Saturday, March 22, 2014

SAN LORENZO

      
          Many times when someone in Juarez has a challenging task they usually come to me for help.  I do not know why this is but perhaps it is because they know that I have a difficult time turning people down.  About two weeks ago Pastor Durok Hernandez contacted me about a small town about 3 hours away from our City of Juarez that has never received the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  He was hoping that I would join him in evangelizing San Lorenzo, which is located in our State of Chihuahua.  How can I turn him down?  When he first mentioned this to me I immediately thought of a trip that a small team from Arkansas took about 5 years ago to another city in Mexico that had never heard the gospel message.  It was the City of Zacatipan in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico.  To my amazement we found out that the report was true. No one in the small town knew who Jesus was, except for the Jesus who lived down the dirt road with his wife.  Ironically, he also happened to be the town's carpenter.  We left the town leaving about 35 people who had accepted Jesus, the Son of God, as Lord and Savior.  To me it was an unforgettable adventure.  This is a missionary's dream: to bring the gospel to those who have never heard it.  We know that many places have never been evangelized because Jesus said that when the message has reached the whole world then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). 

So Pastor Durok and I made arrangements and we visited San Lorenzo a few days ago.  An hour before reaching San Lorenzo we stopped off at the tiny City of Benito Juarez to pick up a friend of Pastor Durok who would guide us to San Lorenzo.  His friend's name was Israel and he and others from the City of Benito Juarez were the ones who had spoken to Pastor Durok about San Lorenzo. 
 
San Lorenzo is very far from any other town.  It is a town of less than 1,000 people and it is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and rivers.  

Walking around San Lorenzo was very interesting.  The front door to the Catholic church was opened so we walked in and looked around.  Right inside of the church, at the very front and to the right, was the burial site of a young girl whose grandfather was the governor of the State of Chihuahua many years ago.  They placed a statue of an angel over her tomb.  On the front and left side of the church sits the confessional booth and right next to that is a small doll, dressed in white, enclosed in a glass case.  On the outside of the church and high up on the building is the construction date of the church: 1892.   

One very interesting outdoor phenomenon in San Lorenzo is a spot of ground just big enough for one person to stand on.  When a person steps on this spot and speaks their voice changes.  I had to try it and my voice made a very noticeable change.  We were told that no one understands why this happens and that there is just one other place in the world where this happens.  The town marked the area by putting pink square cut rocks, called cantera, at about a 15 feet radius of the site. The rocks are for visitors to sit.  They also put concrete around the ground, leaving a radius of about 6 to 8 feet of dirt around the area where the voice change occurs.
 San Lorenzo reminded me of Andy Griffith's town of Mayberry.  But after touring parts of the town and learning about it I understood why San Lorenzo had not yet been evangelized.  One word: Religion.  

For many, many years some Catholics in Mexico have accepted and added idols to their religion.  One of them is the Virgin of Guadalupe, who has just about replaced the Virgin Mary.  Another idol has been the Santa Niña (The Holy Girl), which is also known as La Santa Muerte (The Holy Death).  This Santa Muerte is characterized as a skeleton dressed in a white dress, often a wedding gown.  Usually those people who are about to commit a crime make offerings to La Santa Muerte and ask her to deliver them from their enemies and give them success in whatever crime they are about to commit, including murder.  Even those who have no plans to commit a crime bow down and worship this idol.  In Juarez there are several churches that are strictly Santa Muerte churches.  I have known Christians who have come out of this cult and their stories are horrifying.

Without a doubt these practices are very dangerous but they are exercised in San Lorenzo.  The only church in San Lorenzo, the Catholic Church, shows evidence that the Santa Muerte is worshipped there.  So anyone who has thoughts of bringing the gospel message of Jesus to the town of San Lorenzo knows that they are coming up against a strong Spiritual battle and demonic strongholds.  And we are prepared to face them.  
Place where voices change

Pastor Durok in orange shirt
Surprisingly enough when we went to get permission for a two-day event to bring the gospel to San Lorenzo we received the permit.  We have April 26th and 27th reserved.  The permit, which will cost 1,000 pesos (about $80US), allows us to use the town's gymnasium and  the town square, which are right next to each other.  We even got permission to close off the street between the two sites, in order to connect the two.  We also have permission to place posters throughout San Lorenzo advertising the event. 


We are well aware that in similar towns in Mexico where others have tried to bring in the gospel message the ones doing so have come against much opposition including stoning and loss of lives.  But the message must be delivered.

Since San Lorenzo is so far away there is a possibility that we may rent a furnished house to stay during the two days of the event and possibly some days before.  We have a worship team that will go with us along with others from the cities of Juarez and Benito Juarez. 
 
In order to get as many people to come to this outreach I want to bring gifts.  I would love to bring soccer balls and hopefully several bicycles to give away.  Also I would love to bring food to give out.  If anyone would be interested in helping with the cost of these please contact me. 



Gymnasium in San Lorenzo

Without question we need as much prayer as possible in order to get the gospel message to San Lorenzo.

Currently we have two other outreaches in the City of Juarez that I want to mention briefly. 

Pastor Henry Becerra, a friend of mine from City Church International in San Antonio, Texas, will start a 4 day outreach in Juarez on March 27th.  The big event in this outreach will be on Friday 28th when Pastor Becerra will be speaking at Benito Juarez Auditorium.  We were able to get the auditorium from the City of Juarez without cost.  Pastor Becerra has an amazing testimony of how God raised him out of a wheelchair.  Pastor Becerra's ministry supports tens of thousands of orphans in different places throughout the world.


Also on Saturday April 5th we have an outreach called Festival de Esperanza (Festival of Hope).  This is an outreach that was planned for last December but was cancelled because food that was coming from the United States was stopped at the Mexican border and was not allowed to get through. Even though the event was cancelled in December due to the problem of not getting the food across to Juarez about 8,000 people still came.  They were ministered to under the extreme cold temperatures.  The shipment of food is finally here in Juarez.  So we are expecting at least 20,000 people this time.  During this event we plan to give out 5,000 bags of food.  We also have events and ministry for every age including haircuts, legal services, distribution of reading glasses, games, special services for children and adults, prayer tents, hot food and many other things.  At the same time Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will be speaking for two days across the border in El Paso. 

The next few weeks will be very busy weeks and we need as much prayer support as possible.

On a personal note I plan to be in Arkansas for a few days in May for my youngest daughter's graduation.  Victoria will be graduating from high school. 

I also have been invited to minister to churches and Pastors in The Philippines in July.  The Christians in the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines are facing much persecution since the island is 50% Muslim and we would like to bring some encouragement to these brothers. It would take about $3,000US to make the trip.
 
In June we have a team coming from Judsonia's The River Church to minister in Juarez for one week.  Along with that we have a young lady, Michaela, also from The River Church, coming down to intern for just over one month at Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries (S.A.E.M.). 
 
I want to express my deepest thanks for all those that continue to support the work that is going on in Juarez.  Feel free to contact me with any questions. Blessings, hugs, and my love to all.
 
 
Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
 
For Tax-deductible contributions:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72145


P.S. Double click on pictures for enlargement.
         












Sunday, February 2, 2014

................................................................2014: THE VISION....................................................



         I have spent the last few weeks of December 2013 and most of January 2014 seeking God's guidance for this new year.  I have been living in Juarez, Mexico for  2 1/2 years and I feel that the Lord wants me to open up new ground.  This is not to say that I will stop doing what I am already doing in Juarez.  At the end of 2013 I, along with three other men, went to the State Capital of Chihuahua to minister to a group of men at a two-day Men's Conference.  The Conference went very well; even better than my own expectations.  Later I was asked to speak during the Sunday morning service at the church where the Conference was held.  This event opened the doors to other such events and I also felt the need to do this more often.
 
I want to quickly give you an overview of the doors that are being opened for ministry.  But first of all I want to share the new things that I feel the Lord is leading me to do in Juarez.  The vision for 2014 takes the call FORWARD and HIGHER, without borders, limits, or boundaries.
 
Right now the main thing that the Lord has put in my heart is to prepare a group of believers to evangelize a neighborhood (we call these neighborhoods Colonias).  I have been praying about this for over a month.  I am to set up in a church, a store front, or a house in one of the most dangerous Colonias in Juarez and prepare a team to go into the streets to reach the lost (of course, I will have to move and live in this area).  The team does not necessarily have to be made up of mature Christians.  If I have to win them to Christ first and then teach them to evangelize the lost it will be even better.  Those that say that this sounds too dangerous or impossible do not understand the call of God, His never ending desire to reach the lost, and His divine protection over us.  I have no fears about doing this; I am actually very excited about it.  I realize that this is going to be a leap of faith, but hey, I'm already living in Juarez, Mexico.  I have sought the counsel of others, including some Pastors in Juarez.  They are behind me all the way and they are praying for me as well.  I am not looking to build a new church, although it's fine with me if that's what the Lord eventually leads me into.  However, I do not think that I am supposed to go into full time Pastoral work.  I would rather train and raise up men and women to go to other local churches to be a catalyst for the Lord's work there. The evangelism technique will be very unique.  I will explain that in another blog post.  I have been driving around in some very dangerous Colonias and streets seeking God's guidance for a place.  I ask my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord who constantly pray for me to cover me more with their prayers concerning this new adventure in Jesus.
 
In other areas, the men that I have worked with in the past will be doing more speaking in the Churches of Juarez.  We will be doing indoor and outdoor evangelism.  The Lord has also opened the door for ministry in the State Prison system.  We will be traveling throughout the State of Chihuahua in the months to come to speak to prisoners.  A few weeks ago I was at the jail in Juarez visiting a young man that I have known for many years.  We were able to attend the Libre En Cristo Iglesia (Free in Christ Church), located at the jail campus.  When I walked into the sanctuary the service had already started and the power of God was so intense that all I could do was stand by the back pew, close my eyes, and feel my tears run down my face.  The inmates were all standing and worshipping the Lord like I had never seen before.  I did not want to move; I did not want to leave. 
 
Our team will also be traveling and holding conferences for Pastors and their wives.  We have invitations that will take us outside of the City of Juarez and the State of Chihuahua.  We do not charge or take offerings for any of these outreaches.  We cover all the expenses.
 
The team has also been invited to travel to Mindanao, Philippines this summer.  This is the largest  island  in the Southern part of The Philippines.  Mindanao is much more dangerous that Juarez, Mexico.  It is about 50% Muslim, meaning that if a Christian does any evangelical work in the streets they are likely to get bombed.  Many churches in Mindanao are blown up and the people must start the work from scratch.  In Juarez most of the murders are over drugs and money; in Mindanao most of the murders are over religion.  Christians in Mindanao live in fear.  Pastors and the churches in Mindanao need to be encouraged.  This invitation to the Philippines is something that I am leaving in the hands of the Lord.  The trip takes from 25 to 30 hours travel time and I will need approximately $3,000 for expenses.  The Lord will have to supply the funds if I am to go.  If we make the trip it will be for about 2 to 3 weeks.  
 
