jonesjournal.org > newsletters > e-Mailer for 2/2017
Breezy summer greetings from Panamá!
If you'd prefer you can read this e-Mailer online, or see past issues on "Newsletter" page at jonesjournal.org. This monthly e-Mailer includes updates on our life, ministry, praise, and prayer.
We trust your new year has begun well and you are experiencing God’s best blessings in your life! Ours began enjoying being all together again for several days here in Panamá. Now each is back to their routine: Tony continues teaching fourth grade here at Crossroads Christian Academy; Celina is in first year of PhD studies at Baylor College of Medicine; Gracie is in second semester at Evangel University studying music; and Chloe is working temporarily at the ISMK office (missionary kid ministry of AGWM) for about a month before continuing as a traveling nurse.
I want to give a shout out to Rev. Eliseo Simental and his generous church Centro Familiar Cristiano in Sylmar CA. After visiting Centro Libertados Fundación Dios Proveerá (Liberated Center – God Will Provide Foundation) in the slums of Panamá City last March, he and his wonderful women’s ministries provided four large containers of clothes for the ministry. Here is one snapshot of the dozens of needy families who were blessed.
January is Annual Business Session for the Assemblies of God in Panamá. Elections and reports occupy the day with inspiration services at night. It’s also a wonderful time to reconnect with friends and colleagues from around the country. We took advantage by networking with several pastors in preparation for hosting US teams this summer. In addition, we were allowed to promote the mentoring program at the orphanages, and several potential mentors responded.
That positive response adds to our joy from this recent report from the psychologist working with one of the young boys being mentored. She told us she was concerned he might have anti-social affective disorder. Forgive me if I get the technical terms wrong, but the basic idea is he could not connect with others. But after a couple visits with a mentor family his behavior with peers and adults had improved so much that she plans to rethink the diagnosis. That’s the simple power of God’s love person to person. Please pray with us for more Christian mentors to connect with kids from hard places.
There is one snapshot I wanted to share from this year’s Annual Session: Rev. Luis Gutierrez presented his grandmother Petra who gave us a challenge to remain faithful to God’s calling, and also regaling us with some of the beloved old hymns. She was accompanied by his mom Libia who has been a missionary in the Darién jungle for many years. Add in his young adult children (not pictured) and that represents four generations of ministers serving the Lord! That’s the kind of faithfulness we want to instill in the kids we disciple for the Lord!
Speaking of discipling kids and leaders, teacher training continues. We began the year with a time of prayer and fasting among our leaders. Many of our churches ended the year using the Christmas program we had provided in previous seminars. Afterwards we heard good reports of how the children used their talents to celebrate Jesus’ birth! We are grateful to see continued momentum and growth in the expanded team across the Canal in Arraijan.
A couple of our kids ministry leaders from Colón got married recently. In our newsletters we try share unique cultural aspects of life here in Panamá. I don’t know that this is a wide-spread tradition, but Ligia & Amaral decided they wanted their first kiss as husband and wife to be in the “Love Boat” you see alongside the altar. We pray God will knit their hearts together in life and ministry.
As you read this there’s a good chance Yvonne and I are on the road with the wonderful and faithful team from Abundant Life Community Church in Alton IL on their annual missions trip to the Ngobe Indian Family Conference in Quebrado Guavo. Once again we will be ministering to the least of these, sharing in teaching, preaching, distribution of Convoy of Hope supplies, and for the second year providing a free dental clinic. Please pray for a powerful work of God in these precious people’s lives—both the Indians and team members!
The word the Lord has given me for this year is “incline.” When my heart is inclined to the Lord and temptations come my way they run off me and onto God, who can handle them better. When I am unstable or unsure, then I naturally fall onto the Lord, instead of away from Him. As I continually incline toward the Lord, I will become closer and more one with Him! Joshua, at the end of his life, challenged the Children of Israel to “choose this day whom you will serve” and he concluded,
“Then put away the foreign gods that are among you,
and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
Joshua 24:23 (ESV)
Yours for Them,
Kirk & Yvonne
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