Sunday, March 4, 2012

Real Life Change

Things are going great in Huasar!  Truly, God is working in this place and its exciting.  Franci and I have been able to start discipleship with four new contacts in the past two weeks thanks to the hot chocolate we served on Christmas Eve and thanks to our evangelism outing with the guys in February.   We also have another eight contacts we are trying to meet with and get started studying the Bible with them as well.  But it’s not about the numbers, its about the stories, its about the lives that are changing.  So let me tell you a couple of these stories, these stories I get to see unfold before my eyes.
Manuel is a father of three and his oldest daughter Rosio has a three year old daughter who also lives with Manuel and his wife.  We first met Manuel when we presented the Felix Vargas film, From the Darkness back in March last year.  So we’ve known Manuel for a year, we’ve been working with him, studying the Word with him, and praying with him for a year.  And we are seeing results!  When we arrive at Manuel’s house on Sunday afternoons to continue studying the Bible with him, he always starts off telling us about what he read that week or what questions he has from his personal Bible study during the week.  I love it!  I love the questions, I love hearing how amazed he is at the miracles of Christ in John, I love seeing his little notebook where he rewrites Bible verses so he can have them with him all the time without carrying the Bible.  Seeing immense growth in him in these past few weeks has been a joy to watch, an encouragement to both Franci and myself.  His life is changing, he’s praying and reading his Bible daily, he’s a new creature in Christ.  That’s what I’m here for, that’s the desire of my heart, is to see true life change and in Manuel, I see it and it’s awesome!  That is real life change.
Iris is the daughter in law of Lucia, Lucia is a little old lady who has a tourist shop near the plaza and lives in Huascar.  We’ve never been to Lucia’s house but we always visit  her in her shop, we sit on little benches while she sits on the floor and knits while listening to the Word as she cannot read.  Lucia has six children and she prays frequently for her children, that they would be able to walk with the Lord.  It was Lucia who sent us a street over from her tourist shop to her son’s tourist shop.  There we found Iris, a former Adventist who admittedly has left God to follow her own path in life, including, living with Lucia’s son, Jhon and their son.  Iris was a little timid when we first started visiting her about three months ago.  She said she wasn’t ready to commit her life back to God because she knew she would fail.  But, God has touched Iris’ heart, he has softened her to Him and she recommitted her life to the one and only God of the universe, she gave Him her heart and made a decision to walk with Christ.  And I see evidence of this rebirth in her.  Iris is sharing the Word with Jhon, her fiancée.  She has invited her friends Edwin and Roxana to come and listen to the discipleship lessons with her and Jhon.  She is learning and understanding that this walk with Christ is a process.  Seeing Iris and the change in her heart is unbelievable.  Seeing her reaching out to her fiancée and friends is incredible.  This is real life change. 
I met Dominga on Christmas Eve while Franci and I held a ‘chocolatada’ out on the street in Huascar.  Dominga was one of many ladies I met that morning.  I took down her name, address and phone number and she said Franci and I were welcome to visit her during the week.  Franci and I went to her house multiple times and knocked, we also called her, no response.   Then, two weeks ago, Franci and I where walking around Husacar and we saw Lydia, another lady we disciple and chatting with Lydia was Dominga.  Dominga asked us why we hadn’t come to visit her.  We explained we could never find her at home or get a hold of her by phone.  So we set up an exact day and time to visit her so she would be sure to be home.  And now, two weeks in a row, at 2pm on Friday afternoons, Dominga is home, waiting for us to knock (by throwing rocks onto her roof, a common way to knock here in Puno).  When she hears the falling rocks on her roof, she comes out and we sit on the dirt in front of her house and read the Bible.  You may think, two weeks, big deal.  But it is a big deal.  It’s a big deal that two weeks in a row Dominga has made a conscious effort to be home at 2pm on Friday’s, its a big deal that Dominga has set aside time two weeks in a row from all that she has to do, in order to sit on the dirt and read the Bible and pray with her neighbors walking by.  That’s a change of heart.  That is real life change.
So I could tell you, we are discipling 16 people in Husacr, up from 11 in January.  I could tell you that we were able to walk four people through a prayer of salvation in February.  I could say we have another eight contacts in Huascar we hope to start discipling this month.  I could throw more numbers out there.  But it’s the stories behind the numbers that touch my heart, its the real life change that God is navigating that gets to me, that excites me, that reminds me of why I’m here.
Here are some photos of Manuel at his baptism in January.  Unfortunately I was still struggling with pneumonia the day of the baptism and couldn’t go.  But, I’m so proud of him for taking this step to declare he’s serious about this walk with Christ.
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