One of our callings from God is to take the gospel to places in Mexico where it is seldom heard. We did that Saturday, May 14, 2016 when we went to Las Joyas, a tiny remote village in a beautiful valley between towering mountains. They have neither a church nor pastor. It is just thirty miles from Galeana, but it took us over two hours to get there.
We had been talking to Patricio about going to Las Joyas as he was doing the cement repair work at the ministry house. He did not think our Ford Edge could make the trip. I (Stephen) told him if his rear-wheel-drive Ford pick-up could make it we could too. He said okay let’s try it. He is a key assistant minister at Pastor Hernandez’s church. We loaded Tonyia and I, Martin, Anna and Gensis in our vehicle along with food and water enough to feed forty people.
Patricio, wife Bellia, sons Jesus and Abraham, daughter Monse, pastor Hernandez, plus one more adult and three more kids from his church all loaded in Patricio’s aging Ford truck. That was ten people in his truck to make the long difficult trip. One section of the drive took us one hour and we just traveled five miles! It was narrow roads, steep grades, switchback turns and some travel clinging to the edge of huge mountains.
We left Galeana about 8:30 AM and arrived after 10:30 AM. Patricio immediately started to work on a cooking fire. We greeted the elderly women who hosted the event and two of the ladies went door-to-door to invite everyone to our service. About thirty people, many of them children, showed up at the same time as a rain shower. We moved into a tiny adobe hut and began praising the Lord.
Pastor Herandez is a very good musician and as he started playing his acoustic guitar the room filled with the sweet sound of songs praising our savior. There were many little ones so three children who had traveled with us came forward and taught the Las Joyas folks (and Tonyia and I) how to sing “Jesus Loves You” in Spanish. There were Bible readings, testimonies, lots of prayer and I delivered a short sermon.
Patricio told us there would be a lot of children, so Tonyia made up small gift bags with candy, balloons, bubbles and a little toy for each child – they loved them. We fed everyone the chicken, potatoes and tortillas we had brought and Patricio had cooked.
I cannot express how blessed we are to be able to shine a bit of light in some of these dark places. One woman came to us asking for prayer as she had to travel to be with her Mother who had cancer and was in a Monterrey hospital. She had seldom left the tiny village. We gladly prayed for her and gave her some Pesos to help pay for travel.
We drove back another way Patricio thought was better – it was not. The first five miles had not been traveled on for months and took over an hour, but the forest and clear streams were unspoiled and beautiful.
It was a long hard day of travel, but it was a great day serving the Lord! (Check out some more of the photos we took below.)