Tim’s Blog

Jesús Mayoudón visit

G just returned to town after a ministry trip to 4 communities where he taught at Bible conferences in each place. While up river, He saw Jesús Mayoudón and confirms that he is indeed alive and recovering.

He said that Jesús is partially paralyzed on the right side. He said he’s hardly able to walk, his right hand doesn’t work at all and, though he can speak about 90%, he struggles to speak. He said Jesús was in good spirits and said that he will get better. (sounds like a stroke to me).

Thanks for your prayers. Thought you would like to know and see the attached photo’s of G with him.

From a hater of people to a loving pastor of them

During our time in Mexico this year, I was privileged to meet Chuck Sheridan who now lives in San Carlos. Chuck has a large handlebar mustache, rides a Harley and is now the senior pastor at the San Carlos Community Church, which is the larger English speaking church there. One thing that stood out to me about Chuck was that he has a genuine love for Jesus Christ and he is open about it. This intrigued me and I thought to myself how everyone’s story is unique. Chuck began to come to the Bible School during lunches to interact with the students. We met, he invited me out to breakfast, and we began to get to know each other.

I asked him at breakfast why he loved Jesus and he briefly shared his story with me. Since I have a recording studio there, I thought ‘why not invite Chuck to come share his story there’. Prior to calling out to God, Chuck describes himself as having been an “angry”, “violent” man who “hated” people. I wanted to know what changed him and he was kind enough to come to the studio and share more fully his story. If you’d like to hear the interview you can listen to it here:

Interview with Chuck

 
Attached are a few photos of Chuck. One in 1978 and one together with his wife Lynn from about 2012.

t.

 

“whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved”

Acts 2:21

Jesús Mayoudón

I have some good news about Jesús. News has it that he is actually still alive! It was weird for me to get this news. I’m waiting to get more details. I’m sorry to have burdened you earlier with inaccurate information of his death. I spoke with G who explained the double meaning of their phrase, “they took him out”. In the literal sense, it means to take someone out of something like a house. But in the figurative sense, it means to take a person out from the village to a grave or tomb. Thus, in the context of him being sick (I still haven’t heard the details on his sickness), when news went out that Jesús had been “taken out”, it was misunderstood as the latter of the two above meanings and thus, rumors spread. In actuality, he had suffered (what I heard) some sort of paralysis during his journey home from Colombia and that he therefore stopped along the way in Pendare to rest or recover. The news reported then was that they had “taken him out” of the house in Pendare so he could return to his own village farther up river, but it was misunderstood.

So, this is good news, yet I still don’t know of his physical condition. G just left on a missions trip to the Parguaza river where he will be teaching at two different Bible conferences, one in White Dirt and the other in Maraca. Jesús lives just down river from Maraca, so G will likely see him and he told me that he would bring back news personally to me when he comes back to town.

In the meantime, pray for Jesús as you sense the Lord’s leading you to pray, for his recovery from whatever has been ailing him and that he might return to his wonderful and powerful teaching ministry among his people.

All for now,

t.

Dalia and Sacha

I’ve been wanting to update you on some of the individuals that I have shared with you in the past. Thanks for praying for them.
 
Dalia
Our relationship with Dalia continues to grow. As you may recall Dalia is a young woman who I met through tennis in San Carlos. She’s a Tennis and Pickle Ball instructor there and works with many North Americans. While Robin and I (having been invited to a Birthday Party for another acquaintance we sense the Lord at work in) were visiting with the people at the party, I noticed how Dalia seemed to be left in the dark at the party since everyone was visiting in English. So, I had the sense that God wanted me to visit with Dalia in Spanish. I went over to where she was sitting, pulled up a chair and began to chat. During the conversation, she told me that her father had been preparing to become a priest and that he had a sincere faith in God. Her father passed away a few years ago, which led us into an hour long and rather deep conversation regarding the afterlife and the resurrection from the dead. During this conversation, it became evident to me that Dalia had a measure of faith in God. Later in the day, as I was sitting across the patio pondering, it dawned on me that Dalia wanted to learn English (since a large part of her market is English speakers) and that the next day, Ken and Ruth VanKirk (other missionaries in San Carlos serving the Mexican people) happened to be beginning an intense English course for Spanish speakers. The course was designed for Mexican Christians who serve together with English speaking missionaries. I did not know at the time that the VanKirks are selective in who they allow into the course. All I realized was that Dalia was sitting there wanting to learn English and the thought came to me as one of those distinct, motivating, love filled thoughts that the Lord brings to the heart. So, I went over to her and asked her if she would be interested. I told her that it was an English course designed specifically for missionaries and that it would have devotionals and spiritual content. She said she was fine with that.
 
