Saturday, February 22, 2014

Date Night 2014

Saturday, February 15, we had our annual Date Night at Centro Cristiano Cofradia.  This year we had 59 couples attend a nice romantic evening with ice-breaker games, a great message by Doug and Jan Taylor, and an excellent meal.

Leaders of our Marriage Ministry, Abraham and Graciela, did a wonderful job hosting the event.  It was great to see so many people not only from Cofradia and the surrounding villages, but four different churches brought married couples as well.  Our desire in Cofradia is to extend the Kingdom of God.  When we stand together with other churches, it makes us all stronger!  We are experiencing some exciting things in Mexico!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cofradia High School Construction Update

Things are moving right along with the Cofradia High School construction project.  This week a team was here to help poor the floor for two rooms and the guys are continuing to work on the foundation of the other two rooms.  Thank you to all of you who have given to this project!  The government has not shown interest to help, so the town is on their own.  The Cofradia High School serves at least 7 other towns in the area and is a huge need.  Donate here to be a part of helping the community and future of Cofradia!
Getting ready.
The finishing touch as they polish the floor.
Getting the other two rooms prepared.  The foundation is almost done.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Father, Son, and the Other One by Jeff Kennedy

Jeff Kennedy is down to earth and a very intelligent speaker and writer.  I'm excited for Jeff and his new book, Father, Son, and the Other One that just came out.  This is one thing he has to say about it…

  • DID YOU KNOW?
    ... that of self-professing Christians in America, that only about 25% say they believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit. Among 18-34 year olds, that percentage gets worse. If that statistic is anywhere near true, then we are facing an epic crisis of faith today in the Church.
    I wrote Father, Son, and the Other One for every believer who has ever wondered if the Christian faith is more than mere creeds and doctrines and denominational distinctives. It’s for all of those who need reassurance that the Jesus of history still dwells in us by the Spirit of God. It’s for every believer who longs to tap into God’s presence as a transforming, empowering reality.
You can view a short promotional video of his book here.
Get connected with Pastor Jeff at his web-site.
Buy his book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or CBD.

A little personal story about me and Jeff:

When I started to play the guitar, I had NO intentions on being a Worship Leader.  While we were in college together, Jeff asked me to play worship at a youth rally on the beach in Oregon.  He was going to sing/rap some special songs and share with the youth.  I had not been playing long and had never led worship outside of dorm-life in college.  That evening came and I was excited!  I was all prepared with the songs and my music sheets.  However, it turned into the worst experience of my life as a Worship Leader.  My first time and I didn't expect evening to come.  The sun went down and darkness covered the earth!  I didn't know the songs by heart.  As my excitement faded with the sunlight, I sang (or tried to) as the youth stood there staring at me with blank looks; then my guitar pic breaks!  I will never forget it!

Despite my awful experience, I will always be thankful to Jeff for giving me an opportunity.  He was very encouraging to me and on the way home he introduced me to what people called a "mocha" coffee. :)  Now, I'm taking Jeff's example and trying to help students become worship leaders in Mexico and learn how to drink coffee!

I'm really excited for Jeff and what he's accomplished…and will accomplish!

Cofradia's Short-Term Mission's Manual

The Cofradia Short-Term Missions Manual is designed to inform those who would like to join us on a short-term missions team.  It will help the first time visitors get familiar with our ministry and refresh the memory of those who return.  If you are searching for a ministry to get involved in, read over the manual to see if this ministry fits you or if you see a need you can fill.  Short-term interns and long-term missionaries are welcome.  Our desire is to Raise Up Leaders In Rural Mexico.  We have recently started a Bible School in Cofradia that is an extension of Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, CA.

Click here to see the manual.
Email me to get involved.

Devout Muslim Finds Christ

I subscribe to Ravi Zacharia's newsletter and this week he featured Nabeel Qureshi's story about how he found Jesus while attempting to challenge Christianity and the Bible.

