Last year around late October, a lady walked through the doors of La Roca church. For a visitor to come to church, they are usually invited by someone. Emma Gomez was invited by a guy who had only been to the church 3 or 4 times. She had been attending another church for a few weeks but felt she needed to keep looking. When she came, we spoke to her to find out more about her. She had come to Autlan to hide from an abusive husband who she was going through the process of getting a divorce. After hearing some of the stories she shared, it was clear that this man who was her husband is in fact very dangerous and she needed to cut ties with this man. So for a time she was living with her mother. She had no money, no job, basically had come to Autlan with the clothes on her back. Over the course of the year it became more difficult for her to stay with her mother who is extremely catholic, to the point that her mom would begin to scream in rage about Emma's christian faith. So we invited her to come live with us.
If I could describe her to you, she is a warm, caring woman who is a mother to everyone in the church. She has been a christian for many years. We knew after talking with her she was going to be an asset for us in the ministry of the church. She did indeed become an asset to our ministry. She was teaching Sunday school every other week, cleaning and preparing for church or bible studies on a weekly basis and helped with the two groups that came over the summer from the U.S.. A cousin in Seattle invited her to come for a visit so with this invitation she applied for a visa. She asked us about the application process which we have no idea about the process. The only thing we could tell her was to be honest and not lie. We told her that God only blesses obedience. We prayed with her about it. If the Lord was going to move her in this direction, He would do it with the truth. They gave her a six month visa!
On Sunday we prayed for her as the body of Christ sending her out from us. We do this more often then we like to as you have seen with Josue going to bible school. This morning she left to be with her two sons who are 19 and 21 and both in college, before she flies out on Sunday. We will miss her. We know that God is directing her. We know that we may have only had a year with her, but because of Jesus we have more than just friendship, we have fellowship as brothers and sisters in Jesus. Jesus knows His sheep, and knows what they need when they need it.
John 10: 27-30
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
When you get out the habit of something, it takes awhile to get back into the habit. I am back. We are finally getting back into a rhythm of life after months of summer with a short trip to the states, two different teams from the states coming down to do ministry, and some visitors. Then Jessie and Anna are in the middle of a trip being gone for two weeks. This means I am spending my mornings with the kids doing home school each morning. Getting back to the blog here and also finishing a newsletter are on my top priorities.
A few weeks ago, we again had the pleasure of praying for a young man named Josue who decided to attend bible school before moving on to study something else. When you are in ministry you see so many different kinds of young people who grow up. Sometimes you see them follow after what they think is going to make them happy often leading to rebellion and sin. It is those times, you have to trust that the truth of God's word you have poured into them, will continue to take root even in the midst of their unfortunate decisions they are making.
Josue is not the case. I think of Paul writing to Philemon about Onesimus in which he wrote:
"I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me." Philemon 1:10-11 ESV
This is how I feel about Josue. He was just a kid around 8 or 9 years old when he started attending the church. I have watched him fight for holiness as he confessed sin to me at various times over the years. I have watched him grow into a man with strong integrity and good work ethic. It was may privilege to watch him grow into a young man who loves the Lord. That is why, when he asked me what I thought about him attending bible school, I was was thrilled. If you have followed our ministry over the years, he is the younger brother to Chavo and Vicente who both graduated from our mission's bible institute who are both in full-time ministry. He also the younger brother of Rosa, who is studying to be a pharmacist and started a cell group on her college campus. Being in ministry, when Paul mentioned child/father relationship you get to see the transformation of these kids who turn into adults with a love and passion to follow Jesus in whatever he calls them to do. Josue truly learned to be a servant. Jesus said in Mark 10:43b-44:
But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. (ESV)
I have translated what Josue posted on Facebook the last night he was at the coffee house before leaving for bible school. You get the idea of what I have been talking about.
"Today was my last day of service that I offered in "La Roca Coffee Shop", a place where I had the joy of growing both physically and spiritually, having the opportunity to share good times with my family and friends. A place where I learned that you serve in spite of the small things that you know and can support. I learned to work in a team despite different qualities and defects that we have. A place where I learned that not all work is tedious and boring. I learned to arrive with a purpose every Sunday, where the purpose is to glorify God with our work and serve our neighbors before ourselves. It certainly breaks my heart to leave this place, however I know that I will have the happiness of working here again, I keep hope :) I thank God so much for allowing me to grow here and meet those people who have been tools of growth throughout my life! Cafeteria and Church "La Roca" I love you!"
Glory to the Lord for what He has done and what His going to do! It is our privilege to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of His people.