Tuesday, December 16, 2014

So good to be home!

After two and half months back in the States, we couldn't be happier to be home here in Peru.  That is not to say we didn't thoroughly enjoy our time in the States.  We were blessed and encouraged and loved our times of fellowship, but the Lord has called us to Peru during this season of our lives.  One of the questions that was asked so many times of us was, "how much longer will you be in Peru?"  Only the Lord knows.  Since we left and moved, our time frame has always been in the Lord's hands.  If He wants us to remain for 1,5,10,15 or death we will be here.  Of course I have vision and plans, but I want my vision and my plans to coincide with what the Lord plans and visions for our lives.  This is home for us right now and it feels good to be home.  We had several memorable moments and special times over the last few months, too many to even list.  Thank you everyone for your prayers and support and your time while we were visiting.

As we return we plan to jump back into the mix.  Thursday night I will be teaching the message for the midweek service here at Refugio.  Friday we are having a chocolatada (traditional Peruvian Christmas celebration consisting of panaton and hot chocolate) at the orphanage and Saturday we are having one at the church.  Sunday I will be preaching a Christmas message from the gospel of John.  How we have missed being part of what the Lord is doing here.

Arriving yesterday after a long grueling 2 days of travel the kids of the neighborhood started buzzing our door to see our kids.  It was so refreshing and such a good reminder as to why we are here.  What an opportunity to share Jesus.  Those who don't know Christ are coming to our house to see our kids and say hi after we've been gone.  I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us over this next year.  God Bless!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Whats on the horizon for us

Over the next few months we have several exciting events of the horizon.  First off in the middle of September we will be hosting Global Cane Outreach.  They are an organization that ministers to the blind community.  They will be bringing new walking canes and doing training and also giving out audio Bibles. We are so blessed to partner up with this much needed ministry.   Here is a link to their website-  http://www.globalcaneoutreach.org/index.html.

At the end of September we will be head to Lima for 6 days.  I was asked to be the guest speaker at speakers week at the CC Bible college in Lima.  I humbly accepted this honor and I will be teaching a one week class on the Principles of Biblical Missions.

As soon as that class is over we will be heading to the airport to travel to the States for two and a half months.  It is always bitter sweet time.  It is hard to leave the ministries and family and friends here in Peru, but at the same time it is always so good to see churches, family and friends in the States.

Hope to see you very soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God's overwhelming faithfulness

Over the past several months we have been so blessed to see the hand of the Lord so visibly.  We had several visitors and even a large team come down and share the good news of salvation through faith in Christ alone.  It came at a much needed time for me personally.  This last year has been a very taxing one for me.  Ups and downs and changes have been the norm.  It seemed like every day was going to be filled with challenges and struggles.  Yet those are the times when the Lord shows His great faithfulness.  The process of spiritual growth and transformation can be a painful process, but it is a rewarding one.  I wouldn't want to go back through what this last year has been, but at the same time, I wouldn't change the fact that I did.  Looking back, it was such a sweet time of being refreshed, strengthened and encouraged by the Lord.  His faithfulness is overwhelming and when I ponder it all that I can do is praise His name.  One thing is for sure,  "the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in him."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Farewell Merv

This morning Merv left to return back to Sonora.  The time with him went so quickly.  When Merv first contacted us, we had never met him.  We weren't sure what to expect, but let me just say, we couldn't of anticipated what a blessing he would be both to us and the people of Cajamarca.  Merv displayed a sacrificial love that can only be displayed when one is in Christ.  There is going to be a void without him here, but we know that the Lord has great plans for him and we are praying that the Lord brings him back quickly.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


It has been several days since the EPIC team departed and returned to the States.  I can't even begin to express the joy and encouragement that we received from this team.  The Lord worked through this group in amazing ways.  It is such a testimony to them because it shows they were prayed up and prepared to minister to the people of Peru.  They came to serve and be used by God and that is truly what happened.  Their impact will probably not even be realized this side of eternity.  The bus drivers who took us around (who are not believers) spoke to us about certain issues. They saw something different in this team (even opposed to other Christian teams they have taken around).

They are an amazing group of young people and a great group of leaders.  They never complained and were flexible and ready to adapt to any situation.  They didn't even get that much down time or sight seeing.  They were here to serve and bring the gospel.  I am blessed and encouraged.  I know they have other missionaries that their church supports and they need to experience other areas and bring the same fire and encouragement that they brought to Peru to those other locations, but I would love for them to come back and serve with us anytime.  So EPIC, I just want to tell you all, you are an amazing group and your faith in Christ and dedication to serve Him has encouraged me.  Thank you so much for all you have done!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day Three with team EPIC

We can't even begin to express what a blessing EPIC has been to us so far.  There encouragement and selflessness has been nothing less than amazing.  The first day they showed up they got busy.  Keep in mind, they had not slept or rested.  They had just flown from LA to Lima into Cajamarca and then that afternoon performed an amazing kids festival.  They pushed through and blessed the community.  We lost count of the kids, but it is safe to say we were in the 150 range not to mention all the parents that showed up and stayed through the whole festival.

Sunday morning a few of the youth lead worship and Dave preached a powerful message.  After service they all came over to our house to celebrate Arianna's first birthday.

Today they are heading out to Perquria, which is an animal market that is quit the experience.  They will be doing some evangelical skits, worship, evangelism and some open air preaching.  In the afternoon they will head into the Plaza in Cajamarca and do some sight seeing and some more evangelism and souvenir shopping.

Please continue to be praying for this team and all they come in contact with.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

EPIC youth group trip fast approaching

It has been a couple crazy busy weeks preparing for the Epic youth group from CC Sonora.  We are so very excited to have them coming to Peru to serve with us and bless the people of Cajamarca.  They will arrive this saturday and hit the ground running with a Fesitval de NiƱos.  From there we just keep on the move.  They will be here a full 9 days pouring out.  We are praying that the Lord touches the lives of all they come into contact with, but we are also praying for them.  We want the Lord to do a work in each and every one of them so that they are never the same.  We want them to be fired up for Jesus.  When they go back home they make an impact in there circles.  To see a group of kids willing to leave the comforts of home and come to Peru (even if it is for a short time) it blesses our hearts and encourages us.  Be praying for them and their dedicated leadership.  We will post an update once they are on their way home.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Consider your ways

I have been teaching through the book of Haggai during our midweek service.  I don't know if I have ever heard the book taught and I know if I have it was probably in connection with some type of building project that a church was doing.  

I have been so blessed in preparing and studying this little book.  While Haggai is only two chapters the message is profound.  An issue that is sticking to me is the fact that even though the returning exiles where doing the Lord's work of building the temple, which was a noble work and a commanded work, their hearts were not in it.  Yes there were many circumstances and issues that they were dealing with, but nevertheless, they were apathetic in the work once they returned to the building process.

What an incredible wake up call for us Christians.  Even though we may be pastors, missionaries, sunday school teachers, greeters or whatever other "service" we do in the church, if our hearts are not in, as the Lord tells the people in Haggai's day, our service is unclean and defiled.  This is a wake up call for me.  Even though I live in Peru and am planting a church and serving the people, it is so easy to just go through the motions.  To think that I am doing the work of the Lord so it is all good.  Yet, if my heart is apathetic, the Lord would tell me that my service is unclean and defiled.  It is inherent in everyone to want to earn our salvation.  To earn the blessings that we may receive.  Grace can be hard to accept when we are full of pride.  So while we do all this, we need to check what our motives are.  Am I doing this because I think that I am earning a little slice of heaven?  That some how what I am doing is granting me entrance to the kingdom?  The Lord through Haggai told the people to consider your ways.  That is a great exhortation for each on of us to do daily.  Consider your ways, check your heart, check your motives.  This goes beyond those of us who may be in "full-time  ministry".  If you are saved you are in the ministry.  So whether at your job or the grocery store we need to consider our ways and serve the Lord because He is worthy and we need to do it with a pure and clean heart.  The Lord gives us great opportunity to be about His kingdom and His work.  It should be a joy and not a burden.  As God has told the people in Haggai's day and so many before and since, "I am with you declares the Lord."  What an incredible promise.  We all, I believe, go through those desert lands.  In those times is when we need to cling to the Lord's promises.  

John Newton the famous hymn writer and pastor from an earlier generation wrote an older lady who was struggling with spiritual flatness. Newton asked this lady...."are we weary on our pilgrimage through this long thorny barren wilderness"

And I think we need to ask ourselves this question.....

I know I do....Is that what our Christian walk looks like?……Yes, we do our labors for Christ.....but it is almost a burden......

There is no joy in our work for Jesus....there is no joy in our work for the church........we are just half hearted.

And the lady who John Newton wrote was dealing with that very issue.

And I would argue that many of us one time or another deal with that very issue as well......Newton responds to this weary Christianity with the following........

"God forbid! No! I would rather wish for a thousand hands and eyes, and feet, and tongues — for ten thousand lives — that I might devote them all to His blessed service!..To the service of Jesus"

In service we will encounter hard and dry times.  We will have seasons of lows, but the Lord promised, "I am with you."

Friday, February 21, 2014

A quick update from Peru

It has been a busy few weeks for us.  The Lord has opened up doors for us that we had been wanting to walk through but never had the opportunity.  We were finally able to meet with the director of a state run orphanage here in Cajamarca.  The Lord granted us favor in her eyes and they have opened the doors for us to come and minister to the kids and staff twice a month.  We will be starting in March.  They gave us 2.5 hours to come in and play with the kids and build relationships with them and teach them from the Bible.  We are so excited to see how the Lord uses this for His glory.

Our English classes are progressing rapidly as well.  We have on average about 30 people coming every Wednesday. We are going to be starting a kids class once the Petrik seniors return from their 5 week furlough.  We started this to bless the community and get more involved with our locals.  Through this we have had a few people start to attend church and women's Bible study.

Our youth group is growing as well.  It is such a blessing to see the few youth that we have wanting to step out in faith and serve and be used by God.  Don is doing a wonderful job with them.  All of the youth that come on a regular basis have brought friends and their parents to church.  Three of the girls who come, joined us one saturday up in Carhuaquero to serve.  A couple want to be on the worship team as well.  These are girls who had no Christian background.   The Lord is doing a great work in their hearts.  The youth group is also wanting to be active in street evangelism also.  Don wanted to equip them in this area and has taken them out into the plaza to pass out tracts.  We started a class on evangelism last week.  I was blessed to teach the first class and give them an overview on what evangelism is and why we are to do it.   On Tuesdays for the next month, Don will meet with them for an hour and discuss more on this.  They will go and put it into practice once a month on Saturdays.  I am so blessed by their hearts.  They are developing a passion for the lost and a passion to serve Christ.

The Lord has also blessed us with an incredible young man.  He is not only a blessing to us personally, but also to the church.  His name is Gerson and be praying for him.  We have been meeting every friday for close to a year now going in depth through books of the Bible.  We are currently in the Gospel of John.  He has such a servants heart.  Whenever there is an opportunity to serve, Gerson is always stepping up.  He goes faithfully to Carhuaquero.   He teaches the kids in Sunday school once or twice a month.  He helps out if we need it at English class and our movie nights.  He plays the Cajon during worship and will help translate if we need it.  He sees it as a privilege to serve the Lord (may the Lord give us all that heart).  He is a full time student right now at the university.  He is studying to be a architect.  I see in him a passion to serve the Lord.  Be praying that the Lord would guard him and continue to use him.

In April our dear friends Sean and Crissy will be returning from an extended furlough where they were blessed to go to language school.  They are part of Villa Milagro, which is a Southern Baptist organization here in Cajamarca.  Sean has a heart to see active discipleship taking place and equipping the local pastors to disciple their congregations.  The Lord put our hearts together on this and Sean and I will be talking a step of faith to see this happen.  Several pastors from the States have passed on material and wisdom to us to see this through and help us in this process.  Be praying for this ministry and the logistics and that the Lord would use this to further His kingdom.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What are we doing with the time?

My kids have always wanted a dog.  More specifically they always wanted a bulldog.  For various reasons we put them off for years.  Earlier this year a student at the Bible college here in Peru purchased the cutest pit bull puppy.  He didn't think the whole deal through though.  He couldn't take a puppy back with him to Lima and now he had this puppy and had to find a home for him in less that a week.  I decided we would keep the puppy.  The kids loved her and she was a sweet dog, but she was growing fast and getting so strong.  When they would play she could chase down my youngest and just run her over.  Even though she was playing, I decided she needed to go because I didn't want any of my kids torn up by a dog even if the dog was only playing.  We gave her to a young man who has been taking great care of her.  My kids were sad, but we told them that we would eventually get a dog and probably even a bulldog.

About a year and a half ago, my grandmother passed away.  She was the most amazing and kindest woman.  She left my kids some inheritance.  Then, while on our furlough in the states, my uncle gave my kids some money for Christmas and their birthdays.  So we started looking around for a bull dog and decided to use the money they were blessed with to get a dog that they wanted.  My kids had been so patient for so long.  We found a bull dog in Lima and our good friend brought him up to us.  We named him Hulk and he was such a good puppy.  We had him for twelve days when he started to show signs of sickness.  We took him to the vet and they started him on IV's and he kept getting worse.  I stayed up with him for three nights and our friend stayed up with him one night.  He was under twenty-four hour care for four days and yesterday he died.  He had came down with Parvovirus.  It was so hard to watch him go through this and I feel so bad for my kids, but it brought to mind people who have to deal severe sicknesses in their kids.  I can't even imagine how hard it must be to watch one of your children suffer.  I think of Britt Merrick and all that he went through his beautiful daughter.  My heart aches for those with children suffering.  It has put a new section to pray for in my prayer time.  

One of the nights I was up taking care of Hulk, I was watching Hawaii Five-O.  The episode was about a bus of kids getting kidnapped and held for ransom.  What struck me was when a father said to the detective, "my son wanted to go surfing with me this morning and I told him I couldn't I had paper work to do.  I thought there would be one thousand more mornings to go surfing with him."  That hit me like wrecking ball.  How many times do I tell my kids, I'm busy preparing a sermon or I'm reading, or I have a paper to write for class or I have to work out or I have to………….fill in the blank.  Not that studying to preach or taking care of your health or any of the like is not important, but what if in that moment it was going to be a defining moment in your child's life?  What if that time you stop to play lego's they are going to come to see the gospel in your love for them?  What if that is the time that they see that dad truly does love me and he must truly love Jesus, he took time away from what he was doing for me.  Not only that, but time goes so quick.  Today is my daughters 5th birthday.  To me it seems just like yesterday she was learning to walk.  If I am too busy doing all these other things, I will miss out on those times that I will never get again.  This is her only 5th birthday, what she does today will only be done today.  I don't want to miss out on watching them learn and experience and see all that the Lord does in their lives.

While Hulk was sick I asked Don to preach on thursday night, because if Hulk had lived until tonight, I would have had to stay home and take care of him.  Life is but a vapor was heavy on his heart so he will preach from James about what are we doing with our time.  Our pastor's father just passed away a couple days ago and while Don was preparing he saw the news on Facebook.  When I read the post from Facebook, I was so blessed to see how my pastor was able to go and spend time with his father before the Lord took him into His presence.  I wondered, what if my pastor didn't have the time to go and visit his dad that one last time?   I wish we could have seen my grandmother one last time.  I wish Hulk was still running around chasing my kids.  One thing is for sure though.  I have this time and when my kids want me to take a break and build legos, play soccer, read a book or just talk, I have this time.  My pastor loves his kids and from what I have seen, he spends crazy time with them.  I respect that so much and I want to follow his example in that.  I have a God given congregation right in my own home.  They won't be in my "church" forever, so while they are here, I need to use the time.