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Thank you for praying for Sunday’s meeting at our home church, El Divino Salvador.  Thank you to those who sent words of wisdom and encouragement!

The nominating committee did NOT present candidates because they are not in agreement as to who they should be (!) and asked the church to give them until April 27 to present the candidates.  The committee has set a reasonable profile for the leaders, based on biblical qualities, but there is opposition to using that profile by the “old guard”.  One of the founding members of the church stood during the business meeting and said that only the “saints” who had gone on to glory could fulfill the qualifications, so there is no need to set standards. Eric met with (and will meet again tonight) the assistant chairman of the deacons, Brother N,  about following biblical practices in choosing leaders.  As Eric pointed to the example in Acts 6, Brother N said “I don’t agree.” (with what the Bible says.)  Therefore, we ask you to continue to pray for God to do a miracle and restore unity, and put the people He wants in positions of leadership so that His Kingdom will grow and He will be glorified!

Please pray this passage from Ephesians 3 with us:

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ezequiel, Samuel, Mario and Elias (Cosecha pastors) were able to become certified coaches for Natural Church Development due to your generous giving!  They all are very grateful for the opportunity!

Cosecha pastors Ezequiel, Samuel, Mario and Elias  were able to become certified coaches for Natural Church Development due to your generous giving! They all are very grateful for the opportunity!

Please pray that God will protect and encourage these pastors and their wives with His hope and power and give them grace to persevere in very challenging times!

 

The last time we wrote we asked you to pray for a meeting with Brother D at our home church here in Monterrey.  That meeting did not go particularly well, which leads to our big request for prayer for tomorrow:

There will be a business meeting after church to name the new ministry and department leaders and there’s a group of very tradition-bound members who currently control the finance and building committees and are intent on maintaining control.  Their influence is, unfortunately, a major hindrance to the church’s health and growth. So, if you and your church would pray for God to move that control out of their hands and into His hands, that shift will be a HUGE step forward for the life, ministry, and future impact of our home congregation here in Monterrey.

 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory,that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  John 15:7-8

grapes

….God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.  Ephesians 6:10-12 The Message

1. Thank you so much for your faithful praying with us for the ministries we are involved in. We know that  “..the one who is in ‘us’ is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).   Our Cosecha pastors continue to confront daunting challenges which require constant prayer!   We ask especially that you pray for tomorrow evening’s meeting of the pastor of our home church (Elias), 2 deacons and Brother D.  Brother D is used to being in charge (he’s the former head deacon) at church and to having things go his way (with his imposing personality and heavy-handedness).  Pray with us that God will pierce his heart with His truth and love and that Brother D will bow before the Lord in a new way with a humbled heart.  Pray for spiritual victory in his life so that he might become a godly leader who facilitates a long-needed unity and purpose in the church!

Paty, Cheke, Elias, Susi, Neria, Samuel, Elisa, Mario and us!

Paty, Cheke, Elias, Susi, Neria, Samuel, Elisa, Mario and us!

2.  Eric preaches this Sunday at our home church.  Pray for God’s clear guidance in Eric’s  preparation and for His church to be challenged and edified by His truth!

3. This Sunday evening, our neighbors, Fernando and Irma and their 2 college age children are supposed to come over to “talk about the Bible” .  They agreed to try and get together every 2 weeks before we leave on furlough.  They are a very religious family, but we want to see them very redeemed! Please pray that they will indeed come (at least part of the family is going to the border for the weekend), and that  God’s Spirit will direct the conversation powerfully for great Kingdom results! We’ve been working toward and praying for this opportunity for quite a while!

4.  Rejoice with us because God is giving us a new daughter!  Our son Jeff is engaged to lovely Sarah Shannon (whose dad Ed now works at the Arlington Heights Converge Worldwide office in the retirement program!)  We thank God for His delightful answer to prayer!!

Jeff and Sarah..engaged!

Jeff and Sarah..engaged!

5.  Please  pray with us that God will continue to put together all the details of our furlough: housing, church visits, raising more support, etc!   Looking forward to seeing you soon!!

Johnson Update

1.  Please continue to keep our home church, El Divino Salvador,  in your prayers as we choose new ministry leaders to start in April.    There is a true sense that God is doing a “new thing” there.  However, the conflict that we have mentioned in the past has not been resolved.  There have been some important steps taken toward resolution, so that is a praise.  As the nominating team meets together to choose new leaders, pray for God’s grace to break through in a new way.  Please pray John 14:12-14 with us!!
Pastor Elias and his wife Susi, with Hugo, head deacon, are 3 of the 8 on the nominating team.  Please pray for God to lead them to leaders who will work as a team to accomplish God's purposes!!

Pastor Elias and his wife Susi, with Hugo, head deacon, are 3 of the 8 on the nominating team. Please pray for God to guide them to choose leaders who will work as a team to accomplish God’s purposes!!

 
2.  This Saturday Eric is teaching a small groups conference from 9:00am to 1:00pm.  We have invited folks from the Cosecha churches as well as from our regional churches.  We know that small groups are an integral part of healthy, growing churches (Acts 2), and yet there is a great reluctance to use them  in the churches we work with.  At this point, we don’t think many are planning to attend on Saturday, so please pray that God will do an amazing work and not only bring a good-sized group, but that He will use this to break the chains of fear, and replace them with hearts expectant and bold to see what God can do through this ministry! We want to see abundant Kingdom fruit!
 
