete the work they they had begun, and we’ve witnessed how their example has been emulated by others who have been touched by their ministry.

IMG_0402

This trip was no exception. Interested in investigating the situation of students in secular universities in Mexico, Mike had asked me if I could coordinate a time of prayer and fellowship with a group of students on a local college campus. We held a meeting at the School of Architecture that was to last for only two hours. Instead, it stretched to more than three as the blended group of students worshiped together, encouraged one another and prayed for each other.

Come to find out, it was a shot in the arm for the campus fellowship that we visited. Having gone through a time of transition, they were having difficulty meeting and were at the point of disbanding. Rosy, a university employee who had been serving as a sort of sponsor for the group, thanked God for the timeliness of their visit and expressed a renewed vision for rejuvenating the flagging ministry.

So 14 students returned home last Saturday, perhaps a bit worse for the wear–maybe walking more slowly across their campuses or dozing in some of their classes. It’s to be expected; they didn’t have a vacation, they were participating in catalyzation, and we along with many others here in the Yucatan are grateful that they did!

Tags: , , , ,

IMG_0392

How do you inspire someone to see the need? It requires exposure; it demands engagement, and that’s exactly what we’ve been fostering as we continue pressing ahead to see our vision of the Yucatan full of churches become a reality.

It began with a conversation, a suggestion that pastor Felipe Sabido utilize the Alpha course to encourage outreach in his congregation “La Mies” in northern Merida. You can imagine my pleasure, then, when last month, I was invited to preach the kickoff of “Start”, their 12 week course based on Alpha. Their plan: to host groups throughout the city, inviting friends and neighbors to explore the truths of Christianity in a non-threatening environment. We’re looking forward to track with them as they open their homes to those seeking after Christ.

At the same time “La Mies” was planning their outreach, 27 students from “Instituto Bíblico Bethel” were hitting the streets. My evangelism classes took to the public spaces of Merida to discover the impact that Christianity was having on the everyday lives of those they encountered there.

While they found some encouraging signs, they also encountered areas of concern. For example, although 21% of those surveyed identified with an evangelical church, even they had difficulty explaining what it meant to be born again, and although a whopping 84% agreed that the Bible was the word of God, only 9% reported reading it on a regular basis. Clearly, there is work to be done.

What encouraged me, however, was to hear of the opportunities that the students were having, not only to discover the needs, but to meet them as well. 66% of those surveyed reported an openness to receiving follow up studies, while dozens received prayer and words of encouragement in the city streets and parks. One of my students summed up the sentiment the best. “We wouldn’t have known had we not gone.”

Pray with us that these experiences continue to bear much fruit!

Tags: , , , ,

imageWe know that it’s not always possible for every missionary to return to the same place for three consecutive terms. There are many factors that cause them to change fields or even entire regions. Neveretheless, we can’t overstate the blessing that it is for us to be able to return to the Yucatan and reconnect with the work we’d begun and the people with whom we’d collaborated.

In August, we were blessed to see the reestablished church in Tigre Grande, planted by Rangel and Claudia Vázquez, recieve their new pastor, Yani May, a former student of mine and graduate of the Bible Institute. Kelly and I had the privilege of praying for her during her commissioning service.

In September, I (David) was able to return to the work in the Bible Institute, having been invited to help in the formation of the next generation of Assemblies of God ministers. It’s been a joy to take up the class of Evangelism again, sharing my desire to reach the lost with both new and continuing students, and walking with them to facilitate their projects that have been designed to fulfill that goal.

Here in October, the reunions continued as we had the opportunity to preach for and then share a meal with Guadalupe Campos and her husband José, pastors of the church plant in Sierra Papacal. It was wonderful to encourage their congregation, retrace the events of the past year, as well as gain a deeper appreciation for their passion for the ministry as they continue their work in spite of some tremendous obstacles.

Thank you then for your prayers and support. They’ve helped us to return to Mexico. They’ve made possible these reunions and have given opportunity for new connections, connections that will enable us to fulfill the vision of the Yucatan Peninsula full of churches diverse in class, status, education, and language, but united in their love for the Lord and each other.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

WhatHappenedPark

It was called, “Unidad Deportiva: Francisco de Montejo.” We found it after Rebekah’s curiosity led us to take a bit of a walk to see what the big building behind our neighborhood was all about. What we found was hard to believe.

It was a city sports complex, complete with a gym, soccer field and basketball courts. It had bathrooms, meeting rooms, and offices formed but incomplete, and in the time that had elapsed from the start of the work to the time that we had “discovered” it, it was obvious that it had suffered from its years of neglect.

After a bit of research I found that this was supposed to be an investment in the well-being of our part of the city. The project began in 2011 with an investment of $2,055,000, advanced to 75% of the way to its completion, only to be stalled for undisclosed reasons.

WhatHappenedSalon

The question that one asks is, what happened here? Didn’t the project organizers take into consideration the cost of the project before they began? Couldn’t the funds be appropriated to finish the work, so close to completion, and apparently so necessary for a population that seems to be losing the battle against obesity? You would think, but as of just a week ago the work remains at a standstill.

It’s a bit of a stretch of the imagination to think that a project so high profile, so apparently important, could falter and fail so miserably. It stands as a stark testimony to the need for proper planning, execution, and evaluation.

The process of ministerial formation, although not nearly as expensive is not without its share of pitfalls. Many students, such as the eight that make up my current evangelism class, enter with the assurance that they are called to a task of eternal consequences. They begin their studies with the affirmation of their pastors and the approval of the Bible school administration, many elated at the opportunity to prepare themselves in service to the Lord.

WhatHappenedStudents

But something happens along the way. In the middle of the work, the finances don’t seem to stretch they way that they had planned. The work doesn’t seem to fit into the time that they allotted, or the desire to persevere, that had once seemed so strong begins to flicker and fail. The danger to quedarse en el camino, (fall behind) or to echarse para atrás (quit) becomes ever more real. As in building projects, the need for planning, execution, and evaluation in the area of ministerial formation looms large.

There was no hesitation in my mind, then, when Kelly and I were asked to serve as counselors for the Bible school students for the current 2015-2016 school year. We accepted. We believe in the call of God in the lives of these men and women. We believe that he who has started a work in them will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6), and we’re glad to offer whatever help that we can to facilitate the process.

Let’s talk about process:

  • Where have you seen a project or a plan fail due to lack of proper planning, execution, or evaluation?
  • Have you’ve found solutions to minimize or mitigate this problem? What has worked for you?

Tags:

Changing with the Seasons

Change. The seasons remind us that change is one of the few constants in our lives. And with the change of the season comes another edition of our missionary newsletter!

Of course missionaries need no reminder of the need to change. Take a look inside this edition our newsletter to find:

  • Updates on our big move.
  • How were teaming up with Instituto Bíblico Bethel
  • The latest from our family

Remember, our newsletter in PDF format viewable in Adobe Reader. If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it free here:

http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/

Tags: ,

We feel that we are on the edge of a breakthrough in the Yucatan!

Standing with our partners (from right to left) Leo May and Felipe Sabido.

Standing with our partners (from left to right) Felipe Sabido and Leo May.

In our past term we’ve seen great strides made in ministry among the Maya:

  • Their dignity as a people group has been raised.
  • Their access to faith-building resources in their own language has increased.
  • Leadership has been named to conserve and extend these advances.

We’re thankful for what has been accomplished, but we’re even more excited about the future, especially now that we see some key pieces falling into place regarding our vision of filling the Yucatan with churches.

Partnering with then missions director, Felipe Sabido, we understood that carrying this vision to its fulfillment would require the establishment of training centers that would effectively mentor church planters through the process. To that end, we put in place a curriculum and outlined its basic structure prior to our departure from the field. What had escaped us, however, was a means by which our students could be awarded Bible school credit toward their credentialing process and diploma. We felt that this piece was essential. That enigma was solved last month as Felipe was named Bible school director for the next four years, streamlining our approval process greatly. We now see the potential to accelerate our start-up phase for training and more easily recruit workers to impact their communities.

Still, this positive development has not come without consequences. Felipe’s movement into this new role leaves behind a missions department, the department charged with the carrying out of church planting, with a lack of experienced leadership. Leonardo May, the present director is a capable minister, but this appointment has thrust him into leadership of a department in which he has served less than a year, first as a regional representative, then as secretary-treasurer, and now as director.

We hope that you can appreciate, then, the sense of excitement as we prime ourselves to take advantage of these opportunities, but, at the same time, urgency to return to serve as a support for those who are at the vanguard of bringing this vision to fruition. We desperately need to return on time and fully funded as soon as possible in order to stand with our ministry partners on the field.

That’s where we need you.

  • We need you to pray for us in this time of itineration that we would successfully increase our prayer support and meet our financial goals.
  • We also ask that you would explore the ways that you could partner with us in the fulfillment of this year-long mission:
    • If you’re not regularly praying for us, could you set aside a time in your week to lift up our lives and ministry?
    • If you’re not a current financial partner, could you join our team?
    • If you’re financially supporting us, could you share our vision with others that share your passion for reaching the lost?

The clock is ticking. The deadline of July 2015 has been set. We know we must meet it. We know we cannot do it without you. Will you choose to strongly support us today?

Tags: , ,

« Older entries