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.


14.

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The Lord has seen fit to allow us to live and work in Peru for fourteen years! As time usually does, it has flown by. It feels like it was just yesterday, and on the other hand like it feels like it should be so much more than fourteen years! We are so very grateful for the life and ministry that God has blessed us with here in Peru.

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Vann has been busy still working on the septic systems for the camp bathhouse, pool bathrooms and the mission house. The camp bathhouse has a roof on it, and is ready for stucco and to be trimmed out with its fixtures. This month has been full of hard labor in the scorching sun, but the Lord has sustained him, and I am so proud of him.  For some reason, after nearly a year without a kidney stone, he is suffering with another one this week. Please pray for him, that the stone would pass quickly and as painlessly as possible, which would be a miracle!

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The Dumitru’s are home from their furlough in Romania! It is part of our ministry to support them in their tribal mission, so to be able to do little things like clean their house, stock their fridge and cut the grass for them before they come home is super fun! We are so blessed to have them living here, and be our neighbors.

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It was our honor and pleasure to help another missionary family as they are preparing to leave for some time in the States. They live the farthest away from us of any missionary in this town, and happen to be some of our closest friends. They have just moved into a new house with a garage that did not have a door installed on it yet, so it was not in a secure state to be left for a long period of time - not to mention all of the critters that would love to make the garage their home for the next few months! So we spent several days this week going over to install the door for them, and loved the time we got to spend together in the process!

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The Petra pool has been full this month in this massive heat wave that has seemed to come through and settle down over our heads. There are of course the usual young families that come on the weekends, but we’ve also had swim classes from two schools added to the happy swimmers! There have been several people with various ailments that have consistently come to the pool several times a week for therapy. They have lovingly coined it the “Pool of Bethesda”, as they come with the hope of healing especially since I am a walking testimony of God’s healing hand through this pool. Praise God for His willingness to use this mission pool to bless and heal!

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The mission house has stayed busy and full too! Prayer meeting was held here again, which I’m sure seems repetitive to say, but it is such a joy for us to see this house used as a house of prayer, and a service to the saints. I had a young, new missionary call and ask if they could come out for a day since word was that we take in weary missionaries, and offer rest and refreshment. Yes! That is exactly the case! What a privilege. Our children’s mission school’s youth group has also been hosted out here with Vann leading games, and the pool and grill playing a significant part of the fun as well! We are so grateful for other missionary parents’ willingness to pour into our kids lives, teaching them at school and in bible studies, so it is our privilege to contribute something to this precious community of missionary kids!

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Speaking of which, I’ve begun teaching a handicraft class to some of the young girls that live on our road. They are such a delight to teach and spend time with. It doesn’t even feel like a class to me, I just love doing this kind of thing so much!

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Another project we’ve been putting some time into is researching the possibility of installing a solar panel grid tie system to help us with the expenses of running this base. The electrical bill for this whole mission base is rising to the point where we will not be able to continue to foot the bill alone, so a solar system seems to be a wise move. If any of you have experience with these kinds of things, and would be willing to help us, we would be so grateful! This is going to cost a pretty penny to purchase, import, and install, so we would welcome any help!

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Above all of the hard things that come with living as immigrants in a foreign country, we feel so blessed to be able to live here! We love our Peru, and we love the people that we’re blessed to serve and live with. Thank you all for praying for us and supporting us in this amazing mission that God has sent us to live out. This is the purpose of our lives, to tell the world about Jesus, and how much He loves them. We couldn’t do any of it without you and we certainly couldn’t do any of this without God’s amazing grace every moment of every day. 

 

“No healthy Christian ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.”–Oswald Chambers

Limitless.

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School is back in session! This school year finds us with two kiddos in high school, and one in middle school at South America Mission Academy. I think that I blinked somewhere along the way, and all of my babies are grown! Ethan and Clara have grown so tall since Christmas. Ethan is very proud of having passed Corynn up, and keeps reminding me that he’s almost taller than me!

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Just before school started we had the opportunity to go on a road trip with some of our dearest friends to a high jungle town called Pozuzo tucked in the foothills of the Andes. It was a quick, weekend trip, but it worked wonders for us to get out of our little world here in the basin, and see, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in Peru!

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We were honored to be able to host a bridal shower brunch here for the daughter of a dear missionary friend. We’ve known her since she was a little girl, and have had the privilege of watching her grow into a beautiful, Godly young woman! She was a part of my etiquette class years ago, and she allowed me to do her hair for her wedding! What a blessing it is to have young people to whom our children can look to and hopefully follow their example!

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We are so excited to be making progress on construction for the Petra Camp! Starting out small, but mighty, Vann is building the first bathhouse. This will be for the girl’s side of the camp eventually, but will have to serve everyone for now.  You’d think that it wouldn’t be much of a deal to build a bathhouse, but in order for it be functional, we also need a well for a water supply, and a septic system, so that is what he is currently working on. Trying to take advantage of the dry weather, he’s pushing himself a bit too much in my humble opinion. He’s still not 100% back from his bout with pneumonia, although much better, digging out septic systems and pouring concrete is hard labor in this scorching sun.  It’s hard on his health, and hard on his shoulder. Just telling you how it is, but he’d be sure to tell you that he’s doing great! I am so grateful to be on this mission with my man who is so able with his hands, and faithful to use his gifts for God’s glory. He is trusting that our limitless God will work through him to build this mission base and camp, and give us the grace to host and serve the many people that come to be refreshed and loved.

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Every weekend, and so many of the days in between have been full of people; singles, couples, families and church groups coming for the pool, fellowship over a meal, or just needing a safe haven to unburden and talk in a loving environment. Vann has been on call for internet and computer repairs, other mission’s supply buying, running new electrical circuits in old houses, and is so pleased to help when people call with construction questions, planning, or figuring. It is such a joy to serve the saints that work beside us, and an honor to minister to our Peruvian friends, brothers and sisters!

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We often feel like the physical, emotional and financial cost to do this mission work is just so much, but our God is faithful to continue His work in us and through us on a daily basis, and He always provides everything we need! His grace is limitless! We are massively grateful to all of you dear ones for your faithful support and prayers for us, without which we could not do this work that God has called us to do. Many, many thanks, and much love!

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“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.”-A.W. Tozer

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


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