Thursday, July 18, 2013

Contreras VBS Mission Trip 2013: New family

"Mi casa es su casa."

It's such a famous saying in Mexico that people know it all around the world. Thanks to some great relationships we've developed in the last week, our team now feels like they have lots of new family -- people that would say or have said, "My house is your house."

VBS at the Contreras church has continued to see the Lord's work in action. Jaye and Scott gave testimonies today, being very transparent with things that have happened in their lives and answering lots of very tough, pointed, honest questions from kids.

After they finished their testimonies, Jaye and Scott were asked to encourage the kids in one group to accept Christ as their savior. They did, also encouraging them to attend this great church that can provide for all of their needs as new Christians. They prayed the salvation prayer, and several children raised their hands to indicate that they had accepted Christ. Others may have prayed the prayer but may not have raised their hands.

New names in the Lamb's book of life. This is why we came.

Debbie and Mercedes, a girl she met three years ago on a similar mission trip, continue to develop their relationship.  This is good considering Mercedes's rough home life and lack of spiritual guidance from her parents.

Marisa has really connected with David's daughters and is talking about return trips to Mexico. Cameron has started thinking about revisiting Mexico and serving. Morgan has mentioned future mission trips.

The Lord is stirring the hearts of our team.

In the evening, the team visited David and Karla's home for dinner. They met David and Karla's neighbors -- doctors from Bolivia that are not (yet!) believers. Jaye and Scott's daughter, Allie, is getting ready to work in Bolivia for five months, so the neighbors graciously traded contact information with family that live there.

Coincidence? I think not. Sounds like The Lord is starting to do something exciting in these wonderful people's lives.

Tomorrow is the last day of VBS, which will  include our normal classes (crafts, games, missions, testimonies and class) plus a closing where parents are invited. There will be a message, performances of songs from VBS and prizes. It will be a very  bittersweet day for our team. Please pray that the parents' and  children's hearts will be stirred for The Lord and that they get connected to the church.

 Children prepare to illustrate the story of Paul and other prisoners and prison guards being battered by a storm on a ship (Acts 27v).
 Jaye and Scott share a testimony with little ones!
 Children participate in games.
Ladies of the Contreras church prepare tortillas for the day's snack. They have made food for 100 children and probably 30+ workers all week using this kitchen!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Contreras VBS Mission Trip 2013: Rain, rain ...

The Lord's little blessings are enough to lift us up sometimes. Here's one we experienced:

July is part of Mexico City's rainy season. It's not uncommon for the sun to shine in the morning and for brief rain showers to come in the afternoon -- sometimes every day.

There have been several days where we have taken trips in the afternoon during this trip and we've had little to no rain at all --  a bit of an anomaly.

Today was a "rest at the seminary" day, and it poured. Almost all afternoon and evening. Again, just a little blessing, but enough to make us all thankful and think of how our Lord loves to bless us.

VBS has hovered around 100 kids each day for attendance. Our team is starting to develop some great relationships with the kids. For example:

  • Cameron and Pablo tatooed each other with "... was here" marker tatoos on each other's arms.
  • Marisa has a boyfriend! Well, a boy that swoons and says "Hi Marisa!" every time he sees her.
  • Scott has a girlfriend! (And Jaye knows about it.) She is about three feet tall and is maybe two or three years old and loves to play "toss the ball in the hula hoop" with him. When he's not doing that, Scott is usually busy maintaining the church grounds with Pastor Mario.
Morgan and Debbie shared testimonies today. David, who has done translation for most of the testimonies, has said that they have been very powerful. He says that when we come from the United States and have a message to tell, it carries extra weight. Jaye and Scott share testimonies tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers! It has been a constant prayer with our team that Jesus changes entire families through the commitments and hearts of individual children. We read about Paul in Acts and how, after the prison doors came open during an earthquake, he led a jailer to the Lord. That decision caused his entire family to trust Jesus and the church there grew and grew. 

We are praying that children come to know The Lord during VBS and that, through their decisions, their families come to church and receive Christ, too, and that through those decisions the entire area of Magdalena Contreras sees an influx of believers and changes the history of Mexico City. Please join us in that prayer!

 The team gathers after a delicious dinner at the Las Palomas taqueria near David's home.
The team performs "Baby Shark" for children at VBS.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Contreras VBS Mission Trip 2013: Fun and games

Day 2 is in the books at Contreras, and we have seen The Lord move in great ways.

Last night, we prayed that a girl, Mercedes, would come to VBS. Debbie and I  (Matt) met this girl three  years ago when we came to Mexico. She instantly connected with Debbie and has constantly been on Debbie's heart since.

Mercedes came to church on Sunday at Contreras but  wasn't sure if she could come to VBS. We prayed about her situation Monday night after she didn't show up for the first day of VBS. But today, Mercedes was there. Debbie saw her as we walked down to the Contreras church. She dropped her things and picked Mercedes up and hugged her. It was a great reunion. Mercedes has a very tough home life and doesn't have much support to continue to know Christ, so please pray that He leads and directs her and her family's lives.

About 100 children came to VBS today. Cameron shared his testimony with all the classes with Marisa by his side, and the two taught children the "Baby Shark" song in English.  It was a huge hit with kids asking to do it again and again. (Are you proud of them, Flood family???)

Jaye and Scott had a fun time participating in games with children. In one game, children threw handfuls of popcorn to other who held a popcorn container, trying to catch as much as they could. Jaye said it was fun to interact with them in different ways (she helped with crafts yesterday) because different parts of their personalities -- and her personality -- shined through.

Morgan and Debbie helped children create Paul puppets out of brown paper lunch sacks. They helped children add yarn, pom poms, googly eyes and other decorations to them. They were a huge  success!

Our day ended with the very gracious David and Karla taking us to historic Xochimilco, where the lake that Mexico City was first built on still exists. We took  a boat ride on the canals and saw  many of the beautiful plants and flowers that Xochimilco is famous for.

Tomorrow is Day 3 of VBS. Thanks for your continued prayers! Prayer is the fuel that runs everything we're doing down here. Please continue praying for the children, and also please pray for our health as a few of us have struggled with upset stomachs or digestion issues.

 Luis is strong!
 The Contreras family really knows how to decorate!
 A mural painted on the wall just for VBS.
The team plays with Tonito before VBS.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Contreras VBS Mission Trip 2013: Day 1 done!

Our first day of VBS was a hit! More than 100 children packed into the Contreras church here in Mexico City to play game, have snacks, sing songs and learn about Jesus and the good news.

It was a great day for our  team as well. Cameron and Marisa raced on ... well, not sure exactly what they're called ... kind of like overgrown roller skates with handle bars. Morgan shared a testimony with a room full of kids. Debbie held and smooched babies on  and off. Jaye and Scott battled the language barrier and helped kids with crafts about Paul's conversion in Acts 9. Matt shared his testimony and interesting details about life in Indiana and the United States.

These first few days have uncovered some discoveries about the culture and people of Mexico City. Some reflections include:

  • The people are all very friendly and are very happy to battle through language issues to talk.
  • The children are very respectful. They sit quietly and listen to messages and interact very well with us.
  • Teens are a huge force in helping with VBS and making sure that everything goes off without a hitch. They are focused and driven. They don't need  to be told what to do;  they just jump in and help where they need to. Some teens -- and even some of the younger children -- are very strong leaders.
  • Pastor Mario and his wife, Betty, have huge hearts for The Lord and are doing everything they can to spread his love and the gospel.
  • Five women squeezed in a kitchen the size of many people's closets and mass-produced spaghetti, hot dogs and oranges -- very impressive.
We had a great hourlong debriefing time at the end of the day where we discussed what had happened and what we had seen God do during the day. Karla, Renata and Maria Jose very graciously took us downtown to see the fine arts palace and the downtown square. We visited a cathedral, saw an Aztec temple and had a metro ride. Karla and Matt almost got closed in the metro doors but narrowly escaped!

Tomorrow is day 2 of VBS. Please pray that more children will come, that children's hearts would be opened to the gospel, and that our team would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading.

Debbie, Morgan and cameron hang out before bed!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Contreras VBS Mission Trip 2013: Ready to serve!

The church is set up. The decorations are hung. The chairs are arranged.

We are ready for VBS to start tomorrow!

The first of our five-day VBS at the Contreras Church in Mexico City is tomorrow morning. We are preparing for a contingent of kids that numbers 100+ to descend on the church this week.

The theme is a roller coaster theme with subtitle something like "get rid of  your fear; trust in God." The Bible verses cover the life of Paul, starting with his blindness and conversion tomorrow (Acts 9).

Our team is excited for our first day to interact with the kids. This is a great group that has really gelled and enjoys each other's company a lot.

Today, we split up and attended church services at the Contreras church where we'll have VBS and the Ocotal church higher up the mountains. Afterward, we helped prepare Contreras for the influx of kids by washing chairs, hanging up decorations, cutting out tickets and moving tables. Lunch was delicious chicken, rice and enchiladas (you know you're jealous!).

Afterward, we were blessed to travel with David and his daughter Maria Jose to Coyoacan, a little town within the enormous city for a little sight-seeing and some ice cream and churros. We finished the day with a quick trip to a mall near our home and a really nice debriefing and prayer time.

I feel like The Lord has prepared this team well and that we're ready to go love on the children of Mexico City tomorrow!

More updates tomorrow (hopefully). Please pray for children to come, for their hearts to be opened  to  hearing the gospel and for us to be able to hear the Lord's leading and guiding.

--  Matt Miller

Our wonderful group gets ready to head out to church!

Debbie catches up with old friends.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Contreras VBS Mission Trip 2013: The Journey Begins

Today was the start of our great adventure in Mexico City! Scott, Jaye, Marisa, Debbie, Morgan, Cameron and I (Matt) arrived ready to help with a vacation Bible school in the Contreras church.

But our travels were not all as we had planned. Our first curveball came as soon as we checked in to our airline in Indianapolis. The plastic crates we were using to carry our VBS supplies turned out to be against an embargo with Mexico. We were not allowed to check  the crates  and had to improvise. After some quick thinking and some repacking, we were able to get all the materials in the crates into our own luggage.

The rest of the air travel -- layover in Charlotte, NC, passage through customs and immigration in Mexico, Cameron's first airplane trip ever -- all was a  success. David welcomed us, helped us exchange our currency and got our bags in the van ready to go.

The Mexico City experience hit us immediately as a car cut David off before we were off  the grounds of the airport. The traffic was heavy, the surroundings were very busy, and the people were everywhere -- all parts that I have come to love about Mexico City. It was a lot to take in for several of the members of our team. They noticed the abundant graffiti and all the colors in everything they saw. We saw mountains in the distance, traveled the Periferico loop and saw the Olympic stadium at the UNAM university.

Tomorrow begins with two church services, one  at the Contreras church where we will help with VBS and one at the Ocotal church higher in the mountains. We will also help organize for the VBS, which starts on Monday. Please pray for Cameron and I (Matt) as we will be teaching (preaching?) on Sunday morning  as well as Morgan and Marisa, who will be sharing a testimony. Please also pray that our  team is able to hear and respond to the Lord's voice and leading while we are  here.

We are thankful for the Wifi in the seminary house where we are staying -- several of us were able to connect with family and friends from thousands of miles away!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

March 2013 Update

Dear brothers in Christ. 

Let me share an update of the activities of the churches in Mexico. We are very thankful with God because he has been good with us; the new year brings new challenges but also new hope and a opportunities to share the gospel with others.


  This year we decided to take a commitment of for 40 days as a church, 40 days to renew our relationship with Christ and grow as disciple. Each person will be reading a book based on the gospel of Mark that has 40 lectures (from February 11th to March 23rd), each home bible study will be having special studies, and each Sunday will have a special emphasis. This is also a great opportunity to share the gospel with other using the book or inviting people to the home bible study. We are having this camping in both churches (Roca de Vida del Valle and Roca de Vida San Lorenzo) 
We were blessed to see 10 new believers got baptized two weeks ago. At the end people brought some food and we have a party for God! Praise God!!


We started a new training course for leader called Discipleship 2. Our goal is to equip leaders with tools to help them to teach and preach the Bible to others. 25 people are involved in this training. (12 from del Valle and 13 from San Lorenzo). Please Pray that God may use this brothers and sister in Christ.

Planting churches is the best way to fulfill de Great Commission. They are several ways to plant new churches; one is to start with special activities for children. This coming April 20th we will have a special celebration for kids to present the gospel and to help to plant a church in Ecatzingo, a town that doesn’t has an evangelical church. This is the way we are working helping “IGLESIA CRISTIANA AGAPE” to plant a church in Ecatzingo, Estado de Mexico (2 hrs. from Mexico City).


1. God may provide to pay the facility for the church Roca de Vida Del Valle.
2. May god bless the churches with grow and new believers
3. Blessing for the training in Discipleship 2
4. God may bless the just baptized believers
5. For the plans for the new church in Ecatzingo, Edomex
6. For wisdom and grace to work with pastors in Mexico
7. God may bless my daughter and her studies en South Carolina and Andres in Toronto.