Black Friday

Black Friday for us was much different than it was for many people.  Thanksgiving evening was spent visiting with a Chilean Christian family.  They had asked us earlier in the day if they could come over and talk about some things that they wanted some counsel on.  The visit lasted until late in the evening, so Black Friday morning was spent sleeping in, instead of in a line waiting for some store to open.  Even Elisha, who generally wakes up around 7:00 AM, slept until after 11:00 AM.  That never happens!

A little after I had woken up, I received a call from a friend who was stuck down town with a car that wouldn’t start.  I went to go help them to pull their car to the mechanic.  I was so happy because this time my truck was at the front end of the rope, and not the back!  Needless to say, we have had to have our truck pulled several times since being here.

Soon after I returned home, Lily and I had to rush over to the dentist for her monthly tightening of her braces.  When she was finished we ran a few errands and then rushed home for dinner – leftover Thanksgiving dinner!

After dinner I had to hurry and finish printing the discipleship booklets that we needed for the classes that evening.  Josiah and I took Franco and his brother with us into town, and as we drove both Franco and I witnessed to his brother.  We had just finished presenting the Gospel and drawing the net as we arrived at our destination-the place in the road where I first met Franco.  We prayed right there in the truck.  After we finished, Franco was so happy that his brother, who he had been praying for and witnessing to over the phone, was now saved.

We dropped Franco and Ruben off, and continued to our first discipleship class.  It was sweet to see Eduardo (who has been saved for 2 months now) re-read the booklets with his wife, Maria, who only recently has gotten saved.  It is wonderful to see the Lord working in their lives.  After we finished there, we drove to a nearby neighborhood where our second meeting was.  Catalina and her son Diego have both recently gotten saved and have begun discipleship.  We finished there at 11:00 PM, and then headed to our last class.  Cristian and Marisa, who have also recently gotten saved, can only study late at night because of his work schedule.  We enjoyed the time studying, and then started for home.

On the way have, Josiah told me that he should always go with me because each time that we have gone out someone has been saved.  I think his wanting to go again also might be influenced by the 2 cups of yoghurt, 2 pieces of Christmas bread, the cup of juice, 3 toy cars, playtime with the kids in the homes we visit, and staying out until 1:00 in the morning with dad.  In any case, I was glad to have his help and company.

Thanksgiving

People say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, however I believe that they have it wrong.  For me, Thanksgiving takes the cake, or pie in our case.  We had an absolutely wonderful time this year.

We had been planning to go to Peru to celebrate with an American missionary, but because of a month-long strike at our civil registry, we were unable to cross the border.  Turns out that it was a good thing that we didn’t continue the plans for Peru because the border agency just happened to also be on strike just on Thanksgiving.

Instead, we decided to celebrate with another American family here in Arica – Jim and Melody Bjur.  They have been a tremendous blessing to us since we arrived here.  Sandra and Melody agreed to split the cooking so the job would be easier on everyone.

We ended up with cooking the turkey because the meal was going to be eaten at an home.  Thus began the hunt for the Thanksgiving bird.  We went to all the usual stores, but couldn’t find any whole turkeys.  Next we tried the major meat markets, but still nothing.  It was looking pretty hopeless, but we kept up the optimism.  Finally, after 2 weeks of searching, we found the only turkey in our region.  I called Sandra to tell her the good news, and suddenly I heard the kids erupt with cheers!  Franco, who had been with me on the hunt, said “What luck!”  That gave us a great opportunity to talk about how God has taken care of our family through the years.

When it was all said and done, we had enjoyed a tremendous meal.  Sandra stuffed the truly with anion, garlic, and lemon, and then we buttered, salted, and seasoned the outside.  Soon the entire house smelled just heavenly!  The turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, buttered corn, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, and that was just the beginning!  That was washed down with 3 types of tea, and home made apple cider.  I don’t think that anybody had room for desert, but we all ate it anyway.  Sandra made 2 pumpkin pies, chocolate pie, coconut cream pie, and a pecan pie!  It war almost too good to believe!

We are thankful for may things this year, not the least of which are you.  Thank you for your interest in our family and ministry.  May God bless you richly, the same way that you have been a blessing to us.

The Right Place at the Right Time

Friday night I had a discipleship class fall through.   It was now about 9:45 PM but I didn’t want to come home empty-handed, so I decided to go to the town center where I would be able to pass out tracts.

We have noticed that Arica seems to come to life when the sun goes down because there are always so many people just out and about.  This night was no different. There was some kind of festival that was just finishing up, so the center was loaded with people.   I was able to pass out quite I few tracts before I handed Eric one.

