Dear friends and family,
Happy New Year to you all; hoping you were able to celebrate it with your family. Looking back at 2015 is an opportunity to give thanks for all the Lord did for us, the good as well as the difficult. Looking forward to 2016 is an opportunity to trust in Him and ask Him to guide us to the best decisions among the confusion and monotony of life.
I am so thankful to the Lord for all His many blessings and the opportunities He has given me. Looking at 2016 fills me with anticipation, knowing He already knows where we are going. The future may seem bleak in the worlds’ eyes, but for God’s children it is ever more full of hope and glory, for every day that passes brings us one step closer to Home. May we use our time well until He calls us There.
There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. – CS Lewis
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Looking back at 2015: There are many ways of looking back, able to focus on the positive or the negative, on oneself or the impact on others. Yet perhaps the greatest single focus should be on how the Lord was able to mold our life and how we drew closer to Him. Every year is an opportunity to ask: Is my relationship with the Lord richer and deeper than it was a year ago?
We can also look at how the Lord used us to reach others, and surely 2015 had ample opportunities to encourage, teach, and bless. I was considering today just how much the Lord enabled me to do in 2015, between travels, classes, preaching, etc. I’m a big fan of statistics, so I thought I’d do a little math to see what was accomplished:
- In 2015, transportation included my motorbike on a regular basis, personal vehicles, loads of taxis, dozens of vans, dozens of buses, some dozen airplanes, and a ferry.
- In 2015, travelling included a large amount of cities and towns in Bolivia, two trips to Peru to various cities, my first visit to Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, and a few weeks on the West Coast in the US.
- In 2015, preaching opportunities ranged from conferences and camps to Bible studies with small groups and Sunday morning messages at large churches. I was given the opportunity to work through series on Job (twice), Daniel, and the first third ofRevelations. My other preaching engagements included open topics or short series on a variety of topics. Most weeks I preached between four and six times, bringing the total for the year well above 200 messages. What a responsibility!
- In 2015, teaching opportunities included four modules at the Bible School, as well as a variety of shorter classes given in Cajamarca, Peru, Seattle, WA, and various parts of Bolivia. A rough estimate brings the total to above 150 hours of classroom time.
- In 2015, other events included the house construction that was completed as far as was necessary. I was privileged to be able to discipleship four young men directly, as well as others indirectly. The website – www.recursoscristianos.info – hit new highs in traffic and utility, each day becoming more useful. The material available on CD and DVD surpassed 2,500 sales. The recording at the radio continues strong and various Christians have contacted me about using the material on other radios, most recently Argentina. I also was able to write regularly for three Spanish magazines as well as finish my first book in Spanish (will be over 150 pages).
Looking forward to 2016: We are not omniscient so as to know what tomorrow holds for us, much less a whole year. May the Lord help us to let Him make our plans, for that way they will be truly blessed. Many times we pursue our desires and dreams, forgetting that they may not be the very best. That said, it is wise to tentatively begin to plan for tomorrow so as to use the time wisely.
- In 2016, travelling will likely include a trip to the US and Europe for nearly five weeks starting in late February. In May there is a 3-week trip to Peru planned to visit the new jungle Bible School and then speak at the anniversary of a church in Lima. July might include a trip to Argentina. Aside from that there are the weekly trips I plan on taking to Santa Cruz to the North and Villamontes to the South. I will be speaking at a conference up North in early February and surely other events will be scheduled as the year goes on.
- In 2016, preaching and teaching opportunities will likely be very similar to this year, as I plan on continuing the series onRevelation and then continuing on to another book. I’m looking forward to putting together a new course on Eschatology for the Bible School here in Camiri, a topic that is at the same time fascinating and daunting.
- In 2016, other opportunities include several possible building opportunities. The hope is to start a Christian Coffee Shop in town around July with the help of an American family that is very experienced in this area. Discipleship will continue, especially at the Bible School, where we are praying for a great year (we already have all 22 students lined-up, praise the Lord!). The work with the website, the radio, and the audio material will continue on, always hoping to reach more people with the Word. I’m also praying that the Lord continue to open doors in getting my Spanish material published, aside from that in magazines and websites.
Looking over all that can be overwhelming, wow! Yet when we look back and look forward, it is not us with the power to accomplish it. May all the praise and glory be to God, who is pleased with using us as He sees fit. Time is a precious commodity that He allows us to have, and talent is a gift which He entrusts to us. How will we use it in 2016 to His glory?
Some may say I am in a hurry, or too eager, but the Word tells us that the days are evil and that time is running out. There is an urgent need to get the Good News out and reach the lost world, for materialism can put us to sleep spiritually and we need a daily wake-up call. God is good and there is ample time to rest as well, but as I’ve heard it said: “You can sleep when you’re dead”.
My greatest fear is to waste my life: to one day look back and say that I used it on myself and see that all my accomplishments were but dust and ash. My greatest joy in life would be to stand before the Lord Jesus and hear Him say: “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and support.