New Believers and Road Blocks

Over the last couple of months, we have been blessed to receive two new believers into our home. Anne gave her life to Jesus on 02/22/22, which should be easy to remember. 🙂 She was very sincere in her prayer, and it blessed me to hear her confessing and repenting, trying to be as thorough as she could be.

Working with such a young believer has been a new experience for us. How to help her develop discipline in Bible reading and prayer time without it becoming merely a chore is a concern of mine. I’m not quite sure how to plant the seed of love and gratitude I have into someone else’s heart because my relationship with the Lord has grown out of experience and fire. I’m realizing that everyone’s really must pass through the same—though different—circumstances in order to achieve refinement.

So, we’re learning how to accept and care for a baby Christian, feeding her on the sincere milk of the Word. Very soon after Anne made her commitment, Abbey asked if she could. We felt unsure of knowing whether hers was sincere or not. Could she maybe want to follow Anne without thinking about following Jesus? We talked with her but told her we thought she should try to be happy in Jesus by obeying Mama and Daddy.

She tried, I think, but things went from bad to worse. She was incredibly unhappy and began acting out in ways we’d never known her to before. She would try to tempt Anne to do wrong things, which was completely out of character, and she was so angry all the time. She became more and more miserable, but we decided to keep working with her and wait to see if she heard a call.

While Steph and I were in Puno, Abbey called us one night very late; she had been up talking with Aunt China. She told us, “I’m so miserable! I just want to be a Christian!” Many tears followed. We talked with her a long time, making sure she understood what it meant to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and to follow the Lord. When we felt confident she was sincere, we prayed together.

We don’t really know what all she prayed because she was sobbing most of the time, but when she had confessed all and placed her hope in Jesus, she rose up a new person. The evidence is proof enough that she is a new creature. Poor thing! I feel somewhat bad that she needed to suffer those few weeks that way, but I think it turned out that she was confident that she was a sinner and needed Jesus, so I think it was for the best.

We are working through instruction class with them both now. I have enjoyed not just the study times, but also the devotionals and prayers and just little conversations we’ve been having together about God and the new life they are each experiencing. Just as with every believer, we see their battle with the old man, but they are battling and finding victories. Most of all, they are happier and sweeter now than before, much more sensitive to wrong and quick to ask forgiveness. It brings us joy.

In unrelated news, I had mentioned that the goats had gotten sick and many had died from parasites. Unfortunately, it did not stay with only goats. Anne, Abbey, China, and Leonela all showed signs of the same trouble. China and Leonela ended up with doctor visits to get some proof. Anne and Abbey we simply treated at home; it is quite easy to get the necessary medication here.

Percy also reported the same trouble with tremendous stomach pain and digestion troubles. He too took ivermectina (you can find that readily in human doses in the farmacies). As with Anne and Abbey, he bounced back right away. China and Leonela have been trying to drag out the complaints of pain and discomfort in an attempt to gain our sympathy, but we are catching on and simply demand they make bricks without straw. That should teach them.

The boys and I decided not to get parasites, and I think Steph was embarrased to do it after getting back from Spanish school, so I figure we’re pretty much past that whole ordeal. If you are astonished that people can get parasites, you likely haven’t visited here. I’m more astonished that not everyone has them or something similar all the time. Public and personal hygiene are not hot commodities here.

In further unrelated news, most of the time we were in Puno, there was paro, which is a public protest against something that necesitates blocking all the roads. A few days before returning home, the paro lifted, thank the Lord. Then a few days later, they decided to do another one. The first one was nationwide, but I think this one may be limited to the Cusco region. People are protesting rising fuel prices mostly.

Caleb tried going into town Monday and yesterday, I think, but he couldn’t get even to Inquilpata or to Compone. I’m not sure if the paro is fully lifted or not, but Caleb was able to get into town today. Knowing that, China and Anne went shopping. We had run low or run out of things, having not been able to do normal shopping for some weeks.

But we praise the Lord anyway! Two things we have been rejoicing about are sunshine and water. Coming into winter and the dry season, we have very few clouds. That means very cold mornings, but lovely days. We pretend to be iguanas and soak up the sun over lunch break. And the water has been coming as we need it. We were running out fairly regurlarly, but we’ve discovered that we have water from the mountain supply in the evenings, not the days, so we are adjusting our water usage according. That seems to be working out fairly well most of the time.

Looking for things to praise the Lord for really makes a difference in one’s outlook and attitude. There are ever so many blessings that He gives us every day, little and big ways He shows that He’s caring for us. It’s a discipline to give thanks in everything, but it is much more joyful than the alternative. Recently, Steph mentioned feeling a lack of patience with the little ones; I suggested that whenever she feels irritation, she should hug someone. It is like magic!

Maybe you should try it. Hug someone today!
(*This blog and its author will not accept responsibility for ill consequences stemming from hugging choices.
As always, hug responsibly.)

About midnight on 02/22/23
The morning after 04/06/22
Current photo–proof that China and Leonela are still alive
Rocks across the road on the first day of the paro. They were completely blocked later.
A gift from a friend. They bought it to remind them to pray for us every time they see it.