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Posts Tagged ‘church’

Growing

“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!

What God is Doing

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?

Map Making and Open Doors

This past Saturday found me employed once again as “Map-Maker Extraordinaire”!  Matt decided we needed a map of where all the Deaf that we know live in Lomas.  So, on the way home, as I held a sleeping Ian, I drew him a rough map of where the Deaf in Lomas live.  Now I need to get busy and get these maps transferred onto something more permanent than a 3×5 card!

Claudia

I promised I would tell you about Claudia coming to church.  She came to church last Sunday.  Elena (Deaf) and I went to get her.  It was a dreary, rainy day last Sunday, but if you had seen the joy in Claudia’s face, you wouldn’t have thought any more about the weather!  She was so happy to come to church!  She had gotten up early and cooked lunch ahead of time for her family so she could come to church.  She doesn’t really know a lot of signs, but she sure had a great time at church!  She wasn’t able to come this past Sunday, but keep praying for Claudia.  Please pray also for her family.  She has five children (all grown up, I believe) that need the Saviour as much as she does.  Please pray for wisdom for us as we teach her the Bible, and for Claudia – that her spiritual eyes would be opened and she would be saved.

We have an open door God has set before us.  The city is Iquitos, Loreto, Peru.  You should look up Iquitos on Wikipedia – the city has a very interesting history.  I don’t have time or space to tell you all about this city, but here are some interesting things about Iquitos:  The population is 406,340 souls (Deaf and Hearing).  Included in this population is a Jewish community!  It is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road.  It can only be reached by airplane or by boat.  It is also the largest city in the Peruvian Rainforest.  It is surrounded by three rivers -  the Nanay, the Itaya, and the Amazon.  It is a major port city in the Amazon Basin.  What does all this have to do with us?

God has given us the opportunity to visit this city.  We will be leaving Lima on July 31 and returning on August 6.  Our language teacher is preaching in a Missions Conference there.  We are going with him and his wife.  We are excited to see all that God has for us on this trip.  Matt and I have been praying about this city for a long time.  I started praying about this city when I started praying for Matt as my future husband!  There is a Deaf church there, but it small and in need of some help.  We are waiting patiently (okay, I’m not so patient, but I AM working on it!) to see how the Lord will lead us concerning this city.

A couple of mornings ago, in my quiet time with the Lord, He drew my attention to a verse.  I was not searching for this verse to fit my plans and desires – it was in my Bible reading for that day.  I Corinthians 16:9 says, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”  Again this morning the Lord showed me another verse – “…and a door was opened unto me of the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 2:12b  We believe this door has been opened by the Lord.  There is absolutely nothing that we have done to try to open this door by ourselves.  It is easy to take the first part of that verse without the second part.  But we must always take the Word of God wholly, not just in part.  ”…and there are many adversaries.”  I’ve heard it said many times that Satan fights the hardest when God is about to do something great.  That has certainly been the case for us.  I don’t know what God has in store for us, but I know whatever it is, it will be great.  Whether it is big or small to the eyes of man, it will be GREAT because everything that God does is GREAT!  ”Brethren, pray for us.”  I Thessalonians 5:25

The Blessing of Being Busy!

Tres Leches

 

Chocolate

What you see here are Matt’s birthday cakes!  Yes, there were two of them.  One for his physical birthday and one for his spiritual birthday – both of which were this past Tuesday.  I planned a surprise party, and actually managed to pull it off!  A special thank you to each one of you who sent a birthday greeting!!  We are still getting birthday greetings – thank you for those also!  He told me he was suspicious at the very end, but overall – he was very surprised!  We had a whole house full of people and it was great fun!  Until this morning, Martha and Ian were still playing with the balloons!  We had “beautiful things” (Martha’s name for the streamers) also, but they didn’t survive that long.  We let the Efata children enjoy the balloons this morning.  Matt mentioned to me a couple of days ago about dropping the balloons out of Ian’s bedroom window when the children were playing on the playground.  We decided that would be a marvelous thing to do with the balloons, so that is what we did this morning.

There may be some of you wondering what kind of schedule we have.  I would like to give you a glimpse of a “normal” week for us (is there any such thing as a “normal” week?) – We have Language school every morning Tuesday -Friday.  It is going well.  We are now in book 2 – learning PAST TENSE VERBS (said in a deep, booming voice!).  The Lord has been so good and gracious to us in helping us to learn Spanish.

On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, we have practice with the Deaf Choir.  They are doing really well.  Our next special is the last Sunday of this month.  The guys are doing a special – we girls get to sit and watch!  Wednesday evening is church.  Martha and Ian normally sit with us in the service on Wednesdays and Sunday nights.  Friday nights is Deaf Youth Group Meeting.  Since Frank (Deaf) is in Pucallpa, Matt is helping Pastor Antonio Suarez with the Youth Meeting.  Matt is in charge of the “concurso” (game) time!  I would just like to take a moment here and publish the fact that although there were only two girls last week – the girls won the competition!

Saturdays are soul-winning and visitation days.  We got to go as a family this past Saturday!  What a joy it is to me to see my children handing out tracts to the people around them!  We give Martha and Ian each a couple of tracts, and soon they are asking for more!  I have started making sure that Martha wears a dress with pockets in it on Saturdays – then I can put tracts in her pocket.  When her pocket is empty – she asks for more!

