Dear friends and family,
We pray that as you receive this update (with some good and inspiring news), you and your love ones are safe and sound, hopefully at home, and just recently washed your hands!
It’s emotionally overwhelming to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and disrupted the lives of millions across the globe.
Psalm 46:1-3 has been a source of faith and hope during this challenging time:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
So far in our home city of San Cristobal de las Casas there are no reported cases of COVID-19. Out of precaution for us and the communities the Lord has called us to serve, we postponed regional workshops scheduled for March 21st and 28th with friends from ABC of the Rocky Mountains. We also called off activities scheduled throughout April.
This past week our kids’ soccer league was cancelled till further notice. March 20th was the last day of school for the kids. They were sent home with schoolwork for two weeks (nothing digital). During this time, we have the responsibility to oversee them taking tests for the material they’ve covered in the last two months! Then they have their usual two-week vacation starting on April 6th. The Mexican government expects to reopen the school system on April 20th, 2020. But it’s uncertain what will happen in the coming weeks.
As of yesterday evening (Sunday March 22nd), Mexico had a total of 316 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Chiapas has had only two imported cases. However, health experts suggest that the next two weeks will see a dramatic increase of virus infections across Mexico. Please remember in your prayers our communities in the mountains of Chiapas (and many more across the world) who have none or limited medical care available. If the virus hits their villages, it would be lethal.
Now we want to share some exciting news!
During the time we’ve been serving in Chiapas (2 years and 6 months) we’ve noticed the lack of Bibles in our churches. We’ve discovered the reason is a high level of illiteracy. We’ve been praying for a while for ways to approach this issue. Turns out that in the past one of the Tsotsil churches, Iglesia Bautista Horeb in Carmen Grande, had some sort of catch up program with the grade school children. But their pastor, Fausto Espinoza, became ill for several months. The pastor’s son-in-law, David, who led the program as the teacher, stopped the program to accompany his father-in-law through his medical treatment.
Praise God that pastor Fausto is fully recovered. Juan and pastor Fausto started a conversation to look for ways to come alongside his congregation as they share God’s love in their community. We’re happy to share with you that on March 13th Iglesia Bautista Monte Horeb launched its literacy program “Construyendo el Futuro” or “Building the Future”! This is a pilot project that we hope to be able to replicate in other churches and communities.
“Construyendo el Futuro” is starting with 18 young adults and adults, and 27 children in 3 groups: Group A knows how to read a bit but does not know how to write well; Group B doesn’t know how to read or write at all; and Group C are the children who go to school and need help in their schoolwork. The children’s group will meet on Saturday’s morning and receive a snack before they go home.
Part of the vision behind “Construyendo el Futuro” is that the young adults and adults who learn to read and write will be encouraged to help David with the children’s program and help in other leadership positions within the congregation. Pastor Fausto shared with us that people often decline to serve in the congregation because they fear that not knowing how to read and write will obstruct their service.
Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support!
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We pray that you and your love ones remain safe and healthy as this pandemic comes soon to an end.
With much love and gratitude,