I started out the door like every Saturday, looking forward to my 2 hour commute to the church in Callao. Nothing unusual happened on the way. Once I arrived at 10AM, I was greeted by Bro. Danilo, my soul-winning partner. We folded up about 100 tracts, then headed out the door. We walked back up to one of the main streets, passing out tracts along the way. Bro. Danilo wanted to go visit a church member who lives about 10 minutes from the church. He hailed the combi (a small VW-like van used for public transportation). All the seats were taken, which meant standing room only for the 6 foot 2 inch tall white guy! We were on our way, with my neck vertebrae bouncing against the ceiling all the way! Lest you think I am complaining, I was praying silently for a seat to open up soon! A kind-faced Peruvian lady moved her granddaughter out of a seat, and motioned for me to sit down. While thanking her, I handed her a Gospel tract. She told me she had been saved in a Christian Alliance church. I was very grateful for the seat and the relief! We arrived at our stop, then walked a couple of blocks to the church member’s house. After that visit, we walked on down the street to a nearby park. We were passing out more tracts along the way. We met an older gentleman at the park, and Bro. Danilo offered to let me witness to him. His name was Adolfo. After witnessing to him for about 15 minutes, Adolfo suddenly asked me what I believed about the saints. I told him I believed they were good people, but since we are all sinners, how could anyone be a saint if they weren’t already saved. That seemed to satisfy him for the moment. Adolfo is not from the Lima area. He is here visiting from the Northern Region of Peru where he lives. Please pray for Adolfo’s salvation. He didn’t get saved while I was witnessing to him, but he did take a couple of extra tracts with him to give to his family.
In order to save money on combi fare, Bro. Danilo and I decided to walk back to the main intersection from where we were. We had just about given out all our tracts, and were waiting for another bus to take us back to the church. While we were waiting, we noticed a woman on the corner who was begging. She was tied to a small log, crippled from the waist down. At this moment, what would you have done? She had bags of trash sitting next to her. She appeared to be leaning on them for support. A flash of resentment towards those who had left her there flashed through my mind. It wasn’t the fist time I had seen her there. Bro. Danilo gave her a coin and a Gospel tract. We don’t know if she could even read it. Offering to her what I could, I gave her the bottle of water I had with me. Just then, our bus arrived. We got in, and began passing out tracts like always. We had only a few left from the 100 tracts with which we had started. As I sat down, one of the ladies we had given a tract to offered me a 50 cent piece to pay for my fare. I felt like it was a situation of casting your bread upon the waters. We arrived back at the church. We continued walking down the street to Bro. Danilo’s house. Along the way, we encountered 2 men on the street corner drinking beer. Bro. Danilo said that sometimes they offer it to him! We offered each of them a Gospel tract. The hardest of the two men asked, “Why do I want to have eternal life? What am I going to do in eternity? It sounds boring to me to sit around and worship God for thousands of years!” My only response to him was, “Well, you can choose to go to Hell if you want to. And you can stay in the lake of fire for eternity if you want.” Perhaps none of this really had an effect on him, because he really was only looking for an opportunity to argue.
Perhaps for some, there should be a conclusion at this moment in my story. But there isn’t. This was an above-average day of soul-winning in Callao, Lima, Peru.
Today I would like to share with you one of the ministries the Lord has given me this year. Since March, I have been teaching Institute classes for the Deaf here in Efata. I currently have 4 students. So far this year we have covered topics such as Salvation Basics, Philosophy of Biblical Music, and History of the Bible. This week, we finished up our classes for this year. Classes will start again in March.
On Sunday, October 13, I received a phone call from my wife. Because of the pregnancy, she hasn’t been able to go with me to Callao. Since church was starting when the call came in, I thought it was an emergency! To my great relief, it wasn’t an emergency! Sarah was calling me to tell me that Ian had just gotten saved! It was hard to believe at first, and I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t been there. I rejoiced with Sarah and Ian – in fact the whole Deaf church in Callao was rejoicing as well! God has certainly been working in the life of our son! We have seen a change in him! God has also given him a boldness to declare to all who will listen, “I’m saved!”
“After a time of correction, Ian and I sat on the couch eating crackers. I explained to him again what he had done wrong, and that just as Mommy forgave him, Jesus also forgave him. In the course of our conversation, I asked Ian if he would like to ask Jesus to live in his heart. I almost fell off the couch when he said, ‘Yes!’ I carefully explained salvation to him and asked him again if he wanted to be saved. Again, without hesitation, he said, ‘Yes!’ I still wasn’t sure he understood what I was asking him, so I very carefully explained salvation once again, questioning him very carefully. He seemed to understand, and when I asked him if he wanted to pray and ask Jesus to live in his heart, he sweetly bowed his head, asked Jesus to forgive him and come live in his heart! How my heart soared with rejoicing! It was just about time for church in Callao to start, but I knew I had to call Matt and tell him! Martha wasn’t home at the time either. She had gone downstairs to church. When she came home, we told her that Ian had gotten saved. She threw her arms around him and gave him a great big bear hug! She was so excited! What a special blessing it was for her to see God answer her prayers for her brother’s salvation! It is such a joy to my heart to have him come to me now and say, ‘Jesus took my black away. My heart is white now!’ How thankful I am that God has saved both my children so early in life!” – Sarah
God’s people in Callao continue to grow spiritually. They are learning more and more of the Bible. Some are learning how to read the Bible for themselves. How privileged we are to be exactly where God wants us to be, doing exactly what He wants us to do – spreading the good news of the Gospel to the lost, teaching the saved, and seeing them grow to maturity in the Lord!
On August 4, 2013, we celebrated the 29th Anniversary of the Efata Baptist Church of Callao! It was such a wonderful day! God blessed abundantly and we had 70 Deaf come, most of whom are from the Callao area! We had 9 Deaf people accept Christ as their Saviour! What a blessing it was to see God’s people witnessing to those who needed to be saved! For some of them, it was the first time they had ever witnessed to anyone!
We are now waiting for new tracts to be printed. This is what they will look like. In the meantime, Matt is teaching our people how to witness. They are very excited about learning how to witness to the lost around them. With God’s help, the Deaf can!
“To let Christ keep our lives and not we ourselves.” - Hudson Taylor
As many of you already know, we have been assisting the mission work of Efata in Callao Dulanto. We are now in full-time responsibility for the restarting of this struggling church. Our body of believers has grown from 2 faithful members up to 8 in attendance on Sunday mornings. We have also, by God’s grace, taken a leap of faith and started a Wednesday night service. So far, we have had as few as 1 Deaf person and our family to 7 Deaf people, 1 hearing man, and our family! The Lord has confirmed to us all that it is not His will to let this church die, but that it should continue and thrive to the point of independence! Thank you, God!
A couple of Sundays ago, we had 19, including our family. We have our main church service first, then separate for a men’s class and a ladies’ class. That particular Sunday, we had 9 stay for the afternoon service. In the afternoon service, we have started a series on A-Z Bible Words. The goal is always to encourage the believers to read the Bible for themselves. The greatest blessing was seeing how eagerly everyone was taking notes and looking up the verses in their Bibles!
As some of you may know, we had our first Wednesday night service with the Deaf in Callao this past Wednesday. There were so many people praying, and God graciously answered those prayers!
We started the service at 7 with just our family and the Pastor’s family from the Hearing church…..but no Deaf. Every buzz of the front entrance bell sent Matt flying to the door! About 7:30 we had one Deaf man, Coco. We were grateful for the one and continued with the service. When I brought the kids back from the bathroom, I saw that Irene had arrived. About 5 minutes later, Raul came in with two friends! Then about 10 minutes later, Josimar, a young man, came in….he had also brought a friend! God gave us 7 Deaf for our first Wednesday! Omar, one of the men that came with Raul, is a fisherman. He told us that he can only come to church on Wednesdays! Do you ever think about all the wonderful things God does for us and has in store for us when we take those steps of obedience and faith?
We finished the service about 8:30…a little later than we had planned, but God was in control of it all! I think the Deaf were surprised that we were going to go back to Villa El Salvador that night…it was getting late! After explaining to them that I had to teach school the next day, they understood and walked with us back up to the corner where we get on the combi (small bus). On the way to the corner, someone suggested Coca-Cola and a snack! (I love Deaf culture!) So we all went to a small store and had Coca-Cola and crackers! (My kids were so happy!!) The Deaf wouldn’t let us pay! What fun we had sitting around talking and laughing together. How I treasure those moments! We felt so incredibly honored to be invited into and have a part in their world!
When we were finished, we continued on to the corner. I thought about how God promises to protect us. I thought about how the center of His will is the safest place in the world to be, no matter what the circumstances are. I felt like crying tears of joy as I thought about His tender care of His servants. How strange it must have seemed to see a white family walking down the street with a group of Peruvians – all our hands going as fast as possible as we talked in true Deaf style!! But God showed me something precious that night – yes, God did set His angels ’round about us…and those angels were Deaf!
Today I would like to introduce you to two of the newest members of the Lord’s Army! With great joy and excitement I would like to tell you first about Rosa. Rosa is the lady in the middle of this picture. Rosa has been coming to church for quite some time now. Her husband, Raul, had been saved when he was younger. He was baptized in November. We weren’t sure if Rosa was saved, and there never seemed to be an open door to talk to her about her salvation. We just kept praying for her, and showing her God’s love. Two Sundays ago, I was teaching the children’s class (we now have 4 hearing children in our church!), and when I came back into our Deaf service, Matt asked me if I would witness to Rosa! With joy I said yes! I took her and Irene (another of our Deaf ladies) into another classroom, and shared the Gospel with Rosa. After explaining God’s plan of salvation, and emphasizing all that Jesus had suffered on the Cross to pay for our sins (The Lord led me to really explain that in great detail.), Rosa decided to ask Jesus into her heart. With tears streaming down both our faces, Rosa prayed and asked Jesus to save her! What a beautiful and precious moment – especially to our Saviour! Lord willing, Rosa will be getting baptized this Sunday. How wonderful it is to see a whole family saved! Now Raul and Rosa can raise their daughter Celeste and the new baby that they are expecting in the ways of the Lord! Isn’t it wonderful to think of all the blessings that God has in store for them as they follow Him?
Elida, a Hearing young lady, came to church this past Sunday with her Deaf boyfriend and his family. She is learning signs. We had a birthday celebration for one of the other Deaf ladies, and as I sat across the room from Elida, I noticed how sad she seemed. I went over to talk to her, and the Lord impressed on my heart to ask her about her salvation. Now, I am not a bold person, but I have been praying for boldness when it comes to witnessing. Well, let me tell you – when you start asking the Lord for something like that He is going to answer! He gave me a boldness that I know only came from Him! I was able to witness to her. We waded through a lot of her thoughts and ideas and philosophies about how to get to Heaven. We looked at each of those in the light of God’s Word. I kindly and tearfully told her that Jesus is the only way to Heaven – it’s not our goodness, our ideas, or anything we can do. I shared with her how the Lord spoke to my heart about talking to her about her salvation and that I wanted to see her in Heaven someday. We both cried, and the best she knew how, she prayed and asked the Lord to save her! How precious to know that while I may never see her again here on earth (She lives in Nazca – south of here), I have the joy and anticipation of seeing her one day in Heaven!
I think about the joy we feel here on Earth when a person gets saved…we talk about the joy in Heaven when a person receives Christ as Saviour…but we can’t even begin to imagine the overflowing joy and happiness that our Lord must feel when He sees another soul accept His free gift of salvation that He paid for on the Cross! Praise the Lord for the always open invitation to join the Lord’s Army – no matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you are doing with your life! If you haven’t joined the Lord’s Army, won’t you do that today?
The Lord has been growing the Deaf church in Callao. It is a blessing to see our people grow little by little. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. I am enjoying teaching the ladies! They are such a sweet group of ladies – we are learning together – they are teaching me their signs and I am teaching them the Bible!
Please pray for our Deaf in Callao. Pray for their spiritual growth. Pray for them as they struggle to stand against the pull of the world and old friends. Pray for a firmness in their commitment to serve the Lord!
This past Sunday, we spent all day with our Deaf. Matt and Hugo took a group to the soccer court nearby. They were able to pass out lots of tracts and witness to several of the Deaf. While they were there, they met the President of one of the Deaf Associations. He gave them permission to come back and teach the Word of God to the Deaf during their breaks from playing soccer! I am reminded of
I Corinthians 16:9 “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”
God is doing wonderful things in the lives of the Deaf in Callao. It is exciting to know that God lets us have a part in His work! It is even more exciting to look to the future and see all the blessings that God is waiting to pour out on these precious people. They are learning to give – of their time, of their money, and of themselves. One Sunday, Raul decided we needed to start taking up an offering. Since that time, they have not failed to have an offering every Sunday. With their offerings, we have been able to purchase a total of 5 chairs! In the eyes of man, that may not seem like much, but in the eyes of God that is something great!
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support! Someday in Heaven we will all get to rejoice together over all that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do!
This week we are finishing up Language School! Yeah! We have only a few stories left to read in our last book! We are so grateful for the Language Teacher the Lord has given us!
This coming Sunday we will be in Callao all day. We will have our regular morning services, then in the afternoon we will have a “Chocolatada” with our Deaf Church Family. ”Chocolatada” is a Peruvian Christmas tradition – one that I quickly coming to LOVE!!! So what IS a “Chocolatada”? I guess the best way to describe it would be a “A Hot Chocolate Party.” Traditionally on or during Christmas, Peruvians serve Hot chocolate (flavored with cinnamon and cloves – yummy!) and Paneton (fruit cake in the form of bread – way better than fruit cake!). After the “Chocolatada,” we will have our first afternoon service. Raul, who was baptized about a month ago, is inviting some of his friends to hear the Gospel. We will be having a time of testimonies, then I will be teaching the Ladies, while the Matt and Hugo (Deaf) will be teaching the men. We are excited to see what the Lord will do with this service.
On December 23, is the Christmas Cantata – singing and drama. Everyone has worked so hard – learning songs, memorizing lines – again we look forward to seeing how the Lord will use this Cantata.
This was the group of Deaf we had a couple of weeks ago at our church, Efata Baptist Mission! God is so good to us! He keeps bringing Deaf to church and across our path!
This is Pedro. He came to church the very first Sunday the kids and I got to go to Callao with Matt and Frank. He had told us that Sunday, that he was going away to work, and wouldn’t be back. Yesterday (Sunday) morning, the Lord brought Pedro to my mind and I prayed for him especially, wondering where he was and how he was doing. We had only been at church just a few minutes yesterday morning….when Pedro walked in the door! I could scarcely believe my eyes! I wish you could have seen the smile on his face as I shared with him that I had just prayed for him that morning! He told us he had resigned his work in Ecuador, and was back to stay!
Raul Larico was already saved when he started coming to our church. He had come to our church before, but had stopped coming. Soon after coming back to church, Raul expressed a desire to be baptized. On November 11, 2012, Raul followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism! What a joy and blessing it was to see him take that step of obedience!
It is a blessing to see our people learning the Bible and growing in the Lord! We feel so privileged to have a part in their lives! Isn’t it exciting to serve the Lord – to be co-laborers together with Him? Please continue to pray for Raul and his family. Please continue to pray for the other Deaf who come to our church, and the many more that are waiting to be reached with the Gospel of Christ!
I’ll have to add the picture later, but I am so excited to tell you what God is doing in Callao. Matt was unable to go visiting in Callao this past Saturday. Pretty discouraging, right? Well, yes it was! But God delights in doing what we see as “The Impossible”!
On Sunday morning, we stopped by to see Olinda, as always. We have been inviting Olinda since I have been going to Callao, and she has never come. A couple of weeks ago when we stopped by, she assured me she was coming. I looked and looked…waited and waited….no Olinda. Yesterday I was thinking about that as we walked to her house. I was really starting to feel pretty discouraged. When she came to the door, she really didn’t look happy to see me like she normally is. I just chatted with her for a couple of minutes, and then told her I understood that she was really busy, full schedule, etc. and told her I wanted to pray for her before we left. I prayed, and we went on to church. About 15 minutes after we got to the church, Olinda came walking through the door! What a wonderful surprise and delight it was to see her. But it got better! Frank asked me to get ready to teach Olinda, since she was the only one there. Then Matt greeted Olinda and she told him, “There’s more outside.” MORE DEAF?!?!?! Matt went to see, and sure enough there were MORE Deaf outside!! We had a total of 13 in our service yesterday – 7 Deaf, 1 hearing daughter of a Deaf couple (who were part of the 7 there), Frank, and the 4 of us! We were overjoyed! We had a wonderful service. Many of the Deaf that came yesterday are already saved. Please pray for their spiritual growth.
Just when we thought our cup was full, God decided to let it overflow – according to His promise! We saw three Deaf people (two men and a woman) standing on the side of the road at one of the places the “combi” stops at. Matt quickly got out three tracts and asked the “cobrador” (the person who collects the fare from the passengers) if he would give those tracts to those three Deaf people just standing there! He was willing, and we had the world’s shortest conversation with Deaf people that there ever was! All we can do is pray that God will bring them to church! As we went along, we got to talking about how amazing it was to see those Deaf people and how wonderful it was to have 7 Deaf people come to church. It was then that we realized, so gratefully, that GOD had brought them!! There was not one thing we had done to bring any of them – no visits, no reminders, no communication on Saturday, but God brought them!
After we had been home for a while, Jerod (one of the Kotvas boys) came by the house to get Matt. He said that there was a lady here from Callao who wanted to talk to Matt. We couldn’t imagine what was going to happen next! When I looked out the window a few minutes later, all I could see was Matt standing with a group of Deaf and hands were flying about rapidly! I was convinced in my heart that something terrible was happening, so I got down on my knees and starting praying! A little while later, Matt came home and explained what was happening. Olga, who is Deaf, came to church here in Villa El Salvador yesterday morning. She lives closer to Callao, but I’m not sure where exactly. She came by to tell Matt that she would like to come back to the church in Callao, and she was willing to “give us a try.”
Today, a Deaf man named Alberto showed up here at Efata. He had been a member of the church in Callao before. He has gotten out of church, but he came by today to talk to Matt. Alberto had heard that we were helping the Deaf church there in Callao. He is not against us – he is definitely on our side, but he is not willing to come to church on Sundays. Please pray for him – he is saved, and has a desire to be a Pastor, but right now “Futbol” (Soccer) is King in his life – not the Saviour. We also learned today that Vanessa (another Deaf person from Callao) wants to go visiting with us on Saturday in Callao. She wants to take us to her Deaf friends that are not yet saved!
We know that everything that is happening is all because of the Lord! We also know that all of this is because of the faithful people who pray for us and for the dear Deaf people of Callao! ”Thank you” seems like such a small token of the gratitude we feel in our hearts for the people who pray for us. Isn’t it exciting to know that you have a part in all these blessings that God is pouring out? Won’t it be so wonderful to have all of eternity to rejoice together at what God is doing at this very moment in the hearts and lives of the Deaf here?