January - April, 2017

January - April, 2017

This Spring has been eventful and we praise God for all that He is doing in Peru.

In January, the team was excited to host the annual Shawi pastors conference. Over 600 Shawi, including pastors and their families traveled throughout the Amazon to attend the week-long conference.

During this week, they were blessed by times of worship, prayer and theological training. One of the goals of the conference was to encourage the Purpose Driven principles and to really spend some time in Eternal Security and Salvation. The conference ran so smoothly and the team of five volunteers from Grace who partnered with the missionaries, helped greatly in enhancing the quality of the conference.

We praise God for His answered prayers during this time! For the way He answered prayers of safe travels, minimal sickness, smoothness of the conference, and for such a sweet time of everyone coming together. There was even a moment a few weeks before, where we were not positive there would be a translator and the church joined in praying, and God answered that prayer with a mature, hungry for the Lord, young man who was willing and able to spend the week in the Jungle. God’s hand was so evident in this conference. For many, the highlight was watching 35 Shawi get baptized in the Amazon River.

In March, the team got to have a special time with our three Shawi missionaries debriefing from the conference and working through curriculum. In this time, one of our Shawi missionaries, Jesus, announced formally that he would be transitioning into an educator position. He had hurt his back and the doctor said he would need a year to rest and not travel. It is with bittersweet emotions as the team gave him their blessing. He has been a wonderful teammate and man to work with, while of course, they are excited for this opportunity to love and serve students that God has brought to his life.

The team spent some time praying over the future and asking God to lead in potential Shawi men to join the team.

Also in March, Doug was able to visit IBESH, the Shawi Bible Institute for the first time. This was his first solo trip into the jungle. It was a great time of bonding with 3 of the Shawi pastors we work with and two of the students. He got to help repair one of the buildings and had some fun trying exotic food.

At the end of April, there will be a week-long training where the two Shawi missionaries will attend with their families, for a time of encouragement and training. During this meeting, five potential new Shawi missionaries will attend as well to see about joining the team.

Prayers:

  • Pray for the April meeting, that this will be a sweet time of encouragement for the team. Ask that they will have unity of vision, mind, and will grow in their pursuit of Jesus.
     
  • Pray that God will give the team wisdom and clarity on adding members to the team.
     
  • Please continue to pray for the health of our missionaries.
     
  • Pray for them in navigating their day to day, that God will guide them. 

May - October, 2017

May - October, 2017

May
After much prayer and research for potential new men to join the Shawi missionary team, the team held their first training with all 6 Shawi missionaries. They shared testimonies, the salvation message and what it means to be an employee of Grace Church as a missionary. The new candidates for the team were praying to see if they want to join the Shawi Missionary team. It was awesome to see the “aha” moments with the men as they explained salvation. Gregorio realized that salvation is a moment/a decision, not a process. He thinks half of the people in the churches have a misunderstanding of salvation and base their salvation on works.

Doug went on his first trip with the Shawi missionaries, Romulo and Sacarías.

Gregorio went out with the new team - Jose, Edison and Darwin on the Sillay River.

June
The Shawi missionary teams continued to visit other communities. The trips are difficult with lots of walking in deep mud and rain in isolated areas. When the missionaries enter the communities, they have meetings with the pastor and church members. They visit the sick and have meals in someone’s home. They may help with a work project in the community. They usually have intense conversations with one or two people in the community who share their struggles with sin or other issues.

July
The team held a training with Shawi missionaries, when the new team was formed and all 6 committed to work as employees of Grace. They held an anointing service sending them out as official missionaries of Grace Church. 

The training included teaching on salvation, eternal security and sanctification.  They began a discussion on the how and why to give an invitation. The men shared that they never give an invitation and want to begin to do so.  The Shawi missionaries began to understand the important differences between salvation and sanctification.

Rick celebrated his 60th birthday in Tarapoto.  Doug went to US with Blanca for his son’s wedding. They were able to attend Grace Church during their stay in Colorado and Doug and Blanca were presented to the church during the weekend services.

Boats were purchased for the teams and Rick fixed 2 motors for them to use.

August
The Shawi missionaries had a very busy schedule in August including a training in Soledad for Children and Youth leaders.

There was a training in BellaVista with 27 church leaders. Gregorio used this time to teach the salvation and sanctification book they created. BellaVista’s members, along with the church leaders, visited 5 communities nearby sharing the teaching in the booklet about salvation and sanctification. One pastor said, “I have been teaching salvation wrong all these years. I have been teaching salvation is based on good works.”  This is the fruit Grace Church has been working toward for 20 years. It is a long commitment but the fruit is coming, Praise God!!

Rick was working hard to cut back the final mango tree. It is very dangerous work climbing 4 stories high to trim a tree with very large branches that extend higher than that. He finished trimming all the dangerous limbs so they cannot fall on the house or the wall.

Doug went to Santa Fe to visit Pastor Antonio and his church - it was a great time of teaching and encouragement.

Rick and Suzi celebrated their 8th wedding anniversary.

September
Doug visited Agusto in Maranatha with our German friend Valentina, who came to visit. She was such an encouragement to us. Doug taught Agusto and his soon to be son-in-law, Carlos, the salvation/sanctification booklet.

The team held their third training with the Shawi missionaries - it was a time to celebrate. Gregorio gave an invitation and 10 men and 2 women came forward to receive Christ. He really explained so they understood the decision they were making. Gregorio was so excited with the fruit he is seeing.

Jose’s team visited 5 churches and had 20 people receive Christ in one church and 5 people receive Christ in another along with positive responses in other communities. People are confiding in the missionaries with really heart-felt issues like adultery or addictions.

Romulo and Sacarías had great visits to 5 communities. Several of these communities don’t have a pastor or church, but have people who believe and want to learn more. Sacarías shared how the travel was difficult to some of these areas.  Because the travel was in isolated areas on some days, they had no food and were very tired.


We have 53 villages that we are currently working alongside - some with churches and some are wanting to start a new church but don’t have a pastor yet. After October, the Shawi missionaries will have visited 38 of the 53 villages this year, bringing a clear gospel to them.

For the last 20 years, Grace Church has established a credible relationship with the Shawi.
This long-term commitment is vital to the Shawi receiving the clear gospel. For 50 years, the Shawi have been taught salvation is based on works - you have to earn your way to heaven by going to church, reading the Bible and getting baptized. If you don’t maintain your walk with the Lord by continuing these good practices, you can lose your salvation.

Finally, through these Shawi missionaries understanding the difference between grace and works-based salvation, eternal security, and sanctification, the Shawi church is coming alive. We are seeing a real understanding of the work of the cross. The pastors are beginning to teach a clear gospel. This is incredible!!!!  People are getting involved and want to participate in the teaching and spreading the gospel, not for fire insurance, but out of joy. They are beginning to understand their purpose. It is awesome!!!! They had the church structure but didn’t understand the “why” they were doing it. Now they will be fulfilled in the work of the Lord.