As some of you may know, Derick's grandpa passed away last week. Thank y’all so much for praying for us and for all the encouraging words. We miss “Paw Paw” a lot. We had just talked with him a couple of weeks before he passed. Thank you for your continued prayers for the other family members and us, including his wife of nearly 62 years. We are comforted knowing that Paw Paw is with Jesus (& Derick’s dad, Rick) and we will see him again one day
Although the past few days have brought sadness to our hearts, we’ve also had reason to celebrate, since Israel turned 2 years old just a few days ago! We celebrated over the last few days as a family and then yesterday with friends from church. We had about 20 of Israel’s friends come to the “hospitality house” (the home the ministry we work with is letting us stay in) for snacks, fellowship and a piñata.
Like I (Jill) mentioned in our last update, we had the privilege of working with a short-term team from the states for about 2 weeks. The ministry we work with sends down several teams a year that each have different focuses. This team’s focus was women’s ministry. Several ladies from the states come every year to put on women’s conferences, as well as do evangelism and ministry. Some of the areas we helped in were the children’s ministry, evangelism and Derick helped lead team Bible study times. It was an exciting time having the team here and also meant lots of long, fruitful days and travel.
On one of the recent home visits with the team, several of the ladies and I were able to talk with one young momma (her little boy and Israel are about the same age) who used to come to church but has since stopped coming. We were able to clearly present the gospel and explain to her that “being a Christian” isn’t about just “praying a prayer for God to take you to heaven,” being a “good person,” or even going to church every week. We shared our testimonies and reiterated that being a Christian is about asking Jesus to be the “Lord” of your life (letting him take control) and also asking him to be your Savior (take you to heaven one day). She was very attentive to what we shared; yet she wasn’t ready to commit her life to the Lord since it would most likely cause strain in family relationships. Please be in prayer for Velma that God will continue to soften her heart.
As a part of our ministry here, we have become more focused on youth ministry in our local area. Many times, if the hearts of the young people aren’t directed toward Jesus at an early age, they will turn to the violence or street life. We have had many opportunities since we have been here to come alongside the local church in reaching out to the youth and being a part of their lives. Derick has been able to preach and encourage the youth who are Christians to share their faith. He has also been able to teach ESL classes a couple of times with a few guys and do some math tutoring. Last weekend we joined the youth for a special outing to the beach. Derick has also continued to build relationships by playing basketball and participating in tournaments in the local square.
Israel and I made Easter/Resurrection Day cookies that we shared with people in the community along with a gospel message. It is common here in our area for people to focus on the suffering of Jesus and lose sight of the hope that we can have through salvation because Jesus rose again. We wanted to highlight this important reality this last week on Easter Sunday.
The pregnancy is going well thus far, as we make it into the home stretch now. Little “Samuelito” (as the locals call him) sometimes wakes mommy up at night now with his active kicking. We look forward to returning home soon to prepare for the birth (before we can’t fly anymore!).
Please be in prayer for:
-Brenda: a young, Christian momma with a 2-year-old little girl. Her husband left her after her health declined due to a brain tumor that came back right before their baby was born a couple of years ago. She is awaiting a call from the hospital any day now (as soon as a bed is available) when she will go in for her brain surgery…she doesn’t know what her outcome will be. She has been told she could die, be in a permanent comatose state, or not be able to speak.
-A young momma from our area who just lost her husband 2 days ago to kidney failure. They have a 2-year-old little boy.
-Continued wisdom and open doors in our work with adults and youth affected by violence.
-Our continued health.
-More fellowship opportunities with local women in our home (Lord, willing I will meet for fellowship and Bible study with some ladies the middle of this week.)
-Follow-up with people who have heard the gospel and softened hearts.
-Israel is back to normal after a somewhat scary 5 days of him running a fever and not feeling well. (Thank you to those of you who sent comforting and encouraging messages our way!) We were also blessed by one of our local friends bringing us a meal during this time.