Just wanted to wish you a very happy NEW Year. I pray that all of you have a year filled with proof of the faithfulness of God to you in everything that you encounter — good and hard. He is good all the time no matter what our perception of what is going on in our lives. We look forward to great things at Destino del Reino this year as He is continually bringing more and more people into His kingdom and growing them up in discipleship and His truth. What an awesome privilege to be part of His kingdom work. I am so grateful that he would use me in spite of my struggles. His mercies are NEW every morning and sometimes I am pretty sure I used his mercy all up the day before so I am always so grateful for that promise in His Word.
We have a NEW baby here with us now. Most of you knew that we have been expecting Sofia to come since we found out that her mother was pregnant with her. But her mom waited until she turned one last month and brought her here the end of December. We call her Sofie and she is so cute. She is smaller than Emily (who is just 5 days younger) and more feisty too. All our three baby girls have such different personalities but so far are getting along great. One more baby has sure changed up things for us though. We have to do a lot of adjusting in our schedule and who is in charge of who, etc. Please pray for Sofie as well as us as we make the adjustment. All the babies seem to be about ready to get off their bottles and eat good food. They are all pretty happy most of the time so it really is not a lot of work.
We have a NEW volunteer at Destino now — Travis Bennett came to live at Destino last Tuesday. He is such a great guy and humble and ready to be used however God leads him here. We are so glad to have him. Please pray for him as he adjusts to a lot of different things — but mostly emotionally as he has left his family, friends and girlfriend and a great job and many opportunities behind because of his commitment to obey the Lord in this call on his life. It is hard at times emotionally but his heart is set and focused on doing the will of God and I know God will greatly bless him for evey sacrifice materialy and emotionally that he has made for the sake of the gospel being preached to the poor. Pray for him especially as he wants to learn Spanish quickly so he can really dive into the ministry. Pray for us too as we pray for wisdom as to how to use him in the ministry and for direction.
We have some NEW problems at the school. Although things are going well, we are adjusting to using a NEW director. Carlos and I really have to do most of the work. But the good thing is that we are trying to get the right foundation made as far as regulations and philosophies, etc. for the school and all the ministry, and so the more things we have to confront and think out and pray out, the better we will have the right foundation laid for the future of the school and ministry here. It is hard though because I feel like every day we are having to hash out a new idea and decide on what God would want for Destino. Please continue to pray for us for more and more wisdom. We are always in way over our heads as far as any experience to draw from, but God has been so faithful to provide the wisdom that we need to do what HE desires here and not based on any man’s experience. It is really kind of exciting to see God unfold His plan from day to day.
One thing that is difficult and I need prayer for at the school is that the teachers are accustomed to schools that are completely relaxed and no supervision. I know that God wants us to have all children supervised at all times so we even hired three additional assistants to oversee bathroom breaks, etc. but the teachers just have not obeyed this (not deliberately disobeyed as much as just been lax in following this because they don’t see the need). We have 3 little boys from the orphanage in the next village and they have been victims of much abuse and now have become sexually aggressive. I can just imagine how Satan would love to have us be lax and have something happen at the school where the government would investigate the supervision, etc. Please pray for this problem. We have now told the teachers that we will be checking sporadiacally and if a child is not with his class, we will write up his teacher and it will go on their record. We hate to be so mean but it really is necessary in this case. Thanks for praying.
We have some NEW candidates for teachers from the US for this next year. I am so excited although nothing has been firmed up yet in the plans. Please be putting the word out to teachers you think may be interested because we would like about 5 in total for this coming year and we have 3 possibilities right now. Thanks for praying for this too. I would like to know in the next few months so that we can plan for the upcoming school year.
We have had to make some NEW rules for Erick and Eduard. They are so precious and helpful at times but we realized through some problems this past week that we have not really held them very accountable to be disciplined and responsible in a lot of areas. We had a conference with them and were confrontive but loving with them. I was again amazed at these two teenage boys — they cried, and were so repentent and just hugged us so hard afterwards as we prayed for them. I am so grateful for them but please pray for them now at this age when they really need to learn discipline in their lives so they can become all that God wants them to be and will be able to have good jobs some day and be responsible. We told them that they may get kind of mad at us in the next few years but to remember it will be all because we love them so much and want to make sure we don’t fail to train them in the way they need to go. Thanks for praying for them.
Praise God we got all the AWANA money for the children in AWANAs. We took their sizes for their t-shirts yesterday and have already bought most of their manuals. The problem right now is that we have a smaller group coming because of the coffee harvest so most of them will get their shirts in February after harvest and when they can come back regularly to AWANAs. Thanks for all you did and for your prayers. This is such a great opportunity to reach about 200 with the good news of Jesus Christ and to train them in memorization of His Word.
Martha is headed into a NEW life. She will be leaving in about a week and we ask you to pray for her as she will be on her own for the first time in her life. She moved straight from her mom’s home into my supervision 5 years ago and now she will be going to nursing school and having to find work, etc. I am just praying that God will surround her with people to encourage her. Please continue to remember her in your prayers. This is a sad time for her but she knows it is God’s plan. She feels like these children are her own so it will be a painful parting for all of us. Also we need to find a NEW Christian lady to take her place and help us with the kids every day. Please pray for God to clearly lead us to the right person.
Thanks for praying for our NEW discipleship class on Thursday nights. It is going great. We have about 15 young people and they are so hungry to really get strong in the Word of God. One young man, Trino, has been with us a long time but just recently has been just bubbling over with the Word of God and wants to talk about it all the time. We think he may be called to preach because he interrupts Carlos during his preaching a lot of times with his ideas and really can’t hold back. Carlos said that he is patient because he was just like that when he was first getting in the Word — other pastors had to be patient with him too.
Please pray for us tomorrow. We need to confront one of our ladies on some things about her work here and need to give her a hard warning. Our concern is that her two teenage sons just accepted Christ and have begun to grow spiritually at Destino and we feel like that satan would like to use this situation to make her quit or become embittered against us and this will affect her sons. Please pray that we can be loving in our confrontation and restorative so that things will just get better in every way and she won’t react in a way that harms’ her children’s spiritual growth. Thanks for praying.
Pray for us as we are finalizing the teachers’ contracts. You would not believe all the work this is for Carlos. He has been going to offices everywhere trying to figure out what is the right thing to do and what they are entitled to by law and what we have to do as a private school, etc. The problem here is that no two attorneys give the same answer, neither does the Department of Labor so we really need wisdom from God. We have to do these next week so thanks for praying for us.
Thanks for praying for us personally as leaders at Destino. There is so much going on and so many decisions to make daily and we need to never neglect our time in the presence of God or we will miss His will and guidance and wisdom. It is tempting to run out the door without spending time with Him sometimes when the day is really busy but that is really when we need MORE time with Him, not less. Also pray for Carlos to continue to walk strong and full of faith even though he has so many burdens in his own personal life at times. Pray for me to be more aware of any pride that is in my life. If there is even an ounce of pride in my life in any area, that is an area where God cannot use me and I want to know where he needs to humble me more. I especially notice this when someone misunderstands us or believes lies about the ministry and I want to go out and defend myself, but I need to rest in the Lord and trust our reputation with Him. There will always be jealous or embittered people that want to destroy our ministry but God is bigger than them all and will accomplish what He has started. The other area of prayer that I need is for my mouth. A few days ago I made a comment to a neighbor (neither gossip nor negative) but just a comment. It got repeated to her son who repeated it to Carlos and it sounded like a criticism. We worked it out but I realized that just the smallest unnecessary comment can be misconstrued and cause problems. I was reminded of the warning in Matthew that always scares me to death, that in the judgment every CARELESS WORD will be judged by God. That is quite a scarey thing for someone that talks as much as I do. It didn’t say, gossip, negative words, complaining or criticisms but “careless” words — that is something I need to work on and just like it says in James — the tongue is a fire but a small little spark from the tongue can burn down a whole forest (or take down a ministry). Please pray for me in this area. Whew — what a hard thing for me and I praise God that he wants to change every thing in our lives that is not absolutely pleasing to Him. THanks for your faithfulness to pray for me always and for the kids and Carlos and his family and every aspect of this ministry. We are so blessed to have you behind us.
Love in His faithful unchanging GRACE,