Thursday, November 08, 2018

EL RETO 2018 - FINALE

This year's finale featured guest speaker youth specialist and author, Ernesto Ramirez, from Mexico City.  It was one of the top closures we've had for EL RETO.  He was very dynamic and spoke directly to them.  Many came forward for prayer as he challenged them to choose truth and be someone that makes a difference in this generation.

We enjoyed worship with Pedro Castellanos and his band from Tepic including the drummer, Hernán Mercado, who has visited us many times.

Last August, we brought four bikes to raffle off.  Many people were asking about buying them, so we decided to sell two and keep two for the raffle.  I also included a soccer ball.  We had lots of fun with that.

Pastor Goyo's son, Goyo, proceeded with revealing the hidden treasures and made it very suspenseful.  Three of the four were found and many teachable moments were created.  One that stood out was that no one looked for the fourth treasure because someone from one of the teams said he found it.  Of course, the lie worked and people chose to believe it.  Thus, our theme, "Choose Truth" comes in handy here.  How many times do we believe someone's testimony just because they say it's true?   Also, of the three remaining, each one who found a treasure had to choose an envelope.  On the outside was written, "You have chosen the truth" in the code language we used this year.  Apparently no one knew what it said, but as they chose an envelope, they were told to "choose truth."  Only one envelope contained the prize of being able to challenge the team who won by points in one last game to be named the winner of EL RETO 2018.  The other two envelopes taught us what it says in Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death."  We can strive all we want to be good people or join a certain religion and it all may seem "right".  However, we need to make sure that what we believe is TRUTH.  Otherwise, we will end up with an empty envelope in the end.

Angel, the captain of the red team, was the one who chose the "truth" envelope and won the opportunity to challenge the point leaders in the final challenge.

Karo and her team (green) beat out Jesica's team (blue) by a very narrow margin.

    

EL RETO FINAL was a series of questions by video in a similar format to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  In the end, the green team (The Decided Ones) held off their opponents, the red team (The Warriors), and became the champions of EL RETO 2018!


   

Thank you all for praying for us during this time of another successful season of EL RETO!  There are so many things that we can learn from in this event and the seed has been planted in the hearts of over 200 students!

Here is the final video of EL RETO 2018!!




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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Visitors From Home

Marion and Loretta Sluys came to visit us in Cofradía while they were vacationing in Mazatlan.  They brought their son, Dan, and his wife, Stephanie.  I was personally really excited to have someone from Poulsbo come to visit!  We felt blessed with their presence and had a wonderful time talking with the Pastors and their families after church on Sunday over carne asada and habiscus juice.  The family they sponsored for a house build was with us that afternoon.  One of the biggest blessings to me was to see the look on their face as they took every word in when the Sluys talked about their marriage, child rearing, and relationship with God.  We also visited Florentina who received a house built by Cy-Fair Church from Texas with the help of a matching gift from the Sluys.

Thank you, Sluys family, for visiting with us, attending a church service, and staying the night.  We appreciate it very much!


After the church service

The Sluys with the Romero family

Loretta with Florentina


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

EL RETO 2018.4

This week started out with low attendance which is to be expected when teams have to present their project.  This year, three teams participated; two with a choreography and one with a drama.

Once the team projects had been presented, each one hopped in a vehicle and took off for the "Amazing Race".  There are a number of activities to be done in the different surrounding towns of San Marcos, Las Pilas, Paso Real, and Santa Fe.

The simple activities consisted of working together as a team in order to get their pass for the next town.  In Santa Fe, we had the "Splash" activity, which has now become a classic in EL RETO.  It's kickball, but the bases are swimming pools and the base lines are plastics covered in soapy water.  The teams played against any staff and young children who were available in the area.  All the members of the team had one shot at getting on base and making their rounds.  One point for getting home and a minus point for each out.  Needless to say, every team ended up with minus points.  BUT they all had fun!

