14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Dear friends and family,
As the adage goes, “Plans are useless, but planning is essential.” I am thankful we can rest in God’s will as we continue down life’s path.
As we explained in last month’s letter, our deputation plans for 2020 were interrupted by both the border closings and by our pregnancy. We finally did return to the US on December 16th. We are still taking things month by month as the Lord opens and closes doors.
Praise the Lord, just before we came back, I was able to lead a young deaf man to the Lord after the Sunday morning service, and another told me that God used our online Deaf Bible Conference in November to call him to preach the Gospel.
Pray for these new Christians, Jair and Richard, as they grow in the Lord at Efata. Deaf pastors Jorge and Frank, as well as my brother-in-law, Abraham, are doing a wonderful job investing in these and others. I can’t wait to get back to the field and continue to train and reach the Deaf for Christ.
Please pray for Dr. Dean Hamby and his wife, Karen as they are battling COVID. Dr. Hamby is the assistant director of Macedonia World Baptist Missions, our wonderful mission board. He and Mrs. Hamby are such a blessing and help to us, and I know they would appreciate your prayers for a complete and speedy recovery.
Also, pray for our people at Efata Baptist Church. Several of our staff and their families who live on campus have been infected with the virus. Because of the recent spike in cases across Lima, the government has again forbidden in-person services for several weeks. Restaurants, malls, festivals, theaters, casinos, etc. have also been shut down. Of course, the Gospel continues to be preached and taught faithfully over live streaming and video calls.
Efata is also facing a serious financial need right now. We have been negotiating with the local government for several years over municipal taxes. The city abruptly raised our rates retroactively, and we were facing a tax bill of over $75,000.00 in back taxes. Praise the Lord we have been able to get them to reduce that amount considerably.
After exhausting appeal options, we were left with a tax bill of around $20,000. Our Peruvian church members and others have given generously, and we now owe around $16,200. If you can help with this need it will be much appreciated. Once this debt is cleared, we will be able to keep things current as we always did before.
Our family’s current roadmap is to continue in Florida throughout February before hitting the deputation trail during March and April and into May. Praise the Lord, I have been able to preach in several of our supporting churches this month as well as pick up a brand-new supporting church in Iglesia Bautista Nuevo Testamento, Labelle, FL. We are currently just under 40% of our support target, and it is our prayer that we can get to 60% before returning to the field.
We have been doing paperwork for Zulema’s citizenship, and because of pandemic office closures, we are hitting some roadblocks and delays in the process. Please pray that the Lord would allow us to get her American citizenship this year. As always, also pray for her continued health.
Pray too for our baby, Grace. Her respiratory issues were aggravated over the past couple of weeks after catching a cold. We are keeping a close eye on her as she is prone to choking up. We had to rush to the emergency room last week to clear her airways. Please pray for God’s hand of protection on her as we travel.
JJ is now five, and Esther is three. All three of our children love to travel. God has taken care of us every step of the way thus far, and his promises have never failed. We are honored to partner with you in his service.
Joseph and Zulema Kotvas
JJ, Esther, and Grace