Newsletter June 2020
Dear Christian friends:
Mexico continues to be on lock down, so to speak. Many stores are still closed. Some of the churches are beginning to have services, but they are proceeding with great caution. It does not look like it is going to change anytime soon.
Jonathan, who I claim as my adopted son, and I went earlier this month to the border to help Dr. Freddy and Carol bring a trailer loaded with clinic items to the mission. I cannot write about the difficulty of the task or the very dangerous events of the day, but I can tell you of the faithfulness of God and the peace He gives when we trust Him and people are praying. I sent a message to Lynn to pray, pray, pray, and to have others do so, as well. I want to express my deepest appreciation to you all who took time to pray for us. The Lord answered every one of those prayers. We are back in Estancia safe and very grateful. Thank you!
Dr. Freddy and Carol will be returning to Tennessee after being here for a week. Their oldest son, Benjamin, is getting married sometime this month. He and his fiancé have had to change wedding plans and dates, but soon they will be married. May God bless them with a wonderful life together.
Many do not know Dr. Freddy, so I have asked him to write an article introducing Carol and himself. We are very thankful to have them as part of our mission here on the field. Freddy has been a member of our Board of Directors for many years, but now he will be working with us side by side.
DR. FREDDY MARTIN REPORTS…
Over the past year, life has been totally different from the previous years. After working full-time (more than 40 hours per week) for over 30 years, I started working just a few hours per week. Initially, I felt lost and somewhat disoriented with not having to be readily available for patients and not being on a daily schedule. These changes came about because Carol and I felt we were being called to go to Mexico to work with Bethshean Mexico Mission to help get the clinic organized and started.
Our journey started many years ago when I was invited to go to Estancia de Animas, Zacatecas, Mexico on a mission trip with Christian Student Fellowship. This trip was only the second mission trip in my life, and I was hooked. In January 1999, I led my first medical mission trip to Estancia de Animas, working in the local government clinic seeing patients and providing medications for them. The next year, Dr. Mark Webb added a dental component and Gary Edwards added a construction component to the trip. From that point, these trips became annual events with each trip adding new people and new experiences. Carol and our three children went on many of these trips over the years.
During the early years, Cris, Mark, and I began talking about the healthcare needs for this area of Mexico. With this area being very rural, access to healthcare was lacking. The people had to go approximately 1½ to 2 hours to obtain care. We decided to build a clinic/hospital in Estancia. We began fund raising and started the project. After about 10 years, the clinic building is nearly finished and ready to open.
When I closed my practice at the end of April 2019, I thought Carol and I would be going to Mexico within the next few months. However, God’s plan and timing is not always the same as our plan and timing. Things in life are not predictable. In January 2019, our youngest son, Joshua, went to New Zealand for 16 months to work with Campus Outreach on the Otago Campus in Dunedin. In July 2019, our middle son, Benjamin, went to South Africa to spend time with his future wife. Benjamin and Kgao were planning to marry around June 20th this year.
Around the first of 2020, Carol and I were again looking to go to Mexico in March, but then Covid-19 came into our lives with the pandemic. So, our plans were changed again due to the quarantine. Benjamin and Kgao’s wedding plans had to be postponed with South Africa in lockdown. Joshua’s plans were also postponed due to the New Zealand lockdown. Our daughter, Rachel, finishes her family medicine residency at the end of June and starts her geriatric fellowship the first of July. Joshua will arrive back home around the first of July. Benjamin and Kgao are hoping to arrive back home in mid-July.
With all these changes and postponements, these truths remain – God is STILL in control! His timing is ALWAYS perfect! And His Love NEVER fails! I have relearned these truths over this past year. He has been teaching me to trust Him with every component of my life. He continues to show me His provision even in my doubts. I realize Carol and I will get to Mexico in God’s timing. Looking back over the past 20+ years, I see God’s Hand directing our path to this point. We are excited about our future path in Mexico. As part of the body of Christ, we look forward to continuing to serve Him.
VIRUS OR NO VIRUS, GOD CONTINUES TO WORK…
The churches, of course, have been closed for over two months but our ministers have kept in contact with the members helping with food, words of encouragement, and whatever needs they have. One of our churches is in a village called Sauceda where Manuel and his wife minister. Manuel has been with the Bethshean Mexico Mission for 5 years and is doing a really good work for the church. Sauceda is a very strong Catholic village which makes it difficult to have the people listen to the Gospel.
During this time of not being allowed to congregate as a church, Manuel looked for a way to keep the church members active. He asked the church to make a list of ten very poor families in need, and to accompany him in visiting each one. The following is a report he wrote to share with us as to the results of that effort. These ten families are not Christians.
MANUEL, MINISTER WITH BETHSHEAN REPORTS…
As a church, we set aside funds for a food pantry consisting of basic foods to offer to the poorest families in the community. We believe that not only should we talk of Christ’s love but also, we should demonstrate that Christ lives in us by showing our concern for them. The brethren chose ten families in need to visit, take a basket of basic foods, pray with them, and tell them how much Christ loves them. We asked if they would permit us to visit them once the government allows us to do so. We offered to return to teach them about God. Of the ten families, four asked that we visit them again and present the Gospel. We are very happy because we believe God will continue to do His work in the lives of these four families. We will continue to evangelize as He has commanded us to do for HIS HONOR and GLORY.
The day we visited the ten families and gave them a basket of food, we made a mistake in the location of the last house. Was this coincidence, by chance, or God is leading? You decide. We knocked and knocked at the tenth house. We realized, a little late, that we had gone to the wrong house. We were surprised as a man who lives in this house came out. He told us his son lives with him and that he had just come back from going house to house asking for food because they were hungry. He was in very bad condition and could barely walk due to being hit by an automobile several years back. He truly needs help but above all, he needs Christ.
We decided to give him the last basket of food because we truly believed God brought us there for a time like this. We left him the basket, and we also left him with a message from God’s Word. He asked that we come back and tell him more about Jesus. We are thankful to God for guiding us to this house which was not in our plans. The man was so moved that someone showed concern for him that he began to cry as he shared part of his life with us. TO GOD BE THE GLORY AND HONOR! We thank Him for giving us this beautiful experience.
Bethshean has a wonderful new website thanks to the initiative and hard work of Michael Plank. Please visit at Bethshean Mexico Mission
Please continue to pray for our ministers and the churches where they are working, that the Lord will continue to protect them, give them wisdom, guidance in their ministry for the Lord.
Continue to pray for Abdiel’s health. He is doing better. And, pray for Ricardo’s health. Thankfully, he too, is doing better.
Pray for Freddy and Carol as they transition to Estancia to work with the Bethshean Mission.
Thank you for your love and support. God bless each one.
In His Service, Cris
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