Setbacks and Blessings
I wrote our last prayer letter when everything was looking good. We were just starting a new Grupo de Impacto and had seen some positive results. Well, since then we hit a brick wall in the ministry here.
We had started a new group in the Medinas’ house, but after a good initial turnout, the attendance dwindled down to nothing. We have decided to suspend the group in their house for a few weeks while we regroup in that neighborhood.
In the group in the Carters’ house, we had seen what we thought was a good core group. That group dwindled down to two adults. Needless to say we were pretty discouraged.
At that point we were feeling somewhat like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We were questioning ourselves and our ministry, but we weren’t questioning God. We realized that God wanted to teach us more humility. And we began to pray more.
A month after hitting that wall, we can say that God has been working in lives and in our ministry plans here.
This last week we opened a new Grupo de Impacto in our home. We had eight adults from our neighborhood come out for our first meeting. The exciting thing is that all of the adult guests except one were invited by Eduardo. He continues to grow spiritually and desire to share the gospel with many of his friends.
One of the rooms of Eduardo’s house burned up, which turned out to be a great blessing. Huh? Yes, as a result, his wife, Maria del Carmen, and his older son Eduardo Jr. have begun attending our group. In fact, I’ve started a Bible study with Eduardo Jr., who suffers from severe fear issues. The first time he came to my house he was trembling, but I’ve become his new friend, and he’s really enjoyed our Bible study. Please pray that God would free him from the greatest fear, which is to face God at the final judgment without Christ (Hebrews 10:31). God has also allowed me to start a new Bible study with a whole family in Taganga. They have been very excited about the study. Please pray for Howard, Stefania, Nelson, and Gladys.
Perhaps the most interesting development in our plans has been the new goal to launch with public Sunday services on December 5th. We had not wanted to pursue that goal for a while because we didn’t feel ready. But God has used the setbacks to help us see that Sunday services will help us spiritually and culturally as well. We have talked to a local Christian musician who is going to be helping us with the music. Now we just need to purchase the needed startup equipment and determine where we will start meeting. At this point we are considering the upstairs hall of our office building, where we think that at least 30 people would fit. We just need to talk to Joaquin, the owner of the office, to see if that would work.
Making contacts in Santa Marta
When we came to Santa Marta in February, we didn’t know a single person. By God’s grace we’ve been able to make contacts with many people here. How have we made these contacts? The best way has been by simply being friendly. The other day we were in Homemart (like Lowe’s), and I made a comment to a lady about how cute her two-year old was. That led to meeting her brother-in-law and her husband. They invited us over to their place, and we began a new friendship with them. Another great place to make friends has been at the small pool where Lucas and Eliana have swimming lessons. I just befriended Jesús and Carmen through our conversations at the pool. In each of these cases, we’ve had a chance to share the gospel with these people, praying that God would bring them to salvation.
Our coworkers here in Santa Marta have been doing pretty well. Alfredo’s health has improved, and he is in the United States this week for a conference on expository preaching. We thank God for both the Medina and Carter families. We would definitely struggle without them here. We rejoice to see how we are so different but so unified in our ministry vision and friendship. We also want to thank you for your partnership in the ministry here in Colombia. Without your faithful prayers and giving we would not be here.
Our kids have started up their new school year. Lucas is in 4th grade, Eliana in 2nd grade, and Marcos in “preschool” (okay, he actually just plays with his “busy box” or gets into trouble). They have been enjoying this year’s Sonlight curriculum, with its emphasis on American history. Both of the older kids have improved their swimming greatly, and Lucas wants to start back up with Taekwondo in November. Marcos has entered a difficult (ornery) stage but still shines through with moments of great cuteness (like when he joyfully learned the word “hot dog” last week). Holly’s pregnancy continues to go well. Please pray for our kids’ spiritual and social development.
Serving Jesus in Santa Marta,
Jonathan, Holly, Lucas, Eliana, and Marcos Boyd