Finally a minute to sit down and catch up on what all has been happening here in our corner of the world.
We started last week off with news of a farm transport accident that killed 5 people and injured just about everyone one board. It was a flatbed truck with panel sides that was stuffed with 38 Oaxacan workers who were all riding standing up. It was hit by a Coke truck on a really nasty curve down on the highway. All of the people on board lived near us in the labor camps and some were church members and moms and dads of the children we feed daily.
The local police came up to the mission home and asked Francisco to come down and :”translate” as none of the people speak Spanish. In the ned they basically used him to notify families that they had lost a loved one and it was really pretty hard. However, we are thankful to have been available as loving Believers too do this as opposed to the families having to get it from some bureaucratic official. He was able to pray for them all at one point or another and hopefully seeds of the Love of Jesus were planted. No one of the deceased were church members but many of those injured and hospitalized were close to the ministry. Everyone is recuperating in their homes now though, praise God.
A big memorial service was held in town on Friday for all of the deceased. We arranged for a visiting Oaxacan pastor who speaks the dialect to minister at the service. By Friday Francisco was so worn out that he came home from the memorial and just slept and slept.
Saturday was a big day. In preparation for Sunday’s Baby Dedication Ceremony, I had asked several of the Trique women to come in to the church kitchen and cook the big communal meal. I’ve been asking and asking them to come and cook, but they have always declined, preferring too bring their offerings of chiles and vegetables and content to eat whatever I set before them. Francisco has always told me that they just did not feel worthy to cook in the church kitchen, that they were just not yet comfortable. Well, praise God, Saturday 5 women showed up in their long skirts and bare feet with baibies nad grandbabies on their backs and with 18 kilos of chicken ans assorted ingredients! They goggled at the way the gas stove lit automatically, and wondered at the freezer temperature and filled the church with laughter and storytelling as they prepared Pollo Blanco for the next day. I had not been feeling well all week and they made me sit down with the elderly
“medicine woman” and did not allow me to do a thing. I was so blessed! I spent my time listening to this elder’s explanation of her vision for her people and oolistening to stories about the God they worshipped in “their pueblo” back home. I really thank the Lord for this opportunity. I think it is very rare that any outsider is allowed such a glimpse into their lives and I cherish that time.
On Sunday, we had about 48 adults and many, many , many children (60?) show up. About half walked the mile and and a half to the church and we also brought 3 truckloads with us. Ernesto, Mario, Aquilino and Florenciano sang “El Shadai” and “Mighty to Save” in Spanish! The people who do not normally attend meetings were really awed too see little indian boys (just like them) leading everyone in song! They literally came up in the aisles to gawk at these little boys, but the booys didn’t flinch and just kept right on singing. I was moved to tears a couple of times during those songs alone.
Francisco preached on the resurrection being our Blessed Hope and then we prayed for and dedicated two infants, Moises and Desimaria , then he gave an altar call that focused upon asking Jesus to be LORD over our lives. Everyone present came up for prayer-EVERYONE- soo I can’t even estimate who newly dedicated their lives to the Lord, but it was awesome. I was very mindful as all of this unfolded of the prophecies spoken years ago that stated that one day many nations would coome too this church and that we would have the opportunity too break the curses off of their lives and set them on a path of blessing! Well, Sunday with people speaking 3 dialects and 2 languages in the house you can know that that prophecy was fulfilled!
Afterwards, we served upwards of 100 meals as people who lived in the pueblo came too eat as well. Praise Yahweh!
We continue will the daily feeding program. Right now, we are serving upwards of 350 plates a week, by faith.
Mario, the 10 year old , who is in need of a cornea transplant too save his sight is scheduled to see an American specialist, Dr Eanes from Georgia, down in Southern Baja on July 25. Somehow , we need to make away for Francisco to be able too accompany he and his father to Vicente Guerrerro foor this appointment as the father won’t go alone. Although the best doctors here in Ensenada have basically written him off as facing a life of blindness we believe that the Lord will restore this child’s sight. We have prayed for him and believe that he has recieved a powerful healing touch from the Lord. One way or another we will see the Glory of God in this child’s healing beacuse the Lord says so in His Word and we BELIEVE it! Please continue to agree with us in prayer on this matter!
We pray this finds all of you at Harvest of Faith blessed beyond measure! We so appreciate your giving
. I want to encourage you with this as well…….
recently it came time for us (Francisco and I) to pay our tithe. We had several things happen that caused us too be in a real bind, the truck broke doown twice, an unexpected root canal, you know how it goes……….Anyway, the opportunity came for us to hand over the tithe and truly it was a lot of money for us because we pay it once a year and at that we were literally left with $27. We had nothing left to eat on or to run the kitchen and boy it was tempting to hold on to some of it! But we did not. WITHIN 36 hours I recieved a phone call that someone who had owed me money for over 20 years had paid it and just like that the Lord blessed us with over $3,000!! This was truly miracle money from out of Yahweh’s Hand and there is no other way around it. I am still excited about how the Lord made that happen and just want too share it with everybody.
Anyway, I should sign off now. Many thanks to everyone. Know that we love ya’ll in the Lord and keep you in prayer constantly. Thanks for enabling us to touch so many lives and too be so blessed. Keep up the good fight of faith,
Sister Deedee and Pastor Francisco
Baja California Mexico

My what a day it has been. today all of the women came to cook a feast a of Pollo Blanco in the church kitchen. In itself that is a victory as I have tried and tried to get them to cook here to no avail. Francisco says they feel awkward and unworthy, but finally they agreed to make this meal for a baby dedication Sunday.
So the kitchen today was filled with seven barefoot women in long skirts. They laughed as I showed them how the stove lit from the automatic pilot and giggled from a the ice in the freezer. Then finally about ten they settled in to cook.

I, having been afflicted with a fever the last few nights was just glad I could sit down and basically do nothing. at around 12:15 , Juana Isidra the lady who lives in the yurt down below came and sat down beside me. Before she settled in she offered me a grocery sack of lovely smoked chiles and I thanked her effusively. We passed quite some time in actual silence. This is something I love about these women. They seem satisfied with one’s presence alone. Apparently they do not require the social overtures of other people groups. At around 2, though she summoned Ernesto, a 10 year old who serves as our unofficial translator.

“Sister, she wants to tell you something,” Ernesto says. I motion him on, expecting a request for onions or flour.

The old woman looks to the floor,d crosses her brown and dry bare feet an then slowly raises a wizened face, her eyes meeting mine. Through the boy she says, “You and I, we are the same.”

Okay, I think, did he get that right? But I listen. She says, “I want you understand, WE both want the same. My people are lost but we want them not to be. I wish (quiero) to tell you about what we were and who we are.”

At this point, I am starting to awaken a bit from this feverish stupor I have been in for a few days and my heart is beating hard. Everyone in the room begins to fade from importance and I only hope my young translator will not quit on me as he often does.

I offer her ice water and ask her to continue. She seems as if she might sleep with the water and I immediately regret breaking his rhythm. Before today she has never spoken once to me although I have seen her clap during worship and smile at the movies we play.
At last again she speaks thru Ernesto. “I do not understand your lengua, but I know you are good and the same same with me. ”
What follows is a long coversation thru a translator, but it is so important and profound that I am going to paraphrase it for you. she tells me that she learned from her father’s father about their God, who is called Yaih-nawai-ah. She says that other girls marry, but not her. She only tells stories, not to a husband. And that this Yaih-nawai-ah that she learned of is the creator of all things, that He created corn in abundance, that their God never dies and never ends and wants only Good for her people. She tells of old men telling stories of this god and of the Rules he set down for her people. She says that her people have strayed away and listened to other Stories and even sacrificed to “malignos” (bad spirits) but that she knows that still her God will bring them back and not allow them to perish in such poverty and constant “bad”.

I am at this point really fascinated and my mind has placed Yahweh and Yaih-nawai-ah together. But here she stops. Seemingly, just worn out ,her stories are over and honestly Ernesto is relieved . He is wanting to go play with the rest of the bunch.

I am wondering if this particular group has worshiped Yahweh all along and if that explains the receptiveness of the children to the Gospel and their noble ways, because they are really not your average kids………………I am honored that she says I am the same with her. I am excited to hear her speak again, but apparently must be patient. I think she is between 75 and 80 years old and seems stout but is quite socially withdrawn around us.

Anyhow, it went well today. There was plentiful laughter and at the same time there was much talk of the people who died in the recent accident. I know that Frank intends to address this tomorrow. In fact it will be a very short ceremony after he explains the Hope that we have. I do not believe we will ever again have trouble getting these ladies to come in and cook here, that barrier is broken, praise God.

I really am so thankful that I felt well enough to go today. I spent again much of the night focused on healing Scriptures and rebuking a fever and wonder if in fact it is just spiritual warfare causing these symptoms and relating to the activities of the past few days and tomorrow.

Well anyway, i am encouraged. Thank you for your prayers and blessings to you all,
love-
sis Deedee

Greetings Beloved Ones………

Here I am really rejoicing in a lovely spring evening, really reflecting upon the goodness of the Lord. It is nice and warm out and I’ve opened all of the windows, the smell od the gladiolas blooming down below the house is just overwhelming. From the balcony during the day you can see huge squares of white, pink and purple where the flower crops are just about ready for harvest, so pretty.
I’m still unwinding after a very long but very fruitful day Today was the day we hold our monthly medical clinic at the church and I am so happy with how it all worked out. Francisco and I had decided not to do any special announcements to let folks know about this months clinic. We just wanted to get a read one who exactly would come out of absolute need and not maybe just to eat lunch or whatever other extraneous reasons. We still had grand attendance, with the doctor treating 36 patients all together. We had three well baby check ups, three tiny ones from ages 3 days to just 10 days old. That was so neat-having these indian mothers bring the babies and literally put them in our hands to be weighed and looked over and blessed! They were all in outstanding health, praise God. Today we did something new though. The doctor , nurse and I prayed over each of the babies together – I was pleased that it was the young doctor who actually came out and got me
to pray with them. We gave away scads of adult and children’s vitamins and lots of oral rehydration salts (like Pedialyte) as the heat has begun and most of our people are working in brutal conditions in the greenhouses now.
The doctor and I sat down and kind of went over our vision for the clinic. Our goal is not so much promoting Western health care as we are concerned with teaching preventative care; ie, the importance of a clean water supply, handwashing, importance of breastfeeding, dental hygiene. Really basic things that are just not taught to the segment of the population that we minister to. We also aim to serve as a filter that might catch health issues such as congenital birth defects, vision and hearing problems etc. Things that would normally be caught in the schools or in routine checkups and addressed, but situations that in this people group go unattended due to isolation and poverty level. Prenatal care with provision of vitamins and folic acid is paramount as well. The sum of it is that we agreed to offer a high level of service to those minister to as an expression of the Kingdom of God and the love of Jesus ! We agreed to always pray first believing
that the resurrection power of God has entered into those whom we pray for whether we FEEL it or not and that we will continue to proclaim that power of God until the healings are manifested! I am so happy that this young doctor seemed to grasp what I was saying and that she was actually very excited at this prospect. I really am grateful again for your recent visit, UR and all of the revelation on resurrection power that came out of all of that good teaching you blessed us with.! It was so rich!
The doctor also informed me that she had spoken with the General Hospital Administrator in Ensenada, whome we have been dealing with while trying to get little Mario’s eyes attended to and the Administrator gave her a very good report of her dealings with this ministry. The doctor stated that the feeling is that right now we have great favor with the medical community and that the “doors are wide open for us.” Again, an example of pushing the kingdom of God right into what people call the “secular” world! This is nice because it makes things so much easier if we run into another individual who is in need of urgent surgical intervention.
As for Mario, to me his right eye looks clearer since you laid hands on him and we are being faithful to daily proclaim that the Resurrection Power is working in him to effect a total manifestation of healing, in Jesus Name.

So, all in all it was a great day. I think it is important that we sit down and take time to refresh our vision out loud frequently, it somehow just boosts our faith and commitment to obedience, too.
We arrived home today to find that Ernesto and Aquilino had planted Nasturtium vines all around the house! (I had mentioned in their presence 2 days ago how pretty the vines were in a bunch of wildflowers Ernesto gave me and they took it upon themselves to get to planting! Now these are 2 boys ages 8 and 11 and they had to walk 1 1/2 miles in the heat to procure these darn vines. This is just not what you call normal “boy” behaviour. I am becoming totally convinced that these kids gratitude and generous spirit is coming as a result of watching the Jesus movie EVERY day in their dialect for the last 6 months. I think that the Gospel has actually taken root in them and is manifesting outwardly (true sanctification??) now. There is no other explanation.
Their gratitude moves me to want to bless them so heartily and just being around them daily is giving me so much more revelation of the Lords love for us and how our gratitude or lack of it must effect Him!!
I have news from Brother Shebly as well. After praying through his dilemma of whether or not to return to the oncologist to complete chemotherapy after he was given a vision confirming his healing of prostate cancer I am so happy to report- he has cancelled all further chemotherapy treatments and has decided NOT to return to any further doctors’ appointments with regards to the cancer that he was healed from. Praise Jesus! Over the phone, they both rejoiced in his healing and reported that they are remaining very careful to surround themselves with believers of like faith. They sounded great and I believe this is an awesome victory an answer to many prayers.

We hope this finds all of you abundantly blessed and walking in FAITH to victory. Know that yu are on our hearts and in our prayers!

Love,
Sis Deedee

Greetings Familia—

Francisco and I woke up at about 4am just practically dying from stomach pains, nausea and every evil symptom that accompanies a good dose of botulism or something equally nasty. It was awful.
We felt no better by 8:3o which is half our before service time for us. We really felt so bad that we planned on taking everybody to the building and just having Marcial do the service…..
But by 9, there was a group of about 25 Trique and a few Mixtecos standing in the yard each carrying an offering of chiles, or cucumbers, tomatoes, lemons and even Cokes-all enthusiastically expecting church with us. When Francisco told them the plan they were all so crestfallen.
We dragged outselves on over to the building still planning on just opening with prayer for Marcial………
But Holy Spirit took over. Pastor Francisco ( I differentiate here, because when he takes on that mantle he truly is a different person in a powerful way.) anyway, he prayed and then he asked everyone who we were there to worship- they all cried out “Jesucristo” (Jesus). He then asked who the Father of Jesucristo and of all of us is- with one beautiful voice they cried out “Yahweh- Dios el Padre” (yahweh-God the Father) He asked them what else Yahweh is called and they hollered “El Gran Yo Soy” (The Great I Am.) It just sounds so wild with all of these different voices different accents crying out boldly, it is hard to describe but different than anything I’ve experienced anywhere else. There is no music to cover it and somehow it sounds so pure.
At about that point I began to feel a vibration that started at the soles of my feet and rushed right up my spine to the top of my head! As the power coursed thru my back it wiped away the sick and the nausea.
Then he asked for Ernesto (10 year old) to stand up front and say THANK YOU Yahweh in trique dialect–“Kuenii-yuii-a Yahweh” he said along with everyone else. The Francisco told everyone to begin to thank Yahweh each in his own tongue and we all did. In English , in Spanish in Mixteco and in Trique we cried out thanks to the Great I Am.
It went on for about 15 minutes. During that time the feeling of what I can only call a “waiting power” the tremendous force of the Living God, just moved heavily through the little building, at times I felt as if I was almost lifted up upon the sheer Presence of God. It was awe inspiring almost to the point of being scary in its reality. During that time I had an experience hard to describe, not quite a vision but certainly not not a vision I saw these tremendous gold feet and legs seated upon a tremendous , gorgeous white throne and had the IMPRESSION (not the actual sight just a powerful IMPRESSION) of THE FACE OF GOD TILTED TOWARD OUR CHURCH AND SMILING GREATLY. He was so HAPPY. It made me weep to think that somehow someway ( by being a part of this church He was watching)I had caused the God of the Universe to be HAPPY! But, no doubt at all, He was happy. (Can you wrap your mind around that?? I know it kind of flys in the face of what is generally
thought abut the mood of the Father!)
At that point I became pretty much intoxicated and still feel very much out of it in a very good way!! But yes, out of it.
I also came away with the very distinct knowledge that the Lord is building this Church, His church just the way He wants it done. We only need be obedient and basically just continue to show up! No extreme planning or ideas on our part are necessary! It sounds crazy, I know but I know that I know. And let me tell you, it is pretty far removed from what idea I have always had as “being Church.” The order is different every time and my religious ideas are constantly being challenged. For Frank it is easier I think, because he has not ever really been “churched” he doesn’t fight the same ideals about what is or isn’t church so he can just go with the Flow of Holy Spirit without a thought where as I find myself really battling at times not to say, “But Frank, the order is wrong” or “Shouldn’t we do this or that first.” It’s a real challenge in submission as a wife and a sister that I am facing but the end results are so awesome thus far.
Health wise I am glad to report we are now feeling great.
We’ve kept ya’ll in prayer and will continue to do so. We wish you were here to rejoice with us in the building of this House!! It’s been a really great day, UR……………miss you all-
sd and pf

ps-just as I was finishing this we had another huge aftershock. This time more of a very deep rumbling under the house. the dogs statred ging nuts right before it started. really freaky that………

Dearest Uncle Richard Aunt Pam and the Church,

Greetings and blessings in the Name of Jesus to you all. It has been a very very busy week for me here and I am literally so tired physically that my legs are throbbing and I have pretty much done ALL I can do until I get some rest!
BUT, I wanted to share with ya’ll a couple of great things that occurred in the last three days or so………and just couldn’t go to bed without writing first.
The doctors from Idaho , the Olsens, were in town on Friday to observe first hand the medical clinic that we started together about 1 year ago. It went very well and we had quite a few patients. In fact the waiting room was standing room only when suddenly abut 7 huge Mercedes vans pulled up to the church. Out of the vans poured about 40 Ukrainian Christians from Portland Oregon and Vancouver British Columbia. We were very surprised as we had never met nor heard of these wonderful spirit filled people! Evidently, they had pulled into Ensenada from a tour of Southern Mexico and asked a local pastor where the could go to be a blessing to lots of children. Well, that pastor gave them our location and they were on their way.
They came in, and prayed for us in Ukrainian and in the Spirit and the anointing was awesome!. Then they started unloading all manner of huge bags of clothing, buckets of trail mIx, flour, Gatorade, water, protein bars , candy, popcorn you name it! It literally filled one quarter if the church building. They told us to do with it what we thought was best. They also prayed for me and Frank and pulling us to the side handed us a couple of huge black bags, “just for us” they said. Then they left. We fed lunch to approx. 130 people after the clinic was over and then went home with our bags.
Praise Jesus!
Saturday we were invited by the Olsen’s to a lovely dinner overlooking the ocean at Punta Morro Resort-a magnificent view. We met with them and had a nice time and discussed how we could improve the clinic and it was a blessing.
Now this morning, the first Sunday of Holy Week in Mexico-we had over 120 people attend our church meeting!! It was AMAZING! They could barely fit in the building and I am still in shock at this huge crowd that we were blessed with. They were ALL Indians from 3 different tribes. The best part of the meeting though was hearing all of our regular church members mostly children singing the worship songs and participating in the meeting! While the new people were so quiet, our members really stood out as a great example!
With the attendance so high we felt it was the best time to just go on and give away all of the material blessing that we had received on Friday and EVERYONE went away with really nice clothing and food for the coming week! It is so much fun to give……….
We didn’t get done today until about 5:30 and boy was I glad to get home.
Now after I showered I finally had a chance to look at the two bags that were given to Frank and I and what I found blew my mind. Inside, were lovely clothes that exactly fit us-EXACTLY. All from Nordstrom’s and Macy’s- really nice almost new stuff. The crazy thing is that the items were things that we really lacked and needed but money has been tight lately and we have not had anything extra to buy anything personal. You know it has been a real walk of faith just to keep the ministry going this year so far and that buying stuff likes socks and jackets are far out of the realm of possibility! In one bag were 5 brand new bath towels! And I have been thinking about You and Ap coming and feeling embarrassed cause our only two towels are pretty grungy looking! But look how the Lord knows just what we need and the desires of our hearts eve and He loves us and will cause people we do not even know to bring those blessings to us! Sometimes when money gets tight
I’ll catch myself thinking, “Well, maybe we are doing the wrong thing and if we were in God’s will this wouldn’t be happening etc” BUT then Yahweh Yireh just shows up in a way that it is so evident to ME that He loves us and cares for us and WILL NOT LET US DOWN cause He is FAITHFUL!!!!!
So, I am just really thanking the Lord tonight and wanted to share this with you as encouragement that YES He is ever Faithful if we will just HOLD ON!
WHOOHOO!

Love,
deedee

Evidence for the Resurrection
by Josh McDowell

For centuries many of the world’s distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can’t be discounted.

A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. “Professor McDowell, why can’t you refute Christianity?”

“For a very simple reason,” I answered. “I am not able to explain away an event in history–the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?

A QUESTION OF HISTORY
After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.

Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.

From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.

LIVING WITNESSES
The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.

The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means “good news,” the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: “Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.”

IS THE NEW TESTAMENT RELIABLE?
Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

By the end of the 1 9th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date.

Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world’s foremost biblical archaeologist, said: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.”

Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of “authentic evidence” concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. ”

I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .

E. M. Blaiklock
Professor of Classics
Auckland University

BACKGROUND
The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.

A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many “infallible proofs.” Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:

FACT #1: BROKEN ROMAN SEAL
As we have said, the first obvious fact was the breaking of the seal that stood for the power and authority of the Roman Empire. The consequences of breaking the seal were extremely severe. The FBI and CIA of the Roman Empire were called into action to find the man or men who were responsible. If they were apprehended, it meant automatic execution by crucifixion upside down. People feared the breaking of the seal. Jesus’ disciples displayed signs of cowardice when they hid themselves. Peter, one of these disciples, went out and denied Christ three times.

FACT #2: EMPTY TOMB
As we have already discussed, another obvious fact after the resurrection was the empty tomb. The disciples of Christ did not go off to Athens or Rome to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was “too notorious to be denied.” Paul Althaus states that the resurrection “could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.”

Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the “Toledoth Jeshu.” Dr. Paul Maier calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine.”

Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God’s doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ’s body.

Paul Maier observes that ” . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement.”

FACT #3: LARGE STONE MOVED
On that Sunday morning the first thing that impressed the people who approached the tomb was the unusual position of the one and a half to two ton stone that had been lodged in front of the doorway. All the Gospel writers mention it.

There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies . . . Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias.

Clark Pinnock
Mcmaster University

Those who observed the stone after the resurrection describe its position as having been rolled up a slope away not just from the entrance of the tomb, but from the entire massive sepulcher. It was in such a position that it looked as if it had been picked up and carried away. Now, I ask you, if the disciples had wanted to come in, tiptoe around the sleeping guards, and then roll the stone over and steal Jesus’ body, how could they have done that without the guards’ awareness?

FACT #4: ROMAN GUARD GOES AWOL
The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition he explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? Justin, in Digest #49, mentions all the offenses that required the death penalty. The fear of their superiors’ wrath and the possibility of death meant that they paid close attention to the minutest details of their jobs. One way a guard was put to death was by being stripped of his clothes and then burned alive in a fire started with his garments. If it was not apparent which soldier had failed in his duty, then lots were drawn to see which one would be punished with death for the guard unit’s failure. Certainly the entire unit would not have fallen asleep with that kind of threat over their heads. Dr. George Currie, a student of Roman military discipline, wrote that fear of punishment “produced flawless attention to duty, especially in the night watches.”

