A Heart for Souls, A House for the Gospel, and A Humble Beginning
Santiago Ixcuintla is a small city near the Pacific coast in the state of Nayarit. It was named Santiago in honor of the Apostle James – a statue of him holding a sword represents the victory of the gospel over the religious cults. Ixcuintla means “place of many dogs,” and those who have delivered texts and tracts since the work began can testify that this part, at least, of the city’s name holds true. Sadly, the supposed victory of the gospel over the cults is entirely false. Rome, as is true across Mexico, holds tremendous sway and power.
Santiago has around 20,000 people, many of whom struggle economically because the economy is largely based on agriculture. The husbands of many ladies who come to meetings spend seven months of the year in the Kentucky tobacco fields. Although Mexico’s population is increasing, over the last ten years the population in Santiago has decreased!
Santiago Ixcuintla, due to its proximity to the coast, is very warm, with the average year-round temperature being 80o F (27o C). The heat index during the summer months can hit over 130o F (55o C). This summer we installed two air conditioners in the hall but the best we are able to achieve is a low of 80o F, before anyone arrives at meeting!
About five years ago I received a call from believers in San Diego, CA, asking me to visit Milton Jaime’s family in Santiago Ixcuintla. His parents were not well and seemed to be open to the gospel. Javier and Francisca listened well on our regular visits to their home over the course of a few years. However, when Javier’s health improved his interest in the gospel declined. Milton and his wife Martha had purchased a small house in Santiago and in June 2004 offered its use for the preaching of the gospel.
Early in 2005 believers from Tepic delivered around 4000 Seed Sower texts in Santiago, knocking on almost every door. When gospel meetings commenced, there was good interest and excellent attendance. In those three weeks of meetings Milton’s brother, sister-in-law, and mother all professed to be saved.
We carried on with gospel meetings a few nights each week for the next several months. Early in August Javier became quite ill and now was ready to attend the gospel meetings. He was able to attend only a few times before becoming too ill to leave the house. One evening, late in August, I sat beside him as he understood the truth: “The Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Four days later, on August 25, Javier passed into the presence of His Lord and Savior. The gospel was preached at his wake to well over 100 people and again the following day at the funeral and at the graveside. Some who now attend meetings heard the gospel for the first time the night of the wake, and at least one of those has come to know the Savior.
One Saturday evening early in December, Paulo arrived at the hall. His sister-in-law and her husband were the firstfruits of the work in Santiago and Paulo had noticed the change in their lives. Although he had been extremely opposed to the gospel and to his wife’s attending early in 2005, being now tired of his life of sin and addiction, he decided to come and listen to the gospel. His father had introduced him to liquor at the age of 12 and his life now fulfilled John 8:34: “Whosover committeth sin is the servant of sin.” A few days later we commenced a short series of gospel meetings and both Paulo and his wife professed to be saved.
Early this year we found a small house to rent on the other side of town. This is likely the poorest part of town with a tremendous drug problem as well. Children’s meetings were held for two weeks and the interest was most encouraging. Over 80 children and adults would pack into the little house to hear a lesson from God’s Word. After the special meetings were over we moved across the street to more accommodating premises. Twice a week there is a children’s meeting there – I say children’s meeting, but usually twenty mothers are present as well.
Following the two weeks of children’s meetings in the new area, we commenced another gospel series in the original hall. By now, we had removed two walls in Milton and Martha’s home (with their happy permission!) in order to accommodate the increasing interest. We preached seven nights a week for almost ten weeks. God blessed in the salvation of a few souls.
In the middle of the series we were greatly encouraged to see five believers from Santiago obey the Lord in baptism. Almost the entire assembly from Tepic came along to witness this happy occasion, showing their continual interest in the work in Santiago. There are around a dozen professing believers now, and we pray that progress will continue to be made in the gospel.
Currently we preach the gospel twice a week, give ministry once a week, and hold children’s meetings three times a week.
James and Nelly Dyck arrived in Tepic last September, commended by the Burgessville, ON, assembly. Their exercise has been the work in Santiago and they were finally able to find a house in September. Having a couple living in Santiago will be a blessing and help in the work. Jason and Shelley Wahls, from Marion, IA, arrived in Tepic in February and have also been a tremendous help in Santiago.
Our desire would be that of the Apostle Paul: “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified” (2Th 3:1).