January and February have been burning hot here in Peru. Many Peruvians have said that this is the hottest summer they have ever had. We say it is the most blessed summer we have ever had. Souls have been saved almost every week. Walter was baptized. Our storefront auditorium has been under a metal roof—services have been hot! In spite of this, our people have been faithful, and attendance has increased. During the last four months that I have been privileged to be the pastor, our attendance has doubled, and we are at capacity for our storefront church. It’s time to move or die!
In December I told the landlord of our church property that we wanted to stay another year. He agreed to allow us to renew the lease at the same price. We were going to sign for another year in January. The first two weeks of January, we were at capacity with great Sunday attendances. I called a meeting with the landlord to express my doubts about renewing the lease. I explained to him that if our attendance continued to increase, we would need to find a building with more space. For three hours that morning, he did everything in his power to pressure me into signing for another year. I’m glad now that I did not sign.
At the beginning of February, just after moving our home much closer to the church and after months of personal efforts to find a property for the church, I told the church of the need. I said, “Our contract ends at the end of this month, so we have until the end of the month to find something. Now everyone look at my face.
The next Sunday we presented the church finances and the property options through a PowerPoint presentation. The following service we voted as a church. The vote to move was 100%. The new property is more centrally located, five times the space, and is only a 20% price increase from what we were already paying. The owner is a Christian and has decided to attend our church services on Sunday evenings ever since the vote. After the vote we immediately began preparations for our first service in the new building, which was a great success. Our first service was March 1, so stay tuned for our March letter.
We have had many other blessings beside these. Savannah’s seventh birthday was on a Sunday, so we celebrated with the church that day. We also celebrated Samuel’s first birthday with the Dennis Reed family from Washington. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Reed for spoiling all of us. What a blessing to see so many people of our church rise valiantly to the occasion this month and offer so much help. Another huge blessing is we will now be able to have a baptistery on our church property. We have already met with a man to build one for us.
Only by God’s grace is any of this possible. Thank you for your prayers. They are being heard. Please continue to pray that God will use us in a mighty way at our new location. Please pray for our family. For the last two weeks of February, my wife and I have literally worked ourselves sick, but our cause is worthy. Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. God bless you.
In His service,
Mark, Sarah, Savannah, Paul, & Samuel Rader