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 were 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 is 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:
“…but God is faithful,…” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Paul’s statement to the Corinthian Church in 1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of the greatest declarations in all of Scripture and has long been one that is dear to my heart. It has been especially precious and comforting in recent days. It is a truth that is repeatedly echoed throughout the Word of God and proven throughout human history in the lives of believers who have faced unspeakable suffering and unexplainable tragedy. It is a truth that needs to be ever-present in our hearts as we face the unexpected demands of everyday life. Cherished hopes and plans may never come to pass, “…but God is faithful…”! Health, finances, friends and even family may fail us, and Heaven may seem to be silent as was the case with ancient Job, “…but God is faithful…”! When disappointment and failure is our portion, I’m glad we can rest in this great reality, “…but God is faithful…”! What a message and medicine for this poor, sick and troubled world…and what a PRIVILEGE to SHARE IT!!
In recent months, our ministry team in Central America has done a marvelous job, especially in Guatemala, in responding to the requests from national local church leaders for our Training Institutes. As shared in my last report letter, I was privileged to be there during the month of June and participated in 4 of the 12 Institutes conducted since February of this year. Two of the twelve Institutes conducted were among an indigenous group called the KEKCHÍ. They are descendants of the ancient Mayan culture and number well over a million mostly in Guatemala but also in neighboring Belize. The Baptist work among this people group began some 50 or more years ago. In Guatemala, there are more than 300 Baptist congregations as well as missions. In addition, there are other evangelical and Catholic ministries among them. However, the truth of the Gospel message in some instances has become corrupted with a mixture of Biblical and pagan beliefs. The Joshua Project puts the number of evangelicals at about 20% in Guatemala. I write all this to emphasize our excitement in the way our ministry has been welcomed among those pastors/leaders who have received the training. There is a great NEED and OPPORTUNITY for our ministry to provide a CLEAR and BIBLICAL GOSPEL WITNESS among these zealous believers through our training institutes. Permission has been asked and granted to translate all our training materials into the KEKCHÍ dialect. Please pray for that project. It will be an important step forward in the continuing evangelization of these precious people. We are asking the Lord to allow us to establish a printing ministry in Guatemala to service the needs of the churches there in providing our ministry materials and other sound literature at cost.
Please know how grateful and honored I am to have each of you as a ministry partner. At present, Latin America is facing formidable and manifold challenges. Covid-19 continues to be a problem and at severe levels in some countries like Cuba and others. But at the same time, God is opening great doors of opportunity to present the transforming message of the Gospel. The words of the Holy Spirit in Romans 1:16 through the Apostol Paul is still true. The Gospel of Christ IS the POWER of God unto SALVATION to EVERYONE that believeth. Please continue to pray with us for resources, wisdom, and the opportunity to expand our efforts again in the coming months. Pray also for our partners in these countries as they continue to win the lost, disciple new believers and plant new congregations for the Glory of our dear Lord.
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