Thank you for your faithful prayers and support for our ministry. We are excited to see the Lord at work building His church in Lawrence.
We trusted you all had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday. We are thankful for the 47 we had in attendance with two first time visitors and one returning visitor. There were several unsaved people in the service who heard a clear gospel message. Please pray for the Lord to continue to work in their hearts.
There have been several exciting gospel opportunities where we can see the Lord clearly working in the lives of people in our community. In the last couple of months we have had an opportunity to share the gospel with people with a long, Catholic background. Both of the people have expressed an interest in what the Bible says about salvation. We were able to give both of them their first Bible and they have been excited to learn what the Bible actually says for itself. Please pray for the Lord to continue to work in their lives and for them to accept Christ’s finished work soon.
The bathroom repair/renovation project continues. This project has taken longer than expected but is coming along. We are hopeful to have the project done by mid-May.
Many of you prayed and some of you gave to help with our need for a dependable vehicle. The Lord provided us with a new (to us) vehicle that should be dependable for our family moving forward. We are thankful for the peace of mind of having a dependable vehicle. Thank you for your prayers and generosity.
On April 23-26 we will be having special meetings with Evangelist Jake D’Andrea. He will be preaching/teaching on the family. This is a topic we plan to emphasize this summer. The city of Lawrence is a city of immigrants. Immigrant families often struggle. Assuming they immigrate together (This is often not the case. It is not unusual for spouses and/or parents and children to be separated for years while working through the immigration process individually) dads and/or moms have to work hard to provide for their families. This usually means long hours at work and little time at home with their children.
The kids usually attend English-speaking public schools and learn, even prefer, English rather quickly. For many, English becomes their first/heart language. Parents who are working hard at their jobs often struggle to learn English. This creates a unique challenge of having homes where the children and parents struggle to communicate with one another. Families in our city often struggle. It is not unusual for parents to attend Spanish-speaking churches where there is little to no ability to teach English-speaking children the Bible. Again, this creates a cultural, spiritual crisis in the home.
Our desire is to be a bi-lingual church that reaches bi-lingual families.
This presents unique challenges and opportunities. The goal in emphasizing the family this summer is that we would develop strong, godly families who could help and minister to families in our community who are struggling.
During the summer we are also planning to have special Sundays of emphasis on the family in which we will have area pastors speaking on some aspect of family life.
To accomplish the goal of reaching bi-lingual families, Lindsey and I are continuing to take Spanish lessons 5 days a week via Zoom from a pastor in Peru. These classes have been incredibly helpful but language learning is a lot of hard work. We appreciate your prayers in this.
We are planning to start a Spanish-speaking adult Sunday School class at the beginning of 2024. With our progress in Spanish, we are confident that I will be able to teach this class in Spanish without a translator.
Please continue to pray for us to make progress as we work to reach the families in our Spanish-speaking community.
Many have asked, “How are things going with the church plant?” Over the years (Its hard to believe its been 3 years since we started with our first Bible studies) my answer to that question has changed. For the first year and a half I would summarize our work as identifying the core of believers that would make up Community Baptist Church. The last year and a half has been working to develop/disciple that core of believers for ministry. That work continues and we are excited to see the growth the Lord has brought. There is still much work to be done.
As we have become more proficient in Spanish and have had more opportunities to minister to Spanish speaking families, it feels as if we are back to identifying a core of believers but this time Spanish speaking believers. This requires work to help our Spanish speaking core of believers to assimilate with our English speaking core. We believe that this assimilation is necessary and biblical. The first century church was a multi-cultural church
Lawrence is 80% Hispanic. We knew this when God directed us to Lawrence and realized that we were somewhat handicapped to reaching approximately 20% of the population who’s heart-language is English. We are now very close to being able to effectively reach the Hispanic population in our community with a core of Spanish speaking believers.
We are still in the process of identifying that core, and are working to disciple, develop, and equip them to minister to the 80% of the population that we have been unable to effectively reach.
Church planting is work, church planting in a place where you share the same language with less than half the population is more work. This is the work to which the Lord has called us.
We thank you for your continued support in this work. Growth is slow but steady; such is the nature of ministry in New England. This has been compounded by the language and cultural barriers in our city. We are confident that the Lord of the harvest is building His church. We are amazed at all He has done to build His church to this point and are eager to see how He is going to continue to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think in Lawrence through His church. We are encouraged with all the Lord has done.
Lawrence is home, we love it here and we love the people here. There’s no where in the world we would rather be. I am excited to see what God is going to do as we are able to more effectively reach the people we love and to which God has called us.
I apologize for the length of this letter, but I believe its important that you have a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face. We want you who have been so faithful to pray for and support our ministry to be aware of how things are going so that you can continue to pray for and support us in our labor.
Again, thank you for your faithful, continued support and prayers for our ministry here in Lawrence.