Archive for May, 2009

MEN’S RALLY IN HERMOSILLO-MISSION UPDATE

Posted in Mission Updates 2009 on May 7, 2009 by filerofish

Cerro De La Campana, a Landmark in Hermosillo
Cerro De La Campana, a Landmark in Hermosillo

The lack of clear information in about the supposed “swine flu” pandemic, and the confusion regarding the measures taken by the health authorities to combat this threat, were not enough to keep a couple dozen men from celebrating the second annual regional men’s rally this past weekend in Hermosillo, Sonora. Church leaders representing congregations located in Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur met at the Colonia Olivares Church of Christ in the capital city for a couple of days of Bible teaching and fellowship.

Among the subjects that were covered in the conference, I was privileged to speak on the “Restoration of Biblical Eldership” and “The History of the Restoration Movement.” For obvious reasons, I was only able to present a very brief introduction to each one, but the additional handouts and bibliographies should help to guide any in-depth personal study that the attendees wish to engage in. Other speakers touched on family and leadership issues that were also interesting.

As we enter this twenty first century, there exists a huge need in the church for solid expositional teaching from

Men's Rally at Colonia Olivares Church of Christ
Men’s Rally at Colonia Olivares Church of Christ

the Scriptures on a variety of topics. One of the areas of study that has been widely neglected has been the nature, organization and mission of the church (otherwise known as “ecclesiology”). A proper knowledge and handling of Biblical ecclesiology is essential to the restoration and renewal of the New Testament church in our day. Someone once said that we either mobilize or fossilize. Ever since the 70’s, our brotherhood has slowly become institutionalized to the degree that it has taken on all of the attributes of another sect or denomination of Christendom. If we are going to impact our generation with the plea to be “Christians only”, we must awake from our spiritual coma and renew our efforts to seek after that model of the church as exists in the mind of God.

Our Lord Jesus is coming back for a bride without spot or wrinkle. We still have a long way to go to achieve the goal set fourth by the apostle Paul: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:12-13).

Jose Luis Rodriguez Teaching Class
Jose Luis Rodriguez Teaching Class

This men’s rally also offers us a great opportunity to strengthen the ties of unity and Christian love among men of faith who carry the weight of responsibility in the ministry. The Lord’ work can often be a very lonely and misunderstood occupation. For this reason we welcome every chance we get to share our burdens and edify each other in the Lord.

In spite of the decreased attendance in comparison with last year, there was a healthy atmosphere of camaraderie among colleagues and brothers. The food was excellent and our hosts were superb in every aspect. We thank God for their services and care that they displayed toward our every need.

On Sunday, my family and I also had the privilege of visiting the Colonia Villa de Seris church toward the center of Hermosillo. This is where brother Alejandro Julian has been ministering for many years now. We had a wonderful time in worship, Bible study, thanksgiving and fellowship. After the meeting, the brethren prepared a marvelous seafood meal for everyone. I was personally blessed by my conversation with brother Julian, who presented a written testimony of the history of the indigenous church in Nueva Rosita Coahuila authored by his brother Emilio. It is an incredible story of how the New Testament church got started there, even before any contact was made with outside missionaries. This is just one part of his account, but I intend to publish it all in English before the end of the year, Lord willing.

Sharing Church History
Sharing Church History

As some of you know, the restoration of the church did not begin with Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell in the 18th and 19th century. That is just the American stream of this move of the Holy Spirit. God has always had a remnant of his people somewhere on the face of this earth as Jesus Christ promised that he would. Occasionally, spontaneous and indigenous movements have sprung up here and there as the result of the distribution of the scriptures in the local vernacular tongue. Mexico is no exception. The church in Nueva Rosita, Coahuila got its start with the evangelistic work of a man named Daniel Sanchez Riojas in the mid 1920’s, long before this particular congregation had contact with Colegio Biblico in Eagle Pass, TX. Other similar movements have sprung up under the direction of Thomas and Enrique Westrup, Antonio Medina, etc. I have heard reports of such groups coming into being in other parts of the country as well.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to discover how the Lord has been calling a people unto himself in various parts of the world? If you or someone else has access to similar information about the indigenous church in your part of the “woods”, please do share!

Colonia Ranchito Church of Christ
Colonia Ranchito Church of Christ

Before leaving Hermosillo to make the long hot trip home, we passed by the Colonia El Ranchito church where Miriam grew up as a little girl. This is also the head of the Religious Association that is directed by Alejandro Julian. It is one of the oldest church-buildings in the entire northwest region. It was here where my parents first began their missionary work in Mexico in 1955.

Please do continue to pray for us diligently. It is our only lifeline and source of refuge in these turbulent times.

Love,

Philip W.

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