We recently asked Billy and Shannon Bisbee the question: "What does it take to have a successful marriage?" Today they share their thoughts on marriage and what makes it last...
Do you have any suggestions? What marriage devotionals have you used to strengthen you marriage? We would love to hear about them in the comments!
A two-hour flight to Houston, seven hours to Lima, one hour to Pucallpa, and a three hour flight to San Lorenzo in a four seat Cessna and I am almost there. Actually, it takes an additional five-hour boat trip to reach our destination, Musakarusha. We are deep in the...
A two-hour flight to Houston, seven hours to Lima, one hour to Pucallpa, and a three hour flight to San Lorenzo in a four seat Cessna and I am almost there. Actually, it takes an additional five-hour boat trip to reach our destination, Musakarusha.
We are deep in the Amazon Jungle. Few venture here, there are only the indigenous Indians, the Candoshi Tribe. It is not surprising then that these are largely a forgotten people. The only signs of outside support are a dilapidated health center, school, and a non-functioning water system all built by the government.
However, the Candoshi are not forgotten by Jorge Alverez and Pastor Victor. Both have committed their lives to bringing clean water and Living Water to these remote Indian villages. I first met Jorge in 2003 when I traveled to Peru to train Jorge and the American missionary employing him, Tommy Head, how to drill and install water wells. I continued to work with this team for about 10 years until I was more in the way than a help. It wasn’t long after this time that Tommy Head came to an untimely death in a motorcycle accident (his riding was part of his very popular motocross ministry).
With Tommy’s death the entire responsibility for the ministry was placed on Jorge’s shoulders. But with God’s hand on him, Jorge has met the challenge in a very inspiring way. Jorge made big plans, he made important changes in the services he offered and he formed a local charity that allowed him to expand the ministry. One particularly important change was to invite other like-minded Peruvian’s to join him in the ministry.
The key to it all is the personal relationship that the team establishes and maintains with each community.
It was at this time that he met Pastor Victor, a then new pastor in a jungle village. Victor quickly took over evangelistic activities teaching biblical based hygiene, counseling villagers, and preaching the Gospel each night they are in a village.
This effort has come with a price. The environment in which they work is dangerous, the rivers they travel are treacherous with huge trees laying just below water level ready to destroy their boat or motor; snakes, bugs, heat, floods; disease, particularly malaria that they both contracted this past winter putting them in the hospital for weeks; and even witch doctors that will incite drunken riots against them when they feel threatened. They also leave family and friends on a regular basis, living in hot uncomfortable conditions (there is not room service in the Jungle).
However, their work has born much fruit. Their efforts have seen many come to Christ, almost 700 wells have been installed and maintained, and the physical and spiritual health of the Indian’s has measurably improved. The key to it all is the personal relationship that the team establishes and maintains with each community. This is so evident as we motor down these remote rivers and in each village that we pass villagers run to the banks and cry out Jorge and wave vigorously. Jorge and Victor have gained the Candoshi’s respect, trust and appreciation. This is difficult given their past experiences with the government and outside world.
As I pack up to leave I am left with a single thought. These are the right men for the right job at the right time in this difficult environment. God’s hand is squarely on their ministry and it shows in their incredible heart for these people. I am also confident that we are a blessed church to be part of this ministry and able to support a portion of their transformative work. Please keep Jorge, Victor and the rest of the team in your prayers.
As Christians, we are commanded to spread the gospel to every tribe, nation, and tongue. We are called to go, send, and support. Depending on your individual circumstances, overseas travel may not be right for you. But, since begining our partnership with Food for the Hungry in Bolivia more than 10 years ago, it has been right for more than 70 of our congregation! An astonishing...
As Christians, we are commanded to spread the gospel to every tribe, nation, and tongue. We are called to go, send, and support.
Depending on your individual circumstances, overseas travel may not be right for you. But, since begining our partnership with Food for the Hungry in Bolivia more than 10 years ago, it has been right for more than 70 of our congregation! An astonishing number for the size of our church!
But not everyone has to travel overseas to be a part of mission work! Many others participate locally, through prayer, encouragement, financial contributions, sponsoring children in Bolivia, and participating on our Missions Team. Our church was founded years ago by a group of believers who thought missions programs were a critically important part of our being Christians, this commitment carries on today.
We have designed our missions program to spread the gospel locally, overseas through organized short-term mission trips, and through engagement of native missionaries in remote areas of the world. Below are short descriptions of some of our missions’ programs.
Juntos is a program located in Albuquerque’s International District. They focus on reaching at risk youth by giving them a place and programs where they can be safe while hearing and reading God’s Word. As part of the Navigators urban ministry, paid Navigator staff work with volunteers from several partner churches, including MCC, to provide evening, after school and summer programs to more than 100 regularly attending youth. This year with generous giving from our church, we are supporting a new program of workshops requested by the youth to introduce them to art, cartooning, pottery, wood working, and robotics.
International Students, Inc. (ISI) is a faith-based program at the University of New Mexico providing support to newly arriving international students from all over the world. With approximately 500 international students attending UNM each year, the opportunity to reach out and welcome new students is significant. ISI provides furniture, beds, housewares, transportation assistance, English training, Bible studies, and mentoring through volunteers who have a heart for working with international students.
Bolivia, through our relationship with Food for the Hungry, has been a vital MCC missions program for more than ten years. A short-term mission trip is held each year, usually in March/April. FH works with our team leader to organize the activities of these week-long visits to Villa Margarita near Sucre, Bolivia. These trips are about relationships that are led by the Holy Spirit to be transformational both for those who go from MCC and the Bolivians they meet in country.
Reaching unreached people, primarily in Peru and Ethiopia, is another focus of the MCC Missions Program. In Peru we work with a local organization (AMFA) to bring clean water to remote and mostly forgotten villages in the jungles where the Amazon River starts. As part of the team that drills and constructs the well, a native pastor teaches the gospel and shares about Jesus Christ through oral teaching and the Jesus movie. In Ethiopia, we support four native missionary pastors who have traveled to remote regions to share the gospel and plant churches in remote villages. In both Peru and Ethiopia, our efforts are bringing souls to Christ while transforming lives and communities.
As you can see, having a missional focus can take you across the world or just to Albuquerque. The programs with Juntos and ISI are a good starting point for becoming involved in our missions programs locally. If overseas travel is appealing, then joining our annual short-term mission trip to Bolivia is a great way to participate in a well-organized trip working with FH staff and our team leader in Villa Margarita Bolivia. Our missions programs in Peru and Ethiopia need prayer support and financial support. The native missionary pastors we support face many challenges including disease, venomous snakes and dangerous animals, armed robbers and attackers, and resistance from witch doctors.
I hope you are encouraged to learn more about our missions programs and to get involved. Please see me, Tom O'brien, or any member of our missions team (Emily Gray, Jake Gray, Sami Guiterrez, Tom Young, Vince Tidwell, Joann Talent, and Jennifer Ward) to ask questions or learn more about MCC Missions.
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.
God's blessings for the Food Pantry Ministry continue to pour forth! Throughout the year, God's workings have reflected his Perfect Timing, his Perfect Provision and his Perfect Resourcefulness, often in unexpected ways. What is...
God's blessings for the Food Pantry Ministry continue to pour forth! Throughout the year, God's workings have reflected His Perfect Timing, His Perfect Provision and His Perfect Resourcefulness, often in unexpected ways.
What is “Perfect Timing”? It is passers-by noticing our food pantry banner and offering donations – exactly when we needed them! The pantry was blessed with six turkeys in time for Thanksgiving. The generosity of that family provided Thanksgiving turkeys for families who needed them.
What is “Perfect Provision”? It is having just the right amount of clients with just the right amount of food to serve them. And, God's provision serves both the food pantry and Shine in partnership between the two ministries.
What is “Perfect Resourcefulness”? Here's an example: We have a client who has been using our pantry for many years. As far as we know, neither his economic nor his spiritual status have changed over time. It is tempting to think that we are wasting our time with “Mr. Dahl.” Are we enabling him to misuse our resources? Or is something happening that we can't perceive? Our impact in Mr. Dahl's life isn't obvious to us.
Yet other clients who know Mr. Dahl have expressed appreciation for the help we give him. As an example of “Perfect Resourcefulness,” he has been a witness for proof of God's people showing kindness to everyone. Mr. Dahl's witness for us has softened the hearts of a few people who've come for help: It's given us credibility among non-believers.
The Food Pantry Ministry connected with new clients, new donors and other organizations this year. We have a liaison with Whispering Pines Senior Center, the hostel here in Cedar Crest and a pig farmer who procures fruit and will provide some for us.
We are so grateful that God allows us to be a light in His community! Let's see what happens in 2019!
Contact Barbara Fall to see how you can get involved or support the Food Pantry.
When a fellow church member asked me several years ago to volunteer at Care Net Pregnancy Center as a counselor, my first response was “No … I can’t possibly counsel a pregnant teen … I have never even been pregnant … How can I possibly help?” My hesitance was reversed when...
When a fellow church member asked me several years ago to volunteer at Care Net Pregnancy Center as a counselor, my first response was “No … I can’t possibly counsel a pregnant teen … I have never even been pregnant … How can I possibly help?”
My hesitance was reversed when I learned that Care Net provided training for volunteers. I realized that if Care Net was willing to take a chance on me, I would be willing to serve.
You see, my serving through Care Net has brought me full circle. I can look back now and see how God has transformed me throughout my walk with Him. How God used my past experiences to shape how I now serve Him.
When I was 17, with no gospel foundation, I took a friend for a pregnancy test. She was not in a stable relationship, she was young, and she was afraid. But after she tested positive, I, in all my youthful wisdom, I “counseled” my friend to have an abortion.
By God’s grace, she absolutely could not. And now, 37 years later, I’ve witnessed my friend’s devotion as a single parent and I am blessed to know her beautiful daughter, who is happily married with 3 young daughters of her own. I stand in awe of God’s plan for my friend and for me, knowing this could have been a very different story.
Care Net has thousands of stories about women, men, and children whom they have loved, served, counseled and stood alongside. Stories like Ricardo’s:
"My fiancé and I had our first baby; I was excited and nervous because we had little income and I didn’t have a stable job. She had heard about Care Net’s services and we went to check it out. We were glad to hear about the Earn While You Learn program, where you can spend as little as 30 minutes to an hour or 2, learning about pregnancy, birthing, and parenting, while earning money to buy (very inexpensive) diapers, clothes, and baby supplies. My fiancé “ran away”, leaving me with our 2 month old son. I love my son, and want the best for him, and so I continue to take classes and have fellowship with Care Net. They have helped me so much to care for and raise my son."
I have now volunteered at Care Net for 5 years. I have witnessed many couples with happy stories; they are glad to be pregnant and receive our services. I have also witnessed not-so-happy stories…women of all ages experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, not sure of their future, but through God’s grace, relentlessly pursue having a child and, either being a single parent, or releasing them for adoption, they choose LIFE as God intended.
My story is full circle. From a naïve 17-year-old, full of false wisdom, to a dedicated servant of the Lord, assisting young women and men to make Godly decisions in the place I was least prepared to. How has God used YOU where you least expected it?
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Have you been looking for a ministry opportunity that won’t take too much of your time? Please consider becoming a Shine classroom volunteer! We have 9 requests for volunteers to read with children for 30 minutes to an hour once a week! Please contact Ashley Procter if you’re interested in making a big difference in a young one’s school year!
SAVE THE DATE: Vacation Bible School dates are June 24 – 28, 2019! Will you join us as we serve the kiddos of MCC, the East Mountains Community and even Albuquerque? VBS is a huge outreach opportunity for MCC and we hope you will join us in this fun-filled week of Bible stories, singing, games and fellowship!