Monday, August 25, 2014

MISSIONARY CALL

This is a fantastic song by Ben Everson. I hope you enjoy it MISSIONARY CALL 1. They are waiting lost, alone In the darkness, far from light Sore hearts searching, cold as stone Blind eyes straining, wanting sight There is hope, deliverance, comfort Truth to heal the hurting soul He gives joy and peace, forgiveness Loving grace to make them whole. -Chorus Who will tell them, who will go? Who will share the truth we know Souls are dying, life soon ends Are you willing, will you go? 2. From his place on heaven’s throne The creator came to earth Left his father, walked alone Scorned, rejected by his own Cruel pain, and hateful mocking Shameful death, he knew below So lost sinners, desperate, lonely Could be rescued, who will go? -Chorus Who will tell them, who will go? Who will share the truth we know Jesus suffered, freed your soul He has loved you, will you go? 3. Here we rest, forgiven, free Hearts at peace, contempt complete Heirs of heaven, wrapped in love Dare we hesitate, retreat? Heaven’s mandate has been given Go to all the world and tell Jesus stands, pierced hands extended He has conquered sin and hell! -Chorus Who will tell them, who will go? Who will share the truth we know? Here I am Lord, take control Love constrains me, I will go Listen Here

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ALL IN TEN DAYS!

