–Since we were able to hug our kids. (We miss Rachael. She is at U.W. finishing her studies)
–Since we sat at the same table with friends to eat and/or encourage one another.
–Since we could sit together, sing together and do church together.
–And it certainly has been way too long since we were able to work with our friends in Mexico.
–COVID has kept us in the US. Now something else delays our return to Mexico
We need $1000 more in monthly pledges and $5000 more in cash in order to return.
So why support us financially?
–Because we represent you in church planting. We want to see new churches established—whether the churches are started by bi-vocational Mexican health care providers (who are also ministers along with a pastor who commits to staying), or whether the new church is established by Mexican university grad who catch a vision and reach out to the main university in Mexico City.
Your monthly pledge allows us to work with those medical professionals in coordinated efforts to target areas with little or no gospel ministry. Beyond the medical care, the purpose is establishing new churches.
Sandy is also interested in taking a class at the UNAM and beginning to link new found friends to a network where a student led congregation begins to grow.
–Because Mexico needs theological reflection that is Mexican. Paul has already started working with local pastors to develop training materials that are 100% Mexican. The end goal will be books whose emphases reflect his 20 years of teaching in Mexico. This will serve as a resource for future students and ministers.
–Because our Mexican friends and co-workers have experienced great loss due to the pandemic. It has been very difficult being so far away. Over 150 Assemblies of God pastors have succumbed to COVID.
You can commit to a monthly offering, just by clicking the link below. After an extra year in the U.S. we are anxious to leave. Our hope is to be firmly established in Mexico City by July of this year.
Unable to pledge monthly? You can give a one/time offering. Cash gifts will allow us to purchase portable oxygen concentrators for the medical outreaches for treating people facing COVID issue for a long time to come. Each concentrator costs $1500. To contribute to the medical outreach, click on the link below and ear mark you gift for class 50. All funds sent to class 50 are used solely for the purchase of medical equipment and transportation of supplies for each medical outreach. The medical personnel all raise their own funds for medicine and travel to each clinic.
We are only able to do this because of your faithful support. Thank you.
A nickname is a familiar or sometimes humorous name given to someone instead of their real name. So, what’s your nick- name? My husband calls me The Queen of the Universe. I have been known to let everybody else know that they are welcome to call me that too. One of the last names my wonderful Albanian father in law gave me was “Queenie”.
Mexicans are famous for bestowing nicknames to their families, their friends, and even to their favorite politician, soccer player or other famous people. It is their way of welcoming you into their inner circle. For me it’s one of the most delightful elements of Mexican culture.
Jesus was known by several other names. The Angel let the Virgin Mary know He would also be called Emmanuel. God with us.
Jesus gave nicknames to other people that he encountered. On more than one occasion, he called a woman hija, that is daughter. Paul says that through Jesus we become sons and daughters of God (Gal. 3:26).
That identity is what APV ministries teaches every year during camps that they host for young women in July, and young men in October, in Baja California, Mexico. The camps are three days long. There are times of worship, games, concerts, parties, but most significantly, speakers and counselors teach kids that God gives them a name and wants to welcome them into His family. They learn that God the Father values them, and as a result they are worthy of respect from others. Nobody should treat them, nor should they treat others as objects. Instead, they learn that their identity and their value is found in Emmanuel.
I have learned that the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to give kids the opportunity to learn about His amazing love as expressed by the people of APV. Would you join me in sponsoring a kid or making sure that these camps continue? I’d love to see a camp started once a year in every region of Mexico. Why not incorporate that element of Mexican culture into Kingdom values.
I’m not just Sandy. With my kids and husband, I’m the queen. But I’m actually His mi’ja, His daughter. I’m a part of a Kingdom where my crown doesn’t really matter because I’ll want to cast it away when I see Christ on the Throne.
Thank you for supporting us. To give an offering towards these camps or sponsor a child to attend one, please click on the link below. You can also follow APV on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apvcampamento
Zoom meetings are not the same as meeting in person.
How many times have we heard this phrase this year?
And online learning is not the same as seated learning.
And church is just not the same if we can’t be together singing worship songs to God.
And a virtual hug is just not the same as a real hug.
Christmas is just not the same this year.
We certainly our lamenting that the Mexican Assemblies of God is not the same. In this past year, just in the Mexico City area we have lost 13 lead pastors. The loss of life in other states is also great. To say that there is grief looming in the air is an understatement. And to those in the U.S. who have lost loved ones, you understand well this grief.
God came to earth in humble form. A Spirit God became incarnate.
That certainly was different for Him.
Learning how to crawl, walk, talk, obey his parents is just not the same as creating the Universe.
Teaching, serving and dying is just not the same as what earthly kings have been known to do.
So in this season of loss of health, loss of income, loss of in person relationships, isn’t it wonderful to know that God chose to act in ways that were surprising and unknown?
How about we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with this “just not the same” God.
Is it possible that God forgets? In some sense, the plain meaning of the texts above states that God has forgotten our rebellion, our transgressing His law, or even our indifference to Him and His ways.
His command to us is that we never forget that He has forgotten.
He commands us to remember His faithfulness toward us, even when we feel the pain of our losses. His word to us is that we keep good records of what He has done for us.
Deuteronomy 6:1-12 encourages God’s people to do all sorts of things to remember. Some of them might even seem silly. Place remembrances on door posts? On my wrist? In between my eyes?
What is it that God is after? 6:12 says, be careful that you do not forget the Lord.
So how about as we sit around the table we remember the things that the God who forgets has done for us.
When Jesus fed five thousand plus people, the disciples picked up 12 baskets of left overs. What if he had fed ten thousand plus people? Yup, there very well could have been 24 baskets of surplus.
When God loves, His love doesn’t divide. It multiplies.
He doesn’t divvy up His generosity either. He multiplies it. There is more than sufficient.
So when our God demonstrates His math nature, it becomes an example we can copy. The addition of a child to the family does not divide the hearts of loving parents. Their love grows with each new member of the family.
When we generously give, we generously receive. It might not always be in the same way, but it is more than sufficient, and often is unexpected.
During this election season we are reminded that our hearts are bigger than when we started out in missions 32 years ago. We have grown to love other countries and other people groups as much as we love our passport country. We aren’t torn or divided in our love. On the contrary—that love grows. Our love for Mexico City and the whole central region of Mexico is growing more every day.
To all of you who nourish that love, thank you. May you experience a hundred fold the generosity you have shown to us.
When Paul wrote about the diversity that exists in the body of Christ, he used several illustrations of physical body parts to make his point. Is the foot not a part of the body because it is not a hand? The ear because it is not an eye? What if the whole body were an eye or an ear? God has placed the various parts of the body, just as He wanted. No part can say to another I don’t need you.
Here is where it gets interesting. Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts we think are less honorable we treat with special honor…and God has put the body together, giving greater honor to those who lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other (1Co. 12:22-25).
This is a beautiful picture of the various members of the body working in harmony. But the question remains, who among us reading this passage considers him or herself the weaker, as the less honorable member? It is easy to interpret this passage to mean that I, as the more honorable, more presentable member of the body need to care for the weaker, less presentable. But what if I am the weaker member?
In every place where I have lived, the majority culture has by default defined what is the honorable, more presentable part of society and the church has been tainted by this secular reasoning. Certainly, we need to care for those who are in need. And I affirm that the body of Christ must care for the weaker members. What I am struggling with is how to identify, who are the weak? It cannot be a self-designation, nor an imposed one. However, in general, the “presentables” set the standard, which in reality is not a biblical standard at all. Less melanin, more testosterone, fewer physical challenges do not make one more presentable.
Recent events and the mono-cultural status of most churches require that those of us in majority settings must be careful. When we think about expanding our circle of friends to include people of other ethnic and racial groups, remember your new friends are NOT the less honorable.
“When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers.” 1Co. 11:20, 21
There is only one loaf (1Co. 10:17). We divide the body at our own peril.
Create in me a clean heart Oh God, and RENEW a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10-19)
I read a blog by the eloquent author and Cuban Assemblies of God church historian, Octavio Ríos, (you can click on his blog in Spanish here: https://octavioriosblog.blogspot.com/2020/05/crea-en-mi-oh-dios-un-corazon-limpio.html) He writes about the effects of conscious and subconscious memories on our behavior as adults, and how one of the most invasive subconscious effects on our behavior is sin. He ties that thought carefully into Psalm 51.
The psalmist asks God to create, to renew, to restore, to uphold and to deliver. Notice the results of all of that: transgressors will learn God’s ways, sinners will be converted, with our mouths we will sing praises about God’s righteousness, we will have a broken spirit and a contrite heart, and we will do good for His good pleasure.
In this time of sickness and death and significant loss of economic income, it would be easy to let those things overtake our hearts and have them be etched in our memories in such a way that we are left paralyzed, unable to move or speak. The grief of watching the losses people are experiencing around the world is overwhelming.
And yet the Psalmist wanted to remind us that we can ask God to put new memories in our heart, to renew a right spirit, so that we end up teaching and doing good works for the benefit of others and in turn, for the pleasure of God. Isn’t that what the Kingdom is about?
Missionaries and people of God all around the world are doing what they can to meet the needs of others. Sometimes that means teaching a class in Zoom. Sometimes it involves purchasing, organizing and dropping off food and supplies for people in need. Sometimes it means preaching to a screen and praying that all who need to hear the message will do so. Sometimes it means spending more time on the phone or giving generously. It definitely means increased prayer and study of the Word.
The Kazims are tutoring kids at a disadvantage over Zoom, meeting with pastors over Zoom, teaching classes over Zoom, participating in preaching and other ministries online, and organizing relief supplies for pastors who are doctors and nurses in Mexico. They are on the front lines of Covid treatment. Continue to pray for all of our front line workers. The above picture is of Doctor Suárez in full protective gear, made possible by your giving.
God designed us to work together in community, to produce clean hearts, to be renewed, and to sing praises about who He is and what He has done for us. Today I look at this Chiapaneco purse, a gift from dear friends, who let me know with this gift that they know and walk with us in our love for Mexico.
We have been reminded time and time again by the messages, emails, letters and generosity of others that God is in the business of creating and renewing, restoring and upholding, and delivering. Despite the destruction from Covid, in the end, God’s righteousness wins. We are reminded in so many ways about that, and yes, we will sing about that very thing.
You know—not the mushy gushy stuff, but the eternal kind
Several years back I put together this video after attending a camp where I watched how the Spirit changed hearts and lives in women who had been broken by the world.
What I witnessed there compelled me to get involved and make sure that this ministry continues in Mexico and in other parts of the world.
Some of us might come from healthy homes, and have spouses who love us the way the apostle Paul describes in I Corinthians.
Others of us might come from brokenness, from betrayal, from disappointment, from violence.
All of us together can know and enjoy the only true God who is always patient, kind, not rude, not easily angered and who keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He is the God who perseveres, who doesn’t fail. (I Cor. 13:4-8)
May we all continue to work together to provide others with the opportunity to experience this, the only true God.
Please take a moment to watch one of the following videos.
They happen when we least expect. Little reminders of God with us.
Twenty–five years ago, when we were first starting out on the missionary path, we had hit rock bottom as we tried to raise the necessary funds to get us to another country. There seemed to be little response as that bottom line budget loomed over our heads.
We were at a small church, our kids were little, and we were physically and emotionally exhausted.
Then it happened: A Divine Encounter. We got a call from a single mom who had spent all night interceding for us. She felt God was telling her to give us a large offering. A kind of offering that single moms aren’t supposed to give.
It was the encouragement we needed. It launched us down a path of renewed fervor and focus. It helped us finally get to Peru, where Paul would become a seasoned teacher to pastors needing a theological foundation for their personal and ministerial lives. Peru was also where I began to learn what medical outreaches can do to promote Kingdom growth. These were some of our most formative years in ministry.
And this mom was one of those flash moments in time that are forever etched in our memories.
Yesterday, 25 years later, I ran into her at a pastor’s meeting, in a church far from our temporary home here in southern California. She recognized me immediately. I recognized her as well. Hugs and tears ensued. Her life has taken her through many open doors of opportunity, and a while back, brought her a new family. God reminded me once again that He is with us.
What a privilege that He uses you and me to bless others in this way. We might get to provide that individual, that family, or that people group, with the one thing that launches them into a life of fulfilling God’s purpose for them.