God used one lady who took the time to tell her friend what Jesus Christ had done in her life, and had the courage to invite her to a gospel meeting, to reach a new town in a different country over 800 miles away.
After a week of Seed Sower text distribution in the town of Guasave, Mexico in December of 2014, Leonel Chavez and John Dennison began preaching the gospel in a rented building, hoping to make more contacts and to see souls saved. During that time, a sister named Ofelia, who was saved in the work in Guasave a few years earlier, invited a friend to the meetings. Her friend had moved to Westmorland, California for work and was back visiting for the holidays. She accepted and attended one night before heading back to California. She too had been searching for some time and had started to attend informal Bible studies with a few ladies in Westmorland. Hearing the simple teaching of God’s plan of salvation in Guasave that night, she asked if she could take a few texts to give to her friends in the Bible study and left her contact information on a scrap of paper with Leonel. She said if someone could come to her town of Westmorland in the future and preach the same clear message, she would be very grateful.
John and Leonel wasted no time in searching Google Maps for the small town where she lived and found that it was just a little over an hour from Yuma, AZ where we had been living since we left Nicaragua two years before. They forwarded the contact information to us and asked if we would try to follow up.
We had worked for the previous year in Yuma, AZ, with little visible results. About 150,000 texts had been distributed, many doors had been knocked on, and time had been spent in the local Flea Markets, etc., with the desire to make contacts, yet we saw little evidence of anyone who was searching. We were confident that the Word of God had been placed in every home in Yuma and the surrounding area and that it would be used of Him. It was very disappointing but, as a result, we were praying for guidance as to what God had in mind for us for the year 2015.
The brief text with the information for the lady in California was an obvious answer to prayer, and after a few attempts, we were able to make contact over the phone and were invited to visit. She asked if we would come on a Tuesday morning because she was meeting with a group of ladies to study the Bible.
One sunny Tuesday morning in February, Joanne and I headed out to visit this lady and her friends, whom we did not know, in a town we were not familiar with. We were confident that God had a plan. It was encouraging to arrive at the house and see familiar John 3:16 texts, Via magazines, and tracts that she had brought with her from Mexico. Not only that, but we were able to sit around a kitchen table with six ladies who were open to hear more of God’s Word. They made it very clear that they had been searching the Bible for themselves, and they wanted to make sure what we would teach would be the truth from the Bible. We assured them that our interest was to teach only what the Word of God said, and if they ever had any questions, to ask. Both Joanne and I were able to tell how we were saved, and a few of them told us that they too had come to know the Lord. At the end of the visit they asked if we would come back the next week, as they met every Tuesday morning at 10:00am. Since it was a group of ladies, Joanne agreed to return the following week. A series of studies focusing on the gospel was chosen and Joanne started to go every Tuesday. She was happy to have the help of Joan Harvey when she was able to go.
After a few months, the ladies asked if there was any way the rest of their families could also hear the message of salvation. That was just what we had been praying for, and we were able to use a small conference room in a local hotel for three nights at the end of May. Although the Harvey family was busy with the work in the assembly in San Luis Rio Colorado, MX, we were happy to have their support and Dan’s help in the preaching. It was encouraging to have all the ladies from the studies present. Most of their husbands came to at least one of the meetings, along with other friends. On the third night, they asked what was next. The hotel agreed to give us the room on Thursday nights and all were invited to return the next week.
The following Thursday, we were informed that the room was no longer available until September. Fortunately, one of the couples opened their home, and we gathered a few chairs and began meeting in their living room. We have continued since that time with the ladies’ Tuesday morning Bible study and with the Thursday night gospel meeting. In November, we added a children’s meeting during the gospel meeting.
About 25 people are attending each Thursday and we are thankful for a few who have professed to be saved. The town is 80% Hispanic and all the current activity is in Spanish. We are looking to God for guidance as to future steps in this new work in the following areas: additional meetings, a location to meet, and approaches to meeting new contacts. Prayer would be appreciated for guidance as to the next steps in this work.