Back Into The Swing Of Things
Sometimes the greatest fear of furlough is "What will we find when we return?"
Will anyone be left in the church? Will the assisstant pastor want to throw in the towel? Although we heard good reports during our stay in the U.S. we were anxious to get back to the ministry God has called us to here in the church in San Sebastian, Cusco.
When we arrived in mid-July we were thrilled to find the Assistant Pastor, Ruben Illa, in good spirits and ready to continue the work. Thank you for praying for him. He has been teaching through a book on dispensations during the Sunday School hour and a survey through the Bible on Sunday nights.
We were welcomed back with open arms and delighted to see some new faces among the crowd our first Sunday back.
One of our goals for this term is to build up the men in the church. Many husbands are unsaved and others need guidance on how to lead their homes and live lives that glorify Christ. Just this past week we held our first Men's Meeting. It began with breakfast on a Wednesday morning. At the beginning only a few men were present, but by the end we had 11 men total! Our unsaved visitor left us saying his prayer request was that he would seek God. Praise God with us for the Holy Spirit working among these men, and pray with us for God to continue to use this ministry to build His church.
Casandra was able to "hit the ground running" and participated in the first regional ladies conference in Quillabamba, Aug 2-4. The topic was Women Committed to Christ.
She also had her first ladies meeting on Thursday night. At first only one lady appeared, but little by little they came trickling in. She ended up with five ladies by the end of the night and they appreciated the homemade bags they received as gifts from our home church. She spoke on Mark 8:34 and challenged them to be fully committed to Christ. It was thrilling to see the ladies come together afterward to encourage a sister in Christ to be a testimony to her husband in the home and to pray for him to come to Christ. Please pray for the salvation of Sefarino, Beto, and other unsaved spouses.
We are gearing up for our church's anniversary and are working on cleaning and fixing up things on the outside patio. One problem we face is that our bathrooms are falling apart and are not easily accessible for one of our wheelchair-bound members. Four young men got together after their meeting and decided to "make a door" in the outside wall of the office to open up the restroom inside for the ladies.
We praise God for the desire to serve that we see in many and pray for His guidance as we step back into leadership with the goal of "pressing toward the mark"!
- We made it through all of our flights with no problems! We didn't even get stopped to have our luggage inspected by customs officers. They took one look at our humongous load and waved us through!
- Our two oldest sons, Joshua and Steven, made professions of faith during this past year! Thank you for praying for them!
- We have all adjusted well to the altitude, change in diet, etc. Even Casandra's diabetes seems to notice that we have changed countries and has been returning to good control!
- With a love offering from our sending church we were able to set up house quickly. This included purchasing a refrigerator, stove, bunk beds, and new mattresses. We were also able to have kitchen cabinets built and purchased table to use as countertop space. We purchased and brought our homeschool materials and were able to get a printer as well. Thank you MABC!
- Another church made a generous donation for our ministry and we are in the process of purchasing Gideon new testaments in Spanish for an evangelistic ministry we would like to start with the intention of reaching the lost here in our community. We are also purchasing bilingual new testaments to distribute to hotels and hostels.
- Please pray for the Bible distribution. That our church would see the need to reach our community with the gospel. With each packet distributed we are praying for an opportunity to share and will also leave a tract with information about the church inside each Bible.
- For our children as they return to homeschooling. We start on Monday!
- For unity among the brethren. We are in the process of gathering the flock together again!
- For God's leading as we go forward.