5802 Bob Bullock Loop 20
Building C 18-102
Laredo TX, 78041
December 31, 2013
Yesterday’s high: 85˚
Last night’s low: 72˚
Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
Isaiah 43:1b-3 says “I have called you by your name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.”
As 2013 closes and a new year begins, I can only thank the Lord that He has been with us all this year, surrounding and supporting us with His love. It has been difficult for us to accept Dave’s absence and to learn to live without him. God understands our grief, because He, too, sent His only Son to be born, to live in our sinful world and die a criminal’s death. But He arose victorious, and so shall we.
The Synod celebration in November was well attended by over 5,000 Presbyterians. Daniel translated the attached newspaper article from the neighboring state of Quintana Roo. The governor of Yucatan, also a Presbyterian, spoke at the event and received a commemorative Bible gift. He remembered Dave and greeted me after the event. He also showed support of the seminary’s efforts by donating 30 laptop computers for the students’ use.
We have just completed the fall semester and have a break until January 20th. Debbie resumes classes on January 7th. She has one new student, a 10th grader. Her Merida Christian School job, combined with her other 2 afternoon teaching jobs, leave her with little free time. Her husband Rolando, who works for a state politician, is waiting to see if he will have work in January. There are several positions being cut and his may be one of them. Debbie’s mother-in-law is still with us, slowly learning to walk with a walker. Due to her therapy sessions and the instability caused by dementia, she is not yet able to return home, in the seaport of Progreso.
I was extremely happy on my last visit to Yalcoba. Many of you may remember the prayers we requested for a gentleman named Rodolfo who has struggled with his decision for Christ and his battle against alcohol. While visiting the congregation a couple weeks ago, Rodolfo, his wife and his nephew were leading the praise songs during the worship service. They have formed a praise team called “Nuevo Amanecer,” or “New Dawn/Beginning” in English. How joyful Dave would have been to see the way God is working in their lives. I pray they will be kept strong and continue to resist the temptations they face on a daily basis. Another believer there, Don Tino, is in a very difficult situation. He is blind, cannot work, and in one and a half years has lost his wife, sister, father and mother to various illnesses. His sister-in-law doesn’t want to “feed another mouth,” so we took him some non-perishable food items to keep at his house when no one gives him something to eat. Debbie and her students filled a large box of supplies for him, and when we went to Yalcoba she spoke with one of the elders at the church who will keep her informed of Don Tino’s needs and work with others in the church who are willing to help provide meals as able.
The SacBe Presbytery will meet January 6th through 9th in Tekax, nearly 2 hours away. Someone is driving me and my car full of Bibles and books to sell. I have sold quite a few this year in the villages I have visited and also at home to the seminary students and teachers. Mark hopes to set up a small bookstore in his church as well.
I continue to teach piano, play at church and accompany the choir, but my visual problems are an obstacle to my work. The Christmas cantata was one with which I was familiar, but I find it is difficult for my eyes to focus on new music. I had some back pain and the orthopedic surgeon who first operated on my back requested several x-rays. They showed I have severe scoliosis and degenerative osteoarthritis. I started new medication that has helped. I am doing well considering everything! I thank the Lord that I can continue to serve Him in spite of these physical limitations. Weddings, thanksgiving services, concerts and worship services are still a part of my weekends. I’m often looking for available chauffeurs when Debbie or Rolando aren’t able to take me.
Our lives have become more organized as new routines are established. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families here at the house. The Lord has supplied for our needs as He always has, and we are grateful He is an active part of our lives.
My son, Daniel, was here for a week of work helping me sort through some of Dave’s books and papers. It is difficult for me because I read so slowly. He will mail the snail-mail letters from St. Louis.
The whole family wishes you a blessed new year in which you grow to know the Lord better, through the circumstances He permits in your life. “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to give you a hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
Thanks for your prayers and your continued support.
Your servants for Jesus’ sake,
Jean (for the family)
P.S. Any gifts to the seminary or our ministry may be sent to:
P.O. Box 43
Byron Center, MI 49315
Please make your check out to The Magi and include a note on the memo section indicating the designation of your gift.
