‘Spring Invasion’

Spring Invasion Report | Bethel Friends Church 

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
Bethel Friends Church Spring Invasion 2016 team pictures with their hosts for the week, Friends Church Pastors in Cloete, Coahuila, Mexico.

Bethel Friends Church Spring Invasion 2016 team pictures with their hosts for the week, Friends Church Pastors in Cloete, Coahuila, Mexico.

Below is an interview style report form of some of the team members:

To see the previous Spring Invasion Reports click here.

Parker (high school student):
1. The best thing we did was help build the multi-purpose room with Pedro.
2. Best thing I experienced was the church service on Thursday night.
3. I saw God working by allowing for both the Americans and Mexicans to break the language and culture barrier and come together as one.

Mark (adult sponsor):
1. The best thing we did was that we actually were able to completely and successfully build three full walls while also doing VBS.
2. The best thing I experienced was making new friends from the other youth groups and the people of Mexico. Also, we went to a local park and played a game of basketball with people who we didn’t even know and couldn’t even talk to.
3. God was able to teach me how to work and perform tasks, that I may not necessarily want to do, without complaining because I am working for His Kingdom.

Lynnette (high school student):
1. Best thing we did: Talked and played with the kids even though there was a slight language barrier
2. Best experience: Built a room with the rest of our team and met some wonderful kids.
3. How did you see God working: In the way He put everything into place and kept us all from getting sick.

Vivian (high school student):
1. The best thing we did was building relationships with the children who came to our VBS and building relationships with the pastor and his wife.
2. One of the best things I experienced was on the last night and all of the churches came together and the Mexican people from the churches in Mexico prayed for all of the visitors from America. Also, I loved how during that same church service there was a time where anyone could go up to the altar and commit their lives to God’s plan.
3. During this trip, I found out how in some ways America is very blessed, but in regards to loving others, sometimes we can be reserved. The people of the churches in Mexico loved us and cared for us during our short time there. I think God was trying to tell me to care for people the way the churches in Mexico cared for us and how Jesus Christ loves us.

Zack (high school student):
1. The best thing we dId was the work project.
2. The best thing I experienced was the service the final night.
3. I could really feel the presence of God on Thursday night. I saw him working in the lives of all those people in that church.

Ginny (adult sponsor):
1. Best thing: Forming relationships with the people. Watching the kids serve with such servant hearts…both in vbs and building the walls!
2. Best experience: Experiencing life/ministry with my kids and the other youth.
3. It was obvious that the Lord is working in the lives of our youth! I saw how soft our kids are to the Lord and how each one knows and understands that He has a call on their lives! There is no greater joy than to see your kids walk in the ways of the Lord! I praise the Lord for this trip as I know they were all drawn closer to Him and so was I!

Heath (adult sponsor):
1. Built relationships with the Pastor, his wife, and Pedro.
2. Worship/challenge to respond to God at Agujita on Thursday night.
3. How valuable relationships are with our brothers and sisters, many of whom we have never met and may only get a brief time to know here; also looking back and seeing how God has led and called me overseas, and that 11 years ago the Spring Invasion was the first time to experience this, but I didn’t really care about the gospel at that point, and how God has continued to woo my heart to a greater understanding even though I didn’t get it the first time I went on a missions trip, or even the second time.

Spring Invasion Update #3 | Short-Term Missions, Long-Term Impact

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Just a few days have passed since I returned to The States from a week-long mission trip to Coahuila, Mexico serving with about 150 other Americans. With all the preparation that comes before a trip like this, it’s always so hard to see it go by so quick. There is mental preparation that comes along with entering a new country/culture, and then once you begin to adjust to that culture a few days/weeks pass and you’re on your way back home to reality. There are SO many things that I could write about based off of this trip, and I really wish I could write out all of my thoughts, but I’m positive no one wants to read that novel so I’m sticking with the thing that spoke to my heart most this time around.

For those of you reading, whether you’ve been on a mission trip yourself or just know someone who has been, I’m sure the one thing you hear the most is this statement: “I loved going on this mission trip because my eyes were opened. The people had so little, yet were so happy and it made me realize how grateful I am to have the things that I have.” Am I right? I know I’m right because I’ve heard it a thousand times, and I’m even guilty of saying it myself. Allow me to explain why this trip was different, and why I didn’t come back with that being my “most impactful and transforming” lesson.

Mission trips don’t exist so that we can raise money to go into another country and learn that we are spoiled and that we can be happy with so little. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an important thing to see. It’s important to know that the culture we live in is not the only culture, and that it isn’t right nor wrong. It’s important to know that we can survive without 90% of the things we think we couldn’t live a day without. But is that truly what we’re to come back resting in and leaning on? How about this: We got to experience the very Kingdom of God. We got a glimpse of how wide, how deep, how long, and how high His love is. We worshipped with believers who don’t even speak the same language as us, but don’t you realize that there is more to the world than “me” or “us”? God’s Kingdom is FULL of the small portion we got to witness. We get to worship for eternity with these believers that follow the same God we follow, regardless of what possessions either of us have or what language we speak. Think of all the people you tried to carry a conversation with but it was hard to learn anything other than their name or favorite color because you didn’t know any other words. You know that person? You get to experience Heaven with them, fully understanding each other by the grace of Jesus Christ. There will come a day when all of God’s people will be together.

