The geography of Chiapas varies greatly. There is a central valley at about 1,800 feet elevation running through the state which is sub-tropical, with heavy rains in the summer and very dry winters. It is never very cold, averaging about 85 to 95 degrees most of the year.
Reaching up to 10,000 feet elevation are the rugged highlands where most of the Indian cultures are located, and the area of the guerrilla warfare that several years ago had destabilized the country. There, it is cool and often freezes in winter.
The northern part of the state is covered by one of the thickest jungle rainforests in the world, the "Lacandón" jungle. Many ancient Mayan ruins are found there. To the south are the coastal regions with their tropical plantations and numerous fishing villages. Coffee is the state’s main product but the state is also the source of much of Mexico’s oil and hydroelectric plants.
Mainly people who are a mix of Spanish and Indian blood called "mestizos" populate the larger cities like Tuxtla Gutierrez. They identify their descent more with the Indians than with the Spaniards, who are considered cruel conquerors. Our city had a population of 180,000 when we moved here 33 years ago, but now has around 1,000,000 people.
Mexico is governed by a President, Congress and Supreme Court, and yet is very different from the U.S.A.. One party ruled almost supreme over Mexico for 71 years which resulted in unrestrained corruption that continues to influence the culture to this day. Major political changes have taken place in recent years but now the drug wars are a primary concern of all.
God called me to be a missionary to Mexico when I was 10 years old at a youth camp in northern California and I have never doubted His call. Years later, when I was finally prepared to go to Mexico, I investigated where the majority of missionaries were working. Chiapas, in southern Mexico, had very few independent Baptist missionaries who had gone to work there as compared to northern and central Mexico. God placed a very definite burden in my heart for this needy area.
Now, we have worked in Mexico for 39 years and have seen 29 churches and missions started through our ministries over the years (1 of them was adopted). Nine of these are already organized independent Baptist churches, others are established missions and a few are still pioneer mission works. Two churches were taken over by unfaithful members and are no longer associated with us and three of the pioneer works were later closed, so we are still associated with 18 of these churches and missions.
In 1983 we founded the "Chiapas Baptist Bible Institute" through which we have trained Mexican pastors who are preaching in areas all over Mexico, along with others who labor in general Christian service. At the present, I am training pastors through a plan of personal discipleship, Bible study and on-the-job experience. In this way, 31 men have been, or are being trained for the ministry.
A Christian school, the "Colegio Libertad" was operated for 5 years with up to 195 students in K-9 but due to financial and personnel problems we have had to make major changes. Now we are operating a system similar to an ACE School in order to have family involvement and personal character training for the children.
Just as in the U.S.A., our primary difficulty is that people are very materialistic and in love with the world. Catholicism is a great obstacle in some towns and is more of a traditional excuse in others. Most of the modern day cults are also trying to win people. Spiritism and witchcraft abound. Other barriers have to do with the socialistic politics and anti-American propaganda promoted by both the Catholic Church and the government news agencies. Chiapas has had a guerrilla war, but the drug wars are not common here.
Debbie, was primarily involved with home schooling our four children for many years, but now that they are grown and gone she trains Sunday School teachers, teaches a Sunday School class herself, goes soul winning, leads ladies groups, plays church music and teaches music in our Christian school, along with many other important activities.
All of our children grew up in Mexico and are fluent in both Spanish and English. They were very active in the ministry as young people, serving in soul winning, teaching, children's ministries and music and other areas. Christina, 38, graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a degree in Music and a Masters in Administration in Education and served at Lancaster Baptist Church for many years. Jonathan, 36 graduated from PCC, served as an officer in the Marines, has seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and now works at Northrup Grummun in Pensacola. He is married with four children. James, 34, graduated from PCC and did his internship with us to prepare to be a missionary to India. He and his wife Erika have one child and are currently in the USA continuing the steps to fulfill his calling. Benjamin, 32 and his wife Tracy work at West Coast Baptist College.
As a teenager called to be a missionary, I had a great desire to fulfill God's will, but I also had a great sense of inadequacy for such an extraordinary purpose. A great source of encouragement to me was God's promise that he who meditates in His Word "shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Psalm 1:3).
Now that was something I could do! It gave me real hope that God would make my missionary service prosper, if by faith in His promise, I did my part to meditate on His Word.
Part of meditation is to memorize God's Word, so I began a systematic habit of memorizing consecutive passages of Scripture. Through the years I learned, both by study and by experience, how God made our memory function. This helped greatly in this blessed task. Presently, I have 42 chapters memorized and, best of all, our missionary work has prospered beyond what I could have imagined.
The memory is a fantastic function of the incredible brain that God created in man. All of the technology on earth has not produced anything close to its efficiency and capability. However, you might ask, Why does my memory work for some things and not for other things? That is a wise question and the purpose of this book is to answer that question and to teach you how to make use of your memory to its fullest capacity in memorizing Scriptures.
Nothing hinders the process of memorizing more than accepting the conclusion that “I can’t memorize.” The old saying, “If you say you can or if you say you can’t, you're right,” explains the primary reason why some can memorize and others can’t memorize. In this book, I will explain clear and practical steps so that you can experience the ability to memorize portions of the Word of God. When you understand the marvelous capability of the brain that God created, and how in reality it is functioning continuously and correctly each moment, you will realize that the conclusion “I can’t memorize” is mistaken and, on the contrary, you will have a new hope and understanding of Why You Really Can Memorize Scripture.
In this book you’ll learn:
Why is it that even between Christians there are misunderstandings, conflicts and quarrels?
Why can we not come to agreements and solutions without suffering or causing detriment and pain?
Is It Ethical deals with the need and ability to have in common four principles that will prevent conflicts
By understanding and applying these four principles to the most frequent causes of conflicts, such as matters of authority, possessions and finances, Is It Ethical will help you protect your friendships and cooperation between church members, pastors and even christians of different cultures.
Furthermore, the principles described in Is It Ethical will not only serve to prevent damage to relationships, but it will also enhance positive qualites such as hospitality and communication.
Do you want to do well in your career? You have to prepare and work. Do you want to be good at a sport? You have to learn and train. Do you want to be a good cook? You have to learn and practice.
What about avoiding and resisting temptation? Temptation ruins. Temptation damages. Temptation even kills. Like all achievements, the cost of overcoming temptation and avoiding its consequences includes learning to understand when and how it happens, and what to do to prevent it or escape it.
This book is a good place for you and your family to start learning and preparing yourselves for the battles with this destructive force, to experience Understanding and Overcoming Temptation.
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