Dear Friends and Family,
Mark 7:37 states “he hath done all things well…” God does all things well! We are so thankful that He has saved us, and chosen to use us in His ministry.
Efata Baptist Church in Peru was blessed to celebrate its 35th anniversary on the 20th of May. Though we are in the states on Furlough these five months, I was able to fly back and share in this special time. We saw about 5 saved. Praise the Lord for fruit. We really enjoyed Pastor Joel Marsh – Spanish Pastor of Westgate Baptist Church, Tampa, FL and Dr. Bill Schutt – Former Deaf Pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond, IN, coming down as our special speakers. When we think about the growth that God has given, it reminds us that He is Lord of the harvest and we thank Him for the laborers that He has sent.
Through the vision of a deaf man many years ago, God has worked and continued to bless and has allowed us to build upon this foundation and many deaf and hearing Peruvians have been gloriously saved. We thank God for the faithful Peruvian and American Staff we have laboring with us. Our labor is not in vain because it is in Him.
We ask your prayer for a Peruvian couple, Pastor Henry Vasquez and his wife Mirian. He took a work last January in the jungle of Pucallpa, and did a tremendous job working with the Deaf and hearing. His wife is suffering some very serious health issues, and her doctor said that she should not even be alive, her heart is very weak. We ask that you intercede with us in prayer, that she might be able to get strong enough to have several tumors removed that have caused her much pain. Please pray that God will give her a full recovery, and that they might continue to serve God together if it is His will. They have two teenage children.
The Christian school has had many adjustments to make, yet we have seen more fruit this year alone in families through the labor in this ministry. Over 30 parents have come to know Christ.
We thank God also for the fruit that we see in the children’s home, residential school ministry as well. Over the past four years, we have seen five children adopted into Christian families, and they have experienced a marvelous picture of what God does in our lives when we come to know Christ. We were reminded of this recently when a little girl received a birth certificate, a brand new name, a new life, hope, and joy. The other children are doing well, and we love being able to care for them as God would have us to do, sharing His agape love with them. Laboring, but, NOT in vain.
We thank God for the Pregnancy Crisis Center. We have a couple with their beautiful baby daughter who now are saved, baptized, and worship God with us in Efata Baptist Church, whose newly formed family is a God-given picture of the mystery that is Christ and his church. Praise God for the influence that our Pro Life Center has had, and please pray that God will extend this influence.
Our family is very excited to get back to Peru the 11th of July. These five months have been a great blessing, to be able to visit some of our supporting churches, and present our ministry in some new churches as well. It will be hard to go back without our daughter Julianne, 20, and James, 18 who are staying up in Mukwonago, WI, preparing to go to Baptist College of Ministry this fall. We love them greatly and are glad that they are preparing to serve the Lord.
Joseph, our oldest has decided to come down with us to Peru to work a 2 year internship in Efata. He graduated with honors in May from College and is excited about coming down and doing hands on in our Christian Deaf School, and with the young people in the church. Our other children have enjoyed their travels in the USA but are all looking forward to getting back.
I have taken the plunge into this new modern social networking world. I now have a twitter account and you can follow me at @JoeFKotvas. Efata Ministries has a Facebook page at Efata Ministries. It is updated fairly regularly but mostly in Spanish. However, there are always pictures being posted so you can see what’s going on.
Thank you all once again for your care for us and the ministry of God in which we are privileged to serve.
Blessings to all,
Joe & Lisa
Joseph, Julianne, James, Jared, Judson,
Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer