Never too Young, Never too Old--Belton, Missouri, Team Falls in Love in Guatemala!

Hi all!

I’m back home after another fantastic trip to Guatemala—this time with a team from LifeQuest Church in Belton, Missouri. This team worked with a wide range of people from senior citizens to school children. The agenda was simple. At each place, we played, shared stories, and ate with new friends and acquaintances. As a result, two new PSE groups are getting started, and a couple of churches will be sending their own teams to other parts of Guatemala to do the same. Here are a few pictures of our week together.

On our first day, we met with the seniors center of Santa Cruz Naranjo. Here our team posed with a dear lady from the center. From left to right is Dawn Farrill, her husband George, 16-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Catron, Belinda Burkhardt, and me.

On our first day, we met with the seniors center of Santa Cruz Naranjo. Here our team posed with a dear lady from the center. From left to right is Dawn Farrill, her husband George, 16-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Catron, Belinda Burkhardt, and me.

On our last day, we spent the morning with a group of school children. Here, George holds a target as the children take turns throwing balls at it.

On our last day, we spent the morning with a group of school children. Here, George holds a target as the children take turns throwing balls at it.

At a seniors center near Quesada, Guatemala, we were called upon to dance with the men and women as Cesar served as the DJ—playing some of their favorite songs from their youth.

At a seniors center near Quesada, Guatemala, we were called upon to dance with the men and women as Cesar served as the DJ—playing some of their favorite songs from their youth.

At a youth group gathering of Iglesia Mision Damasco (Damascus Mission Church) in Rinconcito, Guatemala, Dawn delicately placed her piece on the top of the Jenga tower as her team looked on. This youth group is planning a trip to the jungle this year to help with our work there.

At a youth group gathering of Iglesia Mision Damasco (Damascus Mission Church) in Rinconcito, Guatemala, Dawn delicately placed her piece on the top of the Jenga tower as her team looked on. This youth group is planning a trip to the jungle this year to help with our work there.

All enjoyed the Jenga challenge!

All enjoyed the Jenga challenge!

At Iglesia Damasco in Rinconcito, this man shared what he is grateful for. He lost his leg in an accident falling from the top of a train in Mexico last year while trying to get to the United States. He is grateful for his life, his church, and his friends.

At Iglesia Damasco in Rinconcito, this man shared what he is grateful for. He lost his leg in an accident falling from the top of a train in Mexico last year while trying to get to the United States. He is grateful for his life, his church, and his friends.

In Santa Cruz, Alex placed bead necklaces around each neck of the senior ladies.

In Santa Cruz, Alex placed bead necklaces around each neck of the senior ladies.

Dancing with the seniors in Santa Cruz Naranjo

Dancing with the seniors in Santa Cruz Naranjo

Making balloon figures was a hit at several places. Here, Alex showed some children how to make a dog.

Making balloon figures was a hit at several places. Here, Alex showed some children how to make a dog.

To this group of 2nd and 3rd graders, Alex shared how when she was about their age, her parents divorced, and it forced her to grow up quicker than she wanted to. About three years ago, she came to faith in Christ and now loves going on mission trips.

To this group of 2nd and 3rd graders, Alex shared how when she was about their age, her parents divorced, and it forced her to grow up quicker than she wanted to. About three years ago, she came to faith in Christ and now loves going on mission trips.

We spent one day with Humberto Solares. Some of you may remember that a team from Open Range Fellowship in Lone Jack, Missouri helped him purchase this horse (named Bambino) for the beginning of an equine therapy program for special needs children. Here, Humberto leads Bambino as Clarissa, an expert in ET from San Jose Pinula, Guatemala, tests the horse’s abilities and points some things out to the group gathered for the orientation.

We spent one day with Humberto Solares. Some of you may remember that a team from Open Range Fellowship in Lone Jack, Missouri helped him purchase this horse (named Bambino) for the beginning of an equine therapy program for special needs children. Here, Humberto leads Bambino as Clarissa, an expert in ET from San Jose Pinula, Guatemala, tests the horse’s abilities and points some things out to the group gathered for the orientation.

When we stopped to eat after the training, Bambino stuck his head in the window to see what we were eating!

When we stopped to eat after the training, Bambino stuck his head in the window to see what we were eating!

At the first meeting of a new Christian Rancher group in Chiapas, Guatemala, Valentin Solares, a local pastor, makes a point as he welcomes his friends to a Guatemalan style barbecue.

At the first meeting of a new Christian Rancher group in Chiapas, Guatemala, Valentin Solares, a local pastor, makes a point as he welcomes his friends to a Guatemalan style barbecue.

At the Jesus Viene (meaning Jesus is Coming) Church in Chiapas, Guatemala, George told the biblical story of Matthew 20 where a vineyard owner pays all the workers the same daily wage—even to those who only worked an hour. As a manager of a landscaping company, he shared how crazy it would be for him to do the same thing—highlighting God’s amazing grace to all, even to those who come to Christ at the last hour. As a Christian since 2017, George feels grateful that God gives him the same claim to eternal life that long-time believers get.

At the Jesus Viene (meaning Jesus is Coming) Church in Chiapas, Guatemala, George told the biblical story of Matthew 20 where a vineyard owner pays all the workers the same daily wage—even to those who only worked an hour. As a manager of a landscaping company, he shared how crazy it would be for him to do the same thing—highlighting God’s amazing grace to all, even to those who come to Christ at the last hour. As a Christian since 2017, George feels grateful that God gives him the same claim to eternal life that long-time believers get.

A trio sang for a PSE Sunday morning gathering with the Jesus Viene Church in Chiapas. On the left is Carlos Chavaria, the pastor and long-time friend. Later this year, Carlos plans to take a team to the jungle to partner in our mission work there.

A trio sang for a PSE Sunday morning gathering with the Jesus Viene Church in Chiapas. On the left is Carlos Chavaria, the pastor and long-time friend. Later this year, Carlos plans to take a team to the jungle to partner in our mission work there.

During the trip, each member of the team had at least one opportunity to share their faith story. I wish I had time to highlight each one, but in every case, the stories really connected. In several places, people prayed to receive Christ.

10:02 PRAYER

Pray for the Iglesia Damasco Church in Rinconcito and the Jesus Viene Church in Chiapas as they reach out to youth and unchurched people in their respective areas. Pray also that they will be able to join us on a mission trip to the jungle this year.

Pray for the new Christian Rancher group getting started with our friend Valentin Solares and for the ongoing efforts of Humberto Solares’ group that is leading the way in starting the Equine Therapy ministry. Pray that Linda Wright, a horse training specialist in ET, will be able to raise the funds for her to go down soon to begin training Bambino.

ENGAGE

Word is getting out that Bill Burrows and I will be storming through Nebraska a couple of weeks in August and September. August 21-25 we plan to be in the Valentine, Nebraska, and on Saturday, August 24th, from 9am to 3pm, we will be at First Baptist Church in Valentine for a PSE training camp. The cost is $20, lunch and snacks included. To sign up, contact Pastor Johnathon Moore at fbcvalentine@yahoo.com or call (402) 389-1757.

We plan to be in Nebraska again from September 6-15. On Saturday, September 7th, from 8:45am to 4:30pm, we will be at Cedar Creek Bible Church near Burwell, Nebraska, for a Rural Christian Worker's Conference. We will be leading one of the 5 breakout sessions. To sign up, contact Joel Wentworth at joelwent@hotmail.com or call (402) 340-3370.

On Saturday, September 14th, from 9am to 3pm, we will be at Burwell Baptist for another PSE training camp. The cost is $20, lunch and snacks included. To sign up, contact Joel Wentworth at joelwent@hotmail.com or call (402) 340-3370.

INVEST

Thanks for investing in this ministry. We have seen a lot happen during this summer, and your gifts have made it possible. Your continued partnership has carried us big time. Keep it up!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

One last note before I sign off. While we were in Guatemala, the funeral service for our good friend and partner, Frank Slaughter, took place. Frank was pastor of Open Range Fellowship in Lone Jack, Missouri, and so wanted to come to Guatemala on a mission trip but never was able to. In his last days, he modeled how to make every day count as he battled cancer head on for two grueling years. Our prayers go out to his family, including his wife Brenda and his daughter Laura, who has been with us on a couple of mission trips to Guatemala.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support. Love y’all!

Steve

PS…Below are more pics…Thanks again LifeQuest for your partnership!

At the seniors center in Quesada, these ladies made a sign to welcome us. It says, “Welcome American Brothers.”

At the seniors center in Quesada, these ladies made a sign to welcome us. It says, “Welcome American Brothers.”

Belinda and Alex tying off balloons

Belinda and Alex tying off balloons

This little lady suffers from dementia but dances out of pure joy!

This little lady suffers from dementia but dances out of pure joy!

George played Connect Four with a new friend in Chiapas, Guatemala.

George played Connect Four with a new friend in Chiapas, Guatemala.

Alex shakes hands with her opponent.

Alex shakes hands with her opponent.

Dawn gave a prize to Elizabeth Chavaria, the pastor’s wife in Chiapas, after playing Connect Four together. After the trip, Dawn wrote her friends on Facebook to say, “This trip was life changing!”

Dawn gave a prize to Elizabeth Chavaria, the pastor’s wife in Chiapas, after playing Connect Four together. After the trip, Dawn wrote her friends on Facebook to say, “This trip was life changing!”

As a former barrel racer and self-avowed horse lover, Alex couldn’t wait to ride Bambino.

As a former barrel racer and self-avowed horse lover, Alex couldn’t wait to ride Bambino.

Taking Bambino for a spin

Taking Bambino for a spin

Belinda gets a selfie with a couple of school girls.

Belinda gets a selfie with a couple of school girls.

The last day, the group posed for a picture with a class of school children near Amberes, Guatemala.

The last day, the group posed for a picture with a class of school children near Amberes, Guatemala.

Despite Persecution, One New Jungle Church Starts in a Tough to Reach Place

Hi everyone!

I’m back in the U S of A, having gotten home from Guatemala in time to enjoy the 4th of July with family. Hope you had a wonderful time celebrating our nation’s birth with friends and family as well. Now that I’ve been home a week, I better get with the program and share some of the highlights from our latest trip to the jungle with a team from First Baptist Benbrook, Texas. I’d like to share one story and several pictures that capture a few snapshots of our time there.

From left to right, the Benbrook team consists of Cody Lawrence, Joe Velasquez, Tim Tucker, and Pastor Todd Pylant. Leading the way is German Tzi, the director of missions for a Kekchi Baptist Association of churches. This week, we hiked to four out-of-the-way places to encourage new believers in the start-up of new churches. On our first day, German took us to a mountain village called Volcan Semux.

From left to right, the Benbrook team consists of Cody Lawrence, Joe Velasquez, Tim Tucker, and Pastor Todd Pylant. Leading the way is German Tzi, the director of missions for a Kekchi Baptist Association of churches. This week, we hiked to four out-of-the-way places to encourage new believers in the start-up of new churches. On our first day, German took us to a mountain village called Volcan Semux.

After about an hour and a half hike, we got to the village and learned that in March, four families came together to start a church there. However, a couple of people in the community vowed to burn their houses down if they proceeded to start the church. Read the rest of the story below. Here, German makes introductions and shares what we would like to do together with them. Note that they have worked on building their meeting space out of lumber they cut from the jungle with chain saws.

After about an hour and a half hike, we got to the village and learned that in March, four families came together to start a church there. However, a couple of people in the community vowed to burn their houses down if they proceeded to start the church. Read the rest of the story below. Here, German makes introductions and shares what we would like to do together with them. Note that they have worked on building their meeting space out of lumber they cut from the jungle with chain saws.

To break up the story-telling time, we paused to play. Realizing that our original plan to play soccer was not practical because of their mountainside location, we improvised. (Ever chased a ball down a mountain?) So we decided to run relay races up and down part of a trail. Here the children showed the adults how it was done. Later the women and men took their turns!

To break up the story-telling time, we paused to play. Realizing that our original plan to play soccer was not practical because of their mountainside location, we improvised. (Ever chased a ball down a mountain?) So we decided to run relay races up and down part of a trail. Here the children showed the adults how it was done. Later the women and men took their turns!

With squeals of laughter, the ladies ran to hand off of their hankies to their teammates! Even with their long skirts, these ladies ran fast!

With squeals of laughter, the ladies ran to hand off of their hankies to their teammates! Even with their long skirts, these ladies ran fast!

Tim and Joe gut it out on the trail as the red team holds their lead!

Tim and Joe gut it out on the trail as the red team holds their lead!

After sharing faith stories, this young man asked if someone would help him become a follower of Jesus like the others in this new church. Here, German is leading him in a prayer of salvation as we prayed together with him.

After sharing faith stories, this young man asked if someone would help him become a follower of Jesus like the others in this new church. Here, German is leading him in a prayer of salvation as we prayed together with him.

Before leaving the church at Volcan Semux, a couple of people asked if we had any medicine for some cuts and burns. Here Tim and Joe are pulling out some band-aids and antibiotic ointment to put on several wounds. Every village we visited asked us if we had any medicine or medical supplies on us. We felt helpless seeing how, in these more remote places, small ailments and wounds can turn into a big deal when not adequately treated.

Before leaving the church at Volcan Semux, a couple of people asked if we had any medicine for some cuts and burns. Here Tim and Joe are pulling out some band-aids and antibiotic ointment to put on several wounds. Every village we visited asked us if we had any medicine or medical supplies on us. We felt helpless seeing how, in these more remote places, small ailments and wounds can turn into a big deal when not adequately treated.

“If you don’t stop building this church, we will burn your house down!”

Two months ago, those were the words yelled by two Catholic men to the four-family church that was meeting in one of the huts of one of those families. Without rehearsing or consulting, the church stood together as one outside the door. One of the men spoke. “If you do that, you will have to burn all of us together. We will not fight with you. However, we feel compelled by God to continue.”

Witnessing the situation, several Catholic people who knew the agitators came alongside and stood with the church. “If you are going to burn them, you will have to burn us too,” they said with conviction. “You know that our church does not teach this.” With that, the self-appointed accusers turned and went home.

Reluctant to say much, this man listens as German told me how these new believers stood firm in the middle of persecution.

Reluctant to say much, this man listens as German told me how these new believers stood firm in the middle of persecution.

Play. Story. Eat. In Action

Thankfully, since that incident, there have been no further threats. And German wanted us to share with the new believers how out of a glad and open heart, the congregation could play, share stories, and eat with people in the community to win them to Christ.

We talked about how we liked to do something fun to open us up to hear stories about one another and about God. Not knowing who was a part of the church and who wasn’t, we didn’t realize that we had engaged several outside of the church in our relay races and by the time we got to sharing our stories, about half a dozen ladies and several men joined us in our discussions.

While sitting around to hear the stories, one woman hung her baby from a beam to rock her to sleep.

While sitting around to hear the stories, one woman hung her baby from a beam to rock her to sleep.

Todd shared the biblical story Jesus told of the four different soils where gospel seed was sown. To communicate, I translated Todd’s English to Spanish. Then German translated it from Spanish to Kekchi. I was amazed at how patient the people were to listen. Fortunately, the story resonated well. Their whole existence depends on planting good seed in fertile soil to produce their crops of corn and beans and other vegetables to survive. Soon they peppered German with comments and questions. At the end when we talked about how we ride bulls of commitment to God after hearing God speak to us, we shared our commitments. The general commitment from the people was that they wanted to be fertile soil that God might use to plant seeds of faith that would sprout and multiply. They asked us to pray for them, that they would be a church of “chabil choch”—fertile soil. I made my commitment that when I got home, I would ask my prayer partners to pray that very prayer for them—that they would be fertile soil and that God would multiply mightily through them all over this mountain.

10:02 PRAYER

Please pray for the new church in Volcan Semux. Pray that they would joyfully multiply as they live out their faith in their village. As you see other pictures below, please pray that gospel seeds in the other places we went would find fertile soil too and that many would come to know Christ through the spiritual friendship and witness of our friends.

ENGAGE

I made a promise that I would tell the story of this new church in Volcan Semux and invite you to pray for them. Would you pass the word on to ask for others to pray with us? If you haven’t already done so, set your phone alarm to go off at 10:02 am or pm and remember to pray Luke 10:2…that the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into his fields that are ready to be harvested.

INVEST

Several of you have given sacrificially of late and greatly encouraged us. Thank you so much! Your continued partnership keeps us going. Keep those cards and letters coming!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

By the way, next week, July 18-25, we have a team from LifeQuest Church in Belton, Missouri, heading to Guatemala to work with several of our PSE groups in the Santa Rosa de Lima region. Stay tuned for more news.

Love y’all!

Steve

PS…check out more pics below! These guys from Benbrook were great!

In this village in Raxaha, Todd and Cesar turn the rope while Joe and a Kekchi boy try to jump together.

In this village in Raxaha, Todd and Cesar turn the rope while Joe and a Kekchi boy try to jump together.

Lorenzo, the pastor of the church at Ochul Choch meets us on the path to head up the mountain to his church. The village has about 15 families and all but one has been won to Christ. Even with that success in their village, they are not sitting on the job. In the past couple years they have started 3 other churches.

Lorenzo, the pastor of the church at Ochul Choch meets us on the path to head up the mountain to his church. The village has about 15 families and all but one has been won to Christ. Even with that success in their village, they are not sitting on the job. In the past couple years they have started 3 other churches.

After a hard day of hiking to Ochul Choch, the team shares in a worship service. Here, Joe shares his testimony while Lorenzo translates it to Kekchi.

After a hard day of hiking to Ochul Choch, the team shares in a worship service. Here, Joe shares his testimony while Lorenzo translates it to Kekchi.

In Ochul Choch, Pedro and his family share a meal of the spicy chili soup with us.

In Ochul Choch, Pedro and his family share a meal of the spicy chili soup with us.

Pedro and some of his friends and family join together outside Pedro’s hut for this picture.

Pedro and some of his friends and family join together outside Pedro’s hut for this picture.

Here’s how we set up to sleep in a couple of villages. This is the fellowship hall of the Ochul Choch church.

Here’s how we set up to sleep in a couple of villages. This is the fellowship hall of the Ochul Choch church.

In the village of Ferial, we get ready to play soccer with a group of men and boys. After the game we sat on the field and shared stories. This opened up a whole group of unbelievers to the church that we were working with on that day.

In the village of Ferial, we get ready to play soccer with a group of men and boys. After the game we sat on the field and shared stories. This opened up a whole group of unbelievers to the church that we were working with on that day.

After playing soccer in Raxaha, we agreed to bring a team in the future for a four-team tournament. Here Cesar presents a ball to the organizer of the village’s soccer teams.

After playing soccer in Raxaha, we agreed to bring a team in the future for a four-team tournament. Here Cesar presents a ball to the organizer of the village’s soccer teams.

One evening, Cesar and German had a group of pastors meet us so that they could meet Todd and hear more of our Play. Story. Eat. methodology. Todd spoke to the men from 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 when Paul speaks about how our competence comes not from ourselves, but from God.

One evening, Cesar and German had a group of pastors meet us so that they could meet Todd and hear more of our Play. Story. Eat. methodology. Todd spoke to the men from 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 when Paul speaks about how our competence comes not from ourselves, but from God.

Here Cesar and German are speaking of the levels we work at when starting churches.

Here Cesar and German are speaking of the levels we work at when starting churches.

During the time with the pastors, we taught them to play the game of Connect Four as a way to highlight how they could use play in ministry. Here Todd shows them how to play. Since several pastors came from a long distance, they spent the night at the association so they could travel by day the next morning. We left at about 10pm. German later told us that the ones who stayed got so hooked on the game that they played until 1am!

During the time with the pastors, we taught them to play the game of Connect Four as a way to highlight how they could use play in ministry. Here Todd shows them how to play. Since several pastors came from a long distance, they spent the night at the association so they could travel by day the next morning. We left at about 10pm. German later told us that the ones who stayed got so hooked on the game that they played until 1am!

After playing soccer in Raxaha, the church ladies fixed us a meal of beans and eggs and tortillas. With no utensils, the custom is to use the tortillas to scoop the food into your mouth. Here Todd is getting another tortilla to help in his efforts!

After playing soccer in Raxaha, the church ladies fixed us a meal of beans and eggs and tortillas. With no utensils, the custom is to use the tortillas to scoop the food into your mouth. Here Todd is getting another tortilla to help in his efforts!

The last day we had to hike in the rain.

The last day we had to hike in the rain.

Part of the trail went nearly straight up and over a mountain.

Part of the trail went nearly straight up and over a mountain.

Here we made it to Sepoc, our final destination.

Here we made it to Sepoc, our final destination.

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! Romans 10:15

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! Romans 10:15

Before leaving the jungle, we took a moment to wash away the mud and the sweat from the morning hike and enjoy the waterfalls of Las Conchas.

Before leaving the jungle, we took a moment to wash away the mud and the sweat from the morning hike and enjoy the waterfalls of Las Conchas.

Passport Snafu Demonstrates God's Protection

Hi everyone!

As I write this, I’m in Guatemala by the grace of God waiting to pick up our First Baptist Benbrook team at the airport. In my last update I asked for prayer in getting a new passport. Well, you won’t believe how your prayers were answered!

After multiple delays and frustrations, I got a passport at 2:30pm Wednesday afternoon in Dallas, Texas, and then at 6:45pm was on a plane to Guatemala! But it wasn’t really that simple…

After multiple delays and frustrations, I got a passport at 2:30pm Wednesday afternoon in Dallas, Texas, and then at 6:45pm was on a plane to Guatemala! But it wasn’t really that simple…

Last Thursday, I had just gotten home dog tired after painting a house in Overland Park, Kansas, with Bill Burrows and Bruce Dalman, and the phone rang. It was Tom Jones, my friend who has helped me fly with American Airlines on standby for many years.

“Your passport is no good for this trip,” Tom said after a short conversation.

“What?” I questioned. “I thought I had about six months left on it.”

“Guatemala requires at least six months on a passport to get in, and you are under that by a week,” Tom informed me.

With only four days before my flight, I learned that to get a passport expedited that quickly by mail was about $500! But if I went to a regional office, it could be done in one day for $170. I learned that Kansas City had no such office, but that Dallas did, and it wasn’t too far from a friend’s, home in Dallas. Francisco Nunez has worked with Cesar and me through the years and was instrumental in us becoming friends in Costa Rica almost 20 years ago. After a few phone calls, the plan unfolded for me to fly down Sunday evening and then get in line Monday morning before the passport office opened to have the whole day to get the passport. Tuesday would be a backup day and one to go see the Benbrook team in Fort Worth, along with a couple of other friends.

Sunday, because of weather in Dallas, my flight got canceled, and I tried to get on two other flights to no avail. That blew plan A, but if I got on the Monday flight at 6am, I could be in Dallas at the passport office by around 9am.

Because of the backlog of customers that didn’t get on their flights on Sunday, plan B failed. Monday was worse. I didn’t get on the 6am nor the 11am. Now, plan C. If I couldn’t get to Dallas by plane, what about bus? I found that if I jumped on a Greyhound bus at 1pm, I could be in Dallas by 1am. Francisco was willing to pick me up at that hour and then help me get to the passport office at 7am on Tuesday morning. I’d still have a day to get it all done before flying out on Wednesday.

On the bus somewhere in Southern Kansas, I get a call from Tim Tucker, the organizer of the Benbrook team. “I just got on the Dallas passport office website, and it says that it’s closed on Tuesday.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!” I replied, trying not to cry. “What in the world would cause them to close an office like that? If I had known this, I wouldn’t have broken my neck to ride the bus.”

When I finally got to Dallas, all around the bus stop there were barricades and police. I called Francisco, “Donde estas? (Where are you?)” I asked in Spanish.

“About half a block away,” he replied. “Walk this way and I will tell you what is going on.” As I jumped in the car, Francisco pointed up the street. “That’s the passport office right there. And yesterday morning, a 22-year-old former military guy went berserk and shot the front door with a machine gun. That’s why they are shut down. The police and FBI are doing their investigation.”

“I guess that explains the Tuesday closing. What about Wednesday?” I asked.

“No one knows,” Francisco replied.

That night we checked out the Dallas news and got the details. At 8:40am, the gunman was shooting, and police reacted quickly and shot him dead before anyone got hurt. Here is a link to a news report.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/18/us/dallas-gunman-photo-trnd/index.html

Brian Isaac Clyde is about to turn around and shoot at an entry to the Federal Building in Dallas, Texas. Dallas Morning News photographer, Tom Fox, shot this picture as he was about to enter the building to cover a court case.

Brian Isaac Clyde is about to turn around and shoot at an entry to the Federal Building in Dallas, Texas. Dallas Morning News photographer, Tom Fox, shot this picture as he was about to enter the building to cover a court case.

Tuesday I did my errands and got to see the folks I needed to see. Everyone I saw took a moment to pray that I would have success on Wednesday and get to Guatemala as scheduled.

On Wednesday morning this was the line to get into the Federal building. Due to extra security, it took a while to get in.

On Wednesday morning this was the line to get into the Federal building. Due to extra security, it took a while to get in.

Wednesday morning, as I slid into the passport line, people were sharing stories. One couple told me that they had gotten there at 7:30am on Monday and were processed and told to come back at 1pm to get their passport. They were overjoyed, because they be able to make their flight that evening to Australia. They had just walked out the door and gotten into their car when they heard shots. They didn’t stick around but pulled out and drove off. Needless to say, there was no passport waiting for them that afternoon and Wednesday it was like they were starting over.

Another guy told me he had been in line on Monday, and when the gunman did his thing, they were escorted to a room, and no one gave them any reason for a couple of hours. He got more info by phone from his wife on the outside, but still news was sketchy. When the passport people took them back to start processing passports, a police officer came in and announced, “Everyone must leave!” When this man went out to get in his car, they told him that he could not take it. The whole building and parking lot were a crime scene. He had to call an Uber to get a ride home.

In that moment, I teared up. I realized how God had spared me. My plan A would have had me there at 7:30am that Monday morning like my new friends going to Australia. Plan B would have had me there by 9:30am, right after the shooting. Plan C for Tuesday was shot, by no opening of the office, but instead I had a wonderful day with my ministry friends in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. On Wednesday, though it was an exhausting wait of 6 hours, I got my passport about an hour after my new friends who would have gotten theirs on Monday. An hour later I was at my gate at the airport as if nothing happened!

As I reflect on all of these happenings and a few I didn’t mention here, I am grateful. Not only was I spared any potential harm, but God allowed me to make important connections and still be ready for the team to show up Friday night! God is good!

10:02 PRAYER

Thank God for His amazing protection and provision for me. Our team from Benbrook would appreciate your prayers this week as we head to the jungle for some days of hiking to some new villages and working with some new pastors.

ENGAGE

What are you grateful for today? Thank Him for your “snafus”. He may be setting you up for a miracle!

INVEST

Thanks for your continued investment in this ministry! Any gift of any size means a lot to us. Muchas gracias!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

We hope to share more when we get back from the jungle.

Love y’all!

Steve

New PSE Bull Riding Group in Honduras!

Hi everybody!

I’ve been home for a few days and have been a little slow in getting the rest of the story told of our recent trip to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Before I get into that, I’m excited that I got home with a few days to spare to welcome our 6th grandchild (and second grand-daughter!) into this world! See the cute pic at the end of this update!

10:02 PRAYER

Pray for our friends and students starting groups near La Ceiba. Pray that God will continue to draw others into the groups and that many spiritual conversations and friendships will form to make this a place where the gospel moves rapidly to other places in the region. Also pray during the week of June 21-29 for a First Baptist Benbrook, Texas, team of four going to the jungle. Pastor Todd Pylant and worship leader Tim Tucker will be part of that group. This team will be hiking in some remote areas where new churches are starting. We expect it to be quite an adventure! Please pray.

ENGAGE

Note that on Saturday, June 22nd, there is a PSE training event being held at LifeQuest Church in Belton, Missouri. All in the Kansas City region are welcome to attend. Just let us know if you are coming by replying to this email if you are not part of the LifeQuest group signup process.

INVEST

Bill Burrows and I have been painting houses lately to make ends meet on the ministry front. Please know that our travel expenses are growing with all the new movements and places. Thanks for your continued partnership!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

Today I want to share a little of what happened in La Ceiba, Honduras. As you might recall from our last update, Cesar Gonzalez, Frank Molano, and I had just come out of the jungle in Guatemala for a pastors PSE training and had headed to the Atlantic coastal town of La Ceiba.

Frank Molano, of Fort Worth Texas, shares a story with some students of the John F. Kennedy School of Agriculture near La Ceiba, Honduras. Frank invested 18 years in ministry working as a chaplain to high school rodeo families in Texas and was part of the first cowboy church started in Texas. Frank’s stories really connected with this group.

Frank Molano, of Fort Worth Texas, shares a story with some students of the John F. Kennedy School of Agriculture near La Ceiba, Honduras. Frank invested 18 years in ministry working as a chaplain to high school rodeo families in Texas and was part of the first cowboy church started in Texas. Frank’s stories really connected with this group.

We wanted to follow up on our trip this past February when we received permission from a large cattlemen’s association in La Ceiba to use a spot on their premises to start a Christian Rancher group. In addition, we wanted to go back to the John F. Kennedy School of Agriculture to follow up there. It just so happened that the dates we chose to go back were the exact dates of the big annual fair for the association. Even though they were excited we were there for their biggest event of the year, most of that group was too preoccupied to do much with us.

On the Saturday of the week of the fair, about a mile stretch of downtown La Ceiba, Honduras, was lined with thousands of people gathering to celebrate the annual fair and rodeo.

On the Saturday of the week of the fair, about a mile stretch of downtown La Ceiba, Honduras, was lined with thousands of people gathering to celebrate the annual fair and rodeo.

So we turned our focus to the ag students. On that Friday, we spent the day with them at the university, and then they came to the fairgrounds on Saturday, and we continued our Play. Story. Eat. conversation in the spot where the association had given us permission to meet. On that first day, we introduced ourselves and did a quick Play. Story. Eat. sampling.

Two professors from the university convened a group of students that they thought might be interested in hearing our story of working with the National University of Agriculture in Catacamas, Honduras, and Christian Rancher groups.

Two professors from the university convened a group of students that they thought might be interested in hearing our story of working with the National University of Agriculture in Catacamas, Honduras, and Christian Rancher groups.

After introductions, Cesar gets us organized to have a tug-of-war and then some other impromptu relays and games.

After introductions, Cesar gets us organized to have a tug-of-war and then some other impromptu relays and games.

In playing and sharing stories together, we learned that most of this group were bull riders. When Cesar talked about how every time our groups gather, we ride a bull, they got excited! Before we could say that it was a phrase we use to make a commitment to do something about a scripture or Bible story, they had talked their professors into letting them round up some bulls and do a bull riding demonstration!

Cesar talks with the bull riders. They wanted to go get some Brahma bulls from the university’s herd and bring them to the campus arena for a bull riding.

Cesar talks with the bull riders. They wanted to go get some Brahma bulls from the university’s herd and bring them to the campus arena for a bull riding.

Rounding up the herd to select the four or five bulls for riding

Rounding up the herd to select the four or five bulls for riding

Now it’s show time!

Now it’s show time!

This was the best ride of the day!

This was the best ride of the day!

After toppling a rider, this bull is trying to see what one of our friends has in his hand.

After toppling a rider, this bull is trying to see what one of our friends has in his hand.

Here’s the official photo of our first day together.

Here’s the official photo of our first day together.

We had a great time that first day. While we were eating a baleada together (a Honduran burrito), Cesar talked the professors of the university into getting a bus the next day to bring the group to the fair. The students were stoked about that and left excited about meeting us the next day. In addition, we had arranged for Fernanda and Leonardo, two graduated former students who had been a part of a group we started several years ago at the National University of Agriculture in Catacamas, Honduras, to meet us there. They are agronomists now and have moved back to their hometown just down the road from this university. Along with them was our friend, Adonay, who is a dedicated Christian willing to start a Christian Rancher group with a handful of other guys from the Cattlemen’s Association.

From left to right is Fernanda, her fiance, Leonardo, Cesar, Frank, Adonay, and me. Adonay is the leader of the new Christian Rancher group that is getting started in this location at the fairgrounds of the La Ceiba Cattlemens Association. This group is committed to sponsoring the student group. Some of our Texas friends might remember Fernanda and Leonardo coming to Texas in 2015 with a group of bull riders for an exchange program at Texas Tech.

From left to right is Fernanda, her fiance, Leonardo, Cesar, Frank, Adonay, and me. Adonay is the leader of the new Christian Rancher group that is getting started in this location at the fairgrounds of the La Ceiba Cattlemens Association. This group is committed to sponsoring the student group. Some of our Texas friends might remember Fernanda and Leonardo coming to Texas in 2015 with a group of bull riders for an exchange program at Texas Tech.

Amazingly, the second day with our bull rider friends from the JFK School of Agriculture went even better than the first! As we did more of the Play. Story. Eat. process, we all connected even more. A part of the fun included the brand skit we sometimes do. This version wound up with a prize winning bull being a part of the act! Even more amazing was that at the end of our time together, in a strong voice, every person prayed to receive Christ as Cesar and Frank led them in that time. Now they are committed to getting together to do the PSE process every week!

With some highly prized show animals nearby, Cesar talked the handler of this bull to come be a part of our brand skit! The point of the skit is to determine who your real owner is when you die.

With some highly prized show animals nearby, Cesar talked the handler of this bull to come be a part of our brand skit! The point of the skit is to determine who your real owner is when you die.

Here is a rich and famous man in the skit. He has his fame as his brand.

Here is a rich and famous man in the skit. He has his fame as his brand.

But when he dies, his owner (the devil) takes him away!

But when he dies, his owner (the devil) takes him away!

This is my favorite picture. After the skit and the testimonies, it was time to pray, and here Cesar was tying it all together to invite those who wanted to do so, to pray to receive Christ and have His brand seared on their lives. A moment later, all eagerly did so as Frank led them phrase by phrase to pray a prayer of salvation. After hugs and high fives, we walked away understanding we were now family. Please pray for this new group of spiritual friends!

This is my favorite picture. After the skit and the testimonies, it was time to pray, and here Cesar was tying it all together to invite those who wanted to do so, to pray to receive Christ and have His brand seared on their lives. A moment later, all eagerly did so as Frank led them phrase by phrase to pray a prayer of salvation. After hugs and high fives, we walked away understanding we were now family. Please pray for this new group of spiritual friends!

Please Remember to:

10:02 PRAY

Pray for our friends and students starting groups near La Ceiba. Pray that God will continue to draw others into the groups and that many spiritual conversations and friendships will form to make this a place where the gospel moves rapidly to other places in the region. Also pray during the week of June 21-29 for a First Baptist Benbrook, Texas, team of four going to the jungle. Pastor Todd Pylant and worship leader Tim Tucker will be part of that group. This team will be hiking in some remote areas where new churches are starting. We expect it to be quite an adventure! Please pray.

ENGAGE

Note that on Saturday, June 22nd, there is a PSE training event being held at LifeQuest Church in Belton, Missouri. All in the Kansas City region are welcome to attend. Just let us know if you are coming by replying to this email if you are not part of the LifeQuest group signup process.

INVEST

Bill Burrows and I have been painting houses lately to make ends meet on the ministry front. Please know that our travel expenses are growing with all the new movements and places. Thanks for your continued partnership!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

Note too that I will be heading to Dallas by bus (long story) to expedite a passport renewal on Tuesday, June 18th, and Lord willing, I will fly to Guatemala on Wednesday, June 19th, for a couple of meetings before the FBC Benbrook team arrives on Friday. I’d appreciate your prayers on all this. Thanks!

Love y’all!

Steve

Our grand-daughter, Bridget, holds Adalyn, her new baby sister! Bobbi and Ryan Reed are the proud parents. All are doing well!

Our grand-daughter, Bridget, holds Adalyn, her new baby sister! Bobbi and Ryan Reed are the proud parents. All are doing well!

Jungle PSE Training

Hi Everybody!

Cesar Gonzalez, Frank Molano, and I have been burning up the roads from Cesar’s home in Amberes, Guatemala, to the jungle near Fray Bartolome de las Casas, Guatemala, to La Ceiba, Honduras, and back to Cesar’s. As I write this from Amberes, I am more than just grateful for a productive trip, I am grateful that God is doing way more than we could have imagined or conjured up ourselves. To recount all the stories you´d have to pack a lunch! So let me show you a few pictures of our jungle training. Next time I will fill you in on our Honduras cowboy trip.

In Fray, we spent two days with pastors from a Kekchi Baptist Association. The first day we trained 12 men. Then the second day those 12 repeated the training they got with 40 other pastors in their Kekchi language. While we didn´t even come close to doing a full training, we did get in the basics of the PSE process. We believe that this method of giving the training in small doses and then allowing time to practice will produce better long term results. In June we will have a team from Benbrook, Texas, come down for some days of practice in three remote villages where new churches are being started.

German Tzi, mission director for a Kekchi Baptist Association based in Fray de las Casas, Guatemala, shares how the 70 churches in their association need to learn how to be more intentional in evangelism and church planting.

German Tzi, mission director for a Kekchi Baptist Association based in Fray de las Casas, Guatemala, shares how the 70 churches in their association need to learn how to be more intentional in evangelism and church planting.

Cesar begins the Play.Story.Eat. training with the story of why we have come.

Cesar begins the Play.Story.Eat. training with the story of why we have come.

Nothing like jumping rope to get the blood pumping!

Nothing like jumping rope to get the blood pumping!

Frank shares the biblical story of the great banquet and how God often goes to the overlooked places in the world to call people to Himself. Frank kept the pastors engaged in his story of being reached by a cowboy church in Fort Worth, Texas, that then helped him go out to reach kids in high school rodeos.

Frank shares the biblical story of the great banquet and how God often goes to the overlooked places in the world to call people to Himself. Frank kept the pastors engaged in his story of being reached by a cowboy church in Fort Worth, Texas, that then helped him go out to reach kids in high school rodeos.

Sitting down to eat with the pastors, they had no problems with this part of the training!

Sitting down to eat with the pastors, they had no problems with this part of the training!

In our training we always talk about laying down our shields and our weapons to be open hearted with God and others. This pastor shares the concept in the Kekchi language on the second day with the pastors who were hearing the concept for the first time.

In our training we always talk about laying down our shields and our weapons to be open hearted with God and others. This pastor shares the concept in the Kekchi language on the second day with the pastors who were hearing the concept for the first time.

This pastor repeats Cesar’s teaching from the day before about being fishers of men.

This pastor repeats Cesar’s teaching from the day before about being fishers of men.

10:02 PRAYER

Pray for German Tzi and the pastors near Fray, Guatemala, that they will prepare their churches to be effective witnesses in their region and that this year every church will grow and reproduce.

ENGAGE

Would you consider forwarding this update to those who might be interested? Note too that I have posted more pics on Facebook.

INVEST

Your gifts make all the difference in the world! Thanks for continuing to partner with us!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

I can hardly wait to share with you what happened in Honduras. Stay tuned for more!

Love y’all!

Steve

Guatemala Equine Therapy and PSE Happenings!

Hi all,

We have been in Guatemala for almost a week now with a fantastic team from Open Range Fellowship of Lone Jack, Missouri, and Frank Milano of Fort Worth, Texas. Our friends from Open Range consists of Sam Anderson, Linda Wright, and Mike Crutchfield. Each one has experience in training horses and in equine therapy programs. Frank is a retired cowboy who worked with the Stockyards of Fort Worth and has a wealth of ministry experience in cowboy churches and high school rodeos in Texas.

This week, not only did this team help us locate a horse for the startup of the equine therapy program, but they were a great encouragement to new Christian Rancher groups, Play.Story.Eat. groups, and a brand new Christian Rancher group getting started in El Salvador!

Here are a few pics to highlight our time together so far.

Sam Anderson sizes up a horse in Guatemala with our equine therapy team in search of a horse to start a new program this year in Guatemala.

Sam Anderson sizes up a horse in Guatemala with our equine therapy team in search of a horse to start a new program this year in Guatemala.

Linda Wright checks out the hooves of this horse.

Linda Wright checks out the hooves of this horse.

Sam looks at another horse with Mike Crutchfield looking on.

Sam looks at another horse with Mike Crutchfield looking on.

Sam Anderson checks out a mare while her owner looks on.

Sam Anderson checks out a mare while her owner looks on.

Linda tests the walking pace of this horse.

Linda tests the walking pace of this horse.

Cesar Gonzalez hands the money over to the owner for the first horse to be trained for equine therapy while Humberto Solares looks on.

Cesar Gonzalez hands the money over to the owner for the first horse to be trained for equine therapy while Humberto Solares looks on.

Humberto poses with our new horse!

Humberto poses with our new horse!

Before I show you the rest of the pictures, I want ask for your prayers…

10:02 PRAYER

Pray for the folks we touched this week in Guatemala and El Salvador. Cesar, Frank, and I would appreciate your continued prayers as we head to Fray de las Casas Guatemala to train about 80 pastors from a Kekchi Association in Play.Story.Eat. methodolgy. And then from there we head to La Ceiba, Honduras for a training of a small group to start Christian Rancher groups in their region.

ENGAGE

Would you consider forwarding this update to those who might be interested? Note too that I have posted more pics on Facebook.

INVEST

Your gifts keep us moving. Thanks for continuing to partner with us!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

I hope to send another note when we get back from Honduras. More pics are below…Until next time…

Love y’all!

Steve

Sam officially offers a saddle donated by Linda Grimmet of Lone Jack, Missouri for the equine therapy program.

Sam officially offers a saddle donated by Linda Grimmet of Lone Jack, Missouri for the equine therapy program.

Play.Story.Eat. training with pastors and leaders in Guatemala City.

Play.Story.Eat. training with pastors and leaders in Guatemala City.

In our PSE training, Mike tells his story while Cesar translates.

In our PSE training, Mike tells his story while Cesar translates.

The first meeting of a Christian Rancher group in Ahuachapan, El Salvador.

The first meeting of a Christian Rancher group in Ahuachapan, El Salvador.

Sam speaks to the group how horses can teach us about God.

Sam speaks to the group how horses can teach us about God.

These ladies are making Pupusas for the group. If you ever go to El Salvador, you must try them! They are delicioso!

These ladies are making Pupusas for the group. If you ever go to El Salvador, you must try them! They are delicioso!

Sam has fun with the kids in a Play.Story.Eat. group at Humberto´s house in Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala.

Sam has fun with the kids in a Play.Story.Eat. group at Humberto´s house in Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala.

At a senior citizens program near Quesada, Guatemala, Cesar introduces our group.

At a senior citizens program near Quesada, Guatemala, Cesar introduces our group.

Frank shares his story to a receptive group.

Frank shares his story to a receptive group.

Teams Heading to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador

Hi Everyone!

Thank you for your continued prayers and notes of encouragement! After our last update, we had a couple of folks respond to my invitation to write a note to our newest update recipients. Here are a couple of their thoughts…

To those who are just learning of Play. Story. Eat. and Daybreak International: The updates I receive move me because I am informed about the hunger for Christ among the people in rural and isolated areas of Central America. Their responses to the gospel encourage me. Being a farmer's daughter, I find the news of agricultural endeavors interesting as they are points of introduction for PSE.

Another said, “I love seeing God’s people living out their obedience!!”

So do I! I wish all of you could sit where I do and hear and see all the stories I get from people who testify of God’s work in their lives as they take steps of obedience to God. In addition, obedient Christ-followers are befriending and reaching out to others who need to know the Lord, and by God’s grace many of these people are responding positively! In the coming weeks, we expect to share some stories from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as we do various Play. Story. Eat. training events and mission trips. Today I want to highlight our team who will be leaving this week and put some pegs on the calendar for you to remember us in prayer.

  • May 13-20…Equine Therapy Team in Guatemala and El Salvador

    Sam Anderson, Linda Wright, and Mike Crutchfield, of Open Range Fellowship in Lone Jack, Missouri, will be teaming up with Frank Molano, of Fort Worth, Texas, and me to lay the groundwork for the startup of an Equine Therapy program for special needs children and two PSE training events.

Barbara Harshner, a horse trainer from Lone Jack, Missouri, gives some pointers to our equine therapy team getting ready to go to Guatemala.

Barbara Harshner, a horse trainer from Lone Jack, Missouri, gives some pointers to our equine therapy team getting ready to go to Guatemala.

  • May 21-23…PSE Kekchi Pastor Training in the Fray de Las Casas region of Guatemala .

    Frank Molano, Cesar, and I will be making this trip together. Plans include a day of training and a day of practice. This is in an area adjacent to where we have worked for many years in the jungle.

Cesar speaks to a group of Kekchi pastors at their annual meeting in January to invite them to come back in May for training.

Cesar speaks to a group of Kekchi pastors at their annual meeting in January to invite them to come back in May for training.

  • May 24-27…Honduras PSE Training for Leaders of new Christian Rancher Groups

    From the jungle, Cesar, Frank, and I will head to La Ceiba, Honduras, to work with cowboys and ranchers for several days. This will be during the annual fair that the cattlemen’s association puts on, so we hope that it will not slow down our team there who are getting ready to start their first group!

In La Ceiba, Honduras, last February, my wife Nola stands in front of an area that will be teeming with people during the days of their annual fair in May.

In La Ceiba, Honduras, last February, my wife Nola stands in front of an area that will be teeming with people during the days of their annual fair in May.

  • June 21-29…Jungle Church Planting trip with team from First Baptist Benbrook, Texas

    This team will follow up on the pastor training we have planned in May by hiking to several remote areas in the jungle to partner with the pastors on a church planting strategy. Participants have been working out and getting in shape to tackle this physical challenge! Pray for their health and stamina as well as God’s favor in the start-up of new churches.

  • July 15-22…Guatemala Trip with LifeQuest team from Belton, Missouri

    This team will follow up on the May training trip helping several groups follow through on their strategies for starting new groups. Most likely there will be an emphasis on a couple of the days with women’s groups that are getting started.

10:02 PRAYER

Several of you have texted me at 10:02 a.m. or shortly thereafter to share that you are praying regularly for us. That means more than you can ever know! As you pray this week, please pray for our team heading to Guatemala. Pray that we will be able to sow some seeds for the equine therapy program to blossom and demonstrate God’s love. The most pressing need is to find the first horse for the program. Pray that God provides that as well as success for our days of PSE training.

ENGAGE

One of our vital behaviors we practice and encourage is obedience training. In our cowboy groups, we call that “riding the bull.” Every time we share a Bible story or a scripture, we ask one another, “What are we going to do about it?” or “What bull are we going to ride as a result of hearing God’s story?” This week, make a commitment to pay attention to any scripture that you study and/or are exposed to and decide to be obedient to it in a specific way that day. If God does something good in you as a result, let me know! So giddy up and engage in obedience training!

INVEST

Our coffers are barely keeping up with the upcoming trips and pace of the ministry. Your giving of any amount is making a difference when we pool our resources together. Thanks for continuing to partner with us!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

Keep those cards and letters coming! Until next time…

Love y’all!

Steve

Luke 10:2 Prayer with New Friends

After about a month and a half of travels with Cesar and Elba Gonzalez, Bill Burrows and I are welcoming about 100 new friends to our Daybreak International Play. Story. Eat. Update! If you are new to the group, welcome!

As we made the rounds from Kansas to Nebraska to Missouri to Oklahoma and finally to Texas, we shared many of the stories of God at work in Guatemala and beyond. And….we ate… a lot! Occasionally we did a “Taste of Guatemala” event for various groups, but often it was a matter of friends introducing good old fashioned American food to Cesar and Elba while they were here! They got to taste a whole host of scrumptious food like KC ribs, barbecue, chicken fried steak, deer, hamburgers, spaghetti, Tex-Mex, biscuits and gravy, etc, etc!

At a meal at Sam and Judy Anderson’s in Sibley, Missouri, we enjoyed some tasty deer steaks and all the fixin’s! From left to right around the table are Cesar Gonzalez, Elba Gonzalez, Michael Macias, Carla Macias, Sam, Judy, and my wife Nola.

At a meal at Sam and Judy Anderson’s in Sibley, Missouri, we enjoyed some tasty deer steaks and all the fixin’s! From left to right around the table are Cesar Gonzalez, Elba Gonzalez, Michael Macias, Carla Macias, Sam, Judy, and my wife Nola.

In nearly every place we went, we asked our friends to set their cell phone alarms for 10:02 a.m. or p.m. Why? So that when their alarm goes off, it reminds them to pray Jesus’ prayer of Luke 10:2…”The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest fields…” So many opportunities lie before us that we believe this is the most strategic thing anyone can do for us or any of our Play. Story. Eat friends. The harvest is there. It’s ready. Workers are needed. Pray accordingly!

So to those of you joining us, we want to say thanks for joining in “10:02 prayer.” In each update we list a prayer need. In addition, we mention an action to take as a way that you can ENGAGE in the PSE mission. And then we offer an opportunity to INVEST in what God is doing. Usually, these three headings come at the end of the update. This week we want to flip it and share this information up front. Then you’ll see pictures of some of the places we have been in the last month. Next time we will jump into more of the ongoing mission stories that many of you have come to expect.

10:02 PRAYER

As we pray for laborers for His harvest, we ask you to pray for your church and your friends all over the world engaging in evangelism/discipleship. However you do church, remember that every person in the world needs a friend who loves Jesus! Let’s ask God to empower us with courage and humility to be that kind of friend. Note that next time I will have a list of prayer needs for a whole slate of PSE Training Camp activities scheduled for May in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Stay tuned!

ENGAGE

If you are getting this email for the first time, please reply and let us know that you got it! Everyone else, I’d invite you to write a one or two-sentence note to welcome our newcomers—perhaps saying something about what you enjoy in our updates! I’d like to print some of these next time if you send me something!

INVEST

Words hardly express how appreciative we are for your continued partnership in this ministry. Each week we offer an easy button for you to invest….here it is! Thanks for partnering with us!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

On Sunday, April 7th, we gave a short mission report at Top Hand Cowboy Church in Valley Mills, Texas. From left to right are Bill Burrows, me, Greg Moore (pastor of Top Hand), Elba, Cesar, and Frank Milano.

On Sunday, April 7th, we gave a short mission report at Top Hand Cowboy Church in Valley Mills, Texas. From left to right are Bill Burrows, me, Greg Moore (pastor of Top Hand), Elba, Cesar, and Frank Milano.

At a Cracker Barrel near Fort Worth, Texas, we reconnected with Frank Milano and Rick Watson (sitting on the same side of the table with Cesar). Both of these men have been to Honduras on mission trips with us. And both have been part of the start-up of several cowboy churches in Texas. In fact, Frank was a member of the first official cowboy church that was started in the 80’s at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth—known as the world’s largest honky tonk! Great story!

At a Cracker Barrel near Fort Worth, Texas, we reconnected with Frank Milano and Rick Watson (sitting on the same side of the table with Cesar). Both of these men have been to Honduras on mission trips with us. And both have been part of the start-up of several cowboy churches in Texas. In fact, Frank was a member of the first official cowboy church that was started in the 80’s at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth—known as the world’s largest honky tonk! Great story!

One day in Fort Worth, Cesar and Elba enjoyed a stagecoach ride at the world famous stockyards!

One day in Fort Worth, Cesar and Elba enjoyed a stagecoach ride at the world famous stockyards!

While speaking to folks at LifeQuest Church in Belton, MO, Steve, Nola, Elba, and Cesar shared how team members can share their faith story in cross-cultural settings in Guatemala.

While speaking to folks at LifeQuest Church in Belton, MO, Steve, Nola, Elba, and Cesar shared how team members can share their faith story in cross-cultural settings in Guatemala.

Pastor Chris Pinion greeted Elba as we entered the building of LifeQuest Church in Belton, Missouri.

Pastor Chris Pinion greeted Elba as we entered the building of LifeQuest Church in Belton, Missouri.

Elba Gonzalez taught some of the ladies at LifeQuest Church how to make tortillas.

Elba Gonzalez taught some of the ladies at LifeQuest Church how to make tortillas.

With a group of friends at First Baptist of Avilla, Missouri, Elba shows how to flip the tortillas without a spatula! On the right, Joann Clark tries her hand at it.

With a group of friends at First Baptist of Avilla, Missouri, Elba shows how to flip the tortillas without a spatula! On the right, Joann Clark tries her hand at it.

Cesar and Michael Wright, of Oak Grove, Missouri, pause for a picture between stories of surviving in the wilds of Alaska and Cesar sharing how he grew up in Guatemala.

Cesar and Michael Wright, of Oak Grove, Missouri, pause for a picture between stories of surviving in the wilds of Alaska and Cesar sharing how he grew up in Guatemala.

Elba hang’n with Colonel Sanders

Elba hang’n with Colonel Sanders

In Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Kristin Reed graciously performed a complete eye exam for Cesar and Elba—saving them time and money in getting current prescriptions for eye-wear before returning to Guatemala.

In Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Kristin Reed graciously performed a complete eye exam for Cesar and Elba—saving them time and money in getting current prescriptions for eye-wear before returning to Guatemala.

Near Benbrook, Texas, we visited Mark Welch’s farm where he builds working windmills. This particular windmill provides all the water for his house.

Near Benbrook, Texas, we visited Mark Welch’s farm where he builds working windmills. This particular windmill provides all the water for his house.

Mark Welch (center) explains how his windmills work. Frank Milano (left) and Tim Tucker (right) look on. When Mark was in Guatemala last year, ranchers were intrigued by Mark’s windmill experience and are asking him to help them figure out if windmills would be practical for watering their cattle.

Mark Welch (center) explains how his windmills work. Frank Milano (left) and Tim Tucker (right) look on. When Mark was in Guatemala last year, ranchers were intrigued by Mark’s windmill experience and are asking him to help them figure out if windmills would be practical for watering their cattle.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Note that what YOU do for a living or for enjoyment is often a very strategic tool God can use to make new friends and open up an opportunity for people to share faith stories that can change lives.

We had a great time seeing so many of you this past month! Until next time…

Love y’all!

Steve

Cesar and Elba Freeze in Nebraska!

In February, I got a question from Elba Gonzalez, wife of Cesar Gonzalez, our ministry partner in Guatemala. Nola and I were about to fly home, and we were talking about Cesar and Elba’s upcoming month-long visit with us in March.

“Esteban,” Elba began. “You know that I don’t like cold weather. So what’s it going to be like when we come to the states?”

“It’s going to be warm,” I reassured. “We will be enjoying spring-like weather!”

When they arrived here in Kansas City, we had snow on the ground and frigid temperatures. “You lied to me!” Elba accused, pointing her finger at me.

It got worse. Two days later, we drove through a snow storm in Norfolk, Nebraska, and the next morning it was -10 F and like an ice skating rink on most sidewalks!

Cesar and Elba posed for a wintry picture outside of Rex and Deb Kelley’s home.

Cesar and Elba posed for a wintry picture outside of Rex and Deb Kelley’s home.

A few days later while staying at Rex and Deb Kelley’s house near Ord, Nebraska, Elba reached out with an olive branch of sorts.

“Esteban,” Elba said while looking out a big picturesque window overlooking the Le Loup river that runs behind the Kelley’s home, “it’s okay that you lied to me. This has been really amazing to see all this!”

Truthfully, I have to agree with Elba. The week we spent in Nebraska was special. It was really cold, but the people we spent time with were so warm and hospitable to us.

David Martinez (in white shirt), expressed his gratitude after the service on Sunday, March 10th, when his Norfolk congregation (the Hispanic group of Northern Heights Baptist) surprised him with a spontaneous birthday party and pot luck. Note the week after we left, severe flooding took place in Norfolk, and David and many in his congregation holed up in the church one night due to rising waters. As of this writing, all are well. (See pic in prayer section.)

David Martinez (in white shirt), expressed his gratitude after the service on Sunday, March 10th, when his Norfolk congregation (the Hispanic group of Northern Heights Baptist) surprised him with a spontaneous birthday party and pot luck. Note the week after we left, severe flooding took place in Norfolk, and David and many in his congregation holed up in the church one night due to rising waters. As of this writing, all are well. (See pic in prayer section.)

Cesar spoke to David Martinez’ Bible Institute group in Norfolk, Nebraska, about the Play. Story. Eat. process.

Cesar spoke to David Martinez’ Bible Institute group in Norfolk, Nebraska, about the Play. Story. Eat. process.

We also visited the Evangelical Free Church in Ord and ended the Nebraska trip spending a few days with our friends at Burwell Baptist.

Elba showed some girls at the AWANA “Taste of Guatemala” night in Burwell, Nebraska, how to make tortillas.

Elba showed some girls at the AWANA “Taste of Guatemala” night in Burwell, Nebraska, how to make tortillas.

The team jumped rope at Burwell Baptist Church Awana program.

The team jumped rope at Burwell Baptist Church Awana program.

“The Wagon Train” at Burwell Baptist Church PSE Training Camp was a great experience! It’s a group exercise that allows everyone to share and pray for every other person present in one-on-one huddles.

“The Wagon Train” at Burwell Baptist Church PSE Training Camp was a great experience! It’s a group exercise that allows everyone to share and pray for every other person present in one-on-one huddles.

Floods in Nebraska

A couple of days after we got back to Kansas City, major flooding hit many places all over Nebraska. Many roads have been impassable. Our friends are telling us that the needs are going to be great in the coming days.

This is downtown Norfolk on March 15th.

This is downtown Norfolk on March 15th.

Folks set up sleeping spaces in the Northern Heights Baptist Church in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Folks set up sleeping spaces in the Northern Heights Baptist Church in Norfolk, Nebraska.

10:02 PRAYER

Please pray for our friends in Nebraska dealing with the floods. Pray for us as we visit our PSE friends in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas in the next couple of weeks. Below is our schedule of places we will be heading toward in the next few days.

ENGAGE

If you are in any of those areas listed below, contact us so we might be able to see you!

INVEST

Your giving is vital during these days of traveling and training. Thanks for partnering with us!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

Love y’all!

Steve

PS…Here is our upcoming schedule…

Saturday, March 23…Open Range Fellowship—Lone Jack, MO

Sunday, March 24…Cross Creek Baptist—Oak Grove, MO

Wednesday and Thursday, March 27-28…Avilla Baptist—near Carthage, MO

Friday to Sunday, March 29-31…First Baptist Muldrow—Muldrow, OK

Monday and Tuesday, April 1-2…Trail Ride Magazine editor, Elliot Johnson’s house—Piedmont, OK

Wednesday, April 3…First Baptist Benbrook—Benbrook, TX

Sunday, April 7…Top Hand Cowboy Church—Valley Mills, TX

U.S. Borders are Enticing Our Friends in Latin America

I am back from a recent trip to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and am grateful for another fruitful trip!

Opportunities Abound

The Play. Story. Eat. groups are doing well—reproducing in several new areas. Opportunities abound in each of the three countries we visited. As new groups are starting, we are planning to ramp up training this year in four different regions—even talking seriously with our friend Rex Kelley about the potential of him flying us in one of his planes to cut down travel days by about half. (Check out the pictures below where Rex and our team see an airport runway right behind one of our newest works in Honduras!)

Border Issues Affecting our Work

Before I share more about the opportunities before us, I feel burdened to share some of the realities I am seeing in our work that arises out of our U.S. border problems. In recent months, multiple caravans have started out of Honduras, made their way through Guatemala and Mexico, and arrived at various locations along our southwestern border with Mexico. In my 19 years of coming and going to this region, I have never seen it as crazy as it is now. But from what I am seeing, it has little to do with caravans and more to do with individuals and small groups of people coming illegally in greater numbers.

These men took me down to their community water hole before one of our newest groups gathered for the first time near Quesada, Guatemala. After talking about their ideas for pumping water up to the community, I snapped this picture and asked the young man with the US flag on his shirt a question.

These men took me down to their community water hole before one of our newest groups gathered for the first time near Quesada, Guatemala. After talking about their ideas for pumping water up to the community, I snapped this picture and asked the young man with the US flag on his shirt a question.

‘Have you been to the United States?” I asked.

“Si,” he replied. “I was in McAllen, Texas, just last week.”

“Were you visiting relatives?”

“No, I was caught there at the border trying to get in.”

“Did the border officials treat you well?” I asked, thinking of some of the hot political debate I had heard before my trip down.

“Si. They treated me really well,” he replied. “This was my fourth time to try to get in. Each time I have been caught, they have given me plenty of food and a bed to sleep on and a ride home in an airplane.”

“How much have you paid to coyotes to get in?” I asked, knowing that the average pay for a “coyote” was $4000 to $6000. (To be clear, the term “coyote” is what they call the guide who often pays off the drug cartel controlling the region of the illegal crossing and gets you into the country—often through the desert.)

“All told I have spent about 60,000 Quetzales ($8,000).”

“Who paid that for you?” I asked, knowing that it was virtually impossible for him have saved that much by himself.

“My cousin who is there working. He pays and then I will pay him back when I get to work with him there.”

“If you had spent that money on a business here, do you think you could have a good life without having to go to the U.S.?”

“Claro que si! Of course!” he answered, smiling broadly.

“What are your plans then?”

“I’ll probably try again in a couple of months.”

Border Issues Affecting Our Kekchi Communities

On this trip alone, I had several similar conversations with at least a dozen people. While I have heard these stories for years, one of the newest twists is how the American dream has reached a fever pitch among some of our Kekchi friends in the jungles of Guatemala. Fifteen years ago, when I first met these people, we would take digital pictures and flip the camera around to show them their picture. They would laugh and cackle because for most of them it was the first time they had seen themselves in a photo. Back then, when we told them we were from the United States, most had no idea where that was. Today, when I go to those same villages, one of them pulls out a cell phone, takes a picture of me, and flips it around to show me my picture! And they are probably using that cell phone to stay in contact with a family member in the United States!

In January of 2004, on our first trip to the jungle, Jason Neland takes a digital snapshot of the children and then, to their squeals of delight, shows them their pictures!

In January of 2004, on our first trip to the jungle, Jason Neland takes a digital snapshot of the children and then, to their squeals of delight, shows them their pictures!

I took this picture last year of these Kekchi teens using their family cell phone to entertain themselves. These girls were taking pictures of what we were doing and showing their friends!

I took this picture last year of these Kekchi teens using their family cell phone to entertain themselves. These girls were taking pictures of what we were doing and showing their friends!

Most cell phone usage in the jungle is in areas where there is no electricity. But many huts are getting solar panels that can charge a cell phone and put out enough energy for a couple of light bulbs. This technology is now keeping them in touch with family members who are en route to the United States. Once the family makes it to their destination, they coach others how to come as well. In the past few months, word from their direct contacts has been to come with a child. That way, if they are caught, they are guaranteed to get into the U.S.

A Guatemalan Girl Dies

Shortly before Christmas, Jakelin Caal, a very sick 7-year-old Guatemalan girl was presented by her father to border agents that had caught them coming through the desert. The border agents resuscitated her twice en route to an El Paso, Texas, hospital. Jakelin died shortly afterward. She was from Raxruha, a Kekchi village we worked in about 5 years ago. Though we do not know this family personally, we do know this region quite well. And other friends in the area have told us their stories.

They Just Walked Out of the Village

One older couple we know told us that 5 months ago their 15-year-old granddaughter and a 19-year-old grandson (I saw both of them baptized a few years ago) walked out of their village one day without saying good-bye to their grand-parents. They headed for the U.S. When detained at the border, the 19-year-old was sent back to Guatemala. Since the 15-year-old girl was a minor, they held her in custody for 5 months until she was reunited with her father who has been in Pennsylvania for 8 years. All told, this father has spent approximately $20,000 in coyotes to get himself and his children into the U.S. To date, only he and this daughter has made it.

Our Friends Need Prayer

I could go on. But the reason I share this with you, is that this situation is affecting many of the communities we are working in. I’m concerned about their safety and for some of our newer groups that could flounder when a leader bolts for the border. Bottom line, our friends need prayer.

