Spring 2007 Update

April 9, 2007

Missions’ Urban Frontier

santafe_skylineBy Luke

Experts have been telling us for years that the world is becoming more and more urban. As of a few weeks ago, for the first time in human history, more than half of the earth’s population now lives in cities. What does this mean for the Church and for missions?

In the U.S., the last 20 years has seen the population become more urban while churches have become more suburban. So, in effect, as people move into the city, churches move out. Also, as the rest of the world’s population moves to cities, many of our missions agencies remain focused on “frontier,” tribal, and rural missions. There is surely a place for tribal work in the church’s strategy for global missions, but shouldn’t the world’s changing demographics be reflected in our attempts to evangelize?

It’s time to reassess our idea of “frontier missions.” The dictionary defines frontier as “the extreme limit of understanding or achievement in a particular area.” Given this definition, the new frontier of missions is certainly no longer limited to remote people groups. Missions in the 21st century has an urban frontier.

Here’s some food for thought: Mexico City, Mumbai, and Tokyo are the three largest cities in the world. Each has tens of millions of people, each is projected to grow by millions more, and each is less than 5% evangelical Christian. This means, in these three cities alone, there are 67 million people who do not know Christ.

It’s time for Christian missions to fully engage the city.

Here’s the good news: If you’re reading this newsletter, you’re already involved in urban missions. If you pray for and support this ministry, you’re on the cutting edge– you’re on the urban frontier of missions. Lindsay and I are excited to continue in Mexico City, and we are hopeful and eager to see how Christians around the globe confront the realities and challenges of the ever-growing city. There really is only one answer: as the world becomes more urban, so must the Church.

Please pray that Christ would be known in Mexico City and the world’s other megacities.

Sources: World Magazine, March 24 2007; The CIA World Factbook; CityMayors.com

Meet Saúl

saulSome of you already met Saúl while he was with Luke at church camp in New Mexico last summer. For those of you who haven’t, Saúl Flores is a passionate young man, eager to serve the Lord with his life. Right now, he is attending Dallas Christian College, preparing to return to Mexico City with us to plant the new church.

Please pray for Saúl’s studies at DCC, especially for his English skills as he studies in a language not his own.

We first got to know Saúl almost two years ago after he approached our team looking to be an intern. Rob took him on and he faithfully served with us for a year, helping with the La Vida Profunda curriculum and small group ministry. During that time we became close friends with Saúl and began praying together about him joining with us for the future Mexico City church plant.

After interviewing several veteran church planters in Mexico, we learned that one of the most important, and most difficult, steps in a new church is finding a local person to help bear the burden of a new congregation and to help ensure a transition to indigenous leadership. We are very blessed to have Saúl, a Mexican national, who is already on board with the same dream of seeing a growing indigenous church in Mexico City.

Please pray over our relationship with Saúl. Pray that we would have clear communication and deep friendship with him as we serve together.

Continued Prayer for Teammates

We wish that we could report that we now have some American teammates on board, but so far we have yet to receive any full-time commitments. Nevertheless, we are still praying! We still have a couple of families “on the radar” that we can talk to about joining our team, and we are actively praying over them.

Please pray daily for our future teammates. We’re not yet sure who they are, but God knows!

We would like to ask you to lift this up in prayer for us too. Please consider committing to praying for just one minute everyday especially for our future teammates. Like-minded and like-missioned teammates are critical to the health and success of the upcoming church plant in Mexico City.

Advertisements

New Year Update

January 22, 2007

New Beginnings

famby Luke
We are truly blessed. Five years of missionary service in Mexico City has been an incredible learning and ministry experience, and we are eagerly looking forward to the next five years.

Here’s a recap of some of the things that, by the grace and leading of God, we were able to accomplish thus far during our time in Mexico City:

  • Developing, writing, and publishing three Spanish-language youth discipleship teaching series. The books have been used by more than a dozen churches and youth groups in Mexico, Chile, and even the U.S.
  • Preaching, teaching, and leading music annually at the Mexican National Christian youth conference.
  • Preaching and teaching in area churches.
  • Initiating and fostering a youth discipleship program.
  • Lots and lots of learning: Spanish, culture, and navigating a mega city.

The future of Mission Mexico City holds great promise. Over the course of our five years in Mexico City, we developed a strong desire to see the indigenous church grow in number, in devotion, in leadership, and in autonomy. For these reasons, and more importantly because we sense God’s blessing and leading, we have determined to continue as missionaries in Mexico City. We plan to plant a new church in Mexico City beginning in 2008.

Please pray over these plans for a future church plant in Mexico City.

The year 2007 will provide us with time to prepare for the launch of this new mission. We will be praying for and recruiting new teammates and I will be attending Wheaton College Graduate School to continue studies in missions and church planting.

A Word About Wheaton

ltwheatWheaton College is located in Wheaton, Illinois, just West of Chicago. The college has a rich heritage of missions training with graduates like Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and Billy Graham. Needless to say, we are extremely excited about the opportunity for Luke to attend the graduate school of Intercultural Studies.

Luke’s studies begin in January of 2007, and we plan to be in the Wheaton area for the remainder of the year, soaking up as much as we can before returning to Mexico City in 2008.

Please pray for our furlough. Ask God to bless our studies as we prepare for the next ministry stage in Mexico City.

God has been so faithful in opening this door for us and has granted us a generous scholarship through the Billy Graham Center, located on Wheaton’s campus. It is important to note, however, that while most of the school costs are covered by the scholarship, our family is still dependent on the donations from people like you for our living costs. Thank you for supporting us during this time!

Teammates: Past and Future

We have had many ask us about how the Maupins and Jeffersons are doing. For any who may not know, the Maupins are now living in Lincoln, IL where Rob has accepted a teaching position at Lincoln Christian College. The Jeffersons are now living in Houston, TX where Sheldon is working as a middle school youth minister at Northside Christian Church.

Both families are doing very well and are excited about the new ministries and places that God has led them. Also, they are excited about and supporting our continued work in Mexico City.

Please pray for the Maupins and Jeffersons as they transition into their new ministries and into life in the U.S. Also ask God to provide the perfect teammates for the us and for the future church plant.

After living firsthand with the great benefits of having teammates in an intercultural ministry context, we definitely want to return to Mexico City with teammates. We have approached several couples with the idea, and they are currently praying.

December Update

December 9, 2006

Supporting the Greers in Their Continued Missionary Service

greers_dec_2006Beginning in January, financial support for the Greers will be handled by their new missions agency, Global Ministries Fellowship.

Changing to a sending agency like GMF will offer more flexibility for recruiting future teammates, and GMF will also perform financial and support-gathering services. It is important to note that Paramount Terrace Christian Church (as well as other supporting congregations) will continue to support the Greers both financially and prayerfully as they begin the new church plant in Mexico City.

How to Give to Mission Mexico City beginning in 2007:

  1. Make your check out to “Global Ministries Fellowship” (GMF is our missions agency.)
  2. In the Memo/Note field on the check write “Mission Mexico City”
  3. Include a separate note indicating the family that you wish your support to go to. Example: “Greers”
  4. Mail your check to our missions agency:
    Mission Mexico City
    c/o Global Ministries Fellowship
    P.O. Box 1150
    Cordova, TN 38088

A tax-deductible receipt will be sent to the address on the check.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate ask! Email Luke@missionmexicocity.com

A Final Letter from Rob

As I write this I am in my last week in Mexico. By the time you get this in the mail I should be back in the States. As we are wrapping up the final details of the move we are so thankful for the many people who have helped us with our financial issues while we’ve been here. During one border crossing a Stateside official (who really believed he’d nabbed me for smuggling drugs) interrogated me as dogs and agents turned the Suburban inside out. Disbelief dripping from his voice he asked, “You mean people just give you money so you can live in Mexico? I wish someone would just give me money to live in some other place.” I smiled and explained that the people who have helped us really have believed in the work God called us to. It was my privilege to brag on ya’ll.

I also want to give my best thanks to our friends and family for praying for us. I recently spoke with a young missionary couple who told me that they feel like they are constantly moving from one spiritual battle to another. That’s a good way to describe life here. Don’t misunderstand me, our life here has been wonderful and blessed but it has not been easy–we are far more spiritually mature than when we arrived. It was your prayers that enabled us to stand firm and resist his attacks.

My work here ends with joy. Thank you for your love made manifest, thank you for your sacrifice and for your graciousness. You are a blessing.

Thank you for remembering those kinds of small details which mean so much to us. I close these thoughts and our work with these words, “One plants, another waters but God gives the growth.” Praise to our King, thanks be to Him! And thanks to you too. —Rob

November Update

November 2, 2006

Olivia Claire Greer

olivia_claire
Born on October 10th 2006 at 3:30 AM
Seven pounds—19 ½ inches
Thank you all so much for your prayers!

Everything Changes

Five years. It’s gone by fast. During those years we have learned a great deal: we can navigate one of the world’s largest cities, we can readily converse in Spanish, we have made many relationships, and by the grace and power of God, we have sown more seeds of the Gospel in Mexico City.

But, everything changes. Here is a glimpse of where God is leading us into the next five years, and beyond.

The Greers: Planting a New Church in Mexico City
greers_after_babyWe have known for well, five years, that the end of 2006 would mark a major transition for Mission Mexico City. Because of that, Lindsay and I have spent a great deal of time praying, thinking, and seeking counsel about what we would do next. About two years ago, one thing became certain: we wanted to remain missionaries. We both believe that the world is in desperate need of more Christian workers, more churches, and a deeper understanding of Jesus. And we know that God has gifted us, at least for now, to meet the unique demands of missionary service.

Our realization that we desire to continue as missionaries beyond our first five-year commitment didn’t initially provide us with a lot of concrete answers about the future. The world is a big place, so we set our minds to the “what” and “where” we would be best suited.

After much prayer, we came full-circle, back to Mexico City. We both have big hearts for this city, crime- and pollution-ridden as it is. God has simply burdened us for its people. We are excited to announce that we plan on returning to Mexico City to begin a new church plant with a new team.

Some things will change, some will stay the same. We’ll keep the name — Mission Mexico City works very well for a church plant in Mexico City. Also, both of our supporting churches have already committed to continuing their support of us. Our mission, however, will be different. Rather than a specific focus on youth ministry, we will focus on planting an indigenous church. Also we will be associated with a missions agency called Global Ministries Fellowship. GMF has been very receptive to our hopes for Mexico City, and is excited about our partnership. 2007 will provide us with some much-needed time to recruit and organize our new team, finalize our support base, and to do some more research and study on church planting. We will begin the new church plant in Mexico City in 2008.

We would like to invite you — all of the faithful supporters of the past five years — to continue to support us into the future. We’ll keep in touch. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Blessings! —Luke

The Maupins: Beginning a New Professorship at Lincoln Christian College
maupsSeven years ago we told our youth group in Amarillo we were leaving to become missionaries in Mexico City. Now we find ourselves preparing to say good-bye again. Our hearts literally hurt to leave the place we have come to know as home (this is the only home Kate remembers!). We will deeply miss our Mexican family.

We could not walk away from this vast city and the great need here without a clear sense of God’s call to Lincoln. At the same time we feel really excited about the future, and about Rob’s opportunity to teach at Lincoln Christian College. We are honored to get to work with a faculty & staff and students who are so passionate about missions.

Rob will start teaching in January. He’ll also travel and speak on weekends when he can. I hope to stay home in the spring to get Garrett & Kate settled. I want to be involved with the missions program at the school and work with students as much as possible. Hopefully we’ll both go on short-term mission trips whenever we can.

We plan to stay closely connected with the Greers and with Mission Mexico City. We are so excited for all that God has in store for Luke and Lindsay and their ministry here!!
—Shannon

October 2006 Update

October 2, 2006

Discipleship Sermon Series

Luke preachingSince our move to Mexico City almost five years ago, we have been very close with a church called Coyoacán Christian Church. Since the beginning, Ray Gaytan, the pastor of the church, his family, and the congregation have been like family to us. As our five-year term draws to a close, we wanted to offer something back to this church as a way of encouraging them in the Faith and to say thank you for their years of partnership, friendship and kindness.

Rob asked the pastor if he and Luke could do a six-week sermon/Bible study series on being a disciple of Jesus. The topics of study have included being an apprentice of Christ, practicing spiritual disciplines, and worshipping God. In addition to the sermon series, the Maupins have been hosting a weekly coffee on Saturday nights to encourage extended conversation about being a disciple of Jesus. So far, the congregation has responded very warmly to the sermon series. Please pray for the remaining weeks of this congregational Bible study. Pray that God would open hearts and minds and that many would desire to be true disciples.

Día de la Independencia

xochimilco boatsMexico celebrates her independence from Spain every year on September 16th. This year, like other years in the past, we celebrated with church friends in Xochimilco, an area of the city that is laced with water canals. The canals have existed for centuries, and now serve as place where many Mexicans celebrate holidays while floating on brightly-colored flat-bottomed boats.

We arrived at the canals at dusk, and together with about 15 of our church friends, boarded our boat (named “Isabel Maria”). The evening was perfect: clear, cool, quiet. We sang traditional Mexican songs, made toasts (¡salúd!), ate together, and enjoyed fireworks.

September 2006 Update

September 1, 2006

Youth Mountain Retreat

Lunch time at the mountain lodgeFor all of you who prayed over our youth retreat, we want to say thank you! It was a wonderful retreat. We had hoped for 20 students, but deep-down we hadn’t really expected 20 students to come, so when 22 young people showed up, we were ecstatic!

The theme of the weekend was “Hearing God” and it was perfect. The kids came with willing hearts, eager to learn about how to deepen their prayer lives and relationship with God. Also, we had been a little concerned about weather—11,000 feet during the rainy season can produce some pretty strong storms and temperatures below freezing. But God was faithful. The weather was unbelievably beautiful. During the afternoons, we didn’t even need jackets!

Our missionary friend Rodney Peterson opened the retreat with an exhortation to the students to seize this weekend to truly grow closer to God, and to listen to Him. The next morning, Luke taught a lesson on the ways that God speaks to us and the stuff in our lives that might be impeding our ability to hear Him. Rob closed with a lesson on everyday practices that we can use to listen and pray to God.

Between lessons and meal times, we were delighted with the students’ desire to seek us out and talk frankly about the good and bad of their relationships with God. It was evident throughout the weekend that the Holy Spirit was present and working as Counselor.

When the retreat was finished, we sat back amazed at how well everything had gone. Since our arrival in Mexico, we have done several retreats a year, and although they are usually very good, there are always some substantial challenges that arise. This retreat was different. From the lessons, to the weather, to the attitude and response from the kids, it was a truly moving experience.