After the Race, they finished at the church with The Refuge where there was a time of worship and a message by Jessica, Pastor Amado's daughter.  Again, it was an electric time.  There are so many teachable moments so please pray for the staff to see them and be able to take advantage of the opportunities.

For video footage, see EL RETO FINAL's video.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Uribe family working in Paramitas

Over twenty years ago, Pastor Francisco Uribe of Rosamorada accepted the Lord's calling on his life and began to pastor a church.  For many years he would come to visit us in Cofradia, sometimes riding his bike on the nearly twenty-kilometer (about 12 miles) dirt road.  On occasions, we would go and speak or lead worship at his church. He wanted to be part of what we were doing, but it was not the Lord's timing as our ministry at the time was still forming and not in a position to expand into Rosamorada.  Thus, he felt "left out." 

After pastoring the denominational church in Rosamorada for many years, he accepted an invitation to start a work in Tijuana.  It was not at all what they were expecting and it became one of the biggest trials their family had to endure.  A little over four years ago, they returned to their home in Rosamorada, but not the church as a new pastor within their denomination had taken over.

Last year, Pastor Francisco and his wife took part in our thirteen-week Freedom in Christ discipleship course.  It was there that the trust in our relationship with them took giant steps forward.  We saw a hurting pastor who had been through a series of rejections for many years and in need of being ministered to.  Today, they form part of our ministry, La Cofradia United, and our relationship continues to grow through visits and assuring them of our love for them. 

Pastor Francisco and his family minister each week to children in the town of Paramitas which is very close to Rosamorada and again in La Colonia of Rosamorada in the evening with the help of some other adults.  They have a Bible study in their home on Sunday morning and attend Pastor Amado's church in the evening.

The other day, Geña and I visited with them as they ministered to the children in Paramitas.  They have been doing this for four years moving from borrowed property to borrowed property.  At the moment, someone is letting them use a house whose owners are in the states.  There is a one-room building they use for storing materials and chairs as they meet each week under a huge tree in the yard.
Storage room
Bible study under the tree.

Their hope is to instill God's love and promises in these children.  Their desire is to be able to do this in a number of different places, but because of their limited resources and no vehicle, they cannot expand. 

I made a short video clip of our time with them and as you will see, they are in need of a number of things: chairs, tables, and a vehicle.  Eventually, they would like to have a place that they can call their own in order to minister.  They do this out of their own pocket.

If you would like to help them in any way, contact me 
or send a gift at this link for "Cofradia Francisco".



Wednesday, October 03, 2018

OCTOBER MINISTRY UPDATE

Greetings from Cofradía, Mexico! Praise the Lord that we are reaching the end of the monsoon weather.  Even though I really like the thunder and lightning storms, the power-outages are getting really old.  Since we’ve been back in mid-August, we have had only one solid week (last week) of no power-outages.  The stagnant, humid air with no escape and the annoying mosquitoes really make you miss a different climate.  However, we will rejoice in our sufferings! LOL :)

GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD; HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!

Last month, we asked you to please pray for...

  1. David Medina.  Praise the Lord that the doctors have finally set a date to remove what’s left of whatever is in David’s abdomen.  And the doctor has confirmed after a series of tests that there is no cancer in his bones.  They want to test the substance they remove during surgery to make sure he is healthy.  Thank you for your prayers. 
  2. EL RETO 2018 has, like always, been a blast for not only the young people, but the whole church.  We’ve seen well over two hundred different students participate in these five weeks and they’re all hearing the gospel.  We have the first three weeks updated with a short report and video on our blog.  Week One;    Week Two;   Week Three.
  3. A group from Las Varas, Nayarit, was postponed to this past weekend.  We had a phenominal time with them as they led worship at EL RETO on Saturday night; at the Sunday morning service in Cofradia, and the Sunday evening service in Rosamorada. 
  4. A group from Guadalajara cancelled their trip. 
  5. EL RETO FINAL will be October 6 with special speaker and author, Ernesto Ramirez, from Mexico City who specializes in youth.  It should be a really good time! 
  6. Called to Freedom 2018.  We are so grateful for those of you who responded to our financial need.  We received everything we needed for our general expenses and unexpectedly enough to get the van ready for the trip as we will be driving.  Thank you so much for your generosity!

