Here we are in May of 2014! It is unbelievable how this year has gotten away from us. Yet, we are very thankful for the all the blessings God has showered upon us. There are many things that have occurred since our last report, so there is no way that we are going to be able to get it all into one newsletter. So, please be looking for several newsletters/reports over the next few weeks that will bring you up to date with the work in Guatemala and with many other happenings in our ministry and personal lives. We hope they will encourage you.
We would like to begin by sharing with you the good news of some of those who have made the commitment to follow Jesus. Let us begin with the new additions to the church family at Linda Vista.
During our 5th Annual ITL Lectureship, four people responded to the invitation on Sunday morning, March 16. The first was Maria Martinez. This sister in Christ was first introduced to the Gospel several years ago, while Francisco and Erminia Ramos (Alpha class) were still members at Linda Vista, prior to coming to ITL to study the Bible. Maria is Erminia’s sister-in-law. Francisco and we studied with her and her family for several months, but she never obeyed the Gospel. She attended a denomination off and on and last year began to attend the assemblies of the church of Christ at Linda Vista. During this time, Maclovio Calderon (Beta class, Saturday program) and others of us visited her in her home to offer her the Gospel invitation once again. She said she would think about it. That is why it was so encouraging to see her walk down the aisle after Eliezer Perez (Beta class) finished his sermon and offered the invitation that Sunday morning.
The next two are Elmer Martinez and Jasmine Hernandez. Elmer is Maria’s son, and Jasmine is his girlfriend. Elmer was present on several occasions when the Bible studies were conducted in his parents’ home, but often would choose to play soccer instead. He was interested in Christ, but worldly pursuits had his heart. Both Elmer and Jasmine began to attend the assemblies with Maria at the end of last year. It was encouraging to see how his interests had changed. Both of them came forward seconds after his mother responded to the Gospel. It was heart-warming to see the three of them in front of the audience ready to confess Jesus as Lord and to be baptized for the remission of sins.
The fourth baptism was Roberto Valladares. Roberto lives in Jutiapa, about three hours from Linda Vista. He was at the lectureship because a few days earlier Anibal Ramirez had received his contact information from Anne Milstead, a World Bible School teacher in Arizona. Anne got in touch with Anibal because Roberto had expressed to her his desire to become a Christian. After calling Roberto, Anibal explained to him about the lectureship activities taking place at that moment and that he would try to make a visit to Jutiapa shortly after the activities were finished. However, Anibal invited Roberto to come to Linda Vista if he was able. It was great to see Roberto arrive that Sunday morning all the way from Jutiapa! He was ready to put on Christ. He, too, responded to the invitation and was among those who became a Christian that day.
Please pray for these four new souls who have committed their lives to the Lord. Pray that they will grow in their faith and will become active members of the Lord’s kingdom. Especially pray for Roberto, who lives so far from Linda Vista. He is currently worshiping with a small congregation of the Lord’s people not too far from his home. Maria, Elmer and Jasmine have been attending the Linda Vista services and are maturing in their faith.
During the lectureship, Benny Montejo (Alpha class), served as one of our translators. He made the most of the opportunity and invited some friends to attend the event, Silvia Chavez and two of her children, Bryan and Melanie. Benny knows Silvia because he works with Silvia’s oldest son, Carlos, better known as Charlie. This was the first time that Silvia and her children attended anything related to the church of Christ. We remember seeing them getting out of the car as we arrived Saturday morning, March 15th to the church building. After the day was over, Silvia and her children were so excited about the lessons they had heard and what they had experienced that they went home to tell all about it to Charlie, who had to work that day. On Sunday, all four of them were there! Charlie got so excited about what his family told him that he requested the day off and came with them. Benny was able to establish a regular Bible study with all of them and on Wednesday morning, March 26, he sent us a text message so that we would be at the building that evening at 6:00 because the four of them were ready to be baptized. Several of us had the honor of witnessing their new life in Jesus!
Please keep Silvia and her children in your prayers and join us in thanksgiving to the Father for their decision to obey the Gospel. They are making efforts to grow in Christ and to become more and more involved in the life and work of the church.
It is so exciting to see how God works in the lives of people who are searching for the truth and for a relationship with Him. We pray that you, too, will continue to reach out to people because we never know who will respond to God’s call. If you are not a Christian, we pray that you will give Jesus the opportunity to change your life!
God bless each of you! Thanks for reading this report and be looking for another one soon!
To see the report with pictures of the various events, please click here.