This is a Desert Place
Chihuahua is the largest Mexican state, situated in the north of the country. It is one of the most prosperous states of the country, partly due to its proximity to New Mexico and Texas. On the west it borders the state of Sonora (of which Hermosillo is the capital) and Sinaloa, on the south Durango, and on the east side Coahuila. There are 67 separate municipalities in the state. Its name derives from the Nhuatl word Xicuahua meaning “dry and sandy place.” The state of Chihuahua is made up of three different regions running from west to east in bands: Sierra, Meseta, and Desierto. The Chihuahua desert is the most extensive desert in North America with an area of 450,000 square kilometers, although some believe it entails over 500,000 square kilometers.
The state of Chihuahua has 3,238,291 people of which 50% live in Ciudad Juarez (a border city across from El Paso, TX), 25% in the city of Chihuahua, and 15% in the three cities of Parral, Delicias, and Cuahtemoc. The capital city, where we live, is located at 1415 meters above sea level, has the same name as the state and has 850,000 souls.
Chihuahua ranks third in quality of life and has the fifth largest economy. It holds first place in industrial manufacturing for exportation, first place in value added manufacturing for exportation, second place in foreign investment, first place in manufacture of exports, and second place in “maquiladora” (factories or manufacturing shops) establishments.
However, the concern has to do with a recent poll that indicates that almost 10% of the population of the city is addicted to at least one drug. This is second only to Tijuana where almost 15% suffer from this terrible condition. Chihuahua takes first place in the consumption of cocaine. This means that of all the drugs consumed, 30% is cocaine. In the same way, the consumption of alcohol is alarming where almost 50% are involved in this. Sadly, the average age for beginning drug use in the city has been steadily decreasing and now stands at 10 years of age.
In mid-2003 our brother John Dennison made his first visit to Chihuahua to see the parents of Yeimy Karina Mendoza. She and her husband Leonel are in the Hispanic West Phoenix assembly. Her parents, Demetrio and Manuela Estrada, were very interested in the gospel and that same year Manuela accepted Christ as her personal Savior. In December 2003 a group of Seed Sowers delivered 100,000 texts in the city of Chihuahua; it was followed by eight weeks of gospel meetings, in which Demetrio Estrada was saved, as well as Blas Rodriguez.
On May 4, 2004, my wife Alicia, our daughter Anagabriela, and I were received in Chihuahua by John Dennison. On May 9, Demetrio and Manuela Estrada were baptized. Another Seed Sower group delivered 100,000 texts and invitations in the same area of Chihuahua where most of the believers live. Six weeks of gospel meetings were held at the beginning of 2005.
In February 2005 the Lord allowed us to purchase a lot on the side of the city where most of the believers reside. After eleven months of construction, on January 15, 2006, we moved into a small hall in El Valle de la Madrid, and for twelve weeks preached the gospel.
Since the beginning of the work fourteen believers have been baptized of whom eleven remain faithful in their attendance at the meetings. There are another eight who have professed to be saved.
The meetings in the hall are held from Tuesday through Thursday for prayer and ministry; Saturday for the preaching of the gospel, and on the Lord’s Day we meet for a time of worship and ministry. On Sunday afternoons the believers go out to evangelize in neighboring areas. Each Sunday there are approximately thirty-five children at the Sunday School, along with several adults, and in the evening the gospel is preached.
On Fridays we have a children’s meeting in the home of the Ruela family who are not yet saved. The Ruelas arrived at the hall for the first time on Sunday, October 15, along with another couple with a John 3:16 text they had received that day at an open air market.
We are very thankful to the Lord for His goodness to us. Other servants of the Lord, along with some Mexican brethren, have helped in the development of this work. Harrys Rodriguez, Paul Thiessen, John Dennison, Marcus Cain, and Daniel Harvey have all made appreciated visits. Three brothers (Chucho, Ricardo and Heriberto Gomez) from the Zamora, Michoacn, assembly have been here, as have Moses Roseyon and Sergio Arres from the El Coapinole, Puerto Vallarta assembly. Sergio spent several months here helping in the gospel as well as in the construction work.
We would appreciate the prayers of God’s people for the little flock here that it might grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Three of them have been able to visit the assembly in West Phoenix and have observed the Lord’s Supper while the rest have only seen from the Word of God the pattern for gathering as a local assembly. Pray as well for discernment concerning the will of God in regard to the formation of a local assembly in the Lord’s Name. There is also the tremendous need of the children who live surrounded by the influence of drugs in their neighborhood. Please pray, too, that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest. “This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed…they have nothing to eat… Give ye them to eat.”