To lead a soul to seek God every Sunday is one of the greatest challenges of every Christian. People live far from the idea of worshipping God as God's word specifies. A person's will to worship and serve God. People have needs, goals, choices, and desires that are often entrusted to God every day only but do not seek to worship In Spirit and truth.
John 4:2424 God is Spirit; and those who worship Him, in spirit and indeed need to worship.
But people still have their beliefs and ways of having God or believing in God
This past month we have studied the Word of God with converts and non-converts as well. It is very wonderfulto see how souls are giving constant attentiontoGod's message. Above all the truth of God that Christ's church is based in those who seek to love God in truth. We have visited every week and almost every day, after my office time from 4 pm to 8 pm or other days from 5-9 pm. We always return home happy to show God's message to souls.
This month we have conversed via cell phone, visited, and have given words of encouragement and comfort. We had 13 Bible Studies, 8 visits, and every Sunday we had in attendance anywhere from 12- 24 people and children.
We have been helping our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have given food to families and special donations to some families. Brethren have had difficulty in their work during the snow, we were stuck in our homes because of the snow in mid-February, and because some of them work outside on houses and others in buildings they were unable to work. We have been able to alleviate their needs as we can, thanks to the anonymous brethren and those who help by giving benevolence to help others.
This month, we've been fine thanks be to God. Our kids are in good health, helping in what we can with them, and this month they will be training for baseball season. I will volunteer attending my father-in-law to train two of the teams that my two children will be and I will be helping one more where my eldest son will be as well. Baseball is very complicated, but we are at a stage that they want to participate in and enjoy baseball. In another point, my mother in Honduras is recovering. She can walk slowly but not very safely yet. She's in a lot of pain walking, and doctors have determined that she has neuropathy of one of her nerves in the leg. She will visit a physical therapist,but she's at home doingexercises that she's been incouraged to do at home. Please pray for us and my family when you can. We'll really appreciate it.
A faith that unites us
This past month we have had more activities that unite us together under one faith and one gospel. These include Preaching the gospel, encouraging members, teaching members, helping members, helping families and friends, and more, but in every moment that we spend together we show the love of God and the truth of the Gospel of Christ. The message continues to be sown in the hearts that seek God.
During the month of January, we had a lot of studies of the Word of God. We also visited daily during the day and at night, every day of the week we visited a different family. We had between 5 and 6 Bible studies per week.
We had invited 10 families to worship and seek for the truth in Christ, and two of those families visited worship service on Sundays.
We continue to assist friends and families translating documents, phone calls, helping siblings, and other families when they need us during the day.
IN the month of January, we conducted 24 Bible studies and we traveled to visit homes 18 different times. 7 New families were given invitations to the Church. Our highest attendance this month was 29 people (all Spanish speaking)
Extra mile for Christ:
A Hispanic member from West End Iglesia de Cristo in STL MO, asked if my dad (Elias Sr.) from Honduras can go and help her mom and family in Mezapa, Honduras. Her brother and her sister -in- law lost a baby during delivery, and she was in a coma for several weeks. Her mom named Maria was devastated and stressed from all this suffering in her home. Elias Sr, Robert, Claudia and Samuel traveled (5 hours) this past week. The same day they traveled they had a worship and they preached the Gospel to her home and she was baptized after the worship! Glory be to God!
My lovely wife, posted on Facebook a beautiful message of helping this preacher that saw also the need of having worships there every Sunday. My wife offered to bake and decorate a dozen of cookies for a $30 donation which would cover his bus fare for the weekend. With the help of her Facebook friends, we were able to raise his bus fare for an entire year! Thank you to all your help and support for this new work.
Geovanny and his wife:they needed clothes. We set a day to help him and his wife, but they had no transportation. I offered to bring them to the building on Monday morning. They live by St Louis, MO Airport. We gave them lunch and explained to them the need to seek God as a Zacchaeus, Luke 19. Then they came to choose what they needed, and also, I took them to the supermarket to buy some food supplies as a church donation. After 5 hours of helping them in all they need physically and Spiritually, I took them to their home. They want to receive more studies of the Word of God. I hope in God that they can come to church and continue studying the Word of God.
Candy:One day, an English-speaking person her name was Candy came to the office asking for help. I spoke the gospel to her in my office and invited her to church. She came two Sundays in a row to listen, after two weeks, one Tuesday morning several brothers helped her in what they could, but she had a difficulty, she could not fill out job applications on the internet (due to covid restrictions offices only want applications via email) She could not use a computer. I offered to take her to apply two places. We went extra mile helping her almost all day, helping her in what he needed. We hope she was able to get her job and she was personally preached 2 times about the need to look for God and also, she came twice to the worship services.
There are more people and families that we have helped in what we have been able to do. Thank God we have helped in what God allows us to do.
Adam and Cinia: They have two kids, we were helping them in anything they need, they have been coming to church for several Sundays. They got some clothes from the church benevolence room, we have been helping them with translation documents, filling out documents for their kids’ school etc. We have been studying every week with Adan. They are a sweet family, please pray for this family and understanding of the Gospel of Christ.
In Spanish ministry, we have had the most wonderful experience in our first bilingual meeting. it was beautiful to see with our eyes the support of the English language side. Seeing all the men cooperating in worship, serving each other in Christ together was wonderful. We will have more bilingual services to come. Be ready if you want to be part of it Every fifth Sunday of the actual year. We will be praising and worshiping our Lord, All together, All united, all nations, tongues under one faith, by the Gospel in Christ Jesus. We had 86 in attendance that night.
and they sang a new song, saying, Worthy of taking the book and opening its seals; for thou hast been immolated, and with thy blood thou hast redeemed us for God, of every lineage and tongueand people and nation;
I was invited to put out an encouragement message about evangelism. Where I was talking about Acts 16, in how apostle Paul went outside and sat down to talk about Christ Jesus. In a few words: A mission action. As Christians, we must take the mission of going out and speaking to others. Every mission in church takes actions.
My family has been great so far, only my children were sick with a Strep throat infection. One day start with one and then you know the rest got it a few days later. When you have a big size family this happens. But they all are great and healed. Thanks to our God.
My mother RUTH had an operation this past month. It went very well thanks to God. She's just recovering these days. The doctor wants to see her last week in February. We are so blessed for everybody who has asked about her and her recovery. Thank you for your prayers and support.
We are so thankful for everybody and every congregation and every leader in the congregation that help us. Thanks for your prayers and love for my kids and us.
God bless you.
A new year with hope. A year with challenge but in unity and fellowship. A new year of knowledge and comfort. We, the Iglesia de Cristo en West End in St Louis, are so excited to put in practice the activities that we want to do during this 2021.
We have a Spiritual plan 2021
We have a calendar of our activities and work.
We are planning to work together in:
Please pray for us the Iglesia de Cristo, for my family and our future in Christ.
Thanks for helping us during this 2020. Thanks for everything and everybody that supports us and those that are not able to support us too.
May God bless you richly every day and bless all you do in His name.
Life is all about transition. As Christians, we are expecting transition in the spiritual perspective. We are all in transition of growing, but also learning to be devoted to our God.
These past few weeks we have been having a lot of good things and also not so good things in the ministry.
Not so good things: We are fighting still to keep our brother and sisters in Christ, and to have them keep putting our God first and to keep Believing and trusting in His words and advices. Please pray for our members. Some of them have been in temptations and trials in life so far. I imagine our Jesus seeing us today how easy we just make a decision to not trust in him and fight for our self instead of letting him guide us. Please pray for the members and their spiritual life.
We have some visitors from Honduras, my parents are here. They have been helping us in anything you could imagine. It is good to have some help of daily basics in family. My parents have been helping us also spiritually. They’ve encouraged us talking with us about ministries, preaching, counseling, and visiting members and helping and reaching souls in Christ.
We had some visitors from Memphis TN, The Amaro family was planning to come this year. It was great to see them, remembering seeing them born into Christ and today still faithfull in the doctrine and the Gospel in Christ. Brother Gregorio helped us leading songs that Sunday evening. It was great seeing their Spiritual growth in Christ.
We have a new soul in Christ, Eli was baptized for the remission of his sins. Three days later of being baptized, He came to me and said: Dad if there is something that needs to be done in services, I would like to do it. He led songs in Spanish it was touching seeing my son helping the kingdom.
We have been in fellowship, and we have some studies in different days from people that never study with their own congregation. We met each other in a fellowship meal eating a Honduras traditional meal, during that time a visitor brought a new couple, and talking they asked me about the Lord’s supper, I mentioned to him in the conversation that we are the church of Christ, we take the Lord’s supper each Sunday… they asked about why every Sunday… we studied with them and learned with the Bible why each first day of the week. After one hour, they said as soon they moved to St. Louis they will start coming here. We are praying for them and their salvation and the truth of the gospel in them.
We have been studying the Bible, helping families, counseling couples, marriages, and inviting people to church. We have some people that they would like to visit the services on Sundays. We are praying for them and for the people that love the truth and salvation.
Please pray for us, and the transition from the beginning to now having several members and families and visitors coming to our God seeking for answers and the truth in the scripture. Please pray for the ministry and the support we receive from the congregation’s around us.
Unfortunately, this past week my parents and my wife and I all tested positive for Covid-19. We are thankful that our symptoms are very mild and we are feeling well. My parents were going to fly back to Honduras on Oct. 28th, but they will now have to wait until their test comes back Negative. Please pray for our health, for their safe return and negative testing, and that our kids remain unaffected. Thank you to all the members of the West End congregation for bringing us meals and groceries during this time. It has brought us so so much joy. What a blessing.
Thank you for your prayer’s messages and support.
God bless you.
These past days we have been having a lot of challenges. It is hard to see how the devil and evil is persecuting new hearts that are seeking for a new life in Christ. We have been having a lot of up and downs. A roller coaster of needs, needs of prayers, needs of wisdom, needs of forgiveness, needs of survival in God’s hands during the afflictions and trail. We understand that the more we grow, more needs that are new come to the ministry. I am so thankful from my heart that we can be there for every one that has been in afflictions and trial to encourage and support with prayers, with God’s love and reading in the scriptures for answers with every member and visitor. We are still together, knowing the devil is like a lion around us every day. But we know our Shepard is there for us too. Please encourage us for a second and share in praying to our God for us when you can. For:
Studying the word of God together in our home and their homes, having fellowship and love in Christ, has been helping us to grow and to be able to speak to one another for courage, and strength us in Christ, like the church in the beginning in Act 2:46.
Acts 2:46 NKJV 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
We have been having new converts classes, and each of them every week after their jobs end. The only time for every study are evenings 5 or 7 or 8 even 9 pm during the week days or even weekends. I am so thankful that I am able to be there for every soul that needs Christ. Also during the weeks, we have had some new Bible studies with two more families.
We still have visitors coming and still coming to our Sunday services. We still have Bible studies via Zoom on Facebook live. People have been listening our Bibles studies and are leaving comments about our services and fellowship. I also had the great opportunity to participate in a Virtual Seminar from Honduras San Miguel Church of Christ. Preachers from USA, Mexico, Panama and Honduras. We were able to speak on several topics for four days. I preached Tuesday evening and Friday evening. It was great seeing local members and also a lot of people from different countries and areas to follow and learn from each other.
Taking advantage in the good weather we had this past week (only one week in August) we gathered with the members at the park Wednesday night with a devo and fellowship and shared meals too over a bonfire. Members were so happy for everything we did that day. God is Good. In the devo with the lake view, I spoke about Matthew 17:24-27 NKJV Remembering this Phase from Jesus to peter in verse 27 b. “cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a [a]piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”That phrase from Jesus reminds us that it does not matter how much you need in the world to pay or do, Jesus knows and He will provide the way to help you! And us, because He was here and He knows what it takes to live here in this world…after the devo we gathered to eat hotdogs and smores in the bonfire and tamales from Honduras. As you see we finish well and full.
We are printing a new invitations and post cards to distribute in your congregations. As soon as we have them, let me said the brother Bruce has talent, he designs our business cards and post cards. He is great and patient with me ha! I am so thankful for him for all he does for us. These new cards are smaller to give to Spanish people that you can carry on you when you go to the store and invite them and you help us also to spread Christ to the Spanish speaking souls.
My family is blessed and in good health so far. Noah has to visited the dentist and Isaac the eye doctor to check his vision. I am going to coach soccer with my kids’ times. It will be crazy tiring but it helps to pay for fees to have them into soccer team if you coach them. So also they started homeschool year 2020-2021, and so far my wife is doing great with the kids. I am so thankful that we are able to have them homeschooling to have extra time when ministry needs it.
Thank you so much for your prayers, for your spiritual and monetary support. To all the supporters and churches, thank you for being part of this ministry that is spreading seeds of love and salvations into the heart, Together we are more in His kingdom.
May our God help us and bless us in everything!
Since the beginning, we planted the gospel with love and perseverance, and we knew that the Lord would give the growth. June the 10thin 2018, when the project started, we began with some supporters worshipping with us that Sunday morning. (see pic below).
JUNE 10, 2018
By that time, we were having morning services with AM Bible classes. The Cano family came, and still put all theirs hearts in God. We kept searching, preaching, visiting, helping, consoling, evangelizing, loving, every person that came to us. Helping them to find Christ in the scriptures and be Disciples of Christ. But we all understand that having first time generations of people to be Christians has more than teaching and helping, it is about changing their minds to understand how important it is to be saved and come to the church every service. How they need to fight in Christ every temptation and trial. It is hard for them to be the pioneers of faith in Christ. But this is why we are here to establish Christ’s church to everyone who is seeking the truth and the only way to Christ. This past June the 10th2020, we had two years of worshiping in the truth in Spanish.
The gospel is powerful, there is no other way to describe how God works from His word. This past week of Sunday June the 7th we rejoiced in the Lord that Oscar decided to follow Christ. He was baptized. He has been attended worship and Bible studies since early 2019.
On June 10th, 2020, 3 days later, Sandra obeyed the Gospel of Christ and also took on the Lord in Baptism. She found us on facebook a little over a year ago, and has been having Bible study and worshiping with us ever since.
THEN! On June 13th, Mayra, was baptized into Christ. She had only met us one time, and is a friend of Sandras. After hearing about Sandra's transformation, she attened a Bible study with her, and decided that very night to become a Christian.
All these new converts are bringing us Joy, love, and energy. Also, there are more to do. They all are in discipleship lessons to grow in knowledge and wisdom. Our goal is to have a process of new converts lessons and practicing what they are learning during these cycles of teachings. Please pray for them, they are pioneers in Christ, First time Christians with their families. Our minds and prayers are for strength for them and knowledge in the scriptures to have strong families in Christ.
As you know, we were celebrating our 2ndanniversary this past Sunday. It was so special this one photo that we took with all members and kids and a new family was visiting us.
During these uncertain times, we wanted to update our supporters and encouragers that have shown us so much love and generosity. A lot of our days look the same right now, but the good news is that the word is continuing to be spread throughout the world, thanks to our wonderful technology. I wanted to post a few pictures of Elias as he has preached on facebook live, spreaker, and zoom of the past 3 months. He has learned so many new things about how to reach more people through the avenue of technology, and it has not come without its hiccups and headaches. From keeping the kids quiet in a small house that echos while Daddy goes "live", to the internet cutting in and out at times, from teaching several other preachers how to use certain apps to live stream their own service via FaceTime, to preaching with some crazy distractions in the background, Elias has overcome these many challenges with grace and they have helped him to further his ministry.
