It is a privilege to represent you in ministry with Mexican and other Hispanic people, both in their homeland as well as here in California.Your prayers and generosity enable me to dedicate my time to this work.Thank you so very much.
I was back in Mexico on two occasions over the summer and had the privilege spending time both at the Seminary and CICEM offices in Mexico City as well as visits to several rural communities.After a year away, it was encouraging to see that the work has continued to grow.The seminary is training a new generation of church leaders at three new extension centers.New missions have been established and new church buildings are being planned.In my June visit, I was joined by an enthusiastic American Baptist group from Pleasant Valley Church in Wichita.Two volunteer groups; from El Dorado, Kansas and Carson City, Nevada, preceded my visit, helping with church construction projects in Chiapas and the State of Mexico.It is a joy to see that even from a distance we can support ongoing ministries in Mexico.The Internet and telephone have become vital links that keeps us informed and involved with our Mexican colleagues.This communication is more important than ever now that we are living in California.
In August we began working full time on our new ministry assignment here in California's San Joaquin Valley.Working out of Church of the Heartland in the City of Delano, we have begun to reach out to Mexican workers living and working temporarily in the US.A Spanish language Bible Study and translation of the worship service has the goal of establishing a stable base congregation that meets at Heartland.In addition, we plan to develop a series of house churches in neighborhoods populated by migrant workers.A Sunday evening group has formed in Earlimart, a largely Hispanic town located seven miles north of Delano.We are looking at other communities as well for possible house church sites.After fifteen wonderful years in Southern Mexico, the challenge of starting from scratch is daunting.Breaking down the barriers, meeting and gaining the trust of key people, preparing relevant study materials and even the physical tasks of developing facilities are daily challenges.We count on your prayers and are grateful to God for your faithfulness in supporting International Ministries.May the Lord Jesus bless you!
Shawver Family Update:
Anna Joy and Brian Chenney announced their engagement in late September.The wedding is planned for April 3, 2004.Anna has completed her beautician studies and is now looking for work. Elena graduated with her Masters in Social Work from West Virginia University in May and she and husband Vince moved to Chicago in June.Vince is youth pastor at Oak Park Baptist Church in Chicago and has begun his M Div. program at Northern Seminary.Elena works for Elderly services of DuPage County. Samuel, Jodi, Izea and Kailan still live in Ft. Wayne where Samuel works as a manager for Summer Building Maintenance.Silas is in his third semester of law school at UCLA.
Ramona teaches 5th through 8th grade at Linn's Valley School in Glennville about a mile from our home and a huge improvement over last year's 80 mile commute.She has about 20 students in her group at the two-teacher school.Her first act as teacher was to cover an entire wall with a mapto help keep a global focus in her classroom.
Please Pray For:
- God's loving blessing on the churches of Mexico who serve the kingdom amidst difficult conditions.
- International Ministries in a time of leadership changes, economic hardship and great global opportunity.Pray that American Baptists will be faithful in their sacrificial giving to the World Mission Offering.
- Ramona as she ministers in the classroom; for wisdom, energy and love.
- guidance in identifying the people and places that will become our new mission field.
- God's power in our words and deeds.