Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Faithfulness of God

We have learned over and over that God is faithful to His Church.  I want to give an update on God's faithfulness to His church in Cusco.

We have been going through some changes and various trials in Cusco.  The devil always tries to destroy the church of God and he uses all kinds of means to accomplish this end.  God, however, is sovereign and faithful to His Bride.  God uses trials and difficult times to strengthen the local church and He uses suffering to conform His people to the image of Jesus.  

It is so encouraging to gather together with the church to worship God together as a family.  God has really been strengthening the core of the church.  The members are dedicated and they are beginning to set the culture for the new people to imitate as they come in.  God has also answered our prayers for someone to help lead music.  A guy named Herman, who is a member with his wife, is now playing the guitar during service.  He does an outstanding job and it really has improved our worship dramatically.  

I just finished teaching an evangelism class for the last 3 1/2 months. The church seems to have a new desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ.   Wehrner is just finishing up a series on Philippians, and Joe is about to start a new Sunday School series on the family.  We really want to establish strong, Christ-centered families to set the example for the new people.  

We just about have all the documents of the church finished and registered with the government as well.  Membership, the constitution, and the bylaws have strengthened the core and will help us avoid many problems in the future.

After worshiping the Lord with a packed building of believers today, I was encouraged and convinced of God's faithfulness to His church.  I believe we will only go up from here.  We will continue to be faithful to God in teaching and preaching His Word, in prayer, in evangelism, in discipleship, and fellowship, depending on God alone to make His word effectual and to build His Church.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Preaching the Gospel in Mayapo

Mayapo and New Opportunities

The nights in the jungle are strange.  It is dark at 6:30pm, so we go to bed early.  It is very hot and humid, causing us to sweat ourselves to sleep.  Around 2:00am it gets very cold, at least it feels cold.  We then shiver until the sun comes up. 

For breakfast we ate part of a 60 pound fish they caught in their nets.  It had a good taste and the bones were the size of a chicken bone.  We started teaching at 8:30 and continued until noon.  During the break we gave the kids candy and toys from the States, which they loved beyond measure. 

Roric preached a great gospel message in the afternoon and then we did questions and answers for an hour or so.  We had a lot of good question about prayer and marriage.  We ate hot soup for dinner, which is what we also eat for breakfast and lunch, and then we went to bed.

We drank coffee and ate fish head soup and boiled bananas for breakfast to prepare us for the second day of teaching.  The teaching went good again.  There were about 35 to 40 people.  We again had a lot of good questions on the gospel, marriage, healing by witches, and women pastors. 

A large group of people came from a village called Ibotsote, about 20 minutes downriver from Mayapo.  They asked us to come to their village to see their church building.  We found out that Wilder started the church about 11 years ago before he moved to his current village of Nazaret.  We traveled by peque peque (canoe with motor) and hiked into the village.  We were told we were the first white people and missionaries in the village.  This seemed to be true as we were the center of attention during our short stay.  Many doors have opened to advance the gospel deeper in the jungle.  We now have full access in Mayapo, Ibosote, and several villages on the Urubamba River that have no gospel presence at all. 

We motored back up to Mayapo and talked in the dark over a hot banana drink. 

The last day of teaching is today.  The roosters seem to be quite confused in Mayapo.  They crow from 2am until 7am each day. 

Roric got permission to preach the gospel to the students at the school.  All the kids lined up and Roric preached in the open air.  The kids listened intently.  We ate some hot banana substance and began teaching.  Kyle taught in the morning and I translated.  Mike then taught two lessons with Ronaldo translating.  I finished up the last lesson on prayer before we broke for lunch.

After lunch we swam in the river to cool off.  Rain came today about noon and continued off and on until 3:00pm.  Ronaldo preached this afternoon and then we had a long question and answer time.  They asked the following questions:

If a Christian sins, does the Holy Spirit leave him?
How can we restore a broken relationship with God?
Should we discipline our kids if they disobey?
How many times should I forgive my wife?
How do we handle a stubborn, rebellious teenager?
Where did Cain get his wife?
Should a Christian drink Masato (Alcoholic drink made from Yucca)
Is it a sin to drink a lot of soda?
What is a prayer closet?
Can I pray on the mountain?
How should I pray if I don’t to ask God for anything?
How did the apostle Paul die?
Should we whip a 20 year old who stole from the church?  Because the Bible says that the whip will heal the soul.
Is it God’s desire to always heal?
Do we need faith to be healed?
If we are not healed is it because we don’t have enough faith?
What can we do to heal people?
Who are the 24 elders in Revelation 5?
Why did Jesus speak in parables?
Why did some people hear and others did not?

At the end of the questions and answers there were many speeches given by the group.  The pastor broke down in tears of thankfulness that we came to teach the Bible.  To finish the night, we ate hot soup and talked in the dark until late.

The next day we were up at 5:00am to hitch a ride on the cargo boat.  We got to the river just in time to see the boat passing us by.  Mayapo is isolated and only accessible by boat.  If you can’t get a ride out, you are stranded.  We were dismayed for about an hour or so until another boat came up river.  We flagged it down and jumped in.  It took 5 ½ hours to get up river.  We contracted a crazy driver who drove as fast as the roads would allow his car to drive.  He had no regard to the abuse his car was taking so we arrive in Satipo after about 2 hours.

We checked into the hostel, ready for a hot shower.  To our dismay we found the hot water to be broken.  We took a cold shower and cleaned some of the dirt off of us.  We ate at a bad restaurant called Rambo’s Chicken and then drank iced coffees at a new coffee shop in Satipo.

The next day we ate breakfast at Miguel’s house and then visited an older couple.  The man was over 70 and an atheist.  His wife was Catholic.  We shared the gospel with him for a long time, but he was very stubborn in rejecting Christ. 

In the evening Mike preached on Marriage at Miguel’s church.  It went very well and we had many questions after.  We ran to the bus station just in time to jump on the night bus to Lima, which would arrive the next morning. 

We had an amazing trip and many new opportunities granted to us.  The gospel was preached to many people throughout the trip and the people were very encouraged.  We also were very encouraged to be with true brothers and sisters in Christ who have an intense hunger for the word of God.  After talking with many people, we found that our Reforming Peru conference in December will double in size.  Praise God.