15 Oct

La Obra del Señor

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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

15 Oct

The Lord´s Work

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Dear friends,

As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued prayers and support. The intervening months since my last report have taught me many things, the chief of which is that the Lord’s work in my ministry necessarily follows the Lord’s work in my heart. And He’s sure been working! God has me right where God wants me, and I believe that from the depths of my being. Hearing and deaf souls are being saved, and I am growing as a pastor and as a leader.

Ministry Plant in El AgustinoWe launched a new deaf ministry in El Agustino, around 45 minutes from Efata. It´s been a great challenge. Some of those attending have zero biblical knowledge, and others went to church years ago at another location and are just now opening up to the gospel. So far, three Deaf souls have been saved in that ministry. Please pray for the new Christians to grow spiritually and for more souls to be saved.

Joseph & Zulema Kotvas - Expecting!We are preparing a Peruvian Sign Language dictionary. Christians, and the Baptists in particular, have always held the study of language in high esteem. Missionaries throughout history have dedicated long hours to the development of dictionaries and Bible translations. A comprehensive dictionary of Peruvian Sign Language will help the deaf understand what they read, and help those who are trying to reach deaf children and adults communicate more effectively.

We are looking forward to a blessing! Baby Joseph James Kotvas is due to be born in December. Zulema and I are ecstatic! My house is slowly being overtaken by baby clothes and accessories, and we are preparing for parenthood. For the first few months, pregnancy hit Zulema hard. She was practically bedridden for weeks on end! Thankfully the worst of that is behind us now, and we are looking forward to having him in arms.

Please continue to pray for our family and our ministry. God hears your prayers!

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

16 Apr

Sirviendo y Esperando

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Queridos amigos y familiares,

Muchas gracias por sus oraciones y apoyo este año. No podríamos hacer este ministerio sin ti.

Married CoupleZulema y yo nos casamos el 3 de enero de este año. Estamos agradecidos por el precioso regalo de Dios de matrimonio y familia! Pasamos luna de miel en Ecuador y en las islas Galápagos. Tuve la oportunidad de visitar varias iglesias en Guayaquil y Portoviejo, predicando y compartiendo mi testimonio.

Doquier que fuimos en Ecuador, fue refrescante encontrarnos con cristianos que nos trataron como hermanos y hermanas. Muchas gracias a los pastores Simón Rodríguez, Jonathan Ramírez y Michael Lanchang y sus esposas y congregaciones. Una excepción fue en las mismasislas hermosas de Galápagos; no hay iglesia Bautista allí. Oren por pastor ecuatoriano Franco Loyola; su ministerio desea iniciar un ministerio allí este año con la ayuda del Señor.

VBSDe vuelta a Lima en febrero, tuve la oportunidad de coordinar una Escuela Bíblica de Vacaciones por cuatro días en dos locales. Terminando la semana tuve la oportunidad de guiar quince niños al Señor. Gracias a Sra. Lily y las jóvenes de Iglesia Bautista Gracia en Chiclayo por un programa maravilloso creacionista.

Fines de febrero, un grupo de Efata viajó a Chiclayo para la conferencia anual de Fuegos de Evangelismo. Zulema y yo viajamos con los jóvenes y coordinamosla interpretación para los sordas. Después de un servicio, tuve el encanto de guiar un hombre al Señor. Una abuela en nuestra iglesia había orado por años que su hijo sea salvo. Sus oraciones fueron contestadas esa noche.

Las clases comenzaron en marzo, y he estado enseñando tres horas diarias en el aula de quinto grado con once estudiantes. Es un desafío, pero me gusta enseñar a estos niños adolescentes sordos temas de la Biblia, de ciencia y matemáticatodos los días. Un alumno de quince años vino a nosotros este año con lengua  de señas muy limitado. Oren para que él entienda el Evangelio.

El AugustinoEstoy orando acerca de una oportunidad para iniciar un nuevo estudio Bíblico en El Agustino, una municipalidad de Lima a una hora y media de Efata. Hay tantos sordos allí, y no hay un buen ministerio alcanzándolos. Semana pasada, hablé con José, un joven sordo en ese lugar que no tenía idea deAdán y Eva, o del significado de la palabra “pecado”. Oren para que pueda encontrar una buena iglesia allí con buena voluntad para dejarnos usar sus instalaciones.

He reservado mis noticias más emocionantes para el final. En diciembre próximo, un nuevo Kotvas pequeñín se unirá a nuestro equipo misionero! Zulema y yo estamos muy gozosos de estar esperando a un hijo(a).

Sé que algunas de las iglesias que visité el año pasado estaban esperando para me establezca en el campo misionero antes de comenzar con apoyo mensual regular. Si ustedes todavía no lo hacen, les pediría que en oración consideren apoyar económicamente a nuestra familiamientras servimos al Señor aquí.Una vez más, gracias por sus oraciones y su apoyo. ¡Que Dios los bendiga ricamente!

Joseph and Zulema Kotvas
Misioneros a los Sordos y Oyentes en Perú, Sudamérica

16 Apr

Serving Expectantly

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Dear friends and family,

Thank you so much for your prayers and support this year. We couldn’t do this ministry without you.

Married CoupleZulema and I were married on January 3 of this year. We’re thankful for God’s precious gift of marriage and family! Our honeymoon was spent in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands. I had the opportunity to visit several different churches in Guayaquil and Porto Viejo, preaching and sharing my testimony.

Everywhere we went, it was refreshing to meet Christians who treated us as brothers and sisters. Many thanks to Pastors Simon Rodriguez, Jonathan Ramirez and Michael Lanchang and their wives and congregations.  An exception was the beautiful Galapagos Islands themselves; there is no Baptist church there. Pray for Ecuadorian Pastor Franco Loyola; his ministry intends to start one this year with the Lord’s help.

VBSBack in Lima in February, I had the opportunity to coordinate a vacation Bible School during four days across two locations. By the end of the week I was able to lead fifteen children to the Lord. Thanks to Mrs. Lily and the young people from Grace Baptist Church in Chiclayo for a wonderful Creationist program.

Towards the end of February, a group from Efata traveled to Chiclayo for the annual Fires of Evangelism conference. Zulema and I traveled with the young people and coordinated interpreting for the Deaf. After one service, I was thrilled to lead one man to the Lord. A grandmother in our church had prayed for years for her son to be saved. Her prayers were answered that evening.

School started in March, and I’ve been teaching three hours a day in the fifth grade classroom with eleven students. They’re a challenging bunch, but I enjoy teaching these deaf children and teens the Bible, science and math every day. One fifteen-year-old student in the class transferred in this year with limited Sign Language. Pray for him to understand the Gospel.

El AugustinoI’m praying about an opportunity to start a new bible study in El Augustino, an area of Lima almost an hour and a half away from Efata. There are so many Deaf there, and no good ministry reaching them. Last week, I spoke with José, a Deaf young man there who had no idea who Adam or Eve were, or what the word “sin” meant. Pray that I can find a good church there with interest in allowing us to use their facilities.

I’ve saved my most personally exciting news for last. This December, a new little Kotvas will be joining our missionary team! Zulema and I are overjoyed to be expecting.

I know some of the churches I visited last year were waiting for me to get established on the field before beginning regular monthly support. If you haven’t already, I would ask that you prayerfully consider financially supporting our family as we serve the Lord here. Again, thank you for your prayers and your support. May God richly bless!

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

 

29 Dec

Wedding Bells in Peru – Ministry Update

I write this letter from Peru, South America, finally back on the field here, in the ministry God has given me and with the love of my life.

This year has been such a great joy and blessing to me. I have been able to preach in churches across America, presenting the real and pressing need for world evangelism among the Deaf. Thank you so much, each and every one of you who has helped me along the way.

Since I arrived in Peru, I have had multiple opportunities to preach and minister. Several weeks ago, I led a fifteen-year-old deaf boy to the Lord. Paul has been attending our school for a year and a half now, and as his understanding has opened, the Lord has done a work in his heart. There’s nothing like introducing a soul to the Savior!

Joseph & Zulema KotvasIt has been quite the ordeal getting all the paperwork in order for my wedding with Zulema. For a week or so, we even thought we might have to postpone the wedding due to paperwork. Praise God everything worked out! Our civil wedding ceremony and vows, required by law here in Peru, were performed on December 26th. This means Zulema and I are now legally married.

Our church wedding will be as scheduled at 2pm this Saturday, January 3. We invite you to join us online http://www.Efata.org/live on our special day.

There is so much to do here in ministry! When we get back from the honeymoon in January, I will be on the job, serving as pastor for the Deaf at Efata Baptist Church and teaching in the Christian School. I will be working to see our people grow and invest in those who show potential to serve in future ministry.

Please pray for our wedding plans, pray for the ministry here, and pray that God will guide and bless each step of the way.

To the churches which have contacted me with promises of support, thank you so much, from both Zulema and myself. With God’s help, your support enables us to serve and minister here. Thank you for partnering with us to reach the Deaf of Peru.

