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A m o r M i n i s t r i e s Q u a r t e r ly N e w s l e t t e r

Matters
of the Heart
Winter 2009 Edition

In This Issue:
The Local Group On the Beyond
Church Leader Horizon the Field
(Two-Part Series) Corner The Founders’ Mexico Unites to
Meet the Pastor Fund Help Their Own
Page 2 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
The Local
Church (Two-Part Series)

When you compare your local church to others within your Even in Mexico, our continental neighbor, these differences are
own neighborhood, you will likely discover a different mode evident. A service at a local church, for example, bears little
of worship, ministry, and people. Travel worldwide and these resemblance to that of the archetypal American church. In a
differences can grow and yet as believers, these differences 2000 Mexican census, 76.5% of the population was identified
of culture, faith, and even economic as Roman Catholic, and over six percent
background must be reconciled in some as Protestant, with an estimated 5,000
“And while worldwide
way when we meet or worship alongside to 7,000 churches found throughout
our Christian brothers and sisters in other worship services, prayer, and
the country. Yet when you consider
countries. community involvement look a typical service, they rarely, if ever,
different in each and every church, start or end on time. What a contrast
In the United States alone, roughly
80% of the adult population identify our salvation is what unites us.” when compared to the punctuality of
themselves as Christians, according to American Churches! This, however,
veteran researcher George Barna of the does not diminish the vastness of their
Barna Group. With such a considerable number of Christians, it faith or the many community outreaches performed by such
is inevitable that church traditions, doctrine, and personal daily congregations. Mexican churches provide immeasurable help
demonstration vary throughout the nation. A church on one supplying food and clothing to the deeply impoverished within
corner may hold a Vacation Bible School while another may host their own neighborhoods.
an outreach at the local bar yet both are equally appropriate in In South Africa, where approximately 79.7% of the population
the way they serve the people of their communities. consider themselves to be Christian, the local church is also

Now serving in the continental United States!


Serving in San Carlos Year Round.

San Carlos In partnership with Arizona Reservation Ministries, Amor is


launching its pilot house-building program on the San Carlos

Reservation Apache Reservation.

Mission Trips
Register online at www.amor.org/Registration or contact
LaDonna at 619.662.1200 extension 121.

2 Matters of the Heart Winter 2009


Letter from the Founder
active in working to meet the unique needs of the
people. A local Baptist church, for example, reaches
out to the community by providing an anonymous
“baby bin” for desperate mothers. Because of the AIDS
epidemic, women fear raising their children in close-knit
communities under such a stigma. Instead, this church
provides an alternative to dumping babies in a garbage
can and offers these kids an opportunity, in some cases,
Dear Friends of Amor,
to be adopted. In the U.S. where such practices might
be questioned, one must reflect on the singular needs As you know, serving in
of each locale and consider what unites us all. Mexico this past year
has had its challenges—
How are we to explain these differences when, as
the likes of which Scott
Webster’s Dictionary defines, the church is “all
and I have never before
Christians considered as a single body?” In the U.S.
experienced in our 29
alone, however, there are multiple denominations
years of ministry. As a
and ways to practice one’s faith. And how do these
result, the most common
differences impact the work of the local church in
question we have been asked is, “What will it take
ministering and serving those within their communities?
for Amor Ministries to decide to no longer serve in
What’s more, how are believers to reconcile these
Mexico?” My answer is always the same. Nothing.
differences when serving abroad on short or long-term
There is nothing that would cause the Ministry to
missions? In a future publication, we will consider leave Mexico because Amor remains committed
these questions and more. to spread the Gospel.
In the end, though Webster’s provides us a simple
As you read this newsletter, you will be reminded
definition, the most telling comes directly from the
about what is important to those of us serving at
Bible. Paul himself says, “For we were all baptized by Amor. It is the Pastors and their churches that
one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, matter most in whichever location we are working.
slave or free…” Ultimately, we are all part of one body It always has been that way and always will be.
called to love, serve, and live in righteousness. Millions
of people around our globe are included under that So, be encouraged that in the midst of fear and
adversity, it is the Pastors’ shining presence and
broad umbrella, and the vastness of it is seen in the
their ministries that continue to be the much
varied manifestations of our faith.
needed ray of hope and light in a darkened world!
And while our worldwide worship services, prayer, and
community involvement look different in each and every
In Christ,
church, our salvation is what unites us. God’s love for us
transcends all borders, races, and governments to unite
all Christians as one Church, one body, and one bride
for the groom known as Christ.
Gayla Cooper Congdon
Founder and Chief Spiritual Officer
Amor Ministries
Would you like to hear more from the
celebrates Founders? Visit www.amor.org to receive our

30 years monthly eNews from Gayla or visit the Simply


Scott blog online.
of serving the poor 1 9 8 0 - 2 0 1 0

Celebration Tour coming to a city near you!


Visit www.amor.org/30years for details.

www.amor.org 3
Group Leader Corner

Meet the Pastor


by Erin Illingworth, Mission Trip Coordinator

Amor Pastors’ Outreach, Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, February 2009

Amor Ministries is devoted to the Pastors with whom we sponsoring a Pastors’ outreach. Typically, an available
partner with in Mexico. The Pastors who serve on our Pastor prepares the materials and location for you so that
Mexico Ministry Planning Board work behind the scenes your group can show up ready to share your love with the
to make your Amor Mission Trip possible and to maintain community!
relationships in the communities. It is Pastors who select
Group leader David Lobos has been participating in
the families that will receive an Amor house, and then later
Pastors’ outreaches during his trips with Go, Inc. for
return to visit with them after the house is built and your
years with the desire that they be “a means for us to
group has returned home. They work countless hours on
come alongside our brothers as they pastor the needs
behalf of Amor (though most groups never see their faces)
of their community.” After Go, Inc.’s Amor Mission Trip
but you can change that by adding an outreach to your
in June 2009, he said, “The joy we felt as we saw them
Amor Mission Trip.
take ownership [of evangelizing within their areas] was
Take an afternoon away from building and connect with very satisfying.” An outreach is an excellent way for your
the local Pastors. They love to meet groups and welcome group to connect side-by-side with the ministries of the
the time spent to make your trip more meaningful! You local church and experience how they work in their own
can also get involved with the work of the local church by neighborhoods.

P.S. If you can’t spare a day while building, there are other ways to interact
with the Pastors. Contact Mission Services at 619.662.1200 extension 6 to
learn more!

4 Matters of the Heart Winter 2009


On the Horizon

The Founders’ Fund


On any given day, one of the Pastors from Amor’s Mexico Ministry Planning Board could
be interviewing families about their need for a new house, guarding Amor’s Rancho Camp,
pouring a slab for an upcoming house project, or visiting a family who is settling into their
new Amor home. It is through the Pastors that the reach of Amor is continual, lasting, and
perpetual, and so the Ministry strives to meet their needs as quickly as possible.

The Pastors’ ministry is not limited to leading a congregation


and providing houses for their communities through
Amor; many have planted mission churches and distribute
food throughout the week. One Pastor has started a drug
rehabilitation center, while another runs a Christian radio
station. Amor Ministries’ essential philosophy of ministry is
to aid in growing the local church, and so we also support
Pastor Jose Luis Hernandez delivers the many and varied ministries of our Pastors.
keys to proud new homeowner.

The Founders’ Fund allows Amor to respond to the ever-


“The ultimate goal of Amor
changing circumstances of the mission field. Whether a
is to expand the local church
new opportunity arises to reach more lives through the
in each country and every local churches, or there is an immediate need for the daily
community where we serve.” operations at our Global Headquarters in San Diego, the
Fund provides the monies to cover those unforeseen costs.
The Ministry’s desire is to be the best stewards of our resources possible, efficiently using
what God has provided. And the ultimate goal of Amor is to expand the local church in each
country and every community where we serve.

A gift to the Founders’ Fund is more than a donation; it is a commitment to the ministry, to
the people of Mexico, South Africa, the United States, and wherever else God may call Amor
in the future! To partner with the Founders’ Fund, please send your gift to Amor Ministries in
the enclosed envelope, or visit www.amor.org/WaysToGive and note “Founders’ Fund” in
the Comment’s Box.

After completing five homes


during Summer 2009, Amor
South Africa is in full-swing!
Amor July 24-August 7, 2010
South Africa Contact LaDonna at 619.662.1200
extension 121 for information

Mission Trips about Amor South Africa 2010.


