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Ishtar_gate
Author: Matthew
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This past month, I have enjoyed digging into the major prophets to learn and teach on the Biblical theology of Babylon. It is amazing to look at the precision, the details, and the accuracy of God’s Word as He has revealed Himself to us through Scripture. The objective of this study is to examine our holy God, His promises to His remnant (covenant) people, and learn from how He uses kings and kingdoms to accomplish His plan. For me, it has been rich to dig into Isaiah and Jeremiah with a renewed fervor for their prophetic message of repentance, and the clarity with which the O.T. points to the completed work of Christ Jesus on the cross. Christ has delivered His people, thrown on the yokes of slavery, and restored, calling a people who were once not His people, to Himself.

I’d love to share some of this learning with you if you’re up to dig into God’s Word. The lessons have been recorded and are online on our church web site @ pacifichope.com.

Here is a break down of each lesson, all of which are on the Pacific Hope site, under the “Listen to a sermon” link:

  • Lesson 1: The context and History of Babylon; text: Genesis 10-11
  • Lesson 2: God delivers Jerusalem; text- Isaiah 36-37
  • Lesson 3: Envoys from Babylon; text- Isaiah 38
  • Lesson 4: Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?; text: Jeremiah 5 & 7
  • Lesson 5: The Yoke of Bablyon; text- Jeremiah 27-28

 

Good afternoon dear friends and partners in the Gospel-

This week has been one of amazing blessing and intense struggle. Jennifer and my wonderful boys have been joyfully serving the Lord alongside some special friends from New Covenant Bible Church. God’s timing of our home church being in Honduras to serve is unbelievable! The team has been a special encouragement to Jennifer and the boys this week.The team has been leading evangelistic VBS activities near the future church site, and what I have heard is really encouraging. Since the neighborhood is curious about us, it is great that we are clearly able to identify ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ! Our prayer is that these interactions will result in young people being exposed to the Gospel, and now or later in life, choosing to accept Christ as their savior!

This past week, I felt led to step away from ministry in Honduras to provide pastoral care and support to my Mom and Dad. Mom seems to be in her final days of struggle against the aggressive ‘cancer’ enemy. (Mom’s Caring Bridge site tells a little about this journey of sanctification)God graciously used a dear family friend to provide airline miles to fly me up to be in Rockford, Illinois, to walk down this difficult road with Mom, Dad, Rachel, and Shane. The days have been long as her pain and discomfort are intense. Continue to pray with us that God mercifully ushers us into His presence soon.

Please pray for our family as we thank God for all He is doing, yet are having our faith tested in ways that we’ve never experienced in our 16 years of marriage. Letting go of Mom is the toughest thing I’ve ever experienced.

Likewise, we covet your prayers as God is at work in Honduras in ways we never could have asked Him for! New Covenant youth finished their construction work for the week, and will continue VBS ministry through Sunday. The following week, Central Christian Church from Beloit, Wisconsin, will put boots on the group to continue the investment of sweat and tears (hopefully not blood) in preparing the Tegucigalpa land for us to use it as a regular place of worship and Gospel outreach. At the same time, God is sending us some extra help from Noah Reed, a summer intern from Carpinteria, California.

We also face some financial challenges and would be grateful to you as our faithful support team for sharing our ministry with other friends and family who might be willing to come alongside us in this season. A recent move to a new rental house has brought with it significant costs and challenges, plus personal and family health events have impacted our support levels. It is also inevitable that Jennifer and the kids will need to travel to join the family in the coming days, so we have some additional needs beyond our normal expenses.

 

As always, our trust is in the Lord and our hearts are filled with gratitude for the way in which His people generous share with us.

With love and gratitude to God and His people,

 

Matthew, for Jennifer too

 

If you would like to ask others on our behalf, our family Web site can be a good way to introduce us. www.divineadventure.net

Gifts can be given via www.uwm.org or mail sent to: United World Mission 
PO Box 602002
 Charlotte, NC 28260-2002

All gifts can be designated for Matthew & Jennifer Allen and are tax-deductible per IRS guidelines.

