January & February. Thank you for praying for summer camp at Camp Emmanuel in Guazuvirá. Our entire family participated each week on some level, either as campers or staff. We’re especially grateful this year for the ministry of Elías Huamán, who dedicated many weeks away from his family in Peru to serve the Uruguayan church. He turned our Uruguayan, Argentine, and North American eyes away from our familiar, comfortable surroundings to realities in the rest of the world—the real world of primitive and civilized savagery, where billions do not know Jesus and where Christians suffer for their loyalty to Him. At the same time he encouraged our churches to financially support their pastors and to engage in gospel work on the local level. His preaching coincided with some difficult but positive steps toward independence among some of the churches here.
March. FEBU (Facultad de Estudios Bíblicos del Uruguay: College of Biblical Studies of Uruguay) began the third year of classes with 27 active students. Most of these are studying part time; some are auditing a course. Ten students (these from Montevideo, interior Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica) are taking a full schedule of classes: Gabriel, Manuel, Exequiel, Maxi, and Vanessa (third-year students); Noemí (second-year student); Iván, Katherine, María, and Priscilla (new first-year students). Please pray that these men and women (and others who have studied in past years) would continue to seek the Lord, be diligent to take full advantage of this opportunity, and discern and follow God’s leading for future ministry within Uruguay and beyond. If the Lord continues to bring new students, the need for a more suitable location potentially increases. Our desire is especially to strengthen the FEBU program (in terms both of discipleship and academics) and to further equip our teachers. Please pray for wisdom as we seek to know the Lord’s mind and as we take steps toward these goals.
FEBU students, March 2016
Opening service of the 2016 academic year
April. FEBU is set up as a non-profit organization, subject to a general “assembly” of Uruguayan pastors and other church leaders. This larger group approves two committees that work together to make decisions and handle most day-to-day business. We seek input from students and teachers. All of this takes place within the bounds of a doctrinal statement that has, so far, been very functional and agreeable to all of the churches and mission organizations involved. Please pray that God would preserve this wonderful unity. On April 18 FEBU will hold an annual meeting of this larger “assembly.”
The first children’s class in A’s neighborhood
Later in 2016. In an earlier letter we mentioned churches we have not visited for several years and the possibility of our traveling this year to see them. We are not currently planning a trip of this nature for 2016. We are waiting for an answer from the Immigration Department to our request for permanent residency (for JM, E, and DJ). When we receive this status, we will also be eligible for a six-month window of permission to bring a tax-free shipment of household items into the country. Please keep praying not only for permanent residency but also for the timing of this status and for the timing of any corresponding travel to prepare a shipment. Elizabeth’s and DJ’s schooling and the differences between the academic calendars from one hemisphere to the other also complicate planning.
This semester’s schedule will be challenging for our family: E is in school in the morning (8:00- 12:00, a 20-30 minute bus ride away) and DJ in the afternoon (1:00-5:00, a 20-minute walk away); JM and D teach or are otherwise on call in the evenings (7:00-10:00). So far God has given grace. We rely on your prayers! Thank-you!