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:
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:9)
Paul’s words to the Corinthian Church are as relevant today as they were when he penned them. God still opens great doors of opportunity and with each open door there are still many adversaries to challenge those who choose to walk through them. However, through the years God has faithfully demonstrated Himself to be greater than any of those adversaries, regardless of their number of nature. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit along with the power of God’s Word AND the power of the prayers of God’s PEOPLE have continued to allow the Gospel to forge ahead even in the most difficult of circumstances. Sacrifice, difficulties, opposition, suffering and even death are not strangers to the majority of Christians worldwide. This past Sunday, November 3rd, Christians around the world joined in the observance of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. According to statistics released in promotion of this event, in 2018 worldwide, some 245 million professing Christians were persecuted for their faith and many sealed their Christian testimony with by death. That translates to 1 in every 9 Christians in the world today.
As I pen these words this afternoon, my beloved Latin America is in a state of crisis. This reality was impressed upon my heart again this past month that I spent traveling and ministering in Cuba. Currently, it is experiencing some tremendous challenges economically and socially. But the Cuban Church continue to grow both in number and in spirit. Bolivia is in political turmoil with an uncertain future. But the Bolivian Church continues to exert it influence and power. Venezuela is wounded and its people suffering unimaginable hardship and depravation. But according to reports I receive from pastors there, the churches are filled and souls are harvested by the Holy Spirit. Ecuador has recently been in turmoil. The unrest remains and could resurface at any moment. But, again, the CHURCH continues to grow and multiply in spite of the confusion around them. Chile has been paralyzed by violent demonstrations in recent days. But Christians in Chile continue to follow their Lord and share the Gospel Message. Mexico, our neighbor just to the south and a place where my family and I lived and ministered for some 7 years, experienced a record number of homicides for the second year in a row, 33,341 in 2018. It is currently well on its way to setting another record in 2019. The following is a headline and quote from the Washington Post – “Latin America is the world’s most violent region” – “Latin America is home to just 8 percent of the world's population, but 33 percent of its homicides. In fact, just four countries in the region — Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela — account for a quarter of all the murders on Earth. Of the 20 countries in the world with the highest murder rates, 17 are Latin American, as are 43 of the top 50 cities.” This is not to say that ALL of Latin America is violent. I have never been threatened or experienced any concern for my safety in any of my travels there. But there are areas I have avoided because of the violence. However, as recent events show, tragedy can strike the innocent as was the case with the 9 women and children killed in Mexico.
I write all this to solicit your earnest prayer for this suffering region. Latin America continues to be one of the world’s great HARVEST FIELDS for the Gospel. In the midst of all the chaos and turmoil, God is doing HIS Work and the Gospel continues to yield great and lasting FRUIT.
Thank you for your prayers and for partnering with me as we continue to obey our Lord and follow His calling! Without your prayers and faithful support, none of this would be possible. May our dear Lord continue to bless each of you. May we be ESPECIALLY thankful as we celebrate this Thanksgiving with friends and family!
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,
James G. Adams
The WITNESS Project
Special Prayer Request
“For we are labourers together with God:…” (1 Corinthians 3:9)
Good afternoon to all my Partners in Prayer and Ministry. As you know from my previous communications, God willing, I will be ministering in Cuba for almost all of October. My departure date is October 4 returning October 28. I will be conducting 3 of our Training Institutes on Soulwinning and Discipleship (IIDEP in Spanish). I will also be meeting with a group of key pastors who have been trained in past Institutes and have begun soulwinning training ministries in their own local churches. This meeting will be a critical step going forward in developing a strategy for raising up national leadership in Cuba. This is one of our major goals in every country where we have a partnership and ministry presence and it is a MUST in establishing a fruitful and fully functioning ministry.
I just received a text from one of those key pastors who is working with us in planning and coordinating this trip and its venues. He writes in part “…Cuba, in this moment, is in its worst economic and transportation times… All public transportation has been suspended because of the fuel crisis…” I share that with you because of the impact this could have on our time there. These issues can create serious challenges for me as I travel as well as for the many Cuban pastors and leaders whose attendance could be affected.
As always, our adversary is at work in all this but as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “…we are not ignorant of his devices.” Thank God that the weapons of our warfare are MIGHTY and HE that is IN us is GREATER than he that is in the world! Please join me in earnest prayer for God’s Presence and Power NOW and as we TRAVEL and minister in this ripen harvest field!
Your prayers are a great COMFORT and ENCOURAGEMENT! God bless and keep each of you dear friends!
The WITNESS Project