Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you so much for praying for us. We thank God for the enjoyable time that he gave us in South Carolina. Kelly and the girls had a great time with my sister. God gave me a really encouraging time of Christian fellowship and instruction at the conference. I had the unexpected pleasure of reconnecting with a Peruvian friend I had met in Puerto Maldonado, Peru several years ago. It was also neat to see how God is using Park Baptist Church in Rock Hill, SC to raise up and send out many men to serve as pastors. The church members work well together, for God's glory, to provide a focused internship and residency program that trains young men to serve the Lord in the church. I pray that God will give me the opportunity to lead a church to a similar type of ministry here in Florida.
We thank God for giving us a good, safe trip down to Florida on Tuesday. We have enjoyed reconnecting with Christian friends down here. It's a privilege to know so many people in different places.
We continue to prayerfully pursue a ministry for God's glory here in Florida. We look forward to providing ongoing care and support for my parents and grandfather. We thank God for producing wisdom, perseverance, faith, and joy in them in the midst of the various blessings and trials that he is taking them through.
We also look forward to forming relationships and gospel partnerships with individuals and churches here in Florida to have a disciple-making ministry among the international community God has brought to Central Florida. To that end, tomorrow, Lord willing, we will be connecting with a small Baptist church in Kissimmee, FL. There is a large Spanish-speaking community in Kissimmee. We would love to continue using English and Spanish (and maybe Portuguese if I can learn a little more) as tools to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Please pray with us that God would clearly open doors for us to live and serve him in Kissimmee, should that be his will.
Kelly and I enjoyed celebrating sixteen years of marriage yesterday! Thank you, God! The girls made a berry pie for all of us to enjoy with some vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
Song of Solomon 8:6–7 (ESV)
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
Mark 12:30–31 (ESV)
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
May you have a wonderful Lord's Day with God's people!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, & Eliana
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you very much for remembering us in prayer. We thank God for giving us a nice visit with Community Baptist Church in South Riding, Virginia. God gave us wonderful times of Christian fellowship. We enjoyed telling of God's work and hearing others testify about God's work in their lives. We thank God for strong, ongoing gospel partnerships with our partnering churches.
We thank God for giving us a safe and enjoyable trip from Virginia to South Carolina. His grace is evident in the midst of our physical and spiritual weakness. We're just unworthy servants. May God be glorified in all we think, say, and do!
Luke 17:7–10 (ESV)
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’.”
We are now enjoying a few days with family members in South Carolina before traveling back down to Florida. Tomorrow afternoon, Lord willing, I am heading to a church-leadership conference in Rock Hill, SC for a few days. I am going with my brother-in-law and several men from his church. I look forward to seeing how God will use this conference in specific ways as Kelly and I prayerfully prepare to be a part of church-planting ministry in Central Florida in the coming months. Kelly and the girls will be staying with my sister while I'm away at the conference.
Let's keep our eyes on Jesus!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, & Eliana
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you very much for your ongoing prayers, support, and encouragement as we serve the Lord day by day. God has given us a really enjoyable time with family, friends, and partnering churches here in Pennsylvania.
We thank God for the many Christian friends we have at each partnering church. It's always sad to leave, but we have the joy of being with more Christian friends at the next stop. We plan to leave Manheim, Pennsylvania in about an hour to head to a partnering church, Community Baptist Church, in South Riding, Virginia.
We pray that God would continually use our lives to encourage everyone around us to love and serve the Lord with humility, zeal, wisdom, and fervor in the fear of the Lord.
I hope to write again in the next few days to tell you more about how God is graciously working in our lives and guiding us through the various blessings and trials of life.
I also look forward to sharing some photos of the beauty of God's creation that we have been able to see here in Pennsylvania over the past couple months.
Have a tremendous afternoon serving our Great King! I am praying for you now.
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, & Eliana
Dear praying friends,
Thank you for holding us up in prayer. We greatly value your service to the Lord as you partner with us in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are praying for you with joyful hearts! Thank you, God, for working among us. We're not worthy of any praise. Only you are!
Philippians 1:3–6 (NIV)
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
On to the next places of service and Christian fellowship: We thank God for giving us grace to pack all our things back into the van and head off to more partnering churches. We plan to travel from Greer, SC to Lexington, VA on Saturday, so we can spend time with Collierstown Baptist Church on Sunday. The pastor friend that invited us to partner with that church is no longer there. We look forward to getting to know the interim pastor and reconnecting with the believers. May God be praised in all we say and do. We plan to travel to Manheim, PA on Monday.
God has been giving us wonderful times of Christian fellowship and service to him with our partnering churches over the past few weeks here in the Carolinas. He has also given us very enjoyable and valuable times of Christian fellowship and recreation with family, friends, and spiritual mentors.
We look forward to seeing God work as we spend time, Lord willing, with partnering churches from now through mid August. We have really enjoyed sharing what God has done and is doing in Peru. We have been encouraged to hear what God is doing in our partnering churches. We have rejoiced in the hope that we all have in God as we trust him with our future desires to serve him. May we serve him with love, fervor, zeal, joy, wisdom, holiness, integrity, humility, and the fear of the Lord all of our days.
Romans 12:9–21 (NIV)
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Acts 14:26–28 (NIV)
From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they stayed there
a long time with the disciples.
Peru ministry video: I thought you might enjoy watching the ministry overview videos that we are showing to our partnering churches. The top video is in English and the one underneath it is in Spanish. May all the glory be to our God alone!
Psalm 115:1 (ESV)
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, and Eliana
Dear praying friends,
Thank you for praying for us as we travel, proclaim the gospel along the way, and serve the Lord with our partnering churches.
Serving God in the Carolinas: We thank God for allowing us to arrive safely to the airbnb house in Greer, SC. It is a very nice house located close to family and friends. The layout works well for the needs of our family of seven. We have enjoyed having people over for meals with our family, and we pray God will give us many more opportunities to do that over the next few weeks.
God gave us a wonderful time with Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia in Hendersonville, NC, this past Sunday and Wednesday. That was the church I served with during college. Kelly and I continued serving there the six years I was in seminary. We were glad to see good friends again and see the work of the Lord continue in that place. We look forward to being with two more partnering churches in North Carolina over the next few weeks. After that, we plan to be with partnering churches in Virginia and Pennsylvania from May through July.
Centerpointe Baptist Church in Huntersville, NC – April 14–17
Grace Baptist Church in East Flat Rock, NC – April 19 & 23
Collierstown Baptist Church in Collierstown, VA – April 29 – May 1
Disciple Making 2023: We praise our God who is the Sovereign King over all the universe. Over the past few weeks God has shown his sovereign control over the details of our lives in spectacular ways. We thank him for allowing us to spend time with Holiday Bible Church on March 4–5. After lunch and several hours of Christian fellowship on that Sunday, we started the drive back to the house we are renting in Winter Garden, FL. We were set to arrive back home around 6:30 pm. About 25 minutes into our drive, the van started to vibrate. We were going about 70mph. At first I thought it was the unevenness of the road, but then I saw the low-tire-pressure light was on. God allowed us to get safely off to the shoulder of the road. We thanked him for providing safety and asked for his help. I was wondering if I could get the spare tire on before it got dark and if we would be able to make it back home for the night. Eliana, who was two months old at the time, was not liking the carseat much during those days. She had screamed most of the two-hour drive over to Holiday the day before. She had just recently fallen asleep when we got the flat tire.
After a few cars zoomed by, I got out to get the jack and tools. We had a flat tire a couple weeks before that (another story of God's providential care), so I knew where all the tools were and how to get the spare tire lowered. Kelly got Eliana's carseat out, so she could swing it and try to keep her asleep. As I was getting the tools out of the back of the van, Kelly said, "There's AAA!" I knew Kelly wasn't being sarcastic, but I didn't know what she was talking about. I remember thinking something like, "Yeah it would be nice to have them here now." We don't have AAA service, though, and we had not called them. When I looked up, I was surprised to see a AAA roadside assistance vehicle there. The worker had already told Kelly that he was coming down the road when he saw us and pulled off to the side. He had pulled off just past us and backed up to see if he could help. Not more than two or three minutes had passed since we pulled off. I was amazed at God's gracious provision in such a specific way. As the worker was getting his tools out, I told him that God had done an amazing thing in sending him our way at just that time. God then opened the door to share the gospel with this man, who had grown up in church but had not been thinking about spiritual things in any serious way for a long time. He spoke of the hardships he had experienced over the years, which in many ways had been consequences of sin. I assured him that God had brought him along at that specific moment, so he could hear the gospel. He was very appreciative of the truth of God's word that I shared with him.
