As your MCC Missions team, we are thankful for your continued support, resources, interest, encouragement, and most especially your prayers. We are also thankful that God opens hearts and minds, that He guides us in what He wants us to do and where He wants us to do it. During the first half of 2019 the MCC Mission’s Team has seen and felt God at work, especially opening new opportunities for us to spread the Gospel throughout His kingdom! Here are a few highlights from the first half of 2019.
As your MCC Missions team, we are thankful for your continued support, resources, interest, encouragement, and most especially your prayers. We are also thankful that God opens hearts and minds, that He guides us in what He wants us to do and where He wants us to do it. During the first half of 2019 the MCC Mission’s Team has seen and felt God at work, especially opening new opportunities for us to spread the Gospel throughout His kingdom!
Here are a few highlights from the first half of 2019.
First, we are still at work in Ethiopia, locally with ISI at UNM and Juntos in the international district and have a number of upcoming opportunities with ISI and Juntos as a new school year begins. Watch for information about these ministries in the coming months.
Next, we've had three significant mission trips during the first half of the year to Bolivia, India and Peru.
In January 2019, MCC sent Vince Tidwell to visit our Asociacion Ministerios Fuentes de Agua (AMFA) team in Peru. During the week he was there, Vince helped drill a well, visited indigenous churches, and connected with the local missionaries we help support; Jorge and Victor. Vince was encouraged by the strong relationships Jorge and Victor have developed with the isolated and marginalized Indian communities and was blessed to see how wells drilled over the years have improved lives in these impoverished communities.
Moving forward, MCC is hoping to begin sponsoring indigenous couples to attend local Bible Seminary for three-years of intensive study. The plan is for Jorge and Victor to identify couples from communities where wells have been drilled whom MCC can sponsor. These couple will attend Bible seminary and upon completion return to their village, establish and pastor a new church. Our goal is for the first couple to begin seminary January 2020!
In addition, Pastor Victor continues to evangelize in the communities where wells are being drilled and follows up with villages where wells were drilled in the past. Since January, Victor has held week-long meetings in seven different communities, reaching 50 to 100 Indians in each village with the Gospel Message!
Read Vince Tidwell's blog for more on this trip and join us in giving thanks for the work God is doing in Peru!
Watch for Part 2 of our "Missions Mid-Year Update" next week for an update on the India and Bolivia mission trips.
Think back to your first day at college. For some of us it may be longer than we want to admit. It was a time of big changes in your life. You were no longer the “big” person on campus. There was a whole new schedule and vibe to college. And, to make matters worse, they expected you to study. For those that went off to college, you had the added challenge of a new city to navigate and no mother to cook your meals or do your laundry. Now consider what it would be like if you were studying in a different country...
Think back to your first day at college. For some of us it may be longer than we want to admit. It was a time of big changes in your life. You were no longer the “big” person on campus. There was a whole new schedule and vibe to college. And, to make matters worse, they expected you to study. For those that went off to college, you had the added challenge of a new city to navigate and no mother to cook your meals or do your laundry.
Now consider what it would be like if you were studying in a different country. You would have the extra challenges of having to adjust to a whole new culture, new foods and a new language. All of this with your support group thousands of miles away. You are particularly reminded of this as you step off the plane, sleep deprived, needing to find the campus and a place to live.
This is why International Students Inc. (ISI) exists—to share Christ's love with international college students during a time when they need it most.
Since 1953, ISI has been training Americans to meet international students' needs. These Americans befriend international students and help them adjust to American culture. ISI staff and volunteers are working on 677 campuses across the country, including the University of New Mexico, to orient and acquaint international students to their new home and cultural experience.
In fact, many universities encourage students in their acceptance letter to reach out to ISI for assistance in acclimating.
In 2018 alone, the UNM ISI Team:
- Served 1,600 lunches,
- Picked up 120 students from the airport,
- Hosted 105 students for temporary homestays,
- Helped 65 students find housing,
- Helped 190 students get furniture for their apartments, and
- Hosted almost 300 students at the Welcome center.
ISI is touching the lives of countless students, helping them to settle into life in Albuquerque. But ISI’s reach does not stop there. Seventy students participated in hiking and sightseeing groups. Over 125 students were paired with Friendship Partners who meet at least monthly with the student to have fun and assist with life’s little challenges. Additionally, twenty-five students participated in Bible Studies, fifty students attended Home Groups and four made a profession of faith.
The impact of this work is multiplied when these students return home to share their faith, literally all over the world.
Maybe the coolest part of it all is that God lets us be a part of what he is doing. There are so many opportunities to get engaged, all with the opportunity to have some fun, meet some really interesting and energetic students, and to do something eternally meaningful. In fact, ISI will be looking for help in a number of ways, including:
- Picking students up at the airport,
- Hosting short-term home stays (2-5 nights) where you simply need to get the student to the Welcome Center each morning and pick them up a the end of the day,
- Assist student’s in finding an apartment,
- Picking up and delivering furniture,
- Organizing and leading hiking and sight-seeing trips,
- Become a Friendship Partner (monthly activities with the same student throughout their stay at UNM)
- Assisting with English classes,
- Donate meals or furniture, and
- Most importantly, you can pray.
All of this is starting now! Stan Schug and I get constant requests for volunteers. If you can help just let us know your interest and when you are available, we will help get you connected. If your not sure bring your questions to us, or better yet, join us on an ISI event—you won’t regret it.
"Walking down a dirt road in a poor Village on the outskirts of Sucre, Bolivia, a woman opens the door and invites complete strangers to walk into her home. Yes, they are Food for the Hungry volunteers; yes, she needs help; yes, she needs prayer and the peace that only God can give. But Marta had to open the door when every..."
Walking down a dirt road in a poor Village on the outskirts of Sucre, Bolivia, a woman opens the door and invites complete strangers to walk into her home. Yes, they are Food for the Hungry volunteers; yes, she needs help; yes, she needs prayer and the peace that only God can give. But Marta had to open the door when every wordly-thing about her told her not too. God helped her set aside her pride, fears and hesitation. Or maybe she did hesitate? Only she and God know what happened on the other side of that door while we waited for her to answer. Ultimately, God gave her the strength and courage to seek Him, our being there was simply a testimony of her desire to seek the Lord. I had tears in my eyes as we listen to her story. She spoke of her pain, the pain of her children and the pain of her husband. So, we did the only thing we could; we prayed. As we did, peace replaced doubt and hope shown on her face.
I walked away from that experience with humility and wonder and it was not the first, nor I am sure will it be the last, time God humbled me through an experience like this in Bolivia. I wondered about how someone could set aside pride and fear and allow God to take the reins. Could I do that? Why can't I open the door for God? It was humbling to see God work when pride and fear was removed.
When God brought me the opportunity to serve on a short-term mission team in Bolivia, I honestly didn't hesitate to open that door, even to run through it. As a nurse, God has graciously given me the gift and the heart to help people. Little did I know at the time, saying yes to a short-term mission trip wasn't the only door God was asking me to open.
After that experience with Marta, (this was on my second trip to Bolivia) God showed me the door to open. My closed door, the one I was meant to open and experience, was to serve God. Being a part of the Bolivia ministry has shown me what it truly means to serve God, for God's glory. Not my own. We live in a world of instant gratification. We live in a mindset of "quick fix". This ministry taught me to be patient and there is never a quick fix.
Serving God for His glory is to build up His earthly kingdom. In Bolivia and with the teachings of Food for the Hungry, that means to make those in poverty self-sustaining. To teach, to pray with, to bring biblical principles to others and to build relationships. None of those things are easy, quick or instant. They take time, prayer and hard work. My instinct was not to open this door. God called me to follow His lead and serve Him. Therefore, I had to get out of the way. I had to throw away my instincts of "Me" fixing it. I had to forget that I always have to have the answers and I knew God would show me my own poverty.
