Dear Friends and Family,
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now, ye rejoice in your boastings; all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:15-17
We rejoice to know that God’s desire and goal is to guide our days. God is wanting us each day to say, “God, what would you have me to do? Lead and guide my steps, I want YOUR will today, not mine.” If we make our own decisions and we won’t do the good that God would lead us to do, it is sin.
The first week of November, some of my leadership team and I were able to go to Falls Baptist Church in Wisconsin for a Sunday School small-group training workshop. What a blessing that was and a challenge as we work on implementing what we have learned. In addition, God blessed us with a wonderful Bible conference with Missionary Evangelist Doug Whiteside. Both Deaf and hearing were blessed by God. The messages were impacting each night. We were especially thankful for the private training time with our pastoral staff and Bro. Whiteside; his many years of experience and service in ministry were a blessing and challenge to all. Each day was well attended.
The last week of November we had two dear ladies enter the gates of heaven. A pastor’s wife (They loan us the building our son Joseph uses for the deaf in El Agustino.) and the following day, the mother of one of our precious deaf members. I preached at the evening viewing and shared the gospel with many lost family members. That same week we also received a newborn to take care of for a few days. Remembering the verses above, we could see how God has a plan – a way for us to minister, a way to serve, and it may not be in our plans, or designs, but God will lead and guide as we allow Him. We were packing, and preparing to leave the next week… plans change, God opens doors. Packing was a blur.
That same Sunday we were blessed to baptize four soldiers who had been saved through the preaching on their base where I had been preaching on Wednesday mornings. That evening we had the first commencement service of our Bible College. Two young men, one Deaf and one hearing, graduated, and we are so proud of them. This was also the last official service of Bro. Cory Ricker as he and his wife Melissa and their three daughters are moving on to start a new work with the Deaf in Cuzco. They have worked with us for eight years and we will greatly miss them. However, we wish them God’s blessings as they go forward for the Lord. The next day we left Peru with our five children to report to our churches in the States and raise necessary support.
Please pray for us as we schedule meetings to update our wonderful supporters and partners and gain much-needed new support. We praise God we were able to buy a 2006 Chevy Express van that is in very good condition to take us across the country. Also pray for opportunities to share His precious Word as we go and that our children will not only cope but also thrive as they make this journey with us, doing their homeschool studies “on the go.” Pray for God’s continued provision and protection.
Pray especially that we will be sensitive to God’s leading as he guides us to the sources of His provision for us and that those sources will be responsive to Him. The financial situation in Peru is volatile with government instability and corruption at the highest levels and the final bank that was not charging ATM fees just began doing so which means it is going to be more expensive just to get our support in Peru. Pray for our son Joseph, his wife Zulema, and their new baby Esther and two-year-old son, JJ. and our Pastoral team and staff as they serve the Lord in our absence. Joseph celebrated Christmas in the annex ministry that he started with the Deaf in El Augustino. Pray for the children who are in the home and the staff that cares for them.
Please note: As we are in the states on furlough, we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. If you would like to have us for your mission’s conference or to come and give a report, please let me know via e-mail or call me so we can coordinate this. If you have not heard from me, please contact me. I may have not been able to reach you due to old or lost contact information or answering machines! (813) 406-2838; firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be in the States until November.
We praise the Lord for the birth of Laura Elizabeth Miller born to our daughter Julianne and Frank Miller. She is beautiful and healthy. We love our five grandbabies. We rejoice that we had the joy of spending time over Christmas with nine of our children. God is so good to us. All five of our children who have grown and are out of the house are serving the Lord and their Country.
James, our second son, would appreciate your prayers as he completes his Master’s program at Baptist College of Ministry, graduates the 13th of May and gets married the 15th of May, just two days later. He and Ann Smith, his fiancé, (daughter of Randall and Joann Smith, missionaries in Japan) will begin deputation shortly thereafter. We praise God for their engagement and ask for your prayers for them.
Thank you all once again for your care for us and the ministry of God in which we are privileged to serve. We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to visiting with you as the Lord allows. May the Lord bless you all.
Joe & Lisa Kotvas
Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer