Update October. The one about visa issues, praying to not be deported, tough times and the word of God.

Whatever is not eternally useful is eternally useless. -C.S. Lewis.

As we shared previously, our time in the US was a great blessing. A blessing not only as we saw God providing materially and with great encouragement from friends and family, but because we got to see the Lord’s sustaining power in the midst’s of tough situations. It all started towards the last quarter of our trip when I received the news that a young man (that was part of the Bible study that I started years ago in MD) was found dead for a possible overdose. Then as we arrived to Los Angeles, we found out about a tragic event that had happened during our Alma Mater’s “week of welcome”. Then when we returned to Ecuador, we received the news that a beloved brother had gone to be with the Lord. He was our 1st landlord in Quito and had spent the majority of his life in Ecuador. He passed away after a short battle with depression brought on by the return to his homeland after many faithful years of service. Our hearts were and are heavy from these situations and the reminder of the importance and severity of the work we do has been clear in our minds and hearts. We have had nights of praying together and not being able to contain tears as we have thought over the implications of sin not only in the deaths of these people, but also in tough situations around us. It’s an understatement when we say that we can’t wait for the day in which all things will be made new. For now our prayer is that we would live each day with the reminder that “whatever is not eternally useful it’s eternally useless”. May we hang on to Christ.

God’s word.

In the middle of such a sobering time the Lord has been so gracious in allowing us to see that the gospel is changing lives in our baby church plant. We are not big fans of people raising their hand and then being added in this “update email” to prove with numbers that GOD is working through us. It has been so beautiful to see that the unglamorous and many times messy work of discipleship gives fruit eventually when the word of God is being preached. It has been so encouraging to see people turn from their desires and realign their lives based on gospel values. It’s a privilege to have front row seats to see God’s masterpiece unfold as he is transforming hearts and lives through His word. Here are some pictures of brothers and sisters that got baptized last month.

Dorm kids.

We just started our second year as dorm parents. We are so thankful that our work from last year has given fruit and our returning students are really open and there is a major sense of family with them. Please pray as we try to connect and minister to our newcomers. Please pray for our unbelieving dorm “sons and daughters”, as well.

Busy blessed time.

As I had mentioned on previous letters, I am sharing the majority of the teaching from the pulpit at LaFuente with my great friend Steve. It was such a privilege to teach for 3 weeks on Genesis as soon as we got back from our US trip. I was also blessed to be able to launch our membership series. If you knew me before 2002, you know how crazy it is that a guy that hated the church would end up teaching a membership series. God is good!  Please pray for the membership process since we live in a country in which the local church is highly neglected. Please pray for a LOT of discipleship opportunities and new believers that my wife and I get to serve and pour into. Pray specifically for Maris as she has been faithfully meeting with the ladies from the church and has a sweet ministry going!

Further Training.

The Lord has provided a great opportunity to start on something that was a dream of minefor many years. I am officially a seminary student pursuing an MDiv!  Please pray for continuing grace as I love learning, but have never been big into schooling (yes, and God in his humor placed me as a teacher) His grace is so evident that I somehow got A in my first Greek Exam. MOREOVER, PRAY that the word of God will go deep into my heart and not just my mind. The last year has been huge in seeing the danger of becoming so enamored with TRUTH that as one of my professors at Master’s said “I see students become the self proclaimed defenders of truth”.  Please also pray as my awesome wife received the materials she needed to finish up her NANC (National Association of Neuthetic Counseling) certification.  She will be the first NANC counselor in the region! Please pray for both of us, as we want to be faithful to study hard and also faithful of working hard in our marriage. I’d take being a good godly husband over being another guy with an MDiv any day. J

BIG PRAYER REQUESTS.

1.   THIS IS A BIG ONE! Please pray for us as we are really struggling getting a renewal of Marissa’ visa!  Pray for the Lord’s hand in this process as two teachers have already been denied their visas and are on the line to be deported. PLEASE PRAY as this could change things drastically! (Pray for the school as it has around 20 teachers on the same process and this could take down the school)

2.   Pray as we are multiplying our gospel community groups this Tuesday. Pray for the gospel to go deep in the lives of our baby church plant. Pray that each of the 4 new community groups own the vision to live by the values of the church. TRUTH, Community and Mission. Pray as Maris and I get to host a group. Pray for excitement and faithfulness as we start this process for the second time.

3.    Pray as I have been asked to launch and speak at spiritual Emphasis Week at the School.

4.   Mentoring and discipleship opportunities. Please pray as we spend more time with people from the church plant. Pray as we learn how to manage our schedule and try to meet the needs of growing congregation. Pray for 25 hour days J

5.   Continue to pray for our Schooling.

6.   Pray as I start my preparation for preaching for 3 weeks straight in November.

7.   Pray for support as we are still a little under what we need (especially with the visa and residency processes).

We love you guys and thank you for your love. It means the world to us.

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