Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dear Friends,
We pray this note finds you well and blessed in our LordJesus Christ. Time is flying, and we areeager to get feet on the ground with our friends in Nayarit, where we will liveand serve at the school in La Mesa for the school year. Collette will be returning with intermediateSpanish and will prosper as she teaches English and Bible studies. I, on the other hand, will form a class ofone at the lowest remedial Spanish level possible - undoubtedly the leastequipped and most poorly prepared for this work God has placed before us. We do trust completely in the Lord, and he isso faithful!
Good news from Albergue Fray Pascual, Santos has shared withus that there are twelve young men and women testing for scholarships tocontinue in advanced education.Theschool has performed admirably with an average attendance approaching 120students daily. Our primary goal is to help the Albergue continue to strengthenas a beacon of light. We know the life changing benefit these children and theirfamilies receive through the school and we praise God.
Thank you for your prayer, prayer changes things. Pleasecontinue to pray that the $500 a month we send to feed the children may be atleast tripled in the coming year. Ourgoal is to raise $15 per month to feed, house, and care for each residentialstudent. In a perfect world a total of$30,000 a year would cover operating expenses, maintenance, and staffsalaries.We believe these are eternalinvestments with eternal rewards, for both the children, and for those of uswho convert their earthly treasure to the realm of heaven. We trust in the Lord.
Jay and Faith Tenbrink are heading back to Mexico as thisletter is being written. They will begin a full time focus on Christianoutreach in the mountains. Joining themin their work will be friends from Centro Cristiano in Cofradia. We are very privileged to join the work Goddirects with the people of the Sierra in Nayarit. Please pray that many are led to theredeeming love and grace of Jesus.
Thank you again for your prayers and provisional support. Weneed all the help we possibly can get for this work. The school provides apowerful witness of the life transforming power of Jesus Christ to the mountainpeople. We would treasure the opportunityto meet with you and personally share our gratitude for you friendship, pleasecall or email us as you are able.
May the Lord richly bless you, our love in Christ,
Tom and Collette

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

February 1, 2015

Reflections on La Mesa trip February 1, 2015
This trip to la Mesa was a burden of trepidation to some degree on my part. I was really concerned that we would find that the school was under great duress and struggling to continue, which we found to be true.  Yet the reality we discovered was a blessed deep breath of fresh air.  There were plenty of difficulties apparent, but that they were being faithfully dealt with on a daily basis with wonderful result.  We were grateful to see nearly 100 students being cared for by Santos de la Cruz and his staff of graduates, certainly operating with great faith as they continued the work of Padre Pascual with very little in the way of financial or material support.  The days we spent with Santos and the students were productive and enlightening, full of insight as to the direction of the school as well as in defining many ways we can help both spiritually and physically.
God continues the work in beautiful ways and is clearly defining a new independence from the constrictions and power struggles imposed by the Catholic Church. Months our friend school and current school director Santos had warned us that the Bishop intended to close the school and use the facility for other purposes.  Upon Padre’s death, an Alumni Association was formed explicitly for the purpose of continuing Padre’s work- spiritual and functional education for the Cora, Huichol, Mexicanaro, and Tepijuan students.  This turned out to be a stroke of genius as the intentions of the Catholic Diocese became known, had there not been a legal entity prepared to assume responsibility for the operation of the school it would by now be closed.  The combined abilities of the alumni prevented closure, and they currently continue to strengthen the legal status as they work to form an educational non-profit corporation.   In addition, the entire battle was waged with the allied support of Cora Tribal leadership, who own the ground upon which the school is built, and demanded that the school must continue without the Catholic Church.
These developments are astounding in that the Catholic Church with its’ considerable resource base is usually all powerful and adept at getting what it wants.  There is palpable discontent with Catholicism as a result of these battles, since funding for the school was never provided by the Church itself, rather through generous gifts from Catholic patrons.  These families and individuals were pressured by the Bishop to cease support, and have obeyed completely, thus attempting to terminate 45 years of freedom through education begun by  the Padre.  This has resulted in school alumni disillusionment with the Church, but no diminishment of faith in the leading of Christ.  They clearly sense the hand of God directing them to continue the work begun by Padre Pascual.  
 With independence from the Church and the absence of Padre comes an unsurprising void in spiritual direction and leadership.  As director, Santos has a strong desire to continue in the tradition of Christ leading the way.  He has extended an invitation to assist the school in development of Bible study.  We are ecstatic for this opportunity, it represents an amazing continuation of Padres’ evangelism.  The openness to further study also opens the possibility of a new venue of shared discipleship with the fellowship of Centro Cristiano Church in Coferadia at the base of the mountains.  This is a great new focus of ministry for those equipped to share the love of Christ in discipleship.  We believe a great work of the Lord is upon the school and the peoples of the Sierra Madres’.

October 10, 2014

Dearest Friends and Family,
We pray you are blessed in the fullness of Jesus Christ, that in Him your joy knows no bounds; that His peace is with you in every circumstance.  We write today to share news of our continuing work in Mesa del Nayar, Nayarit, Mexico, where God led us quite a few years ago.  You have heard us share our love of the Cora and Huichol people of the mountains, and admiration for the life changing work accomplished by Padre Pascual during his many years leading the school at La Mesa.  By our estimate he shared Jesus with well over 6,000 students and their families, and in the process became a highly respected leader in the Sierra Madres.  Most importantly those families were provided opportunities to be set free from the bonds of poverty and oppression that darken the souls of many living this drug production region.
The “Good News” we have to share is that the school continues to serve nearly 150 students daily, is led by capable graduates, and provides Christian discipleship and opportunity for free education that continues through university study. There are many trials the school faces absent the charismatic leadership of Padre, at this moment the primary obstacle is financial.  The school must raise $15 for each student to meet room and board expenses per month, please join us in prayer, and financial support so that the needs of the school may be met to over flowing.  Jesus taught “bring the children unto me.” 
More “Good News”, glory to God, is the planned move of Jay and Faith Tenbrink to the La Mesa area.  We have worked with Jay, Faith, their family and church fellowship as long as we have traveled to Nayarit.  They have lived in Mexico for over 20 years, were instrumental in faithfully establishing a new church that has grown to hundreds.  They understand the cultures they serve, and are enthused to further the work of Christ in the Sierra’s where they are well known, accepted, and respected.   We will continue God’s work with Jay and Faith as we visit mountain communities January and February of 2015.
We would treasure a visit with each of you to share the hope, experience, and preparation God has woven during our years in His service.   Jay and Faith will be visiting and traveling with us in early December to share the vision God has given us to serve in the Sierra Madres of Mexico.   May we set a time to meet with you and share in depth the plans God has made for us?   We thank you beyond words for your faithful prayers and support.  It is our prayer that we may continue to partner with you and share the love of Jesus with those who do not know Him.  As important is the witness of faith that comes when those who live relatively safe and comfortable lives are willing to travel to remote, forsaken, and sometimes dangerous places to share Jesus.  This is work none of us can do alone.  The Lord has led us to this place.  Will you please join us once again as we heed His call and step forward in faith to serve.  Mucho gracias y Dios te bendiga hermanas y hermanos en Jesu Cristo!

November 10, 2013

In the course of a life time come those exceptional seasons of awakening brought about by people and places found far from the daily routines of normal.  Our children were gathered in for an adventure, now young adults with college study and their dreams and aspirations taking form, as we arrived in Guadalajara in December of 2000.  There was a sense as we traveled along the volcanic disarray of the Pacific coast, that this might well be one of those exceptional seasons, this was an adventure of faith in Christ into the unknown.  We were traveling with plans both to serve Jesus and experience a part of creation unknown to us,  where we were told there was a remarkable Catholic priest and a his school in the distant Sierra Madre Mountains of west Mexico.  His name was Padre Pascual Rosales and he had extended an invitation to us to visit, share time together, and to learn about the Cora people and their community surrounding Mesa del Nayar in Nayarit.
What we could not sense during our preparation and travel to La Mesa was the quite certainty of this beautiful Christian servant leader.  We had no sense that we were about to meet a man of scholastic brilliance who spoke fluently in eight languages.  We couldn’t know that we were about to meet a man who daily poured out his life to serve, educate,  and share the love of Jesus.  We certainly couldn’t know that we were about to fall deeply in love with a person of tremendous grace, a beautiful people of quiet perseverance, and a place of remote beauty.  Jesus knew, that is why he sent us.  Padre knew, that is why he invited us.  We received their magnificent blessing and our lives have forever changed.
Padre Pascual was wonderfully made.  Above all was his deep love and adoration of Jesus Christ, a love that expressed selflessly his second love for all mankind, especially those with a life in any kind of pain.  His love was practical and met each person, whether child without clothing or adult without compassion, at the level of immediate need.  Always with his eyes smiling, unless he sensed hidden motive and even then with patient humor, his heart open to faithfully share the love he so abundantly received in Jesus.  Padre was to all of us who knew him the transparently kind and loving servant of a wonderful God.  To be in his presence was to sense the warmth of Jesus close and personal.  Pascual was gifted of our Lord to change lives in profound ways, whether young or old, rich or poor, of great status or low regard, pure of heart or conflicted, to know the man was to know there is a greater truth beyond any shadow of doubt.  After meeting Padre you knew with certainty that there is a God of all creation and He is a God of great love.
So many memories flood upon the heart sweeping me back to the first days of our journey with Pascual and the Cora people.  As we flew toward Christmas day over the dry Sierra’s, in awe of the majestic mountain splendor laying out below our wings, I realized that only a very strong enduring people could carve out a life in this rugged remote wilderness.  Tough, steep, convoluted spines of a massive dragon back rose as volcanic remnants of eons past; this was a dangerous place to live.  Yet it took simply one conversation with Padre Pascual followed by a simple meal with the students and a Sierra sunset chased by the brilliant night light of stars just beyond the fingertips, for us to realize this was a foretaste of heaven, a glimpse into an eternity of awesome grandeur and immense proportion.  How the stories come as waves upon the ocean of experience with this wonderful man of God speaking of the school “We pray, study, and work – the play, it comes naturally…” then a wayward student or challenging adult “we never know when they will come to understanding….” when we as visitors were plagued by the resident fleas “when visitors come, the fleas prosper!”  A long day came to a close “to rest Don Tomas, Dona  Colletta, to rest”  or in times of difficulty or reflection “ Christ alone is sufficient for me.”  About the purpose of the school and education “to prosper the students that they may profit their parents” his style of leadership “speak softly and you will be better understood” “we live poor but happy” “all people seek God, we never know who will come to understand”  “the students did all this work (or food, or dance etc.) “Joy comes in serving” an inclusive statement of encouragement and a singular testimony to the fullness of a life so beautifully lived in service to a forgotten people. 
The Christmas pageant, formed of ancient roots supporting crossed cultures formed a vibrant fabric of human experience as the candles smoked, the incense billowed, violins sawed background melody to   Gregorian chants sung in rhythm to tinkling chimes.  From all corners of the mountains came the people to celebrate the feast of communion in Christ and their history as the created.  The very old and wise with eyes for God, the young with eyes for each other, the children with all eyes to them, the Padre eyes lifted to the Eucharist held high above to honor the Lord of all.  So the universe seemed to gather there and then for that incredible moment of eternity, we were one drawn close together celebrating new life, new hope, the new promise again of forever through the birth of a baby named Jesus.  And so we remember glimpses of the future past, hearts aching, souls singing songs of memories, such are the exceptional seasons of awakening and the sweet loving eternity of Jesus found in this beautiful man named Padre Pascual.     

Sept 26, 2013

September 26, 2013
Dear Friends,
We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend Padre Pascual Rosales.   His love for Jesus was evident in everything he lived and accomplished in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.  A few of you shared the privilege of meeting Padre, many more have heard us speak of his work, and may share our sense of profound loss in a life beautifully lived as testimony to Christ.
Padre was one of those men that words struggle to describe; he possessed a quite calm, a loving determination that erased all but the truth in every circumstance.  He was a friend to all from the barely clothed children that came to his school for life changing opportunity to the Presidents of Mexico.  Humility as a living testimony gave far reaching effect to his passion to serve the down trodden and reach the lost.
The inspiring example set by Padre as a follower of Jesus touched all who met him and encouraged each of us as well to lay down our lives, pick up our cross and follow Him.  He was a true and faithful man of God, a man of inspiration that shared the Good News as a living word of truth and light in a dark and desperate world. 
Padre will be deeply missed in his being with us, yet his spirit will continue to inspire as glory to God for many generations to come.  His often spoken farewell, “we will continue to work together in the Spirit of Christ” blesses and challenges each of us follow in the steps of Jesus.  May you rest in peace Padre as we celebrate the extraordinary example of a life well lived.  A life that calls us to love and serve with intention and purpose as you lived and gracefully taught each one of us.  Gracias Senor por Padre Pascual, mucho gracias.
Our love and thanks for each one of you.  In Christ,