COPY OF ATTACHED NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
The Great Absentee
A few days ago, in the city of Mérida, Yucatán, the Synod of the Peninsula of Yucatan which is part of the National Presbyterian Church celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Synod’s president was the reverend David B. Legters M., who a few months ago was called to the presence of the Lord. “Bito”, as he liked to be called, did much mission work in the Maya zone. He spent his childhood in Xocempich, where he proudly said he was from many times. In the community of Tabi, the place where his father finished the Maya translation of the New Testament, he gave a vibrant sermon just days before passing away. He talked about his remembrances there not knowing that it would be his last sermon in that region.
“Bito”, according to pastor Salvador Chan, was very much looking forward to the 25th anniversary service of the Synod. He was not able to fulfill his dream in life, though surely there in heaven, next to his Lord, he felt the emotion as he contemplated his brothers leading the festivities of the anniversary of the Synod that he so much loved and inspired. “Bito” was without doubt the great absentee and the one who many friends remembered dearly and affectionately as an example of tenacity and perseverance in the work of the Lord.
David Brainerd Legters Jr. was born in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, on the 19th of September, 1937. His mother, Elva McMahon, had been ill and gave birth at John Hopkins hospital, where she had studied nursing. From 1920-1933, his grandfather, Leonard Livingston Legters, had made trips looking for groups who would need the Bible in their own language. This was part of the early beginnings of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, of which he and Reverend Cameron Townsend were founders. When he arrived in Yucatan, he found a Presbyterian church with a great need. In 1935, his son Brainerd (Don David; Bito’s dad) came to live in Xocempich and dedicated his life to being a pioneer missionary, translating the New Testament into the Maya language with his wife, Elva. “Bito” grew up in Xocempich and Carrillo Puerto (Chan Santa Cruz) learning to speak Maya, English, and later Spanish. He was homeschooled through middle school and then headed to the United States. In the US he finished High School, College, and a Masters of Divinity from Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). He never forgot his Mayan roots and he always desired to return and help the church in southern Mexico.
In 1962 he married Jean Edwards in the city of Detroit. They lived five years in Philadelphia, where he was studying, working, and looking for God’s will to direct him back to Yucatan. In July 1967, while waiting for the arrival of their first son, Mark, they felt the Lord’s call and they left bringing only what could fit in their car. After much prayer, God allowed him to enter the area of Theological Education. He had seen the great need of pastors to lead many different congregations. In 1968 he began the “Itinerant Theological Institute” which eventually had 25 different extension centers using some leaders of the Church as teachers. In 1973 he was invited to be president of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Mexico City. While there, two more children arrived, Daniel and Debbie. Returning to Yucatan in 1976 (Rev. Saul Tijerina had accepted to be the president) he was invited by the Gulf Synod to form a seminary for the southeast region. In September 1982, San Pablo Seminary in Merida, Yucatan, opened its doors and five years later the Sacred Music School was established. He was the first president and he taught many of the classes since there were few others adequately prepared to do it.
His vision was to translate materials from English to Spanish since there were not many theology materials in Spanish. He was elected to several positions in the Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly. He was part of many committees, including ones for the Hymnbook, the Constitution, and the Book of Church Order for the National Presbyterian Church. He was ordained in the Mayab Presbytery in 1970 where he pastored many congregations until he helped establish the SacBe Presbytery which ministers mainly in areas where Maya is still spoken. His greatest joy was to visit towns far removed from the city of Merida who needed pastoral help. For him, no place was too far. He was invited to be conference speaker in many different places in Mexico and Latin America.
His favorite hymn was #503—“Al servicio siempre estoy de mi Señor, dueño es él de mi existencia” (I’m always in the service of my Lord, He is the owner of my existence). He always said that the Lord called him to serve Him, not to retire. With tireless devotion he was teacher at the San Pablo Seminary, pastor and translator. His life was characterized by his integrity, his humility, his love for all, and his joy. He gave thanks in all circumstances and he found joy in his Lord. His life was completely dedicated to the Lord, a man of God. He was called into the presence of God on the 22nd of March, 2013. We can hear the voice of the Lord saying: “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your master”-Matthew 25:21.