Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Guatemala Trip #22 - November 2006

It's hard to believe, but this was trip #22 to Guatemala for me since traveling there for the first time three years ago. Pastor Jorge in Villa Nueva (Guatemala City) and I have been so blessed to see God do so much. Please join us as we pray that as the ministry rapidly grows that we will stay in the middle of God's will and be sensitive to what God is doing around us so that we may join Him in His work.

The school bus we drove down to Guatemala in September is working well in Villa Nueva... each week over 40 adults are being picked up to attend Bible study at Ciudad de Refugio church. We also had a special children's event in October for which the bus was used to pick up 75 children from around the refugee area. I have not seen a school bus better cared for than this one in Guatemala. The church members are so thrilled that the Lord blessed them with the bus. As a matter of fact, the man who drives the bus is a professional driver who just joined the church along with his family this past Summer. He is also a good mechanic. The Lord really does provide!

I have included a picture of pastor Pedro behind the microphone broadcasting the Good News from a radio station in Nebaj in the Mayan language of Ixil. God is growing the ministry in the mountains of Guatemala very rapidly, we're just trying to keep up. If you recall in my last update, I was certain we were not going to build buildings. However it appears God has other ideas. We have had two pieces of land donated to us. One in Chajul (where the 17 families have come to Christ through the radio program) and in the country of El Salvador in a community located about one hour east of the capital city of San Salvador. Also, the home church in Cotzal has now grown to over 90 members... way too many members to fit into a house. Please pray for us as we search for land on which to build a church or, at least to set up a roof without walls. Since January, we have 5 churches in Guatemala and 2 in the country of El Salvador that are up and running or are somewhere in the development process. God is so amazing. Pedro has also been asked to preach in another mountain village to people who speak the Mayan language of Quiche. Pedro doesn't speak Quiche, but within a couple of days God sent a translator to Pedro. God is good!

The Lord is bringing more people to us as our ministry expands. These people will eventually become full time evangelists and operations folks for us. here's how God brought a man named Bernardo to us. Pastor Jorge and I spoke to a group of church leaders at Ciudad de Refugio Church in Nebaj. During our lunch break I happened to be standing next to a man named Bernardo. The Lord gave me a "word"... this man is another pastor Pedro. I immediately turned and asked Jorge about this man whom I'd never met... what's his story.

"He's an elder in a church who has a tremendous heart for the Lord."

At the end of the day, I took the opportunity to sit down with Bernardo. Pastor Jorge was my translator. "What's the Lord been doing in your life?" I asked, "Do you believe the Lord has called you?"

Bernardo responded, "Yes, to be a preacher."

Bernardo is married with 5 children and works full time for the government teaching locals about farming techniques that would improve crop production. I assured him, "The Lord will soon provide for you so you can do the work He was called you to do." That evening I asked Pedro what he thought about Bernardo. Pedro responded, "This morning I told Bernardo to get ready because soon the Lord was going to have him helping me in the ministry as it expanded into Chajul." Pedro already knew what God was doing. Awesome!

Also, during this last trip we were presented with the opportunity to purchase a cinder block making machine for $2,000 American. This would be a great asset to us as we get more and more into construction. We could also make and sell block to others which would help us maintain the ever-growing monetary demand of this ministry. We will also be building a 4-story hospital in Villa Nueva for which we now have our first architectural drawings. I will send the drawings in a separate e-mail. We're also needing to add a bathroom and kitchen to pastor Pedro's house in the mountains so he can stay there instead of his parents home each week This will also give us a place for future missionaries to stay.

I could write so much more about what God is doing, but this gives you some of the highlights. Please continue to pray for us and as always, thank you for your support.

In Christ,


Guatemala Update - November, 2006

As I pray this morning it is clear we are coming into a time of miracles... a time when we have run out of ourselves and have no ne else to rely upon except the hand of God. Please pray for The LORD Will Provide and for me as I return to Guatemala November 1-8. I will be traveling up into the mountains with pastor Jorge, pastor Pedro and our newest pastor Manuel in thankfulness to those God has brought to us to deepen their faith. Seventeen new families from one mountain village have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior through our radio program broadcast in the Mayan language of Ixil. This mountain village is two hours by motorcycle from the town of Nebaj where we are broadcasting from. You may recall, Nebaj is 6 hours by car from Guatemala City. How wonderful that we are privileged to witness God drawing His creation to Himself.

