Nuevo Ideal, Durango, MX – “Mom, now I understand why I need to wear a helmet.” This was the first thing Lavinia said to me following her ATV accident. Crushing her L2 vertebra on April 7 in a roll-over accident was not in our plans, but through the trauma, pain, surgery and recovery, we have seen God’s hand sustaining, providing and guiding. Lavinia had a successful surgery inserting a titanium bridge between her L1 and L3 vertebrae. This past week she was given “the OK” from her doctor to participate in any activity and she doesn’t even need physiotherapy! This is incredible. Just a month ago she was in the hospital, and she had been a hairline away from being paralyzed or worse. We are so grateful for all that God has done in her life and body since that time.
In Zambia, when someone was moving their household from one place to another it was called “Shifting”. I love this concept in that every move brings a shifting of so many areas of life. As we were finishing up our time in La Paz, Mexico our relationships with several people seemed to deepen and flourish. We prayed that our hearts would stay attached to the community there during our months of packing and God answered our prayers. We are so grateful for that time with our church there (El Patio) and we miss them dearly. Tears, hugs, prayers and laughter at our Farewell event in La Paz reminded us of how blessed we are to have been a part of lives and ministry in that beautiful place. Early February we made the big move from the Baja to the Mainland. Despite some delays and challenges, 2 dogs, a cat, 3 kids and 2 parents arrived in Durango on February 7 with our household items coming the next day.
Old Colony Mennonites are hard-working people who are rigidly religious and traditional. For a person to accept Christ as their Saviour and begin a life of relationship with God, it would mean that they would be ex-communicated and shunned from their community. This is what Guillermo’s family experienced when he was about 6 years old. Communication with family and friends was cut off, they were forced to move to town (with the Mexicans) and they were told they would be facing an eternity in hell. For Guillermo, this was a blessing in disguise as he was able to grow in His faith and relationship with Christ, as well as learn Spanish fluently. It is an extremely painful thing to be shunned and this has caused the Gospel to be hindered from spreading in this valley… until now. Right now, there is a revival as we see these beautiful folks who have been so bound by religion, experiencing the freedom that can be only found in Jesus Christ. What seemed like impossible mountains to move, are melting away as the Holy Spirit calls people to Himself.
During the months of February through May we are intentionally connecting with the church and broader community here to see what God is doing and how He wants us to be involved in His work here. There are many needs for discipleship, counselling and evangelism with the Läwens Kjoajk community and we are so excited to join in as the Holy Spirit leads. Because of the fast growth of the church, the leadership is still working through how to meet these needs best.
March 24-27 – Guillermo had the opportunity to join in a “Men’s Encounter” in Chihuahua. (11 hours drive away). It was an incredible time of seeing God’s hand in His life and in the lives of many men in the area. Several met Jesus for the first time. Beautiful, deep connections were made. What a blessing!
April 27-30 the TEAM Mexico missionaries had an amazing time together in Guadalajara. We had not been able to meet together for the past 2 years due to COVID flares and restrictions and we loved connecting with each of our teammates in-person during those days.
May 26-29 Samuel and Lavinia will have the opportunity to join into Youth Transformation Camp together with the church youth. The youth group here is vibrant and growing and Samuel and Lavinia are enjoying getting to know new friends. Joshua has been in the Spanish Christian School here on our property and never runs out of energy to play with his new friends. Connecting with other young people has been a huge joy for our kids.
May 30 – Lord willing, we will be starting our drive to Canada for our 3-month, home assignment. We plan to be in Alberta for June and July, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for beginning of August and Ontario for the remainder of August. Our plan is to return to Mexico the first week of September in time for the next school year.
Praise God for the life and mobility of Lavinia. God’s healing hand and sustaining peace has been experienced throughout the past month.
Please pray for continued health and safety
Please pray for Mary-Ann and the kids as they continue with Spanish learning along with learning Low German (Plautdietsch)
Praise God for continuing meaningful friendships
Please also pray for several of our new friends who need the Lord, but have not yet made decisions. Praise God for newly opened doors and growing depth of conversations and friendship.
Praise God for the youth group Sam and Lavinia can be in. Also for the wonderful school for Joshua (and Lavinia next year).
Please pray for our family as we work with the church leadership here in defining our roles.
Please pray for wisdom as we travel and visit many in Canada during the summer months
Home church: Aylmer EMMC, ON
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 59 No 3