25 Years of Service in Mazatlan in Under 4 Minutes
The Beginning - Fred Moves from Fresnillo to Mazatlán
In 1995, after establishing churches in the state of Zacatecas with a main church in Fresnillo with its own building; Fred moved to Mazatlán taking a small team of Mexican Nationals with him. They held a 21-day tent crusade and a few months later started services in a beach hotel in the Mazatlán Golden Zone. Fred reports; "we didn't have any money to rent the conference center, so I went to the manager and asked for it for free. I explained that many tourists like to go to church on Sundays and that the Vineyard would like to start an English church, which would be good for tourism. I added, we will do the service bilingually in case the manager and other locals would like to attend." He liked the idea and gave us the facility at no cost.
The Church Grows in Numbers
After a couple of years with both the English and Spanish services growing, we needed to move out of the hotel into a larger space. We were able to rent a facility in the Golden Zone at an exceptionally low price. Because of the limited space we held one service in English and the other Spanish only. We soon outgrew the facility. There was a large commercial space for rent right in front of us. Fred had already checked on it, but the rent was way beyond budget. One day while he was praying a thought entered his mind, why not ask the owner if we can use the facility for free while it is for rent with the promise to move out immediately if it gets rented. Surprisingly the owner agreed. We were there for over 3 years rent free!!!
Getting A Space of Our Own The facility we were using for free in the Golden zone was on the 2nd floor with no handicap access. It was also difficult for some of our snowbirds to go up and down the stairs. Fred realized we needed our own facility on the ground floor. One day a visiting businessman who had been touched by our compassion ministry asked Fred what his vision was for the Mazatlán ministry. Fred shaped the vision to have our own place in the Golden Zone. Part of the vision was to connect the "haves" (US and Canadians) with the "have nots" and bless the poor in Mazatlán. The businessman asked Fred "What would that cost?" Fred told the man around 400,000USD. To Fred's surprise the man said, "If you can raise $200,000 I will match it". It took a while but the amount was raised and in May 2004 we purchased a facility in Mazatlán's Golden Zone.
We Open Community Centers of Hope and get a Surprise Visit from Governor Mario Lopez Valdez
We started our 1st children's feeding center, later called "Community Center of Hope", in the Colonia Valle del Ejido. In 2001 Fred had cast the vision to plant 12 Community Centers of Hope. And in 2011, we reached that goal! At that time, the Governor of the state of Sinaloa was doing a big event at the Mazatlán Conference Center. Fred was asked to say a few words to the governor. Just before leaving for the big event on the spur of the moment Fred ask the secretary in the church office to write a letter to the Governor Mario López Valdez inviting him to our upcoming Sunday service where we would celebrate reaching our goal of having 12 children's feeding centers. When Fred finished addressing the governor the invitation was handed to him. He immediately responded publicly; "I will come to your church to celebrate with you." And surely, he came, but not alone. He brought his whole cabinet as well as the Mayor of Mazatlán.
Pastor Fred praying for Governor Mario Lopez Valdez and Mayor Alejandro Higuera in our Sunday Service
At the time it went unnoticed that we had made history. As far as we know no sitting Governor had ever officially visited a church in Mexico. He did get a lot of criticism from the press and other political parties for his visit to our church afterward.
As of January 2021, we have 18 Community Centers of Hope in Mazatlán. We have always encouraged our members, both snowbirds and national Mexicans, to get involved or even start a ministry.
Some of those ministries are:
Child Sponsorship Program (VCS)
Child School Scholarship Program (VSP)
English school for underprivileged kids
Ladies sewing group
Mobile Sunday school
Thank you all for your love and support over the years. It is amazing to look back and see how God had opened doors and put the right people in place to help us grow and do his work for the last 25 years in Mazatlán. If you would like to get involved with any of the ministries listed above please don't hesitate to reach out.
God bless and may we all have a happy new year 2021.