Dear Prayer Warriors,
We are saved by grace through faith, we live and walk by faith, we work for the Lord by faith, and we die with faith because we never lose faith – and all for the glory of the Lord. “And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith”. Luke 17:5. 1 John 5:4 tells us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith”. We want to share with you some of the victories our Lord has given us to increase our faith and trust in Him.
Praise the Lord for Victories in Times of COVID-19
Victory – Because our two congregations in the city cannot have church services yet, Stephen and Juanita continue to make weekly rounds doing some visiting and delivering Bible sermons, weekly prayer petition lists, catechism questions/answers, and other spiritual materials to the homes of those who do not have the use of technology; all others receive the material electronically.
Victory – Getting out the Word. Our two weekly church services continue to be available on Facebook/SBTrinitaria Guatemala and YouTube/Joshua Andrew Ricker Huamantinco. Evelyn plays the piano at times with a prelude, and Samuel plays the hymns on the piano with Joshua accompanying him with the violin. Both our grandsons are getting better with their God-given music talents. Stephen directs the services, which are held at 10:30am and 5:00pm. Hal and Stephen alternate with the sermons. Some people from various countries have responded with comments and others with thumbs-up and heart emojis. Stephen and Hal are also regularly invited to preach and teach in Peru via Zoom video conferencing and Juanita also teaches the ladies groups.
One of our young ladies, Jenniffer Suarez, from the Montserrat church will be getting married September 26. We will have the service outdoors in the town called San Juan Sacatepequez, an hour’s drive up the mountain from Guatemala City. There will be a maximum of 35 people (all family members plus Hal, Evelyn, Stephen and Juanita). Protocol will allow us one and a half hours to do everything, including the civil ceremony.
Victory – CIEF-Guatemala (Confederation of Evangelical Fundamental Churches of Guatemala) has a church in Chimaltenango, and the CIEF pastors take turns preaching at the Sunday afternoon worship services two to three times a month. When Stephen, Juanita and their boys go, they hold Sunday School in the mornings. The pastor of this ex-Pentecostal church is still alive, but the doctors do not expect him to live very long, so he decided to legally transfer the church property to CIEF-Guatemala. Recently, a local Assemblies of God church was trying to infiltrate and take over the church. The two elders of the church and all the directors of CIEF don’t want to lose the church to a different group, so we ask that you pray that the Lord will keep this new group from being taken over. Sunday, September 13th, Stephen is going to visit the church and preach there; so pray that he will have wisdom to resolve the problem. This church was able to open two weeks ago. We will probably not be able to gather with CIEF to celebrate Reformation Sunday due to social distancing. Yet, we will see if it can be worked out.
Victory – We have also been giving out food packages every other week to the needy members and friends of our two local churches of Montserrat and Los Angeles. Some financial help goes to our sister church in Mazatenango. Food packages and financial help also go to our CIEF church of Chimaltenango. Some of the members of our Montserrat church have relatives that need help, particularly one elderly aunt and an out-of-work cousin, so they receive assistance also.
Victory – We just received word through the Trinitarian Bible Society office in Grand Rapids, Michigan that they are excepting in their budget to print the Spanish “2021 Golden Thoughts Calendars.” In the past these calendars were published in London and more recently in Bolivia. You remember what happened last year when the color calendars were lost in shipping and we only received some of the Golden Thoughts. This year the Trinitarian Bible Society has plans to print the calendars in various countries so they won’t have the expense of mailing them and the risk of losing some. Our printer in Guatemala made a duplicate of the 2021 calendar and we sent it to them for review. They liked it and now we are awaiting the funds to publish 5,000 scriptural calendars. Scriptural calendars help people to know the Lord, and also comfort the saved with many Bible verses they can meditate on daily. With the help of the Lord, we look for a victory in publishing these calendars and sowing the Word of God to help people who need it.
Evelyn’s New Trial
After Evelyn fell and fractured her knee cap in February, she recuperated and was able to walk well. The doctor was pleased with her progress but the pin and wire, after so many good months, began to give her some pain. The doctor did not want to operate and take the pin and wire out because of the danger of the coronavirus. So she was willing to wait for the right time. Then on September 3 she awoke early to go to the bathroom, and getting out of bed her left leg did not move, causing her to fall. She hurt her back and arm, but we praise the Lord there were no broken bones, only bruises. After helping her up, we observed that she did not have the command of her left arm and leg; she was weak and could not walk. Our diagnosis was that she suffered some type of mini stroke. The next day she was very weak. But the victory came on Saturday when she was able to walk again using her walker. She was able to be with us for both the Sunday services in our home.
However, on September 11 she had a setback, suffering a stroke that paralyzed her right leg and arm. She was hospitalized and has received treatment. On Monday September 14th she had a CAT scan of the brain. She has improved somewhat, but her words are still garbled; praise the Lord she understands everything we say to her. When Stephen sang to her she started to sing, but with words that were mixed. Evelyn had other tests and the doctor said she could come home by the Thursday the 17th. She will need a nurse to watch over her at home and to administer three medications for the brain; she will also need a therapy. Please, pray for Evelyn.
August “Month of the Bible”
Many churches in Guatemala celebrate the Day of the Bible on the last Sunday of August. Other Latin American countries celebrate it in September. The victory we had was that Hal could preach on the Day of the Bible using Facebook and YouTube, and that many people tuned in and listened. We labor to lift up the Word of God and Jesus Christ our Savior. Praise the Lord for the inspiration and preservation of the Scriptures; they are two different doctrines of the faith, so don’t mix them; they are different.
Also in August, we celebrated Hal’s 97th birthday. What a blessing. By the grace of God, he is still going strong! There were many wonderful and welcoming words on that day (August 4) and we thank you all. We give God the glory for giving us sufficient health to serve Him, using the Word of God that proclaims Jesus the Savior who gives eternal life to those who repent of their sins and believe and trust in Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We do not know how many more years the Lord will have us serve Him here, but we will soon fly away when he calls us home. We pray He will also call new missionaries to come and help with the work in this Guatemalan vineyard.
Coronavirus in Guatemala
With new virus cases in Guatemala diminishing, we just received word that we can open our churches in the city following set government protocols. We are planning to open our churches Sunday, October 4, for the first time since March 15, and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Some metro and urban buses are running at half capacity but the fares have doubled. The local private buses have not yet started because people hang out the doors when at full capacity. The current lockdown is from 9pm. to 4am. This gives the people the ability to do their business, which helps a lot to get things back to normal.
September 15 Independence Day of Guatemala
Generally, in Guatemala they have many celebrations on Independence Day. However, due to the coronavirus it looks as if they won’t have the tradition when the young men carry fiery torches and go running to different towns and then return to the city. It also looks like the annual marches/parades, with the many schools and churches which end up at the presidential palace, won’t take place this year.
Publishing Rev. Dr. Jack Sin’s Book
Rev. Jack Sin, from Singapore, has published his newest book in English titled “A Christians Perspective of the Coronavirus Pandemic and Biblically Related Themes Examined”. It has now been translated into Spanish and we will be publishing it here in Guatemala. It is taking more effort and time than we first thought. Pray for the completion of this project. His book is greatly needed today and will help people get over their fears as well as learn to trust completely in God. Also, the book has many practical and doctrinal articles which are very helpful to God’s people. The Lord supplied the needed funds to publish the book, but we still need some funds to ship it to different places in Guatemala, Central America, and Mexico.
As we continue to serve the Lord by faith, please continue to faithfully pray for us, in faith.
We love you all in the Lord,
Hal, Evelyn, Stephen, Juanita, Samuel and Joshua