At that time Jesus said, I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
(Matt 11:25. NASV).
Jesus knew what it was like to have his words and works rejected by men. The people in the surrounding villages of Chorazin and Bethsaida had seen his miracles and heard his teaching, but did not repent.
However, the disappointment and rejection did not for a moment dampen or interrupt joyful communion with his Father. Of course we are not so perfectly wired to the Divine nature to be able to live in interrupted joy, but it does give us a window into how the Sovereignty of God in the human life of Jesus was so beautifully expressed.
I have never climbed Misti, the volcano that dominates the skyline here in Arequipa, but I do want to climb to a higher position of praise and joy through the calm assurance of the Sovereignty of God. If we can look and view life from that position, where Jesus was, then we shall know the peace of God which passes all understanding. Praise him in the storm!
Just recently we have had a couple of Baptisms. Firstly Ronny´s son Samuel, and then Clara the mother of Eddy (more about her later) who has been attending for some years. Eddy and Clara do all the cooking for the special services we hold. Pray also for her partner Herman who has requested baptismal classes.
Samuel, currently studying civil engineering, plays the guitar in church. At some point in the future he wishes to study Theology. A Christian couple, Jerry and Charo, who are new to the area, have recently joined us and seem keen to settle. It would appear that they have come from a church strongly influenced by the health and prosperity aberration. Encouragingly they are both increasingly convinced over the doctrines of Grace, and so our desire is that they will settle well and serve the Lord alongside us in the church. They have asked for more one to one Bible studies, which I hope to start soon on Saturday afternoons.
Another couple, Luis and Marianna have also requested both baptismal and marriage classes. Pray that we may wisely discern their current spiritual state, as we seek to explore their level of Bible knowledge and their experience of God’s grace in their lives. Transparency and openness are not so readily forthcoming in this culture.
Recently all the legal wrangling over the change of land use for the whole estate, in which the church building is located, was finally settled. This dispute has been going on for nearly ten years, but our lawyer is now in the process of finalizing the paperwork for the Title Deeds to the church. The biblical admonition to wait on the Lord must have been prophetic with Peruvian culture in mind!
A little while ago I was praying and fasting over a matter for a number of months, when suddenly while I was driving somewhere, I knew I had to cease from fasting. There is now no point; the prayer has been received and answered. It is in the post; wait for it, it’s on the way! That one experience blew away the storm and the dark clouds of unbelief. I’ve climbed a better mountain than Misti, and the view is much better and longer lasting!
We continue to sow the seed of God’s word from Lucresia’s home. From there we run a children’s club on Thursday afternoon, and a family breakfast on Saturday mornings. Lucresia gets up at 4.00 am to prepare the breakfast, and to rouse her neighbours! It also provides some income for her and her husband; they often struggle to put food on the table. Joachin, her husband, has recently been out of work, so the support she receives goes some way to alleviate those times of hardship.
The Saturday morning breakfasts mean we are reaching more people, and they are certainly more attentive to the preaching at that time of the morning. We have different folk coming each week, the only thing lacking is the spiritual harvest! We expectantly wait on the Lord that soon we will see conversions, so please keep praying.
Often we are called upon to support families practically. Recently two of our ladies gave birth in the same week, so we were able to buy some clothes for both of the new babies!
Pray for Dina, a lady who has been abandoned by her husband. She has three young children, and has often to leave her home in order to find work. Her children come to the meetings dishevelled as they are often left alone. Pray the Lord will be merciful and gracious to many such families in the area. There is no debate here about welfare cuts; those words aren’t even in the dictionary here!
Ronny and Rocio continue with the children’s club on a Saturday afternoon and the Bible Study on Thursday afternoon.
We have recently agreed to support Eddy, a qualified teacher and worker with the children, to start reading and writing classes with some of the elderly.. Many of the older folk have never received an education, so the purpose of such classes is to enable them, as far as they can go, to read God’s word for themselves.
Tomasa, our eldest member and one of the first converts in the area, is a stand out student! Roxy became concerned that we were not doing anything for those members who cannot read. Pray that this new initiative will be blessed by the Lord and that He will grant them the ability to remember and learn more of God’s word.
Comings and goings
We have had a few visitors this year. First we had Daryl and Julia Jones from Grace Baptist Mission, and then a young couple, Michael and Stacey Sutton from our home church in Southport.
The one thing we have here is clear skies almost all the year round, allowing one to observe the course of the moon every day. Recently, whilst out walking the dog, we had the marvellous sight of a blood red moon.
It really was a most glorious sight, causing us to contemplate our most Glorious Lord. The changing light and hue made for a spectacular sight, bringing many outside with their cameras! Our young visitors certainly had an interesting first day with us! I am sure that there in the UK you had the usual spectacular sight of clouds!
Recently Melissa had a school outing to Columbia, the first time she had been away from us for more than two days; so ten days seemed like a loooong time! Next year will be her last year at school, and then on to University. Her desire at the moment is to be a veterinary surgeon. I wanted to her to be a chef, but she sussed me out on that one, and quickly declined the suggestion!
We hope soon to renew fellowship with many of you soon, as we plan to be in the UK for two months, beginning late December. Thank you all again for your continued prayers and fellowship in the Gospel.