We want thank everyone who has been praying for our move from Durango to GTO.  The last week in Durango was extremely tough, a lot of tears and a lot of goodbyes to people we had shared our lives with in this past year.  It was difficult to leave, however we had to keep moving forward, knowing that Pastor Jay has been surrounded by mature men who are willing to hold up his arms as they keep serving the Lord there at Capilla Calvario Durango.

Well, with the help of several families, even one that drove down with us from Durango, we were able to unload the moving truck and begin to piece together the house.   I have to be honest and say that it has been one trial after another since we arrived and no matter how small the trial, it is still a trial and the enemy would love nothing more than for us to be distracted and discouraged.  I read a devotional by the late Adrian Rogers that said that the only tool in his tool box that Satan won’t sell is discouragement.  With that tool he can pry open the heart of a believer and do just about anything he wants.  We recognized very quickly what was going on and in prayers surrendered all of our fears, uncertainties and shortcomings.  He is so good to bring peace and courage/energy/boldness to keep going!  Thank you Lord.

Hector has begun to teach the bible study as of last week.  For the moment we are only meeting on Wednesday’s until after our trip to the states in late March.  Once we get back our hope is to find a meeting place and at the moment Hector is planning to “kick off” Sunday’s at what will be Calvary Chapel Guanajuato on Easter Sunday April 20!  Please join us in prayer as we search for a place, pray that we would be sensitive to His leading.  We are asking for an E-320 (Ephesians 3:20)!

Hope to see many of you in a few weeks.  We will leave you with what our logo will look like as we work on a website and Facebook page for the church.

CCGTOneg

Happy New Year!

January 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

I like the New Year.  I think its because I like fresh starts and new beginnings.  Who doesn’t right?  New sheets, blank canvases, freshly changed babies, these are a few of my favorite things.  My absolute favorite comes with every new morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

If His mercies are new every morning we don’t need a New Year to have a fresh start!

2014 will bring another fresh start for the Velarde Family.  As you may know we are leaving the ministry here in Durango.  Our time here has drawn to a close a bit sooner than we anticipated but we are very grateful for our time here.  We were able to get your feet wet in ministry here in Mexico.  It has been a very fruitful time and we are so thankful to Pastor Jay and his family for making our transition here so smooth.  Our time here has been a blessing.  We are also very thankful to have their full support in our next adventure with the Lord, planting a Calvary Chapel in Guanajuato, Guanajuato.

Take some time to  ”google” Guanajuato it’s and interesting city.  It’s full of history and culture and it’s university is internationally known.  While you do that take some time to pray for GTO as well.  Pray for those the Lord would have know Him more and those who have never known Him.  Pray for those who need a fresh start.

We will be visiting in a few weeks and are hoping to find a place to rent.  I am praying it will have room for living, schooling and visitors… and a fire place.  Our fire place has kept us warm this winter and I’ll miss it!  My other prayers are for our neighbors and that the Lord will place us in a place that will glorify Him.

If you want to get bi monthly update from us you can sign up for out email newsletter just to the right.

Tomorrow is another day, I am waiting for those new mercies.

 

It’s interesting how the Lord works and how we see Him at work in all the details of our lives if we just take the time to observe a little closer.  While we were in Albuquerque last week Jennifer’s parents offered to cook for us a great dinner before we went off to church at Calvary Albuquerque.  Jenns dad waited, which seemed too long for us, to cook the meal.  We figured we would be running late and struggle to find a seat, (for those of you who have been to Calvary ABQ you know that the place is packed and if you don’t get there early you wont find a seat, and that’s on a Wednesday night!)  We ate in a hurry and off we went.

While on the way there we were at a stoplight and in front of us walked a sad, old, dirty, scruffy homeless guy.  Jenn saw him knew right away, “that’s Larry!”

22 years prior I was a young, right out of high school, know it all when I stumbled across a job as a dishwasher in a local restaurant in Albuquerque.  I was 18 years old and heavily drinking, smoking and doing any drug that crossed my path.  Larry was one of the lead cooks there and as I grew with the company I was promoted to prep cook and from prep cook to line cook.  I was soon one of the guys, “the guys” ranging in age and life experience all had one thing in common, after work drinking binges and smoke-outs.  At work, Larry became instrumental in teaching me the ways of the kitchen and to him I attribute much of what I was able to take with me on a 25-year career in the restaurant industry.  I worked many years along side “Scary Larry”. I remember seeing a nice guy behind the long stringy hair and gruff manner.   In all that time I learned a lot from Larry, not all good.  Somewhere in 1995 I took another job and didn’t see Larry much after that.  In 1996 my wife and I both got saved on the same day and life changed for us from that point forward.  Shortly after that we moved away and started a new life in San Antonio.

