Saturday, April 15, 2017

April 2017 Update

    It has been three months now since we began working in the Mesa del Nayar. We have primarily been helping out at the boarding school that was founded many years ago by our friend Fray Pascual Rosales, who passed away over two years ago. Since his passing a group of alumni have taken over the leadership, and through many difficulties continue to fill this important need for the Cora and Huichol people. The school provides kindergarten, primary, and secondary level education and the opportunity for scholarships to universities and trade schools. One of the keys of the success of the school is the discipline that the kids are required to maintain. Their schedule starts at 6 AM with devotions, then an hour of work projects; tending the gardens, splitting firewood, cooking, and cleaning. Then after breakfast, classes begin and with one short break, go until 2 PM when they split up into their work groups for more chores. Around 4 lunch is served, followed by workshops and tutoring. For those not involved in classroom activities there are sports such as volleyball or soccer. Then at 6 everyone gathers for devotions again which are led by one of the students, with Martin’s help. After a light supper, usually a cup of thin oatmeal or rice, the students work on homework or other projects until bedtime. In addition to the director and teachers, the kids are overseen by student leaders who help guide them and maintain discipline.
    Even when the school was directed by Pascual, a Franciscan monk, we were welcomed and encouraged to share God’s Word and love. Now, under the leadership of the alumni group, we have been invited to help lead the Bible classes as well as the morning and evening devotional times. We have been joined by Martin Garzon from Arrayanes, Pastor Horacio’s son, who has now been here full time since January. During the week, Martin teaches Bible, Geography, and Natural Science, as well as directing the students who work in the gardens. He has felt called to work with the Cora for a long time and this opportunity is a perfect for him. During our days at the school, Monday through Thursday, Kai has been attending classes, with a special emphasis on building a solid foundation in Spanish. Faith teaches the English classes, while I focus on work projects and teaching the computer workshops.
    It is our desire to begin a Bible study group outside the school with members of the community, but so far it has been slow work. I hope that by April we will be meeting each week with some of the local families to begin sharing the Firm Foundations study, as well as audio recordings of the New Testament in their language.
    Recently we have cut back on some of our travels here in the mountains due to an increase in violence and robberies on the roads. Last week a Catholic priest from this area and his group were confronted by armed men with the intent to rob them. It appears that the priest decided to continue on instead of stopping and the armed men opened fire. The priest and others who were with him were hit and after a couple of days in the hospital the priest died. In addition, there have been reports of others being assaulted between the Mesa and Cangrejo. These situations motivate us to be diligent in prayer and to be sure that we are making smart decisions. We trust that God is protecting us, so we continue to work here in the Mesa and visit other communities whenever possible. Please continue to pray with us for protection.
    For the past couple of years Faith and I have been praying and talking about what is next for us. We believe that it is time for us to return to Washington permanently. To that end, we have been working to help Martin establish a long term ministry here in the Mesa, looking for ways to continue to support him, and encouraging others to join him in his work. Our plan is to finish out the school year here in the Mesa, and after the graduation in July, load up our truck and move back to Washington. We would really appreciate your prayers during this very scary, exciting, and emotional time.
Jay, Faith, & Kai TenBrink

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June Update

Greetings from México!

   On May 18th we took a group from Sinaloa up to Cangrejo. For over 5 years Pastor Hector has been bringing a group of men at least once a year to share food, music, movies, and God’s love with the Cora communities. On this most recent trip they brought over a ton of dried corn, beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes. After arriving we connected with Meregildo and his brother Cirilo who had made arrangements for our meals and where we would be sleeping. Through the last few visits to Cangrejo we have been cultivating a deeper friendship with these two brothers who are both community leaders and have expressed a desire to learn more about the Bible. For that reason I have been more direct in sharing from the Bible when we meet for meals or when we are out working. On the second day we met up with Tom Beytien and Gustavo to help them cut firewood for the boarding school in the Mesa. Later that evening we set up the projector and screen to show the Jesus movie in Cora. After the movie, working with the town leaders, we distributed the food items and shared a message of God’s love for the people of Cangrejo. Since there are a number of people in Cangrejo who understand little or no Spanish we invited Meregildo to translate from Spanish to Cora.

   On May 22nd, instead of having our service at the church, we piled into several truck, and drove over dusty dirt roads to the San Pedro River for a baptism and a church picnic. We were joined by Pastor Amado and his church from Rosamorada with whom we often work and fellowship. In the shadow of the freeway bridge, we set up the generator and sound system right at the water’s edge where Pastor Gollo spoke about the importance of baptism and living out our faith. Gollo and Amado baptized 2 people from the Rosamorada church and 7 from ours. Those 7 included Marco Antonio from Mojocuautla, whom Horacio has been discipling for a couple of years now and Lencho, father of longtime church members Toña and Gustavo. After the worship and baptisms, we played in the water and shared food. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and celebration.

   In late May we assisted Tom and Collette as they hosted a team from their home town of Gothenburg Nebraska. After a long day of travel and a night at the base they joined us for church in Cofradía before heading up to La Mesa for the week. All week the group played with the kids, shared with the kids, ate with the kids, and served them through work projects with an incredible love and joy. They tackled two main projects, repainting the 2 story dormitory, the dining hall, and the security wall, as well as reinforcing and raising the fence around the lower property. The painting was a huge job. Since the dormitory is so tall they had to use ladders and scaffolding for most of it. At the beginning of the week we were concerned that it would be difficult to finish in the limited time but the painting crew worked diligently and completed the project by Thursday. The fencing project was one of those jobs that you really need people who have experience and are hard workers. The fencing crew did such a good job that right away I realized that the best thing I could do was to explain what we needed done, give them tools and materials and then get out of the way. As they replaced fence posts, straightened and stretched the existing wire, and installed angle iron risers, I worked with another group replacing the two gates with steel ones we had fabricated in Cofradía. We were greatly blessed by the people from Cofradía and Arrayanes who went with us and worked alongside us in the projects and ministry. For me this week was a perfect fusion of the short term missions team and the missionary work of the long term ministry in Cofradía. In addition to the work projects the team participated in the twice daily devotions with songs, stories, puppets and sharing scriptures. Our time in La Mesa with the Nebraska team, the group from Cofradía, and the teachers and kids from the school was a blessing for everyone. It is exciting to see how God connects us and uses us to impact other people’s lives across cultural and language barriers.

   In a few days we will begin our drive north. We intent to spend most of the summer in Washington, visiting family and friends. This past year has been a struggle financially so we will be working on sharing our vision as much as we can in order to add an additional $500 a month to our support. As is always true, we are looking forward to seeing everyone. This trip is special though because for the first time our family has been split up, with Isaiah and Elisabeth in Washington. We are very anxious to be with them again.

   Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement. It would be impossible for us to do the work God has called us to without your partnership. To donate online follow this link.

Jay, Faith, & Kai TenBrink

Friday, April 1, 2016

March 2016 Update

March Update

     In March we were invited to join the boarding school from La Mesa for a retreat in Cangrejo. Cangrejo is a short, extreme hike, or a long drive from La Mesa. The hike takes the direct route, down the canyon wall, across the river, and straight up the opposing canyon wall. Since the canyon is in the way, the drive take a meandering dirt road up and around, until you can drop down to Cangrejo from the other side.

     The purpose of this event was twofold; first to serve as a retreat for the students from La Mesa, and second, to reach out to the community of Cangrejo. Being the week before the Holy Week and Easter the themes included The Birth of Jesus, Jesus’ Preparation for Ministry, The Ministry of Jesus, and The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Our plan for the retreat was to share with the students during the two devotional times each day, teach them new songs and drama during the Workshop times, involve them in the Kid’s Club each afternoon, and have them perform their songs and dramas for the people of Cangrejo. The plan for the outreach to Cangrejo was to involve the children in the Kid’s Club, show the Movie ‘The Son of God’ about the life of Jesus, and share with them the songs, dramas, and scripture verses the children learned. To pull all of this off, I specifically invited a number of people from the ministries in Cofradía and Rosamorada. Martin, Ruben, and Alfredo led the drama workshop, Gloria and Jessica led the Kid’s Club, Pastor Amado and Horacio shared during the devotions, I led the music workshop, and the rest of our group jumped in wherever needed. As well, it was great to work alongside Santos, the director of the school, Teresa, who is one of the teachers, and Tom and Collette Beytien. This has always been my goal: to involve as many people as possible in the Cora ministry so that the ministry is less dependent on me and more a result of a team working together.

     It was very exciting watching the kids open up and break out of their shells. During the first drama workshop it was hard to get anyone to willingly participate, and by the end when Martin asked who wanted to be in another drama more than 15 hands shot up! As you can see in the pictures, everyone; young kids to teens, girls and boys, really enjoyed the songs and choreography, as well as the stories, games and crafts. The photo album is here. We are excited to see how God continues to plant His word in the hearts and minds of these young people. Please continue to pray for the school, the community of Cangrejo, and our ministry. Your prayers, encouragement, and financial support are crucial to our ministry here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Follow this link to see where Cangrejo is, Map.

This week I made the trip to the Mesa and finally to Cangrejo. This was the first trip to Cangrejo since returning to Mexico. As I was leaving Cofradía I began praying that God would not only guide me but that He would also show me the next steps for the ministry in Mesa and Cangrejo.

The first day of the trip God confirmed that it is time to get moving. What I have been doing so far has been good but it is time to walk through the open doors He has shown us in these Cora communities. In Mesa we have heard that there are some Christian families already. We would like to connect with them and find ways we can encourage and come alongside them in order to help them form a fellowship group. Eventually we would like to establish a branch of the Bible school that we have in Cofradía in the Mesa.

The second day Tom and I travelled to Cangrejo. There God opened the door for us and connected us with the whole community. The community was participating in an event for the children; complete with music, piñatas, and pozole. We were warmly welcomed and were able to start up conversations with many of the people there. Both Tom and I know many of the people of Cangrejo, but all of them seem to know us. After a great time of fellowship we were offered the use of a room with 2 beds with mattresses! While settling in we hung out with Hermenehildo and his brother Cirilo. We talked about Padre Pascual and the work he accomplished there and about the importance of knowing God’s word. I shared with them some small booklets that are primers for learning to read and write Cora. I also told them that I have a recording of the New Testament in their dialect and that the next time I came I would bring it so that we could listen to it together. They were excited to hear it listen to it with their families. This could very well be the beginning of our first Listening Group.

The next morning we were invited to have breakfast at Hermenehildo’s house. I took the opportunity to share with him from John where we find the story of the feeding of the 5,000. One of the points I made is what God has been showing me, that Jesus used that situation of shortage to test the faith of his disciples. The disciples only saw what was possible according to their resources, but Jesus want e them to see our faith cannot be limited by what we see. I see that God has been using this financially lean time to really set my eyes and heart on Him and what he is calling us to give up, to sacrifice, and to do.

So, our next steps are to visit Cangrejo in January to do an event for the children and show the Jesus movie in their dialect. As well, I will take time to meet with Hermenehildo's and Cirilo's families to listen to a portion of the New Testament and use it as a starting point for a time of discussion. Then, in Mesa we will spend time meeting the Christian families and make plans for a fellowship time. We want to be careful to follow their lead and observe and not try to force our agenda on them.

Please keep praying for this ministry, for the families in Cangrejo and Mesa, for God's provision, and for the truck that God is going to provide!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Greetings from Mexico
We know that many of you are beginning to experience winter weather but here it is still quite warm. A lot of exciting things have been happening here in Cofradía and in the mountains.

Our visas have turned out to be a good news/bad news situation. We were planning to continue with our current Temporary Resident visas but were forced to apply for the Permanent Resident visa instead. The Permanent Resident visa has a lot of advantages, the biggest of which is that we will not have to deal with immigration again. However, it turns out that once we receive the new visa we will not be able to have a foreign vehicle. That means that the truck that we now own will have to be parked until we can take it to the border. In the mean time we need to purchase a vehicle we can drive here. I have been looking for a smaller truck and have found a couple of good candidates. First we will need to come up with the money. We will need about $4500 in order to purchase the truck and to cover the cost of changing the title and getting new plates.

