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Monclova ’73

 Wednesday I returned from our mission investigation trip to Monterrey with Randy Wild and Dawne Phillips. Reports of violence tend to dominate the news from Monterrey.  Our trip was quite different.  Under the gracious hosting and guidance of Bishop Raul Garcia (Eastern Conference, The Methodist Church of Mexico), we felt (and were) quite safe. I came away not only enthused about mission possibilities but inspired by their faithfulness and spiritual courage.  We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters in Mexico. One of the great inspirations was hearing about the work of the Holy Spirit at Temple el Buen Pastor.  In 1973 with the church and conference in steep decline, a regular district preachers’ meeting was held.  In the midst of their worship, a powerful intervention of the Spirit happened.  During the sermon people started to confess their sins, pray out loud and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  That event marked the turnaround of the Methodist Church of Mexico.  Today it is a growing church (both the local church and the larger Methodist Church of Mexico) sending missionaries out to others! Temple el Buen Pastor seats about 150 in worship in a cramped physical facility.  Every time they get up to that amount they start a new church somewhere else in Monclova. They’ve started something like 13 new churches.  The most recent was just this year.  They are reaching out dramatically with ministry to the poor and engaging in deep conversion experiences. They look like what early Methodism sounds like.  I cannot help but wonder if God sent the 3 of us to Monclova to learn what the Lord longs to do for us.