"Thank you so much for your much needed prayers on our behalf and also for Colombia. Humanly speaking this is the darkest time in Colombia's history. With more than 5 kidnappings a day, more than 40 evangelical pastors martyred and more than 300 evangelical churches closed, the situation is desperate. Here in Medellin, seven pastors have had death threats on their lives. Some of the seven have left Colombia.
Marilyn and I and our family continue to minister, very sensitive to the direction of the Lord and have a great inner peace that we are in the center of Gods will. This AM I preached in the first two services in our central church with about 3800 present... What a sense of the presence of the Lord was there. Over 80 precious souls came forward and gave their hearts to the Lord.
On Tues. I will be flying to Quito, Ecuador and then drive 3hrs to Santo Domingo de los Colorados to visit a new church that three of our students that have attended the school of missions that we have formed here in Medellin have started. I will be preaching and helping these new leaders. Also, I will be spying out the land to put my 15 min. daily radio program on. This next week we go on two new stations in Colombia, that makes 45 programs broadcasting the Buenas Nuevas every day in Colombia and Peru. Please pray for these broadcasts and the students studying the Correspondence courses that we use for follow-up.
About 12 days ago I had Laser surgery on both my eyes. After wearing glasses 45 years and the last 20 years using trifocals, its a blessing to not wear glasses ever again. My eyes won't be completely normal for another 2 mos. Pray for a speedy recovery and for 20-20 vision soon!!
In the last two years we have implemented the groups of twelve in our cell group structure. Our goal in our central church is to win 8000 new believers this year and be able to disciple through our cells and groups of 12 at least 4000. Pray with us concerning this vision. We are starting 8 new churches here in our area and the goal is to start 10 more this year. God has "opened a door that no man can shut". We surely sense that the night is coming when no one can work... Pray that God will give us the direction, protection and anointing to do the vision that he has given.
We really appreciate you! Thank you for standing with us in this great time of harvest in Colombia. We thank God for your lives and your involvement in Colombia through your support and prayers.
Your partners in the harvest,
Bob and Marilyn Finke"
In this letter we would like to share some more experiences and impressions on the March trip to Honduras. This letter was composed in San Pedro Sula in Northern Honduras.
WHICH COMES FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?
Do you preach the Gospel or do you feed them first to keep them alive so they can hear the Gospel? Up to this point I have always put emphasis on preaching and establishing churches. Now I am seeing that in some extreme cases we must understand a hungry stomach can close the ears to spiritual truths. After going out to the poorest areas of San Pedro Sula with a local missionary I see the necessity of including the natural food with the spiritual food in disaster situations. In fact it comes as an expression of love - but this love has a face; a missionary and his wife who not only feed them, but gathers them up and hugs them and tells them that God loves them.
Then I see the chain of people involved. First is God who called, sent and directed the missionary; then the unknown people in the U.S. who are providing the finances for the missionaries' support and the food articles. But I also see the neighborhood women who band together and set up a small community kitchen in their yard. The meal is usually a delicious stew. Then there is the line of hungry children with their bowls waiting for their only real meal of the day.
But that is not the end. In one neighborhood they had built a building and established a sewing school for the women. They want to teach them to help themselves by learning how to make and sell clothes.
The project of the Canadian Group is to build 118 "starter" houses (12' x 18') in this 4,000 house project. Then the church in San Pedro will be given 8 lots to build a new church in this project. The illegal invasion mentioned in the last letter is now resolved. Also the "prototype" house using the panels from Sweden is now being constructed. Our tentative plans are to return in late June with the Group and start building.
I leave soon for Lima and Iquitos, Peru for some pastors' training sessions. Please understand our newsletters may be delayed next month. And thank you again for your prayers and support that makes all this possible.
In Christ, Ken & Alexia Brewer
Dear Friends and Prayer Partners:
How much is the soul of a Yagua Indian worth? In this letter I want to share with you the exciting experience I just had in the Peruvian Amazon in the month of May. Let me tell you of the: YAGUA CONNECTION.
It all started with Enoe Saldana, a brave little 40 year old Peruvian grandmother who was converted a few years ago in the village of El Tigre, Peru. She was evangelized in Macedonia, Amazon, the Christian Ticuna village. She returned to her village and gathered the people and told them of her conversion to Christ and how He had changed her life. It made an impact because everyone knew of her drinking problem and her anger. About 70 people were converted. They sent Enoe to the Training Course in Viani. Later a " peque peque" motor was funded by Camp Standlee Youth Camp. With this she went up river and made contact with a Yagua village.
Out of this Celso Cahuachi Pinedo was converted. He was our first Yagua contact. He went to the Training Course in Macedonia. Over the years he brought another young Yagua, Mamerto Fanaifo Martin to the Macedonia Training Course. Mamerto is now in charge of a small group of believers in El Sol, Peru. This is about 5 hours upriver from Uranias, where Celso lives.
Last year Camp Standlee Youth Camp in Kansas City funded a 5 H.P. Honda motor for Celso along with funds for a solar powered cassette player. I was able to obtain Yagua cassettes from Gospel Recordings. These are Bible stories in the Yagua language.
On this recent trip in May I had the exciting privilege of sitting in his canoe and carefully explaining the care and use of the motor. Then I put in his hands the solar powered cassette player with the Yagua tapes and carefully explained how to recharge the battery.
WHERE WILL IT ALL END? As I was sitting in his canoe he explained his situation. He is visiting 3 villages upriver from Uranias among the Yaguas. First is "First of October" (yes, that's a town". Then is Primavera, then a full day's trip from Uranias in his little 5 H.P. is El Martin.
No, I have never been to these towns and probably will never get there. But by helping train these humble workers and putting equipment in their hands new territory is being opened up to the Gospel. Again I ask, how much is the soul of a Yagua Indian in the remote tributaries of the Amazon River really worth? Thank you for your part in this. May the Lord rich bless you as we labor together in His harvest field.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. We send you our greetings and love and we trust this finds you well.
....We think of you very often. We appreciate your letters, your support gifts, your prayers on our behalf, and we thank God for you. God knows our hearts' desire is that the Lord give you health and prosper you in all that you do. We pray for God's blessing on you.
These past few months have been busy ones for us and we thank God for giving us the health and energy we need to keep up. It's been an encouraging time as we see the Lord blessing our efforts and bearing fruit in the lives of the people we are working with.
Thank God with us for His blessings:
VISITORS from the US and Canada in May, July, August, September and October were a tremendous blessing and encouragement to us. It's very exciting for us to share with others first hand what the Lord is doing. Some of the highlights of those visits are getting in on a home birth in unbelievably extreme poverty and filth, giving a first aid training class to people from out of town, meeting with the city mayor about building a youth center, and lots of wonderful fellowship and friends from far-away getting to know and love their brothers and sisters in Christ in Honduras. Also, a set of brand-new tires for the pick-up and an automatic washing machine. Thank you, dear friends, for coming and blessing us!
MOVING services in Santa Rosa from our living room to a rented house around the corner from home has given us more visibility in the neighborhood and made people take us more seriously. We've added a Tuesday evening study and Saturday afternoon meeting for children. It's also been great to have a place for special meetings and studies.
DISCIPLESHIP study for leaders is as much a blessing for Porfirio as for the leaders of the congregations in San Agustin, Dulce Nombre, La Majada, El Pinal, Candelaria and Santa Rosa. The Lord has given Porfirio a great group of men to work with who desire wholeheartedly to serve Him and they all look forward to their day and half meeting each month for a time of study, prayer and fellowship.
WORSHIP SERVICES are being held in many villages. Porfirio goes to El Pinal every Thursday evening and Lorenzo Caballero visits people in the village during the week. Luis Alonzo Gomez leads a Wednesday and Sunday service in La Majada, along with a children's class. Porfirio drives out for the Saturday evening service and since the rains have started, the road is incredibly bad. Miguel Angel Paredes makes daily visits ministering to people in San Agustin and Porfirio goes for the Sunday evening service every other week. There have been a lot of land slides lately and sometimes he's had to stay overnight. Luis Alonzo Portillo in Dulce Nombre has been spending his weeks making the rounds on horse back to groups of people in 8 different villages. We got him a horse and a tape player and last week he played one of Porfirio's taped messages for each of the groups with a total of about 300 people hearing the Word of God. We praise God for the doors He is opening for the gospel and for the servants He is raising up. Please pray for these men and their families.
ROSIBEL is the 7th of 8 living children (5 have died young). Her parents live in La Majada and are extremely poor. At almost 2 1/2 she weighed 15 pounds, didn't walk or crawl or respond to anything or anyone. We brought her home with us 2 1/2 months ago and the change is remarkable. We shaved her head to de-louse her, had to give her 3 rounds of medication to de-worm her, give her a bath every day, good meals, and lots of attention. She has lost her protruded belly, gained 4 pounds, runs around in her walker, walks holding on with one hand, has become very vocal and responsive and is just adorable. When she's walking good on her own we'll bring her back home, but not until I've been able to work more with her mother. She is only 1 of many children we know who are neglected and malnourished and way behind in their development. We are praying for a way to help them also.
YOUTH CENTER. A group from Calgary, Alberta wants to help us minister to street kids and neglected teens here in town. We had a very encouraging meeting with the town mayor who shoed us a beautiful piece of land that the city could give for that purpose. We are putting together a proposal for the city officials and are eager to see just what the Lord has in mind for this.
TRANSLATION is something that Tony and Andrew (our oldest boys) have become involved in. They went to San Pedro Sula with the group from Calgary to translate for a week in September and are planning to go back in November for several weeks. The Calgary group is committed to building 100 of 4,200 houses that San Pedro Sula is providing for hurricane victims.
THE QUILTING LADIES in La Majada have been keeping busy. Our friends brought more fabric and supplies and took quilts back to sell. God is using this project to give the ladies in La Majada an income and satisfaction in making something beautiful with their hands. They are thrilled to be piecing and quilting and we hope we can sell more for them. I spend Tuesdays with them.
HOME seems like Grand Central Station most of the time, but in spite of that, the little children are learning to read and are happy....
PORFIRIO keeps very busy visiting worship services in villages, sharing the Word of God in 2 village schools, visiting people here in Santa Rosa, overseeing construction of several houses we're putting up for poor families, and helping people in whatever they need. The Lord has given him grace and wisdom and is blessing many people through him.
I keep very busy at home with house guests, home school, the quilting project, and trying to keep everyone fed, clean, happy and loved. It's a joy, but I do feel bad forgetting behind with letters.
We are thankful to God for the work He has given us to do and for his blessing upon our labors. We thank Him for your support which makes it possible for us to be here. May God make memory of all of your offerings and bless you richly.
Please pray with us that the Lord would have mercy on Honduras and all of Central America. It's raining a lot lately and roads are terrible, bridges are out and roads are blocked by landslides. Pray for Porfirio's safety on the mountain roads at night and for all of us. There are gangs in the neighborhood and there is much rampant crime in this country. We don't live in fear, but we do stand out as being foreigners and we live cautiously. Please keep us in your prayers.
It's been good to visit with you and I promise next time I'll keep it shorter! God be with you. Love,
Porfirio and Debbi Rodriguez and family"
The Church is almost getting too big for the building! That's happy news! Sunday at the building was really full and there was a good spirit among the people. Of the increase, some are new Christians and some are returning back-sliders. We still need leadership, and we need musicians, but can see that the Lord is working on that too. In December, we baptized four young people and there are seven candidates for February.
We've also had three marriages in a month, and now we have one scheduled for February! One couple came back from the desert, a story of love and the grace of God, another couple was unequally yoked for twenty years and as a result of a serious crisis, he sought my counsel and found God\! They were married by the church. One couple is also a triumph of God's grace because they are both from church families and virgins!
God has been good to supply our growing needs in Gateway to Life (the orphanage) Last month we paid $620 in wages. We pay the "parents" $300 and the cook $200. We find ourselves with several mothers with small children. We had not planned to take in mothers, but there are many who have no place to turn; we can't turn them away. In some cases we teach them how to be mothers, in others we offer refuge from cruel husbands. (One woman has chain marks on her back. Another mother came with her four children from Mendoza City, 200 miles away fleeing from her drunken husband.
Fresh milk has come in; bread, fruit, vegetables, and groceries, baby buggies, chairs, kitchen stove, beds, cribs. One sister asked me: "How do you expect to supply the needs of the Home if the government doesn't step in?" I could only say that since the beginning we have only trusted in God and as Samuel said, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" and we believe that, "Faithful is He that called you, who will also do it!" It's now our great faith, but such a great and faithful God!
Brethren pray for us.
Robert and Bettye Paden
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