I had to admit my pride and repent. I prayed and prayed. I repented. I asked God for the courage and strength to open that door. I am so glad I did! My heart was transformed. My eyes were truly opened. I saw God working and I saw how I was to be used. He showed me where I had poverty in my own life. I saw that I had a gift to bring to the ministry and the gifts others gave me. With God’s newfound sight for me, it changed my own relationships positively and strengthened my faith. The staff members of Food for the Hungry Bolivia and the people from the community were also teaching me. They all have given me the gift of lifelong friendship and they have prayed for me in my walk with Christ. I would trade my sinful pride and fear for what I have gained and learned anytime! Praise God for putting that closed door in front me and giving me the strength to open it.
Serving in the Bolivia ministry and given me the opportunity to serve God, serve others and strengthen my relationship with Jesus. God has many closed doors for all of us to open. Which door has God asked you to open?
This upcoming Bolivia trip is very exiting for me. This will be my first trip, and I think that God has given me this opportunity for a reason. I will be able to shine the light of God, as well as make new friends. I believe that...
This upcoming Bolivia trip is very exiting for me. This will be my first trip, and I think that God has given me this opportunity for a reason. I will be able to shine the light of God, as well as make new friends. I believe that God has blessed me so that I can be a blessing to others. However, I know that I cannot truly help them unless I know what they are going through. This trip is a way to witness firsthand what our friends in Bolivia are going through. This trip is also exciting because I have a chance to expand my horizons, so to speak, and meet new people who do not speak my language. I am also excited to be a part of these kids’ lives and activities. I think this is a big part of having a real friendship. I hope that we can make a difference in their lives. But really, it is God who makes the difference.
As we move closer and closer to the trip, it is hard to believe that this all started a few years ago, when I first started being interested in going. My dad went almost every year, and I always wondered what they did on these trips (well, I started wondering once I became old enough to wonder about these things).
As I learned more about the trip, I began wondering, “Could I help people in the way my dad and the church do?”. I started asking to go when I was eight, but I am finally going now that I am eleven. I’d like to say thank you to the Mountain Christian Church for praying for all of us, my family and the missions committee for donating money for the trip. I am glad I am going, and I hope God leads is in our trip.
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.
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The Care Net Walk for Life is coming up! Join the MCC Walk for Life Team August 24 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Edgewood. Registration starts at 8:00am, the walk begins at 9:00am and is usually finished by 10:30am! Snacks and water are provided! Click here to learn more or contact JoAnn Tallant.
Bring something salty, bring something sweet, bring something that folks will like to eat! The Fellowship Ministry is looking for people who can volunteer to bring baked goods, fruit and snacks for Sunday morning fellowship. Click here to sign-up or simply bring something on Sunday morning to share. Contact Patti Anderson.
MCC Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 9:15 am – 11:30 am starting September 3rd! It’s a place of encouragement, community, fellowship and support during the struggles and the joys of being a mother from pregnancy to kindergarten. Click here or contact Michele Aigner for more information.
MCC Elders are hosting a 4-week Foundations Class starting September 15. This class is designed to better help you get to know MCC - who we are, what we believe and why, and how to get connected. Please sign up with Sarah.
Men’s Bible Study Fellowship resumes September 10! Now is a good time to join with other men from a number of East Mountain churches for a look at how God established His Church. This year’s Bible Study Fellowship study is called Acts and Letters of the Apostles. In it, we will see how God brought His kingdom to earth as the Apostles and other early believers shared the Good News by word and action, trusting in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. The MCC class meets Tuesdays at 6:30pm from September to May. Men who want to know God and His word better are welcome to attend whether they are familiar with the Bible or not. For information, talk with Tom Young.
Do you want to be more faithful to God’s call to love Him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind? Are you interested in studying Biblical Theology in an interactive and loving small group community? Consider joining us as we start a five-month study on “Trinitarianism” in September. We meet from 6-8pm on the first and third Thursdays of each month at Luke and Melissa Feldner’s house in Cedar Crest.