Friday, December 23, 2011

Felíz Navidad 2011!

Thank you so much to all who were praying for the annual outreach event that was held a couple of weeks ago! We could feel your prayers and the presence of God among us that day!

Preparations for the event began a few days before as the kitchen crew met in a home to chop, slice and stir.  Another volunteer put together 200 gift bags for children that included a tract and the Gospel of John (provided by a generous offering from one of our own members!), among other goodies. The youth got together many times to practice the black-light mime (see video below), and everyone was involved in some way or another. To keep the budget low, we asked for donations from the church attenders. Their response was so generous that at one point we had to tell them - thank you, but we don't need any more!
Assembling the craft
The day of the event we gathered early at the church to start setting up and assembling the craft. We were blessed by several volunteers from EBC (our mother church) and many of our own members  - all ready to serve wherever needed.  Noon came, the doors were opened, and Spanish speakers from the community started coming! We started off with directing the kids to game stations where they could win prizes, followed by Christmas songs lead by our worship leader and band. Next the youth performed their mime, the Christmas story was narrated to the children, and Jose got up to share the gospel message. The second half of the event included the craft, a delicious lunch, and two brilliant piñatas with all the bat-swinging, candy-flying madness that a piñata brings! We gave away 102 gift bags to children, and counted around 80 adults. Please pray for each of those homes, as we trust that seeds were planted and we ask God to water those seeds that they might grow!
Making the craft

Piñata Excitement!

Candy madness!

Some of the kitchen crew

Samuelito asks, "Where's the party?!"
Since the event we have had a few visiting families to the Sunday church services. We pray that they find a welcoming, family environment where they might come to know Christ as their Saviour and a place to call their church home.

While this outreach event did take up much of our time and efforts, other ministry activities have continued strong! Three different Life Groups have been meeting consistently in homes, and those groups have seen growth and strength in relationships with Christ. Recently a husband and wife accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour in one of those groups and are now a part of our church family. The women have been meeting for Bible study for a couple of months now, with about 12 women coming each week. Sunday School classes have been growing strong. And as always, as the culture thrives on personal relationships and fellowship together, there have been many home gatherings where relationships are strengthened and the family feeling grows strong within the group. We still have an average of around 80 people on Sundays.

On a personal note, we as a family have been so filled to overflowing with blessings from this beloved family of believers. They have been nothing but loving and generous to us as they invite us to their homes and allow us into their lives. At a recent Life Group Christmas party, our children were given a generous Christmas gift on behalf of the whole group - it brought tears to my eyes as it touched my heart beyond expression. Our prayer is that God might use us to bless them in return, and that as a family we might encourage them as we seek the Lord together.

We hope that your Christmas stays centered around the celebration of the birth of Christ, and that each of you are able to soak in precious family time!

Felíz Navidad and Happy New Year from our family to yours!
Merry Christmas from the Alvarez Family!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Please Pray!

A week from today is our fourth annual children's Christmas party - an outreach event where we give a free meal, children's games and crafts, piñatas, and the gospel. We ask specifically this week for your prayers in the following areas:

  • a clear presentation of the gospel and souls won for Christ
  • unity and strength for all of our Spanish ministry members as some serve food, others sing, others perform in a special black-light drama, and much more!
  • that this week many invitations would be handed out and more publicity given for the event
  • final preparations in food, crafts, goodie bags, etc.
  • and finally, please pray that the people will COME!
The event will be held at Evergreen Bible Church this next Saturday, December 10 at noon. Thank you so much for holding us up in prayer!

A more detailed ministry update coming soon! We can't wait to share with you what the Lord will do at next week's outreach.

--And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Romans 10:14b-15a, 17