Friday, September 28, 2007

The Coming Earthquake (Part 2)

I've been wavering on whether or not I should post this, as many people in Latin America claim to be prophets (and many are not). But here it is: Several "prophets" have foretold of a coming earthquake in October that will shake the city immensely. These prophecies have supposedly come on different occasions from different people who have not had contact with one another.

The last time a major earthquake hit Mexico City was in 1985. The 8.1 magnitude quake killed thousands and left around 100,000 people homeless. The city has grown considerably since then, and an earthquake now would cause even more damage and loss of life.

Pachuca Student Movement

Here's a sweet story. Let me set it up in just a few sentences.

This past summer, we had 14 amazing people on our Mexico Journey summer project. Five of those students spent two weeks in Pachuca (about an hour north of Mexico City). They met Main and Javier there, two really sharp (and really fun) student leaders. Get this...not long before our MJ students showed up, Main's mom had heard a prophecy regarding a coming revival in the communications sector of Latin America, specifically concerning students studying communications. Main was a communications major. She gathered a few students and began to pray for her campus. Then, our gang showed up.

Our student team spent lots of time with Main and Javo and gave them a few simple steps to launch a movement on their campus. They worked hard at the beginning of this school year to get things going. This past Wednesday they had their first outreach - a dinner catered for their friends complete with an impressive shadow show (that's right, and it was cool), a well-done video of their testimonies, and a clear presentation of the Gospel. What else would you expect from a group of communications majors?

About 20 students showed up, which is what they planned on. As far as I could tell, every student had a great time. All of their friends felt welcome and cared for, and they heard more about Jesus. I was able to walk through the Gospel again with one of the girls after the event. She had a few questions about surrendering her heart to God. No doubt Main and Javo will continue to point her and the rest of their friends toward Christ.

Afterwards, Caitlin Hutchins led the leaders through a quick training in how to use Life Transformation Groups, as one of the leaders was really excited about them. May God do a mighty work through these sold-out students! Enjoy the fruit of your work Journeyers!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The One Challenge

Ready for a nationwide student movement? Want to eradicate extreme poverty? Want to experience a little competitive rush for a greater good? Check out the university challenge at ONE.

Monday, September 24, 2007

32 New Movements?...Not Bad for One Day

Our four hour training time on Saturday, turned into an 8 hour marathon...only in Latin America could we get away with that. Thanks Lord. This was our first training time of the new school year, and despite some normal learning curve stuff, we had an amazing day. Caitlin Hutchins did an outstanding job directing the time! The staff all did a great job.

86 people showed up at a church outside the city to learn how to launch movements. Over half of those were students. At the end of the day, these people committed to launching 32 different movements. Most of those movements are on high school and college campuses, but some of the adults committed to launching a hospital ministry and a taxi cab driver ministry. That last one is my favorite.

They all left trained in how to share their faith using the Four Spiritual Laws and their personal testimony. We also walked them through a strategic planning process, so each of them knew the vision and their next steps. We even had one person receive Christ during the training time! Oh yeah baby!

Another great part...the pastor of the church and all the elders have committed to coaching all of these new movement launchers along with our help. They set another follow up training time to ensure that they move forward. And they have adopted several university campuses to ensure those campuses will always have a movement.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enfoque México Stadium Training Event

When Craig Johring first heard the call to come to Mexico City, he envisioned a training event in a stadium full of students passionate about worshiping Christ with their lives. When we first came down here last year, we drew up a plan that included a 15,000 person training event for the fall of 2008.

This past summer I heard that Passion was planning on going international, so I decided to give them a ring. The first person I spoke to was Gina Shaw (Louie Giglio's sister). She told me that Passion was indeed planning on coming to Mexico and that she was part of the exploratory team that would scope out Mexico City in September.

She also told me that they would like to hold their event in the fall of 2008. I could hardly believe it. I sensed the Lord's hand. Could we partner together to help thousands of Mexican students live for God's glory and launch movements on their campuses to put the Gospel within arms reach of 1,000,000 college students?

The answer is... yet to be determined, but we had an incredible time hanging out with Gina and Matt and Melissa Morris on Friday. They love the Lord deeply and want to step into what God is doing here in Mexico City. As you read this right now ask Jesus to help us figure out how together we can spread His glory here and enable students to do the same!

We had such a fun time connecting. Gina has a family with seven kids. No wonder she's so much fun to hang out with. Matt and Melissa now live in Houston and are pretty cool themselves. Matt actually planned the original OneDay event. Great folks!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ragin' Party

I must say that our student party was rockin' this past weekend. It's a little intimidating throwing a party for Mexican students around their independence day, but our team pulled out all the stops and everyone had a great time. We had over 30 of our student leaders show up for our 7-hour party extravaganza, and our newest team member (and the biggest white guy on our team) Kevin Dahl rolled into town!

More pictures here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sleep and Scandalous Musicals

Your prayers made the difference. I've actually slept through the night the past three nights. Thanks for your emails and comments letting me know that you're praying for me. Continue to pray for REVIVAL here, and I'll let you know when that prayer is answered.

So, I took a good friend and teammate to musical rehearsal on Sunday morning. Caitlin loves to dance and sing and has a huge heart for the art/theater world. We traveled across the city to what at first looked like some high school rendition of RENT in someone's garage. It turned out to be a college rendition of RENT in someone's large

Now if you've seen rent, you know some of the scandalous stuff in it. I've actually never seen it myself, but have a good enough idea from Caitlin's descriptions. However, the Lord had been speaking to Caitlin specifically about this opportunity even before she came to Mexico. So, she humbled herself to take a choir role in the musical and is already building some great relationships with these cool college students. She's also praying that they keep the pelvic thrusts to a minimum. Amen.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In the Battle

I truly believe God has some radical things in store for this country in the coming years. And I love Jesus and expanding His reign here. That's probably what really disgusts Satan. So it would make sense that I haven't slept through the night once since I returned to Mexico City three weeks ago. Thankfully my body feels rested, but I continually experience strange dreams and wake up at odd hours.

Almost everyday (no joke) we have some amazing experience. This morning David Bedolla (our Mexico National Director), Craig and I connected with Benjamín Rivera, a pastor who has walked the long dusty roads of Mexico City (figuratively speaking) for over 20 years to bring Jesus to thousands of his countrymen. This guy is really amazing. He explained what he sees God doing right now and how we can play a role in that. We just gained another incredibly valuable ministry partner and friend.

You can bet Satan spits when he sees Jesus' followers truly start living and acting like the body of Christ. I think he's losing a little sleep himself.

Falling Trees

A tree right outside of our apartment just decided to fall across the road for no apparent reason this evening. Nobody was hurt, but the other trees looked really sad.

Life Transformation Group Questions

I received a few questions from a fellow movement-launcher about the LTG model. I thought I'd pass the dialogue on to you, in case you had similar questions:

How is the environment of LTGs an attractive place for nonbelievers?

The concept of involving a pre-Christian (PC) in an LTG came from a discussion I had with Jaeson Ma, who continually processes the LTG model with Neil Cole (author of Organic Church and creator of the LTG model). He had seen some success involving pre-Christians in the groups. Although the group has a high commitment to Jesus, most PCs like discovering more about Jesus in the context of their relationships with their friends. I must admit that I had my doubts about this. I decided to give it a shot anyway. I soon discovered that students do indeed have some close friends that want to discover Christ in this context. Now, in all honesty, I still have doubts as to whether every LTG can involve a PC, so I don’t apply it as a hard and fast rule everywhere. But the group always focuses on starting other groups.

I love the idea, but I’m curious how it actually fosters rapid multiplication. For instance, I can see how focused it is on “who can I tell?” and on intentional prayer. But how does a person jump from listening to somebody tell them what God is teaching them to agreeing to be a part of a weekly accountability and confession time?

The rapid multiplication comes from believers helping other believers and new believers start groups. As a follower of Jesus, I’m continually looking for opportunities to help people move closer to the Lord, whether they are a believer or a non-believer. When I find other believers, I help them see the value of starting an LTG to experience Jesus more in their everyday lives. When someone comes to Christ, I can immediately involve them in an LTG to help them become disciples of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a lifestyle. The non-believers that I’m talking to each week about what Jesus is teaching me may never join an LTG until they receive Christ. That’s ok because the multiplication is still happening through the network of relationships among believers and their pre-Christian friends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Life Transformation Group Correction

Christine Van Diest, a really good friend, just pointed out a typo in the latest LTG version. You can now download a clean version using the same link as before. Sorry about that. Where would I be without good friends? My life would have a lot more ugly errors in it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Life Transformation Group Resource

Here is the newest revision of the Life Transformation Group brochure. The latest revision gives a simplified description of how to start a group (nobody likes bullet points), some nice shiny new graphics, and an acrostic (S.T.O.P.) to help you remember what you're committing to. That acrostic includes a new focus on serving those around you, as Jesus would like it.

Enjoy. Give feedback. Launch movements.

Read more about the LTG resource.

Nate Riding a Bull

On Saturday we went to a Mexican Independence Day celebration (officially Sept. 16) that one of our partner ministries held - Jóvenes con Decisión. They have a vision to start groups committed to evangelism and discipleship on every campus in the country and connect new believers with local churches. Hmmm...that sounds familiar, which is why we partner with them.

They birthed out of Assemblies of God but now consider themselves a separate entity connected to the entire church body.

They can throw a good party. Here is Nate Hoover taming a ferocious bull wearing a giant Mexican sombrero (not authorized by Enfoque México bylaws).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Radical Day of Ministry

Today registers as one of my favorites in Mexico so far. I just spent 13 hours with my new prophet/pastor friend Habacuc that I wrote about earlier. This time I took the whole team along with me.

This guy gets it like few other people I know. Listen to this. He gave us a full hour to present our ministry to two different groups of churches that fall under his leadership. By the end of the day, the churches had made a commitment to adopt 10 universities and help numerous college and high school students begin groups on their campuses.

We helped people understand that they can begin a missional Christ-centered movement in their workplaces and neighborhoods. After our second presentation, Habacuc himself said he wanted to start some Life Transformation Groups with his neighbors. (And that wasn't for public display. He told us that as a side note.) He also asked people in the congregation to sign a commitment sheet if they wanted to start a movement in their areas of influence. We ended each service by standing and locking arms, strategically connecting the student leaders, our team, the pastors, and finally the church body.

Their churches are now an official part of our network, and they have a vision to expand the network throughout the city. We essentially just gained several hundred staff, and we didn't even have to create a human resources department. Yeah!

All of this happened in the context of about 7 1/2 hours of church service, several healings (broken glasses), lots of tambourine dancers and flag waving, some really good barbacoa (Mexican barbecue), and a little speaking in tongues mixed in for good measure.

Let me just say that if every pastor accepted us and understood the vision like this guy, our job would be done this year.