This is the New Iberian Mission Association (NIMA) Update for March-May, 2014, sharing the latest news from Morning Glory in Guatemala.
NIMA is the outreach of Agape Christian Church of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and friends around the world. Our main outreach in Guatemala is the Community Christian Hospital, Morning Glory Christian Academy that includes the primary school and the college preparation secondary school located on the Llano de la Virgen properties near San Raymundo Guatemala. There are now several Christian churches that are under the direction of NIMA with the mother church being Sacsuy Christian Church. We partner with Casas por Cristo in serving the people of the area in many ways.
In this Edition of the Update
- “God’s Glory”
- “Dear Dad”
- by Lori Nij
- “Meet the Directors”
- “Blasting the Darknes”
- by Dean Pinney
- “That the Word of God Might Be Displayed”
- by Herb Pinney
Our Enemies Are Often Our Best Friends!
Herb Pinney, Chief Executive Director, Las Cruces, New Mexico
In this Update I asked our people to write about “Giving God the Glory” in all that we do. I was
listening to Dr. Larry Crabb speak about the most important thing that we are to do in our church, in
our marriage, and in our family. Dr. Larry said,”The most important thing is to give God the glory; make
our response in such a way as to give him the glory.” He went on to say,”…even when it hurts.” Jesus
was on the cross—nailed, beaten, and with a thorny crown—through the pain He spoke to a dying sinner on
the cross and promised to be in paradise with him before the sun set. He turned to Mary and John and saw
that His mother was going to be taken care of. In a time of pain, He was giving God the glory by taking
care of other people. That is our job, too.
The painful strokes of a friend or enemy are far better than kisses from Satan. Criticism from an
enemy—or a friend, for that matter—is very often very hard to take, but most often it is the best
blessing of the day. I learned long ago to listen to all criticism carefully, to evaluate it honestly,
and to seek to figure out what I was being told, even if the criticism was based on assumptions, gossip,
or false information.There just might be something that would be helpful. God just may choose to speak
to me through the pen or voice of the critic.Thus I am thankful, and I respect my critics. I do not
always agree with their accusations, or agree with their conclusions, or necessarily plan to make a
change just because of their point of view… but I will always give it very careful consideration.
Provers 1:5 says, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning…” We are wise to listen for God’s
nudging through the words of our friends, and our enemies.
Lori Nij, Colegio Cristiano Mañana Gloriosa, Guatemala
My grandchildren love to look at old photos. A few days ago we were cleaning out Queno’s office as
part of my yearly spring cleaning fever. Melody and Megan were helping. In the back of a bookcase
packed with double stacks of books, Megan found a wooden box where Queno had put hundreds of old
photos taken years ago.And for a time, work stopped. For those of you who remember the pre-digital
era, you know that sometimes you had to take a whole roll of pictures to get two or three really good
pictures that could be used for publication and publicity purposes. We were no different. Not having
the ability to choose before printing, we had to develop rolls and rolls of pictures. Those pictures
are testimonies of years gone by. The girls giggled and laughed at hairstyles, tried to imagine our
street covered in weeds and dirt, and most of all marveled about how things have changed.
As I look out the big picture window in my office and see the Morning Glory kids going from activity
to activity, my mind cannot help but go back in time and remember how it was. I look at the
modern security camera monitor in my office and I can see the old classroom that was the little
mission preschool in the year 2000. It is old and dilapidated but every year receives a fresh coat of
paint. The porch in the front, which was the first addition that I made to the school, has been
converted into the store where the 600+ Morning Glory kids buy their daily snack. The muddy yard has
been replaced with special sand that absorbs the rain and compacts almost as hard as cement brought in
by trucks and trucks and spread by Morning Glory kids now grown and gone. The vegetable garden full of
greens and fresh vegetables was long ago replaced by a cement field for soccer, basketball and
volleyball. The rough boards stacked on blocks to make tables and benches have been replaced by
brightly painted student desks. The scraggly little lemon branch has grown into a huge tree that
shades the playground. The palm tree that was almost dead reaches to the sky, bright and green.
But the changes go even deeper than that. The shy, timid children who didn’t even dare to dream have
been replaced by noisy, articulate, smiling kids. As I watched the children out my window this morning
a group of first graders were jumping rope, even doing double dutch during P.E. class. One of the
first things that I had asked groups of young people who came to visit Morning Glory was to teach the
children to jump rope. Not one of the kids or teachers had an idea of how to play jump rope. Now the
kids practice regularly as part of their everyday classes. In the room behind my office I can hear the
children receiving their computer class, first graders learning how to import images and change the
format of a page of written information. The sound of this mixes with the preschoolers in the next
room singing in English with their English teacher. The secondary students bring me a proposal for a
community service project. The uniforms are clean and pressed, the worn black shoes have been polished
and their faces are bright and clean. My mornings are filled with the sound of jabbering voices and
laughter. Friday we had a parent-teacher meeting and we had to sit the parents on the soccer field
because they won’t fit into the cafeteria we used for so many years.
My assignment for this month was to write about the glory of God reflected in Morning Glory. I see
God’s glory every morning when five buses bring the children to school and I remember stuffing thirty
children into an Isuzu Trooper. I see God’s glory when the children sit in desks in well-ventilated,
brightly painted classrooms. I see God’s glory in a soccer field, in a two-story classroom building,
even in a huge picture window. I see God’s glory in those smiles, in the constant confusion of noise
and laughter. I see God’s glory in thirty-five employees, in 600+ children, in His faithfulness and
provision. I hear God’s glory in children playing Amazing Grace on trumpets, flutes, saxaphones,
clarinets, trombones, and drums provided by God’s family. I experience the glory of God when a
rebellious, troubled teenage boy comes in my office and hugs my neck because he now has a sponsor that
loves him and writes him, encouraging him to work hard and become the man God wants him to be. I see
the glory of God when a preschooler excitedly brings me her reading book and shows me that she can
read. I see God’s glory in a confident, excellent fifth grade teacher who fourteen years ago was a
shy, discouraged first grader repeating the grade because he had failed in public school. That same
child, now in his second year of the university, is excelling in the toughest math classes.
