HeartCry Embracing the Lepers of San Pablo
February - March 2000
Statement of Purpose The chief end of all mission work is the Glory of God. Our greatest concern is that His Name be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun (Malachi 1:11). We find our constant motivation, not in man or his needs, but in God, His commitment to His own glory and our God-given desire to see Him glorified in every nation, tribe, people and language. The HeartCry Missionary Society is dedicated to the task of fulfilling the Great Commission through sponsoring national pastors and missionaries in the foreign field.
Principles of Ministry * Every need of this ministry will be obtained through prayer. We may share our missionary vision with others and even make known to them the specific tasks which the Lord has laid on our heart to do, but we may not raise support through prodding or manipulating our brothers and sisters in Christ. If this ministry is of the Lord then He will be our patron. If He is with us, He will direct His people to give and we will prosper. If He is not with us, we will not and should not succeed. * We intend to never enlarge our field of labor by contracting debts. This is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the New Testament. In secret prayer, God helping us, we will carry the needs of this ministry to the Lord and act according to the direction that He gives. * We will not compete with other biblical mission agencies, but use the resources that God has given to us to work in partnership with them. If the Lord directs, we will sacrifice our own goals and resources that other mission works may be helped and the Kingdom of God increased. * In meeting any need, those of us who are supported financially by this ministry will be the first to sacrifice all things necessary for the will of God and the advancement of His Kingdom. * We will not measure the success of this ministry by the amount of money given, Bibles distributed or national missionaries supported, but by the Lordâ€™s blessing on the work.
HeartCry Magazine A ministry of the HEARTCRY MISSIONARY SOCIETY EDITOR, Paul David Washer ASSOCIATE EDITOR, Rosario Washer MANUSCRIPTS, Rita Douglas PRODUCTION, Kingâ€™s Publishing
In this Edition Page 12
4 From the Director. The lepers of San Pablo - they are precious in Godâ€™s sight.. 5 Testimonies from San Pablo. Triumphant testimonies from the Christians in San Pablo. 10 Under Construction. You are helping the lepers with the construction of their new Church building. 12 Testimonies from the Andes. Faithfully serving God in the Mountains of Piura.. 20 Being a Good Steward. Testimony of conversion and Ministry.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.â€? Matthew 28:19-20
HEARTCRY MISSIONARY SOCIETY
From the Director
They are precious in Godâ€™s sight. The pastor and deacons of the Baptist Church in San Pablo with HeartCry director Paul Washer. Left to right: Pastor Horacio Mori Valera, Paul Washer, Ladislao Ruiz Paima, Marcial Isuiza Lomas, Cecilio Diaz Chumbe. Eight hours down the Amazon River from Iquitos, lies the village of San Pablo. There is nothing remarkable about the village that would set it apart from any of the other hundreds of villages in the basin, except that for as long as anyone can remember it has been la colonia de los leprosos - the leper colony. For decades the colony was off-limits to any person who was not afflicted with the dreaded disease, but in the last several years it has been integrated with a generation of the leperâ€™s healthy children and other river people who have no problem living side by side with the unclean. Last year, missionary and good friend Andy Large from Canada, talked to me about a struggling group of believers among these lepers of San Pablo. As he spoke about their need for a church building, there was a stirring in my heart. After only a little praying, it seemed right to me that HeartCry should begin to help them. A few months past, I made a journey to San Pablo, to meet the believers personally. We traveled several hours down the river and arrived almost two hours after nightfall. Upon docking, I felt hurried by the Lord, to waste no time in inquir ing the whereabouts of the church and setting out immediately. I discovered that we were not far away and so with gear in hand we set out for a short walk to the dilapidated building that looked more like an old run down cattle barn than a
church. As we walked in and took our seat in the back, the leaders of the Church were standing before the people with their heads down praying. This of course, was not unusual, but the content of their praying was nothing short of miraculous. I stood in amazment as I heard them offering thanks to God for the help that had been sent from HeartCry and praying that God would send us to visit them so that we might see their great need. When the old men finished their prayers, they looked up and saw us standing there. With tears in my eyes I spoke from the back of the old building and said God has answered your prayers. The communion that followed was beyond words. How can I describe to you the joy on their faces and the love in their hearts for you who have help them. Of all the privileges the Lord has given me down through the years, I count this to be one of the greatest. This is what missions is all about. How glorious heaven will be in the presence of God and in the fellowship of the saints made perfect by the blood of the Lamb! How sovereign and mighty is our God! How omnicient and loving! He sees the sparrow fall and the leper pray. He begins to answer the prayer, before it is even offered.
Paul David Washer
Testimonies from San Pablo
Pastor Horacio was leading prayer when we arrived at his church. When he opened his eyes, he saw that God had answered his prayer before it was asked.
HeartCry missionary Franciso Laos demonstrates that Christ’s love knows no barriers. In Christ there are no untouchables.
Pastor Horacio Mori Valera
Ladislao Ruiz Paima
I am 68 years old and have been single all my life. I have been pastoring the Church God is Love in the town of San Pablo for almost 15 years. It was founded on August 11, 1947 by six lepers who were Baptists. That same year, when I was 16 years old I was converted here during Sunday School. The man who led me to Christ was also a leper. He is still alive at 85 years old and lives here in San Pablo. I visit him often, because I can never forget his kindness towards me. My favorite verse is from Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them.’” This verse is very special to me, because as a Leper, life is difficult for me and very restricted. I cannot come and go like other people, but I do my best to serve the Lord with the life He has given me. People who are not sick like me, should use every day of their life to serve the Lord and to do His will. For one day they will grow old and feeble and be limited in what they can do in the Name of the Lord. Many of my fellow lepers who were also brothers in Christ have gone on to be with the Lord. They died with the testimony that they served the Lord to the best of their ability. We should all follow their example.
I am 56 years old and have been a Christian for 24 years. I was converted in Leticia, Colombia. I was a smuggler who traveled between Peru and Colombia carrying black market gasoline and other illegal goods. I was also an alcoholic. I was very wicked. I slept during the day and was awake during the night. One day I became very sick and was in the hospital for more than three months. All my friends abandoned me and I was truly alone in the world. When I was strong enough I traveled back to Colombia. One day while I was in a store in Leticia, a woman looked straight at me and said “Friend what is your problem.” I answered here with a great deal of anger and said, “Leave me alone can you not see that I am a leper.” She smiled at me and said yes you are a leper, but I have the remedy for what is really wrong with you. When she said that, I changed my attitude towards her and asked her to show me the remedy. She invited me to a group in her house and showed me great hospitality. She shared with me the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was very moved in my heart and repented of my sins and believed in Jesus as the Savior. I immediately returned to San Pablo and joined the group of Christians who gathered there. At that time the pastor was Jorge Lozano. He was one of the most mutilated
and deformed man I had ever seen. He was blind and deaf and one of his legs was gone. But he helped me and others grow in Christ. With great effort, he would speak to us and we were able to understand him. He knew many things about God and he worked tirelessly for the cause of Christ and the welfare of the lepers. He has now gone to be with the Lord and is very happy. From the time of my conversion until now, I have tried to serve the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. My favorite verse is Romans 1:16, because when I first came to Christ many of my old friends tried to shame me into returning to my old ways of sin. To all the Christians who hear my testimony, I would like to say thank you for helping us build our Church building and for providing Bibles for the believers who have none. Please pray for our Church that we will be able to finish what we have started and that we will be faithful to minister in the Name of Jesus.
Cecilio Diaz Chumbe I am 52 years old and was converted when I was 16. When I was seven years old, my parents noticed that I had leprosy. I know they loved me very much, but in those days there was only one thing they could do. One morning they put me in our canoe and we traveled together to the Leper Colony of San Pablo. It was the saddest and most frightening day of my life. They paddled the canoe as close to the shore as possible and then they put me out (It was illegal for anyone without leprosy to land on the island). I cried as they paddled away and left me alone on the island with the monsters. I was terrified when I saw the monsters coming towards me and I was even more terrified because I knew that one day I would be like them. Gradually my fear went away, when I saw that the other lepers where kind to me and saw how they took care of me. Brother Horacio, who is now the pastor was only 23 when I arrived at the colony. He was very kind to me and took me to Church with him every Sunday. During the week I lived with 20 other children in a small orphanage run by nuns from Canada. They were good to me, but they never shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with me or told me how I could be saved from a disease much greater than leprosy â€“ sin. One day at Church I heard the preacher preach on John 14:6. The truth that Jesus was the only way stuck in my mind and I could not stop thinking about it. That day I was converted. Soon I was given a Bible and began to learn about the way of Christ. Now I am one of the four leaders here in the church of San Pablo. All of us are lepers and we have not received any seminary training. But the Holy Spirit is faithful to teach us through the Word of God. We are praying that God will soon raise up other leaders, because we are growing old and tired. Also, as lepers, it is difficult for us to minister and evangelize. But nevertheless, God is faithful and we desire to reach out to others. God is good and we hope to reach our entire village with this message. We have even begun to do mission work in other villages in hopes of evangelizing the lost and bringing them to Jesus. We have formed many groups of believers, but each has need of a Church building.
Marcial Isuiza Lomas I am 81 years old and have been a believer for 49 years. I became a follower of Jesus here in San Pablo during an evangelistic campaign. I had just been diagnosed a leper and had just arrived in San Pablo. I had never heard about the Gospel before and the moment they told me what God had done for me and I decided to be His servant. I decided that I would serve Christ until the very last day of my life and work beside my other brothers in Christ preaching the Gospel in the jungles of Peru, Colombia and Brazil. We worked together â€œstubbornlyâ€? in the harvest of the Lord and He has granted us the privilege of starting churches in 10 different villages throughout the jungle. Today I am limited in the work that I can do since I have lost much of my eyesight and cannot see well enough to preach as I did before.
Amelia Bardales Cordova I am 60 years old and have been a believer for 43 years. When I was 17 years old I married a believer and he took me to Church every time the doors were open. Nevertheless, I was an unbeliever and very rebellious to the Word of God. I rejected anything that had to do with the Gospel. But one night during a revival meeting my husband introduced me to the preacher that was going to preach. He took one look at me and then looked at my husband straight in the eye and rebuked him for marrying an unbeliever. Then the preacher looked back at me and said without any doubt, “Tonight you will receive Christ and become a believer.” I became very angry and said to him that I had only come because my husband wanted me to and that I was not going to receive anything that night. But during the preaching, I read John 5:24 and John 3:16 and they would not leave my mind. I asked a lady sitting next to me what it meant to believe and have eternal life, and if the verse meant that the believer would never experience death. She told me that the believer would die physically, but would never die spiritually. At that moment, it seemed to me that I was hearing two voices inside my head. One said, “believe,” and the other said, “do not believe.” During the invitation, the believers sang, “ I have found a friend in Jesus,” and the words seem to help me overcome the voice in my head that told me not to believe. That night I received Jesus just as the preacher said I would and since that moment I have lived my life for Him. Not long after my conversion, my husband died and I was married again to pastor and missionary Jorge Lozano. He was terribly deformed and mutilated by the leprosy that ate his body, but he was a servant of Christ like few others. We constantly traveled through the river and jungles preaching the Lord Jesus Christ and encouraging His people. Jorge has now gone to our Father’s house in heaven and I am once again alone. I hope to hear from my Father soon, so that I may also go home.
HEARTCRY MISSIONARY SOCIETY
Pastor Jack Russell of the Waldo Baptist Church, standing before your building project in the leper colony of San Pablo on the Amazon River. Last year, missionary and good friend Andy Large from Canada, talked to me about a struggling group of believers among these lepers of San Pablo. As he spoke about their need for a church building, there was a stirring in my heart. After only a little praying, it seemed right to me that HeartCry should begin to help them. In the picture at the top of the page you can see the old building surrounded by the new walls that we are building around it. Once the walls are finished, the old sanctuary will be taken down and the roof will be constructed. It is amazing what can be done will so little. Up to this point the project has cost us under $1000. On finishing we will have spent under $4000. Throughout the country of Peru, Romania, Moldova, Nigeria and Zambia the circumstances are the same. There are hundreds of places where believers are congregating, restrained in their growth by improper facilities. This can be remedied by small building projects that range in cost from $1000 to $5000. It is often debated in missions as to whether or not a building is necessary for a congregation to grow and minister to its people. It seems strange to me that this issue is never
debated here in the United States! We clearly recognize the need and many times go beyond the need in order build extravagant facilites that look more like shopping malls or civic centers than churches. The building which we construct through HeartCry are usually one room shells that can seat about 100 people. In the urban areas, we build with cement and brick, but in the rural areas, adobe (mud brick), wood and tin roofs are used. Except in extremely poor areas, the wood and adobe are provided by the rural Christians and HeartCry provides the tin roof. The Lord has been gracious to help us throughout the years. In each step that we take, the Lord graciously meets our needs and we rejoice that one day all will be completed to the Glory of God and the benefit of His people. After we finish this work in the village of San Pablo, we will pray and begin another project in another area. At the present we have more than 10 other congregations on the waiting list. Seven in the Amazon Basin, three in the mountains and coastal regions of Piura and one in Nigeria.
Paul David Washer
When was the last time you thought about the rest of the world? â€œFor God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.â€? John 3:16
Testimonies from the Andes From the top of a tree a young man signals to the believers working in the fields that the missionaries have arrived and a special service will be held. There has been tremendous growth among the churches in this area of Peru. In the last 10 years, the churches in this mountain region of Piura have grown from 85 to 530. The movement has now cross over the Andes and is reaching into the high and lower jungles to the east. The leader of this movement is HeartCry missionary Angel Colmenares. The following are testimonies from brothers who have been trained by brother Colmenares and who work together with him in the evangelization of the mountain peoples of Piura.
“They danced and screamed, jumped in the air, and fainted on the ground. They talked more about the devil than about God the Savior. They acted confused and crazy and did not behave as men sent from God. Most importantly, they did not know the Word of God or how to explain it to others. But when you and your preachers came to us, their words entered into our hearts and we understood the message. We knew that it was God’s Word and because of this we profess Jesus.”
Roman and Avelina Castro The following is a heartwarming testimony from HeartCry missionary Daniel Colmenares about Roman and Avelina Castro. They are an elderly couple who live in a small rural village outside the town of Sullana, Peru. They were converted under Daniel’s ministry and are under his care. About two years ago we came to the people of La Noria outside of Sullana carrying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each week, we began our meetings with Christian music written in the Peruvian folklore tradition in order to draw a crowd and then we would preach the Gospel and show an evangelistic film. Among the people who always came to hear us was an elderly couple in their eighties – Roman and his wife Avelina. The first evening we gave an invitation to accept Christ, they made a profession of faith. After I counseled with them, they invited us to begin a Bible study in their house in order to share the Gospel with others. They told us that they were glad that we were coming to their town because we preached the Bible and explained to the people what the Word of God really says about salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They said that others had come before us, but they would not go out to hear them because they knew they were not from God. With great amazement they described these preachers:
Since they have begun to walk with Christ, both Roman and Avelina have grown quickly and because of their faith they have become very well known among the people of La Noria. They preach to everyone about the Gospel, repentance from sin and faith in Christ, but until now everyone has rejected their message. They are truly a testimony to the people of their village. Brother Roman does not know how to read and so his wife Avelina reads to him from God’s Word and from other study materials that we give them. This is not an easy task for her since her eye sight has become very limited and she can only ready the material that is printed in large letters. We now have open air meetings every Friday and Sunday in La Noria, and after each meeting we have services in the home of Roman and Avelina. They are extremely poor, but they are very generous. Every time we go to their house, they receive us with their arms open wide. When we are not able to go they are very sad and miss us. They tell us that they cry when we do not come, but they are filled with joy when they see us coming across the desert with the Word of God. Their gratitude towards us is enough to motivate us to preach the Gospel always. They say we are special to them because we brought them the Gospel of Jesus Christ before they died, and because we teach to them the Word of God that is in their own words, “full of the greatest riches of God and more important than anything else on the Earth.” Many times when I have knocked on their door, I have found them reading their Bible together. They have decided to give the land beside their house to build a temple for the preaching of God’s salvation, so that others may be saved by the good message of God. Please pray that we may one day establish a Church there. Also pray for Roman and Avelina’s health. They are both very old and feeble with many trials on every side. Nevertheless, they are strong in the faith and the work of the Gospel.
Demetrio Diaz Cubas I was a terrible alcoholic and was famous in Chatoja for my drinking and my ability to fight with a knife and a machete. I carried a knife on my thigh, one inside my shirt and a machete was always tied around my waist. One could say that I had dedicated my life to drinking and fighting. All the people were afraid of me and I made their life miserable. When I drank in the taverns, the people in the town would go into their houses and hide because they knew that I would cause trouble. I was a crazy man. If someone passed by me and did not greet me I would draw my machete and threaten them with their life. If someone even looked at me wrong, I would threaten them and challenge them to a fight. One day I beat up five men with my fists in the plaza and another time I wounded seven men with my knife. Because of my fighting I was taken many times to the police station and thrown in jail. Every time I went to jail I would cry out to God from the prison and tell him that I would serve Him, but when I left the prison, I would not obey. Instead, I would drink, become infuriated and take revenge on those who pressed charges against me. I thought about my need to obey God, but I was never converted. Many times I had terrible nightmares about my sin and the judgment of God. I once had a dream about two demons that were bragging about how they would destroy me through the liquor that I drank. Another
time I dreamed that I was in a valley and the rocks from the mountains were falling on me. I cried out for God to save me and immediately a believer appeared to lead me out of the valley. Once we were clear, I did not repent, because I wanted to continue in my sin. At that moment in the dream I looked and saw one of my family members who was in hell. I awoke terrified and trembling. I said, to myself, “Now I will repent,” but still I did not repent. Finally, one day the people of the town decided to put an end to me and the terror I was causing. They came together and made plans to capture me and kill me. They knew it would be difficult to trap me, because I was like a wild animal, and they were afraid to come near me. One day when I was drinking in town, all the men of the town waited outside the tavern. They knew that after drinking, I always slept under a large tree outside the village. Some climbed the tree and waited for me. Others hid behind houses and fences near the tree. When I awoke I saw men with ropes men running towards me and dropping out of the tree. Before I could react, I was tied with several ropes around my head, body, arms and legs. Then all the people of the town beat me with sticks and boards and kicked me and dragged me around the town with the ropes. They beat me until I looked like a monster. Then they dragged me to the river, covered me with rocks and left me for dead. Finally they all returned to the town rejoicing that I was dead and their problems were over. When I awoke, I could not move and it was difficult to breath. My body was covered with rocks and one side of my face was submerged in the stream. I could only breath through the one side of my mouth that was not under the water. When I came to my senses I knew that I was going to die. I began to cry for help, but no one was there. I do not know how, but I managed to crawl out from under the rocks and through the night I crawled all the way to my house. When I arrive, the police were there and they immediately carried me far away to the jail in Tarapoto. For three months I laid in jail unable to move and with no medical attention. I was the only son of my father and so he gave some of his cattle away to the authorities so that they would let me go. When I was freed from the jail, I determined to get revenge on the people who had tried to kill me. When I returned to town the people were very afraid. They thought that they had killed me and that I had returned to them as a demon. I found my knives and decided that I would kill them all. First, I went to the tavern to drink, because when I was drunk I had more courage to fight and was not afraid to die. When I knew I was ready I went out in the street to fight, but no one was there. So I returned to my home like a crazy man, screaming and cursing as I ran down the street. The liquor made me lose my mind and I was like a crazy man. I began to destroy our house in a fit of rage. After I settled down, I began to come to my senses and realized that my life was a complete disaster and that my wife and children were suffering greatly because of me. There I cried out to God, “If you exist please come and change my life.” I began to cry. I knew my wife was a believer and that she was praying for me. I had heard her many nights praying