I want to refer to the blog entry of August 15, 2013.  My connection and love for Pastors Jose Manuel and Maria Dolores has gotten deeper.  I know that the Lord is going to bring many special blessings to Juarez through their church and ministry.  They need a lot of help to keep going forward with God's vision for them.  This coming June a team from River Of Life Church, in Judsonia, Arkansas will be coming to Juarez for a week.  We will be doing a lot of work in this church as well as a few other places.  In the meantime I will continue to help these Pastors with the work that the Lord has called them to do.  
 
People in Juarez are still puzzled about the fact that their brothers and sisters in the Lord from the United States, who used to visit them long ago, have all but abandoned them during their worst time of need.  The churches here have been forced to look only to the Lord for their survival.  But the needs are unspeakable.  There is still a lot of suffering even though the crime  rate has fallen.  We need a lot of help here and we need for the teams to return.  Anyone interested in bringing a team to Juarez, Mexico may contact me.
 
My daughter Victoria graduates from High School this year and I will be going to Arkansas for that proud moment.  It looks like it will be a busy year with lots of traveling.
 
I wish to once again thank all those who form a hedge of prayer around me and the work that the Lord has called me to do.  I am forever grateful to those who sacrifice with their financial support to keep me in Juarez.  We are all part of this Jesus team!


Please forward this blog to friends and relatives.

 
God's richest blessings to all.
 
 


Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
501-827-7679
d_torres53@yahoo.com

For Tax Credit send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box  8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72415


P.S.  I met a lady at the poorest of Colonias in Juarez whose right leg had been amputated about a month ago due to a severe infection.  She appears to be about 30-35 years old.  I have found an organization that will provide her with a prosthesis for just over $500.  Considering the choice of sitting in a wheelchair or being able to walk, $500 is a very small price to pay.  I have spoken to a representative of this organization and she will have to wait 5 more months for her leg to heal up and for the swelling to go completely down before they can fit her with the prosthesis.  Anyone wanting to help her please contact me.  I have pictures of her but they are poor quality. I will take better ones soon.  Gracias.  










Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LETTING THEM OFF THE HOOK




Last Monday morning I attended a small men's prayer and Bible study in El Paso, Texas that I enjoy very much.  The men meet every Monday and I get excited every time that I am able to attend.  The men that attend are mostly ministers and most of them have been in the Lord's work for many, many years.  For me it is a time to receive and also to pour into their lives.  

One of the men shared with the rest of us an experience that he had recently.  That is the reason for this blog entry.  I wanted to share with you the simplicity and the power of what he shared with us. 

The man that shared this story has been serving the Lord, along with his wife, for many years.  I am always amazed when this particular brother shares about his service to the Lord and the things that he has gone through in life.  He admitted to us this past Monday that he and his wife had a falling out very recently, proving that even those who are strong in the Lord have issues once in a while.  His wife, a very Godly woman and used mightily by the Lord, was having a difficult time with the recent problem in their marriage.  At one time the word "divorce" was used and he suggested to her to give it until the end of the month before anything was done.  

In the meantime there was a planned trip to Denver to visit a daughter and her family.  While at the daughter's house their grandson (I think his age is 9) wanted to go fishing with his grandparents.  This couple had a habit of taking their grand kids to a particular fishing place.  The fishing spot was a catch and release place.  So any fish caught had to be taken off the hook and released.  But they always enjoyed visiting this fishing spot.  He told us that his grandson had already caught and released about 9 good size bass.  They would all watch as the fish were unhooked and released back to freedom.  In no time the fish released were out of sight again.  

But even in the midst of the fun of fishing with their grandson the couple was still troubled about their issue.  As they fished, the wife was praying about their situation.  As she occupied herself fishing and praying she suddenly heard a voice say, "Let him off the hook".  The voice was unrecognizable so she turned to see who spoke the words.  She heard the words again.  No one around her had spoken these words.  Then she realized that it was the Spirit of God speaking to her, in the fashion that He spoke to the prophet Samuel when he was a young boy.  LET HIM OFF THE HOOK!!!

There is so much beauty in how God speaks to us where we are.  "Let him off the hook" were words that she immediately understood.  She knew that she had to forgive her husband and she had forgotten how to do that.  She had to let her husband off the hook.  God was showing her how simple that it was.  LET HIM OFF THE HOOK!!! So simple, yet so profound and life changing!!!  She "let him off the hook" and the problem between them disappeared.

When my dear brother shared this with us my mind began to paint another picture.  It was a picture of how when someone does us wrong we "hook" them and we feel that they "owe us" for the damage and the hurt that they have caused us.  We think that we are holding them liable...as prisoners.  They are indebted to us.  But we don't realize that we are causing ourselves the damage.  That's why we MUST let them off the hook.  When we do that, we are setting ourselves free.  We may be the ones holding the rod and reel but when we "hook" someone there's a line that binds us captive to them.  

Is there someone at the end of your line?  LET THEM OFF THE HOOK!!! ...And set yourself free!!!   


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.



Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
(501)827-7679
d_torres53@yahoo.com


For tax credit send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, AR 72415





Saturday, September 21, 2013

ADVENTURES AT THE POST OFFICE


 


SPANISH AMERICAN EVANGELISTIC MINISTRIES DIRECTOR, BETY GARCIA

 
 
Here is a facebook entry that I posted this past week:
 
Sometimes things in Mexico do not operate as efficiently as we are accustomed to in the U.S. At times just one step becomes a high hurdle. Here is my latest adventure: For many, many months some church leaders in Cuba have been asking Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries in El Paso for gospel tracts. Letters from Cuba were coming in about every month pleading...begging for gospel tracts. The problem is that S.A.E.M. cannot ship to Cuba. But we have been wanting to get the tracts to Cuba so we decided that I can take a box of tracts to the Post Office in Juarez and ship them to Cuba. Piece of cake!!! No Problem!!!...So I thought!!! Last week I had someone show me where the only Post Office in Juarez was located (at one time I didn't even know we had a Post Office in Juarez). I saw the building but NOWHERE did it say that it was a Post Office. And I did not have the box of tracts with me. By Monday I had picked up the box at S.A.E.M. and was ready to mail it in Juarez. First you find a parking space in the busy downtown district and feed the parking meter a few 2 peso coins. However, the Post Office was closed. Monday September 16 was a National Holiday here. Back home!! Tuesday I returned, loaded the parking meter, box in tow, and wait inside the Post Office in line. I get to the front and the man wants to know where the Customs Agent had stamped the box. I told him that I didn't know anything about having it stamped by Customs. "Where is the agent", I ask. He said that the customs agent left at noon. I asked when he will be back from lunch. He said tomorrow at 11am. The agent is only there from 11am til noon. The time on my cell phone: 12:04pm. Back home!!! Today (Wednesday) I returned before 11am to check with the very busy customs agent just after I fed the parking meter. At 11am the agent was across the way visiting with another person. Me and an older lady waited on her for about 15 minutes. She comes over and I have to tear the tape off the box to have it inspected. I used my pen as a knife; Post Office has no box knives. She quickly glanced inside, told the Post Office man next to her that it was ok and...I looked at him. He just looked back at me. I looked at him some more. Finally I told him that the Customs lady said that the box was ok to ship. He said that he knew that...but that the box was opened. I looked at him like a mule looking at a new fence. I was wondering why he hadn't whipped out some tape and taped it. He told me that I had to tape it myself. I told him that it was no problem and I asked him for the tape. He said I had to supply my own tape. Of course, I had no tape in my back pocket. So he grinned and told me that there are stores down the street where I can buy some. I left the package there (I knew that I shouldn't have but my blood pressure was keeping me from thinking straight). Down the street they had tape for 16 pesos (about $1.30 for a single wide roll). I came back, taped the box, and we're finally on our way...or so I thought!!! He put the box on the scale and saw that it was headed to Cuba. So he told me that I had to go to the Cuban consulate in a City about 20 hours from Juarez and have the box approved (groan!), OR...I can repackage the contents into three smaller boxes. Packages to Cuba must be 2 kilos or less. He smiled again. I told him that I had mentioned to him yesterday that it was for Cuba. But he said that he thought it was going to a city in Mexico with a similar name. And he gave me another Liberace smile. So apparently there is another city in Mexico called Manzanilla Cuba (I researched this later and there isn't one). I tried hard to remember that I am a Christian man and didn't want the headlines to read: MISSIONARY GOES POSTAL. PULLS POSTAL WORKER OVER THE COUNTER AND BITES HIM ON THE NOSE. Back home!!! I must remember to get more 2 peso coins for next time. BTW..., did I mention that the Post Office is about 30-40 minutes from my place?
 
Now here is the rest of the story: 
Third try...:  I returned to S.A.E.M. and repackaged the tracts into, not three, but four smaller boxes just to make sure that I didn't come no where near 2 kilos per box.  The next day I head back to the post office promptly before 11am after feeding the parking meter 6 pesos.  Customs agent is off visiting again but after she returns to the desk my boxes (that I had left un-taped) are given the thumbs up.  This time I was loaded with tape in hand but the man says I can't tape them up at the counter.  I have to tape them at the tables behind me. So now I lose my place in line. All four are taped up and I head back to the line. After a little while I make it to the front of the line and all finally goes well. Each box is 167 pesos (just over $14US per box). I was thrilled that the gospel tracts were finally off my hands and hopefully on their way to communist Cuba. Then I quickly made my way to the car (I had 15 minutes left on the parking meter) and started to call Bety Garcia, S.A.E.M. Director, to tell her that the mission was finally accomplished. Before I had my phone to my ear there was a tap on my car window. I rolled the window down and the lady responsible for the tapping asked me if I was leaving. I nodded. So she asked me to hurry up because she needed my parking space. I promise....none of this was made up!!!
 
Someone recommended that I try using DHL in Juarez to mail packages to Cuba. I looked up their location and went there just to find out how much they charged to send 2 kilos to Cuba. Another long line. I found out that with DHL you have to take the package to customs at the border, where they review it and seal it so you can then take it to DHL. DHL doesn't have a customs agent sitting there from 11am to noon. But the DHL price was the shocker. Two kilos (4.4 lbs.) to Cuba was 1,163 pesos (about $98US). Fourteen dollars is better than $98 any day!!!
 
Here are some facts that I found out during my postal experiences: Cuba stopped receiving packages from the U.S. after the World Trade Center events of 9/11 in New York. Packages to Cuba must be 2 kilos or less for "security reasons", and even then they are opened and reviewed in Cuba at their postal site. Not all the contents inside the box are guaranteed to make it all the way to the final destination. Along the way some of it is "lost". Christian books are not allowed to be sent to Cuba. Christian books are supposed to be burned if any make it to their post offices. Bibles, however, can be shipped to Cuba; again...some being "lost" along the way. In Cuba a Bible is taken apart book by book and one church may share one Bible with parts of it scattered around amongst many of its members. Any gospel literature in Cuba is like gold, which is why I was so determined to see that the gospel tracts got off to Cuba. We need to get as much literature into the hands of the church leaders in Cuba as possible. They are desperate for it.
 
