This has been an exciting few weeks for all of us in Iquitos.
A few weeks ago we celebrated one year of living in Iquitos and being together as a team (for us North Americans its been a year and 3 months in Peru).
Last Sunday we had a baptismal service for 3 of our church plants within the city of Iquitos. We baptized 8 people and had a time of food, fellowship, and games. We went to a Christian campground close to the airport, we have a service before we did the baptisms. Heather planned and led the service...in Spanish! The ministry of praise from our Belen church, one of the church plants, led the singing! After the service, we went down the hill to a man-made pool, where we did the baptisms...although, it is a natural pool in the sense that it doesn't have chlorine, so it's a little murky. Kevin helped Pastor Antonio from Central church to do the baptisms.
Last Monday our group celebrated Thanksgiving. It was the only day we were all together, so we celebrated it a few days later than the traditional day. We were able to find a turkey this year, and we had most of the usual foods we are accustomed to in the States! Our Peruvians and the District Superintendent's family got to experience a little of North American tradition and foods. We all had a great time and ate well.
Yesterday, we had more baptisms in the 2 other church plants outside of the city. They baptized one person in Tamshiyacu. Kevin went to Nauta with Abran and Britaldo. Kevin actually baptized 4 people and took in 1 member for the church in Nauta! This time the baptisms were in a river close by to the church!
This week is the last week of ministry in our 40/40's first locations. So this week and next they will be visiting, researching, and making contact with people in their other communities. When we get back from vacation in January, they will begin planting 2 churches together for the rest of our 10 months here.
Speaking of vacations...we all have our vacation coming up in just 10 days! Our family will be in Arkansas from December 16-December 31, in Ohio from December 31-January 3, and then in Massachusetts from January 3-January 16. We are so excited and looking forward to this much needed break. We've been working full-time without any breaks since August of 2009. We can't wait to connect with friends and family, rest, and eat some good ole American food!!! We will be at the Alliance Church of the Nazarene on January 2 speaking in the service and in the Uxbridge Church of the Nazarene on January 9. We hope to see as many of you as we can while we're home.
We thank you so much for all your support through prayer and finances. Through our partnership together there are now 5 new thriving congregations in the Iquitos area of Peru and many lives transformed by the grace of Jesus. We are looking forward to the next ten months after we return from vacation to 10 more new congregations and many more lives transformed by the power of Jesus!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Kevin went last night to the service in Belen (Bethlehem in Spanish), where one of our 40/40's churches is located. It is very exciting to see what God is doing in this community. Belen is the poorest area in Iquitos, and there are many needs among the people.
In general in Iquitos people just survive. They've experienced so much brokenness throughout their lives that they're in survival mode. So it's exciting to see God at work transforming them and bringing joy and abundant life to their lives. You can see it in their faces.
There was a great crowd last night along with many youth as well. Laura and Dalila are doing a great job leading this new community of Jesus followers.
I was invited to preach in the service last night. It was an interesting experience for me. It's been over a year since I last preached, and it was my first time to preach in Spanish! It was a crazy week, one of the busiest since we've been here. I had two weeks to prepare, which helped. I prepared and then typed the whole sermon in English. The tougher part is the translation. As our North American 40/40's have said, it's very difficult to say what you really want to say in another language. We can all communicate in Spanish, but it's our second language. I don't know why, but the translation part was stressful for me. Maybe it's because the time was closer and closer approaching. Before I went to the service, I went to an internet place to print off the sermon. I've never been a manuscript preacher reading more or less word for word. So trying to read from the sermon in Spanish and speak it in Spanish was more challenging. I would get lost in where I was at, and I even dropped my pages (which weren't numbered either)! I preached on Mark 1:1-15 about Jesus' announcement that the good news about God's kingdom has drawn near in the person and ministry of Jesus. It was so hot yesterday as well, and it's especially hot in the little living room space of a house where the church meets to worship. By the end of the sermon, I was drenched in sweat. I didn't think to wear a shirt that wouldn't show the sweat! Over all, I think it went well for my first time to preach in Spanish. Ultimately, it's the Holy Spirit that brings life to our feeble words and works in the hearts of the people. I pray that the people were encouraged and challenged to follow Jesus with everything they've got.
Posted by The Simpsons in Peru at 11:08 AM
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Today, Kevin went to Masusa with Katie, Juliana, and Eliseo. Eliseo works in Arequipa with Extreme doing videography and graphic design. He came to Iquitos for a few days to record some video of our 40/40's. I went with them today to provide a little more security...Kevin the "body guard!" Masusa is a very poor area, and we had some equipment we didn't want stolen. We visited 3 houses for discipleship. Katie and Juliana are doing a great job working. There are great teachers, very patient, helpful, and encouraging for these new followers of Jesus! All of our 40/40's are doing a great job in their work.
Then tonight Kevin went to 9 of October, an area where one of our pair is planting a church, and we showed the Jesus film in a little plaza. There were about 80 people watching the movie. At the end the district superintendent gave the invitation, and 16 people responded by turning their lives over to Jesus!
A long, but encouraging day!
Last Sunday, a group of us went to Tamshiyacu, a small city down the Amazon about 1.5 hours where one of our pairs is planting a church. Kevin wasn't able to go because he was sick, but Heather, Anna, Micah, and others from our group went. They had a baptismal service followed by a time of fellowship with this new community of Jesus followers. There were 8 people baptized! It was a great day. God is transforming lives!
Posted by The Simpsons in Peru at 8:07 PM