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Eternal Life Mission Tepic
Summer Update 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There are many precious and comforting truths to be found in Isaiah 55. There, the Lord gives an open and loving call for all to enter into a covenant relationship with Him. The passage reminds us God’s desire for the spiritually bankrupt to come to Him. The Lord promises to have mercy, to freely pardon. Bringing His invitation to the nations is a hard labour, and lest His servants feel weak in their task, He reminds us that His ways are higher, and that He will accomplish His purposes through His powerful Word. Our words are feeble and insufficient, but God’s Word will not return void.
We are in the middle of our rainy season here, although the rains have held off for the most part this year. We hear that this summer Canada has been having somewhat of a rainy season of it own. Look to the rains and remember that,
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and so not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my work that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
We have really had to remind ourselves of these spiritual sureties of late. There is such joy when a believer experiences God’s forgiveness. That joy of the Lord is the strength that one needs to continue on in the path that leads to life. Yet when someone has lived following the path that leads to destruction, there are many still many consequences and sorrows to face when he turns to the Lord. The hard part of ministry on the mission field is facing these complicated trials with people. Rebellious children, marriage problems, jealousies, quarrels and fights seem to be part of our every day life. I am kept quite busy making visits during the week; some are regularly scheduled Bible studies, some are for special counseling. These visits are a core part of the work in Tepic. They allow me to bring the Word to people’s specific situations and problems, and gain understanding of where people “are at” spiritually.
That said, the best (and busiest) day of the week is Sunday. Those who purposefully assemble on the Lord’s Day are those who are going to progress as believers. For them, going to church is an amazing privilege. Martin will often pray in the congregational prayer, thanking the Lord that there is a place in Tepic where people can come to hear the truth. Sadly for some, prioritizing in order to be in church Sunday morning is too much to ask. Yet, those who neglect the assembling together, the singing of hymns, the prayers, the preaching of the Word can never hope to experience growth and blessing in their walk with the Lord. We thank the Lord that our group of members and faithful attendees has remained stable over the last year. Please continue to pray that they would be encouraged in their faith. Pray also for our “fringe people”, as we call them, that they would see their need to make a firm commitment to Christ. And also pray for those who have yet to be called.
There are some matters of specific, urgent prayer that we would like to share with you.
1) First of all, Jorge, Martin and Marta’s oldest son has not been coming to church. He has a young Catholic girlfriend, and continues to be rebellious. We have been working with and praying for him for many years and are grieved that he has chosen this path. Please pray that he with be truly convicted of his sin, repent, and return. Others in our small youth group have also been struggling, so please pray for them as well.
2) Erasmo and Adriana have also had a very hard time in their family. Their son Alan married without their knowledge. Now this marriage is also in danger. This family is not a Christian family as far as we can tell, but does attend the mission and are eagerly seeking for answers from the Word of God. I meet with them weekly to work through a preliminary discipleship course. Please pray for wisdom which begins with the fear of the Lord in this situation.
3) Ramon and Rosalva’s daughter Rosa is a new mother, and she is currently living with her boyfriend. They live in Compostela, about 40 min from Tepic. After distancing themselves for a time, we are thankful that they are now seeking to begin studies again, and have expressed interest in becoming members of the mission.
4) We recently have had some conflict between some attendees of the mission. We pray that the Lord would turn it for the good of those involved and we see humble hearts seeking repentance. What we may sometimes see a step backwards may actually be a step forward when we recognize the sin in our life. Please pray for the work here, in that we often find ourselves in the perplexing situation of ministering to members of Christ’s church and reaching out to the unbeliever at the same time.
5) We have been preparing Flora and Sandra for membership as they have desired to profess their faith publicly. But influences of unbelieving family members are strong, and “the flesh is weak.” Please pray that the Holy Spirit would testify with their spirit that they are God’s children and they would make this step in faith. (Rom. 8)
6) In the coming year, one of our goals will be to make more associations with other like-minded churches in Mexico. We believe this is necessary for the sake of our members and young people. Please pray for wisdom and help as we seek the Lord’s will in this.
7) The Anderson family will be moving on to Puerto Vallarta to open a new field of ministry there, DV. Please pray for them as they travel and move this month. Pray that the Lord would strengthen and bless them as they face the many challenges of settling in and beginning to bring the Word in that place.
8) We will be taking four weeks of vacation from August 10th through September 10th. Please pray for the mission in our absence. Martin will be leading the services and delivering the messages. Pray also for travelling mercies as we will be covering a lot of ground!
This September will mark our 10th year in Tepic. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the Lord’s work here. It has been a great adventure and God has truly blessed us! One of the biggest blessings is our own family. We thank God for our Christian parents. We thank God for our marriage, and our children. Our kids are doing well here. We try to make the most of the many teaching opportunities to point our children to Christ and His merciful ways. Jessica is going into grade six. She is very involved in helping with the children at church, and along with our other children, has unofficially attended the young people’s group since she was a baby. Christianna just enjoyed a surprise birthday party for her ninth birthday. As usual, there was an exciting mix of neighbours and kids from the mission in attendance. Joshua attended a kindergarten nearby our house last semester. This greatly helped him to progress in his Spanish. He now chatters away to the all the little girls his age, formerly his arch-enemies, at the mission. He will be homeschooled for grade 1 this coming year. Jacob and Rebekah-Leigh are our pair of playful preschoolers. Jacob is almost 4 and Rebekah-Leigh is 2. They both get a lot of attention wherever they go because of their blond hair and blue eyes. All our kids enjoy their many friends. As they grow older, Angie is hard-pressed to keep up with all their activities. They enjoy swimming lessons year round. The oldest three are fast becoming proficient swimmers.
We and the mission here in Tepic appreciate your prayers and support. The body of Christ has many members, each with a special role to fulfill. Your concern for this church plant glorifies God and encourages us greatly. We feel your prayers as we face the joys and trials of the Lord’s work here, and we continually pray for you as we know of your needs as well.
Because of Him,
Pastor Richard and Angela Bout