Register online at www.amor.org/registration.

www.amor.org 5
Beyond the Field

Mexico
Unites to
Help Their
Own
by Alyssa Robinson,
Ministry Resources Summer Intern

Pastor Adolfo Escamilla and Armando Ponce with local volunteers. Maclovio Rojas in Tijuana, Mexico, June 2009

Our western culture often makes the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom And so the project was brought back
mistake in assuming that missionary within three to five days but earlier this to where it started—to the Pastors of
workers only come from industrialized year, one house remained unfinished. the Mexico Ministry Planning Board
nations. Recently, a local church in After beginning the building process, of Tijuana. After learning of the
Mexico turned that assumption upon suspected drug activity in the area circumstances, the Pastors collectively
its head. For the first time in the caused Amor to reassign the group offered to build the house using
history of Amor Ministries, a men’s to a new worksite, leaving the project members of their own congregations.
group from Pastor Juan Briseño’s in its’ earliest stages of construction. Undefeated, they immediately
church, Divino Salvador in Tijuana Instances such as this have occurred gathered groups and jumped into
joined together to build homes with in Tijuana for decades yet because action to serve the people of their
Amor Ministries.
Amor values the safety of its’ very own communities. Inspired by
Amor houses are usually built by participants, they moved the young the Amor Mission Trip groups who
Mission Trip participants from the builders out of potential harm’s way. had come to build, and provided with

Casa de Amor A single Amor house only costs $2,400!


The $25 monthly gift of a traditional Casa de Amor
Can’t make the Partner is grouped with seven others to provide a family
Amor Mission Trip? with a home.
You can still transform lives by Or, you can be creative and explore new ways to give like
becoming a Casa de Amor Partner. Kurt Blake, whose “30th Birthday Party With a Purpose”
The Casa de Amor Giving Program raised $3,600 for Casa de Amor!
provides funds to purchase building To learn more about Kurt’s party and to be inspired, visit
materials for homes in Mexico. www.amor.org/blog.

6 Matters of the Heart Winter 2009


the materials that were supplied by Casa de
Amor partners, the local church built an Amor
house in the Amor style.

In spite of the violence that has surrounded


Tijuana for years, God has encouraged the
local church. This pivotal event has further
promoted these Pastors’ desire to continue
to build in their communities and even send
their youth to work alongside Amor groups.
Perhaps one day soon, we will see churches
on both sides of the border working together
to fulfill the Great Commission.

If you have a story about how the Amor


Mission Trip transformed your life along with
the interesting work you’re now doing as a
result, we want to hear more! Please contact
Cristy Booher at 619.662.1200 extension 115
or e-mail her at cristy@amor.org.

Pastor Armando Ponce and local volunteers.


Maclovio Rojas in Tijuana, Mexico
June 2009

Back by popular demand!


Now Serving Year-Round!

Puerto
Amor Ministries has extended our season to
serve the people of Puerto Peñasco, a small
fishing town on the Sea of Cortez, just south

Peñasco of Arizona. Mission Trip groups can register


online at http://www.amor.org/Registration

Mission Trips or call Andrea at 619.662.1200 extension 135.

Just in time for spring and summer!


Shop now at www.amor.org/store.
You’ll find men’s and women’s T-shirts,
hoodies, and accessories in new designs
and styles for all ages.
All proceeds from the Amor Store
support the programs of Project Hope.

www.amor.org 7
NON-PROFIT ORG.
U.S. POSTAGE

PAID
OXNARD, CA
PERMIT NO. 1215

1664 Precision Park Lane


San Diego, CA 92173

619.662.1200
www.amor.org

We Welcome Your Feedback


If you have story suggestions
or photos to contribute, please
email Cristy Booher, our editor,
at cristy@amor.org.

Calendar of Events

San Carlos Apache Puerto Peñasco Mission Trips


Reservation Mission Trips Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, MX
San Carlos, AZ Serving All Year-Round
Serving All Year-Round Register online at www.amor.org/Registration
Register online at www.amor.org/Registration or or contact Andrea at 619.662.1200 extension
contact LaDonna at 619.662.1200 extension 121 135 for more information.
for more information.

South Africa Mission Trips 30th Anniversary


Delmas, South Africa For Celebration Tour dates and
July 24-August 7, 2010 information, visit www.amor.org/30years.
Register online at www.amor.org/Registration
or contact LaDonna at 619.662.1200
extension 121 for more information.