Tom and Collette Beytien     

July 3, 2013

Nayarit mission reflections:
The recent mission outreach to the Cora people in Cangrejo with Jay Tenbrink, Pastor Hector, Mark Hoffschnieder, and group of faithful men was spiritually awakening.  The following thoughts are reflections on the opportunity to continue to prayerfully grow the ministry to the Cora.  Although not much went as planned on the trip, it did provide a revealing contrast of both the opportunities and obstacles facing the Cora in these times.   Although there appear to be gains in infrastructure such as the access road to the village, the new irrigation dam, advances in public education; they are more than offset by marginal employment, low income, out migration of educated youth, seasonal worker out migration, alcohol abuse, violence, and family disintegration.
Need - The Cora Indigenous People are numbered approximately 25,000 in the mountain areas of Nayarit Mexico.  They are an unreached people, although well exposed to the presence of Catholic tradition.  The Cora are a proud independent people living in tribal settings as survival agriculturists without an advanced economy.  Their faith is animistic with Catholic influence.  The Cora traditions and culture are experiencing a great deal of pressure from the outside world creating alcoholism, family strife, exiting youth, and a powerful drug counter culture among many other cultural stresses.   
Short term goal - to share the love of Christ in word and action leading to personal relationships in Jesus Christ on the part of Cora individuals and families.   
Long term goal - to build self sustaining communities of Christian believers living in the Cora Culture, to protect and preserve their culture, and enhance their economic well being as is possible.  
 Process- establish trust and relationships with leaders and people within the Cora Nations by learning in depth their culture and ways, engage with them as grace filled living examples and create a desire to receive and live the teachings of Jesus.  We will look for opportunities to engage with willing individuals and families by focusing on ways to create a personal relationship of trust:
                - seek to define needs and assist as possible - for example with  economic improvement in agricultural production -  by sharing knowledge, techniques, and engaging in projects that will benefit the community at large through increased crop production.
                - assisting with physical needs such as dental, vision, medical care as possible
                - encourage further development of the marketing of local artisan products.
                - establish faith based nurture for those struggling with alcohol, family violence, etc.
                - connect believer groups and communities to facilitate a network of support and encouragement
                - organize support groups for youth, women, economic development as possible in the culture
Application – The journey of building trust will take time.  We have talked about the New Tribes approach of community understanding with the intention of frequent learning visits for a year or so, then moving a family or small group into the community as allies in resource, with the purpose of developing deeper relationships and local leadership.  The intention being to honor the existing culture while creating a foundation upon which to build new sustaining strength in Christ.
 Support- The opportunity to reach out to the Cora is completely dependent upon authorization from the Tribal Elder Council.  The work of Padre Pascual Rosales over the past 40 + years and his encouragement of Jay Tenbrink and Cristiano Centro has created this opportunity to share Christ in the La Mesa Cora culture.  Prayer is a constant need.  Church networks, financial resources, teaching and training models are all integral to the success of the project.  As the vision for this work is revealed the details will be set forth.  Our immediate prayer is for discernment and direction, that the Lord will bring many to assist with this season of planting for harvest.


April 01, 2007

Dear friends in ministry,

We are alive and relatively well now entering month seven of border ministry.  Our work in Mexico is anything but tranquil and slow paced, yet we are very content with the progress we see God evidencing through the hands of His people -  to His glory follow some highlights of these past months.
Fist on the list is people - the faithful servants we have been privileged to work with - over twenty five teams, many from Iowa (four from Des Moines!), numbering over five hundred people strong – one team from Oklahoma came with 200 workers.  Many dozens of houses, kitchens, bathrooms have been constructed, and tons of food and clothing have been distributed.  The school lunch program remains strong with one hundred fifty students fed on an average day, and over two hundred fifty children enrolled.  We are privileged to witness the Holy Spirit work through so many Christians sharing resources and serving in short-term trips to this part of Mexico.
Next is the visible hand of God leading the construction of the new school.  In the last four months God’s helpers have purchased the land, poured the foundation and floors, and raised the block walls.  The roof is to be completed in April, the bathrooms and septic system are under construction, and there are already commitments for funding and construction for the second floor next year.  Please continue to pray for this worthy project and participate with funds and labor as you may!
El Buen Pastor Church has a new drain field, storage cabinets, a remodeled storage room for clothing distribution, and a new pastor’s office with desk, chair, computer, internet and copier.  In the lunch room a  new drop ceiling, kitchen cabinets, storage shelves, sink, ceiling light and fan, lots of new electrical wiring, new big pot burners, a chest freezer, and outside a great big new playground for the children.   The parsonage has a new kitchen, screen door, plumbing repairs, privacy fence and new patio.  Plus there is new stucco and paint all over the grounds (mostly on the walls)!
There is more…the PET project is well under way, thanks to friends from Volunteers in Mission and many other helping hearts and hands.  The 25’x35’ building was constructed during the sludge time in January, but they sure did “getter done.”  The PET is a life transforming hand cranked tricycle cart that provides mobility for people without use of their legs.  El Buen Pastor is to be an assembly and distribution sight for Mexico, providing training, employment, and opportunities for volunteer partnerships.  PET is distributed at no cost to the recipient, for more information  We will have more to report next time about an exciting building product called papercrete and sustainable economic evangelism projects that are just beginning!
Finally, God is gracing our congregation with at least six adult baptisms this Easter - Santos and Lupe are receiving Christ as fruit of the men’s Bible study.  Will you please pray with us that both women and men Bible studies continue to grow.  Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, so that we through His poverty might become rich.”  Thank you for sharing hour prayers and resources with us on this eternal journey, we are so blessed and deeply appreciate your support.
To Christ be the glory,
Tom and Collette