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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last Church Service

Friday night was my partner and I's last church service in Belen. The services will continue with the help of Belen's mother church, as well as one of the leaders in Belen itself. Dalila and I will simply no longer be involved in all of the day to day decisions with this church plant.

It's so exciting to see how far Belen has come, how much the members of the church have grown in their faith and their love for God. At the same time it was very sad for my partner and I to have to say good-bye. We have vacation for one month over Christmas and will be coming back to Iquitos. However once we come back we will be working on 2 new church plants at the same time in different areas of the city. Therefore while we may be able to visit occasionally, we are essentially done in Belen.

The last service was beautiful. We celebrated together the work that God has been doing over the past 8 months and said goodbye to our friends and church family. The house was absolutely packed full... I'm sure in the United States it would have been considered a fire hazard, haha. It also happened to be Nely's (the owner of the house where we hold services) birthday. So at the end of the service we celebrated her birthday with her. A couple of days before members of our mother church came and repainted the main room of her house and installed a better light for her. It was a really special day to be able to do something like that for Nely. Also at our last service one of our church members, who happens to be a carpenter, gifted us a podium. It was such a blessed and amazing surprise.

I am so proud of the little church in Belen. I will miss being able to be a part of their daily lives, but am so blessed for the times that I was able to share with them. For how much they have helped me to grow and learn about myself as I worked to help them grow and learn more about our Father. Thank you for your continued prayers for this new church and these new Christians. We have been blessed more than you can know by your prayers.

Dios le bendiga.

Pastor Antonio painting.

Last service

Alfredo with the podium that he made and surprised us with on the last service.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Watching new Christians Grow

We are approaching the end of our time working in Belen. I can't believe how fast time has flown by! Belen will not be left on it's own, rather our Mother Church will continue to work with this church plant to continue to help the church and the people grow. But Dalila and I will be done working on our first church plant of Belen on December 10th, just a little over a week away.

Slowly we have watched our contacts grow in their faith and strength in Jesus Christ and as Christians. It has been an amazing journey so far.

Gradually during the church services we have worked on encouraging the members of the church to participate. This is their church after all. From leading a prayer, to leading the songs, to taking the offering, or just helping set up or take down the chairs. They have done an amazing job, and have really grown in their confidence.

On Sunday we had baptism's for the second time. The missionaries and the 3 church plants in the city (we have 2 groups of guys planting churches outside of the city) were in charge of putting on a service and directing the day in general. We had our "Praise Ministry" from Belen come up to lead the worship time. Our Praise Group consists of the majority of the youth in our church. There were 9 youth ranging from 10 to 18 years old that led the worship time. They did such an amazing job! I was so proud of them.

Last night for our Prayer Service we decided to have the members of the church not only participate, but direct the service as well. They did pretty much everything while my partner and I just sat back and watched. We have a recent addition and blessing to our group, and that is a brother named Alfredo who has been in the Nazarene church for years, and recently moved to Iquitos. He decided, rather than to go to one of the more established churches, he wanted to be a part of Belen's congregation and help us out. It's a huge answer to prayer and blessing from God to now have this leader in our church. He has even worked in helping plant churches in the past. Alfredo preached last night.

It will be very hard to leave this still baby church in just 10 days... but I know that God is in control, which means this group is in great hands!

It is such a blessing to be able to be a part of this journey, watching so many brand new Christians grow so much in just a few months.

 Our "Ministerio de Alabanza" = "Praise Ministry"