Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 2017 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that each of you are doing well. After a very busy Christmas season and January, we were finally able to get a little bit caught up on things last month. Jeremy stayed busy preaching and teaching kids. Because our Sunday School program has grown, Michelle is now serving as the Sunday School Administrator. Our church has also begun to have weekly teen services and weekly ladies meetings. There were many individuals that have rededicated their lives to the Lord. One young couple in our church will be getting married this month. We will be meeting with them to do some premarital counseling. As for the land and new building, we have now purchased the land and are going through the process to begin building in the near future. As the church plant is becoming more and more self-sufficient, Jeremy has been helping with the preaching and teaching in another local church. One other thing that is keeping us busy is the legal residency renewal process. Thankfully, all of our paperwork has been accepted, and we are currently awaiting approval.

As for the family, we are doing well. In the beginning of the month, we had a short visit from Michelle’s parents. They are always a blessing to us when they come. Our girls are both doing well in school. It has been great for Ellowyn because she is now learning much more Spanish than ever before. Pregnancy has been physically tough for Michelle. Thankfully, she is now beginning to feel better. This month, we will be celebrating our eight year wedding anniversary. I (Jeremy) am so thankful that God has brought Michelle into my life and the blessing she has been. She is a wonderful mother to our girls and an amazing wife to me, and I look forward to us serving the Lord together for the rest of our lives.

We are thankful for each of you who pray for us so diligently. Next month, we expect to have our residency approved and also begin the next steps of the building process. We are also planning to host a three day evangelistic conference on the 13th through 15th of March. This month, please pray:

1. That God will guide our ministry each step of the way.
2. That God will keep His hand on Michelle and our unborn child during this pregnancy.
3. That God will do a great work in this upcoming evangelistic conference.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 2017 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Last month was a very busy month, but a profitable one. Every Sunday, we are always packed in Sunday School. Over the last few months, Jeremy has preached on the importance of serving in the local church. Several members expressed desire to begin helping as teachers and assistants in Sunday School. We conducted two training sessions to prepare them to teach the kids classes. We now have several new people who are beginning to serve. The ladies from our church attended a ladies conference in another Baptist church in the next city over. It was a blessing to many. Jeremy stayed busy preaching both in the San Marcos church plant as well as another nearby local baptist church. Near the end of the month, we held a church business meeting and the church voted to increase the salary of the national pastor and appoint the first deacon. God is blessing and strengthening His church! We also discussed plans to be begin moving forward on the purchase of nearby lot of land where we hope to construct our first church building. Jeremy also worked on several other things, including acquiring the documentation needed to extend our legal residency.

As for our family, we stayed pretty busy getting settled into our new house. Slowly, but surely, our house is coming together. We prepared for big changes as Lila was preparing to begin kindergarten and Ellowyn was preparing for preschool. We had hoped that Ellowyn was ready for school. As we went to pick her up at the end of her first day, she not only said that she did not cry, but actually asked if she could stay longer! One day at church, the girls made bracelets with different colored beads to represent the Gospel. Lila not only could explain the gospel quite well, but also wanted to tell everyone she could! We are so proud of our girls! Last month was pretty difficult for Michelle, as she felt pretty sick most of the time due to the pregnancy. Every night, we pray for for her and the health and development of the new baby.

This month, we intend to make some very big decisions, particularly regarding the steps moving forward for the church plant. Our goal, from the beginning, was to plant a self-sustaining, indigenous, baptist church. The national pastor whom we are partnered with is doing a great job, and we are thankful for all God has done each step of the way. We look forward to making several transitions as we approach our first furlough next year. This month, please pray:

1. That God will continue to help Michelle and our new baby through the pregnancy.
2. That God will continue to save souls and build His church here in Nicaragua.
3. That God will help our residency extension process to go smoothly.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz

Monday, January 16, 2017

January 2017 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that all of you had a Merry Christmas and a great start to the new year. Early last month, we had another special baptism day. There were 3 individuals who followed the Lord in believers baptism. One man, who is father of a church member, had always declined to receive Christ as Savior, even when he was extremely sick. The national pastor whom we work with, Pastor Berner, was able to lead him to Christ about a week before he passed away. This was a big answer to prayer and encouragement to his family. There also was another young man who chose to publicly recommit his life to the Lord. Apart from the normal ministry of visits, preaching, and Sunday School, we also had a few special events. The first was a special kids Christmas, in which every child received a gift and got candy from the piñatas. The second event was a church sale, where people donated items to be sold to raise funds for the building fund. The third event was an end of the year dinner where many gave testimonies on the work of the Lord this last year. The Lord did a marvelous work in this church plant. Since last year, we have seen an increase in attendance, more involved in serving and visiting, the church began supporting the national pastor, they have begun supporting 2 missionaries monthly, and just last month took up a special offering to buy chairs for another church plant. We believe that God is honoring their faithfulness. In the last month, we received a few special offerings for the land fund that now brings us up to over $16,000. Praise the Lord!

Last month was extremely busy for our family. Last month, we moved from our old house to a new house in another local city. It was much more complicated than normal because we also had to purchase furniture and appliances and get them all delivered to the new house, which was not furnished. We are very blessed to now have our own furniture and appliances. Although many of our things were still in boxes, we celebrated Christmas Eve in Nicaraguan tradition with a family that we are friends with. It also was a blessing to enjoy a Christmas dinner at the house of another missionary couple, Burt and Cindy Durham. They made a wonderful dinner with some American favorites: Turkey, stuffing… even Nicaraguan squash “pumpkin pie!” Perhaps, the greatest Christmas blessing of all was to find out that God is giving us another baby! We are so excited, and our girls love to talk about whether it will be a boy or girl. The due date is August 24th.

Last month, several of our churches sent us special Christmas offerings. Thank you so much and God bless you! Thank you for all of your prayers! This month, will you please pray for:

1. God to keep Michelle and the baby healthy throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
2. God to guide us as we make several important decisions on residency and other things.
3. God to continue providing the funds needed to buy land and construct a church building.

In Christ,
Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. God is good and we are never short of things to be thankful for. Last month, Pastor Rodney Kelley from our home church came to visit with us on a short trip. He was a blessing to us in many ways. One of our objectives was to survey a few nearby cities that have a strong need for a Gospel preaching church. We will be seeking the Lord’s will regarding these cities in the future. On our normal visits, we saw two young people and one lady profess Christ as their Savior. The national pastor whom we are partnered with was married last month. The Sunday before the wedding, we planned a special service to welcome his fiancé into the church. With about 80 in attendance, we presented them with 2 baskets full of household essentials. It was a great blessing to them. The following week, we attended his wedding, which was the first we had attended in Central America. In the middle of the month, we attended a Bible Institute graduation in Managua. Jeremy was able to take a young man from our church who has expressed desire to begin his studies there.

As always, November was a very special month for our family. Due to some problems in our current house, we began searching for another one to rent. We believe the Lord really blessed us with a better house that would actually be a little more economical. We will be moving next month. We will have to purchase several appliances and pieces of furniture. Near the end of the month, we celebrated with Thanksgiving with a few Nicaraguan friends. They really enjoyed the American traditions of thanking God for all he has done for us. They also enjoyed the food. The favorite “foreign” food of our guests was Michelle’s homemade baked Macaroni and cheese. The “strangest” foreign food was definitely the gravy, which had no suitable translation. “Meat flavored sauce” simply doesn’t have the same ring to it. It was an exciting Thanksgiving because as we were waiting for Hurricane Otto to pass by very close to us, there was also a 7.0 earthquake a little ways off the coast. Thankfully, there was no damage from the earthquake, no tsunami, and very little effect from the hurricane. On the bright side, Lila completed her first school year here in Nicaragua. Her teacher had nothing but positive things to say on her report card. She even won a “caring student” award. Way to go, Lila!

As we approach the end of another year, we cannot say “Thank You” enough to all of our supporting churches and individuals who pray for us faithfully. This month, please pray:

1. That God will guide and provide as we seek a new meeting location and our own land/building.
2. That God will lead us as we pray about our next step in our ministry.
3. That God will continue to save souls, edify believers, and grow His church.

In Christ,
Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Here in Nicaragua, we are now in the middle of rainy season. We have learned to live differently because anything that does not remain in constant use will begin to grow mold due to extremely high humidity. It is a constant reminder for us to “lay up treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor dust doth corrupt.” On that note, we are excited that November will be our first month that our church will support church planting missions. On the home front, we have also seen increased involvement in our visitation evangelism. Just in the last week, Jeremy was able to lead 3 individuals to Christ. We also use our visits to encourage many believers in the Lord. On one Sunday night, we took a special trip to Managua for a fellowship with another church. We were glad to see a great turnout from our folks as about 55-60 persons came from our church. We have seen great progress on many fronts, but we still have a desperate need for a new meeting location. Currently, we have until the end of the year to find a new location. We have been praying about purchasing a corner lot near our current location. Upon discussing the situation with the owner, the Lord moved her to lower the price from $40,000 to $20,000. This includes two small houses that need new roofs. The church has been saving for nearly one year. With all of our combined funds, we have over half of the funds needed. We are trusting the Lord to provide the funds needed in His timing and to guide us over the next couple months as we make some serious decisions.

October was a special month for us because we celebrated Ellowyn's third birthday. Not only is she now “graduated” into the next Sunday School class, but she also had an appointment in the nearby Christian school to make sure she was ready for preschool. Although her Spanish is still quite limited, they said she was perfectly ready to start in the upcoming school year. Her only disappointment is that she could not begin right away! We have been quite impressed at her ability to learn the Scriptures. One family event we are looking forward to this year is Thanksgiving. We look forward to inviting several of our Nicaraguan friends to enjoy an American tradition of thanking God for all He has done for us. We also enjoy letting them try some of our traditional American foods.

In the next few days, we will host the pastor Rodney Kelley from our home church. He will be visiting us to encourage us. We will also be visiting some other nearby cities that have a great need for a Gospel preaching church. This month, will you please pray for the following:

1. That God will guide and provide as we pray concerning our new meeting location.
2. That those who received Christ will grow in faith and take the next step of believer's baptism.
3. That God will lead us as we pray about our next few steps in our ministry.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September 2016 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

August was a very fruitful month for us here in Nicaragua. At the end of the month, we had a 3 day long evangelistic conference. With the help of two other churches, we sent out many groups to visit and invite people from the community. One night, we had the privilege of leading two women to Christ. We averaged 75-105 people each night. During the services, 10 people made professions of faith in Jesus Christ. We were particularly impressed to see that our church members are becoming more involved. At the invitation of each service, we had several people ready to counsel those who had responded show them how be saved according to God's Word. We were also impressed to see a few of the youth step it up and serve faithfully throughout the conference. We now have several that help out in the children's ministry and in running the sound equipment. Last month, we held our second youth service and there were 25 youth that came. We are also working out the details for our first missions conference this year. By the grace of God, we believe our church plant will be able to do it's part to help further the Gospel in other areas.

Last month, we received the surprising announcement that the owner of our house is planning to sell it. This was a shock to us because we had previously agreed to stay until next year. After a few discussions, we seem to have arrived at a new agreement, and things are a bit more stable at the moment. Jeremy was sick for a few days last month, but is now doing much better. Lila and Ellowyn are both doing well. They have both made friends with some sweet girls in our church who like to bring them flowers. Lila is also very excited that this next month, we will receive a visit from Michelle's parents. Their trips are always very encouraging to us.

This upcoming month will be a big month for us. The national pastor whom we work with will be taking a three week trip out of the country. Therefore, we will be working hard to carry some extra responsibility while he is gone. This month, will you please pray for the following:

1. That God continue working in the hearts of those that received Christ last month.
2. That God give our church the burden for bringing the Gospel to rest of the world.
3. That God provide every need as we save up for our own building.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz

Thursday, August 11, 2016

UPDATE - 1st Year Anniversary Service

Here is an update from our 1 year anniversary service in our church plant. We had a great turnout. We planned for about 140 people, but were blown away with approximately 200 people in attendance. There were also 5 people who made the decision to receive Christ as Savior. Praise the Lord!