The August 2011 trip began with a 2 ½ hour delay in the flight from KC to Houston, but by God's grace the person who sat next to me was also going to Lima (the only other one on the plane) and he had a cell phone. When we landed, he had a message that told us our next flight had been delayed and was leaving in 25 minutes! Seventy Elias Martinez was scheduled to travel with me, but unforeseen circumstances prevented him from going to Lima with me at the last minute. I arrived in Lima at 12:45 am on Saturday, and our non-member contact, David Custodio, was still there, and had waited for 2 ½ hours. We quickly developed a friendship which we had built by internet over the prior 2 months. He had received literature from us and had already studied it. He was an elder, who was the teacher of the quorum of elders in the Mormon Church in Callao, Peru.
David, his mother and I, attended the Mormon Church where she lives; and we were introduced to various persons. The missionary elders made an appointment to visit us on Tuesday afternoon, but they did not come.
On Monday afternoon, David's brother and a friend came over. David took the initiative to teach them a class from the scriptures with many insights. With all the many contacts he had been sharing with, his preparation in the word of God and the obvious gifts he had in ministry, I began praying about priesthood and kept in communication with Nathan Sherer about that topic.
After a few days of review of the topics that separated the two churches, on Wednesday he agreed to be baptized and wanted to raise up the work of the restoration. I stayed in his mother's house, and it served well to be able to share with his sisters and nieces, who often were there as well. That afternoon one of his nieces and I were singing hymns that I recognized from their hymnal while a lady, Flor, was visiting with David's mom. Shortly, Flor came over and asked for prayers for her son, who lived with one of David's sisters, Sirley (in the photo below).
That night, David and I spoke with his new bride from Mexico, who was still in Mexico. She was being plagued with demonic appearances during each night, which began the same day I arrived in Peru; even her mom saw them in their house. But the demons never touched David's wife.
David asked me to offer ministry to her on-line and we spoke of the power of prayer and fasting when our hearts were set upon the Lord. The three of us committed to pray fervently and to fast on Thursday morning as well. She was blessed and had them no more.
Thursday about 11:00 am we left for the beach…to have David's baptism. We timed a wave, and we rejoiced at his new life. That afternoon we studied the functioning of a branch and the responsibilities of the local priesthood. He rejoiced at learning the importance of the Aaronic offices, which are not utilized the same way in the Mormon church. That evening we had his confirmation.
On Friday, morning I awakened to the impress of the Spirit that David was already functioning in the office of elder and was prepared for the call. So I wrote Nathan and he confirmed that his call had been impressed upon him earlier in the week. During the day David and I helped move some of Sirley's furniture into their home. It gave us a chance to begin to share while in the truck. That evening I presented to David his call and he was desirous to serve. We planned for a Sunday afternoon ordination service. David then shared some insights of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) with Jesus being the Good Samaritan, and tending to the wounds of those buffeted by Satan, and Jesus "having compassion" healing by oil and wine likened to His spirit and blood. Very interesting.
|Children, Mother, Sister|
|Ordination of David to Elder|
While waiting for David to return from Callao, I was able to share with Sirley and encourage her, and she was touched by the Spirit in her heart to move closer to God. That evening, a blessed week of ministry ended with the ordination service of our new brother David as an elder, with the assurance that his many contacts and deep desire to share the truth will bring new fruit to the vineyard.
|Lucinaldo (left), Pedro (right) and Gary|
I left the next day for Rio de Janeiro to visit our member Lucinaldo da Mata Bezerra. He met me at the airport with a friend named Pedro. Pedro had had a headache and backache for two weeks. That first evening I administered to him, and he experienced no pain for the remainder of my nine-day visit.
While I was there, Lucinaldo and I were able to accomplish the translation and editing of six tracts, and a few other works from Spanish into Portuguese.
On Sunday morning, Lucinaldo and I had church service together and we served each other communion, since he hadn't partaken in over two years. We sang together and shared scripture. The words of one of the songs brought the sweet spirit to both of us, and we wept. That was so encouraging, since Lucinaldo normally does not attend service, being the only member in Brazil.
That night, we went to visit some Mormon friends of his, who were interested in the Reorganization. We had a one hour study, in which I was blessed to basically understand their Portuguese; and they were able to mostly understand mine! It was the first time I ministered in Portuguese with very little help.
We pray that the work can now grow as Lucinaldo has hundreds of copies of six tracts with which to evangelize. We still need to prepare the Book of Mormon in Portuguese for the future. There are great opportunities for the work in South America. Thank you for your prayers for a solid foundation for the work.