Here are more facts: S.A.E.M., Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries, in El Paso, Texas, prints gospel tracts and ships them to Spanish nations upon request. Bety Garcia, director at S.A.E.M., was recently showing me packages to be mailed off. One small package of tracts to Peru was almost $70 for shipping. Another small package going to Guatemala was close to $30 for shipping.  S.A.E.M. sends out these gospel tracts at no cost to the churches. The cost of printing and shipping comes from the S.A.E.M. flex fund, which is a fund that churches and individuals from the United States contribute to throughout the year. S.A.E.M. is a non-profit organization which next year celebrates its year of jubilee (50 years of supplying gospel tracts to the world). S.A.E.M. has a lot of expenses. They have Terry Knippers, who drives down from Oklahoma to El Paso, who does all the printing. He, along with his wife, Amparo, stay at S.A.E.M. for weeks at a time to print enough tracts for a few months...and then he returns and prints more, as the funds allow. Besides Director Bety Garcia all the other work done at S.A.E.M. comes from volunteers. Currently, S.A.E.M. is in need of funds for supplies, shipping, and upkeep of the printing presses. The ministry needs short term and long term volunteers. An intern or a missionary knowledgeable in Spanish and English would be wonderful. Volunteers to help with the upkeep of the buildings and yard work are needed (when I get a small team who is coming to work in Juarez I usually have them devote one day to S.A.E.M. and they really enjoy doing that). S.A.E.M. can accommodate a small team with housing - which is very comfortable. S.A.E.M. and I have worked together for about a year. The bread and most of the other food items and clothing that I carry into Juarez have passed through my hands because it was donated to S.A.E.M. The ministry also allows me to use their address to receive mail because I don't have a physical address in the U.S.
El Paso, Texas (foreground) and Juarez, Mexico (background)
 
I encourage all my readers to please send S.A.E.M. a small check. Even $5 would help tremendously. Let's help keep this ministry strong for another 50 years. Let's also keep forwarding this post to your friends and family through e-mails, facebook, or other means so that S.A.E.M. can get as much help as possible (please see the address below).
 
Other brief news from Juarez, Mexico:
~Juarez has suffered another challenge as we have had severe flooding. Many thousands are homeless and without food and clothing. Thank the Lord that I had absolutely no damage in my residence.
 
~Pastor Dr. Jimmy Hayes, from The River Church at Nashville, TN was in Juarez with me for 3+ days. The Lord spoke to him about helping with the "Greatest Spiritual Awakening that the world has ever witnessed". Right now decisions are being made about which stadium will be used in Juarez for the onset of this great revival. Dr. Jimmy Hayes and his team will be returning soon. Once we get going with this most of my time in Juarez will be devoted to these events. I am very excited about this. Once I have a little more information I will write a blog post about this. Pray for these outreaches.  
~I still have not been successful in initiating the border-to-border conferences in Juarez but I expect to know more about this in the next few weeks. This is one of my God-given visions so it's just a matter of time. Pray for this please.
 
 
Again, I want to thank all those who have sacrificed to keep me in Juarez. Those who pray regularly for me have more things to pray about as described in this blog post. Thanks for all your prayers and support.
 
 
Remember....re-post this blog!!!! Thank you!!!
 
 
Daniel Torres                                                 S.A.E.M.
650 Linwood Dr.                                            650 Linwood Dr.
El Paso, Texas 79928-7607                             El Paso, Texas 79928
501-827-7679                                                915-852-2525
 
 
 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, AND TWO DONKEYS


For 14 years they have faced adversity after adversity.  They have been robbed, threatened with their lives, beaten, attacked by snakes and Satanic forces, and even kidnapped.  Yet they have remained faithful, strong, solid, unmovable.  They are Pastor Jose Manuel Martinez and his wife Maria Dolores.  They Pastor the church Dios Con Nosotros (God With Us) in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  And I have had the great honor of meeting this couple, and I have the privilege of calling them my friends, even my brother and my sister.
 


THE CURRENT DIOS CON NOSOTROS CHURCH
THE UNFINISHED PHASE OF THE NEW LOCATION
Fourteen years ago the Holy Spirit led this couple to the place where the church is currently located.  It's an incredible story.  And here is just a glimpse of the highlights.  The Holy Spirit sent them out one day and told them to go West and up the mountain.  Like Abraham of old, they did not know where they were headed to.  They just followed His instructions.  The Holy Spirit kept speaking to them as they drove West.  And then they saw the mountain.  Then the Holy Spirit spoke again: "Where you see two donkeys grazing is where the land that I am giving you will be."  They were surprised at these last instructions.  They thought about the 2 donkeys and wondered why.  Surely there wouldn't be ONE donkey in that dry patch of desert ground...much less two!  They went over a hill and there right in front of them were the 2 donkeys!  They walked the rocks and dirt and claimed that piece of desert land for the Lord.  The Holy Spirit also told them that someday people from all over Juarez will come to the church.  They wondered how that would be possible.  The place was out of the way, almost unreachable.  The road to the property was very tough.  But eight years after they arrived at their "oasis" a major four lane road was built not far from the church.  The road connects the South and the North part of Juarez on the West side.  You can actually follow the road and it will take you all through the outer perimeter of the entire City of Juarez.  Pastor Manuel and his wife "Lolis" did not know in 1999 that the road was going to be built.  But God knew. 
INSIDE THE FOUR WALLS OF THE NEW BUILDING

After 14 years of sweat, hard work, scorching heat, freezing temperatures, and attacks for every direction they are still delightfully struggling to turn this place into the place that God wants it to be.  They still do not have running water or electricity.  Here they operate with hurricane lanterns and candles.  Water for the outside is delivered by trucks, and every church member brings a jug of water to contribute to the drinking water containers.  I know that someday they will have both electricity and running water. 
 
Any stray dog that comes to the church is more than welcomed to stay as they will help protect the property with the guards that watch over the church 24/7.  