Even so, God is in Control

While I am concerned, I also see God working supernaturally in our spiritual friendships across these cultures. In the end, we see that the gospel is winning and that, as a ministry, we are in a no-lose position. God can and will use us on both sides of the border. And He always has a way of working through adversity and problems that the world cannot solve. In short, we are on an amazing adventure of joining Him in making disciples of all the nations. Here are a few more pics highlighting the places we visited during my 4-week-long trip, and I believe you will get a sense of how God is blessing.

In a closing prayer at a church near Rinconcito, Guatemala, the church prays for our partnership and a mission trip that their young people plan to take with us to the jungle in a few months.

In a closing prayer at a church near Rinconcito, Guatemala, the church prays for our partnership and a mission trip that their young people plan to take with us to the jungle in a few months.

Rex Kelley and Ray Gurney pose with the nucleus of a new church in the jungle. The pastor is not pictured here, but in private he told me that he was seriously considering joining a family member in the U.S. working on a roofing crew. Please pray the pastor stays to lead this flock!

Rex Kelley and Ray Gurney pose with the nucleus of a new church in the jungle. The pastor is not pictured here, but in private he told me that he was seriously considering joining a family member in the U.S. working on a roofing crew. Please pray the pastor stays to lead this flock!

A pastor’s gathering in Por Venir, Guatemala, met to pray with us shortly before we left that area for Honduras. Several of these pastors have been involved in soccer evangelism, and Cesar wanted to make sure that they knew to come help us train other Kekchi pastors in May.

A pastor’s gathering in Por Venir, Guatemala, met to pray with us shortly before we left that area for Honduras. Several of these pastors have been involved in soccer evangelism, and Cesar wanted to make sure that they knew to come help us train other Kekchi pastors in May.

Cesar speaks to a group of Kekchi pastors in Fray de las Casas, Guatemala. Leaders from this group are committing to help our Kekchi pastors in locations we have worked for many years to learn how to use Kekchi language Bible tools. In May we plan to come back for PSE training with this group. Because of a new road, this more mature group is much more accessible to our younger group of churches.

Cesar speaks to a group of Kekchi pastors in Fray de las Casas, Guatemala. Leaders from this group are committing to help our Kekchi pastors in locations we have worked for many years to learn how to use Kekchi language Bible tools. In May we plan to come back for PSE training with this group. Because of a new road, this more mature group is much more accessible to our younger group of churches.

Nola and I enjoyed a rest stop near the coastal town of Tela, Honduras. It was great having Nola come down and join us in our week in Honduras.

Nola and I enjoyed a rest stop near the coastal town of Tela, Honduras. It was great having Nola come down and join us in our week in Honduras.

At a restaurant overlooking the ocean near La Ceiba, Honduras, we enjoyed a meal with Adonay, our friend at the head of the table, who will be leading a new Christian Rancher group. As a leader in a Cattlemen’s Association, he later took us to their meeting.

At a restaurant overlooking the ocean near La Ceiba, Honduras, we enjoyed a meal with Adonay, our friend at the head of the table, who will be leading a new Christian Rancher group. As a leader in a Cattlemen’s Association, he later took us to their meeting.

For you food lovers, here was my steamed fish with rice, salad, and fried plantains.

For you food lovers, here was my steamed fish with rice, salad, and fried plantains.

At our hotel in La Ceiba, we were reunited with some friends we met a few years ago on the other side of Honduras. Fernanda, the girl across the table from me, and Junior, the young man sitting next to me, were students at the National University of Agriculture in Catacamas and part of a student-led Christian Rancher group. Now they are engaged and living in La Ceiba, where they grew up. In 2015, they visited Texas Tech University with a group of bull riders as a part of their exchange studies in agronomy. During one week, I took them around the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas, meeting with cowboy churches and friends. Here we are reminiscing and talking about starting Christian Rancher groups in their region.

At our hotel in La Ceiba, we were reunited with some friends we met a few years ago on the other side of Honduras. Fernanda, the girl across the table from me, and Junior, the young man sitting next to me, were students at the National University of Agriculture in Catacamas and part of a student-led Christian Rancher group. Now they are engaged and living in La Ceiba, where they grew up. In 2015, they visited Texas Tech University with a group of bull riders as a part of their exchange studies in agronomy. During one week, I took them around the Dallas/Fort Worth region of Texas, meeting with cowboy churches and friends. Here we are reminiscing and talking about starting Christian Rancher groups in their region.

Standing at the back of the property of the Cattlemen’s Association in La Ceiba, Honduras, you can see the runway in the background for their international airport. Standing left to right is Cesar Gonzalez, Ray Gurney, Rex Kelley, and my wife Nola. Rex couldn’t help but be excited about the possibility of one day flying his airplane here! Please pray with him on that.

Standing at the back of the property of the Cattlemen’s Association in La Ceiba, Honduras, you can see the runway in the background for their international airport. Standing left to right is Cesar Gonzalez, Ray Gurney, Rex Kelley, and my wife Nola. Rex couldn’t help but be excited about the possibility of one day flying his airplane here! Please pray with him on that.

In our meeting with the leadership of the Cattlemen’s Association, they were enthusiastic about what we are doing with Christian Rancher groups and asked if we could help them start a group on their premises. You might notice Adonay seated to my left.

In our meeting with the leadership of the Cattlemen’s Association, they were enthusiastic about what we are doing with Christian Rancher groups and asked if we could help them start a group on their premises. You might notice Adonay seated to my left.

At the back of the association property is this picnic area, and when Cesar asked the leadership group if they would allow a group to meet there, they enthusiastically agreed. So we took a moment to pray that God would do great things from that spot. Again, you can see the runway in the background.

At the back of the association property is this picnic area, and when Cesar asked the leadership group if they would allow a group to meet there, they enthusiastically agreed. So we took a moment to pray that God would do great things from that spot. Again, you can see the runway in the background.

On what was supposed to be our last day in Guatemala, this group of friends came over to Cesar’s place to visit and wish us well. During this meeting, we got word from our airline that our flight was canceled! One of the volcanoes near Guatemala City spewed some ash in the air and shut down the airport for a day. We got home one day later than we had planned but with no other catastrophes!

On what was supposed to be our last day in Guatemala, this group of friends came over to Cesar’s place to visit and wish us well. During this meeting, we got word from our airline that our flight was canceled! One of the volcanoes near Guatemala City spewed some ash in the air and shut down the airport for a day. We got home one day later than we had planned but with no other catastrophes!

10:02 PRAYER

When you hear border news or debate, let that prompt you to pray for our friends in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Thank Him for His blessing of the PSE groups and the growth that they are experiencing. Also pray for Rex as he is beginning to network with a missionary aviation group and other pilots to investigate the possibilities of flying in Central America.

ENGAGE

This Thursday, February 28th, Cesar and Elba will be arriving in Kansas City for a month of visiting our friends here in the states. The following week we will be in Nebraska. If you are from Nebraska and haven’t heard if we are coming to your church, please contact Bill or me. We have a couple of free days while we are there. Note, too, that in the middle of March we will be in the Kansas City region. At the end of March we will be in Oklahoma. The first few days of April we will be in Texas. If you have a desire for us to schedule time with your group, please let Bill and/or me know right away.

INVEST

We have been traveling a lot lately and will continue to do even more with Cesar and Elba in the next month. Your gifts these days are extraordinarily strategic and appreciated. Thanks!

CLICK HERE FOR THE EASY BUTTON TO INVEST.

See below for more pics!

Love y’all!

Steve

PS…These are some amazing pics of Mayan ruins in Copan, Honduras.

Nola and Rex listen to the guide tell how this stella chronicles the history of one of the Mayan kings.

Nola and Rex listen to the guide tell how this stella chronicles the history of one of the Mayan kings.

Ray, whose name in Spanish means “king,” stands in front of the area under the arch where the king would sit and rule.

Ray, whose name in Spanish means “king,” stands in front of the area under the arch where the king would sit and rule.

Nola and I are overlooking the giant field and stands used for a soccer-like game where the captain from the winning team was sacrificed to the gods so that the Mayan nation’s crops would be fruitful in the kingdom.

Nola and I are overlooking the giant field and stands used for a soccer-like game where the captain from the winning team was sacrificed to the gods so that the Mayan nation’s crops would be fruitful in the kingdom.

This stone, in the shape of a turtle, was used by the Mayan king to cut himself over the indented bowl area and let the blood flow down the groove to the ground. The blood of the king was thought to be sufficient to appease the gods for the sins of the people.  Mayan preacher alert… Oh, but there is the King of glory! The King of all kings who shed His blood, so that no one would ever have to make another sacrifice to appease the God of the universe. One perfect sacrifice offered one time for all! (Hebrews 10:8-18) Man, these Mayan rocks can preach! Can I get a witness?!!

This stone, in the shape of a turtle, was used by the Mayan king to cut himself over the indented bowl area and let the blood flow down the groove to the ground. The blood of the king was thought to be sufficient to appease the gods for the sins of the people.

Mayan preacher alert… Oh, but there is the King of glory! The King of all kings who shed His blood, so that no one would ever have to make another sacrifice to appease the God of the universe. One perfect sacrifice offered one time for all! (Hebrews 10:8-18) Man, these Mayan rocks can preach! Can I get a witness?!!