Missions

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Mexico to Missouri

It’s been quite a ride for us since our last update. We’ve moved five times and only just this week have begun to settle into what will be our home for our year of itineration. Our first move came as we vacated our field housing in preparation for departure. Our second was our flight to Springfield where Kelly was greeted with her driver’s exam. (Her license had expired while we were away, so she needed to pass both the written and the road tests.) Then we were off to Erie, PA for a month of reconnecting with family and supporting churches. The fifth move was our trip back to Missouri just in time for the A/G Centennial celebration. Finally, we vacated our temporary housing and came to rest on the west side of Springfield, in the Willard school district.

As we prayed with the kids on the night before their first day in American public schools, I reflected on all of the movements and couldn’t help but be thankful both to God and to those He used to make our relocations possible. There were so many crucial moments, so many opportunities for things to go wrong, but with His help, and the help of those so moved to respond to our need, we passed from moment to moment without fail.

Of course, you could ask the question, “What would cause a middle-aged man to uproot his family and move away from his field of calling?” To which I would respond, “To go back.”

We’ve come to the US and traveled the miles so that we might connect with you and share with you the burden that we carry for Mexico, but also the joy that we experience as we walk in obedience to Christ and His calling. We do so to raise support: prayer and financial, so that we might minister more effectively. We do so also to call others into obedience to Christ as He stirs the hearts and lives of those who would follow, some to Latin America, others to other regions in the world, for we know that the task is great, but the workers few.

But such a return trip is not without risks. We risk the possibility of the doors of opportunity being closed to our stateside ministry. We risk the inability to raise our necessary support in order to return. We understand these risks and face them, with honesty but also with determination, knowing that the same God who enabled us to return, will be faithful in sending us back as He works his miracles on our behalf, many of those through the hands of those He has assembled in partnership around us.

Thanks, then, to those who have received us and to those who will soon extend this favor. Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to connect with you and to enter, if for just a moment, into relationship, to be an instrument through which God might move you to fulfill the unfinished task.

‘Til all know,

Dave and Kelly

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“Imagine” is a song written by John Lennon. In it, he encourages us to dream about a world without absolutes, divisions or possessions. The hope, it seems, is that this idea might somehow motivate us to make this world a better place. It’s a nice thought, and a pretty catchy song as well, evidenced by the fact its popularity has bridged at least three generations. Nevertheless, the reality that the three generations who have known the song have experienced proves that the song’s premise is flawed. To make the world a better place, we must move beyond our imagination and the self righteous criticism of that which we deem to be the problem. True, vision is required, but we must have a firm grip on reality while we work to put thought to action. Ironically, we find the the ones who are doing just that are the ones that “Imagine” criticizes the most.

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This past week, in the town of Sucua, Ecuador, I had a chance to meet with fellow missionaries, representatives of true religion, all of whom are committed to not simply making the world a better place, but to its very transformation. There, we took part in the first ever A/G Latin American/Caribbean Consultation on Unreached People Groups (UPGs)

The UPG Consultation was an opportunity to hear about what was taking place, assess what has yet to be done, and to pray and strategize to accomplish the Unfinished Task.  There was a sense of celebration as we saw what was being gained through missionaries Joil and Leah Marbut, who have spearheaded an effort to reach the Shuars of southern Ecuador. There was a sense of urgency as we heard of the over 400 different people groups comprised of over 16 million individuals without an adequate witness of hope, and there was a sense of determination as we committed ourselves in prayer and purpose to reaching those groups.

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There was no avoiding the historical significance of the event either. Taking place on the centennial anniversary of the General Council of the Assemblies of God that would establish that organization as the proponent of “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen,” it was fitting that we were reevaluating our mission to accomplish that goal. In the heart of the country where, almost 60 years prior, five missionaries gave their lives to reach the isolated and violent Huaoroni, known as the Auca (savage) people, it was appropriate that we would dedicate anew our lives to continuing that work.

Still, as we left that place, we knew that what was accomplished there would not be enough. As we said our goodbyes and made our way by car, bus, or plane to our adoptive homes, we turned ourselves to work– to reach, to plant, to touch, and to equip lives in order to fulfill our role in the extension of the Kingdom of God. We had met to gain perspective, but we go to wholeheartedly engage with the One who is able to do more than we could ask or imagine through our coordinated effort.

Interested in seeing more? Take a look at our gallery of photos from the event.

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Why Am I Here?

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The sky is a slate gray, and the rain is falling sideways. At one point the winds were blowing hard enough to knock us down. In the middle of all of this weather, I asked myself, “Why would anyone want to be in Cancun at a time like this?”

Although it might have all of the earmarks of a relief trip, my stay here was in fact about something far more powerful. I was in Cancun last week, braving the bad weather, to support the 3rd World Missions Congress. The purpose of this congress was to increase missions awareness throughout Latin America and to increase Latino involvement in missions from a comparative drizzle to a downpour.

Although the weather had been less than desirable, was beautiful to see the lessons that we are teaching in the Bible School and preaching in churches about missions reinforced in each service. Dick Brogden, A/G missionary and leader of the Live Dead movement in Cairo, Egypt, gave a call for volunteers, saying, “We need you.” Our Executive Director of Assemblies of God World Missions, Greg Mundis, spoke passionately of our obligation to evangelize the world.

What a joy it was to see, at the close of Greg’s message, the dozens of Latinos, many attendees from Mexico, respond to the call to fulfill that obligation. Even more fulfilling was seeing the excitement in the eyes of those with whom I was speaking, some of them my former students, as they talked about what God is doing throughout the world and about how they wanted to be a part.

This event was all about coming full circle in the missions world. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Jesus’ plan for world evangelism is for those who had been blessed by the gospel to be a blessing to others. Throughout this congress, Latinos, traditional receivers of the blessings of missions, have been hearing and responding to this challenge to fulfill their obligation to be a blessing as well.

Let’s pray for an increase in Latino involvement in missions!

  1. For an infilling of the Spirit throughout Latin America and especially in Mexico. The Holy Spirit is The Spirit of Missions. As we are increasingly filled with the Spirit we will be empowered to do the work of missions around the world.
  2. For an increased intercession. In Luke 10:2, Jesus tells his disciples to pray for workers, but directly afterwards, he sends out those very same disciples. Increased intercession yields increased sensitivity to the voice of God and the call to missions.
  3. For the defeat of the poverty mentality. Mexicans give only 7 dollars per church per month to missions. It’s that low not because we don’t have; it’s that low because we’ve believed the lie that says we don’t.

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Summit 2013

Not this group! (Proverbs 27:17)

If there was any doubt that we belonged to a vanguard mission organization, that was dispelled last week during our Association of Caribbean and Latin American Missionary Educators’ (ACLAME) Summit.  As part of the ACLAME Leadership team, I was called upon to help organize this biennial event which brought together 52 individuals from 7 different countries.

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During our time together, we received a word from our Executive Director, Greg Mundis, who cast vision for what he sees as a bright future for world evangelism, a task in which he sees educators playing a key role.  Still, that was only one of several sessions that have left an indelible mark on those who attended. Paul Kazim, Mexico Area Director (photo left) spoke from Leviticus 19, reminding us that holiness is essentially taking on the characteristics of God. Assemblies of God Theological Seminary Professor, DeLonn Rance, challenged us to “live at the edge,” responding to God’s call to reach all nations.

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These and several others blended their voices to encourage us and to strengthen the calling that each of us carries to pass on what we have received. (2 Timothy 2:2) What happened during those critical days is the essence of Proverbs 27:17–men and women, joining together so that each one might be improved or “perfected” into a more useful tool in the Master’s hands. This same blessing we desire to pass on to our Mexican colleagues. 

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In the month of August, we will be holding the first ever Mexican Education Summit (bottom graphic), an international effort that seeks to raise the bar in ministerial formation. Plans are coming into shape to host over 400 Bible School directors and professors from across the country. We’re praying that the event serves to motivate all who attend to dedicate themselves to the task of raising up leaders for this crucial time.

Also, this month, we are looking forward to graduation ceremonies at Instituto Biblico Bethel. In all, eleven students will be participating in the commencement activities, looking forward to launch out into the ministries for which they have been trained.

Can you pray with us for these events?

  1. For the Mexican Education Summit, that it would be well attended, and that those who attend would be challenged to dedicate themselves even more fully to the task of discipleship and ministerial formation.
  2. For our recent graduates, that they would launch out into service around the state, reaching the lost, discipling those who believe and encouraging others to do the same

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When it comes to accomplishing our goals on the mission field, we realize more and more that partnerships are crucial. Hit the link here or click on the picture to find out how those partnerships came into play during our Spring Impact construction and outreach project! While you’re there, don’t miss the rest of our latest quarterly update from the field, and be sure to follow the links for more content!

Our online newsletter is viewable as a PDF document. If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed, you may download it here.


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Traditionally, missions has been the realm of those of White, Anglo-Saxon descent. The ranks of missionary heroes are full of names like Hudson Taylor or Jim Elliot. However, Latino, Chinese, or African names remain remarkably absent from such lists, even after decades of work within such nations.

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We understand these tendencies. Those mentioned were ones who opened up new territories to the Gospel. But, now that those areas have been opened, what of those who have been reached? Do they have a responsibility to share in the burden of World Evangelism?

Jesus seemed to think so. His missions strategy was the original Pay it Forward plan. “Freely you have received, freely give” (Mat. 10:8). He expected his fledgling disciples to pass on what they had learned from Him, and he commissioned them to engage in that worldwide effort from the get-go (Acts1:8).

Still, while some have answered the call, actually reaching the country of their calling is a tremendous challenge. The reality here in Mexico is that, although missionaries are responding, the church as a whole remains largely non-committal in regards to missionary responsibility. This is dangerous, especially as unreached areas close to those fitting the traditional missionary profile.

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This month, were working toward a solution. I had the chance to preach in our sectional pastor’s meeting, and I challenged our leaders to take steps to increase missions consciousness among their churches. Also, this week, we are in the middle of our District Missions Convention, “The Awakening of the Mayas to Missions.”

What is the goal of these efforts? It’s to encourage our churches to feel the responsibility of missions and to sense the empowerment that Christ has given to all his disciples regardless of nationality.

We believe that the Yucatán can be a force in missions. Pray with us to that end, and, maybe someday, we’ll read of a Norma Uitzil, or a Lidia Pompeyo among those lists of missions heroes.

Blessings on you as you stand with us in prayer!

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Angel y Berenice, following after the call

“Hermano, ¿podemos hablar un ratito?” were Bernice’s words. Something was clearly bothering her. Berenice was one of my students in my Missions class. She was troubled because the theme had confirmed an idea that God was revealing to her and her husband, Angel.

“Are we crazy?” she asked. She wanted to know if it was right for them to feel led to go to another place. She wanted to know if it was OK to leave her home, her extended family, and her church. She asked if I could give them advice. I prayed with her and encouraged her to be attentive to the voice of God. He did not fail to speak.

Just a week ago, Kelly and I met with Berenice and Angel. At the meeting, they shared their story. They related to us how they had been called to minister in Guerrero, in a village whose name they had never heard. They told us how they had taken steps to dismiss their impression only to have it confirmed time and again, but never more intensely than after our previous conversation.

We shared our own experience with them, prayed with them and encouraged them, but it was obvious that no convincing was needed. God is doing his work. They’re now preparing to take the next step in fulfilling the vision.

During this Thanksgiving holiday, I have a reason to be grateful. I’m grateful that He calls men and women to follow Him although their culture would have them stay at home. I’m thankful He still confirms His word, even in the most unlikely circumstances, and I’m glad that He’s allowed us to be a witness of it here in Yucatán.

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As we move into the second half of our term, we’ve seen God moving us to undertake a three-fold mission. In this prayer update, we present this vision to you so that you might agree with us for it’s completion.

Reach the lost

Since our missionary career began in 2004, our desire has been to reach others with the gospel. We’ve engaged that mission through social outreach, campaigns, and one-on-one evangelistic efforts. This term, we’ve had the opportunity to reach out to the indigenous Maya people in their own language. With your help, we can equip and send more teams to plant churches among them.

Remove obstacles to the gospel

I’ll never forget the sadness I felt as I watched one man walk away from the church. He was an addict, and that particular church had nothing to offer him to meet his needs. I prayed in that moment that I’d never have to witness an event like that again.

This term, we’ve seen God answering that prayer. We’ve been able to come alongside two drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers to introduce them to Teen Challenge resources. We are working to help them to shape and expand their programs. Our desire is to see these ministries become regional resources for people struggling with addictions.

Raise up others to do the same

At “Instituto Bíblico Bethel” we’re training up the next generation of pastors and missionaries. Regularly, we’re teaching such subjects as evangelism, apologetics, church planting, and missions, sharing our God-given vision. Right now, we’re halfway through a project to expand their facilities to better serve these ministers in formation. We believe that with your help we can reach our goal to finish this building in this term.

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How does missions become an intrinsic part of the church? By teaching it from the beginning. Hit the link here or click on the picture to find out how we are making that happen in the Yucatán! While you’re there, don’t miss the rest of our latest quarterly update from the field!

Our online newsletter is viewable as a PDF document. If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed, you may download it here.


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This Christmas season, we were able to return to the US to spend time with the family. Our days were full of visiting, catching up, eating (lots of eating), and just being together.

As we prepared to leave, Kelly’s mom asked what it was that we wanted to have for dinner. It was decided to prepare chicken and biscuits, a definite taste of home in then Yaple household. Still, while the meal was excellent, the preparation time is what really got me thinking. There was Kim, working into kitchen. Rebekah was there as well working alongside her, patting out biscuits onto a cookie sheet before baking. They were talking and laughing, pictures were being taken, memories shared. It was then that I was reminded that missionaries aren’t the only ones who make sacrifices.

How many moments in the kitchen has my mother-in-law missed because her granddaughter lived in a foreign country? How many meals has my Mom prepared for herself because her loved ones were far from home? We have are the ones who leave, but they are the ones who are left behind.

Nevertheless, we feel from our family nothing but support for what God is doing through us. I joked with a few Mexican friends as we were preparing for our trip that we were returning for the holidays because our parents had accused us of kidnapping their grandchildren, but nothing could be further from the truth. What happened to Jesus in Mark 3 (also in Matthew 12 and Luke 8 ) when Jesus’ mother and brothers had come to “collect” Jesus and take him home from his ministry has never been our concern. On the contrary, our parents have released us to the Lord, and pray constantly for the work that we are called to achieve. And even though my mom has wondered aloud on one occasion, “Why did He have to call you so far away?” Her sentiment was one of resignation preceded by, “When you were called by God to be a missionary, I gave you into His hands.”

And so, having returned to Mérida, reestablishing ourselves into our work and school schedules, I wanted to take time out to recognize the others who unselfishly gave so that we could be released to do what God has called us to do. Thanks Grandma G., Grandma Kim, Papa Dave, and all of the aunts and uncles (too numerous to type in a brief posting) for giving so that we could go. May God recognize and honor all that you have done, and bless you beyond measure because of it.

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