Monday, May 30, 2016

Reforming Peru, The Church, and The Work of God

The Three Pastors and Their Families
I must say that the conference in the jungle this past week was very good, but I am so glad to be back in our church in Cusco. God is really doing a great work here. We are seeing people saved, a tremendous amount of spiritual growth within the members, triple the people in our prayer meetings, and a full building each Sunday. We were maxed out this Sunday for space. Wehrner is really improving in his preaching and has just started a series on the book of Ruth. It is so great to see the Word of God being made effectual in the brothers and sisters here.

The Reforming Peru conference in Satipo went very well. There were four Ashaninka villages represented, as well as many leaders from churches in the area of Satipo. Scott Dollar taught 20 basic doctrines and Rob Aldridge from Calvary Baptist in Helena, MT taught on worship. I taught on Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, and Perseverance, as well as translated for Rob. Rebecca, Rob's wife, is a doctor. She did a mini medical campaign for two hours a day. Every person was seen and treated during the week.

It took 12 hours to arrive to Satipo by a questionable bus from Lima, and it was very hot. We taught from 9am to 5pm each day from Monday through Friday. Martin Manchego, our Peruvian friend from Lima preached on Sunday morning at Miguel's church, and did a lot of filming to make a promotional video for Reforming Peru. The video should be out in June. Our brother Walter Isse, who is a pastor in Lima, translated all week for Scott Dollar. I also brought along a brother from our church in Cusco.

At the end of every day we had a session of questions and answers for several hours. The people came up with some very interesting questions. Through these questions and answers we learn a lot about the heretical teachings of a variety of cults that occupy this part of the jungle. For example, we discovered some crazy end times teachings. The people had a lot of questions about the end times because there is a crazy group that is traveling all over the jungle from village to village teaching about the anti-christ. They have a video identifying the anit-christ as the United States government and the Peruvian government. Apparently they teach that if the villages accept help from the government then they are accepting the mark of the beast. Sadly, many villages are signing a document that says they refuse all help from the government. Scott Dollar taught for four hours on the end times, but they seemed to be slow to grasp it. We find that we need to constantly re-teach certain doctrines every conference.

Roric and Walter
We also had some funny questions. One Ashaninka man asked if they can all bathe naked together in the river. Later we found he was asking the question because he wanted permission look at naked women. One guy introduced his question like this: "I have a hard question that I cannot find an answer to. It is very controversial and difficult." He then went on in his introduction for some time. He finally asked the question, which was: "What is the first day of the week?"

Our friend Roric, who is a pastor in Pichinaki (about 45 minutes from Satipo), preached in the plaza on Wednesday night. He did very well. We all shared the gospel after. I shared the gospel with a man who was very affected by the preaching. He said he has never heard the gospel explained like we explained it. Another guy, a homeless man named Juan, was affected and came to the conference the rest of the week. He was taken care of medically, with meals, and a bus ticket back to Lima. He said that in all his time being homeless, not one person has ever helped him or gave him anything.
video



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Salvation!

We are seeing God do a great work in the church in Cusco. It seems, after years of labor, we are seeing good fruit. Recently about 17 people from the church gathered for an "all night" prayer meeting. We read the book of 1 Peter, meditated on the Word, sang many songs, prayed a lot, and had great fellowship from about 8:00pm to 1:00pm.

One of the greatest joys for us personally is the salvation of our daughter Raegan. About 10 months ago, through the preaching of the Word, Raegan was convicted of her sin. She responded in faith and repentance that were both a gift from God. We, and the elders of the church, have been watching and encouraging her for the last 10 months. We really wanted to see fruits of conversion in her life. I believe God has made it clear in many ways that Raegan has been born again. She told her testimony in Spanish in front of the church last week. She was nervous, but did a great job. This is her testimony:

I grew up in a Christian home. Every Sunday I was in church, but not because I wanted to be there. I knew the Bible, having been taught it basically my whole life. I had memorized Scripture. I believed in God, and I had heard how He saves His people. But it hadn't been made effectual. The sermons and teachings I was hearing of this Sovereign Lord went in one ear and out the other. I knew them, but I didn't believe them. About ten months ago, the Lord used a sermon to awaken my spirit. It was through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit began stirring inside of me, and everything that I had been taught or learned finally clicked. It wasn't my own doing, but the Lord's. I don't know the exact moment that I was saved. Over time God slowly removed the cover over my eyes, and I could see. I could see this loving and just God, and His hatred of my sin. I began to understand how ugly and wicked of a sinner I am. I understood my need for a Savior, the Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He died on the cross in my place for my sin. I believe this, I put my faith in Him, and I was saved. It's so humbling to know that the Lord chose me, a sinner, before the foundation of the world to become His child. It's amazing to think of the events that happened, and the circumstances He used to draw me to Him. I had heard The Gospel basically my entire life, and yet on that day, about ten months ago in a small church in Cusco, Peru, the Lord saved me. It was in His perfect timing. I don't know what the future has for me. I don't know where I will be or what I will be doing. I don't even know how much time I have left on this Earth, or if I even have a future. Regardless, my goal for my life is to seek the will of the Lord, and to glorify Him in whatever circumstances or situations I find myself in. “To Him be the glory forever and ever.”

About 40 of us took a bus to a Baptist camp outside of Cusco to have a church picnic and baptize Raegan along with another man in the church named Miguel. God has done a great work in Miguel. He also told his testimony in front of the church. He is around 60 years old and has been coming to the church faithfully for several years. He first came to the church through a member, Jair, who shared the gospel with him at his workplace. We have seen a great change in his life. He constantly reads the Bible, books at a time. He said that people all around him ask what happened to him because he is not the same man. The non-Christians in his life are stunned at his radically changed life. 

We are so happy and grateful to God that He allows us the great privilege of sharing the gospel and seeing people swept into the Kingdom. Check out the video of the baptisms below: