ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS
Recently I was told "There is a reason for every ending, becuase God has plans for a new beginning".
During our journey to San Luis Potosi on July 4, we had a serious car accident. We had just ended a wonderful 3 year ministry with Colegio Biblico. Three years of blessings, serving young men and women who have a passionate desire to learn from the Word of God and a motivation to preach the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. The 2004, vehicle we used for over 10 years was totaled, but God will provide for a better means of transportation, we are confident in that. We may have ended our ministry to help young men and women from Colegio Biblico, but we will continue to preach, teach and love those that God places in our path. Ontañon Church of Christ continues to work closely with the Bible College here in San Luis Potosi (Colegio Cristiano del Centro). Jose is working with students each week as they come to Ontañon to serve the church.
Later in July, we served at a church camp (July 22 - 26). An entire year of planning and preparation went into making that week a complete sucess. We saw lives changed, hearts surrendered to Christ and funds raised to help "Feed My Starving Children".
Like any activity, you anticipate and plan for, there is a closing. Camp ended, but new beginnings were made that week that will never be broken. The camp kids raised enough funds to feed 3 children for a year and had a matching gift from the Valley Christian Church - plus one. So 7 children in total are being fed for an entire year through the ministry of "Feed My Starving Children".
It had been two years since we were able to visit our daughter, Renae and her family in California. We took advantage of every second to make the most out of our 11 day visit in August. Precious memories fill our hears with time well spent with our grand daughter, Isabella, who is now 8 years old. We tearfully said good-bye at the Oakland, California, airport, but there will always be the next family visit and we know it will be just as if we never left.
God never closes a door without opening a new one. Coming back to the Ontañon church in August we experienced a new church plant as 48 members left to start a new church in the Balcones del Valle area of San Luis Potosi. It was a 2 year growth plan and it worked without any problems. Perfect unity and harmony as we said good-bye to 48 members of the church, but knew it was God's will and timing.
Jose continues to oversee the Ontañon ministry and we are proud to say that the average attendance for August at Ontañon was 24. Total seating capacity of Ontañon is 55. There never has been a Sunday with more than 60, but now God grew His church in these two locations to more than 72 in just one month.
Endings and beginnings, I'm glad for those opportunities to see and experience changes. What does the future hold for us? For sure endings at times, but always looking forward to the new beginnings God has in store for His servants.
Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded. And surely I am with you always , to the very end of the age."
Serving the Kingdom with you.
David and Sheri DeBolt
My story began many, many years ago in a small town church in Indiana. Two people in particular impressed me the most growing up in that church. Who were they? The church janitors. Yes, the church janitors. Their names were Lloyd and Mary. The thing I remember the most about them was the joy they put into cleaning the church and preparing the communion each week. Pure joy! Pure dedication! Pure servants! You see, their story changed my story! Lloyd invited my parents to church way back in the early 50's and the rest is history as they say!
Today nearly 62 years later I'm the janitor in a small inner city church in central Mexico, and I love what I do. Simply cleaning God's house and preparing the communion. July 16 was a special day for me as I was able to walk the neighborhood surrounding the Ontañon church. Since our auto accident on July 4, it has been difficult to stand for long periods of time. Today was a good day. I talked to our French neighbor; talked to the parents of Max and Diego, who own the alarm shop; talked to the neighborhood carpenter and the small neighborhood store clerk just around the corner; and the lady at the bakery; and many others. What was my conversation about with each one? The church!
Conversation as Christians is and should always be about the church. The opportunities it provides to others, the changes it can bring to your life and many others. Our little mission church is the only Christian Church in San Luis Potosi that serves the inner city. Our new preacher, Jose, a recent Bible College graduate, grew up living, eating, sleeping and surviving on the inner city streets of this town. Who knows better than him the needs of our neighborhood? Beginning on August 5, there will be new service times, new format, new look and much more.
Jose has such a story of how God protected him and rescued him. His passion and his story will change lives. On August 19, Jose has planned a "Back to School" service at the church for the inner city children. His message for them, "be different than everyone else" as they return to classes on Monday, August 20. There will be a sack lunch and an apple for their teachers. Note books and other school supplies will be passed out to help each child as they begin a new school year. On September 16, the church will provide activities and a meal for the neighborhood as they celebrate their Mexican Independence Day. These are just a few of the opportunities Jose has planned for the neighborhood.
There will also be home Bible Studies, Wednesday Prayer Service, Music Classes (Guitar and Cajon) and Leadership Classes for those wanting to serve the church and its people. Pray for Jose and the Ontañon Church of Christ as they share their story about His story! Jose's first series of sermons will be about God's grace and the salvation it brings to our lives.
Well, as for me, I'm happy to be the church janitor, after 27+ years as a missionary. Doesn't sound too glamorous, but that's ok. I learned from good people back at that small town church on how to be humble and serve. Their story changed my story and I'm glad it did. If you really want to serve your church, volunteer to be the janitor! I guarantee you will love serving the Lord in this manner. I'll also lead the Wednesday night service and prepare the church for new mission opportunities throughout Mexico.
Thank you for supporting our mission work and don't forget to check us out on our Facebook pages:
David and Sheri DeBolt
EMANUEL MEXICO MISSION
IGLESIA CRISTIANA EN ONTAÑON
Matthew 28:19 "Go and make disciples..."
MEETING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS
As Christians, we are asked to give up our lives in order to find them. As missionaries, we so much enjoy the time spent with family (parents, children and grandchildren). We did just that from May 23 to June 18. Each time we leave it feels just like the first time we left in 1991. It's extremely difficult, but we know we were called to meet the needs of others in another country and in order to do that we were called to leave.
Upon our return on June 18, we once again find ourselves taking pictures off the walls, packing boxes and preparing to leave a house we called home for the last 3 years. We continue to answer God's call, His call to leave and to meet the needs of others.
Beginning on August 12, we will return to San Luis Potosi and continue our ministry from there. In the meantime we have work to do: preach, teach and disciple those around us in churches and camps this summer.
The Ontañon Church of Christ has asked us to return and be their missions outreach minister. During our first 24 years there, we traveled through Mexico helping establish churches, encourage, preach and teach leaders. We will mentor the new leaders of the Ontañon church and help provide opportunities for them to grow and become the mature leaders that the church needs today.
Equipping Christian leaders, one life at a time and meeting the needs of others has been our mission for the past 27 years. We are more than blessed and feel very fortunate to serve as God's Ambassadors to Mexico and serve in this new role.
For the last three years we helped prepare servant leaders for the church. In our new role, we will continue to prepare servant leaders for the church, but now have the opportunity to prepare more Christian leaders for the church, in the marketplace and beyond.
Matthew 28:19 - 20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Jesus said, Go! Which means to leave the place you call home.
Make Disciples! Means to preach, teach and mentor those that have the desire to serve.
That's our work, that's our mission. That's our goal of "Meeting the Needs of Others" where God leads us and guides us. In other words, we are headed back to the battle field, to help bring the light and life of Jesus Christ to those in need.
Jose is joining the Emanuel Mexico Mission team. In the coming months you will begin to hear monthly reports of his work, as the lead minister of the Ontañon Church of Christ. He will be concentrating his focus to the Inner City Ministry needs that are desperately needed there.
Thank you for sharing with us, praying for us and being our encouragers.
God bless each and everyone of you.
David & Sheri DeBolt
MOMENTS OF GRACE
Mid sixties, single parent, mechanic and the most important part of Jerry's life, he believes in Jesus Christ. Now a baptized believer he witnesses to his family, friends and just about anyone he can find. Recently at church he told me "I have such a bad past, I don't deserve to be forgiven." I told him, let me see what we can do to help you understand about forgiveness and grace. So that's where "Grace for the Moment" came into play. It is a daily devotional from Max Lucado. Each morning I share with Jerry via Whatsapp from this devotional book. Last week he wrote that he was so overwhelmed with joy that his adult daughter has accepted Christ and wants to be baptized.
At first Jerry's daughter said “I'll go to church with you dad, but only at an English speaking church”. No English speaking church on either side of the border here, but I said "No problem, we will just have to start an English service somewhere”. Problem solved! Daughter saved! I encouraged a local church in Eagle Pass to begin an English service in the evening and now their first believer is Jerry’s daughter.
None of us are worthy of the gift of salvation. We are all sinners, plain and simple; saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God." "Grace" by Max Lucado, another book specifically written for us to understand the magnitutde of God's love for us. Max writes, "More than we Deserve - Greater than we Imagine." Another sentence from Max Lucado, "Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off."
Jerry works for a mechanic shop on the Kickapoo Indian Reservation near Eagle Pass, Texas. He is a powerful witness to these native people and especially his family. He loves to come to the college and share his story about God's powerful love and grace to the students. Each Sunday, Jerry crosses over the Rio Grande and comes ready to worship at a Spanish church in Piedras Negras where we attend. Plain and simple, Jerry loves Jesus and each day he is learning more and more about the love and forgiveness of God both in Spanish and now English.
Daily encounters with God, prayer, reading the Word, finding a friend to encourage, inspirational thoughts to help with the burdens of life, most importantly meditating on the overwhelming thought of Grace. “Grace for the Moment" That moment is not a fleeting passing of time each day, but an eternal life with the Father.
Emanuel - "God With Us" Mexico Mission allows us to share Jesus with a number of people not just college students. From a small inner city church some 10 hours away in the heart of Mexico, to an Indian Reservation in Texas. I've been invited to the reservation, now just to take time to do it. God is working through us each day to meet the spiritual needs of so many people like Jerry.
May 11, is graduation day for the students. That means summer travel will begin for us soon. Trips to San Luis Potosi and the United States, takes money. Jose will be joining us by taking over the ministry in San Luis Potosi which also will require more funds. Any extra or new support will be greatly appreciated. If you want us to visit your family, Sunday School Class or Church, we will be in Indiana and the Cincinnati area May 23 - June 18. Then comes more travels to camps in Mexico, church work and so much more.
Thank you for praying, giving and allowing us to simply help people experience "Moments of Grace".
David and Sheri DeBolt
Emanuel Mexico Mission
Hello from your missionary friends in Mexico.
Just wanted to update you on José and his graduation plans. Today is his last day of classes and exams. Friday, May 11, at 7:00 p.m., is the graduation for Colegio Biblico. He did it! Thanks to our Valley family and the World Outreach team, José has been able to cover all of his graduation costs. Valley truly made an impact in his life last summer and all the other visits the boys made to Minnesota; as well as the many visits Valley made to Mexico.
José has a busy summer ahead of him as he will be relocating to San Luis Potosi and begin his ministry with the Ontañon Church of Christ. He has the month of July busy with one week of camp and a trip to Indianapolis, Indiana for the National Hispanic Convention.
In November, we plan on sending José to the International Conference on Missions in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has attended several times with me & this will be his first time alone representing our mission and ministry in Mexico. The ICOM is Nov. 15 - 18.
Everyone at Valley really touched this young man's heart for Christian service. Camp is just around the corner and things are all in place to receive FMSC and Michael Nelson. Love seeing how Valley continues to grow and reach out to the world with the love of Christ.
Emanuel Mexico Mission
EMANUEL MEXICO MISSION NEWS
Not too many people from the south head north for the winter. That's what Sheri did from January 27 - March 27. She experienced the Ohio snowfalls and cold temperatures. She had a good reason for heading north though. She got to spend 2 full months with our grandson, Jackson, now 10 months old. He is a bundle of pure joy.
We live in the south, so when we mean going south it is to visit the mission work we have in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. 10 hours south of us is the Ontañon Church of Christ, the inner city church we began in 1992. The Ontañon church is enjoying a season of growth; so much so that it is growing out of the building. Attendance is now over 50, in a seating capacity of 50! There are no plans to build more space, the plan is right on schedule for the Balcones church, who meets with us, to relocate to a new site that they will entirely be responsible for. That will leave our building almost empty once again (2nd time in 4 years) to grow another church plant. Jose will graduate in May and head south to Ontañon and take over the ministry for us. He is ready, willing and able to work and serve!
LIVING IN THE MIDDLE:
Living here at the border town of Piedras Negras, Mexico, we have seen the season of spring come early this year. The creek in front of my office window is flowing full once again. Trees are now providing their full summer shade and flowers are in full bloom. The old farmer on the other side of the creek has tilled his ground with the help of his horse and then the old gentleman stooped down to plant each kernel of corn. The day after he got his crop in, God provided a beautiful rain for him and all of us here living in the middle. It is interesting to watch how someone still lives the simple life. But life in general is simple. Lay down the cell phone, turn off the T.V., internet and listen to God's voice. He's calling us each and every day. His answers are simple; work hard (2 Timothy 1:6), pray often (1 Thesalonians 5:17) and exercise daily by walking in the Word (Psalms 119:105).
