Satan is hitting us hard these days. Just when momentum starts moving things forward, the enemy steps in. Where we think ground was gained, we end up taking two giant steps backwards.
The past few days have seen much suffering and hardship for the servant leaders we work with in the house churches. Discouragement is at an all time high amongst our people. The questions arise in all our minds, "is it worth it?"
On Thursday I travelled a couple of hours through thick falling volcano ash to be with church leaders Johnny and Maria Victoria who lost her dad to disease. Not only do they have the grief for their lost loved one, but the church that meets in their house is struggling. They are confused and discouraged wondering where God is in all of these things. They are all alone in a small town with no other support or encouragement. The devastation from the volcano is all around them and thousands are homeless with their worldly good destroyed.
As Pedro was just beginning to get a new church plant started in his home this past week due to the help of the Texas volunteer team that was here, thieves broke in and stole all the tools of his trade. He is a car mechanic and now has no tools with which to work. Last week Pedro went out and bought on credit his first major tool replacement to be able to get back into business. On Monday night thieves broke in a second time and lifted the new machine through the roof. When the thieves were discovered they threw the newly purchased machine down to the ground completely destroying it before running off into the night. Now, not only does Pedro have a large debt to pay, he has no tools to help him work.
Miguel, another young man who worked with the Texans, and just beginning a church plant was driving a company car at work and to avoid hitting a woman on the street swerved and instead ran the car into a post. The damage was $3000 which the owners said he must pay them immediately or be fired. He was fired.
Manuel, one of our main church planters is having to stand guard 24/7 in that his property is being invaded by squatters who are trying to possess his legally obtained properties. Manuel's dream is to use this property for badly needed social ministries amongst the poorest of the poor (medical clinic, lab, eye clinic, training center, trade school, etc.) Through massive corruption of local power brokers, he is having to stand all alone against hundreds of people who have already paid money to the brokers for Manuel's land. There is no police protection or legal recourse. The only way is to stand out front and turn people away. He is trying to maintain a Christian testimony but the corruption is so rampant. It looks like he will lose all his hard worked for land and dreams to unscrupulous greedy people.
There are many, many more stories of those we work with on a daily basis going through very difficult trials these days. I won't mention our own set of trials and burdens but suffice it to say, we too are being tested!
Would you be so kind as to pause a moment and pray for all these and the others whom space does not permit to write up their stories? This is a very real side of missions that often isn't mentioned--the trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand where God is at work to build His Kingdom.
The enemy is putting up a terrific battle against the saints of God. But we already know who has won the victory, and in Him we put our trust and confidence for the ultimate victory and Glory of God.
Thanks for praying.