Yikes! It is already March. Sorry about my blogosphere leave of absence. I am very appreciative of my ghost writer Katie who did such a great job of keeping everyone updated the past few months.
The kids are doing well. Malakai is really growing fast now that we are mixing cerealac in every serving of food (very high calorie cereal). He is beginning to stand up often by himself and he will probably be walking sooner or later. He is saying some words now, although his favorite mode of communication is yelling at the top of his lungs. He does say this, hola, chau, mama, dada, eat, etc.... (you know all the essentials). His breathing has been much better for a long time, but last night he had a cough and Katie is currently at the doctor´s. We suspect it to be false croup as some of the other kiddos in our bunch have been having that as well. Please pray for Malakai, his health, and developement. We are so blessed and happy to see another little one come into his own before our very eyes.
Jubilee is doing marvelous as well. She is attending a new preschool which we are so happy with. Her teacher Miss Anita is a little old school but we like that! Jubilee is learning to write letters and numbers and about her five senses. I had to do an observation in her classroom for one of my teaching classes and was thouroughly impressed with Miss Anita. Jubilee is also signed up to take French classes next week although we are waiting to see if enough children have enrolled. In general, Jubilee is a very smart, articulate and sensing little girl (all from her mother!). Jubilee is an incredible child, sometimes I feel inadequate as a father but I am so thankful for her. She has taught more about the love of God our Father and of that of His son than I ever could have imagined. Please pray for Jubilee that she will continue growing into the magnificent person that she is becoming.
Katie is doing well, as we had mentioned earlier we are ought to do more co-ministry this year and that is proving to be a little tricky with schedules and what not but we are still intent on finding the right balance for our family. One of the biggest news items for Katie is her trip to Paraguay in April. She has been invited to speak at a ladies conference and has been busy preparing for this important event. Katie has also been involved in the ministry here especially with the ladies ministry and helping Julie out with teaching the intermediate grades. What a fortunate man I am to have two wonderful children plus such a wonderful wife at my side! Please pray for Katie that she can continue doing such a great job at carrying out her dual persona as mother and missionary with grace and skill.
I am doing well and learning to fit my graduate classes into more of a regular schedule finally. At the end of the semester I will hopefully have finished 18 credit hours which will put me a little over the half-way mark for the 30 hour program. The program has actually had a very positive effect on my ministry here as it has really asked me to grow in my teaching methods. I think at the end I will be able to teach Bible, English or whatever subject may come my way in a more effective, impactful way. Along the way I have been reminded of how much I love teaching, yeah!! Give thanks to God that He has found a way to marry my continued studies and my current ministry! Please continue to pray that I maintain a healthy balance between home, school and ministry.
Highlights from the Work
There is too much to cover in depth but let me just hit a few high points.
* This previous Sunday there were 75 people in attendance. Not a record attendance including our special events such as Resurrection Sunday but this was certainly a high if not record for a Sunday accompanied by no special means of inviting new people. Our space is getting a little tight and we are so thankful for that kind of a problem. Please pray for our growth as a congregation, both spiritual and numerical, with the hope that both kinds of growth go hand in hand. We are excited about what the Lord has planned for His body here in Cochabamba!
* I have been privileged to become more involved in the jovenes ministry as of late (teenagers). I say jovenes because it is really not the same as the youth group we are familiar with in the states. I have really enjoyed working with Josh and Bruno as I am able to add a some support and participation to all of the great activities and classes that they are doing. On April 10, 11, and 12 I will travel to Sucre with a group of appx. 12 teenagers and 2 or 3 other adults to attend a youth conference. I have been invited to speak at this event which is very exciting and a great honor. Please pray for the jovenes ministry that we would be able to reach out to our teenagers and support them spiritually during an often confusing stage in life.
* As of late we have had some returns and restorations. Miguel who has had quite a rough beginning to his walk in Christ was restored in February and we in addition to the angels in Heaven are rejoicing for his choice to return with his wife Corali and three children. We also have seen the return of Alvaro who had traveled to Tarija to visit his parents and the return of Palmira who had been in Argentina visiting her sister. We are so grateful to see faces that we have missed. Please pray for other members who still need to be restored and for those who are traveling.
* The classes at the Contact Center have experienced a somewhat unexpected boost in attendance in the classes that started a few weeks ago. The initial group of students was a little below average, but has grown to 17 if all students come. This is a really good sized group for our classes. These two classes are taught by Butch and Gary and I will be "subbing" for Butch while he is traveling in Chile and then in the states for about 3 weeks. I am looking forward to employing all those new group activities I am learning about in my grad classes! Josh also recently concluded a class on Revelations which proved to be very beneficial for some of our members as well as visitors. Please pray for all of our classes that we offer throughout the week that God may use the classes as a way to bring even more people to know his grace, love and mercy. If you are wondering, I have put my English classes on hold because I want to make sure that I am serving in all the other ministeries as I need to. We do continue to have English activities every two weeks. Tomorrow night is English worship night.
* The benevolence ministry has been difficult for me to give my full attention to but nonetheless God has provided this ministry with increased opportunity to serve this year. We have only sugar left in our food bank which is a good indication that it is being put to good use and we have been able to take advantage of our clothing room as well. In addition, to the food and clothing banks we have also been privileged to minister to some members with specific needs such as school supplies, and help with finishing some very needed home improvements. Continue to pray for this very important ministry that we can continue serving our brothers and sisters in their moments of need.