All Posts by Jared Bishop

Giving Tuesday Garden

We are gearing up for one of the most important fundraising opportunities of the year: Giving Tuesday 2021.

 This November 30th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we’ll be asking for your support as we continue to strengthen the Mexican church through a creative, practical, and sustainable initiative.

In recent years, we’ve taken steps to reduce machine usage on the ranch by bringing in sheep to keep the weeds at bay. We’ve also reduced kitchen costs by raising chickens for access to wonderfully fresh eggs. The next step in our sustainable ministry ecosystem efforts is a sheltered produce garden.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing our vision for the garden: what it will look like, who will benefit, and introducing you to our resident “crazy plant person” who will be responsible for the project.

Our goal is big: $20,000. We are setting the bar high this year; $1.00 donated 20,000 times, four $5k donors, or anything in between. We believe in a big God!

Please mark your calendar, spread the word, and stay tuned for more details on how you can partner with us. We humbly ask you to consider choosing Agua Viva as an organization to donate to this Giving Tuesday!  

Click the following link to give online now: Please select “Garden” as your designation or mail a check payable to Agua Viva Ministries to 340 W 26th St. Ste. K, National City, CA 91950 with a Post-It marked “Garden!” so we are sure to direct your gift to this special Giving Tuesday fund.

Early Start On Thanksgiving

Every Wednesday morning we start off the work day with a staff devotional time. This week we took the devotional time to get an early start on Thanksgiving and share things we are thankful for. As we went around the room tears started flowing and each person opened up about their struggles, but how much they have to be thankful for even in the midst of those struggles. 

Our newest volunteer shared how worried she was that she wouldn't be accepted, but on arriving she realized that she was loved and received like a member of the family. Another shared her gratitude that after a difficult diagnosis and a rough pandemic, her father was healthy and active again. A few of our staff members are also pastors, and one shared how worried he was when he felt God calling him to pastor—how he didn't think he'd have enough bandwidth for the church members. He shared how grateful he is that God has been providing him with a capacity for love greater than what he ever expected, and how new church members are arriving each week.

Some of the stories our staff members shared are almost too heavy to bear, but together we were able to recognize God's hand sustaining each of us, and there is no better reason to give thanks. What a beautiful time to share each other's burdens, cry together, and give credit to the author of our faith for his generosity and love. What about you? What struggles have you been facing lately, and how have you been able to give thanks even in the midst of those trials? We're rolling into November with an attitude of thanks, and we invite you into thankfulness with us!

Breakfast With The Board

Enjoying a cool autumn morning with coffee and "pan dulce" around the chimney, singing worship together in English and Spanish, opening the day with a devotional word and breakfast. This weekend was the first time in two years we've been able to do these things we love together as a staff with our board of directors. 

This last Friday and Saturday while the board was praying, in meetings, touring the ranch, and helping guide Agua Viva Ministries, we made sure to set apart a time of fellowship with the staff. Over the years we've seen the importance of connecting the boots on the ground with the heads of the ministry, the decision makers. We are thankful for the group of men and women—both Mexican and American—that make up the board and take the time to keep Agua Viva accountable and centered; both spiritually and pragmatically. 

Even though not every board member could be here in person, we're thankful for those who joined via Zoom too 😉  (you missed out on an incredible breakfast, but we hope to worship with you in person this coming spring at the next board meeting!).

Back From Vizcaíno

"Right before we left at the end of the week, I saw people crowding around the van. I asked one of my teammates, 'What are we giving away?' thinking maybe food or toys, but he told me no, 'They want more Bibles...'" Nayeli, Marbelidia, and Ricardo sat down to share with us their experience in the agricultural fields of Vizcaíno, and for all three, their main surprise was just how hungry people were for the word of God. "We were able to connect with people almost instantly, some people had been in churches before and wanted materials in their language, and others were hearing about Jesus for the first time and wanted a Bible."

For almost all of the 10 students that went, it was their first mission trip, and an eye-opening experience. They visited the temporary homes of the migrant workers to listen to them and pray with them. Nayeli was taken aback by how most people she spoke with just needed a listening ear, and how hearing their stories opened the door to share the good news. For the workers that don't speak Spanish, they had audio Bibles and worship songs in several dialects so that each person could hear the Word of God in their mother tongue.

"The transformation on their faces when they heard their own language, they would just light up," Ricardo told us. In the last blog post we mentioned that this trip would be planting the seeds for missionary hearts in our students, and these seeds are the realizations our students came to on the trip: people are hungry for the Word of God, people want to be heard and experience Christian community, and people love hearing good news in their native language. 

What an incredible experience for these students! We know that the impact of their weeklong trip might seem small, but what God did in their hearts will continue to draw them to the mission field, will drive them to learn new languages, and will eventually lead to a Mexico transformed by the love of Jesus. 

Mission Trip To Vizcaíno

You enter a large, open area, and you hear different languages you've never heard before, new vowels, new intonations; ...6...7...8 different dialects. Is it the tower of Babel? Not quite, it's an agricultural field, smack in the middle of the Baja Peninsula, Vizcaíno. Migrant workers from all over Mexico gather in a large complex to work in the fields and live here for a time before moving to the next job. Several of Mexico's 300+ languages are spoken here, and for many families, communication with others is difficult if not impossible, as they do not speak Spanish.

Currently 10 students from the Ministry Training Institute are on a mission trip to the fields of Vizcaíno with a ministry called "Buenas Nuevas." Buenas Nuevas produces audio Bibles in Mexico's indigenous languages and distributes them to migrant workers. Our students will be doing programs, games, and classes for the children in Vizcaíno, but will also be trained in "language diagnosis" to get the adult workers audio Bibles in the correct language, their own native tongue.

Let's pray that God uses our students for his kingdom this week. For many of them this is their first mission trip, and for many of them it will be a turning point in which they realize they can be missionaries. This trip will be a catalyst for our students to hear God's call to the nations...within their own nation! 

Currently our students are out of service range, or just too busy serving; but when they return we hope to have photos for you from Vizcaíno!