Monday, January 25, 2010

Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes

This year our children were the blessed recipients of the shoe boxes through Operation Christmas Child. What an amazing thing! There were some concerns that more kids would show up than available boxes, but the Lord guided all the children to the event that needed to be there. After sharing the message of Jesus and an explanation of a relationship with Him with opportunity to accept Him as Saviour, the leaders began to hand out the boxes to the different age groups and genders. Kathy Elias, our Children's Ministries Director, had this to say...

"We had 150 boxes (72 for girls, 68 for boys) in three different age groups (2-4, 5-9, and 10-14). We invited kids from 4 different villages. Each child from Sunday School could invite any two of their friends regardless of their sex or age. Add to this the fact that any party is a town party and it is not at all out of the ordinary that children show up uninvited. The big question was how do we end up with 150 kids, and not one more, all of the right sex and age! The only solution we could come up with was prayer. We contacted a host of kids from Canada; nieces, nephews, Sunday school children, and school children from Jonathan's Canadian school. We also asked them to pray that the kids would behave and listen to the message of salvation that would be part of our party. I was nervous the day of the party and very relieved when it was all over. We had just over 130 kids show up. They were very well behaved and we never had to ask them to be quiet and pay attention. They sat still, participated, and listened--one hundred thirty kids, most of which do not come to church regularly. Thank you Jesus!"

Cy-Fair Women's Team

A couple weeks ago, Cy-Fair's Women's Team came for a week to spend time with the women of the Cofradía church, do Bible studies, and impact lives. They did that and more!

This year was the best turnout of women from here in Cofradía, Santa Fé, Arrayanes, and Ruiz. The women started their ministry on Sunday afternoon traveling up into the hills to the Cora Indian village Mojocuautla--you said that wrong lol. In Mojocuautla, they gave a speach to the women of the town explaining to them some first aid tips that many times are looked over by the local clinics. The crowd of women payed close attention as some of this was new information. Great job ladies!

Monday through Wednesday were very similar as they shared Bible Studies from the Book of Ruth in the morning and after having lunch with the locals, they had activities in the evenings. Some cut hair, some gave voice lessons, etc. Each day was spent in a different town; Arrayanes, Cofradía, and Santa Fé. All of their activities led up to one big event on Thursday night that was to take place in the new church facilities...a drama of the story of Ruth. After rehearsing a couple times in the morning, everyone was ready.

Geña and I narrated as everyone else acted out the story. There were literally hundreds of people in attendance as they got to watch the story of Ruth unfold, hear an explanation from Pastor Gollo, have an opportunity to receive Christ, and to top it all hot dogs. All 410 hot dogs were cooked and served, only a few had seconds...there was a lot of people!

In the end, all the participating women sang a song that they had prepared during the week "Testify to Love." A tremendous event! What a way to reach people.

Thank you for praying for the team while they were here.
Pastor Gollo opening up in prayer.
Ruth (Mari) and Boaz (Luis) getting married.
The women of the village come to celebrate with them.
The final song as the women closed.

Did I say there were lots of people?

Weddings in Cofradía

There will be Weddings in Cofradía on February 14! Yes...Weddings with an 's'.

Last year at this time, we had a special event as the youth set up a "Date Night" for the couples in the church. They served them dinner, we had some games, and a message. When we were finished, there was talk about the next year, we should have a big wedding for those who haven't been married yet and are living together. Thus, we'll have Weddings in Cofradía.

It's typical here in the ranching community that a couple does not get married legally or in the church right away. They just start living together calling themselves "married."

Many of the couples in the church have been married legally (by a judge), but have never taken the opportunity to have a "religious" wedding. A civil wedding and religious wedding are two different things here. I've seen it more in the city that a couple will get married by a judge and sign papers, then days later they will get married in the church. In America, we typically sign papers right before the ceremony begins.

There are 14 couples signed up to get married on Valentine's Day in the church; three of the six couples who had not been married by the judge went last week to the County Seat for their civil wedding; three more to go. We understand that when two are living together it is called Fornication and God calls this disobedience. We are excited about the couples wanting to receive God's blessing over them as they take this step of obedience. It is going to be a spectacular event!

Geña and I are especially excited for Hugo (Geña's brother) and Norma who are on the list.

Others on the list include:
Lauro and Lucy
Nico and Chepy
Luis and Mari
Feliciano and Toña
Abraham and Graciela
Juan and Gela
Luis and Lupita
Diego and Carmen
Poncho and Secundina
Gabriel and Erika
Javier and Fabiola
Chano and Victoria
Roberto and Lidia

Thank you for keeping these couples in your prayers as it is common for people to back out when times get tough. This is a big step for some and any kind of discouragement is potential dropout. May the Lord keep us strong and courageous in all our marriages!

