Friday, August 28, 2015

People you can pray for...

Last month, in our email edition of the prayer letter, we shared a little bit about a few of the people we are reaching here in Nicaragua. Some of you responded, saying that you would pray for these individuals. This month, I thought I would share with you a little more about these people, that you can pray specifically that God will work in the hearts of these people.

1. Abel - Abel is a youth who received Christ on our first Sunday morning. Since then, he has been very faithful in church attendance. Each week, he helps Jeremy teach the older kids class. He occasionally accompanies Berner in door to door evangelism. He is also faithful to invite friends to our church. Please pray that the Lord continues working in his life and that he grows in the faith.

2. Jose - Jose is a young man who received Christ last month. He has attended a few services now, but missed the most recent services. Since receiving Christ, he has found a job, and now has a much better relationship with his mother. We have not seen him in our most recent services, but we are continuing to visit him and encourage him in the faith. Please pray that he grows in the faith and stays faithful in church.

3. "Cabo" Luis - Cabo Luis is an older man who has been known to say he'd be Catholic until the day he dies. He now occasionally attends our church, and seems to be coming to a greater knowledge of biblical salvation. Please pray that he continues to come and that the Lord works in his life.

4. Marco - Marco is a young man who we met in the street. We shared the Gospel with him, and he received the Lord as Savior. Nearly a month had passed since this time. Recently, he came to an evening service with another young man we had witnessed to. Since then, he has been coming more frequently. Please pray that God will continue to work in his life and that he grows in the faith.

5. Luis - This Luis is a young man who is a 17 year old bike taxi driver. One morning as we were visiting, Berner and I approached him and his friend and gave them a tract. Neither Luis nor his friend had any assurance of salvation and did not know where they would spend eternity. After hearing the Gospel, we asked them if they were willing to turn from sin and place their faith in Christ alone for salvation. The first to answer was the friend of Luis. He said that he was not ready to do that. We then asked Luis if he were willing receive the gift of eternal life by trusting in Jesus Christ. After a moment, he said that he did want to come to Christ that day. He then bowed his head and asked Christ to save him. There were two who heard the Gospel. One chose to continue living in sin apart from Christ, and the other opened his heart to Jesus Christ and was forgiven. Please pray that God will continue working in his heart and that his friend will one day come to Christ as well.

God is good, and God answers prayer. May we continue praying that God work in the hearts of these people.

September 2015 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

August was a good month for us here in Nicaragua. During our door to door evangelism, we saw 7 people receive Christ as Savior. On Wednesday nights, we are teaching a series on the doctrine of salvation, and several more now have assurance of salvation. We are also doing a Discipleship series on Sunday nights, as well as in the homes of those who are new believers. On August 15th, we also hosted a children's outreach campaign in cooperation with a church from Managua. We saw 110-120 people who came out for this event. While we are seeing a gradual increase in adult attendance, the attendance of children has skyrocketed! Due to size constraints, we had to launch a second kids class which is also at capacity. Many of our children are very faithful, attend 3 services per week, and have been bringing in friends and family. We are so thankful that the Lord has blessed our church with these children. Some of the youth are now helping out in these classes. This next month, we will begin a focused effort to reach the parents and families of these children.

Each month, we are becoming more and more adjusted to life in Nicaragua. Before each service, Lila enjoys giving out tracts to people who pass by the church. She is also making friends with the other children who attend. Both Lila and Ellowyn are now learning the Spanish hymns and frequently sing them throughout the day. Thankfully, we are now near the end of the residency process. We have now submitted all of our documents as well as had an in home visit by residency agents. We expect to receive legal residency by the end of September.

We do have one special prayer request. In the end of the month, we received a message that Berner, our partner in Ministry, now has the Chikungunya virus which has affected many people in this area. Since then, we have had little communication. Until Berner recovers, Jeremy is now doing all of the preaching and teaching. Despite our progress in langauge learning, leading an entire service is a challenge, and we certainly need the Lord every step of the way. This month, will you please pray for the following:

1. Berner and the local population who are infected with the Chikungunya virus.
2. Our church as we begin a focused effort to reach parents and adults.
3. Spiritual growth in those who have received Christ.

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

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Children's Outreach Event - August 2015

On Saturday, August 15th, our new church plant, Iglesia Bautista Biblica, hosted an outreach event in the park near our church. More accurately, it was a joint effort, and mostly the work of a partner church, Iglesia Bautista Sinai, in Managua. This church supports Berner, who is the Nicaraguan church planter that we are partnered with in this church plant. It was a blessing to see that not only does this church financially support Berner as a missionary, but also by occasionally coming to help with visitation and evangelistic programs, such as this. Berner and the crew worked a couple hours in the morning to visit the are and pass out tracts. Michelle and I prepared a lunch to feed the workers. In the early afternoon, we began setting up in the nearby park.
Although it was very dark and rainy about 45 minutes before the program started, Lila and I prayed that the Lord would stop the rain and send out the sun. Shortly after, the rain and clouds dissipated and the sun came out and gave us a beautiful afternoon. Approximately 110-120 people came, including mostly children, as well as parents and a few teens. The program included face painting, clowns, songs, puppets, games, and piƱatas, as well as snacks. Berner gave the Gospel, and several responded that they had asked Christ for salvation. We were able to strengthen relationships with many people in the community as well. This morning, we saw about 10 more children, as well as a mother who came with her child.

