April 2004

April 6, 2004

Dear Praying Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for us.  We were thrilled to be with our people in Guadalajara, and we want to share news about our trip.  Dotty and I arrived there on March 1, and they put us right to work.  We had a wonderful Bible conference in our church in Guadalajara the first week, and many important personal decisions were made.   On Monday, March 8, we went to San Luis Potosí where we made many visits and preached that evening to several families in the home of one of the members of our church.  After our Bible study, Alfredo, the brother of Miguel Angel Solis, trusted Christ as his Saviour.  What a blessing!  His brother had taught him the first five chapters of “Becoming a Christian,” which prepared him for that decision.  Because they live so far away, they receive tape recordings from our church and listen to the Sunday messages.  Our church wants to begin a mission in San Luis in the future.

We had a memorable three-day vacation with Pastor Miguel, Clemen, and their precious 1-year-old baby boy, Haniel.  They took us to see several beautiful waterfalls in an area that is called the “Huasteca Potosina” in the state of Potosí.  We then returned to Guadalajara and were able to help in many ways.  On March 20, we participated in the wedding of two faithful young people of our church, which was a very happy occasion.  Early Sunday morning, March 21, one of the members of our church was killed in a tragic accident in the nearby town of Tala.  Pedro Ulloa had just finished his work of loading his big truck with sugar cane when he stopped along the road to check something about his truck.  After stepping down from the cab, a passing vehicle hit and killed him, but did not stop.  I had been in his home about three nights before and talked to his family regarding my concern for the long hours that he was working.  The Sunday prior he was so tired that he stood up during the service so he wouldn’t go to sleep.  Please pray for his wife, Lupita, and their four children as they look to the Lord for their future.

The wake began on Sunday afternoon.  We were with the family that afternoon until the body arrived, and then we returned to Guadalajara for the evening service.  After the service many of us returned to Tala for the wake, and Pastor Miguel preached, sharing the gospel message with the grieving family and friends.  The service was held in the street in front of Pedro’s home.  The street was blocked off, and the funeral home had placed twelve long benches in front of the home and in the street, which is a common practice in small towns.  On Monday afternoon I preached for the funeral service held in the street.  At 4 p.m. the hearse came for the body; they formed a long procession and walked the mile to the cemetery.  Several cars followed slowly behind the procession.

At the cemetery Pastor Miguel Camacho gave a clear presentation of the Gospel.  Pedro had witnessed to his brothers, sisters, and father, and they had seen the change that Christ brought to his life over the past five years.   Even so, his relatives grouped together to say their Catholic prayers, which lasted 30 minutes.   One of his brothers walked up to the casket with a coke bottle of water, sprinkled it on the casket and in a loud voice said, “Pedro Ulloa was born a Catholic and he dies a Catholic.”  I share this with you to help you understand the hopelessness of an empty religion.  After their “devotion,” I shared a few final words from God’s Word to comfort the believers.

After they lowered the casket into the grave by using ropes, they managed to rest it momentarily on the little brick wall, which they had built a few hours earlier at the bottom of the grave.  Something happened in those next few moments that I had never seen happen before.  The ground caved in where the two brothers were standing to help lower the casket.  Down they went into the grave, landing on top and at one side of the casket.  They handed shovels to them, and they began to shovel out the dirt.  Finally they freed the casket and were then able to lift the casket back out of the grave.  Then they shoveled the dirt and broken down wall out of the grave.  After getting all the loose dirt out, they had to rebuild the wall.  Naturally, that all took over an hour.  Again they lowered the casket carefully into the walled area and built up the wall to a height where they could build a brick dome-type top over the casket.  At 7 p.m. it was getting dark, but they had not yet finished.  We finally had to excuse ourselves and return to Guadalajara for the Monday night men’s class.  The family and friends continued to stay until the dirt was leveled on top of the grave.  They then placed all of the flowers over the grave area.  Staying to the very end is the practice in Latin America.

To give you an idea of all our activities while we were in Guadalajara is very difficult.  After the four-day Bible conference, we were able to visit in the homes of many members.  We were involved in counseling each day.  We are thrilled for the lives that were changed and five people who came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour while we were there.  I was asked to meet with the church board to help solve a couple difficult problems that required long hours and several late nights.  Pastor Miguel is doing a superb job!  Thank you so much for your prayers.  I preached a total of 23 times, and Dotty had seven classes with the ladies regarding “Showing Respect for God and Your Husband,” which was very profitable.  Most days we ate breakfast in one home, lunch in another, and supper in still another.  They all wanted us to make the rounds.  We stayed most of the time at Pastor Miguel’s home, but also three nights at the home of Luis Canul, the assistant pastor, and another two nights at Chelito Gonzalez’s home.

We had a wonderful time with our people once again and thank the Lord for all of the good results, but we were exhausted and very glad to arrive back in Florida safe and sound on March 31.  The entire trip was very worthwhile.  We feel like we crammed two months into one!  Thank you for praying for our health.  The air pollution in the Guadalajara area was much worse, which caused me to have problems with allergies and it severely affected my eyes, but I praise the Lord that I did not come down with irritis.

Thank you for your faithful prayers and continued support for us.   We sincerely appreciate your important part in our ministry.  Please pray for us as we plan a deputation trip June through August to visit our supporting churches in Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana.  No matter where we are we can always be reached at the above E-mail address or by our above telephone number, which will automatically connect you to our cellular phone.

Sincerely in Christ,

Myron and Dotty Philippi