Dear Friends and Family,
3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows…—Matthew 24:3-8
What an interesting time we live in. I have never seen such a unity of end-times events in my life–pestilences such as locusts in Asia, exponentially more dangerous natural disasters (fires raging, hurricanes, tornados, forty-mile-wide land storms such as “Derecho” in Iowa, earthquakes in unusual places, volcanic eruptions) pandemics, wars and rumors of wars, many false Christs and prophets (just peruse YouTube), right turned to wrong and wrong turned to right, children against their parents, irresponsible parents, love waxing cold, etc. All these are converging at this point in history.
Just remember the words above, “be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” We do not know when Jesus is coming, so all I can say as I look forward to the “Blessed Hope” is, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Until then, we will be busy about our Master’s business.
We will not let the circumstances of life around us discourage us. Persecution, already present in a large part of the world, is coming our way. This too must come to pass. Regardless, we have this promise from our Savior:
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.—Romans 8:35-37
Not much has changed here since our last prayer letter regarding the restrictions on gatherings. There was some relief, but then the government clamped down again when the number of new cases of COVID-19 began to rise. They have imposed martial law restrictions again on Sundays, when no one can be out except with special permission. International travel continues to be restricted by the government, and public services are limited. Several pastors have died because of the pandemic. One, Luis Navarro, was only forty-two years old. He was a friend. Several members of our church have experienced losses of loved ones.
We continue to minister through social media for all our services, Sunday school meetings, and programs for teens and children. We also continue to distribute food to many in need. We are seeing souls saved despite all the restrictions. Pray for these new Christians as they grow.
No in-person meetings will be permitted this year. Schools will continue to teach online until next year as well. This is a horrible situation for students and especially for the Deaf and children with special needs. Our teachers continue to work hard to teach those who have access to the internet.
As you know from our last letter, several of us tested positive for COVID. Lisa was the hardest affected, with headaches, breathing issues, pain, and discomfort in her chest. The rest of us appear to have been asymptomatic if our tests were accurate, although I have my doubts about that. The blessing is that all of us are well now. Lisa is doing great, and none of us have any residual issues or side effects. The same goes for our son Joseph, who works with us here.
Joseph and Zulema are expecting their third child. Because theirs is a high-risk pregnancy, they have a C-section scheduled for September 8th. We are looking forward to their little addition to the family. Please pray for them that everything will go smoothly. Also be in prayer for Julianne, our daughter who lives in Florida, who is expecting her fifth child in late September or early October. When these two children are born, Lisa and I will have ten grandchildren. What a joy!
James and Ann and their two little ones are doing well. God was very gracious to them with His presence during this time of trials. A complicated pregnancy with extended hospitalization ended in little Jimmy’s premature birth, requiring him to be hospitalized for about two months. Some churches canceled as well due to COVID restrictions. Please pray for God to fill their schedule again and for God’s continued protection, provision, and guidance for their precious family on the deputation road.
Our Marine, Judson, was recently promoted. He is now a corporal, having just completed Embassy Security training, and is waiting for his first deployment overseas. Jared is doing great in the Air Force in Florida.
Prayers and Thanks
We have enjoyed hearing from many of you as you have written and called to inquire about our well-being and the well-being of the ministry here in Peru during these crazy months. Thank you to all of you who remember us in your prayers and who support us in our work.
Bro. Joe & Lisa
Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, and Jennifer