When we moved to Agua Caliente, I planted a tree. It was a perita tree. It grows exceptionally fast as far as trees go, and it gives an abundance of soft pink fruits in the shape of pears. The flesh is white and delicious. I planted it before we even moved to Agua Caliente in hopes to see its fruit. The tree is now almost 20 feet tall and I believe that any day now it will bear what I have hoped for.
In the ministry, I had a vision for fruit also, not peritas, but of lives being changed, completely given over to the Lord. I have sown and plowed for seven years and this year have seen the first of much fruit. We had 21 students come to receive Christ this semester. While we have had students come to the Lord in the past, we have not had as large a group. As a result, I was plunged into two new discipleship groups where I am teaching about people in the Bible. As soon as we started the discipleship classes, something came to my heart. It was baptism. We had 21 people who received Christ, and they needed to be baptized! I started to teach them about baptism and what it means. We spoke about obedience. Obedience is like the faucet in heaven. It is how we release the power of the Lord in us. Our faith is what opens the faucet. We obey because we believe and when we do, God can show up, act, move and manifest in us. Baptism is the first act of obedience to our faith in Christ. We obey in something so simple, yet deep because it opens heaven to us. Like Namaan who washed in the Jordan, we are washed clean with our obedience to Christ in baptism. I presented the idea to the students and they responded well. They wanted to obey Jesus! We picked a date, and impromptu, really in reaction to our student's desires, we planned a baptism.
Last Tuesday, we rented a bus and took our Wednesday night service family and our student family to Chachauala river to baptize them. Pastor Juan went with us to help and support us. We have a great trust and friendship with Pastor Juan. The day was perfect. The cloud cover I asked God to give, He supplied for us. The water was crystal clear. We drove up the river and found a spot, parked and set up some tents.
We then started the time with a message from Isaiah 55. Then we were led into worship. We felt the Holy Spirit show up and take over. The day was so joyous. When we started the baptisms it was with Albertina from our Wednesday service. Each person gave a confession of faith and a small testimony that moved me. We were all moved. It is so beautiful to see the people we have sown into give fruit! We had six from our Wednesday night service be baptized, and six from MLV. Teodolinda, who works with Rina in the kitchen, and whose house we built last August was baptized with her oldest daughter. Her daughter started to cry when she said that she was so happy that her first marriage would be to Christ. Teodolinda declared her life to be for the Lord, from now until she dies. David, a computer student, testified to the Lord working in his life and being more excited about Jesus than anything else in his life. Nicole, our mechanic student, declared to have received an indescribable peace since the day she received Jesus. Each testimony was amazing. I wish all of you could have been there to be a part. There was no plan, no script, just a desire to obey and to be with the Lord.
We never stopped praying. At several moments in between baptisms, the group would burst out in song to the Lord. We then moved to prayer over the wet and obedient bunch and it went on until each one was filled with the Lord's peace and love. Pastor Juan had a special song to sing and we later found out it was the very song Berta always wanted to sing at her baptism and God gave it.
We then had an awesome BBQ, with chicken and pork chop that Rina prepared and Karen cooked over some rocks we gathered. We spent most of the morning laughing and relaxing together in the river. I have not seen Don Will so happy as that day. He was like a kid in the water, half fish too. I thank God that we were able to celebrate such an important step in such a big way and give honor to His name. I hope that this is the first of many trips to the river and that we will always be celebrating God's faithfulness and love among us.
Our new mechanic teacher, Mike Connor, was also baptized. He was a student in my English class in 2014 and then disappeared when he took a job in Panama. He came back and told me he could help with mechanics when we lost Melvin. We came down to the line. I had not talked with Mike, nor could I contact him, but I had 20 + students enrolled in his classes. He showed up and has done more in the last few months than others in a year. The students attached to him right away and I am thankful that we have someone like him to carry them to graduation. He is a dreamer and someone who has captured the vision of what the ministry could be. We are so excited about the mechanics class and were God will take it. All of our teachers have found vision for their workshops and for their students.
I am so glad to be a part of the ministry at this time. It seems the world has opened. I feel like we have paid dues, past the test and we are standing on the edge of infinite possibility! I am praying for the vision to be captured not only by us, but by others like you all, and that together we can change Honduras. 20 people can multiply to 40 and 40 to 80 and 80 to 160 and 160 to 320 and on and on! It is a legacy that grows in the Kingdom! God's word does not come back to Him empty. It does what it has purposed to do. God has spoken a word over MLV, over Puerto Cortes, and over Honduras and we get to be a part of it. We invite you to be a part too and stand with us. Stand in the gap and bridge heaven and earth with us in Honduras. Thank you for your support, prayers and love.
To remind you all, we have a trip in July that anyone can be a part of. We have four spots open still. The dates have been adjusted to July 5-July 12. The cost is $740 +airfare. The trip will start by participating and supporting our big end-of-semester event where we graduate students and share the gospel with family and friends. We anticipate about 300 people. We will also hold classes and seminars in MLV, do street evangelism and visit the local hospital. We are so excited about what God will do during the time. If you cannot go, but would like to be a part of the blessing, we need support for some members who have committed to go but do not have all of their funds. If you are able to contribute to a team member or to the projects we will be doing, there is an opportunity! Please contact Amy Caffarella for details. firstname.lastname@example.org
Our venta-de Carpa, yard sale bazaar, where the students sell second-hand items and offer food and services, is coming up on June 17 and the student body is preparing to hold it in the center of Puerto Cortes. This will be by far, the largest venta-de-carpa we have ever done! Pray for its success and blessing over the day. Pray for much needed cloud cover on that day so we don't die in the heat.
We love you all and hope to hear from you. If you ever want to send a response email and let us know what God is doing with you also, how he is teaching you, ask a question or just say hi, you can reply to this update and I will receive the response.