23 Feb

Pray for Us 🛫

Please pray for us tomorrow.

After over four years on the field, we are headed back to the states for a time of furlough and deputation. 

Our flight leaves tomorrow night at 11:55pm EST. Please pray for:

  • Safety in the air and on the road
  • hasslefree trip through customs and immigration checkpoints
  • Health (especially for Zulema as she recovers from a nasty virus – more on that later)
  • Provision
  • The Lord’s leading as we schedule meetings and plan our trip

Thank you!

The Lord bless you in each service and opportunity tomorrow as you serve him. 

Joseph Kotvas
Zulema, Joseph James & Esther
Missionaries to Peru, South America

Joseph S Kotvas
28 Dec

December 2018 Ministry Update – Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

In this letter, read about ministry activities, souls saved, ongoing projects, and current opportunities.

> Download PDF to Print <

> View the presentation <

“With 2018 rapidly drawing to a close, we want to express to you our heartfelt appreciation and joy for another year of blessing, collaboration and service to the King of kings and Lord of lords…”

  1. Thank You
  2. Trip to the North
  3. Pastor Joe is Back
  4. Bible Conference / Preacher Boy’s Contest / Family Fun Day
  5. San Juan de Lurigancho Christmas Activity / Souls Saved
  6. Efata Deaf Camp 2019 / Sponsors Needed
  7. Family News / Upcoming Deputation

Check out the latest photos, and an adorable video of Esther learning to walk!

You can download our December 2018 ministry update as a one-page PDF to print, or view it online as an interactive Sway presentation.

(904) 335-8563 | joseph@reachandteach.org | www.reachandteach.org

14 Jan

A New Year

January 2017 Prayer Letter

¿Prefiere Español? ¡Haz Clic Aquí! Download PDF to Print

Joseph and Zulema Kotvas, Missionaries to the Deaf in Peru, South America

It’s a new year – time to reflect on what has gone before and look to the future for what God has in store.  Zulema and I are so thankful for all the Lord’s blessings throughout 2016 and for what he is doing today.

Our Family

My Beautiful Family

Our Beautiful Family


Joseph James was born December 18, 2015, and we’ve watched him blossom throughout the past year.  He began walking shortly before his first birthday.
He is saying more and more words, using a mixed vocabulary of English, Spanish, and Sign Language!

There’s nobody cuter.  Even at his young age, he’s showing a fiercely independent spirit. We’ve got our work cut out for us!


Lord willing, within two months I will receive my Peruvian citizenship and passport!  As a dual citizen, I will be able to come and go as needed inside and outside of Peru.

Please pray that the process will go smoothly.  Once my papers are done, I will also be able to vote and contribute to Peruvian politics. Next project: Zulema’s US citizenship!

Efata Christian School

Some of my 5th Grade Class

Some of my 5th Grade Class


Last year I taught six deaf students in the fifth grade. It was a unique group, several had learning disabilities or recurring health issues, and two of the others were new to Efata, with a great deal of catching up to do.

The class did well, but they will need some more work before moving on to sixth grade. I will have them again this year. Two of my students made professions of faith and were baptized last year.


This school year will begin in March.  Lord willing, I will have my students from last year, along with four more coming up from fourth grade.  I’m excited to try some new methods for teaching language; I want my students to be successful.

Pray for salvations and for spiritual growth. Also, please pray that the Lord will send us more teachers and provide for their salaries.

Efata Baptist Church

Lives changed at our Bible Conference

Lives changed at our Bible Conference


2016 was a good year of for our church, with several challenging missions and Bible conferences. We held separate deaf and hearing Bible conferences, and the deaf Bible conference with Lee Johnson and Ray Bradley had a great impact on our people.

Our attendance has held steady and many souls have been saved and baptized.  We’re looking forward to what God will do this year!


Our first major activities this year are the deaf camp and youth camp. Deaf camp begins January 31! We haven’t held a deaf camp for years, and we’re praying that this one will encourage, strengthen and challenge our people to serve him.

The theme for camp this year is “Clean Hands and Pure Hearts.” We want our people to grasp the importance of personal sanctification.

The El Agustino Mission

The El Agustino Mission Work

The El Agustino Mission Work


Our ministry in El Agustino has been a great encouragement to me this year, with six professions of faith and three decisions to get right with the Lord.

The attendance every Thursday runs between 25-30 deaf people, and a few of them have begun coming to Sunday services at Efata as well. It’s a joy to see these people grow spiritually and learn God’s Word, many for the first time.


This year we hope to continue to reach out to the deaf in the El Agustino and surrounding area, and also disciple and grow those who have been saved.

