Sept. 11, 2015
We continue to hold the monthly sessions of our Bible Institute for pastors and workers. At present we have five different Institutes ongoing. Three of these are in Mexico and two in Central America. Many of the students are in the process of starting new works and the others are already leading established missions and churches. The responsibilities involved in this endeavor are enormous, and humanly speaking beyond our ability to bear. The potential good that can be accomplished is incalculable. Our dependence on your prayers is an ever present reality. We hope that you do not tire of hearing these bi-monthly reports and taking to heart the need to intercede for the Lord’s work. We also trust that you rejoice in the mutual privilege we share in working together in the Great Commission.
I returned last Saturday evening from Guatemala City. Guatemala is in the midst of an historic corruption scandal that started last spring with the forced resignation and imprisonment of their female vice president. The ongoing investigation culminated in the president (former army general, Otto Perez Molina) being forced to resign last week and he too is now facing corruption charges. Guatemala is considered to have one of the worst levels of income distribution in Latin America. Experts affirm that eighty-five percent of the Latin American drug traffic passes through their territory. This of course provides an endless source of income for the elite ruling class. Only about 30,000 people (out of a population of some 15 million) have the ability to purchase a new car each year, and over 80 percent of the population lives in poverty. For their top leadership to be caught in this kind of petty thievery is an outrage that the country will not pardon.
In the midst of this scandal, Guatemala held an election last Sunday and the two candidates who received the highest number of votes will face off in October to determine the new president. One of the candidates (Jimmy Morales) is an ‘outsider’ from the entertainment world and has never held public office. He has some ties to the ‘prosperity gospel’ cults that abound in the country and identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. The country is desperate for leadership that is not tainted by corruption and politics as usual. (It is ironic how similar this seems to the present political situation in the USA.) Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of Central America. Now the surrounding Central American countries are also wondering if a similar upheaval might be possible for them in the near future.
Mexico continues in its own uproar over the ongoing peso devaluation, the unresolved disappearance of the 43 students one year ago (the ‘official version’ of this has just been rejected by the commission that was supposed to validate it), the incredible ‘escape’ of ‘El Chapo” and the never ending anti-gringo sentiment stirred up by news media here (now attacking Mr. Trump). The governor of Texas visited here this week and ‘read the riot act’ to Mexico’s president over the chaos at the border.
We are all watching the gay marriage situation in the USA. It is important to note that our churches in Mexico do not enjoy tax exempt status. There is no entanglement with the government regarding marriage (the ministers do not have the civil power to officiate in this). For the moment, the Catholic Church continues to oppose the pro-gay marriage ruling that was approved by the Mexican Supreme Court the week before the same occurred in the USA. There is real concern that Rome will eventually (perhaps soon) change her position on this issue, thus opening the door for the Mexican government to take away the ‘registration’ of the churches that will not go along, even though the churches have no civil authority to marry anyone.
Lissa has been having weekly checkups regarding the virus in her eye. She is doing better and is not taking any medicine. I will be preaching again this coming Sunday at the Rhema Pentecostal Church. The subject will be salvation by grace and the doctrine of election. We are very encouraged at the ongoing transformation that the Lord is bringing about in this large congregation.
Missionary Tom Montgomery and family