Sorry for this letter being a bit later than usual. I have been traveling and there has been a great deal going on. I am reminded of Jesus in Matthew 9:35 going about all the cities and villages teaching and preaching. What a blessing to be “busy about the Father’s business.”
In June, Efata Christian School for the Deaf celebrated its 53rd anniversary. What a blessed time we had. Deaf came from all over Peru and some from other countries to celebrate this monumental occasion. Due to COVID, we were not able to celebrate the 50th anniversary, so this was the memorial celebration. It was so good to see so many former students and to catch up with them.
We were able to reopen the school after the COVID shutdowns in a limited fashion, but it is a start to a new future for us as we work to rebuild after such a long time.
Various pastor friends of this ministry came and participated in the events. We were especially happy to have Evangelist Jim Sloan, Pastor Reggie Rempel and Missionary Steve Houghton, all longtime friends both to me and to Vernon Miller, the founder of Efata. Several of our missionaries sent out of Efata and some of the former teachers and workers were present. We were blessed to have Deaf saved and baptized, and others reconciling their lives to Christ.
Two weeks later, we had our missions conference. It was good to see our people recommit to missions and our responsibility to support our own missionaries. In addition, at the end of July through the first two weeks of August, we were privileged to take a group of 30 members of our church on a mission trip to Ecuador to visit, encourage and support our three missionaries there. This was a wonderful time. It was such a blessing to see our missionaries and their families working and serving. Several were saved during the trip.
In July we had our first follow-up meeting with several of the churches in Lima who participated in our massive evangelism event back in May. We are working and planning to duplicate our effort next year in two other key cities in Peru. It is wonderful to see local churches band together to bear the cost of printing the tracts and reach out to the local pastors in the two cities we are targeting for the first quarter of 2024. We are grateful to Faith Baptist Church in Tacoma, Washington, who as of now have three containers of Bibles in the process of being prepared for us for this endeavor. What a joy to work with Pastor Smith and his team and the churches that support their efforts to send Bibles and materials to us.
During the mission trip, I flew to the States for a VA medical appointment and was able to report to a couple of churches in Florida. While there, I had the joy of interpreting for the Deaf for a conference in Orlando with my mentor and friend Steve Houghton. After this I visited several English and Spanish churches in Washington and Oregon to present our ministry and attended a wonderful Spanish family conference in Riverview Baptist Church in Pasco, WA. It was great to see good solid Bible believing fundamental Baptist Spanish churches growing and preparing young people for the Lord’s work.
Lisa and I just returned for Chiclayo where I preached for one of our missionaries to the Deaf and hearing for another family conference. What a joy for both of us. It was a great time. Many made decisions for their families.
The first week of September, we have the blessing of providing facilities and assistance for Pastor’s School again this year, hosted by International Baptist Church here in Lima. This conference is always a great help, encouragement, and challenge.
Lisa is very busy preparing for a ladies conference in October. She is helping teach our grandchildren and continues to teach the Deaf girls in our Deaf Bible Institute Home economics class.
The kids are doing well. Jessica and Jennifer continue with their schooling and are fully involved in the ministry and learning their instruments. Joel is really doing much better in his language abilities and loves to help Mom in the kitchen.
Once again, thank you for all of your care and support – both in prayer and finances – for this blessed ministry to the Deaf and hearing of Peru and beyond.
“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” – Mark 5:19
What an incredible and busy couple of months it has been for us here at Efata. As we see in the above verse, Jesus commanded the Maniac of Gadara after experiences “great things” from God, to go and tell others what Jesus had done for him. I would like to say God has done some great things here in our ministry that we are blessed to share with you all.
In April we co-hosted the Fires of Evangelism conference here at Efata. What a tremendous time of preaching and teaching for four days. Many decisions were made, and it was a great preparation for the evangelistic campaign that I mention below.
Last prayer letter I mentioned that we were looking forward to a city-wide mass evangelism project here in Lima. Pastor Mark Smith and a team of 17 from Faith Baptist church in Tacoma, WA, came and joined with us and over 35 other churches in Lima to distribute one million gospel tracts, 175,000 New Testaments and 75,000 whole Bibles.
What a week of evangelism and open doors. Several pastors were able to get into schools, police stations, fire stations and hospitals. In addition, hundreds of church members went out daily and distributed tracts and Bibles in parks, plazas, markets, train and bus stations, as well as on the streets all over Lima. Hundreds of people were saved, and we have reports of several visiting churches. In addition, during this time I was able to preach to over 1500 cadets in the school for police officials and sub officials. We were able to preach the gospel in two other police divisions, investigations and medical supply. We had over eighty of our own people come and go out to evangelize.
Another opportunity opened to meet with several congressional aides who were able to facilitate a meeting for us with the President of the Congress. Through that meeting, we were able to provide over 400 whole Bibles for Congress. Please pray for this. As of this writing, I have a meeting scheduled on June 12th with the third Vice-President of the Congress to schedule when we will have an assembly with Congress and congressional staffers to distribute the Bibles and preach the Gospel to them, which will be televised all over the nation.
We also celebrated the 46th anniversary of the church. It was a wonderful time. Missionary Tom Knickerbocker from H.E.L.P.s Ministries was our guest speaker. He was a great blessing, and our people really enjoyed his messages and encouragement.
On the School for the Deaf front, we are operating with five new kindergarten children and still supporting the several young people who are studying in primary and secondary grades. We continue to work on the permanent solutions we need to maintain and grow the school again. This, as with most bureaucratic issues, is time-consuming and expensive but we continue to make progress.
I also took a trip to Pucallpa to our Mission. It was good to see our folks there. There were about 20 Deaf and a few hearing in the service Wednesday evening. We are praying about moving to a better location to build closer to where there are more people who are unreached with the Gospel. We also continue to pray for a missionary pastor and family who can lead that mission who can work with both the hearing and Deaf. We continue to send preachers every week praying for God to raise up a permanent pastor/missionary.
Lisa and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on the 20th of May. What an honor to serve the Lord together for these many years. We look forward to many more years together Lord willing.
Thank you for your continued prayers, for our family and the ministry. It is our honor to be co-laborers together with you in here in Lima, Peru.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:35-36
We have been very busy with this new year. So much has happened. As the verse above states, we need to continue to lift up our eyes from what we are doing right in front of us as Jesus did and take the time to see the broader ministry and needs that lie beyond that God has for us to do.
January through March have been filled with camps, conferences and retreats. Our teens went to youth camp and many made life-changing decisions. Jessica surrendered her life to the Lord during teen camp. After that, we hosted a Deaf retreat in the city of Chosica, about two hours from us. That was such a blessing, especially since it was the first one we have been able to have in a couple of years. The last week of February we had a youth conference in Efata together with several other churches of like faith, with many teens making decisions for Christ.
Our mission church in Tablada was able to find a new place to meet. They have refurbished a property with a new roof and concrete floor to have permanent services again. Pastor Victor Ocampo is doing a great job in that ministry.
Another of our mission works, in Chancay, is doing well. Pastor Henry Vasquez had a great VBS and is doing a great job reaching this area with the Gospel.
We continue to see souls saved and baptized. We are looking forward to a city-wide mass evangelism project that we are preparing for here in Lima. Pastor Mark Smith, is coming with twenty or so members from Faith Baptist church in Tacoma, WA, to work with several churches here in Lima to distribute one million gospel tracts, 75,000 new testaments and 25,000 whole Bibles. They are sending three twenty-foot containers of material. We are hosting them and coordinating the logistics for this project and look forward to participating in it. Please pray that the containers will arrive with no hassles from customs and receiving. We will also attempt to gain access to political, military and police officials to witness to them. This may be complicated given the political instability that has consumed Peru. Peru is on their seventh president in five years and there is still strong unrest and protests all over the country.
The Lord has opened the door for us to reopen our school for the Deaf although in a limited capacity. We will start this year with kindergarten and work up as the Lord provides finances, new teachers, and opportunities. We have been suspended for two years and thought we were going to have to permanently close. Please pray for wisdom in this and that God will provide so we can hire and train new teachers and staff.
Lisa and I flew to the States for a few weeks for medical appointments that I had. I decided not to have the other shoulder surgery for now. I can manage the discomfort for now until a proper furlough so I would not be away from the work for another three months of recovery and therapy. While in the States we were able to see all of our children and grandchildren.
Joel, Jessica and Jennifer are doing well and happy to have us home.
Thank you for your continued prayers, for our family and the ministry. It is our honor to be co-laborers together with you in here in Lima, Peru.
“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!
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.
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.
“…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!
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.
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.
“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 “thenight cometh, when no man can work”!
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.
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 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.”
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.