Mesa Del Nayar
I have been able to make a number of trips up to the Mesa to begin exploring ministry opportunities. So far we have been focused on the boarding school that was founded by our good friend Padre Pascual Rosales who passed away 2 years ago. I first met Pascual through our friends Tom and Collette Beytien who were working at the school at the time more than 10 years ago. After Pascual passed away a group of former students joined together to keep the school going. It has been very difficult for them since almost all of the resources for the school disappeared once Pascual was gone, largely due to the negative influence of the Catholic bishop in the area. This year Tom and Collette returned to the Mesa to help the school by teaching classes, taking care of projects and maintenance, and helping out financially. Now our good friends Dave and Isabel from Cofradía have joined the volunteers working at the school. They have a lot of gifts that are a blessing to the staff and students at the school, but have a challenging road ahead as they adapt to the new culture and figure out how to raise the necessary

finances.  During my recent trips we have been able to help out by making shelves for the dormitories, fixing some of the vehicles, and fixing one of the carport gates. I have been very encouraged by the openness of the leadership and students of the school and have been invited a number of times to share during their devotional times. Also encouraging has been the enthusiasm of a number of brothers here in Cofradía who have accompanied me to the Mesa.

Recently our friend Macedonio Diaz and I took a reporter and camera man from Channel 10, the government station, up to the Mesa. They spent the day interviewing the director of the school and some teachers as well as capturing images of the school and students.  We are hoping that the resulting news story will generate interest in the government and among individuals that will translate into support and resources for the school and its staff. As soon as the TV spot is done we will add subtitles and add it to our blog.

I am still trying to make the trip over to Cangrejo to get started there. I want to reconnect with friends there and begin forming listening groups with families. In the listening groups we will using the recording of the New Testament in their dialect of Cora that was produces by the Faith Comes By Hearing ministry.

We are very excited that Isaiah will be joining us for Christmas! Thanks to the generosity of some friends we were able to get a round trip ticket for Isaiah using air miles. He will be here from December 20th until the 10th of January. To have the family together for Christmas is an amazing gift. With the arrival of Isaiah we will have a pretty full house since our friend Violet Lanahan is with us and Juan Luis and Pola's daughter is now staying with us during the week as she goes to high school.

We want to express our gratitude to everyone who has shown interest in our work here in Mexico. We appreciate your emails, prayers, financial support, and visits. We thank you for giving so that we can be here following the vision God has given us.


These are our current needs;

  • $4500 for a truck
  • Increase of $400 in our monthly support
  • Prayer for God to continue to open doors in La Mesa and Cangrejo
  • Prayer for our family

 God Bless,
Jay, Faith, Elisabeth, Kai, Violet, and now Yulisa from Arrayanes!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tom and Collette

Tom, Collette, & Santos

First, a little history. More than 10 years ago we were living in San Marcos focusing on the ministry in Arrayanes and Mojocuautla. They had just installed phone lines and for the first time we could get internet service. I began searching the internet for any information about the Cora Indians. I stumbled across a website of Tom and Collette Beytien, a couple from Nebraska who were working with the Cora up in the community of La Mesa del Nayar. They had been working at a school for Indian kids from the Tepeuano, Huichol, Cora, and Mexicanero tribes. They worked alongside the director, an elderly Franciscan monk who at that time had been in the mountains for 35 plus years. I sent them an email expressing my desire to work more with the Cora people and included an invitation to visit us anytime they were passing through.

Since our first meeting God has continued to allow us to work together in many different ways because of our shared passion for seeing God revealed among the Cora people. Now, as we are back in Mexico and gearing up to start a new work in the area around the Mesa, Tom and Collette are back at the school. Now that the Franciscan has passed away the school has been taken over by the Alumni group, directed by our friend Santos. The school still has its roots in the Catholic tradition, but they are open to our involvement. During our trip there last week, we were invited to share during their devotional times a 6am and again at 6pm. During our trip we were able to help out by painting in the dining hall, painting the exposed wood on the exterior of one of the buildings, and building a number of shelf units for the dormitories. Pastor Horacio, his son Alfredo and David Medina accompanied me on the trip.

Right now there are more than 100 students at the school, some of them live there full time since they come from as far away as Durango and Jalisco, and the rest return to their homes in La Mesa. This school really needs help financially. To adequately house, feed, and teach this many kids is not cheap, but if I understood Tom correctly, they are doing it now for about $500 a month. They really need closer to $1500 a month. If you would like to be a part of that work you can contact Tom and Collette at