Monday, July 30, 2007

July 2007 Newsletter

Our One Year Anniversary in Peru

It's hard to believe, but we've made it to our first anniversary in Peru. Has it really been a year? That's what the calendar says! In some ways, it seems like a lifetime--we have learned so much (my wife calls it "fast-track sanctification").

I've put together a little slide show video of the sights, sounds, and faces of our university ministry here in Trujillo (~04:55). Thanks to all for your prayers and support.

My wife also did one that is more family-centered. Check it out....

Sorry about the quality. We had to reduce the quality to fit it onto the allowable MB upload. Perhaps future posts will be better.

Celebrating Peru's Independence Day at the Orphanage

On Friday, we went out to the orphanage, Hogar de Esperanza, where Heather leads a weekly Bible study for the house mothers. On this day, the kids had a program and a parade to celebrate Peru's Independence Day.

One great memory: A local Peruvian pastor gave a devotional. He asked the kid's, "Who liberated Peru?" And they answered in unison: "Jesus!" (That was simply awesome.)

The kids made typical foods from the coast, jungle, and mountains of Peru. They took pride in their creations.

One of my favorite outfits was this cute little kid dressed as a chef.

Our kids enjoyed getting to see where Heather has her study and where the kids lived as well as meeting and playing with many of them. I think Heather is going to start taking them out there every Wednesday to play with the kids while she is in her study.

And our kids received an unexpected lesson about true heroism: We are thankful for the Millers, members of a PCA church, who saw a great need here and founded this orphanage and, as your run-of-the-mill average Christians, are engaged in the battle to push back the darkness with the Light of the Gospel.

Kevin Turns 10!!!

I can't believe it. My second son, Kevin (aka "K-pac") turned 10 this past week. I am so thankful that God has given him to our family. He is a sensitive, caring, and fun covenant child.

Kevin received some cool gifts for his bday, including a sword and a big-boy 10-year old gift that he has been waiting for some time to receive: his very own pocket-knife.

After his birthday party in the afternoon with his friends, we celebrated by eating some great pizza at our favorite Italian restaurant, Lil' Tescana's.

Kevin, may the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine upon you and always be gracious to you, may the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you His peace. And may you keep your eyes focused upon Him and grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peru is...Peru needs....

Allen Bradford has put together a nifty little presentation that helps gain a sense of the feel and the mission here in Peru. Enjoy....

Monday, July 16, 2007


[the link is fixed]

Anyone who has been around my teaching ministry knows that I have found more useful illustrations from The Princess Bride than from anywhere else in pop culture. Here is an update on the actors some 20 years later (has it really been that long?).

So this one goes out to all my former students who fondly remember our response to the Gospel in the memorable words of Wesley, "As you wish."

It is true: Age happens to all of us!

[HT: Between Both Worlds]

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Mission is Growing

The Bradford's have put together a collage of photos showing how our mission is growing. Here's a current picture that I borrowed (thanks Bradford's :) of our growing team, and God willing, there may be others in the near future.

And check out this nifty slide-show that the Bradford's put together explaining our ministry in northern Peru.

Friday, July 13, 2007

One of the Reasons why the Reformation Was (& still is) a Necessary Task...

Some Christians are expressing shock and hurt that the Pope is being, well, Roman Catholic. But Baptist minister Al Mohler is not offended by the recent statement by Papa Ratz re-stating his view that the Roman Catholic church is the only true church.

Says Mohler,

"I appreciate the document's clarity on this issue. It all comes down to this -- the claim of the Roman Catholic Church to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Pope as the universal monarch of the church is the defining issue. Roman Catholics and Evangelicals should together recognize the importance of that claim. We should together realize and admit that this is an issue worthy of division. The Roman Catholic Church is willing to go so far as to assert that any church that denies the papacy is no true church. Evangelicals should be equally candid in asserting that any church defined by the claims of the papacy is no true church. This is not a theological game for children, it is the honest recognition of the importance of the question.

The Reformers and their heirs put their lives on the line in order to stake this claim. In this era of confusion and theological laxity we often forget that this was one of the defining issues of the Reformation itself. Both the Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church staked their claim to be the true church -- and both revealed their most essential convictions in making their argument. As Martin Luther and John Calvin both made clear, the first mark of the true Church is the ministry of the Word -- the preaching of the Gospel. The Reformers indicted the Roman Catholic Church for failing to exhibit this mark, and thus failing to be a true Church. The Catholic church returned the favor, defining the church in terms of the papacy and magisterial authority. Those claims have not changed.

I also appreciate the spiritual concern reflected in this document. The artificial and deadly dangerous game of ecumenical confusion has obscured issues of grave concern for our souls. I truly believe that Pope Benedict and the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith are concerned for our evangelical souls and our evangelical congregations. Pope Benedict is not playing a game. He is not asserting a claim to primacy on the playground. He, along with the Magisterium of his church, believes that Protestant churches are gravely defective and that our souls are in danger...

I actually appreciate the Pope's concern. If he is right, we are endangering our souls and the souls of our church members. Of course, I am convinced that he is not right -- not right on the papacy, not right on the sacraments, not right on the priesthood, not right on the Gospel, not right on the church.

The Roman Catholic Church believes we are in spiritual danger for obstinately and disobediently excluding ourselves from submission to its universal claims and its papacy. Evangelicals should be concerned that Catholics are in spiritual danger for their submission to these very claims. We both understand what is at stake.

In addition to a Baptist's thoughts, here are some thoughts by presbyterian professor, Sean Lucas, who gets to the heart of the matter when he says...
For Roman Catholics, the only way to preserve unity is to point to apostolic succession, a line of ordination that goes back to the apostles. For Protestants, the means for unity is also apostolic succession, but it is a succession of commitment to the apostolic message and mission (Ephesians 2:11-22; Matthew 28:16-20).

And here's a perspective by an Orthodox minister on Papa Ratz's assertion:
Universal Primacy has a way of offering a [false] guarantee that transcends the cross [which can never be transcended]. No matter how badly we fail, the de jure Primacy of the Pope in every local Church, guarantees that no one can really mess it up. I think that is neat, and the product of human imagination. {brackets in the original quote}

No doubt, lots of folks--Christian & non--have a hard time hearing what Rome says today and taking her seriously. Perhaps a little humility might be in order, especially when she reflects the world & other religious entities so closely.

[HT: The Internet Monk, Between Two Worlds & Once More With Feeling.]

SALI's Casa de Café Part 2

Well, our SALI staff did it again. We had a fantastic coffee house event Thursday night that featured talented musicians from our SALI staff, students, and university ministry. When my wife and I arrived (fashionably late), there were tons of people--well over 100.

Here is a video of some of our friends. This is the only video captured--too bad because we had some great talent.

Enjoy these pics of our students, staff, & friends.

Special thanks to Joe Bateman for taking most of the photos (except, of course, the ones in which he appears with the ladies!).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

SALI's Casa de Café

Peru Mission has created a service for the community in our language institute, called the San Agustin Language Institute, or SALI. It also serves as a big fishing pool by which we can create contacts and relationships with people in the community. SALI now averages about 225 students every month. Every once in a while, we have extra events. This Thursday we will have another Casa de Café which reminded me that I still needed to post photos of our last one (about a month or so ago).

We interacted with lots of our students from both SALI and our RUF who came out to experience a little bit of the ambiance of an American coffee shop. Some of our friends had a assembled a great little band and gave us an authentic taste of Peruvian culture and music. Enjoy the video.

At this event, we also said goodbye to many our SALI staff who have been with us over this past year. The students really loved these teachers, and we already miss them. It is not the same without them. They have left big shoes to fill!

Thanks Brian & Janelle!

A shot of all of us together on their last day here. We ate at Big Ben at the beach called Huanchaco.

Well, by now our good friends Brian & Janelle are back in the good ol' US of A. Here is a shout out to them expressing our deep joy for their willingness to spend the last 5 weeks with us in Peru. They were students in our RUF chapter at Texas A&M, and are now some of our best cheerleaders in the work down here in Peru. In addition to that, they were representatives of our home church in Bryan, TX, Westminster Presbyterian. Here is a shout out to our home church as well. Thanks for sending them to us and for the encouragement that you were through their ministry to and among us. Grace & peace!

Guest Blogger: John Calvin

“There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity....To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretense of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty. Every renewing its memory, he repeatedly sheds fresh drops...of a sense of deity inscribed in the hearts of all.” (1.3.1)

“...this conviction, namely, that there is some God, is naturally born in all, and is fixed within, as it were in the very marrow....[This] is not a doctrine that must first be learned in school, but one of which each of us is a master from his mother’s womb and which nature itself permits no one to forget, although many strive with every nerve to this end” (1.3.3).

"For how can the thought of God penetrate your mind without your realizing immediately that, since you are his handiwork, you have been made over and bound to his command by right of creation, that you owe your life to him?--that whatever you undertake, whatever you do, ought to be ascribed to him?" (1.2.2)

~The Institutes of the Christian Religion,

If you ever get the hankerin' to read through Calvin's Institutes (and every Christian should before s/he dies), you might find Tony Reinke's site helpful. He is blogging his way through the institutes, has some cool graphics and nice summaries of Calvin's thoughts.

Another Baby!!!

No, not us! (We know that is what you were thinking :)

Geraldo & Isabel have had their new baby, Lesley Melanie. She will be called simply "Melanie." Geraldo is one of our seminary students and I work directly with him in our university ministry here. He is a great guy with great gifts. He is a good teacher/preacher and really connects with the university students. I am excited to have him (and his adorable wife) with our team.

Here is a picture of Elisabeth (one of our student leaders) with Isabel & Geraldo a few weeks from the date that Isabel "dio la luz a su bebé" [literally, "gave light to her baby." This is the way we say it in Spanish].

This is a picture of Heather holding teeny-tiny Melanie, together with Isabel.

And this is a picture of Heather with Melanie's big--and I might say, "mighty proud"--sister, Melina.