Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Guatemala Update - February 28, 2006

The Lord continues to expand our ministry in Guatemala as we join Him in His work. Pedro Perez is a man who has a call on his life to be a pastor and whom the Lord led us to through his wife Juana. Juana came to us by way of the "practice" medical clinic we held in late September because she and her children were sick. You may recall, we held the practice clinic in preparation for the American doctors, dentist and medical professionals who came down from Tennessee and Kentucky in November. The Lord led us to provide financial support for Pedro and launch the "Ciudad de Refugio" radio program in his first language of Ixil (a Mayan Indian language pronounced ee'sheel) broadcasting the Good News from the mountain town of Nebaj, Guatemala. Each week Pedro makes the 12-hour "chicken bus" ride from Guatemala City to Nebaj to do the weekly radio program which we began on Saturday, January 28. Every week Pedro receives phone calls from listeners to personally visit homes and share the Good News. This week he was called to visit two homes and three new people received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Pedro does not have a vehicle, but makes these visits traveling by chicken bus.

As I reported in my last update, we planted a second "Ciudad de Refugio" church in a small town near Nebaj. The town is called Xecax (x is pronounced "sh"). There are over 30 people attending this church now and we are seeking to raise $9,000 from our supporters to buy the materials needed to build a church building.

Even more good news. God has called Pedro to begin a new work... a third "Ciudad de Refugio" church, in a small mountain village called Cotzal. Cotzal is a two-hour drive from Nebaj. He is beginning this church plant with 14 people who will meet every week in a Cotzal family's house. I also wanted to report about the building our American friends from Jellico, Tennessee helped us to construct in November. The holidays have passed, the roof has been put on and steel doors and windows have been put in. The building is complete and the groundwork has now been laid among the neighboring refugee people. I am pleased to announce this Sunday we will begin a weekly community Bible study in our new building located in the heart of this refugee area called Las Colinas de Villa Nueva. The area of Villa Nueva is well known in Guatemala for the high level of gang activity... murders, assaults, robberies, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. "Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" (Mark 2:17)

So much is happening so fast. Since planting the first "Ciudad de Refugio" church with pastor Jorge Cerritos in September we've taken on a radio program, a second and a third church, conducted two community medical clinics and constructed a building for outreach. God is clearly doing the work... leading us to the people and places where He has already been working in Guatemala.

Thank you for your prayers and support. May our Lord continue to lead.

In Christ,


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Guatemala Update - Trip #17 January 2006

I want to thank pastor Frank Estes of Bethel Temple Christian Center in Abilene, Texas and pastor Jeff Light of Novum Baptist Church in Reva, Virginia for graciously inviting me to share with their congregations what the Lord has been doing in Guatemala. I'd also like to thank Charlie Robinson and Bobby Johnson of First Baptist Church in Belton, Texas for also giving me the opportunity to share the evidence of God's mighty works with a group of men whom I meet with each week to learn more about our Creator and His Word. The Lord truly blessed our time together in every case as He promises in Psalm 37:5-6, "Commit your way to the Lord and trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."

Guatemala Update:

Through the initial "practice" medical clinic we held in late September the Lord led us to one family who has been the bridge to a whole new area for us in Guatemala. Here's what happened: I noticed one woman who was just leaving the clinic. She was dressed in tractional Mayan wear carrying an infant with a small boy in tow. I asked her if we had been able to help her with all of her medical needs (she was the only one I asked that day). She was having headaches and was given an order by our doctor to go to one of the hospitals in Guatemala City for further testing. On my ensuing trip to Guatemala I inquired about this woman, Juana, and wanted to make a follow up visit to her home. Pastor Jorge and I made the visit. Her dark, windowless home was the size of a large walk-in closet illuminated by a single light bulb strung up in the middle of the room. Her bed took up the entire back wall, a small burner and shelves on the left wall and a broken down dresser drawer on the right.