If you are interested in sponsoring a specific couple you know in the list, email me and I will help you with the connection:

If you would like to send a donation in general; click here and specify it as "Cofradía Weddings". We have already received $1,000 US Dollars and will need nearly $1000 more.

Juan Accepts Christ

Juan and Gela are friends of the family. Geña and Gela are relatives and Geña often goes to pray with Gela who is often by herself with her little boy Manuel because for the past few years Juan has been working in the mountains. Life for them was not good and even though they are not married (only living together), they separated for a while. Gela asked for prayer the last time Juan went back to work in the mountains for the marijuana harvest. Geña and Gela prayed that God would cause something to happen in order that Juan would have to come back. Two weeks later, Juan came home very discouraged. The Mexican Judiciales (Law/Police) had come and confiscated everything, cutting all the plants and leaving nothing. That Sunday, Gela asked Geña to pray for them and Geña asked Juan if he would like to accept Christ as his Saviour and he said yes. They all prayed together and Juan gave his life to Jesus. Juan and Gela will be getting married in February. Please keep them in your prayers.

Ricardo's Testimony

I'm sorry I have no picture to give you a face to the name. Ricardo is middle-aged and very shy. He is from the city of Tuxpan (30 minutes from Cofradía) and has a wife and family. He walked up front as if he was wanting to change his mind and addressed the congregation as he trembled. This was a huge step for Ricardo who was saved and baptized within the last couple of years. He shared about what his life used to be like; an alcoholic, suicidal, depressed and nervous. In order for himself to leave the house--which he only did to go to the bar, he said he would sit outside on the porch and drink a liter of beer before leaving; that is the only thing that helped him get the courage to leave. He recalled a time that he had been to Cofradía many years ago in search for healing from a Witch Doctor (what this area was known for) and even prayed to the Virgin Mary for help (a common act for Mexican Catholics). When that didn't help he vowed to never step foot in Cofradía again. His condition got worse and worse and with tears in his eyes he said that he had tried to hang himself...two different times. He was very depressed and nervous, never leaving town.

A few years ago, his Uncle Everardo and Aunt Rosa (a couple from the church here) went to visit him and began to minister to him. When Everardo prayed over him he felt something being lifted, he felt free. They kept visiting him and praying for him and inviting him to church. After many rejections because of his fear and vow to never come to Cofradía again, he finally accepted the invitation to come to Cofradía. It had been 18 years since he left Tuxpan and he could not believe the change in scenery on the way, he felt like a little kid as he discovered the new surroundings. He stepped foot in Cofradía and came to church. He made Jesus Christ his Saviour and is no longer an alcoholic. The Lord has healed him and made him new.

It was great to see this man stand before everyone and give account to what the Lord did in his life. Praise the Lord!

Monday, January 04, 2010



Blessings to all of you for 2010!! 2009 was a good year. We saw our Student Ministry continue to grow in maturity as the Leaders took charge of many different events. One of the neatest things is to see them ministering and reaching out to other students as they lead them in Bible Studies and take one on one time to mentor them. Two major events last year that our student leaders led were;
  • A Missions Trip to Oaxaca. This was the first trip that our students went on as a team. They were blessed as they were blessing others in a small town outside of the city of Oaxaca that does not have a Christian church. They were able to minister to about 20 youth during that time. Click here to read more.
  • EL RETO (The Challenge) This was a huge step for our leaders. It is the biggest event of the year and they did a great job of organizing and follow-though. It attracts many students who never get to hear the gospel and they have fun while doing it. I gave a link in last month’s update, if you didn’t get a chance to read it you can click here.
Last month, we asked for your prayers concerning...
  • Knee Injury A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who sent donations for the surgery. My knee is getting better and is healing up quickly. I will be on crutches at least for a couple more weeks. I have posted a few things on our blog, click here for the latest.
  • Youth Volleyball and Speed Soccer Tournaments For a whole week the students played volleyball and soccer. New Year’s Day was the finals. Not many youth came out from other towns, but more new faces from Cofradía participated. Congratulations to Pedro’s team who won in Volleyball and Riky’s team who won in Soccer. Click here for a more full report.
Are you going to be visiting in Mexico? If you have plans to come to either Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, or Guadalajara, let us know. We are within 4 hours of all three of those cities with Mazatlán being the closest (3 hours). We’d love to show you around Cofradía so you can get a taste of this Mexican countryside!

