Hello friends & family!
August was really an amazing month for us. New ministry opportunities and the Lord blessed us with the CC Downey Yucatan mission team! This month also marked our first year on the mission field serving the people of Yucatan. We finished the year by the Lord’s grace and mercy, and are enthusiastic about this new year filled with challenges.
Here is an update about what the Lord did this past month:
R & R:
The last days of July, first week of August was a blessing as we were able to spend time as a family going to the beach and resting a little bit.
The second week kicked off the new school year, at least for teachers. Training began to go over the basics and at the end of the week Sylvia and I attended a Teacher’s Retreat. We got a little more rest at Telchac, but even better was the time of fellowship and encouragement through the teaching of the Word. The Holy Spirit did an awesome work in us and brought more unity among the teachers. We got to know some of them a little more personally and left the retreat refreshed and ready for anything this new school year. Focused, knowing the Lord has brought these students to our classroom, even the “little boogers”, and we are going to teach them by example and be faithful as our duty as their teachers. Not forgetting the spiritual battle that we are in and what is at stake.
BLESSINGS FROM DOWNEY, CA:
As a family we’ve counted down the days for the arrival of the CC Downey Yucatan mission team. We give thanks to the Lord for our home church & Pastor Jeff for the heart and vision He’s given him to send out teams around the world. Most missionaries don’t get to see a team from their sending church, so we are so grateful. We received some goodies, but the encouragement from the team is priceless. The day after they arrived we headed out to Telchac for a 3-Day Purity Conference for Young Adults. I was privileged to share and teach chapter one from the first epistle of John. The Lord touched many hearts during the event, which was testified by some of the parents who said for example, “I have a totally new child.” Glory to God to what He did in these lives. One parent asked, “What happened over there?”, asking about the change in their child. What happened was that the Lord heard their cries, the Lord saw their broken and humble hearts, then poured out His amazing grace. What happened was that the Holy Spirit was present, He brought conviction to hearts and the young adults responded in repentance and made commitments to follow Jesus. What happened was that they left in true communion with God, they left with joy, and they left strengthened and empowered to live holy lives.
We were also blessed to be able to host our sister Lupe and her beautiful son Nathan. Sylvia and the kids had many late nights playing, working, encouraging each other. We’re praying they are able to return the following year. We are thankful for everyone on the Yucatan team this year!
BACK TO SCHOOL!:
The week of the 19th started the 2013-2014 school year. Sylvia and I hit the ground running.
* Kinder – Sylvia continues teaching English to K3, but with the addition of a very special student…. Victoria Grace Gamez! Sylvia is very happy to have Victoria with her and likewise for our little princess. Victoria started out well receiving two awards the second week of school. One for showing love to others, and also memorizing the week’s memory verse. Such a perfect example to know God’s Word, but more importantly to live it.
* 1st Grade – Matthew was excited to be back in the classroom and be with the “big” kids in elementary. First report from Matthew’s teacher is that he’s kind and has a beautiful heart. Matthew was given honors to be the recess captain.
* Jr. High – Last newsletter I wrote that I would no longer be teaching Jr. High… change of plans! I’ve been given the duty to teach the third year of Bible (like freshman in the U.S.). Feeling overwhelmed, but many students were glad to see me return and that encouraged me. This is the infamous group “Segundo”, which refers that last year they were in second year of Jr. High. There are some very difficult students, but all things are possible through Jesus Christ! I will also be teaching through the book of Psalms to all the Jr. High students once a month rotating with other Pastors and teachers during “Capilla”. Capilla is a basically a full service during school, once a week, with prayer, worship and preaching.
* High School – Teaching this first group, starting a new adventure of faith in a totally new form of doing high school. I am excited to be a part of this first high school class of Calvary Prepa (H.S.). There is no school of it’s kind here in Yucatan and possibly in the whole country. It is High School meets Small Group Discipleship, all rolled up into one. The first semester is off to a great start and I am teaching the Missions/Acts class. All the students are required to have Ipads and the challenge for me is utilizing that media to make the class more dynamic. So many apps, some do this, some do that, so I’m having “app anxiety.” This year we will also be taking the students out on short-term trips to the various missions & villages to outreach, evangelism.
* Theology Dept. – This new year I have also been given the responsibility to oversee the new theology department at the school. My duty is to guide and support all Bible teachers from Kinder to High School. Form Bible teaching plans for the teachers that need help. Meet routinely to encourage and pray for one another, and for accountability regarding the Bible curriculum for each level. Feeling inadequate seems to be a common thing these days, but I am thankful the Lord has placed me here to be a servant.
CALVARY CHAPEL BIBLE COLLEGE – Merida:
The Fall semester started on the 26th and the Lord brought in the biggest group of students to date. We’re starting the semester with 69 students! Two of them are the first full-time students… Glory to God! The Sunday before classes started I got a nasty cold and infection in both eyes. I didn’t think that I would make it, but I made it through the week. Like the High School, this year at the college is also exciting as it is the first semester that a full-time schedule is being offered. I feel so inadequate at times to oversee the college, but the Lord reminds me that it is Him doing things and His grace is enough for me. This semester I am teaching Genesis on Monday mornings and Cults & World Religions Monday nights and Tuesday morning. There is still much work to do at the college, so I ask for you prayers in this area.
This month we held a workshop and also invited all the other Sunday School teachers. We introduced the Calvary Curriculum, focusing on the importance of lesson preparation. The CC Downey team also joined us in the workshops teaching about using visual aides and crafts to teach a lesson.
Soon after arriving in Merida, I began to experience excruciating pain in my feet. I’m very happy to share that today the pain is gone. I can walk faster, stay on my feet longer. They still hurt every once in awhile, but the constant sharp pain is gone. We gives thanks to God for the positive change in my health.
We are thankful for everyone of you that continue to pray for us, encourage us, and support us.
Thank you for following us and reading our ministry update.
The Gamez Family