The ARRIBA Program

I will be here in Lima, Peru until April 2008. I am living with a Peruvian Family and Cole - my room mate from Faith Baptist Bible College. The first few months we went through language school as well as different cultural, Bible, and missions classes. Now I am serving in a local church in a suburb of Lima called Manchay. The mission is the great Commission--bringing souls into the universal church of Christ and discipling them in the local church here in Manchay.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

What's My Status? BLESSED!

I wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know my status. I am Stateside here in Dayton, Ohio once again. I am still experiencing some of what they call “reverse culture shock.” I am amazed to see the elaborate structures, newer vehicles, and even the little things like the chip and cereal isles—I was stunned to see the cereal variety and 3 whole isles designated just for potato chips. Did you know we now have 9 flavors of Doritos? We have a huge variety of options for everything.

I was able to visit Wisconsin and my former extension church in Stoughton, Wisconsin. I enjoyed seeing the faithful members continuing in the faith. I also visited Maranatha Baptist Bible College just in time to see people before they headed off to their homes for the summer. It was a blessing to see all the friends at school and see what the Lord has done in their lives this past year. While there, I was able to get a battle plan for schooling. It looks like I have 3 semesters left to finish my undergrad.

The Lord has been answering many of our prayers lately. He has provided me a job working full time at a metal spinning shop as well as clients for my part time lawn business. He has also provided the much prayed for and much needed transportation. The LORD has also provided me with 100% support for the year. We truly have an amazing and providing God. I am sure He will continue to provide every need that I currently have and will ever have in the future. The Lord takes care of His own, and I am His.

Thank you SO much for your prayers and gifts.

Please pray for:

1. Adjusting to life here in the States as well as adjusting to a new job (big change of pace)

2. Personal holiness and opportunities to win and disciple souls to Christ

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jungle Adventures

Our last trip was our trip to Iquitos and the Amazon Jungle. We ate more bananas and fish those weeks than I have ever eaten in my life. Other than weird food, we got eaten alive by bugs. I had over sixty bites on one foot, not to mention the rest of my body. It is amazing that the natives are accustomed to mosquitoes. To them it is no big deal. I had the chance to go way out in the jungle, and I went to climb a tree from the boat. I grabbed hold of a tree limb that was the nest of tiny fire ants. I had literally thousands of the little buggers biting me all over. I had to strip down, and take an un-planned bath. Five minutes later, I had a jungle wasp sting me in the eye lid—it did not puff up as much as it should have. The man I was with was surprised by my resistance to its venom. He said that would have shut the eye of most people for at least a day or two. For me, it just hurt like I got stung in the eye by a jungle wasp! The stinger was a bear to get out.

Other then food and bugs, we saw the biggest spiders. I wasn't afraid of spiders until I got to the jungle. They say the bites hurt a lot worse then a bee sting. It is wise to shake your boots before you put them on and never go bare-foot at night. We slept in tents inside little grass roofed huts on stilts to stay away from the snakes and animals. We went two weeks without seeing bathrooms, running water, and cars. We even got to visit one village that has not had an American there for fifteen to twenty years. That would explain why the kids followed us everywhere from a distance, and just stared at us. At first we thought our Spanish was terrible because we had to repeat everything, but the truth was they could not listen because they were stunned by our "whiteness" and did not listen. After kids clubs and playing soccer (and yes, they have soccer even in a tiny jungle village) the kids finally broke down and talked to us.

We worked in the town of Grau and 28 de Julio as well as visited Castilla and other small villages. While in Grau the men had training sessions from two until six every day, and the ladies from two until four. Each day we held a kids club at the church. We usually had more then fifty, and one day we had eighty-five children. It was difficult teaching the gospel to the kids because some of them seemed to be slow in understanding, but, many truly did understand. Also, in the nights we held special services where the guys directed and preached. I really enjoyed preaching there—even with the bugs and in the dark. It is an amazing thing that I can now preach in two different languages.

Edinson—even though I only knew the guy for less then 2 weeks, the Lord did a miracle in his life the weeks I was in the jungle. Although we had a bit of culture shock and a lot of new experiences, we saw the hand of God work mightily. The first day we went visiting around the village, Josue and I met a man named Edinson. He was the first person we visited. We spoke of monkeys and piranha fishing. Edinson invited us to go into the forest with him the next day. Because the river was up about 15-20 feet, we had to take a small canoe. He took us into the jungle a few hours where we saw birds, bugs, spiders, fish, and other animals of every size, shape and color. Some of them looked beautiful, and others proved that God has a sense of humor. It was on this excursion that I got the ants and the wasp attacks. We didn't talk a lot this trip, but later saw how the Lord used this trip to melt his heart—a couple of gringos in awe of his jungle, taking pictures, getting bit and stung, climbing trees like monkeys, and just enjoying his home—the jungle. Near the end of this short journey into the woods we began to witness to him; he admitted to his destiny—hell. I invited him out to the special meetings we held every night. It was my turn to preach and by candle light and flash lights, I preached on the Grace of God that saves, teaches us, and cleans us for His use (Tito 2:11-14). The man was struck by the Spirit. After service all the other people were talking and mingling, but Edinson was just sitting there, on his seat, speechless. I sat down by him, and he told me "Let's talk tomorrow." And, then he left. We visited him the next day, and study the Bible for three hours on his front porch—he would not let us go. He wanted to know more. Little by little, as his heart was opened up to us verbally, the power of Scripture broke the chains of doubt, confusion, and fear. Turns out, he was battling in his mind to figure out what salvation was. He had prayed when a group of evangelicals came through over twenty years ago. Evidently he had truly accepted Christ when he was twelve, lived the Christian life till he was fifteen, and then dove into the world for almost twenty years. With drinking, not going to church, and living a sinful life for so long, he had NO security of salvation. Now, the man knows he is saved. He rededicated His life to Christ, joined the church, his wife got saved, and his twelve year old son got saved in kids club that week. Turns out, our cook for the week is his sister, and she has been praying for them for almost twenty years. Many tears of joy were shed those short days! I almost cried myself when Edinson was crying. It was amazing to see a tough, jungle man, fisherman crying. That is the power of the gospel! They dedicated their eight month old baby in the church the day we left. They dedicated to raise her in the church. There was quite the revival in this little village called Grau. I praise God for using a couple of blonde haired gringos that wanted to see some monkeys and go fishing for piranhas. This trip just goes to show that it is not our strength, wisdom, or words, but it's all the Spirit and His Word. All year I have been working hours on end daily to see fruit like this, and I get to the jungle, and the Lord transforms an entire family in less then two weeks. He had been working on them for twenty years! How big is our God!

This is my last blog from Peru. I will be coming home Monday April 21. Be in prayer for the farewells and the million and one things that need to be done before we leave. Also, I still am lacking $2900 to finish the year. Please pray that God provides as He always does. Thank you so much for partnering with me in the mission here in Peru. I trust this will not be the end of our co-laboring. God bless your prayers and efforts!