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One of our "New Horizons"..the view from the deck of Neil and Carol's home where we enjoy our morning coffee!

One of our “New Horizons”..the view from the deck of Neil and Carol’s home where we enjoy our morning coffee!

Thank you for praying for us as we traveled from Monterrey, Mexico to Rockford, Illinois!  After an adventure crossing the border, we had a delightful time re-connecting with family and friends on the trip up here!  We’ve driven about 4500 miles so far, going to Minnesota for missionary retreat and Georgia to visit Eric’s mom!  We have had a good time spending time with Sarah (our soon-to be daughter-in-law), her parents, and our son Jeff.  We miss our family in Mexico and our dear friends there, and keep them all in our prayers!

  • Praise God with us for the good first month He has given us!
  • Please pray for God to guide us clearly as we prepare materials so that we can be effective in communicating during these months of state-side assignment!
  • Please pray for a dear friend from our home church in Monterrey.  She is struggling with low platelets and may face surgery.  She is the wife of the head deacon of our church, so not only is it a difficult situation, it comes at a stressful time in the life of our church.  Please continue to pray that our home church  El Divino Salvador will come through this struggle to see much fruit for God’s Kingdom!
  • Please pray for us to be able to schedule our church visits in a timely manner!
  • Eric is currently at a retreat with others who are involved in the Re-Tool kit process.  Please pray that God will use this time for generating inspiring ideas of implementation for when we return to Mexico.

Thanks to each of you for your faithful financial and prayer support!!  We are looking forward to seeing many of you during this year.

Thanks so much for your faithful prayers for our home church.  We see that God is at work in bringing more unity to the leadership of the church!  It has been a rough several months, but please continue to  pray with us that God will have an amazing victory and use Iglesia Bautista El Divino Salvador to bear MUCH FRUIT for His Glory!  Please keep praying the same  for the other Cosecha churches and for God to encourage the hearts of the dear pastors and wives we have had the great privilege of working with these years!

Ivan, the new leader of the worship ministry at our home church, with his wife Priscila and daughter Elliane.

Ivan, the new leader of the worship ministry at our home church, with his wife Priscila and daughter Elliane.

 

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We also had a great meeting with our Red de Amor (LeadNet) pastor’s wives, and we see them opening up more and more and really finding that they have a safe place to share, to be challenged, and to grow!  Please pray now as our Monterrey leadership team plans a breakfast for pastors’ wives for the Mexican Baptist Convention annual meeting which will be held here in Monterrey in July.  

We had a great time at the annual field council of our Converge missionaries in Central Mexico and at the discipleship workshop in Guadalajara!  Thanks for your prayers!!

We have a few more requests for you:

    • We’ve met four times with our neighbors, Irma and Fernando, and hope to meet at least once more with them before we leave.  They have heard the gospel, and are now “meditating” on their response!  Please pray for them to give their lives to Christ  and to follow him with their whole heart!
    • We plan to leave for the States on June 14.  Friends from Monterrey have offered to take us to Laredo where we will rent a car and drive up to Rockford, IL for our year in the US.  We are anticipating time with family and friends on the way up!  Please pray for our safety and health and for God to use us for His purposes!
  • We are going to need a cellular phone while in the States.  My specific desire is for an iPhone 4s, unlocked and compatible with AT&T.  (I know that is VERY specific, but it would serve us also in Mexico) If you know of anyone who has a phone plan and will be upgrading to a new phone and might have this or something similar, please send me an email!!
us, Ivan and Susan Veldhuisen, our IM director from CWW, MeLinda, Dan and Marcos Nelson, Barb and Lynn Conner

us, Ivan and Susan Veldhuisen, our IM director from CWW, MeLinda, Dan and Marcos Nelson, Barb and Lynn Conner

 

A delightful surprise from our Red de Amor (LeadNet) leadership team!

A delightful surprise from our Red de Amor (LeadNet) leadership team!

“Janet, I don’t know how to thank you for your prayer support”  wrote our missionary friend from Spain last Saturday morning.  She said that right after she sent her request for prayer, her team received help from the Red Cross, and after that they were able to minister to many of the women.  And the women were more receptive than ever to hear God’s message!  It is an extremely difficult and dangerous situation, but she is being faithful and seeing God at work.  So thank you to each of you who prayed!  God answered!!

Thanks also for praying for the difficult situation in our home church where we continue to see attitudes that bring us much sadness.  The battle is not yet over.  We ask you to continue to pray for God’s Spirit to reign in each life, and for His purposes to be accomplished.  Please pray for Elias and Susi, our pastor and wife, for strength, wisdom and peace in the midst of the turmoil.  We can tell that this is taking a toll on them.

Tomorrow evening, (Wednesday, May 14, which is also our son, Jeff’s, birthday!!!)  our neighbors, Irma and Fernando and their children,  will come to the house for another evangelistic Bible study.  We are encouraged with their openness, but pray with us that they will commit to being followers of Jesus before we leave on furlough, June 14!

DSC01514Our Cosecha pastors and wives will meet here at the house tomorrow for one of our last times together before we leave.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers so that God will encourage and strengthen them and will bring indeed a big harvest for His glory.  As we have shared previously, this has been a challenge for them all, but they and we are all trusting God for MUCH fruit!

This Saturday a former student of ours from the seminary, Dinorah Mendez, who now has a doctorate from Cambridge and is a professor at the Mexican Baptist Seminary, will present a workshop here in Monterrey on History of the Baptists.  Please pray with us that there will be an excellent attendance, and that many of the “false beliefs”  about what it means to be Baptist which have caused so much of the conflict that we see in our Cosecha churches will be exposed and that the truth will set many free.

This Saturday is also our next LeadNet (Red de Amor) meeting for pastor's wives.  As we prepare to leave on furlough, please continue to pray for the leadership team to keep the ministry moving forward, in order to  encourage and equip these faithful servants of the Lord!

This Saturday is also our next LeadNet (Red de Amor) meeting for pastor’s wives. As we prepare to leave on furlough, please continue to pray for the leadership team to keep the ministry moving forward, in order to encourage and equip these faithful servants of the Lord!

 

We leave next Monday for our annual Field Council meeting in Guadalajara, then we will make a quick trip to Mexico City to see Angela and her family for a few days.  Please pray for God to be in charge of every detail of our trip and guide each decision.  On Saturday the 24th of May, while in Guadalajara, Eric will give a conference on small groups and discipleship at FACTOR FE.  At least 30 are signed up to attend, so please pray for there to be much fruit as a result!!

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

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….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!!
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