As we talked we found out her husband and their two older children were living during the week near a small mountain town called Nebaj some 12-hour bus ride up in the mountains. He was working there in their hometown selling garbage bags to support his wife and their four children. He came to Guatemala City to be with Juana as often as he could afford. Jorge and I prayed for this family and left. That night at about 3 AM, the Lord woke me up and told me, "You missed it!" I knew immediately what I had missed. God had brought us to Juana to help her and her family. "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" (James 2:15-16). I couldn't sleep the rest of the night. I picked up Jorge very early the next morning and he and I went back to Juana's home. I told her how the Lord had brought me back to her home and I apologized for allowing her to spend one more night worried about how her family would survive. The Lord led me to ask more about her husband, "Is he a Christian?" Juana told me, "Yes." Her now husband Pedro had become a Christian when he was 14 before they were married and he immediately felt the call on his life to study and preach the Word of God. Over time he became an associate pastor of a small church near his hometown without pay. He worked there for nearly ten years. He even began preaching on the radio in his native tongue, Ixil (ee'sheel). He paid for the air time himself. But as the financial strains of his growing family took over, he was no longer able to afford to continue the radio program. He knew he was called to preach, but it wasn't paying the bills. He had to abandon his calling to support his family. It had now been three years since his radio program ended. He thought God had abandoned him. But we were there to tell him God had not forgotten about him. God was sending help.

The LORD is providing through The LORD Will Provide for Pedro to fulfill his calling full time. We are also providing training materials and teaching Pedro the principles of discipleship, "Operation Multiplication" by Billie Hanks, Jr. and "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. The amazing thing is that through this relationship with The LORD Will Provide, Pedro is now back on the radio every week in his hometown in the Guatemalan mountains preaching in his native tongue to his native people. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

The LORD Will Provide is now supporting pastor Jorge Cerritos full time and our initial church plant called "Ciudad de Refugio" (City of Refuge) which we began together in September. Just four short months later through our new friend Pedro, the Lord has given us the responsibility of a second "City of Refuge" church located in Pedro's hometown as well as his radio program. Everything is moving so fast as we continue to trust the Lord as Provider.

One final thought, as I stood in our new church plant "Ciudad de Refugio" near Nebaj I spoke and prayed with the congregation. My words were in English. Pastor Jorge translated my words into Spanish and Pedro translated Jorge's Spanish into Ixil. Three different languages spoken in praise of the One Living God. How awesome is that!!!

The Lord is leading with a vision for a lost world. We are simply joining Him. My prayer is you will join with Him also in prayer and support.

In Christ,


Back At Home - Post Guatemala Mission November 2005

Our team of twenty from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee have just returned from our very first medical mission trip, here are my thoughts:

Each one of us is now at home. We've reentered the atmosphere of our earthly reality and gone back to the life-sustaining oxygen of our jobs, our families and all the things that make us comfortable and happy. But as we go back to the ordinary, we can't help but remember that one week in November when we seemed to draw our breaths from extraordinary spiritual air. When we seemed to be touched and healed at the very softest and most intimate places within our hearts. When we seemed to literally work alongside our Creator to fulfill His desire to lift up the poor and needy. For He called and we went. Out of obedience we ventured to a strange land far away to help a people we do not know. A people whom God heard from heaven. "This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles." (Psalm 34:6, NIV)

We are at the beginning of acting upon God's call to this ministry in Guatemala. It is a time when our faith is tested and strengthened. It is a time when all He allows us to see is today. We are totally and completely dependent on our heavenly Father for everything. It is a time when we are constantly reminded that our hope is in Him... in Him alone. He is the reason we are there in Guatemala. "Come, follow me," He said. Now here we are on a journey... a difficult and glorious journey where we learn to surrender our will and depend solely on Him. A place where we run out of ourselves, our own resources and our own ideas. A place where
we are left only to rely on Him. This place is not a natural land, it is a land of the supernatural... where miracles live. Where God's strength is seen. May we always live there.

Peter said to Jesus, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:28-30,NIV)

There is a story of a missionary couple that was in Africa for dozens of years and were finally coming home after growing too old to remain there any longer. They happened to be traveling on the same ship as a diplomat. Upon arriving home, the diplomat received a great welcome... a band played... speeches were made. The missionary couple looked at each other and the man said to his wife, "How is it that we have served in Africa for so many years and we come home to a quiet reception with our family and he comes home after a few months to such a grand welcome?" His wife looked at her husband and said with great love, "We're not home yet."

