Wow! What a month January turned out to be! Our family started the new year in Peru, excited about all of the upcoming plans. Mark held a long, detailed planning meeting with the church leaders and their spouses regarding the church’s 2023 calendar year. Each month would have a big event that included an extra, more-than-the-usual soul-winning push—how exciting!
Mark took a group that came down to Peru to the jungle city of Iquitos, and they made excellent progress in planning for a church-wide mission effort this coming June. Plans are moving forward. They had the opportunity to visit Bro. Romario Bustamante, who is one of the missionaries supported in part by the church there in Surco. He is doing an excellent job reaching so many who need the Gospel of Jesus in that area of Peru. Those who were with Mark on this trip all spoke of how much this young man’s zeal and heart for souls inspired them to do more. Many were saved on this trip.
Savannah, our oldest, turned fifteen, and the youth pastor, Exodo Buitrago, and his dear wife Yessica planned a special birthday celebration on the Saturday evening following her birthday. She got all “dolled up” as a lady and was escorted by Daddy and walked in holding his arm—a memory we shall both treasure in years to come.
Mark told me on January 16 that we were leaving Peru—that God had spoken and made it clear to him that our time there was done. I reeled in shock and disbelief—the days and short weeks that followed were mostly a blur. On February 22, 2023, when God called His son and my beloved husband and best friend home, some of the blur began to clear. God, in His unfailing mercy, brought us back to the country of our birth (half of us) before I would need to navigate this unforeseen challenge. Several times in our family devotions at the start of this year, Mark said, “This is going to be the best year of our lives!” I’d have to say that at least for him, that is now a reality. To be with Jesus—what glorious bliss!
I hold to the unseen hand and proclaim in faith, “It shall be well . . .” It does not feel like it is well right now, but God has showed Himself good and faithful, and He is providing for our every need. I am so humbled and have no words except “Thank you!” Thank you for all of the love, the financial gifts, the friends who have called and/or messaged, and those who came to join us at the service to remember Mark’s life. Thank you to those who continue to give to help us get through this transition. My prayer is for God’s voice to continue to guide and direct each step. My goal is to keep eternity in view. I know that God is not done with me and my children, or we would have been promoted to Glory too.
I hope to continue to write and share with you all as the work of God in and through Iglesia Bautista Internacional de Surco, Lima, Peru, marches forward. Please pray for our friend and team leader, Pastor Zach Foust, as he pastors two churches now, and for Exodo Buitrago, our brother who is interim pastor there currently. Pastor Exodo was one of the first graduates from the Bible institute and has been doing a phenomenal job. He is young, yet Spirit-filled.
Please continue to pray for our church family as they go on for Jesus and for the Rader family as we adjust to our new assignment.
Hearts still in Peru,
Sarah, Savannah, Paul, Samuel, Rebekah, Luke, and Timothy Rader