July 10, 2022
Dear Friends of MARC,
It is with great joy, I share that most of the isolated communities in Alaska have removed the travel and health restrictions that previously impeded ministry transportation during the past two years. This has resulted in a significant increase in mission flying for MARC. All Christian youth camps have returned to normal operations. Church work teams are able to go to remote villages to assist with construction projects and evangelism activities. We are grateful to provide our ministry aircraft and pilots to make these events happen.
Additional flying means additional operational expenses. We are grateful for several donations that have been made to assist us with Bible camp travel costs for native children and help mitigate the impact of higher fuel costs.
We are also grateful for a recent donation of $500,000 towards the purchase of an efficient Cessna Caravan aircraft. As our aircraft fleet ages and ministry flight requests increase, we are pursuing an additional airplane to meet these needs. Approximately, one million dollars remains necessary to purchase a newer aircraft. Our goal is to have this new ministry tool serving by 2024.
If God places either of these two needs are your heart, please consider contributing towards these funds. Please pray for the Gospel to reach the communities in Alaska. We are grateful for your participation in helping us fulfill the Great Commission. Thank you for your partnership and interest in MARC.
For His Glory,
Peter Bastke, Executive Director
Missionary Aviation Repair Center
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
At HopeKids, events can be simple--like a movie screening or high profile--like attending a concert from the luxury of a private suite. Regardless of the event, or how many families in attendance, one thing remains constant: Impact. Kids can meet friends who also have a feeding tube and parents can empathize over battles with insurance. Big or small, the community, hope for the future and acceptance discovered at events are profound. Take a minute to look at the summer HopeNotes magazine to read an article written by a HopeKids mom sharing anecdotes of her family's most impactful moments participating in the program.
Your support provides the big and small, but equally impactful, events that make up HopeKids ongoing calendar of free events. We're grateful that you understand it's so much more than just an event. It's about the hope for the future you provide families who have a child with a life-threatening medical condition.
Brian Anderson, Executive Director
MEETING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS (PART 4)
This year we celebrate a Golden Anniversary of ministry (1972 - 2022).
Following are a few opportunities we have had over the years.
One of our largest and most memorable groups of visitors came to us from Morris, Illinois - Morris Christian Church. Nate (then youth minister at Morris Christian Church) and I (David) began planning in 1995 for their summer 1997 visit. Their main objective would be to help construct 16 church benches. This was way before Home Depot came to town and quality wood was hard to come by.
We worked with a local carpenter who bought all the wood planks. He planed them and then stacked them in his shop for over a year and half to dry properly. As the summer of 1997 was approaching our neighborhood carpenter cut all the necessary pieces for each bench. For an entire week we had an assembly line church bench factory. No screws or nails were needed as all the lumber was cut to fit perfectly with wood dowels and tongue and groove cuts. As the benches moved along they were assembled, sanded, stained and varnished. Proud to say that the benches are used to this day and have kept together perfectly. Thanks, Morris for a job well done and making an eternal investment in the lives of those who attend the Ontañon Church of Christ.
Vacation Bible School is another highlight we will mention. The facility has held some remarkable short term mission groups to help oversee this ministry outreach to the inner city children. One, now grandfather, has mentioned to us several times how as a child he still holds dear his first ever VBS craft from 1992 and has watched his children encounter that same experience of meeting Jesus for the first time.
It has not always been easy. We have had to overcome being robbed several times, beaten more than once, spit on, called some pretty ugly names, taken to court for simply preaching the gospel, doors slammed in our faces when evangelizing, we had to hide Bibles to get them into the country in those early years, even had to meet as a group of believers behind closed doors, all because we were called Christians. Through it all the ministry grew stronger.
We've met the needs of homeless people in need at mid-night to see they had blankets and food in the winter time. One such lady we met during our "Daily Bread" time when we went with groups to pass out sandwiches and a drink: Her response was a simple "God bless you. How did you know I was hungry?" That was payment enough!
In our neighborhood there is a lot of gang related graffiti on the walls of businesses, homes and abandoned buildings. They say if your home, in our case the church and mission building, have no graffiti on them is because the gangs respect you. For 50 years, no graffiti has ever been on our walls.
Once Sheri was walking back from the open market with some strawberries she had purchased. One gang boy nicknamed the (ardillo) squirrel tried to rob her of her goodies. She said "You will absolutely not do that to me". In shock, seeing a little white woman saying that, the young boy soon became a friend to Sheri and came by the mission often just to talk to her and he did receive a piece of fresh strawberry pie later.
This same young boy told me where I could find the church sign that was stolen from the front of the building. Of course I knew by the way the squirrel was acting he had done it as he said he could steal it back from those who had taken it and return it for just a few pesos for his work. My reply was just bring it back and I would buy some of those bracelets that he made by weaving silk threads together. A friendship was made and a trust that lasted for many years.
When Jorge passed away on February 23, 2001, all our church friends were there to help comfort us, but the entire neighborhood from all around came out. All of our neighbors and special gang related friends made by our relationships of trust and love. Hundreds of people touched by VBS, food, clothes bazaars, hospital visits, water during drought times, even prison visits. They were there when we needed a friend to lean on.
Emanuel Mexico Mission is all about meeting the needs of others. For fifty years we have faithfully done our part in sharing the gospel in a number of ways. When we were most in need, we saw first hand how serving others can come back to you in the most unexpected ways and by the most unexpected people. All because you share Jesus with everyone you meet even if they try to steal your strawberries.
Next month we will continue to share our 50 years of history. We will talk about education needs being met, mariachi bands, hymn books and more interesting facts. In the meantime, rest assured that your gifts and prayers continue to meet the needs of others in the inner city of San Luis Potosi.
Jose, David and Sheri
This year we celebrate a Golden Anniversary of ministry (1972 - 2022)
Following are a few opportunities we have had over the years.
Many don´t realize that the ministry actually began in a tiny village town called, San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, now a popular tourist town and retirement village. It then moved to Salines de Hidalgo in the state of San Luis Potosi, then to the missionary children´s home, farm ministry of former missionaries Ted and Wanda Murray. There they lived in the former horse barns converted into a children´s home to care for the many children now in it´s care. Finally in 1977, they began renting a run down one story home in the inner city of San Luis Potosi and later purchased that same property with a major remodel of the current site in 1987.
All during those first years it cared for orphaned and handicapped children and was fundamental in working with the Murray´s and other missionaries in the area to establish the Bible College (Colegio Cristiano del Centro) in 1974. Since the ministry was located in the inner city it soon began providing activities for the neighborhood. Inside the mission it held a children´s home, handicapped ministry, day care and after school care for children. They started 3 churches inside the ministry and one outside the city limits from 1977 to 1991.
In 1992, the Ontañon Church of Christ was established inside the children´s home with one promise to the families in the neighborhood that it would not move outside of the area. We have had the opportunity to build and establish churches in the states of Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Coahuila, and San Luis Potosi all the while caring for hundreds of children.
Do missionaries take mission trips? The answer is yes and we have taken many of them over the years inside the country of Mexico. One such trip was for 2 weeks with 15 boys camping out on the ground. Our snacks were from mango trees, and banana trees throughout the trip. We visited a family camp where the boys sang and enjoyed the wide open air classes and cooking. From there we visited other villages where we sang and preached along the way. On another trip Jose and I traveled deep into the forests of Oaxaca, to a tiny village only accessible by vehicles with 4 wheel drive. The village was called Las Flores or some called it Las Maravillas. After hours of traveling the rough, rocky and slippery trails we entered into a paradise of fruit and vegetables grown by all the area farmers and villagers. Grapefruit the size of a soccer ball and mangos were in abundance as well avacados. We arrived with Bibles in hand, toys and a message. The little village seemed deserted but soon we found a little boy who said he would ring the village bell for everyone to come in from working in the fields of coffee and bananas. Just like that in the middle of the day they all put down their hoes and shovels and we had a church full of children and adults. Everyone sang with so much joy and truly worshipped and listened to the Word being preached. These humble and happy people were like no others we had ever met.
Since its beginning, the ministry has had only two directors, 1972 to 1991 and 1991 to present. Two forwarding agents with the same dates all to which can be accredited to the ministry´s success for the Kingdom. Jose is our first full time Field director (2018 to present).
An interesting event happened in 1999, when we began to accept inner city street boys into the home. Jose, our now field director, came to us at the age of 10 from living alone in the streets from ages 6 to 10. He showed us where he was living alone in the main downtown park and soon we opened up a soup kitchen for dozens of homeless children in that area. Food and clothes were their first need but soon we found ourselves helping drug addicts, prostitutes, and homeless children with the gospel. Sheri would sit on the sidewalk with a Catholic Bible and her Bible and simply share the gospel message. They were fascinated that two Americans would take the time to sit with them, feed them, hug them and even pray with them. They adopted us as Mama Gringa and Papa Gringo. After weeks of meeting their physical needs we began a Sunday afternoon service right there in the downtown slum area of the city. The response was overwhelming from the children and adults in this area of the city. The kids just loved singing and were preparing a Christmas drama when the police came and did a raid of the area, they tore down everything and closed our door to the kitchen. They put several of the children that they could catch in jail and took our visas with strict orders to never open up the ministry kitchen again. We never told many about our visas and the restriction that was written on them. It clearly stated we were not allowed to perform religious work or be ministers in a church. Crazy as that seems we had our soup kitchen just a half block away from the main police headquarters in the city. The police didn´t like the fact the kids were getting cleaned up, reuniting with their families but mostly because the police were known to use the kids to traffic drugs and prostitution. This was our 2nd confrontation with the law over our visas for doing religious work during our first 20 years in Mexico. The first time we were under house arrest close to a year until we received our visas back with the main Immigration director telling us, "we need more people like you helping us but if you do more religious work like this again just do it more quietly please".
Trying times, but many street children were reunited with their families. Sam Stone, then the editor of the Christian Standard, wrote us "If you saved just one child your time and efforts were worth it". That one was Jose our little miracle boy who lived under a bridge and became a Christian at the age of 12. He learned to play the guitar, loved to sing in church, graduated from Bible College and now is our minister of the Ontañon congregation and field director for E.M.M. That alone is a miracle worth remembering. What better person to lead the ministry into the future than Jose. He has said many times if he hadn´t been accepted into the home at that time he would not be alive today.
He confessed at an early age he consumed drugs to stop the hunger pains, slept with dogs to keep warm in the winter under the bridge, stole and begged for his daily bread. February 4, 1999, is a day Jose says he found more than a home he found a family and Jesus Christ. Jose had the reputation and still tells the story of being the absolute dirtiest child we ever received.
Fifty years of building, establishing, teaching, preaching, providing, sharing, feeding, saving and loving the most unwanted and forgotten of Mexico. Providing for children who were abandoned, abused and neglected to preaching and establishing churches in remote areas. Jesus was there with us all the time, Emanuel, God with us!
The story will continue next month as we remember where we came from in order to better share the future ministry of E.M.M.
Thank you for listening to a missionary tell a story of how God has worked miracles for over 50 years.
Jose Manuel Gonzalez
Field Director of E.M.M.
David and Sheri DeBolt
Directors of E.M.M.
All gifts are tax dedutable.
Donations can be made out to:
Emanuel Mexico Mission
2950 E. - 350 N.
Bluffton, IN 46770