By the grace of God, as a family we are doing well. In general, this year was one of many trials, but also of many blessings. The greatest trial we faced was saying goodbye to our two sons as they went to Lima for their studies. Also, the injury I experienced when I was working on the roof along with the devastating flood we experienced in November were great trials. The brothers and sisters that make a living on agriculture were especially affected by the flood. But the Lord is faithful and He does not abandon His children. With all of these challenges the Lord has given us the privilege of continuing to serve Him, evangelizing and counseling many people.
One of the blessings the Lord has given us is the opportunity to work with a group of churches in the jungle that has contacted us to help in the training of pastors and leaders in their congregations. We were also invited to go to the province of Cantamana, where we visited several villages and were able to meet the Shipibo people for the first time. They are a tribe in a town called Olaya, and the good thing about this tribe is that in addition to their native language, many of them also speak Spanish and we could share the gospel with them. There are no baptist churches in any of the villages we visited, and there is an urgent need for the preaching of the gospel there.
We also had the opportunity to preach in the mountain-jungle, in the church that a friend of mine pastors. Much of the jungle there is still undeveloped, so it was impressive to preach in the midst of the immense trees. At the same time, it was a frightening experience because of the danger of snakes, like the Shushupi, Gergon, and Anaconda. Thankfully, I only encountered one snake along a path near the village, and was able to back away slowly without it attacking. When I told the men in the village, they came out to try to kill it, but we couldn’t find it.
Back in San Rafael, we've been blessed by the change we’ve seen in a family that used to be opposed to the gospel. They used to worship idols, but after the mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, they wanted us to come regularly and visit them. We shared the gospel with them and after this lady made her profession of faith, she remained faithful to the end of her life. In the evenings many of her neighbors and family members visited her, and she called me to come and preach the gospel to them. Some of her children have now turned to Christ, as well as her sister. On December 27, she passed away, and we were asked to be in charge of the funeral and memorial services.
God is opening doors for the preaching of the gospel among many idolatrous people, especially those who practice Roman Catholicism, who are usually very difficult to speak with because they reject Christian preachers.