Dear Family, Friends, Brother & Sisters in Christ, Supporters, Church
It is with such a mixture of emotions that we write to you tonight with
this urgent plea for prayers. God never said that this job would be
easy. In fact, the Bible promises us that it will be difficult - that there
will be trials and troubles and that the road will be rough. Today, we
have truly come face to face with The Enemy and this has surely been
the toughest day that we have faced so far. We write to you today
because we are in need of URGENT PRAYERS.
Some background… At the beginning of this month, we began the Kuyay
Talpuy school in the pueblo of San Juan de Iscos. We have the
blessing of the municipality, the mayor, the city council, etc. We have a
contract with the city that states what our goals and objectives are.
The city even blessed us with a classroom within the city hall. We have
reached out to children in the community who cannot afford to attend
the local school because they cannot afford the uniform, school supplies,
or even food. Our goal has always been to get them into a school
setting and provide for them all that is needed to succeed. We are
preparing them to enter the local school system and we have sponsors
from the USA who provide their school supplies, uniforms, teacher
salary, and a hot, balanced lunch each day.
Since the first week of school, we have been under attack (quite literally)
from the local school officials. They have tried to undermine our
efforts by spreading rumors in the community that we are trying to
steal children and send them to the USA, that we are poisoning their
food, that we are giving drugs to the children of the community, that we
are undermining the community morals through reggae music and false
teachings, etc. They succeeded in cutting our student attendance in
half . We went from serving 30 children (and a waiting list) to only
having 17 students. The local school told the parents of our students
that our school was illegal and if they attended, they would not be allowed
to enroll in the local school when the time comes. They even
called the Ministry of Education and tried to have us closed down…
which didn’t work because we are completely legal and have all of our
contracts, permissions, and papers, plus all of our teachers are certified
and licensed, as are we. We do not charge money for our services and
we do not take students away from the local school, therefore, the
Ministry of Education had no cause to disturb us and walked away from
During our first week of Kid’s Club (a weekly children’s bible study/
fiesta, much like Vacation Bible School in the USA), we had 80+ children
in attendance. The next week, we had less than half of that
number and we realized that the local school did not allow children to
leave through the front gate as usual (the front gate faces the park
where we hold Kid’s Club). We also realized that there were several
teachers and the director standing at the gate watching Kid’s Club.
When Club began, the teacher’s stepped out and most of the local
school children screamed, grabbed their backpacks and ran away. A
couple said, “Hurry! Run! Teacher is watching!” We began to get a
glimpse of what was occurring in the school. However, we continued
with Club as usual and refused to be discouraged.
This week, we learned that the director of the local school held a
meeting with the teachers and the parents. She told the audience that
the children were prohibited to attend the Kid’s Club because we are
evangelicals, we are plotting to give drugs to their children, we are
actually the devil in disguise, we are teaching bad morals, and we bribe
children with crafts and candy and prizes.
Today, in Kid’s Club, once again, children from the local school did not
exit through the front gate. But they still came to Club (in smaller
numbers, but they came). When Club began and we started the singing
and the music, the director stepped out of the gate and watched
while a teacher stormed across the park swinging a leather belt and
screaming at the children to go home and leave Club. She swung the
belt at children and attacked the Club while the director looked on.
Almost every child ran into the hills. We were left with about 10
children and a handful of parents.
I must say that I am VERY proud of our team. They did not succumb
to their knee-jerk reactions to fight with the woman. We did not
allow her to actually make contact with children, but we did not fight
with her either. We continued to lead Club, telling the Bible story for
the day, teaching the lesson, and loving the kids who remained. We
will NOT back down in the face of persecution. We WILL stand up
for the name of Christ and continue to proclaim it in the pueblo of
Brothers and Sisters, we will face more trials. This is not over. We
were literally attacked today, both physically and spiritually. Our
hearts are broken for the children. We literally broke down and cried
at the end of club today. Together as a team, we prayed over this persecution. We prayed for the local school and for the director and the teachers. We prayed for the children of Iscos, for their families, and for the city officials. We prayed right there in the middle of the park, where
we were attacked during Club today. We know that this is not over, and that it is likely to get worse before it gets better.
So we write to you tonight to ask for prayers for this situation. We ask for prayers for our team, for our family, and for the children we serve.
We ask for prayers of safety. We ask for you to pray for our courage to stand firm in the face of persecution. We ask for your support as we continue to teach the Bible and share the love of Christ. We ask for you to pray for protection. But most of all, we ask for you to intercede on
behalf of the children… to ask God to do mighty works in Iscos and to command The Enemy to stand down!
We have but two responses to every situation… fear or faith. We can fear that we will be overcome, we can fear for our safety, we can fear that the children will not hear the Word of God or will not feel the love of Christ… or, we can have faith that God can do all things! We can have
faith that He is bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything that can be brought against us. We can have faith in His plan and in His promises. We can have faith in the Bible and in the Word and in all that we know to be Truth in Him.
One of our team told us today, “You are in Jonah’s shoes and this is your Nineveh. You can’t back down. You have to tell them about Christ’s love.” We have been studying Paul and his journeys… he met with many obstacles, with much persecution, and with much suffering. And yet, my favorite Bible verses come from these times - from Paul’s writings on perseverance. A very dear friend pointed out to me many years ago that the root word in “persevere” is “severe”. This road is hard, Friends. We need your prayers.
Please join us in prayer. Please share this prayer request with as many as you can. We have friends all around the world… please help us literally circle the world with prayer for the children of Iscos. Please take this plea to work with you, to Sunday school, read it in worship on Sunday,
email it to friends and family… we need as many people praying for this situation as possible. We believe in the power of prayer and that our God is Greater than All Things… he is Todopodoroso! (All-Powerful)
Thank you! Blessings in His Name,
Laurie & Billy