In 2001 Brad and Linda Berg founded Rio Bravo Christian Ministries. For over 20 years the ministry has served the community of the border between Mexico and USA to help strengthen The Church, make disciples and help more and more Mexican people find their way back to God.
Over the years RBMC has founded 3 Churches and established a Christian campground called “Rancho San José” that can house up to 120 people. Every month we host a seminar aimed towards spiritual maturity for Men, Women, Youth and Children as well as Evangelistic efforts to reach the people in and out of the community.
In 2019 Brad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that resulted in his loss of life in April, 2022. Brad and Linda have been working with Vida Nueva Ministries to ensure that RBCM’s vision and mission keeps going after Brad’s passing. You can hear a bit more of their story below.
If you are a RBCM supporter, we pray that you would consider to continue supporting this great ministry and contributing to helping people in this area to break the cycle of poverty, strengthen The Church and helping many people come to know Christ.
Dear Family and Friends,
“Is it possible for such a day to be so sad and yet, so beautiful? Yes! No despair, just hope. Because – Jesus!” This is the heading taken from a Facebook post, dated May 3, 2022, by our daughter, Kelly Crawford.
After an almost two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, on April 28th, in the early morning hours, Brad departed his earthly body and went to the care of his Heavenly Father. A celebration of life was held on Monday, May 2, 2022, at the Collegeside Church of Christ in Cookeville, TN, where family and friends gathered to remember him and celebrate his life.
If Brad could see (Kelly’s) post, he would be pleased that she, and all of our family, understand that this earthly journey is only temporary. There is life ahead, beyond the grave, for those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, our Savior, Jesus. There will be some sad times ahead, as we learn to live without Brad’s “larger than life” presence. But this we have confidence in, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:55-57).
Several years ago, Brad began the process of praying for and thinking about someone who could continue to direct the work of Rio Bravo Christian Ministries as he retired from that position. When we received the diagnosis of Brad’s illness in the fall of 2020, that praying and thinking became more intense. In the very first years – back in the spring of 1990, (yes, that long ago) Brad and I often had occasion to assist Jair Castillo and his ministry, Vida Nueva Ministries. This ministry, located on the outskirts of Piedras Negras, Coah., MX near the city dump, began as a ministry to break the cycle of poverty through Christ. Through its 35 years, with God’s giving of growth, that has been accomplished.
Our first service with Jair was helping with their open meal feeding and teaching ministry to the children that lived in that marginalized area of the Piedras Negras community. I remember having a conversation with Jair on one of those very first times serving there. He shared some ministry philosophies about helping the “needy” that just made good biblical sense. As we moved to the border to serve in neighboring communities with the Mexican people, Brad, often sought out Jair as a mentor. In time, they had occasion to minister together, to consult together, to share their faith and their love for the people and for the Lord’s Church. They developed a respect and honor for each other and their individual ministry efforts as brothers in Christ. So, as we began to pray in earnest for someone to continue the ministry, Jair Castillo came to mind.
Over the course of the past year and a half, Brad has been in conversation with Jair Castillo, his wife Norma, their son-in-law Eli Garcia, his wife, Mandy, they are the current directors of Vida Nueva, and
both the Vida Nueva Ministries (VNM) and the Rio Bravo Christian Ministries (RBCM) Boards. In the fall of 2021, Brad and I took a trip to Mexico together and met with Eli and Mandy to finalize conversation about VNM assimilating RBCM. At that time, it was decided VNM would be the ones to assimilate the work of RBCM at the time of Brad’s stepping away. We have spent the months since then working towards that end. It is a step of faith and reliance on God’s care and provision that we all move forward with this momentous change. If I could share Brad’s private conversations with me over the past several months about Vida Nueva Ministries, it would include these things: I know Jair and their ministry they hold strongly to the example of the church found in the New Testament including the doctrine of salvation. I know their workers (Brad knows several of them personally) are consistent in their faith and strong in their work ethic. I have confidence in them being good stewards of those blessings God’s people have bestowed on them and us in our ministry efforts.
Discussions between both ministries indicate VNM hopes to maintain the current ministries of RBCM, while also taking things to a new level of outreach with the gospel of Jesus Christ. On August 28th, 2022, Rio Bravo Christian Ministries will become part of Vida Nueva Ministries. At that time, it is our hope that those of you who have faithfully supported the work of Rio Bravo Christian Ministries financially will continue to give generously to Vida Nueva Ministries. We encourage you to find out who VNM is and what God has been able to do through their ministry found at: vnmi.org. A video of Brad and me speaking last fall about RBCM becoming VNM can be viewed at riobravocm.com.
Included in this mailing is the RBCM Financial Statement, the most recent newsletter that will be going to Vida Nueva Ministries supporters, and a resource sheet that includes who you may contact, if you have questions, how to find out more about this assimilation, where to send continuing or new financial support, and how to sign up for the VNM newsletter.
To our faithful prayer and financial supporters: as I have worked on these details in the days following Brad’s death, I am often brought to tears. Not just because of his absence in our lives, but because of the goodness God has shown Brad and me, our family, and our ministry in Mexico for the past 30 years. Two little words, “thank you,” are so inadequate to express the depth of emotions I feel, and I know Brad would share, as we remember all of you who have prayed for us stood besides us evening helping in ways your never dreamed you would, working in Mexico with us, loving on and praying for the people of Mexico. God has given growth and a beautiful harvest in Mexico – because of your participation. May God forever receive all the Glory. Toda Gloria a Dios!
Because of Christ, (Brad) and Linda Berg