Thankfully during these times of online services and Bible studies, our members have all been connected with us at EVERY service. It is so encouraging. We even have old friends who we miss dearly from Nashville, Memphis, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Domican Republic, and even more countries and states that are connecting with us on a weekly basis just to hear the Gospel. God is working! Elias has been able to continue his Tuesday Bible studies with Raul via FaceTime or Zoom, Elias and his family have begun a Podcast on Spreaker that records 3-5 times a week, and we have purchased a membership to Zoom so that he can facebook live while showing his powerpoint screen. These tools have truly been a blessing for the ministry and we hope to conitnue to use them even after we return to normal worship circumstances. These are just a few of the advertisements he has created to show the people where and when he will be broadcasting.
The Children have surprisingly done very well with the Quarintine...I have to admit they have faired better than thier momma. One even stated, "Mom, sometimes I forget about the Virus outside because we are having so much fun inside." Believe me, that only included a couple fun, out of the ordinary things, and we went on with business as usual homeschooling, but apparently they liked it! We DID finish up a bit early our very first year of Homeschool, and we are so thankful. What a great year to decide to homeschool the boys, since we would have ended up doing it anyway! They worked very hard, and it wasn't with a lot of patience, tears, joys, shouting, laughing, but we did it!
The boys were excited to get out at times and deliver groceries that some donors had contributed. It was pretty fun for them to ring the bell and run away quickly.
We were given several opportunities to help other countries during this time, and we are so thankful for the people and churches who reached out to donate. Honduras, like many other countries, has been under strict military enforced quarantine. They are given certain days of the week that they can leave their home for essentials based on the last digit of their ID number. So many people have to work DAILY for their physical needs to be met. They do not have anything that resembles a pantry, and "Stocking up" is a foreign concept to them. If you don't have money to buy food daily, how are you going to have money to buy a weeks worth at a time? Thankfully we have had a handful of good samaratans reach out and ask what they can do to help. Here are a few pictures of what has been done. To God be the Glory. These donations have made such a great impact.
Not pictured: The Roque Family that has also been helped tremendously by your generous donations. Thank you so much for thinking of them and their needs as well. I have posted a couple screen shots of them broadcasting services during this time.
We plan to begin worship services May 31st, and we look forward to seeing faces in person that we miss so dearly. We pray that we never take for granted the freedom to worship in the Church building again.
“Be safe and take care of your family,” These are the words that everybody is saying to one another during this hard situation with concerns and suffering that we are having in our country and in the world.
During this time, my family is doing well so far. We keep what we can and sustain as we can. Thanks for asking also for my parent from Honduras, it is very difficult for them in Honduras. They have military enforced quarantine, and they have been for 15 days in the home. The government is providing meals for all the people but it is not much. There are more infected people like other country but this is a country that people work daily to eat daily. My heart aches thinking about the preachers there that lost support in the beginning in this year, and some of them don’t have enough to buy food when the government lets them go out to purchase items. So Sad…
We are like everybody preventing and staying at home as many of you are doing. We are doing what we can for us and others in His name. Thanks for your concerns and messages and prayers.
Three weeks ago, we were on a weekend mission trip in South Carolina helping a Spanish congregation that has more than 15 years of establishment. This trip was made with the intention to help the ladies and Kids Class teachers from Greer Iglesia de Cristo. We taught them how to set up Bible classes for kids. I also had the great opportunity to preach to the youth that weekend and preach on Sunday morning with the topic: Pioneers of Faith. (The importance to care for our generations of our families to have future elders and deacons in our congregations). It was a great time spent together and helping others in Christ growing together in His name.
My wife and a group of ladies from Foristell COC did a tremendous job also during that weekend teaching around 15 to 20 ladies from that Spanish congregation. They even received a recognition from Greer Iglesia de Cristo to them. So much time and effort and money were spent on classroom materials, translating, copying, laminating, and preparing lessons. Thank you so much to these women for all their hard work.
Here in St. Louis, we have been learning also how to adjust to this new way to teach and preach by internet. I want to mention that during this quarantine we are able to help as we can. Calling members, friends and contact. Helping some families driving them to get food, Suggesting new ways to work and support, helping families with the new era of teaching by internet from the school, translating people that need contacting the schools, and of course the most important in all, teaching the Bible, we have been having Bible studies by cellphone calls, internet and even couple counseling at the church building.
We have been learning so far how to set up Facebook live in the Iglesia de Cristo en West End and do the services on live stream via Facebook Sundays 5 pm and Wednesday classes at 7 pm and even adding new day on Fridays at 7 pm preaching on internet. We have people connected from, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, and yes! Local from Tennessee, South Carolina, and our faithful members and visitors from St. Louis and St. Charles also are connected by Facebook live. We are reaching more people than even before here locally all at one time.
We are so thankful for every one of you that helps us to keep spreading God’s seed and laboring with God’s time in His kingdom. May God help you in everything you need and help you in your work and family. I want to share a passage that I have been reading on Facebook that help us to remember during this time we are always to keep looking to God for his Mercy and Grace.
I am so happy that God lead us as we can during this time of suffering and concerns but we keep remembering that God is in control. He loves us and loves the world too. He knows everything we need every day.
Psalm 33:18-22 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
These past weeks, we have been having a lot of surprises everywhere. All those surprises that we had, they ended with a great memory in our life and joy in our hearts.
We started with a week full of emotions, concerns, and sadness, having our son Isaac into a oral surgery. Long story short, He got three molars extractions, and one silver crown, due his constant fevers and pain specially at night. (this can be the case also, why in the middle of 2018 had constantly fevers for several month and legs pain). But that day of surgery, the people in the clinic and the surgery staff were amazing with him. They put him to sleep, and then after an hour, He was out of surgery. They called us, and we went to his waiting room and he was sleeping. Then he woke up, with no pain or any other reactions after oral surgery. (I heard other kids crying so hard after they woke up in their rooms also). The staff was amazed how Isaac was after he woke up normal and talking and calm and ready to leave. To all of you, Thank you so much for your prayers and concerns about his surgery. He is eating more and he is so much happier every day now and more active than before. What a bless to have God in control.
As a family we also have the great opportunity to visit and I spoke at St Peter’s COC . It was a great time presenting my work so far and I was invited to speak during the am service. It was so great to feel the hospitality and the love this congregation shares every time we visit. It was a blessing be there and have that Sunday together.
We had more new visitors these past weeks, like 6 in total with kids. We heard from a lady her name is Marlene, that she love the way we teach and the truth we search in the bible, she even mentioned “I just visited today and I spent 30 minutes of Bible class with all of you, I feel like I need to be here, I feel you preach the truth here in the Iglesia de Cristo” It was a great joy to hear that from someone that came on Wednesday night Bible class.
We also visit and have bible study with another great guy, knowledgeable in the scriptures , - Director of praising in his religion - “Pentecostal.” We talked about: Why people did not get convinced today through the bible, but people are convinced through the teachings of men . we even found two more people in that house and studied with us.
We were also looking for a formal member that live by Cherokee streets, Downtown St louis . We found him, and talked to him, about The importance to follow Christ. We prayed for him for his strength and his decision to follow Christ. We were happy and glad we found him. It is a bless to study the bible and encourage other to follow Christ every time they let us talk.
I was in the prison this past week, I went to Farmington Jail. How I ended up there? Well, Almost two years ago , We met a lady in the neighboor hood when we were walking with the kids. We ended up to be close to share a little time to talk about the gospel two times. Then we moved to St Charles. So, after we moved, She contacted us and told us that her husband wanted to see me and he is now in prison. When I went there to visit him. Inside, in the visitors room, He was so happy to see me and I see in his eyes the joy of something great in his life. He mentioned that he attended the church of Christ services inside given by Arnold COC, and he cannot believe, what he found through the scriptures. He said: I found the truth (he said with great joy and great expectations). We started talking and ended up to find bibles in the visiting room and we took them and used them to study for 3:30 hours the bible. It was great to hear, All he said about God and the bible, the truth. He also said: This was the message that you tried to teach me that day … I said yes, he continued saying. But I am so thankful that you are here sharing the gospel with me. This phase lifted my soul, He told me: Please hermano, keep preaching, keep preaching, keep preaching the truth, no matter what, keep preaching… I said I will continue preaching . What a blessing it is to share to others the Gospel but most listening them how great it is to find and now follow the truth in Jesus Christ.
