Dear friends and supporters:
Warmest greetings to each of you from Sucre, Bolivia! We pray that each of you is well.
Since we wrote you last, the month of December finished out without much activity. My father ended up changing his plans and not coming down to see us for Christmas and New Year’s, as I think I indicated in our last newsletter. So the holidays passed quietly.
After the turn of the year, things began to pick up. As I indicated in our last newsletter, the minister from Colombia did come, arriving early in the morning on January 12 in La Paz. His name is Hein Hoeré, as he is a Dutchman who has been in ministry for some 25 years in Cali, Colombia. He was accompanied by another pastor, one of his sons in the Lord, whose name is Andrés. I flew there the day after his arrival. On the following Monday through Wednesday evening, a group of six of us went on a retreat outside the city of La Paz. It was a great time together of fellowship and edification. Pastor Hein shared some points of the methods he uses in Colombia to evangelize and accommodate new people in his churches in the city of Cali. Another pastor shared about his vision for holding some mass evangelism crusades in major cities of Bolivia, coming up in September to November of this year. Personally I shared some in-depth teaching on what the gospel is.
The six of us returned to La Paz after dinner on Wednesday night, January 18. I went with one of the men, a friend of mine who is a colonel in the Air Force, to his home for several days. The next night he and I stayed up late talking about the Bible training school Starr and I plan to open in Sucre. He had some very good suggestions as to how to run the school, the need to determine what kinds of students to accept, etc.
Pastor Hein, Pastor Andrés, and Brother Luis (one of my sons in the Lord here) went on ahead of me to Sucre. I followed on Saturday the 21st. The next week Pastor Hein spoke in several churches. His themes were related to doing evangelism and praying for the sick out in public places. He generally closed his messages with an invitation for people with sickness or physical problems to come forward for prayer. The presence of the Lord was apparent in every meeting, and a number of people for whom he prayed were healed.
On Friday, January 27, Pastor Hein, Pastor Andrés, Luis, Pastor Jarles from Sucre, and I all flew to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where we stayed over the weekend. I did some teaching at a meeting of some pastors and other believers on Saturday afternoon. While in Santa Cruz Pastor Hein shared two or more times in different meetings. I took him with me to meet Pastor Joaquín Valdivia and his wife, a couple who have their own church in the city and who are friends of Starr and myself.
On Monday, January 30, all of us flew on to La Paz. I stayed there for the next two-and-a-half weeks–over a week longer than I originally had foreseen. I attended meetings with Pastor Hein when I could, but I had to take care of several things. One of my sons in the Lord who had been a pastor (and whom–after consulting with several other ministers–I had recently placed under discipline for personal issues in his life) decided he did not want to go through with the discipline. Needless to say, that took a lot of time to work through. Pastor Hein helped me with this, because he knew this young man, who had worked with him as well. The good part of all this is that the young man and I were reconciled at the end of this process–which is what we always want to see happen.
Another young man whom Starr and I have known for years had also been going through a different, but very difficult process. He had been separated from his wife for about two years. Another pastor colleague of mine and his wife in La Paz had spent months trying to get these two back together, but to no avail. So I felt to spend time finding out all I could about the situation. Although sad-to-say the young man’s wife has decided to go her own way and not come back to him, he has come to a peaceful resolution in his own heart about the whole matter.
I finally arrived back in Sucre at the end of this trip a week ago today.
Starr and I have purchased our airline tickets to come back to the U.S. in May. We will drive up the East Coast as we generally do to get up to New England where we plan to spend some time. We will look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at some point either going up or driving back down the coast in July.
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and interest in what we are doing. Some of you are contributing to our ministry on a regular basis, as well, for which we are very grateful. Thank you, thank you so much!!
We have one major prayer request:
That we would have clear direction on making up a curriculum for our classes in the Bible training center.
Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.
We love each of you and would look forward to any comments or questions you may have regarding what we are doing. Please feel free to drop us a line to our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the Lord bless each and every one of you!
John & Starr