For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.I Thessalonians 4:16-18
Warmest Greetings to you, our faithful supporters,
International Council of Christian Churches 20th Word Congress, Puerto Montt, Chile, January 22–29
It took four plane rides, and about 23 hours (with layovers) to arrive in Puerto Montt from Guatemala. We praise the Lord that a total of eleven, including two from the US that visited us, traveled from Guatemala and were able to experience the Congress. We were happy to see so many of our old ICCC friends, and many from our Faith Presbytery, that were also there. We had wonderful fellowship with the brethren. The Congress’ theme was “God is Love”. We had many excellent and great messages along with resolutions and declarations that were approved at the meetings. There was a choir of over 100 members, together with an orchestra that sounded beautiful, with many other special music numbers. The theme verse of the ICCC is “For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ” and stands for the defense of the faith (Jude 3b). On Sunday morning we had a great outdoor service in Puerto Montt’s town square, which included a small choir and orchestra plus a soloist that gave his testimony how he was saved before he sang. Pastors from Brazil, US, and Singapore gave their testimonies how they were saved by grace through faith. The main preacher exhorted the people using the great verse of John 3:16. Before and after the service there was personal street evangelism with one-on-one tracts distribution to those passing by. If you would like some of the Resolutions and the Puerto Montt Declaration or some of the messages, please contact us by e-mail and we will send them to you by e-mail, since we still do not have an official postal service in Guatemala.
Evelyn’s Fall and Operation
On Sunday the 16th of February, Evelyn stumbled and fell over something in our office/computer room. A few hours later she was taken to a small private hospital for X-rays and found that her Patela (knee-cap) was broken. The doctor said that they must operate immediately. We contacted Stephen, who was due to travel back to Guatemala from Lima, Peru on the 17th. He arranged for a different orthopedic doctor at another hospital to do the surgery, so Evelyn had to be carried back home until the next morning where she was taken to the hospital to wait for the operation. Stephen and Juanita arrived on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday Evelyn had her operation. Juanita stayed two days at the hospital as her personal nurse, and although she is not a professional nurse, she proved herself to be a good one! We should give her a diploma now! She knew beforehand what needed to be done, how and when to do it, and was two steps ahead of what a doctor would do. Fantastic! Evelyn was in some pain, but it subsided to the praise of the Lord. On Thursday the 20th, they brought her home. Many of you were praying for her, and she truly could “feel” your prayers. It was as though she was lifted up – so beautiful! We trust, that by your faithful prayers, the Lord will completely heal the knee-cap and leg! Every time the doctor sees her, he uses the words, “Wow! Super! Excellent!” She feels so good, but is tired of sitting most of the day in the chair. She does her exercises and is walking with a walker with someone beside her, and can’t wait to play soccer again soon! Thank you, each one, for your faithful prayers. Our love to you, each one!
Old Paths Historic Faith Bible Institute
We had hoped to start the school year by the end of January, but because of the ICCC Congress and Stephen and his family staying for an additional two weeks in Ayacucho, Peru (one week of VBS and one week to visit with Juanita’s family), we delayed the opening until February 22. To promote the institute general announcements were made on radio, internet, by posters and flyers in churches and stores. The Lord sent some new students, in addition to some of last year’s students, for a total of 16. We praise the Lord and ask you to pray for the students, as well as the professors, that they both will be blessed spiritually. Some of the courses this year are: The History of the N.T. Church in the Book of Acts, A Panoramic Study of the N.T., Biblical Doctrine and Theology, Youth Bible Course, English, and Music/Piano. Pray that through the ministry of the Bible Institute, our Lord will call some of the students to be pastors, missionaries, Sunday School teachers and servants of the King of Kings.
Pray for those who received Bibles, whether boys and girls, young people and adults, that they will read them and learn in them of God’s salvation by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for the people who distributed the Bibles, that they continue to pray for those who received them and make future contact with them.
The Confederation of Evangelical Fundamental Churches (CIEF) of Guatemala is seeing our God’s hand at work. We have been working on a conservative Pentecostal Pastor with a large church building but a small membership, in Chimaltenango, about an hour’s drive from Guatemala City. His health is very bad. He owns the property and church and was afraid that if the Lord called him home, his heirs would use it for commercial purposes. He also did not want to hand it over to the Pentecostal mission. His desire was that a faithful church would continue until Christ return. So, he transferred title of the property and building to the CIEF-Guatemala. Now, since the end of last year the CIEF pastors have been gently teaching this flock sound doctrine, while helping them to understand and to be faithful to biblical truth. Please pray that our Lord will be gracious and make this a sound church for His glory. The CIEF held two executive committee meetings (January 4, March 7). An afternoon round table discussion and night conference with the theme “BIBLICAL SEPARATION” was planned for Saturday, March 21 at the CIEF church “EL BUEN SAMARITANO” in La Gomera, Escuintla. This meeting, however, was cancelled due to the coronavirus. We praise the Lord for two new pastor members that have joined the CIEF of Guatemala. Sadly, our treasurer resigned due to age and health limitations, but a new treasurer will be voted in at the April meeting.
Stephen, upon his return from South America, was interviewed on a Christian radio and gave a report about the ICCC Congress in Chile and its biblical stand. Pastors Natanael Yus, Hal Ricker and Sunday School teacher Patty Ramirez, who also attended the Congress, were interviewed on the Christian television station. Excerpts from The Puerto Montt Declaration and Resolutions were read on the program with some commentary and were offered to the viewers through our book store. The television listeners got good picture of what the ICCC stands for. Those that follow our Trinitarian Bible Society on Facebook can download all the ICCC resolutions.
Calendar Distribution in the Surrounding Church Areas
We received about 1,200 black and white Golden Thoughts calendars that were sent to Guatemala by the Trinitarian Bible Society printer in Bolivia. We did not receive the 1,200 colored “Words of Life” calendars as they were apparently lost or stolen. We gave out the Golden Thoughts at our two churches and door-to-door in those neighborhoods. We are still waiting for the beautiful colored calendars to give out in the four villages up in the hills beyond the Los Angeles Church. Pray that we will still get them soon. The villages up in the hills will gladly take the calendars, even if they are a few months old. Word from the TBS in the US is that we should consider the calendars lost, and that they will reimburse us for the ones that were purchased to sell at the book store.
Holy Week Services
Our last church service was held March 15. Due to the coronavirus, the President of Guatemala had first given permission for assemblies under 100 people to be able to meet. Then on Monday, March 16th, he cancelled all public meetings, regardless of number, and put a curfew in affect from 4:00 pm to 4:00 am starting Sunday, March 22nd. With the closing of the churches, the session of our church decided to send to the homes of all members and those who assist, some messages and study helps and suggested that the families gather together for family home worship and prayer. A few received the material by e-mail. We hope and pray that by the beginning of April things will go back to normal here in Guatemala. We are trusting the Lord that we will be able to have Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday services at our churches as planned.
Just a closing thought! Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if this prayer letter would be our “last” one before the ‘’RAPTURE’’? How exciting! We would get to see our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, along with all you wonderful supporters soon! Thank you all for being there for us and being part of Biblical Missions!
Lovingly in Christ,
Hal, Evelyn, Stephen, Juanita, Samuel and Joshua