Dearest Christian Friends,
We all have been so limited in many areas of our lives. Church activities, school, shopping, traveling, and visiting all basically came to a stop. And this year, no Christmas programs in the churches. In fact, many times we were not even allowed to have services for worship, for fellowship, or even home Bible studies.
We knew we would have to distribute the Angel Bags differently this year. The Lord is faithful, and He used this situation to His glory! Under normal circumstances, Keri Duncan and her team prepare great programs for the children and their parents. They bring their guitars to lead children in praise songs, and they teach the meaning of Christmas. The children always get to act out the nativity scene, which they love to do. All different this year, and with huge unexpected blessings!
We drove 11 hours to the border to pick up the Angel Bags that Keri and her team dropped off for the children. The bags were given out in five different states: Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Yucatan, San Luis Potosi, and Nuevo Leon.
We were careful to make sure that all church kids received their Angel Bag first, and then we gave bags to the children’s institutions, hospitals, etc. Since we couldn’t gather in large groups, we asked each church to give us the number of kids in their congregation along with their age and gender so that we could give them the appropriate gifts. We also asked for the number of moms to make sure they had gifts, too. This process took several days. Then, we began to take gifts to children’s homes, children’s hospitals, and even individual homes on the streets here in Estancia. We stressed to everyone the importance of reading the Christmas story from scripture when the gifts were given. After this, we still had enough to send 1000 bags to Guadalajara.
Josue Garcia and his son, Abdiel, work with the Christian Church in Guadalajara. They had never seen how we put on a program and distribute Angel Bags, but whatever they were going to do, they knew they would have to ask permission of government officials to gather in the streets of different communities. Once they had permission, 30 members of their congregation made up pamphlets to put in stores letting people know about the gatherings. The gifts were the hook to draw people. They were able to gather around 300 people total from their meetings. Josue’s wife and daughter took the children to the side to sing and teach the Christmas story while Josue preached and sang with the adults.
At the end of the service, an invitation was extended for those who would like to know more about Jesus to come forward. They collected names and addresses of those interested to set up home Bible studies. The first night 48 adults expressed interest in knowing more about Jesus and having someone teach them in their home! Later, nine more families signed up making a total of about 90 adults and children added to the list. Please pray for these to follow through with the Bible studies and that they will come to know Jesus as Lord.
A couple of days later, Abdiel, Josue’s son who is the youth minister, gathered teens from his church for an activity. A teenager who had attended the street services heard about the teen meeting at the church and asked his mom to call the minister to see where it would be held. He showed up for the meeting on his motorcycle, for he wanted to know more about Jesus.
Brethren, there is much more to this story, and there are many stories in the areas around us. It would take a very long newsletter to write it all down. I just want to say all the hard work and expense for the Angel Bag project made a true difference this year. People are hurting because of the pandemic. Their finances are suffering, and some have lost loved ones. They are looking for something good and true and pure. They are looking for God! Many are finding Him this Christmas season, and we were blessed and privileged to be a part of it!
My heart is filled with joy and gratefulness for so many things. There is no greater joy than to see people respond to the Gospel. Yes, maybe it took Angel Bags to tempt them to stop and gather in the streets to listen to God’s message, but now they are seeking much more….the salvation of their very souls.
The story has not ended…
MANY, MANY THANKS…HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Yes, because of your faithful support, we end 2020 with a bang - as you can see in the pictures. Brethren, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Greater things are before us in the Lord’s work. Amidst the pandemic, and all the problems that go along with it, God is in control and we depend on Him. God bless each one. We must continue to be faithful and serve.
In Christian love,