Matt started going with Ghuido (Deaf) to Callao on Sunday mornings.  Callao is another city about an hour away (more or less).  A Deaf ministry was started at the hearing church there because some Deaf showed up one Sunday morning.  Ghuido had been going with Frank, and now Matt is able to go with Ghuido.  Yesterday, they had one Deaf man show up.  His name is Jose.  Jose has been influenced by the JW’s.  It is not clear whether or not Jose is saved.  Matt and Ghuido were able to witness to him.  Please pray with me that God will bring more Deaf to the church in Callao, souls will be saved, and lives will be changed.

So you see, my weeks are fairly busy – but what a blessing to be busy in the work of the Lord!  What a privilege to be able to teach my children to serve the Lord!  Have a blessed busy week!

 

Washers & Dryers, Kitties, And Souls

Happy Mother's Day! As you read the title of my blog this morning, you are probably wondering what in the world washers & dryers, kitties, and souls have to do with each other.  Not much actually, yet if I were to sum up this past week in just a few words – that would be it!  And really that just sums up Friday and Saturday!

Our language teacher’s wife had to go out of town on Thursday, so we had class this week from Monday to Thursday, instead of Tuesday to Friday.  This gave us Friday off!!!  We celebrated by going to Hiraoka (the local appliance store) and buying a washer and a dryer.  As always, the Lord was so good to us – even though at first it didn’t seem that way.  We had already seen a washer/dryer combo that we felt the Lord wanted us to have, but as it turns out, the Lord had something better for us.  The combo that we had originally seen only had the washer left.  But the Lord had another set already prepared for us!  We ended up paying about half of what we were originally going to have to pay for a washer and dryer!  It is supposed to be delivered today (Monday) and installed tomorrow!  Praise the Lord!!!

Friday evening, the kids stayed with Hermana Betty.  She is the Pastor’s wife of the Deaf church.  She and Pastor Antonio are both hearing.  Anyway, their daughter Deborah has a little kitten named Kitty!  As soon as Martha and Ian saw Kitty, they were overjoyed to stay and play with Kitty!  When Matt and I returned from our errand, I went to get the kids.  I walked in the house, and saw that Martha was crying her eyes out!  I asked what had happened…..apparently Martha had been carrying Kitty around, and Kitty failed to appreciate it!  I don’t know if any of you remember Frieda from Peanuts – you know, she was the character that always carried her cat slung over her arm…it seems that is how Martha was carrying Kitty when Kitty lodged a complaint!  Nothing happened to Martha – she was just frightened!  While we were there, I played and petted Kitty.  Martha and Ian each took a turn holding her.  Martha wiggled her fingers at Kitty and Kitty pounced on them and nipped at them!  This was rather upsetting to Martha, but I explained to her that Kitty was just playing – that’s how kitties play!

Language school is going well.  We learn many new things everyday!  We recently learned how to change a word, just by spelling it the wrong way!  For example:  The word “caro” means expensive. If you add an extra “r,” the word becomes “carro” which is a car!  Oh, the joys of learning a new language!  Another example would be – “Arena”, “Avena”, and “Harina.”  ”Arena” means sand, “avena” means oatmeal, and “harina” (silent “h”) means flour!  Then there is our favorite word – especially for the kids – the Spanish word for slippers – “pantuflas” (pahn-too-flahs)!  Doesn’t it sound like a word from a Dr. Seuss book?!

The most exciting thing that happened this week was the addition of three more names in the Lamb’s Book of Life!  The kids and I were able to go visiting with Matt and Pastor Alfredo this past Saturday afternoon.  Las Lomas is about 20 minutes away from Efata.  Matt and Pastor Alfredo have been visiting in that area, and Matt has had the opportunity to start having a Bible class with some of the children there.  We went on Saturday, so I could meet the children and their mom.  They were not home, but God always has a reason for everything that happens.  We were disappointed that the family was not at home, but we decided to see if their cousins were at home.  They live just a few houses down the street from Daniel and his family.  As Matt and I taught the children that were there, Pastor Alfredo had the opportunity to witness to the Mom and two of the girls.  The Mom and both of the girls accepted Christ as their Saviour!  The girls came to church yesterday morning!  Isn’t it exciting to serve the Lord?

It is also exciting to see the Lord opening doors for souls to be added to the Deaf Church!  Saturday morning, Matt and Frank made visits to some Deaf people who live close by Efata.  The Lord really worked on their behalf – they were able to visit with Paul.  Paul normally works on Saturdays, but the Lord decided to allow a room in his home to be flooded so he would be at home when Matt and Frank  came by to visit!  Please pray that Paul and his family will start coming to church and start growing in the Lord!  Please pray also for Karina.  Matt and I met Karina, who is Deaf, when we were here 4 years ago on our survey trip.  Since that time, Karina has lost most of her sight.  The Lord allowed me to interpret the service for her yesterday.  How thankful I am for every experience the Lord gives us in our past in preparation for His plan for the future.  Little did I realize that when the Lord gave me the experience of working with Beth, a Deaf/Blind woman from Roswell, NM, that He was thinking of Karina, a Deaf/Bind woman from Villa El Salvador, Peru.  How truly wonderful and precious are the Lord’s thoughts and plans for each of us!

There are so many more souls all around us that are just waiting for someone to reach them with the wonderful Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Won’t you pray with us and for us as we endeavor to reach them for the Saviour?  I Corinthians 16:9 “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”  Revelation 3:8 “I know thy works:  behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:  for thou hast a little strength, and has kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”