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Straight Paths - February 2023

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6

Do you like to plan? I (Lisa) love to organize, to plan, and have everything in order. From a human perspective, there is security in having a plan. However, sometimes having a plan hinders my ability to trust God. These verses have been a needed reminder to rely on God with every fiber of my being, rather than trusting in plans that come from a finite view. I must acknowledge God in ALL my ways. It would be foolish to make plans without seeking God’s wisdom and direction. The best plan is always God's plan, and we must trust Him for the wisdom to plan, and the grace to pursue the plan that He has made straight for us. As we look to the future, we covet your prayers as we apply these verses to our lives and trust in the Lord, not lean on ourselves, and acknowledge Him. May He continue to make our paths straight!

At the beginning of February, the men from our team took a trip to the coastal city of La Troncal. Thank you so much for your prayers regarding this trip. The Lord provided safety, and the trip was insightful. If you remember from The 4World Initiative, our time in Riobamba is meant to be a training and preparation period before moving to another region of Ecuador. For Lisa and myself, we've had a burden for the coastal plains for several years.

While we don't know God's exact plan or timing, it seems as if the Lord is opening doors for us to pursue La Troncal as our next location for ministry. There are a lot of questions and unknowns, but we serve a God Who holds all things under His control. Please pray with and for us as we take the next steps in pursuing God's will in this respect. At this point, our next steps involve visiting the city as a family along with the Woodfin family. We do have contact with a family of believers that has no church or means to grow spiritually. This contact could potentially develop into a Bible study. We need much wisdom, direction, and clarity from the Lord. He is the God of peace, not of confusion. Please pray that He will unify our team as we seek His will.

Next week, we are looking forward to some time away as a family. While one goal of this vacation is rest and good family time, we are also praying for refreshment and clarity as we take time to process and pray about our next steps. We are thankful that we are able to take this time away to rest and refresh in body and spirit.

The ministry here continues as normal. This past weekend, Jeff and Marco resumed the monthly ministry in Aguas Frías. Jeff always learns something new on these trips. The lifestyle there is very different from the city life. He stayed with a family who lives in a simple wooden house on stilts. They use blankets, rather than walls, to separate the rooms. Their simple kitchen consists of a two-burner stove and a refrigerator. They are a farming family, so they spend most of their time outside working on their crops. It is always interesting to learn about coastal agriculture, as it is very different from what we have in the mountains. While our lives and agriculture are very different, we all still have the same need - to know and love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Please pray that the Lord will continue to grow the believers in Aguas Frías and use them to sow the seeds of the Gospel with those around them.

This Saturday, there is a special “parillada” (cookout) planned for the men. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the possibility of starting a leadership training course. Part of our church-planting philosophy involves leadership training for the men, with the purpose of preparing them to take on the roles and responsibilities of leading the church without the assistance of the missionaries. Please pray that the men will come and be willing to take the next step in preparing to lead Iglesia Cristiana Gracia y Paz.

Thank you for your faithful prayers that help to make all these things possible!

In His service and yours,

Jeff, Lisa, Simon, and Titus



The Double Scoop:

Right now, one of Simon’s favorite things to do is play Mario Uno. Games provide a lot of opportunities for character development, but it doesn’t discourage him from playing. Titus is working hard to stand on his own, but is not quite there yet. He will have his first birthday on March 16th. Time is certainly flying by!

Praise and Prayer:

Praise: Profitable trip to La Troncal

Praise: Family Vacation

Pray: Wisdom and direction for future ministry

Pray: Men’s meeting (March 4th)


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