F Is For Fuego

The first few days of this journey have been an absolute answer to our prayers! We have seen that God truly has gone before and set up divine appointments. There are four teams in three different areas. Each team has had multiple conversations with people whose hearts were clearly ready to receive the gospel because of God’s grace. As normally happens, almost all of the plans we had prior to arrival have changed. But it is all for God’s glory and He has shown us that He is absolutely in control!

“Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails”

For the first time for me, I am able to “float” between the teams and spend time with each of them. What a blessing this is from the Lord to be able to shepherd people from both our North American and South American team! I’ve already had many opportunities to speak encouragement and truth into disciples. The most beneficial conversation I had yesterday was with a translator struggling with the apathy she finds in many people of her church. We talked about our role as ambassadors for Jesus and disciple-makers and how she can overcome apathy through leading by example and leaning heavily on Jesus. The Lord has really been pushing me to push our team to “not miss knowing Jesus in the midst of making Him known.” I have been greatly encouraged to see many of our team spending their down time in God’s Word and seeking to really KNOW Jesus. How good God is to be enabling our team “to both desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:13) I’m so excited to hear what God has already done and to see what He has in the next few days.

 

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This is the village of Collana that 2 of our teams are working in!

Here are some things you can be praying for me:

 

  • Vision from the Lord (to see the needs of our team and address them according to His Word)
  • Grace and Mercy
  • Dependence on God’s Word and Spirit
  • Good internet at the house to be able to speak with my wife and daughter (I greatly miss them!)
  • Stamina to give myself fully to encourage, equip and empower our team as well as engage in the harvest as my heart so desires to do

You may be wondering why the title of this update is “F Is For Fuego.” We have a younger team this week (9 out of 12 are 25 or younger) so we have had our share of laughter. There are a number of jokes circulating but F is for fuego came up this morning at breakfast. In Bolivia, hot water is on the left and cold on the right. Hot is marked with a “C” for caliente (which means hot) and cold is marked with an “F” for frio (which means cold). One of our teammates was confused as to why the shower was cold because she thought F was for “fuego” (which means fire). We had a pretty good laugh together. I am truly grateful that this team can laugh together as we share the journey of following Jesus.

Abigail and I are truly truly grateful for your prayers. I genuinely thank the Lord daily for you. We could not be doing this without each of you.

What Do You Do During The Week? – A Missionary Perspective

A question often asked of full-time ministry workers is “what happens during the week?” or “what happens when you’re not traveling?” Even though a ministry job isn’t a clean 9-5 (which few jobs are), it’s still filled with the same thing that most jobs are filled with…work.

We are constantly trying to get better at equipping/helping to multiply disciples throughout the nations. Our days are filled with communicating, planning, and executing strategies to fulfill the vision as well as all the administration of running an organization. We also have the added bonus of raising our full-time ministry support which is a full-time role in itself. With all of these things, our days tend to fill up pretty quickly…sound familiar? Chances are that you could rattle off a list of work activities that keep you more than busy. The question for you and I isn’t, “what do you do?” but should rather be, “why are you doing it?” or better, “who are you doing it for?

It’s easy to become so busy with work and life that following Jesus becomes an “if I get around to it” thing. Hebrews 2:1 says, “…pay even more attention to what we have heard (the gospel), so that we will not drift away.” This is a great reminder to not become tired and neglect following Jesus. So how do we not become exhausted in a world that’s so busy?

The answer (found in the next chapters of Hebrews) is to rest in Jesus.

Hebrews 3:12-13 “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily…”

Hebrews 4:2 “For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith.

Hebrews 4:10-12 “For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. 11Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience. 12For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

The answer for entering into Jesus’ rest that Hebrews gives is to encourage each other daily (how often do I encourage believers to follow Jesus with everything?), unite with those in the faith (am I willing to look past small differences to unite around taking the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth?), and let God’s Word judge my thoughts and ideas (how often do I let God’s Word speak into my life?).

Here is a quick story that drives this home for me.

A few days ago, Abigail and I went to visit a previous neighbor that was recently diagnosed with bone cancer. It had been a busy day and I was already a little worn out. Our hope was that we could encourage him as he faces some difficult circumstances. We were met with a man who was resting in Jesus even in the midst of some pretty gloomy odds. He talked at length about how he was grateful for us, our ministry, and our visit. He spoke of different churches and ministries he has worked with and what the Lord had done through his life. He prayed for us. Finally, he shared of a small victory with the neighbor that used to live between our two houses when we were neighbors. She had been pretty openly against me sharing Jesus with her and I had backed down. He, on the other hand, was always compelled by God’s Word and Spirit to share truth with her over many years. Instead of me encouraging him, this sweet brother encouraged and pushed me to remember to rest in Jesus and abide in HIM.

It’s not as much what we do as who we do it for.

If you’d like to get united with some believers to advance the name of Jesus locally, nationally or internationally, click here.

Practice Makes Perfect


Today was the day that I (and many others) have been praying for. The opportunity to cast great vision and train on simple tools to help accomplish the vision. As only God could do, He worked out His perfect plan. 

I had hoped to see a few people that had been trained in a number of tools already and were actively using them. Instead we saw a mix of trained and untrained alike. Although not what we planned, this allowed us to go back to the basics and re-train some of the first level tools before moving to the next level. It even answered some questions/stumbling blocks for those who had already been trained. 


We were able to train sessions on discipleship meetings, remaining in Christ, discipling new believers through the commands of Christ, and (one of my favorites) God’s mission from Genesis to Revelation. What a joy it was to be a part of this training with so much potential to impact the nations and eternity. 

Did you know the first command that God gave people (Genesis chapter 1) was to multiply throughout the whole earth? You maybe have thought that was only physical because we do a really good job at that one. But God created people in His image physically and spiritually. From the very beginning this has been God’s mission and it’s the same mission today. If you are wondering how it turns out, take a stroll through Revelation and you’ll see that God will accomplish His mission. So are you going to be a part of it or not?

Build Your Kingdom Here


What a joy it has been to join God in His work the first two days here in La Paz. Our purpose for this journey (without a full team) is to follow up with the work that was started in May and do some “next level” training to encourage next steps. At this point, the majority of our time has been spent pouring into our national partners. These conversations have been similar to some of Jesus’ conversations in scripture, mixed with encouragement and very hard truths. I am believing that the horizons for what God is doing in La Paz are very bright and exciting. 

This morning we were able to visit with a brother that decided to follow Jesus during our last missionary journey. We were incredibly encouraged to hear of his growth and steps of obedience! He is currently involved in a number of discipleship groups in his community and trying to help others follow Jesus. 

We also visited a sweet lady in the village of Lluto who has been hosting weekly discipleship groups at her home with her husband. She and her husband were both reached during our last journey and have continued to study and obey the Bible with a few translators. 

In both of these villages we were able to cast vision for the urgency of sharing the gospel and making multiplying disciples. I am personally most excited about everything I hear of the work of the disciplemakers that partner with us as translators! They are being obedient and are hungry to see their city reached. Please be in prayer for our special training time with them on Saturday. 

The prayer that seems to be present at all times in my mind is articulated well in the Rend Collective song, “Build Your Kingdom Here.” As we drove from place to place today I was able to play this song from my phone and sing it as a prayer to the Lord of the harvest. The major struggle for any ministry work across the world is the difference between MY kingdom and THE or HIS Kingdom. We always desire for great success but often if we check our motives, they are based in our kingdom and seeing it grow. I fear this is why we are constantly settling for good instead of GOD! The need for the villages here in La Paz (and around the world) is to truly see Jesus build His Kingdom/His Church. My prayer is that God would use us (you and me) to multiply disciples across the globe and watch HIM build His kingdom! 

Watch the music video. https://youtu.be/sbdJXKqVgtg

Thanks to those who are joining us in prayer. They are being answered!

He Is No Fool

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”

This is a pretty popular quote among those who follow Jesus, especially those who are called to the mission field (that’s everyone by the way)! There isn’t any question that following Jesus means we will have to sacrifice, even up to our lives, but what we get in return is worth infinitely more. That’s the beauty of knowing and following Jesus. 

The last days for us have required the sacrifice of time with our family and lots of sleep. We left the house in La Paz with our team at 12:30am on Friday morning so we could get them on their flight home at 3:30am. Our flight for Cochabamba left at 6:30 and we were on the ground by 7:30 so there wasn’t much time to sleep or rest. 

However the Lord had great things in store for us here! We had a fantastic meeting with a potential partner here in Cochabamba and his excitement toward the idea gave us great hope. We also had the opportunity to visit the Jesus statue here where we could see and pray that Jesus actually would be Lord of the city!

Today is another day with many meetings, prayer, and planning for the future here in Cochabamba. Join us in praying that God would clearly lead us to the people and places were are supposed to meet. It’s all about him and we simply desire to be lead!


All That I Am

The last day on the field usually comes with different plans and less of a sense of time. Today began in just that way. We spent a few extra moments trying to line up transportation for all of the different plans and our Nuñomayani team decided we would wait for the decision once we arrived on top of the mountain. That gave us the opportunity to spend about 30 minutes in worship and prayer at one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Once on top of the mountain I sat down and felt the desire to sing to the Lord so I pulled out my phone and played the first thing that I saw which was “All That I Am” by Rend Collective. One line in the song says that “you are the pearl beyond price, greater than life, all that I am for all that you are.” How awesome it was to start the day declaring from the mountain top how great our God is!

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Once we were able to get to the village we were greeted with the warm welcome of silence. The village was as empty as we had seen so far but we knew that the Lord had a great work in store for us! We spent some time in prayer asking the Lord of the harvest to lead us and bring glory to himself. My translator, Sergio, and I prayed that God would produce fruit in this village and he answered in a way we didn’t expect. As we began walking again we saw a delicious looking cactus fruit and decided we should take the challenge to peel it with my rather dull pocket knife. Although it wasn’t easy the fruit was absolutely delicious and well worth it! Through that simple fruit, we felt the Lord whisper that the fruit wouldn’t be easy but it would be well worth it and HE WOULD PROVIDE!

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13230135_10153630312213181_686261596131570690_nAfter getting a bite to eat we took time to train with our translators and nationals. We walked through the 3/3rds process (discipleship process) and the basic commands of Christ. It was pretty awesome to hear the questions and thoughts they had regarding the process. I am positive that these disciples will continue this great work in Bolivia once we are home.

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Trust And Obey

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

If you are like me this little line may take you back to early Sunday school classes. Unfortunately this line doesn’t always describe how I follow Jesus. I have found myself this week repeating the phrase “trust and obey” multiple times as we have been helping people follow Jesus for the very first time. 

The last 3 days have also been an example of simply trusting and obeying. When our team arrived to the village on Sunday we were asked to join their small church service. My translator and I preached for their service but we sent the rest of the team to visit the community. We preached 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 that we are Christ’s ambassadors and challenged the church to be trained to make multiplying disciples. After the service, the entire church stayed to be trained! It was awesome to see their willingness to trust and obey. 

Monday was a day that we entered with absolutely no idea what the day was going to look like. The majority of our village works in the harvest fields and said they wouldn’t be home between 7a-7p. Many of them walk multiple hours to their fields and back every day. The cool thing is that these people understand the cycle of the harvest and if they can connect the dots to the Jesus’ harvest they will do unthinkable things! Since we had no plans, we simply had to trust and obey. The Lord did exactly what he always does and showed up big time! We got to see multiple people start following Jesus and take some first steps of obedience. I spent almost 3 hours in a field with a couple who decided to follow Jesus and we were able to walk them through baptism, prayer and train them to share the gospel. It’s awesome to see what the Lord does when we have no plans and just follow him!

Yesterday was similar to the day before in that we had no idea who would be in the village. As soon as our team of 7 arrived we doubled the number of people in the village! We split up to see who we could find and ended up having some awesome conversations. My translator and I ended up in the village school and they allowed me to share the gospel as long as I taught the numbers and colors in English. Luckily I know all of those so that was a sweet deal! After an awesome morning, we spent the afternoon training a brother that will be continuing to work in the village. Our day wound down with an awesome time of worship and prayer in the mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking to see his handiwork around us. 

As we have walked the last few days and continue to walk from this day forward we will simply strive to trust and obey!

In Weakness He Is Strong

What an update I have for the last three days! Thursday began with a journey to a place called Uni (which we worked in during the October journey) that required two busses and a taxi. There were more than a few moments we questioned whether or not we’d make it at all. The beauty of God’s creation in that village however was more than worth the journey! We made contact and encouraged some of the new believers that have taken the first steps of obedience. 

After our trip to Uni we got the awesome privilege to welcome the team at the airport at 3am on Friday! It was great to see their arrival and their excitement to join God in his harvest field. 

After a few hours of sleep on Friday morning the team rose to take a cable car ride over the city to both see its beauty and take time to pray that God would change this city with the gospel. Pictures cannot do any justice to the vastness of his creation and the number of people present and in need of him. After returning from an afternoon of prayer we met our translators and did some last minute training before entering the harvest field. 

Saturday (yesterday) was the first day we went out to the different sites to being prayer walking and gospeling. Wow. It’s amazing what God does when we simply obey. It’s also amazing the places that he had taken our team to work. My team of 3 North Americans and 3 South Americans are in a remote village called nuñomayani. It is a small village surrounded by absolutely breath taking mountains. We entered into the village and began to prayer walk and ask God to provide Persons of Peace (video on Persons of Peace) and open homes. Cool story from the day: Since the village has had little work I felt impressed upon by the Lord to spend much time praying for the hearts of the people. I walked up to a high point in the mountain from which I could see the entire village and simply asked God over and over to provide Persons of Peace and unity of his church. The cool part was that at that very moment one of our team was leading a potential Person of Peace to the Lord! How awesome is the most high God! We are excited to go back and continue to see what he does with us there. 

You may be wondering why this has anything to do with weakness or why I haven’t updated in 3 days. The answer is simply that I physically feel miserable. I came down with a pretty bad head/sinus cold after a few days in Bolivia and feel like my head is a solid cement block on my shoulders. BUT I’m constantly reminded that I don’t have to be in a right mind or strong for him to use me. In my weakness he is made strong. In your weakness he is made strong. “What price are we willing to pay for the treasure?”

Join me in praying that God would be glorified no matter what the circumstances. I believe his word is true. If we lift Jesus, he will draw people to himself!

Encouragement And Vision

What a day yesterday was! We began with a journey to encourage the work and workers in an area we worked with in October called Mallasilla. We do this in an attempt to follow Paul’s model of visiting and strengthening churches throughout his journeys. We met with a couple that has stepped up to lead the follow up and host people in their home. Leo and Janet went out through the community with us to reconnect with new believers and start a discipleship relationship with them. Leo is a gatekeeper in the community and VERY well known which we are praying will make him very influential in the lives of these new disciples.

After spending morning and early afternoon in Mallasilla I met with a group from a town about 2 hours outside of La Paz that are hungry for some training. We spent 2 hours together going through simple discipleship methods that they can use to reproduce in their community. I’m praying this team will be true multipliers in their remote village. 

As I finished that time to got to reconnect with pastor Arturo from the church we worked with in October and hear how they are continuing to invest in this community they’ve adopted. They are spending lots of time loving on the community and trying to disciple those the Lord reached in October. What a blessing it was to see him again!

Finally we ended the (very) long day with a dinner training from 8-10:45 with the leaders that will be working with us as the team comes up this weekend. We spent a great amount of time casting vision and encouraging one another in the work of making disciples of ALL the nations. I can’t wait to see how God uses us and them together!

It was a long day with lots of demanding training and activity but we are grateful to the Lord for using us to advance his kingdom. Gloria a Dios!

Train, Train, Train

Yesterday was an awesome day working with leaders here in the Bolivian harvest fields. We spent all afternoon doing training with our coordinators at a coffee shop (I think the coffee shop assumed the gringitos didn’t really like caffeine so it was a little weak). The training however was definitely NOT weak. We answered the 4 questions on why 98% of Christians don’t make disciples which led to conversations on church formation, and indigenous leadership development. We mostly just scratched the surface but the Lord provided much needed answers to some of their questions. 

Then in the evening I was able to catch up with a translator that is really trying to be obedient to what she was trained on when we were in the city last October. Since then, she has started a Bible study in her home for new believers and they have baptized 3 in the past few months! Tati has shown great steps of obedience with just a little training so I was very excited to share some more with her that she is now taking back to her new believers Bible study. 

The day was also filled with many conversations and stories along the way about what God is doing in and around people. The question remained throughout the day, “what price are you willing to pay?”

Today is packed out with lots of follow up and more training so join me in praying for God to use us and empty us for His glory!