“Moving Christians from the pew to the harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38
April 6, 2021
What a time to be alive, Friend!!
Judy and I are grateful for you. God is doing some remarkable things right in the middle of one of the more difficult times in most of our lives.
On a personal note, we both have now had both doses of the Covid 19 vaccine. No ill effects that I can see. It was a bit of a challenge, because 6 days prior to our appointment for the second shot, Judy injured her left knee. The Urgent Care folks told us she would likely need surgery, and shipped us to a surgeon for follow up. The surgeon wasn’t so sure, so we waited. In the meantime, she couldn’t walk and was in quite a bit of pain. God was gracious, and I managed to get a wheelchair and get us both into the vaccine place in one piece.
Judy is up and moving on her walker, the pain has subsided, and she is able to bear a little weight on the knee. She will have an MRI on Monday that will give us information for further planning. I believe she is going to be fine. God has been so very good, in that my back has held up fairly well as I have been moving way more weight than I am intended to. In the midst of playing nurse, housekeeper, cook and bottle-washer, God has kept right on moving.
Peru: In case you hadn’t heard, our good friend and co-laborer in Peru, Omar Oscanoa, succumbed to covid a few weeks ago. It was such a shock! His brother, Jacko (Jacob), and their parents were also hit with the virus. All three of them have come through it by God’s grace. Jacko is now the lead pastor, and we have been in regular contact to be of any support that we can. During March, I taught Bible classes on 4 Wednesday nights via Zoom and broadcast over Facebook. The classes went very well, and we are scheduling more in the next few weeks. I also had the privilege of attending Pastor Jacko’s wedding to the lovely Jessy via Zoom. It was a blessing, indeed.
As we (Eduardo and I) taught the classes, we both noted the quality of the production. It was quite well done. Think of it! I sat in my office at home while Eduardo was in his living room in Hermosillo, Sonora. We taught a class in a church in Tarma, Peru which was viewed by hundreds of people around the world. It’s a marvelous hour to be alive! I inquired about the skill and equipment needed to produce such an event. That led us to another big God deal:
Mexico: You may have noticed, I have been looking for help with the media productions we are doing. Up to now, I have done nearly all the editing, and tending of the necessary pages. In this case, the IEMFe (Instituto de Entrenamiento Ministerial de Fe) Facebook page. We post daily bible bits, testimonies of our students, and
recorded teachings. We want to do more, but I just don’t have the time to add one more thing. In March, 2 brothers from Iglesia Cristiana Orabes expressed a desire to help with the media. They are studying the subject in school, and helping Pastor Santos at Orabes.
Beginning this very evening, they are going to be spending Zoom time with Pastor Jacko in Peru, learning the ropes of producing multi-location services over Facebook. Eduardo is joining them, and I believe within a very short time we will have a solid team that can produce the videos and create the graphics. We will switch to live classes for the “Ayuda Par Sanar” series, and add 2nd level courses from the bible school for public consumption. This is a very big deal for us. God is so faithful! Thank you, Jacko, for being willing to share your expertise.
Another biggie! One of the roadblocks we have faced in Mexico is the lack of reliable transportation. When I am there, we go everywhere in my car. When I am not there, travel outside of Hermosillo is all by bus. This has hampered us in following up on opportunities in several places. I asked God to provide us with a vehicle to be registered in Mexico, that we can use to haul me around when I’m there. In some of the places we go it’s a good idea to not have an American plate. Others are quite rutted and bumpy, and my low-slung American sedan is a real liability. When I’m not there, the team needs the ability to carry this Word to places that simply don’t have what we have. We have opportunities now in Nogales and Tijuana among others. I really want to see Sinaloa open up this year.
Here’s the Hallelujah: Thanks to God and the obedience of some of our supporters, we now have enough cash to start the hunt for a vehicle. On my next trip down, we are going shopping!
Panama Project. Just before the pandemic started, we committed to do trainings on addiction recovery in Panama in conjunction with Vida Ministries in the Darien Province. Because we couldn’t go in person as planned, we recorded 4 hours of addiction material for air on Estereo Vida Darien, the radio station operated by Vida (Dennis and Jeanne Cook) It was well done and well-received. The Cooks asked if I would consider doing a weekly radio program. We began “Ayuda Para Sanar” on Estereo Vida in December of 2020, and it is continuing weekly. The feedback is quite good, and I believe we are helping people. The reach of this “little station that could” is truly special. Here’s an excerpt from a Facebook post by station manager, Jason Cook.”
“Our programming helps people in the Darién by offering spiritual guidance, daily agriculture prices, entertainment, music, covid info, high and low tides we have special guest that ranged from the border patrol, traffic police, national police, medical doctors, veterinarians and a few times had the US ambassador stop in for a chat. We are one of the only legal radio stations in the area. Our audience rely on us for much more than our programming they also use the radio to send messages to loved ones in the most remote parts of the jungles. Some messages are just to let family know they are all right living in the city and some are emergencies. … Out of all the things I do in life this is what I get the most of my satisfaction from. I didn’t realize the impact of the station till I ran all over the Darien trying to raise funds and talked to the people. It had a deep impact on me that my family has built something that is so powerful in the community.”
And back to Mexico: We continue to share the IEMFe material with Pastor Carlos Bonilla and his ministry team from Manantial de Vida in Nezahualcoyotl. We meet twice monthly on Zoom to review homework and answer questions. They have now completed over half the first year. He and his church are touching lives in the city of Nezahualcoyotl. We are filling them with the Word and they are running with it. Check them out on YouTube.
The Bonillas are the latest additions to our bimonthly leaders training on Zoom. We have also added Pastor Judy Templeton and Maricela Noris form Cambria, CA. Our attendance continues strong and consistent. I believe we are building foundations for revival in the post -virus world ahead. The Word works!
Please visit our internet outposts at IEMFeonline ,www.pastorvirgil.com, and the Pastorvirgil.com Facebook page. I just got a testimony this week from someone using our “Real Disciples Study Guide.” They are teaching these lessons to believers in Iran via the internet. Glory!!! If you’ve never been through a basic discipleship course, try this one. If you know someone whose foundations need shoring up, this is the place to go.
Pray for us:
- I still need some helpers. I need good help with computer work, social media, and copy editing. I could also use some help with translating books into Spanish. We have lots of great material, but promoting and packaging are not things I do well. All these things can be done online. You don’t have to be in Tucson.
- As soon as Judy can be left alone, I will be on the road. Pray for her complete recovery. Pray with us for open doors and divine guidance.
Support: You are great! Financial support can be sent to Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson at the address below or given online at www.fcftucson.org. Make checks payable to FCFT, you can designate for missions or pastorvirgil and it will get where it needs to go. Thanks again. We are in this together: “For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace together with me. (Philippians 1:6-7 NET)”
Yours in His service,
Virgil and Judy Stokes