We do not yet have full support, but are trusting in the Lord to provide for our needs. He’s cared for us all this year, above and beyond what we could ever ask, and we know he will continue to provide.

Have a wonderful New Year holiday, and may God richly bless each and every one of you!

Joseph & Zulema Kotvas,
Reaching the Deaf in Lima, Peru

20 Sep

Projects and Progress – Ministry Update

ReachTheDeaf.com, Debtor to Grace & The Big Box Project

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God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!

That’s the truth, and I’m thankful for His goodness. I pray His blessings on you and yours, and I trust you are following His leading along life’s way.

The Bible says, “I being in the way, the Lord led me.” I’m certainly “in the way” now, traveling from church to church and raising support to head back to Peru on December first. On the way, I’ve been working on a number of projects, and I’d like to share them with you.

ReachTheDeaf.comReachTheDeaf.com – Community Site for Deaf Ministry Leaders

My heart and my ministry focus is the Deaf – ensuring that God’s love is real in the experience and Lives of deaf people around the world. I want to encourage and help those who are pursuing this vision. I love the people in the trenches of Deaf ministry, be they Deaf or hearing themselves.

To this end, my good friend and pastor for the Deaf Cody Holland has collaborated with me to develop and publish a website specifically for ministry leaders. Every week we are publishing articles, quotes, interviews and resources that can be used in practical ministry with the Deaf.

This is exciting! Do you care about reaching the Deaf? Well then why don’t you come on by and join the conversation? It’s happening on ReachTheDeaf.com

CD spread - Debtor to GraceDebtor to Grace – Album  Release

I’ve played the piano since forever, and the joy of sharing truth through music never gets old. Music gives voice to the inner man, communicating joy and sorrow, tears and triumph. This year I recorded a piano solo album celebrating the wonderful Grace of God, and I’m thrilled to share it with you today.

The album Debtor to Grace is now available for purchase on my website, but I’d like to give you one of the tracks for free right now as a personal thank you for your support and encouragement. Your prayers and financial support have, with the Lord’s help, brought me this far, and I appreciate each one of you. You can download the mp3 now at ReachAndTeach.org/thanks

The Big Box ProjectThe Big Box Project

Speaking of prayer and financial support, the Big Box Project is still underway, and going strong! The folks in Jacksonville who have been organizing this project have put forth a herculean effort collecting donations, packing, coordinating shipping logistics, and generally being an amazing blessing.

It’s gonna be a big box! In a few weeks, the itemized list of donations, ranging from thousands of dollars of school supplies to audio and office equipment, church pews, and clothing and uniforms for the children, will be on its way to the customs officials in Peru. We hope to get everything delivered in the next three months or so.

Just a little more than two months to go!

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. It means a great deal. Before long I’ll be back in Peru, serving the Lord at Efata together with Zulema. I’m looking forward to that day!

Blessings,

Joseph S. Kotvas, your missionary to Peru, South America

20 Sep

Proyectos y Progreso – Informe del Ministerio

ReachTheDeaf.com, Debtor to Grace & The Big Box Project

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¡Dios es bueno todo el tiempo, y todo el tiempo Dios es bueno!

Que dicha palabra. Estoy tan agradecido por la bondad de Dios. Pido Sus bendiciones sobre Ud. y los suyos, y confío que Ud. está siguiendo Su liderazgo a lo largo de su camino en esta vida.

La Biblia dice, “Bendito sea Jehová… guiándome Jehová en el camino”. Estoy sin duda “en el camino” ahora, viajando de iglesia en iglesia buscando apoyo para volver a Perú el primero de diciembre. Por allí he estado trabajando en una serie de proyectos, y me gustaría compartirlos con ustedes.

ReachTheDeaf.comReachTheDeaf.com – Sitio web para líderes con los Sordos

Mi corazón y mi enfoque es ministerio con Sordos – asegurando que el amor de Dios sea real en las experiencias y las vidas de personas Sordas por todo el mundo. Quiero animar y ayudar a los que están realizando esa visión. Me encanta la gente que trabajan en el ministerio con Sordos, sean ellos mismos sordos u oyentes.

Con ese fin, mi buen amigo y pastor para Sordos Cody Holland ha colaborado conmigo para desarrollar y publicar un sitio web específicamente para líderes de ministerios con Sordos. Cada semana publicamos artículos, citas, entrevistas y recursos útiles en la práctica del ministerio con los Sordos.

¡Eso es emocionante! ¿Se preocupa Ud. por llegar a los sordos? Entonces ¿por qué no te unas a la conversación? Ahora en ReachTheDeaf.com.(Por hoy en inglés, aunque esperamos que en el futuro también en español.)

CD spread - Debtor to GraceDeudor a la Gracia – publicación del álbum

He tocado el piano desde siempre, y el gozo de compartir la verdad a través de la música nunca me disminuye. La música da voz al hombre interior, comunicando alegría y tristeza, lágrimas y triunfo. Este año he grabado un álbum de música instrumental (piano solo) celebrando la maravillosa gracia de Dios, y me alegro poder compartirlo con ustedes hoy.

El álbum Deudor a la Gracia está disponible para comprar en mi sitio web, pero me gustaría darle una de pistas de forma gratuita como un agradecimiento personal por su apoyo y aliento. Sus oraciones y su apoyo financiero, con la ayuda del Señor, me han traido hasta este punto, y aprecio a cada uno de ustedes. Ud. puede descargar el mp3 ahora en ReachAndTeach.org/thanks

The Big Box ProjectEl proyecto “Big Box Project“

Hablando de la oración y el apoyo financiero, ¡el “Big Box Project” sigue todavía en desarrollo! La gente en Jacksonville que organiza este proyecto ha presentado un esfuerzo masivo recogiendo donaciones, empacando, coordinando la logística del envío, y siendo una bendición increíble.

¡Va a ser un container enorme! En pocas semanas, la lista detallada de donaciones, que incluyen miles de dólares de útiles escolares, equipos de audio y máquinas para oficina, bancos de la iglesia, y ropa y uniformes para los niños, estará en las manos de los funcionarios de aduanas en Perú. Esperamos recibir todo en los próximos tres meses.

¡Regreso a Perú pronto!

Gracias todos por sus oraciones y apoyo. Significa mucho. En pocos días estaré de vuelta en Perú, sirviendo al Señor en Efata junto con Zulema. ¡Espero ese día!

Bendiciones,

Joseph S. Kotvas, su misionero en Perú, Sudamérica

 

20 Jun

Noticias de Junio 2014

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RESALTO: Dios es bueno (siempre)! Yo estoy comprometido, y estamos paso a paso levantando el apoyo que necesitaremos en la obra misionera. Es maravilloso ministrar, ver almas salvadas, y desafiar a la gente en el servicio del Señor.

Queridos amigos,

EngagedEn primer lugar, tengo una noticia maravillosa! El lunes por la noche, la hermosa Zulema Ramírez me prometió su mano en matrimonio! Estamos muy contentos y con ganas de servir al Señor juntos en Perú. Nuestra boda se realizará el próximo mes de enero.

Hasta la fecha, he recaudado alrededor de 20-25% del apoyo mensual que necesitaremos cuando regreso a Perú en diciembre. Mil gracias a las Iglesias Bautistas Emanuel y Nuevo Testamento en Fort Myers, FL por habernos aceptado en sus familias misioneras el mes pasado. Por favor oren conmigo para que en estos seis meses alcancemos nuestra meta. Dios mediante, otras de las iglesias que ya he visitado nos apoyarán. Seguiré visitando iglesias nuevas hasta diciembre.

Ha sido maravilloso ver la provisión de Dios. Cada vez que he tenido necesidad, Dios ha suplido. Hablo de necesidades ambos grandes y pequeñas. Me gusta recordar la vez que encontré un pasador justo antes de que uno de los míos se rompió. Recientemente, tenía que pagar mi seguro vehicular, y en la misma semana recibí una ofrenda de amor inesperado, mas que suficiente para cubrir la factura. Dios es bueno!

VBS at EmmanuelLa semana pasada fue Escuela Bíblica de Vacaciones en Emanuel en Florida, y disfruté enseñando a los estudiantes de 5o y 6o grado. Fue un gozo conducir dos jóvenes al Señor. La iglesia hizo un buen trabajo planificando y presentando la EBDV. Que hermoso ver a miembros de la iglesia participando y sirviendo juntos.

Disfruté el Día del Padre en Perú con mi papá, y predique el culto de la tarde en nuestra iglesia. Mi padre es un padre y un pastor maravilloso, y es un privilegio trabajar con él.

Esta semana es nuestra conferencia misionera en Efata, y disfrutamos de buena enseñanza y edificación. El sábado predicaré en nuestro banquete internacional. Las iglesias peruanas son responsables para alcanzar a nuestro mundo para Cristo. El tema este año es “Comprometidos”. ¡Así es! Comprometidos a orar, a preparar, a dar y a ir. Espero que cada uno de ustedes también sea verdaderamente comprometido.

Atentamente,
Joseph S. Kotvas, su misionero a Perú, Sudamérica

20 Jun

June Ministry Update

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HIGHLIGHTS: God is good (all the time)! I’m engaged, and we’re progressing step by step toward raising the support we will need on the mission field. It’s wonderful to minister, see souls saved, and challenge people to serve the Lord.

Dear Friends,

EngagedFirst of all, I have some wonderful news! On Monday evening, the beautiful Zulema Ramirez promised me her hand in marriage! We are excited and looking forward to serving the Lord together in Peru. Our wedding will take place this coming January.

So far I’ve raised around 20-25% of the monthly support we will need when I return to Peru this December. Many thanks to Emmanuel Baptist Church and New Testament Baptist Church in Fort Myers, FL for accepting us into their missionary families last month. Please pray with me that over the next six months we will reach our goal. Lord willing, some of the churches I have already visited will choose to take us on for monthly support. I will continue to visit new churches through the end of the year.

It’s been great to watch God provide. Each time I have had a specific need, God has anticipated and blessed. This applies to needs both great and small. I like to think about the time I found a shoelace just before one of mine broke. Recently my car insurance came due, and that week I received an unexpected love offering which more than covered the bill. God is good!

Last week was Vacation Bible School at Emmanuel Baptist in Florida, and I enjoyed teaching the fifth and sixth grade students. It was a joy to lead several middle schoolers to the Lord. Emmanuel did a great job planning and executing the VBS. It’s great to see church members pitching in and serving together.

I so enjoyed being in Peru on Father’s Day and preaching the afternoon service at our church. My dad is a wonderful father and pastor, and it’s a privilege to be working with him.

This week is our missions conference here at Efata, and we’ve enjoyed some great teaching and preaching thus far. I am speaking at our international banquet on Saturday. Just like churches in the US, Peruvian churches are responsible to reach our world for Christ. This year’s conference theme is, appropriately enough, “Engaged.”  That’s right! Engaged to pray, engaged to prepare, engaged to give and engaged to go. On that note, I hope each and every one of you is also fully and truly engaged.

Sincerely,
Joseph S. Kotvas, your missionary to Peru, South America

Was this update a blessing to you? Want an invitation to the wedding? Respond below! I appreciate your comments.

11 Mar

March Ministry Update

Joseph S Kotvas & Isaías Hernandez

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HIGHLIGHTS: God is working. He’s continually working in my life, and He is working to save souls. As I travel the deputation trail, He is also working to provide for my needs. I can’t thank Him enough for His presence & power.

Dear friends & fellow believers,

I’m so thankful to share with you some highlights from the past several months on the deputation trail. Since my last prayer letter in January, I have had the awesome opportunity to visit a number of wonderful churches and ministries, preach, and present the vision God has given me for reaching the deaf and hearing in Peru, South America. I’ve traveled thousands of miles, and I’ve grown much along the way.

God is good (all the time!), and He has graciously provided for my needs thus far. I am so thankful for the gifts many of you have given to keep me on the road. I know God will bless your faithfulness.

I write this letter from South Florida, having just come from frigid Menominee Falls, WI, where I just spent a week at the Falls Baptist Church “Victory Conference.” What a powerful time of preaching! Just like any Christian, missionaries and pastors need to be challenged from the Word of God, and I was so thankful for the opportunity to be renewed in my spirit.

Let me share some key challenges from the work of God in my heart during this conference:

  • Remember that Christ is all. Abiding in Christ means trusting him for both direction & provision.
  • The friendship & fellowship I share with my Lord is so sweet! How could I allow that relationship to stagnate or weaken, even for a moment?
  • God still does awesome miracles in & through his servants. Hearing fresh reports from missionaries is a thrill beyond description, and provokes tears of joy.

Joseph S Kotvas & Isaías Hernandez

My heart is full as I write this letter, for I’ve had the joy of seeing God’s saving power up close and personal just last week! On Saturday visitation, I went out with my brother James and another Bible college student, and with Francisco Torres, the leader of the Spanish ministry there. We were able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with Isaías Hernández, an immigrant from Mexico.

Mr. Hernandez gladly received the Gospel, and called upon the Lord for his salvation! He is now burdened for his wife and family. I rejoiced to see him attend the Sunday morning service as I preached on unity and love in the church.

Beloved, we serve a great God and Savior. He is just as much at work today as He was 2000 years ago in the early church. The question is, are we surrendered to his work through us?

Sincerely,
Joseph S. Kotvas, your missionary to Peru, South America

Was this update a blessing to you? Care to share a testimony of God’s saving grace? Respond below!