We finished building the new hall in Guatajiagua on the 20th of November after six weeks of hard physical labor. We are thankful to the new Christians in the area, believers from the other assemblies, and a crew of ten that came from the north with Tom Letourneau to help us with this project. Dad and I started special gospel meetings in the new hall on the 8th of January. With a crew of 22 young people, from the different local assemblies, in two weeks we completely canvassed the town five different times, distributing different literature each visit. We used the loudspeakers on top of the van to play gospel hymns around the town and then in the afternoon publicly invited those who would like to come to the special gospel meetings. There were over 250 children that packed the hall out each morning for the Bible lesson, and then in the evening the hall again was nicely filled for the gospel meeting. The Lord blessed with over a dozen professing faith in Christ, of which many have continued on, to live their new lives for Him. We would ask you to pray for a girl 16 years old named Wendy, who came out to all the meetings, and her Dad is the owner of the local hotel where we stayed. She has shown a lot of interest and even invited many of her close friends to come out to the meetings, but still not saved.
A couple of weeks ago the children around the hall were getting very realistic in their play, and since they don‘t have toys, they have to use their ingenuities. Three of these small girls were making tortillas on a make shift stove with three bricks placed in a U shape and a piece of rusted tin for the comal on the top. They had built a fire with leaves and some scraps of wood and there they were patting out their mud tortillas, tossing them on the stove, and then flipping then to make sure they were well cooked on both sides! The next Sunday arrived and there was a strange smell around the buses and I couldn’t figure out were it was coming from. Then we saw some big maggot flies flying around the battery case! So I got one of the young boys to open it, and inside, to our surprise, was a decomposing cat with dead flowers all around it. I guess the cat had died and since they couldn’t dig a hole they decided to bury it in a crypt of the battery box. Well we proceeded immediately to give the cat a proper burial on the back lot of the hall!
On the 11th of June they had baptisms in El Carmen where 8 were baptized. Six of them were believers that had professed to be saved at the special seed sower gospel series which we had in Jan. 2009. We were overjoyed to now see their desire to obey their Lord and Savior in this step of identification with Him. The hall was packed as many of those who were baptized invited their friends to come and witness this special event.
Luis a 12 year old boy from El Rosario, who has been coming out for 3 years to the Sunday School, started showing real conviction about his soul and eternity. He had been coming out to the gospel meetings for 6 months, sitting in the front row and always well focused on what was being spoken. Four weeks ago he stayed after the meeting very broken up, desiring to know forgiveness of sins. We went to Col 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins!” There he recognized and believed, his blood was shed to cleanse my sin! We pray that he will go on to live Him!
Two weeks ago Don Nando was killed, he was the owner of the grocery store in El Rosario, where we buy the food for our Sunday lunches. He was a kind man and very generous with those in need. We have an elderly sister in the assembly who on Friday afternoon, he had taken her a bag of groceries to help her get though the week as he had done many time before. On Saturday morning he went to open his store at 6:30 in the morning with his security guard that usually accompanied him, who was armed with a shot gun. They were lifting the steel curtains over the first window, with their backs to the road, when two guys came along on a motorbike and with out even saying a word shot and killed the two of them right there on the spot. This atrocity has shaken the little town as only a month earlier another young boy 18 years old walking on his way to school two blocks away from this store, and was also killed in the same fashion. Don Nando’s funeral was one of the largest seen in El Rosario and people have become extremely distrustful. According to rumors in the town Don Nando was killed because he didn’t pay the renta. (Which is a weekly tax imposed by the gangs members)
We are trying to get away this Saturday, and are planning to drive up to Iowa to drop off Jeffrey at the College in Iowa Lakes, for him to further his studies in Aviation Technology
We have been praying that the Lord would open the door to be able to get some cheaper Spanish Bibles into the country. The lowest price hard cover Bible we can find here at the bible society goes for about $8.00 each, and a lot of the people we work with find it very hard to come up with that amount of money for a Bible, so we end up helping them to purchase one. Dad has found a very similar Bible from one of the distributors in the U.S. for $2.75 (with shipping included to Arkansas). We would like to purchase about 1000 bibles to bring back down on this trip with us, and that way save on some of the shipping costs. We look to the Lord that he will provide and guide in the purchase of these Bibles, which we feel would be a great blessing for the work here.
Yours by because of Calvary, Craig and Corina Saword