Saturday, August 29, 2009
Jeff traveled to the Tarma, Peru area with a representative from a church in California so that they could investigate an area where churches might be planted in the future. They traveled mountain roads for 3 days searching for villages that were looking for help in starting churches. They found people hungry to know more about the story of Jesus and the hope He brings to life. Many of these people live within the shadow of decades old Catholic church buildings that are open only once or twice per year. Many have no copy of God's Word, and if they do, they don't know how to study it. Pray for them.
Liesa has been busy working here at the house in the office. Her job involves coordinating the logistics for the teams that are working here in Peru. She makes sure they have all they need to get their work done. Pray for her as she has so many things to keep up with.
Haylee and Jackson continue to grow up every day. They amaze us by the way they adapt to the challenges of living in a foreign place. We are thankful for those of you who make sure they are 'covered' in prayer each day.
We are approaching two years of service with the International Mission Board, working for our Southern Baptist Churches. We are thankful for your support through prayer and through giving to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. There have been some weary days as of late and the knowledge that so many are supporting us is a great reminder and a wonderful encouragement.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
You're going to need to take the time to read all of this. So many of you pray and never get to see what God does. Through these words of testimony you can SEE where YOUR WORK THROUGH PRAYER is having such an impact here in Peru...
From the Mantaro Valley...
We went to Huancayo with the NOBTS group and I was expecting to assist in small ways and teach my assigned class. However, God had a different plan that involved 14 plus hour days of buying food, watching the budget, delivering food to the church for about 30 people for breakfast, 50+ for lunch and around 200 for supper each day. That meant we shopped for supper for one day and breakfast and lunch for the next day after breakfast each morning. It required us to go to the “open air” market each day where everyone seemed to operate in a different “time” zone, then go to Plaza Vea for everything else each day.
Then we returned to the church and attempted to get everyone on the same page for preparing supper which was trying and sometimes funny as much of the help was not used to preparing for 200 people and they also seemed to operate in the same “time” zone as the people in the market, where one is not concerned with the clock, just concerned with finishing the task whenever it gets done. And, we were trying to do this with just one faucet that worked.
But, as the week progressed we were able to get a second faucet working, buy enough cups for all to have a drink at the same time, get some needed items for the kitchen, get dishes washed between the feeding of the two shifts, and, most important, by the end of the week we had learned to love one another and put aside differences for the sake of the cause/task God had laid before us and at the same time come to appreciate each other much more through mutual respect and the fact that we recognized each other as brothers and sisters in the same family, the Family of God.
And, with the efforts of all we were under budget and were able to give those involved in the conference very good meals and on the last day they were able to use that training to the joy of a large number who came to know Christ through God blessing the efforts of the attendees. And, each of us, once again, were amazed at how God puts the right people in the right place to get accomplished the tasks that need to be done.
We storied the story of Peter and John going to the temple and healing the paralytic and then we went over the questions and had good participation from the group of listeners in the pueblo joven. Before the prayer I asked that anyone who might want to have a relationship with Christ talk to the pastor’s wife and before we departed one woman asked to talk to the pastor’s wife and accepted Christ.
From the Amazon (Student Missionary from Ole Miss)…
A special memory for me while sharing the Bible came about when we came to a village that we knew did not have much knowledge of Jesus. This meant setting a foundation about God, so we started memorizing the Bible, yes the entire Bible. When the day came we went to a man's house and started telling stories starting with creation and ending with the ascension of Jesus. That was exhausting and I wasn’t even responsible for the majority of the stories. Nevertheless, God was at work and by the end of the day a man accepted Christ as his Savior.
From the Amazon Storying Team…
“On the first night in the village of Catalan Urco, when our team was explaining what we would be doing during our stay, a man in the village asked if we would share about repentance. Later in the week this man received Christ!”
“I really enjoyed going into a member of the community’s home and sharing our Bible Stories for hours. The men and their wives listened so intently and asked questions about what they had heard. We took a break and they came and found us later that night and asked to hear the rest of the stories. It was encouraging to me that they were so interested in hearing stories from the Bible.”
“The reception that we got in Vainilla was amazing. We were met at our boat by the community. They helped us load and unload all of our stuff. A girl named Caila would come to walk me to church every evening and then walk the “gingas” home. It was so refreshing to see the community welcome us with open arms, through their children as well as their adult church family. We were shown the pure love of God by them.”
“One of my most special moments was when we were in Vainilla at the church there and I got to share the Bible story about the fall of man and then later the gospel. I’ve never shared the gospel in front of a large group of people and especially not in relation to an Old Testament story. “
“I will never forget sharing the story of creation and other cherished Bible stories as well as the gospel of Christ to a people group (segment) who have never heard before while under a huge gorgeous sky of stars. It was amazing to directly share the goods news that has given me life, hope and purpose! I felt so confident and filled with joy because I was investing all that I had, every day into things that are eternal and of infinite worth and value.”
More from the Amazon Basin…
“To be in such a remote area with the Iquito people and to see their friendly welcome was a fantastic blessing. They are a simple people with many needs. We planted many seeds of the gospel this trip that will come into fruition someday. The team did a wonderful job in working with the people. We saw some really encouraging results at this early stage in our ministry with the Iquito. We pray that we will see a mighty spiritual awakening take place among these unique people over the next five years.”
“ During the trip we went and talked to people daily and people came to church and we saw a lot of fruit after a couple of days of being there. We saw several people give their lives to Christ. Another lady was really sick and not able to move and we found out a little later that she is stable. Seeing one person healed and seeing a person accept Christ is enough. Praise the Lord for His plan and our roles in it.”
“Sunday morning was our first full day in the jungle. Before church, Scott Thomas, a summer missionary, gathered up all the children and played a game with them. Too see their smiling faces was something so simple but a huge blessing to me. All Scott did was invest a little bit of his time into their lives and attempt to show them a good time and to show them the love of Jesus. It paid off for the children and for us as well.”
“I was thrilled to see the light of Christ in the eyes of a new believer in the village of Nueva Atalaya. Several came forward the last night of our meetings in San Antonio but this new believer in Nueva Atalaya was special. This young lady, as I understand it, is the first new believer there in over 10 years.”
From riding around Lima in a taxi…
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to converse with a taxi driver about the major differences between his Catholic beliefs and my relationship with Christ. He was very receptive and agreed that it is a relationship with Christ, yet he was still very proud of the mini saint shrine on the panel of his car and the importance of that to his faith. I pray the Holy Spirit will do a work in the feeble words I had to offer during that afternoon ride.
Keep praying. You are so important to the work here!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
We have been blessed with the arrival of Steve Griffin from Mississippi. Steve was in the youth group at First Baptist Oxford during our years there and Steve's mom and Liesa worked together at the Mississippi Tax Commission. Steve (and his buddy, Elliot) left on a bus yesterday for the mountains around the Mantaro Valley. They'll be there for two weeks teaching discipleship and loving on the people there. Hopefully he'll lose all of his Mississippi State shirts while he's up there.
We have said good-bye to all of our summer student missionaries. We had over 200 high school and college students serve with our team this summer. What a blessing! We are so grateful for the hard work they have done and the sacrifice these students made during their time here. Some were in some incredibly difficult situations and were able to do some great ministry work.
Haylee and Jackson have a few more days remaining in their winter break. They begin their new school year on August 12 with Haylee entering 7th grade and Jackson going into 5th grade. They are growing up fast! Pray for them as their new school year begins.
August is a 'SLOW' month with only 12 teams coming in to work with us. Pray that their work would be effective and multiplied.
As you may know, giving to the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering has seen a steep decline over the past year. Because of this many of our team members may be leaving us within the next few months. Please pray with us that more workers will be available for the harvest fields of Peru.