Dear Friends and Family,
And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD. -1 Kings 20:28
We have just completed some of the most amazing months here at Efata. Like the verse above declares, God is God over everything. He is in control. He is always on time and always “in the loop”!
This year we have seen God move in wonderful ways. As most of you know, we struggled for almost a year to have a container of donations released. When that finally happened, the cost of storage was way beyond our ability to pay. However, God moved the heart of the responsible party and we received a 90% discount, and to top that off, God moved in the hearts of churches and individuals to help with the costs that were left.
On another front, I have been working very hard to gain access to the National Police of Peru to begin working with them to teach Biblical morals and ethics in their schools. God opened a door of opportunity to meet with the Director of the National Police to allow me to do that. In addition, I have met with the Director of Education for the police regarding teaching sign language and will be meeting again with him to implement the morals and ethics course next year.
In November, we had two of the greatest Bible conferences ever. Pastor Wayne Van Gelderen and his son, Pastor Daniel, came and preached and taught for the hearing conference, and then two weeks later, Missionaries Ray Bradley from Ecuador and Lee Johnson from here in Peru did a fabulous job in our Deaf Conference. Many decisions were made in both conferences with salvations, life-changing decisions and baptisms.
Last week we had an organization called Deaf N.O.W. come and do a medical and Dental campaign where they attended our entire school and staff, as well as many in our community. They were a great blessing, and we are looking forward to partnering with them in the future for help in social areas in both the Deaf and Hearing communities, thus providing us more avenues for outreach.
We continue to act as a short-term foster facility for children in transit from the government. We have seen several children saved through this ministry and we have taken care of dozens of babies and children this year. We are grateful for this unique ministry we have. We continue to practice the “pure religion” of James 1:27.
Our mission works in Callao, El Augustino and Tablada are doing great. God is blessing those ministries with salvations, baptisms and spiritual growth (Both Deaf and Hearing). Our missionary that we sent out this year to Cajamarca is also seeing steady growth.
Judson is on his way to joining the U.S. Marine Corps. He has taken his Delayed Entry oath and awaits his ship-out date on Feb. 6th. He is living in the States now with family friends from our home church and working part-time with his brother-in-law as he gets physically in shape for boot camp. We really miss him around here. Thankfully, we found him a ticket to come and visit us for his birthday and Christmas before he “ships”.
Jared is planning to go into the Air Force, and will be coming down as well for a visit. It will be great to have him here after more than two years. Unfortunately, James will not be able to come this year. He was just here in November with Pastor Van Gelderen to help with interpreting. We enjoyed a SURPRISE visit from Julianne and her family in October.
Now all our children who are home–Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, and Jennifer–were born here in Peru, making them dual citizens. When we came to Peru seventeen years ago, we had five children. We are back down to five children again. I must say, it is interesting. The morning breakfast table is not as full as it used to be.
One great blessing that Lisa and I have received this month is we finally have been able to change our immigration status from Religious Non-Catholic to Immigrant. This means that the travel restrictions that have prevented us from having a full furlough over the past several years no longer apply. We have not seen a full year furlough since 2004. Due to our full schedule, next year, we will not be able to schedule a furlough until at least August so please be patient with us; we look forward to seeing you all, God willing, the next time we are in country in the latter part of 2017 and into 2018.
We would like to humbly thank all our supporters for your faithfulness to us. This month we completed 17 years here in Peru and over 18 years as missionaries. I cannot believe how fast the time has gone by.
We have some very special prayer requests as we head into 2017.
- Due to modernization and fiscal accountability in the local municipality, we saw a jump in our property taxes on this year’s tax bill from basically $3.00 to $8,000 a year. Our support has steadily declined over the years, and we are truly hurting financially. Please pray with us about our financial obligations for this ministry that God will provide more funding for the daily operations of Efata Ministries. We are fighting for exoneration of some of these taxes. We still must pay for last year’s; pray for special provision for that. Daily living cost have gone up as well, so our operating budget is a purely miraculous endeavor every month.
- Please continue to pray for the work we are doing with the National Police. God is opening doors, and we are excited about these opportunities. I have put forward a proposal for a national chaplaincy plan. Under current law, only Catholics priest can be chaplains. I am working to change this.
- We have a great need of single missionary teachers (women or men) to help us in our school for our English-speaking students as well as in our Deaf classes. Please pray about this need. If you know of a young lady or man who would like to help on the mission field as a teacher for a year or more, please put them in contact with us. A permanent teaching couple would be wonderful as well.
- Rafael Ramirez, a missionary we trained who we currently support in Venezuela, is planting churches and Deaf ministries all over that country. He is currently developing two deaf ministries simultaneously while pastoring a growing and thriving church and planting multiple missions, as well as teaching and preaching to police and military elements in Venezuela. However, the economic crisis there is overwhelming, and he cannot get out to try to raise much-needed monthly support. Please pray for him, and if any of you are looking for a first-class national missionary who is getting the job done under the most difficult of circumstances, it is Rafael and his family. You can support him through our ministry. Please pray about this.
God’s richest blessings on you as we continue to partner together for Him.
Bro. Joe & Lisa
Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer