Friday, August 19, 2016

Parties, Freezing Cold, and an Explosion / Killillay update from Peru

Thank you to all who have been praying for my family over the last five weeks as well as those who have been praying for safety and success in the work.  After spending three weeks in the United States and visiting different churches as well as being part of Sovereign Grace Bible Church's first annual missions conference Michael and I arrived back home on the 28th of July.  Here is an update since we have been back in Peru.

1.  Desaguadero:

The work in Desaguadero began for Reaching and Teaching as Tony Steele, Cristobal Quispe, Anibal Salazar, and I sat around a table in Cusco Peru last October.   That night seemed especially cold as Tony and I had just arrived from a week of training in the jungle to an altitude of 11,000 feet.

The plans made around that table became reality as Reaching and Teaching International Ministries started their first week of training pastores in this new site in August.   There were over 40 in attendance each day and by the end of the week over 30 had enrolled in the program offered by RTIM.

The challenges to this work started before the team met together in Peru.

-First, brother Paul Walker almost didn't make it to the training in Peru.  His flight leaving Denver was late coming in which stranded him in Denver because he would miss his international flight out of the States.  Trying to get a flight to Peru was even more challenging than normal because the Olympic games were set to begin and he spent all day trying to find a flight to Peru.  The Lord in His providence used the change of day and route to put Paul in a city that he was not destined to pass through.   In that city God had a divine appointment for a man to hear the gospel.  We must commit our  works to the Lord, and He is the one who establishes our plans.  (Prov. 16:3)

-The second challenge was the first night we arrived in Desaguadero the entire town was partying and worshipping their idols.   The party was across the street from our hotel with four stages set up and four bands all rocking at the same time until 1:00 in the morning.  It seemed to me like each band was trying to outplay the other bands as the all played at the exact same time.  It was chaos.   I have never experienced anything like that in my four years in Peru.  It was so loud that the windows, walls, and even our bed frames were vibrating with the music.

-The third challenge was the altitude at 12.550 feet above sea level.  We were all affected by the altitude.  Both Paul and Tony experienced feeling like they couldn't breath in the middle of the night. I only mention it in passing because it seems like a small thing but when you can't get warm in a week of training it makes things uncomfortable.

-The fourth challenge could have been deadly.  While I was teaching I felt ill and kept getting worse.  I had to teach from a chair.  Soon my eyes closed and I couldn't put my thoughts into Spanish sentences.  I started slurring my words and nothing was making any sense as a migraine headache came on.   Tony  stopped me in the middle of trying to teach and told me to go back to the hotel room.   I stumbled through the desks of students like a drunk man barely able to stand.  Not long after I left there was an explosion.  A small gas tank exploded in the kitchen that is located below where the pulpit is on the second floor that we were teaching from.  Thankfully Tony and the brothers were all fine and the only damage was the gas tank.   The hose to the stove had a leak in it caused from the cooking and what had caused my problems was breathing the fumes for 40 minutes before it exploded.  Thankfully everyone was okay but sadly I  don't have a lot of brain cells to lose.

Please keep this work in your prayers.   Pray that the Lord would raise up a church back in the States that can partner with Reaching and Teaching to help them train in this new work.   Probably a church located in Alaska would be a good fit.   Please continue to pray for the brothers in this area.  

2.  Ausangate:

After arriving back from Desaguadero the leaders from our church went to 'Lauramarca' to share the gospel and help with a medical campaign.  Another brother named David Chavez in Urubamba donated 100 blankets to give out and Jair a medical doctor from Cusco and Ruth his nurse went with us to help in this work.   We also had Joel Smith visiting us from the States who went with us.  He was supposed to go to Desagudero with us but he also had airline problems.  

Our original plan was to visit two villages to help out with medical needs and share the gospel in both places. On the first day we ran out of medical supplies and decided to head back to Cusco after only one day.  It was a good trip and Joel Smith had an opportunity to share his testimony through a Spanish translator and then through a Quechuan translator.  Roger and I shared the gospel with a Quechuan translator as well.

The highlight of this trip is that we now have a plan to bring Tomas to Cusco twice a month to train him in the word.  Tomas is the brother leading the Bible study up there as well as the brother who translated for us into Quechuan.  

Please pray for this work as there is  much work that needs to be done.

3.  Cusco Peru:

Pastor Paul not only helped teach in Desaguadero but he also preached a series on the family for five nights in Cusco Peru.  He has such a desire to serve sacrificially that we worked him like a rented mule.  We also found time to relax and share about ministry and work.  It was a profitable time for me to spend with a dear faithful brother who is also one of my mentors.

During the meetings most of our church members faithfully came.   The services started each night at 7 and were supposed to end by 8:30 after an hour of preaching and 30 minutes of questions.   What really happened was that we the last two nights we finished around 10:00.  Now it's time to rest and get back into the routine of daily ministry in Peru.

Please keep this work in the church in prayer as the Lord is working.   There is also another group of believers in Lucre about 25 minutes outside of Cusco that have asked us to come and help teach them the Bible.

Please pray for us as there that we would have wisdom to know how to meet the needs the Lord is putting before us.  Our pastoral staff will meet this week to discuss what we can do to help.

Please pray about helping us financially.  The work continues because people faithfully give each month and sometimes its people we don't know.  The Lord continues to meet our needs and we are grateful for your support both financially and in praying for us.  

