This week has been a tough one for us for several different reasons. But I know there´s a reason it came so close to Thanksgiving. We are learning to praise at all times. There is no day, no circumstance where Jesus is not worthy of my praise. Every day He holds the victory, no matter the circumstances.
We are really excited about our home visit. We will be traveling the 7th of December to Lima and then on to the states on the 9th. Please be praying for safe travels. We are looking forward to seeing family and spending quality time with friends as well.
Thanks for your prayers and support.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Is it really already the end of November?? This month has flown by. We have been working hard, and we've seen God move in the hearts of some of our youth. I'll share a couple stories:
There is a 15 year old girl named Katy that lives directly across the street from the youth center, and I've made a pretty good relationship with her. She comes occasionally, but she has to tend the little shop her family has most of the time when she gets home from school. She accepted Jesus as her Savior a couple months ago, but because of time I haven't gotten to talk with her as much as I would like. But on Sunday, she showed up at our house wanted some help with her English homework and wanting to talk.
She shared with me that her brother had been very sick. He even stayed a couple nights at a "healer's" house. These are actually witch doctors who many people still use instead of going to doctors. She said she'd seem some weird things while they were staying at his house. I got to share with her about her identity in Christ and that she has no reason to fear Satan because she has given her life to Jesus. We talked about the dangers of opening yourself up to other spirits other than the Holy Spirit, and many things like that. It was a great time to share, and she said she had never heard any of that before. I'm looking forward to watching her grow more and more in her faith and love for Jesus.
Another youth that we've been hanging out with and building a relationship with is name Ronald. He's 12 years and he accepted Jesus in his heart almost a month ago in the youth center on one of our Saturday nights. He has a sensitive heart and has asked us questions that show he really does want to know about God. A couple weeks ago we were talking to them about worshiping. We told them that worshiping is an attitude that we have towards God through our day - that we are thinking on how great He is and telling Him that. And then we explained that music can help us focus on the Lord and it is one way to worship Him. Ronald raised his hand and asked really sincerely, "Is it okay to cry?" Although a couple kids snickered we were proud of his guts and heart to ask what he was thinking.
We are praying for these kids and the others that are regularly coming to the youth center. We are seeing change and kids wanting to know about how they can have a relationship with Jesus. Please join with us by lifting them up - that they would answer God's call on their lives and be bold to share with others and live for Jesus even when it's not popular.
We are leaving tonight to go to Cusco to visit the church and some friends there. Then we return to Maldonado for a week, and then back in the USA. We are planning an end-of-the-year party next Friday so we can see the kids before we leave.
Thank you for your prayers! We're hoping to see all of you (or at least those of you in Texas) in December.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
We have been visiting a little girl with AIDS named Ruth. She lives here with her grandmother. Both her parents died of AIDS and she contracted it in the womb. She is 5 years old, which is older than any of the doctors expected for her.
A couple months back, we had a class at a private school in Waco "adopt" her to pray for her and collect some money. With their giving, yesterday we got to take her and her grandmother shopping. It was so fun to see them both light up when getting what they'd been needing.
Normally they have to go by one day at a time. Ruth's uncles help support them, but they have families of their own as well. Many times they don't have what it takes to go day by day. They are now stocked with all that Ruth needs for the next month. We are so thankful for this class that gave money, and this opportunity to minister to this sweet girl and her sweet grandmother. Please keep them in your prayers. We are believing for healing.
Please continue to pray for the youth center. Last Wednesday we had 19 kids, which was crazy and fantastic. We are loving it! Pray for creative ideas that will help the kids in their English and eventually allow us to develop relationships with more youth. Since opening the youth center, we have seen 8 people come to know the Lord. Wonderful, huh? Each of those 8 people have been coming to discipleship or teaching times. We are excited about God's work in each of their hearts.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Things have been progressing well.
This morning we went to the morning assembly at the school where we tutor, and where many of our youth go to school. We had permission from the principal to talk about purpose and value, and the freedom to speak the name of Jesus. We also educated them a little on Halloween, and to be careful this weekend as they celebrate - to only do things that give glory to Jesus. Here is Bryan (in the yellow shirt) sharing with the morning assembly.
We will go again tonight to talk to the high schoolers. Please pray for this weekend. Halloween can be a little more demonic here because of their already heightened awareness to the spiritual world. We are praying for wisdom in how to help kids glorify God with their lives every day.
On a more personal homey note, we bought a gardenia plant. Bryan surprised me by picking it out and potting it. These are some of the flowers I cut off for an arrangement, and behind you can see the plant. It's our version of a pet. haha
We love you! Thanks for your prayers and support. God has been wowing us lately with His provision at just the right time. As always if you have any questions for us, look us up on facebook or write us a comment. We love to hear from you.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
This week we saw a miracle.
A lady in one of our cell groups asked us to come and talk to her and her husband. They are having marriage problems, and we agreed to meet with them as long as the husband was willing. We know him as well, but he is often up river working and then comes home for a couple days.
Without violating their privacy and giving too many details, I'll tell you a couple things. We were so encouraged after talking to them for about an hour when the husband started asking questions.. We talked about covenants and in order to break off those strongholds the enemy has because of our past, we start by making a covenant with God.
When we asked, do you have a covenant with God, the wife said yes and he said no. "I've been waiting to get to be a better person"
After saying, "If we wait, we will never be ready" He was so earnest in His desire to make a covenant with God and ask for forgiveness. Bryan prayed with him, and the wife and I prayed for him as he accepted Jesus as his Lord.
When we finished the prayer, this strong tough guy looked up and couldn't barely talk. All he said was, "please excuse me" and went into the next room. The walls are wooden and thin, so we could hear him crying from the next room. Then we prayed with the wife that her bitterness would melt away and communication would be possible again in their marriage.
As we all know, these things don't get fixed in a day. But it was wonderful to see God touching and changing a heart right in front of our eyes. Please pray for this sweet couple.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I wanted to share a testimony.
Tuesday afternoons are usually my only day at home alone to get a lot of things done. I usually do deep cleaning, or write lesson plans, or spend time worshiping, or just do the things that have been needing to get done all week. And once a month I with Bryan to the village of Tres Islas on Tuesdays. So Tuesdays are a very treasured day for me personally.
As you know, we've been volunteering in the high school right near the youth center, but on other days of the week. Not Tuesdays.
Well this Tuesday morning, while I was spending some time with the Lord, I felt a strong urge to go volunteer. I like volunteering, but I did not want to go that day. For some reason, even cleaning the house sounded better than going out there to help. I even asked Bryan to try to get out of God's nudging. "You'd rather have a clean house than me go up to the school today, right babe?" But despite all my trying to get out of it, I knew I wouldn't be okay until I went.
So I went and helped out in the class with a new group of kids. At the end, I announced that we help with English on Wednesday nights and all of them were invited.
Almost half of our group last night was made up from kids that I met in that class.
Crazy how God knows things we don't. I don't know why I even question anymore because He has proven His power over and over. But I still fight to obey. I just wanted to encourage someone who is battling through an obedience. I wanted to tell you that He knows better than us. And He will give us the strength to do what He calls us to.
The great thing is that I had plenty of energy when I came home Tuesday that I cleaned the house anyway, and it seemed to go by faster than usual. He is good.
Monday, October 4, 2010
We had an irregular week this week because of elections. Most of the campaigning here is done in person, so for the last several months, we've heard rallies with yelling and loud music. It's a very different environment. It's like there's been a buzz all over the city.
Also, the night before elections people are not allowed to have parties or get together with more than 7 people. The also prohibit any alcohol to be sold or consumed on that weekend. I guess so that they have a clear head and a good night's rest.
Another interesting thing is that voting is required. If you are over 18 and you don't vote, you have to pay the equivalent of $65 as a fine.
Because of elections, Bryan and I had our first two day weekend in a really long time. We didn't go to Laberinto or have youth night because of the situation. We enjoyed spending some time at home and I enjoyed doing some more involved cooking that I usually don't have time to try.
I can't believe it's October and that we will be back to visit in a little over 2 months. The time has been flying! We would love to hear from ya'll and let us know how we can be praying for ya'll.
Monday, September 27, 2010
We had a great trip to Bolivia, but we are exhausted. We are now in Cusco, but by the time we return back to Maldonado tomorrow morning, we will have traveled 43 hours in bus in the last 4 1/2 days. It's crazy! But praise the Lord, everything went well with our paperwork.
We got to visit some friend of ours in Puno, and our friend Linder's band was giving a Christian concert in the plaza there in Puno. So we really enjoyed visiting and worshiping with them.
This is them on stage:
And this is Linder and his wife, Maribel's little girl. We danced and sang while they were on stage.
We also got to stay in a new place, which was Copacabana, Bolivia. It was really pretty and right on Lake Titikaka. It was nice to spend time together just me and Bryan without much of a ministry schedule.
Bryan with an alpaca:
This is the view from our hotel room! Beautiful, especially for $14 a night!
We watched the beautiful sunset together:
And by last night, getting into Cusco we were ready to get off the bus and get some sleep:
Thanks for your prayers for us! We are glad to have that trip taken care of, and are ready for another week of work in Maldonado. Love ya'll!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Hey blog world,
I wanted to write to ask you to pray for us. We have to travel to Bolivia this week, and we appreciate your prayers for safety. We have to deal with some of our paperwork at the border, and Bolivia is the closest border to us.
On our way to Bolivia, we will be going to a Christian youth concert that a friend of ours is leading. We are really excited to get to support him in that, but also to cast some vision for us and what we hope will be in our future. We would love to eventually have him come and do a concert in our youth center.
Two praise reports! We had two of our youth give their lives to the Lord within the last few weeks. And found out that one of the girls that has been coming gave her life to the Lord while at a youth meeting at another church with a friend. We're excited that God is moving!
The second: Remember Mikeila? We hadn't seen her since March, but she came into town for a couple days this week. At church on Sunday she slipped in the back. She is doing wonderfully!!!! She has been teaching children in her village, and she's started a church service there too. She said since she doesn't know much, she just reads the Bible to them since she is the only one with a Bible. How amazing is the Holy Spirit that leads her! We were so encouraged to hear and see her. She will be coming back in a few weeks to stay for a month. She said her desire is to learn more about Jesus so she can tell the others what she learns. We were so encouraged by her hunger for God's Word. Praise the Lord! Keep praying for her. Here's a picture of her.
I'm going to try to do shorter posts and do them more often. Let's see how I do...
Sunday, September 5, 2010
I'm updating so soon, because I'm so excited about this past week. We have really seen God move, and are excited to see what's coming next.
First, I wanted to share the most exciting thing. Last week we tried to start a discipleship class with the youth that have been coming, but it rained. And it rained the exact hour we planned to do it. And it stopped right when we were planning to be done. We had planned to do it outside riverside in Pastora where most of the youth live. There aren't many other buildings other than a room each family uses as their bedroom/kitchen/living room/etc out there. Plus these rooms have tin roofs so you can hardly hear yourself think when it is raining. Needless to say, we didn't do it that week. We visited a while and went home.
So anyway, when we headed out this Thursday it started raining again. But this week we were determined that we needed to start it. It so happened that one of the families were out of town so my group of girls used their house. Then there were only two guys that could come, so Bryan had his group in the car. Although it was make-shift and pouring rain, it was a great start.
One of the young guys, 11 years old, who has been coming for a while now gave his life to the Lord on Thursday. What an awesome way to start a discipleship time!! We were really excited about it. Please be praying for him with us. His name is Yohan.
Another exciting thing was we finally got the sign installed at the youth center. It helps soooo much to have a sign so people know what we are doing and who we are. We prayed and thought and brainstormed like crazy with one of our Peruvian friends, and we finally came up with the name "Safehaven" in English. We were thinking of tons of Spanish names like "refugio" (refuge) or "radical" (radical) or "destino" (destiny). But when explaining these to our friend, we told her we wanted it to be a "safehaven" and explained what it meant. Finally she was like, it would be much cooler in English. So we went with it. After all we are teaching English classes, and it's been a drawing point already with people wanting to know what it means.
Here's our beautiful sign!:And it even lights up at night!!
Below is one of our English students. He is 15 years old. He knew I was taking the picture, but he wanted to look like he was working. I told him he should come read our blog to practice his English, and see his picture on the internet. =)
Here is our classroom!! We have been using it everyday except Sunday, so it has become a second home. It is the back room that you see on my previous post with the pictures of the youth center.
Also, we had an idea to have English help one night a week at the youth center. Since we volunteer in the high school closest to us, we invited kids to come from 6:30 to 7:30 on Wednesday night. They get out of school at 6:20, so it's like an after-school program for them. Last week we had about 7, and this week we had about 9. We invited them both weeks to our Saturday night youth meeting.
Last night, on Saturday, we had 11 youth in our meeting. We played Uno for a while, and then we taught/sang worship songs. Then Bryan shared what we are about. Out of the 11 there, 8 were first time comers. And all of those eight were people who met us through the Wednesday night English help. We were really excited to see these youth ready to learn songs about God, and asking us questions about why we were here. It was great to get to share 14 and 15 year olds that Jesus isn't just for adults, but He wants to touch them too.
Keep praying for all these things we have going on. We are also teaching the discipleship class to Isidoro and Maribel during the week, and it is a pretty intense study. We have been experiencing the spiritual battle lately, but it's pumping us up! We are excited and yet much more aware of our desperation for the Holy Spirit and becoming even more desperate.
Thank you for those of you who gave so that we could purchase things for the youth center. And thank you for praying for us. We are more and more finding that Jesus is our only strength and our only hope.
"Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:5
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Hello Blog Readers!
This blog we have some news. The first news is great news!! As you might have read in our newsletter, we had baptisms last week. It was a lot of fun, and it was a blessing to see 2 of the members of our church in Tres Islas making their commitment to Christ public. And they made it quite public because our baptisms were in the river. There is a little "beach" a few minutes in canoe from their village, so we went there to do the baptisms. We fit probably about 20 people on this canoe to go up to the baptisms.
Before we left, Pastor Octavio (the native pastor we work with) explained the significance of baptism, and made sure that everyone watching and being baptized understood what they were doing. So many people here associate baptism with babies being born and baptized in the Catholic church, that there had to be an explanation of what Jesus calls us to do after we begin to follow Him. It was an important step of obedience in these two believers lives. The 2 people baptized were Isidoro's father and sister. Isidoro is pictured below:
We have actually been working to train up Isidoro. He has been a Christian for a while, but is just in the last couple of years understanding what God desires of his life. He and his wife, Maribel are from the Shipibo tribe, and they just got married two years ago when they learned that God desired that a man and his "woman" don't just live together, but they make a covenant before God. It is so encouraging to see them continue in their obedience to the Lord. We are meeting with them every week doing discipleship training. We know God wants to use them in a mighty way to bring the Kingdom of God to their own tribe and many others.
Here is where we did the baptisms. This picture shows you that it was just another day on the river for the people in the boat passing, but it was a very special day for Hermana Mikaela who is being baptized.
Bryan and Octavio dunking her under:
This is Hermano Brito, Isidoro's father coming up from the water:
This is Hermano Brito, Isidoro's father coming up from the water:
After the baptisms we went back and had some coke and cake. Can't be that. We had fun just being together.
We praise the Lord for the work He is doing. We hope and pray that this family will start to feel a conviction in their heart to share the love and truth of Jesus with their town of Tres Islas.
Another thing that has happened since I last blogged was a fire on the farm. I know Bryan put one picture on the newsletter we just sent out, but I want to put a few more on here just so you can see the extent of the damage. Especially for those who have visited us while we've been here and have seen the farm.
This is the entrance to the land as you can only tell my the car marks indented in the ground. This used to be really tall grass and very green.
This is Octavio and Luz's grandson, Moises. He's 3, but he has spend a lot of time out at the land "helping" take care of the plants. This was one of the orange trees and as you can tell, they were growing tall before the fire.
This is the house that a group came up to help us work on while they were here. The back of the house is mostly black. This is Octavio and Luz with Moises and his friend Maria.
Please be praying for Octavio and Luz as they have invested hundreds of hours working on the land. Also be praying for our mission and our leaders, as they invested financially into the land. We are believing that our God is a God of restoration. We are waiting to see how God will bring glory to His name through this trying time for Global Consulting.
We have some great things that God has been leading us to do in the city, but I will update next week with more of those things. I will also next week have pictures up of our sign at the youth center since we are getting that installed this afternoon!!! And I will show pictures of our classroom at the youth center with all the beautiful desks that we bought with a donation for that. So make sure you check back next week for that.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Please comment or email or facebook, and let me know how things are going with you. A couple people respond to the newsletter by telling us what was going on in their lives, and it brought us such encouragement!!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
We have had a crazy, BUSY, couple of weeks! We have finally signed the contract on the youth center, started English classes, and have had a lot of fun with the youth in our church.
I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago, so we've cleaned up quite a bit since these pictures, but I wanted to put them on just so you get a good idea of what it looks like and how big it is.
This is the main room. I'm taking it from the outside of the youth center.
This is from the inside. That's the front door where I was when I took the first picture. We really like it that it has a window too. It lets in a nice breeze.
These are the other two doors to the left of the front door. It will be awesome if we want to have a concert or show a movie. We can just open them up and people can crowd in.
This is the room we are using for English classes. We have it set up as a classroom now. We hung a white board, and are using a long table. We actually had a donation this week to buy the tables we were hoping for, so we will actually get to have new "desks" for the students! It will be 2 students per table. Now we can fit more than 5 students!
And it's exciting that we have a bathroom in the local. It's not very common to find that, but it was definitely a necessary thing if we're going to be up there for long periods of time.
So that's the youth center! We also had the answered prayer of a donation for our sign! Since we got the contract finalized, we can now start making it more of our own. We will be designing a sign this week, and hopefully get it up this week or next. Thank you guys for giving and praying for us. God has been really faithful in slowly but surely bringing youth to us. We're really enjoying our new role in ministry.
Like I said, English classes have started, and we have 5 students and 3 others that are planning on joining next week. We also have one private student. We are at the youth center now usually every day from 1230 to 530. Tuesdays we still go to Tres Islas, so we leave about 3 for that. But the other week days we are there.
On the weekends, we are still doing the feeding program in Laberinto, but we go pretty much directly to the youth center when we get back to Maldonado. I teach the private class on Saturdays, and Saturday nights are our youth meetings.
So last night we had a youth meeting. Since Wednesday is Bryan's birthday, we celebrated with the youth last night. Below is a picture of Bryan with his birthday brownies. We sang and the kids all made him cards that said Feliz Cumpleanos and told him how much he meant to them. It was neat seeing them appreciate Bryan for everything he has invested in each of them.
Happy 25th birthday Bryan!
The youth these past two weeks have been on vacation from school. Since their school year is different here than in the states, this was kind of equivalent to our Christmas Break. But we've been able to hang out with them in the mornings more because they weren't in school.
Friday morning is one example. We put together a game morning. We had 6 kids show up, so we separated them into two teams. They stayed in those teams all morning, and competed using relay games, and silly competitions. As far as organization and constant entertainment it was so-so. But since they don't ever get to do activities like that, they LOVED it! It was great to see them bonding with each other and talking to people they don't usually talk to. We came back to our apartment afterwards, and ate sandwiches. Here is a picture of them with Bryan after we'd had a busy morning of entertainment:
We are really excited about what God is doing. During worship last night, I really sensed from the Lord that they were coming into a relationship more real than they've had before. Something that proves God's existence and faithfulness to them on a personal basis. So I look forward to seeing them grow, and seeing more youth come to know the Lord.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I know it's been a while since an update, but first I need to post the list of needs for the youth center that Bryan promised on the last newsletter. I'm sure the list will grow as we start different activities but here it is:
Sign with the name of the youth center and the mission - $125
Some wooden, comfy chairs - $35 each; We'd like at least 4
Foozball table - $145
Desks for English students (2 at each desk) - $25 each; We'd like at least 4
Okay, so now on to the update!
At the end of June, we had several visitors. David's aunt and uncle from Waco came for vacation to see Cusco, so we met them there and had a great time with them. It was great conversation, and fun to finally see some touristy stuff and introduce them to the church in Cusco.
A few days after they left and we got back to Maldonado, a group came from College Station to help out for about 10 days. We had a great time with them, and they helped us out a lot. They were great sports and cooked for the feeding program in Laberinto, used the machetes at the land, helped us move out of our old house (cleaning and everything), and many other things. I'm sure they were tired when they went home, but it was great meeting new people and serving God with other believers.
Since being back, we have found the location for the youth center and started advertising for English classes. We were a little discouraged to find little to no response on all the advertising. Bryan talked to tons of tourism classes and handed out over a 1000 cards with our information. We've only gotten 2 calls with questions, and we've had no one commit to classes. We took the hint from the Lord, and thought maybe we should try something different to kick off the youth center and get to know some youth.
So this week we went to the high school right around the corner from the youth center and talked to the director. We found out it is one of the poorest schools in the city, but they were more than willing to invite us into their classes to help out with English. So this week we've been tutors to some degree, helping the English students with questions during their class. It was also a blessing to get to share with the principal and vice-principal at the school our vision for the youth center.
I'm thankful that we haven't gotten much response for the English classes, because we've gotten to get our faces out there and meet some young people. A few girls came up to us yesterday as we were leaving the school and asked us our names. We talked to them a little while, and then told them we would be back tomorrow to help out in their class. They seemed really excited to get to practice English with a native speaker. I'm looking forward to that here in about an hour.
I know I have had several prayer requests for people on the blog. Please continue praying for our friends. This morning I was reading in Deut. 7 and came across these verses. When I read them I instantly knew that they were for this time in Puerto, and for us to start getting rid of evil that has been in this city for a long time.
"21So don't be frightened when you meet them in battle. The LORD your God is great and fearsome, and he will fight at your side. 22As you attack these nations, the LORD will force them out little by little. He won't let you get rid of them all at once--if he did, there wouldn't be enough people living in the land to keep down the number of wild animals. 23-24But when you attack your enemies, the LORD will make them panic, and you will easily destroy them. You will defeat them one after another until they are gone, and no one will remember they ever lived."
So that's something I'm praying for in our city. I believe with all my heart that it has to start with one generation. One generation of youth have to decide that they are tired of living life the way their parents did, and start seeking the truth. Pray for us to continue to have the courage and strength and encouragement to keep believing for this miracle.
Thank you so much for supporting us and praying for us. I have had a couple questions lately, so I wanted to answer them quickly on the blog. We are a part of a small missions organization called Global Consulting Group that is our spiritual covering. They do not receive any of our support, nor do we receive a salary from them. We get our income entirely from family and friends who feel the call to give. Our address is at the bottom of the first page of every newsletter we send out, so if you are interested in giving, check that out. If you don't receive our newsletter and you would like to, comment here on our blog or send me a message on facebook. We would be excited to add you to our list.
I look forward to upcoming miracles and touches from Jesus to report to you. Much love!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Well, even though I have tarried in my promise, here are the promised pictures of our new apartment. We are on the 3rd floor of a 3 story building, and it's perfect for us! It's not the cleanest it's ever been, but here ya go:
The kitchen! I love that I can look out while I'm cooking and that Bryan can be sitting at the bar while I'm cooking. In the house, the kitchen had a little more storage space, but it was isolated from the other rooms. I really like this set up. You can't see it, but we do have a fridge to the right of this picture.
This is taken from behind the bar. We put that table there to serve as our dining room. The door is the door into our bedroom. The front door of the apt is not in the picture, but is to the right of that white chair.
This is the laundry room that is inside!! I don't have to worry anymore if it's going to rain, or if the clothes will get to smelling bad outside. And they dry with the breeze pretty well.
Our bathroom. I don't get to use my shower curtain anymore that we got from our wedding registry, but I think it will be easier to keep the door clean.
Our bedroom that is two times as long as our other one. We have a lot of space, and we just bought that used TV, so we've gotten to watch some of the World Cup. I love the windows surrounding the room.
This is the view outside of our bedroom window. Since we're on the 3rd floor, it's really a great view. Especially laying in bed, you can only see the sky. Awesome!
Our closet. A little messy right now, but our closet here has some shelving that we didn't have at our house. It's really helpful!
So that's our new apartment. Hopefully you can tell a little from the pictures how great it is.
On another great note, God has provided us with a youth center!! Thank you so much for your prayers. It has worked out fantastic, and we'll even be able to move in this weekend while a group is here. It will be nice to have the help moving and cleaning our old house. The youth center is directly across from a school and down the road from another. The closest school, whose name is Milagros (which means "miracles" in English; I don't think that's a coincidence) has elementary and jr high in the mornings and high school at night.
About a week ago, Bryan got the chance to translate for a Gideon who came into town from the US. He went with him to give the little Gideon Bibles to that school, and the principal, on finding out that we lived here, invited Bryan to please come back and help with English or do something in the school. We had been praying as far as location goes for the youth center, and it was just a clear smack in the face answer for us. God worked it out so perfectly to give us some connections.
Like I mentioned before, we have a group coming from a church in College Station tomorrow. When groups come, it is so encouraging and helps so much. We are excited to bring them along in what we are doing, and we are able to do some outreaches with a group that is a little more difficult with just us. Pray for them as they are traveling right now, and also for their health as they stay here. It's easy to catch a bug, and we are praying that none of that happens for them.
We were just in Cusco with David and his aunt and uncle, and we had a great time showing them around and just talking about the Lord. It was really encouraging, and I know the church and people in Cusco were encouraged by their visit. We will be going back again to Cusco next week with the group, and we look forward to more encouraging times with them.
God is good. Even when I'm down, or I'm sick, or I'm happy, or I'm busy. Even when things happen I don't understand or when I'm drowned in blessings. I've been reminded of that truth this week and wanted to share it with you. If you get a chance to read the book of Haggai, I think it is a timely message for the church today. I'm praying it over my city and my life, that I would understand the Word of the Lord, and that I would act on building His kingdom instead of my own.
Love you guys!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
It's been a crazy two weeks! God has really provided and been moving, and I'm excited to get to share it with you.
First of all, God has really been moving in two of the churches we have outside of Maldonado. We go every week to Tres Islas and Puerto Pastora, and we have seen 3 people saved in these last two weeks. One older man accepted Jesus last week in Tres Islas, and this morning in Pastora, a young man and an older woman prayed to receive Jesus. We are excited about working with these new believers as they begin their walk with God.
The young man (Rolando) will be leaving tomorrow to go up river to work. This was his first time coming to the weekly cell group, and his first time to read a Bible. I offered him my Bible to read during the teaching, and asked if he knew how to read Spanish. He said, "Yes, but I've never read a Bible. I've always wanted to though." And he just looked at my Bible in awe while Bryan was teaching. When Bryan presented the gospel and asked if anyone wanted to make a decision, he said he knew there was a God and that the only way was through Jesus. His girlfriend that was with him said she had prayed a prayer before. So when I explained that we have to continue to walk with God, and spend time with him, she decided to rededicate her life. So we had this young couple, with a young little girl, who dedicated their lives to Jesus today. Very encouraging. We also encouraged them that blessing comes when you get married instead of just living together. We gave him a Spanish New Testament that we happened to have in our book shelf, so as he goes up the river he can continue reading this week until we see him next.
As far as a local goes, we are still praying. We have found several, but we just haven't felt a peace about any certain one. As much as we really want to get a place quickly, we are learning to wait and listen to God's voice. Please pray for discernment. We actually have three we've narrowed it down to, but two of them would really take trusting in God for finances. So this week we will see if one of the owners of the two locals will go down on the price. The two more expensive ones are very close to schools, which would be ideal. Please pray that we would know what to do.
Something awesome though! As we were looking for locals, we found an available apartment that is cheaper than our house. As much as we loved living with David, we are very excited that we are now going to be living alone for pretty much the first time in our marriage =) We moved in last Thursday, and we love it! It is on the third floor of a three-story building so we have a great breeze, and a great view. I will post pictures soon! It has been amazing to see how God has provided for us.
I just wanted to share a personal testimony too. Since being back, we've had several things slow us down, and it's been a little discouraging. Monday we had a pastor's meeting, and I had been praying that morning that God would revive my passion for Him. It was so interesting, because after I prayed that I just went on with life. But during that meeting, I kinda clued out and God just began ministering to me. He started giving me ideas for initial things we can do for the youth center, and began giving me courage to speak His name boldly. It's so good to know that I have a God who hears me, and still wants to keep surprising me with His goodness.
Please let me know if you have nay questions about our ministry. I would love to blog about them. Thanks for reading. Until next time...
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We are really glad to be back. We made it to our house on Saturday, and it took about two days to get it back to a home again. Unless you sweep/mop/dust here about every other day, the dust becomes caked up on everything. So you can imagine the very dirty house we walked into.
We had a great time visiting with several churches and a lot ya'll! It was a very encouraging time for both of us. But the great thing was that we really felt ready to come back. It was definitely a great time of renewing our strength, and gearing up for the next time.
Being back, we have seen a lot of our church family and friends that we have here. We found out yesterday that a couple of the pastor's wives that we are friends with are pregnant. The lady who told us looked at me a little expectantly, and I adamantly told her that we weren't pregnant and it would still be a while.
Today, one of my English students called and asked if he could come by and visit. It was really nice to visit with him. He's someone who is a natural leader, and we are really praying for him to come to know the Lord. We will call him Frank. He's older than Bryan and I, but is very youthful. He came one time to a youth event in January, and he also came and played soccer with us when we played with the youth from the church. Please pray for Frank.
This week our priority has been getting back into the groove, and looking for a place to have the youth center. We trust that God has the perfect place for us. We've been looking around as we've been out and about, but tomorrow morning we will start the hunt intensively. We have set aside the morning to go and hopefully find a few options. Because location is so important to something like a youth center, we are hoping for a pretty central location. I watched a little HGTV on the break, and it's the same here... location, location, location. So that means we'll probably be paying mostly for the location, but we really need a good, big facility as well. Just keep that in your prayers. We a trusting that God will direct us to the right place.
We already miss family a little, but family and friends, please rest assured that we feel we are exactly where God has us. I was praying today and felt such an urgency. I feel like these next 6 months are really important to our ministries and goals in Peru. We must be diligent for these upcoming months, because I feel like God is desperately wanting to transform an entire generation in our city. And we must do our part.
Thank you for doing your part and praying. I will update again soon. Much love.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
So it's been almost a month since we've been back in Texas, and we have eaten almost all the American foods that we were craving while in Peru. We've gotten to visit with so many great friends and family, and we are really enjoying catching up with people.
God has given us several opportunities to share with different groups and churches. It has been so encouraging to hear how many people are praying for us.
Last night we hung out and talked with the RA's and GA's at my parents church. We showed them some pictures, some of which were of animals in the jungle (both dead and alive). One girl was very dismayed to see that we ate guinea pig considering she had a pet guinea pig. Sorry! But they had some great questions. But the coolest thing to me was that when they were asked at the beginning of our time together who was there to speak with them, a lot of the kids raised their hands and then said Bryan and Delana Davis. The leader- "and where are they serving?" "PERU!!" So encouraging to see a group of kids learning about what God is doing all through the world, and that they care about what we are doing.
I can't tell you how nice it's been to just sit in church and be ministered to. It's shown me how neglectful I've been to let the Lord minister to me every day. Sometimes I just think I can do it on my own, or there's so much to get done. It's also nice to sing in English.
We are really enjoying our time, but I really miss the people we work with. I know when the time comes, I will be ready to go back. It seems like so much longer than 3 weeks that we've been here. It feels like we've been away a really long time.
Hopefully I'll update sooner the next time. Because we are just visiting with people, there's not many interesting things to tell. So instead of a boring post, I'll post next time there is something to tell. Or maybe I'll ask Bryan =)
Thursday, March 18, 2010
We've been planning this visit home for a while, and it's crazy to think that we leave 1 week from tomorrow to head back. Bryan and I have both said that we are very excited, but also a little sad. We are actually starting to figure out what our main purpose is here in Maldonado, and we will be excited to return back to it! But for now we are really looking forward to being home awhile. It's funny when home becomes two different places.
On Saturday Mikeala came back into town, and she told me that she has been sharing the Word of God with her sister where she lives. We were encouraged to hear that she is growing. There was also another woman named Sandra who gave her life to Jesus on Wednesday. After Bryan talked to her, Mikeala started encouraging her and sharing the gospel with her in her own language, Yeni. She has a small 1 year-old baby boy named Eduardo who is very malnourished to the point his stomach is very swollen while the rest of his body is very skinny. Bryan took him and his mom to the doctor, and the doctor gave them some vitamins and supplements to help his condition. He also explained what foods she can give her baby to help him. Sandra is only 21 years old and it can be common here for a mother not to know how to care for her baby. Please pray for Sandra and Eduardo as God is moving in their lives.
Last Wednesday, we were invited to speak at another church here in the city. The pastor and his wife have become good friends of ours, and they asked us to speak to their leaders about teamwork in marriage and in ministry. We were thrilled because, although we are young, this is something we have learned a lot about. We have been living and working with a team since we began ministry 2 years ago. We talked about how marriage and teams take our pride away, and gave personal testimonies of that. It went very well, and several leaders even asked us to pray for them, that they would begin to walk in what we were saying. We ate with them afterwards. We are praying for more and more opportunities like that. We want to develop friendships and trust with pastors here, so that we can help and encourage other ministries. We have felt more and more how God wants the Church to work in a city, not just in a church building, to bring transformation.
Our leadership team formed from various churches for the youth in the city has been very busy. It seems like we are all getting busy with many things personally and it has been harder to meet together. All 5 people on the team are going to be traveling to other places over the next 6 months. Please pray for this team. We have become good friends, but we know that God placed us together for a purpose. Pray that we will keep our eyes on God's calling in us, even when we have other things that need to be done in our personal lives.
The next youth event is Saturday, and we've planned something a little different. The last two have been more like church services, but this time, our goal is that the youth will get to know each other better. We are praying that the youth catch the vision of working WITH other churches. But we will be splitting them up in groups, each with people from different churches, to prepare a skit based on a theme given. We hope to encourage teamwork and that they just have a good time with each other. Then Bryan will be given a short teaching on the importance of unity and teamwork. Pray that this event will bring new levels of unity to the youth in the city.
Several people have contacted us, and we are thrilled that we are getting to share to some groups of people. But please, if you'd like us to speak somewhere, just shoot me an email or facebook message. We'd love to!
A dear woman of God passed away this week, and she was very special to me and my church family at South Oaks. I just wanted to ask all of our supporters and blog-readers to be praying for their family. She had been battling cancer for several years, and did it with the biggest smile and zeal for life. She was an amazing lady, and she will be missed. But I know she is even happier now!
See you soon!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Blogger seems to be having some problems. Or maybe our internet is too slowly. I've tried to upload some photos several times, but they won't work. So I decided it's better to post something rather than wait till I can get those pictures up.
We've been having a great time with the youth lately. Saturday February 27th, we had our second city-wide youth event, and this month we had 4 churches join us. So we added another church from last month. It was a great time. Our leadership team asked 2 churches to bring a skit or some presentation, and it was really nice to see youth active and get to sit back and be ministered to through that.
Every Saturday that we don't have a youth event, we invite the youth from our church over to our house to hang out.We've started having a devotional time and singing time with them, but several of them come from a more native background. They are usually very shy and do not open up much. Little by little we've been making some progress, and they've begun to laugh with us and talk with us.
This past Saturday went really well. I felt like I was supposed to share about connecting with God. About how the Christian life is more than a checklist or just going to church or just being a better person. So I told them some stories from my life, and how I've learned to have a relationship with God. I told them music is usually an easier way to connect with God because it helps us focus. So we did something very practical. We sang and I asked them to focus on Jesus, and if they started to get unfocused just try and refocus. So we did that for about 30 minutes in our living room. We played songs we usually play in church, so they were familiar things. But at the end of the time, I had prayed and Bryan had prayed outloud. So then I asked if anyone wanted to share anything or pray out loud. One boy, Claibern, said that he wanted to pray.
He prayed something like this:
God, I thank you that you have shown me how to connect with you. I thank you for my family and how you've provided for me. Tonight I've been touched by you. Tonight you've shown me how big you are and how powerful you are. I want you to have my life.
I was such an encouragement to us to see him open his heart to God. We are praying for our youth that they would each be touched and begin to burn with passion for Jesus.
We are getting really excited about a visit home. We have less than 3 weeks until we will be starting our journey to Texas. Right now, a lot of our schedule is open, and we would love to get to visit with anyone who wants to talk with us. I'm starting to miss real English conversations =) So please leave me a comment or contact me on facebook and we can set something up.
"Set your mind on things above, and not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
There is a young boy about 5 years old who practically lives in the market across the street from our church. His mom has a store that sells videos and music, and he's there from really early in the morning until about 10 at night every day except Sunday. On Sunday they only come from about 9 till 8 at night. His name is Angelo.
He's a really funny kid, but easily distracted. He loves practical jokes, and hates wearing shirts. I have really only seen him with a shirt on a couple of times. I guess he saves it for special occasions. He has the cutest smile, that's just nice enough to make you love him, but has a hint of mischief in it too. He is the little boy in the picture above.
This Sunday, about 15 minutes before church started, Angelo walked in and said his normal greeting, "Hola profe" I never taught the kids what to call me, but I guess since I was teaching them, they all adopted "professora" as my name. He came in and sat down with a big bag of purple flour. He proudly held up his flour and said "Look profe, it only cost me 50 centimos (about 15 cents)!" I asked what he was going to use it for. He explained that since it was the month of "carnival," you use the flour to throw on other kids. "But you don't throw it at adults. Only at other kids" he told me.
But he looked a little sad, and when I asked him what was wrong he said, "My dad beat my mom yesterday because he doesn't like it when she goes to her friend Paula's house." I asked if he loved his dad. "No. I don't love him. He is a bad man. But he does give me money sometimes." Usually Angelo would not just sit and listen to me without being goofy, but he sat and listened while I talked. "Angelo, if you stay angry at your dad and don't forgive him, you will start to get angry with everyone, then you will grow up to be an angry person. God can teach you to love your dad." I also asked if he'd been taking care of his mom and younger siblings. He is the oldest of 3. He said he had been, but he still looked very weighed down.
"You know what else we can do, Angelo? Right now we can pray." He nodded his head, and then waited for me to pray. But I asked him to pray first and then I would. He said,"I don't know the words to pray." I said, "Jesus is your friend. He is right here with us, and he wants to hear you talk. You talk to your friends right? You just have to talk to him the same way. Tell him what is going on, and then ask for help." So he bowed and started.
"Jesus, please help my mom. Please help my grandma and grandpa. Please help my dad. Please help my brother and sister. Please help me. Thank you Jesus for my little brother. Thank you for today. Amen."
This was such a breakthrough for me to see. All the kids we work with do not come from Christian homes. Most don't have any religious background. When you ask them to pray, they just shake their heads. But he's learned.
I prayed after that, and as I was praying for God to help him, this little boy took a deep, long breath. I could feel him relaxing. When I finished, I told him he could always talk to Jesus. He didn't have to be with me to be able to pray. Then he said thanks and smiled and got up and left. After church I went to see him, and he had purple flour in his hair. I believe he experience the peace of God that night.
I was so blessed by God's faithfulness that I wanted to share with all our blog readers.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
We had a great Valentine's Day here in Maldonado. On Saturday night we invited youth from our church over for dinner and a game night. Bryan even decorated our living room with our Christmas tree lights. We used the red couch cushions and a blanket and had our own little picnic with them on the floor. It was special and I think they really liked it. By how they ate, I think they also like the fried chicken and homemade french fries too.
This is how Bryan decorated while I was cooking.
And this is the group we had. To the right of Bryan they are: Darliz, Ginger, Claiber, Mikela with her back turned (she's the same girl from the previous blog), Johan, Winder, and Jersy is behind Winder. You can't really see him. But it is definitely helping having them over every Saturday. They are starting to open up and actually be okay with talking to us. We've taught them Uno, Spoons, Murder, and Pictionary so far. We are brainstorming for more if anyone has any ideas.
And these are the beautiful flowers that Bryan brought home for me this weekend. He also brought me a single rose that I have in a vase in our room. But these decorate the kitchen table so nicely.
In January, we had our first city-wide youth event with different churches. There were 3 churches there in total, but we are really hoping to involve more churches as time goes on. Below is a picture of the praise band we've assembled for now. They are a fun group. We hope as more and more youth come to know the Lord, we will have an opportunity to teach others to lead worship and lead other into the presence of God. We practice every week, but the last 30 minutes of practice is completely dedicated to worship. The first hour and a half, we work on songs and try to master new ones. But it's so refreshing to start moving as a band in worship. I know that God will be faithful to change us and fill us so that we can actually be able to minister as a team when the events come around.
This picture below is one of my English students. We will call her Lucy. Lucy is from a Catholic background, but not a very "devoted" one as she told me. She came to the first youth event, and stayed the whole time. Please be praying for her. Right now, she has a heart of stone and thinks she doesn't have any need for a Savior. But I am thankful that God has given me eyes to see her as my friend, and not a project. In His time, he will draw her to Him.
We found out today that Mikela leaves tomorrow to go back to her village. Pray for strength for her to be able to continue to seek God while she is far from our group of believers. We know and trust that God will continue to work in her life.
We will be visiting in April, less than 2 months away. I hope we will be able to see and catch up with many of you. We would love to visit any churches or small groups that would like to hear what God is doing in Peru. Just let us know if you are interested! We are excited to get to see everyone again. Much love!
Monday, February 8, 2010
I am excited to say that we are feeling your prayers for breakthrough. We are really starting to see our purpose here in this city, and what God wants us to do to bless our city.
"Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." Jeremiah 29: 7
I've shared before that there is a desperate need for people to start ministering to youth here in Maldonado. Before recently, there has been little to no effort from churches to focus specifically on reaching and discipling youth. This has been on our hearts for some time. Within the last month and a half, God has started putting a team of us together who have the same vision. It's incredible to see how He does it.
We've decided to first gather the youth that are Christians in the churches city-wide to have events once a month. We had our first one of those at the end of January. It was great to see youth meeting other youth that are believers. We hope to see kids teaming up in the future to reach their schools for Jesus.
We've also started forming a youth worship band. Something that draws youth is music, and we know and have seen God use music to touch people's hearts and fan a flame for His glory. There is a lack of that here in Maldonado. Many worship leaders have fallen into sin, making it obvious that the enemy is especially adamant that this area not be addressed.
We've also started forming a youth worship band. Something that draws youth is music, and we know and have seen God use music to touch people's hearts and fan a flame for His glory. There is a lack of that here in Maldonado. Many worship leaders have fallen into sin, making it obvious that the enemy is especially adamant that this area not be addressed.
Some great things are starting to happen, but we know that is when Satan usually starts his efforts. Please pray that we will have wisdom and grace with each other as we plan and pray about what God wants us to do. Please pray for other pastors in the city - that they will praise the work that God is doing and allow their youth to be a part it.
I wanted to tell ya'll a story of something that happened a couple weeks ago:
Every Wednesday morning we have a cell group for the people from our church that live in Puerto Pastora, a little port about 5 minutes outside of the city. It is a small town and there are no churches there. Two weeks ago, a girl named Mikela came who had just arrived from her village 1 day away by river. She came to see a doctor because she was having trouble breathing.
She came to our cell group. A family member spoke up and told us she was sick. They also told us that she had a 4 year old daughter, but she had birthed three children in the last few years. Two of the babies died. So we prayed for her health and painful past. As I was praying for her, I got the feeling she wasn't a Christian. So when I finished the prayer, we asked her if she had heard about Jesus. She said yes, but she hadn't accepted Him. Bryan asked if she wanted to and she said yes. We prayed with her, with the cell group all crowded around praying for her, and she accepted Jesus.
But the best part is this. We went two days later and took her to the doctor, bought her a Bible, and talked with her a while. This lady is different. She used to have a countenance of grief and shame, and now her smile is pure. She looks happy, peaceful, and whole. It's amazing how Jesus even makes our appearance change! She has decided to stay a month longer than planned, so now we have more time to disciple her and make sure she is confident in her faith.
There is no church in Mikela's village. Many people in the cell group travel there often. We are teaching the cell group that they are missionaries wherever they go. We have encouraged Mikela that she can share what has happened to her to her village. We are also encouraging the people that visit that they can have a church service when they go to encourage the believers and reach others there for Jesus.
Anyway, that blessed me, so I thought it might bless you too.
How great that God wants to use us all to be city- or even nation-changers!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Well Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. It has been pretty crazy, so I'll try to do a quick run through of the past month.
We had a great time with my parents here for Christmas. It was so nice to get to show them around, but also just hang out. We are so thankful that they came. It made Christmas a lot more like Christmas. And we got so many amazing presents and gifts that people had sent to us. Thank you so much for everything. We really were wowed by the number of people thinking about us and our needs (and wants!).
We celebrated New Years in Cusco after my parents had left. It was fun, just the two of us. We went out to eat that night and watched some fireworks, but we were back in our hotel by 10:30. It took a lot of effort to stay up till 12, but we did. When we watched the ball drop, Bryan opened our hotel window and shouted "HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!" Of course the few people on the street below spoke Spanish and probably couldn't understand him, but it was funny and fun. Life is never boring with my husband! =)
Below is a picture of our first meal of the New Year. It is called cuy, which is translated as guinea pig. It is a Peruvian delicacy, and the pastors of the church in Cusco took us to try it for the first time. Bryan is pretending to eat the head. You don't really eat that part.
They started making jokes and playing with our food. He're the cuy is hungrily biting into a potato.
This is the plate that was served to us. There are four pieces of meat here. The body is spilt in half and then cut in half. Bryan liked it and even ordered more, but I didn't love it so much. The taste was decent, but it's hard to focus on that when you are holding it by the claw.
Here is a picture of my family at one of our favorite restaurants in Cusco. We loved showing them around our favorite places =)
So after New Years, we returned to Maldonado. We started up English classes, which are going really well. I have four students that come to our house every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It is a good start, and I'm loving it! We are praying that God will use this to extend His Kingdom in the lives of these four youth.
Then last week, we had to go renew our papers to be legal in the country. They are good for 6 months, and we met our 6 month mark on Thursday. That made it necessary to leave the country and enter again to get new papers. So we set out on what ended up to be a 25 hour bus ride to Puno. It was the worst traveling I have ever done. But we made it, and used some of our Christmas present money from family to stay in a hotel with a bath tub and continental breakfast (these are rarer in Peru than the States). Thank you family for 2 nights of luxury!
But we then had to get a visa to enter into Bolivia. After doing a bunch of running around making copies and printing off all kinds of documentation, we got the visa. After a lot of problems and franticly going to many different places, we are now legal again in Peru! It feels good to not have to worry about getting that done, at least for a while.
Things in the ministry here in Puerto are going well. We have been discussing as a team a lot of different goals and desires we have for 2010. We are excited to see how God will move in the lives of the youth that we feel led to work with. Please continue to pray for this specific need. I believe God really does want to light a fire in the youth of Maldonado.
Last thing, I wanted to post a picture of the bookshelf that the RA's at South Oaks bought for us with their offerings. We love it, and it is super helpful to not have to put everything we have on the floor. Also the GA's helped us to buy another fan for our house, which kept my parents cool while they were here and keeps us even cooler now. Thanks so much for praying and supporting us!