It's been a few months since our last update. As you can imagine lots has been going on. I will try to keep this as brief as possible.
Let me get to our number one prayer request and the reason why we haven't been in much contact recently. After our last newsletter that Josef sent out his health started to plummet again. For those who don't know, he was having vocal cord problems that were caused by LPR (acid from his stomach traveling up to his vocal cords and burning them). To make the story short the only way he could keep the acid down was with very high doses of medication, but this was harmful so we decided along with his GI doctor that he should not take these medications anymore because Josef started having side effects with these meds and two months later is still suffering from the side effects. His hands started to be affected and hasn't been able to type on a computer hardly at all. He also started getting horrible cramps on his legs. Much of our time has been consumed on doctor appointments going from one to another for various opinions, lab work, and other things related to his health. We ask for your prayers during this trying time. Josef hasn't been able to preach for two months now due to the pain in his vocal cords. He's still been able to work on some behind the scene work with the academy and the church plants. As you can imagine this has been a hard trial to endure for my husband. Much confusion as far as knowing what the Lord's will is for us for this time and our future in ministry. Though his health has failed, Josef has found peace, rest and comfort from our Lord. It didn't come overnight but he seems to be in a good place now. We have tried various natural "remedies" these last two months since that is the only option for him right now. Nothing has seemed to help. He's on a new treatment for three weeks and then we will consider other options after that if this doesn't help him.
Regarding my pregnancy, I am now 22 weeks, a little over half ways done. The Lord graciously raised me up just when Josef's health started to fail more. My blood pressure and sugar have been back to normal and I feel really good! Josiah will turn three in a month, he's doing well also. He's a sweet, kind, tender boy. The Lord has seemed to have gifted him with a brilliant mind, please pray for me that I may help him use it to its capacity for the glory of our God.
Regarding the academy, a few months ago we had a dear brother who pastors a church in Riverside, California come and give a module to the students on the History of the Primitive Church. His name is Robert Elliot and on this link you can listen to his lectures on the subject that he did in the past in pure English,
There was a good turnout. We had various men from different parts of Mexico come for this module. It was also a good time to fellowship and for Josef to have private meetings with the men who are helping oversee various of the churches and new church plants.
Below is a picture of some of the men:
About two weeks ago there were baptisms in Monterrey and Mexico City. I don't know much of the details but know that in Mexico City there were about 30 people who got baptized! Most of them from Toluca where we have our most recent church plant. There were brethren from Guadalajara who went and told me it was a glorious time of hearing testimony after testimony of Christ's redeeming work in the souls of many. Though we weren't able to be present our co-laborer Aaron Block was able to go and administer the baptisms. This was a great encouragement to our souls, hearing about God's amazing grace in this dark religious land. Please continue to pray for the churches and church plants, and please don't forget to pray for more laborers to be raised up.
Now regarding the orphanage that we had planned to open. Sadly, at this time we have cancelled the plans. Will spare you many details but to make the long story short the sister who was going to be our main worker backed out right before we submitted the paperwork in. We took this as being from the Lord and are now praying for Him to raise up another able worker/s for this ministry. We need someone with a God given burden for orphans, proven character and graced for this type of work, with leadership abilities to direct the work while living in the orphanage, and who is committed and won't back down when the the going gets tough.
Now really, really good news!!! Hopefully you recall Alex and Gus, two of the four orphan boys who lived with us for over three years. Well a dear family from our church has been trying to adopt them. Ten months after initiating the paperwork for adoption they have been given custody of the boys!!! This is unheard of in Guadalajara, usually the quickest families get custody is minimum two years. They received the boys this past Monday. Though they are not officially adopted yet they have been given to them while they complete the legal court process. Brethren, this is where this dear family needs our help. They need about $10,000 to pay for all the legal fees for adoption. This amount is for both boys, not for each. They are also in need of funds to help get their home up to code, that is one of the requirements for them to be able to legally adopt the boys. They have a beautiful home but it's not completely finished since they have been building it little by little and have some details that the DIF is wanting them to finish constructing. If you feel led to help please contact me. Please pray for the Lord to do a miracle and provide for this dear family! Below is the picture of the new family:
Lastly, more encouraging news. A dear brother from the church in Guadalajara recently went to Japan. The brothers name is Hiram. Hiram has had a huge burden to reach the people of Japan. He's been actively engaging and preaching the Gospel to the Japanese in Guadalajara. So far one Japanese young lady has been receptive to the Gospel and has joined us a few times. He's also learning Japanese. Well last month he was in Japan for a month. It was an encouraging time and since being back he's had a stronger desire to get more prepared for future ministry in the mission field. This is a young man who has preached a few times during Josef's absence and the Lord has been helping him in this, giving him much grace to preach and teach to Christ's church. Josef has also been spending more time with him hoping to pour into him more.
I will share a real encouraging story regarding the Lord's provision for His people in Japan. A few days after Hiram arrived in Japan, we received a message on Facebook from a brother in Japan who listens to Josef's sermons, he knows knows Spanish. This is just one of a handful of people from Japan that have wrote us saying the same. There's a large Spanish speaking community in Japan, of Japanese people. To make the long story short again I told the brother that Hiram was there and explained who he was and his desires for Japan. Well this Japanese brother put Hiram in contact with a family who lives far away who also listens to the sermons on our website and who has contacted us in the past. I actually wanted to put Hiram in contact with this family but I couldn't remember their names. But this brother on his own put Hiram in contact with this family. Well, Hiram visited this family. This is a family that has no local church but every Sunday they get together and worship our Lord and listen to a sermon from our website. Once in a while they get visitors that come and join them. Hiram spent two weekends with them and on Sunday's he preached at their little gathering. I heard it was a beautiful time of fellowship and mutual edification. Perhaps this is where the Lord might send Hiram? Help us pray that the Lord would mature Hiram more, grace him with the giftings from above to fulfill this ministry, help with the language, and in the Lord's timing perhaps send Hiram to Japan. Below are some pictures of Hiram with this family:
I will say goodbye here brethren, there is much more I would like to share of the work the Lord is doing in Mexico and in the rest of Latin America. Please pray for us and the work! We love you all!!!