The fluorescent tube lights lit the room. Some of their fixtures were broken while others had lost their lighting ability. Hard plastic chairs interwoven between metal brown chairs surrounded the plastic tables. There was nothing fancy about the room. No stylish wall colors or colorful light show to create the mood. Instead the room was cluttered. Cluttered with large black storage boxes, random gray PVC pipes about a couple feet long, and various styles of water bottles placed in odd little places. In all looks of the place, it wouldn’t be chosen......yet it was.
The room was chosen to give us a glimpse of heaven, an indescribable glimpse of heaven! How we wanted to capture the moment by using the latest iPhone camera in portrait mode with the “rule of thirds.” It would be of no use though. How do you take a picture of God’s presence?
Even written words cannot do justice to the treasured moment. The singing, the crying out to God, the speaking of His Word. The finest choreographer or a finely tuned, well rehearsed worship team could not create the moment-this little glimpse into heaven, where someday every tribe, every tongue, every nation will be crying out to Him. Our little glimpse was just two nations and two tongues but, oh, how indescribable!! Every knee was bowed, every tongue was confessing that He is Lord!
We challenge you, the parent, the relative or friend, the reader of this blog. The students have been changed; they KNOW the presence of God. What will you do? What happens when your loved one arrives back to their hometown? Undoubtedly, they will try to describe what God has done here, but what will you do in response? Will you listen politely and just reply, “Oh, that’s nice.” Or will you join them in the mission? Will you come alongside them, spur them on? God is calling them for more than just this week and these moments; He’s calling them for the rest of their lives. And He’s calling you, too.
It wasn’t the well scheduled day that made our day so wonderful. Quite frankly, “scheduled” would be far from the adjective. Divine, though. Most gloriously, fantastically, uninhibitedly divine, though, would fit quite well in front of the word “day.” The divine day made our day so wonderful!
We left in the morning with the curious question being asked, “Where are we going today?” We chuckled a little and then replied, “We’ll let you know.” We left in the vans and soon found ourselves in the parking lot of a rather large supermarket. Would the management of the store give us permission to perform inside the store? We have two teams; will only one be able to perform? Our teams unloaded and made our way to the store front. Several of us went inside and after talking to several different people we finally made contact with the head lady in the office. Her kind eyes were reassuring. Not only did she say “yes” but she suggested that one team perform at one entrance of the store while the other one performs at the other entrance. Our students quickly left the chilly air of the outside to the warmth of the supermarket. They began to engaged the crowd; many stayed to see the drama. The students went out in their ministry teams and personally shared Christ. Many lives were touched. It was divine!
Both teams then went to another large supermarket and received the same favor-Two dramas at either side of the store! Our students performed again. Although there were many passersby, others paused for a divine moment. Tears flowed from several eyes. The students shared Christ and prayed with them and our divine day became more divine.
Our teams headed back to the church for lunch and a time of such sincere worship. We then separated into our girls and guys groups where “Man Up” and “Reign on” teachings were given.
We headed out again to perform the drama. This time Team Luz and Team Sol went different directions. Both teams were filled with anticipation. Where would God take us? What divine appointment did He have scheduled for us?
Team Luz prayed for guidance and felt God leading to a particular shopping mall. The team piled out of the van and walked into the lobby. As the team directors asked for permission to perform the drama the students prayed. Our team directors soon found themselves speaking to the main person on duty. As they asked for permission and were turned down, there was not a feeling of disappointment but instead a realization that this was a divine appointment. One of the team directors asked the man if he was a Christian. The man replied “no” which quickly lead to a conversation of Christ’s glorious sacrifice for us. The man’s eyes softened. He soon bowed his head and prayed out loud to accept Christ. The Holy Spirit did not lead our team directors to ask permission again from the man but they left to share the divine news with the team. The team exited the lobby only to turn back around a few moments later. In the same mall was a Peter Pan Pizza. This is a restaurant similar to Chuck E Cheese or Incredible Pizza. Our Team Directors felt lead to ask permission to perform in the restaurant. The manager was asked and without hesitation the answer was “yes.” What fun it was to perform in such an environment! Many welcomed the team and allowed them to share. Several came to know Him. On top of those divine appointments was another. In the audience was a lady who runs an orphanage and several migrant homes in the area. She hardily invited us to visit these places. What a divine appointment! God had a purpose for our divine day!
Team Sol also prayed for guidance. They first stopped at the pulga (flea market) where the response was beautiful. Soon after the drama God opened a door and they stepped through. There at the pulga the team was offered to perform at a retirement center. The students loaded the vans and several moments later they pulled into the parking lot. How unusual-why was the retirement center full of kids? The students began to engage the crowd and the drama began. It was in that moment of the drama beginning that the truth of the location came out. This was not a retirement home-it was a migrant center for refugees and homeless! Our drama finished and one of our young ladies spoke. It was her first time to give the “net” which explains the drama and welcomes those in the crowd to follow Him. The response was overwhelming; many raised their hands and then approached our students wanting to know more. The team shared with them about being new creations in Christ and ambassadors. A time of fellowship ensued along with many prayers for the refugees.
