August Update - Pruetts in Peru
At the beginning of August we received an email from the owners of our building, telling us they would be selling it at the end of our contract in seven months. This was a shock as they told us that we would have preference over others in deciding whether we wanted to continue using the building or not. Since we had not had our first service yet due to all the work we were doing on the building, this came as a large blow to us. The rent for this building was much cheaper than the other buildings in the area, but we decided to continue with the church and let Christ decide how it all ended.
A week later, the owners sent us another email, telling us they wanted sell the building in August. While we have a contract, they could easily fight us and stop us from using the building if we refused. We immediately called our pastor and began to pray. After much deliberation, we decided it was best to see if we could get some money back and move to another location. We set our plan in motion to take everything out of the building while we waited a week for the meeting with the owners. Once I met with the owners, they informed us that the email was sent in error and that the buyers would need more time to get the money.
To be honest, we were completely bewildered and discouraged. We had put money, time, and effort into the church, and now, we had no idea what to do. Property around us was too expensive for us to afford another building and we did not know if the owners were going to return to ask us for the building again on short notice. We spent the following weeks praying and seeking counsel as to what we should do. During this time, Patrick continued to hand out tracts and evangelize the area around the church, but did not hand out invitations as we did not know what our next step was.
As the date set for the first service drew closer, we continued to pray and decided it would be a waste not to have the first service. The week before it began, the water in the house stopped working, we were unable to get the sign hung, the projector was not working, and the few people that promised to help called and canceled on us. We sat down and talked, and decided that one of two things was happening. Either Satan really didn't want this church to happen, or God was preparing us for an uphill battle. The Pruett family is no stranger to up hill battles. So we dug in our heels and decided we would not go quietly.
September 4th came and the sign was hung, the water was on, the projector was working, and two amazing young Peruvians were with me to start the church. We bought food and drinks and headed to the building to clean and prepare. I knew the area, according to Peruvians and other missionaries, was one of the hardest areas in Peru to reach with the gospel. They consider themselves very progressive and they love to “party,” as they put it.
The service drew near and no one showed up. Our heart sank. We knew it would be small, but having no one come was heartbreaking. Then a young man walked up to the door and asked when the service started and ended and then took a seat. His name was Antonio. After a few minutes there were a few more people that came in and sat down. Because we had no musicians, Patrick asked if they would like to head to the sanctuary to hear the sermon for the day. He preached on, “What does the Bible say about Salvation?”
After the message, we talked and Antonio asked Patrick if he could share what he just preached with his entire family. He told Patrick that he was the only believer in his family and that it was very hard for him. We did not ask his age but would have guessed 25. We, of course, told him we would love to talk with them.
Folks, this has been a heartbreaking month. Everything has fallen apart. We have spent most our ministry money for the year on fixing this building, and spent months of physical labor putting it all together, but we want to tell you something, if it means we can share the gospel with Antonio's family and there is a sliver of a chance they will accept Christ, we would do it all over again without hesitation. Christ didn't walk this earth in sunshine and daisy, he worked and fought, and so will we.
We are not here to build and empire, but to seek those that were lost. If we cannot continue with this church in Barranco, we are going to go out with our mouths open, proclaiming the love and salvation of Christ as we go. Please pray that we can work this meeting out and that Christ guides our words. We will be starting another Bible study in another part of the city this month as well; and we are praying about taking on a Church restoration project as the church we are praying about is only a few months from closing their doors in an area where there is no church at all. Teresa has also begun counseling a young woman about her marriage and life, and hopes she can expand her counseling to other women.
The kids are growing and eating way too much, but are very healthy. Isa is now repeating everything we say. (One of her new favorite words is, “Amen!”) Ezra seems content in eating his own hand. Our health is on the upswing as Patrick has narrowed his health issues that have been plaguing him for 7 months down to a red meat intolerance. He is sad about this, but his body is no longer able to digest red meat; thus, his B-12 deficiency. Teresa is doing great as well, and is as beautiful as she has ever been (Patrick wrote that)
We cannot thank you enough for all your prayers, all your letters, skype phone calls, and support. Everyday we have here is a blessing and we could do none of this without you. Pray for us as we pray for you!