IMG_0625
Author: Matthew
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Each month, the congregation of ECDLV Tegucigalpa makes a payment of $230 towards paying of a small piece of land on the southern edge of the capital city. We have been praying to be able to begin taking steps towards building on the land and subsequently have the ability to do more mid-week ministry, reach an unchurched neighborhood, and have space to grow the church family.

In December 2013, we were richly blessed by friends at Central Christian Church in Beloit, Wisconsin. As part of their Christmas offering, they generously shared a sum of money with ECDVL allowing the first steps to be taken to be taken to begin construction. This blog will give you a quick overview of all that God is doing in this construction project. As we have begin to work, we are building relationships with the neighbors, and striving to honor Christ with each conversation we have.

Here’s a look at some of big accomplishments so far, as we as a link to a photo gallery that I will be continually updating on FaceBook.

1. 56 hours of backhoe rental- Well, the terrain in Honduras could best be described as ‘rugged’. As such, the church land needed to be dug, leveled, and terraced to allow for construction.
2. preparation of an access road and installation of a steel gate at the entrance
3. leveling of an upper parking area
4. purchase of a 20 feet container to securely store construction materials
5. construction of the lower (1 of 3) retaining walls

Right now, some bi-vocational pastor friends are hard at work digging the footer for the lower retaining wall, which is the first critical step in protecting the investment that was made in earth-moving. Our prayer is that God will provide the funds to build the second and most costly retaining wall, which will serve as the back wall of the church building itself. Stay tuned to see how God is working, using His people to accomplish His work.

Also, today, Melvin Harold and I will be starting a Wednesday night Bible study in the new neighborhood, examining the Gospel of John. Please pray for us to be able to connect with and share the Gospel with our new neighbors.

This past month, the fine folks at American Airlines allowed me to use frequent flier miles to do a quick trip to Southern California. I had the opportunity to connect with old friends from Pacific Hope v1.0. I was kindly invited by my brother in Christ, Ryan Reed to visit his family and church plant in Carpinteria, CA By way of our mutual friends the Wilsons, God has allowed me to reconnect with the Reeds. It was a joy to visit with them and see all that God is doing in their family as they serve the Lord together at Carpinteria Redeemer Church in Carpinteria, CA.

The Carpinteria Reedemer Church has been in existence for about two years, and God is allowing for some to come to Christ, for spiritual growth, and for important steps in the life of the church to be taken. For example, during my time there, I had a chance to observe the naming of Redeemer’s first three elders and pray for them as they endeavor to shepherd the flock. As I have become so passionate for the equipping and discipleship of men, it was really exciting. I was also graciously given the opportunity to share a bit of my personal testimony about our call to salvation, and our call to the mission field, and also testify to some of the things that Jennifer and I are learning through our Honduran church family.

I also had the chance to meet some really cool college kids (mostly from Wesmtont) that attend the college group in the Reed’s home. I shared from II Timothy. This was a really neat divine appointment, as unbeknownst to me, in the group’s last get together, Ryan had taught from the previous chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. In any case, it was a joy to share a bit about the cost of discipleship as Paul explained it to Timothy in II Timothy 2:1-10.

  • You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.  An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.  It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.  Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,  for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
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Home group leaders praying the church’s newly appointed elders.

 

The church body also shared an offering with us that has been designated to help underwrite the cost of the next two pastoral training conferences that will cover the books of Luke and Colossians.

After my time in Carpinteria, I was able to see a handful of dear friends in San Diego. It was good to see other present and past Pacfic Hope friends. The Calleros, the Dennis clan, Mr. and MRS. Hooper, the Ohmes, and others. Praise God that out of our little church family, God has called, led, and built up some really neat families. How precious to me are these enduring friendship that are build on the common foundation of Jesus Christ.

