|Issue #1||November 1996|
The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you updated on the outreach
efforts of our congregation, Hopewell Mennonite Church.
Primarily this will consist of reports on . . .
endeavors to plant a new congregation in Everett, Washington.
missionary activity in the Guaymas Valley
(located in the Mexican state of Sonora).
On occasion we may also tell you about some of the local evangelizing projects of the congregation and some of its members.
In Issue #2 we hope to include a compressed history of the work in Santa María since its inception in 1981 under the sponsorship of Bible Mennonite Fellowship.
A hush is over the room as the worshippers wait for the service to begin. Some heads are bowed, while others are erect with faces pointed expectantly forward. A woman wearing a long white hanging veil sits down next to a woman wearing a black bonnet- style covering and joyfully clasps her hand. Behind them, a teen age boy wearing a brightly patterned pink T-shirt thumbs through a hymn book as he waits. This is a typical scene one might observe at our worship services at Everett.
Hopewell's ministry to Everett began in November of 1994. This was the time of our first service there which was held at the home of Bob Bruzas, with Joe Mast as the speaker. The Bruzas were a contact of Fred Mullet family; Mary Strubhar suggested to the ministry that communication with this family should be continued. The Bruzas family have maintained a cordial relationship with us, and have faithfully attended the services at Everett, frequently inviting friends and acquaintances to worship with us. They remain active to the present time.
In late December 1994, Joe Mast and Dan Boskovich made a trip to the Everett area at the request of the Missions Committee. The purpose of this trip was to find a suitable meeting place to hold services on a trial basis. Joe and Dan looked at several facilities and were encouraged by their findings. Based on this information, the Missions Committee and the ministry selected the Red Cross building.
The first service at this facility took place on the fourth Sunday of January 1995, with over 60 people in attendance. It was decided to continue the services there on a monthly basis. Some of those who first attended these meetings were David and Sherry Cooper and their six children, David and Charlotte Goetez and their children, Diana Malm and her son Eric, and a mentally handicapped man named Bill. Two single fellows, Tim and Peter, also attended regularly at that time. Steve and Susan Dickinson at tended the first meeting there, and did not return on a regular basis until a future time. The enthusiastic support from Hopewell served as a great encouragement to those in Everett.
In May 1995, the Missions Committee and the ministry decided to expand the services in Everett to a schedule of one service every two weeks. The services were being well-supported by Hopewell at this time, with occasional help from the Porter congregation. The response in Everett was generally steady. In Au gust of that year, the Missions Committee sought the voice of the congregation as to our continued involvement in the Everett area. The voice of the Spirit was not clear, and no clear decision was reached. An all-church prayer meeting was held in September to seek the Lord's will and wisdom concerning this work.
A second questionnaire was submitted to Hopewell in November 1995. The results showed 3 voting in opposition to the Everett work, 42 voting in favor of the work, and 30 who abstained from voicing an opinion.
In May 1996, a third questionnaire was given to the congregation asking if any felt the call of the Lord to relocate to the Everett area for the purpose of starting a permanent congregation there. As a result of this survey, the Marvin Boss family and the Ron Bontrager family were asked to go to Everett, with Ron serving as pastor. A third family is to be sent at a future time. Ron and Marvin both agreed to these assignments. Then, in June 1996 the ministry and Missions Committee made the decision to hold services in Everett every Sunday. During this time, the response in Everett and the support from Hopewell both tended to be sporadic.
Marvin is currently working in the Everett area while he seeks housing for his family. He has been living there for approximately two months. Ron has not yet been successful at selling his home, and his plans for moving remain indefinite. In recent times, the response from Everett has been strong and growing, while active involvement from Hopewell has been rather weak, with the members of the Missions Committee taking a more regular role and carrying the greater share of the responsibility.
As we move forward with this work, we restate our deep commitment to this work. We do believe the Lord has called us to begin a congregation in the Everett area for the purpose of supporting believers in that area that are currently without church fellowship, and to bring others into the kingdom. Although this mission has not been without obstacles, we feel the blessing of the Lord has been upon it, even as the enemy has tried to subvert it. We request your support of this work, and covet your prayers and involvement, as the Lord continues to build His church.
|- Dan Boskovich|
HOLD THE PRESSES! Praise the Lord! Marvin has signed papers for loan, lease and house purchase!
Those are very comforting verses to know. When we trust in the Lord, He will be near us all the time -- even forever. He can be just as near to us here in Santa María as He can with any of you anywhere else.
We are in our third month here, and little by little we're getting settled in and accustomed to living here. There are enough jobs and small repairs here at our house to keep me busy for a long time. Just yesterday, I patched tires on three bikes and only one of the bikes was ours. Some of the jobs I've done are repairing bikes (not just tubes), sanding porch rails that are to be painted, fixing a pull-chain for a light, and servicing numerous fans. Also, I spend some time playing with the little boys that come over to our place.
Please pray for me that I would be a good Christian example to the ones around me. Thank you very much for praying for me and also thanks to the few of you who have written.
May our God be glorified through this work.
|- Lindsey Mast|
"THE BATTLE IS THE LORD'S."
One of the Hopewell sisters sent me a bookmark she had made and those words were printed in large letters on the one side with about 30 appropriate references. It was such a blessing to receive at that particular time, because I needed the reminder that, yes, if I am doing what God wants me to do, He will fight the spiritual war for me. I keep the bookmark in my Bible to mark where we are reading in family devotions. That way I see it at the beginning of every day. Praise Him for His faithfulness!
I want to give witness to the fact that your prayers are being answered in our behalf. True, we have had some times of trial, but not once have I wondered if we should, or should not, be here. I have really enjoyed the peace in knowing He wants us here at this time. May your diligence in prayer support never relax, please.
The incessant heat finally broke on October 1 with daytime temperatures only reaching the low 90's, and it cooled off more at nights. A few days later, Vivian began laughing and said, "It's so dumb! I'm cold at 70 degrees!" Then Holly echoed, "Know what else is dumb? I'm cold, too!" I assume we're becoming acclimated.
To return to Guaymas Valley after being away for eleven years has brought with it a mixture of joy and sadness. Joy to see those who are faithful and growing in the Lord; sadness to see the multitudes that are yet steeped in sin, and also to observe some of the former Christians who are either failing miserably or have lost out completely. On the joyful side, we are challenged by the witness and testimony of the first one to make a decision for the Lord here in Santa María (as a result of this mission). Javier Calderón is a single man (34 years old) who became a Christian when he was 20. During the first year of his new walk with the Lord, he would come to our place every evening to visit and ask questions about Scriptures, or about a tract he had read. The time came when he wouldn't always show up, so I would worry and go to his house to find out what might be the matter. Then his mother would often say that he went visiting and I would later find out that his "visiting" really meant he was witnessing to someone. It was such a joy to watch him grow in the Lord. Then for two or three years in the late 1980's, he wasn't walking with the Lord, but he never stopped witnessing! He returned to his true Shepherd and continues faithfully on. The next page comes from some of my musings written on October 7, 1996. (Javier is a tractor driver by "trade.")
Do pray for God's guidance as we seek to discern the best for the kingdom here. Jehovah reigns!
|- Joe Mast|
"Javier is working up near Felipe Angeles cutting squash. No tractor work for the present. It is amazing to hear him talk about the opportunities he has to witness. So many people in this valley know him, or know about him, and they call him 'Hermano.' He thinks there are about 150 people up there with whom he works, and the majority are from Felipe Angeles and Lázaro Cárdenas. Maybe some from La Misa. He says all three of those places don't have an evangelical church. I'm hoping that he can establish a contact that would open a door for beginning services there be fore long. I don't think we would have a problem in Lázaro Cárdenas anyway. He says that La Misa is very Catholic and may be hard to work there. I have been told there is no group working in Graciano Sánchez and I'm pretty sure no one is working in Francisco Márquez, either. The field is wide open."
"Time is filled with swift transition...
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand."
A transition I've begun in the last few months has been adjusting to a different country, culture, and climate. I am mostly enjoying it, and I'm finding many challenges and opportunities for personal growth. Washing clothes with a wringer washer, cooking on a small gas stove, and walking to church are some of the daily-life changes I've made. I certainly don't need to vacuum the floors here, but I'm learning to shine them with diesel. I can't use a lawnmower to help the yard look neat, but buckets of water and a broom are quite necessary for such a task. I've been pleased to renew old acquaintances, as well as make some new friends. None of my old friends are Christians. Although I can chatter fairly comfortably in Spanish, I find my vocabulary for talking about spiritual things to be minimal. Obviously, such topics weren't as important to me as a child when I picked up the language. Thank you for praying for me.
|- Vivian Mast|
The Mast family arrived in Santa María on September 3, 1996. The Smucker family made their arrival there on November 2, 1996. We urge you to pray for them daily and write to them frequently.
THE MASTS: Joe & Nancy, Vivian, Lindsey, Travis, Shaphan, Holly
THE SMUCKERS: David & Betty, Benjamin, Melisa
Both of these families presently live in Santa María, the Masts in the mission house and the Smuckers in a rented house. We plan for David and Betty and their children to eventually move into another village in the valley, perhaps Fransisco Márquez or Lázaro Cárdenas. Pray for the Lord's direction for them and the Missions Committee.
Treasurer: Ray King 14377 Whiskey Hill Road NE Hubbard, OR 97032 USA Missions Committee Chairman: Dan Boskovich Editor: Mark Roth
|Sponsored by Hopewell Mennonite Church, Hubbard, Oregon.|