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
Dear Partners in Prayer & Ministry:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...” (Romans 8:35a)
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
There are times when even the strongest faith is challenged. I heard Dr. Adrian Rogers say in a recent sermon, “A faith that has not been TESTED cannot be TRUSTED.” There is certainly truth in that. We need as never before to be people of STRONG faith. The trails and tests of this life can be the means of strengthening our faith.
This past Friday more than 100 people lost their lives in a tragic plane crash in Cuba. It is said to be the worst aviation disaster in Cuba in more than 30 years. The chartered flight was returning from a marriage retreat sponsored by the Nazarene Church. In an email I received from a Cuban pastor he stated that among those who perished were 19 couples, pastors and their wives, some leaving adolescent children. The entire nation is in mourning. The Cuban government has declared two days of mourning in which the Cuban flag will be flown at half-mast.
Events like this are hard to understand and impossible to explain. According to my source who knew personally some of those on board the plane, they were dedicated Christians, committed to the service of our dear Lord. Our only comfort is in the promises of God that He is able to make “…all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, to those who are called according to His promise.” (Rom. 8:28)
Please be in much prayer for those dear ones who have lost loved ones and who are struggling to make some sense of this. The First Nazarene Church in Holguin has lost its pastor and his wife along with others. The Cuban people have had much to deal with in recent years and many challenges to overcome. The Christian community there is close and what touches one touches them all. I will be returning to Holguin this November, God willing, to train 200 Cuban missionaries from all over this island nation. Please pray!
Thank you as always for your faithfulness in standing with us in these days of opportunity and harvest.
James & Kim Adams
The WITNESS Project