(Featured Image: With Genesis, as we prepared the party for my 29th Birthday)
Dear friends and family,
The wedding is only a month away, and I’m a combination of wonderful excitement and nervous anticipation. Bolivian culture is very opinionated, we love to talk about everyone and everything, and thus absolutely everyone has an opinion on marriage. I’m surprised by the negativity many seem to have about marriage here (and I think it’s not only here), warning us, although they say they are only joking, with words like: “Say goodbye to your freedom”, “welcome to slavery”, “your youth is over”, or, as a pastor recently snarked, saying that “the fun is about to stop”. Wow. Really? Surely not. Scripture does not lie, and it repeatedly tells us how good and wonderful marriage can be.
Perhaps the reason why so many are unsatisfied with marriage is because they are expected something unreal and impossible, so full of Hollywood “love” and Disney fables to not see the fiction in it. I have been blessed to see so many wonderful marriages, starting with being raised by parents who loved us and loved each other. With my adventure into marriage about to begin, Genesis and I know it will be a challenge and a battle against our own egos to learn to forgive and understand the other person, but with the Lord’s help we will come forth more joyful, mature and being able to bless others more fully. We weren’t created to “live happily ever after”, at least not yet. We were created to live to His glory, to become ever more useful to Him and a blessing to others, so that at the end, standing before His awesome throne, we may hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master”.
“Marriage is painful and wonderful because it reflects the gospel that is both painful and wonderful at once.” – Timothy Keller
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Wedding Planning: Genesis has been working very hard to get everything ready for the wedding, and I’m doing my best to keep up. I’d say 90% of the details are in place; we are so thankful for the Lord’s guidance and the help of many. The next month will be very busy, with Christmas, New Years, arrival of family and friends from around the world, etc. Good thing it’s only once in your life one gets married, because it “takes the stuffing right out of you!” (Is that a Thanksgiving joke? Are identifying with the turkey on the table?)
We have been so blessed by the Lord’s provision and encouragement during this time, as Genesis and I grow closer together, nervously and excitedly awaiting our wedding day. I must say, I have been truly blessed by her: the perfect woman at the perfect time. Looking back, it is amazing how the Lord worked everything out so perfectly, showing me that it was her, yet also teaching me patience to wait for the right time to be together. We have so much left to learn, but there I no one else I’d rather take this journey with than Genesis. A truly beautiful, wonderful, virtuous and talented woman! God is good.
Bible School: Inscriptions are open for the Facultad Bíblica Camiri for 2018. With my January to be a “tad” busy, I’m trying to make early progress in lining-up our 22 students (maximum capacity) for next year. Already we have 3 fully signed-up, 2 in the process, and some 16 showing varying degrees of interest. Praise the Lord! Hopefully by mid-February we will have 20 to 22 confirmed, with students that want to truly grow in their relationship with God. We don’t just want to fill the capacity, we want those who desire to invest a year into discipleship, ministry and learning the Word of God.
Preaching: Over the past month I traveled to Santa Cruz on two occasions, preaching at several churches, including to give a seminar on Homiletics over 4 days. I’ve also been able to keep going on my series in Luke that I am giving at my local assembly as well as at a Baptist church I have supported for several years now.
I’m off to Santa Cruz again for this weekend, then I will be returning there again to spend Christmas with Genesis’ family and later New Years with mine.
Odds and Ends: Mattix Coffee was successfully closed and most everything that we wanted to sell has been. All told, we didn’t lose any money in the venture, we have an amount saved to restart when and where the Lord may lead us to do it and we learned so much in the process. A win-win situation!
I’ve been doing several projects at the house to get it ready. A few months ago, I finished remodeling both bathrooms. We are having new built-in dressers put into our bedroom and we are finishing a floor on a storage room, where we can put the coffee shop items we are keeping.
Genesis and I have been enjoying premarital counseling, finding it very useful and practical. Thankful to have found a wise and honest brother to help guide us in this time.
- The wedding – the planning and details, our relationship and for the Lord’s guidance and wisdom
- That the Lord would lead the right students to sign-up for the Bible School
- For plans for 2018 for Genesis and me, as we consider visas, multiple trips and overall looking for the Lord’s guidance
- That my family members and friends that are coming for the wedding may arrive safely, thankful to have my mom organizing many of the details
Thank you for the prayers, encouragement and support.
PS: For obvious reasons, I won’t be sending a ministry update in January, but will give a full update (and pictures!) in February.