September 2021: Search and Destroy
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As a ministry, we have so much happening that we have decided to update you on several areas of operations all over the world. It is a quick look into various ministry projects. I had written a few months back about South Sudan gangs roaming, killing, raping, and robbing in our village and surrounding villages. We had shared that one young girl had been raped and killed, then her body was thrown into a latrine as if she had no value. Far Reaching Ministries (FRM), with local authorities, set out on a search and-destroy mission, sending teams of men to capture and bring an end to the carnage. We worked supporting local authorities in the capture, or if necessary, to kill these murderous gang leaders. Please understand that to date, we have not had to kill anyone. Those who were captured surrendered, but if they had raised an automatic weapon, changing the circumstances, this would have given our security team no other choice. I can report that a crippling blow was dealt to those bringing such terror to the villagers. Our teams worked through the night and laid an ambush, capturing over 40 of the rebels. The capture of these criminals has stopped the terror that has been plaguing the area of Nimule for quite some time. With the interrogation tactics that the police used, the names of gang leaders were quickly given up, and the killing was brought to an end. Now justice will be brought to all the victims and their families.
I was contacted by Calvary Chapel Acapulco and asked if I would come and teach at their church. My schedule was completely booked at that time, and I did not have an opening until after February of next year. I told them that I would call them if anything changed. As the Lord would have it, I had to cancel an international flight due to the COVID-19 Delta variant surge. I called the pastor, and with very short notice, made travel plans to fly down to teach on Sunday. While in Acapulco, our team met with many of the Calvary pastors and staff. One of my board members, Luke, traveled to Mexico with me. We took the pastors out to dinner and began to learn about them individually, as well as their ministries. One pastor, in particular, was planting a new church on the other side of the mountain from where we were. It is an area with no view of the ocean and is considered the poorest area of Acapulco. He showed me photos of a freshly painted sanctuary and was genuinely excited about what the Lord might do in that region of Mexico. I asked him how many chairs they had for the church, and he was excited to say “six had been donated.” I then asked him how many that they needed to actually start Sunday services, and he replied 60. I know the voice of the Lord, so we took him to a Sam’s Club and purchased 60 chairs, a new sound system, along with some fans to cool the sanctuary during the hot summer (many poor churches in Mexico do not have AC and basic fans are considered a luxury). The church is now open, and we are as blessed as they are to see the birth of a new Calvary Chapel in Mexico. I have realized that while the Mexican pastors who we are working with are very committed, tithing in their congregations is mostly nonexistent due to the amount of poverty. One Calvary has over 2,000 people attending every Sunday, yet they receive less than $100,000 a year to run the church. With the cost of sanctuary chairs and the daily needs of the church, most pastors we work with live on about $200 a month. So, we have decided to host a Mexico pastors’ conference next year and invite about 60 American pastors. We are going to connect one North American church with one in Mexico and have them start sending short-term missions teams there each year. One of the most significant problems in many American churches is that they provide no missions opportunities for their congregation. We find that pastors are dismayed by the level of lethargy among their church bodies. In the book of Romans, Paul said that we are to daily stir up the zeal that is within us. One of the nails in the coffin of any church is when they quit serving their local community and don’t have a vision and passion for going into all the world and making disciples of all nations. A friend of the ministry, Juan Domingo, went to Mexico almost 40 years ago. He went on to plant four churches and served as a senior pastor. Out of that labor, over 90 Calvary Chapels have been planted. In early 2022, we will be bringing American pastors to Mexico and allow them to connect with a church along with their pastoral team and church body. The American pastor will then teach at that church’s Sunday service. Over the next few years, we are praying that the American churches we connect with will invest in the smaller Mexican churches. Our hope is that they will mentor them, whether that means helping them purchase chairs, doing outreach, or even helping with the purchase of a car. Through co-laboring, we can change the face of Mexico and our churches here in the United States.
I took Edward to Baja California, Mexico. He helps lead our Ghost Operations program and our missionaries serving in Mexico. We, along with our Mexico missionaries, took a dozen children to the beach for the day. All of the children had been abandoned by their fathers, while some had been sold to the Mexican cartel by their mothers. Fortunately, for the ones who were sold to the cartel, we were able to rescue them and restore them to their grandmother. Another little boy who was with us had heard his mother and father talking about selling him to the cartel because they needed money. Out of fear, he ran away to his grandmother. When he showed up at her door terrified and in tears, his already impoverished grandmother took him in. The 12 children we took to the beach live only 20 minutes outside of Ensenada, yet they had never seen the city, the ocean, Wal-Mart, or even a McDonald’s. All they had ever known was the little shanty town that they live in. We took them to the beach for the day to eat hot dogs and go swimming in the ocean. When the van was in sight of the ocean, the children were quiet. When they got out of the van, they lined up and just stared at what they were seeing for the first time. At first, they were afraid of the sand and the waves, but after a little while, they were playing in the water, building sandcastles, and running around like little kids were meant to. It was a blessing to see their faces soften as the day went on as they enjoyed just being a child. Bigtha and Axel, who serve with FRM in Mexico, did a great job preparing for the children’s first beach trip. They had beach towels, chairs, beach toys, and all the fixings for a great beach picnic. We had all types of chips and snacks for the kids. The children were so excited because they had never experienced anything like this before. When they came to the table to get a hot dog, bag of chips, sugary snacks, and drinks, they pretended that they were purchasing them, saying that the chips were five pesos and the hot dogs and drinks were ten pesos, and pretending to pay for their food as if they were a part of some incredible story. In reality, they have never had the money to do anything like this, including a simple day at the local beach. Local Mexican cowboys had horses on the beach to rent for $20, so we rented the horses for a couple of hours so the children could just be kids. They all had a wonderful time. One special little girl began telling me in Spanish that her dad had gotten sick and died. Bigtha whispered to me that her father was still alive, he had simply abandoned his family, and this little girl does not know how to process her father’s absence with her innocent mind. Bigtha asked the little girl if she wanted a daddy, and she said yes. Bigtha then asked her if she wanted me to be her dad, and she shook her head yes. Then this child walked over and crawled up in my lap, laid her head on my chest, and just kept looking into my eyes. A few minutes later, her eyes began to close, and she fell asleep. I wrapped a beach towel around her and just held her as she slept. I noticed her little hands and feet and wondered how a father abandons his children, especially a daughter who needs her daddy. After about an hour of me holding her in my arms, her mother came over and asked if I wanted her to take her, but I said no. I wanted her to awaken the same way that she fell asleep—loved and cared for, not abandoned. We are making every effort to teach these children God’s Word with weekly Bible studies and at least two trips a year to the beach. While we have much to do, I want to make sure that their birthdays and Christmases are celebrated. We will be picking one day a year where we can celebrate all of their birthdays at one time. There are too many kids to celebrate each one on their actual birthday, but we will make sure there is plenty of cake, toys, food, but most importantly, love. The children are all going to weekly Sunday school. After three months of attendance, they receive a graduation certificate which they receive with great joy.
Far Reaching Ministries