Nielsen Family Autumn Update
Happy Thanksgiving! Our wish that you this weekend is that you find yourself surrounded by loved ones, carried by grace, and resting in the assurance of God’s promises. Though the world around us may shake and tremble like a falling leaf, God’s Word is sure and settled in the heavens!
The verse that is burning in my heart as I write is Psalm 84:11-12…
“For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. The Lord bestows favor and honor; he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. O Lord who rules over all, how blessed are those who trust in you!” (NET)
These are challenging times. Rising inflation, climbing interest rates, worldwide food shortages and skyrocketing energy costs have caused families across the world to buckle their seatbelts. The hardest hit, as always, are those with a fixed or limited income. Living in Mexico as missionaries, we fall into this category.
In order to meet this challenge, Stasia and I made the prayerful decision in June to allow her to return to the states to work for a season. This was not an easy decision for either of us, as you can imagine, but one we knew had to be made. In years past, when the need arose to supplement our ministry, I was the one to leave the family and work. This time, at the Lord’s leading, Stasia is standing in the gap—drawing blood as a phlebotomist at Baptist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Ella is with her, working, studying and preparing for college. They are staying with our daughter Lauren and her husband. Stasia is working long and hard and prayers are appreciated!
I (John) remain here in Mexico with Noah and Destiny, who after spending a few weeks in leadership development with YWAM in Hawaii, has come home to spend quality time with her Dad and little brother before returning to Albania next summer to begin serving long-term with a local church network there. Stasia will be making regular visits to Chapala to visit us as her schedule permits. We had a wonderful reunion earlier this month and we look forward to her next visit!
Destiny, Noah and I have been experiencing amazing times of fellowship, prayer and worship together. I feel so blessed to have such dedicated young kingdom spark plugs to hang out with every day! Both these kids are on fire for God and so full of love for His Word, it blows my mind! The Lighthouse Prayer Network has never burned so bright as it burns right now. When we go for walks to the Lake, it is commonplace for Destiny to stop and open up conversations with random people who when they see her, they will open up with a smile, listen attentively, and when the encounter is finished (sometimes 15-20 minutes later), they will give her a big hug. A few days later, on the bus, someone will shout her name in greeting because they remember when they had spoken in the street.
The Mexican people here are so open hearted–quick to reciprocate if you show a gesture of kindness to them.
Noah and I shared the Gospel with an 88 year old man, Jack, who we regularly see taking a morning walk along the lakeside. While he didn’t receive Christ on the spot, he listened intently, and we know the good seed went into his heart. Noah has him on his prayer list. Please pray for Jack, that he will be ready to meet His Maker when that day comes.
Recently the Mexican community here celebrated the Day of the Dead, which is a joyful celebration honoring ancestors who have gone before, not a focus on ghosts and goblins. Destiny set up a meeting place on our front patio for a couple of hours with a sign offering prayer, along with a bucket for prayer requests. She collected about a dozen prayer requests from passers-by, and was able to engage in some great conversations!
The Mexican people are woven together tightly by family bonds and a strong commitment to tradition. The role of the Catholic church in this regard has had a deep and lasting effect.
Called to Stand In the Gap
The enemy will always seek to “steal, kill and destroy” and his prime target will always be the youngest and most vulnerable among us. What we have witnessed in the United States in recent months, with the revelation of the normalization of the trans-sexual movement in our schools, Disney and elsewhere, is shocking, and should move us all the prayer and God inspired action. Anyone who has followed my ministry from the early days would know that a theme of my sermons and activities has been to expose the work of the enemy in targeting the youth of our generation. Years ago I read the book “Devil Take the Youngest” by Winkie Pratney and it lit a fire in my heart to stand in the gap in pray and use my voice to get others to do so. The trans-gender movement is only one dimension in a multi-faceted attack upon our young people—which also includes abortion and human trafficking. What was once merely tolerated, now has become championed and if the enemy has his way it will become mandated. Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. We must be willing to stand up and speak out and cry out to God for our generation.
Ezekiel 22:30 says “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
Edmund Burke echoed this during the American Revolution when he said “All that is necessary for evil to triumph in the land is for good men to do nothing.”
A word from Isaiah the prophet stands as a promise to be claimed by Christians today:
“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins in
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:12
They who have an ear, let him hear what the Sprit is saying to the church!
Lighthouse Prayer Network Sends First Missionary in 2023!
I am really excited about the vision God has put in Destiny’s heart to serve in Albania. She received a heartfelt invitation from Pastor Kristian and his family to come and launch a woman’s ministry in this needy country. Albania is an “unreached” nation bordering the 10/40 window. As a father, it makes me proud that Destiny is answering the call to GO with the Gospel and serve with all her heart. She wanted me to include this message:
“The harvest is ripe and the workers are few. For me, this is the true call of the wild: to live for Christ and not to die in vain. As Christmas draws near, I ask that each one of you pray with me as I launch out, long-term, to Albania. This is something I have been praying into fervently and I have weighed the cost. My plans are to leave in August, 2023.”
We want to thank you for praying for our family and ministry. May the Lord Bless and Keep you…
In His Mighty Grip,