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,

May & June 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4

Camargo: The Iglesia Bíblica Bautista has had some set backs and the devil would like to discourage. But we have seen some professions of faith and 3 baptized recently. Amen!! We have also had special days for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the Lord’s Supper. There were 18 mothers present for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day brought out 8 fathers. We had special messages and a nice fellowship and gifts for each. The Lord’s Supper was observed, with a good attendance and a spirit of unity and reverence as we commemorated the death that Christ died for each one of us. Karla finished her discipleship course and is now discipling 2 other women, so we are seeing fruit multiplied. Please pray for her and her 2 girls, as they have a difficult family life. Since she has been saved, she has been trying to see her husband saved but Oscar and his whole family is hateful toward her because her Christianity is “tarnishing their good catholic name”.

Special prayer: We asked prayer for Jenny Hogan, who was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. God chose to call her home and the funeral was July 1 at Bible Baptist in Carthage, MO. Please pray for her husband, Pastor Kent Hogan and all of their extended family, as well as the church.

Workers: Just as we about had a rental house ready and furnished, we heard that Bro. Gilbert and his family would not be coming to work with us after all. Please pray the Lord would send the right couple to work with our teens and other areas of the church.

Health: Connie is going to a very good hematologist in Chihuahua City and he ordered several tests, which have confirmed the diagnosis of her leukemia. We are waiting on the insurance to cover a PET scan to know if more treatment is needed. In the middle of all this, Connie broke a molar and had to have a root canal. An extraction could have been serious because of her low platelet count. She did well with the procedure.

Work Visas: Nineteen years ago, we moved into Mexico and about the time our work visas should have become permanent, Connie got sick and we could not see it through at that time. We are applying for our permanent residence now. Please pray that the Mexican immigration would approve our documents and grant us our residence without any delay.

Praise: People saved and baptized; Mother’s day & Father’s day; Lord’s Supper

Prayer: More saved and baptized; Karla – discipleships – Oscar’s salvation; Hogan family; Young couple – teens; Connie’s health & Insurance; Permanent Residence

In His Service,

March & April 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

“… Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.” Nehemiah 9:5

Camargo: Praise the Lord, there is more work and less unemployed, with planting onions, chilis, tomatoes and etc… The downside is that their work takes some out of church but even at that attendances of the Iglesia Bíblica Bautista continue in the 40’s. Pray that those who attend would surrender to church membership and that others would be saved and baptized.

We had a mission’s emphasis month and our people really stepped out by faith, promising and giving over and above their tithe.  Several have given testimonies as to how God has been providing what they really thought impossible! Amen!

Connie finished discipling Karla and Alicia and we gave them certificates of completion in a service. It was a great testimony to the church of finishing the course! Karla and her girls and Alicia, knock doors with the church. Alicia also stamps all the John/Romans and tracts that we give out and Karla oversees the cleaning of the church building, which is done by the families of the church. We divided the kid’s class and Alicia has started teaching the 10, 11 and 12 year olds! Praise the Lord! Pray the Lord would give each of these ladies someone to disciple as well!

Pastor Kent Hogan and the Bible Baptist Church in Carthage MO donated 2 low-mileage vans to the work here in Mexico. They invited us to their Mission Conference to pick them up. Amen!!

Connie and I got the vans to Oklahoma and our son, Andrew helped us drive them to El Paso, TX. Pray that the Mexican government will allow us to import them for a fair price. We sure need them as we have had up to 28 in our van. A good problem to have!

One of our men took the midweek services and other pastors filled in the 2 Sundays that we were away. They had good attendances and upon our return, the church had a fellowship to welcome us home! It was a quick trip but what a blessing! Amen!

Special Prayer: The week following the conference in MO, Pastor Hogan and wife, Jenny discovered she has cancer. Our hearts are heavy with this news but God knows and is in control! Please pray for Jenny’s health, the family and decisions that they need to make in the coming days!

Workers: Bro. Gilberto, Lucy and family are coming July 1 to work with us. The church can’t provide all that is needed for their housing and salary yet but we sure need their help. Pray for God’s provision.

Health: Connie had more blood tests this week and the counts were some better, though she continues to have a lot of fatigue. Please continue to pray for her.

Praise: Good attendances; Mission commitments; Karla and Alicia finished discipleship; Our trip, safety and church vans in El Paso; Bro. Gil & Lucy coming July 1st

Prayer: People to be saved & join the church; New kid’s class & ladies to disciple someone; Pastor Hogan & Jenny – cancer; Importation of vans; Bro. Gil & Lucy’s needs; Connie’s health

In His Service,