Noviembre – Diciembre 2022

“Jehová redime el alma de sus siervos, Y no serán condenados cuantos en él confían.”   – Salmo 34:22

En estos días de celebración del nacimiento de nuestro Salvador, el Señor Jesucristo, recuerdo el motivo de ese nacimiento: nuestra redención que se realizó en la cruz del Calvario. Como nos recuerda el versículo anterior, nadie que confíe en Él será condenado. ¡Dios es bueno con su pueblo todo el tiempo!

Noticias del ministerio

Los dos últimos meses han sido muy activos. Lisa y yo viajamos a Chiclayo, Perú, donde prediqué y Lisa enseñó a las damas para un aniversario. Fue una bendición. Una señora fue salva y nos regocijamos en la reunión. Después de esto, viajamos a nuestra iglesia misionera en la ciudad selvática de Pucallpa. Dos sordos fueron salvos en esa visita. Nos complació tener una maravillosa comida y chocolatada para los que asistieron. Oren por ese trabajo ya que no tenemos un pastor permanente allí en este momento y los líderes de Efata en Lima viajan todas las semanas para predicar y enseñar.

Aquí en Efata tuvimos varias actividades especiales para Navidad: cenas, chocolatadas, intercambios de regalos, compañerismos y eventos familiares. El domingo de Navidad tuvimos el privilegio de bautizar a dos jóvenes oyentes y un joven sordo.

En estos meses prediqué en dos funerales donde repartimos docenas de tratados del Evangelio. Uno era para una fiel santa anciana de nuestra iglesia y el otro para un pariente cercano de una familia a la que estamos discipulando.

En noviembre celebramos el Día de Acción de Gracias con una maravillosa cena de pavo para todo el personal aquí en Efata. Fue un momento muy especial. También tuvimos nuestra reunión de planificación anual y esperamos un año completo de evangelismo, conferencias y actividades para la iglesia y nuestra comunidad como el Señor quiere.

Noticias de la familia

La familia está bien. Todavía me resulta extraño tener solo tres hijos en el hogar. Todas las noches, cuando nos reunimos para cenar, siento una ausencia en la mesa. Simplemente no se ve llena. Por supuesto, esto es una parte normal de la vida, pero sigue siendo extraño para mí. Me alegro de que varios de nuestros niños hayan podido reunirse durante las vacaciones. Tuvimos una agradable cena navideña de lasaña con nuestros hijos y la familia de Joseph.

Quiero agradecer a todos los que han enviado apoyo adicional durante estos días para ayudar con las cenas y proyectos especiales y para nuestra familia en Navidad. El cuidado por nosotros y por nuestro ministerio alienta mucho el corazón.

Deseamos sus oraciones continuas por nuestra familia y la obra de Dios en la que tenemos el privilegio de ser colaboradores junto con ustedes aquí en Lima, Perú.

Siempre estamos muy agradecidos por sus oraciones, su amistad y su apoyo financiero.

Bendiciones,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Joe y Lisa
Joel, Jessica y Jennifer

November – December 2022

Dear Friends and Family,

 “The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”   – Psalm 34:22

In these days of celebration of the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the reason for that birth – our redemption that was wrought on the cross of Calvary. As the verse above reminds us, no one who trusts in Him shall be left desolate. God is good to his people all the time!

Ministry News

This has been a very active past two months. Lisa and I traveled to Chiclayo, Peru where I preached, and Lisa taught ladies for a church anniversary. It was such a blessing. One lady was saved, and we rejoiced in the meeting. After this, we traveled to our mission church in the jungle city of Pucallpa. We had two Deaf saved during that visit. We were pleased to have a wonderful meal and “chocolatada” (hot chocolate and panettone) for those who came. Please pray for that work as we have no permanent pastor there at this time and leaders from Efata here in Lima have to travel there every week to preach and teach.

Here at Efata we had several wonderful activities for Christmas – dinners, chocolatadas, gift exchanges, fellowships and family events. On Christmas Day Sunday we were privileged to baptize two hearing young people and one Deaf young man.

During these months I preached two funerals where we passed out dozens of Gospel tracts. One was for a faithful older saint of our church and the other a close family member of a family we are discipling.

In November we celebrated Thanksgiving with a wonderful turkey dinner for all the staff folks here at Efata. It was a very special time. We also had our annual planning meeting and are looking forward to a full year of evangelism, conferences and activities for the church and our community as the Lord wills.

Family News

The family is doing well. It is still odd to me to only have three children still in the home. Every evening when we come together for dinner, I sense an absence at the table. It just does not seem full.  Of course, this is a normal part of life, but it is still odd for me. I am glad that several of our children were able to meet together over the holidays. We had a nice Lasagna Christmas dinner with our kids and Joseph’s family.

I would like to thank all of you who have sent extra support during these days to help with the dinners, for special projects and for our family for Christmas.  The care for us and for others in our ministry greatly encourages our hearts.

We covet your continued prayers for our family and the work of God that we are privileged to be co-laborers together with you in here in Lima, Peru.

We are always very thankful for your prayers, friendship and financial support.

Blessings,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Joe & Lisa
Joel, Jessica & Jennifer

Julio – Octubre 2022

Queridos amigos y familia,

“… la misericordia de Dios es continua….”    Salmos 52:1

Primeramente, quiero pedir perdón por la tardanza de este carta.  Estuve muy ocupada, y pensé que ya había mandado una carta para Julio y Agosto.  Gracias por su paciencia y comprensión.  Los acontecimientos en esta carta reflejan la misericordia y bondad de Dios.

Noticias del ministerio

En Setiembre, tuvimos en Efata la escuela de Pastores dirigida por nuestros buenos amigos de la Iglesia Bautista Internacional. Asistieron más de 600 personas por las noches. Estamos tan agradecidos por los avances en la construcción y transformación de nuestra cancha de fútbol en un auditorio principal para la iglesia, permitiéndonos acomodar esa cantidad de personas. Varias recibieron a CRISTO y muchas jóvenes se entregaron al servicio tiempo completo del SEÑOR.  ¡Que gozo!  Seguimos orando para poder acabar el piso por el auditorio.  Por favor oren por los fondos para esto.

El viaje misionero a Pucallpa fue de bendición.  Por favor oren por esa misión; tuvimos que hacer un cambio en el liderazgo allí y todavía no tenemos un pastor permanente para asumir ese cargo.  Algunos de nuestros pastores y seminaristas viajan semanalmente para predicar y mantener a ese ministerio.  Oren que Dios nos dé una líder más permanente para esa ciudad.

Este mes de noviembre tenemos planificada nuestra conferencia Bíblica anual.  Dos predicadores vendrán—evangelista sordo Bill Schutt y Pastor Wayne Van Gelderen de Falls Baptist Church.  Oren por favor por fruto y crecimiento en la Iglesia.

La misión en Tablada gracias a Dios ha encontrado un buen local donde reunirse y están levantando su auditorio, poniendo un techo y alistando para sus cultos. Están bien y Dios está bendiciendo.  Nuestra misión en Callao hace poco celebró un día muy especial con una asistencia récord.

Noticias de familia

Mi familia y yo fuimos a los EE.UU. en Julio por unas meses para atención y descanso médico. Me operaron el hombro. El tratamiento y la recuperación fueron de éxito gracias a Dios.  Estos últimas dos años han sido muy interesantes para mí en cuanto a mi salud.  Sigo en tratamiento para mi espalda, y mi hombro izquierdo aún necesita una cirugía por un desgarro de manguito rotatorio y por incremento de calcio que no disuelve aun después de 3 tratamientos. Tengo cirugía programada para enero, pero si puedo aguantarlo por un poco lo voy a postergar para ir más adelante con toda la familia para un viaje más extenso. Va a necesitar la cirugía si o si, y cuando termino, los dos hombros Dios mediante estarán bien.

Nuestro hijo Judson se casó en Octubre. Fue una bendición ir y participar en la boda. Le damos la bienvenida a Valeria como nueva hija en la familia. Su querida familia son amigos nuestros por muchas años.  Su padre Darío Balcázar es un pastor en Chiclayo, Perú.  Gracias a Dios estaban presentes todas nuestras hijos y nietos en la boda.

El día después de la boda, la bomba de agua en nuestro carro malogró en plena carretera.  Dios nos cuidó a pesar que estuvimos en un lugar extraño con toda la familia. Un mecánico cristiana nos ayudó a arreglarlo la mañana siguiente, y mientras tanto una hermana en Cristo nos ayudó a movilizarnos y nos invitó a almorzar. Tuvimos un buen compañerismo con ella y sus hijos y encima el costo de arreglar el carro fue cubierto anónimamente. Que Dios le bendiga grandemente a cada persona a quien El usó para ayudarnos.  ¡Dios es muy bueno!

Lisa ha estado muy ocupada ayudando en el ministerio. Tuvimos una boda en Efata la semana después de nuestra retorno a Lima. Hemos podido pasar mucho tiempo en consejos prematrimoniales y matrimoniales en nuestra iglesia. Es un gozo ayudar a las personas a unirse más los unos a los otros y a Dios.  Agradecemos a Dios por las almas salvadas cada semana.

Muchas gracias por sus oraciones, su amistad, y su apoyo económico.

Bendiciones,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Joe y Lisa
Joel, Jessica y Jennifer

July – October 2022

Dear Friends and Family,

“…the goodness of God endureth continually.”        – Psalm 52:1

First of all, let me apologize for the lateness of this letter. I have been extremely busy and honestly thought I had sent out a letter for July – August. Thank you for your patience and understanding. As you will see in this letter, the passage above says it all!

Ministry News

In September, Efata hosted a Pastor’s school in our installations for our good friends at International Baptist Church here in Lima. There were over 600 people present each night of the conference. We are so thankful for all of the hard work in the continued construction and transformation of our soccer court to our main auditorium in order to accommodate so many. Several people were saved during the week and many young people were called of God to full-time service. What a joy! We are still praying for sufficient funds to renovate the floor for this auditorium, so please continue to pray for this with us.

The mission trip to Pucallpa went well. Please pray for that mission as we are having to change leadership there and as of yet do not have a permanent pastor to assume that work at this time. One of our assistant pastors or seminary students travels there every week to preach and maintain that ministry until God gives us a permanent leader.

This month we will be having our Annual Bible Conference. We will have two special speakers—Deaf Evangelist Bill Schutt for our Deaf ministry side and Pastor Wayne Van Gelderen from Falls Baptist Church for our hearing ministry side of the church.

Our Mission in Tablada has finally found a good location to meet and they are currently renovating the location for services. They are doing well, and God is blessing. Our Callao Mission just had a special day and had a record attendance.

Family News

I and my family went to the States in July for a few months for a short medical furlough. I had surgery on my right shoulder and all of the follow-up treatment. It is doing a great deal better and I am thankful to the Lord. These past couple of years have been interesting for me health-wise. I am still under treatment for my lower back, and my left shoulder is going to need surgery as well for a torn rotator cuff and calcium buildup that will not dissolve even after three treatments for that purpose. My surgery is scheduled for January of next year. However. if I can deal with the pain for a while, I will hold off for when I can come back home for an official furlough and take care of it then. It will inevitably need to be done, and once it is taken care of, I should have no more problems with my shoulders, barring any unforeseen accidents.

Our son Judson was married in October. It was a blessing to be able to go and participate in the wedding ceremony. He is now a sergeant in the Marine Corps, stationed in Virginia. We welcome our new daughter-in-law Valeria into our family. Her dear family have been our friends for many years. Her father is a pastor in Peru. Thankfully, all our children and grandchildren were able to be there.

The day after the wedding, the water pump went out on my car on I-95 in North Carolina. We were only 30 miles from one of our supporting churches. I was unable to reach the pastor at the moment as he was out of town. (He did contact me right away once he got the message. Thankfully everything had already been worked out.)  However, another friend in the area, whose son had visited us at Efata on a missions trip, was able to contact a mechanic from our supporting church who was able to coordinate with me to fix it the next morning. To add blessing on top of blessing, the cost was taken care of anonymously. May God richly bless all those who had a part in this “ox in the ditch” blessing. We could have broken down in a much worse area with no help, but God gave us a “handful of purpose” and our supporting church and friends an opportunity to be a blessing by having us break down at the closest point on the interstate to those who helped us. The goodness of God!

Lisa and I have spent a great deal of time in pre-marital and marital counseling for our folks here at Efata. We so enjoy bringing people closer to each other and closer to God. We praise God for souls being saved each week. 

Thank you for your prayers, friendship and financial support.

Blessings,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Joe & Lisa
Joel, Jessica & Jennifer

May – June 2022

Dear Friends and Family,

 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

Proverbs 27:1

We have been very busy during these last couple of months.  The work continues to move forward for the Lord. We do not presume that we have tomorrow, thus, we work today for “the night cometh, when no man can work”!

Ministry News

We have seen several saved and baptized during these past two months.  Services have been steady post COVID. Of course, we are dealing with the current wave of COVID fear etc. 

I have been preaching some Sunday Evenings in one of our mission churches in Callao near the airport.  It is an hour and a half away from Efata.  We needed to rework the leadership in the mission and I am excited about what the Lord is going to do there.

Missions Conference 2022
Missions Conference 2022

In June we had our Missions Conference for the first time since 2020. What a great spirit and blessing it was. We had great participation for our international banquet. We are currently taking our Faith Promise commitments and hope to increase our missions giving and add two more missionaries to our support.

We have been preparing for a mission trip with our church to our mission work in Pucallpa in the jungle. This is the first time that we have done this as a church.  Our Deaf and young people have been saving for several months for this special trip.

After the Missions Conference, we hosted a ladies’ conference directed by our missionary friends of International Baptist Church. That was a great blessing; several ladies made commitments to be greater lights in their families and churches.  Several were saved as well.

We continue to work on transforming our soccer court into our main auditorium.  We have completed platform construction and have built a separation wall dividing the nursery and bathrooms from the auditorium.  The right side mezzanine is built, but we need to finish building the chair levels for the seats.  That will take some time and funds to build.

We are in the process of transforming our soccer court into an auditorium

We are thankful to our supporters who have given to help redo the floor of the auditorium.  We are far from what we need, but we are grateful to begin putting the funds aside to do this.  Thank you for giving. Please do not forget to designate special offerings to “floor project.”

Family News

Lisa and the kids are doing well.  We enjoyed a 4th of July celebration with Joseph’s family with chicken on the grill.  Our good friends and missionary family Markos Lindsey were visiting Efata to pick up their daughter from the airport, and we enjoyed an American celebration.  We are thankful to God for our country. Even though it is in great need spiritually, it is still the greatest nation on the earth.

I returned to the States on the 6th of July for medical care. It looks like I will have to have surgery on my right shoulder due to a torn rotator cuff.  Please pray for this and those that help care for me.  If I have the surgery, I will be delayed for a few weeks before I can go back to Peru due to follow-up and recovery.

Thank you for your prayers, friendship and financial support.

Blessings,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Joe & Lisa
Joel, Jessica & Jennifer