Happy July 4th!
Hope you have had a good time with friends and family today. We are enjoying splitting time between KC and Stigler, Oklahoma.
When our family thinks of the fourth of July, we can't help but remember the years we ran a fireworks stand to raise funds for missions and college money. While those were great experiences, we are grateful we aren't doing that these days and can enjoy a more relaxed and less hectic time.
However, raising missions money is still an ongoing reality for us, and last Friday, as I was painting a house with Bill Burrows, I got a call from Cesar. Trying not to get paint on my phone, I answered, "Hola Cesar."
"Esteban, I know you are painting but I needed to call you to tell you that our friend Manrique of Quesada has died." Manrique, a farmer/rancher in his early 50's, has been battling a brain tumor and heart problems the last couple of years.
"I talked to his daughter Evelin," Cesar continued, "and she insisted I call you to tell you so that you and your friends can be praying for us."
"I will do that," I promised.
As Cesar told me the details of his heart-related problems and of his passing, my mind drifted to January of 2014 when Tom Huffman and Dave Gideon came down with me to do a week of cowboy missions.
On one of the days, we were participating in an artificial insemination training in Jutiapa with several cattlemen's associations and a regional dairy association. Since Tom Huffman has been effectively using AI for many years on his ranch near Burwell, Nebraska, he was the out-of-town expert they used to pump up the attendance, while a local veterinarian would do most of the teaching.
After about an hour of the training, Cesar asked the 55 or so in attendance if they were curious as to why Tom would come to Guatemala to train them. "Si!" several answered. "We want to hear his story."
Tom told of how in his 30's he was having marriage troubles, he was drinking too much, and his life was a mess. Tom went on to tell how he found Christ and that because of his faith in Jesus, he has had the privilege of meeting people in other countries where he can share his story and invite others to experience what he did.
"Would you like to do what Tom did?" Cesar asked those in attendance.
"Si!" several responded.
Cesar then explained more of what Tom did and led them in a prayer to receive Christ. Of the 55 or so there, 50 of them prayed to receive Christ.
And guess what? Manrique was one of those guys. In fact, Manrique came up to me and gave me his tear-off sheet that indicated his decision for Christ.
Since then we have done a lot in and near Quesada. Even that week we had a trail ride and picnic with Manrique and about 100 friends from their cattlemen's association. At the picnic, more prayed to receive Christ there.
The year following, several youth groups got started, and we had a group of college students from the University of Nebraska in Omaha come be with them. Then ladies groups started spinning out of that same Quesada group. In a few weeks, we will be with them again, and I could go on and on about how one thing has led to another.
But today I want to stop and celebrate the reality that our friend Manrique is in heaven because of your prayers and the faithfulness of a couple of Nebraskan ranchers going on a trip to Guatemala in January of 2014.
Please pray for Manrique's family and for the work to continue strong and that many others like Manrique would come to know Christ because of the testimony of our friends in Quesada.
In addition, remember to pray for the team from Open Range Fellowship that will be preparing to go to Quesada in a few weeks.
Continue to be on the lookout for those needing financial help for their upcoming trips. Bill and I will be finishing up our paint jobs for mission money in the next couple of weeks, Lord willing. Thanks for your continued generosity to Daybreak International!
If you know someone who has AI or veterinary skills, let us know. Unbelievably, God can use this kind of know-how and ability in ways that can go beyond anything we could dream up.
Hope you have a great week! Next time I plan to introduce you to our July Guatemala team.
PS... Investing Information
You can mail checks to:
Daybreak International, 11628 Oakmont St., Overland Park, KS 66210
On PayPal, you can give using the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On our websites, you can give at www.PlayStoryEat.com or www.DaybreakInternational.org.