How is God’s glory reflected in Morning Glory? In every corner, every block, every desk, every
computer, every piece of infrastructure that testifies to His greatness and provision. God’s glory is
reflected in hundreds and hundreds of lives that have been touched and changed. Hundreds of children
who know without a doubt that the God of the universe loves them and cared for them enough to send His
only Son. God’s glory is reflected in the music, the laughter, the noisy voices of children learning,
growing, and fulfilling the God-given promise created in their very beings. God’s glory is reflected
in the groups that have come, the lives that have been touched by the Morning Glory Story. God’s glory
is reflected in His provision, in the lives of those who sacrificially give so that my brown-eyed
children can learn in a safe place and grow knowing about Jesus.
God’s glory is not only reflected but shines through us as we strive to be less of us and more of Him.
God’s glory is reflected in the prophetic nickname that my father gave me as a child that has become
the description of who we are. The darkness of ignorance and poverty lasts but the night, but God’s
glory dawns with each new morning. God’s glory is reflected in the lives of parents who have a hope—a
hope that tomorrow will be better—of children who have a dream—”I can be whatever I desire because I
am a child of God.” God’s glory is reflected and shines through every bright face and every wide
smile. There are times when I lead the children in praise that the glory shines so bright my eyes fill
with tears and I know without a doubt I am looking on the face of God. How does God’s glory shine
through Morning Glory? How can it not?
The Mission of Faith website has been totally refreshed. As PayPal becomes more important to us as an
avenue for the income that supports our ministry, we are working with PayPal to get better reporting
and copies of your gifts. We are missing PayPal reported e-mails on an average of 3 to 5 per month. We
are copying the ledger sheet each month to make sure that you get your thank you and the
financial record is properly made for the annual report. To improve with PayPal, the new Mission of
Faith website has added, for your convenience, a way to make a recurring gift so at a designated date
each month your payment will be automatically sent to NIMA. If interested, when you go to the PayPal
button, mark “recurring.” All checks sent to NIMA in Las Cruces need to be made out to NIMA or New
Iberian Mission Association. You can put Morning Glory in the memo box at lower left hand corner.The
banking czar has become cranky about third party checks at deposit.
Meet The Directors
Dean Pinney, Executive Director of Organizational Relations, Royse Cite, Texas
Recently, it was noted that we have never really publicized anything about our Board of Directors. We
have always emphasized our work at Morning Glory, and the operations of the New Iberian Mission
Association, but have never “pulled back the curtain” to show you the behind-the-scene leaders.
Appearing in no formal order, we will introduce you to each of our six directors.
Meet Luke Champion.
Luke is our Executive Director of Operations for NIMA. He was born into a Samoan family in
New Zealand and was raised by missionaries in the American Samoan Island of the South Pacific. Luke is
a man of many trades and skills which makes him a vital asset to our leadership. Luke is an “out of
the box” thinker who constantly challenges the “status-quo” to examine what Jesus would do if he were
the physical director here. Luke’s education and background closely matches that of many of the
apostles of Christ. He is a servant who loves the Lord and has a passion to see Morning Glory
Christian School thrive and grow beyond our imagination. Luke is an elder and teacher at his local
church, and believes that his greatest achievement is teaching children about God and Jesus. Luke
found his way to Christ on a “walk-about” across America when he stopped into Agape Christian Church
for a drink of water and found the Living Water, too. His walk-about ended that day years ago, and now
he is serving that Living Water to as many others as are thirsty. Luke’s spiritual gift is helping
others, and his favorite worship songs are the literal worship songs of the psalms.
Meet Kurt Huff.
Kurt is the Executive Director of Financial Oversight for NIMA. Kurt is an energy consultant
with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Kurt shares that his parents were religious, but was put off
about religion because of the conflict between his Catholic mother and his protestant father. He
accepted Jesus as his savior when he was a young man, but never made him the Lord of his life.
Encountering failure after failure in his life, Kurt finally decided to make Jesus the Lord of his
life in 2009. Kurt is now an elder and teacher in his local church and loves the Lord with all of his
heart. His favorite hymn is the Spanish hymn, “Bendito, Bendito, Bendito Sea Dios” and his favorite
praise song is “I’m Trading My Sorrows.” His spiritual gifts are helping others and encouragement.
Meet Herb Pinney.
Herb is the Chief Executive Director of NIMA. Herb and Melba have ten children, four of whom
are already waiting for them in heaven. Herb was born in Great Bend, Kansas, to a father who was an
elder in the local church and a mother who served faithfully. Herb graduated from Redondo Union High
School in 1952. He did his undergraduate work in Geology at New Mexico Institute of Mining and
Technology, and received his B.Th degree from Ozark Christian College in 1962 with a triple major in
Bible, History, and Theology. Herb did his post-graduate work at Columbia Seminary in Colombia, South
Carolina, majoring in Cultural Anthropology. Herb is recognized by Volvo of America as a member of the
Volvo Hall of Fame for Sales and Customer Relations. He has countless accolades, trophies, and awards
from over 40 years in the automobile business. Herb is the Church Planter and Senior Minister and
Elder at the Agape Christian Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico (celebrating 20 years this June). Herb
came to Christ as a young man of nine years old at South Bay Christian Church in Redondo Beach,
California. He was the chaplain for the local Boy Scout troop and was hired in 1951 as Chaplain and
Activities Director of Pepperdine Scout Camp on Lake Jackson, in the Angeles Crest Forests of Southern
California. He lead the service and preached each Sunday morning for the entire summer for the scouts.
He served as Youth Minister while attending New Mexico School of Mines in Socorro, under the late Dr.
C.C. Crawford. In 1956 he began his full-time ministry while supporting his family with a secondary
job. His greatest achievements are the establishment of Four Corners Christian Service Camp, and
establishing the Navajo Christian Churches with David Scates and Vernon Hollett, and the operation of
New Iberian Mission Association—Morning Glory Christian School. His spiritual gift is vision casting,
and his favorite hymn is “How Great Thou Art.”
Meet Alvin Ekstrom.
Alvin is the Executive Director of Marketing of NIMA. Alvin and his lovely wife, Angela,
have three adult children. Alvin has his degree in Applied Sciences from New Mexico State University.
He spent 20 years in the military defending his country, exiting with the rank of SSG (USA) Ret. Alvin
was instrumental in the early days of Agape Christian Church, and has been an elder and leader in the
church for several terms. Alvin began as a young man who was angry and confused about life, and often
questioned if God really existed. When he gave his life to Christ, Alvin knew that he had found what
he had been looking for all his life. He committed himself to a lifetime of service to our Lord. Alvin
loves the outdoors and would be right at home hunting or fishing in the Gila Wilderness. Alvin’s
favorite hymn is “We Are One In The Spirit,” and his spiritual gift is compassion.
Meet Dean Pinney.
Dean is the Executive Director of Organizational Relations of NIMA. Dean was born in Aztec,
New Mexico, but spent the majority of his childhood in Vidor, Texas. He got his undergraduate degrees
in Fire Fighting I & II (A.S.), EMT-I (A.S.), Ministry and Leadership (B.A.). His graduate degrees
include a Masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MSP) with a specialization in
Organizational Leadership, and a Doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (Psy.D—Pending
Defense of Dissertation) with a specialization in Executive Coaching. Dean is also a certified Life
Coach and Career Coach, with a spiritual concentration. Dean has been in the ministry for 30 years. He
has been married to Lisa for 27 years and together they have four children who are now beginning lives
and careers of their own. Dean has a long history of working in the business world alongside his
ministries to provide for his family. Dean has been a Regional Manager for two Fortune 500 companies,
and has extensive experience in sales and marketing. Dean was also in the fire department for ten
years as a fire-fighter/medic. Currently, Dean owns his own consulting firm and has taken a small
church in North Dallas to pastor and nurture back to health. Dean was baptized at the age of eight
years old and felt the calling for ministry. He also felt like he was supposed to be a part of the
non-churched world to take the Gospel outside the church. As a result, he has constantly engaged
both the church and the unchurched by affiliation and career choices. His greatest achievement was
going back to school to get his Doctorate. His favorite hymn is “It Is Well” and his spiritual gift is
Meet Charles (Chuck) Wendler.
Charles is the Executive Director of Organizational Administration of NIMA. Chuck received
his B.A. in Education with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry; his graduate work yielded him
an M.A. in School Administration. He has also studied additional Chemical coursework, with
post-graduate work in School Administration. Chuck worked for 37 years in the public schools in New
Mexico and Texas, seven of which he was a science teacher for middle school and high school. He then
served 26 years as a school administrator, including seven years as an assistant principal at middle
and high school levels, 18 years as a principal for elementary and middle schools, and one year as a
district at-risk coordinator. He worked part-time at LaTuna Federal Prison as an instructor for Adult
Basic Math and General Education. He is an active small business owner and has been for 25 years.
Chuck has been married to Isela for 47 years and they have three children and six grandchildren.
Before he met Christ, Chuck felt like something was “missing.” He explains, “As the result of a
search for meaning and understanding, I finally found what I was missing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and
my life has not been the same since. I begin every day asking Him for His will for me, not my will for
me. His greatest achievement is finding Christ; his favorite hymn is “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and
his spiritual gift is perseverance.
Dear Dad—Letters From Lori
Lori Nij, Colegio Cristiano Mañana GLoriosa, Guatemala
Editor’s Note: For those of you that don’t know, Lori, our number two child, was a
pain to get up and get going in the morning as a grade school person. At that time I named her
Professor Fate and that did not help the problem. Being proactive, I renamed her Morning Glory, and
changed my attitude and voice to welcome the Morning Glory into the new day…and it worked. She
became a morning person, and the start of the day was a lot better. Today, that is where she got the
name for our beloved Morning Glory School. It amazes me that there are people that are sure that Lori
and I are getting too old and unable to carry the load of all the work for the Lord that we do. I will
let you decide if you think she is loafing on the job because of old age. Just thought you would like
to know what is going on when we ask you to pray for our mission in Guatemala. Again, this was not
carefully written, but a personal letter. Also, please pray for Rosa, our girl from Morning Glory that
was kidnapped. After Lori retrieved her with the help of the National Risk group, Queno built her a
safe room for sleeping. Then she disappeared again. See the May 5 NIMA e-mail asking for prayer. I am
so concerned for the 300 Christian school girls that were kidnapped in Nigeria and are being publicly
sold for sex slaves and household slaves after they are circumcised. Remember, before oil, the Islamic
religion was financed by slavery. The Qur’an allows the one that kidnaps a women to have sex with her
until he sells her. Please pray for these 300 girls and 29 million more worldwide. Jesus is the answer.
Dear Dad—First of all forgive me because I am the worst at not communicating on Fridays. I will
try to do better and get a letter off each week. I am communicating to everyone that I can to please
make out their checks to NIMA and not Morning Glory. I had not even thought about that complication…
I will give you a short update on my last month.
Kingdom Week, or the week of March 9-17, we had Dallas Christian College and Carrollton Christian
Academy as visitors (this is what our college and school kids do on spring break). We held daily
chapel sessions with the kids. We run through four groups each morning; pre-primary and first grade,
second, third graders and fourth graders, fifth and sixth graders, and secondary students. Each group
is about 150 to 175 students. Carrollton Christian Academy taught the two younger groups and Dallas
Christian College the two older groups. I translated for all groups. Then after lunch we held teacher
training classes with the teachers from Morning Glory and Arco Iris, at the same time Carrollton
Christian Academy held afternoon sessions for the older students, with dance camp, sports camp, and
art camp. We finished up each afternoon about five thirty. Then we went home and I attended devotions
each night with the groups. In addition to the normal running of the school, I also coordinated the
food for Life Church of El Paso and University Church of Fort Worth, a total of 53 persons stayed in
the Hacienda, one of the houses that Casas [por Cristo] rents to house groups. We were not able to
house anyone at the hospital because the medical committee is replacing the entire sewer system in the
dorms that collapsed. DCC and CCA crowded into the big house, the Casona, that I rent. That week I
oversaw the transportation, housing, and feeding of over 90 people.
