Okay. Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. But, read on....
Two weeks ago this Sunday we returned from an amazing family encampment. For all of you who got to heard in my furlough presentation about the blessing it is to see Christ uniting all kinds of Bolivians, well, it happened again! The encampment thanks in part to my teammate Josh who organized, Tom Allen from Ontario, CA and the rest of the church family from Cocha. we were able to gather 140 Bolivian Christians for the first annual Bolivian Family Encampment.
By all accounts it was a success. True there were some cold showers and scraped knees, but isn't that part of the fun? We had groups from La Paz, Sucre, Santa Cruz and of course Cochabamba. Josh had found a beautiful campsite about an hour outside of Cochabamba. We were able to spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning there.
The best part, was no not me trying to scale a 40 foot wall with one of those harness things while Jubilee yelled from below, "Daddy why can't you go further?". The best part ocurred when we were back in Cocha for Sunday services. Many people from the other cities had graciously stayed to be able to worship with us on Sunday morning. Katie and I found out that at least 15 people can fit comfortably in our apartment! After a wonderful and uplifting time of worship we listened to a great message by visiting guest speaker Tom Allen, of Ontario, CA (Inland Valley Church of Christ). Following the message there were 7 individuals who choose to become disciples of Christ that day by confessing Jesus as their Saviour and being baptized into Him. One man, Jimmy came from Santa Cruz and another man, Ernesto, came from Sucre. The other 5 new Christians were all native Cochabambinos and all had been studying and worshiping with us for quite a while.
Many of you may remember during my furlough presentation hearing about Augustina who is a single mother of two. The church has been blessed to help her in many ways through our benevolence program and in this way we had gotten to know her and her children. Upon being baptized she made it clear that she wanted to be a new creation from here on out.
Some of you may also remember seeing a picture of our small group Bible studies called CAFE groups. In one of the pictures with new brother in Christ Miguel sat a man named Gaston. Gaston is now a new brother in Christ as well.
The other three individuals who were baptized were all members of one family. Some of you may remember that Pedro began taking classes at the Bible Institute after Rebecca his teenage daughter began taking English conversation classes. Pedro's wife Beatriz began coming to church and I think initially it was to check out where her husband and daughter were spending so much time. Praise God that Pedro, Beatriz, and Rebecca are now new Christians.
Before I close let me say this. I had specifically asked and commended each congregation I spoke to, to be in earnest prayer for the "on the verge" people. People who had the good news of Jesus several times and yet were still not quite sure. All five of these people were among the "on the verge" people. In fact I requested prayers for Gaston and Augustina by name. Thank you so much to those of you who asked God to work in the hearts of these people.
Let us praise our Father for these precious souls and let us be evermore in prayer for them as the most difficult part of the Christian journey begins which is that daily crucifiction of the old self and the daily choice to do as Christ would have us to.
We love you guys!
Other important prayer requests:
Katie and baby (she has been asked by the doctor to stay mostly at home until the baby is born)
Julie and baby (everything seems to be going fine)
Laura and baby (think everything is fine, she is on furlough surely enjoying Thanksgiving!)
Sandovals' Visa Process (they plan to go on furlough in two weeks)
Marcums and Forbess' (how are we going to do this without the Bulls and the Sandovals for two months????)
Custers (continue job hunting in the states)
Me (I always need help in the daddy and husband department, you know to be a good one!)