31 Oct Denis Casco and Gary Brooks Hold El Paso Seminar
Gary Brooks, a UB minister living in Florida and a former UB missionary in Honduras, accompanied Mexico Conference’s bishop, Denis Casco (right), in conducting a seminar for the UB churches in El Paso, Texas. The conference was held October 13-15. Gary sent this report on October 27.
We had 25 students present for the seminars, which were held at the Sembrador Church in El Paso, where Roberto Espinoza is the pastor. Denis Casco and I shared teaching responsibilities on Friday and Saturday. I taught a series from the Gospel of John, concentrating on the last week of Jesus’ ministry on earth, and Denis taught classes on family and marriage relationships. At the conclusion of the seminar, Diplomas of Participation prepared by Denis were given out to the church workers who had attended all four sessions. We had 25 students present for the seminars.
On Sunday, Denis preached at the Sembrador Church. I was invited to speak at the Vida Grata Church in the suburbs east of El Paso. Fifteen people were present for the service. That evening, Roberto Salazar, Denis, and I crossed into Mexico for the evening service at the Juan 14:6 church in Juarez, Chihuahua. The brethren at that church presented a very good drama of the Great White Throne of Judgment (complete with sound and lighting effects). It was very well done, and quite effective. I preached a message from John 21. I counted 63 people in the service, and then stopped counting.
The brethren in our churches on both sides of the border seem to greatly appreciate the training they are receiving, and look forward to similar seminars in the future. I greatly admire the work Denis has done with these people. All three church buildings I saw were in various stages of construction. The brethren are investing their limited assets into their buildings. However, buildings are only one part of the need. Even more important is the continued education of church workers and regular contact with UB leaders and laymen to strengthen their ties with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.
I have now participated in five seminars in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez. Every visit leaves me feeling very isolated from both the rest of Mexico and the rest of the USA. Houston is a two-hour flight by jet from El Paso. While there, I feel as though I am on an island in the middle of a dehydrated ocean. In order to overcome this isolation from other UBers, more frequent supervisory visits would be helpful. These visits and seminars would require a commitment of energy and funds. We have qualified people ready to make that commitment, but funds are lacking.
Since the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez area is dominated by Spanish speaking people, anyone wishing to work there should be bilingual. We have a good start in the area. Five hundred thousand people live in El Paso, and over one million live in Juarez. I hope we continue to build on the good foundation we have built over the past few years.