When they arrived 14 years ago the land hardly had a place flat enough to build anything.  But with the help of their people they began to level out the ground.  I'm sure that there were many nights that a lot people went to bed with their backs aching and throbbing from all the work that has been done to this property.  And there is still so very much work that needs to be done.  The vision that the Lord has given this couple will carry them through many years of hard labor. 

Today they have services in a small building that they have long outgrown.  The shack that they used before has been all but been destroyed by the strong wind currents in the area.  And as funds trickle in they faithfully continue to build a larger church building but that still has a long way to go.  They still need about $5,000US to finish that new building.  They are hoping that they can have it finished before this winter.

YEARS OF HARD WORK MAY NOT BE SEEN HERE
DIOS CON NOSOTROS CHURCH FROM THE DISTANCE
In the meantime they have planted about 170 young trees that one day will adorn this desert land and they are still planting.  Occasionally they have outreaches for the community, especially for the children, who are very poor.  They try to feed the children once a month and give them shoes and clothing as other people donate these items to them.  The community is so poor that these Pastors know of a family that only eats every other day, and another family that only eats every three days.  One time they had announced that they were going to be giving away shoes, but when the day arrived the temperatures dropped and it began to snow.  Children who were barefooted still walked to the church to pick up a pair of used shoes.  When events for children are held at this church 200 or more kids show up.

VIEW FROM THE CHURCH TO THE COMMUNITY
EVERY TREE IS ADORNED WITH PAINTED ROCKS
There is no doubt that these Pastors are being used of God and that the Lord has a long-range plan for this church.  Their love for people is a beautiful thing to see.  Yes, it can be seen!  They have strong roots here.  When they first saw those two donkeys their two sons were merely little boys.  Today they are both studying at the University.  I know that someday in the not-too-distant future I will come to this "oasis" and find trees that will be full of life and marking the path that leads to a beautiful church, which will also be fruitful, productive, and showing multitudes the path to God's door.
 
 
 
 
 
P.S. Double click on the pictures for enlargement.



Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Dr.
El Paso, Texas 79928
501-827-7679

For tax receipts send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72145









Monday, August 5, 2013

REACHING THE DOWNTRODDEN IN HIGH PLACES






CHILDREN PREPARE FOR A VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL AT COLONIA GRANJAS UNIDAS

For a long time my heart has been captivated by a neighborhood in high places.  It sits up high on the side of a mountain in Juarez, Mexico.  It is called Colonia Granjas Unidas, or Colonia United Farms.  But there is very little unity and there are very few farms left.  At some point long ago the mountain had many hog farms and a few other animals were raised.  But today most of it sits idle.  The Colonia, or neighborhood, is very poor.  There are a lot of shacks and places of residence that were built with anything and everything.  I know a family that used old water heaters to make the outside walls of their house.  They took the water heaters apart, took out the outer metal skins, flatten them out, and nailed them up to make the outside walls.  Others use cardboard, old store signs, or scraps of plywood.  Many of the houses that have been here a long time were made of concrete block.  The dirt roads are in terrible condition.  As I drive up the mountain I must go 5 miles per hour or less.  The poor quality water is delivered by trucks to those who have money to pay for it.
 
RENTAL HOUSE WILL BE THE NEW CHURCH
NEW CHURCH AT GRANJAS UNIDAS
I know of senior citizens who live half way up the mountain and a round trip to the supermarket takes them about 5 hours on foot.  Their age does not permit them to walk fast, they fight every loose rock along the way, and on the way back up they do the same plus bear the weight of their groceries.  I know of a mom who walks one hour to take little Victor to school.  Her house is closer to the top and the school is half way up the mountain. Two trips to school a day make up four hours of walking a day. 
 
In many places the Colonia looks like the city dump.  And like many places in Juarez the people at Granjas Unidas are barely scratching out a living.  After constantly fighting to stay afloat the people of this Colonia and other Colonias seem to have adjusted to this lifestyle and it has become the norm.  When everyone suffers no one feels at a disadvantage.  So in suffering there IS unity.
 
BACK ROOM CREATED FOR OLDER KIDS
KIDS ENJOYING VBS
The beauty of this Colonia, aside from the souls that make this their residence, is the view of the City of Juarez at night.  There is a spectacular view of Juarez from the top of the mountain that makes you just want to sit and stare down with a cup of coffee in hand.  I visited an elderly couple last winter and did just that.  We would sit at their tiny wooden porch and drink the hot cocoa that I brought.  Eventually they would have to go back inside and stand by their 55 gallon drum turned into a cook stove and heater, but I would stay outside and stare at the beautiful lights way down below.  One evening I came up for my usual fix of "the view" and the porch was completely gone.  I was very disappointed.  They told me that they ran out of fire wood and had to use part of their house, including my favorite porch, to keep warm.  An old metal chair just wasn't the same!  Temperatures in Juarez during the winter drop down to the 30's, 20's, and sometimes lower than that.  I have seen snow in Juarez on several occasions.  Now, imagine living in a house in the winter where the wall is only the shell of an old water heater!
 
