This weekend is one of very few "normal" ones this fall. These are busy times! Last weekend we attended the second quince años (elaborate 15-yr.-old girl's birthday celebration) of many scheduled this fall. Actually, we were invited to two on the same day, but of course went to the one where Manuel was invited to preach (in La Presa). Then on Sunday, Manuel preached at a church plant 2 hours away (which some friends are in charge of), while I played chauffeur between our regular church services getting Caleb to and from church for worship team practice. We are heading into the week of Bet-lehem's 24th anniversary, and there are lots of special activities planned. More on that later.
Here's a glimpse of some of the happenings in Septemeber:
The two Noches Mexicanas at Bet-lehem Chiconautla were great fun! Many church members invited friends and family, and many of those new people heard the gospel message and accepted Christ as Savior! Since we can't fit many more than 200 people comfortably in the sanctuary, we have had to do two programs for the last few years. The first night we had 150 people, and the second night we had 215. Here are a few pictures, and there are many more on my Facebook page (Laura Vivanco).
Since Tuesday, September 16th, was Independence Day here in Mexico, many people had Monday the 15th off as well. We took advantage of that on the 15th and made the 1-hour hike at sunrise from the last houses up to the top of the Chiconautla hill for a special time of prayer and worship. Again, more photos on Facebook.
Since there's a lot to pray about in Mexico--and the world--these days, and our church enjoys prayer and praise gatherings, we had an all-night prayer and praise service the night of September 26th from 10pm to 6am. Yes, 8 hours! Manuel had a 2-day pastors' retreat with the Baptist Convention 3 hours south, but the kids and I were able to spend that special night at the church, seeking the Lord along with over 100 others.
In other news, Elsa, Bet-lehem's missionary to the Mixtec people in Puebla, now has not only her new eyes after surgery to both, but also two new pairs of glasses. She is still adapting to her new eyesight and has had some trouble with headaches, but is VERY happy to be able to see again. Please keep her in your prayers as she continues to adapt and jumps back into ministry after returning to Puebla tomorrow to join the family there.
On Monday, Manuel and Leví Vázquez, a lawyer and one of the members of the original church-planting team in Chiconautla, will make the 4-hour drive to Irapuato, Guanajuato and back. They are working on updating Bet-lehem's status as a religious organization before the federal government and need to visit one of the original board members. Thanks for keeping them in prayer on Monday during the long drive.
This next week we'll have pre-church-anniversary activities, celebrating 24 years as a church. Wednesday and Thursday evenings we'll have Noches de Gratitud (Nights of Thanksgiving for what the Lord has done), Friday morning I (Laura) will be speaking at a women's breakfast, and Saturday afternoon from 2-6pm we'll have a special youth event for all the the Bet-lehem churches. Our son Caleb (15) has spent a lot of time practicing with the worship team for that event (drums, keyboard and guitar). Then Sunday we'll have 3 special anniversary services with Manuel preaching, and food after each of the 3 services. Thanks for praying for all of this! God is good!