May our eyes always be fixed on eternity. May we live like we believe Him, not just in Him. May we be doers of the Word, not just hearers. I pray our Lord will protect and continue to grow the seeds that have been planted deep within you and I pray:

May the fruit of your tree be good
May your roots grow long and deep
May your branches reach toward heaven
And your shade cover those in need

In Christ,


Guatemala Trip #14 - September 14-26

First let me report, our inaugural medical clinic was a success... we worked with two Guatemalan doctors who saw 71 sick people in 5 1/2 hours (please see the attached photographs). We decided to hold the event by invitation only so we could learn from the experience without being overwhelmed by great numbers of people. My great friend and co-laboror in The LORD Will Provide Ministries pastor Jorge Cerritos and folks from his new church (which The LORD Will Provide has had the privilege to help him plant) called, "Iglesia Cristiana Ciudad de Refugio" (City of Refuge Christian Church) worked to coordinate and administer the clinic. The event served as excellent preparation for the enormous medical clinic and construction event which will take place November 7-11 with medical professionals and others from Tennessee and Virginia. We expect over 20 people to join us from the US and about the same number from Guatemala. God is sure doing something great!

In a second unscheduled event Jorge was invited to preach to a group of 80 or so teenagers who were staying at a Christian retreat center in the refugee area called, "Buenas Nuevas" (Good News). The founders of the camp are a Guatemalan pastor David and his wife Layli whom the Lord has led to open as a place of spiritual freedom. The facility was built as a large industrial complex which failed and now God is using the facility to change lives. At this point, let me interject a few personal thoughts. I debated with myself about how much I would say or not say about this event. I knew I could choose to water down the event or I could choose to be completely forthright. As I began to think this through, I asked myself one question... why would I feel a need to water any portion of this event down? What was I afraid of? My conclusion was that I feared man. I feared what someone might think or say. God's Word tells us we should fear only Him. 'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom" (Job 28:28) And so, I come before you to give you a firsthand account of what I witnessed at this particular event in Guatemala at Buenas Nuevas.

The room was full with Guatemalan teenagers, mostly girls who had varied and troubled backgrounds. Some were sexually abused, some were prostitutes, some were drug addicts... all were in need of hope. Jorge shared the good news of Jesus Christ for 45 minutes and afterwards invited me and pastor David to come forward as he offered an invitation to the teenagers to come forward for prayer. Over half of the teenagers came forward crowding toward the front of the room. Jorge reached out his hand and placed it on the forehead of the first girl and immediately the Lord gave him a "word of knowledge" telling Jorge that He was healing this girl's heart. Jorge conveyed the message (word of knowledge) to her. She began to cry and suddenly she went down to the floor overwhelmed by the Spirit of God. Jorge had never been given a word of knowledge before, but he kept going. He went to the next girl and prayed the same way... she too went down. Then pastor David went to the microphone and began to pray for those who may have been sexually abused. A girl in the front row went down to the ground and began screaming. Two women and I rushed to the girl's side and began to pray over her. It took all of us to hold her still. She had become very, very strong as we prayed. Then one after the other people began to fall to the ground... some screaming and writhing on the floor. The Lord was at work delivering His children. This was no place for an evil spirit... God was present. The teenagers who didn't come forward were sitting stunned in
their chairs trying to absorb what they were seeing. Me and many others began to seek out those who were on the floor screaming laying hands on them for deliverance and inner healing. What a scene. It literally looked like a battlefield with people laying out all over the floor. The air was thick with atmosphere of a battle we could not see... the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 6, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Here was evidence of the battle. People were crying all over the room. Many of us were in prayer... loud and fervent prayer... warriors winning back the freedom of those who were oppressed by evil forces.

The ones who were screaming and writhing seemed to be in a trance... I was praying over one such girl speaking to the evil spirit to leave in the name of Jesus. Of course, here the people speak Spanish. As I commanded the spirit to leave in English and in Jesus' name, the girl violently and firmly shook her head back and forth... the universal sign for "no." The girl did not know English, but the Spirit who really, really didn't want to leave knew the name of Jesus and understood.
Others knelt beside me to join me in prayer. Soon she was freed.

Praise God that He has given us the name of Jesus whose name is above all other names. He is sovereign... all creation must submit to His name... even in the spiritual world. The battle is real because there is a lot at stake. The eternal resting place of each and every human soul. So many of us are standing on the sidelines and watching or even refusing to believe there is a battle being waged... please pray for us as we continue to march forward into the darkness seeking to bring the Light of Jesus Christ into the world.

