I am not alone

The Lord is surely coming back in my life-time! I just turned sixty and realize that if I should die or the Lord would  come for all of us, whatever I will do for Christ I had better do now! I do not have time to feel sorry for myself, or to lose a single day mired in self-pity over missing Connie, though I do miss her so much!

All who are close to the ministry of First Baptist Church of Milford Ohio (FBCM) likely know that my life’s partner Connie went home to be with the Lord on September 6th of last year. I was asked to write a testimonial article about continuing the mission work after losing my mate. I am so blessed that I have not lost my mate; I know exactly where she is! The knowledge and hope (expectation) that she is with our Lord brings me such comfort and peace, and a sense of anxious anticipation. You see, in a little while I too can put off this house of clay and look full in His wonderful face! Having this peace helps keep me determined and motivated while I am still able. Letting up or doing less is just not an option.

Read the whole article…

May & June 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Corinthians 15:55 – 57

Camargo: Bro. Anselmo and wife Lina’s 17 year old son, Hugo, drowned in the irrigation canal in their village of San Ignacio, about 15 minutes from Camargo. Anselmo is faithful to services and door knocking, etc. Certainly a difficult funeral, as all in San Ignacio knew of Hugo’s life, that there was no evidence of God in his life, though we had tried several times to talk with him of his need for the Lord. In the message I told them that Hugo would want all of them to know that hell is real, that Jesus would not have died as our substitute if it wasn’t horrible, and that those who aren’t saved will go there. Then that Christ died to save them if they repent of their sin, turning their back on everything else they trust in, putting 100% of their faith in Christ, the Savior of the world. The small funeral chapel was packed and several more at the windows, at least 100 listened attentively to the gospel. At the graveside I told them that death is the proof we are all sinners, in need of the Savior. I challenged them to not let this death be in vain, that they would seek the Lord while they still have breath and hope. A week later, Anselmo convinced all 3 of his grown children and some of their families to come to the service Sunday evening. Please pray for Anselmo and Lina and their family, that God would save those who are lost. Alma, and her 3 boys are faithful to all services. We have prayed four years for her husband Meni to be saved. His parents made a profession of faith in Christ a couple of months ago. Meni came on Father’s Day, and heard, “It is impossible to be a good dad if you are not saved!” I had showed him how several times, but he still wouldn’t come forward at the invitation. Afterward I asked him if he would just surrender to God and be saved. He said, “Wednesday”. I told him if he died before then, he would go to hell, to which he thoughtfully said again, “Wednesday”. On Wednesday he did ask Christ to save him! Amen!

Building: We’ve gotten a lot done on the remodeling of the building the Lord has given us, but there isn’t any more money to be able to do much more for a while. Our people are tithing and giving, and have purchased all the ceramic tile for the auditorium and entry, all the way to the front gate, and have the money for the glue and grout to lay it, and they are praying and giving to pay to have it laid.

Teens: Satan always attacks those most vulnerable, those with the most potential to thwart his efforts. Some of the lost, religious parents here either hinder or prohibit their teen from attending or even speaking to our teens or Bro. Ismael, the youth leader. The amazing thing is the desire their teens have to know the truth. Please pray for our teens to be a witness, and reach the future of the Iglesia Bíblica Bautsta here in Camargo! We took 12 teens to camp, about 8 hours away. There was a great spirit, and the Lord used the preaching to bring one of our teens to Christ for salvation, and another for full-time service!! Amen!

Praise: Gospel preached at funeral; Meni & parents, teen saved; Building progress; Camp – decisions made

Prayer: Anselmo’s family and others who heard the gospel, to be saved, Building remodeling – God’s provision; Teens and their parents; Commitments made at camp to be real & lasting.

In His Service,

November & December 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of my Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 91:1,2

Happy New Year! As we recall events and hardships of 2016, we need to remember that the past is an ally, not an enemy; God always knows and wants what’s best for us and for His glory! I know that if we will rest in God’s grace and be what He could use, for eternity’s sake, we’ll have a blessed 2017! Thank you so much for your faithful support, special Christmas gifts and for your prayers!

Camargo: The Iglesia Biblica Bautista is responding well, stepping up in Connie’s place. Several are getting involved in activities and responsibilities of the church. For some it is only physical, being more faithful to services and helping to serve, clean and such. We are discipling 7 people, who say upon completing their discipleship, they’ll teach a class, disciple someone else or help in ministry. We continue presenting the gospel, passing out tracts, door knocking, and in services. Some make professions of faith, that merely want to add more religion to their beliefs but have no desire to follow the Lord or make any change, but we keep looking for that person who wants to know! Alicia and Mariana, a mother and teen age daughter, whose family members were killed, and many other problems, made a profession of faith, but have plenty of excuses to not attend services. Since Connie’s death, I have preached 2 funerals, and her testimony has proved invaluable! One, a 17 year old who was running with the wrong crowd, was killed. He had asked his aunt who attends our church about salvation, so don’t know if he was saved or not. An older man on his death bed, trusted Christ a week earlier. Amen! After each funeral, a family member told me they were concerned for their soul. We are trying to help them, but have not made any headway yet.

Intern: I praise the Lord for Ismael and Sarahi and two boys! Mateo was born November 2, and both he and Sarahí are doing well! They are very committed; I tell him one time, and it will be done on time! The church is accepting them well, and they praise God for bringing them here to Camargo. Pray for them to know God’s will for their life, and for the wisdom I need to help them in their spiritual growth. Ismael put on the Christmas program on December 11, involving both Sunday school classes and the teens with a puppet presentation that he wrote. We had 65 in attendance. He took the services while I went up to Oklahoma for Christmas with the family. It was good for him, to do everything with services, discipleships and door knocking. I returned to Camargo in time for our watch-night service.

Family: Connie had so looked forward to being with the family for Christmas this year. I felt that our kids, grandbabies, Connie’s sister and family, her mom and dad and I needed that time together to remember Connie and honor the family that was her pride and joy. Bittersweet memories!

Praise: A blessed 2016; Souls saved; God and the churches we’re allowed to serve; Good Christmas; New baby, Ismael & their faithfulness; Great time with the family; Connie is with Christ, and not sick

Prayer: Souls to be saved, baptized, discipled, serving; Ismael, wisdom; My future and my family

In His Service,

September & October 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

Camargo: The Iglesia Bíblica Bautista has struggled a little, obviously missing Connie very much. She passed away September 6 and her funeral was Saturday, September 10. As we were going up to the U.S. for treatment, Connie asked about the church in Camargo, “What about our 3 year-old?” My pastor assured me that I needed to take care of my bride, and that God would take care of His! I got back to Mexico on Wednesday Sept. 14th, and conducted a memorial service, with 65 in attendance. I challenged them with; “What would Connie want us to do now?” The Lord helped me, and I only broke down briefly a couple of times. I encouraged them to be faithful and take up where she left off, and not allow her investment in all of us to have been in vain. Several people gave testimony of Connie’s faithfulness to the church here, to her family, but especially to her Lord. Karla, one of the ladies Connie discipled, told how Connie carried a little 3- legged camp stool when they knocked doors, and sometimes had to sit by the street while Karla knocked the door. What few knew, was that for the last year except for doctors’ visits, Connie only went out of the house for services; to teach the kids on Sunday and Thursday, to knock doors and disciple some ladies. The main theme of the testimonies was that of Connie’s consistent example and testimony, and that she was always a lady in appearance, speech and actions. Her love for the Lord was obvious! We all knew her for her contagious smile! The church is rallying and becoming more faithful, so the Lord is taking care of His bride, and mine! Amen!

In October, fifty-five came out to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the church!

Several have sent money for Connie’s Memorial Fund for a church building here in Camargo. Thank You!

Ismael & Sarahi: The young couple I wrote of have moved here and are working with our teens, the music program, helping me with visits and much more. They’ve had 4 teen meetings, with several attending every time. They are a real blessing and the church seems to be accepting them well. Pray for them, and for me to have wisdom to know how to train them. Their son Diego is 3 and Sarahi is to give birth to a second boy any day now!

Permanent Residence: Shortly after arriving, I became an official Mexican resident! No more annual visas! Connie so wanted us to get these documents, but missed it by a few weeks. I hadn’t thought about having to change my marital status on all official documents. ): I have marked “married” on everything for 36 years! I sure miss Connie!

Family: All my kids helped me with the funeral, and they call to see how I’m doing. Andrew and his family came to Mexico the day after I returned, and cleared Connie’s clothes out, and are helping me with many things. Bethany and her boys also came to help me for a week! I am so blessed!

Praise: God’s grace and goodness; Good memorial service; Workers; Permanent Residence

Prayer: God’s comfort; Iglesia Biblica Bautista, Souls to be saved; Ismael & Sarahi, ministry & birth

In His Service,

July & August 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” 1 Corinthians 15:54

Connie’s Homegoing: Connie had become increasingly weak over the past few months, until she won the victory and graduated to glory on September 6! She had a PET scan in July which showed cancer in her organs and lymph nodes. The doctor in Mexico wanted her to get more chemotherapy. Instead we brought her up to Tulsa Oklahoma so that she could be near our four kids, ten grandbabies, her sister and family, as well as her parents. She weakened, so fast, that we admitted her into the hospital on Sept. 2, before she could start cancer treatments. On Monday, Sept. 5 the hospital allowed all of the grandkids except the 1 ½ year old into the room to see her in the ICU which was a priceless time! Especially because she so loved her family, but had paid the price as a missionary of not being able to see them very often. Connie’s organs were failing, and she could hardly talk or think clearly and they started dialysis all that night.

The next morning Sept. 6, the Lord woke me up at 3:30 AM. When I stood by her bed, she opened her eyes looked at me and asked me, “am I going to die?” “Yes,” I said, and with her radiant face looked up and said, “I’m going to see Jesus!” From morning to mid-day she continued to reassure us, “God is so good!” All four of her kids and Glenda, a longtime friend, came early to see her and got to spend time with her talking and even joking. Her parents and brother came a little later and we all got to say goodbye at 8:13PM. After six years of leukemia, Connie is at home with her Lord and Savior! Amen! We sure covet your prayers!

Insurance: When we returned to Mexico after Connie’s treatments in 2010 to begin a new church, we had to surrender our US insurance. Last month we were able to get insurance on a special enrollment, and started with coverage effective September 1. So now the insurance has to approve everything, since cancer treatments weren’t scheduled to begin until Sept. 8.

Church in Camargo: I challenged the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista, that a church whose pastor can’t be in front of them for a time will either grow or fall back, proving their loyalty whether to me or really to Christ. The church isn’t ready to be on its own, though that is the goal. A pastor from Chihuahua has been preaching on Sundays, and one of our men preaches the mid-week services and they continue knocking doors. It appears attendances have remained fairly constant.

In our last letter we told of Ismael who is moving to Camargo to work with the teens, and with every aspect of the ministry. His wife will deliver their second son in November. Pray that the church will accept them and the Lord is glorified in their lives as they minister in the church and community.

Please pray for a special memorial service this Sunday, Sept. 18, with the church in Camargo.

Permanent residence: Our work visas are in the renewal process and should become permanent this year. Please pray that I will be able to get this permanent residence.

Praise: Jesus’ sacrifice and salvation; Connie’s life, now free from suffering; Church’s faithfulness

Prayer: Comfort for the Connie Winter family; Church in Camargo, Ismael & Family; Residence Visas

In His Service,