International Ministries

Doing a little for something much greater

October 8, 2008 Journal

October 9, 2008

Dear Friends,

Andres and Rosa's four sons are all believers and offered their family home to be used as a makeshift health clinic for a visiting US physician last week.  The boys have been praying for their parents for a long time.  When the last patient was seen by Dr. Young, the team from Cartersville, GA gathered with the believers of Emiliano Zapata in the Mendoza's home for a time of worship.  Since it was their home, Antonio and Rosa listened in, even as they had observed the day's activities.  The next morning, the group gathered again for devotions before the medical team moved on to the next community.  Following the final prayer, Andres spoke for the first time.  “Thank you for coming to our home and helping the people of our community.  My wife and I have never been to the church but I don't think that it will be long now before we begin attending.”  

In Mexico, they call it a grain of sand; that little bit that you can do to contribute to something much greater than yourself.  A few days later, in the Tzeltal village of La Ceyba, Dr. Young shook his head in frustration.  The 67 year old man in front of him probably was suffering from advanced prostate cancer.  “I can't do anything for him” he said under his breath.  He looked Manuel in the eye and told him what he thought the problem was, knowing that he would probably never receive adequate or even minimal medical treatment.  Manuel never flinched.  We handed him a big bottle of pain medicine and we prayed...a grain of sand.  

Ramona and I are nearly four months into our return to Mexico.  The days have been long and the nights short and we are so grateful for the prayers of the people who pray for us and the generosity of the people who support us.  Ramona returned to California in late June to be with Anna Joy and Bryan who gave birth to their first child and our fourth grandchild, Bryanna Elizabeth Cheney on June 24th.  In late June and early July, I joined two wonderful mission teams from Kansas helping to construct church buildings in the states of Mexico and Puebla and then rushed back to Chiapas to meet an amazing team from Puerto Rico who came to share a camping experience and community work with local indigenous youth leaders.  

Almost every minute has been packed, meeting new people, meetings, visits, preparations, study, sermons and instruction.  Classes at the Seminary Intercultural Mayense, SIM, where we serve as interim coordinators began three weeks ago, even before we returned from a quick visit to California where our four children hosted us for a grand celebration of our 35th anniversary.  The family time was great.  We have been back in Chiapas for two weeks, preparing and giving classes; Ramona teaching English, and Chuck teaching Introduction to the Bible and The Gospels and Life of Christ.  Of course our week with the medical team included 141 patients and rich fellowship even though their visit was primarily exploratory for future teams.  

Outside the rain is pouring down, the city and all of Mexico is about to throw its great annual independence day celebration in the town square, culminating in the midnight “grito” or shout of independence.  Bands are blaring, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.  We will write more soon.  Promise!                                                        

--Chuck & Ramona Shawver


Our family celebration was great

As you pray for us and pray for Mexico...

13-year-old Eloy Martinez from Tacuba Nueva is receiving chemotherapy for leukemia each week and is six months into a two-year treatment schedule.  The treatments are free at the children's hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez but the trip from the village takes seven hours and is costing the family 50.00 a week, a huge sum for them that is not sustainable.  

Pray for Manual Hernandez, the 67-year-old man from La Ceyba who Dr. Young strongly suspects has prostate cancer.

Pray for Ramona and I as we prepare and teach classes at SIM and as we give leadership this year in the absence of Doris and Ricardo Mayol, the founders and directors of the school.

Pray for the Mayols as they begin the task of building their Mission Partnership Team and developing the support network.  These are wonderful and gifted missionaries who we need to get back to Mexico next year fully supported.

Pray for the congregation in Pueblo Nuevo whose hillside church building is being threatened by mudslides.  They need to build expensive retaining walls above and below the church.

Pray for Mariano, a youth intern at SIM who needs to find work in San Cristobal in order to support himself.

Pray for Andres and Rosa Mendoza of Emiliano Zapata, that they would follow through on their announcement of plans to begin to actively participate in the church.

Pray for Pastor Jose Sanchez and the church in Yajalon as they work through a time of change and stress.  

Pray for me, Chuck, that God will help me with some major re-writing of study materials to be used by small groups in the isolated churches of the Highlands.  This needs to be inspired and completed as soon as possible.  

Thank you for praying!  It makes all the difference in the world.