and crying out to the Lord for me and my salvation. I could bear no more and I gave my life to the Lord. When I was converted, no one could believe it. They thought it was all a trick and that I was attending church only to gain their confidence and then I was going to kill them. The unbelievers said that God could never forgive a man like me, but I believed that God could forgive anyone who repented with all their heart and believed. I was sincere and wanted to change. I had a great fear of God, because I knew that what my wife said was true. She told me that unless God gave me the faith to believe in Him I was doomed, without hope and destined for hell. I was sincere in my repentance, but the liquor was strong. One month after I repented, I fell. I gave in to my old friends who were always coming by my house and inviting me to drink with them. I left the church and returned to my old ways. Then one night not long after I fell, I entered the church drunk and heard the message. I was very drunk, and many of the brothers did not want to let me in. They were afraid that I would cause problems. But other brothers told them to let me in to hear the message. That night the message entered my heart and I reconciled myself to God. When I arrived at my house, my wife doubted my sincerity, but after the liquor wore off my wife could see that I was sincere and she rejoiced. My children also rejoiced and said to me â€œWe are happy papa, because you are not going to be a drunk any more. Is it true? Is it true?â€? That was one year and eight months ago and since that moment I have been walking with God and have not fallen. Now my life has changed and I only want to serve the Lord with the rest of the years that the Lord will give me. I thank God, my wife and the brothers in Christ that have helped me. I now know that what is impossible for man, is possible for God. Even though the people cannot understand what God has done for me, I am convinced that Christ lives in me. They still make fun of me but not as much as before, because they can see that Jesus has changed my life. I pray that God will give me wisdom to understand His word so that I might preach to people who do not know. In my house I tell people about God and His salvation. I know that I am a new believer and that I do not know much, but I am convinced that God has saved me. If it had not been for His mercy, I would have died.
Seneda Castillo Castillo I was saved when I was 12 years old, but my testimony is not as I wish it were. I met my husband when I was 18 years old and my family moved from Ayabaca to San Martin. He had just been set free from the jail, was an unbeliever and a drunk. He wanted to marry me, but I told him that I was going to return to my people in Ayabaca and would not return for two years. He said he loved me and that he would wait for me. After two years I returned to Ayabaca and he was still waiting for me and not much later we were married. What I did was wrong and I spent many years paying for my
disobedience to God. It is never right for a believer to marry an unbeliever. When a believer marries an unbeliever it is like living among thorn bushes or inviting the devil into your house to live with you. I had to learn to bear with all the sins of my husband and all the temptations that he put before me. I was always sad because I had ruined my testimony and could no longer serve God. For five years my life was miserable. I had to accompany my husband when he was drinking so that he would not be angry with me. One night I went to bed crying and praying to God that he would help me in spite of my disobedience to Him. That same night I had a dream that my father and all my family was worshipping God in the temple, but I was far away in the darkness and could not see clearly the path that would take me to where they were. When my father came to me and extended his hand for me, I could not take it. When I awoke I realized that I was living in darkness and that I had to leave the darkness and return to God. That morning, I confronted my husband and told him that I was Godâ€™s daughter and I had to serve Him. I told him that he was not going to make me drink with him or his friends. I did not care what he would do to me or what his friends would do to me. I was not going to sin any longer. I also told him that we were both going to have to stand before the judgment throne of God and give an account for our sins. That he could do what he wanted, but that I had to prepare myself for that day. I was going to serve the Lord
As the years passed my husband became more and more lost in alcohol, and my children and I suffered greatly. He would come home drunk late at night and would not allow us to sleep and would frighten the children. Whatever he found in the house he would throw it at us. The only thing I could do was pray to the Lord that He would give us peace to bear it all. He was my husband whom I had chosen. I had to bear with the decision I had made. My only hope was that the Lord would change him some day. I constantly asked the other Christians to help me in prayer, but many people told me that he was never going to change and that I should leave him. I thought about divorcing him several times, but I always repented and asked God to help me. After all, the whole thing was my fault in the first place. If I had obeyed God and His Word from the beginning, I would not have been in this problem. I was an adult and a Christian when I married him. I knew that it was against Godâ€™s will, but I disobeyed. As the Bible says, I was tempted when I was carried away and enticed by my own lust. When my lust conceived, it gave birth to sin and sin was destroying my life. I was simply harvesting the sin that I had sown. I knew I had to remain faithful until the Lord moved on my behalf and changed my husband. Finally one day the Lord heard my prayers and changed the life of my husband. Now we are walking together and we are praying that we will never walk away from Him on the bad path. We want to follow God with our children all the days of our lives. I know that Satan will always be putting difficultes and trials before us on the path, but we only need to go before God on our knees so that He may give us peace. Demetrio and Seneda with their family. Another example of the gracious power of God in salvation.
Question: Through the annals of history how many lives and families have been saved through the gracious work of God in salvation? Answer: Can the stars in the heavens be counted or the sands on the shore be numbered.
