Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not your daddy's Coatza! And a trip to Agua Dulce

Hello friends!

I hope you've enjoyed the blog so far. Thank you for the comments and the emails - keep them coming!!!

Wednesday was a day we would go to the Casa del Alfarero (Potter's House) church in Agua Dulce that was started in the past few years about an hour and a half from Coatza. DSC02121That gave us plenty of time during the day to look around town and do the most important thing for the female contingent among us - go to the mall!!!

Coatza has a new mall that is absolutely gorgeous! Lots of neat stores, many of which we have in the states, and a first rate food court, complete with Burger King, Domino's, KFC and a couple of taco stands!!! (I ate tacos, of course! ) They even have a Cajun food restaurant - although the pictures looked more like Chinese food than Cajun! :)

DSC02122As we've driven around Coatza, we've been amazed at the progress. There are so many stores and conveniences here that they didn't have 20 years ago. Just a quick sampling: Walmart, Sam's Club, Office Depot, Office Max, Home Depot, Bennigans, McDonald's, etc. I commented to the folks in our vehicle that "this is not your daddy's Coatza"! It's definitely more modern, more streets are paved, it's cleaner - it's come a long way from when we lived here. It would be much easier to live here now ... and sometime's I think we're a little tempted. Of course when we joke about coming back with Jose he says that's fine, but we'll have to raise up a new congregation because he already has his!!!

DSC02124They took us back to the Agua Viva building in town that now serves as offices, training center, and for special meetings. It also has a small book store and a coffee shop. They had prepared a spread for us in the back room that was decorated beautifully with flowers on each table and a wonderful meal that Joel had requested. They've treated us like royalty! It's very humbling.

We headed back to the hotel for a brief rest. (That's when I posted yesterday's blog - I should have rested !) Then we were off for the community of Agua Dulce (Sweet Water) where Alfredo Chulin is the pastor of this new work that has been raised up in the past few years. DSC02129Alfredo was a rough and tough guy when we met him 20 years ago. His brother, Pedro (now the pastor of the work in Las Choapas where we will visit tomorrow), had gotten saved in our ministry and asked us to visit with his brother. Over time God softened Alfredo's heart (we call him Freddy) and he has served in just about every capacity in the church in Coatza before coming to Agua Dulce to raise up the work here. It's fairly new and there were only about 50-60 adults in service, but it was a sweet, sweet time.

As we arrived in town Joel informed me I would be preaching! I thought we were going to tag-team it again but it was not to be. So I quickly asked the Lord to impress my heart - and I felt led to share two of the points I had shared the previous night, adding one more about being quick to confess our sins, based on 1 John 1:9 and Psalm 32. DSC02136I talked a good bit about the importance of living in good relationship with others because that impacted our relationship with God. I challenged the men to seek to honor their wives and make sure they didn't offend the precious gifts from God - and to seek forgiveness if they had so that they could walk in an undistrubed relationship with God and would be examples of the relationship between Christ and the church. At the end quite a few people came up for prayer - a very sweet time of ministry.

As quickly as the service was over they broke down the meeting room and brought in tables to feed supper to everyone who had come. We had "empanadas", basically the Mexican equivalent to the Natchitoches meat pie, but these had chicken. We also had one of my favorites, fried bananas!!! Yum!!! After supper it was back to the vehicles for the trek back to town and our last night in Coatzacoalcos.

As I write this we are packing in preparation to check out of the hotel. We will eat lunch at Agua Viva's offices again and perhaps go out to their property for prayer and pictures before heading to Las Choapas. I'm really looking forward to seeing Pedro and Coqui, some of our favorite people. (I'll tell you more about Pedro later.) After service tonight we'll head to Villa Hermosa, about 2-3 hours from here where' we'll spend the night and have to get up early to catch a 7:00AM flight back to Houston. And as quick as that, this trip is over. Hard to believe it has flown by so quickly. So many memories - and so many new ones. Thanks for making this trip with me.

I love serving Jesus with YOU!
Nathan
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