Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May Newsletter

This month has been a time of change in a real positive way for us.  The weather like our ministry is looking up and sunny.

I am sending this “May” newsletter early because Dan left early this morning and I want to get you all praying for his trip.  He is heading for Guasave, Sinaloa in Southern Mainland Mexico with our church on a missions trip.  The trip is 30 hours by car and they pull over to sleep in the middle usually on the ground in a parking lot.  When there, they sleep in tents and have little to no running water. They go to serve the people of southern Mexico where most missions groups don’t go. They bring food and clothes and build on the churches, and the whole worship team goes to play music for church services.  For a location so poor that many church have no musical instruments it is a huge blessing for the people our church goes to serve. Please pray for them as a group and for Dan in particular as they go and serve and bring the gospel. 

We have spent some time in prayer and getting council about the direction of the ministry in the wake of things ending and time to start anew.  We decided to go with our strength’s and Dan has been spending more time working on music trying to get a set together to play at public locations for evangelism. We were gifted some money to use specifically on homeless bags a few months back and are now completely set up there.  Bags are going out and full and it is a beautiful thing.  We see a time very soon where Dan is spending more time doing what he loves best and is so good at.  Music and street evangelism. We also told you that we will be using some of that time to work on Dan’s evangelism videos.  Our schedule is to work on the evangelism videos on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s but this past month has had us busy every one of those days helping others.  It has been a bit frustrating to not get to work on the videos but those days have also been spent doing much needed ministry in the community.  We hope to get back working on videos soon. 

My sister and her oldest son will be coming to visit and help me out while Dan is gone.  They arrive in San Diego on Saturday.  Please pray for their trip as well as travel while they are here.  I will be driving to the border with just me and Archie for the first time.  Dan usually drives so it is a bit new for me.  There is also a big bike race that weekend in which many people come from out of town and Mothers day.  I have only twice been to the regular lane border crossing so when they go home on the 6th pray they make it to the airport on time and I find the way to the border easily.  We have plans for my nephew to go to school with Archie and all the kids are very excited about a visitor.  My sister will also come help at our last regular dance classes which we are all excited about.  Life here really takes two people so it will be super nice to have the help as well as to have a visit from my sister and nephew.  In case you could not tell I am upper excited about their visit!  I am counting the days!

Some of you have been following the drama of us trying to become legal residents of Mexico.  This is not a necessity at the moment but we see it possibly being so in the future and so have been working on this for a few months.  We finally just found out we have to sort of go back to the drawing board.  Long story short we have to prove that we make a certain amount of money each month from outside of Mexico and now the only way to do that is wait three months and make deposits and withdrawals from a personal account exactly like they ask for.  It has been a frustrating, expensive process so far and is a little annoying.  However when we found out a friend of ours took 6 years and it cost them well over $5,000 to get her brother legal in the US we feel like 6 months and a few hundred dollars is not so bad.  Just continue to pray as we go about this that we speak to those that need it, we know God has this going this way for a reason.

A few random stories.  Through a roundabout way a local relator found out I am a photographer.  She offered me a job taking pictures of houses.  I declined but offered to train her assistant.  The young women just lit up when I offered and looked so excited I knew it was the right choice. Pray that I might be bold in sharing the gospel and train her well.  I see this could be a potential full time
job for her which would be great. Dan took both of our Bible Study intern gals to the states for the day last Friday.  One of the girls lost her passport and driver’s license so off they all went for Bible Study in the truck and some fun along the way. They all ended up giving the gospel to the same man at the DMV first the girls then Dan.  Training up disciples!!!  Yea!!!  We have a two budding street evangelists and could not be prouder. Archie has started going to school 3 to 4 days a week.  Once or twice a week we drop him off and he rides the “bus” (an old suburban filled with kids) back to the drop off spot.  I still go to school and help 2 days a week with him but we decided he needed some time at school without us too.  Competition for me and two others in the ladies tap class is next weekend and so we have begun meeting twice a week.  We perform on mother’s day which as I mentioned above could make for a crazy day at the border.
  The program for all of my students is the weekend after next so preparations are going on for that as well.  Daniel has been decipling a young man here and he is growing in the Lord and it has been super cool for Dan to be a part of.  The young man and another English speaking man both newly saved are going on the trip to Sinaloa as well and Dan is looking forward to some time just talking and getting to know and support them.  We went to a meeting at the Skill Center where Archie goes to school and Dan teaches guitar.  Well we thought it was a meeting but it turned out to be a ladies lunch!  (Our Spanish is better but obviously not perfect).  Dan did decoupage and visited with the ladies as did I.  It was fun and good to hear what the women that runs the place has in mind for the future.  We have been having Sunday evening hot dog roasts at our house for the neighbors.  It has been a lot of fun.

