As we close out 2020, we thank God for what He's done through church planting in Mexico. Thanks to your faithful prayers and financial support:
There's still time to make a year end gift to train church planters who are reaching Mexico's cities. Your gift is ALWAYS tax deductible and will be used to plant churches and transform lives with the hope of the Gospel.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
2020 has been a year full of challenges and opportunities. We are grateful for God's grace that has gotten us through such an unprecedented year. Your financial partnership and prayers have also allowed us to plant churches and support church planters during a pandemic! Let's look back over what God has done in 2020.
AVANZA, IMPACTOnetwork's church planter assessment took place at the beginning of February 2020. This year there were five couples participating. Some were candidates for IMPACTOnetwork church plants while the others were invited by other ministries. AVANZA is meeting a large need in Mexico and Latin America as we know of no other organizations doing church planter assessments here.
In April, the whole IMPACTOnetwork church planting team started creating resources to help churches and pastors during the pandemic. Videos and training were produced on different topics such as technology resources, social networking sites, government regulations, working from home, and others. We continue to make resources to help churches navigate the transition to a more digital time.
Iglesia Cristiana La Viña had a non traditional anniversary celebration in May. Since we continued to meet digitally, the church encouraged people to celebrate at home. Many church members shared photos of their family watching the online Sunday service with balloons and cupcakes. Though it was a different way to observe the two year anniversary, we took time to praise God for what He has done at La Viña.
Iglesia Cristiana La Viña didn't want to leave its children without Biblical instruction while they are unable to meet together. In June, IMPACTOnetwork's media department taught the children's ministry team how to film and edit videos. Over the summer El Ancla's children's ministry team was also participating in the weekly filming. The class which includes songs, a Bible story and a craft is made available on Facebook on Sunday mornings. Friends on Facebook have shared these high quality children's classes in many different places in Mexico.
The federal government implemented a reopening scale which allowed Iglesia Cristiana La Viña to begin meeting in person in July. Life Groups started gathering at La Viña's building rather than in homes following social distancing and cleaning protocols. The church was encouraged to see one another in person after many months of only seeing each other thru screens!
Life Group facilitators did a great job during the spring and early summer continuing to meet with their Life Groups, conduct discipleship studies and check on members. We credit the Life Groups for helping the church remain stable during this time.
The Moreno family was getting settled back into life in Queretaro in the month of August. They are IMPACTOnetwork's Church Planting Residents for 2020-2021 preparing to plant a church in Mérida, Yucatán. They are participating in the online church planting residency courses and serving on staff at El Ancla Iglesia Cristiana.
In September, IMPACTOnetwork started offering two different church planting residency programs. One is the traditional church planting residency program that we teach to our Residents and senior year students at Mexico Christian University. The first semester was conducted all online and our IMPACTOnetwork staff and church planters modified the curriculum to be able to hold the classes over Zoom.
The online church planting training, másIMPACTO, saw a new group of 27 participants begin in September. They are from different states around Mexico and work independently on modules during the week and then meet digitally on Saturdays to review. We are excited to see how God uses this new digital platform to train more church planters.
El Ancla Iglesia Cristiana held its first Sunday services on October 4th. This new congregation launched during a pandemic has consistently been having over 40 people on Sunday mornings. Their Life Groups multiplied from two to three and continue to meet during the week. They have had new families from the community start attending with them because of the signage.
Throughout the craziest year any of us have ever experienced, God has still moved! He has touched hearts and transformed lives though church plants and Life Groups. Your prayers and financial giving help make it possible. We are so grateful for your partnership in training and sending church planters.
Iglesia Cristiana La Viña is rejoicing once again with new believers! On December 6th, six more people were baptized! Even in the midst of a global pandemic, God is moving. Evangelism has not stopped as people have been studying with friends and family members and introducing them to God's saving grace. At the beginning of the year the leadership team set a goal of 30 baptisms and we will finish 2020 with 24! During this crazy year where the church couldn't meet in person for twenty Sundays, there have still been twenty four people who have surrendered their lives to Christ in baptism. Praise God for how He has been working!
El Ancla Iglesia Cristiana has continued to meet in the midst of the pandemic. They have dealt with various Covid related challenges during the past month. A few members on the team have the virus which has caused them to modify their plans for Sunday celebrations. There was also a Sunday where due to an event taking place at their building, they had an online service. Please pray for the leadership team as they continue to make important decisions for the safety of the congregation. Pray that all those who have the virus will recover quickly without transmitting it to their family members.
The IMPACTOnetwork church planting team planned a day long retreat for La Viña and El Ancla's staff teams at the beginning of December. Unfortunately due to possible COVID-19 exposure, the in person gathering had to be changed. We all met on Zoom for a time of instruction and encouragement. In January, Lord willing, the teams will be able to enjoy the event, this time focusing more on fellowship and refreshment.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support of IMPACTOLatino's church planting ministry in Mexico. We are so grateful to have you as partners in training and sending church planters.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6
From our IMPACTOnetwork Church Planting family to your family: GRACIAS! We are so thankful for your partnership in planting churches! You are an essential part of our team reaching people who are far from Christ. Because of your prayers and financial giving, Iglesia Cristiana La Viña and El Ancla Iglesia Cristiana are impacting their communities. In person and online, church planters are being trained. Believers are growing in spiritual maturity through discipleship courses. Thank you for making it possible! May God continue to do good work in you as He is also doing here.
Iglesia Cristiana El Ancla (Anchor Christian Church) has been meeting on Sunday mornings for a month. They are currently having about 50 people in attendance. Three new families have been consistently attending and have expressed interest in serving. A new Life Group is also opening this month. We are excited to see how God is working in the El Mirador neighborhood. Church Planter Andrés García and his team are working hard to continue reaching out to the community to share with them God's news of rescue for all. You can be a part of what God is doing at El Ancla by investing in the new church plant.
Though the pandemic has affected Sunday morning gatherings and Life Groups, it has not been able to stop personal evangelism studies. On Sunday October 25, five people surrendered their lives to Christ in baptism at Iglesia Cristiana La Viña! It was excited to see Kike baptize his daughter Sofía and Cynthia baptize her dad Victor. Other Life Group leaders participated baptizing members of their groups with whom they had been studying. Praise God for these new believers! Pray for Victor, Sofía, Jesús, Luis, and Juan as they start their walk with Christ.
As we reflect on 2020 and the strange year it has been, one of the losses we have felt is not being able to minister along side short term groups who make sacrifices to come and serve in Mexico. We truly value our partnerships with churches and individuals in the United States who invest in church planting. Without you, our ministry would not be possible!
We are looking ahead to 2021 and it is our desire to be able to once again receive short term ministry teams. Our priority is the health and safety of trip participants and nationals. Because of this and the current climate, some modifications are being made. We are focusing on small groups of 7 or fewer participants which allows us to have more focused interaction with all. Ministry needs here in Mexico may include light renovation and improvement of church facilities. There is also a need for teachers in areas such as church planting and leadership development.
On a national level, Mexico is open for visitors with no quarantine requirements currently in place. Entering stores and restaurants requires the use of face coverings, temperature reading, and application of hand sanitizer. As we have seen throughout the duration of this year, all of this is subject to change. We are grateful to serve a God who never changes! Please contact Eric Duggins (firstname.lastname@example.org) about serving in Mexico with IMPACTOLatino. We look forward to continued partnership to reach Mexico’s cities with the Gospel of Christ.
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.
IMPACTO's General News and Updates
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