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The crowd was hushed as the scene unfolded before their eyes. As Jesus received the whipping and then was led to Calvary's cross, I could hear whimpering and cries of anguish from young and old alike. No one moved as Jesus was nailed to the cross. With every blow of the hammer, the reality of Jesus' sacrifice became clearer and clearer in their minds, and they finally understood that His blood was shed for them -- that He had died just for them.
As the movie ended, people listened quietly as the narrator clearly laid out the plan of salvation for them. It was a Holy Ghost moment as I started to speak. "God loves you so much that he sent his only son to you. He wants to enter in to our lives and forgive our sins and give us new life. Will you receive it from him?"
While my words were translated into Amuzgo I could see and feel the hunger for God in them. As I led them in a simple prayer, our team of 12 started to pray individually for over 100 Indians as they raised their hands as a sign to receive the Lord. The sick were healed, all those who were tired and sad about being 1500 miles from home were encouraged, and many were set free from alcoholism and sexual sins.
This scene is not from a showing of "The Passion of the Christ" in theatres, but it is taking place every day in the migrant worker camps of Culiacan and Guasave, Sinaloa.
We had come specifically to this camp of 1,000 workers from the State of Guerrero. They were monolingual Amuzgos and we had the Words of Life in their own tongue. After we gave out tapes to each family and they heard their language over the loudspeakers, they came excitedly to the film and were blessed by God. We have such joy to share God's love and grace with thousands of Indians in the camps in Sinaloa in February and March each year.
This year we had fewer workers -- less than 100 -- fewer cassettes given out - 5000 in 140 languages -- and just over 4000 people made decisions to follow God. We were glad for fewer workers, since all the Buenas Nuevas workers were already very tired before the outreach started. Dave and five others had been in Culiacan since early December, and the rest of the team arrived before Christmas. 15 of us plus 20 volunteers had lived a miracle of God - construction of the new facilities for the Project. After a month of preparing the site - installing water, light and drains, and pouring slabs -- 15 rooms were built in one week! It took another two weeks to finish the kitchen and storeroom, but in less than a month we had housing, bathrooms, kitchen and dining rooms for 100 people. Words can't express our gratitude to God and all those who worked, prayed, and donated for this move and construction.
Buenas Nuevas [GRN Mexico] has courses planned for May through August, and a trip to Spain in October. Pray with us as God is expanding our work and calling us to share the Good News with needy people in even more areas in Mexico, South America, Europe and North Africa. As our cords are being lengthened, we need to strengthen the stakes, our team members. This will mean more travel for Dave, Esperanza, and I, so we plan to sell our house in Oaxaca this year.
We are asking God to provide an RV for us to travel with Esperanza and for the work in Mexico. Please pray for strength for Esperanza and wisdom for me to keep her healthy, as it is hard for her to cope with major changes in her routine. We also need much wisdom to administer the new property as well as the Ethnic Resource Center in Oaxaca. We especially need a phone line for the Culiacan base, we have keenly missed our internet communication this year.
Dave and I will be in the USA for the month of March and 10 days in April. We will be traveling in California, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana and Pennsylvania, and would love to see friends who are part of our prayer team. Our children are well although the family is scattered. Isaiah and Sophia are in Philly, Tava and Jay are finishing the application for her U.S. visa and should be in New York next week. Gabi is in Oaxaca watching our house and working as a security guard.
Thank you for being part of our team and praying for us even when you didn't hear any details of the work during this time. May God bless you and your family greatly.
Gerry for the Gutierrez family