I believe that most of the letters and notes that you will receive this holiday season will likely begin with these words, but I can’t resist…. This has been a crazy year!!
Greetings to all of you! We really miss connecting with each of you - you are an important part of our life story, and this year travel has been so restricted, it feels like we haven’t crossed paths in such a long time. We hope that you will remember us when you send out your Christmas/end of the year greetings. We are at 3700 NE 101st Street, Vancouver, WA 98686.
Lisa and Christoph have had quite a year! They’ve had family from Ecuador staying with them for 30/52 weeks this year. They are incredibly hospitable, and just seem to adapt to whatever is going on at the moment. Christoph manages to keep working long hours, and Lisa keeps the kitchen and school rolling along.
All the grandkids are doing well. Emily, 17, the oldest, has gotten accepted at all the universities she applied to and now needs to make a final decision. In spite of closed campus’ there are a couple of visits in the works. Katrina, 14, went up to high school. She is raising bunnies for her 4H club. Micah, 12, started middle school - he's always busy, as the neighborhood is full of boys. :oD They are all studying exclusively online so far. Samatha, 9, continues with homeschooling and ballet.
Jonathan & Gaby brought the twins up north for a few weeks in the fall. It was fun watching them experience so many new things for the first time, from their first airplane ride, to seeing snow. David & Nicolas, 3, just launched themselves down the slope as soon as we got to a little hill. They had a wonderful time getting close to their big cousins.
Joel and Karyn are well. Joel is dedicating himself to his ministry to university age people and has several projects in the works. Karyn has had to work in the States quite a bit this year, she is working at the Makah Indian reservation on the northernmost tip of Washington state. Cocco, 8, Cecilia, 6, and Casandra, 2 are homeschooling and growing. They have all proved to be quite adaptable to moving around, but were happy to get back to Ecuador and have their own beds again.
Wisdom and vision for leading the churches in the pandemic and post-pandemic culture.
The resumption of Medical Outreaches.
John has been suffering from chronic, severe back pain for 6 months and is now walking with a cane. He had a doctor's appointment with a surgeon in the U.S. in November and surgery is scheduled for the 6th of January - a triple laminectomy (L2, L3 and L4). It is quite extensive, but feels like a conservative start to get this pain under control. This will require staying in the U.S. for 6 weeks after surgery for check-ups. Once again, our amazing son-in-law and daughter have received us into their home for an extended stay. We are blessed.
We don’t know what the future holds for us (who does?), BUT we know WHO holds our future and we take great comfort in that. I’m sure that there isn’t a person reading this that hasn’t had their lives turned upside down in 2020. Yet, we take hope! This month we celebrate the birth of the One who brings lasting hope, joy and peace, Jesus Christ our Lord. We pray that this Christmas season you will take comfort in His gift to you ... His presence for those who seek him.
Luke 2: 10-11 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2021 from our home to yours. Blessings, John and Marilyn
These have been trying times for all of us, for some much more than others. Thanks to many of you, we have been able to raise over $35,000.00 in funds for those most affected by the pandemic. We were able to send support to the pastors of 8 congregations in Ecuador and to the works in Cuba and Brazil. Also, hundreds of food baskets were distributed to the neediest families in our congregation as well as providing medicines and medical care.
May the Lord bless you for your love and generosity. It has been a great relief and encouragement to many.
It has been inspiring to see the testimonies of many Christian families during this time. Amid losing loved ones and/or having their finances reduced to nothing, they have remained steadfast in their hope and faith in the Lord. It has been a joy to stand with many, sometimes lending a practical hand, in other cases, simply praying with them and encouraging them, and seeing the Lord move miraculously.
The church in Santa Clara, Cuba. Baptisms in the time of Covid-19.
We continue to reach out to Cuba. By the grace of God, their freedom and ability to use the internet has increased significantly and we have enjoyed more constant communication with the leaders during the past few months. After 4 years of improved economic and social conditions, the pandemic has plunged Cuba into the worst crisis that they’ve seen in decades. Public transportation is totally shut down, making it almost impossible to travel between cities. Beginning in April, the government subsidies, which have existed since the beginning of the revolution will be drastically reduced as never before. We have been able to send some help their way, but the need is very great.
If you'd like to help the churches in Cuba, please let us know.
Marilyn and I, and our extended family are doing very well. We have rejoiced in the protection and provision of God. Yes, 13 of us came down with Covid-19! Although it was the worst and most prolonged flu symptoms most of us had ever experienced, we came through it without fear and without major complications. Our finances have been significantly reduced, but we have enough to get by while continuing to help others.... for this we are very grateful.
Thanks so much to all of you, for your continued faithful, generous support for us and this ministry.
Hello again! Who would have dreamed, way back in February, that we'd be writing a second newsletter in the time of Covid! We pray you and your families are well, and safe, and that in these crazy times you are all leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus!
We wanted to let you know about a unique opportunity to help our congregation in Manta, Ecuador. Fabian and Clara Molina moved there from Cuenca as missionaries 12 years ago, and planted the church, beginning with just their family. Many of you have supported the work there over the years. Manta is the fourth largest city and one of the least evangelized in the country. We feel blessed and privileged to work with the leaders there, bringing light into the darkness.
They were at the epicenter of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Ecuador on April 16, 2016. After the earthquake, property values dropped dramatically, and the congregation was presented with a rare opportunity to put $2,000.00 down on an amazing lot. It’s one-half acre, near the airport and bus terminal, close to the city's largest park, and only 10 minutes from the city center and was only $70,000.00. Today, even in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, the property is valued at over $200,000.00.
Over the past 2.5 years the congregation has raised $24,000.00. We need $11,000.00 to get the property placed into the name of the church and will have until July of 2021 to pay the remaining $35,00.00.
Please pray about joining with us to take advantage of this opportunity to establish a strong home base for the church’s ministries in that region. You will be sowing into something that will impact many future generations.
In other news......
Marilyn and I are happy to report that we are back in Cuenca safe and sound. We left Ecuador on the 14th of March and returned on the 22nd of June. Those 13 weeks represent our longest continuous stay in the U.S. since we left, 32 years ago. God has been exceptionally good to us:
1. Lisa and Christoph received us, along with Joel’s family, in their home: 13 of us in all, for 13 weeks. We brought them Covid-19 and in return they showed us patience, love and generosity. They insisted we stay with them and the whole family went above and beyond to make us feel at home and cared for. We had a glorious time together, and thankfully we all recovered from the virus with no long-term consequences. Thank you, Lord!
2. After 4 months of weakness, pain, and numbness in his right arm, John finally had his appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. His neck has 3 herniated discs, stenosis and arthrosis. It’s a real mess! However, miraculously, days before the appointment his symptoms drastically diminished and the doctor recommended holding off on surgery. He’s feeling great! Hallelujah!
3. Through the generosity of many of you we were able to send out weekly food baskets to the leaders and servants in our local church. We were also able to give financially to some of the pastors serving in the different churches in Ecuador and Brazil, who are suffering economically during this trying time. May the Lord mightily bless each and every one of you who have contributed to this cause.
4. During this time we have been able to use the internet to attend services, seminars, and important meetings, preach regularly on Sundays and during the week, give several discipleship courses, have prayer meetings, provide pastoral counseling and keep in touch with members of the church, family, and friends. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us this technology and placing it in the hands of so many.
5. We arrived in Guayaquil a couple days after the airport opened, unsure of how it would be to get through the Covid restrictions recently set in place. There were lots of rumors and warnings. We landed with trepidation and went through the process in less than 10 minutes! We sped home with Jonathan to complete our 14 days of self-quarantine, all by ourselves with the Lord! God is Good!
We can’t say enough about how much your faithful support and prayers for us and our ministry during this trying time have meant to us. On July 9th we celebrated 32 years on the mission field! May God bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace,