Updates

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Come and see what God is doing in the jungles of the Amazon basin! We feel humbled and honored that He has chosen and enabled us to serve Him in this beautiful place.


People.

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People. You have so literally and powerfully taken our needs to the throne of God that we have seen and felt the effects in a mighty way. The last update that I sent out was a cry for help in praying for my Vann. He was so sick. His lungs were gurgling with every breath, and there didn’t seem to be any improvement in his days, until we asked you to pray. The very next day he turned a corner, and has been steadily improving since then! His lungs started to dry up, and he was noticeably stronger – able to work a little longer every day. We’re about a month down that road now, and he is nearly well. His lungs are clear, the horrid cough is gone, and he is at about 75% with his energy – which is amazing! Thank you so very much for lifting us up to the throne of our great God!

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The dry season has finally seemed to set in giving us an opportunity to advance on the camp and mission base projects! Vann has poured a slab for the poolside bathrooms and is working on the slab for the first camp bathhouse! All of the gravel and bricks have been delivered, not without trials – which is why we’re so grateful for some dry weather! Next, he will need to dig and build the septic systems, which have to be specifically engineered for this area, and built from scratch of course. He has also been able to put some much needed attention towards maintenance for the fences and road. Maintenance is literally a full time job for this mission base, but alas, it is still just us here, so it’s a difficult balance between advancing on building projects, and maintaining everything before the jungle takes over again!

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We have had the opportunity to serve several large groups of people here this month! We hosted an open-house style July 4th celebration with a cookout, yard games and fireworks at the end of the day with about fifty people having come throughout the day. We love our missionary/expat community!

My Peruvian mother, Aurora, brought her church’s ladies group out here for their retreat, and we just had so much fun! Nothing here goes as planned, and this day was no exception! Even though this is supposed to be dry season, storms still blow through in big Amazon fashion, and that’s what happened the night before the retreat, and all the next day. So, even in the rain, these ladies were coming to their retreat. At 8am they arrived at the highway gate. They came in a large bus, as there were over 50 people (including kids and the babysitters), and all of their food and drink and luggage for a day out. That presented a problem since the neighbors have an agreement that nothing larger than a family car or truck is allowed on the 3.5-mile dirt road between the highway and our house if it has been raining, as the heavy vehicles cause huge ruts and damage to the road when it is soft. So… we shuttled them from the highway to our house with two cars in three trips, and then back again at dark. It was more work than we usually put into hosting groups, but it was such a blessing to have them here worshipping God in our living room while the kids played in the yard and the pool – in the rain!

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The other groups have been smaller, and have for the most part had their own transportation! Small groups from church come to the pool after Sunday services, missionaries gather for impromptu volleyball tournaments, and many just come out on their own for some rest and peace and refreshment. There really is nothing like a glass of Southern sweet tea on a wrap around porch with a friend.

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Our church has celebrated another baptism Sunday! One of the girls that was baptized had just come from the neighboring youth camp in which Vann, Corynn and Ethan have been helping with every day this past week.  What a joy it is to see this church growing in the Lord!

God is doing big things like providing us with the health and finances to build this mission base. We just look at the precious faces of the nearly 200 people God has brought here just this month to be loved on and ministered to, and feel so blessed to be able to serve here! 

Thank you again for your prayers; they sustain us. Please keep it up!

"God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible." - A.W.Tozer

Contrasts.

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This month hasn’t gone like we anticipated, but it has been full of God’s blessings!        

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Ethan graduated the eighth grade with the flu. The poor boy actually fainted out at the dinner table the night before, and could hardly walk down the isle to receive his diploma, but he did! We packed up and left the next morning for a family vacation and some time in the capitol city for passport renewals and furniture shopping. The living room of this mission house was in dire need of some seating, (we’d been using our plastic porch chairs) and the Lord provided some money specifically for furniture through some dear supporters! We knew the normal cost of sofas in Lima, and started praying for a miracle. In the last store that we visited, we found two floor model couches on final sale for the exact amount of money that was given. Praise God! We should always pray expecting a miracle, and knowing that no detail of our lives is too small for God to care about!

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During those few, very cold days in Lima, we all passed the flu around, (so much fun while shopping) but Vann took it up a notch. He developed pneumonia. By the time we got to the northern coast for some time of rest, he was extraordinarily sick. He was coughing up blood, and trembling with fevers. This particular town doesn’t have a hospital, or clinic, or anywhere to go for help within a hundred miles, but they do have a pharmacy which had all of the medication he needed. By God’s grace, that helped him turn the corner. Pneumonia is no joke. What a delightful place to rest and recover with the salty air and the sound of the surf, even though we would have preferred to have our Vann healthy to enjoy our time away, we are grateful. This sickness has knocked him for a loop. We’ve been home for a week and a half, and he is almost as sick as when we got home. The massive cough and the extreme fatigue have clung to him, and from what I’ve learned, that may last for quite some time. After a couple of hours of work in the mornings, it takes little encouragement to get him to lie down. I have never seen him like this. Please pray for a quick and complete recovery!

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Even with all of the sickness during our travels, we had several opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with several people along the way. The sweetness of His love touched the lives of friends and strangers alike. We are so very grateful that He uses us in His kingdom work.

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One of the more difficult realities of our lives as long-term missionaries is having to say goodbye to so many of our fellow missionaries. Our dear friends and neighbors of fourteen years moved away recently. Their girls were ours to keep for the last couple of months, and were some of the closest friends our girls had here on our dirt road so far removed from the city. To say that they are dear friends is truly an understatement – they are family. This is the kind of suffering that is easy to be grateful for because it is an indication of much love given and received.

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On a happier note, Vann’s mom is here! She is always such a joy and an encouragement for us to have here, and we are so very thankful for the time that we get to spend together. She has gifted us not only with her presence, but also with beautiful, skillfully crafted quilts that she made for each of us! There is one for each child, (matching their rooms of course) and the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever seen for our master bedroom. It is difficult to describe the joy that we feel to be able to have heirloom gifts here in the jungle, where most things like that are part of the sacrifice of leaving our birth country. God cares so much about every detail of our lives.

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A brand new filly was born to the farm yesterday! She is so lovely, and we can’t wait to see what her personality is like! They are each so unique. We also had a small litter of three puppies born to our German shepherd this week. Needless to say, we are loving all of the babies!

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This summer we are taking the time in the evenings to listen to the audio version of Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” as a family. We listen while we each have a craft or something busy to do with our hands. This is not only a teaching opportunity for our children to learn the importance of prayer in our spiritual battles, but also a good reminder for ourselves. We’ve noticed a growing trend in our culture of trivializing the spiritual realm, and forgetting to be cautious of things that may be a threat to our families. As the saying goes, "The finest trick of the devil is to convince you that he does not exist”. We want to train our children to be sensitive and aware that our fight is not with the people around us, but with the powers and principalities of the enemy. Sure, it's a little more blatant here with witches and shamans in every village, but it exists everywhere. We must remain vigilant. Thank you all for your prayers for us. Please keep lifting us up to the throne of Grace.

·      Please pray for Vann’s health, for healing and strength so that he can get back to all of the base projects and work that is weighing so heavily on him.

·      Please pray for our house helper Milka’s health, and for her husband’s salvation.

·      Pray with us for the salvation of some of our dearest friends and some newer ones.

·      Please pray for Aurora’s family – their motorcar was stolen this week.

·      Please continue to pray for Felipe’s hand –  of which he still has very limited use.

·      Praise God for healing and strengthening me more and more!

·      Praise God for His provision in furnishing this mission house!

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 This month seems like it’s been full of contrasts. Sickness and health, loss and new life, rest and battles, jungle and desert, family and strangers that feel like family. There is so much beauty and depth in contrasts, and our great God is in control of it all! All for the glory of His great name!

"The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness." – Oswald Chambers

Grace.

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As we’ve just celebrated Mother’s Day and school is coming to a close this month, I am feeling a bit nostalgic, and finding myself in the midst of the ongoing battle of anxious thoughts. Will my children succeed in life? Will they love Jesus more than anything or anyone? Will they be strong adults when they leave our nest? Will they turn out okay in spite of all of my failures? Am I demonstrating a grace-filled life? Not only to our children, but also to the MANY children that have come through this house this month, and as delightful as they are, it is a significant responsibility that we feel to leave a Christ shaped image in their minds and hearts.

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A Godly pastors' wife once said; "As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible." What a sweet truth. God is trustworthy and good. He will love those around us through us, and He will do the work of drawing their hearts to Himself.

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We had the privilege of hosting our friend’s 13-year-old son from Lima for his vacation time! He spent his days working with Vann, and enjoyed time with Ethan after school. What a delightful young man he is, and he has such a teachable spirit! What an honor to be trusted with a dear friends’ child.

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We belatedly celebrated Ethan’s fourteenth birthday this month with a houseful of middle and high school boys. There were just enough of them to play a fun and muddy game of baseball, as well as an entertaining game of “Watch ya mouth”. Hilarious!

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The kids have been looking forward to Field Day all year, and absolutely killed it! They are amazingly talented children, and we are blessed that they have Godly teachers that are willing to pour into their lives.

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Vann began the preparations for the building of the Petra Camp bathhouse for the girls’ side, but the rains set in heavily this month, and progress in the back forty has had to wait. In the meantime, our thatched shed roof was in such disrepair that all of the woodshop tools needed to be covered in tarps between uses because the rain just came straight through! Vann reroofed it with corrugated tin, which will last much longer than the five years that the thatched roofs lasted, and is less of a fire hazard. What a relief to have all of the big tools that the Lord has provided for this mission well protected! During the very rainy days and weekends Vann has been so diligent in continuing to whittle down the to-do list for the house. Although, I’m starting to think that those will be ongoing projects as homeowners!

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We are excited to be able to devote more time to missionary care these days! There’s always something new to do with differing needs to be met. One missionary needed to be pulled out of the mud as he was attempting to reach his property in a completely undeveloped area. There was a leaky kitchen sink to be repaired, and an emergency makeup tutorial session before furlough, among the notables. Also, we helped our neighbors to get all packed up and ready for a last trip out to the tribe before their furlough. Prayer meeting was hosted here again, and it just gives us so much joy to see this house used as a house of prayer and fellowship!

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The children helped us celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary this month with a beautiful dinner on the front porch! They are so darling. I have now been married longer than I was single!!! (That didn’t take very long. ;) It has been such a blessed life, and I am so very thankful to look back and see all that God has done, and hopeful for the future, knowing that God is in control!

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Please pray for Felipe, one of our tribal brothers. He has not been able to work for the last couple of weeks due to injuring his hand while using a machete. We took him in to get an X-ray to see if he broke it, but there are no obvious breaks, and no clear answers yet for what is wrong. Please pray for healing for him.

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Thank you to those of you who faithfully hold us up in prayer. There is a tangible although invisible battle going on over the missions and missionaries in our area of the jungle, and we need to remember to live as victors while never ceasing to pray. Thank you also for your generous and faithful support for this mission. God is good, and He is doing great things!

“The cross is the lighting rod of GRACE that short-ciruits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”- A.W. Tozer

Hospitality.

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“God has made forks and spoons, pans, pots, and plates weapons of war against the darkness.” –Chad Ashby

When God called us to build a mission base, He was serious about putting it to use! You know the phrase “If you build it, they will come”? Well, we’re building it, and they’re coming! We moved into the mission house exactly a month ago today, and in that time we’ve not had a single day of living here by ourselves! We have had the great honor and pleasure of caring for the children of a German missionary family while their parents are on a month-long mission to a village many days travel away. These kids are so very kind and polite, and are an absolute joy to have here!

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A week after we moved in, a visiting missionary family came to stay in the newly vacated garage apartment for several days. It was a joy to have them here and to finally be able to house people in beds, and not only on mattresses on the living room floor! Also, to have the kitchen and dining space to easily serve fourteen people is such a sweet pleasure!

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We have recently had the distinct honor to be able to relate to, and counsel another missionary family that has recently gone through a scary trauma. The Lord has graciously brought them through their ordeal safely, and we are excited to see all of the ways that they will continue to be used for the advancement of the Kingdom here in the jungle!

The Lord is working to bring other tribal, church-planting missionaries to live here on this mission base. The talks have begun, but the “devil is in the details”! Please pray that God would work out all of the details so that His will is done, and that those that come here would feel His love for them in tangible ways as we serve them.

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My mother was able stay here through the middle of this month, maxing out her 120-day tourist visa, and having completed her longest stay here yet! She was such a huge help as she sanded and oiled all of the dinning room chairs, painted windows, and sewed all of the bedroom curtains, all while doing all of the dishes and laundry for this crazy, busy household! What a blessing!