I want to thank our home church Sovereign Grace Bible in Helena Montana for their love and support in the work.  This last picture is for the Knoepke children who drew for us these really nice pictures.  Stephen and Sophia have them hanging by their beds.  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A quick update: Cusco/United States

Never think of the church of God as if she were in danger. If you do, you will be like Uzza. You will put forth your hand to steady the ark and provoke the Lord to anger against you. If it were in danger, you could not deliver it. If Christ cannot take care of his church without you, you cannot do it. Be still, and know that he is God. - C. H. Spurgeon

The Church in Cusco:

On the 28th of June our teen group had the opportunity to visit Tambo de Gozo in Pisac Peru.  The Lord blessed our time while there.   We studied the gospel and how to share the it with our friends.  We had a bonfire 12 feet high, ate cotton candy, and of course played soccer.  Thank you for those who have prayed for this time together.

By God's grace the church is growing in sanctification.  The elders in the church continue to seek wisdom from the Lord as we seek to be biblical in all of our decisions.  Continue to pray for the church as we have some sensitive decisions ahead.  This last Sunday the Lord was working mightily in the hearts of the believers through the preaching of God's word.  The believers are hungry for the truth and they desire to learn and grow.  It is truly a privilege to be part of God's work here.  Please continue to pray that we believers would respond in grace and humility to the truth. 

This last Sunday was bittersweet because I won't see my church family for a month.  I will be traveling to the States for 3 weeks.   When I return I will be home for 2 days before leaving again to Desaguadero to begin a new pastoral training site with Reaching and Teaching in south Peru.  Please be in prayer as my dear friend Paul Walker will be teaching with me and also ministering to our church family here in Cusco the following week.     

In the United States:
Saying good bye last night!

Michael and I are very excited to be able to travel to California and visit the west side of the United States and share with other believers about the work in Peru.  Please pray for us that our time would be fun and profitable.   Please pray that the Lord would give other churches and brothers with like mindset a desire to help us in this work.

Please pray for my dear wife who will be with our younger four children. She is awesome!  Our kids are awesome too!   

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. -Hebrews 9:27-28  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pastoral Training in Chazuta Peru (May 22-28) / The Church in Cusco

Chazuta Peru:

It is very encouraging to see what God is doing in Chazuta Peru through the training efforts of Reaching and Teaching.  Over forty students attended the classes, and the number of students this month grew even though some brothers couldn't make it.  At the end of the week, eighteen students graduated from the course and will be put in an advanced course in the future classes.

The graduation was held outside in the hot sun and most of the family members stayed behind the podium to hide from the scorching heat.  The graduates in their caps and gowns were 3/4 to well done by time the commencement ended.  Brother Micah Tuttle was present along with HeartCry missionary Eddy Koplin to help in the graduation.  Micah preached the commencement message and HeartCry gave a great collection of books to the brothers.  Many of the brothers can't afford to buy even one book so to receive a small collection is a treasure.

This trip had a first time experience that was dear to my stomach.
On Wednesday night many of us traveled down river to different villages to minister.   My group ended up in a village called 'Mushillakta' which is Quechua for 'New Pueblo'.   It was here that I met a brother who had come to the training a year ago and he was very excited to see us again and have us in his village.  So they planned a supper of chicken cooked in broth which is a common food here.  However another brother called me over to his home to visit, and they were cooking this large rodent called a 'Majaz' or as some of the brothers called it a jungle rat.  This is the mythical creature in the movie The Princes Bride the is called a R.O. U. S. or 'Rodents Of Unusual Size' found in the fire swamp.  The people in the town call it the guinea pig of the jungle.   It was really tasty and I had a great time of fellowship with the family before heading back to the hut where I was to eat my original supper.

Pastor Jairo, Tony, and Anibal  are demonstrating the art of relaxation in their hammocks!  We worked diligently all week and have nearly perfected this skill!  A couple more trips and I think we will have it.

Cusco Peru:

It is easier to declaim, like an orator, against a thousand sins of others than it is to mortify one sin, like Christians, in ourselves; to be more industrious in our pulpits than in our closets; to preach twenty sermons to our people than one to our own hearts.”  
-John Flavel

The pastors at La UnciĆ³n Iglesia Cristiana have been praying to see the holiness of God anew in our lives and that by God's grace a revival would begin with us.   The pastor is not just to preach expositional messages about the character of God but we are to be an example to the believers in applying the Bible to our lives as well.  Both Paul and Peter exhort the pastor to this requirement of a faithful pastor being example to the flock.  It is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance.

The church is experiencing the loving kindness of the Lord.  One of the pastors confessed that God was working in his family and they were up until 4:30 in the morning confessing sins committed against one another in the family.    When Pastor Jesus preached on Sunday while I was in the jungle my wife said that God was working and after the message there were believers praying, crying, and it seemed they were confessing sin to the Lord.   As we continue to walk in the light of the Scripture, it would seem that our problems are multiplying in the church but in truth the problems have always been there and they are being exposed.   Please be in prayer for us as God does His work in our church.  As a church family we will be meeting at one of the pastor's houses this Friday.  It will be a time to share what God is doing in the church and a time for transparency, confession of sins, and planning for the future as a church body in how we should move forward.  

We are also planning a retreat for the youth group later this month in the Sacred Valley.  We are praying that the Lord will work in their hearts during this time.  Please keep this event in prayer.


Please continue to pray for us that we would grow in personal holiness and that God would continue to transform our thinking and actions by His word both personally and as a church body.  

Please pray for wisdom as the pastors make decisions that will affect the direction of the church.

Please pray that we would not live in the guilt of confessed sin.

Please pray for our family and the financial support needs that we have. 

You cannot sin so much as God can forgive. If it comes to a pitched battle between sin and grace, you shall not be so bad as God shall be good. I will prove it to you. You can only sin as a man, but God can forgive as a God. You sin as a finite creature, but the Lord forgives as the infinite Creator. 
- Charles H. Spurgeon