Pardines in Peru - Dec. 31, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
I always knew this day would come, but I am so glad it´s here! Steven is potty trained! That is not the whole reason for this email, of course, just the biggest. =) Just kidding. Here are some highlights of our family´s ministry involvement this year:
Our service in the teen group this year was filled with challenges, the biggest of which was inconsistency in attendance on the part of the teens. We delved into the book of James while they studied to memorize verses and complete lessons in their books. The regular attendees memorized most of James chapter one. We saw several profess Christ, including Juan, Jose Edgar, and Beatriz.
In August, Nueva Vida Baptist church began a discipleship ministry with Casandra teaching 12 ladies and myself teaching 11 men. They finished the first part of the course in November. Of those, more than three fourths have remained faithful and are passionate about their calling to servanthood. The second part of the course began at the end of November.
Heroes of Faith Christian School:
We finished up on Dec. 20 with our closing program, but one of the most exciting highlights was our field trip to an orphanage on Nov. 30th.
The Lord allowed me to share “The Story of Hope” with about 75 orphans, after which, the elementary students we had brought passed out little baggies containing a gospel tract, a Gideon´s New Testament, a mini-fruitcake, and some school supplies, all of which (except the Bibles) the children raised the money to buy. We are currently on summer vacation (rainy season) which means we break out our huge rain boots, our clothes will take 2-3 days to dry, and the unpaved road to the seminary will be frequently become “the slough of despond”.
The students are currently on summer break and will return in March. This year I had the privilege of speaking at both the opening and closing ceremonies. I was able to teach two classes also: one on Doctrines and one on Spanish grammar. Next year I will be teaching at least two classes and translating for several more. The director of the seminary, Ken Loveall, is heading to the States for a 6-month furlough, and has asked me to be the overseer for Spiritual Life on campus. Rachel Tarvin, teacher at the seminary and good friend to all, returned to the States right before Thanksgiving to attend the funeral of her father. She had planned to spend Christmas with them, but had to move her flight up when she received the unexpected news. Please pray for her family. Her father was a Christian. Rachel plans to return to Urubamba early in 2014.
We had a four month visitor in our home, Johnatan, who was saved during an outreach to the jungle. He came to live with us to undergo a concentrated time of discipleship, while he worked and got to know the brethren at Nueva Vida. He has recently left for home with plans to study a career next year, and Lord willing in the future to study in the seminary. So our guest room is once again vacant and ready for “whosoever will”. Joshua turns five on the 29th of this month and has successfully completed K-4 in Spanish. It was a real challenge for him considering he entered the school year not speaking anything more than “por favor” and “gracias”. Steven turned three on November 4th and has hit a late version of the terrible two’s. We have God’s promises and authority behind us though so his antics don’t scare us. We know that by persevering and following God’s plan we will make it! Casandra’s pregnancy is going very well, considering her diabetes battles. According to the sketchy 4-D ultrasound, the little one is a girl. We’ll see in March if the prediction was accurate or not. This month I, Eric, had the privilege of returning to Lima to preach at the graduation of the class I taught in 3rd grade at La Molina Christian Schools back in 2005. Wow, I feel old. It was a good reminder that God is faithful to reward the investment we make in children´s lives.
At the end of December the church put on the play "Humbug!" (Based on the Chick tract with the same name.) I was Scrooge. It was great.
Next year we will be involved in the same ministries with the exception of the Christian school, and yet many more opportunities have presented themselves. Casandra will also be homeschooling the boys while staying at home with the baby. Please join us in praying for wisdom and direction to commit without over-committing to the detriment of our growing family.
Thank you all so much for your faithful and sacrificial financial and prayer support this year. May the Lord recompense your investment!
Eric, Casandra, Joshua, Steven, and Baby Girl, coming mid-March. =)