I was moved by his story in the video.  What a passion for Christ!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saturday, February 08, 2014

FEBRUARY MINISTRY UPDATE

Greetings from Cofradia, Mexico!  It’s been a real busy beginning of the year for us as we are hosting our 5th team since New Year’s.  Some exciting things have happened: three families’ lives were changed by being blessed with a new home, the women’s ministry hosted a women’s team from Texas, the men continue in their bible study “Wisdom for Fathers,” and one of the most exciting things is that we’ve started a Bible College here in Cofradía!

Thank you for partnering with us to invest in the Kingdom of God together as we Raise up Leaders in Rural Mexico!

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

Cofradia and Arryanes House Builds: It’s an amazing thing to be part of the Dwellings Ministry in Cofradia and see people you know be blessed with a new home.  It was great to see and hear how God touched their lives, relationships, and families.  The two teams that came were able to bless the families with a few extra things.  Read about these two house builds and the one we’ve already reported about in Sante Fe here.

Here are some links to more:

This month, will you please pray for...

  1. Cofradia Bible School: We are extremely excited about this major step forward in our ministry.  Please pray for each student as they study for their Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s Degrees.  Definitely an exciting time in Cofradía.  Click here for more information and to see the students.
  2. Cofradia High School: The town is building a High School.  Pray for the funds to come in as the government has opted to not help.  Read more here.
  3. Conference with the Taylors: Former Cofradía Missionaries, Doug and Jan Taylor, will be here February 14 – 16 as the special speakers during a Date Night for the couples and a general church conference.
  4. Church Building Anniversary: The Taylors will be our guest speakers on February 23rd as well when we celebrate 3 years of being in the new church building.
  5. Trip to the States: On February 24th, we’ll head up to southern California to renew our vehicle permit and visit some friends.  Pray for safe travel and smooth border crossings.
  6. Short-Term Missions Team: We currently have a team from His Place Church, Mount Vernon, Washington helping us with a number of small and big projects at the base, church, and in the community.
Thank you very much for partnering with us through your prayers and financial support.
Click here to donate to our personal support.

MAILING ADDRESS FOR SUPPORT.
Another way to donate is by sending a check made out to Alternative Missions to Alternative Missions / PO Box 3107 / Ferndale, WA 98248.  On a separate note, indicate that it is for The Silbermans.


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

Pastors' Perspective

Here is what the Pastors from Cofradia have to say…

PASTOR GREGORIO HERNANDEZ
It gives me great pleasure to take this opportunity to share how good God is as He helps us to see and be part of this ministry as well as what He is doing in the town of Cofradía and the surrounding areas. I am seeing a number of men in the church experience several months recently of sustained growth, producing men of strength for service in the various ministries, new groups for prayer and study, and growth as evangelists. We have noticed this more in the last few months, and I am convinced that what is happening is an ever-increasing commitment to the Lord. It excites me to watch someone who is new to the gospel and to faith still be good at leading small groups and sharing scriptures with us during prayer group.

Also, the church, in general, is walking well and steadfastly, and I see a great deal of energy and excitement to continue growing, and they are in that process. Recently, I talked with a brother that is having difficulties; after that conversation, I remain convinced that God is in control.

We are so thankful to all of you who offer support, both through prayer and finances, for the work at Cofradía Christian Center. Without your great help, we would not have the ability to do the work entrusted to us by God. Thank you so much for your wonderful gift of giving.

May God bless you,


Sincerely,
Pastor Gregorio (“Goyo”), Maty , and Family.


PASTOR LUIS VAZQUEZ

Hello and blessings to you.

On behalf of me and my family, we hope that you are enjoying the new year walking in step with our Savior, Jesus Christ. As for us, we are very well.

Over this last year, God has moved us from our hometown to the neighboring town, where the church and ministry are located. We left behind our home and community and have moved from house to house like foreigners and pilgrims in this world, waiting on God for a home where my family and I may settle.

We have continued working with the youth and leadership since the end of EL RETO (“The Challenge”), about which I shared with you in the last letter and during which we ministered to 176 young people. We consider that event a success since through it we have reached out to new youth who, since that time, have continued attending and with whom we continue sharing the Word of God. During that event, we were joined by the neighboring churches, and God touched the lives of adults just as he touched the youth. The event was a great blessing because new youth have stayed in those churches as well as in ours.

