Thursday, October 20, 2011

Staff Retreat

What an exciting time in Mazatlán we had with our Cofradía Missionary Staff!  We spent three days in a very nice Hotel/Hacienda in Old Mazatlán's downtown called The Melville.  We rented two suites, each with two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, dining, and living rooms.  It was a great, private place to refocus as we edified, planned, and prepared.

We spent the first day having fun together and talking about cancer in teams as opposed to what makes a great team.  We hiked up to the lighthouse and had a very nice dinner at La Playa Mazatlán as we caught the tail end of the beautiful sunset over the Pacific.  

The next day we talked about almost every aspect of our ministry.  It was a series of long needed discussion and clarification of our responsibilities as team members and ministers.  We finished the evening with a very engaging and exciting game of Pictionary.  Men vs. women.  The women had us beat, but the we came back very strong at the end to squeak out the win!

The final day we prepared ourselves to return back to Cofradía.  It was a great three days that brought our team together.  We are unified and ready to RAISE UP LEADERS IN RURAL MEXICO.

If you are interested in ministry as a missionary or intern, don't hesitate to email us.  We would love to give you an opportunity to minister.  You might want to come down with a short-term missions team, as an intern, or consider a longer term commitment.  Alternative Missions' catch phrase is "Creative Ways of Serving the World."  What creative way would you like to serve God, serving the World?
Staff at the top of the Mazatlan Lighthouse
Dinner at La Playa Mazatlan
The tail end of the sunset during dinner.
"Pictionary" awaits
Max drawing...something

Student Ministry Transition

As I've been mentioning in our monthly reports, our ministry in Cofradía has been going through a transition since June. In July, I was appointed as the new Area Director for this ministry.  I am excited about the opportunity to lead this ministry in the next step of raising up leaders in rural Mexico. 

Pastor Luis Vazquez
For the past couple of years I've been able to watch my right-hand man in the Student Ministry, Luis Vazquez, grow and take ownership of the Youth Group. He's really been leading it for a while, I've just been there coaching him.  With new responsibilities and knowing how God has developed the Student Leadership team, I'm confident in taking new steps myself as I step down as the Student Ministry Director in Cofradia.

In my opinion, I couldn't ask for a smoother transition.  For the newer and younger youth, this change is not even close to monumental. Luis has been their "Pastor" for a while.  It's a strange feeling not being in charge or working first hand with the youth, it's hard to imagine doing anything else.  I love the Student Ministry we have; they're awesome!  At the same time, I'm excited because this was my goal as a Missionary--to work myself out of a job.

As we continue to move forward, we appreciate your prayers and continued support.  Please pray for Pastor Luis as he accepts the responsibility the Lord has given him in leading the Student Ministry of Centro Cristiano Cofradia.  Also, thank you for your prayers for our staff as we follow the Spirit's leading in this ministry.
Alternative Missions Cofradía Staff:
Max, Jay, Faith, Mati, Pastor Gollo, Geña, Steve, Sandy
Thanks again for your continued support.  Your donations are changing lives.

Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden

Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden

I just finished reading this book that has been staring at me for a few years now since my dad gave it to me.  It was a little difficult to get into just because I'm not an enthusiastic reader.  Once I got about half way, I could relate to a lot of what Greg was writing about.  This book is very similar to one I read earlier this year, They Smell Like Sheep, which I really enjoyed.

Transforming Discipleship is all about that, Discipleship.  This is not a new concept to me although he claims to have invented it.  Maybe I've heard or read something about him before??  Either way, it is something that I've always been passionate about.  He talks about getting into small groups of 3 or 4 same gendered people and spend a year together studying, reading, praying, and challenging each other to grow as you keep one another accountable.  This is a great concept and is similar to a couple of relationships I already have down here.  The obvious purpose is for discipling the believers.  The goal is that those other two or three people in your small group do the same thing the next year, but with different people.  This, ideally, would create solid multiplying growth.  We can sometimes get caught up in "such and such a number of people got saved."  That's great, but I've always wondered who's discipling those who get saved??

I am very interested in integrating this as a "process" (he calls it) in our ministry.  I want to try it out for a year.  To start it, it will take $100 to buy two Transforming Discipleship books in Spanish and four Discipleship Essentials manuals in Spanish.  Pastor Gollo and I are planning on starting this as soon as we can purchase them.  I'm pretty optimistic about this since we already have a men's group that is integrated in the Church Ministry.  It would be great if we could develop some more solid believers who are not ashamed of the Gospel.  Cofradía would continue to be transformed into a different place.  God is moving here and we're excited about it!

Here are just a few quotes that caught my attention:

  • "The tragedy is that most Christian leaders have placed almost no priority in transitional leadership."
  • "Discipleship is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ.  This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well."
  • "Intimate, accountable relationship with other believers is the foundation for growing in discipleship."

I recommend this book, not just to church leaders, but anyone who is interested in learning more about God and developing a more intimate relationship with Him.

You can be part of this transformation by making a donation so we can purchase manuals.  Click on this link and choose "AM Ministry Location" "Cofradia" and make a note for "Discipleship."  Thanks for transforming the World.

Friday, October 07, 2011

October Ministry Update

Greetings Everyone from Cofradía, Mexico!  The rainy season is coming to an end and an occasional cool breeze is reminding us that the hot muggy weather is only temporal—Praise the Lord for that!  We have just finished our annual Student Ministry Outreach called EL RETO (The Challenge).  It was another amazing time.  We were able to make connections with many new students and I’m excited to see the enthusiasm of the regulars as they interact with new students.  The captains did a great job and we really were able to pull the reins on competitive spirits this year with emphasizing that we are all on one team and our goal is to reach out to students—the games are just a tool we’re using to draw them in.  I don’t recall in years past that teams would help each other (opponents) as much as they did this year.  I was impressed with our students!

Last month, we asked for your prayers concerning:

  • Finances for EL RETO.  We received 1/10 of the $2,000 that was our original budget causing us to cut back on a number of things.  EL RETO was a success, but unfortunately we did not feel free to do more than what we did.
  • Impacted lives in EL RETO.  I believe God uses EL RETO to bring to light issues in all of us, including myself.  This is such a unique outreach that I do not know what to compare it to.  Yes, lives were touched and changed.  God is still working in many of us.  Confrontation has always been difficult for me and through EL RETO I have been able to put into practice what I’ve never liked to do.  EVERY TIME through the Lord’s guidance, we are able to resolve the conflicts that arise.  For that reason, I know that God has His hand in this ministry!  It became aware to me in 2007 that this was not just an outreach to students, but an opportunity to develop leadership skills in myself, the team captains, and the adult staff helping.  It’s simply INCREDIBLE!

Links to the news:

This Month’s requests:

  • Staff Retreat.  All of our staff will be heading to Mazatlan for two nights to discuss vision, responsibilities, future plans, and how to grow together.  I’m looking forward to it in spite of being drained after EL RETO.  Please pray for wisdom in all of us, that the Lord would have His hand on us, that His Spirit would guide us to make wise decisions, and give us the strength to complete the tasks He’s given us (October 10-12).
  • Visitors.  We have a few visitors coming at the end of October to work along side Jay and the Indigenous Ministry with the unreached Cora Indian people group (October 16-30).  Pray for safety as they travel up into the mountains and favor with the people.

Thank you very much for partnering with us through your prayers and financial support.
Click here to donate to our personal support.

Steve, Geña, Rebecka and Emma Rose Silberman
Missionaries to Mexico
Alternative Missions Cofradia
Area Director
SKYPE: “srsilberman”

Thursday, October 06, 2011


EL RETO 2011


We had 94 participants this year in EL RETO.  This year had a different twist in terms of its seriousness with the messages.  The teachings we encountered were not light-hearted.  The main theme was that our existence continues; I believe that message got across.  Many of the students encountered other teachable moments such as asking for forgiveness and forgiving, humbling oneself, dealing with anger, recognizing that there are false doctrines that look like the truth, learning about the reality of heaven and hell, and the list goes on.

Saturday, October 1, we began with our students leading the worship.  Martin followed with a great Word as he encouraged the students to make a decision about who they will serve.  After Martin preached, Pastor Luis led a time of prayer with the students.  It was a great time.  Not all the students came forward, but many of them did, as they were hungry for a touch from God.

Finally, the staff as well as students gave testimonies of how their lives were changed and gave encouraging words to others.

Since many of the people present were visitors that had been invited, I gave a quick summary of events before we presented those who had found the hidden treasures and then carried out the raffle.
Jay TenBrink made three of these mini caskets for us as our Hidden Treasures
All three hidden treasures started with the same clue, but different dates.  The first clue stated that, "The treasure was in a piece of land that I used to own," then it gave the dates of birth and death of the person.  That means the students had to go to the graveyard to find those dates and work on figuring out what land they used to own.

Grace: Grace was hidden just outside of Arrayanes.  The Faithful found the treasure and it redeemed to them all the points they used in the RETO Auction: 9,300 points!

Justice: Justice was hidden just outside of Cofradía.  The Chosen found this treasure and it allowed them to add points to other teams.  For every two points they added, they would get 1 one point.  They could give up to 5,000 points.  They added 5,000 points to The Humble and in turn received 2,500 points for themselves.

Resurrection: Resurrection was hidden just outside of Santa Fe.  The Heirs found this treasure that gave them the opportunity to challenge the team that ended with the most points in one final challenge (EL RETO FINAL).  This was a free pass to the "Championship."

Once we finished with that, Max carried out the Raffle with Rebecka's help.  Two of the items have yet to be claimed, but Juan Luis and Pola of Arrayanes won the stereo.

Then, the moment that the students had been waiting for: the announcing of the points...

In Sixth place with 3,809 points - The Prudent
In Fifth place with 5,739 points - The Servants of the Lord
In Fourth place with 6,198 points - The Chosen
In Third place with 11,654 points - The Humble

Between first and second place, there was only 1,800 points difference.  Considering the high scores they had, that's not very much.  The two teams left were The Faithful and The Heirs.  If The Faithful has more points, we would have a final challenge between these two teams since The Heirs had found the Hidden Treasure "Resurrection."  If The Heirs has more points, they win.

Second place points: 22,047
First place points: 23,808

Congratulations to The Heirs who dominated all six weeks and by the skin of their teeth, won EL RETO 2011 with 23,808 points!

The Heirs