Sunday, January 31, 2010
An Unexpected Change in Direction
It's been almost a year since I've been back in the States. My physical health has seen a little improvement, though it still hasn't been possible to get much funds to treat my ailments. I've been making do with what I've had, working some gigs here and there to make money (hasn't been possible to get a full-time job yet due to my condition), and praying and waiting on the Lord. He has had mercy on me, though, and has brought me to a good local church and allowed me to meet many like-minded believers with a passion for evangelism. So ever since last August, much of the free time that I've had has been spent out on the streets handing out tracts, witnessing to people, and open-air preaching with my brethren. Praise the Lord!
Still, however--despite this glimmer of sunlight in the midst of the storm--one night several months ago I found myself on my knees, fighting sadness, confusion, and despair. My heart was in Peru; I missed my country of brith and my dear family in the Lord. I desperately wanted to return. In utter frustration, I cried out to God, asking Him why He hadn't opened the doors for me to go back. I wrestled with God, and finally He gave me the grace to lay on the altar several things in my life I had been holding on to, Lima being one of them. Humbled and broken, I let these things go and sought for His will and not my own. It was immediately afterward that I remembered a missionary couple I knew who lived in Mexico, and the thought entered my mind that I could possibly join them...in Mexico! This was followed by a joy and peace that I had not experienced in a long time, and a couple verses of Scripture that popped into my mind, which exhorted and encouraged me to look to Christ and trust in Him.
I continued to pray about this, and eventually contacted my missionary brethren to let them know, and they prayed about it as well. We trusted that if God was calling me to go He would provide and allow me to visit them to discover if this call to Mexico was really from Him.
And so He did...and about a week ago I flew down to Guadalajara to spend six days with them. It was a real blessing to say the least. I followed them around the city as they ministered in the streets, plazas and markets through evangelism, in house Bible studies, and with their local congregation. I had a blessed time of fellowship with them.
Josef and Lina Urban have been in Mexico for more than two years, planting seeds of the Gospel all throughout the country. They have recently moved to this big, bustling city in the state of Jalisco. There the Lord led them to a local church that not too long ago experienced an awakening to the true, biblical Gospel. They're solid in their doctrine, and the pastor and elders are godly men with a desire to radically conform their lives to the Word and be led of the Holy Spirit. It's amazing to see how passionate many of the brethren are for the Lord and for evangelism. God is clearly working in the hearts if this congregation.
If I could sum up my time in Guadalajara in one word, it would be, "unexpected". It turned out to be an unexpected blessing--I honestly didn't expect to have such an enjoyable time with my missionary brethren, to be so like-minded with them in doctrine and vision, to meet so many wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord, and to see so many doors for evangelism and ministry open up right before my eyes. And even though, prior to my visit, I was still in my heart holding on to my dream of immediately returning to Peru, I have felt an unexpected peace about staying in this city instead, as long as God wants. He's given me a burden for the people there, especially for God's elect. On top of this, I may even be able to receive the necessary treatments for my condition there, as alternative treatments are more numerous and less expensive in Mexico than in the States.
So, God willing, I will be going back real soon, hopefully in a month or so. I'm praying that God would continue to prepare me spiritually and provide the financial means for me to get there. The cost of living is relatively cheap, and I've already looked at a couple possible rooms for me to stay in. I trust that He will make a way for me to live there.
Please pray for me, and for Guadalajara. It's in one of the most Catholic areas in all of Latin America, and there is little to no Gospel witness in this great city; most people have not even heard or understood the Good News of the Savior. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few! Please pray for laborers, and consider going! And if you can't go, please consider giving. Your generous gifts will help fulfill the Great Comission. The Lord bless you and keep you.
For more info about the ministry I'll be working with, please visit:
Here are some pics of the trip: