SONORA – Had I not known better, I would have thought that the story I was reading in the Calvary Chapel Magazine was about a ministry in South Asia. Being evangelical is considered turning on one’s own culture and family traditions, and people make fun of those who profess Christ. Many people, especially men and boys, don’t want to be caught studying the Word. More and more, in these last days, the attitude toward Christians is becoming sadly similar all over the world. This particular story came out of Mexico. The enmity against Christians and Christianity that once seemed predominant in Eastern cultures is now pervasive, if not prevalent, on every inhabited continent. It is increasingly more evident even in America. This story is not primarily about the growing resistance to the Gospel. It is about the ministry of Rancho Maranatha located in a remote area of Sonora, Mexico.
Rancho Maranatha was established in 1990 in a location along the only paved road between two small mountain towns where numerous small, but remote villages were within reach. Daniel and Ana Jones lead dozens of weekly Bible studies, operate several Christian radio stations, and have raised 30 children in addition to three of their own.
Because the Sonoran terrain is so rugged, Daniel found it much more difficult to reach villages that had not heard the Gospel than he had originally expected. He knew that he needed to visit the remote villages on a regular schedule so that he could disciple and encourage believers and entreat others to trust in Jesus.
Just as a father shouldn’t leave [those] he births to grow up alone, I realized God was leading me to be more committed to the people we evangelized.
Ground travel was so complicated that Daniel did not realize that some villages were much closer than he had thought – at least as the crow flies. His eyes were opened when a friend flew him in a Cessna to a wedding in one of those villages. It typically took him between 12 to 20 hours to make the 60-mile journey. The Cessna mad it in 20 minutes.
Growing up in Southern California, Daniel had done some hang-gliding in his youth. He began to wonder about building an ultralight and using it to reach these places that had once seemed so far-flung. He figured that he might be able to construct one of his own. But he did what every believer should do when confronted with an opportunity.
In fact, he prayed for 20 years.
In 2013, a fellow missionary offered to teach Daniel to fly. One thing led to another as the Lord answered Daniel’s prayers and provided a well-manufactured ultralight.
Story after story of ministry, salvation, and discipleship have come out of God’s provision to send the Gospel by air. The Lord has used him to reach villages where violence was common. Many Sonoran villages are deeply entrenched in the illegal drug trade. More than a few mafioso and drug dealers have come to know Christ because Daniel has carried the Light in his ultralight.
Describing the Lord’s blessing on the work at Rancho Maranatha, Daniel said,
Everywhere we go . . . , we see God doing an incredible work, getting the church ready in these last days. The Word is our only hope to stand in these incredible storms because they are going to get worse in these last days.
To read more news on Mexico on Missions Box, go here.
Source: Calvary Chapel Magazine, Sending the Gospel by Air
Image Source: Facebook screengrab/Rancho Maranatha