2022 May Newsletter
Greetings from The Keystone Project and All Our Disciples in the Nations
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ Now there were six stone water pots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the water pots with water.’ So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.’ So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, ‘Every man serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.’ This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:1-11)
John was led by the Spirit to record seven miracles (signs = “an attesting miracle”) to present Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God in his gospel (John 20:30-31). This is the first of the signs which Jesus did. As we can see in the narrative, Jesus, his mother, and His disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana in the region of Galilee. This passage is rich in prophetic symbolism and practical application for us.
- “They have no wine.” Jesus used wine as a symbol for the new life of the Spirit (Matthew 9:16-17; Mark 2:21-22; Luke 5:36-39) in contrast to the old wineskins of the Law. This was a dominant thread in His teachings. The old system of the Law cannot sustain the new work of the Holy Spirit. In this case, the allegory of having “no wine” suggests that whatever life the Law of Moses contained had run out. The need of the hour at the wedding was for more wine. The need of this hour is new wine of the Spirit, and that in abundance. This is the central truth and revelation in our teachings.
- “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus instructed. The fullness of the Spirit often results in unusual actions or demonstrations on our part – doing what is unexpected and spontaneous. This was foreign to life under the Law, in which everything is already regimented, determined, and strictly practiced. The same is true of our religious systems and traditions. We do what we know and can control and rarely venture into the spontaneity of the unknown. Life in the Spirit is not pre-packaged!
- “There were six water pots of stone.” Here is where the allegory emerges for us. In Scripture, as three is the number of God, six is the number of man. John explains that the purpose and use of the water pots were for “the Jewish custom of purification.” These were made of stone and held the water used to wash utensils and cleanse the hands and the feet according to rabbinic edict.We can easily see that the water pots symbolize the Jewish system of the Law. They also point to our own reliance on the natural systems of the world and the church in our lives and ministries.
- “Fill the water pots with water.” Jesus told the servants to fill the water pots with water, suggesting that the pots were either empty or not full. This points to the emptiness of the Law (and our own human efforts), especially of that which the Law was thought to produce. The idea was that keeping the Law would cleanse or purify those who did so. In the time of Jesus, the popular use of the Law did not fulfill that purpose. Again, so it is with our efforts to use the systems and traditions of the church to cleanse or purify ourselves. We are cleansed only by the blood of the Lord, and the new life of the Spirit is the fruit of that cleansing.
- “They filled them up to the brim.” All that we do for and with Christ must be done in the same manner – to the brim! Charles Spurgeon said, “When you are bidden to believe in him, believe in him up to the brim. When you are told to love him, love him up to the brim. When you are commanded to serve him, serve him up to the brim.” They drew from the water pots and brought the results of their obedience to Jesus to the headwaiter. This is how we are filled with the Spirit, by believing and obeying Jesus.
- “You have kept the good wine until now.” The lesson for us is that the life of the Spirit – the good wine – is being poured out in these last days. It is the best wine, and it is being poured out in abundance. God’s people desire the new wine of the Spirit. They see the emptiness of the systems and traditions they have followed. They long for the authenticity and freshness only Jesus can give. The devil brings us that which appears to be good first, but the end of it is emptiness and sorrow. Jesus has saved the best for last!
- “Jesus… manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” I am overwhelmed with the privilege we have received of serving the Lord in these last days. May we resolve to give all that we are, all that we have, to finish the great task entrusted to us. In Jesus’ name!
April Training Update
On April 3 students and coaches began arriving for our month-long international training. It was a time of transformation for so many of them as they heard and saw many mysteries of the kingdom of God. We had students from 9 different countries, including Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Benin, Uganda, India, Canada, and the USA. Many of the students had never been out on the mission (prayer walking, asking the Holy Spirit to connect them with the lost, etc.). In addition to learning about how to go on the mission, we took them on the mission. About 40 people prayed to receive Christ as the students ministered in various areas of the city. It is such a joy to see how the mission has transformed the lives of these students!
We had a powerful time together as remembered the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on Good Friday, which was also Passover by celebrating a traditional Seder (Passover) meal with about 85 in attendance. Some of them were students participating in our month-long international training, others were people from our community, and some came from Rapid City. All who attended heard the gospel as we showed them Christ in the Passover.
Thank you for your help!
I know many of you want to help us in any way you are able. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- You can spend the summer (June – August or even September) working with us in our hotel.
- If you are 18-25 years old, you can participate in our summer internship program – and get paid for it!
- You can pray for us as we engage in foreign and domestic missionary work.
- You can financially support us.
- You can volunteer at one of our one-week, two-week, or month-long trainings.
- If you have been through our training, you can apply to become a coach in our Online Academy.
- You can join a work team to help us with the many building projects and property improvements we have here on our campus in Keystone.
In all these things, and all that we do, we are on the mission of making disciples of all the nations! We would love to actively partner with you in this great task. You can contact us through our website or by email (email@example.com) if you are interested in the internship program or working with us at the hotel.
- Pray for our disciples around the world, especially those living and working in dangerous areas of persecution or where they are affected by the pandemic.
- Pray for the financial success and growth of the hotel and The Keystone Project. Especially ask the Lord to give us enough employees this summer.
- Pray for the interns to have a powerful summer.
- Pray for the May 16-20 training event, asking the Lord to send us those whom He has chosen and prepared to be here.
- Pray for us that we will be able to follow up with those who came to Christ during the April training outreach.
Your prayers and support are sacred gifts, not only to us, but to our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life that the world may know of His love and mercy. Thank you, and may God bless you all, in Jesus’ name!
Richard W. Greene
President, The Keystone Project, Inc.
Mexico Mission’s Trip Report
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2).
This verse contains one foundational truth that has been a constant in all places and ages; that truth is: God speaks. He is eager to reveal Himself and to be discovered by those who seek Him. That is why parables are God’s favorite method of revelation. They are found both inside and outside the Scriptures. The Bible declares that the heavens are telling of the Glory of God. In this context, we can understand redemptive analogies as they are part of this divine pattern. Found in ancient cultures, they are an example of the general revelation of the Glory of God in the nations even through ancient history. A Redemptive analogy can be a practice or belief native to any given culture that distinctly parallels or illustrates the Gospel.
On my most recent trip to Mexico, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit that I would witness a supernatural event, a representation of an ancient Aztec legend drawn in the very emblem of the Mexican flag. You can imagine that I was very excited about it. Let me tell you about the history behind the Mexican flag symbol. In the early 1300s, the Aztecs lived in the northern area of Mexico. Their land was parched, and they were looking for a better place to live. The legend tells us that the Aztec god told the ruler to establish a new city where he found an eagle standing on a cactus with a snake in his beak. After wandering for some time, the Aztecs spotted the eagle with a snake in his beak standing on a cactus in the middle of a huge swamp. Just as told by their god, the Aztecs built their city on a swampy island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. This city was named Tenochtitlán, which is now Mexico City. So, I asked the Lord, “am I really going to see the eagle devouring a snake over a cactus?” From Scripture, we can conclude that the eagle is a divine symbol. The image of God as an eagle is found throughout the Bible but primarily in the Old Testament, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” (Exodus 19:4). This is also represented when Moses said of God, “As an eagle stirs up its nest, And hovers over its young, He spread His wings, He caught them, He carried them on His pinions.” (Duet 32:11).
I had one important stop on the southern edge of the Sierra Sur of Oaxaca. This mountainous region is home to the Zapotecos people’s group. I knew if this was going to happen, it would be during this part of my missions’ trip. I had my eyes open, and I had my camera ready to snap the shot of the century. Little did I know how God was going to do it. So, I went ahead with my trip. God had connected us with a network of churches working among the Zapotecos peoples group for quite some time. As I mentioned before, Oaxaca has one of the highest concentrations of unreached people groups. I did a two-day training with precious people of God who have been giving their life to preach Jesus in remote villages of the Sierra Sur. I heard about Brother Rafael Jacinto’s ministry for many years, but I had never had the opportunity to talk to him personally. I knew he was a missionary that had made many disciples and planted many churches among the Zapotecos. During this training, I had lunch a couple of times with him as he was the leader of the group of pastors I was training. I quickly realized I was in the presence of a general of the Kingdom of God. He is an 81-year-old man who began preaching the gospel at 19. He started doing this just seven days after he converted to the Lord. He told me that he had never had a pastor in his life, much less any formal Bible or ministry training, but by the race of God had seen entire villages come to the Lord by his preaching of the gospel. I told him that I wanted to interview him and capture his story on video. He graciously agreed. On the last day, we sat in an area of the venue where we held our training. I turned on the camera and began asking him a few questions. He began telling me Guillermo’s story. He was a wicked man who had killed many people; he even tried killing brother Jacinto. While threatening him, Guillermo asked him some questions and allowed Rafael to respond to questions that ultimately led him to Christ. He said that through this man’s testimony, entire villages came to the Lord. He added that as villages began coming to the Lord, darkness and misery left the families, and began to experience transformation and God’s blessings. He said, “David, the gospel triumphed over darkness in these villages”. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me, “Behold, the eagle devouring the snake over the cactus.” That was the moment I understood what the Holy Spirit had spoken to me while I was seeking the Lord in preparation for this trip. That is why Paul said; I am not ashamed of the gospel as it is the power of God to save and transform. Let’s continue to take the gospel to all the nations! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Director of Global Ministry
Testimonies from the Harvest
Over May 16-20, we hosted a week-long training for our summer interns and other students across the US and Canada. This was our largest training event in almost three years with a total of 69 students from 12 different states and provinces! These students traveled here from South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, and Alberta, Canada. All of these students were called to devote their lives to the same mission that Jesus gave His disciples two thousand years ago, the mission of the Great Commission; many of them embraced that call, and six of them chose to be baptized at the end of the week, publicly declaring that they were recommitting their lives to following Jesus and making Him known to the unreached people around them. It was truly a blessing to see the passion and enthusiasm that these students displayed as they caught hold of the vision to glorify God by multiplying disciples in the nations.
One of the most impactful parts of this training was the missional activities, in which the coaches took their students out on mission and lead them to practice what they were learning in the training. This occurred on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. For many of the students, these were powerful moments when they witnessed God at work in the lives of lost and hurting people. In many instances, they were able to meet practical needs, such as giving away food or blankets or buying people dinner. Two ladies in separate groups were each led to give away their own pair of shoes for someone else, and one group was able to buy much-needed food for a woman at a casino who was going into diabetic shock.
As students shared the Gospel of the Kingdom with nonbelievers that they met, they had the opportunity to lead some of them to the Lord! One group encountered a man who spoke to them very harshly and aggressively at first, even making threats against them; however, as they steadfastly showed the love of God to him and prayed for him, his bitterness melted away, and he prayed to receive salvation in that moment, expressing how he felt God’s love through this group of men. Another group of guys met several homeless people in the restroom area at a park in Rapid City; they were able to pray for them and even lead two of them to the Lord right there in a public restroom!
In other instances, some of the groups were able to minister to people who had already been believers but had either fallen away or simply needed encouragement. One group of ladies met a homeless man who had already accepted Jesus before, but he was struggling to overcome addiction and was beginning to feel defeated. They were able to pray for him, encourage him, and give him a Bible to take with him to rehab; he was excited to study the Word again and go on mission like these girls were doing. Another group of gentlemen met a homeless man who was very angry and hostile toward them at first. Although he rejected their preliminary attempts to talk with him, they prayed for him from a distance, and he eventually approached them and began to share with them peacefully and openly. He told them that he used to go on mission like they were doing, and they prayed with him and for him as he surrendered his life to Jesus and experienced His love and presence once again.
There were many other stories like these, but the common theme in all of them was that it was God’s work, not ours, that accomplished His will and established His kingdom in each of these situations. God is at work all around us, moving in the lives of individuals that we encounter in our day-to-day lives. How exciting it is to join Him on the mission and see Him do what only He can do! As one of our coaches reflected on her group’s takeaway from the week, she said, “All of the women in our group (seasoned ministers) concurred that it was much more exciting to go out on the mission and pray in the harvest field than to stand praying in the church or conference prayer lines. Our eyes truly were opened up to see the fields that are white unto harvest!”
As we remember all that God accomplished during this past training, we are especially looking forward to our next International Leaders Training in the fall! This month-long program is scheduled for October 3-28, 2022. If you would like to join us at that time, please visit the Training Events page of our website and fill out the “Training Application Form.” We would encourage you to begin this process as early as possible, so that you have plenty of time to obtain your visa and airfare well in advance. We are excited to see all the students that God brings to that training and all the nations that will be impacted by their lives!
Training Event Coordinator
ABOUT THE KEYSTONE PROJECT
The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.