“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4
Sorry this prayer letter is a bit late. I have been traveling a lot these past few months and so much has been going on. As the verse above implies, we must be busy about our Master´s business as time is short and there is much to do.
It has been a good year at Efata Ministries. This year we saw many deaf and hearing people saved and baptized and we are grateful to all the work that has been done.
School is out for our summer vacation as well as our seminary and Bible institute. We graduated a good-sized group of deaf children in December.
We are now working on repair and construction needs for new bathrooms, nursery, classrooms and workshops, as well as preparing for our Fires of Evangelism conference in February.
The new Deaf outreach in El Agustino that Joseph started is doing well and our mission churches in Tablada and Callao are going strong.
At the end of November, the container of donations of the Big Box Project from Jacksonville, FL. arrived in Peru. Please, please pray as the process of getting the container out of customs has been very difficult. We have to go through several government agencies and a private customs agency to get all the paperwork in order. What should be simple is very complicated, involving several changes to the donation letter itself and much revision of the cargo, which has been an expensive and laborious task. The government here required additional information for each item.
Four different government organizations are involved in approving the shipment. Requirements from one agency differ from those of another and the whole process is an exercise in bureaucracy. We pray that we are finally at the end. Almost 900 Bibles, 35,000 tracts, clothing and shoes, dormitory supplies and furniture, school supplies, computers, and toys—it will all be such a great blessing to Efata and our mission ministries. GOD can!
Because this process has taken longer than the 30-day window of free storage offered by the shipping facility, they will be charging us storage fees backdated from the date the container arrived. This will be very expensive. Please pray they will be merciful and donate some time to us and not charge what they could. Also, pray for the extra funds that will be needed to clear the container for release to us.
In December, a local mission church plant approached me to ask for help. They are currently meeting in a member’s home. I am preaching for them every Sunday and working with them to formalize their mission and strengthen their believers. This has been a blessing and we are thankful to be able to help.
We received three new dorm students this week. Please pray for them as they learn and grow. One little girl was carried by her single mother on her back for the first four years of her life, as the mother sold Mentos candies. She is looking desperately now for a different and better life for her little one.
He’s here! Joseph James Kotvas was born to Joseph and Zulema on December 18th. He is our second grandchild. We are so thankful to the Lord for this new gift of life.
Our children are enjoying their summer vacation. Judson turned 18 on the 16th of December. We now have five adult children. James begins his final semester in Bible College and Jared will finish up his second year in May as well. Pray for both of them as they make decisions for their futures.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. We are so thankful for the two new churches that have taken us on for support.
Bro. Joe & Lisa
James, Jared, Judson, Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer