Mexico

A 2013 of God-given historic proportions

“The kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.” (Matthew 11:12) (HCSB)

2013. Momentum. Excitement. Heightened anticipation. Those are words describing the beginning of the year for To Every Tribe. To Every Tribe has momentum. Christ provided His mission with more than $490,000 in the purchase of 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend. There is much excitement about what God is going to do at Chachalaca Bend through missionaries who will be trained and sent to unreached people around the globe. Our anticipation of what Christ will do next through His people for his mission has been heightened by all the great things God has done for us in just the past year.

2012 – LOOKING BACK

To Every Tribe begins 2013 with hands held high in praise and hearts full of gratitude for Christ, his mission, and his work among his people! Here are our hand-picked top five things that God has been doing down in South Texas over the past year:

1. Largest attended Open House with Adoption of Village Q in Oaxaca, Mexico

2. Construction Begins on first Missionary Home in Goroka, Papua New Guinea

3. First 4 missionaries graduate from the 2-year program of the Center for Pioneer Church Planting

4. Record enrollment of 26 in the Center for Pioneer Church Planting

5. God provided over $490,000 of $1.85M, and we closed on the property at Chachalaca Bend

2013 – LOOKING FORWARD

Grateful for what God has already done, we are asking Him to accomplish the following through To Every Tribe in 2013:

1. Seek to develop and identify 2 complete missionary teams for Papua New Guinea, and expand to a potential of 3 teams for Mexico

2. Send workers to PNG to finish the house project in Goroka, and develop a construction and funding plan for the next missionary house

3. Realign and establish To Every Tribe for the next stages of growth and development in mobilizing the church, training disciple-makers, and sending missionary teams

4. Pursue a partnership with new local churches to expand the reach of Ekballo prayer, sending missionaries, and generous giving to the mission of the gospel to unreached people groups

5. Ask God and his people to provide over $1.35 million needed to purchase the 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend so that To Every Tribe will be debt free by 2014

6. Implement a strategic master plan for future training and sending from Chachalaca Bend

THE CHALLENGE

David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe, began the 2013 Open House at Chachalaca Bend with this challenge from Matthew 11:12: “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” (NIV) Christ, The Forceful Man who won the kingdom through His death and resurrection, is advancing his kingdom through “forceful” disciples willing to lay it all on the line for the gospel. Whether staying home in order to send or going as the sent, followers of Jesus have a responsibility to His mission of advancing the kingdom through a violent faith willing to do “whatever” for the gospel.

We are running headlong toward the challenges that lay before us in 2013 as Christ advances His kingdom through His people. Matthew 11:12 reminds us that Christ’s mission is a violent mission. 344 years ago, the Puritan preacher Thomas Watson noted, “The kingdom of heaven will not be taken without violence. The violent take it by force. The earth is inherited by the meek (Matthew 5:5.) Heaven is inherited by the violent. Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way…the right way to take heaven is by storm; or thus, none get into heaven but violent ones.”

The advance of Christ’s kingdom through To Every Tribe will not be without a violent faith, with war being waged against anything that would present itself in opposition to the gospel. This includes violence against the desire for all the baubles that this world has to offer. Paraphrasing Watson, Christ’s mission is military. But we do not wage physical weapons aimed at physical violence. We do not offer a sword of death and oppression. We offer Christ and his gracious provision in the gospel. Our sword is the Word of Christ proclaimed to the unreached, those who have no access to the good news of Jesus. This war is waged by sacrificial proclamation, sacrificial praying, sacrificial serving, sacrificial sending, and sacrificial going to those who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are 3 billion unreached people on this planet. There are 3 billion reasons for a violent faith that takes heaven by storm.

OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE

We are eager to see what Christ will do through To Every Tribe in 2013. And there are many opportunities for you to participate with us in Christ’s mission.

1. First and foremost, you can pray that Christ will be honored and glorified through To Every Tribe in 2013, and that He will continue to use To Every Tribe to spread His name and His fame among those who have no access to the good news of Jesus.

