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She will bear a Son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)
Those words spoken by the angel of the Lord ring from eternity past, into the present, and on into the certain fulfilment of all Gods purposes since the dawn of creation; a sure beacon of hope in a world torn by sin, suffering and human misery. He will save his people, and he is today saving his people among the nations, as the Kings return is ever nearer on the prophetic horizon. This sure hope cuts through the superficial, effervescent, materialistic celebration the world calls Christmas, where the baby Jesus is always kept in the crib! But his coming to reign as King is the hope of the church; when sins reign will come to an end. As the Spirit and the bride join together, saying and pleading, come Lord Jesus to end earths sorrow and misery.
May the light of Christ by his Spirit be pleased to shine into some dark hearts at this season, and bring salvation according to his word. We pray that the Lord will make you all fruitful in every good work, and that the New Year will bring joy and new life for many to the Glory of God. We take this opportunity to share with you some news of the work here in Arequipa, grateful as always for your prayers and on-going support.
We have recently linked up with the “Baptist Theological Centres” based in Lima. They have various centres in different cities in Peru, and are looking to expand their influence of ministry in the country. Therefore, we have given over the use of our church facilities to open a centre in Arequipa, for studies on a regular basis. The idea is to run studies every couple of months here in Arequipa during the year, for Pastors and students from different local churches. Pastors travel to Arequipa and run intensive classes for a full week to cover the various courses and studies on offer. It has been a blessing to have fellowship with other Pastors and students, and to pray for one another and our various ministries. It is so different and refreshing to gather with a group of fellow believers who have a hunger and thirst for God´s word; as in the church there is often only a remnant living and serving among the spiritually apathetic!
The first two courses have been well attended, and no doubt as news spreads, the numbers will increase further in the future. We would ask you to pray for “Gustavo”, a Pastor from one of the largest Charismatic churches in Arequipa, who recently came to understand he was preaching a false Gospel. He has attended the first two studies, and now has a tremendous opportunity to preach the Gospel in his church, as he continues to grow in his walk with the Lord.
The blessing is that he has no elders or deacons to oppose his ministry, so therefore, he now has a congregation of over 400 to reach, teach and influence with sound doctrine.
I have been asked to teach some courses next year, so I would value prayer regarding how much time I should dedicate to this ministr
I have started a bible class on a Saturday morning in the church to encourage deeper study and discipleship in the church. The two couples who have attended are really keen, and they have also attended the theological studies during this year.
The main prayer need should always be for the success of the Gospel through all the various ministries; prayer for those who come week by week to the meetings, seemingly unmoved by the preaching of the Gospel. As John Calvin once said: “That the restoration of the Church is the work of God , and no more depends on the hopes and opinions of men, than the resurrection of the dead, or any other miracle of that description. It is the will of God that his Gospel be preached, what the success will be is not ours to inquire” There are often more unsaved among us; pray on for the miracle of New Birth and conversion.
Some names to remember in prayer: “Edwin”, was recently in hospital, and attends when he is not working as a security guard on Sundays. He is very friendly and thankful for the support he has received; pray that future visits at his home will be used of the Lord to speak to him personally. “Javier, Patti, Maira”, a family that has been attending regularly, but, as yet, show no evidence of any stirring or concern. Ephraim, who works in a copper mine, attends with his wife, but both show no signs of personal faith and trust in the Lord and his word. What is lacking for those and many others? We need to pray that the experience of the Apostle Paul may be a personal reality in the churches of Christ. For our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (1 Thess 1: 5) In word only is not sufficient; we must have Holy Spirit power in conviction leading to full assurance!
The ministry in “Lucresia´s” home had to be suspended for a couple of months, due to her suffering a long period of ill health, starting with Pneumonia! The family breakfast had to be cancelled due to the colder mornings, with her obviously unable to prepare the porridge at 5.00.a.m! The ministry also provides some support for her personally, and we have sought to help her over this very difficult period with medication to help her back to health again.
The Christianity explained course also had to be put on hold. I have been invited to preach at a local church near to Villa Magisterial, and the Pastor there has kindly offered to help with a group from his own church in Evangelising the area. This kind of reciprocal Gospel partnership will give further advance for the Gospel in the area next year. The idea is to visit all the homes, to invite them to take part in the Evangelistic studies. With the help of the Pastor, “Carlos Pezutti”, and the help of others, we can hopefully cover the whole area in a shorter time period. With us being well known now in the area, and the building of trust through the children´s club and family breakfast, the purpose next year is to pray for a spiritual harvest from among those who have heard the Gospel over the last couple of years.
The other children´s ministries in both the church and San Pedro continue, run by Ronny and Rocio, on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
As I write this there is just a couple of weeks until the school year ends. Our daughter Melissa has been studying in the University here in Arequipa since September, taking six exams up until December. She recently took her final exam, finishing top of her group, so DV, she will begin a five year course in the University next year, to qualify to practise as a Veterinary Surgeon. This year was my 20th year here in Peru, and next year will be our 20th wedding anniversary! Where have the years gone? Another milestone during the year was having my first book published in the US, which should be out early in the New Year.
We want to take the opportunity to thank you all for your prayers and support for us over the years, and we trust you all have a blessed Christmas and spiritually prosperous New Year.