The words to my life verse, “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;” have never been so dear to me as they were early Monday morning, when a tornado swept through the town where my daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Ulises and their two children and I were staying. Not only are we thankful to be alive, but are reassured that God has a work for us to do.
Ulises was able to obtain his visa to the USA, and we’ve been traveling together since February, visiting churches, presenting their ministries. I’m so thankful for the kindness of pastors, both English-speaking and Spanish, who have opened their churches and hearts to them. Beacon Hill Baptist Church gave them a 2001 15-passenger Van, which will be used in their ministry. They return to Chiapas May 2, and have plans to open a new work in Ixtapa, the same little village where Tom and I moved with our three little boys 37 years ago. It is their dream to buy property, and start a church and orphanage there. I never cease to be amazed at their faith in knowing God is going to provide the money for the property, just as He provided the Van. This will be the third church they will have started, since the beginning of their ministry two years ago. During the two months Ulises has been in the States, men who he won to the Lord and trained, have been preaching, knocking doors, carrying on the hospital ministry, and souls have been saved, and new families are attending. I feel like I’m being very objective when I say, “Ulises and Elizabeth Martínez are doing an amazing work, and are worthy of your prayers and support.”
It has been my honor to have spoken in several ladies’ conferences the past few weeks, and also it was my joy to have given my testimony several times upon the pastors’ requests, like in Faith Baptist Church in Illinois, Pastor Terry Anglea, and also in their Spanish church. I had a wonderful time, also, speaking in First Calvary Baptist Church in Sanderson, TX, Pastor Paul Ray; Amistad Baptist Church, Del Rio, TX, pastor Corders; a new experience teaching the ladies of Pastor Esteban Rentería’s bilingual church in New Mexico in Spanish and in English…at the same time! Then on to Albuquerque, where I taught the ladies in New Heights Baptist Church in Spanish. Lord willing, I will be returning there in May for a ladies’ banquet. My journeys have taken me to Kentucky, where I spoke in a two-day conference to the precious ladies of Greater Cumberland Baptist Church, many of those young military wives. It was my joy to have been a guest in the home of Pastor and Mrs. Ken Shaver. It was during the Sunday morning service, where Pastor Shaver presented three flags to three of their military people who were present, that the Lord laid on my heart to invite the military wives who live on the army base in our town in San Cristóbal, to be honored guests at our November 18 Ladies’ Christmas banquet this year.
The drive to the Los Angeles area was a long one, but worth every mile, as I was privileged to speak to over a thousand ladies under a big tent in Pastor Ezekiel Salazar’s annual Latin American ladies’ conference. After a ladies’ banquet April 29, and three more appointments in New Mexico in May, I get to return home to Chiapas, where I left my heart five months ago.
Thank you for your prayers for my daughter in law, Liz. Earlier today my son, Philip, called from her hospital room in Chiapas, to report that she was awake, but weak and pale after her four-hour surgery for the removal of a tumor from her right kidney. Further studies are being made, but they are quite sure it is not malignant, and we’re thankful they did not have to remove her kidney. I admire my son for being brave enough to be present during her surgery.
Life wouldn’t be normal, though, without its tears, and the past few weeks I have shed many. I’m so thankful for my son, David and Jolene, and for their faithfulness to serve the Lord in Ukraine. But part of my heart left with them as we said good bye over the phone on March 15, and they departed NYC for their beloved Ukraine. I miss them and their four precious children, including my newest grandson at that time.
But today, April 14, baby Caleb Philip Miller was born to Steve and Ruthie, bringing the total to 34 grand-treasures for this proud Mimi. This is a furlough baby, and I know he will adapt to life on the mission field when they return to Querétaro in August, just as little Micah is to Ukraine.
More and more tears over the home going of three very, very special people in my life:
Mrs. Colleen Bond, beloved wife of Pastor WN Bond, my husband’s former pastor, went to Heaven Sunday night, April 3, while her husband was preaching. I’m told that when he received the news, he shouted from the pulpit, “Praise the Lord! She’s not suffering any more!” But I know the grief is there, and I share it with you, Bro. Bond.
My precious friend, Mrs. Cheryl Ager, is now home with the Lord, as of last Friday, April 8. She amazed us all when she had a liver transplant several years ago. It was my joy to have spent a Sunday afternoon with her in December, 2010, and she assured me that she was ready to go Home whenever the Lord wanted to take her.
Pastor Mark Gondran, who pastored Temple Baptist Church in New Iberia, LA isn’t suffering any more from cancer. He went to Heaven yesterday evening. “We’ll miss you, Pastor, and our prayers are with your beloved Sherena, Casey and Callen, and the faithful people you loved and pastored.”
May the Lord find me faithful, as my three precious friends who are in Heaven today.
Mrs. Billie Sloan