Saturday, December 5, 2009

Birthday Present From God

As most of you know, yesterday was my birthday. I had the opportunity to celebrate my birthday in the Jungle of Iquitos. I had a good day with my new family here in Peru. We went out to eat at a North American restaurant here called the Yellow Rose of Texas. Not only was it nice to eat some North American food but it was refreshing to spend some time out with my family here.

Apart from this something very surprising happened, I would call it a birthday present from God. I had taken a mototaxi back home by myself (The motortaxis are basically motorcycles with a two to three person cart welded onto the back). Once we arrived back to the church the driver turned around in his seat and asked me if i went to the church. I told him yes and that I was a missionary here in Peru. Immediately after that statement he asked me, "I have a desire to know and feel the presence of Jesus Christ but I just can't." He also told me of doubts that he had been having of whether or not there is a God. I had the opportunity to share my story and encourage him to seek God deeply in prayer. Also had the opportunity to pray with him. I'm not sure what came of it but I know that God put him in my path for a reason.

For me this is the greatest birthday present one could ever receive, being able to tell and share of the love and presence of Jesus. This experience has refreshed me and shown me again why I am here in Peru. I'm here to serve and to love the people of Peru. Please pray for Miguel (Taxidriver).

Sermon In Padre Cocha

Today I would like to post my first Spanish sermon. Last Thursday we went to a town called Padre Cocha. It’s across the river and a little deeper into the Jungle. First thing in the morning we went to the bay and boarded a boat. From there we crossed the river and arrived at Padre Cocha. We spent the whole day there inviting people to come to our presentation at four that night. At the presentation we had about 150 kids and 50 adults, a very good turn out for a town of only 3,000. We first did a drama then I preached a message. I’m going to post the Spanish sermon then the translation in English. I’m doing this for two reasons. One so that I can remember this milestone in my life and two so that you all can see the progress I have made in the language.

Primero, estoy agradecido de que yo puedo estar con ustedes en su Pais. Me gustaria comenzar con oracion.
First, I’m glad that I can be here with you all in your country. I would like to start with prayer.

Dios, gracias por este dia, el dia que Tu has hecho. Nosotros estamos aqui para un proposito. No solamente para pasar un buen rato, pero algo mas profundo y importante. Estamos aqui para conocerte, especialmente ellos de quienes no han escuchado de Jesus o no le conocen. Gracias Señor, por favor abre nuestras mentes y nuestros corazones a lo que tu quieres que sepamos. En el nombre de Jesus. Amen
God, thanks for this day, the day that you have made. We are here for one purpose. Not only to have a good time, but for something deeper and more important. We are here to know you, especially those who haven’t heard of Jesus or those who don’t know Jesus. Thank You Lord, please open our minds and our hearts to what you want us to know. In the name of Jesus. Amen

Me gustaria contra un poco de mi historia. Mi nombre es Gary, soy de Los Estados Unidos, mi estado es Ohio, y mi ciudad es Lima. Yo acepte a Cristo cuando tenia 8 añitos. Hasta la edad de 15 yo mantuve una relaion constante con Dios. Yo leia mi Biblia, oraba a Jesus. Yo tenia paz y felicidad en mi vida. Mi vida era comleta con Dios.
I would like to tell you all a little about myself. My name is Gary, I’m from the United States, my state is Ohio, and my city is Lima. I accepted Christ at the age of 8. I maintained a constant relationship with God until the age of 15. I would read my Bible and pray. I had peace and happiness in my life, my life was complete with God.

A la edad de 15 yo sali de mi relacion con Dios. Era un proceso largo sobre mucho tiempo. Yo estaba ocupado y yo abondone a El Señor. Mi vida consistia de ganar dinero y vivir para mis ganas y todas las cosa que ofrece el mundo. Lentamente, cosas malas comenzaban a entrar en mi vida. Durante ese tiemppo, me sentia vacio y miserable. Yo queria cambiar pero no podia.
At the age of 15 I left my relationship with God. It was a long process over much time. I was busy and I abandoned the Lord. My life consisted of earning money and living for my desires and all the things that the earth offers. Slowly, bad things started to enter into my life. During this time, I felt empty and miserable. I wanted to change but I couldn’t.