Eric caught my attention for several reasons:  he was alone, just sitting and not going anywhere, and still wearing his safety vest and hardhat.  Everybody else that I had given a tract to that night had no time to listen, but Eric had plenty of it.  He listened intently as I gave him the Gospel.   When I finished I asked him if he wanted to ask for this forgiveness.   He replied, “Obviously.”   We prayed right then in the middle of the downtown plaza.

When I asked for his information so I could follow up with him, he told me that he lives in Bolivia and only works in Chile during the week.   He only has a few minutes each Friday after work before his ride to Bolivia picks him up. I just happened to find him in the right place at the right time, and all because my plans for discipleship with another family fell through.  I guess the lesson here is to be flexible.

Discipleship Turned Soul-Winning

For the past few weeks Josiah has been wanting to go out soul-winning with me, and this Thursday I needed him to go with me because I was going to go and disciple a lady who I had led to the Lord a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t soul-winning, but he was excited just the same.

There were 3 families who had scheduled to have discipleship class this after noon, but 2 of them canceled.  The one who didn’t cancel however, turned out to be just what the Lord had planned for us.  Catalina, the lady who we were going to visit, was excited to see us, and was pleased to see Josiah again, who had brought his coloring book and markers for the time in the class.

We studied about Baptism, and the 3 things that makes someone’s baptism valid: 1 After Salvation, 2 by Submersion, and 3 Administered by a Biblical Church.  After I teach on this subject, I always tell people that it is not my job to tell them what to do, but rather to inform them of what the Bible says to do.  After the study I asked her if she felt like she had seen enough Bible to know what to do next.  She said that she felt very well informed.

Just as Josiah and I were getting ready to leave, her 18-year old son came in.  Catalina introduced us, and then I gave him a tract and asked him ‘The Question’.  He said that he hoped that he would go to heaven, because after all he wasn’t a bad person.  It was great witnessing to him with his mother right there because she was able to see how that everything that we had been talking about played into the conversation.  At the end, he decided to accept his forgiveness and prayed to get saved.  They both want to continue the lessons, and I believe that they will be getting baptized soon.  Please pray for that.

On the way home Josiah was super excited because all along he wanted to go soul-winning.  Turns out that he was able to see someone saved even though it wasn’t part of our plan.  Never pass up an opportunity to witness, you never know what God will do with it.

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3rd John 4 – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  One of the greatest joys that a Christian can have is for one of his converts to show spiritual growth.  Wednesday I went out soul-winning with Franco – the man who recently got saved and baptized.  He recently helped me to check a new tract that I had designed for grammatical errors, and when I gave him a stack of the finished tracts he told me, “Leave this soul-winning thing to me.  I know how to get it done.”

Well, this Wednesday we had our chance to go out soul-winning for his first time ever.  In the truck on the way to the area that I have been working, he told me that he was really excited about it, but he wanted to see it done a few times before he was the ‘talking’ partner.  When he told me that, I explained to him the jobs of the ‘silent’ partner (pray, keep distractions away, smile, etc.).  He said that that sounded like the job for him for this trip.

When we got to the area, we walked to the first door, and then prayed that God would bless our efforts.  When we looked up, this lady walked up to us and said that “It is so good to see people out doing, well, whatever you guys are doing.”  I then asked her ‘The Question”, to which she replied that she was sure that she would go to heaven because she was a good person.  We tried to explain to her that her goodness was not what God was looking for, but she wouldn’t stop talking long enough for us to really explain it to her.  We left her with a tract, which she promised that she would read while we were out, and moved on.  I told Franco that this was his 1st lesson: Be careful for Time-Wasters, those who love to talk, but aren’t interested in what you have to say.

After knocking on a few doors, a lady finally answered who was very open to talk.  We got all the way through the Gospel, but right at the point where I was going to draw the net, her husband came out with her cell phone.  Apparently, someone who hardly ever talks to them just happened to call and needed to talk.  I told Franco that this was his 2nd lesson: Satan is against the soul-winner, and will pull any trick to get the listening sinner away from a Gospel conversation.

We talked to several other people, none of which had the time or desire to talk to us.  It was getting rather discouraging.  After a few more doors the sun had completely disappeared, and our time was up.  On the way back to the truck we passed by a small general market and stopped in for a coke.  Upon entering the store Franco gave the clerk one of his 2 last tracts while I got the cokes.  While paying, I asked the clerk ‘The Question’ to which he responded that he didn’t know if he would go to heaven.  I asked if he would like to know what the Bible says about how he could go to heaven.  He nodded and into the Gospel we went.

