This Sunday, October 4th, El Ancla Iglesia Cristiana (Anchor Christian Church) will hold its first public Sunday services. The team has been hard at work the last month preparing the space they are renting. They have installed the electric set up and flooring, built children's classrooms and a stage , and put up drywall among other things. Chairs have been purchased and set up. Hundreds of Bibles were provided by International Disaster Emergency Services. They are promoting on social media and through their Life Groups.
The launch team has held two preview services in their facility. These services allow them in a way to practice what a normal Sunday will be life. They are able to identify and resolve problem areas. It also builds morale and excitement for the team who have been working toward this big beginning for many, many months. On Saturday evening, they will be holding a building dedication celebration for friends and supporters in the area. It will be a time of prayer and praise in preparation for Launch Sunday.
Please pray for the final preparations this week. Pray for Andrés and his team. Pray for those in the community who have heard about the new church, that they will be moved to check it out. Pray that God's word will be presented in a clear, attractive way. Pray that this Sunday, October 4th, 2020, at 11am Central time will be the beginning of a new chapter in the community of El Mirador.
On August 9, Iglesia Cristiana La Viña met in person for the first time since mid March. The leadership team spent many hours praying and planning for our return to "large" group gatherings. Due to government social distancing and space regulations, we're only allowed to have 40 people the the room together. In order to accommodate this, the schedule changed to have two services. Chairs are spaced out, people wear masks, and lots of hand sanitizer is applied! Services are still being transmitted online for those who are unable to return in person. Please pray for the congregation as they restart meeting again. It feels a little bit like re-launching after having such a long time apart.
It's almost time! The El Ancla church plant team has been working hard even during the pandemic to reach the El Mirador neighborhood. This week they signed a contract to rent a space for weekly gatherings. The team is working hard to prepare for the launch of Sunday morning gatherings on October 4th. Please pray for the team as they have a finish (really, starting) line in view. Pray that the people they're doing studies with will join them on Sunday mornings.
The school year has began at the beginning of August for IMPACTOnetwork. The church planting residency training started its third year in partnership with Mexico Christian University (UCM). Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the class is currently meeting online. We hope that we will be able to meet with the students in person soon! The 36 week program is taught by different IMPACTOnetwork staff members and church planters. IMPACTOnetwork Church Planting Residents Tony and Jackie Moreno are leading the group with their projects. Tony and Jackie are also serving with the El Ancla church plant team.
Along with the church planting residency being taught to UCM students, there is another group taking the residency online. Sergio Alvarado, Director of Church Planting is spearheading this new project. There are 27 students from different places in Mexico who are learning new church planting concepts. We thank God for the opportunity to share with people who are impacting communities all over the country.
Mexico is starting to move towards reopening on a state by state basis. The state of Querétaro where we are based is currently in level orange (#2 of 4 phases). Church buildings are allowed to be open with 25% occupancy but no religious services are to be held. We are working to make plans for when we will once again gather together in person for Sunday morning worship. Please pray for the leadership to be united in making smart and safe decisions for all.
The team for El Ancla church continues to diligently work during this time of social distancing. The staff is thankful for how God has been working in the pandemic. Because of people being at home more and having more availability, they have made contacts and multiplied their Life Groups. There are 38 people currently participating in 3 different groups. While the adults have their study, the kids watch the video programming made by the El Ancla and La Viña team. Each family has also been given craft bags for the activity done in each lesson. The team is planning for another multiplication later this month. The launch of Sunday morning services is planned for September 20th. Please pray for the negotiations that go with the process of renting a facility. Please pray for this team working hard in many different ways to reach out to their community during this time.
The Moreno family arrived in Querétaro the first week of July. Tony and Jacky were invited to be IMPACTOnetwork's church planting residents for 2020-2021 after their participation in AVANZA. Tony is a graduate of Mexico Christian University and Jacky is currently studying counseling. They are originally from Yucatan, Mexico and have ministry experience from working on staff for a few years at an established church. They will participate in the Church Planting Residency program that begins in August. They will gain first hand experience by serving on the launch team and staff of the El Ancla church. Their sons Arath and Rahyan are 13 and 9. Please pray for them as they begin this new time of learning and serving.
