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

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

March – April 2022

This has been a fast-moving two months since our last update.  God has been working greatly as He always does.  What a joy to be in His service and will.

Ministry News

We have had several developments in ministry here at Efata.  In March we started Sunday School again with our new small group format.  We held several training sessions to prepare our teachers for this new program.  Since the pandemic, we had been doing Sunday School online, but everything is now in-person.  We also have gone back to our original preaching service schedules as well.  This has been a great blessing, and our attendance is up and averaging better than before the pandemic.

The new Sunday School has been received with excitement and enthusiasm.  It is wonderful to see the group leaders being developed and more of the membership involved.  We have had many new visitors, and several have been saved and baptized during these wonderful months.

Family Day

The Deaf had a wonderful picnic fellowship and we had a wonderful church-wide family day during the Easter holidays.  Joseph and a team of our Deaf missionary leaders went to Iquitos to help a church there with their new Deaf ministry.  This is the beginning of our new “Circuit riding” ministry to train and establish new deaf works throughout Peru.

Bible College Students

Our Bible College, hearing Bible Institute and new Deaf Bible Institute all have begun the new academic year.  The Deaf Institute has been expanded to help compensate for the lack of deaf education. We are blessed by these young adults who want to be here to learn God’s work and improve their language and reading skills.  We also are teaching trades to help them for their future. We pray a new generation of Deaf pastors, missionaries, leaders, and workers will be trained for ministry through this new institute.  The fruit will take years to realize but the labor and investment is greatly worth it.

There is a need for support for the young adults to help pay for their room board and education.  If you would like to invest in the lives of these young people by helping support them, please let us know and it can be done through our Mission or local church as the Lord leads.

Family News

Playing for Sunday Services

Lisa and I were in the States for the month of April to help John get settled and for several medical appointments. We returned to Peru on April 28th. All is well and I have had good results.  My back has improved as have my shoulders.  Unfortunately, I had a hard fall two weeks ago and really hurt my right rotator cuff.  I had to go to the ER. Fortunately, nothing was broken, but I might have a slight tear in my rotator.  I still have less strength in the arm.  It seems to be healing well, but I was unable to have it looked at by an Orthopedic surgeon.  I had another doctor look at it, and he advised just to be careful. I am trying.

John is now out on his own.  He turned 18 in December of last year and moved back to the US.  He is staying at our home church’s mission apartment for one more month while he works and saves up to get his own place.  He has a long way to go, so please pray for him.  He is looking at several options for college as well.  This leaves three children still at home with us in Peru.

Joy is finishing her first year of Bible College.  It was a very busy year for her, and she was able to participate in drama presentations for Christmas and Easter, sing in the Choral group and take classes on piano and clarinet.  Thank you for your continued prayers for her. Jessica and Jennifer have been doing great in their piano lessons with Miss Rebecca, and the Lord provided a friend to teach them intensive violin lessons. They have been able to play in the services on Sunday accompanying the piano.  This was a wonderful blessing and answer to prayer.

Thank you all again for your care and support for us. We are truly grateful that God has chosen all of you to be our partners together to spread the Gospel in Peru and Beyond.

Blessings,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Joe & Lisa, 
Joel, Jessica, and Jennifer

January – February 2022

Dear Friends and Family,

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

– Ephesians 5:16

With a new year comes new challenges and opportunities. If there ever was a time when the “days are evil,” it is now. There is a lot of uncertainty all around. I am glad that God challenges us to “redeem the time.” He is in complete control; thus, we can commit our ways to Him and press on redeeming the time!

Sunday School Leader Training
Sunday School Leader Training
Soccer Court Now Main Auditorium
Soccer Court, Now Main Auditorium
Mezzanine Under Construction
Mezzanine Under Construction
Sunday Morning Service
Sunday Morning Service

Ministry News

We are opening up services back to pre-COVID schedules and rhythms. We are ending virtual Sunday school and beginning our new in-person small group Sunday School program. We are extremely excited about this. We are also going back to our three services on Sunday morning plus Sunday School (One for Deaf, one for hearing and one combined). Our Tablada mission has found a place to meet on Sundays. Praise the Lord for this.

Due to our growth, we no longer hold our main service in our church auditorium. It is just not big enough. Since November of 2020, we have been meeting in our covered soccer court. We are in the process of transforming it into our auditorium. We are building a mezzanine for extra seating, especially for conferences. We will continue to transform the space, by God’s grace and provision, little by little. Regarding this, our current need is to redo the floor, transforming it from a soccer court to an auditorium floor. The gaps in the floor are too large for an auditorium (especially for the ladies with heels), and it has sunk and needs repair in areas. It will cost us about $18,000 to make the floor safe and serviceable for an auditorium. We are saving up funds for this project.

If you trust that the Lord would have you support this special project, you may do so by sending your support to Macedonia or our home church Emmanuel Baptist, designated for the “Efata floor project.”

We continue to see people saved, baptized, and married, babies dedicated, and home-goings as well.

Joseph, with some of our Deaf pastors and leaders are planning our first circuit ministry destination this May to Iquitos, a jungle city in northern Peru. There, we will work with a church who has asked us to help them with their new Deaf ministry. This will be our first location as we develop our national circuit ministry here of Deaf ministry and church planting in Peru.

Family News

Lisa and I will be returning to the States for the month of April to continue with medical appointments.  Our son John has decided to move to the States to finish his High School and begin his adult life, so we are going to help get him set up. He is looking into colleges and finding work. Please pray for him both for these needs in his life and for his spiritual growth and care as well.

Joy is doing well at Bible College, and Jared and Judson continue to serve their country. Jessica and Jennifer have been blessed with intensive violin lessons these three months.

Julianne, Lord willing, will be giving birth to grandchild #12 toward the end of March or beginning of April (another nice blessing for the time we are in the States).

We continue to watch for God’s leading and working in this new and interesting year. You are our heroes, the ones who make it possible for us to serve on the foreign mission field. Thank you once again for your prayers, friendship, and financial support.

Blessings,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Bro. Joe & Lisa, 

John, Joel, Jessica, and Jennifer

October – December 2021

Dear Friends and Family,

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
– 1 John 5:4

This year has been a year of victory, challenges, discouragements, and blessings. Our faith in God and His sovereign will enables us to continue forward as victors in this journey of faith that we are on. It is that faith as the verse above teaches that brings us the daily victories that overcome the world and its system.

Ministry News

The ministry here in Peru continues to thrive in the midst of all of the COVID issues and political difficulties.

Since my return from my seven-month medical furlough in October, we have seen people saved and I have baptized every week Deaf and hearing converts.

In November our leadership team met to plan the year ahead. We have some great things ahead and ask you to pray for God’s continued care and help as we enter 2022 with much uncertainty. We will not let the political or health issues of COVID deter us from moving forward with wisdom and discernment.

Our services are doing well. Our attendance is greater than pre-COVID times for us and for our Tablada mission work. Pray for Tablada as they continue to search for a new place to meet. It is very difficult right now.

We were able to host a very special Christmas dinner for our Venezuelan members and friends to encourage them in the Lord, and each family was able to invite another to come. We had great Venezuelan Christmas specialty foods, Bible preaching and a wonderful gift giving time for the children who came.

We hosted a small group of ex-students of Efata who wanted to have a special Christmas celebration here at Efata and that went very well.

Another Deaf activity had to be postponed due to COVID precautions. The government also came out with some stricter guidelines and now one cannot go anywhere or do any business if they are not fully vaccinated – no banks, restaurants, shopping or government business.

Before we left for Peru, my family and I made the decision to get vaccinated because we knew this was coming. If we had not, we would not have been able to continue in Peru as missionaries until such a time as these restrictions would be lifted. We did not wish to be vaccinated for various reasons; however, our personal preferences were trumped by God’s calling and care in our lives.

Family News

Joe with Heidi Beth

John turned 18 on the 30th of December. We are praying much for him as he works to finish school and prepare for his life. Please be in prayer for him as well.

Joy has completed her first semester at Bible College and is doing well and looking forward to the new semester.

Joel, Jessica and Jennifer are doing well and growing. Jared and Judson are still at their respective duty stations serving our country.

Lisa and I participated in a wedding for one of our young ladies from Peru who is in Bible College at Baptist College of Ministry. We were able to see Joy, James and Ann and our grandkids that live there. (It was a special blessing getting to meet Heidi Beth, our newest grandbaby.) Then we flew down to Fort Myers and spent a couple of days with Julianne and Frank and the grandkids. Jared, Lisa’s mom and my dad were able to come to Julianne’s place near Fort Myers for a nice Christmas dinner. Lisa and I then packed up and flew home to Peru on Christmas Eve, arriving Christmas morning to be with our children here. Please pray for Labelle Baptist Temple as they continue to carefully search for a new pastor. I enjoyed preaching for them while there.

A special thanks to all of you who have sent special offerings for Christmas to our family and for Christmas projects for our church here at Efata.  We look forward to this new year with you all through prayers, friendship and financial support. Together, because of HIM, “We are more than Conquerors!” Thank you all.

Blessings,

Joe Kotvas Signature

Bro. Joe & Lisa, 
John, Joel, Jessica, and Jennifer