Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Meanwhile, we'll be in Washington for 6 weeks visiting friends, family, and churches in the area. We're excited to be here and can't wait to see everyone!
The girls, Rebecka and Emma, are doing great and they're excited to be with Grandpa and Grandma. Yesterday afternoon after we arrived, my sister, Sheri and her son Kenneth stopped by for a visit. The girls had lots of fun playing with him.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Things are going pretty smooth. Thanks for your continued prayers.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thank you for your prayers as we travel. We'll be on the road until Tuesday, November 20 when we arrive in Bremerton at my parents' house.
Another month has passed with fewer activities, but a lot of catching up to do on other things…
First of all we want to INVITE YOU TO A MISSIONS INFORMATION MEETING at Christ Memorial, Poulsbo, Washington on December 1 at 6pm in the West Wing room 272. We will be sharing a number of things about the past couple of years and we can’t wait to see you!!!!
In our last monthly update, we asked you to pray for…
- VIDA Abundante (Abundant LIFE). This is a weekly youth group meeting in our home that we have started up once again after postponing it since July. Attendance has been low due to a lot of work. October is the Watermelon harvest time and there was lots of it. We even had a watermelon eating contest one evening. We want to thank you for your prayers because the students are taking God seriously. From time to time we have student leaders lead the bible study. This past month, Julio led the bible study on Worship. Instead of praying in small groups at the end like normal, we had a corporate worship time of adoration. It was awesome! Some of the youth were touched to tears. It’s great to see God working in their hearts!
- Staff. All of our missionary staff has finally returned from their vacations/visiting time in the states or Canada; Dave and Kathy Elias (Canada), Doug and Jan Taylor (Canada); Pete and Faye Klippenstein (Canada); Jay and Faith TenBrink (Washington State); and Amber Crafton (Virginia). They all made it here safely with only minor miss-haps that God always works out.
- Fall Youth Retreat. This event was cancelled which turned out to be a blessing. We were able to use it to catch up on some things and take care of some important meetings for the next couple of months. Even though things don’t turn out sometimes, it’s these times that encourage me because I can see God’s hand working. He knows what’s best for us; I don’t know how I would have been able to do this and everything else that needs to get done. Praise the Lord!
- Pastor Rafael Gradilla. It is our pleasure to have with us once again Pastor Rafael from Hosanna Assembly in Bellevue, Washington. We will have a weekend evangelistic crusade with him as our guest speaker. Please continue to pray for this event. It’s going to happen this week! (November 9-11)
Please pray for…
- Evangelistic Crusade with Pastor Rafael Gradilla that the Lord would work through him to speak into the lives of many here. This is going to be a huge event for us and we’re all excited about it. (November 9-11)
- Our trip to Washington. We are headed out to Washington next week. On our way we will be seeing friends and family through Arizona, California, and Oregon. Our plan is to arrive for Thanksgiving, stay for six weeks and return the same route we took to get there. Please pray for safety and opportunities do share God’s love with those who need it. We look forward to seeing many of you. (Leave Nov. 11; return early Jan.)
- Missions Information Meeting. YOU ARE ALL INIVTED TO THIS MEETING! We would love to see you all there.
- October LIFE NIGHT. This month, the student leaders will be planning, organizing, and doing everything for the once a month youth event. I’m excited to see the students step up and take ownership. I think they’re going to have a real fun time! (November 24)
- Ricardo and Jose Luis. These two young men who are in YWAM Mazatlán are on their way to the mission field! Ricardo will be going to Chiapas, México and José Luis will be going to Tunisia, Africa. If you would like to support these guys for the next three months, here’s the link about financial information: http://thesilbermans.blogspot.com/2007/06/youth-scholarship-fund.html. Please pray for them that the Lord would protect them, teach them, and show himself to them in a way they have never seen. This is a really neat step for us. It will be the longest anyone from our church plant to go on a longer short-term mission of three months. Please remember to pray for them. Attached are their photos.
Thank you so much for praying. I know you all know that it’s VERY IMPORTANT.
Blessings to you all.
Steve, Geña, Rebecka, and Emma Rose
Donate Online to the Silbermans
9403 Tracyton Blvd. NW
Bremerton, WA 98311
Tuxpan, NAY 63201
Thursday, October 25, 2007
After THE CHALLENGE youth event, we have been trying to catch up on emails, reports, worship ministry, house projects, and trying to find time to rest.
A couple of weeks ago, we started doing homeschool for Rebecka and she's been doing very well. We spend about an hour and a half working in the morning and then goes off to Kindergarten in town. We're using the Abeka curriculum which is very thorough, advanced, and expensive. I've learned this week that we need to keep pace, not with the book, but with how she's learning. I've been told that the stuff for K5 is sometimes not even taught schools until 1st and 3rd grades! We're having fun, it's great family time as well.
Please continue to pray for us as we are all getting over little colds. The temperature continues to drop. A couple of nights ago it got down to 58 degrees and it's still October! During the day it gets into the low 90s and has been very nice.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Home: 9403 Tracyton Blvd. NW¨ Bremerton, WA 98311¨ USA ¨ 360-692-2054
Field: APDO #19¨ Tuxpan, NAY 63201 ¨ MEXICO ¨ 011-52-319-232-5172
Support: Steven & Efigenia Silberman¨ Alternative Missions¨ PO Box 5835
¨ Goodyear, AZ 85338 ¨ USA
Greetings everyone! We pray that all are well and that Christ is continuing to make himself real in your lives. We have had a full couple of months with youth event after youth event. It has really paid off; the youth are growing together as a group and in the Lord. We are encouraged!
Rebecka turned five years old and started her second year of Kindergarten in August and is doing very well. She also helped staff one of the events for the youth in September. Emma has been a lot of fun and is a real goofball. It’s great to see the youth take our children under their wings and make friends with them. Geña and I are doing well as we try to find time to rest after the events of the past couple of months. One of the youth, Mili, is living with us during the week so she can go to the new High School here in Cofradía. She is from Arrayanes and there’s hardly any transportation between the two towns; it’s working out pretty well.
We are excited to let you know that we’ll be in Washington in November, arriving around Thanksgiving and we’ll stay for a couple of weeks. We’d love to see you and have a chance to visit.
OVER-ALL MINISTRY NEWS
Geña and I have been the only missionaries here for the past couple of months. So, many of the activities were either put on hold or are being run at minimal speed. Pastor Gollo continues his ministry on the radio and is doing a very good job with the church. The construction of the new church has been put on hold until Dave Elias gets back along with new staff members, Pete and Faye Klippenstein from Winnipeg who will be overseeing more of this project. If you feel led to help by bringing a team or sending donations, contact us.
STUDENT MINISTRY NEWS
As I have mentioned, we’ve had a full couple of months. In August, we took around 15 students to Summer Camp, two of our students came home from a five week Bible School, and we also went to three different villages closeby to do evangelism outreaches. I mentioned that in our last letter that they were planning it and it went really well. The youth really showed signs of maturity and they all went out to pray for the people who came to the outreach. In September, we had our third annual, biggest event of the year for the youth; THE CHALLENGE. This year we had a total of 70 students participate in at least one of the five Saturdays. There were 6 teams with student captains and we also had 17 adults and one Rebecka to help staff the event. It’s an outreach to new students and it definitely has many other benefits. I cannot express to you all the incredible things that happened not only among the youth, but the adult staff as well. Here are just a couple stories of things that happened…
One incident was between a team leader and member of that same team. They were really upset at one another; crying, saying bad things to one another, and ready to give up (the second week). We sat them down to talk along with a couple of staff members/student leaders and we saw that this was actually something that God could turn around for the good. The two individuals were really good friends and they had just graduated together from the year-long discipleship course we offer. They both were able to see that Satan did not want them to succeed and he was trying to destroy their friendship. In the end, they forgave each other and there has been no sign of animosity since. The Lord definitely received the glory for this one.
The greatest thing that happened was in the fourth week with two young students who were almost ready to fight each other. We pulled them aside to talk with them and when one realized he was wrong I asked him if he would be willing to ask for forgiveness. He mentioned he didn’t know how to do that because he’d never asked for forgiveness from anyone. What an open door! We got to share with him how to ask for forgiveness from Jesus and he ended up asking Christ into his life for the first time! There is VICTORY in JESUS!
I could go on and on. There were so many great things that happened and this has been a dream come true! The youth are growing and the Student Leaders are doing a wonderful job in setting an example for others. You can read more about what’s going on and see a number of pictures of the activities as you browse this blog site. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY.
May the Lord bless you all,
Steve, Geña, Rebecka and Emma Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico
Written: October 9, 2007
Thank you for continuing to be part of our team and supporting our ministry. If you haven’t yet joined our team of supporters, please consider joining.
· Send to:
Alternative MissionsPO Box 5835Goodyear, AZ 85338
· Checks made out to ALTERNATIVE MISSIONS
· Send a note on a separate piece of paper indicating that it is for Cofradía Staff Members: Steve and Efigenia Silberman.
· You can also donate online at the alternative missions’ website under the “Donate Online” tag as you place the mouse over the “staff” heading.
· Thanks again for being part of our team!
I’m reading Joel right now and one of the things that really jump out at me is not the theme of the book, but the simple fact that God has chosen us and will protect us. We are called to repent and follow Him. The verse I love is, “But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” (3:16; NIV). Israel was a nation chosen by God to show His glory through. We, as Christians, can identify with them because God has chosen us to be a light in the darkness. Christ lives in us! The Lord will be a refuge for his people. To Him be the Glory!
Friday, October 05, 2007
EL RETO FINAL—The Final Challenge! It has been an event full of learning opportunities. After a busy week of planning, Saturday’s RETO FINAL went well. A number of things slipped through the planning cracks, but we were able to pull it off with the Lord’s help.
We had a late start out at the basketball court to start with the last leg of the race which led them to the mission base where we had a complete service with worship, skits, testimonies, preaching, prayer time, a final challenge, and a video of the past four weeks.
After taking roll call, the students had their final devotional time with their teams and soon began the last leg of the race.
They were to hop on these little bouncy-ball things for children from one end of the court to the other, then trade with one of their teammates. Six players had to participate, then they got a message that sent them to one of the staff houses. Here are a few great shots of the students bouncing around...
Once all the teams were at the base, we grouped together with a worship song, and then each team began to present their skits. They were very good this year and I was impressed with their creativity and ability to make the story of their name funny. All but one had proven that they spent a lot of time on this in preparation. Here are a few pictures of the skits...
(I HAVE REMOVED THIS PICTURE BECAUSE OF NUMEROUS HITS AROUND THE WORLD INTERESTED IN IT: I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE THE WRONG IMPRESSION).
We continued with sharing some testimonies about good attitudes we saw in others during the whole month. Then, we went to the Word. I invited a pastor/friend from Mazatlán, Noe Espinoza, whose wife, Martha, I met the very first time I came to Mexico in 1989. It was so good to see them again and Noe shared his testimony of when he was a teenager and how God really turned his life around. It was so appropriate for our youth and when he was done, many of them came forward for prayer and were touched by the Lord.
In the end, we had the RETO FINAL and then a 10 minute video of the whole month. I was unprepared for how the final challenge was to be played out. I remembered that I wanted to do it different from the questions we did last year because it all ended so suddenly. So we did it differently, but it still ended suddenly…no suspense to see who won. I’ve already got ideas for next year’s RETO FINAL and I think it will be better.
Two teams were very close in the end; Los Crucificados, and La Visión. Los Crucificados (The Crucified Ones) led by Martin won with just over 300 points more than La Visión (The Vision) led by the very young leader, Pedro. I was very proud of Pedro for doing such a fine job with his team. He has huge potential for being a phenomenal leader. The other four teams were at least 3,000 points behind both of these teams and didn’t have much of a chance in the Final Challenge.
One of the neatest things through all of this was being able to see the youth group coming together in unison. Many of them made friends with new students, no matter what team they were on. It was great to see four of the 12 students we picked up in Santa Fe and Las Pilas during the month continue to participate. One of them never missed a week and started to come to church on Sunday. He was the one I had mentioned before about who received Christ into his life!
Thank you so much for your prayers. This year’s event was successful in many ways. We are ready to be done and put these activities on the shelf until next year. It’s time to work on some debriefing of leadership skills, challenges we’ve faced, build upon the good and bad experiences, and regroup for the weekly Home Group meetings. It will be an exciting year!
Monday, September 24, 2007
WOW!! Another interesting week! I am seeing more and more reasons why we do this. We aren’t preaching sermons, we don’t have a song service, and there’s nothing liturgical about this event. It is just a simple outreach to new and fringe youth in order to help them know Christ and make them feel welcome in the church.
Before I continue with the report, I want to share with you the most unheard-of thing that happened this week. About midway through the evening, one of the students who we picked up the first week in Santa Fe lost control of his emotions and did something to another student which made him bleed (further details are not important). What is interesting though is that the student who was left bleeding was one of our fringe/semi-regular attendees in the youth group who also has a short fuse. When I arrived, a number of students came up to me with fire in their eyes telling me that there was a fight (which was almost the truth). I talked to the bleeding victim who was defiantly shook up and tried to calm him (and others) down a bit to get some information. I asked Pastor Gollo, Martin (Student Leader and team leader of the new student) to accompany me in a confrontation with the new student. As we got his story, I had Pastor Gollo bring in the bleeding one. After talking maybe for about 10 minutes, they agreed to forgive each other! When I asked the new student from Santa Fe if he would like to apologize and ask forgiveness for what he’d done his words were, “I don’t know how to do that, I’ve never asked forgiveness for anything before.” What an open door! The student leaders have been sharing the Bridge Illustration (from Navigator’s 2:7-book 3) this month with their teams and I wrapped up what had been taught showing him that we need to ask Christ for forgiveness because we all have a death sentence. He understood and realized that he had done something wrong. I then told him that in Revelations 3:20, the Bible says that Christ is at the door of our hearts, knocking. He would like to come in and have fellowship with us, but we need to invite him, he will not push the door down and force himself in. The new student said he would like to invite Christ into his heart, so I had Martin lead us in a simple prayer of repentance and acceptance of Christ.
In short, two young teenagers 14 and 17 who were pretty upset at each other end up reconciling and one receives Christ into his life for the first time (all within a half an hour)! I still am amazed that this actually happened. Our new brother’s name is Valente. Please pray for him that God would protect him and that the seed that has been planted would grow. I was impressed to see him in Church the next day for the first time ever!
That is what this event has been teaching us as a group this year. We are seeing that through the struggles (challenges) of life, we can make a choice: either we wallow in our sorrow or learn from the situation. The students are learning very practical things this year and that excites me.
Ok, now for the report…
Once again, we began where the race ended last week at the Arrayanes Church. After a time of team devotions, one by one in the order in which they arrived last week, the teams went searching for a hidden envelope somewhere on the church property (the children’s classroom) with their team’s name. They then counted the columns of the speed soccer court to receive their next clue.
From there they had to run to the baseball field where a staff member was waiting for them. Instead of using vehicles, the staff member accompanied them back to Cofradía by foot. They could get a ride if one showed up (not very common from Arrayanes to Cofradía), but once they got to the bridge, they had to cross the river carrying their staff member; they could not go over the bridge.
Los Convertidos carrying Feliciano
Los Victoriosos carrying Horacio
Los Perseguidos carrying Hugo (Gena's brother)
Los Crucificados carrying Pastor Gollo
Los Sabios carrying Lauro
La Vision carrying Gaby
In the end, each team received a ride (two teams in each ride) back to the Kiosk in Cofradía where they had to figure out what a word was in order to continue. The envelope looked like this “_ _ N _ U _ T _” (they do not know what “nut” is and it had nothing to do with this activity). They could buy letters for 10 points each. The word was “BANQUETE” or Banquet in English. They were sure to figure out what was next…
Each year we have done a “banquet” Fear Factor style. It has always been a hit, and this year a number of the students were not able to get down the items set before them. Needless to say, the three buckets placed at the tables were not clean when we were done! Last year was amazing, so we had to do something interesting this year in order to…keep their interest.
Each team had to have one person participate in each food or drink item. They all received points for placing, but if they were unable to finish it, their team did not receive any points.
Some of these things may sound mean, but keep in mind, the students love it and no one is forcing them to participate.
Dr. Pepper (this is a soft-drink that most people think tastes like medicine—we did this two years ago as well).
Warm sugarless lime water, burnt cow milk (not processed, the cow was milked in the morning), and blended cactus (licuado de nopal—this is a very gooey and slimy drink).
Raw (but washed) fish eyes.
Garlic clove (big enough to have to bite it).
Unripe banana (very green).
Enchiladas (with peanut butter, horse radish sauce, carrot, syrup, and mustard spread on top—same thing with the Dr. Pepper, most people here don’t like peanut butter or mustard).
A burnt mustard filled cupcake.
We also had two “flashback” items that were featured in last year’s menu:
Half of an onion and a Jalapeño pepper.
Each student was given some ice and peanut butter to take away the hot sensation.
We were going to do another one of last year’s hits, cow eyes, but there were none available.
We had to improvise on their final challenge of the day because it was already dark. We tied each team up individually and they had to run together into the meeting hall where a three liter coke was waiting for them. They had to drink the coke and the team that finished last did the chores (cleaning up the church in preparation for the next day’s service).
It was a very eventful evening and it’s something the students will be talking about all year long (they still talk about last year).
Each week new students arrive, some don’t continue, some do. We had 47 students this week and a total of 69 in all who have participated at least one week. Next week we have the FINAL CHALLENGE and a guest speaker from Mazatlán. Who’s going to win? The agenda is packed with games, skits from each of the six teams, worship, preaching, and prayer.
I have a very busy week this week, but I’ll see what I can do about putting some video clips together of the banquet and post them later.
Another interesting week as the race in the challenge continues…
As we were preparing the event around noon, I found out that a few people might not be able to make it to help out on staff, so I scrambled for plans B and more. Finally, everything worked out and it was a fun evening with the youth.
We started where we ended last week giving the team leaders time to share some of the Word with their teammates and encourage them in continuing to do a great job. All of the leaders are doing really good with their teams.
Once they made the goal, they hopped in a truck and searched for a balloon of the color of their team along side the road for their next clue.
That directed them to the river where they were to memorize a series of pictures.
Then cross the river to put them in the same order as they were on the post.
If they were unable to put them in the right order, a different member from their team had to try. Once the one member of the team was able to figure it out, they got their next clue which led them to the bridge on the road from Cofradía to Arrayanes. There, they were to find a rock with the name of their team on it that was sitting on an island of rocks in the middle of the river beneath the bridge. Some were amazingly able to get the rock right away.
From there they were dropped off at the baseball field in Arrayanes where they had to find their colored balloon with directions to their next challenge...at the Arrayanes Church. This is where they finished the race for the day.
It was Independence Day in Mexico so like last year, we had a water balloon-gladiators style game which was to be our big event for the day. We filled over 1200 water balloons in the morning in preparation for this!
Their final challenge for the day was in form of questions once again. This was to determine who would do the chores this week. The same two teams that ended up doing the chores last week got stuck doing them again this week. They had to wash all six trucks used in the race, and then I gave them extra points for washing a couple other things.
Friday, September 21, 2007
On September 19th, we went to the town of Puerta Colorada (about 40 minutes from Cofradia). This is where Pastor Gollo's wife, Mati, is from and where they began their married life together. I personally have never been there and it was great to have the opportunity to see just a small part.
The youth put together an evangelistic program much like the one's they did last month, and Pastor Gollo preached a great sermon (see the short clip below). It was a great time and we got to see many people prayed for.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
We packed up the vehicles and headed out to Santa Fe to start week #2. Teams receive points for bringing new students, wearing a shirt of the color of their team, good attitudes, the place they sit at in church, and a coin collection. The coin collection is a “Change War”. Each piece of change has a value to it; from 5 cents to 10 pesos. As we gathered the teams together and finished role call, I gave each team leader a short bible study to share with their team at the beginning.
After about 15-20 minutes, we started the race once again with a record breaking 51 students! Each team was given a clue one minute apart in the order in which they finished the previous week. They were to go to a house of a lady who goes to our church and would have a balloon of each of the colors of the teams with a note in it. After running across town, the note directed them to the baseball field on the other side of town (this was to let me get to the baseball field to manage the first activity).
The first activity which was the second stop was to make an American Football Field Goal. No team member could repeat a try until all of them had tried. They started at 30 yards, and then went to 20 yards after five tries, then to 10 yards after another 5 tries.
If they made a field goal, they got their next clue and were off to Las Pilas (a town about 3 miles west of Cofradía).
Arriving in Las Pilas they had to find their next clue in a fountain at the park.
The clue told them to find another new player from Las Pilas and buy them something from the store.
As soon as they were able to get their new member to eat some chips or drink a coke, they got their next clue which led them to the nearby lake.
At the lake, they were to send one team member into the water to get a floating balloon (tied to a string with a rock at the bottom of the lake) which would have the instructions to their next activity.
One by one as a team they would run down to the edge of the lake, fill up a two liter plastic cup, run back to put the water in a bucket, then pass the cup to the next team member.
Once the team filled the bucket, they got their next clue sending them to the basketball court.
At the basketball court, two members were to carry another across the court where another member would fill their mouth with coke. They needed to carry them back and while another member held up a glass coke bottle, the one being carried had to pass as much coke as they could in the bottle. The team that filled up the bottle the most was immune of having to do chores the next day. Check out the video...
The Final Challenge of the day was a Q & A time. The first four teams to get four answers right did not have to do chores. All of the questions had to do with the sermon on Sunday. Los Victoriosos and La Visión had to do chores this week which was to machete and clean the church grounds in Arrayanes.
Staff person, Rebecka, is helping the purple team :)