Tonight our students gathered for worship and He moved mightly as we talked about identity and how to speak God’s identity of who He says we are into one another. It too was a divine moment as we opened up the room to be a sanctuary—allowing students to stay for those who needed prayer as others could go and get ready for bed. Thinking we would quickly dismiss, hardly a soul got up and left. We spent an additional hour praying over one another. We witnessed the awe of God!
Here we are at the close of our divine day. Our hearts are full. Our eyes are tired. Tomorrow is coming, though! And we’re pretty confident it’s going to be a divine day, too!
Salvation has come to Nuevo Laredo.
Our students woke yesterday morning to pancakes and bacon followed by final instructions by our team directors before heading out for ministry. Our young adults were a little nervous but once they started sharing the Gospel through the drama, an air of confidence rose as they boldly proclaimed Jesus. Each team performed the drama multiple times in marketplace.
”Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This scripture found in Matthew was read in our quiet times this morning. The tiredness was seen on the faces of many who watched the drama in the markets. One had even seen the drama four years ago while in the prison. Pray for him. The seeds have been planted and his face showed he was weary; he needs Christ. Another family readily excepted Christ. How wonderful to see this young boy and his grandma so eager for the Good News that will give them the rest they desperately needed!
This afternoon after a hearty meal of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we taught on laying down our adolescence. What are the marks of maturity for young men and women of God? Speaking from 1 Timothy 4:12 and Luke 2, we challenged students to embrace their significant task. We then traveled to another marketplace to continue the ministry.
Team Luz started to set up the drama in a place that seemed a little lacking of an audience. It was the place God provided though. Right behind where the drama was being preformed stood a woodworking shop. As the team began the drama several children came to sit up close while the adults mostly stayed across the street and watched from a distance. The drama finished; our teams went out in the crowd and shared where several in the crowd came to know Him. One of our young men though turned around and walked up to the woodworking shop. There the woodworker stood peaking out the door. He kindly opened the door to our young man where Christ was offered to the older gentleman. What a wonderful sight to behold as he bowed his head and confessed to God that he wanted to follow Him!
Team Sal met a mom and her kids. As the drama unfolded, one of the children began to cry. The dragon in the Freedom drama, which represents Satan, caused him to be fearful. With sobs, he turned his face away. One of our team members consoled him, encouraging him to wait and watch. It's going to be okay and it's going to get better. He continued to sob as he saw the crucifixion scene and he wanted the POL's (people of the land which represents you and I), to stop. His sobs continued.
The Good Prince (Jesus) rose from the grave and as he witnessed this, his demeanor changed. Our team had the opportunity to share the Gospel with this family and they received Christ. The waiting and watching turned to hope AND eternal life as they repented of their sins and surrendered to Jesus. What an amazing sight!
Last night, our students had the opportunity to worship with our host church. It was an incredible night of worship. We closed out the evening with elotes (mexican corn) provided by the church, testimonies from the day and the start of our focus on Man Up and Reign On. Man Up and Reign On is our challenge to students to walk in their identity as men and women.
These students are such a blessing. How we are enjoying getting to know them! Continue to pray for renewed strength and salvation to come!
What an amazing day!
We started the day with spending time with Jesus and then had a great breakfast. A local church called the Upper Room provided a great breakfast of eggs, tortilla's, fresh fruit and cereal for our students. We are grateful for the partnerships we have here in Nuevo Laredo.
Afterwards, the students jumped into drama training. They did such a great job and our team directors led this effort in training for a week of ministry. It was awesome to see new students to Awe Star, alumni, and students from Mexico all join together with one cause in sharing the Gospel.
For dinner, the Upper Room church provided dinner again for the group which was followed by a final practice in full costume of the drama. In our evening devotions, students led in worship and we had a time of testimony. One of our team members from Nuevo Laredo shared this story:
"Six years ago, I saw your drama at a market. At that time, I was not a believer, however God continued to work in my life and I accepted Christ. The impact of the drama years ago is one of the reasons I am here today. Not only I am excited to share the Gospel with you this week, but God has called me to be a missionary."
A holy moment.
A divine moment where God's gentle whisper spoke volumes about our purpose here in Nuevo Laredo. There was no more wondering if God was going to come through. There was no more questioning, "Why am I here?" That holy moment of a fellow team member spoke volumes to our team.
A simple reminder that we never know what fruit will grow through simple obedience. We will never know the full extent of what God is going to do in the hearts of the people of Nuevo Laredo, but we simply need to be obedient messengers of the Gospel.
Pray for a great nights rest tonight in preparation for Jesus ministry tomorrow. Pray for us that we would walk boldly this week. Pray that there would be divine encounters with people that will be able to share a similar story as our team member.
Greetings from Mexico! The entire Awe Star team arrived late December 26th! A long journey for those coming from Tulsa and parts of Texas, as well as those traveling from Piedras Negras. Today they will begin drama training and continue in discipleship. En route to Tulsa the students learned and practiced giving their testimonies, as well as learned about Awe Star and what sets their trips apart. This week will be a rite of passage mission that will challenge each student to step into adulthood through engaging in the Great Commission. Please continue to pray for this team. If you would like instant updates please text 81010 and place MEXCH18 in the message from your cell phone. You can also follow the team and watch live videos at @awestarmissions on Facebook, twitter, or instagram.