In Christ,


Update: September 1, 2005

I just returned from a very productive trip to Guatemala. Pastor Jorge Cerritos and I have been working closely together and he truly is becoming as close to me as my own family. He is one of two men who have been called to spread the Gospel among the refugees whom we are now supporting in Guatemala. We have been preparing for a group of about 20 people from Tennessee and Virginia to conduct The LORD Will Provide's very first medical and construction short-term mission trip November 6-13. Everything is coming together very nicely and then some.

During my last trip (August 14-21) we had a group of three Guatemalan doctors (2-family practice and 1-Ob/gyn) contact us to see if they could help the refugee people by conducting a one-day medical clinic on Sunday, September 25 (Before I had even left Texas on this 13th trip, the LORD had already led me to book my 14th trip back to Guatemala September 14-26). We met with the lead doctor and made plans for the three doctors to see 150 refugee patients in 6 hours. The LORD Will Provide will be donating the medication. We'll start the day with a worship service and we'll be praying for and with each individual as they come in for care. A group of local women have also agreed to cut the hair of the children who may need something to do while other family members see the doctors. This one-day clinic has given us the perfect opportunity to work out any "bugs" before the big group comes down in November. It's been a long process and 13 trips (so far) to Guatemala, but we're finally starting to see the fruit of our preparation and relationship building in Guatemala and in the US.

I am also overjoyed that my brother, Patrick, who had the original vision of this mission in Guatemala, will be returning with me in November for the first time since our original trip two years ago. He is very excited about going back and I am so happy to have him there. My sister Theresa from Virginia and one of her two daughter's will also be making the trip in November. What a wonderful God we serve.

As I look back over these past two years it has been a long haul. I praise the Lord for the faith He gave me to believe Him. I know that every word He has told me will come to pass. He has led me to form relationships in Guatemala and here at home that I never would have imagined two years ago. And today, here we are at the threshold of a brand new work in Guatemala... the door is now open and we're about to walk through it. Our first mission trip. What a great feeling! I will be honest, the road to get to this point has been dark at times and seemingly endless. If it were up to me, we'd have done this a long time ago. But I know God had to prepare us and I know His timing is perfect.

There were those times when giants we faced seemed so enormous that they could never be defeated. But then we overcame them... not by our own strength, but by the awesome power of our Living God. He truly is all-powerful. There is nothing impossible for Him. Absolutely nothing! For if He is for us, who can be against us? After all, the Guatemala ministry was His idea and so He has provided.

Of course, He loves to work through His creation... through all of us. There have been so many of you that have prayed for us. We thank you. There have been many of you that have sent along financial support. We thank you. There have been some of you who have given clothes, medicine, Christian materials, Bibles and so much more. We thank you. There have been churches that have allowed me to come in and share this incredible God-story that continues to unfold. We thank you. There have been some of you who have offered encouragement along the way. We thank you.

At this moment we're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel and it seemed a perfect place to pause and say "thank you." As you know, it takes the entire body of Christ working together to accomplish God's will in this world. Some people to go and some people to send. Some people to pray and some people to give. Some people to build and some people to heal. Fingers, feet, legs, ears and every other part of the body are very important to the success and health of the whole body. No one part is greater than another. As each body part needs the other... so The LORD Will Provide will always need you.

Please continue to pray for us and to write. We love to hear from you.

In Christ,


A Starnger's Surprise - March 14, 2005

I was meeting with Johner Martin with J.A.I.L. Ministries at a small restaurant in Belton, Texas when a man, a total stranger to me, walked up to me at the table and handed me a note saying the Lord wanted him to share this message with me. WOW! I thanked him as he walked out the restaurant door.

Here is what the note said:

Your hope is in Him!

Gal. 6:9 (Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.) Rom 5:5 (And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.) Heb 11:1 (Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what
we do not see.)

He will carry you!

God wants to do amazing things in and through you (Pray Col. 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.") and He will make known His true call in your life.

(James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.") Hold this (James 1:12) close to your heart. He has you in His arms! ("His" was underlined three times)

Your fellow co-laborer (He did not write his name)

The Lord amazes me so often with His sovereign and tender hand. Using the obedience of a perfect stranger, the Lord blessed me.

In Christ,