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Members of the NQR Church Planting ...
Members of the NQR Church Planting Commission visited WVP in February (pictured above are: Elder Leopoldo Hernández (Cancún Puerta del Cielo), Planter José Luis Cupul (Cozumel, Puerta de Esperanza), Rev. Ramón Celis (Coordinator) and Rev. Felipe de Jesús Buenfil (Cancún Betel).
Our host will be Rev. Ramon Celis, a Presbyterian pastor who is a member of the Quintana Roo Presbytery of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico.
THE WORK: The work will be in a woodshop with power tools owned by YPM.We will build and install wooden furniture or equipment for a new church either in the poor sections of Cancun where we will be staying or in a village church.A Mexican craftsman will supervise the work, and there are many parts of the task that do not require woodworking skills.
THE PARTICIPANTS: We will take up to 12 people, most of them from the Level Green Presbyterian Church.Nine have already volunteered, so there are only three spots left.
Rev. Ramón Celis, pictured here with his wife Nadina, became the partnership coordinator for Northern Quintana Roo Presbytery (NQR) in May 2004, succeeding Rev. Leonel Pech.
has a great deal of experience in starting new churches, which makes him an ideal resource person to the eleven new churches being developed by NQR
with the support of partner churches in WWVP.
Outreach at Bethany
Rebecca had arrived on Wednesday morning , and had been hanging out with Ramon Celis , the pastor who oversees Yucatan Presbyterian Ministries , and scoping out the local geography ever since.
( Sunday , March 28 ) Our hopes to attend Sunday morning worship and to pay a reminiscent visit to our old stomping grounds on Cozumel were fulfilled providentially , with the added bonus of hanging with Ramon
.All too early on this beautiful sunny morning , we packed_up the Suburbans and headed down the highway to La Playa del Carmen.There we caught the passenger ferry to Cozumel , arriving just in time for the 11 : 00 service at Eben-Ezer Presbyterian_Church , our destination two years ago.Of_course none of us understood much of the Spanish in the songs , Bible reading , prayers , and the sermon , enthusiastically delivered by a visiting pastor from Argentina ( currently serving a congregation in Florida ) .But the enthusiasm and warmth of the worshippers needed no translation.And it was_with nostalgic pride that the veterans of the mission here two years ago observed the progress that had been made on the building since our last visit , and eagerly pointed_out our handiwork to the first-timers among us.
We finished our day's work around 1 : 00 p.m. ( which Ramon
indicated would be our standard quitting time ) , showered , ate lunch , and headed for the beach.After beach time , we joined another Yucatan Presbyterian Ministries work group for dinner.This group of men came from Texas , Colorado , Kansas_City , and a few other places , and had come to work at another , much larger , YPM-affiliated church , Emmanuel Presbyterian_Church.Some of the core members of the group had been coming down to work every year for over ten years , helping with the work in Cancun.They're the ones building and installing pews ( which is what we had once thought might be our job ) .They were very friendly and enthusiastic about the work God was doing here , and in_which they felt privileged to partake.
Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch as Ramon
and the carpenters test-fit the pieces and assembled ( without glue ) the first prototype door.Once it was proven that everything fit properly , we repeated the feat , this time with glue.It was a moment of celebration to see the fruit of our labor in such a tangible way.
We have materials cut now for eleven such doors.They have an immediate need for twelve of these doors , and eight more later.Our plan for this week is to finish the first batch , and prepare the materials for the rest , to be finished by others later.
was also seeking , in his
own way : at the local hardware stores.Fortunately , he
was more successful than we were , and we eventually got the table saw_back into operation.
In the afternoon , most of the group chartered a boat to Las Islas Mujeres , for snorkeling and general bumming around.I stayed_back to fulfill a request Ramon had first made of me two years ago , to help him with some tasks on his
computer.I also attempted to send an email bearing news of our adventures thus far , but configuration problems and server errors thwarted my efforts.
The snorkeling group fared a little worse.While the snorkeling itself was fun , the boat ride to and from the dive spot was windy , rough , wet , and chilly.They returned home soaked , and had to change before gathering for dinner.
and I had a quick errand to run after dinner - picking up a birthday cake for Burke , whose birthday was today.Upon our return to the church , we sang , presented the cake , and celebrated.Happy Birthday , Burke.
While we hadn't accomplished quite as much as we had hoped , I think it was perhaps a little more than what Ramon
had originally expected.But , as has_been said in the theatre , Done is beautiful..
After lunch , Ramon
bid us farewell.He
needed to go to Cozumel , to the church that he
pastors , to prepare for the Good Friday and Easter celebrations.As we bid him fond and slightly sad farewells and thanked him for his
warm hospitality , we affirmed our desire to return again in another two years.His
reply : How about next year?.
A New Outreach Ministry for Bethany