Encouraging testimony and October news
A few weeks ago, our pastor presented the plan for our church to sponsor a new Happy Tummies program in a small church in the mountains above Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. We had visited there a year ago and met with the Mayan pastor, whose wife is a baker, and they have an amazing testimony which I want to share with you.
After giving his life to the Lord some years ago, Julian began to share the gospel with his friends and neighbors – although his own parents refused to listen. He and his wife had a young daughter, and soon were blessed with a baby boy. But not long after making the decision to serve Jesus, his baby son died. This tragedy obviously challenged his newly found faith, but he and his wife decided it would not stop them from sharing the gospel. A couple of years went by, and then Julian decided to take another step of greater commitment. His wife again gave birth to a son, and unbelievably the baby also died! This new tragedy was very hard for the young couple to accept, but they prayed and decided they would NOT stop serving Jesus. Then, only two days later, Julian’s father accepted Christ, soon followed by others in the family!
Julian decided to start a church, but Covid hit, and the Guatemalan government forbade church services for about 2 years. Nevertheless, Julian and his wife went out around the community on Sundays whenever they could to pray with people through their windows and share bible stories and encouragement. When the restrictions were finally lifted, Julian invited the people to come to his house for a church service – and about 70 people turned up!! He had to move out of half of his house so that it could be used for services. He has received pastoral training, and the congregation has continued to grow. Last year, they were able to buy a plot of land on a hillside and have been working ever since, moving the dirt with shovels to level the land to begin construction. They have had some help with construction materials and plan to lay the cornerstone of the retaining wall at the end of this month. Once the building is completed, they will start a Happy Tummies feeding program for 50 children during weekdays, and our church will sponsor it.
After our pastor shared the plan, we had over 50 people sign up at the special booth I had prepared (see photo) and we look forward to developing a special relationship in the future with Pastor Julian’s church. It is good to be reminded of some of the different obstacles that must be overcome in other parts of the world as our brothers and sisters carry out the Great Commission! Blessings, Shirley.
Pastor Sika in Togo sent us a wonderful, detailed report a couple of weeks ago, including this photo of the Joseph Project orphans with their new school supplies. He praises God for all who continue to support the many needs of the JP Orphanage, which now has 4 apprentices, 4 in high school and 10 in secondary school.
The Monday evening radio program in Lomé is now very popular and it enables many listeners to understand the true gospel. They often call in to say thank you, and many sign up to participate in his Bible courses that are also available.
The town of Agbanake (where Pastor Sika and his team recently started a new church) is still underwater, after weeks of rain and flooding. This photo shows him visiting there in a canoe. Their presence in this village is a miracle, and they are the only church accepted. The presence of the Baptist church is a powerful testimony to many in this village and its surroundings, so it is sad that the church building was destroyed during the deluge. We pray for the people of Agbanake to receive the help they desperately need to live and restore their homes.
Several of the leading idol worshiping priests have either accepted Christ or want to but are afraid that the villagers will turn against them. We pray especially for Louis, Bonifas and Akouete, that they will step out in faith and be set free so that others will also come to Jesus. However, a number of teenagers and young people there have already given their hearts to Jesus and are eager to receive bible verses to study, as seen in this final photo.
Pastor Honore in Central African Republic sent some photos of another wedding held recently at the CEERCA church. Such important life events (especially celebrated in the Christian tradition) are a valuable witness to everyone in the area. We rejoice that their church and school continue to grow despite the many problems. The final photo shows a group of church leaders outside the church building.