This winter was family in the north, experiencing mission growth in the south, and in the middle (Bible College) helping the students work hard, pray often and exercise daily by walking in the Word. We trust in God to watch over our families and have obeyed His command to go North, South and in the Middle.
TRUST AND OBEY FOR THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.
DAVID AND SHERI DEBOLT
DO YOU BELIEVE?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Yes, I believe! That proclamation of faith came from the heart, soul, mind and lips of a 12 year old boy on December 24, 2000.
Let's go back a few years before those words were said on that special Christmas Eve service.
God loved, guided and especially protected that small boy who once slept under a bridge. His blanket on cold winter nights was the warmth that came from slepping with a stray dog. His food each day came to him by begging. There were no nights spent in a warm bed or sitting at a table 3 times a day. For over 4 years (age 6-10) he simply did what it took to survive. Then one day a miracle happened in his life. He was guided to our home and hearts. In less than 2 years he learned the need of forgiveness and receiving Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
At age 16 he began to preach. One Sunday a member of our church said, "He has me sitting on the edge of my seat, he makes God so real". That young boy who came into our lives will be 30 years old in May of this year. One more exciting event will happen to this courageous young man in May. His dream is about to beome a reality, he will graduate from Bible College. His sole desire is to serve God, who rescued his life.
We want to invite you to witness this young man's graduation on May 11, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Colegio Biblico, Piedras Negras, Mexico. Jose Aucencio Manuel Gonzalez, born on May 29, 1988, came into our lives on February 2, 1999. He was baptized on December 24, 2000 and will soon graduate from Bible College.
There is so much more behind this young man's story. It is truly God working in miraculous ways of love, protection and guidance. For the first time in nearly 20 years, Jose will once more be on his own after graduation. At age 6, when he left home, he lost everything: family, home and security. He calls us Mom and Dad, a title we are honored to wear. We have gotten him through each stage of life since he came into our lives. Every time we hear him preach or sing we think of "our little boy who once slept under a bridge". Nothing in his life has come easy, but with perseverance and a God focused mind, he has overcome a multitude of obstacles.
Coming with his graduation from Bible College are extra expenses. College ring, cap and gown, ceremony expenses and more. If you would like to share with Jose, we ask that you pray first for this special man of God and share from your heart as Jose enters into the ministry. During the next few months we will share about his plans and goals for ministry. This young man is serious about sharing God's love with others. God has done so much in Jose's life since that most important question was asked of him. Do you believe?
Pray and Share a Blessing!
David and Sheri DeBolt
Five men crossed the border into Mexico not knowing even one word of Spanish. What an adventure that was back in the summer of 1987. We came to serve, but lIke most missionary journeys we were the ones changed forever.
Another group of 5 men crossed into an area stricken by the earthquake on September 19, 2017, in Metepec, Puebla, Mexico. This trip was not an adventure, but an opportunity to reach out to those who lost their homes, their possesions and now living in tents and tin roof one room homes. When the earthquake struck it only took seconds to change the lives of so many forever in this small Mexican village. November 27 to December 1, 2017, I had the opportunity to visit and work with 4 other men in an area severly devestated by the earthquake.
One mother, who just a few years ago lost her oldest son and lost her husband, just months before the earthquake. Now her only son (Jesus) and her are digging through the debris that at one time was their home and business (beauty salon). Jesus is in his last year at the University and continues to study because his mother said, "I will not let this stop my son's dream of an education." God directed us to this family and many others as we were able to provide the necessary applicances and bedding to bring their lives back to some what of a normal existence. With most of the homes built with block or brick walls and cement ceilings, the weight of most structures were cracked or destroyed as well as all their earthly belongings inside.
As we reached out to so many in need their response brought tears to my eyes and my heart ached for so many in need. They expressed their gratitude and faith in God. We were able to pray for each person and family we helped. Like most missionary journeys we go to serve, to give, to work from dawn to dusk and to be a blessing to those that God puts in our path. Once again we were humbled by the meger means that so many are struggling with to survive.
One little girl shares her now roof-less home with the family pig. Her tent home is next to the pig's stall and next to that is the family's bathroom. Across the street is their furniture covered in plastic that holds their clothes and school books for the children. We were able to bless this family with 6 new beds, refrigerator and stove.
In the middle of the storm (earthquake) you could find family after family expressing their faith and trust in God. I was on that missionary journey over 30 years ago, my journey continues each day as we reach out to those that need the hope, the anchor and promise that God is with them all the time. Serving with you as you pray for us and provide the means that help us on our missionary journey. Thank you for allowing your missionary take a missionary journey to the heart of the earthquake.
PHOTOS CAN BE FOUND OF THIS TRIP TO THE HEART OF THE EARTHQUAKE
ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE: EMANUEL MEXICO MISSION.
EMANUEL - "GOD WITH US"
It's the perfect time of year to update family and friends on our year of 2017.
Our year working with the students kept us busy with times of praying, devotions, studying God's Word, counseling, crying and laughing. We said good-bye to graduates in May and welcomed new students in August. Plus, we were able to attend the 25th Anniversary of the Ontañon Church of Christ, October 8, which we began in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Our mission was in charge at a summer youth camp in Northern Mexico and was able to assist victims of the September earthquake in Puebla, Mexico, November 27 to December 1. Throughout Mexico, God is with us.
Our family added one more grandchild, Jackson Miles Gargano, parents, Mari (DeBolt) and Tony are so happy to have Jack (born 5-25-17). Then we were blessed to attend Efrain's (one of our Casa de Niños boys) wedding on October 14.
This time of year we think of our blessing from 2017. Thanks to to the Lord we have been blessed with our family and ministry, Emanual Mexico Mission, God with us.
WE ARE SO THANKFUL FOR THOSE WHO FAITHFULLY SUPPORTED US DURING 2017 FINANCIALLY. Your offerings help us carry out the mission work we have been called to do in Mexico. We know there are many needs calling your attention for help. For that reason we consider it a privilege to receive your help and work with you for the Kingdom of God.
As 2017 comes to a close, would you help us once again bring in the new year by supporting our work together with you throughout Mexico. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR FAITHFUL SUPPORT AS WE SERVE AND REACH OUT TO THOSE IN NEED. BECAUSE YOU GIVE, WE CONTINUE TO PROCLAIM THE MESSAGE OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST.
Matthew 1:18-23 "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about '....The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel', which means, 'God with us' ".
Make all financial gifts payable to: Bluffton First Church of Christ
Send to: Larry DeBolt / 2950 E. - 350 N. / Bluffton, IN 46714
Thank you and may God bless you all through the new year 2018.
David and Sheri DeBolt
BEAUTIFUL SEASONS OF LIFE
Here at the border, October brings cooler temperatures, which is such a relief from the extremely hot summer weather. The leaves are falling as well as the pecans, to which the students and squirrels gather up quickly!
The ministry highlights of October began with the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Ontañon Church of Christ on October 8th. It was a wonderful service with our first minister bringing the message, Joel Cordova. Back then he was a single Bible College student, today he and his wife, Cristina are grandparents. Time marches on. Photos of this special day are on the church Facebook Page: Iglesia Cristiana en Ontañon.
Here at the Bible College the Wednesday night students preached a continuing Bible study from the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5. They did a outstanding job of working together. This gave them the opportunity and confidence to work as a team and share their talents and love for the Lord. Photos of each week are on our Facebook Page: Emanuel Mexico Mission.
October 14, 2017 was a very special day for us. Efrain came into our lives at age 6. He was a bright, energetic young boy with many talents, Music, Mathematics, Reading, Skate Boarding and much more. At each level of education he suceeded his goals and more through Speech Contests, His love for Music and his Bass Guitar. During his time of studying for his master's degree (2013 / 15) he met a special young lady, Belen, at a Christian Youth Conference in Monterrey. Long story short. It was a beautiful wedding on October 14, 2017. Perfect in every way. Valencio, Ithamar, Jose, Luis and Angela, his brothers and sister, all shined. It was a great family reunion with our kids. To see photos of this day you can check our Facebook Pages: David DeBolt or Sheri Lynn.
With all the changes that October brings, the colors of the leaves, the lower temperatures and much more, one thing always stays the same, God's love for us! His faithfulness when we are weak. His care for us when we doubt. Most of all, His promise that awaits us after all the beautiful seasons of life. Victory in Jesus, Eternal life.
October 2017, is over but its events are highlights that brought us joy and made us proud of the life we have lived and shared with so many in Mexico. As someone wrote about one of the wedding photos of our 6 kids "There are so many God stories behind this photo". So true.
UPDATE: Thanks to the Joy Class, Markle Church of Christ, for your special offering to help with our need for new tires. Close to a third of the cost was covered.
Thank you for loving, praying and sharing with us.