Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Year in Review

Time and energy have prevented us from keeping this blog current, so here we are, hearts full, with an annual update!

To pick up where we left off...

Spring of 2014 we were honored and privileged to witness three young women's baptism, including our own precious daughter, who was 9 at the time. What a joy for pastor-dad to get to baptize his children.




Mothers Day was celebrated by each of the Sunday School classes, with an added special touch of a serenade by some of the men.





Father's Day was celebrated, per annual tradition, in a cold and wet park with plenty of grilled meat and sports activities. Here in the Pacific Northwest, mid-June doesn't often come with summer weather, so we just may re-think this annual tradition! Nevertheless, the men had a great time with their families.

Some of our fantastic fathers and kids playing at the park for Father's Day

Last August our church family went on the second-annual Spanish Family Camp up by Rife Lake and Mossyrock. We were especially blessed to reserve a site with Christian rangers who allowed us a big plot of camping space and didn't mind when our estimate of 75 campers turned into almost 100 campers. On Saturday night, several youth rededicated their lives to Christ, and one of them accepted Christ as Savior!

Two of the youngest campers

With Christmas comes our biggest outreach event of the year, and this year - our SEVENTH year to do this - was no exception! Once again it presented such a great opportunity for our church family to serve the Spanish speaking community and to share the gospel. We estimate that around 250 guests arrived to enjoy the piñatas (this year we had 2 piñatas for kids and 2 for adults! It was a big hit! - pun intended), hot "posole" soup, games, gospel message, and a fabulous skit from our youth. Our own kids have such fun when they see their classmates from school (our kids go to a Spanish Immersion school), and we also love to see familiar faces from year to year.

Every kid loves face paint!

Posole is a favorite soup for most everyone

Got cake?

Sweet little girls hearing that Jesus loves them

Great job, youth!

Preach it, Jose!

That big smile says that Jorge had more fun with the piñata than the kids!

If you have a minute, check out the youth's skit. They did a really great job and we're so proud of their hard work! The message is powerful. For you, we've included the version with the English vocals that the kids presented in the weekend church services at Evergreen Bible.


The women's ministry has been steadily growing, and the need for an established, formal ministry team could no longer be ignored. So last November, Ruth began meeting monthly with a group of six women to pray, study the Bible, memorize verses, and address the needs of the women in the church. What a joy and encouragement as these women take on their rolls with faithfulness and happy hearts! Here are some pictures from the ladies' Christmas party:




Jose continues to invest his time and energies into the leadership team as they meet regularly and as they shepherd the church family. He preaches every Friday night for the Friday night services (something that was added last year), and Sundays for worship service. Jose also visits church families and connects with them through phone calls during the week. Personal connections and time together is vital in the Latino culture, and is a crucial element to keeping unity with a sense of family! Jose works almost full time in the Vancouver School District as well - half-way through his third year at a local elementary school as a paraeducator.

Just two weeks ago, we both held a Sunday School teacher training seminar where a great group of our Sunday teachers came to be refreshed and given extra helps and ideas for blessing the children and youth every week.

Ruth continues to oversee the women's ministry and Sunday School ministry, as well as taking care of production of events, secretarial-type tasks for church, volunteering in our kids' schools as member of a PTO board and PTSA member, and other typical stay-at-home mom stuff. This is a busy time of life, but God is always in control and our constant provider of peace!

How to pray for us:


  • for Jose as he works with the leadership team and juggles responsibilities
  • for strong male leadership to solidify and grow
  • for the worship ministry to solidify and grow
  • for the new women's ministry team - that the leaders will grow in the Lord and begin to minister to other ladies as well
  • for our youth leaders (Carlos, Denisse, and Lupita) and the growing youth group
  • for our family as we deal with struggles and challenges, and our oldest daughter's health (last year was particularly difficult and we trust and have faith that the Lord will bring healing to restore her)
  • for the marriages in our church family and as we hope to hold a marriage workshop soon

Alvarez Family
Jose, Ruth, Rebekah (12), Isabella (10), and Daniel (5)

We say it every time, and we always mean it - how can WE pray for YOU? Please send us a message and let us know! May God bless you, each one, as you go about your daily doings - may HE be your focus and source of joy.

With love,
Jose, Ruth, Rebekah, Isabella, and Daniel

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Full of Praises!

Thank you so very much for praying for the outreach event last Christmas! We invite you to praise the Lord with us as well over 200 Spanish speakers heard the gospel, enjoyed a hot meal, participated in the festivities, and went home with Bibles and tracts. Although this event requires much planning and effort, we both agreed afterwards that it felt much "easier" this time with such wonderful collaboration from Spanish speaking church members forming teams, and with invaluable help from our brothers and sisters at Evergreen Bible.

Team members

Blessing us with a beautiful voice

Baskets of groceries to raffle out

Giving a warm welcome

Listening to the gospel

Working on a craft

Enjoying a hot meal of "posole"

Listening to the story

Sharing the message of salvation

We pray that the Word that was shared will continue to take root in the lives of the Spanish speaking community around our church and in our neighborhoods.

For New Year's Eve, we enjoyed a late-night potluck where each family brought a dish typical to their native country. What a joy and blessing to see such diversity of cultures and backgrounds! A special worship and share service carried us through midnight as we praised the Lord for the year that had passed, and committed to Him the new year to begin.



We plunged into the new year with efforts to strengthen leadership and to improve current ministries within the Spanish ministry of Evergreen. Jose meets with a wonderful team of leaders every other week on Wednesdays. The women meet monthly for a time of fellowship. Praise the Lord, this last meeting included many commitments from the women to join in the work of the ministry that we all might be active in serving the Lord and the body!

This year the church was presented with an "each one reach one" goal, that this year an approximate 100 people might hear the gospel and accept Christ as Savior. Would you pray with us, that the Holy Spirit would move in our hearts and open our eyes to opportunities to share the gospel, that we would be faithful to our commitment?

Prayer Points:

  • Men's leadership team, for wisdom to lead
  • Evangelism 2014, that each of us would reach one for Christ
  • We need two more Sunday School teachers!
  • For the women who made new commitments to serve in the church
  • For the challenge and difficulty of balancing family needs and ministry needs
  • Finances, as more monthly expenses are added by obligation (e.g. health insurance costs)

Thank you for coming alongside us in prayer! We are truly blessed that God would allow us to continue in this ministry in this sixth year since we began. May He be glorified and His kingdom increased!

We would love to hear from you, dear friends! Comments and messages are welcome, that we might know how to pray for you. If you are in the area, please come by! The coffee's hot and ready to serve!

God bless,
the Alvarez family

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Coming!!

This coming Saturday will be our sixth annual Christmas outreach to the Hispanic community of the area. Every year at this time we are in a sort of a panic, wondering if we've passed out enough invitations, if we've planned enough, if everything will come together. And every year on the day of the outreach, after hours of preparation, we open the doors...and wait...expectantly...watching...will they come?

The piñatas will be in place, the hot food cooked and ready to serve, the gospel message prepared and waiting, the youth in costume and ready to present their skit with an ever so important message to a captive audience....will they hear?

They will be told the reason for this party, the reason for Christmas, we will serve them a meal with a smile and with love, we will send them home with a reason to hope...will they believe?

When the last guest has gone, we will sweep up the paper remains of the piñatas, pick up forgotten crafts, line up the chairs in perfect rows as they were before, trusting that the message of salvation will enter a willing heart...if but one heart, it will be worth it....will you pray?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What an amazing summer of 2013! We hope you enjoyed yours as well, and are now settling in to a fantastic season of fall as we are here in the Pacific Northwest.

June

Father's Day brought with it our first summer park outing for the year. We had an amazing family time as we celebrated the fathers in the church. The afternoon included a potluck (with freshly grilled food! These brothers know how to barbecue!), soccer, volleyball, a devotional, worship, and lots of laughter.






The women enjoyed another successful monthly brunch with fellowship, prayer, and celebration.


July

The youth went to the beach for the day and had a wonderful time. We are so thankful for the young couple and another sister in Christ that work with the youth so faithfully.




We said "goodbye and God bless" to our sweet helper, who has been with us for the past several years in Spanish ministry at Evergreen. She left for the Philippines to a midwifery school...please pray for her! 
Jenna

August

The youth group held their first car wash that helped them make a day trip to a water park. We're so proud of all their hard work! August also held our very first, very own FAMILY CAMP! Much work was involved to make it happen, and it was well worth it. What a blessing that trip was! For most, it was their first experience in camping. The fellowship was incomparable and we are thankful. The majority of the families were able to participate, even if only for one night. We went to Mossyrock Park, Washington and praise the Lord that for the most part, the rain held off! Everyone came away already making plans for next year's family camp.





September

We began the monthly fellowship dinners at church where we celebrate birthdays and enjoy family time together. The women continued to meet for a monthly brunch. Praise the Lord that this month, Ruth was able to present a list of needs within the church and to pray with the women that they might seek to be involved in the many aspects of ministry. Jose has ongoing, weekly meetings with the same small group of leaders as he disciples them and encourages them to lead as God directs them. Thank you for praying for these men!

Family News

In July, we both were blessed beyond measure to be able to spend a week in Orlando, Florida! As you already know, working in ministry brings some strain and challenges to the marriage and family - but praise God for such a refreshing week to reconnect as a couple and to strengthen our relationship that we might continue to serve the Lord as He would allow us. We are deeply grateful for the dear friend that watched our kids (and pets, and house, and garden) along with her own kids for the whole week, and for a special financial gift that allowed us to be able to go as well. The summer also included visits from family and friends from far away.


In August, Jose went back home to visit friends and family. Airline miles paid for the flight with nothing out of pocket - what a blessing! As in previous trips, Jose organized a personal service project to make his trip even more meaningful and full of purpose. This time he took with him school supplies and backpacks, and once in country he purchased soccer balls, piñatas and candy, and worked together with his beloved home church "Samaria" to pull off a one-day evangelistic event for all the children and youth of the community. They shared the gospel with the children, then held games with prizes, offered a meal, and in the evening had a bonfire and other activities with the youth of the area. Over 100 children and 70 youth attended this event. Amen! Praise God and let's pray for the church as they follow up with all those kids!
Preaching in the church where he was pastor for 10 years
Leading games

"My God is So Big!"
Now school has started with Jose going back to work at a local elementary school, Rebekah in 5th, Isabella in 4th, Daniel in preschool for a couple hours a week, and a return to all the other regular activities that the school year brings in life, family, and ministry.

Prayer Points:

  • that in God's perfect timing, Jose would be able to devote full time to ministry while continuing to partner with our beloved church of EBC
  • unity and strength in family and marriage
  • leadership in ministry - that more would step up and come alongside in order to share the many responsibilities that come with helping a church to function in a healthy way for God's glory
  • that God would open our eyes to see the needs around us and how He would have us join Him in His work in the Spanish-speaking community of this area
We thank God for you! Thank you for remembering us in your prayers and for stopping by the blog! May God bless you as you serve Him right where you are.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Review!

Howdy!

Thank you for stopping by to read the latest news on the Spanish Ministry at Evergreen Bible Church!

We've been crazy busy, as usual, but also constantly amazed by God's richest blessings poured on our heads. It's at times overwhelming how much He blesses us. Just last week we received a box of food from one of our own dear members, sacrificing something she could have kept for herself and her own family - and we were able to use that food for a potluck the next day. We were also given a 1988 Dodge Dakota and José has used it already so many times to bless others. In March we were blessed with a week's stay at a lake house in the gorgeous (and freezing!) Lake Chelan. God even sent the gas money by way of some missionary friends (talk about humbling!).
Spectacular sunset at Lake Chelan

Here are some highlights from the past few months:

February: José finished the discipleship meetings at Evergreen, praise the Lord one young man went to every single meeting with José. Please pray for this young man and his near future in leadership at church! Ruth continued meeting with the women every other week for fellowship and encouragement. A special baptism service was held with three members confessing their faith in Christ and commitment to follow Him.
Jose baptized a man who came to Christ the first year we began this ministry

March: The women's ministry had their first monthly women's brunch with a great attendance. José continues to lead small group Bible studies every Monday and Friday nights (every week of the year). José began to meet with a small group of men for leadership training and discipleship. The church hosted a baby shower with Ruth giving the devotional. We also held a Sunday School teacher training workshop and appreciation event. Praise the Lord for the response in attendance and for all the helpers to the Sunday School classes! At the end of March was our monthly family potluck.

April: We made frequent visits to the hospital for different members of the congregation who were injured or having major surgery. José and Ruth joined a small group to enjoy an amazing Chris Tomlin concert. What a fun outing that was with some of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Ruth was able to attend a Living Proof Live conference given by Beth Moore - words can't even express how incredible that weekend was. How refreshing and uplifting to worship the Lord and learn more about Him! This month also we began to invite families over to our home for dinner once a week. We are working hard to cultivate unity and closeness, and especially with the Latin culture, personal relationships are of great importance. We constantly look for ways to help this grow. It takes a lot of time and effort, but God is faithful! The month ended with a family potluck held at church.

May: The monthly women's brunch was hosted in our home - praise the Lord for the blessing of having dear women here for prayer and encouragement. We made our own game of "Taboo" and it was a big hit. Another baby is on the way for the Spanish congregation, so with that came another baby shower! Ruth continues to teach the school age children in Sunday School, and José continues to lead very positive discipleship and leader training meetings with a small group of men. Mother's Day was celebrated with each Sunday School class participating in the service, each mother given a small arrangement of flowers,  a very touching slide show presentation, and a special refreshment served after services. Next week will bring the monthly family potluck to wrap up the month.
Some of the youth singing a special Mother's Day song

The school-aged Sunday School class reads a Mother's Day prayer.

We are excited for the summer since it will bring weather that allows for more fellowship and outdoor activities. We plan on monthly (or more!) park outings as we have every year. This August will hold our first family camping trip! Prayers appreciated as it will entail much planning in all the details. We also look forward to the break from school, especially since José has had full-time teacher hours this past year (but with a part-time salary!). This is what a typical day for José looks like:
7:40 a.m. leave for school
4:00 p.m. come home to see the kids, make ministry-related phone calls
4:30 p.m. load the lawn mower to go and mow an elderly lady's yard
6:00 p.m. grab a quick dinner, make more needed phone calls
6:50 p.m. head to Bible study or to a meeting
11:00 p.m. home to rest!

We are so thankful to the Lord that José's night job ended over a year ago as he has been able to give the ministry more time. As you can see, his schedule is still pretty busy and doesn't allow for much time to study the Word or prepare as he would like. God so faithfully answered our prayer in allowing José to come on staff at Evergreen part-time as of last year! We are truly grateful for that support and blessing.

Would you join us in prayer for something big, one more time (that is, until the next big thing!)? Please pray with us that God would bless this ministry to the capacity that José might finally rest in the joy of dedicating full (employed) time to pastoral ministry. We are so excited for what God has in store for this growing group of believers - I wish you could hear the dedicated group of men that meets with José as they work so hard to figure out how God is leading the church, and what needs to be done to get there! We love our precious, multi-cultural family and it is such a joy to point them to Christ. We are so blessed to get to be part of God's work - how humbling that He would allow us!
Our kids on the last night of Awana club for the year

Thank you so very much, dear friends, for lifting us up in prayer - we need it! And may God multiply your offerings back to you many times over - we know that the Lord is the one who provides and blesses, and we thank you for being used by Him to bless us so deeply.

And as always, if you're in the area - come see us! There is always (seriously, always) coffee in the pot and extra tortillas in the basket waiting for someone like you!