The last ten days or so have been some of the most super-charged fluctuations that we have ever known. Last Thursday I flew out of our town, Puerto Maldonado, to the capital of Peru, Lima. I got to talk a Peruvian man named Carlos who had lived in the US and had many religious questions. He had literally visited every type of church he could find in search of the truth. I was thrilled to show him Christ: the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I believe he understood the gospel for the first time, and I hope to hear from him again. In Lima I was able to meet about 8 friends for a delicious dinner where I ate American style restaurant food for the first time in ages. We had some fantastic conversations about what God is doing, and about how to expand His kingdom. I was invited to stay with Kris and Rosemary, a couple who are contracted to teach school, but are actually here to touch the Peruvian youth’s lives. I got up at 2:30 am Friday, an hour usually reserved by my children for waking me up to go to the bathroom or ask for milk. Thankfully my taxi arrived on time, and I made it to the airport in time for my flight to another part of the jungle called Pucallpa. I had called ahead to reserve a seat on a small prop plane but when I arrived in Pucallpa I found that no planes were going to the town near the conference which was supposed to begin that evening. After much praying and a little cajoling they put me in someone else’s seat to another town which was about 8 hours away by boat. I hoped to arrive in time to make it for my evening session, but God had other plans. The unseasonal rain and fog were relentless, effectively delaying my flight until the afternoon. While I didn’t understand God’s plans, I had to trust, for “He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain” (Ps 135:7a) While sitting in the airport Loren called and shared the news: her brother-in-law, Cory Wyatt, has stage three colon cancer, and they will be operating ASAP. This immediately sent a lot of prayers upward from us and from many others. I finally flew to a little grass strip out in the jungle, arriving about 2:30pm, but after running around the river ports for two hours I concluded I would have to take the boat in the morning. Saturday morning: The river bus here looks like a giant dugout canoe (but made of steel): 100 ft or longer, while less than 8 ft wide. It held more than 50 passengers, several tons of cargo, and was pushed along by two outboard motors. It was supposed to leave between 7 and 8 am, and though I got there shortly after 7 it was already mostly full. I had hopes it would leave early and quickly, but neither of those proved to be the case: welcome to Peru! I was invited to share a bench with another man named Carlos, a school teacher in one of the tribal communities. Here was open to talking, and though he had been raised in an “evangelical” church, he apparently had never heard a clear gospel presentation. I noticed that the couple in front of us were listening the whole time, and towards the end of the ride discovered that they are actually the in-laws of Wilber Huillca, our missionary in the area! He told me that his family has been praying for them for a long time. And we too beg God to work in them, and in the life of Carlos. The conference started almost as soon as I got there, since I was at least 24 hours later than I intended to arrive. Many people didn’t come because of the heavy rains, yet we still had an attendance of over two hundred. I taught them about Biblical parenting, and about the gospel, yet I didn’t give an “invitation”, inviting them instead to be born again and show that in their lives. Many of the people have supposedly been “saved” multiple times, but without seeing any change in their lives. Four were baptized, and I met at least four tribal pastors who are being trained by Wilber, and doing a good work, along with many others who are now systematically studying the Bible with Wilber as he visits a different village every week of the month. He and his family survive on next to nothing, and it was exciting to see his work and bolster it and him after knowing him for many years, and seeing great changes in his life. Monday morning we were up with the chickens, as they say, and down at the beach well before 6, but our boat man didn’t arrive till after 7. The favorite word in the jungle is “maƱana”, so we were thankful he was only an hour late! We made it upstream to the town in good time. I was praying about the flight for I didn’t know for sure if there would be one, or if there would be a seat, and I didn’t have enough money for a commercial flight. We arrived just in time to get the last seat, and it was a subsidized flight, meaning it was 1/4th the price of a regular flight! God is good all the time. Loren called and asked a hypothetical question ¨If she had bad news, would I want to know later, or right away?¨ I replied that hypothetically speaking I would probably rather know right away. To this she responded that during a doctor visit they had found a small lump, which it would be good to check. I asked her to look at flights for her to go to Lima immediately and meet me there, since I was supposed to arrive in Lima that night. After flying back to Pucallpa, I learned that Loren had indeed booked a flight to Lima, and I was so thankful that I was able to change my late night flight to a late afternoon flight and meet her there. She was able to spend some of her birthday money shopping for clothes before we arrived to the Blumer´s hospitality once again. The next few days were a whirlwind of activity, as we lined up appointments, met with friends, and shared what God has done for us through His Son and what He is doing for us now. We were very relieved to discover that Loren had nothing more than cysts, although the doctor warned us that she will need very regular checkups from now on. While in Lima we talked to our friend who helps with paperwork, and he suggested that if we had airline tickets we could possibly get an immediate appointment with the Peruvian Visa office. We quickly purchased some tickets, and then went to the giant immigrations building with its myriad offices and labyrinth of hallways. We were told at several points that it was impossible, but by the time we left for our afternoon flight back to the jungle we had been through ten lines, and received the rubber stamp to have someone pick up our papers in a few days. This was nothing short of miraculous, as this process has been going on since January. When we arrived home we discovered that Segundo and Emily Sebastian, our Yine tribal family in the church who are training for a river evangelism ministry had suffered their baby´s stillbirth while on the way to their tribe. How our heart aches for our brothers in Christ who are suffering the effects of sin on this cursed globe. That was not all, however. Friday one of our most faithful young ladies came by. She and her sister were being discipled by our team, and her younger sister was supposed to get baptized on Sunday. Their parents had separated years ago, but were fighting over a piece of land. Their father´s threats had become so malicious that the girls felt obligated to move back to the mountains to be with their mother. They will leave a large gap in the children´s ministry of the church. Saturday afternoon while Loren was at the children´s club I noticed some people setting grass fires to burn brush. I had no idea what a tremendous blaze would ignite from a small flame. I am reminded of James 3:5-6 … How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness…. The police showed up after dark as I was trying to hose down the grass nearest the house. The ordered us to disconnect the propane tanks, turn off the power, and flee out into the yard. God blessed once again, with no problems worse than a house full of smoke for a few hours.
Sunday morning I left for church about 6am to clean the baptistery and transport it into the auditorium along with a few other men from church. What a blessing to have committed, faithful, God-loving men to serve with. We began filling it with water at about 7am, and returned around 9am: just in time to find the water right at the top: a few more minutes and the whole church floor would have been baptized! God allowed us to baptize two recent converts, Ester Rut and Xihomara, and it was a tremendous blessing. The way they compared the despair of the past with the hope and peace in the present was absolutely amazing. After the service ended and we were fellowshipping with our brothers I received a phone call. The neighbor shouted in a panicked voice that the field behind our house had been set on fire as well, and it was drawing closer! We rushed home to help with buckets, and were again thankful that God protected not only our lives, but the property he has given us as well. Not every week is quite like these last ten days, but we have certainly seen God´s hand in the good and the bad. How have you seen God´s hand? Are you attempting great things for God and expecting great things from God! May it ever be. Soli Deo Gloria.
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