Sunday, March 19, 2006

The intensely hot sun beat down upon us as we stood in line in front of a daunting wall topped by armed guards and razor wire. We asked the students to remain quiet, and awaited our turn to enter the single gate.

In front of us, and behind us were many Mexican families who were waiting to take their loved ones, food and toiletries. Supplies they would not receive if the families did not bring them. The air was rife with stale scents and the trailing words of Spanish conversations.

Our turn came, and we moved into the next area, surrendered our passports, and were physically searched. Machine gun clad guards, dressed in black uniforms were everywhere. The fear of the unknown was at the forefront of each of our thoughts as our team entered our first Mexican prison.

We were guided down a dank corridor, and delivered to an open area. Immediately, you could hear the sound of many voices. Some were calling out to us, others were offerings of praise from an upcoming tiny church building. The land for the church had been donated by the prison. The blocks used in construction had been carried in one by one, by the families of the inmates as they came to visit.

When we entered the meager building, immediately benches cleared to make a place for the gringos to sit down. Thus, is the Mexican culture. Giving up what little they possess, to better another's disposition. We were introduced, and afforded the opportunity to offer up songs of praise alongside our incarcerated hermanos en Christo (brothers in Christ). I could not hear my own voice, as they sang. They do not worship with weak voices and distracted hearts, they poured out their all to el Salvador (their Savior).

After a few songs, we were directed to an open area surrounded by high, guard flanked walls. Inmates stared at us as we entered. To say it was intimidating would understate the experience enormously.

A lone man with a wooden rake was grooming an area in the dirt. We descended upon that place as this was where we were to portray the gospel account in drama form. Behind us was an open hole in the ground where raw sewage flowed. A makeshift cover of plywood carelessly tried to cover the reeking excrement.

Before us was a wall of inmates, curiously awaiting our offering. The intro was given and the story began. Others moved toward us to see what was happening. Starving eyes were affixed upon the movements of each student, as they completed their intentional choreography.

Christ was crucified, and eyes did not waiver. He arose, and battled with Satan with flailing swords. Defeat was bestowed upon this fallen angel, and Salvation was offered to the People of the Land.

As the drama concluded, and the invitation was given, a line of men moved into our midst. Their desire was to receive this free gift. One man, clad in a time worn soccer jersey fell to his knees and wept openly. Then another beside him. This was the day of their Salvation! The stench that arose behind us would no longer cling to their hearts or lives. They were free! They and many of their brothers came to know Jesus Christ in those closing moments.

Was it dangerous? Perhaps.
Was it foolish? Their is no folly in following Christ.
American teenagers with willing hearts, had the extreme privilege of being utilized to bring Salvation to a lost and dying world. They saw somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 people a day surrender their lives to Christ! Half of these young men and women had never led a soul to the Lord prior to this opportunity. Now, every one of them has done so, several times over.

It was my privilege to witness them leaping for joy with larking hearts, as their obedience to Christ, resulted in what the Great Commission calls them to do.

Yes BJ, you were right, I was supposed to go to Mexico. The Lord resides there.

Serve God? Yes I will!

Will YOU go with me?

dad (brent)


At 3:57 PM, Blogger Steph said...

oh. How wonderfully amazing God is!!!! I praise God with all my mind,heart and soul for what he is doing where you are and here in Indiana as well.He truly is our salvation.I also praise him daily for your prtection.

With love,
MONROVIA's StephanieTankersley

PS In case you didn't see it I wrote on the 23 .

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so thankful that God has opened your heart and eyes to this amazing ministry. I know God didn't take BJ from you so this would happen. But this is the "all things come together for the good" part that is coming out of your immense loss. May God be forever glorified. May your life never be the same as a result of this trip, and the hundreds of other trips that you will take with Awe-Star. May all of us never be the same after being touched by BJ's witness!
Blessings to you today!

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Thank you for sharing those exceeding abundant answers to our prayers. We are faithful in so very little, and He is faithful in SO MUCH.

Blog family--another Awe Star team is beginning ministry in Nuevo Laredo even now. Please pray for this team (yes, it includes two people whose last name looks a lot like my own) and their leadership--that ALL will see His glory and that hearts and lives from both sides of the border will be forever changed.

With thanks and praise to the One who came to open prison doors and set the captives FREE!

Marti for all of the Piepers (including Andrew and Kristen in Nuevo Laredo)

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

P.S. Brent, I WILL go with you . . . one day; and I will go with you in prayer . . . every time.

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, the week I spent with you in Nuevo Laredo was miraculous. God is already working in the town of Nowata, and the eight of us that went have already been recognized as adults, and no longer as teenagers. Bj is my inspiration, and he inspires me to rise a revolution in my generation of teens. I wish the best to you on further trips, and I'll be praying for you.

Love Always, Maranda

At 4:54 PM, Blogger answer-man said...

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We hope you don't mind our comment on your site and do so repectfully.
Thank you and God Bless.

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You did a wonderful job of putting into words the overwhelming fulfillment and joy when we follow in service to our's almost as if a person just has to experience it for himself/herself to really understand. And isn't that one goal--for more and more Christians to follow God's call???

