I want to take a few minutes and give you a quick update on what has been going on with our ministry here South of the border;
First, a few weeks ago we had our baptisms! There were five: Betsabe, Diego, Angelica, Obed and Nahum. They all went through our new believers course and gave good testimony of the work of God in their lives. We left the city to go camping in a place called “El Chico” which was absolutely beautiful! From there we drove to a place called a “balneareo” or “spa” in english. It is a little different from our idea of a spa, they call it that because it has thermal water, but it was a good place for baptisms. We then returned to our camp and had a lot of fun around the fire talking and singing. The next morning I had a great opportunity to rise early with a couple of young men, watch the sunrise, and spend good time in the Word together. God has truly blessed us with some young men and women who are truly seeking the heart of God. We had our Sunday service there at our camp. It was not as formal but a really great time. Please pray for these five that have followed in obedience to the Father’s command of baptism.
Secondly, this same weekend we introduced five new members to our church; Gonzalo, Monica, Obed, Nahum and Angelica. Gonzalo and his family came to visit our church while Ivonne and I were in Azle last year going through the process of becoming missionaries through FBC Briar. They heard about our church through their son Obed who came to the conference we held here in Mexico City last year. After visiting about a month and a half they decided to start the new members class. Angelica was living in Cancun and had hit rock bottom. Trying to find a way out she came back to Mexico City to live with her parents who are long time friends of Gonzalo and his family. Around the same time she came back Gonzalo and his family began to visit our church and invited Angelica to go with them. At some point within the first two months of visiting our church the Lord saved Angelica! She as well started the new members class and all five of them finished a week before or trip. Pray that the Lord would continually direct our church in leading Gonzalo and his family, and Angelica in their walk. Pray also that they would see their responsibility to the church and be faithful to that service.
Thirdly, I am teaching several bible studies throughout the week. On Tuesday nights we have our men’s meeting. We meet to take a look at things going on in the church and to see where we can improve and plan better. We also are going through a study of the book “The Glory of Christ” by John Owen. This has been a huge blessing and a great way to refocus on why we do what we do. Take time to pray for these men; Fortunato, Gonzalo, and Israel. Pray that they would be godly men and that they would lead their families as they are instructed in the Word of God. On Thursday I lead a bible study at Fortunato’s house. We are going through the book of First Samuel. We have had rich times in the Word and this book has been such an encouragement and exhortation to Ivonne and I and to Fortunato’s family. Pray that the Word of God would continue to penetrate our hearts through First Samuel. On Friday’s at 4:30 I lead a bible study for a group of young men, ages 15-20, at my father-in-law’s church. We have been looking at the idea of redemption for several months and will continue to do so. Ivonne during this same time leads a bible study for a group of young ladies, the same ages, at the same place. They are looking at the attributes of God and reading Pilgrim’s Progress together. Please pray for these studies. We both feel that their are many false converts in these groups. After these two studies we go to Gonzalo’s house where I am teaching through the attributes of God. This is a very diverse group in that we have several in the group who have been or are going to seminary all the way to Diana, Monica’s niece, who is unconverted and knows nothing of the Bible. Pray for the salvation of Diana. This bible study has been very profound and we have seen great fruit from it. On Sunday mornings we have started Sunday School. We are taking a few weeks to look at the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards and their biblical context. They have been convicting and encouraging. Pray that we would be disciplined in our walk. I am continuing to preach through the book of Ephesians on Sunday Mornings. We have just finished the third chapter and have taken a pause before entering chapter four to look at the Doctrines of Grace and the practice of those doctrines in our lives. I feel this series is going very well. Pray that Soulus Christus would not be like the church of Ephesus in that we would love doctrine and loose our first Love. Pray also for strength for Ivonne and I as we have been very busy and at times get tired.
A Holy Ambition
I have separated this part of the update because it is something that the Lord is doing here that is very special! In two days, on Sunday afternoon, I will be leading a team; Jim Carlson, Caleb Easter and Daniel Davila to a place called Villa Flores. Villa Flores is a village of about forty people on the border of Mexico and Guatemala in the jungle of Chiapas. To get there will will take a bus from Mexico City to San Cristobal, Chiapas (about 15 hours), then a van to Comitan (2 hours), where will take another van to a jungle village Nueva Sabanilla (7 hours), from there another van to La Esperanza (30 minutes), and finish with a 5 1/2 hour walk through the jungle to Villa Flores. The people there speak Ch’ol, a indigenous dialect. None of them can read and they have not even had a school teacher in twelve years. The thing about this village that excites me the most is that they have never heard the gospel! Paul writes in Romans 15:20 “and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,” we have that opportunity! I ask you to join in praying for this trip. We will leave Sunday and be back here on Saturday. Tuesday through Friday is when we will be in Villa Flores. Pray that the Lord would give us great clarity with preaching the Gospel and that he would awaken unto life those that are His through that preaching! Let us have a holy ambition to see His name glorified amongst all peoples!
Lastly, in a few weeks, July 26-29, we will have the privilege of hearing some of the greatest preachers of our day as we host our second conference here in Mexico City. Randall Easter, Brad Bunting, Paul Walker and Brett Beasley will be coming to preach. The theme of the conference is Grace Upon Grace. We will be looking at different aspects of doctrine, practice and relationships relating to grace. Please pray for these men as they prepare their sermons and pray also for the hearers that will be attending. We feel that these conferences are of great value and have born much fruit. Pray that the same would be true of this one.
We want to thank each of you for your prayers and your support. There is great responsibility here having gone into the well, but there is also great responsibility for those holding the rope. Together, the Father has seen it fit, that we should be a part of the gospel going forth to the ends of the earth. I ask that you would continually and faithfully hold the rope ever so tightly now. Thank you, you are a blessing to us!
"Oh, it is the least one can do, to interpose ourselves and all that is dear to us, betwixt Christ and the wrath of men, when he (as you hear) interposed himself betwixt you and the eternal wrath of God!" -John Flavel
Jonathan and Ivonne Murdock