Tuesday, June 29, 2010

God is Good--A New Direction in Ministry!

God is good, and His Grace incomparable. The Lord has confirmed our call to ministry and missions time and again through the passing years...and He has done so yet again. This week, the John Wesley Methodist Seminary named Jon as Academic Dean of the seminary! We give thanks to God for this incredible opportunity as God has once again "enlarged our borders" of ministry, and we give thanks to God for the great confidence that the leadership of the seminary and the Eastern Annual Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico has placed in Jon. We ask for your prayers--that we will continue to serve with grace and love, and that Jon can provide the guidance, stability and leadership so important in this position.

We give thanks yet again this day for all of you who support this ministry through your prayers and your gifts. Again, the Lord has decided to multiply the bread and fish...in that your gifts and prayers for our ministry now affect and touch even more lives--the more than 300 students at the Seminary! God is good...and His Grace is incomparable!

L-R: Former Director, Pastor Antonio Aguiña, Jon and New Director, Rev. Marco Antonio Martinez

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

...And Back Again!

I know, I know...SOO confusing!!  When will we just stay in one place...virtually speaking.  Well, there were things we wanted to do with this blog, but couldn't do.  Now, Google has made it easy to do what we wanted to do in the beginning, so we're BACK to this page! 

Thank you for your patience...and we hope to never move again!! ha, ha... (Virtually speaking!)

More later...

Don't Miss This!!!

Here is a wonderful video that was produced by one of the churches we work with.  You'll be able to see and enjoy a bit of the Youth Camp that we did in May.  You'll catch glimpses of the J.A.M. here and there through the video...and there is even an interview with Megan towards the end.  Enjoy!!


Jon, Jeanne, and the J.A.M...

Communion Sunday -- June 6th

Yesterday, Sunday the 6th, we were with the people at La Roca Methodist Church in Monterrey.  This is the congregation with whom we worshiped when we first arrived in Monterrey almost two years ago.  The pastor, Mari Gonzalez, was off to her annual conference, so she asked me (Jon) to fill in for her.  Since it was Communion Sunday for this congregation, I decided to preach on "communion"...that pesky little passage in I Cor.11 that talks about taking the Lord's Supper "in an unworthy manner."  There is a lot confusion on this passage...on both sides of the border!

We had a lively service...almost an hour of music, testimonies and Scripture readings.  Then came time for the sermon.  After reading the passage, I talked about people who have been considered worthy or unworthy in various settings.  One example was how the Methodist movement was birthed in part due to people being deemed unworthy (dirty, uneducated, lower-class) to enter the clean church of the privileged and well-educated.  How did Wesley respond?  He took the Gospel to the people...in the streets, in fields...wherever people were. 

As we moved towards as understanding of who is worthy or not worthy...or who comes to the Table in a worthy or unworthy manner, I told the story of the Greek philosopher, Socrates, and his encounter at the Oracle at Delphi.  Upon asking the Oracle who the wisest man is the world is, Socrates was amazed to hear the Oracle respond, "Why, you are the wisest of all."  Socrates returned with, "But I know nothing...,"  and the Oracle responded, "Ah, but you are the only one who is aware that you know nothing!"  So, the wisest person is the one who is aware he really knows nothing.

And, you may have already made the leap for our situation in Scripture.  To be sure, the church at Corinth had some messed up practices when it came to celebrating the Lord's Supper.  But, how do we apply this passage in the here and now of today?  How do we understand what it means to come to the Lord's Table in an unworthy manner?  After some 17 years of  ministry, and after a LOT of discussions and personal research and reflection, I think I might have hit upon an answer.  We come to the table in an unworthy manner when we approach the table thinking we're worthy!  If we think we're worthy, if think we are "in"...we are instantly unworthy and undeserving.  Only when we recognize that we are completely unworthy, only when we see clearly that we are absolutely undeserving...only then can we approach the Table in a worthy manner.

After the service, as I was speaking to people as they left, a young woman has hanging back a bit, obviously waiting until the crowds had passed.  She stepped up to me with tears in her eyes, took both of my hands and told me, "I had not taken communion for over a year because I have never felt worthy.  I even planned at the beginning of the service to sneak out during the prayer after the sermon.  But, you spoke to me today.  Today, finally, I understood and I received communion.  Thank you, Pastor, thank you so much." 

A whole year??  Can you imagine feeling so completely cut-off from God?  So worthless?  So unacceptable?  In recognizing her unworthiness, she was able to come to the Table of the One who had paid the price for her sins, the One who wants more than anything else to reconcile us to God.

I, for one, am so glad that we are part of the Wesleyan tradition...a tradition in which we recognize that the Lord's Table really is the LORD'S Table--not mine, not the church's...the Lord's.  I don't have to protect, guard it or anything...it's not mine.  My task is to provide the bread and cup...remind those present of what it is we are doing and why (remembering the Lord's death until He comes)...and to serve it to all who come to receive.  I know...I know...I have a lot of good friends from other traditions and denominations that have various..."ideas"...about how it ought to be done--only certain people, only people of a particular age,...some even go so far as to say only people of a particular denomination or only the local church.  However, in all honesty, I can find no where in Scripture where there is any regulation or limitation more than this--"in an unworthy manner."  Would the same Jesus who rebuked his disciples for keeping away the children really keep those children from the food of His Table?  Would the one who shared His bread with the very one who would betray Him really say to any other sinner, "Stay away!"?? 

One young lady went away rejoicing on Sunday...because she was welcomed home after a long time away, because she realized that above everything else, the Lord hopes to see in us a humility that recognizes our need for God and our reliance on Him.  How did the psalmist put it?  A broken and contrite heart?

I hope you had a blessed day of rest and worship this weekend.  Take care...and may you know God's blessings each day!


Honors and Science Fair (May 28, 2010)

While Andrew attends el Instituto Laurens, he goes to "the other" campus, the Misiones campus.  Let me tell you a little about what that means for our 13-year-old son.

In order to get to school at the Misiones campus on time, Andrew has to get up early.  Each morning, Andrew gets himself up at 5:45 a.m....jumps into his uniform and gets his own breakfast.  One of us gets us shortly after to make his lunch and make sure all is well before he walks out the door at 6:10 a.m.  From the house, Andrew walks some four or five blocks up to the main road behind our community to catch the city bus.  He takes the city bus to the main Laurens campus (where Jeanne teaches and Jesse attends classes.)  Once there, a school van leaves that campus at 7:00 a.m. sharp...in order to have those student and teacher-riders to the Misiones campus on-time for 8:00 a.m. classes.  Can you imagine??  Andrew has been doing this for a year-and-a-half!!  And, of course, getting home takes all this time as well...but he usually has Jeanne or Jesse to ride home with from the main campus as they finish up classes about 20 minutes before his van get back over....

So, he's a determined young fellow...and a very good student.  In photos below, you get to see how Andrew is doing with his schooling...in spite of the somewhat difficult time he has getting to and from school!

Our handsome son...on honors day....

Yep, that's our son, Andrew Sean Herrin Adkins (always TWO last names here!), 3rd in his class!!

  And, for their annual science fair, Andrew and his team showed how to charge an iPod with an onion and Gatorade.  Here, Andrew explains the science of electrolytes and all that stuff I don't understand!

The grand display...complete with onion soaking in Gatorade...and the usb cable for iPod!

Andrew here with some of his classmates....

As much as we are here to share the love and knowledge of God with others, it is a double joy to see our children growing and flourishing for their experiences in this culture and world.  Please continue to pray for them as they face challenges and changes.

Language Fair at Instituto Laurens (May 28, 2010)

Do you remember the fun of language fairs in high school??  All the foods...the pictures...and the joyous atmosphere??  Well, things were no different at El Instituto Laurens on the 28th of May when they held their annual language fair.
Instituto Laurens in a Methodist-related institution here in Monterrey, complete with pre-school, primary school, secondary school, high school...and even a bachelor's degree program for those wanting to be bilingual teachers.  All of the Herrin children have been students there...and Jeanne has taught in both the primary school and in the high school.  This year, Jeanne has been teaching English and reading at the high school level, and in just two short weeks, Jesse will be graduating (2nd in her class!!!) from the high school.
Below, enjoy the sights of the language fair...and use your imagination to savor the sounds and flavors.  Oh, and so you know, Jeanne worked with students who represented English-speaking countries (England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales).  Jesse was in the French world, representing one of the sections of Paris...

Here, Jesse gives the welcome speech in French as the fair kicks off....

Jeanne (Maestra Lía) with some of her high-school students.

