Holy Smokes

Ever wonder where the term “Holy Smoke” comes from?

Some say it’s from the movie “Holy Smoke”. Some cigar fans like the term. Others say, It’s a religious term describing burnt sacrifices in the Old Testament. Still others say that it is sacrilegious and is mocking God. It’s closely related to “Holy Cow”, an expression of surprise or a slang term.
Being here in Chiapas and working with the Indians (mostly Christian) the term “Holy Smoke” forms a new meaning… at least for us.

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Anyone that has been anywhere near one of the Indians knows something… They smell like smoke.

The Indians live in the mountains and cook with wood. However there are no chimneys.
The Indians usually have a fire right in the middle of their home to cook with. This also heats up their house when it’s cold. Even the Indians who are fortunate enough to have a kitchen don’t have gas stoves. They simply have another hut with a fire in the middle of it and call it a kitchen. Even if you were to give them an eclectic stove they wouldn’t use it. They prefer cooking with wood and they’re use to all the smoke.

The information contained in this article is available in pdf format from our July, 2009 Newsletter. You may download it here:

July 2009 Newsletter (255)

Speaking of Smoking…

Jude 1: 22-23 says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” That’s exactly what we’re doing.

gregtzeltal

During the month  of July, 2009 we were privileged to start 3 new churches:

  • El Triunfo, Juarez Chiapas -Our new Pastor in Juarez caught the vision and just opened another mission in this town. Smoking!
  • Buena Vista, La Rainza- Located in Zapatista Territory- A beautiful view and a great new Church- That Smokes!
  • Motozintla, Chiapas- After very little persuading, Our Pastor located near the Guatemala border in Huitzla just started a new mission and already has 50 people attending- Holy Smokes!


Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” Rev 19:3

 


Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. Ps 18:7-9

But the wicked will perish: The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish – vanish like smoke. Ps 37:20

Thank you for helping our ministry to “Smoke”!

$19,520 Pesos and 3 Chickens

On April 12th, Resurrection Sunday, I ministered in Tzenembolon, Chiapas with the Tzotzil Indians and witnessed a miracle.

The purpose of the visit was to work on stage 3 of our church planting program called the PACE Plan :

  1. Outreach-Evangelism and the rental of a meeting place- We pay for this phase
  2. The Assembly of New Believers into a meeting place- We help with the purchase of land
  3. Transition of  the work into an Indigenous Church- We help with the Church Building project by matching faith promises

The sermon topic was “giving by grace and not by law” We give because we love Christ, not out of obligation. I spoke on the Cross and the Resurrection as proof that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. In other words Grace, not works is the secret to Abundant Christian living.

This Tzotzil Indian Congregation Knows all about Giving out of Love
This Tzotzil Indian Congregation Knows all about Giving out of Love

I saw this poverty stricken church of 200 Indians step out on faith this day. You see, besides the Celebration of New Life Sunday (Easter) I also went to this village with the purpose of raising funds for a new church building. This family of believers has grown out of the smaller building and termites have eaten the wood so they desperately need $9,600 dollars to provide a large building made out of block to meet in.

After encouraging the Indians to step out on faith in their giving we began to raise up faith promises to pay for their new building project.  I offered to match whatever faith promise that each person committed too. I carried a whole bundle of cash with me. (the money you give to our ministry).

“Within the next 2 months, how many people will promise to give $1000 pesos (Approximately $100 )” I challenged them.

11 Indian men raised their hands making faith promises. Wow! That’s certainly more than I had expected.

I know that these Indians are the poorest of the poor and that most of them don’t have a monetary income. The average person that does have a job makes about $35 dollars a week. (most of them work the fields or farm)

I continued receiving faith promises in smaller increments. $500, $250, $100, $50, and even 10 pesos so that the children could get involved.

That day a miracle took place- These people of Faith just kept on giving.

As they gave I matched the same amount by placing it in the offering plate.

To my surprise, this congregation raised up $19,520 pesos…. And 3 Indians also pledged to donate chickens.  ($19,520 pesos is the equivalent of a little over $1,900 dollars).Talking about the widow’s mite and giving sacrificially.

View the video of  me matching faith promises with the Indians:


How Your Donations To Our Ministry are Being Spent

That Sunday the total amount of funds raised was $39,040 pesos or approximately $3,900 dollars because I matched the same amount with the money that you’ve donated to this ministry. This $3,900 will easily pay for the foundation of the new church building.

If you’ve ever wondered how we spend the funds that you donate to Missions with Purpose now you have a prime example of your money being spent for a great cause….the building of a new church..

We use ALL of your donations for ministry (except for the tithe).

But that’s not all, with The P.ACE Plan, our new program for Planting New Churches, we promise to use methods of matching pesos for peso just like I’ve described above to actually multiply the offerings that you give.

Now I would like to challenge you- Would you make a faith promise today to support this ministry on a regular basis?

On Easter Sunday I was the one who received a blessing as I experienced the joy of giving. Not to mention that the Indians gave me a hen as my honorarium.

How much could you make a commitment to give today?

$1000, $500, $250, $100 dollars a month?  Perhaps you could make a promise to give $20. The amount is between you and God .The important thing is that you give. When you do, we’ll wisely multiply your giving efforts and produce a greater harvest for God’s Kingdom by multiplying blessings just like God does.$20 dollars will purchase approximately 40 blocks. The members of the congregation will match the same amount. That equals 80 blocks using your $20 gift.

The economy is experiencing problems, but God is working just as He always had.  He is blessing and he is supplying more than just our needs. Our family has increased our giving efforts. My 8 year old daughter even gave $5 to the Indians on Sunday. While others have suffered financially, we have seen more financial blessings as a result of sacrificial giving.  I encourage you to make an eternal investment by donating or making a faith promise today.

This is our April 2009  Newsletter.Download this Article in pdf format:

April 2009 Newsletter (334)

For more information on how to donate to the ministry please visit our donations page.

We appreciate your comments in the form below

Greg, the Tzotzil Indian Pastors Family Cristi holding the honorarium
Greg, the Tzotzil Indian Pastors Family Cristi holding the honorarium

Serving Christ Together,

Greg

p.s. All your donations are likely tax deductible.  Give to increase God’s kingdom while saving money on what the government sometimes wastes.”

Why Would This Tzeltal Indian Family Give Me a Wardrobe Worth More Than Their Entire Month’s Wages?

The Tzeltal Indians live about an hour and a half from us in Cancuc Pozo Chiapas. For a long time I have admired the bright colors of their clothing as we have ministered to them providing relevant teachings, evangelistic campaigns and now even a Bible School which started in February.

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On February 20th, we finished a full day of teaching and prepared for a nightly service in the village. The Pastor quietly pulled me aside and told me to go to a small wooden hut located outside of the church building. “A Family has something that they would like to give you” he said.

This was not the first time I had received gifts from the Tzeltal Indians. They’ve given me coffee, handmade bags and even livestock. I was honestly expecting another rooster to add to my ever growing population of chickens at my home in San Cristobal.

Was I ever surprised as the women pulled a beautiful Tzeltal Wardrobe out of a small plastic bag; it was just the right size.

“We want to give you this as a token of our appreciation for faithfully bringing us the Word of God each month” the family explained.

“I thought to myself, “I couldn’t possibly accept such a large gift. I know very well that the Tzeltal Indian wardrobes are very expensive.” In fact, they are worth more than $200. That’s well over a month’s wages when you consider that the average Tzeltal makes less than $30 a week when work is available. Most of the time, the Indians barter crops, animals, coffee and clothing because currency is scarce.

I considered the time involved in making such a beautiful piece of clothing- even longer than a month. I was reluctant to take the gift but I knew that I would offend the family if I didn’t. What’s more, I didn’t want to rob them of a blessing by not allowing them to give.

I accepted the gift.

“We are so thankful that you visit us each month, your ministry has changed our lives” they explained.

What a reward. Their words to me meant so much. I felt honored as I walked away with the wardrobe in hand, thanking God for the privilege to be a missionary to the Tzeltal Indians in Chiapas.

Luke 6:38 states that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I may have received some nice clothing and a pat on back but I feel even more satisfied to be able to share Gods Word with people in need.

You may download this month’s newsletter in pdf format:March Newsletter (317)

I want to thank you. Because of your prayers and financial support we are able to take the word of God to tribes like this Tzeltal family I just described. Thanks for helping us to help others!


Serving Christ Together,

Greg

Missions is About Church Planting

Missions and missionaries are all about church planting.

There are many missions activities and many projects that a missionary is involved in but the greatest focus in missions should be that of world evangelization and church planting.

First 2009 Church plant

I really like this definition of “Christian mission” from wikipedia.com

A Christian mission has been widely defined, since the Lausanne Congress of 1974, as that which is designed “to form a viable indigenous church-planting movement.” This definition is motivated by a theologically imperative theme of the Bible to make God known, as outlined in the Great Commission. The definition is claimed to summarize the acts of Jesus‘ ministry, which is taken as a model motivation for all ministries.

Tom Venuto\s Kitchen
New Church plant

The Christian missionary movement seeks to implement churches after the pattern of the first century Apostles. The process of forming disciples is necessarily social. “Church” should be understood in the widest sense, as an organization of believers rather than simply a building. Many churches start by meeting in houses.

Church planting by cross-cultural missionaries leads to the establishment of self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating assemblies of believers. This is the famous “three-self” formula invented by Henry Venn of the London Church Missionary Society in the 19th century. Cross-cultural missionaries are persons who accept church-planting duties go to people outside their culture, as Christ commanded in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

However, Christian missions can more broadly mean any activity in which Christians are involved for world evangelization.

In addition to theological doctrine, many missionaries promote economic development, literacy, education, health care and orphanages, believing these causes advance the glory of God. Christian doctrines (such as the “Doctrine of Love” professed by many missions) may permit the provision of aid without requiring religious conversion.

read more or get further information: Evangelism and Christianization

The wikipedia is not a Bible so I cant really preach from it but it does cover 3 points that I always emphasis in Missions With Purpose ministry:

  1. Making Disciples- I like the house meeting church plant idea
  2. Establishing indigenous Churches- self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating assemblies of believers
  3. In addition to fullfilling the great Comission through world evangelization secondary activities and methods for ministry which our missions Ministry covers in the PEACE plan


I’ve told you all of that as a prerequisite to some great news.

On Saturday, January 3rd. We started the year off right by officially planting our first church of the New Year. That’s the goal of Missions.

We traveled to a remote Indian village near Cancuc Centro, Chiapas, Mexico with the Tzeltal Indians. We prayed for the leader of the new plant and even prayed over the place where we would like to build a new building for the church to occupy.

Here are some of the photos from our recent church plant celebration:


www.flickr.com

purposemission's First Church plant for 2009 photoset purposemission’s First Church plant for 2009 photoset

Ministry in Takiukim, Chenalho, Chiapas

This past Sunday I ministered in Takiukim, Chenalho. Its is a remote Tzotzil Indian village located deep in the mountains of Chiapas.

The people here are very poor. There are no modern facilities. Dirt floors and huts are common. Outhouses are very primitive. [Read more...]

July Update

“Our Goal  For This Year Is To Obtain 100 Churches”

This month has been very busy. We have seen some awesome results in our Missions outreaches and I am personally very excited about what God is doing. Here’s some of this months highlights:

Ministry Teams

Have you seen my updated blog entries with a July report and a ViIDEO of Ministry in the remote mountains of Chiapas?

A group from Atlanta visited us and ministered to the Indians by helping them with their construction projects. It was hard work, but the rewards were great. We feel privileged to have groups such as this visiting us and would like to extend an invitation to you or your church to visit us and see first hand what God is doing here in Chiapas.

Go to this page now to see the Videos and the report:

View the Report and Video

Missions News Updates

If you are not receiving our entries as we post them on our blog then you will want to sign up here:

Get Updates As They Happen and Receive Some Freebies in the Process

This is not the same email service as the one you are receiving now. If you have subscribed already to my new web service through aWeber you should bee receiving various updates automatically. There is no need to go through the process again.
Also, Robbie Goodwin has graciously agreed to post valuable articles as part of this email ministry. Her articles are posted under “Robbie’s Inspiration”.

Goal- “100 Churches This Year!”

In addition to our e Newsletters, we send out full color newsletters which are delivered to your doorstep monthly. Our goal is to keep you informed of the progress here and also to provide you with a more tangible form of communication.Download our July Newsletter and find out about our goal to obtain 100 Churches this year.

Download the July Newsletter in PDF format

You will need Adobe reader to download or open these files.
You will also need to unzip the fie.Get a free unzip program here.


If you are not on our physical mailing list, just send me an email requesting to receive my written newsletters.

“Why Having Purpose in Missions Produces Immediate & Eternal Results”

Finally, I’ve update the home page of our website with the answer to this question, “If a Missionary Is Not Making Disciples and Establishing New Churches Is He Really Effective?” read more.

The reason I wrote an article such as this is not because we wish to compare ourselves to other missionarie, because there are many excellent missionaries serving the Lord in different Countries. Our desire is to be effective in the work that we are doing and to make an impact in the World where we serve.

We appreciate all your prayers and financial support.

Have a Great Day!

Unanimous Ministries Missions Report, June 2008

You may download a pdf copy of our June Newsletter entitled  ”39 Reasons Why Your Prayers and Financial
Support are Changing Lives in Latin America” Here

Unanimous Ministries started with 4 churches named AMISTAD CRISTIANA in these places:

1. TUXTLA GUTIERREZ

2. TONALA

3. HUIXTLA

4. BOCHIL

And these 23 Tzotzil Indian churches in Chenalho, Chiapas:

1. JESUCRISTO EMANUEL PARA INDIGENAS

2. PANTELHO

3. TZAMETAL (COMAL)

4. CHILOLJ´A (AGUA DULCE)

5. JOC’(POSO)

6. TZUMBAL (JERDINES)

7. IVILTIC

8. YIBELJOJ (PATA DE CUERVO)

9. CHIQUIM XULUM

10. CHIMISX (ESQUINA DEL SERRO)

11. SACLUM (TIERRA BLANCA)

12. TZUMJOK (POZO PROFUNDO)

13. PUEBLO DE ISRRAEL

14. ONILTIK (AGUACATAL)

15. LAS DELICIAS

16. TZAJALCHEN (PIEDRA COLORADA)

17. SHINICHILVO (AGUA HORMIGA)

18. POLHO (RIO SACATE)

19. POCONICHIM (FLOR VIEJA)

20. ACTEAL (MATASANO)

21. TAKIUKUM (RIO SECO)

22. CANOLAL (ARBOL AMARILLO)

23. CONSTITUCION

In addition, These are 5 new Church plants in Chenalho:

1. SIMOJOVEL

2. TZUNUNIL (COLIBRI)

3. CANTEAL (PALO)

4. CRUZTON (CRUZ DE PIEDRA)

5. CANTEAL (PALO AMARILLO)

After presenting the vision to other potential pastors, these 3 new churches were planted under the covering of Unanimous Ministries..

1. BEREA COMUNIDAD CRISTIANA

2. IGLESIA BAUTISTA EMANUEL UNIDA

3, AMISTAD CRISTIANA DE COATZACOALCOS

Later on, a formal meeting was organized and after discovering the vision and seeing the progress of the ministry these Churches also joined Unanimous Ministries:

1. PUERTA DEL CIELO (SUCHIAPA CHIAPAS)

2. LA FAMILIA BENITO JUAREZ VILLAFLORES CHIAPAS

3. ROCA ETERNA

4. AMERICA LIBRE

In addition to churches, many other ministries have joined our organization. They include evangelists, musical groups, youth groups, Christian singers, preachers and others.

To sum up everything as of June 1st, 2008 Unanimous Ministries started with 27 churches and to date 8 new churches were planted & 4 more churches have joined our organization forming a total of 39 churches.

In addition there are 5 more potential churches who will join th ministry this month.

It is our hope that this report will bring you hope and joy as we give thanks to Christ for all that He is doing.

Gregory E. Nemer.