January 2021 Newsletter
Dear Christian Friends,
The domino effect of one small action in the name of Christ can change the course of a life for eternity. Your kind and generous gifts through the Angel Bag project are doing just that. S.O.A.R. Ministries has come to the Bethshean Mexico Mission since 2001 to present great programs and Christmas presents for hundreds of children. Over 2000 children yearly have received the message of Jesus' birth and why He came to earth.
We sent over 1000 Angel Bags to the church in Guadalajara this past Christmas. Since churches are closed because of the pandemic, Josue Garcia and his son Abdiel, ministers of Insurgentes Christian Church in Guadalajara, saw a wonderful way to present the Gospel while
distributing Angel Bags. After asking permission from proper authorities, they put out flyers throughout the communities announcing the day, hour, and place of each event. Around two hundred adults and children gathered on the designated street in each community.
Children were separated to one area for their program while the adults stayed with Josue and Abdiel. Josue preached, and church members prepared special songs for each “service”. An invitation was given to those who wanted to know more about Christ, and many came to the front expressing interest. After preaching on the street in several communities, the church had collected the names and contact numbers of well over one hundred souls wanting to know more about Jesus.
Needless to say, the church members were on cloud nine. They knew much work needed to be done to fulfill the promise of teaching from the Scriptures. They were overjoyed and thanked God for touching so many hearts and for giving them the privilege to be a part of it all.
A month has passed, and each night of the week people gather in designated homes of each community for Bible studies. Every meeting starts at 7:00 PM and ends at 9:30. On January 22, 2021, a meeting was held in the home of one of the church members who lives in the very poor community of Osorio Comunal. There were 24 in attendance, including Josue’s family, 19 of whom do not know Christ. Once the class ended in prayer, people started to leave as usual. On this particular night, the owner of the house said, “No, no! Please don’t leave. We have prepared some refreshments and would like for you to stay a little longer.”
After everyone settled down and began to enjoy fellowship together, they heard a woman screaming frantically in the street. A couple of the men looked out the window and could see a house burning. Once everyone ran outside, they could see the back of a neighbor’s house was, indeed, in flames. A couple of men attending the meeting went to get ladders. Salvador had a long ladder and went running to the house. Most houses have bars over the windows in Mexico, and Salvador struggled to remove them. He was finally able to climb through the window. Another man climbed to position himself at the top of the ladder, and Josue and Abdiel were on the ground ready to assist.
Salvador could see three women in the smoke-filled room. The grandmother’s clothes were on fire, and she was unable to get up. Salvador smothered the flames and passed her to the man outside the window who handed her down to Josue who rushed her away from the burning house.
Although his hands were hurting terribly from burns, Salvador continued working to get the remaining two women to safety. One was an asthmatic whose weakened lungs had caused her to pass out. He quickly picked her up and passed her through the window. The third lady told Salvador that three children were trapped on the front side of the house. The flames had grown even bigger throughout, and he could not get to them.
There aren’t very many houses in that location. It is made up mostly of businesses such as factories and large lots for brick making. All properties have walls, so to get to the front of the house, the men had to run over 450 meters around the block. When the men got to the front, they found the children. The ten-year old girl was crying and screaming that her grandmother was in the house. One of the men tried calming her down explaining that her grandmother was out and had been taken to the hospital. She didn’t believe him and continued screaming. Josue touched the desperate girl’s shoulder and said, “Little one, I am a minister, and I cannot lie to you. Your grandmother is safe and is at the hospital receiving help.” At hearing his words, she was able to calm down, and the three children were taken to the hospital to see the grandmother and the two aunts.
On Saturday and Sunday, Christians gathered food, clothing, beds, mattresses, and other needed items. Then on Monday, community members came with more items. They began commenting on how fortunate it was that they had been together in one place on the night of the fire. The nearest neighbors to the burning house were a couple of blocks away. The Bible study had taken place behind the house on another street. It was a great blessing that they were gathered on that particular night and were available to save this family from the horrific fire. The firemen had arrived 10 minutes after everyone was out of the house, and by that time, it might have been too late.
They continued talking as they gathered in front of the burnt house, and Josue noticed the chain and padlock were still on the door. How did the young children get out? They are 10, 7, and 5 years of age. The woman who was last to be rescued had asked the same question, and she explained to Josue what her ten-year-old niece had told her.
“We were in our bedroom watching TV when I heard something pop behind me. I turned around and saw that a cable in the wall had caught on fire. and the wall began to burn. We went running to the front door, but I didn’t have the key to open the padlock. So, I grabbed a knife and tried cutting the chain. Then, I heard a voice who said I couldn’t cut the chain with a knife. I turned around and saw a man dressed in white. He gave me a piece of string and told me to touch the chain. When I touched the chain with the string, the door opened, and we ran out…. “
There is much more to this story, and our hearts are full. As I consider the domino effect of your faithful, generous gifts each year in the form of Angel Bags, I want to express my thankfulness. Because you were willing to shop for children you have never met in the name of Christ, and because Keri and her team coordinated getting the bags to Mexico, we were able to send over 1000 Angel Bags to Guadalajara.
Because Josue, Abdiel, their family, and their local church worked hard to coordinate street services to pass out Angel Bags and share the gospel in different communities, many people heard the powerful, life-changing story of the greatest gift ever given. Because of your prayers in the states along with the prayers of brothers and sisters here in Mexico and because the Spirit is working in the hearts and minds of people in the communities of Guadalajara, over one hundred souls are gathering in various communities for Bible study each week. Because people who want to know Jesus met in the home of church members who live in Osorio Comunal, 24 people were gathered on the same night a potentially deadly fire broke out in the home of three women and three children and were able to help them escape from harm. When we do our part, God multiplies our gifts in miraculous ways.
By the way, the family who lived in the house that burned down had attended the street meeting in their community in December, and the children had each received an Angel Bag. In the days following the fire, community members have been amazed at the generosity of Christians donating supplies to this family they don’t even know. And now, a lady who does not know Christ offered her home as a meeting place for more Bible studies. Doors of opportunity continue to open for the Gospel. Please pray for hearts to respond as Bible studies are conducted throughout these communities.
EXTREMELY GRATEFUL…LORETO CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Yes, the Loreto Church has now purchased much-needed property. I want to express my deepest appreciation to those who helped pay the debt. The church ladies are having raffles and making and selling tamales to raise funds. The first raffle we did profited $32 dollars. The property cost over $44,000. As you can see, it would have taken a really long time to raise funds for this purchase at this rate. We are starting to clear the land, and hopefully, we will build the wall around the property soon. Blocks have been donated.
Thank you for your prayer and financial support. God bless each one.