He said that a screw had caused the flat tire. He initially thought plugging the tire would get us back on the road, but after putting air in it, he saw that the sidewall had been damaged after the tire went flat. With the nice tools he had on hand, he was able to get the spare tire on quickly. The spare needed some air, and he got it filled up with his air compressor. The whole scenario was undeniable proof that God is sovereignly in charge of our lives. May we always be faithful ambassadors for Christ in the midst of the various blessings and trials that God brings into our lives. I thanked the man for his good work, paid him, prayed with him, and gave him some gospel tracts. I pray that he will repent of his sins, believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior, and become a faithful member of a local church. God allowed us to arrive back home at a decent time that night. God even allowed Eliana to sleep and stay content for the rest of the trip home. What a kind and gracious Father we serve!
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: We thank God for allowing us to arrive here in South Carolina while so many trees, bushes, and plants are still in the full bloom of spring! The changing seasons come and go under God's sovereign direction.
Genesis 8:20–22 (ESV)
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,
day and night, shall not cease.”
From cross2peru to cross2thenations in Central Florida?: Over the past few months, God has been directing our thoughts and prayers toward disciple-making opportunities and responsibilities here in the USA. We do not have concrete plans at this point, but it seems that God might be directing us to plant a church with services in English and Spanish in Central Florida—possibly in Kissimmee, FL— toward the end of this year or the beginning of next year. There are several factors that God is currently using to lead us to that conclusion. The primary factor is the desire to honor and care for my parents by providing them with ongoing physical help and spiritual encouragement. God has given them heavy loads as they care for my ninety-four-year-old grandfather and other family members with significant needs. They have in no way requested that we stay to help them. We are, though, seeing how beneficial it would be to offer them that care.
We are excited to think about the abundant ministry opportunities that God could open for us through church planting in Central Florida. Our sending church in Florida has helped church plants throughout the USA over the years. I would love for that church to have the joy of helping with a nearby church plant. Kissimmee has a growing population of people from all over the world. Some of the zip codes in Kissimmee are up to 70% Hispanic. Many international Disney employees also live in Kissimmee. Those people often travel back to their home country. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see more of them become Christians? They could then live out and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to their family and friends back home. Preaching and making disciples in English and Spanish each week would bring me great joy.
I have also recently heard pastors talk about the decline in the number of men preparing to serve as pastors and missionaries. We would love to partner with our partnering churches, IBM Global, and BJU to offer cross-cultural mission trips and internships. God greatly used my ten years of service with a Spanish-speaking church plant in the USA to prepare me to preach and teach the Bible in Spanish. Those years of preparation were an incalculable value to our service to God in Peru over the past six years. I would love to be able to help train more Christians to serve the Lord in cross-cultural contexts.
If God leads us to a church planting ministry here in the USA, we would still need to travel down to Peru to sell our vehicle, pack up and give away things, close our bank account, etc. We do not want to presume upon God’s will. We are willing to serve him wherever he leads us. We trust that he will faithfully guide our steps as he has done to this point. For now, we are enjoying the ministry God is giving us to our partnering churches. Thank you for praying for God's will to be done in our lives!
We praise the Lord for his ongoing work in Peru. The church plant we have worked with over the past few years has grown in number and spiritual maturity. We trust that the ministry of that church will continue on by God's grace and for his glory. We will, Lord willing, keep you updated with more details as God leads us along. Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers, encouragement, and financial support.
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, and Eliana
Dear praying friends,
We pray that your year is off to a great start for God's glory! We thank God for your ongoing prayers, encouragement, and financial support.
Disciple Making 2023: We rejoice to tell you about the blessings that God has showered on us over the past few months. God has given us an enjoyable time of service with our sending church, Calvary Baptist Church, in Winter Garden, FL. We have enjoyed being a part of the disciple-making ministries of the church. Our desire for our time here in the USA is to encourage everyone around us to spend more time getting to know God through his Word and then dedicate their lives to more fervency, zeal, and service to our Great King.
Titus 3:1–8 (ESV)
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent
and profitable for people.
Family Life for God's Glory: It is with great joy and gratitude to our Great God that we announce the birth of Eliana Hope Cross. She was born on January 2, 2023. This is the birth announcement that Kelly put on Facebook the day she was born. . .
"We are thrilled to introduce you to our fifth daughter, Eliana Hope Cross! She was born on January 2, 2023 at 3:17pm, weighing 6.14lbs and measuring 21in. long. Eliana means "my God has answered (my prayer)," and we always have Hope in God.
As many of you know, after Lilian’s birth, God gave both of us an increasing joy and contentment with the four daughters he gave us. We felt the responsibility to biblically raise our girls to love and serve God. I was also VERY happy to be past the sleepless nights, diaper changes, potty training, car seats, and nap schedules! But in the beginning of the year, God began to work in Jay’s heart, giving him a desire to raise more children for God’s glory. I was NOT in agreement at first but eventually came around. Together we began to pray that if it was God’s will, that He would bless us with another child to raise for Him. That month I got pregnant but lost the baby. I was crushed. Why would God give me this strong desire to have another child only to take him/her away? I didn’t have an answer, but knew that God had a plan for my life and that no matter what, I could and needed to find my joy in Him (Hab. 3:17-19). God greatly used my daily Bible reading and study of Habakkuk to guide my heart during those weeks. That trial deepened our desire to have another child and prayers for God’s will to be done. And He answered our prayers by blessing us with Eliana. This post could turn into a book sharing all the ways God met me those early months, calmed my fears, revealing Himself faithful and true, a gentle and loving Shepherd. He truly is a good God!"
I praise God for the kind way he has led us through this time of trials and blessings. May he be glorified in our family in every generation from now until eternity!
We praise God that Kelly and Eliana are doing well. We prayed that God would give us the privilege of sharing the joy of Eliana's birth with family and friends here in the USA. He has answered that prayer. We praise the Lord for the tremendous kindness that the members of our sending church have shown to us during these months.
We thank God that our girls are adjusting well to having a baby sister. We praise God for the grace he gives us each day to fight sin in our own lives and point our girls to the Lord! The girls have enjoyed loving on Eliana and taking care of her.
We thank the Lord for giving us a desire to teach our girls from the Bible every day. We are currently studying through Ezekiel, Esther, and Proverbs at mealtimes. Before bed each night we read a Psalm or two. We are also enjoying reading The Autobiography of George Müller and The Chronicles of Narnia. We recently finished The Silver Chair and we are now a few chapters into The Last Battle.
Upcoming Trips to Partnering Churches: We pray that God will use our visits with partnering churches for his glory. We thank God for bringing together the details of transportation, housing, and scheduling for our upcoming visits to our twelve partnering churches. We look forward to being with partnering churches in Florida and North Carolina during the next couple months.
Holiday Bible Church in Holiday, FL - March 4-5, 2023.
Calvary Baptist Church in Lutz, FL - March 18-19, 2023.
We look forward to reconnecting with good friends, hearing what God is doing among them, and telling them about the work God is doing in Peru.
We look forward to being with Iglesia Bautista de la Gracia in Hendersonville, NC on April 2, 2023. I pray that God will give me grace to translate and record in Spanish the audio portions of our ministry overview video. I look forward to preaching in Spanish on that Sunday!
We praise the Lord for helping us find an airbnb rental house in South Carolina that we plan to live in during the month of April. The house is close to family members and friends and is in a good location for us to visit our three partnering churches in North Carolina. We praise God for providing for all the details of life and ministry during this time of service in the USA. We pray that God will sustain us with his grace, joy, and wisdom during the months that we will be traveling.
Trouble in Peru: You may have heard about recent political trouble and civil unrest in Peru. It has severely affected Puerto Maldonado, the place we served God since 2016. We are in the USA right now, so it has not affected us personally. We praise the Lord for giving believers in Puerto Maldonado, Peru the grace to continue faithfully serving him in the midst of violent protests, road blockades, food and fuel shortages, etc. over the past several months. We pray that the light of the gospel would brightly shine through the churches and individual believers in Peru. We pray that the civil government would govern in righteousness according to God's Word. The government brought in extra units of police officers a couple weeks ago to clear the roads in town and the highway that brings supplies to Puerto Maldonado. For now things are staying open. The political problems that were the catalyst for the protests, however, are not resolved. We thank God for his sovereignty over our lives. Had we been in Puerto Maldonado during this time it might have affected us getting to the hospital for Eliana's birth. We don't ever want to take God's guiding hand, provision, and timing for granted.
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: We continue to enjoy observing and investigating God's creation here in Florida. Each place in the world declares God's power and glory in unique and beautiful ways. Wherever you live, I guarantee, you have powerful evidences of God's creative power all around you.
Romans 1:18–25 (ESV)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Thank you again for your prayers and encouragement. May the Lord richly bless you as you serve him this year. We look forward to seeing you, Lord willing, in the coming months.
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, and Eliana
Dear Praying Friends,
We thank the Lord for the grace he gave us to finish up our second term of service for him in Peru. On the one hand, it was sad for us to leave Peru because we have great friends there and are glad to be a part of what God is doing there. On the other hand, we are glad for the ministry that God has for us while we are in the USA.
Disciple Making 2022-2023: We thank God for technology that allows us to stay in contact with friends in Peru to encourage them in the Lord. We want to be making disciples and building up believers in every place God takes us while continuing to encourage those that are geographically far away. This is the caring spirit we see in the NT letters that were written to Christians in various places. We pray that God will continually give us the grace to have that type of ministry with the Christians we have served alongside of in various parts of the world.
1 Thessalonians 4:1–2 (NIV)
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
We are now serving the Lord with our sending church in Florida for a few months as we anticipate the birth of our fifth little girl, Eliana Hope Cross. Her due date is January 8, 2023. We thank the Lord that the pregnancy is going well. It seems that Eliana is developing and growing well. We look forward to holding her, Lord willing, at some point in the next couple months. We thank God for giving us a comfortable house to live in, so Kelly can get the rest that she needs.
Our plan is to be in Florida through March 2023. During most of that time we plan to serve the Lord with our home church. We also plan to visit two supporting churches near Tampa, FL. From April through July 2023 we plan to travel north to visit our nine other partnering churches that are in North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Our plan, at this point, is to move back to Peru in September 2023. We thank God for bringing together the details of our travel schedule.
Thank you very much for consistently praying for God to be glorified in, through, and around us. God has been answering your prayers. We praise him for guiding us and providing for our needs. We thank God for allowing us to arrive safely in the USA. Hurricane Ian delayed our arrival in Orlando, FL, but God gave us two very enjoyable days in Houston, TX. We enjoyed the family time and were also able to spend an evening with some Christian friends that we had not seen for several years. God also gave us specific opportunities to share the gospel in Spanish and English along the way. The hurricane also delayed the arrival of the missions van by several days. We thank the Lord for all the people that were part of getting it down here to us. We thank God for providing for all our housing and transportation needs!
We were praying that God would give us service and teaching opportunities during the months that we are here with our sending church in Florida. God has opened up the opportunity to help in several specific ministries of the church. I will be teaching a weekly Bible study on Proverbs to the young adults. God gave us a great time studying Proverbs 1:1-19 last week.
I am looking forward to helping with teens as well. Tonight, Lord willing, I will be teaching about international disciple making and showing a video about what God is doing in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. We are also looking forward to helping with the Prime Timers (50 years old and above) ministry in the next few months. We have been enjoying having friends and family over to our house for meals and times of Christian fellowship. Please pray that God would use every second of our time here in the USA to strengthen the church, encourage the believers to serve the Lord with all their being, and urge believers to consider participating in gospel work around the globe. It has been our joy to work with children, youth, and adults in Peru for the past few years. We thank God for allowing us to serve him in similar ways while we are here in the USA.
We thank the Lord for giving us enjoyable times of rest, recreation, and Christian fellowship with friends and family that we have not seen in person for three years. It’s also been a great time to help our girls understand and adjust to serving the Lord here in the USA. We pray that God will equip them to joyfully serve him here in the USA, in Peru, and wherever else he may send them. We are currently reading and studying through Genesis, James, Psalms and Proverbs. We are also reading through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.
The last message I preached in Peru was from Acts 13 and 14. There God gives us a clear missions philosophy. In chapter 13 Paul and Barnabas are sent out from the church in Antioch to the work that God had called them to do. Acts 13 and 14 give some details about the doors of gospel witness that God opened for them in many different places throughout this first missionary journey. As I was studying, the last few verses of Acts 14 stood out to me. They say . . .
Acts 14:26–28 (NIV)
From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through
them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
God took them back to their "sending church" to encourage the believers and praise God by giving an update about the gospel work that God had done in, through, and around them. Then God gave them an extended period of time to be with disciples. God had work for them to do there. We thank the Lord for giving our family this extended time to serve him here in the USA. We pray that God would give us a faithful ministry for his glory here with our sending church just as he did for Paul and Barnabas with their sending church.
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: We thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to explore his creation in a "new" setting here in Florida. We have seen and experienced these places many times before, but I am now trying to capture the beauty and complexity of God's creation in a way that I had not done before when we were in the USA. May God's creation humble and amaze us as we reflect on the power of our great Creator.
Job 38:1–21 (NIV)
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
“Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.
“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
“What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!
Thank you very much for your consistent prayers, encouragement, and financial support. We look forward to seeing you, Lord willing, at some point in the next few months. Let us know how we can be praying for you. Let's all be faithful ambassadors for Jesus Christ today!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, & Eliana (due January 8, 2023)
Dear Praying Friends,
We thank our good shepherd for leading us through a variety of joyful occasions over the past few months. May your joy in the Lord increase as you read about them!
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Disciple Making 2022: We rejoice that more people are being called out of darkness into God's marvelous light! In our last update I mentioned that a baptism service would soon take place. Thank you for praying. God answered prayer and gave our church a joyful afternoon of Christian fellowship. Our oldest daughter, Alexia, was baptized along with seven other Christians. It was very encouraging to hear the believers give testimony to God's saving work in their lives and then see them follow the Lord in baptism. God helped Alexia write out her testimony in Spanish and then confidently share it with the church before her baptism. I have had the privilege of helping baptize several Christians over the past few years here in Peru. It was a special blessing to baptize Alexia! We look forward to seeing God's continued work in our family and the church!
Some of the people that have recently come to know the Lord and gotten baptized are people we have known for several years. May we all persevere in planting and watering the seed of the gospel, believing that God can make it grow and produce fruit in his timing.
1 Corinthians 3:5–9 (NIV)
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service;
you are God’s field, God’s building.
For the past few months our church has offered several group Bible studies each week. We thank God for using that teaching time along with the regular preaching of his word to equip believers to serve him. I thank God for his help to prepare and teach a class on Christian Service and Leadership on Tuesday and Thursday evenings over the past few weeks. We are glad to have a growing group of believers that are eager to serve the Lord in the church and make disciples in their community.
Our church celebrated its 7th anniversary in July. God gave us a tremendous weekend of celebration as we expressed our gratitude to the Lord! We were so glad that Kelly was feeling well enough to be there for the anniversary weekend — especially that she could play the piano for the hymns and the special groups that sang!
We thank God for several families that joined the church membership on Sunday, August 21. Each of their lives represent a beautiful story of God’s mercy, grace, and redemption. We pray that God would continue to provide unity, wisdom, and spiritual growth for our church here in Peru.
Romans 15:13–14 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
I am glad to have the opportunity to preach through 1 Timothy in the remaining Sundays before we travel to the USA. The girls and I participate in and help with children's Bible clubs on Saturday mornings and afternoons. We pray that these children and their parents will come to know the Lord and experience the joy of living for God's glory instead of suffering the consistent consequences of slavery to sin.
Family life for God's glory: Kelly and I are so grateful to the Most High God for giving us the joy of celebrating 15 years of marriage on August 4. We thank him for sovereignly guiding us through all of these years for his glory. We thank God for the joy he has brought to our family through Kelly's pregnancy. He has also used various circumstances and trials to increase our perseverance and faith in him.
We thank God that Kelly is now 22 weeks along in the pregnancy. We thank God that she is no longer dealing with the severe nausea that affected her for several months. At an ultrasound last week we found out that our baby is a little girl. She seems to be growing and developing well. We are so excited to have another girl in our family! Her due date is January 8, 2023. With her four sisters we have waited until their birth to announce their names. Since for this pregnancy the girls are older and more aware of how Mommy and their baby sister are doing, we decided to announce her name to family and friends early. We thank our life-giving Lord for Eliana Hope Cross. One of the meanings of Eliana is "My God has answered." We thank The God Who Sees us for answering our prayers for another child. We thank God for teaching us the importance of raising our girls in the fear of the Lord as we bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We thank God for the opportunity through this time to teach our girls from God’s word how he wants us to love him and to love others with a joyful fervency.
We thank God that the girls recently finished another school year and after a break got started back on another year of studies. We thank the Lord for the Christian, homeschool curriculum that he has provided.
I am currently reading and teaching through 2 Samuel, Psalms, and 1 Timothy in our home, Bible-study time. I also enjoy reading other books out loud to the family after meals. Over the past few months we have read From Ants to Aids: The Experiences of a Medical Missionary in Africa, and a couple of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. We are currently reading The Horse and His Boy.
Stateside ministry 2022-2023: Thank you for praying about our trip to the USA. We are glad to tell you how God has been guiding us and providing for our needs.
After praying and evaluating many details, God directed us to purchase flights to the USA. If God wills, we will leave Puerto Maldonado on September 27, 2022 and arrive in Orlando, FL on September 28. We look forward to starting our time in the USA by serving the Lord in Florida for several months. That will allow us to get settled in and prepare for Eliana's birth. We thank God for directing us to a house we can rent during the time we plan to be in Florida. It is owned by members of our sending church and is very close to the church property and the birth center we plan to use for Eliana's birth. We are so thankful for this option!
We thank God that a partnering church in Pennsylvania has a missions van that we can use during our time in the USA! This was the van that God provided for our stateside ministry in 2019. We pray that God would provide a way to get the van down to Florida at the start of our trip and then back to Pennsylvania at the end of our trip.
We look forward to spending time with our 12 partnering churches to give in-person updates about what God is doing here in Peru. We pray that God would use our lives to encourage believers to faithfully serve the Lord wherever he places them. We pray that God would use our lives to raise up the next generation of cross-cultural disciple makers (missionaries). When Kelly and I were growing up, God greatly used the missionaries that we met and read about to get us thinking about serving God in this way.
Over the past couple days Kelly and I have been praying for God's guidance about our travel schedule to visit our partnering churches. We look forward to seeing all that God will do for his glory during our time in the USA. We pray that God will guide us through the process of transitioning from service to him here in Peru to service to him in the USA.
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: We continue to look for opportunities to get out and enjoy God's creation. We enjoy pointing out the beauty and complexity of God's creation around us. It's fun to hear the girls say "Look at that . . ." and then go on to describe some interesting part of God's creation that they have seen. We praise God for giving us life and the gift of being able to enjoy it for his glory.
Nehemiah 9:6 (NIV)
You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
Thank you very much for your consistent prayers, encouragement, and financial support. You are an essential part of our life and ministry here in Peru. We look forward to seeing you at some point in the next few months if it is the Lord's will.
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, and Eliana
Dear Praying Friends,
We thank God that you consistently pray for God's glory to be seen in, through, and around us. Thank you so much for your consistent encouragement. Thank you for praying with us about all the exciting details in this update!
Matthew 28:18–20 (NIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”
Disciple Making 2022: We thank God for working in our family! We are seeing more signs of spiritual growth and fruit in our girls. Alexia recently expressed a desire to be baptized. If God wills, she will be baptized on Sunday, May 29. There are also eight other people that have expressed a desire to be baptized. Please pray that they would take this important step of obedience and give public testimony that they are followers of Jesus.
Psalm 127 (NIV)
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
"And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring." Malachi 2.15b
We thank the Lord for giving us a strong desire to teach our girls more about him every day. God has also given us a recent desire to glorify him by bringing more children up “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” God used that desire to cause us to pray specifically. We thank him that Kelly is now seven weeks pregnant. We thank him for the blessing and joy that he has brought to our family! The girls have had a ton of fun telling family and friends the good news.😊
Kelly is now dealing with fatigue and constant nausea. We thank God for the grace and strength he provides through the trials of life. May we always look to him and depend on him. The girls and I are working together to take care of Mommy. We thank God for this opportunity to specifically teach our girls more about loving God and others and how God wants us to care for one another in the family.
Psalm 128 (NIV)
Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—
peace be on Israel.
Disciple Making 2022: God allowed the class on Christology to finish well. What a privilege it is to teach people what the Bible says about Jesus Christ our wonderful Savior! An unsaved young man that lives near our church property attended the last few classes. That led to good conversations about the truth of the gospel and his need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ alone. Pray that he will soon come to repentant faith in Jesus.
Pastor Daniel and I recently had a meeting with another missionary here in Puerto Maldonado to discuss and pray about the needs in the towns and tribal communities throughout this part of the country. We pray that God would give us clear direction as to how our church can be a help in making disciples in these places. We pray that God would give more people in the church the desire to participate in these gospel outreaches. We pray that God would provide consistent means of transportation to these places. Some of the villages are only accessible by river. Traveling by boat is expensive. We pray that God would lead us to specific people who will be greatly used by God to teach the Bible and make disciples in their communities.
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: May we never take for granted the opportunities that God gives us to go outside and enjoy the beauty of his creation. Just take a look around where you live. I'm sure you'll find many things to marvel at and many reasons to praise our all-powerful Creator.
Genesis 1:24–25 (NIV)
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Stateside ministry 2022-2023: We pray that God would give us clear direction about a trip to the USA in the coming months. We look forward to times of Christian fellowship with our partnering churches. We look forward to sharing specific details about how God is expanding his Kingdom here in Peru. We pray that God would use that time to strengthen those churches and raise up more faithful Christians and international disciple makers. We look forward to seeing how God will provide for our travel schedule, housing, transportation, Kelly’s pregnancy checkups, etc.
May we always be faithfully making disciples of Jesus. Thank you for praying for us. Please let us know how we can be praying for you.
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, Lilian, and Baby
Dear Praying Friends,
We hope in the Lord that you had a wonderful time celebrating the perfect, substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus and his glorious resurrection! Thank you for consistently praying for us. We continue to see the power of God's word on display as we make disciples here in Peru. Souls are being saved and lives are being transformed. With God's help we want to be the best disciple makers we can be for his glory in and out of the home. To God be all the glory!
Disciple Making 2022: We thank the Lord for daily opportunities to teach our girls who God is, how he created us to serve him, and our need for his salvation. We have recently been studying through Proverbs, Isaiah, and Acts. Meal times are when I teach the Bible to the family. There are also constant opportunities throughout the rest of the day to point the family to God and his word. May we Christians always be consistently teaching and living out God's word before our families, the church, and the lost and dying world around us.
God is greatly using Kelly’s daily ministry with our girls at home and with ladies in the church. I am always encouraged by her desire to know more about God and study his word. I praise the Lord for working in and through her. May our marriage always be a clear picture of the love and care that Christ shows for the church and of the church's submission to Christ!
I am enjoying teaching a twelve-session course on Christology to a group of people in our church on Tuesday and Thursday nights. We have had seven classes so far. I am teaching through the gospel according to John with the focus of answering the question - Who is Jesus? The themes that God provides there about Jesus are a clear gateway to discovering those truths in other passages as well. So far we have seen that Jesus is God, Jesus is eternal, Jesus is one of the three persons of the Godhead, Jesus is the Creator, Jesus is light, Jesus became a human, Jesus makes God known to humanity, Jesus is the promised Messiah, Jesus is the Lord — I AM, and that Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Those are just some of the details about Jesus in chapter 1. There is still much more about Jesus to investigate and teach. God’s word is a rich treasure.
I have really enjoyed teaching. I thank God for guiding my studying and writing. Several people in the class are relatively new believers in Christ. These foundational truths from God's word are helping to purge from their minds the lies and deception that they had believed for so long. I look forward to seeing what God will do in the remaining five sessions.
We thank the Lord that the Saturday kids Bible clubs are going well. We are glad for the opportunity to teach the children about the Lord. We are glad to see more church members becoming an active part of the disciple-making ministries of the church. Some of them accepted Christ, were baptized, and became members of the church in the past couple years. God is unmistakably producing spiritual fruit in them. Praise God! They are now actively involved in the disciple making process in their homes, at their jobs, and in the church. What a wonderful God we serve!
One thing that makes us sad, though, is to see children from the community who in many cases are practically raising themselves. They seem to have free rein to come and go as they please throughout the day and night. We pray that more parents will come to know Jesus as their Savior, actively care for their families, and lead them to know and serve the Lord.
"The testing of your faith produces perseverance": We thank the Lord for his daily grace. We have recently had several rounds of sickness come through our family. We thank God that we are feeling better these days. Being sick or experiencing other challenges of life that change daily schedules and plans are always good reminders of the human weakness that we experience and our need for God’s strength, care, and guidance at all times. We praise God that he is holy, sovereign, all-powerful, wise, and perfect in all of his attributes in contrast to our wickedness, weakness, and foolishness as humans.
James 1:2–5 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Kelly and I thank God for the help that he gives. We thank him for how he is working through his word and Spirit in our family. Our desire is to be wise stewards of all the resources that he provides for his glory. We thank him for helping us make consistent changes in our thinking and choices. By his grace, we want to love and serve him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Key points of stewardship in this endeavor are getting to know him better through his word each day, teaching others who he is and what it is to follow him, getting the sleep that we need, exercising, eating nutritious foods, etc. We want to serve the Lord with strength while he provides it. When he chooses that we serve him through times of weakness, pain, trial, and difficulty we know he is guiding our steps.
Mark 12:28–31 (NET)
Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: The beauty and complexity of God's creation is fascinating. What seems ordinary and commonplace, on closer inspection is extraordinary. Let's keep bringing glory to our Maker by appreciating his creation and being faithful stewards of it. What a delight and wonder it will be to one day see it liberated from the destructive effects of sin!
Romans 8:18–26 (NET)
For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.
I have really been enjoying preaching through Hebrews for the past several months. What a privilege we have to live as holy citizens of God’s unshakable kingdom. May we all run the race that God sets before us with perseverance — keeping our eyes on Jesus and casting off every sin and weight. It is a wonderful joy to see God working in people’s lives through the preaching of his word. We pray that you will maintain a daily relationship with God through time spent in his word and in prayer.
Thank you again for your consistent prayers for us and your sacrificial financial support. We greatly value your gospel partnership with us.
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther & Lilian