I want to thank everybody and every congregation that supports the prison ministry. I respect those brethren that spend time and life, driving to teach the truth inside the prison. May God continue blessing you in all you need to do His will.
We got a great surprise from Foristell Church of Christ this past Sunday. I was in shock when I saw all members getting out from their cars coming to us at the building. Kristi was literally with joy saying … Eliasss!! Look outside all those people in the parking lot!! They are here for us!! They are here for us!! I went immediately outside through the doors, greeting them and welcomed them !! My kids were jumping with joy to see them specially their families and cousins coming. There is no words to describe that moment, I will remember that pictures of people getting off from their cars and people coming to us that Sunday evening . Thanks for your thoughts and phrases and the encouragement you all gave to us that great evening to us … What a blessing to have grace from God and love from one another.
As the weather is going up and down, with good weather and then snow falling the next day, our ministry is also giving us sometimes happiness and sadness. But we know that at the end of the day, it is mostly just our feelings. What a good way to love God more and more. It doesn’t matter the time or weather, our feelings to God are stronger, as we continue on doing His will.
The beginning of this year has been giving us a good number of people. So far, this past month, our attendances were in a range from low 11 and a high of 31. Which is great compared from January 2019 (a low of 6 and high of 10). A good attendance of people is coming to listen the Gospel this past month. Me and my family have been working so far inviting people to church, but also using this time of weather visiting the actual contacts and having bible studies or having time to see is they are well and praying for them. We have been asking them to come to our house because they have been so nice with us and generous also, they always offer us a meal for me and my family or juices for my kids. A few days ago, we had one family of thirteen in our home to eat an American meal. We had a great time, and we even had people come that never have been in church with us yet. So far what I see is that we are all coming together with fellowship, love, and friendship. We have been blessed having several families come to our house and share in the love they keep giving us. So far Kristi has been learning how to make a homemade tortilla, and they are yummy!!
We have also some families leaving us, for points of the truth. It is hard to see how much they like the church of Christ and its teachings and even open their eyes more and more every week, but in the end, they don’t want to change their worldly ways or with their religions they were born into or the religion that they have chosen. They are in the point to give up these teachings and repent, be baptized, and become a true disciple of Christ. But after all this process in the ministry, we continue praying for: numbers of people who need Christ in St louis. So far, we had 51 people that have come to services, but they are not coming back so far. Plus 29 people that we have gotten close to and study with, but they are not even coming to services since.
Also, we had an activity at West End following up some contacts to come a have a dinner. We contacted 51 phone numbers in the list, just Hispanics, but no one came for the follow up meal. We also just had our first couples meeting and invited 13 couples that come often, and no one came, gladly one single gentleman and his mom came to learn about the topic: Why we suffer when we love?
We have invited hundreds and hundreds of people. Invited them to come to our services, activities, and home. But we are keeping praying and working in the way of the Lord as he guides us. We are praying for them, and for more people to come thirsty and hungry for righteousness so they can be preached to follow Christ and be in His church growing in salvation.
But, in the end, we preached, and we are preaching, and we will continue preaching here more and more because we love and care for the lost. We still are stronger and motivated to spreading and planting. We have a full calendar of activities already including last Sunday of the month bilingual services. If you can come, we will have it in our current Spanish room. Sundays, at 5 pm. It is a good way to support us physically with your presence during these bilingual services. The time change is coming, and don’t get me wrong I love snow days, but I love spring and fall more. Time passes and time changes, but we are still planting and working one day at the time.
It was so nice to ring in the new year with our new group of friends that we have at the Iglesia de Cristo en West End. It was a time for reflection of the year 2019, and all the wonderful blessings it brought us, but it was also a time of anticipation as we look forward to the things 2020 will bring. The Sermon Elias preached to us was Setting our Vision to 20/20, a great reminder of how God and His Word are the most important priorities when setting our goals correctly and achieving our best selves. As we shared a small meal together, it was refreshing to hear the new goals our members had for this new year, and we shared the things we wanted to improve on. Elias has already been working diligently on the calendar of events for 2020, and it is filled with lots of oppotunities for evangelism, outreach, fellowship, and campaigns. If there are any events you would like to be a part of, please don't hesitate to come.
On a Family note, the first semester of home school has come to a close, and the boys have really done so well adjusting to our new normal. They have learned so much, but also have gotten to spend so much more time together playing and just being kids. Homeschooling has really fit our schedule well. It still blows my mind how we can be done by lunch, and still have the rest of the day to evangelize with Papi! We wouldn't know where to begin our homeschooling journey if it wasn't for our Co-op at West End that meets two days a week. Thank you to all these families for your support and love.
Not Picured: Abel who was found hiding under a chair because he hates getting his picture taken.
Speaking of Abel, we are so blessed to celebrate his 3rd birthday together with our Spanish brothers and sisters. He was so excited to have his Toy Story party.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. We couldn't do it without you.
The Roque Family
November was full of so many blessings to be thankful for. So much so that we couldn't do the blog update till just now in order to include every exciting event of the past few weeks. So without further delay lets just jump right in! To start the festivities off, we were joined in our evangelistic efforts by Ruth and Elias Roque from Honduras. They were able to help us at every single event that we had including Elias Sr. preaching several sermons, conducting numerous Bible studies, and Ruth cooking some amazing Honduran meals to share with our Honduran church visitors.
It was so nice to have their help as well when preparing the meal for our Friendsgiving. We were so excited to have the largest turn out in our 18 months of existance. In this picture below, you will see 9 Families represented. There was even one more family that came for worship this day, but wasn't able to stay for the meal. We had 38 people worshiping and fellowshipping together this day.
November is also the month that West End hosts their huge Give Away Day. This event is such a great success. The members of the Congregation provide clothing, food, baby needs such as diapers, toys, and furniture items to families in need. The invitation is given to the schools in the area to pass on to the students they feel need it most. This year the invite was passed around in the Hispanic community as well. We had over 200 people come through our doors this day! At the very end of the line, the attendees were given an invitation to come and join us for a follow-up dinner December 6th. Here is my father-in-law explaining about this dinner to our Spanish speaking friends.
As a result of this give away day, and the efforts of the members who hosted the follow up meal, we were able to sit down and study with 6 different families, including over 30 Hispanics. We have never had such a great turn out at these follow up meals, and we plan to continue to host them every two months.
During the hustle and bustle of the season, we were still able to celebrate Elias's birthday. He was so thankful to have his parents in town to spoil him and sing him Feliz Cumpleanos!
We even had time to squeeze in a Summer Honduran Mission team reunion photo!
The visitors and members of the Spanish congregation were so excited to have a guest speaker for a couple of Sundays. Elias Sr. was able to preach, teach, and conduct individual Bible studies with the famillies that we have been working with for the past several months. It was a nice shot in the arm for us as well to have their love and support. He was so busy, he even had people calling and requesting study time with him!
We were also able to squeeze in a Honduran mission report at the Foristell congregation. Elias Jr. was able to translate for his father, and it was a great time for the members to ask questions directly to the missionary. What a blessing!
Time with grandparents is always precious, and we thouroughly enjoyed the weeks we had with them. The grandsons especially miss Lita's cooking, fun playtime, and bedtime stories. They also are already missing Lito's surprises of pizza and presents. I personally and missing the extra help cleaning and cooking :). They are now safely back in Honduras continuing the Lord's work in San Miguel.
