If there were ever a perfect opportunity to get the Gospel into people’s hands, then Christmas would be it! Our December was filled with opportunities to share Christ with the lost. We began our December with our annual teen banquet. It is always a special time we take to recognize the spiritual growth and servant’s attitude of our teenagers. Many times I mention to my wife that much of the day-to-day work and activity to keep the church running is done by our teenagers. They serve in the PA booth, work in other church plants, go soul winning, lead the choir, help in the nursery, clean the church, teach kids’ classes, and serve in many other capacities. Our banquet is the perfect opportunity to recognize their hard work and let them know how much they are appreciated. This year I asked three of our teenagers to speak, recognizing their parents and thanking them for everything they do. We passed roses out to each of the mothers, and there was hardly a dry eye in the building.
We returned to Alto Peru this Christmas to evangelize in their medical campaign. Our children’s church ministry team put on a puppet show for the children, and both our adult and teen choirs sang specials. At the end of the service, our choir members and church members divided up, and we each picked several people to whom we would share the good news. That hot summer day, 62 people received Christ as their personal Saviour. To God be the glory!
This past year one of our goals was starting 7 more Bible studies in our church. These past few months, the Lord has allowed us to reach our goal! I had the privilege of working with our men and training four of them to start their own studies. The first of December, I finished training for the time being and was able to once again start my own. God has been blessing this study, and we have seen much eagerness to learn and grow in Christ. This Tuesday we had 16 people gather in Franklin’s living room to learn more about Christ. I taught about the importance of loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Summer has started, which means our teen program for the summer is well under way. Last Friday we kicked off our first night, and 48 teenagers showed up—no food, no promotion, just a normal teen service with the preaching of the Word. Forty-eight young people is almost double the amount of teenagers who showed up a year ago on the first night of our summer program. We are excited about the summer, because we are starting an extended soul-winning time, multiple prayer times, and getting more teenagers involved in Bible studies and church. I am also taking on the challenge of putting on our first teen camp at the end of this month. Please pray that the Lord will bless this three-day camp. Pray for open hearts to receive God’s truth and for life changes and decisions in the lives of each teen who attends. We are thrilled to have this opportunity, but we know that with great opportunity comes great responsibility.
Our church is doing great. Preacher has announced that our focus this year will be “Strengthening the Foundations.” Our desire is to personally disciple, equip, and train the people the Lord has sent our way. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) Please also pray for guidance and direction for the building of our church. We are basically maxed out again on space and need God’s specific direction as to whether to continue where we are or move to a bigger location. What a great problem to have!
Over these next several months, we will be having two marriages in our church. It is nearly impossible to find a divorce rate among the people of Peru, because so few are ever married in the first place. This is a special step in the right direction, and we are hoping that many other couples will follow these and make lifelong commitments to each other in marriage, as God designed. This country desperately needs strong homes and strong marriages.
Lord willing, we will be starting a seminary this March. The school year here begins in March and ends in December, as summer is January through the first of March. We are excited about this opportunity to further train our people, and yet we know that there is much work that must be done to make this a reality. Please pray for the Lord’s leading in our seminary. Pray that He will provide the workers to make it possible. We are thanking God that through Him, all things are possible.
Thank you for your prayers, support, and love, especially through the Christmas season. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
In His service,
Daniel and Heather Kokubun