11 Nov

Anecdotes from Peru

It’s neat to watch God work in people’s lives. He really does make all the difference! This past week I had a few different encounters I’d like to share with you all.

Sometimes you don’t even know they’re listening.

Last Sunday was the inaugural service at a larger location for our church plant in Tablada, and it was a great evening. Dad preached the beautiful redemption story of Rahab. I interpreted the message in Peruvian Sign Language. Several days later, a quiet little deaf lady who has attended out church for many, many years approached me and commented on how the message had touched her heart. I was floored! This particular lady never even speaks with me beyond a friendly hello, and to be honest, I wasn’t even sure if she understood much of my interpreting. God used it for his glory.

God Honors faithfulness.

Alex, a local youth pastor, got married on Saturday, and he and his fiancée asked me to play the piano for their wedding. It was a blessing to see their testimony of patience, purity, and love for the Lord culminating in marriage – a marriage free from the weight of guilt and regrets carried by so many. (Plus, they gave me a love offering – just what I needed to cover my faith promise for the week!)

God Changes Lives.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time speaking with Wilfredo, a young man new to our church. Last month I and youth pastor Wilder Rojas had the joy of witnessing to him in Tablada, and he’s been growing in the Lord ever since. God has turned his life around! No longer addicted to drink or chronically depressed, this young man eagerly shared with me some of the verses he has been memorizing and discussed his plans to return to his hometown in northern Peru, now a changed man.

God give joy.

Yesterday evening, two visitors accepted Christ in Tablada – a man and a young boy, probably around eight years old. As I played the offertory hymn after the invitation, the boy returned to his seat, and I could see his face. He was positively glowing! When Christ touches a life, all the guilt and shame just disappear, and the joy of Jesus takes their place. What a difference!

God really does work if you let him. I hope all of you are doing well. Keep on serving him, and stay in touch!

Has God done something special in your life lately? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below and share your story!

19 Sep

Deputation Launch Video

Video Transcript

Hi everyone, I’m thrilled to finally be able to share with all of you what God is doing in my life! As most of you know, my name is Joseph Kotvas, and I’ve been serving for over a year now as a student missionary in Lima, Peru alongside my family, working in the Efata church, school, and children’s home.

God has taught me so much during this time. I can’t even begin to thank Him enough for all the opportunities and blessings He sends my way! Over the past year, He has confirmed within me a missionary calling to the Deaf of Peru and the world – to reach Deaf and hearing souls for Christ and nurture them in the Word of Life, equipping them with the spiritual tools they will need as they go out and reach others.

During the past 14 years, I’ve seen Efata Ministries flourish and grow as a center for Deaf and hearing evangelism and training, and I’ve had the joy of being a part of that growth. I’ve seen preachers trained and sent out to other cities and other countries, sharing the glorious Gospel of Christ. I’ve seen Deaf children arrive at our school knowing nothing – nothing – and grow up as joyful servants of the Lord.  That’s the ministry to which God has called me, and it’s the ministry where I’ve been serving.

Well, now it’s time for me to officially join the Efata missions team. This past Tuesday, Macedonia World Baptist Missions accepted me as a missionary to Peru, sent out of Efata Baptist Church. In December, I’ll be returning to the US for one year in order to raise support and then return to the field and serve with my family.

Now, God has called me to serve him, and I know that He will enable me to do so. I’ve been told that with this economy, it’s one of the most difficult times in recent history to raise support as a missionary. I understand that. I’ve also been told that the amount of support I raise is a factor of the number of churches that give me meetings. I understand how the math works.

However, here’s what else I know and understand. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!” Since it’s God who works in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure, it’s God who will provide for my needs and for my ministry. And there is nothing He cannot do. So with that in mind, I’m stepping out in faith. Care to join me?

I want to ask you, my friends and my family, to get on board here. Why don’t you take this step with me? First of all, I’m going to be sending out regular updates, and it will be an incredible encouragement to me if you sign up to receive them and pray for me. Just go to my website, ReachAndTeach.org, and enter your email address there. I’m going to need all the prayer and encouragement I can get.

Second, I need help connecting with pastors. My goal is to visit 200-250 churches in one year. To make that happen, I’m starting to schedule meetings now! If you think your pastor might be willing to have me in, you can help me connect. Please email me at joseph@reachandteach.org with his contact information. I would love to come visit your church.

Finally, I’d like to invite anyone who would like to do so to make a one-time donation to a special deputation kickoff fund. Deputation isn’t cheap; I’ll need around $4000 just to start this journey. Now, the ladies here at my home church have already sacrificially raised almost $250.00 toward this amount! I know God’s going to provide. If you want to participate, or even if you’re just interested in tracking my progress, you can do so, once again, at ReachAndTeach.org.

Thanks so much for taking the time to watch this video! If you have any questions, or if you’d like me to send you more information, please email me joseph@reachandteach.org or call me at 904-335-8563!  Leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.

God bless!