The month of June has been a good month for us experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God. God continues to use us to bless and encourage others and to draw others to Him. Marriage continues to be a delight as God continues helping us to love and respect each other and unites us more each day. We will be celebrating three months on the 13th of this month, and we can definitely say that our love for each other grows greater each passing day. We hope to wait at least a year before having children, but we know that sometimes God has a different plan, so we will accept His will and plan.
We have been able to be a light and example to many persons here in Santa Marta. Many want to hear our story and have been encouraged by our testimony. We both feel God is preparing us for some kind of family ministry. At the beginning of the month we took a trip to Bogotá for me to get my new spouse visa. They accepted me for the maximum three years and everything went super smoothly. We also were able to spend a week in Bogotá getting to know the city and surrounding towns. We are learning to trust God more and more as He continues taking care of all the details and all our needs.
We are both currently on “vacation” from work and studying as the schools and universities don’t have classes right now. I will begin working again next Monday, July 10. Even though I am no longer working with OBED and El Camino, I will be continuing in three schools – Fundadores (Wednesdays), Jireh (Tuesdays and Thursdays), and Esperanza Viva (Mondays and Fridays). I will primarily be teaching Christian education classes and a little bit of physical education while my mission and focus is spiritual formation. We hope to do more evangelism events in different neighborhoods in the afternoons and on weekends. I may also try to work in a public school on a few afternoons.
Maria and I have begun “evangelism” events at a soccer field in a neighborhood called Barrio 17 close to where Maria grew up. We had two events (Thursday, June 22 and Saturday, June 24) where 20-25 kids participated each morning 9:00-12:00. We taught them games, had competitions, shared gospel/devotional, played soccer matches, and gave a snack. The kids were longing for someone to love them and spend time with them. God has been helping us and is being glorified. We hope to talk soon to the local church to ask them to get involved and support the ministry there. We will have our next event this Saturday, July 8. I also worked for a few days at an English camp for kids over the past two weeks.
Maria will be starting classes again on August 8. She is enjoying teaching her teenage Sunday school class and is learning how to teach more dynamically. She has a desire to reach those in barrio 17 where we are doing evangelism events. She will be applying soon for her U.S. visa, and we have faith her visa will be accepted and that we can visit for the holidays.
Spiritually, she has felt the presence of God very close, and God is speaking a lot to her and revealing things to her about other people so she can pray and speak to them. She is thankful for all that God is doing with our marriage and in our lives and is learning to accept God’s sovereignty. She is learning to be patient and die to her desires that God would be glorified.
God blessed me to be able to go on an Encuentro, a spiritual retreat with my church, on June 16-18. It was a blessing and a great time of listening to sermons and receiving all that God had for each of the participants. I received “more” of the Holy Spirit, learned more about spiritual warfare, and God also set me free and healed me from things from my past and present. God met my desires for the retreat, and I feel more spiritually clean and that God’s power and authority can flow greater in and through me.
God has been teaching me more about spiritual warfare, not to judge others, and more about interceding. As God sees the heart, not appearance or behavior, I need to see and treat my students likewise. His presence has felt so close. God has also been teaching me about the seriousness of sin, getting rid of the sinful thought patterns and practices in my life, preparing for Christ’s imminent return, and living in the holiness that God has called me to. I am learning as well to make my wife and her needs more important than myself and my needs.
María and Jonathan
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” - 1 Peter 5:6-7
“… a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” - Psalm 51:17b
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has gone, and the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:7