Un dia vino en el cual mi papa me dijo de una mision a Mexico con mi Iglesia. Por supuesto no queria ir, pero mi papa me hizo una propuesta que no podia negar. Entonces, yo fui a Mexico y participe en la mision. Fue un Miercoles por la noche. Estuvimos juntos en la iglesia y cada persona estuvo alabando a Dios. Yo senti que Dios me estuvo llamando a arrepentirme y regresar a El. Me puse de rodillas y me arrepenti de mis pecados. Inmediatamente, en ese momento senti la paz y amor de Dios y ellos excedieron cualquier sentimiento que yo habia obtenido de las drogas o alcohol. Desde entonces yo he estado viviendo para mi Salvador Jesucristo. Su camino y su plan para nuestras vidas son los mejores.
One day came when my dad told me about a mission to Mexico with my church. Of course, I didn’t want to go but my dad made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I ended up going to Mexico and participated in the mission. It was a Wednesday night , and everyone was worshipping God. I felt so strongly that God was calling me to repent and return to Him, so I got on my knees and repented. Immediately in that moment I felt the peace and love of God and they surpassed any feeling I had ever obtained from drugs or alcohol. Since then I have been living for my Savior Jesus Christ, His way and plan for our lives are the best.

Como nosotros hemos visto en el drama, Dios quiere liberarnos de nuestros pecados. Si usted nunca ha escuchado de la vida de Cristo es como sigue. En el principio Dios creo el mundo, hombre, y cada cosa que hay en el mundo. En el principio hombre desobedecio a Dios y desde entonces hemos estado separados de Dios y su cielo (Romanos 3:23). Como vimos aca, nosotros somos pecadores y necesitamos un Salvador. A pesar de esto, Dios le envio a Su Hijo Jesucristo al mundo, para que El viviera la vida perfecta y sea sacrificado en la cruz por nosotros. El cargo el pecado de usted y yo para que podamos tener una relacion con Dios a traves de El Mismo. La unica manera que podemos obtener esta relacion es si creemos que Jesus era Dios la carne y si ponemos nuestra fe en El. Tambien necesitamos creer que Jesus murio en nuestro lugar por nuestros pecados. Dios quiere que usted se rinda y de su corazon a El. Si esta cansado de su vida, Dios le esta ofreciendo una oportunidad para convivir con El. El primer paso no es simplemente una oracion. Usted necesita colocar su fe en Jesus, pero que significa esto. Usted tiene que arrepetirse y creer la Santa Palabra de Dios. La fe es cambio de vida. Cambio de voluntad. Necesitamos colocar nuestra fe en Jesus y todas las palabras de las cuales el nos ha dejado (San Juan 15:1-6). Aqui vimos que si nuestras vidas estan cambiadas, habra cambio de voluntad y forma de vivir. Si usted quiere arrepentirse y comenzar la vida de nuevo, arrepientase y reciba bautismo.
Like we have seen today in the drama, God wants to free us from our sins. If you have never heard of the life of Jesus, it’s as follows. In the beginning, God created the earth, man, and all that is in the earth. In the beginning man disobeyed God and since then we have been separated from God and His heaven (Romans 3:23). As we see here, we are all sinners and we need a Savior. Despite this, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the earth so that He might live the perfect life and be sacrificed on the cross for us. He carried our sin so that we might have a relationship with God through Himself. The only way that we can obtain a relationship with Him is if we believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and if we place our faith in Him. Also we need to believe that He died in our place for our sins. God wants you to surrender yourself and give your heart to Him. If you are tired of your life God is offering you a chance to live with Him. The first step isn’t simply a prayer. You need to place your faith in Jesus, but what exactly does that mean. You have to repent and believe the Holy Word of God. Faith is change of life and change of will. We need to place our faith in Jesus and all the words which He has left us (San Juan 15:1-6). Here we see that if our lives are changed, there will be change of will and change in the way we live. If you want to repent and start your new life, repent and receive baptism.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Impressions 12/1/09

We had a long day of travel on Thursday 11/19/09 from Arequipa to Lima, Peru. We flew to Lima and arrived at night. Once we had arrived we unpacked and met almost all of the Peruvian 40/40s. My fellow missionary Daniel had not arrived until the next day. The first night was very awkward mainly due to the language barrier and the silence. We spent three days in Lima building our new relationships before heading off to Iquitos. We then left for Iquitos on 11/22/09.

Today marks the start of my second week here in Iquitos. We arrived on Sunday the 22nd. The first thing I noticed is how much more uncivilized the city is. There are dirt roads and the houses aren’t as modern. I will attach some of the photos on this blog. As for the weather it is very different here. Wild, would be the best word to describe it. It’s always hot and humid and it rains about every other day. It’s nice when it rains because it cools down quite a bit. As for the people, they seem to be very friendly. Also they enjoy conversation. One thing that I have noted is that there is much spiritual need here in Iquitos. Drugs, alcohol, sex, you name it and there is an abundance here. The people here need hope. To me they look like prisoners walking around without a reason to live. Please be in prayer about this.

Right now my schedule is as follows. Monday through Friday we have Devotions in the morning at 6, breakfast at 7, then classes at 8 until 12pm. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we have practice at our churches. Each pair of 40/40s has their own church that they attend on these days. My friend Daniel and I attend the church Madre De Dios. It is right in the middle of an area that appears to be in desperate need of the Gospel. During these days we will be discipling people, preaching, and reaching out to the community, all to prepare us for the real deal in Pucallpa where Daniel and I will be planting three churches.

From here I thank you all again for following my progress here in Peru and ask and encourage you to continue praying not only for me but also for the other missionaries here. Thanks so much.

James 3:1-12 The Tongue

Today we’re going to look at the importance of controlling the tongue. I believe that this is one of the hardest subjects in the Bible. Many times we let our feelings or hurts get a hold of what we say. We need to learn the importance of a controlled tongue.

(v1) TEACHING: Obviously not everyone is called to be a teacher. However, those who are called to the teaching position (here in reference specifically to a spiritual teacher) are called to a much higher level of obedience. Here we have a warning of a stricter judgment to come for those who are spiritual teachers. We need to realize, if we are in a spiritual position of authority, we are called to a higher level.

(v2) WE ALL STUMBLE: It’s obvious that we’re all sinners. Here it is stated. “We all stumble in many ways...” However the man who does not stumble in what he says is perfect. Perfect: (Teleios) brought to it's end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, perfect, that which is perfect, full-grown, mature, adult, of full age. We see that the man who has a controlled tongue is able to control the rest of the body as well. Controlling the tongue is a sign of strength.

(vv3- 4) POWER OF THE CONTROLLED TONGUE: James here compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship. The ship is so great but the rudder is what controls every movement. Let’s recognize here how powerful the tongue is. Not only this but the effects of a controlled tongue. If we can control our tongues we are capable of controlling our entire body as well.

(vv5- 6) DANGER OF THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE: The example that has been left to us is that of a forest set ablaze by one small flame. The tongue is compared to a flame set on fire by hell. Although the tongue is small it can do great damage. One word can completely destroy the life of another. If we don’t realize the power that our tongue holds we won’t be as prone to controlling it.

(vv7- 8) RECOGNIZE THAT I CAN’T CONTROL MY TONGUE: Here we see that every specie of animal has been tamed and can be tamed by man, however, no man can tame the tongue. We need to rely on the Lord. He is the only one that can sanctify us and help us to control our tongue. He is the only one that can subdue the “deadly poison” of the tongue.

(vv9- 12) RECOGNIZE THE INCONSISTENCY OF THE UNCONTROLLED TONGUE: I love this part of Scripture, James compares the inconsistent tongue to a river of salt water and a river of clean water. A river cannot be both clean and salty. If there is but a small bit of salt in the river it is not clean water. The same goes with us. “With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse me, who have been made in the likeness of God.” What hypocrites we are. It shouldn’t be like this. We need to control our tongue. Let’s ask the Lord today to help us.

CONCLUSION: Today has been a difficult section of Scripture for me. Being on the field It is very easy to become annoyed with others and I am not always careful with what I say, however, God is calling you and I to control our mouths no matter what the situation is. “God, help us today to control our tongue, and control what we say. Help us to treat others for what they are, children of God. Lord thank You for Your Word, thank You that we can know truth. Help us today Lord, we love you. Amen.