Death that Produces Fruit: April 2020
We have a cactus plant directly outside our front door. When we arrived in Texas, this cactus plant was brown, dry and cracked, with no sign of life. However, in the past month, it has sprouted new pads and flowers. What looked like a miserable, dead cactus, was actually a thriving plant filled with life. This cactus reminds us of the words of Christ in John 12.
Christ, on the verge of His own death, tells His disciples that in order to produce fruit, they must be willing to die to self and sacrifice their lives. This aspect of dying to self takes many different forms. We’ve all learned a different level of this during the pandemic. As we die to our sinful, selfish desires and submit to God’s calling on our lives, we produce spiritual fruit. A missionary once said to us, “Salvation starts with death. We have to lay aside everything we trust in to follow Christ. Life continues this way.” We appreciate this daily reminder that death that produces fruit brings glory to God.
We have been able to continue taking classes through Zoom. This has produced some challenges as the internet here is not always stable, but we are thankful that we can continue learning, and we truly are learning. Lisa’s comprehension and vocabulary continues to grow every day. This month Jeff had several public speaking opportunities in his classes, and he is learning more about the Spanish grammar.
We continue to speak Spanish in the home as much as possible. One disadvantage of the quarantine is that we no longer have constant exposure to the Spanish language. This affects Lisa more than Jeff. However, God has graciously provided a new friend for Lisa who meets with her twice a week on Zoom. This has been a great opportunity to practice speaking and reading in Spanish. Praise God for His provision.
It is hard to believe that we have one more week of classes and then finals. We covet your prayers as we complete our projects and exams. Many have inquired about our summer plans. At this point, nothing is definite. Our internship in Mexico is on hold at this point, but it could change at the last minute. We desire to visit our sending church in South Carolina, as well as several supporting churches, but this all depends on our internship and when churches begin to meet again. We would appreciate prayer for wisdom and flexibility.
The COVID-19 situation is still very grave in Ecuador. According to the LA Times, “The country of 17.6 million is the eighth most populous nation in Latin America. Yet it stands second only to Brazil in the number of infections and COVID-19 deaths in Latin America.” Because Ecuador is a developing third-world country, their healthcare and mortuary systems were not prepared for the effects of the virus. At one point, there were dead bodies in the streets because there was no room in the cemeteries. In the midst of all this, Jeff’s parents and the Cruz family continue to minister to the believers via videos. Many of these believers are sending these videos to their unbelieving relatives. Praise God!
We are so thankful that we have people behind us praying for us. We feel your prayers and we appreciate all you who are struggling through this time and still remember to pray for us! THANK YOU! If you have items that you would like us to pray for, please send us those requests. We have a desire to pray for those who pray for us.
In His Service and Yours,
Jeff, Lisa, & Simon
I’m continuing to grow and learn. My Padres say that I grow taller every week! I am learning a new Spanish word: Abuelos (“grandparents”), but I can only say “Abo” right now. I enjoy going to classes with my Padres. I really love to play soccer!
Praise and Prayer:
1. Praise: Ability to continue learning
2. Praise: Lisa’s new friend, Zabdi
3. Pray: Final projects and classes
4. Pray: Summer plans
5: Pray: Unbelievers in Ecuador
For a printable PDF, please click HERE.