It has been another busy, full year. We were privileged to see another church building dedicated in Los Pajales (a large community some 40 km from Cubulco), the first set of students received their Certificate of Theology from the Presbyterian Seminary for successfully completing a year of studies at our Bible Institute, the Kattenbergs joined us here to share in the work, serious advances were made in the training of the Bible Translation team, two new preaching stations were opened, another congregation was officially organized, in December our eldest daughter Kathryn professed her faith, and a new missionary family has been found to take over in 2002.
It has also been a year full of challenges. Nurturing young churches at a distance is a constant challenge. An obrero was suspended from office--plunging a fledgling congregation into inner turmoil; persecutions, inter-personal conflicts threatened to close another young church... the list could go on. Still, God's grace has been sufficient and more than adequate to meet every need and as we look back over the year, we are once again impressed with His faithfulness and care. We can truly raise another 'Ebenezer' to testify that "To this point, God has helped."
What a blessing it is to be able to begin the New Year with Him, who is the God of all grace--grace abundant for every situation, every failure, every sin and every need--who has called us to His eternal glory in Jesus Christ, who promises to perfect us, establish us, strengthen us and settle us; who uses pain and suffering to accomplish His work of grace in our lives; the God who calls us to cast all our burdens on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:10, 7).
This past week we began preparing a young couple for baptism. They recently returned to Cubulco from Guatemala City because of the husband's illness. He is dying of AIDS and the doctors give him about a month to live. In a very real sense, we are also preparing them for dying. His wife is HIV positive as well. It was our privilege to help them place their trust in Christ and despite his weakness and pain, he can testify of God's grace in his life. God has been good and we praise Him that even in the face of death, we have a message of grace, hope, and eternal life.
Thank you again for sharing this work with us. May God richly provide your needs and ours during 2001.
With warm Christian greetings,
Ken and Jackie Herfst