Jon gets to sample the "hacis parmentier"...made from scratch by Jesse and Edgar (L).

Megan came to the fair to be with friends as well...and to take pix! 

Jeanne with some of her "camera-shy" students (NOT!)....

Thank you for all you do...for your prayers and gifts--both of which keep the ministry alive and effective here in Mexico!

A Great Semester...of High School!! (from May 2010)

Well, the semester of teaching at the high school comes to a close.  It was a hard semester in many ways...mainly because I over-extended myself.  I guess those human tendencies of ours don't disappear when we move to another country, another culture.  However, in spite of difficulties, I must say..."WOW...what a semester!"
I had 80 students...all high-school juniors.  And, they were incredible for the most part.  These kids are in the "bi-cultural" program, so that means that they are all functioning in English in my class...and none of them are native speakers! 
So, I taught them English--mainly working on their writing and spoken communication skills.  But, there was a whole lot more than English going on!  As I shared with them, talked with them and listened to them, several of them opened up their lives to me.  Several of the young ladies are voracious readers--something VERY uncommon in this culture.  In fact, so uncommon that their parents ridicule them for reading too much.  One of the girls has to hide her books so that her parents won't take them from her.  Can you imagine such a thing??  This group of readers--who informed me one day that they are now my "adopted daughters"--have become good friends with my Jesse and Megan...and have gone out with them, and aven to the church youth group.  Wow!
Then there is young man whose parents are very successful...but never home, never around.  He came to "hang" with me between all his classes...a lonely fellow in need of a friend.  This young man is a kind and gentle fellow...not fitting in with all the "macho" guys who are sports nuts.  So, we are now friends.  I listen to him and hear the cry in his voice for affirmation, for acceptance, for friendship.  I'm happy to be that friend and to encourage him day by day....
By the end of the semester, I was ready for the end...but I couldn't have guess how it would end!  I gave three final exams for the three classes, and at the end of each exam, almost all of the students came to me...turned in their exam...and hugged me and thanked me for being a wonderful teacher!!  Can you imagine???  These 17- and 18-year old young men and young women...hugging their teacher??  WOW!!  I have to say it again!!  WOW!!  And, a couple of the guys...the GUYS..were teary-eyed to say good-bye. 
I guess we never know what happens behind the doors of homes, or away from where the world sees.  It seems to be that there is a huge need for people to be loved and accepted for who they are.  Too often people want to "fix" everyone around (a tendency we all have, I think...), but what I've learned again this semester is that often people simply need to be accepted, befriended and loved.  I have to say "Thank you" to my high school students for sharing their lives and making this aspect of life here in Mexico another extension of ministry.  Until next semester!!

Jon's Second Hour group...

Jon's Third Hour group....

Jon's Fifth Hour group...

A Gift that Keeps on Giving... (from May 2010)

This week, we were able to help Gainesville First UMC deliver a gift that will keep on giving.  Each year Gainesville First UMC has a "Great Day of Service," and this year they put together a gift of BIBLES for the students here at el Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley. 
While books are relatively inexpensive in the US, and easy to come by, here in Mexico and in most of Latin America, books are very costly...almost twice the cost of books in the US!  Because of that, most Latinos don't have four or five translations of the Bible lying around the house!  When they have ONE Bible, it is a precious thing to them...and they care for it.  So, when GFUMC determined to send us Bibles--in a modern translation--for the students of the seminary, they may or may not have realized what a gift they were sending!!
We've had the joy of putting those Bibles in the hands of our students...and we know that this gift well help the future pastors and teachers, missionaries and church-workers, to better prepare their sermons, develop Bible studies and even share the faith.
Thank you, Gainesville First UMC!!!  Your gift--in the hands of 62 seminary students--will go on to affect and touch lives for years to come!

2010-05-01 004
¡Maestros!: The Story of the Bible--a course for seminary students and laity....

Methodist Theology class....

All of the students at the seminary are receiving these Bibles (in fact, bi-lingual NT/Ps/Pr)...which will help them in their required English courses...and the alternative Spanish translation (NVI) will help them in their Biblical studies courses.
Again, we thank you, Gainesville First!  May the Lord bless you...as you have blessed so many here!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Visit our New Blog Site....

Remember, we are now blogging at another site...and we have at least three new blog-articles that we've put up recently.  Catch up with us at: