Friday, December 30, 2016

Prayer letter December 2016

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118:24 - ESV) 
Dear Friends, 

“This is the year that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Actually it is supposed to be “day” instead of “year” in this verse from Psalm 118. But as this year comes to an end and a new one begins, we rejoice and are glad for the past year and look forward to what awaits us in the new, knowing that the LORD has made it. Whether there were hard times, frustrations, losses or struggles and whether the year brought new life, joys, accomplishments or successes, in all we do, God is with us, He is Immanuel. Let us share with you some of the things we have rejoiced in these last few months.

Kids in School
The boys started school again in Quito in September. New dorm parents, modifications in requirements and curriculum, and other changes challenged the boys to adjust. Benni played on the JV volleyball team again this year and even received the “Best Hitter” award. They’re glad that most of their friends returned to school this year, but are missing the ones who did not. Benni enjoys spending his free time with friends and attends a Bible study group for youth on Friday evenings. Caleb enjoys hanging out with a friend in the dorm and is looking forward to being part of the school drama this spring.

Dana is homeschooling Jessica, Sabrina and Alexa. We have no teaching assistant this year, so Dana has the girls almost all to herself. Three Impact girls come to help teach the twins for 6 hours each week, so Dana has 6 uninterrupted hours to dedicate to Jessica. That is a huge help. The week before Christmas, Jessica taught the twins so that Dana could finish some Christmas preparations and devotions. The twins and Jessica really enjoyed that. Jessica made sure that everyone had enough breaks and plenty of snacks.

Counseling Course
I have been working on a training course for Biblical Counseling. If all goes as planned, I will finish the course mid-January. Counseling has become increasingly necessary in Ecuador. Many people in our churches and outside our churches come and ask for advice. A visit to the psychologist is expensive, and psychiatrists are often booked for weeks. But the best counsel is - almost - free.  God has given us many examples and guidance in His Word to help us. Being properly trained, a pastor or church leader can help others to find God’s plan for a certain situation. With God’s help, supervision and Biblical instruction, this person can find new direction and healing. This principle is true in individual counseling and marriage counseling, in family counseling, in drug problems and when dealing with anxiety and conflict.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have this additional training so that I am better prepared to counsel people. The Bible has become even more valuable to me. It is truly God’s handbook for our lives.

Church Excursion to Lita
The ministry in Mira is progressing. After the summer break, it was a bit difficult to round up the kids for the kids’ club. But now between 10-15 children and youth attend the weekly Wednesday afternoon club. 

In November we took a church trip to our retreat center in Lita. Forty people from the Mira church came along. We had a Bible study, a time of praise and worship, a program for children, and crafts and games for the kids. We drove to the river and swam in a pool (the river was too high and dangerous for swimming). We concluded the day with coffee and cake. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful time of being together, and we are very glad and thankful.

Christmas Program Mira
Around 20 kids and 32 adults came to our Christmas program in Mira on December 18. We usually don’t have that many visitors on a Sunday afternoon, but still we see growth and that encourages us. After the program, the ladies served ceviche de pollo. This is a typical refreshment made of small pieces of raw chicken “cooked” in lemon juice. It is marinated in a tomato and onion sauce and served with popcorn and roasted corn.

Our ministry would not be possible without your faithful support. This is one of the things we rejoice and are glad in! Thank you! As the year closes, if you would like to send an extra donation, please refer to the contact information of Liebenzell Mission of USA at the end of this letter.

We wish you all a Happy New Year! May God guide you and be near to you in 2017! Let us rejoice and be glad!

Greetings from Ecuador!

Daniel & Dana, Benjamin, Caleb, Jessica, Sabrina, Alexa