Dear Friends and Family,
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? – Esther 4:14
These weeks have been unique for all of us around the world – a once in a lifetime event. The blessing is that God truly is in control and I believe He has a plan for all of us during this time as he did for Esther in her time.
I want to say that you and I are here for “such a time as this.” We are the ones that God has chosen to have the privilege of serving Him in these unique days. It is not Paul’s time. It is not Peter’s time, It is not Roger Williams’ time. It is not Whitefield’s time. It is not Spurgeon’s time. It is not Bob Jones’ time. It is not Lester Roloff’s time. It is not Lee Roberson’s time. It not Richard Riley’s time. IT IS OUR TIME. It is for us to serve our God and do his will TODAY. For tomorrow belongs to the Lord and our children.
We as God’s servants need to look forward to the opportunities that God is presenting us in our unique time, not looking back in nostalgia but looking forward in expectation as to how God will use us today.
What exciting times to be a Christian and see God work!!!
As you know, like many other missionaries around the world, we are in a state of emergency quarantine. For us here in Peru, it is akin to martial law. Our movement are very restricted under penalty of arrest and massive fines. Only one person in a family can go out during certain hours of the day to go to the store to buy food. As an example, my son and missionary Joseph went to the store to buy food and a pair of shoes for his son JJ’s as his shoes were torn and worn. They would not let him buy the shoes.
They have extended the quarantine to at least May 10th and they will probably extend it further. There are some days were no one can go out at all.
There are some special permissions for those who are involved in providing food supplies for the elderly or others. We have two of our pastors who have this special permission and thus they are allowed to go out in our vehicles to the food bank program and get donations which we then add to what we purchase for our church people and others who are needy and once or twice a week we are able to provide food for over 75 families on a weekly basis. When we hear of a special case, we put together care bags of food and take it to families in need. We are thankful for the sacrifices of some in the States who, in the midst of their own needs, like the Philippians, have abounded to ours by providing funds for us to purchase needed food for others.
Our school is shut down and we are doing virtual teaching to those who we can reach. We are preaching online which is posted to our church’s Facebook page (Iglesia Bautista Efata). We are also hosting weeklong virtual Bible Conferences for both the Deaf and hearing in the month of May. We went virtual for our Bible College and also our Bible Institute, as well as a children’s program.
We have had as of now seven Deaf people saved through the virtual out reaches and some hearing. One hearing lady was saved at our front door when Lisa was distributing food.
Several of the families of our deaf children have been greatly affected with family members struck with the virus. One deaf young man, Eddie, lost his mother last year and recently lost his father to a medical condition. Because of the lockdown, he is all alone. One of our Deaf pastors, Frank while talking with him via WhatsApp, was able to comfort him and inquire about his salvation as he was a student contemporary with Frank when they were younger here at Efata. Eddie said he was not sure, and Pastor Frank was able to guide him to the Lord in Salvation. We rejoice that not only are we able to meet his physical needs by way of food, but we are able to meet his spiritual and emotional needs through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our family is safe and doing well. We are thankful to the Lord for the safe birth of our eighth grandchild, James Raymond Kotvas who was born to James and Ann after a difficult pregnancy. They are doing well. Please pray for our Daughter-in-law, Joseph’s wife Zulema. She is having an exceedingly difficult time with her pregnancy health wise. This will be their third child. Julianne is also expecting number five, so please continue to pray for her also. When these two are born, that will make 10 grandkids – What a blessed heritage!
At Efata, we have added a donkey and two goats to the Efata family here from a petting zoo that was closed due to the virus. They add some spice to the complex. John is enjoying his new “charges”. It is a great addition to all the birds, rabbits, dogs, ducks, chickens and fish that add some beauty and life to our complex. The Deaf and staff children who live here LOVE to feed and watch them. How many kids in America living in a big city can say they have all those animals to enjoy and learn about? We are blessed.
Thank you once again for everything you do for us in your prayers and support. We do not take for granted that many of you are making sacrifices during these days to be able to maintain your support for the work of the Lord here in Peru. We also are assured that those who have not been able, due to the financial hardships, are still lifting us up in prayer. We love all of you!