Archive for June, 2009

First VBS Training Workshop Successful – Mission Update

Posted in Mission Updates 2009 on June 27, 2009 by filerofish

2009 VBS TRAINING 00004Vacation Bible School has always been an effective tool in our efforts to reach out to the children in the community with the love of Christ. It is one of the most important evangelistic events during our summer schedule. However, this year we are facing a few new and unexpected challenges, such as the flu pandemic and the economic crisis. Normally we schedule at least one visiting missions’ team during this time of year, but the one group that was coming canceled their trip. These circumstances have significantly jeopardized the implementation of this year’s VBS.

In times like these, the tough get going. A couple of years ago, Miriam attended a training workshop for VBS teachers held locally, and she was inspired by it. Even so, she wondered if something similar would actually work among our local fellowship of churches. There has been very little cooperation among them for many years, but that is another story. The special needs that have arisen this season have affected us all equally, so maybe folk are becoming a bit more open to finding new solutions to old problems. Could this present crisis actually be a blessing in disguise?2009 VBS TRAINING 00006

Miriam and my sister Vicki got together and discussed the possibility of leading a training workshop together. This would truly be a first. I must confess that I had my doubts. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by their persistence and genuine desire to help and serve. They planned for a three-hour session during three days over this weekend. Invitations were printed and delivered and preparations were made. Miriam would teach for an hour and Vicki would lead the handcraft preparation. The first day we had people come from the Colonia Granjas del Gallo congregation. The total attendance was over 20 potential teachers and helpers. This Friday we had students from all four of the congregations which had been invited: Colonia Empleados, Colonia Revolucion, Colonia Granjas el Gallo, and our own church.

2009 VBS TRAINING 00009The participation has been excellent. The fellowship has been good also. Maybe this could be a start of something new. I had an opportunity to suggest the possibility of including an adult class in the future. That would give us even additional potential of reaching some of the parents of these kids. There is an idea!

Anyway, I am happy for Miriam and Vicki. They really needed this opportunity to become excited and motivated for the work again. They both work in the teaching profession and have taught Bible since they were very young. What a wonderful way of combining their talents for the greater cause of building the kingdom of God in the hearts of young people.


Celebrating my 49th birthday – Mission Update

Posted in Mission Updates 2009 on June 18, 2009 by filerofish

New ImageBy God’s grace I will be celebrating my 49th birthday tomorrow. I was born in 1960 at the tail end of what has been called the “Baby Boom Generation” – I identify more with the seventies. The world was in the middle of a Cold War and the Vietnam conflict (1957-1975) was raging on. It would eventually claim the lives of 3 to 4 million Vietnamese, 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 U.S. soldiers.

The sixties was one of the most revolutionary and momentous decades in all of history.  Time magazine selected the Baby Boom Generation as its 1966 “Man of the Year.” Never before “had youth been so idealized as they were at this moment” (Claire Raines). It was a time of dramatic social change.

A sampling of the events that shaped this generation would include the assassination of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr.; political unrest, the walk on the moon, risk of the draft into the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, social experimentation, sexual “revolution,” Roe V. Wade, drug experimentation, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, the women’s movement, protests and riots; Woodstock, mainstream rock from the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix. Dressing in mod clothes and transistor radios also became popular.

In Mexico, the sixties ushered in the student protests and the rise of leftist movements, which coincided with political unrest in many other countries. These were influenced by reports and images of events taking place in the United States and France. In 1968, the same year that the Olympic games would be celebrated in Mexico, students, teachers, intellectuals and average citizens in Mexico City protested against the authoritarian regime of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. On October 2, 1968, hundreds of protesters and innocent bystanders were killed during the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City.

Mexican youth living in major metropolitan areas were exposed to American rock music, and many of them became involved in the counterculture. The three-day Avándaro festival (1971), was the Mexican version of Woodstock. It caused such a scandal that the authorities prohibited rock performances for the rest of the decade. As a result, anything remotely associated with the counter-culture was censured. This proved to be an extremely repressive era in Mexican history. Even most forms of religious broadcasting were banned from the public airwaves.

In 1967, a major fulfillment in God’s prophetic timetable took place. During the Six-Day War Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt, Syria and Jordan, who had massed troops close to Israeli borders and blocked Israel’s access to the Red Sea. Israel won a decisive victory in which it re-captured the east Jerusalem and liberated the Temple Mount. This measure reignited international controversy over the final status of Jerusalem that is ongoing.

Nearly half of the Baby Boom generation dropped out of formal religion and began a search of alternative spirituality. The second half of the twentieth century saw the invasion of the Eastern cults in America.

In 1960 Pentecostal teachings spilled over into historic denominations and the Charismatic Movement was born (1960 for Protestants, 1967 for Roman Catholics) Harald Bredesen, a Lutheran minister, was the first to coined the term in 1962. I met Bredesen in person once during a conference in Cabo San Lucas and can attest to the fact that he had a remarkable ability to be very persuasive.

The origin of the Charismatic Movement is attributed to Father Dennis Bennett, an Episcopal priest. His book Nine O’Clock in the Morning gives a personal account of this period. Who would have guessed that charismatics would become the second largest branch of Christianity after the Roman Catholic Church. By the year 2000 the Charismatic Movement numbered 176 million, neocharismatics 295 million and Pentecostals 66 million). They are 27 percent of all Christians. Charismatics are growing at the rate of 9 million per year making the total adherents around 618 million by 2009. Wow!

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) completed their process of denominational “restructuring”, thus galvanizing the division between Disciples and the Independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. In the years that followed, many of the Independent Christian Church Congregations requested formal withdrawal from the yearbook.  The Consultation on Church Union (COCU) was founded in 1962 to negotiate a merger between its ten member denominations (African Methodist Episcopal Church,  African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian Church [Disciples of Christ], Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church [TEC], International Council of Community Churches, Moravian Church Northern Province, Presbyterian Church [USA], United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church), but was overwhelmingly rejected when it was proposed in 1969. As a result the Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) was inaugurated on January 20, 2002. CUIC is not a merger, but rather an intercommunion agreement whereby each member recognizes the others as part of the true church, and recognizes its rites (baptism, communion) as valid.

The Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) parted ways over issues regarding liberal theology and denominational structure within the Disciples of Christ. Ironically, many of these same issues are resurfacing today within the ranks of the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ through the “seeker-sensitive”/mega church and emergent church movements. The once vibrant direct-support missionary movement is rapidly fading away and only those “agencies” that fully subscribe to the centralized mega-church agenda remain. The remnant is shrinking and those missionaries who continue to hold to the Restoration plea are vastly outnumbered by a new breed of faith-only/ ecumenical neo-evangelicals.

A half century after the introduction of New Testament Christianity in Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California, our movement has to start all over again. The following practices are common, but they contradict the New Testament revelation:

  1. Adoption of the fourth-century model of church leadership – the monarchical bishop –  in which we find preachers calling themselves THE “pastor” of the church, usually at the expense of a Biblical model of qualified eldership.
  2. The formation of a extraecclesiastical governing body with jurisdiction over the local autonomous churches of Christ/ Christian churches.
  3. The written affirmation of doctrinal beliefs that is intended to be used  as a de facto CREED .
  4. The exclusion of certain individuals and/or congregations based on the general consensus of the group.
  5. Lording it over the flock of Christ

During these past few years, I have been search for God’s will for my life. I have repeatedly spent time in agonizing prayer pleading with Him to place me exactly where He wants me to be. After all, I want to be where He can use me the most for His glory and for the growth of His kingdom. I have knocked on many doors on both sides of the border. Some of them looked like they would open but were then slammed shut in my face. I must confess that I don’t have a clue of what is happening other than God seems like He wants me to stay put for now.

In case of an emergency, I don’t have anywhere to go or anyone to turn to. I am pretty much stuck with whatever circumstances come my way.

Tomorrow is my 49th birthday, and I am deeply concerned for the future of the church of Jesus Christ on either side of the boarder, and also for the future of my family. Nevertheless, God is still on his throne and prayer does change things. Please keep these matters in prayer.


Philip Watkinson


Posted in REVIVAL AND RENEWAL with tags , on June 12, 2009 by filerofish


“But there are those who are conscious before God that they are
rich. And, doubtless, some among you are of the number. You
have more of the goods of this world than is needful either for
yourself or your family. Let each consider for himself. Do your
riches increase? Do not you understand that plain expression?
Have you not more money, or more of money’s worth, than you
had ten or twenty years ago, or at this time last year?”
– John Wesley

“I doubt that more than two percent of professing Christians in
the United States are truly born again.”
-Leonard Ravenhill

Phone Interviewer: “Say you were asked, Leonard, to speak for
the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters,
and the Lord directed you to accept that invitation, what message
might you bring to that group?”
Ravenhill: “I believe I’d preach on hell.”

“Obedience is the crown and honour of all virtue.”
-Martin Luther

“the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing – and
the main thing is Christ.”
~Clay Peck

“Salvation is a helmet, not a nightcap.”
-Vance Havner

“Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, “Shake well before
using.” That is what God has to do with some of His people. He
has to shake them well before they are ever usable.”
-Vance Havner

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a
crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread,
broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box
that gives forth perfume . . . it is Peter, weeping bitterly, who
returns to greater power than ever.”
-Vance Havner

“The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God.
Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the
will of God there’s nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep
me in His will. If I’m out of his will that’s another matter. But
if I’m in His will, He’s sworn to keep me.” – A. W. Tozer,
– ‘Success and the Christian’.

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into
heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our
Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold
a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our
departure from the field of battle.” – C. T. Studd

“Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God.”
-Brennan Manning.

2009 Vacation Bible School and Family Camp Coming Up

Posted in Mission Updates 2009 on June 9, 2009 by filerofish

2008_vbs_ensenada00048With Vacation Bible School and Family Camp coming up just around the corner, we have no time to loose in order to get prepared. Last year, we had nearly 100 children attend during our VBS program, and this year we will probably have many more. Our camp usually has 50 or so in attendance. The obstacles for this year are greater than they have ever been. The combination of a world economic crisis, growing violence, and a health contingency have all contributed to an atmosphere of unprecedented fear and anxiety in the local community. The people yearn for a bit of peace in the midst of the storm. The church of Jesus Christ positively must respond to this need with a clear message of hope, love, and purpose.

This year, no short-term missions team has been scheduled to come down to help with these outreach events. One has been canceled by their church leadership do to concerns over perceived safety issues. Others are probably struggling with economic and logistical challenges, as well as with a rapidly changing political landscape at home. There is no question that our main adversary is behind each and every one of these developments. That’s why it is even more important that we respond with even a greater effort than before. We must combat fire with fire. This is a very real spiritual battle for the hearts and souls of men, women, and children! Their eternal destiny is at stake!camp-2008-044

We need to be asking ourselves the following question: Are we pleasing God or are we pleasing Satan? There is no middle grown here. We are running out of time and the clock is ticking away. There is only so much that we can do as missionaries. The people here are also limited to what they can afford, and that is not very much. So, we need your help to cover the expenses involved in both of these events. Please prayerfully consider helping with any of the following items:

VBS Needs:
• Lesson material (purchased locally)
• Bibles
• Blank CDs and DVDs
• Construction paper
• Glue sticks
• Crayons
• Handwork materials
• Prizes
• Refreshments
• Disposables (plates, cups, spoons, forks, paper towels, trash bags, etc)
• Candy
• Piñatas
• Games (that do not require reading English)

Camp Needs:
• 10 new or used family-size tents (for five people or more)
• 10-35 inflatable mattresses (preferably king size)
• A heavy-duty outdoor cooking stove (with the large burners)
• Kitchen supplies (soap, cleaners, sponges, brushes, cleaning pads, etc)
• Kitchen utensils (large pots, pans, knifes, spatulas, spoons, etc)
• Disposables (plates, cups, spoons, forks, paper towels, trash bags, etc)
• Imperishable food items:
o Pinto Beans (in large bags)
o Rice (in large bags)
o Tomato paste (large cans)
o Flour (large bags)
o Pancake mix (large boxes)
o Canned goods (meat, fruit, vegetables, etc)
o Cooking oil, vegetable shortening, margarine, etc.
o Spices and/or condiments (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, etc)
o Pastas
• Perishable goods (all purchased locally):
o Fresh vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce, cabbage, etc)
o Fresh fruit (lemons, bananas, oranges, apples, watermelons, etc)
o Beef
o Fish
o Chicken
o Drinking water

We look forward to hearing from you soon! May the love of Christ continue to constrain us to act in faith.

Philip Watkinson