“I really thought he was gonna come” I told Andrew, a brother who has been serving in Peru for multiple years. It was the last weeks of my stay with the church in Peru last year. Andrew and I had talked to a man named Luis near the church. He had met the man before, and we stumbled upon his place while we were evangelizing in the neighborhood. Luis sat on a wrestling mat in his UFC-like training gym. He was on the floor with an injured knee, he spoke a good amount of English so we talked with him, his wife, and their toddler aged son.
Although the conversation with Luis went well, we did not see him at church the next day, however, he came the week after! “I’m sorry we didn’t make it last week, our house is far into the city.” He explained to me on that Sunday, “But we decided to sleep in the gym last night so we could come to church today.” What a joy to see Luis and his family there!
After this, I came home and, other than an occasional prayer, I did not think much about Luis. I was more likely to think of Andrew, who had continued his ministry in Peru and was now getting ready to move to the jungle city of Moyobamba to start a brand new church. I had the joy of visiting with Andrew on the very trip that God confirmed his calling to pastor there. Fast forward to October of this year and Andrew and a team were sent out to start Calvary Moyobamba!
With a team of 18 others I had the privilege of returning to Peru for about two weeks in November. Our first stop was in Moyobamba. We were able to meet the team, do some work on the church, evangelize, invite to church, and be there for their 5th ever church service! Last year, while we were in the Moyobamba town square, a lady nearby recognized the song that we were singing, her name was Pamela. A year later Pamela is now one of the faithful attendees of the new church at Calvary Moyobamba!
In the same area that we met Pamela a year earlier, we were sharing the gospel with a man who was only slightly receptive. However, as we were sharing with him, a lady approached us and asked if she could have one of the tracts that we were handing out. I told her yes and asked if she wanted to talk with us, she replied with a head nod. We shared with this lady, Jessica, who at the beginning of the conversation admitted that she was trusting her own works to save her. We explained the gospel to her and at the end we asked, “So do you think that you get to heaven through works or through grace?” With her mind now changed by the gospel she said, “Grace.” We then asked, “If you must repent and follow Jesus to be saved, when would you do that?” And she said, “Hoy!” (the Spanish word for today). These are snippets of an extremely fruitful time in Moyobamba. On our last night there, Andrew expressed to me the gratefulness he had for all the help the team provided. Thank you for sending us there!
Afterwards we headed to the city of Trujillo. There, we did other outreaches, work projects, celebrated the Bible school graduation, and more. However, for me, the highlight was when one of the Bible institute students (who looked familiar to me) started talking to me in english.
“It’s so good to see you again my friend,” he told me as I processed who it might be. Maybe it was because his crutches were gone, he had shorter hair, or the inevitable joy in his smile, but this brother was none other than Luis from the gym! We caught up about all that had happened in a year. Luis had continued to go to church. He began to be discipled by pastor Cory (the main teaching pastor at Calvary Trujillo and CBI Peru) and in the month of March this year, recognized that he was a sinner and needed to repent and follow Jesus as Lord of his life. Then, he started his first semester at the Bible institute!
Luis said two things to me I will never forget. The first was about the change in his life, “I did my last fight…and now I fight the good fight.” Then, speaking of the visit of myself and Andrew he said, “Your visit saved my soul.” What a joy to experience the fruit of something from over a year ago. This is your spiritual fruit as well as the team who is so supportive of me in the gospel. I hope you find yourself rejoicing over the fruit that God has grown: the ones we see on earth and the ones we will not know until heaven.
Of course, ending with the thought of visitation is appropriate for the Christmas season. The word “visit” in scripture has a much deeper meaning than how we use the term today. It is this word that Zechariah uses in speaking of his son, who would be the one to prepare the way for Christ. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people” Luke 1:68. Jesus has surely visited us by being born a man, living a perfect life we could not, dying the death we deserve, and rising from the dead to give us the power of eternal life.
However, the Bible also uses the phrase of God visiting to bring judgement. Such an example is to His people through the prophet Jeremiah, “I will punish you according to the fruit of your deeds, declares the LORD; I will kindle a fire in her forest, and it shall devour all that is around her.” Jeremiah 21:14. The majority of you reading this are my faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I am burdened to share, that if this update finds you and you are one that has not chosen to follow Christ, when he returns to visit again, he will not be coming as a small baby in a manger, but the magnificent judge of all sinners.
Praise the Lord for his visitation to save the helpless like you and I! I greatly appreciate the time you took to read this overdue and extended update. I pray that you dwell on the riches we have in Christ as we celebrate his life this week and everyday.
May God bless you in the new year with a greater love and devotion to Him.
For His eternal Kingdom,
Praise Reports/Prayer Requests
- Praise Reports
- God working powerfully through the churches in Peru to start bible-teaching congregations around the world.
- For the wonderful fruit of the gospel through people like Luis and Jessica.
- God has brought me a future wife in Carmelle who is my greatest gift apart from salvation.
- Prayer Requests
- For Luis and the other bible institute students in Peru to grow greatly as they seek the Lord and prepare for future ministry.
- For Calvary Moyobamba, the church that was just started in the Peruvian jungle. Especially its leaders: Andrew, Jesus, Gina, and Milli.
- For Carmelle and I to glorify Christ in our marriage and work diligently for Him in this season of preparation. As well as wisdom for decisions about life and ministry.
How to Stay Connected
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