Mount Abarim Baptist Mission International is an international missionary endeavor that provides vital services to missionaries and their local church sponsors worldwide. One of the reasons I prayerfully chose Mount Abarim was because they believe the local church is to be the sending agency; and Mount Abarim serves rather than sends missionaries while serving under the authority of the local church.
At the time of its founding, Mount Abarim served missionary families in Mexico. Each year a field conference was held in Mexico where supporting churches could attend and hear reports of how the Lord was blessing the works in Mexico as well as hear of their needs. The Lord has since allowed Mount Abarim to see its ministries expand around the world to over twenty countries. The field conference continues to be held annually in Mexico where updates from around the world are shared with pastors who attend. This year’s conference was held in the city of Acapulco.
It was a busy week. I was challenged by great preaching from the visiting pastors as well as missionary testimonies from Spain, Equitorial Guinea, Mexico, and Ghana. I had the privilege of sharing my burden to reach Italian souls for Christ on Tuesday. I was able to network with the pastors in attendance and book meetings for the upcoming year. I enjoyed the fellowship with my Uncle Roger and Aunt Brenda, as well as others in attendance at the conference. I also enjoyed passing out several hundred gospel tracts written in Spanish throughout the week. However, the pinnacle of the conference for me was Wednesday when a group of us traveled to the children’s homes in Tlapa.
We left Acapulco at 5:00 in the morning for a six hour drive up and down the winding mountainous roads to Tlapa. The Bethesda Children’s Homes care for boys and girls from the mountain villages of the Sierra Madre in southern Mexico. At the homes the children receive shelter, clothing, food, an education, and medical care. They are cared for by a loving staff who tend to their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs. They learn of God’s plan of salvation and attend church and daily Bible classes. Scripture memorization and Bible study are an important part of home life. Since the homes began in 1969, thousands of boys and girls have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour. These young people have been trained and returned to their villages as new creatures in Christ, carrying the gospel message with them to their families and friends.
When we arrived at the boy’s home I noticed five young boys staggered along the steps watching me. They were close to Isaiah’s age. I walked up to them and they began to giggle. I said, “What’s your name?” One little character parroted me, “What’s your name?” They all giggled again. I said, “My name is Stetson.” The same little boy parroted back, “My name is Stetson.” They giggled some more. Many of these children come from homes that were ravaged by idolatry, alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy, and abuse. As I went from room to room I couldn’t help but notice the 12-inch square box under each of their beds that contained all of their life’s possessions. I think what struck me most was the smiles of the children. They were genuinely happy – it is a testimony to the power of love and prayer that has been showered on the children from those involved in this ministry. As I considered Isaiah and our little Pearl, I’m reminded once again that the greatest thing Sandy and I can provide them is not the “things” that clutter up our lives, nor would it be the contents of a 12-inch square box under their beds if they were stripped of all other life’s possessions, but rather the greatest thing we can give our children is a love of God and His Book and a love for others.
Another highlight of the Tlapa trip was the ride; certainly not because of the winding roads but rather because I was able to sit next to Lyle McCoy the entire trip. Lyle McCoy has been a missionary to the indigenous people of Mexico for 41 years (the Tlapaneco, Mixteco, and Nahuatl peoples). Bro. Lyle heard a missionary to the Indians of Brazil speak at his dad’s church in Lubbock when he was eleven and he knew the Lord was calling him to be a missionary. After he graduated from Tennessee Temple he began helping his father (Ralph McCoy, founder of Mount Abarim) with the work he had started in Cuernavaca, Mexico. While in Cuernavaca, Bro. Lyle grew acquainted with a Tlapaneco Indian who kept begging him to bring the gospel to his people. Bro. Lyle saw a tremendous need among the indigenous people of Mexico and he told me, “God filled my heart with a love for those people and I haven’t gotten over it yet.” Bro. Lyle also felt the crushing weight that if he did not take the gospel to them they would all perish and go to hell. I was greatly impressed with the fervent love of Bro. Lyle for the Indian people of Mexico and his brokenness over their spiritual need. I realize that if we are to accomplish anything for Christ in Italy it will be because God fills our hearts with a love for the Italian people that nothing can ever quench and His Spirit never lets us escape their utter hopelessness without a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’S flock is carried away captive.” – Jeremiah 13:16,17