Ken was away on a missions trip up north at the time, but I was able to contact Ruth. We had a lovely conversation, but she ultimately gently suggested that Dalia was not a candidate for the course and it was probably a ‘no’. So I let it go, though it was kind of sad for me and said, “oh well“. Then during the course of the next day, I got a call from Ken who brought up Dalia. In relaying to Ken what had happened he said, “well we also are open to the course itself being evangelistic if it’s the Lord who is bringing us a student.” Long story short, Dalia was enrolled that day and given a subsidized fee option much more reachable to her own budget.
 
During that first week of classes, I was privileged to lead the devotional two times, but then headed off to Colombia. When I got back from Colombia, I was delighted to hear that Dalia was loving the classes. I asked her how the classes were and she replied, “They have been very good. I’m really pleased with everything, the class itself and the people are super lovely – all of them, the students as well as the teachers.” “Coincidentally” that same week before Robin and I left Mexico, we were visiting with Jorge and Sole, when Sole brought up Dalia whom she had met at the tennis court earlier that week. I said, “oh, you know her?” She said, “Yes I met her! I didn’t know there were any women at tennis and so, I was happy to meet her and converse with her.” Sole then mentioned that Dalia was going to church and said she really wanted to follow up with the relationship. I thought, “Isn’t it cool the way the Lord works.”
 
Another cool little touch to this story is that last year, Dalia had shown me a picture of a tennis training device called a “Tennis Pointer”. It’s a little wooden paddle with a tennis grip handle. The paddle is only about 4″ round and corresponds to the exact location of the sweet spot on a tennis racquet. It’s designed to train the player to hit the ball more consistently in the sweet spot of the racquet. When I saw the photo, I said, “oh, that looks simple to make. I’ll make you one if you’d like when I get home. She said, “Really!? You can make one of those?!” I said, “Yes. It should be simple.” I had planned on making it in my workshop in Canada where I have tools. But life got busy and I never got around to it, even though I was still planning to make it. Then, I just plain ran out of time and left to Mexico. When we got to Mexico again this year, within about a week of being there I ran into Dalia and the first thing she said was, “…and what about the Tennis Pointer?” I couldn’t believe it! I guess I just kind of thought she wasn’t that serious about it and would have forgotten. I felt so bad that I had let it slip by. I said, “ooooohh, I’m sorry! I ran out of time, but as soon as I get back to Canada again I promise I will make you one.”  So when we got home at the end of June, before I even finished unpacking my suitcase, I made sure to get it done! Jorge often talks about the “incarnation of the gospel”, how preaching the gospel is much more than words and how the life of Christ must be seen in the things we do. I quite agree, not in the sense that you try to do things so that people will listen to you, but rather, just love them with no strings attached. This seems to be so powerful and God seems to use these things so commonly. The Lord puts His love in our own hearts and He then manifests Himself through through us by this very love in tangible ways to touch others. Dalia is being drawn to the Lord by the Father. I look forward to more conversations with her in the future and appreciate your continued prayers for her.
 
Sacha and Alec
You may remember how special our connection with Sacha and Alec was this year while in Mexico. It seems like every year we go to Mexico, the Lord has some special new unimagined connection or relationship awaiting us. Among a few of them, Sacha and Alec stand out as the most special from this year. Sacha and Alec left us in Mexico, but they have remained in contact with me. I have continued with virtual physio sessions regularly with Sacha. (As a side note to this story, I must mention that I have not had a migraine since, and maybe only one headache? This is phenomenal as I used to suffer with them regularly.) Again, it’s truly a wonderful thing to let the life of Christ manifest itself in every day life… the “incarnation of the gospel”. Bringing Christ into ever situation means bringing love, light and honesty into every relationship. From the moment I started my first session with Sacha, I sensed the Lord at work as little opportunities were always there to share the essence of Christ with her. I noticed from the beginning that there were ears to hear. Our friendship has been growing every session and has become very close. When I left for Colombia, she knew that we were going to be out of touch for a while and she said, “Feel free to text me a photo while you are on your trip if there are any beautiful scenes along the way“.  I thought, “That’s a good opportunity“.  So I did, I shared lots of photos and stories. When I got back from Colombia, I sent her a long voice message summarizing the trip and also mentioned Russell’s history with the kidnappings in his past. She was kind of blown away at all these things, which again showed me that she has a hungry heart for the truth. She said she was going to order Russell’s book “Rescue the Captors” online. I also shared with her an App called “Pray as you Go” which gives little 10 minute verses and devotionals each morning and she began listening to them. Her friendship has grown and she has articulated numerous times how much she appreciates that we can mutually help each other. The last chat I had with her, she referred to me as her mentor. She also shared how when she was a teenager, she had gone on these short term mission’s trips with a church to help rescue children and she said now through our friendship, her past was coming back to her or that she was returning again to it. I took that to mean that she was being drawn to the Lord back as a teenager and then wandered from that, but now through our dialogues she is coming back into relationship with Him.
 
I really don’t know specifics, but what I do know is that I have a strong sense of God at work in Sacha’s life and God has given us an open relationship to talk about Him. Each conversation I come away with an edifying satisfaction of the aroma of Christ at work in real ways as she opens up, asks questions and has a genuine hunger. I love that stage of a person’s spiritual development when they are still un-churched but full of life that comes out in natural ways of zeal, hunger and reality. Thanks for your prayers for Sacha. The seeds Jesus referred to in His parable are being sewn in her heart. Pray they find good soil, take root and grow to genuine maturation in Christ.
 
I have not been much in touch with Alec, though I learn from Sacha that he holds our friendship in high regard. She told me that he had put his phone on record back in my studio in Mexico when we had that 3 hour conversation. He had asked the question, “Why do you have to believe that Jesus died for your sins? Why do Christians say that’s so important?” I continue to have the desire to pick that conversation back up, but have not yet sensed the right timing of it. So, thanks for your prayers for these lovely young people. May God continue His work in their lives as He is preparing a special people for Himself and He is bringing people in from all over, whether from the P’s, or Venezuelan Latins who are experiencing a great revival, or tennis teachers, or missionaries, or physio therapists… God is preparing for Himself a special people. When these training days are done, we will step into an amazing purpose where the reign of His kingdom will not merely be in the hearts of people but also manifest itself in the outer restoration of all things through the sons of God.
 
All for now,
t.
 
