Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma, endured untold hardships. For 7 heartbreaking years he suffered hunger and privation. During this time, 17 months were spent in almost incredible mistreatment in Ava Prison, resulting in ugly marks made by the chains and iron shackles. Upon release he asked for permission to enter another province. The godless ruler indignantly denied his request, saying, "My people are not fools enough to listen to anything a missionary might SAY, but I fear they might be impressed by your SCARS and turn to your religion!
In preparing the Christmas program, I have done some research on "the great cloud of witnesses" that have gone before us. We also are reflecting on how many USA pastors right now are suffering far more than we have even had to. "Deny self and take up your cross and follow me" is becoming more and more painful in its reality for those serious in obeying the LORD of Christmas. May God give YOU all peace, even as "the love of many waxes cold". May Christmas somehow move believers to look at the cross more than what is under the tree, be worried about fulfilling the commission far more than who wins an election or a ball game. We are praying for you all also… Maranatha! And MERRY CHRISTMAS.
NEWS from the Amazon front:
1) CESP kid's club not only is doing real well in its last few weeks before Christmas break, but we have seen CESP start up in Atalaia (a town upriver) and now a church way down in Sao Paulo (in the "slums" of that massive city) is asking for Kim to help them start a club there also, (by long distance!) thanks to our son in law Brandon Bell who was there preparing the way for his and Regina's future ministry as missionaries.
2) IBAS- after two churches, two towns and now 12 years of teaching, We are going to see our first graduation. Three will get their Bachelors degree in Bible and Ministerial studies. A young lady, our Ticuna Missionary and our Peruvian deacon. Amidst great rejoicing we still are sad we have no future pastor from the program, which was our main goal. Graduation is on Jan. 6. Our church remains pastor-less… thanks for your prayers!
3) Aviation/Indians- amidst impossible conditions (we serve the God of the impossible) the plane is still being used to "teach the tribes" now with THREE villages holding classes. We need help! Thanks for your prayers. The third, we just made contact, has a promised more than 100 students that will gather monthly to study God's word, a mix of youth and older men and a few women. We are also organizing weeklong blocks of training now in town to help economize.
4) Christmas program is in the cooker… We have a very talented young lady that loves drama and music and their preparations have been powerful and God Honoring!
5) We are preparing for two camps again this year, one in Santo Antonio (the hospital site) where we will be speaking all week and then the next one, our normal full week one up here at our camp- both next year (end of Jan. beginning of Feb.)
6) Pray for our church leadership--- we still struggle with many issues that keep us from being able to turn this work over and start anew.
7) The yearly big VBS is also upcoming--- a big one, done mostly by them.
Thanks so much for everything- your love, faithful prayers and support
We love and will miss you all this Christmas.
Always Your servants HIS bond slaves
Allen and Kimberly