I feel really bad that there are so many people I wanted to connect with during my time there, but the time was just too short. If you are up for some time together hearing all that God is doing in the ministry here, you’ll just have to come down and see for yourself.

14 May / Casitas Projects

Author: Matthew
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It’s project time again here at Iglesia El Camino de la Vida! Thanks to the Ohio team that finished up the main church structure at Casitas in January, we have so much more usable space! We actually have 2 rooms/spaces that are currently not being utilized, except for storage. The first room is an area right off the new bathrooms and the second is the small house on the property that the 35+ kids used to meet in. (Now they worship and learn in a classroom triple the size!) So….what do we do with these “extra” spaces? Let me share the vision that we have for them.

First of all, the vision for the room off the bathrooms has been to create a nursery. We have quite a few babies and toddlers in Casitas, which we love! I see 3 main ways this nursery project will bless and grow our church:
1. It will provide a safe place for the women to leave their babies so they can worship with the church. Oftentimes the women choose to stay home instead of coming to church because it is too difficult for them to listen while taking care of their little ones. Our desire is for those moms and grandmas to come hear God’s Word and fellowship with others in the body!
2. It will provide a nurturing environment for those babies and toddlers to hear the gospel at their level. We will give a short training to all ladies who will be taking care of the little ones, to encourage them to be intentional about reading Scripture to them, teaching them Bible songs, etc.
3. It will provide a way for the women of the church to serve one another. This is so important as we grow closer to Christ – serving as His hands and feet. The people of Casitas serve when teams come, but unfortunately there are not many opportunities for them to get involved in the weekly service. Taking turns caring for and teaching the babies is a concrete way the women can serve other moms/grandmas and the church as a whole.
Here’s a top view of the room that will be the nursery. It now has a roof, of course!
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As for that little house that the kids used to pack into like sardines? Our hope is to create a library which will be open after school a few days a week! There are great benefits to this library project as well:
1. The kids from church will have a safe place to go after school, being involved in healthy activities and hopefully keeping them out of trouble.
2. We hope that they will develop a love for reading! If they love to read, then they will improve their reading skills, which improves their confidence. Of course, this will help them in school as they prepare for adulthood, but it also will give them more confidence to read God’s Word.
3. Bringing neighborhood kids, or even adults, to the library could be a way to share Christ’s love with them and possibly motivate them to visit our church.
4. Again, it would provide more service opportunities for the members of the church. Josúe will open the library and be in charge, and eventually, we hope other members of the church can get involved.
And here’s that little house that will soon be a library!
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Exciting, isn’t it?
Some friends of ours are coming at the end of June and our goal is to work on and complete the nursery. If you feel led to be a part of it, would you consider “purchasing” one of the items below?
Nursery (About $1000 total):
paint for the walls/paint brushes
2 cribs with mattresses and/or pack and plays
4 sheets and blankets
changing table/dresser/storage unit
rocking chair
foam play pads for floor
Spanish kids’ Bible
other kids’ books in Spanish
a few toys
diapers
wipes
hand sanitizer
disinfectant
Then we hope to start and finish the library with the team that comes in July. If you would like to donate towards that instead, here is the list of materials below:
Library (About $700, not including books):
paint
bookshelves
labels/stamp
desk/chair
small tables/chairs
bean bags
posters/wall hangings
new lights
whiteboard/markers
board games
BOOKS!
You can also directly purchase Spanish books for the library, which would be a GREAT help! I have started a wishlist on Amazon (called “Library for Honduras”), which gives lots of fantastic ideas. However, many times the dollar stores, Costco, Marshalls – lots of places! – will have kids’ books in Spanish for good prices! Here’s the link to the wishlist and then we can get them down when friends/teams come.
Thank you for your participation in these projects! Our prayer is that they will bless the Casitas church and provide more resources for the people to grow in faith and godliness.