Merry Christmas from Agapé Paris! Thank you as always for your love, prayers, and support as God changes the lives of students in Paris. I hope you enjoy the photo of the 33 students that attended our Thanksgiving event (left), as well as the photos and stories of two students (Malek, middle; Feds, right) who have accepted Jesus as their Lord this year!
A Thrill of Hope
These stories are from my teammate Emily, who wanted to share what she witnessed God do in the lives of these two students.
Malek: "Josh and I were on one of our campuses a couple weeks ago, going around doing Perspective Cards with students. We met and went through Perspective Cards with two friends, Malek and Amel. Malek could speak English well, but Amel couldn't. Malek translated most of the cards and our conversation for her friend. She was super excited to be able to do so and to talk with us about our perspectives. Even though we were running out of time, we were able to share the gospel with Malek. Our focus quickly turned to Malek as she expressed interest and desire in knowing who Jesus is. We got to share with her who is He and what He has done for us. We shared the seeker's prayer and prayer to believe, which she said expressed the desire of her heart. Then, she prayed to receive Christ!"
Prayer Requests for Malek: Please pray that Josh and I would be able to meet up with Malek and Amel soon (preferable in the beginning of January) and follow up with Malek's decision to accept Christ. Pray that Malek's decision to accept Jesus into her heart would grow into a relationship with our Lord and Savior. Pray that Malek and Amel would be about to have more conversations themselves about faith in Jesus.
Federica (Feds): "Sydney and I met Federica, or Feds on one of our campuses a couple months ago. Feds is from England and has been studying this fall in Paris. Feds had just started to take an interest in God, wanting to learn more about Him and the Bible. Over the last couple months, Sydney and I have been meeting up with Feds, having spiritual conversations and really building a relationship with her. Feds came to the conclusion that she believed in God and could see that God was working in her life. But, for a while she was not sure if she was ready to put her faith in Him. But after more consideration, she decided not to wait any longer, and to make room for Jesus in her heart and to trust Him with her life!"
Prayer Requests for Feds: Please pray that Feds could grow in her desire to make God the top priority in her life, and that she would continue to grow and learn in who God is and what it means to have a relationship with Him. Pray that she would be able to find Christ-centered community as she studies in Italy in the spring.
Once again, Merry Christmas! I'm praying for you this season-- may God bless you and fill your heart with joy and peace.
First of all we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2020. We pray that you will enjoy the celebrations as we all remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
When schools closed, we had a graduation for the nine day care children who will go to big-school next year. We also celebrated Christmas with the Magog Senior Citizens’ Club. We had a delicious meal catered by local ladies who gave our members (who usually cook for our regular meetings) a well-deserved break! We drew names and exchanged gifts and had a most enjoyable day! Now the Seniors and the day care center are in recess until mid-January.
Our family will be celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve with all 16 of us plus a couple of extras. Then on Christmas Day we will attend church and then gather with all of our family who are not involved with other family gatherings plus some extras who don’t have family nearby!
We were very pleased that two of the young people from Umzumbe Church of Christ were able to attend the first National Youth Convention right after the schools closed for the December holidays. The plan is for this Convention to be held each year in December in various places throughout the country to provide teaching and fellowship for young adults of high school and post-high school age.
Our weather has been very unusual this year. It is the rainy season here, but we had even more than usual rain plus wind. This resulted in severely damaged roads, branches blowing down and a damaged roof at Umzumbe Bible Institute. In addition we have had some unseasonably cool weather so we have to keep sweaters or jackets close at hand. Over the past few days it has warmed up quite a lot, but the wind has continued.
We will be thinking of you and praying for you as you celebrate Christmas and we would ask you to pray for us as well.
JOURNEY OF FAITH
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 And what does Immanuel mean? "God with us." Those three words, "God with us", should fill our lives and hearts so that we are confident in our relationship with God. We lack nothing. This is the true meaning of Christmas."
The commercial side of Christmas is filled with "all I want for Christmas is..." The van needs new tires, van needs electrical work done, the car needs a new windshield; the baptistery in the church is leaking and needs repaired, insurances need paid (auto, health and house), educational needs for the boys, TV's need replaced for the church and the home, kitchen needs a lot of remodeling, pantry needs filled, roof needs repaired, water tanks need cleaned, need Internet connection, and the list could go on and on.
What God has done in the past 11 months here at the mission has been an exciting journey, a miracle in the making. Jose said it has been a "Journey of Faith". Faith is the greatest gift given to us when we truly believe that God will meet all our needs. God sent His Son to be with us, live in us and work through us.
Here at Emanuel Mexico Mission lives are being changed.
1. Counseling Center is not only helping people with their problems, but bringing them to Christ. There were 3 baptisms in the month of November.
2. The Leadership Workshops are bringing church leaders together and equipping them with the tools to better serve the church.
3. The boys that live at the mission are making a difference in the lives they are touching outside their home. Example: Pablo is studying to be a grade school teacher. In the morning he is at the University to study and in the afternoons working with children. He is a light for Jesus.
4. We have fed the poor and needy through the food pantry, Matthew 4:4.
5. Not only visited the drug rehab center, but taught them that God is the answer to their problems.
6. Sunday school classes, church services, Bible studies and more fill the rooms of the mission each week with people who desire to know more about Jesus.
7. Jose was the worship leader for a 20's and up retreat in November and continues to work with church leaders in other states here in Mexico.
The list is long of things God is accomplishing here at the mission. How? "Because it is not about us, it's all about God" It's about our "Journey of Faith".
God took a homeless little 10 year old boy who lived in the streets, begged for food, slept with dogs under a bridge to keep warm, took drugs to numb the hunger pains at night, who had no clean clothes or shoes to change into each day, who even stole to meet his daily needs and transformed him into a man of God. How many of us could have survived like that at only 10 years of age?
Today over 20 years later our little boy (Jose) who survived all that is boldly preaching the Gospel, sings praises to his Heavenly Father, proudly teaches Bible studies and so much more. He carries no bitterness, harbors no ill for those who abandoned him and even gives nearly all he has to those in need. I wrote that Jose said this past year has been a "Journey of Faith". Sometimes when you have nearly nothing you can see just how blessed you are.
Recently he was confronted by those who abandoned him at age 6, abused him over and over again severely and physically hurt him - his real family. Yes, 25 years later. His older sister said, "If you are a Christian, I want nothing to do with you." His response, "I'm praying for you." His Uncle who beat him repeatedly with 2X4's which led him to the streets lay dying in the hospital, Jose paid for the medicines he needed to recuperate. He literally gave all he had. Jose's income is only $50 dollars a week and and he had saved $210.00 dollars ($4,00000 pesos). His real Mother who abandoned him at age 6, now 25 years later, they met for the first time, Jose simply said to his Mother, "I'm praying for you, I hold nothing against you." That is Jose's "Journey of Faith".
What do we need for Christmas? To truly believe that "God is with us". Our "Journey of Faith", where will it lead us this next year? We don't know, but just knowing that God is with us, we have all we need to confront every situation we may encounter. May God fill your home with all the love of family and friends this Christmas season.
God bless and have a very Merry Christmas.