Follow these links for more..
Student Leadership Christmas Dinner
Aidé’s Quinceañera
Youth Christmas Party
Latest Hardcopy Newsletter
Facebook—if you’re on Facebook, I’d love to get in touch with you!

This month, would you please pray for...
  • Cy-Fair Christian Church Women’s Team The women in our church really enjoy having these women come down. They have made a great impact in the past, let’s pray for that to continue. (Jan. 9-16)
  • A trip to the Mountains. A few of our youth are going up to the mountains to the Cora village of Cangrejo where they will be handing out Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. This is a great opportunity to reach that community and people group. Pray for safe travels and a warm welcome. (Jan. 29,30)
  • Student Leadership Conference. Each year the youth pastors of Cy-Fair come to lead a conference with our youth and help prepare for the team of youth they will bring in March. We look forward to this time to hear from Pastors Mike and Dave. (Feb. 4-8)
  • Worship Ministry. Please pray for a continued maturity in our worship band. I have poured my life into the student ministry and things are going very well. I would like to focus more attention to the band and help the leaders gain confidence and learn to depend on the Lord for leading. Please continue to pray for strong worship leaders. My goal is to have others leading quality true worship.
Thank you very much for your prayers and continued support.
See how to partner with us and donate here.

Steve, Geña, Rebecka and Emma Rose Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico
SKYPE: “srsilberman”

Christmas Tournament 2009

We had our fourth annual Christmas Tournament last week. This was the second year we included volleyball along with the Speed Soccer. A number of new students came out that we haven't seen before participate in events or attend church. This usually happens and is a good way to make relationships.

In the Volleyball Tournament, we had four teams who played each other on Monday and Tuesday, then had to wait until Friday for the finals. It was a joy to us to have Geña's nieces from California here visiting as four of them participated this year, one on each team. The team captains were Ruben, Cheché (who took over for Riky), Pedro, and Gollo. During the finals, #4 Cheché's team beat #1 Ruben's team and #2 Pedro's team beat #3 Gollo's team. Pedro's team won the Championship 2 sets to 0 against Cheché's team. Each member received a trophy.
In the Soccer Tournament, we also had four teams who played each other on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was the finals for them also. Each captain came up with a name for their team: Cheché (Picapul), Riky (Empedradores), Julio (Cerro), and Carlos (Zorros). In the finals, #1 Empedradores beat #4 Picapul and #2 Cerro beat #3 Zorros. Los Empedradores (The Cobblestone Workers) won the Championship game over Cerro (Hill) 7-4. It was a fun time.
We give out Awards for the Best Goalie and the Highest Scorer also.
Guille Orozco Best Goalie (73% blocked)
2nd Place Goalie Alberto Jimenez (72% blocked)
Gregorio Hernández Highest Scorer (18 goals)
2nd Place Scorer Carlos García (13 goals)
3rd Place Scorer Joel Jimenez (10 goals)
Because not many girls sign up for soccer, we had a Shoot Out competition for them. Four girls participated and Jazmin was the winner hitting 2 of 3 penalty shots.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Youth Posada (Christmas Party)

We had nearly 50 students turn out at the Christmas party this year. We had some fun games, three piñatas, food, and watched a preview of the video for EL RETO.
We had a relay race on miniature bikes. It was fun to see the bigger guys trying to ride!
Pablo from Ruiz
The first Piñata hanging from the church rafters.
Intern Chuy taking a swing.
Just like little kids, they ran for the candy...only to find in this piñata were bags of peanuts!
The food was good.

Quinceañera Aidé

Aidé Adilene Garzón Villarreal turned 15 on December 24th and her parents had a Quinceañera party for her. This is what we in the states would call "Sweet 16", but the celebration is much more elaborate. It is a celebration of the girl leaving her childhood days behind and entering into the next stage of life as a young lady (señorita).

Aidé looked great. She is one of the few more mature students we have with two older sisters, Sandy and Mily, showing her the way. It was the first celebration that I had been to that was typical of these events with a Christian DJ. They played praise music all evening through the massive sound system.
Sharing the message.
Our family with Aidé

Student Leadership Christmas Dinner

On the 21st, we invited our Student Leaders over to the house for a Christmas dinner. It was a great time of relaxing and hanging out together. Geña spent all morning in the kitchen cooking a turkey and everything that goes with it, I felt useless as I sat with my leg elevated. She did an awesome job! After dinner we hung around the bonfire as some made s'mores and others ate just the marshmallow.