Our Ministry over the Years
Our first church started with 1 member, and slowly we built it up. It has been my custom to go out witnessing door-to-door presenting the gospel, and some years we have gone out daily while other we organize ourselves with our people to go out in group on Saturdays.
In 1990 (thereabouts), another Mexican church asked us to merge our church with their church because they had no pastor, and a group of different doctrine had tried to take over the church building from them. We did that, and in 1993, I married Tule, and returned in 1994 to Mexico. When we returned from furlough, I left that church with several men working in preaching and teaching.
We started our second work. Our support situation has always been very poor, mainly our mission board set my support level very low. As a single missionary in 1984, they set my support level at $550/month, and when I got that much support raised, they insisted that I return to the field. Rent in those years was around $300/month, car insurance $50/month, etc. It didn’t work. I had trusted the mission board to know these things and advise and guide me with sound wisdom, and all I saw over those years was foolishness, and stubbornness on their part, when my own intuition was pretty much on track as to what I should have been doing. My starting support level that I wanted to raise was $1265/month based on several Mexico missionaries’ recommendations and budgets that they had sent me. GFAM raised my support to around $1600 in 1998 after I was married and with children.
In 1998, my father passed away (my mother died before that), and my father was my principal supporter, giving us around $600-$800/month, plus extra when there was medical or auto problems. That is how we made it basically. With his death, we lost our support base, and support dropped to about $800/month total. We never have worked a work fund vs personal fund, everything that comes in is one purpose, to support us and our work.
We had to return to the US to raise more support, and in 1998-1999 we did that. We returned to the field with about $1800/month. But I continued to have problems with GFAM, and I criticized some of the things Bob Jones University was doing at that time. In the end of 1999, GFAM asked us to leave the board, which we gladly did.
Ferndale Baptist Church
I grew up in Ferndale BC, and our family has been members for from the 1970s through the 2000s. When I left GFAM, Dr. Bob Besancon (pastor) and Ferndale became my mission board for all practical purposes. They continued in that capacity up until Dr. Besancon died, and after that, financial problems began, that eventually led to Ferndale shutting down its Christian school. At that point, Pastor Mike Betancourt asked us to find another church to handle our support as the school no longer existed, and the church was going to let go all its staff except pastor. Ferndale continues to faithfully support us even though they are in a very difficult of trying to move their church to another part of Charleston. We are gratiful for Ferndale Baptist Church’s years of faithful support, and also the labors of Pastor Mike Betancourt.
Orlando Bible Church
After we left GFAM in 1999, we had to return to the States to do more deputation work to replace our falling support. Many of the churches that supported us at that time were Bob Jones University graduates that closely followed the school, and our leaving and separation from Bob Jones didn’t sit well with many of them, so they dropped us even though we had just returned from a furlough and were on the field. That situation caused our support to again bottom out, and we asked our church on the field to undertake a large part of our support. The men who had good jobs didn’t want to do that, and they decided that instead of working to keep the church up and running, they wanted to merge our church with another existing Baptist church (on the other side of the city). It was not my personal preference, but they did it anyway.
We returned to the States and began working deputation again in 2000. By 2002, we had raised our support to a history $2500/month, and returned to the field to start a new work in the south-eastern part of Mexico City. That is where our church today is. In 200o or 2001, I managed to get a meeting in the Orlando Florida area in two churches, one Wednesday night and the other Sunday.
We went to the Wednesday service, and the pastor gave us no love offering and didn’t offer to put us up in any hotel or anything. I had just had the transmission rebuilt in Indiana, and it was starting to act up again (1 week later). We drove around as little as we could, and I found a hotel near a restaurant and a small Bible Church, Orlando Bible Church. We got a hotel room, and put the car in a transmission shop. 2 days estimate grew to two weeks. I called the pastor of the church where I had a meeting with, and he said he didn’t know who I was and hung up. So Sunday we had no where to go, and I decided to go to that Bible Church.
Pastor Jim Thomas and his wife were extremely gracious, driving us to and from church, taking us out to eat, and letting us relax in his house while our car was being repaired. After 2 weeks the mechanic said the place that rebuilt the transmission was rebuilding it again for free, and he wasn’t going to charge me anything, but it was going to take a month now. I told pastor Thomas that I was going to have to rent a car to continue traveling to my meetings, and he handed me the keys to his Accura. So without knowing anything about me, in two weeks, he lent me his car for a month. Shortly thereafter Orlando Bible Church took on our support, and in 2007 when Ferndale could not continue being our home church, Orlando Bible took their place.
Next Ministry Aspect: Our Present Work