Concern for All the Churches
Lately I’ve been thinking about the Apostle Paul’s statement regarding his daily concern for the churches. In 2 Corinthians 11 he lists all the trials that he’s experienced in ministry. Then at the end of this list in verse 28 he says, “Besides everyone else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28 NIV).
It may be a dangerous thing to compare myself to the apostle Paul, but I feel that I can identify with him in his concern for the churches. I give thanks for how the ministry has grown here on the border and beyond! Yet, as we start more churches I find myself thinking and praying for them more. It’s exciting to see the Lord at work, but that’s not to say that it’s without challenges.
There are all kinds of concerns and pressures that go along with planting churches. Our pastors and those that we are partnering with to start new churches face all kinds of issues, sicknesses, divisions, and financial hardships. There is also the need to see the church grow, and develop leadership so that it will come to be a healthy and reproducing church.
Praying for Protection & Healing
Dawn and I love to pray for and encourage the pastors we work with. Just last week I met with a young pastor, Jovani and his wife, Esmeralda to pray. Esmeralda suffered a stroke in the last year, and they are a young couple so it’s surprising that she had a stroke. The three of us came together to pray against the attacks of the enemy, who seeks to discourage the Lord’s workers. We prayed for healing, that the Lord would touch her body and bring forth healing and restoration.
After we spent time in prayer we left encouraged, and sensed the Lord had met us and heard our prayers. Esmeralda was not healed as we hoped, but we felt assured that God was at work in her life and in the life of her husband, Jovani as well. Join us in continuing to pray for their comfort and Esmeralda’s total and complete helaing.
Pastor Mere Godinez
One of the other pastors we partner with Mere has also faced health issues at the end of 2019. Mere is planting the church in Mexicali that we built in Hannah’s memory. He was feeling so badly that he had to take some a few weeks off to rest and recuperate. We see the Lord working there, but there has been opposition.
Pastor Davis & Luz Pardo
Our church planters in Playas, Tijuana – Davis and Luz Pardo just moved into their new apartment. It was difficult for them to find an affordable place to rent. We are so thankful for the apartment they found, but now they are struggling to get set up. Their place is on the small side, so they need a washer-dryer combo and it’s not easy to find one that fits in their economy. We look to the Lord for His provision in all things including a washer and dryier.
Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz
Federico and Blanca are just getting started with their church plant in Mexicali. We are so excited for them as we pray with them, coach and encourage them. They are reaching out into the community so they can grow and build a big enough core to launch their church. They have a weekly small group, and they are in the process of starting a second small group.
Pastor Petri & Yudy
Petri and Yudy are bivocational church planters in Ensenada. Petri is an excellent preacher/teacher. Yudy is gifted with children and she is very caring and creative. The challenge they face is growing the church while both of them are holding down full time jobs in Tecate, which is an hour from Ensenada. The church is growing. They have some excellent leaders in the church, but we are praying for even more, so that they will come to be a strong and thriving church.
The list goes on. One of the pressures I often feel is raising funds for these new works while continuing to work with these pastors. I see God at work in ways that Dawn and I have not seen in all our years of ministry. There’s so much to be thankful for, while we face the concerns and pressures!
Our Growing Family in Cuba
Dawn and I have also grown to love our Cuban family. Our family on this big island keeps growing, and there are many challenges that the pastors face there as well. I’m going to be traveling to Cuba from March 6 – 18. We always give thanks for the opportunity to see these dear friends who have become part of our family.
Join us in Prayer!
When I think about these daily concerns for the churches I’m reminded of the importance of prayer. The importance of trusting in the Lord’s provision. “He who calls you in faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV). I give thanks for our wonderful friends like you, who follow us on this journey and pray for us and the work that the Lord is doing through our partners.
When I can look up and look to Christ and all that he is doing. When I remember his strength, his promises and his power then the pressures and concerns dissipate. Thanks be to God for his wonderful work, and his mighty power. Hallelujah! Amen!
In His Loving Grip, Dave