In Guatemala City (Villa Nueva) we are no longer using the Buenas Nuevas Compound for church services because the rent was increased beyond our ability to pay. But what the enemy meant for bad the Lord has turned around for good. Our single church has now grown into eight home churches with seven people leading these groups.

Every week we have a prayer walking activity in the community and every week something happens. One day the leadership of the Soccer League of Linda Vista asked for prayer for protection from the gangs. The Soccer League is really in a battle with the gangs attracting young people to play soccer rather than join gangs. One night the Team went to distribute bread with beans and coffee to the drunk men in the streets. It was wonderful see how God opened doors to serve them and share the love of Jesus with them.

We are finishing a Bible Study Called " Standing On the Promises of God" based on Genesis and are now planning to begin "Walking thru the Desert" based on Exodus. Pastor Jorge reports this is helping us to understand we need to keep moving forward every moment no matter how the circumstances may appear. Please pray that we may continue to move forward in wisdom and faith with our focus on Jesus and His desire to reach the entire community... even those who may not appear to be worthy by our own human standards.

Please know that The LORD Will Provide is not about building church buildings, but we are about building up the church... the people who make up the Body of Christ... encouraging and teaching them to go deeper with the Lord and sending them out.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

In Christ,


Our House - August, 2006

I wanted to share this with you so you could praise God like we are.

God's been opening up so many doors for me to speak at churches... Assemblies of God Tabernacle in Houston, Temple Tabernacle in Temple, Texas River Church in Belton, Texas. I also spoke at 6 different churches in Virginia during my visit there August 8-14. Praise God!

God is so faithful... it has now been 2 years and 4 months since I left my job to do this ministry full time. As you know, He asked us to sell the house in the spring and we obeyed as a family. We painted, repaired and put a sign out in the front yard. Some of my Christian friends and family believed our house was our "Isaac". For a season we had people coming over to look at the house, but they were clearly not here to buy our house. God sent them here to be ministered to. It was an amazing time. Then, about six weeks ago, the Lord told me to take the "for sale" sign down. I did. That same night we had a couple call that wanted to buy, but needed to get their finances together. We never heard from them again. The season of selling our house had ended.

Instead of us having to sell our home, here's what God has just done. He provided a ram as He did for Abraham. A Godly family just sold an investment condo they had and knew the money was the Lord's. They prayed, asking the Lord where they should sow it... as the wife was praying about it the Lord said to her, "Give all of it to Steve." Not to the ministry, but to Steve personally. God promised her that He would "restore their wealth." Praise God, she was obedient and sent me an initial check which I received yesterday... just in time... right on time. They are not getting any tax deduction because it was a personal gift... the check was made out to Stephen Burke. She and her family are believing and trusting God 100%.

God has now taken care of our personal financial needs for at least the next two and a half years. My entire focus can now be on this ministry we have been called to. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. He is so faithful, so faithful. I am merely a witness to the amazing God we serve. May He alone be glorified.

In Christ,


Guatemala Update - June, 2006

Pedro Perez is a 28 year old of Mayan decent from the small mountain community of La Pista, located near Nebaj, Guatemala (about a six hour drive by car northwest of Guatemala City). Pedro is married to Juana and they have three young children. They had a fourth child, a daughter, who died a few short months ago from meningitis. The Lord supernaturally brought Pedro and his family together with us, The LORD Will Provide Ministries, so we might provide for the financial and physical needs of he, his family and his ministry. This partnership has enabled Pedro to freely do full time what the Lord has called him to do... evangelize the lost. In the few short months since God miraculously brought us together, we have seen much "good" spiritual fruit come from his ministry as he has led dozens of people to the Lord and the birth of a home church in Cotzal (three hours walk from Nebaj).