Fast forward to our drive this week to church, we see a guy who looks like Larry crossing the street.  As we pulled up next to him and rolled down my window it was clear it was Larry.   It was also clear that Larry was not doing well. He looked 20 years older than his 54 years and he smelled like hangover and life on the streets.   “Is your name Larry?” I asked he said in a frail voice “yes”.  I asked if he remembered me, and he said he didn’t.  He asked my name and as I told him his face lights up as he recognizes me.  We talked for a few minutes and we offered to get him some food but he refused.   Getting to church was still in the back of my mind so we said our good byes and drove away with tears in both Jennifer’s and mine eyes. Our hearts broke for Larry.  He said he was buying a 1/5th of vodka and would pass out in a park down the road.

The church service was great, however it all seemed to apply to Larry and I couldn’t get him off my mind.  The Lord was telling me to go find him and share the love of Christ with him.  Jenn was feeling the same way though she never told me.

The next morning my son Isaiah (15) went to go see if we could find him.  I wanted Isaiah along side of me in this.  He knows much of our past life and I knew if we found Larry it would be a “colorful” conversation but we knew it was important for him to see his Dad obey God and share God’s love with Larry.

We drove and drove from park to park and couldn’t find him.  I was ready to give up after an hour of searching and thought that maybe we were just to be used to plant that seed in him the night before.  I gave it one last chance and drove down the street we saw him at the previous night.  Several miles down the road I caught a glimpse of a guy sleeping under a tree in a grassy area by the street.  We quickly pulled up close and confirmed it was Larry.  Isaiah and I prayed in the car and then started walking towards him.  Honestly, my heart was pounding, what was I going to tell a homeless guy?  This was different though, I knew Larry and because we had been friends, I felt that maybe, just maybe he would listen to me.  We walked up to him and I woke him up.  My heart was broken to see a guy who once was a productive member of society now asleep under a tree.  The next hour and half my son and I sat unde

r that tree with Larry as we recalled old stories, inquired about past co-workers of mine and of course looked for opportunities to share the Lord with him.  It was hard for me to see what the effects alcohol can have on a person; I couldn’t help but think that that could have been me.  Did God love me more than Larry?  What happened?  In the sermon from Wednesday night Pastor Skip had mentioned how all we can do for those who don’t believe is bring them to Jesus, i.e. the guy who Jesus spat in his eyes and healed him, the guy who was lowered through the hole in the roof to get a glimpse of Jesus.  All we can do is take them to the one can cure them.

I proceeded to share with Larry about the Lord and shared Romans 10:9-10 “9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

I told him it was that easy and asked if he had ever prayed that before.  He said he had twice.  I asked “did you mean it?” he said “no, neither time” He went on to say how he was not there yet and how he was trying.  Larry was not ready to accept Christ, if it wasn’t genuine he didn’t want it and for that I respected him.

What happened next I will never forget.  I looked him in the eye and, I told him that I loved him.  As soon as I said that tears starting coming down his face, almost as if nobody had ever told him that.  My love for him pales in comparison for the love that God has for him but all I could do was tell him that I loved him.  Scripture didn’t come to mind, witnessing tips I’ve read before didn’t come to mind, nothing.  All I had was “I love you”

Realizing the time I told him we had to get on our way, we offered him food but he declined.  As we were ready to leave I asked Larry if my son and I could pray for him.  He immediately said yes and working his skinny, frail body he managed to get on all fours and my son and I put our hands on him and right there in that park prayed for him.  With tears in my eyes I finished praying and saw that Larry too had tears again coming down his face, which he could not control.  We said our good byes and my son and I walked away that day crying and broken for a man that was reduced to skin and bones lying under a tree.

larryphoto

I don’t know if I will ever see or know what happens to Larry. We would ask you to pray for Larry.  Our prayer is that the seed we planted there that day will grow into a relationship with Christ.  My wife and I both knew and worked with Larry for many years and we believe that in that conversation he heard the gospel and he knows what his role is, which is simply to believe in his heart and confess Christ with his mouth.  I also believe that God spoke to him that day and in my heart I believe that he will be there when we get to heaven.  In the end we realize that the choice is up to him.

learning to breathe

June 5, 2013 — 1 Comment

blueback

Air is a funny thing. We all need it, we can’t survived for more than 3 minutes without it, and a slight change in the way the wind blows can change everything. I am learning how to breathe here in Durango. I’m not speaking literally even though the difference in humidity took all month to get used to. It’s that slight difference in the way the wind blows around here that I am learning to take in.

The first thing I noticed was the not so slight change in bed time. It’s about 2 hours later here for everyone. Now I could insist we maintain our old routine and my sanity and get everyone in bed by 9.  But we would have to kick our guests our just as they are arriving!  I am usually a night owl but with the new baby this has taken quite a few cleansing breaths to get over. It’s not just bed time, everything here happens later. Church starts at 11:30am on Sunday, stores stay open till 10 & dinner is at 2pm but 2nd dinner is at 8!

The next breeze that blew through was a lack of one. No AC. June and July are the hottest months here, welcome to Durango! “It’s a dry heat” unless its 2am and you have sweat through the sheets. It’s amazing how your body learns to adjust after 40 years being spoiled!

There are new smells (not all pleasant), new sounds floating on the breezes (not all soothing), and dust floats in to cover everything! BUT! (Thank God for the BUT! without one this would be a very whiney post)

BUT GOD is sending His Spirit like a fresh wind in to my soul here in Durango. He has put me in a place that I need Him so desperately that I truly can’t breathe without Him reminding me of His grace and mercy. I don’t speak the language well so I am hungry for fellowship and conversation. Where I would normally pick up the phone and call a friend or “unload” on a sweet listening friend at church, Jesus has been my constant companion. I am learning to breathe Him in, in a fresh way again.

I can’t find my way around the city yet so my sweet husband has to take me everywhere. Everywhere. God has allowed us to rely on each other. I am dependent once again and I am so thankful for Hector’s sweet spirit and willing heart to take me anywhere from the grocery store to the local flea market. Its a wind that could blow frustration between us BUT GOD is using it to push us closer together.

Not knowing the language has also inhibited my “go to” ministry tool…my mouth. I have to speak through interpreters or stumble through the basic conversation on my own. BUT GOD is showing me that words are not half as important as I always thought they were. This past week I met a grieving Mamma who had lost her 2 year old child suddenly. I had no words. All I could do was wrap her up in my arms and kiss her tired brow. I actually felt her melt in the presence of love. I have never had that happen before. What a God breathed lesson for my heart.

The little changes are hard sometimes. I have to remember in the moment to breathe deep and exhale slowly sometimes. BUT GOD is so faithful to fill my lungs with goodness as well as my soul.

In Him,

Jenn

Waiting…

March 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

waiting

As I read through the Bible I realize that waiting is part of the deal when walking with the Lord.  Noah, Moses, Aaron, Saul, David, Paul waited, and on and on I see that waiting is a good thing and something that our heroes of the faith went thru.  In our lives we see waiting as frustration but its in those times that the Lord will speak to us greatly.

The greatest example of waiting in the Bible, in my opinion, is in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  It’s amazing to me how long the Lord is willing to wait for us to come to Him.  In our eyes we consider it slow, if it was up to me I would sound the trumpet and let this whole thing come to an end!  Our God is one that is willing to put up with waiting in order that as many as will call on His name be saved.

I have never been a patient person, in fact I am into instant gratification.  Over the last 6 months we have been in a holding pattern as the Lord unfolds His plan for us.  It was exciting to us when we saw His direction and knew where we were to go and serve, the waiting was over!  As that waiting ended I realized that we were now waiting to have a baby, that waiting came and went and little Levi became a reality!  Next came the waiting to make the move to Mexico, the location was clear but now the exact how and when was next!  We found ourselves waiting to see when God wanted us to go.  That became clear and so off we went!  We were now waiting for Levi’s passport to come in and so we left Jennifer and Levi behind while we went on ahead and setup our new home.  As we arrived to Durango we learned that the home we had agreed to rent was not ready, the waiting continued!

Waiting is good for us.  I have realized that we will always be waiting for something and that if I take the same attitude the Lord takes when waiting for us to come to repentance then my outlook will change.  I will no longer despise waiting and the desire for  instant gratification will diminish. If I look at it as part of God’s plan and that Father knows best then I will begin to enjoy the waiting and look for opportunities to make the best out of that time.

I found this poem that I felt was appropriate.  Enjoy!

Still Waiting
Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain shall be;
To hear, with the inner hearing,
The Voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, quietly waiting!
No need for an anxious dread;
Shall He not assuredly guide me,
Who giveth me daily bread?

Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!
With hope that needn’t grow dim;
The Master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting! Yes, expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The Master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.

Waiting! Yes, trustfully waiting!
I know, though I’ve waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting, Still waiting!
The Master will not be late;
He knoweth that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate.
—J. D. Smith

Searching for a nest

January 23, 2013 — 1 Comment

nestEver heard of nesting?   Well, the end of every pregnancy comes with this overwhelming desire to make a nest for the baby.  Best case, it comes with a burst of energy too!  Usually nesting involves setting up the baby’s space, crazy cleaning and last minute shopping.  I’ve experienced this with all three of my kids just before they were born, but this time it’s a bit different.

We are staying with some of the most gracious people on the planet right now, Pastor Mike Rios and his wife Karina and their 3 kids.  They have been a tremendous blessing to us and have given us about two thirds of their home!  H and I have a room and the girls are sharing a room as well.  Isaiah has a place to sleep and shares our room for storage.  So my “nesting” has been limited to a spot at the end of our bed and a basket for the tiny clothes we have so far.  Its actually perfect and everything little “Peanut” needs.  Perfect and yet I am anxious to set up our home in Durango!  Anxious would be normal in for any woman but add in that nesting instinct and we are in overdrive people!  As always God’s timing is perfect and He has provided.  I just have to nest vicariously through H as he and our friend Pastor Yura look for our new “nest” in Durango this week.

As I get anxious I am taken back to Matthew 6

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?…34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This is one of those “life” verses for me.  It’s been with me since my first weeks as a believer when I saw the Lord provide and entire work wardrobe for me through 2 amazing women.  How much more important is a place for our family?  How much more must He care?  I have known His love over and over again in these past 16 years. I am sure he will give us a nest for our growing brood.

If you would like to pray with us in this here are some things to pray about:

  • We are budgeted to find a place for around 4000-4500 pesos, the market seems to have gone up a bit since we last researched it and it looks like we might be in the 5000-6000 peso range.  Pray for a reasonable price and God’s provision.
  • You don’t use a realtor to drive you around like you do in the States or on House Hunters International (wouldn’t that be cool?) so there is a lot of driving making phone calls and trying to meet up with individual landlords.  Pray they would be able to make those connections.
  • Pray for wisdom and confidence of the Lord’s will for H in choosing a home.  Can you imagine trying to pick a house your wife would be comfortable with without her seeing it?  Yeah, I am sure it’s hard.  I haven’t really made any demands remembering that “God gives His best to those who leave the choices up to Him”  I know what ever it is will be for a purpose and His glory.
  • Pray for our kids in advance of our going to be ready for a big lifestyle change.  Life is very different there starting with the homes.  They have been there and know what to expect somewhat but I would still covet your prayers.

So they still have most of the day on tomorrow and Thursday to search.  Tomorrow H is teaching the Wednesday night service at Calvary Chapel Durango and they hop on the bus home Thursday evening.   Prayers for the teaching and the travel as well!

I have a little more nesting to do tonight, I am crocheting a thick blanket for the baby to lay on (no carpet it’s all tile flooring)  I am determined he will not spend his entire life in the arms of his siblings!  He will have to have some tummy time and learn to walk and crawl eventually.  Good night all!

~Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Our mission begins…

December 13, 2012 — 3 Comments

Here we go, it has been a long road that has led to this point, God has been at work behind the scenes orchestrating things in various ways to make this a reality.  As we begin, we will use this site to introduce ourselves, our background, vision and updates of what God would have us do in His hands.  We pray that you would join in prayer as we step out and turn the page…