Here are some links to more:


This month, will you please pray for...

  1. David Medina.  Please pray for everything to go smoothly during the operation on October 22. 
  2. EL RETO 2018 finishes up this week.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support for this.  Pray that the leadership and staff will be able to take advantage of the teachable moments that occur.  Opportunities abound.  Please consider how you can help with next year, EL RETO 2019, by becoming a monthly sponsor now: $25 a month goes a long way for us!  Click here to become a sponsor of this event
  3. Called to Freedom 2018.  Please keep us in your prayers this month as four pastors and their wives will be joining Geña and me as we attend a two-day conference in Mexico City with the Freedom in Christ ministry.  Our itinerary is the following: Thursday, October 18, we will set out to drive to Mexico City in order to arrive in the evening.  Friday and Saturday we’ll be attending the conference.  I have been invited to speak on Sunday at a friend’s church and we’ll spend the afternoon with them.  Monday we have set aside as free in order to visit and sightsee.  We will be returning to Cofradia on Tuesday, October 23. 
  4. The Well Church from Salt Lake City will be with us in November to build a house for a family in Cofradia.  Here is a video of when we informed the family of the news (the audio is really bad, but there are sub-titles).

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!

Thank you so much for being part of our team as we work together to RAISE UP LEADERS IN RURAL MEXICO!!!!

Blessings,

Steve, Geña, Rebecka, Emma, and Mackenzie Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico
Alternative Missions
Cofradia Area Director


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Thursday, September 27, 2018

EL RETO 2018.3

Week three was so far the most exciting week.  With 130 students to start, there was the ice-breaker at the beginning that allowed the staff to disperse to the locations they were to have their organized game.

First, at the baseball field in Cofradia, 

From there the student hopped in their trucks and headed to Arrayanes for a RETO classic, "Gladiators".  In Gladiators, one team is placed in the corner of the speed soccer court while all the other teams (team by team) have to run the course to get to the "goal."  As the students run through the course, the team in the corner is throwing water-balloons at them!  Such an amazingly fun game!  And it paints such an incredible picture of how lies get thrown at us daily.  Sometimes, we don't even realize they're a lie, but the hit us and, unfortunately, sometimes we believe them.

After everyone was soaking wet, they headed to the basketball court in the center of town for another RETO classic, The Fear Factor Banquet!  Not much to fear this year, but having to suck the innards out of a raw egg, then drink a small Pepsi.  Yuk!  The atmosphere was incredible and loud!  The students had so much fun!  The black team took barely took this one away from the green team.  What's the moral?  Well, sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the team!

The Refuge was electric with worship and a message to tie everything up.  Then, the votes!  After two consecutive weeks of being chosen to do chores, the grey team was free!  The white team had to do chores this week.

Here's the video for week #3:


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Thursday, September 20, 2018

EL RETO 2018.2

Week two of EL RETO 2018 was packed with 170 students!  "La Caminata" or, "The Walk" was the activity.  This year, as the students kept together (or at least were supposed to) walked through the streets of Cofradia, extremely muddy back roads, and rising rivers.  Along the way, there were obstacles and games they needed to accomplish before continuing.  All of this happened in order for Luis to talk during The Refuge time about how life is a journey and sometimes we encounter difficulties, but it's easier if we have people around us to help us get through them.  Choosing Truth (this year's theme) will help us even more to make wise decisions and the path will sometimes be a little smoother.

A few students took a wrong turn, but in the end they were brought back with the help of some staff.  The power went out so some of the Refuge activities were cancelled.  It turned out to be an exciting time with a lot of teaching.

Here's the video for week #2:



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