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Guadalajara and Ocotlan

We appreciated the opportunity for warm fellowship and sharing some special moments with the brothers and sisters in Mexico. 
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Bro. Dennis Paggi and I traveled to Mexico to visit the brothers and sisters and give a study weekend study. Bro. Dennis has visited Mexico several times, but it was my first time. Dennis and I recently accepted the position of link team for Mexico, replacing Bre. David Lloyd and David Jennings, the links for Mexico for over twenty years. Their work is greatly appreciated.

We flew to Guadalajara and were met by Bro. and Sis. Gabriel and Cynthia (Paiva) Lopez, as well as Bro. Juan Sanchez from Monterrey, Mexico, who had come down for the study weekend. The warm, dry weather was quite a change from the cold, wet weather we left behind in Southern California.

Upon arriving in Ocotlán, we stopped by the hall that the ecclesia was recently able to rent. It had been used as a storage area for furniture refinishing and repair. Extensive cleanup has begun. The building is quite large and is well suited for the ecclesia, providing a foyer area, a main hall, and a room in the back that serves as a kitchen and a Sunday School room. 

After a quick look around the hall, we walked a short distance to our hotel, just one block away. Cynthia had made reservations for Dennis, Juan, and me to stay there. It gave the three of us the chance to chat and catch up. We enjoyed exploring Ocotlán in the afternoons, discovering where things were located in relation to our hotel. 

The Mexican brothers and sisters have struggled through the last few years with the same restrictions and difficulties experienced by everyone throughout the pandemic. Like many others, they were hampered in face-to-face meetings and had to curtail and modify many of their previous methods. Fellowship was limited to online meetings and a few social interactions in person. However, some good has come out of it.

The brethren have adapted to Internet preaching and can reach people they previously would not have been able to through Zoom Bible classes and other apps. Bro. Juan will begin some preaching using his new iPad. Bro. Gabriel holds a number of Bible classes online with various contacts and is very enthusiastic about spreading the gospel.

The brothers and sisters in Ocotlan, Mexico

Currently, besides the members in the Guadalajara area, including the Guadalajara and the Jalisco Sur ecclesias, there are a few brothers and sisters in other parts of the country, including Tijuana, on the border with California, Monterrey, Campeche, Yucatan and Chiapas at the south end of the country. All of these brothers and sisters can meet virtually, but Bro. Juan (Monterrey) and Sis. Damaris Cuevas (Campeche) were able to make the trip to participate in the study weekend. 

The theme for the weekend was the topic of conversion, and used Daniel chapters 1-4 as the basis for the classes. Dennis and I decided to split up the classes, each doing one class on both days. Dennis began the series on Saturday morning with a look at Daniel 1, focusing on the conversion of Daniel and his three friends.

In the afternoon, I gave a class on Daniel 2, which examined the way God chose to reveal himself little by little to a pagan, Gentile emperor, who probably wouldn’t be the type of person we would think to be a likely candidate to follow and worship the One True God. The third class was the exhortation on Sunday morning, in which Dennis looked at Daniel 3.

He drew lessons from the account of Daniel’s three friends, demonstrating their remarkable faith in refusing to compromise their worship of God despite the possibility of a terrible death sentence. After the Memorial service, I gave the final class on Daniel 4, focusing on Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream. Conversion is a life-long process for all of us. We have some good examples of how God works in people’s lives to allow them to come to the knowledge of Him and His salvation and to follow Him and His son, Jesus Christ. 

Memorial Service in Ocotlan, Mexico

Though it was just a week before Easter, and thus a time for family gatherings, we had 10-15 members at the hall and another 5-10 via Zoom. Overall, the weekend was spiritually uplifting, and the ecclesia made everyone feel very welcome.

We appreciated the opportunity for warm fellowship and sharing some special moments with the brothers and sisters in Mexico. 

David Collister,
Verdugo Hills Ecclesia, CA,
Co-Link to Mexico 

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