An awesome God story

Pedro was a boy 20 years ago when a battle was being waged between the Guatemalan government's military and a vast group of rebels known as Guerillas. As the fighting raged between the two enemies, innocent mountain villagers were often assaulted, robbed and killed. Sometimes entire villages were slaughtered as mistrust permeated the Guatemalan mountains. It was a dangerous time in Guatemala's history and was the backdrop for this amazing God story.

Pedro's hometown of La Pista did not exist during this time in the mid 1980's when Pedro was just a boy. He and the other villagers lived some 12 miles away in another part of the mountains and life was dangerous there. One night God gave one of the leader's in the community a vision. His name was Tomas. In the vision God revealed a new and safe place where Tomas was to take his family and others to settle. God had also shown Tomas several very distinct landmarks that would guide him on his way there. Tomas was extremely familiar with the surrounding mountains, but had never before seen the landmarks that God had shown him in his vision or the place where he was to eventually settle. However, Tomas trusted God and soon after made plans to leave under cover of darkness. Tomas, for fear of death, had also discreetly told a few people about what God had shown him and of his plan to leave at a predetermined place and time. The night finally came. Tomas expected some 12 to 15 people to meet him. But to his surprise 225 villagers showed up and among them, 9-year old Pedro Perez and his entire family.

The group made their way through the darkness traversing the mountains by night and day. They were guided on their way by the landmarks God had shown Tomas in his vision. Each landmark was as God has shown him, one leading to the next. After several days and nights the group was nearing their destination. As they were making their final ascent up a mountainside they were discovered by the Guerillas who immediately organized and rushed up the mountain in deadly pursuit. Suddenly and without warning, as the Guerilla's were closing in, a large explosion ripped into the mountain between the villagers and their pursuers. Tomas and the villagers thought the Guerillas were firing at them and that the end was near. Then a second explosion tore into the mountain and the villagers watched in amazement as the Guerillas turned and retreated back down the mountain. Tomas and the villagers wondered what had just happened.

Here's the rest of the story...

The Guerillas had thought the military was fighting for and protecting the villagers so they ran. However, this was not the case. The military general in the town of Nebaj located near that mountainside had an old Howitzer cannon in need of repair. He had, a few days earlier, hired a local man who had a nack for fixing things to take a look and see if there was anything he could do to fix the broken cannon. The man made the repairs and brought the old Howitzer to the general. The general promptly instructed the repairman fire a test shot. The general pointed high up into the surrounding mountainside and said, "There's nobody up there. Fire there." The repairman obliged, firing two test shots. God is sovereign! Unknowingly, the general had saved 225 people who eventually settled a little further up the mountain in what is now known as La Pista. Shortly thereafter, the military agreed to provide protection for Tomas and the new settlement and today the Guerillas are only a distant memory.

A side note: I was in Guatemala May 18-25 when pastor Jorge and I, along with Albert Solis from Temple Bethel Christian Center in Abilene, Texas rented a small truck and traveled back up into the mountain towns of Nebaj and La Pista. We met with some folks from Wycliffe Bible Translators who have been quietly working... translating the Bible into Ixil - Nebaj. The process began in 1955 and has been unusually slow, taking some twenty years longer than they would have ordinarily expected to finish the work... but the enemy has put up a great fight and God's timing is always perfect. The Book of John is now complete and we bought all 36 copies they had putting them into Pedro's hands as well as some 500 Ixil - Nebaj evangelistic tracts. I wish you could have been there when we were privileged enough to witness Pedro read the front cover of the Gospel of John for the first time in his native language. His face told the story... it was historic! God had placed this new and treasured weapon into the hands of one of His most gifted and fervent soldiers! Even more good news... the Wycliffe folks are expecting to finish the entire New Testament by August 2007. We hope to be there for the big celebration. Praise the Lord!

Please pray for me as I travel back to Guatemala June 7-14 with a group of 16 people from Virginia plus my mother, son and youngest daughter. We are going down knowing only that we will be engaging in spiritual warfare as we continue to work with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters to take back the land and the people for Christ. We are expecting to see more of God's miracles, power and supernatural ways.

In Christ,


Update - May, 2006

I just returned from a one week trip May 4-11 to Tennessee and Kentucky. I arrived there on Thursday, May 4 already scheduled to speak the following Saturday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night at different churches. I also knew I'd be speaking each weekday at Jellico Community Hospital. The odd thing was, I had a glaring and obviously large hole in my schedule for Sunday morning with no where scheduled to speak. I prayed the Lord would show me what He had in mind.

I had arrived in Jellico, Tennessee on Thursday, May 4. The next day, Friday, I spent meeting up with some of our friends who had come down to Guatemala back in November to do a medical clinic and construction work. One great friend I saw, Dr. L.B. Moses, lives and practices dentistry in Williamsburg, Kentucky (about 15 miles north of Jellico). During our visit in Williamsburg he passed along a donation he had received for our ministry from a small country church called Good Hope Baptist Church located back in Jellico. I had never before visited or heard of the Jellico church, but the pastor had learned of our work in Guatemala and took up an offering to help us. The pastor had a special interest in Guatemala because he and his wife had recently adopted a baby from there.

I decided that later in the afternoon when I returned to my home base in Jellico, that I'd try to locate the church and personally thank them for the support. Upon returning, I found the church was not listed in the Jellico phone book so I decided to stop in at a couple of nearby convenience stores to see what some of the locals could tell me. A man at one store informed me that the church, Good Hope Baptist Church had actually changed their name to Oswego Missionary Baptist Church. He explained the church was located just at the opposite edge of town, but there probably would not be anyone there until Sunday morning. I drove out to the relatively isolated church and pulled into the small, gravel parking lot. I pulled in past a pickup truck containing a man and a woman that was just pulling out. They stopped just before entering the road and backed up to see if they could be of some assistance. I introduced myself to the driver, John, and his mother Francis. John was
an assistant pastor at Oswego and had just pulled into the parking lot for a moment. I explained I was looking for Good Hope Baptist Church, but was told they had changed their name to Oswego. "Nope, Good Hope is right up that hill, hidden behind those trees," he said pointing across the street and up a winding road. We visited a little bit as I explained why I was in town and shared some of how God had miraculously called us to begin a work in Guatemala. I gave each of them a copy of my book. The following evening, Saturday, I was reading Scripture preparing for my
daily presentations at Jellico Hospital. It was about 8:30 PM when I suddenly had a strange urge to drive up to Williamsburg, Kentucky (15 miles away) to drive through and see the town that I'd be speaking in the next night. It was very unusual in that it was already dark. What could I possibly see? After twenty minutes on the highway I pulled into Williamsburg and began to drive around. I took peculiar notice of road
signs pointing the way to "The University of the Cumberlands" located near downtown Williamsburg. I suddenly became really interested in seeing the campus. After driving a few more minutes I found the university where every building seemed to have a steeple on it. What denomination was behind this school? I was compelled to find out. I drove around campus in search of a brochure, but everything was closed.
I gave up and headed back to the highway where I noticed "The Cumberland Inn." They should have a brochure, I thought, Since they share the same name. I went inside the majestic, two-story lobby and made my way around an exquisite cascading staircase. As I came around to the front of the staircase I was stunned to see my new friend, assistant pastor John from Oswego. Our eyes met and we were both taken aback. "What are you doing up here?" I asked. "I'm helping chaperone the Jellico High School prom." John continued, "What are you doing here?" "I'm trying to find a brochure about Cumberland University." John shook his head and said, "This is weird." He then invited me to visit their church the next morning. "Sunday school starts at 10:00."

I attended their church the next morning where I was invited by the pastor and John to share the miraculous Guatemala story with their congregation. It was a divine appointment, but it would not be until later that I knew how much God had orchestrated the initial meeting between John and I in the church parking lot.