Don’t you want to be able to say that you would go anywhere just to see God’s face? We don’t go places to see what the world wants us to see. We go to see God. I believe He wants us to see that if relationships can be formed here on earth even with a language barrier, how much greater will they be in Heaven? How much more rich will they be? I can’t even begin to fathom the glory that will be revealed to us. Praise God for the opportunity to go into the World to bring more people Home.

Gracias a Dios!

– Katie Newton
Friendswood Friends Church
Freshman at Barclay College

 

Spring Invasion Update #2

Monday, March 28th, 2016

IMG_3088“Team Aura” was made up of not one single church community but actually four. Thirteen people from Rose Hill Friends, Chandler Friends, Iglesia Amigos Wichita, and Friends University led by Associate Pastor Gabriel Hancock (Rose Hill) and Family Life Pastor Keith Reeser (Chandler). Despite the great challenge of bringing a diverse group together where many met as they loaded in a van for the 12+ hour drive, this also brought great blessing as we saw the Great Commission fulfilled outside of ourselves, from both American and Mexican perspectives. It was a reality that we consistently saw and appreciated – we truly are better together than we are separate.

San Jose de Aura, Coahuila, is a relatively small carbon-mining village about 10km away from the beautiful Sierra Mountain range. The church, Redimidos en Cristo, is in the discerning process of joining Iglesia Amigos Coahuila under leadership of Pastor Vicente Cantu and his wife, Victoria. This is the first time in Spring Invasion’s existence that an American Friends Church team served in Aura! This brought both great challenges and great blessings! It seemed especially disorientating as we ironed out a schedule of ministry opportunities and other logistics early on, but also reaped the harvest of the “untapped aura” of Aura through ministering to children, service in work projects, and connecting with and encouraging members of the church.

Since Vicente also serves as pastor in La Luz, a neighboring village even closer to the mountains, we were able to serve two communities through children’s ministry. On day 1, we had about 40 students (and their moms) in attendance where they learned about how it was God that made them. It was during this time where we reaped the most significant known fruit – many of the children’s mothers were shared the gospel by Pastor Vicente and four of them received Christ into their hearts for the first time! On day 2, we went to La Luz and shared with a new group of children how much God loves them. When we started that evening, there were zero children in attendance – it was literally just us Americans playing volleyball and soccer. But eventually they came out and we had about 20 children. Following VBS, Team Aura led a service at the church of La Luz where students shared testimonies and music, and Pastor Gabe and Pastor Keith both preached sermons. Day 3 we returned back to Aura for children’s ministry and the kids were so excited that we had returned to play with them and sing songs. We ended this final day of VBS the only way we knew how – with a piñata full of candy!

The work project for the week was replacing a drop ceiling in the sanctuary and adding it in the hallways and anywhere else we had time for it. Being a team of ten girls and three guys, we weren’t very confident in how we’d be able to get anything done. But once again, because we are better together than separate, work project director Ralph Corbet provided us with some helpful reinforcements from Northridge and Haviland who filled in for daily stints. With the extra hands, we got more accomplished than any of us could have expected. God provided what we needed and we were able to get a big chunk of the new drop ceiling vaulted in the sanctuary with new fluorescent light fixtures along with a drop ceiling added to the church hallway.

Some God moments that we want others to know about were how God showed up in the midst of all the unknowns. We didn’t know who our translators were, but yet God used them mightily, and they did wonderful. What a blessing to be a part of these girls first time translating as well as sharing the gospel to our brothers and sisters in Mexico. We didn’t know if we were the right team for the work project we received, but yet the completed project far exceeded our sensed limitations. We saw many students answer the call to walk forward during our last service with Pastor Samuel and Adam Monaghan. It was such a sincere, overwhelming experience to see so many answer the call to missions! Lastly it cannot go lightly stated how much of a blessing it was to have two people in leadership over a group so that neither had to take on all of the stresses of the trip. God definitely granted us with a great trip!

As we returned to America to our home churches, what did we learn? We learned that it’s always best to serve and to serve with joy. We learned that God can use people at any age if we are just willing and available. We learned what laughter was like, even when it crossed the language-barrier. We also learned that when the enemy is threatened, he will do anything to destroy, deter, and discourage. If it’s true that “the greater the disorientation, the greater the amount of learning” then we learned a lot! ¡Gloria Dios!

– Bueno Bueno, Gabe Hancock & Keith Reeser

 

[Update #1]

Spring Invasion 2016 Update #1

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Please pray for the 153 youth and adults from 15 different EFCMAYM churches who are headed to serve with the Iglesia Amigos of Coahuila, Mexico during Spring Break. They will be serving from March 12-19. Spring Invasion is our short-term mission program sponsored by EFC-MAYM. Our Mexican friends have been hosting student mission teams in Mexico since 1993. Our groups will invest their entire spring break in loving, serving, encouraging and learning from their Mexican brothers and sisters as together they seek to know Christ and make Him known in the churches and communities of Agujita, Nueva Rosita, Cloete, Palau, Nacimiento, Aura and Monterrey. Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 11.09.59 AM

  • See more information on Spring Invasion here.
  • Look for updates and reports on Spring Invasion at our blog

Thanks for supporting us all in prayer during the next week.

– Adam Monaghan, Associate Superintendent of Global Ministries