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