Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer in Texas

We had a great time of food and fellowship this afternoon. One of our Sunday school classes had a cook-out. The kids had a blast swimming, tubing and eating!

Drivers Ed.

Lauren, our oldest, has come back to the States in time to learn to drive. She has completed her written test and just needs time practicing before taking the driving part of the test. We have discovered that this is a task for dad. Mom is a little too nervous and yells "slow down" too much to be of much help. Up until now Lauren has been doing well driving the 15 passenger van. That is quite a feat for anyone! But now she has her own little blue car to jet around in. I think she will be ready to get a full-fledged license soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Church Plant Grows Out of Medical Campaign

This is an article by Allen Bradford from the Peru Mission website. Praise the Lord with us for the ways His Gospel is advancing.

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We rejoice to share with you one way God is continuing to use the service of a short-term team in Peru. We have been blessed to witness God working through the inter-relating of several of Peru Mission’s ministries to bring new life to a community that is impoverished both physically and spiritually. Initial friendships with the community were made through the medical campaign by a short-term team, and then the community was adopted by our Wichanzao congregation, who assigned a seminary intern to lead pastoral and discipleship efforts there there, so that now a church plant is growing in the desert.

In February, a medical team from Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, labored with us in tents in a little homesteading, shanty town called "Clementina" at the base of the mountain that overlooks the northern side of Trujillo. Clementina is a squatter’s community in the desert. Folks move out here, set their stakes and put up straw mats for walls. After 2 years, they will be legal owners of the land and the government will begin installing electricity, water and sewage. Living is very hard, however, while they wait.

From day one, when we first made contact with the people there, we were impressed by the friendliness and proactivity of their local neighborhood council. That impression was confirmed the day of the medical campaign, which showed us a community eager for help and open to our involvement. We had a good day setting up camp there and attending to those desperately needy people.

After the medical campaign, one of our seminary students, Percy Padilla, followed up with a number of visits to the area in the months of March and April. This resulted in the community, through the neighborhood council, donating a little plot of land to our Wichanzao Church for us to set up a chapel. Then, the Wichanzao Church petitioned Peru Mission to approve and help fund another seminary student, Jose Barriga, to take charge of this area and work toward planting a Church.

Jose began his labors in May. He visits Clementina 4 days a week—Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the mornings and Saturdays in the afternoons. During the mornings his work has primarily been with children and a few adults, and on Saturdays he has been teaching a group of youth with a few adults as well. Also, during this month, the Wichanzao Church raised funds to build a little chapel out of thatched mats. All this labor culminated on Sunday the 25th of May with an inauguration service for the new Clementina Chapel. Brethren from the Wichanzao church, mission interns, and missionaries made the trek up to Clementina after the morning worship service at Wichanzao, with some 25 people from the Clementina neighborhood. It was a heartwarming, Christ-honoring event. We were all greatly encouraged.

On Sunday, the 8th of June, we held the first regular Sunday worship service at 4 p.m. Jose led worship and preached, connecting well with the people. From his text in Luke 12.22-31, he encouraged the people to trust God for their needs, reminding them that he is gracious and compassionate and ready to respond to their prayers. Also, a brother from the Wichanzao Church, Abel, who is a first-year medical student, played the guitar.

In attendance were about 15 women, a number of children and two men, though some other men at different times hovered around the door. As electricity is extended through the neighborhood, we will begin to meet at a later, more convenient, hour.

Also in attendance was a group of 12 brethren from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. We used this worship service to help kick off a four day VBS which this team led—Monday and Tuesday in the afternoons and Wednesday and Thursday in the mornings. By splitting the schedule this way, we were able to minister to all the children, since some have school in the mornings and others in the afternoons.

Please pray for the dear people in Clementina, as well as for the weekly ministry of Jose Barriga from SBR Seminary, the health personnel from Wichanzao Presbyterian Clinic and the brethren from Wichanzao Presbyterian Church that regularly visit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sermon: "How to Hear the Word of God"

Here is an online sermon Wes recently preached at Christ Presbyterian, New Braunfels, TX.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Special thanks to Christ Presbyterian Church!

Our home church is Christ Presbyterian in New Braunfels, Texas. These dear saints have been very kind to us over the years, and indeed have supported us from the beginning of our work in Peru. They have demonstrated their generosity once again, by providing us a home while we are on HMA. The church's campus includes about 12 acres (if I recall correctly), with a comfortable, quaint, farmhouse that they now use as a mission house. It is in the middle of a rapidly growing part of town, but it is situated in such a way that it still has the feel of an old farm. Notice in these pictures the pre-civil war stone building that apparently served as storage and root cellar. The windmill is also situated over an old hand-dug well that must date to about the same time.

New Braunfels is one of my favorite places in Texas. Located on the Comal and Guadlupe rivers, it was settled by German immigrants in 1845. Wikipedia has a brief article on the city.

Home Missionary Assignment

The Bakers are back in the US for about a year on HMA. We're sad to leave Peru but very glad to see family and friends, and very much looking forward to visiting churches and telling what the Lord is doing in Northern Peru through your prayers and support.

One of the reasons we are sad to be gone for a year is simply because we will miss our Peruvian and North American brethren who are working so fathfully there (and having too much fun without us :-), but also because this is a key time in the life of Peru Mission. After many years of slow advance, and many years of foundation laying, we are beginning to see significant growth and development in almost all areas. We have many new faces around the mission (~10 families and 12-14 interns, if I count correctly) and a growing group of Peruvian leaders. Our hopes are that the next four years will see the Trujillo foundations sufficiently established that we can begin work with full force (committing substantial human and financial resources) in Chiclayo, Piura, and elsewhere in the north of Peru. We hope to be anouncing a major capital funds campaign soon, with the idea of completing our major financial obligations in Trujillo. Please pray for all of the administrative details that need to be wrapped up for that to take place.

And finally, please pray for us to have a good and succesful time in the US. Pray for our family's stamina (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) throughout this year. I enjoy traveling, but it takes a great toll on the family.

Thank you all for your faithful partnership with us in the Gospel! May our Lord richly bless you all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stockdale Watermelon Jubilee Rodeo

Last night Wes and I went back to our old stomping grounds. We went to the Watermelon Jubilee in Stockdale, TX. The rodeo was alright, but my favorite part was the "mutton busting". Mutton busting is an event for kids about 5 to 6 years old.. They suit up in a bull riding vest and helmet and are placed on the back of a sheep. The shute opens and they hang onto the back of the sheep for dear life as the sheep runs out across the arena. The kid who rides the farthest is the winner. As you can imagine there were lots of laughs! We also got to catch up with some old friends from school, Michael and Michelle Hartman. It was a fun night!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back on Line!

After a very long time without my own computer and without a digital camera, I am back! I got a new computer a couple of weeks ago and also a camera, so please stay tuned for news and updates from the Bakers!