Dear Friends, as I write this a mixture of emotions swirl through my head just like the tail stream on the jet we are riding back to Peru. We are currently at cruising altitude somewhere in between the USA and Peru, and our hearts are also somewhere in between. We’ve had a fun and busy five-month furlough, driving about 25,000 miles, but we are going to miss friends and family. Now we are heading back to our long-term work: some will be fun, some will be rewarding, some will be difficult, but we want it all to be what God ordains for us. In this letter, we hope to summarize activities, outline goals, detail progress toward specific goals, and report on needs from this past year.
ACTIVITIES: It seems that every year goes by even more quickly—preaching 2-3 services per week, other short devotionals, men´s and women’s discipleship groups, personal discipleship, outreach, and evangelism. We have continued visiting the nearby tribal villages of Boca Inambari (an Amarakaere village where there is now a body of believers and a leader, Joel) and Santa Teresita (a Yine village), while we also began visiting Tpishca, another Yine village further away. We held two modular Bible-training classes and had good attendance and growth. We hosted a number of teams and interns during the whole year, and saw great fruit at times, including a small medical team in April, which helped us reach out to four different needy areas in the jungle. The medical campaigns have been a major part of the two church plants in other jungle towns and a big boost here too! Segundo has continued working in the squatter’s village of La Joya (on the edge of our city) weekly for the past 3+ years, and they have seen a few professions of faith, although the work is slow. In 2018, I also taught two Bible college block courses and flew to Mexico for a discipleship seminar. Then in early August, we returned to the U.S. for a brief stateside ministry. We wanted to raise: 1. Awareness, 2. Support and 3. More laborers. God seems to have blessed in each area.
GOALS: In 2018, we focused more than ever on making more disciples of Jesus. Although there are lots of methods and gimmicks out there to promote church growth, we believe the main thing is making more disciple makers. God gave us many professions of faith and baptisms during our first 7 months before returning for furlough. We also desired to identify and purchase a church property for the long-term growth and stability of the church. Although we received several generous gifts, we are still a long way away from purchasing the $350,000 property, which we are currently renting. We rejoice that the church was officially constituted, recognized, and formally has officers now!
PROGRESS TOWARD GOALS: We are thankful to report that although several key folks have moved away, we now have many more people involved in serving every week, and we are seeing them grow as they serve. We will again be holding leadership training classes. Several members are holding Bible studies in different areas and many are spontaneously sharing the Gospel. Segundo, who is also the church secretary, continues leading the work in La Joya, as well as several other areas, since he is with us full time. Richar Espinoza, our treasurer and a candidate for deacon, is leading the youth group and getting more involved as he trains for ministry. We now have gospel-preaching works in multiple places and requests for help in several more areas. We are praising the Lord that we now have more than $130,000 to purchase the land when God directs. We are also now officially constituted as a church and are incorporating members. We are thankful to report that we have Kristin Klaich, a young lady from Alaska, flying back with us to help for five months!
NEEDS: 1. The property we hoped to buy fell through, and most others are much more expensive, including our current rental location: They are offering it to us for $350,000 (which is well under current market value). 2. We rejoice that God brought an interim pastor for the last 6 months, and we are praying about whether God would have him and his family stay: we truly need wisdom. 3. The sink hole near our house seems to be stable after the temporary drains were built, but is now less than 70 feet away, so that is on our minds at times. 4. We have several folks in sin at church, and that is holding them back. 5. Our hearts still yearn to evangelize the unreached tribes, and although they are appearing on the riverbanks at times, God has made it clear that it is not yet time for us to move into the interior jungle. We continue visiting and building ties with the tribes as we can.
In Christ alone, Buddy and Loren
P.S. Please pray for funds and strength for our Bible training block class, where I will be teaching and preaching quite a bit.