April 2007

Have you ever gotten a gift from somebody that hurt a bit when you received it but in the end it was one of the best gifts you could have ever received? Efrian had called that night and told us that he and his family were quitting our church. My wife, Nellie and I had invested a lot of time in this man and we were feeling discouraged and down. Then Nellie said to me, "Joe, lately I'm not feeling the joy anymore. We are just going through the routines." WOW! Buenos Dias! That was a wake-up call to me. At times we need to re-evaluate our lives and stop the merry-go-round of life. That was the gift. If the pastor and wife are feeling that they are going through the routine of "church", then what about the people who are attending week in and week out? That forces me to go back to purpose and calling. Please pray for Nellie and me to keep the joy of the Lord before us and be able to make adjustments constantly in our attitudes.

One of the spark plugs of this ministry sleeps alongside of me every night. She doesn't know that I am going to write about her but I want you to be praying for her as well as for me in this exciting work. Nellie invests hundreds of hours every year in our worship services. She trains the musicians, leads every church service and visits women that I am not culturally able to visit. Nellie is also my critic who keeps me on my toes. Nellie is my sounding board when I am wondering what to do. Nellie has endured years with me being gone many nights of the week, all day Saturday, and a very busy Sunday. Wherever I am hired for ministry, they get a 2 for 1 deal. Lord Jesus, I thank you for my wife, Nellie.

David has to spend 9 months in jail. One afternoon coming home from work, he hit a car then left the scene of the accident in order to find somebody who spoke English. David accepted the Lord in jail about 4 months ago. He then asked me to visit his home and this I have been doing for about 10 weeks. Whenever I enter the house, there is always a huge figure of Mary in a corner with many candles burning below her. I spend about 2 hours every Saturday with David's father, mother, sister and wife discussing the book The Purpose Driven Life and portions of Scripture that they read during the week. Pray for this family to open their hearts to Jesus.

This year on Easter Sunday, Vida Nueva CRC and Amor Viviente CRC had a combined worship service at our facility in Lynden. What a blessing to fill our new church building with Spanish speaking people! We had a glorious time and afterward we had a barbecue. Continue to pray for both churches as they develop. Pray for me as I try to meet new people each week for the purpose of evangelism. Blessings in the Lord.