Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, desiring many blessings in your homes and ministries.
By the grace of God, we are doing well, although we are going through certain difficulties. The torrential rains and hurricane-like winds continue, and there are few crops left. The brothers and sisters of the church are lacking some basic foods and supplies. Please, pray. We are in the lowest part of the town where the floodwaters remain for a long time, causing the mosquitos to multiply and Dengue Fever and Malaria to spread. We are in a “red zone” because of the risk of disease. Also, the frogs are not letting us sleep because of their constant noise throughout the night. But, nonetheless, we are serving the Lord with greater encouragement and unity among the brothers and sisters.
Personally, I continue reading systematically through the Scriptures and with the church I am doing a study on the theme of “The Sufferings of the Christian,” taking advantage of the rains, winds and flooding to talk about the topic. The church is encouraged, and while many families from our community have left because of the difficulties, many believers have stayed here and we continue preaching the gospel in San Rafael and other towns.
In addition to the rains and the winds, there continue to be many deaths because of traffic accidents. A neighbor—a person with a lot of property and money—died recently in an accident. He was a Catholic that was bitter toward Christianity, but he always had respect for me, even though he disagreed with us. Since his wife has relatives that attend an evangelical church, she asked me to preach at the memorial services and burial. Along with other people from our church, we sang songs of praise to the Lord and I preached the gospel. Many of his relatives, who are very wealthy, came from different parts of Peru and Chile. They were amazed because for the first time they were listening to Christian praises and sermons in a memorial service. Where they are from—and often in our own town as well—the tradition is always for the Catholic Church to conduct the services, with their typical music, responses, Ave Marias, Rosaries, or mass.
Some of the family members of those that have died in recent accidents have begun coming to our church meetings, and we are following-up with them personally in their homes to continue sharing the gospel. The accidents and their loss leave deep wounds, both emotionally and physically.
Another challenge this month that has resulted from the rains is that the snakes have started coming out to the areas where it is dry. One very venomous snake bit a man named Elmer on the heal. Elmer is a very faithful member of our church and directs the music in our services. Thankfully, his daughter came to the field and helped him get to the clinic. But the situation got more complicated when they found out that the medical post didn’t have the antidote. He had to be taken by emergency vehicle to the hospital in the next district over, and there they were able to give him the antidote and stabilize his condition.
Finally, I want to ask you with all humility to pray for me and my family. In the midst of the current political campaigns, all of the political parties have approached me to ask me to be their candidate for the mayor of the district of San Rafael. According to their surveys, I continue to be the person that has the most support among the population. I tell them “thank you,” but I will not accept any of their requests. My calling is not politics. I share with them the Word of God and they go away sad. According to them, I am missing out on an excellent opportunity that many would like to have. Thanks be to God, my heart is inclined only to the work of the Lord and I ask God that I might be faithful in this work until the last minute of my life, especially in places where there are limited resources and I have the opportunity to suffer alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the same reason for which I have turned down three invitations to return to Lima to pastor churches there.
Brothers and sisters, thank you for your prayers and your support that provide for our needs and allow us to continue with our ministry. May the Lord greatly bless you all.
Your brother in Christ,