John actually lives about 35 miles from Jellico and had gone there to pick up his mother who lives near Oswego Church. He was at a stop sign close to the church when the Holy Spirit told him to pull into the parking lot. He obeyed even as his mother was questioning, "Why are we at the church?" "I don't know mom, but the Holy Spirit told me to pull in." After a few moments of wondering and looking around the small lot, John began to drive out and there I was pulling in. God had made a divine appointment for me with John and Oswego Missionary Baptist Church. Please pray for me as I travel to Guatemala May 18-25 with Albert Solis, a youth pastor from Bethel Temple Christian Center in Abilene, Texas. How the church and I came together is another amazing God story. We're looking forward to seeing what God has planned.

In Christ,


Guatemala Update - April, 2006

I just received a report from pastor Jorge as the work continues in Guatemala. This update includes present work and future plans in which you may want to prayerfully consider joining with us:

It is great to see God work as we join Him in this new ministry. The three new churches of Ciudad de Refugio are doing great and it is a blessing to see all of the members really working well together. The second Ciudad de Refugio church is in the process of building. The foundation is being poured and soon walls will be going up. The members are doing the work as the LORD provides funding. The radio program broadcast in the Mayan language of Ixil is also being heard in remote mountain villages of Guatemala and new people are being lead to Christ weekly. Please pray for pastor Jorge, pastor Pedro and pastor Pedrito. We call him Pedrito so we can distinguish between the two Pedros. Pastor Pedrito is smaller than the other pastor Pedro.

Pastor Jorge and the team at Ciudad de Refugio have developed a program which takes our new and young believers through a discipleship process utilizing Biblical principles and methods taught in "Operation Multiplication" materials written by Billie Hanks, Jr. As the new and young believers grow up in the process, they are taken through a second step that includes teaching "Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God" by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. This is now standard follow-up procedure as we evangelize in Guatemala.

Corporately, as a church, Jorge and his team are also busy sharing our church vision in four classes ("101", "201", "301" and "401") with a curriculum based on Rick Warren's book called, "Purpose Driven Church." These classes are working very well. They are moving carefully, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He works to grow the members in Christ.

Please prayerfully consider areas in which we are working to see where you may join us:

Community Ministry

1) Leadership Training for the people in the squatter village communities. Teaching them how to flourish where they live by teaching them how to better work together as a community and how to start individual small businesses.

2) Job training for women so they may better provide for their families. (e.g. Making and selling handcrafted items, etc.)

3) Helping the poor families in the squatter villages add floors and improved roofs to their homes. Especially for widows, single mothers, and families with absent parents.

4) Helping to begin a new ministry we're calling the "Nehemiah Ministry" which will allow us to build homes in the squatter villages providing homes for the very poor and jobs to the people of the community.

Youth Ministry

1) Gang outreach ministry in the squatter villages.

2) Organized sports for youth (basketball camps, soccer training, etc)

3) Helping Youth Circles: Groups of youth will meet together two or three times a week for tutoring, studying and Bible studies. We will provide refreshments and snacks.

4) Witnessing activities where youth will learn to share the Gospel in public places. Christian music concerts in public places featuring music styles popular with youth.

5) Vocational education that will allow youth to improve their earning potential.

6) Recovery ministry to help youth addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

Children's Ministry

1) Day Care Ministry for children of single mothers who must work to support their families.

2) Ministry activities for mothers and their young children. Also teaching soon-to-be mothers and new mothers how to care for their babies 0-1 years old.

Spiritual Ministry:

1) Prayer walking ministry in the areas where the gangs operate. Prayer walking individuals and teams will be protected as we have relationships with community leaders who want and need our help.

2) Develop a ministry of care for families with kids who are in trouble.

3) Develop spiritual relationships with people associated with gangs. Providing spiritual support for their families.

Also, please pray for me as God has opened doors with groups and churches in the United States for me to share. I will travel to:

Los Angeles - April 20-24
Tennessee and Kentucky - May 4-11
Kansas - June 18.

I'll also be returning to Guatemala, May 18-25. In addition, a group of 18 people from Virginia and 4 others from Texas including me, my brother Patrick, my mother will be traveling to Guatemala June 7-14 to pray, encourage and work alongside our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouraging notes and e-mails. May our Lord lead.

In Service to Christ,