Segundo Garcia Cordova I want to tell you about my life and how I have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. I was born in a Catholic family and my parents were very dedicated to Catholism. They were always making celebrations in our house for the virgin and the saints, and offering gifts to the statues that were often kept in our house. When I was 17 years old, the believers began a church in our village of Matalacas and began to preach to our people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the believers began to preach the Gospel to us we compared their message to our Catholic Bible. We did not study in order to learn, but only to contradict what the brothers were preaching. When they preached outside in the plaza we would stand there and try to contradict everything they were saying. We accused them of being the false prophets and false Christs that would arise in the last days according to Matthew 24. I know now that we were the ones who were false prophets and deceived. Each time after the believers preached they gave us tracts to study. We took them home and studied them not to learn, but to contradict. Finally, one day the believers came to our house to preach to us the Gospel and they spoke to us about our idolatry. Afterwards we challenged the believers and asked them if they were brave enough to smash the images of the saints we had in our houses. They said they would, but we warned them that the saints would punish them. The said that our images were nothing but wood and that only Jesus was the Lord of lords. They smashed our images to pieces and the saints did nothing to them. We realized then that the images of the saints that we were told to revere were nothing but a deception. On the 25th of December, the believers invited us to their church for a special preaching service. We went, and they
received us with joy and kindness. Even though it was Christmas, they preached on hell and my father was converted. His life changed almost immediately. I and the rest of my family did not convert, but remained in our sin, nevertheless we did not make fun of our father because we could see that his life had changed completely. We would never bring our sin into the house out of respect for our father for we could see that he had become a man close to God. About six months after my fatherâ€™s conversion there was a Bible conference in our town and the main theme that brother Angel Colmenares preached was about how men without Christ are separated from God because of their sin. After the preaching, he asked how many people would like to repent of their sins and follow Jesus publicly. I was the first one who raised my hand. Many other people did the same along with all my brothers. We all went forward and the Christians counseled us to be sure that we were in the right way. From that moment, my entire family began to change. A few months after my conversion I turned 18 years old and I began to act proud. Finally, I turned away from the Lord and fell into sin. This made me understand that I was not saved, because the Bible clearly teaches that no one who is born of God practices sin as a style of life, because Jesus who was born of God guards him and the evil one does not touch him. For two years I lived in sin and drunkeness. I was even worse than before I had supposedly received Jesus as my Savior and Lord. My wife had truly been converted and she prayed for me constantly. She never acted bad or rebellious towards me, but she was an example of the way a Christian should be. Finally one day my wife was in the house listening to a cassette of preaching and I was in the bed drunk from liquor. In my drunkeness, I heard the preacher say that believing, godly parents would influence their children to be godly believers, but unbelieving parents would influence their children to be unbelievers. He also said that parents should raise their children in the admonition and discipline of the Lord. At that moment, I began to think of the terrible testimony I was giving my children. I claimed to be a Christian, but my life demonstrated that I was lost. I repented that day of my sins. At Christmas time, the believers once again invited me to a special service, but I wanted not only to attend but to do something for the Lord. I asked them if I could help them to buy food for the Christmas celebration and they said that they would gladly let me help. I was full of joy that the Lord would let me serve Him after I had tarnished His Name by claiming to be a believer when I was not. I publicly repented during that service and since then, my wife and I have continued to serve the Lord. After 10 years of serving the Lord in Matalacas, we moved here to Ochame in the high jungle of San Martin. On arriving here, we found a few other brothers from the mountains who had moved to the jungle carrying the Gospel with them. We began to congregate with these brothers and praise the name of Jesus. In time, our numbers began to increase and we started a church and built our first temple to
the Lord. It was very small and made of rough cut wood, but gradually we built a second one that was more appropiate for the work of the Lord. In time, the brothers asked me to be the pastor and I began to work in the harvest of the Lord. I had never been in front of the church as a leader, but I accepted the work as given by the Lord. I was the pastor, but also other brothers helped me preach and teach and care for the flock of God. Little by little the people began to convert and follow Jesus as Lord. As our church grew we associated ourselves with the other Baptist Churches in the association formed by brother Angel Colmenares. Now that we have a church we are not going to sit with our arms crossed doing nothing, It is our goal to reach the people here in this area who still do not know about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Salvation. We have started two new works in Alfaro and in Villa Hermosa. We travel there often and encourage the brothers to be faithful in the Lord. We are also praying that God will raise up a work in Moyabamba, the largest city in our area that has no Baptist church. We are also very excited about the new seminary by extension that brother Paco Laos is going to direct. This will be a great help to all of us who are in the jungle and mountains, because we need to be more prepared in the Word of God.
