Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Angelo


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

Valentines Celebration

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

Greater Things Have Yet To Come

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.

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!

The size of the baby right now!

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