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Country X – Christmas in July

Rough Times in Country ‘X’

Pastor holding commentary and Bible dictionaryLeaders who couldn’t attend
the April gathering also received
their Bible dictionaries
and their one-volume commentaries.

Image of pastora with concordanceThere are more pastoras than you might think, either co-laboring with their husbands or serving on their own at the Lord’s direction.

It’s nearly Christmas! And I want to give thanks, to the Lord and to you, for the “Christmas in July” which a group of forty pastors in… well, let's call it “Country ‘X’” in Latin America… experienced this year. I’d like to keep them out of the limelight for security reasons, “just in case.” (But you can read more about their national situation in recent news, as well the murder of a pastor and his entire family in their own home earlier this year.)

In July 2017 we started the Sacred Treasure House Initiative to raise funds for Spanish-language Bible-study reference sets (concordance, illustrated Bible dictionary, and a one-volume commentary) for a group of pastors in a remote part of Country X. You provided the necessary funds by the end of 2017, in time for us to order the books for delivery in April of this year.

The missions trip to Country X was this past April. (It was my fourth annual visit to this group.) The anti-government protests started a few days before we arrived. In fact, our first morning in country found us and our van in a traffic jam caused by police surrounding and tear-gassing students in a local university. From that point in the trip onwards, it seemed we were able to stay “just ahead” of spreading protests and violence. In the end, we had to cut our trip short by more than half a week and evacuate through another country. Roads to the airport in “X’s” capital were blocked, plus travel on many roads was unsafe. (See “Keep Calm and Hurdle On” for a synopsis of our adventures.)

How “Christmas” Was Delayed Until July

Another image of a pastor with a concordanceCan you spot this pastor
in the photo below?

But the Lord had His way, and we achieved our primary objective – delivering Bible-study reference tools to pastors, along with practical training about how to use the books in their Bible study and sermon preparation. Except…

…well, yes, we delivered the illustrated Bible dictionaries and the one-volume commentaries. But our in-country supplier couldn't receive their shipment of concordances in time for our conference. The books were then to be delivered in May, but because of the unrest in the country, it still wasn’t safe to deliver them across the country (a 6-hour drive from the capital city).

The Concordancias de Strong were finally distributed the first full week of July. Mission accomplished!

Group of pastors with their new Strong's ConcordancesThe group of pastors and pastoras with their concordances


Image of pastor with open concordanceEach flyleaf has a Spanish note
like this:
A gift for you to help
with the work of God
from Dick and Jane
of Idaho, USA

In a sense, this was a keystone to the work we’ve done thus far. Our pattern is usually:

  • ground them in disciplined, cover-to-cover Bible reading;
  • guide them into the principles of Bible study; and,
  • give them the tools to dig into the Scriptures for God’s truth.

Now these precious pastors have a basic “tool set” with which to better mine the Scriptures.

To those of you who gave towards the trips and reference books last year, guess what? You did your “Christmas shopping” early! We thank you. And these hungry, eager, dedicated leaders thank you, too! Donor first names (not last) appear in the flyleaves of the books the pastors received. They’re praying for you by name!

Stand with Needy Pastors & Leaders

Pastors at a conferenceHow many pastors and leaders
can we help in 2019?
Map of GuatemalaUp next (Lord willing):
Guatemala!

But the need continues, so your generous giving is still important! Our heart to disciple and train these spiritually hungry, and fully committed, pastors and leaders in Latin America draws us to continue to reach out to them. The call of the Lord for us to go and to empower them drives us to keep ministering the Word of Life. For those of you who want to help by giving, but still haven’t made the commitment, there’s still time to make tax-deductible donations before year’s end. And our new giving page makes it as easy to make an automatic monthly commitment as to make a one-time gift. Right now, we have trips scheduled and lined up for Guatemala (both February and May), Perú (May-June), and Honduras (March, tentatively).

The need to cover the expenses for the February Guatemala trip is immediate. The cost is right around $1060. As the Lord leads, please give to the ministry of Finest of the Wheat to reach pastors and leaders with the Bible training that is being multiplied as these same pastors reach out to those around them. Thank you for your support!

Merry Christmas to you all, and may God grant all of us a Kingdom-Advancing New Year!

Jim

Photo credits: All photos are from… well, let's call him Pastor Noé of Country X. Photo of pastors seated at tables is by Denise Kerwin. Map of Guatemala is courtesy of Operation World.

Tax-Deductible Donations Gratefully Received

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