So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.
A bird with a broken wing cannot fly. A church that relies on only one “wing” of ministry will also struggle to function efficiently. The early New Testament church spread its wings and lit spiritual fires in many areas, seemingly through smaller group gatherings. The “wings” of the church, God’s people in the Buenos Aires area are corporate worship on Sundays, supported by house groups and other small fellowship events throughout the week. In our case the weekly events, where believers can know real fellowship, encourage one another, and invite family, friends and neighbours, has been a means of considerable spiritual vitality and blessing. It has the effect of moving us away from a mere professional ministry to a more collective ministry, where believers can express their faith and use their gifts. As I said recently in a sermon, “The Lord does not desire fat sheep, so go out and feed others from what you received. Freely you have received, freely give”.
Recently we had a full month of ministry on Mission, with visiting speakers and all the members involved. We had nine groups in the church who gave a presentation on the country of their choice. Every wall of the church was decorated with photos, statistics and missionary information, along with tables spread with indigenous food. One of our members, Juan José who is studying Japanese brought along his teacher and other students. One of the students, Max, has since made a profession of faith, and now worships regularly with us. We are blessed with a good number of committed young people where those, such as Max, can immediately find fellowship and encouragement.
Recently joined are another couple from Venezuela, Marco and his wife. Roberto, a church member and a builder, has taken on more workers due to winning a contract to build a six story block of flats. Marco is among those men he has hired. Each day before they start work he holds a short service. He has invited me to share the gospel at some point in the near future. Pray for these families, they face a terrible situation in Venezuela. The couple mentioned above have come to Peru without their children. Working here means, they can send money back to support their families. Pray for Venezuela.
Rebeca will be travelling to Pakistan at the end of October, and not back until May next year. She will spend 4 months at the hospital in Multan, and then for a time in Thailand with other missionaries at the Pioneer Mission Conference. She still hopes to travel to the UK sometime next year with a view to improving her English before returning to Pakistan as a full time missionary, God willing, in 2021.
Here we also meet with believers in their homes during the week. This has the added benefit of encouraging other family members to join in, particularly husbands, as it is difficult to get them out to other events. We are preparing for the largest gospel outreach we have ever had in the area, running from 8th, 9th and 10th of November. Recently I presented a letter to the President of the local Residents Association, requesting the use of the local community centre for the 3 day outreach. We have chosen the theme of the ministry, along with the guest speaker who will share in the ministry. We plan to work with another Baptist church with whom we have close fellowship, mainly through their Pastor Germán Cáceres, with whom we meet on a regular basis. This month we will meet together to pray specifically for the Lord’s blessing and power upon this outreach. Please Pray also that I will get the relevant permission from the local authority to place an advert above the main highway into Villa Magisterial. Recently the Lord gave me this verse which I shall constantly use in prayer. Please will you pray with us for a move of the Holy Spirit through those days of gospel outreach? I know your deeds, behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. Rev.3:8. May the Lord be pleased to open hearts to receive the grace of God in salvation; using our weakness and powerlessness to bring glory to his name through the salvation of many.
Some of the children who have been with us for years have enjoyed days out with the young people of the Buenos Aires church. What an encouragement that Gonzalo now makes his own way there every Sunday. Pray that the youth leader and I will be able to organise a retreat for the young people from both areas. Pray also for the provision of the necessary funds.
I had to take our daughter Melissa to A&E after a recent Sunday evening service. Initially we thought that it was a recurrence of the problem she has had with stones, because of the severe abdominal and back pain. It turned out to be food poisoning, which was relieved by a saline drip and medication. A few days earlier our dog Scooby had an op! The surgeon who teaches Melissa at University invited her to assist him, which was all very valuable experience. She also helped a bulldog deliver its pups beforehand.
Pastor Carlos fell off a step ladder and fractured two of his ribs, on the same day as our Pastor friend, German injured himself in a fall. It all happened during the week of Evangelism when we had a group from the church in Lima helping us. Pray for those who are in the midst of the spiritual battle. We would appreciate your prayers for all of the above, particularly for our gospel outreach in November. Thank you all for your partnership in prayer; and a special thanks to those who are committed to financially support our work, serving the Lord here in Arequipa.