Dear friends and family,
Thank the Lord for all His blessing and guidance in the month of July! So thankful for all the opportunities and travels. Very grateful for Genesis, such a wonderful woman who loves the Lord deeply. The Lord has been so good to us!
With all the activities and this relationship at the forefront of my mind, there is obviously much to do. May we always give our best for the Lord, yet never think that doing for the Lord is the same as knowing the Lord. Just like knowing about a person does not mean we are their friend.
“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” – G.K. Chesterton
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Trips and Activities: Over the past few weeks I took two trips to Santa Cruz and one to Villamontes to speak. While taking advantage of our “winter” break of a couple weeks there was a conference in Villamontes, to which youth came from many cities for the four-day event. I was asked to give five messages on Christian Worldview.
One of the topics I gave there was on homosexuality, an important and ever-growing topic worldwide. There is a need to truly understand the danger of homosexuality, its terrible effects on society, and how to try and help those who are being enchained by this lifestyle. Two articles I wrote on the topic were surprisingly popular online with over 1,700 readers, the first being on Sodom and Gomorrah and the second on the scientific evidence against this lifestyle. If you can read in Spanish or care to share it with someone who does, the links are here and here.
On a Wednesday night a couple weeks ago there was a memorable experience which greatly encouraged me. I was on my way to visit a small Baptist church, as is my custom each week. I had missed the last week because of the conference in Villamontes and they misunderstood, thinking I would miss the next week as well. As I was about to arrive, I heard someone calling after me. A lady from church came huffing and puffing after me (I guess I’m a fast walker!) telling me that there was a special event in a home. Had she missed me, I would’ve missed the great blessing that awaited me that night. I got in the car and we went to the home. When we arrived the patio was packed and I was found out that an older sister had recently had a stroke. She is one of the most faithful members of the church, and her bright eyes always stand-out, staring intently at me when I preach.
They asked me to give a special message for the occasion, so I quickly opened my Bible and then shared on Psalm 139 and the Lord’s care for us in the midst of trials. The older lady who had suffered the stroke was very attentive, in spite of her obvious pain. When I finished, she asked to say a few words. Her voice was cracked and horse, barely audible. “Last week I had a stroke,” she said, painfully, “it was despairing for me, death seemed so close.” She then looked at me and I distinctly remember how she reached-out her hand to me even though I was across the room. “I asked my children to bring Pastor Christopher (that’s what they call me, in spite of my efforts), but they told me he was in Villamontes. I started to weep bitterly. Finally, I told my children, ‘I don’t want to die until I hear Pastor Christopher preach one more time’.” She started to choke-up, as did I and many others in the room. “God is good,” she continued, “He heard my prayer.” I went over and hugged her and we all prayed for her. Truly God is good, what an encouragement to know that His Word is bearing fruit and that we can be part of His Work!
“Mattix Coffee”: Preparations for the coffee shop continue on steadily. I’m hopeful that next month I can send pictures as well as show you the new logo (which is almost done). As of right now the area is full of dust, half-painted walls, and several workers going in and out. Our plan is to start mid-September, with an official opening perhaps at the end of that month. Pray for Rudi and his family as they begin to wrap things up there in Oregon and prepare to ‘change worlds’.
Housing Project: Two of the three available rooms have been rented since last month and soon the third one will be available. The project turned-out to be longer and more expensive than projected, but I’m thankful to see it usable as it opens up many opportunities. We will not finish everything yet, perhaps leaving the rest to the end of the year, seeing as I must now focus on the coffee shop.
Upcoming: In August the plan is to visit Villamontes once and Santa Cruz twice. In September and October, I’ll be giving three modules at the Bible School, so I’m glad to have this month free in order to focus on the coffee shop, the housing project, recording Revelation at the Radio (about a quarter way through now), among other things.
- That the Lord would continue to guide and bless Genesis and I as we enjoy this special time in our relationship
- For the vision and strength to get everything ready at the “Mattix Coffee”
- That the coffee shop might truly honor the Lord, as a light in this town
- For my upcoming trips and opportunities, that the Lord would use me to His glory
- That the second semester at the Bible School would be transformative in the lives of the students
Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and support.