Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Bill and Lena's Ministry Update - May 2024

Patience Produces Fruit

A year ago, I (Bill) bought Lena an orchid. It looked great for a few months then went completely bald. It was nothing but a stick. Then, buds sprouted. Now it is bigger and more beautiful than before. God spoke to us about the ministry. Our labors are bearing fruit and it is beautiful. Thanks to everyone who has partnered with us! May you see the fruit of your investment in the kingdom!

In Mark 4:26-29, Jesus said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (NIV)

Church Revitalization

Our church revitalization project has turned into a church "revitalized" project. We're blessed to have a team that is willing to share the good news. Recently, we celebrated the church's 40th anniversary. When we took over the church, just before Covid hit, we dreamed of this day. We've now started a second service on Sunday nights, please keep us in prayer for that to grow.

Answered Prayers

Lena is a woman of vision and prayer. She asked the Lord for three things: that our church would be strong enough to survive without us, that we would spawn a daughter church and that university ministry would be established in Peru. The Lord has been gracious to answer these prayers. Our church is healthy and growing, and we have taken on an adopted revitalization project. Rock of Faith church is located two hours outside of Lima in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Our church team has taken it on and are transforming an economically challenged community in the desert. I'm proud of our associate pastors, Cesar and Ruth, for taking on this challenge, along with our worship team and youth group. As for the university ministry, Lena is the new national coordinator for the Assembly of God in Peru. Please pray for her to develop a strong team.

Christmas may seem like a distant memory for most, but for us it's still ongoing. Each year we give all of the children in our ChildHope program a Christmas gift. That means traveling all over the country to present the story of the incarnation, and processing hundreds of thank you letters -- which Lena translates and our faithful assistant, Janet, tracks! It's a great opportunity to fulfill our mission of preaching the gospel and giving hope to children in poverty. Thank you to everyone who helps us bless these beautiful ones who are made in the image of God.

Prayer Requests

* Dengue (sometimes known as "breakbone fever") is a mosquito born virus that causes fever, upset stomach, extreme joint pain, and bleeding from your gums or other orifices. It is horrible and can be deadly. Peru is currently in an epidemic and Piura (where we have three ChildHope projects) is the epicenter. All of my friends there have had it (including many members of our last team there). Each time one gets it, it is worse. Please pray for a miraculous eradication of this illness.

* Teams - Over the next two months we have five teams coming to do ministry in the Amazon jungle, the Andes mountains (next week!), Lima and Piura (where the dengue outbreak is). Please pray for salvations, safety and divine appointments.

* Elisabeth Dreaden is the newest member of our team. She's a Missionary Associate from Mobile, Alabama. Please pray that the Lord uses her and that she adapts well to these new challenges.

* University Ministry -- Lena is the new point person to lead this ministry nationally. Please pray for a strong team, ministry fruit and the ability to apply our decades of experience in this cultural context.

* Grandchildren -- We are happy to announce that we have two new additions to the family on the way. Our daughter-in-law, Tara, and our daughter, Hannah, are both pregnant. We're delighted. Please pray for healthy pregnancies and easy deliveries.


Thursday, October 12, 2023

Bill and Lena's Peru Update - October 2023

 To view or download a PDF of this post, please click on the picture below or here.

In the song "Gratitude," Brandon Lake sings, "How could I express all my gratitude? ... except for a heart singing, ‘Hallelujah, hallelujah!’”That is how we feel! Hallelujah to God and gratitude to all of you who have sacrificed to make this mission possible. Thank you! Your faithfulness in prayer and giving is advancing Christ's kingdom in the Land of the Incas!

It was a busy summer. In July, we hosted a team made up of four churches from Akron, Ohio. We built two classrooms for one of our ChildHope schools, did awesome children's ministry at two schools and preached in three churches. Thanks to Akron First Assembly, New Life Church (Stow), and Mountain of Hope Faith Church. Thanks, also, to Connection Church (Wooster) for a generous offering to pay for construction materials. Finally, thanks to Calvary Church (Toledo) who took up a huge offering to provide ChildHope sponsorships for two new projects in areas of extreme poverty. 

University Outreach and Church Growth
Our church revitalization project is looking good! We received a special offering and used it to put in a new kitchen, which has blessed every ministry of the church. People regularly walk in off of the street because they hear the music and Lena has ramped up our children's ministry. As a result, attendance is up, people are receiving Christ, and we recently held our second baptismal service this year. Lena also continues to direct our outreach to university students through on-campus discipleship and monthly worship services.

The Nest is Empty
The last of our four offspring has left the nest! Abigail graduated last June and is now attending Kent State University with her brother, Will. Both are faithful members of XA at Kent. In August, we were in Ohio for General Council and to drop Abi off at school. She needed a refresher course on how to drive. As you can see in the photo, it was a relaxing and peaceful experience! We're grateful to the XA Campus Missionaries, Nicole and Haidar Shafie, for taking Abi into their home and helping her adjust to the U.S.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Bill and Lena's Peru Update - May 2023


Bill and Lena's Peru Update - May 2023
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We are grateful to the Lord, our partners and the prayer warriors who faithfully enable us to bring liberty to the captives and the good news to the poor. Thank you! 
Protests Paused to Shovel Mud
The political and social turmoil of our last newsletter has died down -- only to be replaced by massive flooding. El NiƱo, the Peruvian weather pattern that causes storms and flooding all over the planet, forced many of the protesters to run home and scoop mud out of their kitchens.

The pictures, above, are from Monte Sullon, where our ChildHope school is. Many of the families there live in grass houses with dirt floors and no water. We were grateful to partner with the church associated with our ChildHope project to bring much needed food, supplies and mattresses.

In spite of physical and political obstacles, the Peruvian people press on. And we press on also, declaring the Gospel in the land of the Inkas.
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Sometimes, when people ask what we do, I say, "We get to transform the lives of children in the Amazon basin (as in the picture, above) and the Andes mountains." It makes me realize how awesome it is to be a missionary. When the ChildHope kids thank us for providing food and scholarships, we explain that we're just the delivery guys. The people to thank are our faithful team members in the U.S.

But, since we get to deliver the Good News to the Amazon, that literally makes us Amazon delivery guys!
Our ChildHope kids write letters to their sponsors and the younger ones draw pictures. The most recent project was "What is my dream for the future?" Obviously, the two kids, below, want to be members of the royal family. (Somebody should warn them it is not as fun as it sounds!)
One of our kids wrote this: “Hello sponsor. I am Thiago. My dream is to be a Youtuber scientist, to be able to bring my grandfather back to life. Hugs and kisses.”

Lena writes: "So many times, as I translate the letters of the children, I see traces of sadness and evidence of the challenges faced by so many children in Peru. Many children spoke about wanting to go into medicine to help people like those who have died in their family: A father lost to diabetes. An uncle and cousin who died of Covid. Translating their letters can be heartbreaking—but even so, with a ray of hope! Only Jesus can bring Thiago’s grandfather to life, but we sincerely wish Thiago the best in becoming a YouTuber scientist!"

Evangelism on Campus and in the Community
I (Bill) am really proud of Lena's vision and leadership in reaching out to university students. It has not been easy getting people to engage again after the Covid lockdowns. Below are some shots of Lena leading a team of volunteers (students and a professor) inviting students at San Marcos (the oldest university in the Americas) to practice their English by studying the Bible.

I am equally proud of the young adults in our church who are willing to go out and share the Gospel in our local parks on Saturday nights. We usually begin with Abi (my daughter) and I singing, then someone shares their testimony. Hanging out in the park on Saturday night is very cultural here, and people are receptive (or, at least, polite) if you start to sing. Recently, we've seen six new visitors come to the church (and three salvations) because of these outreaches.
Thanks for sharing the blessed adventure with us! To join our ministry team and help us transform Peru with the power and name of Jesus, please click here. To sponsor a child with ChildHope (formerly Latin America ChildCare), please click here.

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