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
Matthew 22:8-10

Manuelito

One of the P’s who came to Cumaribo was Manuelito. I think it must have been some 20 or 25 years since I had seen him. Manuelito lives in the village of Mariteta which was a long ways away from Maraca where we used to live. As a young missionary, I was invited way back then to a Bible conference in Marieta. There were about 500 P’s who attended that conference. I was asked to speak. I remember teaching chronologically through the scriptures emphasizing the themes in the Bible; that sin entered the world, and death through sin but that God promised a Savior to deliver mankind. Manuelito was the main leader of Marieta and of the church there. A few years later, I went back to Marieta to continue teaching and building relationships. I stayed in Manuelito’s home. He adopted me into his kinship terminology as a ‘son’. (The P’s don’t use your name when they talk to you. They use kinship terms.) I studied culture and did more teaching.
Another piece of today’s story is Rudy. Rudy is a young P who the Rios church in Caracas has adopted over the years and is putting through the mission’s missionary training program. I had invited Rudy to come to Cumaribo which he did. He turned out to be such a blessing as he researched and facilitated the whole group to get there and took responsibility as their guide during the conference until they returned home. He was always serving and the P’s in return treated him honorably. In a short time he has become dear to all the Ps and his love for his people has grown. He is currently on a missions trip to several P villages in the Amazon state of Venezuela. He will continue his studies this fall.
On the last day of the Cumaribo conference, I met again with the P’s separately so that we could use their language. Most of them are not bilingual. We gathered in a open wall palm roof structure. There were two blue plastic chairs. The rest of the seating was a few benches and standing room. As I entered the hut, I (being the guest of honor) was offered one of the chairs. Rudy was also offered the other chair. Just behind us Manuelito entered. As I was about to sit down on my chair, Rudy seeing Manuelito entering said, “Here grandfather, take this chair.” It was a moment that stood out to me. Manuelito is likely about 70 years old, yet he endured the long trip from Marieta all the way into Colombia just to be there and observe whatever the Lord was doing through the conference. I was touched by Rudy’s respect and selflessness in honoring Manuelito and then the Lord spoke to me. I had no agenda for that gathering but in that moment it came to me.
Some 15 years ago Manuelito suffered an inner ear injury, or maybe it was an infection. He explained it to me the day previous that he went through a time where puss or fluid came even out of his nose. Since then, he lost most of his hearing and suffers from a constant loud howling noise inside his head like tinnitus. The noise is so severe that he can’t hear. He can faintly hear you if you yell into his ear. It dawned on me in that moment that poor Manuelito just quietly attended all the meetings without being able to hear what was being said. Even still he seemed content and glad to just be able to observe. But in that moment the idea that came to me was, “why not make this meeting for Manuelito and cater to him?!!I took my chair and placed it in the center of the hut and I told Manuelito to come place his chair sideways right in front of mine. The Lord lead me to make the entire meeting for him, both to honor him as elder but also to treat him with much more than just an observing experience. I leaned forward close to his ear and said, “father, what would you like to talk about today? or what would you like to hear or study?
He said, “Long ago when you came to my village you talked about the promised One of God, how God sent Him and that person is Jesus Christ. You taught how He took away the sin of the world and I have been holding on to that word ever since. But if there is more to it, I would like to hear. I would like to hear something especially as I may soon leave this world, something that I can hold on to in that moment“. My own heart filled with joy at his desire as the Lord brought to my mind the other half of the gospel. It is wonderful that we are justified, but having been justified, MUCH MORE we shall be saved by His LIFE! It is wonderfully amazing that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” but in spectacular addition to that foundational fact is the purpose “that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM” (2 Cor 5:21).
It was a pleasure to be able to flip open my P Bible and turn to 2 Corinthians 5. In those verses I explained the truths of justification to Manuelito reenforcing that which he had just referred to but then at the end of the passage came “that we might become the righteousness of God” and that being “in Him“, I was able to expound then on who we are “in Christ“. It’s one thing to be forgiven, but it’s another thing to be transformed into a whole new creation. I then turned to Romans 6:3-11. I ended up spending about an hour and a half speaking to Manuelito there in the hut. I knew the others could hear so they took notes and listened to the conversation. Manuelito listened intently. There’s was no lack of intelligence or spiritual life in him, just the lack of being able to physically hear. As we came towards the end of the passage Manuelito’s eyes began to well up with tears and he said, “I’d like to pray“. He then led the group in a powerful prayer of thanks to God. I could not hold back my own tears as I could hear his deep gratification both in his words and in the passion and intonation of his spirit that poured out from him. He thanked God for this gift of sight and for the words given to him that day from the pages of the Bible in his own language. It reminded me of what Simeon must have felt like when he took the baby Jesus in his arms and thanked God saying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace… For my eyes have seen Your salvation“. I had the sense that Manuelito, now contemplating who he is in Christ, was thanking God in the same way as did Simeon, as though that additional step you had been longing to take before you depart from this world was now being taken and the gratification one feels by doing so. I had the sense that his heart was moved to a place of confidence and even boldness to enter the presence of God, as expressed in Hebrews this way, “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.
Among many special moments, that one for me was probably the highlight of my trip to Colombia. How precious are the hearts of the contrite and the broken. How pleased God is to use the base and despised things of this world to bring to nothing the things the world so highly esteems. I think of the lofty elite of the world and how they likely pay no mind to ‘a deaf old indian’. I think even of myself who am so honored among the P’s and given the nicest chair, and yet Manuelito was honored that day and in the age which is to come will reign as a king and priest both judging and restoring the world with the glory of God by the very essence of who he is “in Christ“.
t.
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Matthew 19:30