Oftentimes when we do something for someone, a favor, or maybe fill an immediate need, their response includes the phrase “Que Dios se lo pague,” which means “May God pay you back in return.” My response is, “He already has!” He has indeed given us so much more than we could even begin to measure!
January marked the beginning of our 21st year of ministry in El Salvador. There are statistics, numbers, goals met, and events to recount. But they are outshined by the individual life stories, the trophies of God’s grace, the transformed families, the dedicated lives, those rescued from perishing, those fallen, those who were lifted up, the young people who were spared a life of wrong choices, and the many children now growing up in godly homes (the first godly home ever in their family’s history). I stand amazed at how wondrous it truly is to be “paid back in return” by God.
My desire is that each of you could come and visit us in El Salvador and see with your own eyes how God has “paid you back in return” for your sacrificial giving to missions. If you were to visit us, I would possibly first introduce you to a 60-year-old woman named Martha, a widow who has been used of God to be both a Lois and a Eunice to her three adult children. Her unfeigned faith has been exemplary from the first Sunday the church was started in March 1997. God has used her to bring almost all of her extended family to know Christ; and most are faithful attendees, members, and active soul winners in our church.
I would then introduce you to her daughter Claudia. She is the kind of lady you would point your daughters to as a godly example: reared without a father in the home, never married, saved soon after we started the church, and the first young person in our church to answer God’s call to service. She has a sweet attitude and is a faithful servant. She leads a ladies’ soul-winning group that sees dozens saved each week. She is a lawyer, our church secretary, and one of the Sunday school teachers.
Next, I would proudly introduce you to Bro. Jimmy Trujillo and his wife Josselyn. Josselyn was five years old when she first started attending church with her Aunt Martha (the first name on our list). She grew up in our church, surrendered to serve the Lord at a young age, and, after graduating from high school and attending a couple of semesters in a secular college, left that behind and attended the Bible institute.
Jimmy was 14 when he came to church the Sunday after his mother was buried. His dad and younger brother were already coming to church, but Jimmy always stayed home looking after his younger siblings and cancer-stricken mother. Jimmy got saved! Two years later he gladly gave his life to God to be a preacher. Jimmy graduated from the Bible institute in 2008 and is my assistant pastor, the dean of our Bible institute, and the youth director. His father just graduated from the Bible institute in November, and Jimmy was on his ordination committee. Jimmy and Josselyn are expecting their first baby in March.
These stories are a sample of the multiple lives God has rescued through the ministry of Iglesia Bautista Independiente de Santa Ana.
On a More Personal Note…
We were blessed to be able to spend Christmas with Tammie’s family this year in Mexico. During the month of January, I visited16 churches in California and attended the Spanish Leadership Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, California. Please pray as Tammie stays in Mexico until Mrs. Ashcraft has recovered from surgery.
Brenda and Grace are enjoying getting to attend a “real” school while in Mexico. Brenda is working on her last year of high school in hopes to attend Bible college in the fall. Tommy is beginning his first semester in Bible college, while Daniel is in his final semester in Hyles-Anderson College. We are so proud of our children and the progress they are making. Please pray with us for them as they take the next steps in their service for the Lord.
Thank you for the great part you have in prayer and giving to make it possible for us to be missionaries in El Salvador. The invitation stands for you to come and visit us and take a look at your eternal investment.
The church here in Santa Ana currently supports nine missionaries. This month we will have our missions conference, and I am praying for and encouraging our people to give more towards fulfilling the Great Commission. As part of our missions program, we will begin supporting the starting of a new church in Nicaragua with $100.00 a month. The church will be the joint effort of an evangelism team headed by our graduate, Bro. Jonathan Castro. We are asking that seven more churches join in investing in this new church plant with $100.00 a month for one year. Would you consider this eternal investment?
Thank you, once again, for your faithful and sacrificial contribution to the work here in El Salvador.
Joyfully in His service,