Praise the Lord! In August we were finally able to allow children to come in person to the church services. We have started one junior church class during the Sunday morning services, and children are coming and participating in the other services. We are open again for the Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening services. The government has also allowed us to now have 50% of the capacity of the auditorium (up from 30%). Please pray for Peru as we slowly work our way out of the restrictions from the Covid pandemic, and that we continue to progress in the country so that the government does not reinstate the restrictions we have dealt with for the last year and a half.
We are still broadcasting all of our services and our kid’s class online for those who can not attend in person. We have several families who are connecting to our online services from across the border in Arica, Chile. The border with Chile is basically closed still with very few exceptions. So please pray for the Peruvian families who have been working in Chile and the Chilean families who are connecting to our services to have more opportunity for spiritual growth. We also have some church members who can not attend in person because of health issues, but there are some who have gotten out of the habit of faithful church attendance during this shut down. Please pray for those who may be watching online, but have not been making the effort to come to our in person services, that they will be convicted of their need for regular fellowship in the house of God.
I am back in Peru now and my time in at home quarantine will end this next Monday. I am excited to be back, and I have written a new prayer letter for you all to be up to date. You should have received that email on Friday.
I was able to travel to Ohio for three different meetings in the last two weeks. I was at Liberty Baptist Church in Elyria Ohio, Victory Baptist Temple in Brimfield Ohio, and Cleveland Baptist Church in Cleveland Ohio. These churches were a blessing to me and I hope that I was able to be a blessing to them.
I am amazed when I was looked over my schedule and realized that I have just over one month left on this furlough. I am excited to get back to Tacna, Peru. The numbers of covid cases have gone down in Tacna so they are able to finally go back to some limited in person services. This is a great blessing since we have had just a few weeks of in person services in this last year. We will continue to live stream services and prepare classes for the children online. Please continue to pray that we can open up more and more.
Thank you for your prayers as I took two days to travel from Florida to Michigan. I arrived safely and was glad to be able to visit with the Toftum family on my way up. I have been truly blessed this week. I have been participating in the missions conference at Prairie Baptist Church in Scotts MI. This is the church that I grew up in and the church where I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior.
The people here at Prairie did everything they could to help and honor the missionaries at the conference, and they were able to increase their faith promise budget again this year. I am so excited to see them continually doing more for missions.
I have been busy traveling to several missions conferences and missions emphasis meetings. I have been to Maranatha Baptist Church in Wauchula, West Park Baptist Church in Delray Beach, Victory Baptist Church in Okeechobee, Winkler Road Baptist Church in Fort Meyers, and Bible Baptist Church in Cristal River.
I have now made the two day trip up from Florida to Michigan. I was able to stop and stay with some family friends, Gail and Terry Toftum, in Knoxville Tennessee on my way up to Michigan. Today starts a missions conference at the church where I grew up, Prairie Baptist Church in Scotts, Michigan. Please pray as I continue to travel and present the ministry in Peru to churches that I will have safety, and that I will be able to be a blessing in each church that I visit.
Also, please pray for good weather in the northern states as I will be traveling in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois for the next few months. The temperatures have been in the 60s since I arrived yesterday, but that is not likely to hold up. We can’t really expect spring here yet, but I am praying that there will not be any more severe snow storms this year.
This week I was able to attend the revival services at my sending church, West Gate Baptist Church in Tampa, FL. It was a blessing to sit under the messages of our guest preacher, R.B. Ouellette. Several of his messages were a blessing to me especially one about shouldering the load in our lives. God does not always give us an easy way out of our work and troubles. Sometimes His plan is too important and we just have to carry the weight of the load.
On Sunday, I was able to visit with one of the churches who have supported me for years. They have been a blessing throughout my ministry. I had a safe trip and a nice visit with Calvary Baptist Church in Cocoa, FL. I would like to thank them for their faithful support and prayers throughout the years.
I just helped to host the first Conference for Ladies at Calvary Baptist Church in Tacna, Peru. We were praying for 50 ladies and God blessed us with over 80 ladies who attended the three days of the conference. We had a special speaker Mrs. Luisa Silva come from Arequipa to speak to the ladies. I was also able to teach a session to the single ladies on Saturday. Five ladies came from across the boarder in Arica, Chile. Those who chose to stay overnight I housed with me. We had a great time of fellowship in the evening also. I also lead the services, and I was able to lead the invitation times. We had several ladies respond to their need of salvation and speak to their pastor’s wives separately. Many ladies also made decisions for their spiritual growth, commitment, and service to the Lord. Please pray that these decisions will continue to grow and bloom (florece) in their lives.
Sunday morning God blessed my ministry with the deaf in a special way. I have been leading deaf Bible studies for over 6 months now. The deaf here in Tacna lack Bible knowledge and understanding of spiritual concepts. I have prayerfully taught through Bible stories while presenting who God is and the spiritual basics like sin and its penalties, and Jesus’ gift of redemption and forgiveness of sin through His death on the cross.
This Sunday 6 of the most faithful deaf students came for our class time. God used the review of the lesson of Adam and Eve and the first sin to bring the deaf class to understand their need to accept the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior and the only one who takes our place our penalty and guilt that we deserve and gives us His innocence.
Praise the Lord God led in each step of the lesson and each illustration God put in my heart, and three people accepted the Lord as their Savior. I am very excited by this first fruit of the deaf ministry. Please continue to pray as I lead the deaf ministry and as Pastor Henry and the other leaders and I work to build a strong deaf ministry to really help the deaf community in Tacna.
This week we celebrated the church’s anniversary. We had special services on Friday and Saturday, and a Grand banquet and services on Sunday. The Stover family arranged for Fred Kindhart, the Central and South American field director for Macedonia World Baptist Missions, to come and preach for our conference. On Saturday there was an earthquake during the middle of the message, but God still worked after the distraction was over. A teen age girl who I have been witnessing to and praying for received Christ as her Savior. Pray for Romina as she begins her Christian life. On Sunday, I had a huge number of people come on my bus route. Lucia, my visitation and bus route partner, and I just kept picking up more and more kids and two moms. One other mom came with her two children on her own, and Lucia ended up having to take five people in a taxi because there was just no more room in the van. On the way home I took everyone home in two turns like in the “old days” with my little car. We picked up 37, and took 40 home! Praise the Lord for such a blessing.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We had a good time here in Peru.
Here Christmas is celebrated more on Christmas Eve than on Christmas day. Traditionally families join together and plan to eat their big turkey dinner at midnight Christmas Eve. At midnight the Peruvian tradition is to also set off fireworks. We had a special Christmas service in the morning and then spent time with family in the evening. I spent the Christmas Eve celebrations with the family of our national pastor, Pastor Henry Sucapuca. We had a nice time of fellowship and enjoyed watching the fireworks in the neighborhood at midnight.
On New Years Eve Peruvians also light fireworks but the display for Christmas is much bigger. We celebrated New Years in the church with a special service and fellowship time. We planned to eat dinner together at 9:30 and then watch a Christian film until midnight. We wanted to watch the fireworks and then come back inside the church and finish the evening with a prayer time. As we were finishing dinner at about 10:30, the electricity went out. We waited for a while and then decided to finish our meeting with prayer and go home. We were disappointed to have to change our plans, but I believe God did it on purpose to protect me. After the service I took several families home with the church van. As we got close to their houses we had to navigate through some crazy street celebrations. Many people had been drinking and twice people ran out in front of the van. I was able to avoid hitting anyone, but I can only imagine how much worse it would have been after midnight when they had really celebrated. So even in disappointment I can see that God’s way was better for me.