Happy New Year! 2017 Highlights
Happy new year to you all. And what a year it has been! We would like to use this letter to review our month of December but also hit the highlights of 2017.
The highlight of December is always our Christmas outreach. We buy hundreds of fruitcakes and invite the entire community to come to our church to receive one for free. With the fruitcake they receive a gospel tract, an invitation to church, and personal time with a church member. This year we handed out 200 fruitcakes, and saw God open doors that were once closed to us in the town. One such door was to a man named Pedro, who would never open his door for us on visitation, but with Paneton (fruitcake) in hand, he opened the door and listened to the gospel. After a sweet time of fellowship, he has promised, on his own free will, to attend one service this year. Please join us in prayer for his salvation.
On New Years Eve, we had the same event (handing out free Paneton) but instead of having people come to us, we went out to them. We found those that did not come to the Christmas event and giving them cake and the gospel. It was a fun time, but an extremely hot time, as the sun shines very brightly where our church is located. We are thankful for our church family that participated heavily in these events through preparation and execution.
Not only did we have the pleasure of handing out gospel tracts and fruitcake, but the children of the church put on a Christmas play. We invited the community to watch the children's play and had a few new visitors come to watch. It was a bit stressful when 30 minutes after church service started the children came rushing through the doors to jump into their costumes and get ready to begin the play. The congregation was invited to sing Christmas hymns throughout the play and the children reenacted the story of the birth of Christ. We were thrilled that some of the children who participated were newer faces in our church. Some children have already asked if they can be involved for next years play and we are excited to start planning on how we can get these children more involved.
As for the year of 2017, it was full of blessings and hardships that opened doors we never thought possible. We participated in disaster relief for 3 months after mudslides and flooding devastated the country. With your support, we purchased and built houses, cleared roads, purchased tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, ovens, medical supplies, over a ton worth of food, and most importantly, shared Christ far into the mountains of Peru. Through your giving we made a large impact in our area and we watched five people, a whole family, give their lives to Christ.
Not only did we work in disaster relief, but we rented a new building and began modifying/fixing it so that it would be suitable for a church. While we worked on the building, we had a large children's outreach for the town. We brought clowns, games, and snacks so that the children of the town could hear the gospel. Once the church was ready, we had a our first service as Iglesia Bautista Refugio.
We were overjoyed to welcome another family that we helped during the disaster into our church of refuge. Over the course of this year, this family accepted Christ and began discipleship classes to grow in their faith. Our blessing continued with new faces joining our church services. All in all, 10 souls accepted Christ as their Savior in 2017.
Of course, this is not all that happened this past year but are simply some of the highlights. Being able to look back on what God has done this past year helps us truly see how He is always working in our lives, whether we take the time to see Him or not. We look forward to seeing what God is going to do in 2018 and how we can be used in His plans.
Thank you for making all this possible through you prayer and support.