RAY & SUE LOWE -Our first travel log as we visit the USA & Mexico

Aug 8, 2017 | NEWS FROM THE NATIONS, Ray, VISITING THE NATIONS

We’ve been away for just over a month but packed lots in.  First visit was to friends in Aptos, San Jose, CA.  Keith Rushing has been a close friend for nearly 30 years.  I first met him when he was pastoring a church in El Paso Texas as part of the People of Destiny movement led at that time by Larry Tomzak and CJ Mahaney.

We were there as Keith and his new wife Mary were celebrating their marriage with 200 friends and family from all over the USA and they had asked me to speak at the celebration.  I wrote something about marriage for the occasion, so much of it was pure gospel explaining that marriage was always God’s idea.  I invited all husbands and wives to take the opportunity to renew their marriage vows and their Christian faith.  Sue and I were so blessed by the response.

Keith also leads a group of Christian businessmen in Aptos mainly from Roman Catholic churches.  I have had the privilege of speaking to them on other occasions and on this visit spoke on two Wednesday mornings and for 2½ hours on a Saturday when I spoke on “What does the church look like that Jesus wants” Acts 11v19ff.  Part of the reason for this was that I have been encouraging Keith & Mary to open their home and begin to gather those interested in seeing such a church birthed in Aptos and they plan to do this.  From small beginnings amazing things can happen.  So please pray for Keith & Mary, both are gatherers and Keith has years of experience in leadership and church planting.

When this trip was initially planned, we had no idea that we would fly from San Jose to Mexico.  But friends of many years Oscar Suarez in Guadalajara and Bruce Hoffman in Los Mochis heard we were only 3 hours direct flight away, so to Mexico we went for two weeks and we’re so glad we did.  Mexico had been very much part of my life and ministry previously for over 20 years.

We hit the ground running.  Oscar gathers leaders from around the city so the morning after we arrived I spoke to church leaders who gather to Oscar.  A very warm reception as I opened up on producing mature disciples for Jesus and then releasing them into life and ministry.  Later that day Oscar and I met with another old friend Arturo who leads El Camino church where John Evans was first based.  El Camino had gone though some challenging times so it was good to be able to encourage them to press on and I believe I was able to pour some much needed oil on troubled water.

The next 2 days were spent with some 53 men at a wonderful, somewhat rustic mountain retreat.  I spoke three times on the work and person of the Holy Spirit.  He was very present and I believe for many of the men it was a significant event as they encountered the Holy Spirit.

Then Sunday I preached 3 times – 2 morning services for Oscar and La Fuente de Vida (Fountain of Life) church and then in the evening a church plant in another part of the city, mainly young couples with a sprinkling of older folk and very impressive.  A cinema style building with lots of creative technology, not normally my sort of thing but the sense of God’s presence was so evident.  What I especially enjoyed was to see how much Oscar has grown in his ministry.  He is now transitioning from the leader of a very sizeable and influential city church to having a voice to and influence over other city leaders who are looking to him.  It was so good to spend many hours with Oscar and his leaders advising and discussing the implications of where God was clearly leading them.  I look forward to seeing them again.

The next 2 days were spent with some 53 men at a wonderful, somewhat rustic mountain retreat.  I spoke three times on the work and person of the Holy Spirit.  He was very present and I believe for many of the men it was a significant event as they encountered the Holy Spirit.

Bruce & Karen Hoffman have been in Los Mochis in Mexico for nearly 3 decades, Los Mochis is very different from Guadalajara as it is “the bread basket” of Mexico, very agricultural exporting its produce of fruit and vegetables to other parts of the world.  Again Sue and I were so blessed to see how the church has thrived.  Like Oscar in Guadalajara Bruce also gathers leaders from around the city and every Monday evening hosts a prayer meeting specifically praying for the welfare of the city.  I had the privilege of addressing those leaders one of the evenings.

One of the recurring things I am seeing in my travels is that despite doctrinal differences and different traditions God’s people are coming together in a new wave of unity, the promises that God commands the blessing when this happens was very evident both in Guadalajara and Los Mochis.  Bruce also has a church plant on the go some 45 mins drive away in Guasave, smaller than Los Mochis but again a growing church plant which we visited and I had the privilege of speaking to them.

Back in Los Mochis, Sunday morning was alive with noisy, vibrant worship – those who complain about loud worship in the UK are advised not to visit Mexico!  We love it and it was great preaching to a packed house.  Again I was so impressed on how much Bruce has grown in God and in his leadership.  Seeing the quality of leaders that both Oscar and Bruce have raised up testifies so much to this.

Los Mochis is by the coast and the sea is like a warm bath so despite a busy schedule we were treated and looked after so well.

It was my birthday whilst in Guadalajara so Sue and I were treated to a wonderful round of golf high up in the mountains overlooking the city and then to a sumptuous meal at our host’s home around the golf course.  I hit an 80 for anyone who is interested, doesn’t happen too often these days!

So back to Aptos – 2 more days with Keith & Mary and another opportunity to open the Word with my Catholic friends meeting once again with the men but this time speaking to a women’s group also.  Got into a little bit of trouble when I said I didn’t like crosses outside church buildings.  An indignant lady said it was a symbol, I replied I wanted the real thing not a symbol of it!

One thing I am more convinced of than ever is that organised institutional religion will not change the world for Jesus no matter how good it looks.

One last stop before we head for Missoula in Montana.

30 odd years ago one of my young men in Biggin Hill married a gorgeous girl from California but after 4 years of English weather they moved to southern California.  We kept in touch and one time Roger Bye and I visited them on our way home from Mexico.  Nick and Sherry have always been very committed members of a church but it has not always gone well.  We visited and suggested that maybe it was time to try something different, a church plant.  We spent 4 days with Nick & Sherry climaxing with them gathering about a dozen of their friends in their home.  We shared with them a little of our story and Regions Beyond and then spoke on the church Jesus wants.  The response was interesting.  One man said he had been looking for something all his life but after I spoke realised he had been looking for the wrong thing.  I handed out some typed notes and one lady said she was going to copy them and distribute them around the area.  My hope is that Nick & Sherry will open their home on a regular basis and see what happens, a big commitment for both groups so we’re very much praying over these 2 possible plants.

Now after nearly 2000 miles by car through California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana we arrived in Missoula to a very warm welcome.

We’ve met some wonderful people, seen some amazing countryside and spoken to 1000’s of people and we’ve still got another 2 months to go before returning home.

Please don’t forget to remember us in your prayers.

Much love

Your friends

    Ray & Sue