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
Merry Christmas Praying Friends!
October 13th marked five years since we arrived in Puerto Maldonado as full-time, international disciple makers. It amazes us to think of all that God has done here during that time. What a privilege it is to be servants of the King! May this update cause you to rejoice with us in God and his power to save. Thank you so much for your consistent prayers and encouragement!
Group from our church that participated in the Christmas,
gospel outreach to the village of Santa Teresita last Friday.
Thank you God for giving us a wonderful time together serving you!
Disciple Making 2021: The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are a new creation. They pass from spiritual death to spiritual life. What a joy it is for us to see more and more people being transformed by the powerful work of God's word and his Holy Spirit!
We thank God for producing perseverance in our church as we sow and water the seed of the gospel. Several of the people who have recently come to faith in Christ are people to whom we have shared the good news of our Savior for several years. Many times the seed has fallen on the path, among the thorns, and among the rocks. Some seed, though, did fall on good ground and by God's power has grown up to produce an abundance of spiritual fruit. Praise God!
Recently we have seen several couples come to faith in Christ. God's word is helping them see that we exist to do his will. They are recognizing that their unmarried, multi-year, live-in relationship is not pleasing to God. One couple got married several months back. Another couple is planning a wedding for December 28th. We pray for this work of God to continue as more disciples of Jesus are made in this jungle town and the many villages along the rivers. Would you pray with us that God would rescue many more families that are greatly suffering under the effects of sinful, lifestyle choices that have spanned several generations?
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NIV)
"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
Amen! Praise God for the washing, justifying, sanctifying work he does! Nothing is impossible for our God!
God has been producing a hunger and thirst for his word in our church. We thank the Lord for providing us with a place to meet to study the Bible multiple times a week. I recently enjoyed teaching a twelve-session class on how to study and teach the Bible. The class was well attended and well received. I thank God for giving me the mental and physical stamina to prepare for and teach the class for his glory. If it is God's will, I will be teaching classes on systematic and biblical theology in 2022. Please pray that God will guide my study and writing time. May God receive all the glory for what is accomplished. We greatly desire for God to teach our church to carefully interpret and obey his Word.
Several people, Lord willing, will be baptized this coming Sunday. It is always an enjoyable time to hear and see people give testimony of their faith in Christ and the transformational work that God is doing in them.
Cultivating an Appreciation for God's Creation: I recently updated the photo gallery here on our website with some of my favorite photos I've been able to take of God's creation. Click here to be taken to the gallery. Please feel free to save a copy of any of the pictures you would like. Click on any picture in the gallery to be taken to a higher-resolution copy of the picture, which you should be able to save to your computer by choosing that option from your right-click menu.
May the photos inspire you to praise God for the beauty and diversity in his creation that showcases his matchless creative power.
Job 12:7–10 (NIV)
"But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind."
May God be praised in and through our family: What a privilege it is to be married to a woman who fears and serves the Lord. God is at work in Kelly's life. She sets aside daily time to spend with God, and through that he strengthens her to do his will. She carefully stewards the work and service opportunities God gives her in our home and in the church. I am so glad that our daughters are being taught by their mother what it is to know and serve the Lord. Please pray that each of our girls would repent of their sins, believe in Jesus Christ alone, and seek and serve the Lord throughout their entire lives.
Proverbs 18:22 (NIV)
He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.
We pray that God gives you a joy-filled end to 2021 and a tremendous start to 2022 for his honor and glory. May our faith be demonstrated by joyful perseverance as we serve our King.
Hebrews 10:36–39 (NIV)
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
For, “In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
And, “But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved."
Thank you so much for praying for us and sacrificially giving, so we can serve the Lord here in Peru. May the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord! Have a wonderful day serving our King!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, & Lilian
Dear Praying Friends,
My guiding principle for these updates is to magnify the Lord's work. I enjoy writing about God's faithful work in, through, and around us. May we consistently be marveling at all that he is doing. Today Kelly and I are happy to celebrate fourteen years of marriage. It is incredible for us to think about all the Lord has done in these years. To him be all the glory!
Psalm 115:1–3 (NIV)
Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
Investing in the Next Generation of International Disciple Makers: In our last update we asked you to pray for a BJU Cross-Cultural Service major who was preparing to travel to Puerto Maldonado for an eight-week internship. His desire was to be mentored by missionaries who are faithfully serving the Lord. We rejoice to tell you that God allowed Jacob to travel here and God accomplished a tremendous work among us.
Throughout Jacob's time here, God gave him many opportunities to learn and put into practice what the Lord has been teaching him over the past few years through his college experience and service in a local church. Though he was not able to speak or understand much Spanish, God strengthened him to serve in any way that he could. God gave him a humble, learner's spirit. He now has a better understanding of the type of linguistic, theological, and cross-cultural preparation necessary to be an effective cross-cultural disciple maker. Kelly and I enjoyed sharing with him how God has prepared us for the way we are serving him now in Peru. We really enjoyed having Jacob with our family. We look forward to seeing how God will continue to use Jacob's life for the expansion of his kingdom and glory around the world. Please continue to pray that Jacob will have wisdom and direction from the Lord for the next steps in his life and service to our King.
Disciple Making 2021: In our last update we also mentioned a large mission team from Texas that was preparing to travel to Puerto Maldonado to help host medical gospel outreaches in three locations. We thank the Lord for allowing the team to come. Several Peruvian Christians from Lima and Piura also came to help. Several doctors and dentists were among the groups. God gave us a very fruitful, full week of service to him last week. We really enjoyed serving alongside of the mission team members. It was encouraging to hear the stories of God's grace at work in their lives. We hope in the Lord to have more opportunities to work alongside of them in the future. We thank the Lord for opening many doors to share the gospel in the village of Santa Teresita and two locations here in Puerto Maldonado.
The doctors and dentists were able to help many people. It was neat to see our church people jumping in to serve. We also enjoyed seeing our girls help translate for the visiting group and be ready to help in other ways. May our family always be committed to serving the Lord!
God gave us the opportunity to teach the Bible and answer many questions in the village of Santa Teresita on the day of the medical outreach. We look forward to returning to the village in the coming weeks to continue proclaiming Christ and teach the whole counsel of God. We pray that God will save and equip those people to teach the Bible in their village. We thank the Lord for providing funds to make trips to Santa Teresita and purchase Bibles. We hope to have another shipment of Bibles arrive soon, so we can distribute them to the many people we meet that do not have a Bible.
Peru Covid-19: Throughout the past few months we were having our Sunday services at a soccer complex. That worked well for those months, but we have been looking for a new place to rent. That way we would have a consistent place to meet for other Bible studies and kid's Bible clubs as well. God directed us to a new location; and over the past couple months he provided the materials and workers to build a building for our church to meet in. We thank the Lord for a man in the church, who is a construction contractor, who oversaw the project. God has given our church many opportunities to share the gospel with the workers and at a few points work alongside of them. May we be faithful stewards of this place to meet to worship the Lord and preach his word. We thank the Lord that through decreased Covid restrictions and our new location, we are now able to have all of our Bible studies and services in person. This has been a tremendous blessing!
Lord willing we will be restarting our children's Bible clubs this Saturday. We plan to have one on Saturday morning in the neighborhood of Pacalito and another on Saturday afternoon in the building where our church meets. As things continue to stabilize after all the Covid restrictions, we should be able to add the soccer / Bible club back in as well. Pastor Daniel and I enjoy going out several days a week to visit people in the church and teach the Bible. We thank the Lord for the growth we are seeing in the church members and their desire to be a faithful witness for Christ in their home and at work. We are also encouraged to see many of the church members eager to help with the various facets of church ministry.
