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“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894)
Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
After years of waiting, by Abraham and Sarah for the promised son the Lord spoke into a situation of barrenness and fading hope, God, in His own appointed time determined when Isaac would be born. The appointed time in Hebrew is: “the time of life”. Sarah’s womb and Abraham’s body were considered as dead. The birth of Isaac was of the Lord’s visitation, “the time of life”. The church often seems to be in a condition of barrenness and sterility, but could this year be the “time of life”, the year of the Lord’s visitation, the time when the church will blossom and sprout, and fill its community with fruit? As we wait the Lord’s time may we be enabled to sail, and not drift, or lie at anchor! May our waiting be with patience and trust!
Last year we introduced some changes to the structure of our meetings. We started our Saturday mornings at 6.30am and with breakfast. We found that the folks were more alert and attentive to the ministry of the word after a warm breakfast, and at this early part of the day, before they go off to work. We will review things as the year progresses, but we seek to be effective in our outreach, as the Lord leads.
We had a number of new families come to camp this year, so we continue to have growing and meaningful contacts in the community. May there be a “time of life” for some this year. We did have the joy of seeing one of the children make a meaningful and definite step to seek the Lord. A young girl called Soledad, stayed behind after all the other children had left the children’s club and shared her desire to receive Christ as her Saviour. As we talked and prayed with her it was notable to see the joy on her face after I prayed. Please pray that she will grow in faith, and that her parents will not oppose or hinder the work of God.
Many of the children are not allowed to come to the children’s club after they have received confirmation in the Catholic church. However “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” and He, the Good Shepherd, will care for His own. Pray that the Lord will grant us wisdom this year regarding all aspects of ministry in this needy township.
Ronny and Rocio lead the children’s meeting here, but last year was particularly frustrating for them as the community centre is now used frequently for various functions, where drinking to excess is the norm. The atmosphere in the place has become unfavourable, so they need to find a place they can rent, where they can have meetings without interruption. Pray that the Lord will provide such a place and soon.
Maybe the time has come for us to bring together the believers who live here, so that they can meet regularly at the weekend, within their own community. We have bussed them into Simon Bolivar on Sundays for years; perhaps this is the appointed time to consider having a more permanent ministry, with their own input and support. Pray for wisdom as we work through this proposition, and for the Lord’s clear leading.
The normal activities and ministry in the church in Simon Bolivar have continued throughout the year. We had our camp this year at another site. It belongs to the Lutheran Mission and is closer to Arequipa. We had over 70 campers, with some new faces among the regulars! Pray for a man called Enrique who attends the church periodically and has enquired about baptism. We had a long conversation on spiritual matters; pray that spiritual fruit may be increasingly evident in his life. Please also pray for one particular couple who attended the evangelistic meal; Jeanna & John. John commented afterwards, that he must go home and give serious consideration to the message he had heard. I gave him a booklet to read, but we need to water the word with prayer. Pray for the unconverted among us, that soon a “time of life”, real conversions by the regenerating power of the Spirit, may become more evident in the church.
There is a real threat of drought here in the city of Arequipa. We have had no rain for two years and there will be rationing if there is no rain soon. There is a daily growing concern among the population, particularly with the agricultural sector. But how many are concerned about the spiritual drought in the church?! The answer is, not many. The living epitaph can be written over all humanity, “there is no-one who understands, there is no-one who seeks God”. Rom 3.11. Pray that the Lord would pour out on his church the spirit of grace and supplication, the precursor for an increase of new and joy in his church.
Please pray for the Holiday Bible Club in February, that the Lord will bless the hard work of all the helpers.
Last year was like sailing against the wind, the wind of adversity in many ways. Roxy was ill almost the whole year, first with constant dizziness, a barrage of tests, and then two surgical interventions to remove a bladder stone. The good news is that now she is so much better, so we are trusting the Lord for a more active and fruitful 2015!
We had a large gathering of family and missionaries at our home for Christmas. Yours truly cooked a chicken curry for over 20 people! I am not a traditionalist, it beats turkey any day! There must be a reason why nobody eats turkeys during the rest of the year!
Melissa is off school until the beginning of March, but we are keeping her busy with various activities, classes, swimming, music, dance, etc.
For me, I have been pummelled relentlessly in the fight, but although at various times I’ve been on the canvass, by the grace of God I kept getting up to go the distance, never to be counted out! But my enemy and his cohorts will not go the distance, rather they will receive the eternal knockout, at the APPOINTED TIME!
Thank you all for your support and prayers for us as a family and for team here, in the work in Arequipa. May the Lord grant you a most blessed and spiritually prosperous 2015!