We are so excited to give you the next update for the Hispanic ministry here in St. Louis. We are so thankful to our supporters for taking the time to read this blog, for your constant prayers and encouragement, and for your general interest in this ministry. It means the world to us. The boys are learning so much here too as they help us start this congregation, and here is a photo of Noah leading singing in our "Young Leaders Devotional" before our evening worship. Eli and Noah look forward to every last Sunday of the month where they get to practice leading singing, preaching, and more. The young men do such a great job and we are thankful to the elders and deacons for taking time to invest in the future leaders of the church.
These past two weeks have been packed with getting to know new Spanish-speaking friends from various countries. One of the families that are visiting our worship services are driving from Granite City, IL. They are orginally from Mexico, and they have been struggling to find a sound congregation that worships in Spanish. They mentioned to us that they are ready to be attending worship regularly again, and they are focusing on getting their teenage children to learn about the Bible. They admitted that they were easily influenced by the world and its temptations of staying home on Sunday morning, and their children know very little about the Bible because of it. They even mentioned about driving out on Sunday morning as well so that their teenagers can have their teen class in English. This couple is starving for the Word of God and they had so many questions. Elias and I were able to invite them over one Friday for a "American" meal including apple pie, and they were also able to study the Bible. It was a great evening, and they returned to worship with us Sunday evening. This couple also found our congregation through Facebook.
Facebook, although it has its downfalls, is a huge tool for us to reach the Hispanic community. The majority of them have a cell phone with social media, and they check it regularly. The St. Louis Hispanics group page lets Elias post at least twice a week in their group to invite people and put a scriptural message. It was also through this group that Elias was able to meet Oscar and Sandra from Honduras. After some counceling back and forth, they decided to attend worship about a month ago, and have been regular ever since. They are from Honduras, and we love talking about all the beautiful places we mutally know, and of course the delicious food. Sandra surprised us while we were camping for a couple days over fall break with a delicious Honduran beef stew. She drove 45 minutes just to bring it to us, but we are glad we chose to camp nearby just in case anyone needed us. FUE MUY DELICIOSO. Abel especially loved putting his rice in the broth.
And... we save the most exciting news for last. This past Sunday we had our record attendance of 25! This included only Spanish speaking people. We had a total of 6 families!!! Since it was the last Sunday of the month, they had decided to have a potluck full of dishes from other countries. We had Mexican Mole, Rice and beans from the Domincan Republic, and homemade tortillas from Honduras, American corn bread, and tres leches for dessert. It was so wonderful to have everyone gathered together for a meal and fellowship. We ask for your prayers for these 6 families especially, that they continue to worship with us on Sundays, that their hearts can be opened to obeying the Gospel, and for those that are already baptized to grow in their spiritual walk. We ask for prayers for us as well. That we may have the right words, and do the right things to bring these people to Christ.
Sidenote: Elias is soooo much better, no doubt thanks to your vervent prayers. He is still coughing every now and then, but he was able to preach his sermon Sunday without much problem.
We have had a whirlwind of a month, but we are so excited to share with you the wondeful new developments that we have been blessed to experience this month.
First of all, we have gotten settled into our new home, and it just feels so great. We love being close to the church building and the large Hispanic presense here in St. Charles, as well as being able to jump across the river in a quick 15 minutes to have studies with our contacts in St. Ann. Since we have discovered that our contacts are usually not in Wal-mart, Aldi, or other stores until around 8:00 p.m. due to their work schedule, it is nice to be able to make a quick trip to pass out flyers and still make it home before bedtime. It feels like we moved from the country to the city again. HA! This is a picture of the front of our new home, and let me just say...aren't the boys getting so big? It's true what they say, the days go so slow, but the years go so fast. We don't have any tiny babies any more.
As what seemed to be a pat on the back for our decision to make some huge life changes in our Ministry, our first Sunday living in St. Charles was our record attendance of 17. (Not including American supporters) What an awesome Sunday it was! We had a large family come that had been communicating with Elias via Facebook, our beloved Aura (her daughter and granddaughter) from D.R. returned from Massachusetts, and of course our ever faithful Lilly, Edgar, and Raul. The English preacher, Matt Stewart, and his family were able to attend services as well which put us at 22. What an encouragement it was to have them worshipping beside us!
Edgar and Elias serving the Lord's Supper.
We were able to share some bread and coffee with our visitors after services were completed. It was truly a great evening.
An unexpected, but very timely opportunity that we have recently been given is being hired as translators in the Francis Howell School District. (for those of you reading from anywhere but the St. Louis area, that is the school district in which the church is located). For more details on how we help the community through translating please ask Elias. He will be happy to share with you the good things happening here.
We also were blessed to be able to celebrate Eli's 9th birthday this past weekend. Happy Birthday Eli! We are so excited to see how God uses you for His Kingdom.
On a not so wonderful note, Elias has been dealing with some health issues since about August when he returned from Polishing the Pulpit. He has always had issues with upper respiratory problems even as a child, but since the "cold" he caught while traveling wasn't going away, we decided to check out urgent care. They gave him some anitbiotics and sent him on his way. Well a month later, Elias still had this lingering cough that especially made it difficult to preach. It seemed to get worse the more he talked, and we all know preachers need to TALK! A couple weeks ago, while the rest of the family was at home school CO-OP, Elias took himself back to Urgent Care where they took chest x-rays, gave him a nebulizar treatment, and diagnosed him with acute bronchitis. He is still struggling with this lingering dry cough, and we have tried EVERYTHING! It seems to mostly flare up at night, when he gets winded, or when he is preaching, teaching, or talking for longer periods of time. Please pray that he can kick this cough to the curb so he can be 100% again.
Hello to all of our faithful followers and supporters. We are so thankful you stayed with us, and we so greatly appreciate all the encouragemnt you've given to us and our family. We wanted to update you on how things are going and give you some exciting news!
Yesterday, we rejoiced with Miguel Araujo as he was baptized into Christ. We met Miguel as he was traveling for work purposes from North Carolina. He had been considering his salvation for a while now, but he wasn't quite sure how to go about being saved. Elias gladly showed him scripture to support all his questions, and Miguel asked if he could be baptized the following day.
A large group of members from the Foristell Church of Christ were already gathered together, and were able to meet at the Randy Jackson home for a baptism in their pool. It truly was a beuatiful night. Elias spent some time afterward with Miguel helping him to understand what God expects of him as he begins his Christian walk in NC. We hope to see him again really soon.
We are also happy to report that Lilly, Edgar, and Raul are still faithful members of worship services and Bible class. Also, Edwin, Dorris, and their middle school age son return to worship with us last Sunday evening. They are experiencing some difficulties with Edwin's job as an electric line men, which involves some travel and unfavorable conditions. While he is traveling, Doris is not able to drive, so she depends on neighbors to take her to the grocery store, etc. Please keep them in their prayers.
Elias has been using several avenues of outreach to let the people know we are here and ready to teach them the Word. One of those avenues is a spanish speaking Facebook group in St. Louis. He regularly posts some spiritual encouragement in this group, and he ends with an invitation to the worship services. (see pictures below of two examples) Today, a woman colled and asked for more details about our services, and said that her and her husband have been going through some tough times, and they would like to come this Wednesday to Bible study. She went on to say that she has been reading his posts on FB, and they have brought her hope, and her and her husband would like to meet with us for prayers.
On another note, we wanted to let you know, we were able to find a home 6 minutes from the church building! It was super difficult, but we are thankful to have a home to purchase hopefully Sept. 27th. We cannot wait! You're continued prayers are appreciated. God bless!
Hello to all of our readers and supporters. We know that it has been longer than normal since our last blog post, but we have some big changes happening all at once, and we wanted to make sure they were in place before we let the world know. So let me just get right to it, because I like blogs that get right to the point. Anyone else with me on that?
Change 1: Elias and I decided to sell our beloved home in Wentzville. Although the house was very well fit for the size of our family, the location is a little too far from where the majority of the Spanish contacts are coming from. We knew that we wanted to live in Wentzville for the schools and the proximity to my family to be able to help with the boys, but all in all, we were spending too much gas money, and too much time driving back and forth. Sometimes we would drive from Wentzville to St. Charles, back to Wentzville to pick up the big boys from school, and back to Overland for door knocking in one day. Which is doable, but not practical.
Change 2: We sold our home! We are so excited that we were able to sell our home in less than 3 weeks, and we officially closed on that home August 1st. We are HOMELESS! Which I never thought I would be excited to say, but since we have looked at over 40 houses near the church building and anything off HWY 364 really, and haven't found anything that we could fit into as a family of 6 or afford, we have moved in temporarily with my hospitable parents. We know that God has the right house out there for us, but the market is just too high right now, and the choices too few for us to consider purchasing a home within our budget. So we are thankful for the space my parents have loaned out to us, and for their patience as well. Living with four grandsons under the age of 9 is not an easy undertaking. The boys however, would like to stay here forever.
Change 3: Since the boys would not know excatly what school they would inevitably end up attending, Elias and I began entertaining the idea of Homeschooling our children. This idea has been pushed around and fought so much within our own minds ever since Eli became school age, but I am a public school teacher at heart, and the thought of taking on schooling four boys on my own was kind of terrifying. What if I ruin them for life? What if I am not capable? But through a lot of prayer, research, and a great homeschool support group at our congregation at West End, we were able to push those fears aside and take the leap to begin our Homeschool Journey. I can do a separate blog about the reasons why we chose to homeschool, and answer all your questions you may have for us if you'd like, but for now let me just say, the boys are LOVING being together as a family, Bible time over breakfast with Papi before he goes to work, and being done with core work before LUNCH! This will also allow us significant time to evangelize throughout the week as well as travel abroud for misson trips and outreach efforts without effecting their schooling. WIN WIN! (here are a few pics of our first day of homeschool)
Change 4: Our very first neice on the Roque side was born August 1st. Agness Cristina came into this world through a lot of strength, stamina, and prayer on behalf of her strong mother Claudia. She was in the Hospital for 5 days, and in Honduras no one can be with you while you are laboring, so we were left to sit and wait, and pray. God had a hand in the birth of this tiny sweetheart weighing in at 4.9 pounds. Claudia was told the entire pregnancy she would have a c-section due to her high blood pressure and other risks, but last minute at 38 weeks she was sent to the public hosptial to give birth naturally. To say she was unprepared, would be an understatement. Long story short, Baby Christy was born safe and sound, and mom and baby are recovering at home. Please continue to pray for them as they heal, and a big thank you to all our friends and family who prayed for Claudia while she was in the hospital. The doctor literally saved her and the baby's life by being in the right hallway at the right time. God is faithful.
In the midst of these big changes, we have had some pretty encouraging moments by the visit of several old friends throughout the summer. Friends from Nashville, Memphis, and Freed-Hardeman have come to vacation in St. Louis, and we are so thankful they called us to give us a big hug and push to keep working hard for the Kingdom.
Also during these changes, our contacts and opportunites to meet new people have continued to grow. This saturday, we were able to attend a Back to School Fair with the Foristell Church of Christ where literally hundreds of people were given free school supplies along with lierature about the Gospel in English and Spanish.
We continue to see great benefits from changing our Sunday services to 5 p.m. Mainly that our members Lilly, Edgar, and Raul can be there at every service to take the Lord's supper. Our brother Edgar serves on the Lord's supper table each Sunday, and they have been a constant encouragemnt to us. Please continue to pray for the Hispanics in this community. Catholism is strong, and the world has done a great job of keeping our contacts either "Too busy" or "too set in tradition" to come on a regular basis. We know the Lord is working, we just need to keep spreading his Gospel message daily. May God bless you, and thank you for reading our blog. Please leave us a comment below!
After nearly 20 days of continuous campaign work, we are finally home. It has been such a blessing (a tiring blessing) to be able to door knock, evangelize, provide for the needy, and encourage fellow brethren both here at West End, and in the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Although having our two large campaigns back to back was very exhausting, it helped us see that the church at West End and the church at Tegucigalpa, Honduras was very much the same. Both congregations were striving to seek and save the lost. No matter what language we speak, we have a Love and purpose that is a universal language, The Gospel of Christ.
Over the course of our campaign in Honduras, we were able to conduct 63 Bible Studies with 83 people. We had 3 baptisms and 2 restorations as a result of those Bible studies. The members and visitors of the churches of La Canada and San Miguel were blessed with socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, hair accessories and combs. To say they were grateful, would be an understatement. The children of Villa Claudia were given a Bible lesson and a meal to feed their hungry bellies. These children live in a government funded community with their mothers and are in great need of food, clothing, and sometimes care. (see pictures below).
The congregation at San Miguel church of Christ was our main focus during this particular campaign. The members were given a short Marriage seminar Saturday evening, and then a gospel meeting each night there after on the topic "Living with God in a world who rejects God." The children were also taught lessons on the life of Jesus. (see photos below)
Our new sisters in Christ were a little timid of the baptistry, but overcame their fears knowing it was more important to push those fears aside and receive their salvation. Most of people we study with have never been in a bathtub let alone a baptistry. The door knocking is always my favorite part. You never know who you are going to meet, and it never ceases to amaze me just how receptive these wonderful people are to hear the Gospel. Almost every door we knocked on, we were invited inside to sit down and study the Bible. Praise God. His truth was preached over the entire department of San Miguel, Tegu.
Eli was given the opportunity to serve as well on this mission, and we are so proud of his willingness to jump right in and serve. He was able to lead singing in Spanish, give a devotional to encourage the team, and help out around the kitchen and clinic. He did not complain about the heat or the changes in schedule, but he was your typical kid at every dull moment he would ask to play a game on his Roque Families phones...insert eyeroll...even in Honduras.
None of these successes would have been possible without our amazing, go with the flow, never complaining, always willing to jump in and help TEAM. This also includes our "team" of contributors who were not able to attend this mission trip in person, but they sent their love with their monetary donations that helped bring 12 preachers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to help us canvas the area. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this trip possible.
I am so excited to tell our readers about our very first door knocking campaign and Gospel meeting that I hardly know where to start. From the give away day to the wonderful guest speakers, or perhaps the countless volunteer work or the delicious meals shared while having a Bible Study. It all was truly more than we ever expected. God is working friends.
We began our campaign on Thursday Morning bright and early. Some volunteers even beat us to the building where we made some last minute organizational changes, and at 10 am, the doors opened. We met 12 families that day, roughly 30 Spanish speaking people walked through our doors and were given an invitation to worship services. And unlike last time, we had each guest register in our handy-dandy....NOTEBOOK. While the parents were "shopping" the children were fed a warm meal accompanied with cookies and lemonade. The parents later joined them, while Elias, Carlos, or Wayne studied the Bible with them around the table. Every family was able to listen to the Word without rejection. (OH did I mention Carlos Hughes from South Carolina along with his wife Mari, Dallas and her two teenagers, Wayne Brewer from Mayblevalle, AR and a Maria, Roberto, and Evelyn joined us from out of state to help door knock and evangelize? What a blessing!)
We closed down the give away around 3:30 pm, and prepared for the first night of the Gospel meeting. Aaron Baker delivered a great sermon on Raising a Christian Family in a World without God. What was most shocking to the Spanish speaking brethren and us is the amount of support we received from the English-speaking Congregation. We had so many come to support us Thursday and Friday nights at the meeting we almost cried. It was so empowering and encouraging to see our friends and family walk through those doors and shake our hands. Thank you to all who came to support our meeting. You meant so much to us.
Friday, we got up, and did it all over again. Being at the building from 9 am to 9 pm with four children is not for the faint of heart, and I am so thankful to all the people who showed compassion and forgiveness and mercy to my sons while they were "trying" to help, play, waste energy and time, and not eat every cookie they saw on the counter. I am most thankful to my mother who rescued them Saturday night, when they were holding on only by threads. She took them home, fed them, bathed them, and put them to bed in our home while she waited for us to arrive. GOD BLESS HER TEN FOLD. What would we do without family or church family?
Friday, we saw around 5 families, 15 people, and lots of items were cleared out of our give away stash. Josh Robinson delivered a message on how Christians are to live in this modern world. Thank you JOSH!
Saturday we saw another 8 families or around 20 people come to our give away. Every family that walked through the door this weekend was a new face to us. We had never met them before, and several people are actively looking for a place to Worship on Sunday mornings. We had a delicious meal of Lasagna and salad to feed them all this day, and they were so appreciative, especially of the homemade cookies.
Saturday evening, Christian Torres, or Hannibal Church of Christ came to speak to us and encourage us on how to stay the path in a world without Christ, followed by Carlos Hughes and his sermon on finding your salvation in this modern world. All of our speakers did a fantastic job of studying and bringing us the Word.
Sunday was a day to remember. It was the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of our meeting here at West End as the Iglesia de Cristo. What a very special day it was! We had two families come back to Worship with us from the give away days earlier that week. They had many questions, and Elias was able to sit down with them and answer those questions. They said they would be back next week also!
We couldn't end this post without a huge shout out to the people who pitched in to help make this event a success. We met over 25 families, 60 plus people, door knocked 50 doors, and conducted over 12 Bible studies, several of which will be on-going. What a blessing! We had volunteers come up and stay with us from 9 am to 9 pm each night! We did not even have to ask for help, and there they were buying more food, cleaning more tables, speaking Spanish to our guests. Our helpers who have been in the "business" for many years could not express enough how they had never seen such love and support from a congregation to a Hispanic Ministry that is just starting out. God bless each one of you. We are forever grateful.
The Roque Family
We were blessed this Memorial Weekend with a visit from the youth group at North Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, TN. This group of teenagers worked so hard to get all of our give away items organized, mail 500 flyers (hand sealed and addressed), and pass out some invitations personally out in the community. We honestly could not have done it all without them and the brave chaperones that accompanied them.
We also had a hardworking and dedicated crew from West End that chipped in to help feed the group of 50 volunteers on two separate days. Not only did they feed them, but they served them, cleaned up after them, and supplied them with all their needs while they were here. Being a last minute event, we were not sure anyone else would have time to help us this holiday weekend, but we were blown away once again of the generosity and servanthood of the members here. Thank you to all that helped make this preparation day a success. We could not have pulled it off without you.
Our Give Away Day and Gospel Meeting event is now all set up and ready to deliver. Thank you to all the local congregations and members who donated items, food, and their time to help make this event happen. We will begin on June 6th-8th.
9 am-12pm Give away.
Lunch at 12.
1-4 pm Give Away.
Dinner at 5 pm.
6:30-8:00 Gospel Meeting
The Campaign will end Sunday Morning on June 9th followed by a fellowship meal with the Entire congregation. If you would like to attend the Gospel Meeting, we will have an English speaker on Thursday and Friday nights that will be translated into Spanish.
Also, during the campaign we have two groups from Hispanic congregations coming to help us door knock. One is from Maybelville, AR and the other is from Greer, SC. We are so excited to have these preachers and their members with us to help conduct Bible studies and door knock during our campaign. Please continue to pray for this work, that their hearts are ready and softened to hear the Gospel, and that our groups arrive safely.
Thank you again
The Roque Family
As some of you already know, we are anxiously preparing for our very first door knocking campaign/Gospel meeting. We are very excited to announce the speakers and topics listed above in our newly printed flyer. If you would like to come to our services to help support our campaign, that would be so encouraging to us. Our speakers and lessons will be translated Thursday and Friday night. We also have some brave volunteers that are going to be door knocking with us Thursday June 6th -Saturday June 8th. If you would like to help please contact us and let us know. You're assistance is greatly needed. If door knocking isn't your thing, then we will be having a GIVE AWAY DAY each morning of the campaign as well. We need helpers to help organize the donations, entertain the children while their parents are shopping or having a Bible study, trucks to help deliver the donations from other neighboring congregations, and help serving lunch as well as Dinner. We have also contacted various congregations to help provide lunch and dinner for our volunteers of around 30 people per meal. If this is something you would like to assist with as well, please let us know.
We look forward to all God has planned for the Hispanic Congregation this summer at West End. May God bless you.
Help...its a word that seems to be the theme of our mission efforts over the past several weeks. Lots of individuals in the community need our help, aid was given to our ministry through several different outlets, and we have a new young man who has come to us from Mexico named Enrique that has been a great help to Elias during worship services.
We are so thankful to the ladies Bible class at Arnold Church of Christ for supplying us with Spanish Bibles to give out to the community and to have in our Auditorium. Thank you again ladies.
We are also very thankful for all the people who are helping us plan our first ever door knocking campaign here in St. Louis. The Campaign will be June 6th-9th, and our next blog post will be dedicated to giving out all the details and needs that we have in order to make this outreach a success.
A young woman from Gautemala greatly needed our help on Tuesday morning. Elias had been studying with them in their home over the past months, but he hadn't heard from them recently. Until Tuesday morning. She called Elias with an anxious voice, petitioning him to translate for her at a local clinic. She had no one else to turn to, exhausted all her other resources, and she was feeling very very ill. She needed answers, and thanks to the People's Clinic in St. Louis, she received some attention, and was sent immediately to St. Luke's ER for care. She is in the advanced stages of Hypothyroidism, and her Thyroid is bulging out of her throat. She has too many symptoms to list, and she has currently been held in the Hospital for 5 days. Elias spent the entire day trying to help the doctors understand the severity of her case, and we are so thankful the doctors finally listened. She is receiving treatment now at St. Luke's, but she hasn't improved enough to be released. Please pray for her and her family as her husband has taken off work to be with her at the Hospital. They kept thanking Elias over and over again for all his time and help.
Enrique! Enrique is a new face to our ministry here at West End. He comes to us from Columbia, MO where he's lived for the past year, but originally from Mexico. His father and brothers are preachers of the Gospel, and he is no stranger to mission work. He has helped his father begin many churches of Christ in Mexico, and evangelism is not foreign to him. He also is a talented song leader and enjoys preaching. We are so thankful Enrique found our location through a Facebook invitation. He had been looking for a Church of Christ in the area, and was overjoyed to finally find a place he can call home. Thank you Enrique for committing to helping us in services, evangelism, and outreach.
Our Honduras Mission Campaign preparation is in full swing. We leave on June 14-21st, and we have at least 6 dedicated souls commit to joining us on the trip. Most of these hard workers are first time mission trip-ers, and we love a trip that has newbies. The excitement and passion they bring for saving souls and helping others is unmatched. We have also had several donations thus far for our benevolence efforts this year. We are asking for new socks of all sizes, toothbrushes, and travel toothpaste, hair-bows and hair-ties, and new brushes or combs. These are different than our school supplies and flip-flops we normally ask for, but also still very needed. There will be a donation spot designated for us at the Trivia Night at St. Peter's Church of Christ on May 11th. We hope to see you there.
If you have any questions or want to join us on a mission trip, there is still time to go! We are going to be able to have 10-15 local preachers join us on our evangelism team throughout the week, teach kids a VBS style class, host a gospel meeting, and seminar.