Cultivating an Appreciation for God's Creation: God is so kind to give us things to enjoy in this world. May the dangers and hardships of this life not prevent us from recognizing the beauty of God's creation around us and thanking him for it.
Psalm 145 (NIV)
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you. Have a tremendous day serving our Lord!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, & Lilian
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you very much for your faithful partnership with us in the gospel. We thank the Lord for your consistent prayers and sacrificial giving. May he richly bless you for your faithfulness to him.
Disciple Making and Peru COVID-19: It's tempting, isn't it, to think that we can predict the future? Something seems to be steadily heading in one direction with nothing apparent that would stop it from continuing on that path. Our very life, though, which at times may seem to be so full of energy and strength, is "a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." We remember that nothing besides God is unchanging. God alone knows the future and is in complete control of everything. He uses passages like James 4:13-17 to align our plans, stewardship, work, and service with his sovereignty. Should we make wise plans, carefully steward the resources that God gives us, and zealously serve the Lord? Yes, and the way to do that is with a humble heart that acknowledges that the reality is "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
James 4:13-17 (NIV)
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
May our faith be firmly fixed in the Lord's sovereign will over all things. Our church had been able to enjoy in-person church services and Bible studies for about three and a half months. That was a joyful change from the many months before that. The COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths had greatly diminished and remained that way for several months. The government restrictions had also diminished. We were glad to have the freedom to move about and make disciples in ways very similar to pre-COVID days. It seemed like things would continue in that direction. Then in a matter of a few days all of that changed. COVID cases started to go up again in many regions of Peru and the government restrictions increased. Our church has had to go back to teaching and preaching online. Despite all the changes, we rejoice to see people continue growing in the knowledge of the Lord and obedience to his word. I have been enjoying preaching through 1 John and Proverbs.
Though we are disappointed to be back under extreme restrictions, we do understand why for the present time some drastic measures have to be taken. The medical infrastructure throughout much of the country was not set to handle a heavy influx of hospital patients. Having a simultaneous rise in COVID cases and Dengue Fever cases here in Puerto Maldonado has been taxing on our small medical system. We thank the Lord that no one in our church has been hospitalized from COVID. Those that have had COVID at some point over the past year had relatively mild symptoms. We have heard, however, about many Christians throughout Peru that have passed away over the past few months. Many people are hurting. Let's keep praying for one another and encouraging one another with the word of God. May we consistently be pointing others to the Lord who is our strength and shield.
Opportunities to spend time with believers in person have been very limited recently, so we are trying to make good use of technology to continue making disciples. One thing I have really enjoyed doing more throughout this time is sending voice messages to fellow believers. I will record myself reading an extended portion of scripture and give some words of encouragement. I have found it a great way to share the gospel with unbelievers as well. Reading the word of God out loud with expression is a beautiful way to hear the Lord speak.
Most messaging apps have the built-in function for recording voice messages. For email I record a voice memo and then copy and paste it to the email. This ministry has been incredibly encouraging to me. From what I can tell by the responses I have gotten back is that it has been encouraging to others as well. Maybe this is something you would like to try!
Psalm 19:7–11 (NIV)
The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Cultivating an Appreciation for God's Creation: Opportunities to travel far and wide to take pictures continue to be limited, but God gives us plenty of things to marvel at in the places we frequent.
Psalm 104:27–30 (NIV)
All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
Investing in the Next Generation of International Disciple Makers: The Lord has been so kind to work in our lives for many years. He used countless people during our years of preparation to guide us and prepare us for the ministry in which he has placed us. The investments that these Christians made in us continue to produce spiritual fruit for God's glory every day of our lives. We praise the Lord for his work and pray for his help to invest in those around us as well.