3.  Continue to pray for God to put the pieces together for our home assignment!  We are looking forward to being with those of you who have SO FAITHFULLY upheld our ministry through prayer and financial gifts!!  Praise God with us for the gift of YOU!!

Thank you for praying!  Our trip to Torreón was a blessing to us, and we trust to the brothers and sisters we were with there!  Eric was able to preach 3 times, and we both gave workshops all day on Saturday the 11th of January, and the response was very positive!

Eric preaching from Rev. 4-5 at the opening of the seminary in Torreón.

Eric preaching from Rev. 4-5 at the opening of the seminary in Torreón.

Practicing listening skills in LeadNet retreat in Torreón.

Practicing listening skills in LeadNet retreat in Torreón.

Last Saturday (Jan. 18), we had a fellowship time with the 5 Cosecha teams we have been working with..a sweet time.  Please continue to pray for these churches as they implement changes and continue to look to improve their health so that they can bear much fruit!!

Fun fellowship at Cosecha!

Fun fellowship at Cosecha!

Sweet prayer time closing our Cosecha meeting last Saturday.

Sweet prayer time closing our Cosecha meeting last Saturday.

Eric will be preaching at our home church from Acts 5 this Sunday.  Please pray for God’s Spirit to anoint him as he speaks, and for hearts to be receptive. Please also continue to pray for our church as there continues to be a campaign “under the water” to sow discontent.  Please pray for Eric and various of our leaders to be able talk with the man who is instigating this.  We are concerned for the state of his heart…and long to see God do a powerful redemptive and reconciling work in him!  Please pray with us to see the King of Kings reign in power and love in this situation!!

Thanks for your faithful praying.  Please continue to pray for us to know where to stay when we return to live in the States for a year beginning this June.  If you have any suggestions or know of possibilities where we might live, we would love to hear from you.  We would like to be in DeKalb or Rockford or the western suburban area of Chicago.

Fresh and New!

For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (PHILLIPS)

What an amazing gift God gives us in our new life with Him!  And our prayer for you that you will love God in a Fresh and New Way every day!

We had a delightful time with the pastor’s wives in December here in Monterrey.  We had asked the women in our previous meeting to describe in 4 words what LeadNet  means to them.  Here are a few of the adjectives they used:

fellowship, blessing, refreshment, friendship, learning, love!  That is exactly what we hope for them to receive!

A fun time at our Christmas party with the pastor's wives!

A fun time at our Christmas party with the pastor’s wives!

Please pray as we travel to Torreón, Coahuila this weekend (about 4 hours west of Monterrey).  On Saturday Janet will lead a mini-retreat to launch Leadnet for pastor’s wives in this regional district and Eric will present Jesus’ strategy for forming disciples to the pastors.  Janet is struggling a bit with a cough, so please pray for good health for us both as we do our presentations and for safe travels!

 

 

We enjoyed a wonderful time with our family over the holidays!IMG_3300

Thanks for your faithful praying!  We are grateful for you, and look forward to seeing many of you this year!  We are planning to return in mid-June and will be contacting your churches to organize our visits.

Giving Thanks!

Thank you to each of you who faithfully intercede on our behalf!!  As we approach my favorite holiday of all, join us in thanking God for:

1.  His amazing love and the privilege we all have of serving Him, you where you are and us where we are!

2.  A precious family: our small family “in the flesh”; and our large family of brothers and sisters “in Christ”!

3. A wonderful trip to Mexico City from Nov. 6-16!  God used Jerry and Dee Sheveland powerfully, and all were so grateful for their Spirit-led presentations!  After hearing Dee’s presentation to the women at the conference, one pastor’s wife came to me and said:  “I was not going to come to this conference, because we did not have money for my bus ticket.  However, a sister from our church gave us a donation to fix the roof on our house.  We decided to use that money for my ticket to come to this conference.  After listening to Sister Dee share, I can say that God used the money that was supposed to fix my roof to fix my heart!” 

4.  A precious time last Friday to launch LeadNet (ministry for pastor’s wives)  in southern Mexico City!  We had 23 attend, with the potential for 3 new groups!! Please pray that God will raise up just the right leaders to guide these new groups!!

Mini-retreat November 15 to launch more LeadNet teams in Mexico City!  Wonderful women!

Mini-retreat November 15 to launch more LeadNet teams in Mexico City! Wonderful women!

5.  The opportunity to work with the 5 churches who have been participating in the Cosecha (Cultivating Healthy Churches) process.   Tomorrow is the last official joint meeting of  the leadership teams of the 5 participating churches.  We will be talking about implementing healthy church functions, which launches the next phase of the Cosecha process in each church.  Thanks for your continued prayers for these churches.  As we have mentioned before, the challenges of the enemy are great, but our God is Greater still!!!

6.  The opportunity for Eric to preach this Sunday at our home church.   Thanks for praying for God to use Ephesians 4 powerfully to speak to our congregation!

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