Well, it's pretty much that time of year again - the most beautiful time of year if you´re so inclined to say, and as we start to sing the many beautiful Christmas songs in open air, celebrating and announcing in one breath the advent of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the salvation that He came to offer to all men - I cannot help but appreciate how good and faithful He has been in my life.
When I last wrote I shared with you all my desire to come and visit home - the longing that I have had to fellowship with you all, and my hope of coming home for Christmas :)
Now, thanks to the LORD, and to you all for your many prayers and support, I am able to announce that I will be coming home for Christmas (and New Years!)this year, flying in December 10th. Is´nt the LORD great!
Apart from the blessing of having my itinerary confirmed, these last few months since then have been both busy, and fruitful, filled abundantly with both trials and blessings.
The Pastor's Conferencce
Most recently I had the opportunity, along with CC San Salvador (and at the many church plants in El Salvador) to serve in the Calvary Chapel Central American Pastor's and Leader's Conference. This was the sixth year that the conference has taken place, and the second year that Rebeca and I have been able to attend, and it was a great blessing for all.
The theme of the conference this year was "Christ, the center of the ministry" and most of the speakers taught out of 2 Corinthians. Rebeca and I were probably most impacted by Pastor Jimmy Morales' message on 2Cor 1:3-11. His main point was that our suffering, and subsequently, Gods comfort, are not only a sure thing in the christian life, but are pre requisites to ministrydd. Without having experienced both (on a continual basis) we are unable to minister to broken people. This spoke deeply to both Rebeca, and I, and helped put many of the hardships and trials that I have wrestled with while on the mission field into a whole new context.
Apart from the conference I have also been busy continuing to teach three times a week, on Saturday through Matthew in CC La Angostura, on Friday through Romans in our home group bible study in San Salvador, and on Wednesdays through the book of John with Walter and his wife Theresa in San Martin.
This last saturday, after 3 months, we have finally finshed going through the sermon on the mount in the CC church plant La Angostura which has been a great blesing for me personally, and, I hope, for the congregation as well, as we sought to examine our hearts and re-build our lives upon the solid foundation of Jesus' revolutionary teaching.
School of Minsitry Building Project
I have also been blessed to be able to put some of my construction experience (limited as it is) into practice with the building of the CC School of Ministry complex in San Martin. It has been a blessing for me to be able to contribute to a project that will (LORD willing one day soon) allow many local pastors and church planters to get the preparation that they need and deserve to continue the work in Latin America, and the world over. As far as the construction goes, I have to give the LORD ALOT of thanks - our foreman, a retired pastor, has been very patient with me (okay, so I have made a few building mistakes), and has also helped me to continue to build on my knowledge and experience while serving the LORD in this area(a special thanks here is due to James G for bringing me along on several jobs in the US, and helping me get my feet wet - everything that he has taught me is now being put directly into the advancement of the kingdom. LORD bless you brother!).
Meanwhile, the tilapia project has continued to move along, thankfully with more stability and a little bit less drama (dead fish!). Our fish are pretty much ready for harvest (they are all between .70 and 2 pounds)and are waiting for the right "buyer". This first harvest will not bring any profit into the ministry, but it has been a great learning lesson, and hopefully will help us to turn tilapias into a direct investment in church planting all over the country.
In addition to the large fish farm in La Angostura, we have also started a small test tank in San Martin to be able to try out new ideas without jepordizing the whole project.
CC San Salvador 19th Anniversary
As I get ready now to come back to the US for a visit, CC San Salvador is getting ready to celebrate its 19th anniversary with a Medeival Times themes dinner geared towards evangelism. We will be hosting 300-400 people a night, every night, for about a week. This last week I spent my normal construction time with six other guys turning our church, and parking lot into a medieval kingdom complete with a castle There was a lot of ply-wood, and latex paint involved to say the least (I will be putting them on facebook shortly - if you have not visited my facebook page "Theodore in El Salvador" before this would be a good time to start).
As soon as we finish hosting these dinners, I will be on a plane to come and see you all :)
I have not been the only busy one these months; Rebeca too has been up to her ears with work to do as she continues to advance on her thesis project for graduation with her Masters Degree in Archeology. She has been working fervently - both at home and doing field work, trying to have everything ready to present and defend by Jan 4th, to graduate with her Masters in March. Her thesis is a study of a local archeological site, Cihuatan, and an analisys of its relative cultural value. It has been a 7 day a week job for her, and your prayers for both her wisdom, and strength in continuing are greatly appreciated.
As you can probably guess, I am very excited about being able to come home to visit you all, as well to be able to spend time in my home church, getting to know the new people as well as serving wherever I am able to. I am also hoping to be able to visit southern california during my trip to be able to attend the annual CC missions conference, and hopefully visit with some of the dear brothers and sisters down there as well.
Even so, I would still like to be able to visit with as many people possible, so if you would like to chat or share a bite, just let me know :)
I have a lot of prayer requests for my trip home, but chiefly I would like to ask that you would pray that I can:
1. reconnect in fellowship and love with everyone at home
2. be refreshed, renewed, and refilled to be able to continue the missionary work in El Salvador as God desires,
3. to be able to raise more financial support to continue the work, and also be able to connect people in the US with the missions work that God is doing in Latin America.
I also, of course, want to ask for your prayers for the people and ministry I am involved in while I am gone, and especially for both Rebeca and I as we seek to maintain the communication in our relationship during my abscence.
Anyways, its a lot of news, but in short I will summarize it by saying that..
♩♪ "I'll be home for Christmas" ♬Until then, have fun checking out all of the new photos posted in www.facebook.com/theodoreelsalvador