Brenda’s Bulletin

January 6, 2022 The Urgent Prayer Request Explained

January 6, 2022 - 3:52 pm - Posted by Brenda Matthews

Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed the Christmas season and that 2022 has begun well.

For several months I have been asking for prayer for a situation in the El Faro church. I can finally give you more details so that you can pray and understand the urgency of the request. The images are the visuals I prepared for the presentation given to the church Dec. 12. The purpose of the only in-person meeting since the pandemic began was to inform the church and call them to prayer. I’ll give an explanation and you can guess the corresponding image. For those who don’t want to read the explanation, the short version is that the church is in danger of losing the property and possibly its existence. Please pray for God to be glorified.

Property 29 25A TEAM missionary with his family and several Mexicans set out to start a new church with the blessing of their previous church.  The missionary looked for men to disciple as leaders.  He shared his vision with a short-term team that came to La Paz and, as they prayed, one of them felt like a piece of land that they saw was the place for the El Faro church.  Funds were gathered in the US and, in 2005, they were sent through TEAM for the purchase of the property.

But there was a complication.  The church was not yet a legal entity.  The church first needed a legal recognition and then the property could be purchased with the title in its name.  This process took several years to complete.

Returning to the group, a new man had joined.  We’re going to focus on two of those leaders.  Both men were considered to be trustworthy, godly men.  Red knew the owner of the land and negotiated a good price for the church.  However, before the church had its legal identity, the owner of the land died.  His widow was willing to continue with the sale, but there was only a small window of time to act.  It was decided to purchase the property in the names of the wives of the two leaders (also considered trustworthy and godly) with the agreement that they would donate the property to the church once that was possible.  In the meantime, the church has a long-term, rent-free contract to use the property.

In 2008 the church was incorporated, and it was a joyful occasion in 2017 when the church was finally recognized as a Religious Association.Property 30 25  The missionary and Blue were co-pastoring the church until the missionary left in 2018, leaving Blue as the only pastor.  (I arrived in La Paz the summer of 2015.)

Having its legal status, the property title could now be put in the name of the church, but Red and his wife were increasingly antagonistic and opposed Blue being the pastor.  Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT) says, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  On a human level, the problem is with Red and his wife, but there is a spiritual level and an enemy who seeks to destroy. 

When the church was preparing to open in September, Red confronted Blue.  His offer was for the two of them to sell the property and split the money 50-50 (as though it was their personal money).  He also said that he didn’t want the church to open, he questioned Blue’s ability as pastor, and he didn’t want the property on the market (because he probably has a buyer lined up), among other threats and demands made during several meetings.  They have no intention of keeping their promise.

The church was called to prayer – to pray for the Lord to work in the lives of Red and his wife and to pray for wisdom for Blue and the church leadership.Property 31 25  We need the Lord’s intervention.  Zechariah 4:6 clearly states, “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”  And David gives us an example to follow in Psalm 56:3-4 – “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

Tuesday, this week, there was another confrontation.  Red maintains his position, his threats, and his demands.  He says that he is the owner of the property because he has put money into it and that he is now going to take legal action.

September to November, Rafa, Marco and I were meeting regularly to deal with the issue.  While they investigated the legal implications, I was working at finding a financial paper trail and an order to the events.  I could probably disprove Red’s claim to have put money into the property because I found the documents showing the money leaving TEAM for the purchase and then the money for construction coming from TEAM and going to Red because he was overseeing the construction projects, but it’s complicated.  I can show the receipts signed by Red or his daughter, but he had the money go into a business account.  The receipts Red has for the construction would show the money coming from Red and that’s probably why he claims that he put money into the property.  Even if he has put money into the property, so have I, several others and even some of you!  Legal options would be time and energy-consuming with no good outcome.  We wanted to have all the info and evidence possible before involving more people because Red has been preparing for this confrontation and we did not want to provoke him to legal action, especially not without a clear understanding of the situation.

The only win-win we can see would be for the Lord to work in the lives of Red and his wife (this would be a huge win for their lives) and for the property to be donated to the church.  That would solve the property issue, but then there’s the question of the future of the El Faro church.  But this has been long enough.  You now know why I’ve been asking for prayer for the church.  Please do pray for a resolution to the property issue and also pray for God to clearly lead in decisions about the church’s future.  This is all very discouraging and deeply saddening as it has distracted the focus of the church and is affecting the spiritual/physical/emotional lives of several people, but also to see the bitterness in the lives of Red and his wife.  (Those who saw my presentation on my last Home Assignment will have more insight into the conflict between these two couples.)  I’m sure you’ll read more about both situations in the next report.  Please pray!!!

Trusting in our All-powerful God,

Signature Birds 15 outline

Brenda

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