May 28, 2014

May update

Psalm 66:1 says, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!” vs. 16, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” 

We give praise and glory to God. We have seen him work in our lives and are seeing him work through us in ministry. We continue to labor in proclaiming his Word and applying it in our lives and trust that God will bring fruit as a result. Our confidence is in what He is doing through us. We trust that God will use the ministry of His word to change lives and we ask you to pray with us as we seek to labor in obedience. We trust in the power of the Word of God in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit applying it in the lives of those who are hearing it. 

Below is a little more in depth explanation of each of the ministries we are involved with to help you see what God has done for and through us in Peru.

     We are slowly helping Las Ponas become sustainable. Hermes has been laboring diligently over the past year and a half working with Javier and Norvil teaching the importance of good administration of their business. They have actually gone from just making ends meet to setting aside money into savings. They are finally to a point where they want to buy the equipment that we are lending them. We are coming up with an inventory of the value of all the used equipment and they will start paying monthly. This will enable them to become more independent. 

     Hermes has continued the morning bible study and also added a Saturday morning breakfast with the carpenters. The carpenters are slowly growing in their faith, they are members of Cristo Rey and are attending worship and their cell group. There is a particular difference in the family life of one of the carpenters. Two years ago he and his wife were constantly fighting and in need of counseling. Now there is a level of peace that demonstrates drastic growth in their family life. 

     Las Ponas hired a young helper, who participates with the bible studies and Hermes has helped him in discipleship. He has seen a transition in his life as a result of being a part of the bible studies and discipleship in the shop. He now is planning to join a new members class at Cristo Rey to consider joining. We are extremely excited to see the fruit of discipleship ministry play out through the relationship of employees of the shop. Las Ponas is in the process of seeking to hire another master carpenter. They have re-hired another member of Cristo Rey, who came to us through the SALI english courses.

   Javier and Norvil recently invited their cell group over to the shop for a labor day grill out. This demonstrates growth in Christian community. They are actively bearing witness of God’s work in their lives to their clients and are gaining new clients because of the quality and timeliness of their work. 

Parish is a ministry that serves as a consultant to Las Ponas. We are teaching them to be sustainable and aim to achieve success in helping Las Ponas before we seriously focus on other carpenters. Our aim is to have a broader reach with other carpenters but we think it is best to be successful with our first disciples before we spread ourselves out to try to help others. 

     Hermes is also helping with sales and Parish is ordering items from Las Ponas to sell to the short term teams and on the missions website marketplace fundraiser. We are putting a hold on pursuing export sales to the States until we can get more established in the local market and develop sustainability with the carpenters. We think it is best to focus on building a good foundation with the carpenters we work with before we return to exporting. There are several leads and interests in the States that we are continuing conversations with, but we are not making any definite plans until farther in the future. 

     Our main focus now is on discipleship, development and training. We think that by focusing on this part, the carpenters will be able to grow into able businessmen who will then be equipped and ready to enter the international market and grow out of poverty.

     The work in Cristo Restaurador seems to be going well. The growth is slow and we do not have droves of visitors coming regularly. We do have a small group of faithful members and occasionally have visitors. We have regular services of worship Sunday morning and evening, Sunday School class, Wednesday evening prayer meeting, Mens meeting, Ladies meeting, Marriage study, Young adults study and adolescent study. 

     We definitely need to grow and raise up more leaders from within the church. We have started a sunday school class that is slow to gain traction for attendance. We will be changing the schedule in June to having worship at 9am and sunday school at 11am. With the evening service starting at 6pm instead of 7:30pm. Pastor Ricardo is working on rebuilding the marriage study to help minister to the young families. I am leading the young adults. There are several promising future leaders, but they are almost all university students and very busy during their classes. I am seeking ways to interact with them during the week in either one on one or small group meetings for discipleship. Our Saturday evening meeting is going well but attendance has dropped with the pressure of classes. We are also seeking to work with our local university ministry and encourage our members to participate with the on campus evangelistic bible studies. 

     Pastor Ricardo and I have also redoubled efforts on visitation of all the members of the congregation. We hope this will be a big part of helping the members grow and pastoring them. We pray that this will also lead to reaching out to other people in the community for evangelism. We have had a case of discipline that has taken a toll on all of us. Please pray for a meeting this monday night that the Lord would give us all understanding, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Prayer for moving forward
     Through my time working with Parish Woodshop and preparation for ministry in the church in Arevalo, God has been leading me into a focus of ministry in the workplace. Our work with Parish has focused on a group of carpenters and teaching them to apply the gospel to their work. Now as a pastor, I am seeking to help our young adults and also all our members to do the same in all of their various roles and responsibilities. I am applying the same principles that I taught the carpenters to our college students and teaching them to apply their calling as citizens of the Kingdom of God to their preparation for their vocation. I am excited to see what God is going to do with us as we continue to teach the Word and seek the Holy Spirit to apply it to our lives. 

King David charged his son Solomon just before he went the way of all the earth, to..."keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn," (1 Kings 2:3) 

In recent conversations, I have been impressed with our need to be daily feeding on the means of grace and this verse grabbed a hold of me as a good verse to remind us of our need to walk in God's ways by feeding on the Word. I am convinced that as we walk in the means of Grace, God will apply those means to our lives and produce fruit in our lives. Please pray with me as I seek to labor in the means of grace in my own life as well as shepherding my family and the church and the carpenters to live by the means of grace so that we all will see the end result of God causing growth in our lives that will bring glory to Him and His Kingdom. The fruit we hope to see is not only growth in the church but a spiritual growth that will also flow out into affecting the workplace and broader community which will contribute toward the furthering establishment of the City of God, the coming Kingdom that Jesus told us is already here. 

Itineration plans for the summer of 2018

This week we are enjoying the activities of VBS both at Plains in Zachary, LA and also at South Baton Rough Pres. I had the privilege of spe...