Several have been baptized, but others are not ready to take that step. Pray that I would have wisdom as I teach and counsel, and that the people would continue to respond to God’s Word. It is God’s Word that will make a difference in their lives.

Thank you for your prayers and faithful support! God bless.

Joseph, Zulema & JJ, Your missionaries to the Deaf in Peru, South America

joseph@reachandteach.org | (904) 335-8563
1819 Hill Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33901

10 Jun

Back in Touch!

The Mission in El Agustino

Dear friends,

Thank you for reading this letter, and for praying for our family.  There is nothing more important to our success than prayers of the saints.  I truly believe I would not still be on the mission field today if it were not for your prayers.

Joseph James Kotvas

Joseph James Kotvas

I want to take a moment in this letter to reconnect with you and apologize for the lack of communication. We haven’t sent out any prayer letters since before our son, Joseph James was born in December! And that’s just not right.

There’s been a lot going on, between being a new parent, preparing and starting the new school year at Efata School for the Deaf, and working in ministry at Efata Baptist Church as well as leading a mission service for the deaf in El Agustino, another area of the city.  I’ve been busy, and we’ve seen much fruit.

Still, You deserve to hear from us more often, and from now on, you will.  I’ll be printing and mailing prayer letters bi-monthly, and sending out email updates weekly.

For now, here are a few praises and prayer requests I’d like to share.

The Mission in El Agustino

The Mission in El Agustino

1. The ministry in El Agustino is growing! We’ve had a constant flow of visitors, and several professions of faith. This week we had 34 in attendance – the most we’ve ever had attend a regular meeting.
2. Our son JJ is five and a half months old, and he’s so much fun. I have to say, I think he’s the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. Maybe I’m biased, but still… 🙂
3. Our Christian School for the Deaf celebrated its 46th anniversary this past week.  Kids and teachers had a blast celebrating with games and contests.  Vernon Miller, the deaf man who founded this ministry in 1970, is rightly remembered as a hero of the faith by the Christian deaf in Peru.
4. We’re starting our yearly missions conference here at Efata next week. Pray that our Deaf and hearing will respond to God’s call to give and go.

Write us back!  It’s an encouragement and a blessing.

God bless,

Joseph and Zulema Kotvas
Missionaries to the Deaf and Hearing in Peru, South America

15 Oct

La Obra del Señor

Prefer English? Click Here! Descarga PDF para imprimir

Queridos amigos,

Como siempre, gracias desde el fondo de mi corazón por sus oraciones y apoyo. Los meses transcurridos desde mi último informe me han enseñado muchas cosas, el principal de ellos siendo que la obra del Señor en mi ministerio sigue necesariamente la obra del Señor en mi corazón. Y por cierto, Él ha estado trabajando! Dios me tiene justo donde Él me quiere, y yo creo eso desde el fondo de mi ser. Sordos y oyentes están aceptando a Cristo, y estoy creciendo como pastor y como líder.

Ministry Plant in El AgustinoHemos arrancado un nuevo ministerio sordos en El Agustino, a unos 45 minutos de Efata. Esto ha sido un gran reto. Algunos de los sordos que vienen tienen cero conocimiento bíblico, y otros asistieron a una iglesia hace años, pero recién se están abriendo al Evangelio. Hasta la fecha, tres almas sordas han sido salvos solo por este ministerio. Por favor oren para que los nuevos cristianos crezcan espiritualmente y para que más almas se salven.

Estamos preparando un diccionario de la lengua de señas peruana. Cristianos, y en especial nosotros los bautistas, siempre hemos tenido el estudio de lenguaje y comunicación en alta estima. Misioneros a lo largo de la historia han dedicado largas horas elaborando diccionarios y traducciones de la Biblia. Un diccionario de la lengua de señas peruana ayudará a los sordos a comprender lo que leen, y ayudará a aquellos que quieren alcanzar a los niños y adultos sordos a comunicar de una manera más efectiva.

Joseph & Zulema Kotvas - Expecting!¡Estamos esperando una bendición! Bebé Joseph James Kotvas está por nacer en diciembre. Zulema y yo estamos emocionados! Mi casa está siendo invadido por ropa y accesorios de bebé, y nos estamos preparando para ser padres. Durante los primeros meses, el embarazo le chocó fuerte a Zulema. Ella estaba en cama durante semanas! Gracias a Dios, el peor de eso ya pasó, y estamos ansiosos por tenerle a nuestro hijo en brazos.

Por favor, sigan orando por nuestra familia y nuestro ministerio. ¡Dios sí escucha sus oraciones!

Dios les bendiga,

Joseph y Zulema Kotvas
Misioneros a los sordos y oyentes en Perú, Sudamérica