I know that geographically, Nuevo Laredo is a lot different than Tuxpan, Veracruz, but that the amazing love, acceptance, and fellowship with Mexican Christians is just absolutely amazing! Maybe one day we WILL get to go there together....

In Christ's love, Jolene

P.S. Our dates for Mexico this summer are July 15-22.....

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Ashley Reagan said...

Ah! Thanks so much for the amazing story! I can't wait to go to Chile! May God continue to bless the ministry being done in Mexico, even after the group leaves. :) Love you guys!

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow.. dad that is amazing. that's all i can say.


At 8:52 AM, Blogger brobrad said...

Brent, I am moved beyond my own understanding this morning by your post. I know that the Lord is guiding you and Deanna into this wonderful ministry, sort of on BJ's heels but in a unique capacity that only the two of you could fill.

As the time comes closer to the reality of your move west, I find myself wanting to feel the excitement that I know I should (for you) but am selfishly finding it hard to know that you are leaving the area - you and your family have been such an inspiration to me and a big part of my life, I know that won't change but distance will bring changes to our lives. I know too that the Lord has us, your family, in His care and will help us deal with these changes.

I will find out what it is to keep up through the blog rather than our personal contact and am very thankful that I can.

I love you and am thrilled that your Mexico trip was such a kingdom success, and further confirmation of your calling.

I pray that my own heart will be open to the best the Lord has for it here or somewhere else.

I pray that Lauren and Whitney will have clarity too on what they want to do...I love them too and know that life is full of challenging decisions and thoughts at this point in their lives - under normal circumstances; this has been anything but a normal year for you all.

"It's Not About Me", we must all keep reminding ourselves....

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am going..and i will continue to go. Thank you for sharing!! Still praying for your trip..

love you!

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Higgins,

Sunday could not have been easy for you. Your grace and compassion were an inspiration on a very difficult day. You were a great role model for the children in dealing with grief. Thank goodness for a strong, loving Pleasant View family.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger natenamy said...


Your post gave me goosebumps. I can just "see" God working in wonderful ways in a Mexican prison! Go Awe Star team. Go God! Isn't it awesome that He has no boundaries... no borders and that we can take Him with us wherever we go. We truly are blessed.

We love you lots and lots,

Ames (and Nate-dog)

At 11:25 AM, Blogger jml said...

I sit at seminary today reading this and wonder why God has chosen to train me this way rather than the way i have read today. I want to be in the midst of an adventure God has given and i don't always see the one i am in as an adventure. i cried as i read this writing knowing God is moving in the lives of people down there. i am going to mexico this summer and was a little stressed about it but now i am more excited than ever and can't wait to see what God is going to do.

I love you guys and pray for you daily and i see God working so much in your family.

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a beautiful thing that you are doing! Praise be to God!

God Bless You!

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We went to Mexico last week as well. My heart is still with them. We saw many salvations. Thank you for sharing your experiences. What a blessing it is to read...

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope ya'll read this - I wanted to send it directly to Brent & Deanna, but thought this might help others! This was sent to my boss from a friend who lost his nephew - his sister wrote this... man can I just feel her pain and her HOPE... be blessed! LOve to you ALL from Laurel in San Diego ...


Please don't be afraid to say his name.
He lived and was important to us. We need to hear his name.

If we cry and get emotional talking about him, please understand it isn't because of something you said or did. The fact that our child has died causes our tears. They are part of our healing.

Please don't devalue our child's life by removing his pictures or other
remembrances from your home.

We will have our emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. Please don't think that if we have a good day, our grief is over - or that if we have a bad day, we need to see a psychiatrist.

The death of a child is different from other losses. It is the ultimate tragedy, not to be compared with the loss of a parent, spouse, or pet.

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so please don't shy away from us. We need you.

Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected following the death of a child. Allow us to feel these emotions without feeling guilty.

Don't expect our grief to be over in six months. We will never be cured or former bereaved parents, but will forever more miss and grieve for our child.

If we are not publicly hysterical, please do not consider that we are strong or doing well. Our minds and hearts are very likely screaming, and it is only a matter of time before we have to escape the public eye and retreat to our privacy to cry and scream.

Please send us a note saying you're thinking of us or praying for us. We draw on your support and strength. Although we aren't feeling socialble, your cards are important to us.

Understand our physical reactions to grief. We may gain or lose weight,
sleep all the time, or none at all.

Birthdays and holdays are difficult times. Please tell us you are thinking of our child on these days and share your memories with us.

Avoid comments like "Get on with your life, you'll feel better", or
"If you keep busy, you won't think about him". We want to think about him. Denial is much less painful than the reality that is our terror.

Don't suggest anti-depressants. We are not depressed. We are sad. There is a big difference. The only way to get through the grief is to experience it.

Understand that grief changes people. We are not the same people we were before our child died. We are forever changed. Try to get to know the new us, maybe you will still like us.

Be patient with us.

When in doubt of how to act around us - just ask.

At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brent and Deanna,
Yes, one day I will go.
I wanted to say that I could only hope to find a man like your son.
His story has inspired me and also brought me closer to Christ.
Remember that I still pray for you and I ask that you pray for me. God bless you and be with you wherever you go.
In Christ's Love


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