"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..." (Charles Dickens, 1859)

"In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1-5)

These two opening paragraphs from two books written centuries ago seem to have been written in such a time as this. We live in a world of contrasts and depicted by Dickens...and a world of of purpose and proclaimed by John.

2021, our new chapter, began much like the last one ended. Each day is measured in contagion and death rates, each day presents new opportunities and challenges, each individual is separated for the good of the whole. And while the people and events on the pages of our lives shape us in one way or another, the best news of all is that the source of our hope has not changed! Jesus Christ, the light of all mankind, walks with us through each day and opens our eyes to new possibilities in both the best and worst of times! He is doing great things in each and every chapter of our lives!!!
Light Still Pierces Darkness
Saturday Ricardo preceded the Annual Meeting in Peru. Last year he was there in person, this year they held it on-line. He was very touched by the stories of transformation...even in the midst of the pandemic that has hit them particularly hard.

One touching testimony was by a young Venezuelan immigrant who was part of ministry to growing sign language ministry. When she got to Peru, she first had to learn a whole new set of signs..but she opened a house of peace for people who are deaf. The recently celebrated their first baptism in that group!
Organizing Away Some of the Chaos
January's full calendar
The theme for this year's meeting in Peru was, "We do more as a team". This certainly Ricardo's philosophy of ministry! January has been filled with back-to-back meetings as he works with team leaders to review and adjust strategic plans for the new year. We are honored to work with such a great group of local leaders as well as missionaries! We are very excited about the direction that the team is moving under God's faithful guidance.

Next Saturday's annual meeting in Paraguay will also be held online. Since several pastors will be retiring during that meeting, we invite you to pray with us for a smooth passing of the torch to the next generation of leaders who will spread the Gospel throughout Paraguay! We will make decisions about whether the other 12 annual meetings are held in person or online on a month-to-month basis.

There is also a team working to incorporate some churches in Guatemala into the Latin America Area. These churches have been under the leadership of a conference in the USA but for reasons of language and proximity, it makes sense that they become a part of the area. Ricardo and a team of leaders are tentatively planing a trip there at the end of next month.

We are privileged to be working with a good friend from Chile who is a branding expert. Sebastian is working with us to improve our communication systems with Latin Americans and North Americans alike. Be watching for our new look...and pray with us for the creativity and cohesiveness of the communications team that Beth leads.
Turning Pages
As a family we are also beginning a new chapter. Monday was Juliana's first day of her last year of high school. It was also her first day to actually go to school since March. She is back at home today on the new alternating schedule but happy to have the social interaction of school again. She will also be taking driving classes from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday and one Sunday in February. (She is a bit nervous about the prospect of driving.)

Jonathan began his second year of online classes yesterday. We are trying something new this semester as he will have one class that meets live. As you can see in the picture below, he is now as tall as his father, and he is wishing he could take driver's classes because cars are one of his passions!
We were thankful to spend a few days in December with Ricardo's parents. We are also thankful that technology can keep us connected not only with our colleagues in ministry but our family and friends as well! In fact, several generations of Beth's extended family were able to be together for a virtual family reunion last week!

We are blessed by the fact that you fill the pages of our lives. As we start this next chapter together, we pray that the Light will so shine in all of of our lives that season of darkness will be overcome!

Many blessings,
Ricardo, Beth, Juliana & Jonathan
Pray with us for...
  • An enriching and smooth school year
  • The annual meeting in Paraguay on Jan. 30
  • An area wide pastoral care meeting on Feb. 6 (we are expecting about 300 people for the 4-hour on-line meeting)
  • Incorporation of churches in Guatemala and a possible trip, Feb. 26-28
  • The development of healthy leaders, the multiplication of committed disciples, the growth of transformational churches and the restoration of Latin America!