(Pictured: promo made for Confesiones de un inquisidor; release date April 14, 2017)
Dear friends and family,
Reading through 2 Corinthians 6 a couple days ago, I was encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s tenacity and perseverance in the ministry. He speaks of the many challenges that faced his ministry: being persecuted by Jews and Gentiles, as well as facing internal hostility from false teachers and jealousy from those who wished to defame him. Was it worth it? What has his secret for continuing strong despite such hostility? He reflects, saying: “… as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (v. 10, ESV). Our struggles are perhaps much smaller, yet we have available the same source of strength in the Lord and we look to that same reward for serving Him with eyes of faith. All that is done for His glory now, will surely reverberate for all eternity then.
Faith…is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. – C.S. Lewis
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New York & New Jersey: On Thursday, April 13, I’ll be flying into La Guardia in New York City. For the remainder of the month I will be visiting Spanish-speaking churches in the area. My schedule includes speaking at least once a day, except for one free day. First, we will have a special conference to celebrate Easter, the next weekend there will be a full-day youth event to teach Church History as well as do a book signing (more on that in a bit). There will also be the opportunity to teach at a Bible Institute, as well as recording at least one day for a local TV station.
As of the 30th of April, I’ll be staying at CMML headquarters in New Jersey, where my schedule will be a bit freer. I’ll be speaking at 6 different English-speaking assemblies in the area, as well as having the opportunity to be at the “What’s Next” youth event at CMML Headquarters on May 6.
Looking forward to seeing many new faces and places, as well as some I already know. Thankful for all the help getting this schedule ready, as well as the willingness to take me around (as I don’t know the area). Let me know if you would like to receive a detailed schedule, in case you’d like to attend.
(Pictured: books have printed and are being shipped!)
Writing: As was referenced in the last update email, I signed my first contract to publish a book in Spanish, Confesiones de un inquisidor (“Confessions of an Inquisitor”, a historical fiction novel about the Holy Inquisition during the Middle Ages). The company, the well-known Editorial Desafío, worked around the clock to get my book out before many of their other scheduled titles. With the release date looming on April 14, we all worked hard and were able to send the book to the printers. Already over 450 books are on their way to New York, waiting for me to pick them up for the variety of events scheduled there. The plan is to bring back what I can to Bolivia, for the several events we are planning for May and June. The plan is to do events in Peru and Miami in July.
The company was so pleased with my book that they have asked me to translate it into English, to be release later this year, so I will certainly be letting you know once more information is available. They are also asking me to publish a second book on Church History with them this year, schedule to come out before October, when the 500 years since the Reformation will be celebrated. It will be a shorter book called Héroes (“Heroes”), which tells the story of 8 men who transformed Church History, including Polycarp of Smyrna, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther and George Muller. I’m in the process of finalizing the manuscript, most of which I had already written in short articles and now am compiling for this work.
(Pictured: this years Bible School students, plus a few external students)
Bible School: Last week I was blessed by the opportunity to teach my first module of four at the Bible School, working through “Life of Christ” with our new group of students. On the whole, they were alert, interested and inspired by the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ – the most transformative and transcendental soul to ever walk the face of this earth. As Reverend Lockridge so famously proclaimed: “I wish I could describe him to you, … He’s indescribable!”
We’ve also started-up the discipleship program with the students, as each is assigned a mentor to help and counsel them throughout the year. The two young men I will be mentoring, Joel and Samuel, are sharp and eager to make the most of this year, desiring to be better prepared to serve the Lord. It is a joy to see young men with this hunger and drive; may the Lord give me wisdom to encourage them in this, to go “onward and upward,” in the words of C.S. Lewis.
(Pictured: Ciro, one of our workers, making some coffee)
“Mattix Coffee”: The coffee shop continues on, although we are missing having the selfless support of Rudi Booher and his family. Thankfully, in spite the worsening economy locally and nationally, which has been felt strongly in the past few months, the shop is staying afloat. Our goal is to work as a team to be disciplined and efficient with the time and resources at our disposal. The young woman who we have entrusted with administering the shop, Betsi, is honest and hard working. Genesis, who studied this, is each day more in charge of the coffee shop as a whole, and she is working closely with Betsi (via cellphone). Since my time is limited, my role is more to help with the promotion, and to help maintain the vision and quality at a high level.
(Pictured: Marcelo Escalante, a professional soccer player who I spent a good time with, was at every message at the conference in Yacuiba)
Preaching: In March, I visited Santa Cruz twice, speaking at a variety of churches and going on live television for an hour to talk about homosexuality (my second time on this program). Of course, the main reason for visiting Santa Cruz is to visit Genesis and her family, which is always such a blessing to me. She’s a wonderful, kind and talented young woman, it is such a privilege to have her in my life. I’m looking forward to you all meeting her someday!
I also had the opportunity to visit a Baptist church in Yacuiba for three days, to celebrate the its 17th Anniversary. I preached and taught many hours, which was exhausting, especially considering that right after my return I had a module to teach at the Bible School. Yet they were very kind to me, and were very intrigued by the topics we touched on, namely Eschatology and the theory of the Islamic Antichrist.
(Pictured: took Genesis and her siblings to the movies, fun times!)
- That my time in New York and New Jersey would be a blessing to all; for safety throughout my trip
- For Confesiones de un Inquisidor to reach many around the world, as a tool to enlighten believers and lead others to find their Savior
- That the Bible School students would be focused and challenged to get the most out of their time with us
- For “Mattix Coffee” to continue to grow and be evermore a light in our town
- That the Lord would continue to guide Genesis and I, growing us evermore in grace and love
Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and support.