Dear friends and family,
September ended-up being one of the most trying and full months in my life, where perseverance was the key. The coffee shop successfully opened but required countless hours and long days to make it happen. I also taught two modules at the Bible School, traveled and preached per usual, etc. God blesses our perseverance, and October’s success has proved September was well worth it, yet there will always be more to do. Are we willing to persevere that the Lord might be glorified? While we have breath, may we continue strong and never give up.
By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – Charles Spurgeon
Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success. – William Wilberforce
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“Mattix Coffee”: Painting, shopping, brain-storming, little sleep, numbers, huge expenses, but we made it! On September 13 we had our “soft opening”, which helped us adequately understand our market, know which products would sell, and form a good system to serve people. On September 24th we had our Grand Opening, a day I will never forget. I was so blessed to have my girlfriend, Genesis Campbell, with me to share the moment, say a few words and welcome everyone in. Even though it was just 8 am on a Saturday morning, the street was full of perhaps fifty people. Throughout the morning and evening, with the combined effort of Rudi Booher and his family, my parents, Genesis, and many others, we were able to serve some 300 customers. Often the line went out the door in our little coffee shop.
We are now nearly a month into the experience and every day our sales go up, the customers keep coming back and back, and the opportunity to share God’s love grows. My greatest joy is to chat with the customers, seeing how in every case people exit happier than how they entered. Those who have come before now return with a wide smile, knowing they will receive more than they paid for. That has become one of my mottos for the coffee shop: make sure people leave better than they entered. May the coffee shop be a way to teach grace in action – that God always gives us more than we deserve. Who knows how many we will be able to reach for Christ through this coffee shop? May He receive all the glory!
Video – Welcome to Mattix Coffee
We have such a great opportunity here, it’s truly the talk of the town. A few weeks ago I was welcomed into the Mayor’s office and he greeted me by name, though I had never met him before. He knew why I had come, because two friends of his had already told him of the coffee shop. He said that often they receive important dignitaries and the coffee shop would be an excellent place to take them to eat breakfast. The day before the Vice President had come; had we come a day earlier to let him know that we were open, he said he would’ve taken Mr. Linera to our shop! A similar conversation took place when I talked to Gonzalo Moreno, the Sub-Prefect of our state, who is even higher-up than the Mayor. May we not misuse these opportunities! Will you be praying for this endeavor and its impact on the town?
Bible School: I had the opportunity to give a one-week module on Homiletics before the students took their yearly ministry trip, this time near Santa Cruz. It’s becoming one of the most important topics, in my mind, seeing as how preaching is so mediocre in Bolivia in general. There has also been a recent shift to topical teaching instead of expository, since it often is more attractive to the audience but really lacks power and the ability to build mature congregations.
On Friday, I finished teaching a two-week module on Christian Worldview and Apologetics, one that is always a joy to teach, especially when the students are as sharp as these. I now have these two weeks to prepare a brand-new module on Eschatology, please pray that I might have the time to adequately get ready. This module will bring an end to the year; may it help inspire them to live every day as if it were their last, to the glory of the King.
Trips and Activities: This past weekend I visited Villamontes. I was especially touched by several encouraging comments the brothers gave me, thanking me for my monthly visits. There was also a woman there who through tears asked me to pray for her, telling me how breast cancer had brought her back to church after being far from the Lord for many years. She had heard me speak many times and this message (on Mary, from Luke 1) had really touched her heart to give her life over to the Lord’s will and to take seriously her commitment to read the Bible.
In September I visited Villamontes once and Santa Cruz a couple times. This upcoming weekend I’ll be again speaking in Santa Cruz. To be honest, sometimes this can become monotonous or repetitive. Sometimes I can feel tired or uninspired. The Lord deserves my very best and so often He strengthens me when I feel weakest. I was recently convicted of the need to never misuse a single opportunity when asked to preach or teach – it is such a privilege to open His Word!
- May Mattix Coffee be a light in Camiri, leading to opportunities to share God’s love
- That I might adequately prepare the module on Eschatology and the upcoming speaking engagements
- For the Bible School students to get the most out of these last weeks, inspired to serve the Lord for life
- That the Lord would give me strength and perseverance to continually work for His glory
Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and support.