11 Mar

March Ministry Update

Joseph S Kotvas & Isaías Hernandez

¿Prefiere Español? ¡Haz Clic Aquí!

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?

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!

17 Jan

January Ministry Update

HIGHLIGHTS: I’m starting deputation, beginning a courtship relationship, and generally excited for what God is doing and will do through me to fulfill HIS vision to reach this world. If you want to help me make a difference in Peru, give me a call!

It’s a new year, and God sure has a lot in store for us in 2014. Remember, we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.  Trust Him with me to do great things through us this year.

Zulema Ramirez

Zulema Ramirez

As I begin deputation, I’m excited to do so with the friendship and encouragement of a lovely young lady named Zulema Ramirez! Zulema is a Peruvian girl who is actively serving and reaching others in our church and studying in our Bible college, and she has a strong Christian testimony. I’ve known Zulema for many years, and over the past few months I’ve been waiting and praying …patiently… for the pieces to fall in place so I could begin this courtship relationship with her. The time has finally come, and it’s neat to reflect on how the Lord is guiding our steps.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been working in Peru as a student missionary, preaching, teaching and serving in Efata Baptist Church. Now it’s time for me to raise the support I’ll need to return to the field on a more permanent basis. I’m in the US now, and I’m actively scheduling meetings with churches. I would love to share the vision God has laid on my heart with your church, so if you’d like me to come by your church, don’t hesitate to email me or call me at (904) 335-8563. I look forward to getting back to the field as soon as possible.

Julianne & Frank

Julianne & Frank

For January and part of February, my entire family is in the states preparing for my sister Julianne’s wedding on February 7th. She is the first of my siblings to be married, and I’m excited for her! Please pray for her and her fiancé, Frank Miller of Southwest Florida. On the 9th, my family flies back to Peru, and I will head north for several weeks.

While I’m here in the States, I have a number of ministry opportunities I’m excited about. I’m excited about preaching and sharing my testimony in local churches, and I’ve enjoyed participating in revival services at Emmanuel Baptist in Fort Myers, visiting and filling in on the piano. There’s been some great preaching this week. May my heart ever remain sensitive to the work of the Spirit of God in my heart under the preaching of His Word!

Kevin Flores

Kevin Flores

Another opportunity has been on my heart for a while. Last year as I taught sixth grade at our school in Lima, the scarcity of solid Biblical teaching for the deaf in the provinces of Peru really came home to me. Kevin, one of my brightest students, was baptized last year, and he has been learning and growing. Toward the end of the year, we realized that due to financial constraints he would probably remain with his family in the city of Ayacucho. While Kevin was in our school, he could attend Efata Baptist Church and be fed spiritually. However, back in Ayacucho, there is currently no church preaching spiritual truth in his language. It’s difficult to see a young Christian go home, knowing that there is NO spiritual support for him there.

Lord willing, one day a local church will preach the gospel to the deaf in Ayacucho. However, the internet gives me a platform so I can preach the Gospel and encourage Peruvian deaf Christians right now! I’m getting ready to record Bible teaching in Peruvian Sign Language and publish the videos online. Pray that God will guide and enable. “How shall they hear without a preacher?”

Know that I am praying for you, and I thank you for your prayers for me. God bless!

Missionary Joseph S. Kotvas

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!