February 2007

Jose has been living in his bedroom and been involved in drugs since dropping out of high school nearly a year ago. He had tried an alternative school but had been booted out. He had tried getting his GED but somehow that didn't work. Jose is only 17 but has his face on the list of gang members the police keep for our community. About 6 weeks ago, Jose's mother asked me to talk to her son. I started visiting the house once a week for about 2 hours. Jose doesn't have a father in his life. His mother works all kinds of odd hours trying to pay the bills. Somehow, Jose seemed to slip between the cracks. Monday Feb. 5, Jose started high school once more. He is entering as a freshman. He is determined to get his high school diploma. Pray for Jose. Ask God to give me wisdom as I work with young people.

"Would you be willing to visit my wife at home?" a prisoner asked me. I agreed and he called from the jail to tell her I was coming. Danelia met me at the door and I sat at the table and talked to her about the Lord and gave her a Bible. I explained about the Old and New Testament and then assigned her to read the book of Luke. The next Saturday afternoon, she met me with a smile and told me that she had read the entire book. I asked her about some of her favorite parts and she shared with me about the Parable of the Sower and also the story of Zacchaeus. I could detect a glimmer of light breaking through. Danelia has never before owned her own Bible. She has never ever read the Bible. What a joy it is for me to be the person to introduce her to Jesus Christ! Pray for Danelia as she meets the Savior. Her aunt, Petra, with whom she is living with while her husband is in jail, has also shown interest.

Many people continue to be curios about our new church Amor Viviente in Lynden, WA. We have a lot of children coming thanks to Marv Apol, our Sunday school superintendent. On Saturday afternoons, Marv and I have been visiting the parents of these children. Many of these kids have been attending the Cadet and Gem's program for over a year. Jim and Cheryl Bratt of Lynden (formerly Bolivia) have participated in every Sunday service since the beginning. They come with a lot of warmth and cultural experience that truly blesses our Amor Viviente Church. Karen Visser and Rachel Penkoff bless us as Sunday school teachers.

I find church planting a continual source of joy. Watching new believers grow in their faith as well as sharing their talents is what makes this fun and exciting. I thank the many people who are partnering with me in Hispanic ministry. A special thank you for your prayer and financial support.

En Cristo Jesus, Joe Strong