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, 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
Dear Partners in Prayer and Ministry:
“Epaphras....a servant of Christ…” (Colossians 4:12)
During my years of preparation for the ministry attending Tennessee Temple University, I often heard Dr. Lee Roberson one of my heroes say, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” While I readily affirm the value of leadership, I also believe that there can be no successful and effective LEADERSHIP without committed “FOLLOW-SHIP.” And that is not a new discovery. Every successful leader who has truly made an impact (good or evil) on the world did so only because they had FOLLOWERS that were committed to and believed in their leadership. We see that truth played out in every facet of life. Every leader MUST have those who share the vision of that leader and are willing to commit themselves that leadership.
One of the great examples of successful leadership is another of my heroes from the pages of Scripture, the Apostle Paul. If we stop for a moment and reflect, we realize the great debt we owe to him and to those who labored alongside him. Paul introduced the Gospel to Europe and from Europe it came to our shores and eventually to your heart and mine. But he would never have succeeded without committed men and women who willingly embraced his message and vision to take the Gospel to “every creature.” Paul seems to have been keenly aware of that fact. Therefore, he invested himself in others. He realized something that some aspiring leaders see too late if at all. He knew that to be truly successful in fulfilling his vision and the Commission he had received from his Lord, he had to multiply himself through the lives and efforts of his fellow servants whom God had raised up to aid him. The list of godly and courageous men and women in the book of Acts and those he greets and commends in his epistles are impressive. Some names are mentioned more than once while others appear only briefly like Epaphras (short for Epaphroditus). We see him only briefly but the few words penned by Paul give us the portrait of a faithful follower of Christ and co-laborer of the apostle. A compassionate, selfless servant who was a man of prevailing prayer and persevering faith.
As most of you know, this past month our ministry, and especially the Spanish division, suffered a great loss in the homegoing of one of our ministry directors in Mexico. Pastor Hector Ramirez was a man much like Epaphras. Humble, hardworking, compassionate. A gentle man with a quiet spirit, a quick smile, and infectious humor. His great desire was to serve and honor his dear Saviour. He believed the best way to do that was to be faithful to the Scripture in his life and ministry and to constantly introduce people to Christ. He was a joy to be around but I fear went unnoticed by many because of his unassuming personality. To say he will be missed by those who knew and loved him would be a huge understatement. He was 100% genuine and it was an honor to serve with him in the WITNESS Project in Mexico. Please pray for the congregation he leaves and for his dear wife, Teresa. Your prayers will be a great comfort to them.
We, here at David Wood Ministries and the WITNESS Project, are blessed with so many FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS like Epaphras. I like to call them PARTNERS. People, who by their servant spirit and sacrificial giving of their time and resources, have made what we do possible. Without their prayers and partnership, the WITNESS Project would be just a dream. Some serve at great risk in areas of the world where violence and persecution against those who dare to follow Christ are a daily reality. Would you pause for just a moment and breathe a brief prayer of thanks for their faithful service and for God’s protection and provision for them, their families, and the congregations they shepherd? Thank you and may our dear Lord richly bless you all.
James G. Adams
The WITNESS Project
P.S. Thank you for your prayers. I was recently tested for the COVID-19 due to exposure to someone who was contagious. I rejoice to report that the results came back today and I am NEGATIVE…VIRUS FREE!!
Special Prayer Request
Dear Faithful Partners in Prayer:
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee,...” (Jeremiah 33:3); “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
The pages of Scripture are filled with verses that speak to the need, the power, and the urgency of prayer. I have read that there are more than 360 verses on that subject and that the word, “prayer” appears some 132 times in our King James Bible. I confess that, although I have read each of those verses many times in my many journeys through God’s Word, I have never personally counted them. They are have been and still are PRECIOUS to my heart and a COMFORT to my soul. I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF PRAYER and its constant value in our lives. Jeremiah tells us that through the exercise of prayer, God is able to show us “…great and mighty things…”. James tells us a prayer that is earnest, heartfelt and passionate is powerful and can accomplish much. My purpose in writing to you is to urge you to join with me in that kind of praying. Prayer for our country and for those to whom we minister in Latin America.
All of us are aware of the challenges our nation faces in these uncertain and difficult days. Health issues…financial concerns…social upheaval…violence…all these issues certainly should move the heart of any believer to humble ourselves before the God of Heaven, confess our sins and seek His healing for our nation. These are not new issues. Throughout our history as a nation, we have faced similar periods of turmoil that have tested our character and resolve, driven us to our knees, and made us better people when we got up. God is still on His throne. He is still our Faithful Defender and Friend. His mighty arm is still powerful against the enemy that seeks our harm. BUT…WE MUST PRAY! WE MUST SEEK HIM IN HUMILITY…IN REPENTANCE…IN FAITH! We are a great nation of wonderful people in spite of all the chaos of recent days. Rioting, looting, destruction, and violence is NOT the American way and certainly not the Christian path. Let us not forget who we are and from where God has brought us as individuals and as a Nation.
Latin America has now become the "…epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic…." according to the Pan American Health Organization in a recent article. In some areas, the need and suffering are much greater than in others. Hunger is now becoming a real issue with more and more people. Reports from our friends and co-workers there paint an increasingly alarming picture. Just yesterday and today I have received reports from those I know personally in various parts of Latin America that move my heart. One dear friend writes:
“Here the situation is getting worse every day. There are children who have gone into the presence of the Lord with this disease. There are others who are still struggling.
Collapsed (overwhelmed) hospitals. There's no space. There are people who die at the hospital door. So sad! ?
But we know that the Lord is in control.
This morning a 92-year-old aunt died with covid and 3 of my cousins (her children) are infected. Thank the Lord they are stable.
Brother, in Santa Cruz is the largest number of those infected.
We remain in rigid quarantine.
This disease is serious! Every day one finds out about friends and children who are with covid. Some more serious than others.
We can only pray and ask that the Lord take control and protect us. Winter is beginning and there will be more infections and more hunger for people who no longer have food.”
A pastor with whom I am in constant contact said today:
“The situation here grows more demanding on a daily basis. There are now demonstrations and unrest because of the economic hardships and suffering of the restrictions people are under. They cannot work and so there is no money. They cannot buy food for their families. Our church is trying to distribute packages of food and necessary items to the poorest neighborhoods, praying that God will use our small effort to comfort and to calm their hearts.”
This pastor’s church has been closed to public services for weeks with no end in sight. Yet in the midst of all the suffering and uncertainty, people are coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. The Gospel is still the power of God, even and more so, in the most difficult of times.
Please join me in prayer for our nation and also for those in Latin America whom we carry in our hearts on a daily basis. God is working out His Plan and Purposes in all this. In that, we can be assured. We are those who overcome. “…we are well able to overcome it. ” (Numbers 13:30)
Thank you for partnering with me in PRAYER!
The WITNESS Project