Juan Bautista Huaman I thank God for the opportunity to give you my testimony of what the Lord has done in my life. Before my conversion I lived in the world without Christ and without hope. I participated in the drinking, dancing and worldly diversions
that condemn the world. In 1983, the Catholic Church began organizing groups in Pacaypampa to promote the Catholic faith and they made me a leader of the worship, but one day I began to realize that hardly anyone cared about God. They only wanted to organize celebrations in order to drink, eat and dance. Because of this I decided to put the other followers of the Catholic church to a test to see if they really wanted to love God and serve Him. I organized a religious celebration. During the afternoon we worshiped God and prayed over the loud speakers, but no one came. In the evening, we stoped talking about God and put on the worldly music to see if the other Catholics would come. I was angered to see that by seven in the evening the place was full of people drinking, dancing and laughing. I saw at that moment that our religion was dead and that I needed to study the Bible to find the true faith in God. At the same time, some believers began to share with me about the Gospel of Jesus. I studied and analyzed everything they were saying to me to see if it was really in the Bible. When I was sure that they spoke the Word of God in truth, I called pastor Eugenio Cordova Pizarro who was in Matalacas to come to my house and with him I made my decision to repent of my sins and become a follower of Jesus Christ. Two months later, I left Pacaypampa without much knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Word and moved to San Martin and the village of Chatoja. I had to leave my home because my father, on hearing that I had become an Evangelical, threw me out of the house. I became very hated by him and all my family. They told me that I had no place with them any longer and that I should go live with the â€œChristians.â€? I left my fathers house crying, but I knew that I had to leave. I and my family became like Abraham in that we left our lands and families and went to a land that we did not know. I would have been afraid if I did not know that the Lord is faithful to all His promises and that before I get anywhere He is already there waiting for me. When I arrived in my new village there was no house for the Gospel of Jesus where we could congregate. So we began to pray for a pastor and a temple to worship the Lord. The Lord has answered our prayers and we now have both a temple and a pastor. We have also formed another church in a village near here named Nuevo Progreso where I am now serving the Lord. We are hated by many people, because we are serving the Lord, but the Lord Himself warned us that we would be hated by all peoples for His cause and the cause of the Gospel of salvation. I return to my family once a year and even though they hate me, I love them and share with them the Word of God. I rejoice also that one of my 11 brothers and sisters has also repented of their sin and is following the Lord. My mother says that she wants to receive the Lord, but that she is afraid of my father. I hope that all will one day join me in the salvation of God. Please pray to God for my family and His work of conversion in their lives. I love them, but they need to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus the only Savior. Please pray for them.
when I arrived in the village I realized that the fiesta was in the house of God with all the believers. They were gathered to praise God and celebrate His goodness. It was the 24th of December and they were celebrating the birth of Jesus. The pastor was Jose Camacho and he preached the Gospel to us all. The verses that he used seemed to pierce my heart and I knew that the moment had arrived when I should accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But when the pastor told us to raise our hands I felt like I had a ton of weight on my arm and I could not move. Nevertheless I lifted my right hand with my left hand, passed forward and made my public profession of Christ. Since that moment, by the grace of God, I am walking in the path of truth. I have also planted one church by the grace of the Lord and it is called New Jerusalem.
Jose Cirilo Garcia
Escolastico Pena Rojas I was converted eleven years ago and my life prior to my conversion was a disaster. I was born in Tingo Maria. My mother left us when I was five years old, and then my father abandoned our entire family not long after. Within a few years my brothers and sisters also went their own way and I was left alone. As a young child I hired myself out to a family as a worker so that I would be able to eat. When I was eleven I traveled to a nearby town to be with some of my relatives, but they soon abandoned me and I went to live in the region of Amazonas to work as a laborer in the fields. When I was 16, I returned to Tingo Maria and worked in the making and transporting of drugs between Peru and Ecuador. My life was in constant danger from the police and from other drug dealers. I had two uncles in Tingo that were Evangelical Christians, but they were not worthy of the name Evangelical because they never shared with me the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the Word of God. After a few years, I left my life of drugs behind, found myself a wife and moved here to Chatoja in San Martin. There was a group of believers here when I arrived but they did not have a temple. They would meet in tiny rooms that they rented from others. I would go to their meetings, but I was only a “hearer” of the word of God and not a “doer” like all true Christians. The brothers would always tell me that it was time for me to draw near to the Lord and be reconciled. One day I went out in the fields to work, but it began to rain and it was impossible to work. At that moment, a nephew of mine came by and said that I should go with him to the village and participate in a “fiesta” or party that some people were going to have. He was very astute in that he did not tell me what kind of fiesta that the people were going to have. So
My name is Jose Cirilo Garcia and I pastor in the church in Lomas de Palo Blanco. I have been working in the ministry for over 15 years and have helped start 14 churches with the help of brother Angel Colmanares. I will tell you my testimony of how we started the Church in Chocos. A dear brother and sister in Christ decided with me that the village of Chocos needed a church that preached the Gospel of Jesus. So we gathered our money together to rent a microphones, speakers and an old record player that we used to preach the Gospel in the park. Our first Sunday we sang and preached in the park, but only a few people listened and no one was converted. Nevertheless we were not discouraged, but we returned the following week to preach the Gospel. While we were preaching to a few people who were listening, a group of men came and yelled at us telling us to leave. They said that we had our chance to preach the last Sunday and that there was no need for us to return. They began to call us Protestants and workers of the devil. Finally they attacked us. They destroyed the record player and beat the other preacher and me with their fists and kicked us. All the while we did not defend ourselves, but we remembered the words of our Lord who said that those who are persecuted and slandered for His cause are blessed. We did not want to avenge ourselves, but the record player was not ours and we had no money to pay its owner. Therefore we went to the police and reported the action taken against us. We did not report that the men beat us, only that they destroyed the record player. We also sent someone to the coast to tell brother Colmenares and he came with a lawyer to defend our religious freedom to preach the Gospel. Finally, the police went to the town and defended us. They said that no one could stop us from preaching the Gospel. If the Catholic Church did not like our preaching they could preach on one corner of the park while we preached on the other, but they could no longer do us physical harm. The next Sunday we returned to the park again to preach the Gospel and the main layteacher of the Catholic Church in the entire area was converted and believed in the grace of Jesus. With him, his entire catechism class was converted and became followers of Jesus Christ. Now there is a strong church in Chocos.
Being a Good Steward
prayerfully and as it was intended. If God speaks to you and shows you how to be a more faithful steward in the Great Commission, this does not mean that you should give to HeartCry. He may use these words of mine to motivate you to give to another missionary organization in order that it may expand its work or because its need is greater at the present time. your brother
Paul David Washer
“The one also who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted to me two talents; see, I have gained two more talents. His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’” Matthew 25:22-23
I have been rather hesitant to write this article, because one of our greatest convictions at HeartCry is that we are to never raise money, share out immediate needs with others or prod the people of God to give to our cause. We strongly believe that if God is our Patron He will move His people to give to this ministry. Nevertheless I have been burden for quite a while about the attitude of many Christians who sincerely believe that they have nothing to give to missions. It seems to me that most believers have adopted the attitude that one must be extremely wealthy in order to have any real impact on world missions through their giving. This is simply not true. Together, Christians are a mighty Kingdom with a collective population that is possibly greater than any other nation. If all believers only gave a widow’s mite, how great would the force of their giving be? I think it would be safe to say that there would be no economic limitations to the spread of the Gospel among the people groups and nations who have not yet heard. Again, I have not written this article to raise money for Heartcry, but to demonstrate to you the tremendous impact that the “average” Christian can have on the missionary endeavor on the foreign field through their giving. Please read this, article
If you are well versed in the teachings of Jesus you will remember that there were two other men in this parable. One was given five talents and the other, one. I have purposely overlooked both of them and mentioned only the one man in the middle, because that is where most of us find ourselves. We are neither rich nor poor, overly talented or without talent. We are so to speak, somewhere in the middle - about average. There is an annoying thing about being average. You do not have enough to do something “great,” but at the same time you have just enough to be responsible. In the Kingdom of Christ, most of us are average. We will never preach to full stadiums or give lectures on the deep things of God in great halls of learning, nor will we travel to the unknown regions of the world to carry the Gospel to those who have not yet heard. We will live out our lives in anonimity, raising our families, going to work, serving in our churches and struggling to be a demonstration of the grace of God in a world that is for the most part unconcerned. Because of this, we often underestimate the value of our lives and callings. We look in the mirror and wonder what we could ever do to make a real difference in the advancement of the cause of Christ among the
the world that are hindered in their growth and outreach, because they have no place to meet. If five believers in the United States gave $2.75 a day they could build a church building for $5000 in one year that would hold a congregation of more than 100 people! Beyond missionary support, Bibles and church buildings, there are many other needs that could be met with minimal effort by a few believers in the United States and yet would greatly advance the cause of Christ. Some national missionaries use bicycles to travel from village to village, others use small motorcycles, still others make small outboard motors from old Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engines. All these things are used to carry the Gospel to the villages and people that have yet to hear. How much of the average income falls through the cracks. At the end of the month, we have no idea where the money has gone and have nothing The first thing we must understand is that it to show for it. That money, that seems so insignifidoes not take as much as you think to do much cant, could do a world of good for the Kingdom. good. Last year HeartCry supported 33 missionaries on the foreign field, distributed $12000 worth of Bibles to believers who had none, gave over $30,000 to build churches, ran its office, paid my salary and yet our entire budget was under $160,000. In some countries, a national missionary can be put on the field full time for as little as $50 a month. At HeartCry, our support for individual national missionaries ranges from $50 to $550 a month. Letâ€™s say that three believers in the United States make a committment to support a national missionary for $100 a month, what would be required? 100/30 days 3.33/ 3 men = 1.11 a day from each man. Hardback, sewn Bibles that will last for the life of the believer can be purchased for $6 to $7 a piece. These include a concordance that the believer can use to do topical studies. The concordance is necessary since it is the only Bible study tool that most believers in third world countries will ever have. If five believers in the United States each gave $1 a day they could buy 50 Bibles for an entire congregation in only two months. To build a modest building for most new works in the rural third world costs anywhere from $1000 to $5000. There are literally hundreds of works in Peru, Nigeria, Zambia and countless other parts of nations. Although we have all received so much more than what we believe, we see ourselves as the man who received only one talent, and like him we bury our talents as though they were too insignificant to matter. How wrong we are when we do not understanding that we will not be judge for the abundance of our talents, but for our faithfulness to use that which the Lord has given us. It is not the greatness of what we have been given that is important, but the faithfulness with which we administer it. Remember the widowâ€™s mite? She gave more than all the wealthy of Israel, because she gave from her poverty and not from her wealth. Remember, God does not judge our faithfulness based upon how much we give to Him, but based upon how much we keep for ourselves.
A Lot with a Little
Pray for the Nations
Paraguay Prison Ministry
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