Dear friends, How can it possibly be 2020 already? This year has truly been one of the most difficult of our life, and yet with many blessings as well. In this letter we hope to summarize activities, outline goals, detail progress toward specific goals, and report on needs from this past year.
ACTIVITIES: When we arrived back in Peru just after New Years, we knew that there were going to be some issues, but things really came to a head, and I had to make some tough decisions. However, this year was similar to previous years in some ways: preaching 3 services per week, other short devotionals, men´s and women’s discipleship groups, personal discipleship, outreach, and evangelism. We have occasionally visited 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 had Segundo visit Tpishca, another Yine village further away. We sponsored and taught 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 an amazing medical team in March, which helped us reach out to six different needy villages along the Piedras river. The medical campaigns have been a major part of the multiple church plants in other jungle towns and a big boost here too! Segundo has continued working in needy hearts and families around the city for the past 4+ years and he has seen a few professions of faith, although the work is slow. I hosted a very large team with Operation Renewed Hope during October in a different area of the jungle where we have several Bible college graduates. In 2019 I also held sports camps and school outreaches, as well going into the prison weekly to minister. I am excited about making disciples of Jesus inside those walls as well! God seems to have blessed in each area.
GOALS: In 2019 we continued to focus 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 year. We also were able to identify and hopefully soon will purchase the church property for the long-term growth and stability of the church. We have received many generous gifts of all sizes, and were able to negotiate the price from $350k down to about $280k for the property which we are currently renting. Lord-willing we will buy it this month, have plans drawn very soon, acquire the permits, get some building quotes, and then start building after rainy season is over in a few months! We rejoice that the church chose new officers, and elected its first two deacons! A big goal that we had and still have is for church growth numerically and in maturity.
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, our tribal missionary-in-training, who is also the church deacon, continues leading several Bible studies. 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 $280k to purchase the land! We are thankful to report that we have several individuals and teams flying down to help with us to help for a few days, weeks, or months! We are praying that God would send some other groups to help us build during the summer and fall months.
NEEDS: 1. We are praying for the purchase of the property to go through without a hitch. 2. We rejoice that God brought a pastor a couple of times to preach while I was traveling, and we are praying about whether God would have him and his family come back: 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 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 National co-workers who often make do with a lot less.