By this time Franco’s idea of being the silent partner was completely out the window.  He was so excited to participate in the conversation on all the points that he had heard me talk to the others about earlier that night.  When Nelson (the clerk) bowed his head in the sinner’s prayer, it was all that Franco could do to contain himself.  When he lifted his head, Franco shot his hand across the counter to shake Nelson’s hand and congratulated him.  As we were leaving I told Franco that this was his 3rd lesson: Never leave on a negative visit.

The whole way back home he was telling me what a great time he had and that we needed to go again and soon!  He had come up with some ideas about how we could make the whole process work smother and for the beginning of the conversation at the door to be more accepted.  I think this night I witnessed the birth of a soul-winner.  Please pray for him that he would continue his own spiritual growth, and that he would become the man that God has planned for him to be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

English Class Salvations 01Yesterday I had the opportunity to follow up with a lead that Sandra started.  One day while she was out picking up a friend from the bus station, she had to stop and ask a police officer if she was in the right place to pick up her friend.  The kids must have caught his attention because he asked her what she believed – if she was Christian.  She replied that we are Christian missionaries from the USA.  He then asked if we taught English classes because his girlfriend was going to be traveling to the USA this year and that both of them needed to learn the language.  She told him that we do teach English, and at no cost.  She gave him our email and a tract and then went to pick up her friend.

Later that week he sent me an email asking if we were serious about teaching English classes, and if we could get together to start the class.  After a few emails back and forth, we finally settled on a day.

Yesterday Richard and Eliota came by the house for their first English lesson.  We sat down around our patio table and began to talk about their lives and then they asked about our lives as missionaries.  It was a perfect open door to present the Gospel.  After a few minutes of explaining to them the Biblical view of salvation by grace, and not by works, they both decided to ask Jesus for their forgiveness and got saved!

After about an hour of class, we decided that they would be coming back twice a week for classes, and hopefully will begin discipleship too.  The simple Gospel still works, but it needs to be shared.  I’m so glad that I have a wife who is not only willing to share me with anyone who needs to hear how to go to heaven, but also initiates the opportunities herself.

Sunday, November 9, 2015

In our family church service we studied about Solomon’s wisdom.  Our focus for our children is that they will not only be wise, but that they will also do right.  The story of Solomon is so fitting because even though he was wise, he didn’t do right.  At the end of his life the Bible records that God was so angry with him that He promised to remove the kingdom from his son.  Wisdom is good, but disobedience will destroy even the wise Christian.

After the service, I had planned to make a follow-up visit with a Mormon church member that I had spoken with out soul-winning the week before.  Neither of us had had time last week when I knocked on his door, but he told me that I could return Sunday.  In fact, he called me Sunday afternoon to make sure that I was still planning to come over!  After helping Sandra finish baking a batch of chocolate chunk cookies, I left to make the visit.

One of our ministries is to the Mormons, whether they be missionaries or church members.  There are 40+ missionaries and 14 wards (churches) in our city, so having the opportunity to sit down and witness to one of them is something that we definitely take advantage of.

Carlos, the man who I was visiting with, invited me into his living room and there we discussed several points concerning Mormonism and the Bible.  It is interesting that the places in the Bible that directly oppose Mormon doctrine hardly affected him at all.  You would think that if he believed the Bible (which all Mormons say they do), then anything that clearly and directly opposed Bible teachings would be important.  However, the truth is that they are taught that if the Bible “seems” to contradict Mormon doctrine then either it is being interpreted incorrectly, or the Bible text is incorrect (either by faulty translation or by tampering with the original text).  It is also interesting to note that the first thing that Satan convinced Eve to do was to question God’s Word.  When the authority of the Bible is removed, there is nothing for the soul-winner to stand on.

What did work, however, is what I showed him about the doctrine of the Mormon church itself.  Without taking time to go into it here, I showed him several places in the Mormon doctrine that stats some outlandish things.  Upon seeing these things, his response was simply, “That’s impossible!”  He could not believe that his church could have ever taught what I was saying that it did.  He told me that either I was reading it incorrectly and did not understand what was really intended, or that it was a falsified document.  So I provided him with source references where he could go himself to find what I had told him.

After an hour and a half I left him to research the information that I had given him.  We are scheduled to visit again next Sunday.  Please pray for him that he will have an open heart and mind to the Word of God, and the simple plan of the Gospel.