From the Reformed Quarterly Spring 1988 Bulletin.
Moises Zapata rises at six every Saturday morning (his day off) and rides off into the sparse bush of the Yucatan. His mission: to teach the Westminster Confession to pastors who don’t understand it. But while he’s there, you’ll likely find the ex-civil engineer kneeling in the dust, shirt sleeves rolled up, sketching a diagram to help some humble pastor dig a well to obtain clear water.
The son of a poor Mexican church layworker, Moises understands poverty. He doesn’t separate his theology from his practical compassion for people. Therein lies his great effectiveness; people listen to folks who understand them.
To Moises, education is the key to evangelistic success in the Yucatan. And he’s proving this at The Church of the Lake of Gennesaret, his small pastorate in the poor section of Merida. When Moises arrived as pastor three years ago, membership stood at seventy — only fifteen tithed regularly. Giving was so poor, the church did not even have a budget. Today the membership has climbed to over ninety, all of whom tithe, and the budget hovers at $4,000.
“I teach the officers, and they teach the people,” explains Moises. “People begin thinking, and things begin happening.”
Indeed they do. In only three short years, the church is on the third level of Evangelism Explosion and is helping two other churches develop the program. This summer Lake Gennesaret will be the first church in Merida to have an E.E. clinic.
Most exciting, however, is the effect of the gospel on the education and lifestyle of Moises’ congregation. Members are overcoming poor education by learning how to read and write. The church has begun a campaign to put toilets and septic tanks in each member’s home in five to eight years. Next the church wants to pave the dirt streets. They have already begun a Clean House Contest, a new nursery has risen out of the dust, and a new Christian Education Building and sanctuary are now under construction.
This is only the beginning. Moises’ vision is almost endless. He hopes to kindle a flame in this church, then move to other churches in southern Merida and do the same. His dream is for the gospel flame to spread, totally evangelizing Merida in twenty years and the Yucatan in fifty. Somehow, with Moises at work, those dreams just don’t seem out of reach at all.