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 & Ministry:
“…found faithful.”(1 Corinthians 4:2)
To the honest student of Scripture, it is clear that every Christian is tasked with the wonderful privilege of announcing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a needy and perishing world. That task, after more than 2000 years of history, is as valid and more urgent today as when given to us by our dear Lord Jesus.
Without question, it is a task not lacking in difficulty and opposition. Down through the centuries, millions of brave and courageous Christians have suffered greatly in their efforts to be faithful in completing that task. A meditative reading of Hebrews 11 will stir the heart of any true believer, especially verses 33-38.
In my years of ministry, I have been honored to meet with some “HEROES of the FAITH.” They have suffered all manner of injustice and persecution including imprisonment and torture:
- A dear pastor in India whom I met years ago, lifted his shirt to reveal life-threatening wounds suffered in an attack on him while preaching inside his church. He was returning to that same village after weeks in the hospital.
- An aged pastor in Cuba who had suffered imprisonment twice for his preaching of the Gospel. When I met him years later, my heart was challenged by his gentle, Christ-like spirit and faithful ministry for the Lord.
- A courageous indigenous pastor in Mexico, who, along with his family, endured all manner of threats, injustice, and personal loss to establish a Gospel-preaching church among his own people. When I met him, that church attendance equaled 10% of the town’s population!
All the above are examples of a level of sacrifice and commitment that I have yet to experience in my own life and ministry. My hope and prayer, should I ever find myself in similar situations, is that I would “found faithful” as these dear servants were.
An untested faith can result in an uncommitted life. I do not want to appear before my Lord one day with the word “UNCOMMITTED” written across my life. God grant that, instead, the inscription will read simply, “FOUND FAITHFUL.” It is not the talented, the renowned nor the most successful that will most impact our world for Christ. It will, as it has always been, those FAITHFUL men and women who dare to give their all regardless of circumstance or consequence, whose greatest desire in life is to be FOUND FAITHFUL.
Thank you for YOUR FAITHFULNESS to hold our ministry up in PRAYER and FINANCIAL SUPPORT. That reality provides daily encouragement in every challenge. Let us all remember that CHALLENGE is the mother of OPPORTUNITY because they are part of God’s sovereign Plan!
JAMES G ADAMS
The WITNESS Project
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