¡Hola Hermanos y Amigos! (Hello Brethren and Friends!)
There is nothing more horrible than the grip that Satan has on so many in our world today. Sadly, due to this fact, many will spend an eternity with him in hell’s fire. What a terrible thought! On the other hand, there is nothing more exciting than seeing Satan lose his grip when people turn their lives over to a much more powerful Master, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is WONDERFUL to see Satan lose his grip and to see sincere and honest souls now gripping Jesus’ hand. Thankfully, we have been able to see, many times first hand, this happen several times here in Guatemala.
In a recent update and newsletter we mentioned some conversions and said we would send more information later. Time has slipped by and the later became even later. So, in this message we are going to update you on some of the growth in the Lord’s church. We say some because our update only covers those which are in some way affiliated with our work. We know of other congregations who have seen additions as well. We thank the Lord for his overall additions to His Kingdom.
We have been blessed to see several added to the church and specifically to our family at Linda Vista. We’ll start with the most recent and work our way back.
A couple of Sunday’s ago Oneida Martinez was baptized into Christ. Oneida is the girlfriend of Jonathan, the kid (now adult) that we and other members took in off the street several years ago. As a result of the sin of fornication, she is now expecting a child in the upcoming weeks. We are thankful that Jonathan repented and has every desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Oneida, even though she was not a Christian, thankfully, had the same desire. So, we began studying with her and with her mother. So, it was a joy to see her die to herself and to be washed clean by the blood of Christ. Lord willing, Jonathan and Oneida will marry in the near future.
A few Sundays back, Oneida’s mother, Milvia Velasquez, made the decision to become a Christian. We were a little surprised that she made this decision before Oneida but nonetheless we were very glad. She is a very quiet lady and appears to be very serious minded. We are thankful that she’s now a child of God and pray that she can be an example that will lead her other family members to the Lord. We ask that you pray that also.
We were also privileged to see Rodrigo Aguilar obey the gospel. Rodrigo’s mother and grandmother are faithful members at Linda Vista. It kind of reminds you of Timothy’s situation that Paul mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5. How powerful the influence of a mother and grandmother can be. Byron had the honor of baptizing Rodrigo. This was very special for him as we have watched Rodrigo grow from a baby to where he is now.
Please do not forget to say a special prayer for the congregation at Linda Vista and for all these new Christians.
2015 Future Preacher’s Camp (FPC)
This year we hosted our 2nd Annual FPC. For those who may not be familiar with an FPC, let us quickly explain what it is. An FPC takes boys 13 – 19 (ages vary) and introduces them to the life of a preacher. Hopefully, this is just enough information to make you look forward to more information about the camp that will follow within the next few days. We promise that a few days will not turn into a few months.
In this message our focus is the highlight of the camp when six campers put their Lord on in baptism. This was the most joyous moment of the entire week because we think we all would admit that a very important step to becoming a good preacher is first of all to obey the
Lord yourself. The campers who were baptized came from different congregations. One of
them, Alejandro Diaz, came from the Linda Vista congregation. Three of them, Alex Cahuec,
Juan Choc and Cesar Choc came from the ITL church plant in San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz. The fifth one, Bryan Kelvin Lopez, came from the church in Playa Grande Ixcan, Quiché, eight hours north of the capital city. The sixth baptism was Christian Gonzalez, from the church in Carolingia in Mixco, near the capital city.
Words can never really express the emotion of seeing a soul come to the Lord. The emotion of seeing six come at the same time is even harder to express. We ask you to keep all six of these young men in your prayers. Please pray that God will use them and that the enemy will stay away from them. We pray that they represent six future preachers for the Kingdom in Guatemala.
2015 Lectureship and Graduation
The Lord blessed us with a great 2015 Lectureship and Graduation. You may remember reading about it in a report sent a few months back. However, the highlight of these events was to see several respond to the Lord’s invitation on that Sunday morning after Eric Owens from Decatur, Georgia, preached an excellent lesson. Of these responses, two came forward with the request to be baptized into Christ.
Vivian Santizo Ovalle, who was visiting with a group from Salcajá, Quetzaltenango, was one of those individuals. She had been studying previously with the preacher from that congregation, Alfredo Guillermo Poz. It was a joy to see Eric immerse Vivian for the remission of her sins. Just recently, we received word from Salcajá that she is still faithful to the commitment that she made at her baptism.
The other individual is a young boy by the name of Daniel Fulwood. He and his mother, Opal Fulwood, came to be with us from the Plaza church of Christ in Sumter, South Carolina. He had previously been studying God’s word with some of the brethren in Sumter and was touched by the Word and made his decision in Guatemala. His mother was so excited and everyone present was excited with her. We hear that Daniel went home on fire ready to serve the Lord.
Another precious soul that was added to the Book of Life during the lectureship is Dulce Ixcol. As a small child, Dulce, her mother Ana Judith, and her brothers attended the services at Linda Vista a few years back. The family fell away with a major stumbling block being Dulce’s father, who is an alcoholic and also unfaithful to Ana Judith. Thankfully, Ana Judith was restored to the Lord’s church. Shortly afterwards, during the first day of the lectureship, Dulce became a Christian. What a joy to see the little girl that we once knew now turning into a beautiful young lady and more importantly a child of the King.
Our first ITL graduating class planted a new work in San Cristobal, Alta Verapaz, about 3 1⁄2 hours from Guatemala City. Since then, we have seen two other congregations established as a result of the San Cristobal work, one in Las Pacayas and the most recent one in Santa Cruz.
The church in Las Pacayas has seen three conversions that we will share with you in this report. The information was shared with us by brother Abner Ramos, one of our graduates, who is now the full-time minister for the church there.
Several months back Abner reported the baptism of Vilma Esperanza Cal and Gladis Cal. The family at Las Pacayas welcomed these new sisters with open arms. We know the angels in heaven rejoiced and welcomed them also.
More recently, we received news about the immersion of Anibal Cis. He is the husband of one of the sisters, Carmela Cal, who is already a member of the Lord’s body there. How exciting it is to see families being united in their walk with Christ.
Please keep Abner and his new bride Mercedes in your prayers as they work with these new babes in Las Pacayas. As in every one of these occasions, we solicit your prayers for strength and growth for the Lord’s work in that part of Guatemala.
We will close this report by saying THANK YOU for your love and interest in God’s work here. We know you are praying for us and for this we are eternally grateful. Please continue to lift the work in Guatemala before the Father’s throne. Lord willing, you will be hearing very soon about some of the other major events that have happened over the past quarter.
We have included pictures of each event so that you can put faces with names as you pray for us here. Please let us know if you have any difficulty viewing it.
¡Los amamos con el amor de Jesús! (We love you with the love of the Lord!)
Byron and Snezana
“Teaching the CENTRAL MESSAGE in CENTRAL AMERICA!”
To see the report with pictures, please click here.