Monday, December 18, 2017

The Countdown Begins

Instead of snow falling, it rained for several hours yesterday - it's been 10 years in Mexico, and probably for about 7 of those, I've spent Christmas in San Carlos - however, there's still something about not having snow at Christmas time that is hard to get used to! (No, I'm not complaining about not having snow, in case you're wondering! I know there's probably many who would gladly trade places with me...)

 Christmas time fast approaching does mean that our new school year is just around the corner as well with January 15 being the first day of classes. But before we get to that, I wanted to give a quick summary of the conference we had on November 25th. Close to 50 people, pastors and church leaders, gathered here from the area and other parts of the state of Sonora for a day of classes and fellowship as we explored the theme Adornos de un Siervo (Adornments of a Servant), looking at the list that Paul gave Timothy in 1 Timothy 3 about qualities that leaders need to have. We discussed each one of these qualities to get a greater understanding of what they ought to look like in our lives and how these will make us more effective as leaders: being changed first before being instruments of change in other people's lives. It is always a unique dynamic when people gather together from different Christian backgrounds and church denominations but it is also an encouraging and powerful experience, seeing the body of Christ fellowshipping in spite of the divisions that sometimes do exist between us. Thanks for your prayers as we had an excellent day and everyone when away encouraged.

Speaking of prayers, it would seem that there have been many who have been praying for the upcoming school year. I think we probably have a record of students all-but-confirmed for being one month out of classes starting. Often, at one month out, we are wondering "Is there going to be school this year?" as there are people interested but virtually no applications in. It's often not until the week before that we have a good idea of the students we will be working with. This year, we have 9 students pretty much confirmed, some having already filled in and sent their applications, others already having paid their tuition fees! We are super excited with the group that is forming, coming from 5 different states from the north to the south of Mexico.

Prospective students currently coming from these five states

Continue to pray with us as we make final preparations and confirm with students. There are a couple of details that need to fall into place with regards to teachers but almost everything is set to go. Thanks for your faithful prayers! We look forward to what God is putting together for this coming school year and I look forward to sharing it with you. ¡Dios les bendiga!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A November Update

It's been a little while and I wanted to share several things that have been going on and what's coming up in the next little bit down here in San Carlos.

Millar Missions Module

We had the chance to host for the second time a missions module for a Canadian Bible school, Millar College of the Bible's campus in BC.  Nine students joined us for a week and a half as we looked at various topics related to missions work and also spent some time in ministry and connecting with local churches and ministries.  This time around we had the pleasure of having with us a missions team who serves here in Mexico in the mountains, reaching a remote indigenous tribe with the gospel.  Various members of their team shared from their hearts and their experiences as missionaries as we covered topics such as cross-cultural issues, language barriers, one's personal walk with God, the call to missions, and much more.  What a pleasure to learn from those who are literally on the front lines, bringing the Gospel message to an unreached people group.

A neat mix of people: the students from Millar College, the group of missionaries, and also some of the indigenous people they are working with were able to come along as well.


As we look forward to the coming new year, getting teachers in place while connecting with prospective students, we're also planning a day-long conference here at CEC for the end of November.  It's a chance to reach out and encourage past students as well as local people in ministry.  It also provides an opportunity to give people a taste of what CEC is all about.  We will have two of our teachers sharing on the theme: Adornments of a Servant (It sounds better in Spanish!)  Based on 2 Timothy 2:1, we will be looking at what it means to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."  As Christian servants, we are called to be before we are called to serve; we want to take a look at both sides of this in a day of teaching and fellowship.  This theme really ties into what CEC is all about, not simply equipping people with tools but being transformed by them as well.  Pray for us as we prepare, and that this would be a significant time of fellowship with local church leaders.  There may even be some prospective students that come from this!

If you're interested in coming, let me know ASAP! ;)

School Season

Every year looks so different with students who come and even changes in staff.  Pray for the right students to come as we look ahead to January 15's start of the new school year.  At this point we have about 6 or 7 very interested students (which is perhaps ahead of schedule!)  We're not looking for quantity as much as wanting to have those students that will truly benefit from this time of studies.

Pray for us as a staff as well.  We have a great group of teachers and leaders.  The transient nature of our schedules and responsibilities brings its challenges as many of us are scattered across the continent for the majority of the year and only come together for the four months of the school term.  This always presents its difficulties as we make plans but we are excited for what God has in store for another year.  Please pray for us as we prepare!  We know that the stronger we are as a team, the greater our impact will be on the students.

Back in School

I'm not sure if I figured I had too much time on my hands (trying to remember when that was last actually the case...) but this fall I figured I'd try something new and different: go back to school!  More and more there is schooling being offered online and I wanted to see if it would work to take on one class at a time alongside of my current responsibilities.  So, this past September, I enrolled in Briercrest's Seminary class of Advanced Hermeneutics.  It has been very interesting and challenging but also an enjoyable experience to get back into the role of student (it was over 15 years ago since I was in Bible school...)  It has been a challenge to balance this along with everything else but it has also been very rewarding as well.  I just finished writing an exegetical paper this past week on Romans 6:1-11, looking at how Paul instructs us how to think as a believer: as someone who has already been fundamentally changed being united with Christ in faith, having our "old self" crucified and buried together with Christ, resulting in new life.  How we think about sin and how we live our lives ought to be completely different because we have been radically and fundamentally changed, being brought from death to life, just as Christ was.  (If anyone has some spare time and wants to read it, you can do so here.

Continued Prayers

Thanks so much for your continued prayers.  I'm looking at ways to keep you all better informed and would like to begin a Facebook group in addition to this blog, to be able to better keep you updated with quick little notes and prayer requests.  If you want to be sure to be a part of this group, please send me a note and let me know!  God bless you for your prayers and continued support!  ¡Dios les bendiga!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

School's In! (Almost...)

Those dreaded words for many as a kid..."School's starting!" have come and gone for many.  Fortunately for us those aren't dreaded words but exciting ones!  Also fortunate for us, we still have some time before school is in session.  We are heavily under way in confirming plans, teachers, schedules, and students for the quickly up and coming school term which begins in January.  I know it sounds like a ways away still but it is hard to believe that we're already closing in on the final months of this year!

Here's a couple of highlights as well as some up-and-coming things to take note of:


What a great time I had spending just over a month in Canada, having some time to rest, connect with many of you, share about what is going on down here in Mexico, and escaping a little bit of the San Carlos heat!  I had the privilege of driving up with a good friend of mine, Rafael, whom many of us know as "Junior", along with his family.  They spent the time with me at my parent's house while Junior, who had gotten to know a number of people in the Winkler area over the years, was invited to come out and connect with people who have been closely involved in supporting his families ministry efforts in Guaymas through children's ministry.  It's always a pleasure to connect with so many of you!

Foot Fracture

I have to say that having your ankle fractured is not all it's cracked up to be (yes, pun intended!)  Well, I suppose that no-one ever recommended it and I don't know that I would either!  However it does come with some benefits: such as mandated rest.  That might be the only one I can think of...perhaps the other would be a legitimate excuse to temporarily ditch the exercise program!  Seriously though, it has been a long and slow recovery with weekly, slow but steady improvements.  I still have discomfort and pain, especially if I'm on it too much but we're slowly making progress.  I am thankful, though, for the time it has allowed me to do what is often difficult to do: rest!  I was able to enjoy time reading, taking care of things on the computer, etc., things that I hadn't had time to do otherwise but needed to be done.  So thanks for those who have had to exercise patience with me in the meantime and for the many prayers!


One significant change over the course of this year is that one of our main administrators, Katie Dyck, is no longer with CEC.  She filled a big hole here and her absence means a fair bit more on my plate, along with others as well.  Part of those responsibilities is having a more hands-on role in planning the course schedule and being in communication with the teachers.  We are in that full force now as January seems to be just around the corner.  It is always a huge rompecabeza (literally "head-breaker!"), the Spanish word for puzzle, and I'm feeling it's effects!  Pray for direction and just for God's hand to be over all these details - we want it all to be for His glory in the lives of the students.  Oh yes, and pray for the prospective students as well!  Without them we would have nothing to do!


I'm coming back to Canada again!  I'm not sure how this worked out but I'm going to be tagging along with Benny (he's running a rehab center in Arizpe) who has been invited to come share about his ministry with a group of supporters in Minneapolis the end of September.  Because Winkler is so close, and because there are many of you who know him from the Winkler area, we are going to spend about a week there as well, connecting with many of you.  Our plan is to arrive in Winkler sometime on Sunday, Sept. 17th, spend the week there and leave for Minneapolis on Tuesday the 26th.  There are several engagements already planned and you are more than welcome to attend.  The following engagements are tentatively set for Sunday, Sept. 24th:

  • 9:15 AM - Sharing at Sunday school at the Blumenort Mennonite Church in Rosetown
  • 10:30 AM - Benny preaching at Bethel Bergthaler Church, south of Winkler
  • 7:00 PM - Benny, myself, and directors Howard & Susan Dyck sharing about the ministries down in Mexico: the school CEC and the rehab center Vida Nueva in Arizpe (see link)

Please come on out to any or all of these events!  Of course we will be around during the week prior if you want to grab a coffee!

Thanks so much for all the many prayers that are offered up for myself and for the ministries down here.  I don't know where we would be without them!  I'm looking forward to seeing many of you (again!)  ¡Dios les bendiga!