One such opportunity was recently presented to us. We were contacted about the possibility of hosting a Bob Jones University Cross-Cultural Service major for his summer internship. His desire is to be mentored by missionaries that are faithfully serving the Lord. Would you pray that God would do that tremendous work in us? In 2006 God allowed me to do an internship here in Peru. It was a fantastic time of learning and spiritual growth in my life as I saw God at work in those around me. The many new experiences also forced me to rely on the Lord's help. God used that trip to point me toward long-term service here in Peru.
If it is the Lord's will, the intern will arrive to Peru in about a month and spend about seven weeks with us here in Puerto Maldonado. Pray for him during this time. He is finishing up the school semester and has many details to work on for the trip.
If it is the Lord's will, we will help host a mission team from a church in Texas toward the end of July. For some of the team members this will be their first trip to Puerto Maldonado. They asked if I would make a video giving an overview of the ministries here and the work that the Lord is doing. I thought you might enjoy seeing the video. I had fun putting it together. It's always good to be reminded of what the Lord has done and prayerfully hope in him to see his work continue.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you. Have a wonderful day serving our Lord!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, & Lilian
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you very much for consistently holding us up in prayer. Though this year, I would imagine, has turned out much differently than any of us expected; I know that we can all be encouraged by what the Lord is doing in, through, and around us. We know, as King Nebuchadnezzar came to realize long ago, that our God is sovereign over the entire universe. May our faith be firmly placed in our sovereign God. May our every thought, word, and action be submitted to our great King.
Daniel 4:34–35 (NIV)
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
Disciple Making 2020 & Peru COVID-19: We thank the Lord that for several months the COVID-19 cases and resulting deaths in Puerto Maldonado have been on a steady decline. Kelly, the girls, and I have not come down with COVID yet, but many people in our church did over the past few months. By God's grace, they recovered quickly and had relatively minor symptoms.
Since March, the COVID-19 restrictions have been very tight; but we thank the Lord that the church is now able to meet again in person after many months of exclusively teaching the Bible online. We have had in-person church services for the past five Sundays. We have had a very enjoyable time meeting with the church again to worship the Lord. God answered our prayers by having the government change the restriction that would prohibit children from being in attendance at church services.
We thank the Lord for preserving the church through this time. Throughout the months of lockdown, several people were wanting to be baptized. A couple weeks ago we enjoyed having a baptismal service at a small creek at the Christian camp property. A man and his wife were baptized. It was very encouraging to hear and see the believers give testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ their Savior. The fruit of the Spirit is evident in their lives. Praise the Lord! Lord willing, at least two others will be baptized soon.
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.”
Christmas in the jungle 2020: We praise the Lord for giving our church the opportunity to share God's love and kindness with others during this Christmas season. We were able to have two gospel, Christmas outreaches in Puerto Maldonado. The Lord also permitted us to have a third outreach in a small village that we visited last Christmas as well. It is about a 45 minute boat ride from Puerto Maldonado. This outreach was in partnership with another church in town which is pastored by our friend Buddy Fitzgerald. We praise the Lord for these opportunities to encourage the believers and plead with unbelievers to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
We had plans to visit villages like this one more frequently during 2020, but the lockdown prevented that. Would you pray with us that God would give us more frequent opportunities to visit villages throughout 2021 to proclaim the gospel and disciple the believers there? Many of these villages are in great need of clear, consistent Bible teaching.
Cultivating an appreciation for God's creation: We thank the Lord for allowing us to see and enjoy his creation here in Peru. The whole world is filled with different creatures that bring glory to the Lord their Maker. In 2021 let's take the time to notice them and praise the Lord for creating them.
Psalm 104:24 (NIV)
"How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."
Family life in lockdown: We thank the Lord for helping us to steward our time and resources this year for his glory throughout the lockdown. As you all know, daily family life is not always smooth and peaceful; but God's grace has been evident as he helped us through this year. We thank the Lord that the lockdown restrictions recently changed, and children are permitted to go out more. This has allowed us to get out of the house as a family and spend some time with friends. We recently enjoyed a fun family day with some friends at a park with a nice creek to play in.
Kelly and I have enjoyed many Bible teaching opportunities over the past few months. Kelly has recently been teaching the ladies Bible study on Elizabeth (Luke 1) and Proverbs. I just recently finished teaching through the book of Job and have also enjoyed preaching in Jeremiah, 1 Timothy, the gospel according to Mark, and other themes throughout the year. We thank the Lord for helping us to manage our schedules to find adequate time to prepare for each of the opportunities we have to teach the Bible each week.
Job 42:1–6 (NIV)
Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
We pray that as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins that your desire would be to worship and serve our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, in all things!
Jude 24–25 (NIV)
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Please let us know how we can be praying for you. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, & Lilian
Dear Praying Friends,
We thank the Lord for daily opportunities to spend time with our girls and point them to the Lord. We thank him for his grace during these several months we've had to spend at home. Kelly is an excellent wife and mom! We praise God for the work he is doing in our family. Alexia recently made a profession of repentant faith in Jesus Christ! We praise the Lord for his power to save lost souls from sin! We know that "to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children . . . born of God." We pray that the Holy Spirit will mightily work and produce his fruit in us throughout our entire lives.
Disciple Making 2020 & Peru COVID-19: When I last wrote, Peru had just recently been placed on a national lockdown which the government began implementing in two-week segments. Initially it seemed that it would only last for a few weeks. Today, however, is the 111th day of lockdown here in Puerto Maldonado. On July 1 some regions of Peru were able to lift many of the lockdown measures. Puerto Maldonado is in one of the seven regions still under more strict measures until at least July 31. In Puerto Maldonado hospitalizations and deaths have recently increased which has put a strain on the limited infrastructure of the healthcare system. As of July 3, the hospitals in Puerto Maldonado have reported 135 COVID-19-related deaths (111 of those deaths occurred in the month of June). We pray that God will continue to use the church to spread the good news of Jesus Christ here in Puerto Maldonado through this time of fear, pain, suffering, and grief for so many.
Many people have not been able to work during the past few months, so we thank the Lord that some of them have been able to get back to work recently. We, however, are still not permitted to invite people to our homes or gather together in person for church meetings. How then have we been able to continue making disciples of Jesus Christ? While the circumstances of our lives or the laws of the country we live in might drastically change, the mission is always the same--to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We praise the Lord for the work he is doing during the COVID-19 lockdown.
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'."
During these months, I imagine the "go" part of making disciples of all nations has felt different for most of us. Here in Puerto Maldonado, we have had to almost exclusively carry on the disciple-making ministry through technology. Our church has used this as an opportunity to have daily Bible studies using Zoom and Facebook Live. We have been incredibly encouraged to hear about Christians all over the world that have responded to the recent crises by sacrificially showing love to others and continuing to make disciples of Jesus through the wise use of technology.
God has used the extra time that people have had to listen to his word to draw them to himself and strengthen them to serve him. Just before the lockdown went into effect, several more families had begun attending church services. We praise the Lord that several from that group have recently professed their faith in Jesus Christ! We look forward to the time when the lockdown is lifted, so we can enjoy seeing those people follow the Lord in baptism.
We praise the Lord for using this time to remind our church of the importance of caring for the physical and spiritual needs of those around us. It has been especially encouraging to see new believers step into these important roles of service to the Lord. Several young men who are growing in the Lord have also stepped into teaching opportunities. Praise the Lord! Also, at several points God has provided resources to meet the needs of church members and provide some care for local, needy communities. This has opened the door to show and proclaim Christ's love and God's provision. God has been gracious to meet our physical and spiritual needs. May we always be eager to share what he has given us with those in need around us. May God's grace be at work in all of us as it was in Paul and others in Ephesus 2,000 years ago.
Acts 20:32–35 (NIV)
"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'."
When will the church again be able to meet together in person? Based on what Peru's president, Martín Vizcarra, has recently announced, it appears that churches in Peru might not have the privilege of gathering together in person for the rest of this year. We pray that God would give our church wisdom, unity, and grace to respond appropriately to each changing circumstance for his glory. We pray that, sooner rather than later, the church would be able to officially gather together with appropriate health protocols in effect.
The lockdown restrictions have not permitted JR and I to do any work at the camp property. He was able to go to the property just the other day to check on things. The gravel road seems to be holding up well even with a lot of rain over the past few months. The wooden bridge over the creek at the start of the camp property, though, might need to be fixed in some places. He hopes to have a concrete, steel bridge built at some point in the future as the Lord provides.
We had asked you to pray that friends, family, and mission teams that had scheduled trips to Peru in May, June, July, and August would still be able to travel to Peru. Travel into and out of Peru has been extremely limited for the past few months and will likely be that way for at least another couple months. Therefore, all the trips either had to be postponed or canceled. We trust that God’s timing is perfect in those situations. Along those lines, would you please pray with us that God would allow us to travel to the USA in October for my older sister’s wedding? Right now Peru's borders are closed and flights out of the country are very limited and very expensive. We trust God’s timing is perfect and he will do what is best.
We never know when might be the last time to talk with someone. God has been bringing different people to mind over the past few months. People that I knew I would not have the opportunity to see in person for a good while. One of those people was Alfredo, our mechanic here in Peru. A couple weeks ago we got word that he had passed away. This was shocking and sad news. I began to think back on the gospel conversations that God had allowed me to have with him over the past three years. God had providentially had me visit his repair shop (frankly more times than I was looking for) when seemingly unfortunate and random things got broken on the truck. Like the time when a rock broke a back window when a neighbor was using his string trimmer nearby. Each of these visits, though, had been part of God's plan to allow a friendship to develop, so the gospel could be seen and heard. God also placed other Christian friends in his path like a missionary friend in town, Buddy Fitzgerald.
Though I never heard Alfredo give a clear confession of repentant faith in Christ, I know that God was working in and through the situation. Our responsibility is to be faithful ambassadors of Jesus Christ who plead with people to be reconciled to God through repentant faith in Jesus Christ the Savior. The night I heard he passed away, I looked back at the WhatsApp conversation that I had with him several weeks before. I had sent him an audio message. It had been an opportunity to thank him for the great work he had always done, to assure him of our prayers for his family during these difficult times, to offer to help them in any way we could, and to remind him of the gospel truth he had heard before. That was the last time I talked to Alfredo.
A couple days after he passed away, I noticed that his family had been on his WhatsApp account. The conversation with Alfredo has ended, but it continues with his family. God has been using his word to soothe the broken hearts of his wife and daughter. We never know when the last time will be that we will have to talk with someone. May God give us the grace to wisely use each opportunity and every word we speak or write to build people up and point them to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Pray for the gospel to spread to Alfredo's friends and family. Pray that I will soon be able to locate another reliable mechanic.
Continuing to cultivate an appreciation for God's creation: Opportunities to go out and take pictures around town have been limited, but God has brought some of his beautiful, interesting creatures to where we live; so we can enjoy them.
Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Happy 4th of July! Kelly and I thank the Lord for the privilege of growing up in the USA. Living abroad has only given us a greater appreciation for the way that God worked in our lives during our many years of preparation in the USA. So many of you had a tremendous impact on our lives. Thank you! May you enjoy a gratitude-filled day with friends and family wherever God has placed you.
We have been saddened to hear about the strife, pain, and suffering that is being experienced across the USA. We pray that these words from Philippians 2 would be true of all of us Christians around the world for God's glory: "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."
Thank you so much for your consistent prayers for us. Please let us know how we can be praying for you. May the Lord always find us faithfully serving him!
Jay & Kelly Cross
Alexia, Isabel, Esther, & Lilian
Ambassadors for Christ in Peru