This week David Robertson’s home church of Life Church from El Paso built the 100th house in
Guatemala (Editor’s Note: What a blessing to the community; 100 cabin homes for Christian folks that
have been living in cane shacks. If they own their land, the homes become a permanent dwelling). The
next week a dental team out of Dallas and Houston worked with the school children, and every single
student at Morning Glory went through and had their teeth worked on, most of the teachers as well. The
leader, T Bob, even pulled me in under protest and the oral surgeon pulled out all my broken molars
and roots. They discovered an incredible amount of infection that I didn’t even know I had because I
never felt any pain.—(I just interrupted this letter to attend to an emergency of a five-year-old who
went down the slide head first and hit her mouth on the ground and split her lip open, and sent her
off to the doctor for stitches. Just an example of how I battle to get work done)—Anyway, I ended up
with stitches in most of my mouth. Thank God the infection didn’t spread and I didn’t miss a day of
work; I am still eating soft foods because obviously I have nothing left in the back of my mouth to
chew with. I eventually will have to have partials made; thank God all my front teeth are in good
The following week we had two very large groups: Northside Christian Church from New Albany with 75
people and Mount Pleasant Christian with 25 people. To our surprise the Mission’s minister, Doug
Newland, from Northside is Allie Border’s cousin. I believe he is the son of Melvin Newland’s brother
Paul. Between the week of TBob and Casas we had Mary’s (Beeks) visit and were able to get a load of
work done on the sponsored kids list and line out a plan for better communication with sponsors. This
week we also had eight-week exams at school. The Morning Glory Orchestra played for the joint dinner
on Friday night and everyone loved the kids. We had one week to clean the houses, do the laundry (all
linen for 90 beds et al) and get ready for the next groups. This was also the week of Melody’s
(Editor’s Note: my great granddaughter) birthday and we had a special supper and party for her friends
and classmates. I decided that I am too old for adolescent parties. They have absolutely too much
energy. We also spent all day on Friday meeting with parents and giving out grade cards from the first
eight-week grade period. I met with the third-year secondary parents on Monday because the students
are not doing as well as they should. During this week we also prepared and furnished our third house
for groups. This house will hold the Casas office and interns and can house small groups of 25 or
less. I had to buy sheets, dishes, and equipment to set up this house. This gives us the ability to
house almost a hundred people between the three houses and possibly another 75 at the school.
This week we are hosting three large Casas groups: Atlanta Christian School with 28 participants in
the Hacienda, Highland Park Baptist in the Posada and Corinth Christian Church—which, by the way,
members of this church sponsor 13 kids at Morning Glory—in the Casona. On Thursday night we will hold
a joint cookout for all the groups and again the Morning Glory Orchestra will play and I will present
the work of the school. Corinth Christian and Highland Park Baptist will be visiting the school
tomorrow morning since they will be finishing their houses this afternoon.
I have one more week and then I can breathe for a couple of weeks. Next week, we are out of school
for Holy Week and we will host only one group from Chapin UMC. I am looking forward to using this time
to get caught up on communications. I have received communication that we have been nominated to work
with Adventures in Missions World Race to host one month World Race teams. I will be giving them all
the needed information next week.
Last week Queno and the men at the church were finally able to negotiate a piece of property next
to the church in Sacsuy and signed the final papers and paid the money for the land. Last Sunday they
had the dedication of the grounds for the Sunday School Annex paid for by Northside in Houston
(Spring) and as soon as possible will begin to draw up plans and begin construction of the new Sunday
School Annex. Queno has also had an incredible amount of weddings and funerals each week. We sometimes
don’t see each other until we both fall into bed.
I gave Rob a deadline to get new profiles on all the sponsored children and he should be done with
that tomorrow. Northside from Houston is sending a small group to visit some orphanages in Guatemala
and Rob (and his wife, Gloria) will be hosting them this weekend (Editor’s Note: Rob and Gloria
did a good job of showing the guests around.) Allie will be leaving in a week to spend a month at
home, to finalize a lot of her wedding preparations and then come back for three more months here. I
desperately need some of those brochures to hand out to groups here or some printed information about
the school with important information, i.e. to not make checks out to Morning Glory. My old brain is
forever forgetting to communicate important information as I am trying to wear eighty hats at once. I
am going to close this and send, and hopefully report more later. I have five people waiting patiently
outside my office. Well, maybe not-so-patiently.
I love you dearly,
It’s 10:35 and I am just now getting back to this. After dealing with the not-so-patient parents, I
finished up work at school, came home to eat lunch while talking on the phone, ordering supplies for
next week, making sure the girls had supper going for the 90-something mouths we feed this week. Allie
and I talked for a while about a problem that is brewing and about to explode (Editor’s Note:
this problem was turned over to Dean Pinney, and all is back on track.) Then I met with a lady
whose husband is preparing gourmet coffee for us to sell to the groups. The profit will go to Morning
Glory projects. (Editor’s Note: In order for Morning Glory to become self-supporting in the years
to come, we must provide jobs and profits for the school in a business way.) If someone in
Guatemala is going to make proit on all the coffee they buy it might as well be us and people from San
Raymundo. I went to rest for a few minutes only to be interrupted by two secondary boys who needed
some advice. Then I spent the rest of the evening designing a label for the coffee and answering
letters all the while helping Melody with her theater homework. This afternoon in between everything I
researched and ordered medicine for one of the group members with a thrush infection in her mouth.
(Editor’s Note: This paragraph was “snarky;” that is Lori’s term for honest discussion. Due to the
late hour and omitted for good reason). I will write a humorous “Month in the Life of Miss Lori”
for you, editing out the snarky for you (Editor’s Note: This didn’t get here due to schedule, so
instead you are reading her personal letter to me).Tomorrow we have the groups at school…I have
four parent conferences set up…we will have the groups all together for a cookout…the orchestra
will play…I have to figure out how to get the big drums to town… make sure the grill gets moved
from my garage to the hacienda… set up tables for 80+… figure out who is going to take pictures…
make sure the Morning Glory store is set up and staffed…all the while solving every body’s
problems…disciplining kids…making sure my house is clean…the laundry done…my family attended
to…and maintaining a smile and sunny personality even though my legs are killing me and I am weeks
behind. More like Professor Fate than Morning Glory am I tonight. Grrrrrrrrr.
Blasting The Darkness
Dean Pinney, Executive Director of Organizational Relations, Royse City, Texas
Have you ever been trapped? Perhaps it was a hiking adventure and you lost your footing… or maybe it
was a cave exploration, and you found yourself at the entombed end of a rockslide. One wrong move on a
frozen lake can land you on the wrong side of the ice. I might not even be in the right ballpark for
you… perhaps your trap was an abusive marriage, or a dead-end job? Maybe the guilt of past sins
still haunts you? The iron bars of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and sexual abuse can imprison the least
likely. Whatever your trap, the physical signs are the same—difficulty breathing, increased heart
rate, and a powerful sense of imminent danger.
There are some who live a lifetime feeling trapped, lost, abandoned, and alone. What if the only way
you could feed your family was to force your kids to make fireworks in your backyard? What if your
three-year-old had to pack the gunpowder, because you couldn’t risk losing the older ones who could
also cook and clean? Your home is a makeshift collection of rubbish and pallets and your yard is a
dirt lot. You cannot afford clothes or shoes for your kids, so you make them shoes from milk cartons
and twine.You want them to have an education, but you cannot afford the pricey schools, and even if
they got accepted, you could not even afford the books or supplies. You would feel… trapped.
Years ago I worked as a fire-fighter in the mountains of New Mexico on the search-and-rescue teams
that would be sent out when the distress calls came in. I was certified for confined-space rescue,
cliff rappelling, wilderness medicine, and victim extrication. Our job was to hike into the area where
the victim was last seen and then begin the search-and-rescue operation. Sometimes this took hours,
sometimes it took days. No one ever intentionally got trapped; it just sort of happened. The reward
for the excruciating labor and lack of sleep was finding the victim and getting them home. For thirty
years now, I have worked as a minister doing pretty much the same thing. Finding lost people who have
found themselves trapped and rescuing them.
One of my favorite things about Morning Glory Christian School is that we do not emphasize the fact
that the children are victims. Instead, we make sure that everyone has a uniform, shoes, and supplies
that they will need to succeed. We do not take pictures, like many organizations, of sad and
malnourished children; instead, the pictures we take are of children playing, learning, worshipping,
and loving. Our message is that when they come to Morning Glory Christian School, they are going to
find hope, happiness, and health to whatever extent God provides. We make it clear to everyone that we
serve a Mighty Provider God! Our sponsors get pictures and stories that emphasize what a difference is
being made in that child. They come in hungry, naked, and needy, and Jesus works through us each day
to send them home nourished, clothed, and satisfied. The best part is that we are dismantling the
traps that ensnare them. We teach them languages and useable skills that will open doors for them as
they grow up. We teach them to break the cycle of poverty and sickness. We teach them to break the
binds of spiritual oppression and we teach them to empower the Holy Spirit as their counselor and
guide. We are destroying snares, smashing traps, and demolishing strongholds that imprison them and
their families. We are declaring war on the spiritual forces of darkness in the name of Jesus Christ,
the Eternal King of Light. We are blasting through the darkness with the light of Jesus Christ, and
they are winning the war against oppression, disease, poverty, and hunger. When you sponsor
one of our kids, you won’t get a picture of a victim—you will get the story of an OVERCOMER! And you
can make that happen for as many students as you choose. I believe there is someone reading this right
now that can convince their small group to sponsor several children. Or perhaps you want to teach your
children how to give and as a family you have each of your children sponsor one of our children—that is
a lesson that will change your kids’ lives as well. Maybe you own your own business and you have
wanted to have God’s abundant blessing on your business—a great way to accomplish that would be to be
a corporate sponsor of several of our children each month. Maybe your kids are grown up and you no
longer give them an allowance, or pay them to do things around the house so that they could have
spending money? What if you took that money now and sponsored one of these fantastic students and
became the conduit between them and a changed life? Every day I speak to someone who shares that they
want to do something that will change the world. I always remark,”You may never be able to change the
whole world, but you certainly can change one child’s world.” God is up to something great here in
Guatemala, and we are inviting you to be a part of that—to get a front row seat as we watch God blast
through the darkness with his glorious light! It’s the light that exposes darkness, reveals truth, and
opens the snares that trap us all. It’s a rescue mission, and we need your help.
That the Work of God Might Be Displayed…
Herb Pinney, Chief Executive Director, Las Cruces, New Mexico
It was just another ordinary, garden variety Sabbath morning in Jerusalem. Jesus and his boys were on
the way to the synagogue—”as His custom was.” Walking through the narrow streets of Old Town Jerusalem,
there was a beggar partially hidden from the main traffic; it was the Sabbath and even begging was
against the customs of the right-wing, Pharisee rabbis. The man was a pitiful sight; he was typical of
one born with a congenital blindness—his features were disoriented/distorted and just the sight of him
would cause some to sneak alms into his hand or cup. Good Jewish men were sympathetic to the needs of
those born with deformities; their hearts would go out to them. The disciples traveling with Jesus
that day were no different. They were shaken by the sight of the man, and the beautiful part of
traveling with Jesus was that He had all the answers and never got mad at you for asking. He was
indeed a marvelous rabbi on His own. Yet He was a rabbi who was not locked into the denominational
modes of the far-left liberals or the far-right Pharisees; He was one that spoke with the authority of
God. Let’s leave our blind man and the batch of disciples with Jesus standing beside the road for a
bit of a tutorial on birth defects and denominational teachings of the Jerusalem rabbis.
I get very scripturally short-tempered with people that blame birth defects on the perfect God that
has designed us perfect in physical potential. Our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
to the fourth generation are chemically—DNA, genes, chromosome-wise, bodily weaknesses and bodily
strengths—influenced by the chemicals that we ingest from street merchants, drug and grocery stores,
pharmacies and doctors offices, and from inheritance from our ancestors. Far too many of the doctors
that treat people in a supermarket manner today are more concerned with the short-term cure of an
infection, illness, or malady than they are for the long-term health of the patient, and the
procreated progeny that are coming down the ages through copulation and the blending of our DNA, X & Y
chromosomes, genes,physical traits, and physical weaknesses with another person that in many ways is
still a stranger to us. Because of recessive genes and traits, a birth defect could be from two or
more generations past… so don’t be too fast to blame anyone.
In dealing with diet, medicines, recreational self-medicating drugs and substances, one needs to have
four generations in view. When this man was healed—and Jesus healed him completely, including
reconstructive cosmetics—even his parents had a hard time recognizing him. Medically it is safe to say
he was born with congenital birth defect blindness. I think it is blasphemy to blame God for birth
defects, especially congenital blindness that has many causes. My medical friends tell me there are
dozens of things that can cause congenital blindness. Pernicious and protracted diarrhea in the case
of the mother, congenital generalized phlibactasia or congenital broses or extracular muscles. Or even
German measles or a dozen other conditions that happened during the nine-months of being in the womb.
Next, to prepare our minds and hearts for the coming dialog between Jesus and the disciples, and the
healing of the blind man, we need to have some knowledge of the synagogues and the Babylonian
influence on this extracurricular religious activity that we speak of as the synagogues.
In the fifth century BC, God collected His debt for the 490 years that the Hebrews did not keep
His ecology laws, so 1/7th of 490 are 70 years of captivity. God will eventually collect everything
owed Him. During that captivity that was brought on by massive idolatry, sinful living, and negligence
of God’s laws, the remnant was 800 miles from their destroyed temple, and the center where they
could meet God. Now Jeremiah gave absolutely magnificent instructions from God on how to
make the most of the time as captives in Jeremiah 29: This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of
Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle
down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your
sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in
number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried
you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is
what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you
deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you
in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years
are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to
this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to
harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Now the most wonderful thing about obeying God is that it is followed by blessings from God. This is
the law of the harvest. When we do stupid, we reap stupid. When we do obedience, we reap blessings.
The Hebrew captives followed God’s instruction and in the next 150 years, they increased until they
were in management of 127 different countries, and in the process of praying for the peace and
prosperity of their cities, they were granted to have the Sabbath work-free, and they began custom and
religious small groups that met in each neighborhood. These were a religious invention; any Hebrew man
that knew his Torah could be the teacher/rabbi of these small groups that became known as synagogues.
(Meaning: To gather together.) Over those years the synagogues spread and grew in size and importance
to cover the whole of the Persian Empire. So after Christ’s death and resurrection, Paul, a top rabbi,
was invited to preach all over the Old Persian Empire. It was the nucleus for the fast first-century
growth of the church.
However, in Christ’s time a lot of the tradition and rabbinical denominational arguments went back to
things learned from Babylonian religions such as divorce, disbelief in angels, and disbelief in the
resurrection. Remember, the Hindu religion had its beginning at the Tower of Babel and its tenets of
karma, that one is punished in this life for deeds in the past life, was rampant in Babylonian
religions and their descendents. Apparently, some of the liberal rabbinical teachers got a hold of
karma as well, and it pops up here in John 9 from the rabbinical teachings of the disciples from early
life. Now, back to the dusty streets of Jerusalem on a rather (until now) normal Sabbath morning.
As the disciples approached the man blind from birth, a rather insensitive conversation took place in
his hearing: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The idea that his
parents might have ingested some chemical defect-causing substance is quite 2014 AD in thinking; I
highly doubt that was the reason for the question. More likely the question is to express some very
Babylonian theology of karma onto the life and behavior of the parents, or the man in a previous life.
No matter the reason for the question, Jesus stomps the erroneous theology into the stone streets of
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be
displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming,
when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Watch out; things
are about to happen.
This blind man is a sharpie; he is no dumb bunny. I am not sure how he took all of this badinage, but
as they were standing there discussing his condition, Jesus decided to do something about the
blindness, and try on the guy’s spirit to boot. Jesus promised something wonderful would happen.
Jesus spits in the dirt on the street, camel dung and all, and makes mud pies. Mamas look the other
direction; this is man stuff. He then takes the mud and anoints the eyes of the blind man. Now just a
bit of a side trip—remember in Genesis 1, when Jesus made a mud model of man and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul, made up of dust and deity.
Now Jesus is going to reform this man’s face and heal his blindness with more mud and asking him to
take a walk of faith. There must have been something wonderfully authoritative about the voice of
Jesus—remember the man can’t see him and doesn’t know who he is.
Jesus speaks, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam.” Jesus could not have picked a more trying place for a
blind man to go wash. This is the reservoir for the tunnel for water that was dug during the Assyrian
raids of Jerusalem, and there were 26 or more steps carved in the rock that allow you to progress down
the pool to the current water level. No banister, no OSHA regulations to care for the handicapped; so,
Jesus is trying the dude on. In fact, there was no promise except the hope that something good would
happen; nor was there to be any financial reward for going. Remember at this point this is what the
beggar was looking for. John simply records that he came seeing. Now, this is where the fight starts;
this is where the glory and work of God can be displayed.
Now he comes back to his old haunts and an argument begins, “His neighbors and those that formerly
knew and had seen him begging asked, ‘Was this the same man who used to sit and beg?’ Some claimed he
was, and others said he just looked like him. But he himself insisted, ‘I am the man.”
Remember, his face has been formed all new so the disfigurement of the congenial birth defect was now
reformed and he was able to see. Now then, the natural question comes to the front, “How then were
your eyes opened?” The blind man is back seeing, but Jesus is nowhere in sight.
Now let’s take a look at the philosophy of conflict and disagreement going on here that is going to
allow the work of God to be displayed. The harsh, right-wing Pharisees of the rabbinical set had made
a decree: “That anyone that acknowledges Jesus Christ is to be put out of the synagogues in Jerusalem.”
In other words, if you don’t follow my belief model of business and behavior, we will expel you from
our organization. So the fight is on. Even though the healed blind man does not know his benefactor
was Jesus, the Rabbis suspect it is.
Now they bring in the hard-nosed types that have their own agenda. Again they ask how he now sees and
he told them the story again. The man is giving God the glory, and they are insisting that he can’t be
from God, since he heals on the Sabbath. Now, again we are dealing with tradition that came from
Babylonia, not Old Testament law written down by Moses as he scribed God’s words down.
Now they ask hard questions back, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were
divided. They turned to the blind man again and asked him, He speaks out of honest ignorance; “He is a
Next they send for his parents; they still don’t believe this guy was the blind man. The parents
arrive and they ask them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? And how does he now see?” They
responded as good parents, “He is our son, he was born blind, but we have no knowledge of how he
now sees; he is of age—ask him.” His parents were afraid of the religious leaders so they did not
take a chance in being kicked out of the synagogue. Like so many today, being afraid, they followed
The Pharisees again called the healed blind man to them and asked how he was healed, saying “give
God the glory; we know this guy is a sinner.”
Now our healed blind man is getting testy/snarky; he is tired of their attacking on his unknown
benefactor. “All I know, I was blind and now I see.” Just the facts, man, just the facts! Now
he punches their buttons, “I done told you. You don’t listen; do you want to know so you can be
His disciples, too?”
The healed blind man marvels at their spiritual blindness and makes a remarkable observation; “We
know that God does not listen to sinners, that is, to answer healing for others. Nowhere in our
history has one born with congenial blindness been healed; If this man were not from God, he could not
do such a thing.”
Jesus shows up and the fight moves into high gear. Jesus heard that they had thrown him out of the
synagogue, and went and found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Now the
glory has come to God. The blind man accepts Jesus and I have a sneaking feeling that he became a
hard driver in the coming kingdom.
Many moons ago, Lori finished at Cincinnati Graduate School, and came home to Vidor,Texas, to await
some Christian school to jump on to her abilities as a director and snap her up and change the face of
Christian education by her abilities… and no one answered her résumé. So she went to
work in town and was back helping me at First Christian in Vidor. Lori had her own opinion about
missionaries, and it was not complementary. Dean Cary called me at my business office, needing help at
Colegio Biblico. I checked out what he needed, and a plan was forming in my mind. I told him to call
the house; I knew Lori was home; I had just talked to her. Tell her what you need, but don’t
mention the word missionary. I arrived home for supper that night about 10 PM, and Melba and Lori
were setting the dinner table. At dinner that night Lori asked if I minded if she took a weekend trip
to Eagle Pass and speak to Dean Cary about a job teaching at Colegio. I of course agreed. She was
hired. Dean Pinney and I set out to raise the direct support missionary salary, and the rest is
history with Queno, church planting in Mexico, Queno’s trip to Vidor at Christmas time to ask for
Lori’s hand in marriage, the move to Guatemala, and the premier Christian school of the Western
Hemisphere emanating from Lori’s desk.
As the Lord was putting all of this together, Dean chose the name, Mission of Faith, over a decade
ago, and it stuck. We have been playing catch-up with God ever since. We have never had a surplus of
money; we always were a day behind and a dollar short. God saw that all the bills were paid, but it
was always a matter of faith in the blessings of God, not in a secure and large bank account.
There are those that are sure we ought to move from a mission of faith, to the Harvard business model
of high finance. That means the recommendation of Christian financial advisors, we ought to have a
three month emergency fund to cover expenses if income fell off. In fact, the one objection I got from
the business community when I sought to get a group of advisors to join in with me at the suggestion
of a couple of churches that thought they saw a weakness in our operation. All the business types
backed out; we operated on faith and that scared them to death. We ought to have $50,000 in the bank
for emergencies, and this month after I sent the wire of $16,000 and the various checks, I had less
than $1,000 in the bank. That was wonderful. Not only was the whole wire and salary checks sent at one
time, we had money left over to start the next month. That is how a mission of faith operates. It is
that way to the glory of God the father that the work of God might be displayed.
Now, we are making some changes… not because our critics are insisting, but because good mission of
faith procedures are directing it.
Nearly ten years ago, a man walked into my basement office, back before all my bones were replaced
with imagination, and my office was moved upstairs, and I had not seen him since the 1950s at Ozark
Christian College. He was here to work on a project at SAEM and was an elder in the Mountain View
Christian Church in Missouri. He had married an old time friend in college, Sue Fox, and the Judds had
finished a business degree at Ft. Hays College in Kansas, and Harry was retired now as a government
top-CPA and auditor. Before long he was a trustee at SAEM. And he had concern and love for Agape
church and our mission of faith in Guatemala. He was concerned over my bookkeeping and he told me
clearly: “Herb, I have no doubt that you are honest, and that the bookkeeping is honest and accurate.
However, it is primitive and handwritten and someday someone is going to accuse you of misusing the
mission money.” This began my search to move into a better style of bookkeeping and with a credibility
partner. Harry went to be with the Lord, and Sue continues as a major supporter and friend and I went
back to having to ration time and money, and Harry’s ideas went onto the back burner until this winter.
Well, it has happened. Anyone that believes the stories being told are welcome to come to my office.
All the years of finances are hard handwritten in notebooks dated and marked for the mission. Come be
my guests; check me out.
Now, because we are going after $50,000 this year in new salary and travel money, we expect that seed
money and new salaried positions will generate a million more in Morning Glory money. We are setting
up a new mission accounting system that will include our setting up an expanded mission trustee group,
and applying for and qualifying for ECFA
accreditation-Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability—the same as Focus on the Family,
Samaritan’s Purse, and The Billy Graham Organization use. This is our next step in growing up. It is
not because Herb is skimming money off the top of our mission money and spending it on dancing girls
in Las Vegas in his spare time, nor replacing his 22-year-old Chevy Lumina with a quarter million
miles on it that a Nazarene missionary gave me “because of her concern for me.” And Melba and I live
in a $475 a month back alley apartment with tape holding the carpet down. You can check the record,
Agape Christian and Herb Pinney pay the stateside rent for NIMA, the utilities, phone bills for office
and cell phones, internet, insurance, as well as the work force to send out all the thank yous
and records. One can check our church’s record, and we pay most of those utilities a day or two before
they are normally turned off. So the accusations that we are using the mission money to finance the
church are charges contrary to fact. However, all of that is history and the charges are by folks in
three-piece business suits that want Agape and Morning Glory to come under the Harvard Business model,
not the mission of faith model.
Going with the ECFA and a CPA and electronic bookkeeping and financial websites with the money
deposits and the accounting available to a national company to verify all the expenses and
expenditures is an idea whose time has come. It is also one that is going to require money to
finance the ECFA and the CPA and the office time to type in all the information. So, even more money
has to come in, or Lori’s budget will have to be cut. I don’t plan on that happening, so those of you
that believe in Morning Glory, those that have been concerned: you need to get your checkbook in-hand.
It’s time to upgrade the old primitive hand-filed records I was able to do as I was doing my other
work in the office.This will require a hired CPA and hired office help; we can’t have it the new way
without it costing money. This is all being done to give God the glory.
Now I want you to think back to my healed blind man; everyone wanted to judge him a liar, an imposter,
or some kind of shyster.
Basically, those looking on to what has happened in Guatemala, from the chicken dung storage building
that Jeni Chavira cleared out the summer that she went to work in Guatemala that became our first
school building, to the ten buildings, four schools, hospital and the six churches in the hill sides
of the altiplano, have been years of nothing but shouts of “Give God the glory!” It was not because
Herb and Lori were seeking recognition and bonus checks. Nor were we seeking fame and fortune, but
the opportunity to give God the glory and do our Ephesians 2:10 things that God laid out so long ago.
The job of fundraising and the job of administering Morning Glory are a labor of love. I doubt that
any amount of money would be enough to hire the services of either one of us. What we do is to give
God the glory.
One of those that went before us in the world of building for the Savior was John Wesley in the United
Kingdom. His separatist mother no doubt lead him from the Anglican Church to the Waldensians to
establishing the Methodist church and all its branches, including the very Biblical Wesleyans.
Wikipedia wrote of him: “John Wesley travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times
each day.” Stephen Tomkins writes that he ‘rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds (£), and
preached more than 40,000 sermons. He formed societies, opened chapels, examined and commissioned
preachers, administered aid charities, prescribed for the sick, helped to pioneer the use of electric
shock for the treatment of illness, superintended schools and orphanages, and received at least
£20,000 for his publications but used little of it for himself. At age 83 he was preaching 40 times a
week. At 87 he complained that it was hard to get up for prayer every morning at 5:30am. In his simple
home near Altergate, in his uncluttered bedroom is a plaque that reads: SINNER, IF YOU FEEL
CONSTRAINED TO PRAISE THE INSTRUMENT, STOP AND GIVE THE GLORY TO GOD.
The greatest need that Morning Glory and Agape have is the breaking of our ego, and drawing us back to
our “tent maker” roots. It is not about the glory to us, it is about the glory to God that we are
about. We realize that God could have selected anyone of a million people to do what we are doing, but
we are thankful that He chose us. What we are doing is not about money or fame or wealth; it is about
the job that needs done.
Robert Japhries became a brilliant Chinese language scholar as he became a leading missionary for the
Missionary and Alliance Fellowship. He was considered the most fluent Canadian in the Chinese language.
When Standard Oil of New York was opening a Chinese office, they offered him a large salary to come to
work for them. He turned them down, so they doubled it. When he turned them down again, they said,
“You name the price, and we will pay it.” Robert wrote to them, “The salary is very large, but the job
is too small.”
When our budget reaches $500,000 a year or a month, I pray that the Morning Glory will forever be a
mission of faith, and that when the wires are sent for $500,000, we still will only have change left
in the bank account. We want to be totally dependent on God. The ECFA and an auditor and CPA will only
make us depend more on God and our faith in Him.
Maybe we will get on beyond the handwritten bookkeeping, and hard-bound notebooks. I do not intend to
get beyond the straight-forward transparency and honesty that has marked the 50 years of mission work
from my office, and those that question the very stable 501(c)3 in the name of Agape Christian Church
of NM, Inc, d/b/a New Iberian Mission Association. That was established in the early direct support
Stone-Campbell tradition that kept the local elders of the church in control and authority of the
church’s outreach; you are welcome to come and go over the books anytime. The one thing you can count
on is that I will not tell you that the computer is down or the files got lost or erased; they are on
all their hard copy glory, to His glory and praise.
There is no blaming the past generation for what has happened, and no blaming anyone else. My records
stand and will be this year transcribed over into the cyber world. I just pray, as a smoke signal
fossil of ages past, the computer holds up as well as my hard bound volumes. God bless you, and give
God the glory.
Exciting New Youth Materials Underway
Herb Pinney, Chief Executive Director, Las Cruces, New Mexico
We are excited to share with you that we are in the process of creating a 2015 Total Youth Program for
Vacation Bible School, backyard Bible clubs, afterschool youth programs, youth small groups, and
missions programs all year long!
This is designed for Morning Glory to reach out to English and bilingual churches in the USA with a
week-long curriculum for their youth program—whatever its style. These materials will include
lessons for preschool through middle school in English and in Spanish. Along with lessons will be
videos, games, puzzles, and take-home papers for kids and adults.
This exciting new series is entitled ESCAPING THE VOLCANO. It includes lessons teaching:
- Family responsibility
- Facing dangers in life
- Standing firm as a Christian and not running away
- Victory through teamwork
The curriculum will spotlight actual students and their stories, including students of all ages from
all three schools at Morning Glory.
This free kit will include a full storybook in both languages, especially designed for churches with
both English and churches with a bilingual program as well as reproducible masters on CD for easily
reproducing the exact number of copies that you need for coloring pictures, Spanish and English word
games, puzzles, and take-home papers.
This program will be designed for small churches that cannot afford the expensive publishing company
VBS/youth program curriculum kits for their total youth program, or to be used as a missions program
to accompany any other youth program.
The program will be professionally printed by SAEM printing in El Paso, Texas. Depending on sponsors
and extra money designated, we will print 100 to 200 to mail out and distribute at no up-front costs
to the churches. We are asking only a youth program offering for Morning Glory during the time that
the material is being used. You can sign up now to get a full kit sent by December 1, 2014 to you at
no up-front cost. E-mail email@example.com
and get on the mailing list.
We are inviting businesses, churches, and individuals to share in the cost of printing and distribution.
Your name and company advertisement will be on the sponsor pages. Sponsor sign-ups will close August 1,
2014 with deferred support payments due by Sept. 30, 2014. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call Herb at 575.650.3915 for more information.
Lesson writers and programmers are a team made up of Dean Pinney, Herb Pinney, Lori Nij, Rob Courtney,
Melba Pinney, & Mary Beeks.