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Our Ethan is fourteen years old! He is growing up tall and handsome, and strong and kind. He cares about doing things in a way that pleases the Lord as he grows in His grace and strength.  We are so blessed to be his parents and look forward to watching what direction he goes in his life.

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April also brings with it the anniversary of our church here in Pucallpa. Thirteen years this year, and still going strong by the grace of God! We love this family of believers, and are praying that God will make a way for us to have a new and bigger church building soon!

The remaining projects in the house are soon being relegated to “weekend projects” as Vann is happily moving on to the long awaited project of developing the camp ministry. We are very grateful for the input of some of our dearest friends and neighboring mission leaders in the planning of these beginning stages, helping us plan the placement of buildings and infrastructure.

 A huge thank you to our faithful supporters who are sticking with us through these years of building this mission house and base. We know that the Lord is using us for His glory through this process, and walking with us. He has done great things, and we can’t wait to see all that He will do!

“Grace is the hospitality of God to welcome sinners not because of their goodness but because of his glory. We owe our eternal life to grace, and grace is God’s disposition to glorify his freedom and power and wealth by showing hospitality to sinners” –John Piper


Blessed.

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We’ve moved in!!! March 22nd was our first night sleeping in the house, and the next day the cavalry came to help us move. We have the best friends ever. The house is still a work in progress, but there will always be projects to be done around here. Everything is livable and beyond. It feels so luxurious after ten years of sharing a room with five people to have our own rooms, and more than one bathroom in the house. Soon we’ll actually have the closets outfitted with shelves and a place to hang up our clothes! It’s the small things, and it’s the big, beautiful space in which we now have to host and serve people. And none too soon! Next month we will be housing two precious missionary kids whose parents are out in a rural village for a few weeks while the girls continue their schooling here. What a blessing this house is and will be, Lord willing, for many years to come! A very special thank you to all of you precious people who had a hand in helping with this project, from those who sacrificially gave, to the ones who traveled so very far to lend a helping hand, to our beloved neighbors who have helped out in some of the most needed times. We are so very grateful!

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We were so excited to be able to host prayer meeting here on Vann’s birthday this month! Our precious friends and neighbors blessed us so tremendously by praying over us, and asking God’s blessings on this mission house and base.

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It was a joy for us to be able to host the Quinceñera  (!5th birthday party) of a dear friend of ours, along with the 150 people that attended! This mission base is a blessing in so many ways! To God be all of the glory!

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Corynn has begun her driving lessons in our old, faithful Chevy truck. It astounds me that we have come to this time in life – our children are driving! May God bless them with driving safety for all of the years of their lives.

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Please pray for Estefita. She is a friend of ours that has been battling a brain tumor for the last six years, and is still in the fight, thank God. Her son, Alberto was diagnosed with leukemia late last year. He is 9 years old. Estefita’s mother is limited in her ability to care for them because she has severe heart issues. Estefita’s sister has just had a baby and is on maternity leave for a while, so there is very little help for this family. We are sharing the gospel message with them, and helping with health care expenses, food and however else we can find to be a blessing to them. Would you please pray with us that this sweet family would come to know Jesus as their Savior, and for healing?

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As we prepare for Easter let’s contemplate all that God has done for us in pursuit of our hearts. We love Him because He first loved us, and sent His beloved, only Son to Earth to die a horrific death on a cross to pay for our sins and reconcile us to Him in order that we might live and love Him forever! What amazing grace! We are blessed beyond measure.

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best that you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. ~Oswald Chambers

House Beautiful.

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2017 has come and gone, and we have yet to move into the house, but we are so very close! Every day of our children’s Christmas break they worked super hard to help us install the flooring, and it was finished the first day that they went back to school! Our kids are awesome. After the flooring was completed, we began to install the molding and doorframes, and install the electrical fixtures. Next are the plumbing fixtures and the air-conditioning registers – we’re so close!

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Vann is feeling the pressure to be finished and to move on to other projects, and to focus on maintenance of the base again. We’ve had our noses to the grindstone so to speak working overtime to finish this mission house. We haven’t even cut the grass in over a month! The horses have been allowed to roam free in the yard area, helping keep things beat down, but it’s still pretty rough looking. There are fences and cars to be repaired, the garage and shed need organizing and deep cleaning, but soon! We’ll get to it all again soon. We really just need several clones of Vann, then we could get all kinds of things done! It's all in God’s timing. He knows what He has called us to, and He knows that there’s only one of us.

