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July 23, 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

July 23, 2020
About a dozen years ago, Redland completed a six-year partnership with a church in Oriental, Mexico.  Every summer we sent a team down there to do construction, lead Vacation Bible School, and door-to-door evangelism. This picture was taken during one of those trips. Left to right are: Harvey Iwamoto (retired, now living in North Carolina), Becca Adams (now Gore), Sarah Adams (now Tapanes), Ann Michael, a member of the church in Oriental, Sue Adams, Pepe (our translator, who now pastors a Hispanic Church on the Eastern Shore) and Feli (former member who served as a translator). Also pictured are Lyle Shipe (former member), Bob Michael, Charlie Brinkman, Buddy Young, Daniel Adams, and me. This is about half of our team. I guess the rest were in the baño when this picture was taken!

I had never seen this picture until today when it was sent to me through Redland’s Facebook page with the following note:
“Hello brothers and sisters, I’m Eunice from Oriental, Puebla in Mexico. I belong to the church ‘Dios es Amor’ and these days in my family we were thinking about you while we saw some pictures. Many years have passed but all that you did stay in our hearts and in our temple. We wish to know how have you been and send greetings. I hope I’m writing to the right church, we found a box where was the name of your church and we looked for you on Facebook. I send a picture to verify.” 

I replied to Eunice telling her we have wonderful memories of our partnership with Oriental's Dios es Amor and that in fact the gifts the church gave us (hand painted mugs) still rest on the bookshelf in my office.  I told her that two of the team members in that picture, Buddy and Charlie are now with the Lord and that each of my children are married and so far have blessed us with four grandchildren.  I also told Eunice that I remembered a family in the church where the mother played the piano and the father laid tile. This family invited us to their home one night after church. They served Oreo cookies and gifted each of us with a little bird cage in which there was a mechanical bird that would sing. I said I remembered that the father in that family came to NYC to find work. I also asked her if a dear member of the church named Santiago was still alive.

Here is her reply:
“It’s a pleasure to know how blessed have you been in your family with new members. When I read your message to my parents it makes us pretty happy ‘cause we are that family. I’m the oldest daughter, my mom Luz is who play the piano and my dad Cesareo (he is with us now). We are five, my brother Cesar and my sister Keyla. We still live with our parents, my brother and I, we both are studying medicine and my sister just finished the high school. Brother Santiago was our grandfather, he is with our God since 2019.

In the church, unfortunately some brothers have changed the narrow way for the wide one, nevertheless thanks to God, new brothers have joined us. Pastor Octavio is still with us, I told him about the message and he send you greetings and says that you’re welcome if you would decided to come again. We’re so happy to know about you and we hope keep in touch.”

I’m sure Santiago is enjoying fellowship right now with Buddy and Charlie, no longer needing a translator to communicate!

I share this with you because in these difficult days, good news is an especially wonderful thing. I praise God that Dios es Amor is still alive and well, that Cesario is home safe with his family, and that those little children I remember are studying medicine.

I don’t know if God will lead us back to Oriental but as I remember our work with the people there, Paul’s words in Philippians 1 come to mind:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Eunice’s email encourages us to share our faith, to do the work God gives us to do, knowing some of the “seeds” we sow do indeed fall on good ground, and when they do, they “produce a crop yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:23)

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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