La Viña continues to hold its Sunday morning services online as they await governmental permission to resume congregational gatherings. The Life Groups began to meet in person the first week of July in La Viña's building. Along with normal Life Group Bible study and discussion, the groups take communion together and give offering. Many Life Groups are doing well with all (or more) of the regular members returning. Other groups have struggled with attendance due to employment or health/age factors. Please pray for the congregation that they will continue to meet weekly with their Life Groups as well as excitedly await Sunday morning celebrations. Pray for the leadership as they continue to develop plans for restarting Sunday morning gatherings.
The children's ministry teams from La Viña and El Ancla have teamed up to produce online Sunday school classes for elementary age children. Each week they are taping a lesson, songs, and a craft so the children will continue to have a fun and exciting time learning about Jesus. There are very few online children's ministry resources in Spanish so this has filled a big gap during this digital time. The teachers have done an excellent job and the videos are being shared on Facebook by members of the two congregations and friends around Mexico!
We are grateful for your partnership in church planting. You make it possible to reach Querétaro and other major cities in Mexico. We pray that you and your family are healthy and seeing God's blessings in your life.
In May, Iglesia Cristiana La Viña celebrated its second birthday! We had a non traditional celebration, as everyone is still under stay at home orders. People had cake at home and shared pictures on social media. Though we couldn't be together in person, we focused on the amazing things that God has done during this past year! Join us in rejoicing:
Since last May, 26 people have been baptized! From May to December 2019, there was a weekly average attendance of 96 people. In the first 3 months of 2020, we saw an increase to 121 people weekly. There are currently six Life Groups meeting, some of which are ready to multiply. The "To the Peak of Victory" discipleship course continues to train leaders who will open new Life Groups.
Iglesia Cristiana El Ancla continues to reach out to its community, even during this time of staying at home. A new Life Group comprised of people with no church background was launched mid May and has been going well. New contacts have also been joining the established Life Groups. The team is encouraged by these new relationships and covets your prayers!
Mexico's stay at home orders have been extended, though there is a plan for systematic opening of the economy and social sectors. The status of each state is currently being reviewed weekly to qualify for the next level of opening. Querétaro, along with all states except for one, is currently in the most restricted level. The IMPACTOnetwork church planting team, as well as Iglesia Cristiana La Viña and Iglesia Cristiana El Ancla are working on plans for how gatherings, both Life Groups and Sunday mornings, will look once they are authorized. Please pray for our leadership teams as we make decisions looking to reunite the congregation while also protecting our people and our witness in the community.
Mexico has extended its "Stay at Home" orders until May 30 so we continue to serve the best way we safely can. Here's a look at what we're doing to reach our community and equip churches during this all digital age:
The El Ancla Church Plant has been affected by the Covid-19 suspensions though their cell groups and leadership team continue to meet over Zoom. There were many different outreach events planned for this spring ramping up to the launch, all which have been cancelled. The launch date has been officially moved to the fall. Church Planter Andrés García has seen the silver lining during this time. Due to everyone being at home, they have been able to meet more neighbors and make more connections with people. This has led to a new cell group of all new contacts beginning during the first week of May! Praise God for these new relationships and ask that He will bring fruit from these new studies!
Iglesia Cristiana La Viña is transmitting its services online using Facebook. Its Life Groups meet throughout the week with the help of Zoom, Messenger and Whatsapp. "To the Peak of Victory" Discipleship studies continue due to dedicated Life Group leaders. We are even planning a special celebration for
The past two Saturdays, the church held a drive thru food pantry where people could drop off donations as well as take needed items. There was great support from the congregation as well as the community. People driving by stopped and gave food and money to help take care of those who are struggling right now. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve our community in this way as well as get the name and mission of the church out to those who may not yet know Christ.
The IMPACTOnetwork Church Planting team continues to create and distribute content to help leaders and churches be more effective during this time. Malle Sánchez, our multimedia director is working overtime shooting, editing, and posting new material. We are so grateful for his heart to equip churches and leaders with the use of technology.
IMPACTO Latino's Board of Advisors met (over Zoom of course!) at the end of April to review the ministry that is going on in Mexico. No one knows for certain what the next few months will hold for churches in Mexico or in the United States. We do know that God has it all worked out! We are grateful for a wonderful team that encourages us and champions the work going on here!
Mexico is facing another big crisis with declining oil prices. Oil is one of Mexico's biggest exports and the drastic fall in prices could cause major trouble and instability for the government and the country. Please pray that God would give those in power wisdom in how to deal with this situation. Pray that there would be stability in all sectors of the country.
Here in Mexico, we're also dealing with the Coronavirus though it is not on the same scale as is being seen around the United States. On March 14th, schools were cancelled through April 20th (the previously scheduled end of Easter break). This past weekend the date was extended to April 30. The federal and state governments are asking that people stay at home and restrict all non essential travel and gatherings.
The IMPACTO Latino missionary team is actively working to equip churches during this new digital era. Through the multimedia team with the IMPACTOnetwork church planting project, we have created and shared new content to help churches with social media, tutorials teaching about technology like Zoom, as well as sharing local and national news bulletins affecting churches. We are working diligently to help churches expand their reach during this time when personal contact is limited.
The churches that we have planted have also had to modify how they are reaching their community and caring for their members. Iglesia Cristiana La Viña's Sunday services are being transmitted online. La Viña and El Ancla's Life Groups are all meeting virtually with the help of Zoom, Messenger or Whatsapp. It has been complicated trying to coordinate tapings and transmissions but we are encouraged to see that these broadcasts are reaching many more than a normal Sunday. Please pray that God would work in the hearts of those connecting with La Viña online and we would be able to personally connect and follow up with them as well.
Thank you for your continued prayers and giving to IMPACTO Latino. You are helping us expand God's Kingdom in Mexico and Latin America during an uncertain time. May God bless you and your family in amazing ways!
The El Ancla church plant team continues to be present in the unchurched El Mirador neighborhood. Community outreach events are being put on hold for a while due to the Covid-19 precautions. Life Groups will be continuing online rather than in person. This is an unprecedented time for all of us, especially a new church plant that is starting to be known in the neighborhood. Please continue to pray for the leadership as they navigate a difficult situation.
The church plant is still in need of funds to reach its neighbors. Please consider how God is calling you to participate in transforming life with the hope of Christ.
Our IMPACTO Latino team has been working hard to better communicate what we do. We've been refining our message as well as our vision for training and empowering church planters who plant churches that transform lives and communities. Eric and Dee Duggins will be traveling to the United States in a few months to visit churches, individuales, and organizations to share this important mission. If you'd like to find out more about how you can be a part of life transformation in Latin America, contact Eric Duggins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here in Mexico we're staying connected to the news and watching how things are affecting our dear friends and family in the United States. We seem to be a week or two behind in the spread of Covid-19. Classes were cancelled this week until April 20 for all public and private schools. Employers are allowing and encouraging people to work from home. People are encouraged to stay at home and practice social distancing.
We are keeping informed with official government recommendations and as of today. We have been monitoring it in order to make wise decisions for Iglesia Cristiana La Viña. The Management Team and elders of La Viña decided on Tuesday afternoon to change our cell groups to a digital format and the Sunday celebration will be streamed on facebook. We want to protect the most vulnerable in the congregation and the community in general. Pray for our staff as we make the necessary changes to do this well. El Ancla church plant has transitioned its Life Groups to an online format as well.
As you pray for your community, please also pray for Mexico as it faces this public health crisis.
AVANZA, IMPACTOnetwork's church planter assessment event, took place January 30 - February 3. After 4 long days of workshops and activities, the 5 candidate couples received a personalized recommendation report compiled by our team of 10 observers. Some of the candidates were sent from other ministries who partnered with IMPACTOnetwork to receive more complete information about their church planter. The rest of the couples were potential church planters with IMPACTOnetwork.
Holly Alvarado, Director of AVANZA, said she was excited to see all the couples leave encouraged and with the anticipation of seeing what God will do in their lives in the future. She also was grateful for the opportunity to have observers from other organizations participating in AVANZA. We continue to look for ways to work together with other ministries who are focused on Kingdom growth.
Please be praying for the IMPACTOnetwork team as we evaluate the couples and their recommendations as we look ahead to future church plants. Pray that God will encourage them all as they continue to grow in their personal lives and ministries.
On Sunday January 26, Amador and Julia were baptized in their home. La Viña's Villa del Lago Life Group first met Amador and Julia in November during a Life Group week of service. The Life Group was given their names by other members of La Viña because of their situation. Amador had ALS and was bedridden. Julia, his wife, became his full time care giver and they struggled with having resources to provide for the special needs arising from his condition. The group collected and delivered food and adult diapers and spent time praying with them.
Soon after, Julia started attending La Viña's Sunday morning celebration and Life Group. Héctor visited them and studied what the Bible tells us about baptism with them. They shared their desire to be baptized and the group mobilized once again. Using a portable baptistry from the local Bible college, a group from La Viña went to their house and baptized the couple. Members from La Viña were able to get them a hospital bed to make Amador more comfortable in their home.
Last week, Amador was in the hospital for a few days in very serious condition. His family took him home of Friday and on Sunday afternoon we received word from Julia that Amador passed away around noon. Immediately, Héctor went with some members of Villa del Lago Life Group to visit Julia. She was at peace and glad that he was finally resting. Sunday night, there was a wake in the home which a group of La Viña members attended. They were able to share from God's word with the family and sing songs of hope and the peace that only Christ brings.
Rejoice with us that Amador is no longer suffering but has been made whole in Heaven! Pray for Julia as she begins a new chapter of life without her beloved husband. Ask God to overflow peace and comfort in her life. Pray that the family members who heard the message of salvation and hope would have their hearts penetrated by it.
El Ancla church plant continues to be active in the unchurched El Mirador neighborhood. Weekly Life Groups meet to study how the Bible applies to our everyday lives. Connection activities will begin during the next month. They will be offering music classes to kids and adults in the area. They are also organizing a "Movie in the Park" night for the community. All of these activities are being done to make connections with people in the community and raise awareness of the new church plant.
The anniversary celebration for La Viña in May will also serve as a Multiplication Party for the launch team of El Ancla. We will celebrate together God's faithfulness in the preparation for this project and bless and send those El Ancla members who have been part of La Viña. The church plant still needs funds to make the vision of impacting El Mirador a reality. Your financial partnership helps make life transformation possible!
Please pray for Lead Planter Andrés and his wife Bitia as well as Misael and Dennise who are part of the staff team. Ask God to continue to orchestrate providential connections in the neighborhood. Pray that God would show you how you can reach people in El Mirador through investing in the El Ancla church plant.
AVANZA, IMPACTOnetwork's Church Planter Assessment event, is this weekend! On Thursday, January 30th, 11 observers will arrive in Querétaro for training and explanation of the process. The 10 candidates (5 couples) will arrive on Friday afternoon. The event ends on Monday afternoon. The weekend will be overflowing with activities and challenges for all the candidates and observers.
Many of the observers are new this year. Please pray that the group will have discernment to see beyond the surface level and be united in their recommendations.
Pray for the candidates as they go through this process. The days will be long and full of information. There will be lots of opportunities for them to be stretched. Pray that God will confirm His calling on their lives. Pray that this will be an uplifting and encouraging experience for them.
Pray for the IMPACTOnetwork staff that is organizing the event. Pray for AVANZA Director, Holly Alvarado as she coordinates lots of moving pieces. Pray for stamina for all involved. Pray that out of AVANZA, there will be a strong candidate to plant the next church with IMPACTOnetwork.
At the end of January, IMPACTOnetwork will hold its church planter assessment for the third time. AVANZA, under the leadership of Holly Alvarado, has continued to grow and develop into an important tool for not only IMPACTOnetwork but for other ministries around Mexico. This session consists of a mix of church planter candidates for future IMPACTOnetwork church plants as well as candidates for 2 other ministries.
Observer orientation will be held January 30-31. The candidates arrive in the afternoon of January 31 and continue thru February 3. Please pray for IMPACTOnetwork team as these will be long days of coordination and behind the scenes work.
Please pray for the candidates as they prepare for this intense event and what God has in store for them. Candidates: Misael and Dennise, Seúl and Sarah , Yamil and Jetsy, Jose Antonio and Jaque, and Tony and Jackie.
Please also pray for the observers who play such a critical role in this process. Pray that God will give them vision, discernment and unity. Observers: Holly, Eric, Caren, David, Ely, Obi, Gerardo, Eleazar, Hada, Elí, and Andrés.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued partnership with IMPACTO Latino!
Because of you in 2019:
19 people were baptized
10 Life Groups gathered
People from 14 different congregations were trained
Over 1,000 people have been impacted by our resources
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