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December brought my mother back down to visit us and help us survive these next few months! She is such a trooper, sleeping on the floor in the living room corner of our one room apartment, and doing all of our dishes and laundry. Lord willing she will be with us through April.

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Our beautiful Corynn turned fifteen! She is just as beautiful on the inside with a sincere love for God and others that is remarkable to witness. She is excelling in her freshman year of high school, and enjoying her time with her friends.

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We were privileged to host the Petra Pool’s first baptism! It was a precious baptism/birthday party for a ten-year-old missionary kid, who also happens to be our neighbor! What a sweet blessing to witness his earthly father baptizing him into the family of God in our pool!

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After fifteen years, the paperwork for our property title is finally finished! That was a stressful, long struggle, but such is life in Peru. We are so very grateful to be in this beautiful place, surrounded by other missions as neighbors, and building this mission base to serve missionaries for many years to come!

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A missionary friend’s visitor came to meet us recently, and as she saw the house and pool, and heard our vision, she made an analogy that was so accurate, and so profoundly spoke to me that I have to share it with you. She said, “This place reminds me of House Beautiful from Pilgrim’s Progress, the house on a hill that the Lord built for the care and refreshment of His saints”. She just hit the nail right on the head! This house is built on a hill, the Lord is the one who is building it, and one of its main uses will be the care and refreshment of the missionary community. The house in the story was built on top of the hill called “Difficulty”, which I find allegorically similar. This journey as missionaries so often feels like a difficult, uphill climb, and the need to periodically rest and be cared for is a real one.  I am just so excited to get to live in this beautiful house and use it for the Kingdom work to which we’ve been called, and for the glory of His great name!


“House Beautiful - The house on a hill that the Lord built for the care and refreshment of His saints.” –Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Family.

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The one thing over the years that seems to get harder about living overseas from our birth country is being so far away from family. We adjust and begin to enjoy so much about life here, but missing family…. the births, deaths, weddings, events, and gatherings. It just seems to get harder the more time that passes, especially during the holiday season.  BUT, the family of God is called exactly that for a good reason. Jesus said to His disciples, “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30. Those of us who have left our own land and families for the sake of the gospel can expect fellowship with other believers as our family a hundredfold! Well just look at what that looks like!

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We are so blessed to host Thanksgiving every year here on Petra base. The mission house is becoming a more and more comfortable place to host events in as we continually work toward its completion. The drywall is finished, and we are painting and tiling showers to get ready for the flooring installation!

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The little phrase in the scripture above “with persecutions” is something that if you ask any veteran missionary they’ll tell you that just comes with the territory. We are told to expect it as a given part of this life, but right on it’s heels comes the promise of heaven! Jesus. He is the reason that we joyfully endure hardship and loneliness. He is the reason that we give thanks in ALL things, because He is our prize to look forward to at the end of our time on this earth.

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We were caught rather off guard when a man who we know approached us this week and told us that he is involved in organ trafficking; a hunter of his own race. True or not, it reminded us to pray. We are not the only ones at work in this jungle. Evil is rampant, but our God is greater! Please pray with us for the lost people of Peru.

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It is such a privilege for us to be ambassadors in the King’s service, and to live and work here, especially alongside our Peruvian family, like Felipe (pictured above). We are so very grateful for all of you precious brothers and sisters that are on our team that make this work possible! Please remember us in your prayers.

"The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him.” - Oswald Chambers

Details.


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God sent us help this month in the form of some of our dearest friends from Georgia! They came with hearts willing to serve, and a professional knowledge of construction to help us in the completion of this mission house. They skillfully and painstakingly put the exterior molding on almost all of the windows, which is a detail that will finally seal them from the extreme tropical elements and insects. What a huge job, since each window casing has to be custom built with wood that is hard and its sawdust gives you an instant coughing fit. We are so very grateful for their sacrifice of time and resources to come and help us! It is an honor and an encouragement to have a visit from our old home country to bless us in such a big way in our new home country.

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 Vann and I have finished the rest of the exterior molding on the windows and doors since they left, which made us all the more grateful for the time that they saved us from having to do it all on our own! The house looks so much more finished and pretty with its exterior trim!

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Remeber the pic last month of Vann with a chainsaw standing on top of a slab of wood? They look like this now! He hand-finished the bar and island tops, and they are super beautiful. The drywall still has yet to be finished, and then all of the finishing details that make a house livable inside have yet to be done; like paint on the walls, tile in the showers and flooring installed. These things take time to do alone, but finishing well is important. We are very much looking forward to being done with this project, and able to move on to other things. Through even this construction, we seek to glorify Him with the work of our hands. God is the Master Builder, and he cares about details. He spent a lot of time giving detailed instructions for the building of the ark and the temple and all of the things in it. Excellence is His only standard. We are not building an ark or a temple, but like Noah and Solomon, we have faith in God, trust in His leading, and look to Heaven as our ultimate home. (Heb.11: 10)

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Our Clara turned 11 years old! She is growing up so fast, and is such a delight to all who know her. She loves Jesus, and is a deep thinker. God has a very special purpose for such a special girl, and we feel so blessed to be her parents!

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Vann has fixed several washing machines this month, and helped with an emergency electrical issue for our neighboring missionaries. The slightest detail can make the biggest difference between life and death, or success and failure. Life sometimes seems so fragile, but we trust God to be in control of all of the details.

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 We’ve had some health details to look after recently. The kids have each needed trips to the dentist and a visit to the ENT team here on a missions trip in the last weeks. Thank God that everyone is healthy, but we have some upcoming expenses for braces and a possible tonsillectomy should the US team be able to come again in the future. God knows. Details are His business!

Are you trusting God to be in control of all of the details of your life? He will take perfect care of you if you surrender control to Him. He is able and loving! 1Peter 5:7

“It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us.” Oswald Chamber

13 Years.

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This month is our thirteenth anniversary living in Peru! Thirteen years of adventure, hard work and experiencing firsthand the goodness of God. Anniversaries supply appropriate opportunities to reflect on all that God has done and to count our blessings. We started out as a young family with two babies, moving to a foreign country alone, by faith, without a full service mission board to guide us, or a safe mission base of our own to receive us. We had to learn the language, culture and figure out all of the hurdles of paperwork to live here legally all by ourselves. Not the easiest way to begin for sure, but it was the way that the Lord was guiding us. He was all we needed, and has been so faithful to supply all of our needs through all of these years. He has also made it clear to us time and time again that this mission is His, and He is the one bringing it to fruition. It is our job to remain faithful in the work He has called us to.

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Thank you for your prayers for me. I am almost completely healed from my fall! It was certainly a bump in the road, but God has been so gracious in healing me quickly! I have full use of my arm and only have to take care of my blood clots with the compression sock and blood thinners until December. I am able to help some in the work now, as long as I’m super careful not to hurt myself while on this medication. Should something happen, there is no possibility of intervention to stop bleeding internally or otherwise. 

We sent out an S.O.S. to some very dear friends from Georgia to come and help us finish the drywall mudding and possibly even the finish molding in the house, and they said yes!!! We are so excited for their help! They are coming next month for a whole week. Praise God!

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After much work, the ceilings are finally finishedIt is our hope that we can move into the house by the end of this year. It is with great trepidation that I even write that down. If building were the only thing that Vann spent his time on, we’d be well finished by now, but life here requires more than that. He has spent some time this week grieving with a friend over the sudden loss of his father, diagnosing the problem with our internet connection, and right now is helping a neighboring mission with two broken washing machines after spending the morning in a meeting about camp ministry ideas for the future. He is looking forward to the completion of this building project so as to be able to dedicate all of his time to serving others; which gives him great joy. In other news, Vann passed two kidney stones in one week! Poor man. That has got to be a record somewhere. It certainly is for him!

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Thank you to all of you who have so faithfully prayed for us for all of these years! You have held our arms up like Aaron and Hur did for Moses. We couldn’t do this without you. What a blessing each of you are to us that support us in prayer, financially, and with an encouraging word. Please pray for our friends who are grieving the loss of their father, and for Vann’s shoulder which is still bothering him significantly. May the Lord bless you and yours abundantly!

“If you want Jesus to teach you to walk by faith, be prepared for him to ask you to step out of the boat.” - Jon Bloom

Brokenness.

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Our plans changed this month when I, Vanessa, had an accident, and fell nearly ten feet off of a ladder at another missionary’s building site. I have broken my arm, and bruised my leg, which then a few days later turned into a massive hematoma and three blood clots, two of which are deep vein thromboses. It could have been so much worse having fallen from such a height! I am so very grateful for God’s protection.

There is no useful emergency care in this jungle city of ours, so when we went to town to get x-rays, they told me that my arm was not broken. From past experiences, we knew not to trust their medical opinion whatsoever. To their credit though, we couldn’t see any obvious breaks either. Vann took a picture of the x-rays and sent them to Dr. Cole and his team, who from an iPhone photo of a handheld x-ray against the sky diagnosed exactly the location and severity of the break. Amazing skills. My arm will heal without a cast or surgery! After a week and a half of immobilizing it in a brace, I am now free to start moving it as much as possible – of course without any weight bearing - for six weeks. As far as breaks go, this is possibly the very least that could have happened. Praise God!

At first, the bruise on my leg wasn’t even a blip on my radar compared to the pain in my arm. For three days I was walking around, trying my best to participate in life with one arm, but on the fourth morning that changed drastically. As I was getting out of bed, I swung my feet to the floor and instantly recognized that pain. It was intense, and oh too familiar.

Ten years ago I had a surface vein thrombosis where, an entire vein in my leg shut down completely. It seemed that nothing out of the ordinary had happened that might cause a clot to form, but probably had something to do with my Fibromyalgia/Adrenal Fatigue symptoms of low blood volume and low blood pressure, and poor circulation. Back then, we found the one machine in Pucallpa that could diagnose what was happening in my leg. The doctor gravely informed us that it was “a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), my life was in danger, and I needed to fly to Lima immediately!” Of course, it frightened us. We believed that at any moment I could die. Under the advice of my doctors in the States, I took Coumadin, and was very still for three days, and then flew to Lima. The amazing doctor there, who happens to be the top cardiovascular surgeon in Peru, took one look at my leg with his portable Doppler ultrasound machine and told us that while my condition was intensely painful and unusual, it was not a DVT, and my life was not in imminent danger. I did however have to take blood thinners for four months.

So, this time around we didn’t even bother going to the doctor in Pucallpa. Vann put me on Coumadin for three days, and then took me to Lima to see the same doctor. The diagnosis unfortunately, was a bit different. I have three clots; two DVT’s and one surface clot that is about four inches long, and a massive hematoma. The treatment is the same however; I will be taking blood thinners for four months, and wearing a compression sock.

Living where we do, and working like we do is a risk, but God has already taken care of every detail. He provided every bit of advice from our precious doctors in the States who take their time to try to help us long distance, and the exact professionals that we needed on this side of the world. God is so good.

Doctor Cole’s team was just here and able to take a look at my arm, and Vann’s shoulder. Vann has struggled for several months now with a debilitating pain in his shoulder. It feels like it’s coming out of joint if he moves it a certain way, but has continued to work through it all. The doctor says that there is visible damage to his shoulder, but nothing severe enough to require surgery. Praise God! He should be resting it with heat and gentle exercises. That’s not going to happen because it’s Vann Brock we’re talking about here. He doesn’t stop. He works through constant kidney stone pain and migraines anyway, so just add chronic joint pain to the list. I pray for extra grace for him daily. He stays so kind through all of his long years of pain and hard work. I am so very blessed to work with him, and learn from him. Please help me pray for him.

The building project continues without me. Vann has had a double load on him with the construction, and having to take care of me and the family all at once, so progress has slowed down a bit this month. We have been very blessed by our missionary family here that has taken care of the children while we were in Lima, sent us meals when we returned, and have even provided our children their lunches at school so that Vann didn’t have to worry about one more thing. Have I mentioned how blessed we are?

The children went back to school this month! We were in Lima for their first day, so we missed that send-off, but are grateful for friends that are family to care for them and take pictures for us. Corynn is a freshman in high school!!! Ethan is in 8th grade, and Clara is in 5th!  Over the summer we started going through an apologetics course with them to dig into why we believe what we believe. We are so very proud of our precious children, and how they are each growing in their walk with God.

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Thank you so very much for all of your prayers and care for us. We couldn’t be here without your support. We pray for you, giving thanks to God for the privilege of living and serving here in Peru.

Physical brokenness, and my helplessness to accomplish anything on my own is a clear reminder that I should walk in brokenness, so that the only thing being accomplished through me is the mighty work of God.  ~Vanessa Brock


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