Thank you for your support and blessings. We continue to focus on the Great Commission that Christ left us to raise up strong leaders in order to reach others.

Thank you!
Pastor Luis and family


PASTOR HORACIO GARZON
Brothers and sisters,

It is my pleasure to write you these few lines to wish you blessings from the Lord during this season of celebrating His birth and a new year that continues to be full of joy.

For our part, we are grateful to God, brothers and sisters, for how you have been part of our well-being as you pour out your support for us, both through prayers and finances. Thank you, brothers. We are very grateful.

Also, it please me to let you know about what the Lord is doing in the lives of our new believers. I rejoice in the Lord upon seeing how some families were blessed with a new home when a team from Colorado came to visit us, and we appreciate their attention to detail in every area, despite the trials they experienced. In the end, God poured out on us the opportunity to finish the house for that family.

In Mojocuatula, an indigenous community, God is raising up a couple, and I trust that the Lord will use them in a big way to be a blessing to others that need the love of Christ.

Brothers and sisters, receive our greetings and gratitude for being a blessing in our lives; thank you for your prayers and for your financial support that you so generously pour out on us.

Thank you and may God bless you!
Horacio, María, and Family

Cofradia High School

Up until 2008, Cofradia did not have a High School.  Students who wanted to continue into High School had to travel 30-45 minutes to the city by taxi every day; many did not have the finances to do this.  Another option was to move to the city if they had family there and stay with them.  Most of the time, they stayed home and didn't go to school.

The High School serves not only Cofradia, but the surrounding towns as well such as: Arrayanes, Santa Fe, Las Pilas, Paso Real, Mojocuautla, and Agua Aceda; these are towns where ministry has a lot of involvement.  The school started in 2008 and meets in the Jr. High after they get out at noon.  They've been waiting since the beginning to have their own building.  The plan has been presented to the government a number of times and the response is "we have no money for that project."  So, with the little money they started with and the help of the parents of the students, they've decided to start building classrooms across the street from the Jr. High on a vacant lot that the town has given them.
A shot of the land.  You can see the start of the foundation near the power pole.
The finances have been depleted.  BUT, because of some gifts by some of you, the construction continues and the High School is being built!

Here is what it looks like now as it's getting prepared to pour the floors for two of the classrooms.
This is just one of the ways that Alternative Missions teams up with people like you to help communities in need.  They would like to be in the classrooms at the start of the next school year; August 2014.  Let's help them do it!

Join us by sending a gift to the Cofradia High School Project.  Thank you!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Three Families' Lives Changed in Cofradia

In the last month, three families' lives were changed as groups from the United States came to help build them a new home.  

The first house was built in Santa Fe for the Figueroa Vazquez family by the Zaugg family from Ridgeway, Colorado.

You can read more about this house build in a previous post here.
The Zaugg family with the Figueroa-Vazquez family 
People gathered around as we dedicated the house.
The second house was built in Cofradia for David and Isabel.  Many of you know Isabel who has served as an Interpreter for us and was one of the first missionaries here in Cofradia.  After marrying, she decided to settle in Cofradia.  Her and her husband have been living in borrowed homes with the current one that leaks.  Northlake Community Church from Bellingham, Washington came to build this family a home.  Here is a time lapse video of the first day of work:
As we dedicated the house to the family, David shared from his heart with us how God had impacted him and his relationship with his family during the week.  This is something that the family will never forget!
David, Isabel and Josue with their new home.
The Northlake Team with the family.
The third house was built in Arrayanes for Boni and Karen by Damascus Road team from Snohomish and Marysville, Washington.   Karen suffered a broken back in a vehicle accident just over a year ago and has been confined to a wheel chair.  This has made moving around pretty difficult given their yard is dirt.  Her husband, Boni, is a prime example of a man who selflessly serves his wife as we all saw his heart when it came to helping Karen.  The Damascus Road team brought her down a comfortable wheel chair and also helped fund leg braces so she can begin therapy in order to learn how to walk again.  What an amazing time and an unforgettable occasion in the life of this young family!
Karen in her new wheelchair.
Team members shared their hearts with the family as we dedicated the new house.
COME HELP BUILD A HOME AND CHANGE A LIFE!  
CONTACT ME OR TOM HACKETT IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN CHANGING SOMEONE'S LIFE BY BUILDING THEM A HOME.  YOU CAN TAKE A PEEK HERE AND SEE THE CANDIDATES IN NEED OF A HOME EITHER IN ROATAN OR HERE IN COFRADIA.


We thank the Lord first for the opportunities he gives us to serve and we thank you also for helping make this possible!!!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Bible Institute in Cofradia

Over two decades ago, Missionaries with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) came to Cofradía by invitation of the government to set up a medical clinic.  A few years later, the mission turned into a Church Plant and Alternative Missions was created.  Three years ago this month, the new church building was completed and inaugurated as Centro Cristiano Cofradia and the mission base took on the role of helping the church facilitate it's vision and purpose through being a resource of materials, finances, and helps through the local missionaries and short-term mission teams.  All for the Glory of God and extending His Kingdom.

So many of you have participated in so many ways.  Whether you are on of the hundreds of people  who have made trips here through Short-Term Missions, one of the hundreds of people who have made financial gifts, or one of the thousands who have prayed for this ministry or someone involved in this ministry, you are a participant and have helped this ministry get to this point.

As we are "Raising Up Leaders in Rural Mexico", we are extremely excited about one of the biggest steps forward that this ministry has taken - A Bible Institute!  This is something we've been talking about for almost 10 years and it's a dream come true now that it's here.

Our Bible Institute is an extension of Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, California and we are looking forward to seeing how God uses this to further His Kingdom in Cofradia, the surrounding towns, the cities and villages in this region, and throughout the world.  It is definitely and exciting time for this ministry!

Last night was our first class of many as 15 students gathered together to watch a video through the online program at Summit.  The students watched intently as the professors taught about Bible Survey and the History of the Christian Church.
My personal intentions at first were to help the Pastors get prepared better for their service in the church.  Later, it turned into a great opportunity for other leaders and church members to grow in their understanding of the Bible and in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Summit Bible College (SBC) has been extremely generous by giving each student a huge discount.  Even though that discount helps make it possible for the students, many of them still struggle to make ends meat even without having to pay tuition.  The students' needs range from $300 to $480 dollars depending on the program they're involved in.  This ministry has been blessed by so many people who have invested their time and money and this Bible Institute is fruit of what has been invested.  Now is a great time to continue investing in the Cofradia Bible Institute or in one of the participating students below.  You can safely donate to our school online here or to one of the individuals by clicking the students' names under their photo: 
Pastor Gregorio Hernandez (Bachelor's/Master's Degree)
Lead Pastor
Pastor Luis Vazquez - Bachelor's Degree (above) and his wife Mari - Associates'/Bachelor's Degree (below)
Student Ministries Pastor

Pastor Horacio Garzon - Bachelor's Degree
Indigenous Pastor
Pastor Martin Garzon  - Bachelor's/Master's Degree
Indigenous Ministry, Student Ministry
Efigenia Silberman - Bachelor's Degree
Missionary Area Director, Women's Ministries
Sandy Garzon - Associates'/Bachelor's Degree
Missionary, Short-Term Missions Host, Church Treasurer, Secretary
Graciela Dueñas - Bachelor's Degree
Couples and Marriage Ministries
Angel Martinez - Bachelor's/Master's Degree
Elder, Home Group Ministries
Hugo Diaz - Bachelor's Degree
Elder, Student Ministries
Jesús Hernández - Bachelor's Degree (above) and his wife Cynthia Associates' Degree (below)
Diego Gonzalez - Associates'/Bachelor's Degree
Mily Garzon - Associates'/Bachelor's Degree
Beto Gonzalez - Associates' Degree
Thank you for your ministry of praying and partnering!