FACT #5: GRAVECLOTHES TELL A TALE
In a literal sense, against all statements to the contrary, the tomb was not totally empty–because of an amazing phenomenon. John, a disciple of Jesus, looked over to the place where the body of Jesus had lain, and there were the grave clothes, in the form of the body, slightly caved in and empty–like the empty chrysalis of a caterpillar’s cocoon. That’s enough to make a believer out of anybody. John never did get over it. The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes–undisturbed in form and position.

FACT #6: JESUS’ APPEARANCES CONFIRMED
Christ appeared alive on several occasions after the cataclysmic events of that first Easter . When studying an event in history, it is important to know whether enough people who were participants or eyewitnesses to the event were alive when the facts about the event were published. To know this is obviously helpful in ascertaining the accuracy of the published report. If the number of eyewitnesses is substantial, the event can he regarded as fairly well established. For instance, if we all witness a murder, and a later police report turns out to he a fabrication of lies, we as eyewitnesses can refute it.

OVER 500 WITNESSES
Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ’s appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience’s knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: “What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.” Let’s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.

HOSTILE WITNESSES
Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ’s appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ’s followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.

If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.

F. F. Bruce
Manchester University

The argument that Christ’s appearances were only to followers is an argument for the most part from silence, and arguments from silence can be dangerous. It is equally possible that all to whom Jesus appeared became followers. No one acquainted with the facts can accurately say that Jesus appeared to just “an insignificant few.”

Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.

The theories advanced to explain the resurrection by “natural causes” are weak; they actually help to build confidence in the truth of the resurrection.

THE WRONG TOMB?
A theory propounded by Kirsopp Lake assumes that the women who reported that the body was missing had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. If so, then the disciples who went to check up on the women’s statement must have also gone to the wrong tomb. We may be certain, however, that Jewish authorities, who asked for a Roman guard to be stationed at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ body from being stolen, would not have been mistaken about the location. Nor would the Roman guards, for they were there!

If the resurrection-claim was merely because of a geographical mistake, the Jewish authorities would have lost no time in producing the body from the proper tomb, thus effectively quenching for all time any rumor resurrection.

HALLUCINATIONS?
Another attempted explanation claims that the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection were either illusions or hallucinations. Unsupported by the psychological principles governing the appearances of hallucinations, this theory also does not coincide with the historical situation. Again, where was the actual body, and why wasn’t it produced?

DID JESUS SWOON?
Another theory, popularized by Venturini several centuries ago, is often quoted today. This is the swoon theory, which says that Jesus didn’t die; he merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood. Everyone thought Him dead, but later He resuscitated and the disciples thought it to be a resurrection. Skeptic David Friedrich Strauss–certainly no believer in the resurrection–gave the deathblow to any thought that Jesus revived from a swoon: “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life,

For the New Testament of Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.

A. N. Sherwin-White
Classical Roman Historian

an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which He had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship.”

THE BODY STOLEN?
Then consider the theory that the body was stolen by the disciples while the guards slept. The depression and cowardice of the disciples provide a hard-hitting argument against their suddenly becoming so brave and daring as to face a detachment of soldiers at the tomb and steal the body. They were in no mood to attempt anything like that.

The theory that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved Christ’s body is no more reasonable an explanation for the empty tomb than theft by the disciples. If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, why, when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem, didn’t they explain: “Wait! We moved the body, see, He didn’t rise from the grave”?

And if such a rebuttal failed, why didn’t they explain exactly where Jesus’ body lay? If this failed, why didn’t they recover the corpse, put it on a cart, and wheel it through the center of Jerusalem? Such an action would have destroyed Christianity–not in the cradle, but in the womb!

THE RESURRECTION IS A FACT
Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years a headmaster of Rugby, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.” Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar, said: “raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”

REAL PROOF: THE DISCIPLES’ LIVES
But the most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?

Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts–prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits–we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this “risen Christ .”

As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.

Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.

WHERE DO YOU STAND?
How do you evaluate this overwhelming historical evidence? What is your decision about the fact of Christ’s empty tomb? What do you think of Christ?

When I was confronted with the overwhelming evidence for Christ’s resurrection, I had to ask the logical question: “What difference does all this evidence make to me? What difference does it make whether or not I believe Christ rose again and died on the cross for my sins!’ The answer is put best by something Jesus said to a man who doubted–Thomas. Jesus told him: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

On the basis of all the evidence for Christ’s resurrection, and considering the fact that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and an eternal relationship with God, who would be so foolhardy as to reject Him? Christ is alive! He is living today.

You can trust God right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now.

The prayer I prayed is: “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You.”

Josh McDowell, according to a recent survey, is one of the most popular speakers among university students today. He has spoken on more than 650 university and college campuses to more than seven million people in 74 countries during the last 21 years.

©1992 Josh McDowell Ministry

Belated felicidades o the new addition to your! Please relay our congrats to Anna………As you can tell I am back online…..thanks to Yahweh for somehow protecting the satellite which was literally hanging from a wire on Saturday morning when the rains stopped at last. Today, my upstairs neighbor (Nacho age 14) and I actually managed to repoint the thing ourselves!! Another miracle for real. I was able to get the coordinates from the back of the modem and Nacho being highly motivated(I learned he is the one piggybacking on my internet) climbed upon the roof and put the skills he learned working for directtv last summer to work. A couple of hours of screaming back and forth and we have it back on line. Glad I never reported it as being messed up or I guess I could not have done this.
Anyway, we are digging out and in the process of drying out from what turned out to be some severe weather.
We are on our 6th day of not being able to get off the mountain in a vehicle.. The back way, by Jr. Burger looks like the grand canyon and is totally impassable still and the main dirt road is still underwater. There is literally no way out other than afoot.
Wednesday about 1am a terrible ripping sound startled us from an already light sleep and we found that the southwestern corner of the roof has been totally lifted off by the winds……………….water prloceeded to pour in to the back half of the house as we frantically tried to salvage those beds and others furnishings, still we had really bad damage to the drywall as the water just kept coming down…………..it was really awful and sad and I really had to fight myself not to cry and just give up……………….BUT the next morning in the wind and rain Frank was able to make emergency repairs and STOP the incoming water. I really still do not see how he got it done, I mean we literally had this huge hole in the roof, but using what materials we had he was able to temporarily patch it up and stop the water. It was Saturday before the rain stopped and we were able to haul out the wet rugs and bucket after bucket of nasty water -lost lots of
books , pictures and paper stuff and will have to replace sheet rock, insulation, the roof and of course paint eventuallyBUT really we are praising the Lord. Thru it all we still had a dry place to sleep and that is much more than many around here who are really suffering………..Baja’s mild weather makes us so complacent and no one is ever ready fr anything like this…………….plus so many people build their shacks on unstable ground or in riverbeds because that land is undesireable and thus FREE and when the rains come they bring disasters for these folks. We have not had anyone show up seeking shelter though due to the difficulty getting up here I assume.
The balcony railing got shredded and the view is now unimpeded as I told you on the phone!! Frank woln’t rebuild it so high.
This has all really made me feel for thse who were so impacted by Katrina…………….they truly had it bad and I can’t help but thank God that we got olff so easily even with the damage that we did sustain, could have been so much worse!! Honestly though when I saw the ceiling falling in by illumination of a flashlight, I was SO afraid, depressed, panicked………….truly though after the storm comes a great peace and in the light things did not appear so scary and impossible.
It is supposed to rain again starting Thursday, we pray not for long………I am planning n reopening the dining room tomorrow as now it is up to frank to start the big repairs, once it gets dried out that is..
I am enclosing various pics of the Christmas festivities finally………..
Much love-
Detra