During the last 12 or 13 months I have brought in a lot of help to Granjas Unidas but it seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the need.  The Colonia is also in desperate need of a good church.  There is only one very small church here and I visited with the Pastor about the possibility of working with him and reaching more people.  But his vision is very limited.  After 20 years at Granjas Unidas the congregation is made up of about 25 to 30 people.  At first when I asked the neighbors about this church they all told me that the building is there but that there were no services.  To make sure I arrived one day at the time stated on the wall of the church and, yes, the church was meeting.  But the people in the Colonia are not being reached with the Gospel.  My visit with the Pastor just left me wanting to start another church.
TWO HOUSES FROM THE CHURCH
HOUSE NEXT DOOR
 
There is now another church being started at this Colonia.  With the help of a Pastor from El Paso and a few women that come out with her on Tuesdays the Lord has granted our desire for another church.  A family at the Colonia has allowed us to use a small rental house to start this project and they are not charging rent.  The neighbors next door allow us to tap into their power outlets so that we can have electricity for a few light bulbs and fans.  The people that rented the house before left a $500 electric debt, which must be paid in order to get the power turned on.   That's how things work in Juarez.  The services at the rental house have continued on Tuesday mornings with the Pastor from El Paso and a Pastor from Juarez.  Last week we had a VBS there and we averaged 45 to 50 kids during the 5 days.   This weekend we will start the first regular services at the rental house.  But the house is already too small.  The last Tuesday that services were held at the house about 30 people showed up.  There is some land around the rental house that I am having someone look into to find out who owner is, if it has one, or if we can talk to the City about having it donated for a ministry. 
 
There is a lot of work for the Lord to be done at Granjas Unidas.  Once we get set up with some kind of building I would love to have a team or teams from the U.S. come and help us do outreaches in this community.  We can provide food and other necessities for the people along with a presentation of the Gospel.  There are many children who live in this Colonia who need to be guided in the ways of the Lord.  The youth here walk about aimlessly wondering what their future will be.  A lot of them know that dealing drugs and other evil vises are options that will get them out of their current situation.  Girls at a very tender age walk around pregnant.  I know of little Jordan, who is 7 or 8 years old, and who alone takes care of his grandfather, who is blind.  I know of 11 people in one family who live under one roof and not one of them can find a job.  You may remember Chuy, who used to eat pig slop before I met him.  There are single moms living here and I have no idea what they do to feed their family.  I know of kids who go to school hungry.  Of parents who introduce their kids to sniffing chemicals because it relieves their hunger pains.  And of parents who allow their kids to be used for sex so that they all may eat.   
 
If you read this and shed tears, can you imagine us who actually SEE it?   Sometimes I wonder where all these tears keep coming from.
 
Hope!  I just want to help bring the hope of Jesus to these whom Christ died for.  They need hope!  They need to get to know the love of Jesus and the hope that is in Him! 
 
Please pray for this project at Granjas Unidas.   Pray for Pastor Roberto Nuñez and his family, who have worked on this project to get this church off the ground.  Pray for Pastor Sylvia Luis, who has initiated this work and still continues to bless the project.  There are others who are interested in this work whom the Lord will move in at the perfect time.
 
And there is not one single thing that we do that can be done without funds.  I appreciate and I am very thankful for all who sacrifice to keep me here and allow me to bless some of these precious people in one form or another.  I just completed two years of living in Juarez, Mexico and I don't want to be anywhere else, aside from heaven. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for your support.  I know that Jesus thanks you. 
NEW CHURCH AT GRANJAS UNIDAS. TIRES MAKE A NICE BORDER FENCE

 
As a side note, we recently had 45 churches in Juarez to attend an INVASION, which is a project completely funded by a ministry called COSECHADORES VICTORIOSOS, or Victorious Harvesters.  This ministry comes into a City and trains the local churches to evangelize using several methods.  The classes last for 3 solid days and the churches hit the streets for another three days.  The harvest for the three days was 6,200 souls.  From there those who accepted the Lord are invited to the local church at a time where there are no regular services. The walk in to a celebration including food and free Bibles.  It is a wonderful time for the new converts to meet the people of the church and get familiar with the church building.  Many churches plan to repeat this as often as possible.  Please pray for these new 6,200 Saints.
 
 
P.S.  Double click on the pictures to enlarge them.
 
Have a Jesus-filled day!!!
 
 
Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Dr.
El Paso, Texas 79928
1 (501) 827-7679
 
For tax receipt send
contributions to:
 
Covenant Fellowship
P.O.  Box 8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72145 
 
 
 
 













 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

REMEMBER WHOSE YOU ARE

             

                 Jesus said of John The Baptist,  " I tell you, among those born of woman there is no one greater than John" (Luke 7:28).   Jesus and John were related to each other (second cousins).  As the forerunner to Jesus, John prepared the way for Jesus to enter into His personal ministry.  He taught the multitudes that One would come whose sandals he was unworthy to untie.  He also announced that Jesus would baptize with fire and with the Holy Spirit.  And it was John who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan after proclaiming that He was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world".  After Jesus came up out of the water heaven opened and God spoke, "This is My Son whom I love; with Him I am well pleased".  John was led of the Holy Spirit in all these things and he witnessed all this things.  John heard God's voice.  As a matter of fact John's own birth was very special.  The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, John's father, to announce his birth.  Gabriel told Zechariah that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.  In Biblical history John The Baptist is one the greatest characters. 

But then we fast-forward to Matthew 11:2 and we read this incredible account:  "When John heard in prison what Christ was doing he sent his disciples to ask Him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" "

That is a strange question from the lips of a man with great faith and who came into the world to introduce the Savior.  Is John doubting everything he experienced and saw?  What Happened?
 
 
What about Elisha, another one of the greatest prophets in history?  The most famous story concerning Elijah was when he invited the prophets of Baal up to mount Carmel for a show of power (1 Kings, Chapter 18).  He proposed a competition between him and 450 of the prophets of Baal.  They cup up two bullocks and put wood under each one.  Then each team was to pray for fire to burn the wood and the bullocks.  Elijah, team 1, had one bullock and the 450 prophets of Baal, team 2, had the other.  The 450 prophets went first and they began to call on their god.  Nothing happened.  No fire!!  Elijah began to mock them.  He suggested that their god was probably visiting with someone, on vacation, or taking a siesta.  The prophets tried harder.  They even cut themselves and their blood ran heavily.  Elijah's turn now.  He even made it more impressive by having barrels of water thrown on his bullock and the wood.  After a simple and short prayer our Lord sent down a fire that consumed the bullock, the wood, the water, and even the dust.  Elijah then had the 450 prophets killed.  Immediately after this Elijah, in prayer, ended the drought that had plagued the people for a very long time.  And if that wasn't enough the story is followed by Elijah asking King Ahab to leave mount Carmel before the rains.  Then King Ahab takes off in his royal steed, the best horse in the nation.  In yet another miraculous event Elijah pulls up his garment, takes off running, passes the king on his steed, and gets to Jezreel, about a marathon race away, ahead the king.  Elijah's name is historical.
 
But then at the beginning of the next chapter we read where Queen Jezebel threatens to kill Elijah.  And suddenly Elijah has a meltdown.  He goes into a depressed state and wants God to take him away.  He wants to die.  He mocked 450 prophets, called rain down, outran a royal horse, and just because a woman threatens him he is ready quit.  What happened?
 
Then we have the great Moses, who was used of God to bring the entire Nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage through great miracles of God.  Yet Moses feared men so he often introduced his wife as his sister.  What happened?  Are these not men of unquestionable faith?
 
There are more men and women of great faith who at one time or another seemed to hit rock bottom and they questioned God's presence and His purpose for their mission and lives.  Jesus himself spoke, "My God, my God , why have you forsaken Me?"
 
Many of God's great servants with huge ministries have been down this road.  It is a trial. God seems to take a step back.  And immediately the enemy steps forward and begins to speak.  You feel alone, abandoned, powerless, without a purpose, and even depressed.  This often happens at the end of great victories.  You question your call, you question what God has done through you, you feel useless, you feel like you are just spinning your wheels, you sense that even those closest to you (those who swore that they would always be there for you)  have left you.  Everything in your personal life seems to be going South.  You take inventory and you even think about abandoning ship.  You want to quit.  And many of God's servant do just that...they get up and leave their sacred duties.  Like Peter, they go back to fishing when the Lord's presence is gone.  They have not only forgotten who they are but they have forgotten whose they are.  Some not only turn their backs on their calling and those whom you were called to serve, but worse than that, they turn their backs on God.
 
Why am I writing all this?  Two reasons:  One (the primary reason), I felt very strongly that I should write this because someone out there needs to read this.  The Lord would not allow me to let it go, although I wanted to.  Two, because for a many months I experienced some of these very same things. 
 
Many, many times this year I have felt the spiritual darkness that hovers over this City as a big weight upon my shoulders. Sometimes I felt as if I was sharing my own bed with the hordes of hell. I have been frustrated with the church leaders who, because of ignorance, make it harder for me to help them.  It is similar to a person who is drowning and you are trying to reach out to them but they start kicking and punching you. Loneliness set in bigger than I can describe.  And, yes, some who I thought would never leave me have left.  But yet I know that I am where I am supposed to be.   
 
 
There is no way that I can compare myself with the caliber of men mentioned above, but I am doing God's work, as is every Christian in the planet.  God does not measure a ministry by size, but by obedience.  The world measures ministries by size, and small or big these uncertainties will come.  It is at those times that we must remember whose we are.  We must remember the call that brought us to this point.  We must remember God's promises.  And we must remember that no matter how bad things seem, and how distant God appears to be, that His Word is ever present and real and it is on that knowledge we must rely.  Feelings will steer us wrong, but God's Word will never fail us.  His Word is the root, the foundation, the essence, the basis of faith.  When we say that we have faith we are saying that we have faith in God's Word.  His word is eternal, everlasting.  His promises are His words.  His Word and promises will always come to pass.  Always!!!  
 
When God seems to take a step back He never takes His word with Him.  His word is still in our hearts and minds.  In that we must trust. 
 
I recently spoke about Elisha being called to become Elijah's assistant.  Before Elisha departed he took the oxen that he was plowing with and killed them.  He then cooked them with the wooden equipment that was used to team up the oxen.  What Elisha did was to burn the bridge that would take him back where he was should the ministry get too tough.  Sometimes we leave our call because we have failed to burn the bridge that takes us back.  The ever present bridge makes it too easy to return to the plow and to the fishing nets.  
 
In a few weeks I will complete 2 years of living in Juarez, Mexico.  Usually at the two year mark in a ministry is when we first face these uncertainties and attacks of the enemy on a large scale.  Then another few weeks more and I will hit the 60 year mark, which I am not afraid of.  I was destined to be here in Juarez and I believe that I have burned as many bridges as I can possibly burn.  I have been going over God's promises given to me for the City of Juarez, for the Nation of Mexico, and for myself.  The promises are incredible.  The visions are remarkable.  I must not allow myself to forget them.
 
I am still doing some personal evaluations and re-commitments.  And I am remembering the vision(s) that God has given me.  I have been burying myself in the Scriptures and spending more time in prayer.  I know the enemy and this is not was he was wanting to happen.  I am weak in myself, yet very strong in Christ.  When the enemy attacks heavily it is because he knows that great things are coming.
 
I can't close without mentioning that there has been an untold number of victories over the last several months.  I will mention some in another blog entry. 
 
I also cannot or dare to forget all my prayer warriors that have stood with me.  Your prayers are my breath.  They are my life source in Juarez.  Your prayers go before me and behind me.  I give a million thanks to those who sacrifice financially to support this work and my presence here.  Only heaven knows the impact that you have had on this City and on my life.  Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.  
 
 
 
Daniel Torres
650 Linwood Drive
El Paso, Texas 79928
1-501-827-7679
 
For tax credit send contributions to:
Covenant Fellowship
P.O. Box 8126
Searcy, Arkansas 72145