Thank you, to all who had a part in making our trip to Monclova, Mexico a success last week. Several contributed sums of money to aid the brethren in the Veteranos congregation in acquiring materials to build pews for their church building, while others contributed funds, clothing, and other items for various other needs among the saints there. Your generosity is very greatly appreciated, and members of the Veteranos congregation send you their love and expressions of gratitude.
Our team of workers consisted of Fernando Mesa, who coordinated all the details, and functioned as chauffeur/translator in Mexico; Debbie and Heather Hamilton, and Kia Dickens, who worked with the ladies and children, encouraging them much; and Dave Rogers. Fernando and Dave taught and preached all the lessons on Sunday, encouraging the Veteranos church to be strong and remain true to the teaching of the gospel.
The main object of our trip was to provide information and act as "resources" for the brethren in Northern Mexico. During last summer’s mission trip, our team of workers encountered members of the Oak Hills Church of San Antonio in Monclova. These individuals were working with another congregation there (there are 13 congregations in Monclova). In addition to renovating and beautifying that congregation’s building, these people were teaching the preacher and members there to extend Christian fellowship to all the various denominations, and to use instrumental music in their worship. When challenged about their practices (both in Monclova and in San Antonio), they denied that there was anything questionable or unscriptural in their actions, and denied that their teachings were causing confusion or division among Christians in either country.
The result of their teaching in Monclova was dissension and unrest among the congregations, where unity and peace had previously reigned. Through the subsequent five months, faithful brethren have struggled to determine both where this congregation was "headed," and how best to contend with their influence. In the meantime, the preacher for the digressive congregation contended that "We Mexican Christians really don’t have any choice in the matter, we just have to accept whatever teaching the Americans bring, in order to get them to bring us ’stuff.’" Naturally, the rest of the brethren were very distressed by this materialistic attitude.
The main result of our presence in Monclova was a meeting on Monday morning with most of the preachers and many of the brethren from Monclova and surrounding areas (there was also a group who came all the way from the Preaching School in Torréon). Reyes Rosis, the preacher for the Veteranos church, had invited brethren from the entire state of Coahuila to come together and consult with us about this problem, and a total of about 40 people, including about 15 area preachers, were present. The brother who preaches for the digressive congregation in Monclova was invited, but did not attend.
Fernando reviewed the experiences of the workers last summer, and I followed his remarks with a synopsis of the information which has been widely circulated in this country, in newspapersand various magazines, about changes in doctrine and practice which have occurred at the Oak Hills church in San Antonio. Copies of articles documenting these changes were provided. These brief comments were followed by a period of questions concerning both the digressive church in Monclova, and also the changes in doctrine and practice which have occurred in San Antonio. This Q & A session lasted about three hours.
At the end of this session (which concluded with an excellent luncheon for all concerned), the Mexican brethren came to a consensus about how to approach the digressive preacher and congregation, with the goal of trying to restore them. While the result of their effort still remains to be seen, we are confident that the bulk of the churches in Monclova and Coahuila State will remain sound in the faith, and will continue to reach out to their communities with the pure message of salvation. We are currently planning for an evangelistic campaign in Monclova in November, 2005: Begin making plans now, if you are interested in participating!