2. Your help is needed in serving in many diverse areas of ministry.

3. Your gifts are needed to come alongside local churches in helping train and send more risk-taking followers of Jesus to some of the 3 billion people who will never hear the good news of Jesus unless we tell them. We still need $90,000 in order to have full ownership of the 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend. We need your help. Participate with us in propelling missionaries into the harvest from Chachalaca Bend by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/givenowTETM

God-given historic proportions. 2013 is going to be a year unlike any other at To Every Tribe. We look forward to partnering with you in the gospel for the advance of the gospel and Christ’s kingdom! Pray for us. Partner with us. The gospel continues its advance in 2013 and we are excited Christ has included us in His mission, a mission fueled by violent faith that sacrifices all to take the kingdom for the sake of Christ.

To Every Tribe Adopts a New People Group in Oaxaca

David Sitton and AJ Gibson sign the “People Q” Adoption Covenant

Guest Post by Chris Johnson

To Every Tribe did an awesome and weighty thing on January 14!  During our 2012 Open House, To Every Tribe adopted an unreached people group in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.  We first came into contact with this people group (named People Q for security reasons) during a 2011 scouting trip conducted by To Every Tribe missionaries. These same missionaries are now focusing on the People Q as the location for a church planting team.

People Q is the second group To Every Tribe has adopted in Oaxaca.  A To Every Tribe church planting team now lives in a village of the first people group. That team is in the process of learning both Spanish and the Indian dialect of the people, as well as acquiring cultural understanding.

During the adoption ceremony, a formal letter of commitment was signed by the President of To Every Tribe, David Sitton, and our Mexico Field Director, AJ Gibson.  AJ began the ceremony with an explanation of the people group adoption process.   Missionary Chris Johnson then explained how To Every Tribe came to discover and begin to develop relationships with People Q.  The ceremony ended with a wonderful time of prayer for People Q, for a team to go and give their lives to bring them the Gospel, and, no matter what the cost, for a church to be planted in this region of spiritual darkness.

To Every Tribe will continue get to know the People Q better through medical clinics we are planning for the village.   We pray for the People Q regularly: for God to open their eyes and save them, and to build His church in that mountainous area.  The formation of a team to reach the People Q is already in process.  Please pray for a team of church planters to become well-formed and quickly deployed to the village, for the glory of God and the advance of the gospel of Christ into this unreached region.

To Every Tribe did an awesome and weighty thing on January 14!  During our 2012 Open House, To Every Tribe adopted an unreached people group in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico!  This people group, named People Q for security reasons, was found by To Every Tribe missionaries during a scouting trip in 2011.  These same missionaries are now focusing on the People Q as the location for a church planting team.  This is the second people group To Every Tribe has adopted in Oaxaca, Mexico.  A team is already working in the first people group.
During the adoption ceremony, a formal letter of commitment was signed by the President of To Every Tribe, David Sitton, and our Mexico Field Director, AJ Gibson.  AJ began the ceremony with an explanation of adopting people groups.  Chris Johnson then explained how To Every Tribe came to find and begin to develop relationships with the village.  The ceremony ended with a wonderful time of prayer for People Q, for a team to go and give their lives to bring them Gospel, and, no matter what the cost, for a church to be planted in this region of spiritual darkness.
To Every Tribe will be getting to know the People Q better through medical clinics we plan and run in the area.  We also are praying for People Q regularly: for God to open their eyes and save them, and to build His church in that area.  The formation of a team to reach the People Q is already in process.  Please pray for a team to be fully formed, for work to begin in the village, and the door to be open for the team who goes to live among them.
zp8497586rq

Alex Chediak Interview with David Sitton (Pt. 4)

blockquote>

The following is the  fourth interview of David Sitton by Alex Chediak.  The first three parts can be found on this blog as well as at Alex’s blog at AlexChediak.com.  Special thanks to Alex for permission to re-post the interviews.

There is a lot of buzz in the news lately about Mexico and the escalating drug lord violence. What’s going on in Mexico? Has Mexico gotten more dangerous in recent months in the areas where To Every Tribe is working?

David: I’m passing this question off to A.J. Gibson (To Every Tribe’s Mexico Field Director and Assistant Director of The Center for Pioneer Church Planting).   A.J. has spent much of his life in Mexico as an MK and as a missionary himself.

AJ: Up until the last few months, most of the drug-related violence has kept to the west of where To Every Tribe works in the extreme north-eastern corner of Mexico. But a recent turf war between two major drug cartels has brought the war closer to home. The Gulf Cartel, based in Matamoros, Mexico, just a few miles from the To Every Tribe headquarters in south Texas, has controlled the drug trafficking routes along the Mexican gulf coast for over a decade. But in recent months, the Zetas, a mercenary army made up of former elite military commandos has begun to encroach upon the Gulf Cartel’s territory. As the war between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas has escalated, the battle has drawn nearer to the Gulf Cartel’s home city of Matamoros—the city that we at To Every Tribe pass through every time we enter Mexico. Shootouts between the Mexican military and the cartels as well as between members of the two cartels have made this area increasingly dangerous and unstable. Road blockades, kidnappings, and execution-style murders have become increasingly common. In the last month there have been several major shootouts along the highway that we travel to access the villages where we’re church planting. Just two weeks ago an ambush was set up by the Zetas for the Gulf cartel at an intersection that we pass through on a regular basis. The result was a major gun and grenade battle just a few miles from a small fishing village where we do much of our work. When I passed through two days after the battle, I could see clear evidence of the fight—a pickup riddled with bullet holes.

At this point we haven’t decreased our activity in northern Mexico, primarily because the cartels haven’t been targeting civilians in our area. But things have certainly become much more dangerous and we’ve been forced to take more careful precautions as we travel and work south of the border. Unfortunately the violence in Mexico is not limited to the drug wars, nor is it limited to northern Mexico. Local and regional gangs and criminal organizations involved in all kinds of extortion-related crime have run rampant throughout all of Mexico for decades—even centuries. And it seems that the increased activity of the drug cartels has served to embolden these other smaller gangs and organizations. Kidnappings, assassinations, robbery, police corruption, and many other kinds of violent criminal activity is a normal part of life for almost the whole country. When my family and I lived in Monterrey, Mexico, we had several close friends and many friends-of-friends who were victims of kidnappings and robberies. This kind of violence will always be a threat for missionaries in Mexico. And it’s not limited to northern Mexico. A couple of months ago international news organizations reported an ambush and assault on a caravan of human rights observers on a major highway in the state of Oaxaca, just a few miles south of where To Every Tribe bases its southern Mexico church planting operations. The caravan of journalists and activists was headed to a nearby village that had been held hostage and terrorized by a local crime organization. That organization made sure the rescuers never reached the village.

So how do we react to all of this? Well, we certainly don’t stop our mission. We take precautions (like avoiding travel at night and keeping away from known centers of violence), but at the end of the day we continue to make disciples of Mexico’s unreached people groups while leaving our safety in the hands of God. Jesus promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” That’s our great comfort.

David: Exactly! We will never “not go” into a place for Christ simply because of the danger. Like the apostle Paul, I “consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

Thanks again, for spending some time with us. It’s been fun talking to you again, Alex.

NOTE: For a longer, more complete discussion of this topic, see the related article posted on AJ’s ministry blog here.

Melinda Rankin on the Gospel in Mexico

The following is a quote from Melinda Rankin, 19th century (1811–1888) Presbyterian missionary to South Texas (Brownsville) and Mexico.  Her biography, Twenty Years Among the Mexicans, ends with these excellent and optimistic words on the power and progress of the gospel in Mexico:

Melinda Rankin

Satan may yet make attempts to maintain his throne in Mexico, but only to find himself baffled and thwarted. The Bible is rapidly shedding its hallowed influences, and will constitute bulwarks against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.

To me, the crowning joy of the work in Mexico is the triumph of Divine Truth over superstition and error, proving beyond a doubt that the Bible is Heaven’s ordained instrumentality for elevating fallen humanity, and for bringing back an apostate world to the allegiance of God. If there is one nation of people more than any other with whom I shall delight to join in singing the song of Redeeming Love in the day when that great multitude, which no man can number, stands before the throne of God, I am sure it will be with the Mexican nation.

Amen!