WHAT A BUSY & BLESSED YEAR!
January 5, 2014
Carla and I pray that all of you had a great Christmas and are entering this New Year with plans to serve God with all of your heart. There is no limit to what God can accomplish through us if we will just be open and obedient.
It is hard to believe that we returned from our furlough in April. In the seven months since returning God has kept us very busy. Driving to deliver Bibles to two countries and twice to the jungles of Peru was a blessing as we witnessed the pastors’ joy as they received them.
In November we drove over 5400 miles round trip to Santiago, Chile to deliver 1372 Bibles and 440 New Testaments to fellow missionary Mike Mullins. Bro. Mike has agreed to distribute the Bibles for us in that country to the pastors and missionaries who need them. While there I preached at their work, Antioch Baptist Church. Our first two days in Chile were spent driving through the world’s most arid desert. At one hotel we were greeted by a young lady named “Genesis” who is a Christian, speaks English and lived in Texas for many years. It is definitely a small world.
As we returned to Peru we stayed one night in Arequipa. This is the first town I visited over 13 years ago when I came on our church missions trip with our kids, Shawn and Christa. Carla couldn’t make the journey because of her work. That was the trip where God spoke to my heart to return as a missionary and it has changed our lives forever. It was a great feeling, standing in the same spot where it all began, remembering the souls we saw saved. We also stayed at the Children’s home where our group helped pour concrete for the first floor roof. They put us up on the 3rd floor in a prophet’s chamber in the same building this time. A lot of great memories.
In December we drove another 1900 miles round trip to Ecuador. There we delivered 1008 Bibles and 616 New Testaments to a total of eighteen pastors, missionaries and works. What a welcome sight to see diesel fuel for $1.02 per gallon! We are used to it being $5.65. We delivered the Bibles in three cities from the south to as far north as the capital city of Quito where we crossed the equator. It’s true, the water does drain in the opposite direction!
On one of our jungle trips, which I shared in our last letter, we sent Bibles up on a truck because of bad roads. The pastor who received them has now been able to deliver them all to village churches along the river. He said that grown men were crying as they received the first Bible they had ever held. He also said that there is such a need that they could easily use 4000 more. We will be sending out a letter later this month concerning the great need for more Bibles here in S. America and how you can help.
We had great services and fellowship for both Christmas and New Year in our church. For Christmas we had a chocolatada (celebrated with fruit bread and hot chocolate). We had 118 in attendance. Carla’s Sunday School class had a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party which was full of kids. Each of them received a special Christmas gift to take home.
We continue to work with the group in Bambamarca who asked us to start a church there. It is not easy as the area is three and a half hours through the mountains. We are praying that God will provide us with a national pastor for this work.
Great news! After seven months, both Carla and I have our resident visas. It has been a long and expensive process to get them back. We lost our residency because of a new law activated while we were on furlough. If we are out of the country for more than six months in any twelve month period we have to start all over in the visa process. For this reason our future furloughs will be shorter. We will have to visit half of our supporting churches on one visit and half later.
We have seen at least three more saved recently. God continues to bless the church and our other ministries here in Los Baños del Inca. We have many plans for this year but no room here to share them. You’ll just have to wait!
May God richly bless each of you in 2014! You are all a constant encouragement to Carla and me as missionaries.
Please check out the new pictures on our website, rich2peru.com.
Serving Him for you in Peru,
Don & Carla Rich
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