Prayer: As I asked before please pray for Dan and the rest of the crew on the mission’s trip to Sineloa.  Please pray for my sister, nephew, Archie and I as we travel while Dan is gone.  That this next month’s competition in San Diego and the show here in La Mision would be fruitful for God and go smoothly.  Other than a little summer cold that keeps hanging on my health has been surprisingly good this month.  It could be a fluke or a random turn of events for the good so keep up the prayers.  The 17th Dan leaves on the bus and the 18th Arch and I leave on the plane for Tillamook for a few weeks. Prayers for safe travel is appreciated.  Dan is actually looking forward to his bus ride he said “I can tell people about Jesus and listen to my music and talk to strangers, it will be fun!”  So pray that the right “strangers” get to hear the gospel from the cool bus guy. I will be working and we have a lot of meetings and appointments in a little less than three weeks so pray we get it all done before coming back home to Mexico. 

Thanks you all for your prayers and support and taking the time to read our newsletters.


The Martins

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Family Traits

By: Deborah Coon

I was thinking about my kids the other day, well actually I think about my kids every day, but this was one of those times I was in a particularly reflective mood.   I was looking at the most recent collage, my new favorite,  because it shows humor, love, laughter and the comfort they feel when they are together.   

We’ve all had those conversations where we marvel that children, raised in the same household, with the same parents, can turn out so differently from each other.   Where my children are concerned, one drives truck for a living, one is an appraiser and the other danced her way into the heart of Mexico where she became a missionary.   And here’s where it gets interesting.  I do not value one job over another despite what others may think.  

Richard and I love the unique way our children exhibit our family qualities.  As children, their stubborn streak was either quiet and determined like mine or steely eyed, toe to toe confrontational like….ahem….their dad.  But the well defined stubborn streak was common among them all.  They all share a common work ethic which, we like to say,  they learned from their parents.  Their humor is quick witted  like their dad and they  can make us laugh like no one else can.   Each one has a generous heart and a desire to help others.  Just as they are “the same” they are also unique.   We have a tight knit relationship as a family unit as well as individual relationships with each other.

If we take this kind of joy and appreciate this kind of individuality in our earthly family, why can’t we take that lesson, which God Himself has designed, and apply it to our Christian family?    

Coon kids are easy to spot, two of them look like their father and one looks like me.  As Christians we should also be easy to spot.  Galatians 5:22 is a good place to start looking at family traits.  The recognizable family characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and  self-control should be just as easy to spot as strawberry blonde hair or big brown eyes. 

In addition, our heavenly Father has given each one of His family members gifts.  One gift is the Holy Spirit, which generates the family traits of Galatians 5:22 and guides us in truth.     1st Corinthians 12 has a very clear presentation of the individual gifts God has given us and, within God’s family and within these gifts, lies the freedom to be the you God created you to be.   After all, God is the one who formed us in the womb, so why do we fight  originality in ourselves or in others?  Why do we tell people they have to do it our way?  Why do we judge a fellow believer when we have absolutely no idea what God is working on in their lives?

When my son explains a Biblical concept to his children or my daughter teaches her boys about loving and sharing, they are running their race and,what they are doing is of equal value to the daughter who is a missionary. Can you imagine if I insisted my son run a dance studio or my daughters drive a truck?  Or consider this, I ask my children to bring me flowers for a centerpiece.   One child’s hand is wrapped around dandelions and little white daisies and the other child brings a bouquet of roses.  Dare I tell one child he’s right and the other he’s wrong or is there beauty in each expression of obedience? When we judge, criticize and question a believer’s outward expression of their personal relationship with God, we are doing serious damage.
God’s entire creation is an expression in variety.    If you spend time in His word and develop your own  relationship with Christ, you will be able to recognize the difference between the fruit of the spirit and worldly imitations.  You will be able to appreciate the variety set before you and love each believer for who they are and what they are.   It is of utmost importance to allow each brother and sister in Christ to have their own personal relationship with their heavenly Father without your interference.  Learn to enjoy each other and respect the relationship.

The world around us has boxed us in with negative reviews  making  us out to be  narrow minded, un-accepting and unloving.   We need to look at our family picture and take joy in the faces we see.  Encourage one another to run the race set before them and stop trying to point people in a different direction. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Up to the last second.

by Daniel Martin

I worked in convalescent home for a portion of time. It is a difficult, heart wrenching, wonderful, and awful job all at once. People are on the way out of this life and on to the next one; regularly. There aren’t many people that visit the old folk’s home. We don’t like to watch people die. We would all love to live in a world that we can patch up a wound with a band aid and call it good. You’re quickly acquainted with mortality in an old folk’s home. You get to see much of life is in God’s hands. I have seen people who looked like they weren’t going to make it tomorrow, recover. I have also seen people who weren’t doing too bad unexpectedly take a turn for the worse and die.
 Everyone dies. With all of the medical advances in the states the length of life has gotten significantly longer for most; but everyone still dies. It was a great joy for me to be there and to be just one more time people could hear about and experience the love of Jesus. Death is never really beautiful; but I will say for those who know Jesus, it is completely different. There is a lot of peace, and a lot less terror. I have known some saints that have gone home to Jesus. The ones who love the Lord glow, because they know are that close to being with Jesus. You often feel the presence of God when you are with them. Those who don’t know the Lord are seldom optimistic. There is a lot of bitterness, having never made amends with God.
While I was there I constantly had opportunities to tell people about forgiveness in Christ Jesus. I would pray with sick patients, and some would get better. I would pray with them for their families at home. You hear allot of life stories working in a convalescent home. You see the physical and emotional scars that people carry. The kind of loss they suffered and how they were treated by people that were supposed to love them. It is all pretty heartbreaking.
 The Gospel is abrasive to everyone, regardless of your age. Repentance is a bitter pill that we all must swallow. God will not allow us to think we are on His thrown. We have to admit we have wronged God and turn from our sin. It is a hard message, no matter what age you are. I have never been forceful with the good news. Salvation comes from God as a gift through His compassion.
It is always amazing to me to watch how God works. If someone tells me not to talk to them about Jesus at the home, I would stop. Then a couple of days later a church group would come in and visit and pray with the same people. One time someone I had talked with several times who didn’t know the lord had the Christian channel going on the T.V.  while they were asleep. I can’t tell you how it got there. I know that they would have never done that on their own on purpose. God is constantly reaching His hands out to offer forgiveness, whether we see it or not.
It amazes me that God works in spite of what we can do. God has so much compassion that even at the end of days for the wicked, God is making attempts for them to know Him and be forgiven. It reminds me of Mark 5 the story of the demon possessed man that gets healed. The people all beg Jesus to leave after He performed this great miracle. I think it was because Jesus exposes there sin by His holiness, and challenges there comfortable heathen lives (after all they weren’t like the demon possessed man they must have thought). The man who had the evil spirit driven out of him asks to go with Jesus. Jesus tells him instead to return home and tell how much God has done for him and how God has had mercy on Him. It’s encouraging to know that God still finds a way into people’s lives, even if we don’t think they can’t fully understand the gospel. God still cares about the lost and sends His servants to warn them, even in the final hours. It is a testimony to our inability to save ourselves and make ourselves right, and the sometimes, subtle but mountain moving power of God even up to the last second.