Letters from the Foristell 1st-3rd Grade Girls below:
We are so close to seeing nicer weather, and we cannot wait for Spring. This past week we were able to finally get the family out of the house and join Elias on his weekly Bible study efforts. He has been studying on Thursday nights with a new family that has just arrived from Honduras. We received their contact information from a member at West End, and we are so thankful he decided to reach out to this family and us. Marcos, the father, his wife and four children, his sister, and a couple other men are living in a home in St. Peter's, MO. The first day we randomly showed up at their home with some Honduran cream to welcome them to the United States and offer any translating help they needed for schools or work. They were so thankful they immediately invited us inside to sit at their dining room table and talk. They were open to an encouraging scripture reading from the Bible, song, and prayer. They even invited us back the next Thursday. Fast forward to the next week, Marco's son recognized us as we knocked on the door, and immediately invited us inside. We had brought Bibles that were donated to us through some very generous supporters. They were given to Marcos, his wife, his son Patrick, and his sister. They were so thankful and excited to have their very own Sword. Here is a picture of some of the Bibles for evangelism, and the blue hard back Bibles were donated for our worship services. We were also able to purchase a GIANT print Bible for another brother who is having trouble seeing.
The Bible study lasted two whole hours. The boys were so good and patient, and we ended up studying with 5 people there. What an exciting night! This past Sunday we were so excited to see Marcos and his family walk through those double doors. It always brings such a big smile to our faces when we get to study with someone, and they ACTUALLY COME to worship services on Sunday. It feels like our efforts are not in vein. Thank you to everyone who has sent us contacts or given us locations of Hispanic families in the area. You never know what they may lead to. God bless you all.
In our last blog entry, we told the story of a U-haul packed with furniture a very generous couple had donated to our ministry. We wanted to let you know about some fruit that became of that labor. We met Freddy, his family, and friends at his apartment that day. He had just moved into the area, his belongings were few, and his needs were great. They gladly accepted all of the furniture pieces we had left in the truck, and we gave them our invitations with our contact information on the back. Fast forward to Saturday, Freddy called Elias, and asked if he could use "his" truck to transport some more donations he was able to find. After explaining how the U-Haul was rented, Elias drove to Freddy's house, helped him rent a pick-up truck, and helped load and unload a couple couches and other household items. After they were finished returning the truck, Freddy wanted to thank Elias by feeding him a delicious Guatamalen soup complete with vegetables and chicken feet...yum...flavorful. During their dinner, Elias had an very inquisitive Bible study between Freddy and his wife. They had lots of questions, and they were pleasantly surprised that their questions could be answered using the Bible. They enjoyed it so much that they invited Elias back for another Bible study last Thursday. The study lasted 2 hours and they invited him to return again this Thursday. What a great contact we were able to find because of the generosity of one couple.
Another big piece of news we wanted to share with you is that this past Sunday, we had our first Bilingual service in our Spanish room at West End. One Sunday a month, Elias is inviting four or so families from the English speaking congregation to come worship with us. Elias translates the prayers, we sing the same song but in two languages at one time, and the sermon is translated on paper for the English speakers. We then had a friends and family potluck meal following services. The love and joy that we all felt during and after worship services Sunday was so great. We were able to connect some families, and introduce some new friends to our members.
We had a visiting couple from Lemay Ferry Church of Christ come as well. The husband is from Honduras and she grew up in Illinois. They have an adorable little son, and they traveled from around the Granite City area to be with us. The wife had been translating the sermons for her husband, and she speaks fluent Spanish. They had been told about our congregation, and said they finally decided it was time for the husband to worship in a language he understands. It was very nice getting to know them more over lunch, along with several of our English speaking brethren.
We want to personally thank all of our supporters, in particular this week those that make it possible for us to have an evangelism fund. Without your contribution, we would have never been able to rent that U-Haul, to load up the donations, to meet Freddy and his wife, and to begin teaching them the truth. Thank you so much for your generosity.
May God Bless
The Roque Family
It has been an unusual, cold, long winter so far for St. Louis, and it's not even Spring just yet. The weather forecast is calling for more snow this week. We had to delay services this past Sunday until 2 pm due to Ice, and it is predicted to snow again this Sunday. We admit that this weather has caused a drop in our usual Sunday attendance. Hermana Lilly did make the trek out to worship, and it was so good to see her.
On a "warmer" note, we wanted to tell you about our exciting Saturday. A friend of a friend donated several furniture pieces to us this past weekend. She and her husband are moving to Denver, and they wanted to downsize tremendously. Instead of selling it, she wanted to give the pieces to a good cause. So we rented a small UHaul, packed it up tight, and headed to the Overland area to see what evangelism we could do. God blessed us with a chilly but SUNNY day. At this point we will take the cold with the sunshine. It has been cloudy so much these days.
First we went to our members' houses, and they were able to add some important pieces to their homes. They were so thankful, but there were several items left to give away. Nancy was able to give us a lead on a few Hispanic families down the street that could use our help. We were happy to see that 5 people came to meet us outside these apartments. We invited them to services, gave them invitations, and let them know that the furniture was completely free. They were a little shocked to hear that they could just grab any piece they wanted, and that there was no "catch." Several of these men in the picture above had recently moved into the area and had nothing but a table in their apartment. They were so excited to use these shelves for their shoes, clothing, and bathroom items. They all were wanting the ONE mattress that was donated, but they were civil about it, and let the first person who claimed it have it without complaint.
We then were about to invite 10 more people, most of them HONDURAN, at this delicious Honduran restaurant we discovered down the street. The boys were so excited to eat their huge Baliadas filled with eggs, beans, cheese, and cream. Elias was happy to have some Honduran Soda with Tajaditas (fried green banana chips). YUM! The waitresses and customers were so nice, and each accepted our invitation with a smile.
Elias was also excited to meet fellow Hondurans to discuss the delicious food and the bone chilling weather.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and encouragement. It's been a slow winter due to the weather, but we are anxiously waiting for Spring to come so that we can knock on doors again, walk around the neighborhoods, and just get the kids out in general. For now, Elias and his nightly Bible studies with visitors are going well, and he looks forward to them with anticipation each week. We love you all.
The Roque Family
The new year has started off with so many exciting things for the Hispanic Ministry, that it is hard to decide where to begin. So, let's just start at the very beginning. We are happy to report that we are currently working with 5 different families in the St. Louis/St. Charles Co. area. The exciting part is that each of these families have come to know about the congregation in a different way of advertisement. Our first family received word of us through a friend and fellow Spanish speaker. Our second family found our flyer in the Mexican Grocery store in Overland, MO. Our third family came because someone had told her about the work "possibly" starting back in February 2018. We still aren't sure who that was, but thank you. Our 5th family received our personal invitation through a mailer sent out to all St. Charles Co Spanish speaking names on record. Finally, the 5th family came to us through an invitation Elias puts up twice a week on the Spanish speaking St. Louis Facebook Group. Not all of those 5 families have been to worship all at the same time, but we have high hopes that one day soon they will all be together with us on Sunday morning. It is so encouraging to know that all of our outreach efforts have been successful in some way. God is good.
I do not believe we have introduced you to our 5th family yet. His name is Castulo. He and his teenage daughter Daisy had been living in St. Louis for two years without a place to worship. He was overjoyed to find our invitation on the Facebook page, and now he drives 45 minutes from all the way downtown St. Louis off Cherokee St. to worship with us. He was baptized while living in Mexico and he now is looking forward to converting his brother and friends here in MO. A picture of him will be coming soon.
We are also so glad to announce that we have begun in home Bible studies with these families. They took a few months to warm up to us, but we have already enjoyed some great studies together, some delicious seafood soup (which as you can see below is very adventurous for my taste, but it was so good), cheesecake, and Venezuelan holiday bread made with love from these families. On Monday nights, Elias will be studying in the homes of two of our Overland families, Tuesday nights he will be studying downtown with Castulo's family, and Thursdays he will be studying with Oscar from Venezuela. Elias is right in his happy place with his week filling up with study and evangelism. We are so thankful to have gained the trust and friendship of our visiting families, and we hope to grow closer as a brothers and sisters in Christ as we follow the example of the First-Century Christians and meet together in their homes. Please continue to pray for this work and the brethren here in St. Louis, MO. May God bless you this week and thank you for reading.
Elias and Kristi Roque have been married for 9 years and during this time have planted/grown 4 congregations. They have 4 boys 7 and under working alongside them.