(Jesus said) "Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:13
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our international ministry centers to write our Sunday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Matamoros, Mexico, shares a border with Brownsville, Texas.
It's a place many people consider to be too dangerous to live in, or even visit. That may be true, but it is also a place which has been blessed by the grace of God. In Matamoros, LHM has begun a "BREAD" project which provides spiritual and physical dinners once a week for a group of 60 to 70 people.
More than half of those people live on the streets and almost all of them have some kind of special need. Some are under the influence of alcohol or drugs; some are people deported from the USA and have nobody to help them on this side of the border. Of special interest, is the fact we see people from all ages attending the service.
It matters little if they are 17 or 84; they are all in need of a word of salvation and love.
It's amazing the way God works. We see Him showing people they are wanted by Him, even though they may feel forgotten and ignored by society. This process begins when the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sins, and they recognize it is impossible for them to win forgiveness for themselves.
But that discouraging and damning truth is totally changed when they are called to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The knowledge that Jesus has paid the ransom price for all of us on the cross and in His resurrection has given us eternal life is wonderful hope for these folks, who wonder where there next meal is going to come from.
At our BREAD dinner there are those who just come for the free food, but there are also those who skip the dinner because they have just come to hear the Word of God. The end result is that some who once came drunk are now sober because the Lord has worked through His Holy Word. Wandering young people have found the Way in Jesus; the elderly, wanting a refreshing word, have had their thirst quenched, and people who feel alone in a city without family and friends have received the Gospel, which has introduced them to Jesus.
At our BREAD dinners we have been blessed by good stories like that of Elpidio, a person who attended our services and then went to catecismo (catechism) classes. Last month he was confirmed in the faith by Pastor Isaac, the president of the Synod of Mexico, and became a member of our church in Matamoros.
Then there are frightening stories like that of a person from Monterrey who tried to cross into the USA, by the river. As he did so, some people kidnapped him and held him with no food for two days. At our BREAD dinner he cried as he spoke of how good the food tasted. More importantly, he recalled how he used to go to church and have a relationship with Jesus. He knew now that God was calling him back.
In everything, even in a simple thing like our BREAD dinners, we thank God for the opportunity to serve and we rejoice as we see Jesus calling sinners to repentance.
THE PRAYER: Holy Father, we thank You for the opportunity to share Your Word and love with unwanted people. We pray for the lost and ask they be led to repentance and faith in Jesus. This we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Pastor Omar Garza. Years ago he served as a volunteer at our Mexican Lutheran Hour Ministries office. Soon, he received the call to be a pastor and now, along with various duties at LHM, he is a part-time student pastor, in Santisima Trinidad Church in Matamoros, Mexico.
In this country of nearly 120 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Mexico, known in-country as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones ("Christ for All Nations"), operates its ministry center in Mexico City. Using a collaborative approach, it works closely with congregations of the Lutheran Synod of Mexico while including numerous Lutheran mission organizations in joint outreach efforts. Utilizing educational and holistic programs, LHM-Mexico is involved in children's theater; BREAD -- a center offering weekly lunches to homeless and jobless individuals, along with vocational training assistance; and health fairs, which involve partnerships with area churches and offer health, hygiene, and dental services to those in need. Additionally, the ministry center offers topical booklets addressing a variety of human needs.
See what's going on in Mexico City when you access LHM-Mexico's blog. You can do this by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries