Dear Friends and Family,
It is good to be back here in Peru! As soon as we arrived, we immediately started in ministry work. We had the opportunity to start a one-week bible study for the church. This class was taught by a very good friend of ours, Juan Carlos. Many of our members took the Apologetics class. All those who took the class were very blessed to learn about the attributes of God.
Natalia started her women’s Bible classes and organized a baby shower for one of the ladies from our church. My wife doesn’t disappoint when it comes to organizing parties. Everyone one of the ladies had a really good time. Some of the ladies were telling Natalia she should be a professional party planner. I firmly agree!
Sundays were as usual, after the service the entire church stayed for lunch and enjoyed a time of fellowship. We all have been very blessed to serve with this amazing group of people.
While we were planning out our different activities that we do on a yearly basis, something not planned happened. What we have all come to know as the COVID-19 or the Coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic. Peru had its first case on March 6th. As you know my wife is a doctor, so we talked about this subject for many days, and specifically how this would affect our ministry. After much praying and guidance, we both decided that our Bible studies and services should be done online.
Many of you might have known that our missionary friend Elaina, from San Francisco had planned to stay with us for three months. The plan was for Elaina to work three times a week with my wife at the Belen Orphanage, but the Lord changed all the plans.
On Friday March 13th, my wife couldn’t sleep. She felt that something drastic was going to happen. Through the night she got up to pray and ask the Lord for direction. That morning after asking a friend for prayer, this friend happened to have very viable information regarding the Lima airport. The President of Peru announced the shutting down of the airports on March 15th, but the Lord allowed us to know one day before this happened through our friend. Since we knew that the airports were going to be closed for a long time, and that we were going to be in quarantine, we decided that it would be best if Elaina went back home that same day. It is amazing how the Lord allowed us to have the right information just in time!
For us to know this information ahead of time, it even crossed our minds to go back home too. My wife and I decided after praying, to stay here in Banos del Inca, serving the Lord using online technology.
We also told the young couple living in our house, Anita and Jose, that because of these circumstances they should either go and live elsewhere or stay in quarantine with us. They made the decision to stay with us.
God has everything perfectly planned. Jose is a professional video editor and now we are having to do everything through the virtual world. He is also a great musician and helps with the translations of the services. I don’t know where we would be without Jose and Anita, they have been a tremendous blessing to our family. Please keep them in your prayers. Anita is 20 weeks pregnant now!
Sunday March 15th, was our first Sunday service online. I think it turned out really well! We are having more than 200 people watching our service every Sunday! Natalia is also doing the women’s bible studies on Mondays. Hundreds of women are watching and learning about Jesus through the online teachings. We don’t know what the Lord is going to do through this time, but is great to see that a lot of people that were not coming to church for whatever reason, are watching us online now. Natalia and I are very excited to see what the Lord is going to do even through this time of crisis.
We have been in strict military quarantine for 30 days now and we don’t know how long this is going to last.
Here is the most current situation in our country:
Airports and country borders are completely closed. No one is able to get in or out of the country. We are not allowed to leave the house after 5pm. The driving of cars is not permitted. We can only walk to get our groceries and that is only if needed. The only reason someone is allowed to leave the house is for buying groceries (if you are lucky to find them) or buying medicines. You can only go to work if you work in a hospital, supermarket or pharmacy. Military and policemen are patrolling the entire country. They are even putting people in jail if they do not abide by these rules. The punishment can even be up to 3 years in jail. Children are not allowed under any circumstances to leave their homes.
Here is what are we doing right now:
Natalia is encouraging the ladies from church daily through their WhatsApp group. She is also leading Zoom meetings for women’s discipleship class on Fridays and on Mondays teaching the women’s Bible study through the facebook live. Natalia continues homeschooling Alejandro through 7th grade and she just started Emily with Pre-K. Both of the kids are keeping her very busy!
John keeps doing the Sunday service online and also doing a Thursday night bible study on the Facebook page. He is leading prayer meetings through zoom with the whole church twice a week. On a weekly basis John makes phone calls to the members, to keep in touch with them. We have also started cooking classes online. Our goal is to keep our church encouraged and upbeat during this time of uncertainty.
- Safety is definitely our number one concern. We are worried that the longer this goes on stealing and physical harm might become an issue. I know that we are in the Lord’s hands and He will protect us.
- Natalia’s asthma has been getting worse this past month. Pray that her lungs get better and stronger. Breathing in this altitude doesn’t help either.
- Food Provision.
- Spiritual protection.
- For Natalia’s Immigration paperwork. To be able to travel back to the US in time for her future interview.