I first met Pastor Livil Antonio Cruz in April, 2012 when the Lord led our church, Community CRC from Fort Wayne, Indiana to partner with the El Potrero CRC congregation located in rural Olancho, Honduras with the World Renew Ministry Partnership Program which connects your church to World Renew’s work in a specific country. The main objective of our first mission team was to form a relationship with the El Potrero CRC church, to deepen our unity as Christians, and to equip each other to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord decided to unite our bond of friendship quickly by having the El Potrero church building literally blow down during a severe storm a month before our scheduled visit in 2012. The El Potrero church family had no church building, just an empty lot where an adobe brick building used to stand.
When the Community CRC mission team arrived in El Potrero (April, 2012), we worshipped together on the empty church lot where the local church building had once stood. The two church families slowly began to get to know each other, enjoyed worshipping together and visiting with each other in the community. We also joined the El Potrero CRC community with excavating the ground and developing the foundation for a new church building. We left them and began praying that the Lord would raise the funds needed to not only build their church but also raise funds for a medical cabinet, provide pilas (outdoor sinks) for four families in the village, and provide school and church supplies.
Our Community CRC Council and church family began to pray for the Lord to raise these funds and help minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ at the El Potrero CRC church in Honduras. A team of three people from Community CRC returned for their second trip to El Potrero, Honduras on April 12-20, 2013. God was able to do far more than all we asked or imagined. We were blessed to take part with their dedication service of the new El Potrero CRC church building. At the dedication service, we were blessed to hear how the Lord was able to raise the funds for their new church building through many different believers from the El Potrero and Fort Wayne church families.
Pastor Livil also shared how the Lord challenged them to build a church building that would hold over two hundred people even though their church has only seventy-eighty people. He looked at me and asked me: “I have prayer request for you, will you commit this year to pray that each El Potrero church member would go out into the community and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others in their community and they would go to their neighboring community with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Will you commit this year to pray for God to answer this petition?” I replied, “I will pray that under one condition-that you will pray the same for Community CRC church family in Fort Wayne. Will you pray that the Lord will raise up workers for the harvest field from our church (Matthew 9:35-38) and that the Lord would add to our number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47)? Pastor Livil gave me a big smile and a hug as we realized we were partnering to help each other build the church of Jesus Christ worldwide.
We returned from our trip to El Potrero with a realization that we went to minister to them but the blessing we received from our brothers and sisters in Christ was far greater. The World Renew partnership we made with the El Potrero CRC changed us in ways we did not expect. After our second trip, the Community CRC Council renewed ourselves to the task of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples who can make disciples. We decided the church mission theme for the year would be from Matthew 4:19, “Come follow Me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Lord answered their prayers for the “Lord to raise up workers for the harvest field from our church and that the Lord would add to our number daily those who were being saved” for Community CRC in amazing ways. We began to plan our next Community CRC mission next trip to El Potrero for the first week of April in 2014.
We returned to El Potrero in April 2014 with the goal of helping them build a water tank (developing a new water source for the El Potrero Community), showing the Jesus film in the community, teaching a children’s ministry and deepening our bonds of unity as partnering churches. We opened the Sunday worship service as we celebrated together all the good things the Lord has done in our lives and churches. I preached from Matthew 4:19 and I shared our much the Lord has answered their prayers for Community CRC family by blessing us with many salvations and by raising up workers for the harvest field in our church and in the CRC. As I preached on Matthew 4:19, I began to share the stories of these new salvations that the Lord has brought to the Community CRC family. I shared these new testimonies of these new professions from Jon, Huei, Rikia, Kayla, Matthew, Erica, Tazz, Montana, Sherry, Scott, Demarcus, Damieon, Chad, Zach, Katrina and Tyler who are now a part of the Community CRC family. I also shared how the Lord led Community CRC to put together the Go and Tell evangelism seminar. Go and Tell is an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) based on the Heidelberg Catechism. The Go and Tell seminar provides believers with the tools to “be active in sharing your faith” (Philemon 6) with others. The Go and Tell seminar (video, booklet, testimonials, etc…) is now available for free on the Community CRC web site at www.fortwaynecrc.com
After I concluded the Matthew 4:19 sermon with the stories of our new salvations and the workers being raised up through the prayers of the saints from the El Potrero CRC Church, we presented a banner to them to thank them for their prayers and to remind them that our task is not completed until Jesus comes back. I will forever remember Pastor Livil’s response after the sermon and the presentation of the Matthew 4:19 banner.
He jumped up out of his seat and he called out for all the new believers who have joined the church since Community CRC last visited El Potrero to come up to the pulpit area. I was rejoicing when I saw a dozen people come forward and hear Pastor Livil proclaim, “The Lord has also heard your prayers and He has added salvations to the El Potrero CRC church family.” I am so thankful that the Lord led Community CRC to partner with the El Potrero CRC Church in Honduras through World Renew and I am so glad I added “on one condition” to Pastor Livil’s prayer request, that they would pray for us to follow Jesus and become fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).