Just a quick note to let you know that tomorrow, Sunday, March 5th, is the big day! We’ll be officially inaugurating another church here in Bucaramanga, Colombia at 4 PM in the afternoon.
It has been exciting to see how everything has been coming together. The enemy is fighting, yes, but the Light of the Gospel always overpowers the darkness!
This is the same neighborhood we’ve been working in during the last two years, primarily with the children. Because of this, the reception has been fantastic, even beyond what we expected. We’ve handed out thousands of invites and spent many hours in prayers and preparations, but we know that all is vain unless it is God doing the work.
If you get a moment this evening or Sunday before 4 PM Eastern Time, please join me in prayer for several things:
- For the 25+ leaders coming from our first church plant, including one of the men who has been training with me during the last couple years and will be preaching the main message. Others will help with music, children’s programs, logistics, etc.
- For the people in this new neighborhood, that they would continue to be receptive to the Gospel, that many would believe, that the new believers would take steps toward growth in their new Christian life and that we could train leaders of leaders who will take the torch and run the race set before them.
- For wisdom in finding a more permanent meeting place (we will be meeting in a community center as we continue to search for a building to rent/buy).
- For finances as we help the church get off the ground (if God would have you give toward this need, you can give by check or online here).
- For me and my family as we lead the charge. We have all been battling minor health issues during the last week and we pray this won’t get in the way of serving.
I’ll send another update on Monday, Lord willing. We don’t really know what to expect, but we trust that in all things, Christ is magnified! It is, after all, his church, his work, done through his strength, in his grace, and for his glory!
Colossians 1:27-29 says:
“27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”
What an amazing week! Friend, God is at work among the people in Bucaramanga, Colombia! Here is a quick rundown of what we’ve been up to.
- Our first church plant here, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro, just completed 2 months since it’s inauguration. We are still seeing new visitors every week, during the Sunday, Tuesday and Friday services. Regular attendance is slowly but surely growing, as is the offering. They are nearly at a point already where they can take care of their basic monthly expenses (rent and utilities). This is a great step!
- Aubrie has been taking the kids out after our song service and doing a special program for them. This was a stretch for her, but a huge blessing to them! Her group keeps growing each week (there were 8 kids yesterday!), and the children look forward to their special time each week.
- Many people in this area are learning (or want to learn) English, so we decided to begin services once a week in English to give them a chance to practice. We hold this special service right before our main Sunday morning Spanish service and encourage people to stay for both. What I didn’t know was that we would also attract a few foreigners that live here who also speak English. In addition to a few Colombians that come, we have a gentleman from Texas, a Korean who grew up in London and his family and others that join us each week.
- Several are plugging into discipleship, meeting with me throughout the week. It is wonderful to see each progressing, growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- Many families are excited about getting involved in serving in various ministries of the church. This is one of the most exciting things for me! There are also a few men that are wanting to go further. Pray for these that God would enable them to do the work of the ministry and enable me to train them!
- The family is doing well. This week our girls are on vacation from their preschool. Aubrie and our next little baby are fantastic. We find out on THURSDAY if we’re having a boy or a girl! Amira and Anabel are split as to which they want, but they’re both enthusiastic about having a baby around.
- A special thanks to the DeGaetano family for the gifts they sent us for the new baby this week! Also to Plantation Baptist Church for sending a few books by Striving Together publications to distribute to people in our church. What a blessing!
- Just like in many parts of the U.S., it’s fair season here as well. The “Feria Bonita” is going full blast. The difference is that the fair here takes place literally all over the city. Bike races, concerts, art & craft sales, food, games and much more draw people out of their homes to wander around the city. It’s a great opportunity to get the Gospel into people’s hands. Please pray as we pass out tracts this week to some of these people.
- We continue to see the Gospel change lives! Thank you to those that support us to make this work possible.
- **Family funny — I had a dream I went to Walmart a few days ago. Weird…
How can we be praying for you?
He didn’t even lift his head.
As I squatted down next to him and tried to speak kind words, he heard a slight jingle and slowly opened his hand and pointed it upward. The coins that dropped into his grasp, one of them falling to the ground, didn’t even total a dollar, but it was more than he had seen all day.
Then, I slipped a pamphlet out of my pocket and into his hand. “Good news,” I told him. “Maybe a friend can read this to you. It’s a message from the Bible and from a God that loves you.”
He barely acknowledged me.
The smell of alcohol was so strong. Local businesspeople sneered as they looked on with disgust. Why would I waste such a thing? The money, yes, would probably be used for something that would worsen his situation. I wasn’t sure how he would respond, but I couldn’t just walk by. The fact is, I had already walked by several just like him.
People walked by him all day. Hoards of people walked by him. It’s so easy to write this man off as just another waste of space in our society.
But, how long had he been sitting here?
Where does he call home?
Has he been like this his whole life?
How did this situation start?
What does he live for?
Doesn’t he have anybody that loves him?
These questions filled my mind all day and my heart has been broken. Tears swell up in my eyes even as I write.
The truth is, people are desperate. It might not always manifest itself like it did in this man’s life, but people have no hope.
They need hope.
We all need hope. We have a void that must be filled.
Some fill that void with religion, but its hope is empty.
Some fill that void with possessions, but its hope is empty.
Some fill that void with bodily pleasure, but its hope is empty.
And some give up. The void remains empty. There is no hope. Why even try?
But Christ, through his mercy, gives us a perfect hope. I love Romans 15:13 that says:
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
That’s what makes us different. That’s why we can have hope. It’s because our hope comes from the God of hope.
And we keep it to ourselves?
What about the rest of the world?
Are we going to hoard our hope, when Christ died for all?
Our hearts have been broken here. I have been begging God to show me how to best make a difference in this country and in the world. I need his help.
Courage to speak.
Guts to act.
Willingness to be used.
Our hearts are broken.
The Book Of Colossians
Have you ever noticed how, as you read scripture, certain words receive more prominence than others? I was reading the book of Colossians this morning, and I couldn’t help but to see how much Christ was mentioned. It’s all about HIM and our relationship with HIM! Isn’t it supposed to be that way?
How much do you talk about Christ?
My wife and I have been interested in adoption since before we even met. If the Lord sees fit, we would love to be able to adopt sometime down the road, either domestically or internationally. What a wonderful depiction of the Love of God. Just think of how many Bible verses describe His relationship with us in adoption terms:
- “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:” Psalm 68:5-6
- “Thou art the helper of the fatherless. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.” Psalm 10:14,17-18
- “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Romans 8:14-16
- “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
Here’s an article from the popular Colombian newspaper EL TIEMPO that relates the need for adoption in Colombia. There are more and more children being abandoned by their families in not just this country but around the world! They need a family. Will you be their family?