LATIN AMERICA UPDATE
Latin Americans are no strangers to suffering and hardship whether from the ills of their respective societies or the day to day struggles that many face in just trying to have a life and raise a family. In addition, that all that, this great region of our world in recent days has been pummeled by natural disasters that have brought death, destruction, and misery.
Less than one year ago parts of Cuba were devastated by hurricane Matthew. Just last month, Cuba took a direct hit from hurricane Irma, the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall there in more than 80 years. In the 72 hours it battered the island, it killed at least 10 people and brought destruction on nearly every region of that nation. Parts of Havana was chest-deep in water. This afternoon I received word that the Cuban people are again bracing for the possibility of more water and wind from hurricane Maria but praying that it will turn north. The impact on the already strained economic situation has been enormous. Tourism, a large part of Cuba’s income, is virtually non-existent. The agricultural sector has been hard hit, creating food shortages that are not expected to improve quickly. As a result, after consulting with the pastors there and with their counsel, we have postponed the Cuban Project at least until February or March of 2018. To try and host the numbers we were anticipating in the various meetings would be an additional burden on the churches there now. We have the literature already printed there and waiting until this current crisis is over. Please pray for the churches there who will use this hardship to demonstrate Christ’s love to their unsaved friends, family, and neighbors. One pastor in an area in eastern Cuba especially hard hit by last year’s October hurricane told me that this has been the most fruitful year for the churches there because of what God has done in people’s hearts through that disaster. God has HIS Plan in all this!
Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is another nation of the region that is suffering new hardships right now. Early last month, hurricane Franklin made landfall there twice causing widespread flooding and damage. Just a few hours ago, a strong 7.1 earthquake brought death and destruction to a large area of central Mexico, including its capital, Mexico City. The current death toll stands at some 139 and expected to rise. Tragically, it is feared that many of those have been children. Tuesday afternoon’s earthquake comes just 11 days after an 8.1 earthquake shook southern Mexico killing some 100 people and destroying more than 45,000 homes. It has been termed the “…strongest in a century.” I am scheduled to hold 2 meetings there in these areas in November and December. These meetings will be hosted by pastors who received training in two of our previous International Soul Winning Directors Institutes in Mexico City. The training materials for these meetings are already there these pastors are excited about our ministry in their churches and to the pastors and church leaders who will attend from other local churches. Please pray for our brethren there as they go through this crisis time.
These events of recent days and those that are still unfolding remind my heart again of the uncertainty of this life and the URGENCY of seizing every opportunity to get the Gospel to as many as possible. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we seek to serve our Worthy Lord!
Special Note from James Adams
“Blessed is the man…” (Psalm 1:1)
Happiness is something sought after every day. It’s on everyone’s wish list. No normal person sets his or her goal in life to be miserable and unhappy. But life is not always “HAPPY” for even the dedicated Christian. The reality of Scripture warns of times of testing, adversity and at times, indescribable suffering. In fact, the Bible is full of examples of godly people, good people who passed through times that tried their very faith.
One of the sad experiences I have had in ministry and travel is observing people who seem to be desperately trying to be happy.
In Psalm 1, God reveals to us the path to genuine “happiness” and contentment but it goes against the grain of our modern post-Christian culture. True happiness and contentment doesn’t just HAPPEN. Assuredly, it is the blessing of our wonderful Lord. However, it is the result of important choices we make or do not make in life. James asks the solemn question in his letter to the Christians scattered by persecution, “For what is your life?...” (James 4:4) Although there can be various answers to that question, there is one certain one. In large measure, life is what we make it by our choices.
The Psalmist says the man that is “blessed,” that finds true happiness, fulfillment and contentment in life is the one who learns to make wise choices. He carefully and wisely choses WHERE he WALKS, from WHOM he takes counsel and WITH whom he CONSORTS. He chooses to DELIGHT himself in God’s WORD and he runs it through his MIND and HEART continually. And the results of those choices is a life of stability and fruitfulness.
God has been gracious to me in allowing several such people to pass through my life in my journey Home. One such beloved friend is Dr. Joe West. Bro. Joe, as he was known by all, was a man whom I believe came down to the end of his 85-plus years of life having found and experienced the “Blessed Life” of Psalm 1. He was a man whose life, like that of the “Blessed Man” of Psalm 1, reflected the wisdom and value of the right choices in life. Never a wealthy man in terms of this world, but rich toward God. He was a fervent PATRIOT, a faithful PASTOR, a CHAMPION of the faith, a LOVER of the SCRIPTURES, a wonderful HUSBAND and FATHER and to me and many others, a LOYAL and VALUED friend. I will miss him, his wise counsel and Bible preaching. Hasta luego, mi querido hermano. Until later, my beloved brother. Happy Homegoing!!
Thanks for your prayers and gracious support.
James & Kim Adams
The WITNESS Project