Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
“When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah, what a Savior!”
The heat has caught up with us after a very warm winter, the hottest on record. It has been above 100 degrees for days. Since there is no rain, everything is extremely dry and easily catches fire. The wind caused a tree branch to touch the electric lines just outside of the Seminary and a spark landed on the grass and burned a large portion of it before it could be contained. Thankfully, no one was injured and the fire department was able to stop the fire before it reached the neighboring properties.
The School of Music is preparing for a 4-day music/liturgy conference to be held June 5th-8th with a 100-voice choir of current students and alumni. Graduation will follow on June 9th. We are praying there will be a larger incoming class in August. There were about 10 students who had expressed a desire to start their studies this year, however, when classes started in August there were only two new students in the School of Theology and none in the School of Music. The leading reason for this lack of enrollment is the declining economy that makes it difficult for students to pay tuition and living expenses while studying. The students who were able to enroll are from larger churches in cities where more jobs are available. The students from smaller villages and more remote areas are able to receive little, if any, financial support from their sending churches. The need for a scholarship fund to be set up through the Seminary is critical so that total or partial scholarships are able to be offered to those who need it. The lack of incoming students to the Seminary has put a tremendous strain on the Seminary. They are finding it difficult to pay teacher salaries, regular maintenance, and food for those who live on-campus. In addition to this, property taxes have tripled and have not been able to be paid since last year. The Seminary is facing a debt of about $15,000 USD in property taxes and fines, and we are seeking ways to pay it while helping to bring a long-term solution. We hope to start a regular scholarship fund that would enable students to enroll and finish their theological or music studies. The Seminary is also seeking legal status as a “religious, non-profit organization” in order to reduce their tax rates. Daniel’s church has been actively participating in this crisis. They have agreed to be a conduit for assistance sent to help cover the property taxes and/or to start a scholarship fund. The church will issue tax-deductible receipts without charging a handling fee. Gifts designated to this cause could be sent to: Covenant Presbyterian Church 2143 North Ballas Rd. St. Louis, MO 63131
On the memo line, please note that the gift is being sent for Merida, San Pablo.
We have enjoyed the visit of Dr. Will Ackles the past two months. He has been here teaching two courses at the Seminary and helping in so many ways- chauffeuring, preaching, and serving communion to remote village churches. Since I now only drive to places that are less than a mile from home, his willingness to take me to stores, banks and places I am not easily able to get to was so appreciated.
The choir presented the Easter Cantata “Hallelujah, Christ is Alive,” by John Peterson, in various churches near and far. I struggled to re-learn it because note-reading is practically impossible. A year from now, plans are being made to do a choir tour to the neighboring state of Chiapas (8-10 hrs. away) with the same cantata. I made the commitment to accompany the choir on that trip.
During the month of June I will be traveling to Michigan (June 10-19) and Pennsylvania (June 19-28) to visit supporting churches and friends. On July 15th, the camp Porvenir will celebrate 50 years at its present location. My son Daniel will be here with Alyssa, his 15 year-old daughter, as well as Mark and his family, and Debbie with hers. Daniel will be at home one week, and then a group of about 25 people from his church will be arriving to continue a construction project and assist with VBS in the village of Citilcum.
My life has been different this school year with no first year piano students to teach. It is amazing how quickly one’s schedule fills up, though, and my days have been filled with oversight of the house, preparing simple instant oatmeal or cereal breakfasts for the seminary students, caring for Diego and taking him to nursery school, setting up for the evening suppers of on-campus seminary students, going to choir practice twice a week, playing the piano at church and also visiting village congregations on weekends. Debbie continues teaching in Merida Christian School (homeschool co-op) in the mornings, at Schoolhouse teaching English in the afternoons, and preparing suppers for 11 students in the evenings. Mark’s church continues to grow. Ellie is doing well in her studies in PA, and John has joined a Bible School that meets at Mark’s church on Saturday mornings. Daniel and his family in St. Louis also stay busy with school and sports schedules for my three grandchildren: Alyssa, Caleb and Owen. Daniel serves on the missions committee and as an elder at his church. It is a joy to see God’s faithfulness to our children and their children, all serving Him through every activity in which they are involved.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of our arrival in Mexico in 1967. Looking back over the years, I can see how God has sustained His work here, and caused it to expand. We place in His hands the solution for the Seminary and Camp and the sudden rise in property taxes for both. We know His kingdom here in Yucatan is growing tremendously. To Him be the glory and praise.
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,
Jean (for the family)
If you would like to send a tax-deductible gift to our ministry (separate from those designated for the Seminary concerns I mentioned), please make your check out to SRMS with a note on the memo section and mail it to:
Son Raise Missionary Services
P.O. Box 43
Byron Center, MI 49315