Although, our children's classes were already at full capacity, we had to improvise in order to accommodate all of the new visitors. Next week, we will be moving the class outside to a bigger area outside of a neighbors house, as well as keeping our smaller kids class inside the church. Lila was also able to build some friendships with some of the kids as well.

We ask that you will please pray for each of these children. Many of these children come from families who do not attend church. We are seeking the Lord and trying to find ways to reach the families with the Gospel. Our desire, is that not only will the children receive the Lord and grow in the faith, but that the family unit is reached by the Gospel, that these children may grow up in committed Christian homes. Below, we have attached a few pictures. Will you pray for these children?

As you can see, Lila is very proud of her purple butterfly! Please pray that God works in each heart and in each family!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 2015 Prayer Letter - Additional Content

Occasionally, when we send out our monthly prayer letters via email, we add additional content that would not fit in a standard prayer letter. Below, you will find some additional content we could not fit in the letter. 

So much has happened in the last month, it's hard to fit even the highlights into a prayer letter. Last month, we requested prayer for our inauguration service of Iglesia Bautista Biblica in San Marcos, Nicaragua. We are glad to report that the Lord not only meet our expectations, but exceeded them! While there is limited space in a normal prayer letter, I thought that I would include a few more personal examples of the Gospel at work in San Marcos, Nicaragua. I hope the testimonies below will be an encouragement to each of you.

1. Julio - Julio is a man that we had met while visiting door to door. Julio listened to the Gospel as presented, and seemed to be really considering it. He did not receive Christ that day, but we were glad to see that he attended our inauguration service. After the messsage, he responded to the invitation, and was 1 of 2 people that received Christ during our inauguration service. While Julio previously had problems with alcohol, he has not drank since he received Christ. Since then, he has attended our church regularly and is growing in the Lord.

2. Abel- Abel is a teenage boy who had a background in church, but had never received Christ as Savior. Our first Sunday morning service, he came and was counseled by Pastor Berner who is our partner in this church plant. He received Christ as Savior, is now attending regularly, and has recently begun serving as a helper in our children's Sunday School Class.

3. Jose - Jose is a young man who had been out of work and had been involved with drugs. On day, while visiting, we were able to meet him and speak with him regarding his past and the Gospel. That day, he prayed to receive Christ as Savior. He has recently begun attending church, stopped using drugs, and is now actively pursuing work.

4. Carla- Carla is a young lady who attended one of our first church services. She heard the Gospel clearly presented, and that night, she received Christ as Savior. Since then, she has been faithful to attend services, and has been actively inviting all of her family. Each week, she brings her daughter and several other children. She has also invited us to hold a "Thanksgiving" service in her home to give thanks to the Lord for the work he did in giving a family member a quick recovery. We saw about 35-45 persons in this service, including mostly family and friends that had never before attended our church.

5. "Cabo" or "Sergeant" Luis - Cabo Luis is a man who is in his 60s or 70s. While he had been catholic for all of his life, he attended our inauguration service. While many know him as a man who has always said he would be catholic "until the day he dies", he has recently revealed to us that he really enjoyed the Biblical message he heard. As he was considering all of this, he revealed to us that if he were to ever change his stance on this, he would choose Baptist. Since then, we have built a relationship with his family and have met with him in his house twice. During our most recent service, we were so thankful to see that he had come to hear more Bible preaching. I believe God is working in his life and that the seed of God's word is taking root.

Please pray for each of these people. The Gospel still changes lives, and we are so thankful to have a part in the eternal work of God.  

August 2015 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Last month was a month full of blessings and challenges. On July 12th, we had the
inauguration service for Iglesia Bautista Biblica in San Marcos, Nicaragua. While we were
praying for a great turnout and had rented 100 chairs, we were pleased to have seen an
approximate 110-115 who came for our first church service. During the inauguration
service, there were two men who came forward to receive Christ as Savior. Despite being
a very small and new church, we have seen dramatic growth in our children's ministry.
This last Sunday, we had once again reached our inauguration day attendance of 12-13
children. Despite having a very small classroom to meet in, we are now making plans to
better accommodate this rapidly growing ministry. Last month, we saw an additional 13
people pray to receive Christ and a few others rededicate their lives to the Lord. Because
so many have never heard the Gospel, and others have recently received Christ as
Savior, we are teaching a series on the doctrinal aspects of Salvation. Thankfully, we have
seen a few new faces each week.

Although we have seen many blessings of the Lord, we know that we must
constantly trust the Lord. Near the end of last month, our daughter Ellowyn was sitting on
the side of the bed and fell backwards onto the tile floor. When Jeremy rushed to pick her
up and comfort her, she lost consciousness, stopped breathing, and began convulsing.
Immediately, we sought the Lord's help, and as Jeremy was going to begin CPR, she
began struggling to breathe very weakly. She regained consciousness, but could not
move or respond. 45 minutes later, the local hospital sent us in ambulance to the Capital.
An hour after this, we arrived at the hospital in Managua. Many people prayed, and upon
arrival in Managua, Ellowyn awoke and began singing “Jesus loves me,” which Jeremy
had sung to her many times. Shortly after, she was talking, walking, and responding in
every way! After an Xray and CT scan, the doctors found no damage to her neck and
brain. In fact, they could not explain the symptoms with the lack of damage found. We
truly believe the Lord protected her and may have healed her before the tests.

God is good, and we need all need Him daily. This month, please pray for the

1. God's protection on our family, especially for Ellie and her recovery.
2. That God will grow His church and help us reach the families of the children.
3. That God will lead us daily in His work here in Nicaragua.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Michelle, Lila, and Ellowyn Blanz