Good morning everyone! We’ve been quite silent lately, and I wanted to update everyone on what’s happening here in Santa Cruz. Please take the time to read it all!
On Monday, we were notified by the US Embassy that Norah’s VISA / permanent residence to the US was accepted. I immediately went to the airlines and reserved our tickets home. Her passport and immigration papers should arrive today through DHL from La Paz and we will be able to buy the tickets… finally! This entire process has been much longer than anticipated. We returned from the US the first days of May thinking that we’d be leaving Bolivia within a month. It’ll almost be 3 months by the time we leave Santa Cruz on Thursday, July 28th. It’s been worth it though, and CLEARLY directed by God. In other words, this 2 month delay has been what God has planned all along, and it has formed how, what and when we will be doing things once we get to the USA.
Our Life and Arrival of Missionaries/Pastors from Argentina
Although we feel God has directed it, It’s been stressful. We slept on the floor for a month, and are currently living in someone else’s house. We’ve had one, real, home cooked meal together in the past 6 weeks. I had surgery for kidney stones, and had a stent in my left ureter that just made life awful for 3 ½ weeks. We’ve traveled to La Paz, Sucre, and back. Norah went to La Paz again for a second appointment at the US Embassy. I’ve been working on the church from daylight to 10 PM or more for the past 3 weeks. Norah’s been trying to sort through things that we have left, organizing, giving things away, packing, etc. Both Norah and I have been sick with the cold (the kids have been healthy thankfully!), and we’re both exhausted… but truly it’s been worth it all.
Pastors Daniel and Claudia D’Amico from “Catedral de la Fe” (Faith Cathedral) in Buenos Aires, Argentina arrived on the 12th. We really wanted to prepare the apartment at the church so that they could live comfortably with their three children. We were able to fix and paint most of the walls and ceiling before they arrived. We also were able to put in carpet over the awful upstairs wood flooring. Even so, we ran out of time. When they arrived, they had no hot showers, none of the toilets worked correctly, we hadn’t put the beds together yet, and they had no sink to wash dishes or anything! Thankfully that had a great attitude about it all, and over the past week and a half we have been able to fix most of that. They still don’t have a kitchen sink… and I’m not sure when they will… but they’ll put one in when there’s money available to do that.
Can We Out-Give God?
We’ve given them a good bit of our furniture, appliances, etc.; 4 beds, a table, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave, bookshelves, desks, computer, printers, large LCD TV, DVD player, speakers, radios, plates, silverware, glasses, cups, pots and pans, etc., etc., etc.! We wanted to sell most of our things, but we realized that they’d arrive here with nothing. It’s tough letting go of all of those things, knowing that we have only what we have in our suitcases and a bed that someone has already given us (THANK YOU!), but we know that you can’t out-give God. So many have given much to us also… we have to give as we’ve been given! So we’re sowing in faith, knowing that God has our backs. We haven’t sold our car yet, but we do plan on selling it in the next few days. (Anyone want to give us a semi-new car so that we can give ours to the missionary couple here? 😉 Just kidding!… but seriously… :-))
11 Day Evangelistic Campaign in Santa Cruz Church
Tomorrow (Thursday the 21st) we are beginning a 11 day evangelistic campaign at the church. There is a lot of optimism. Although Norah & I won’t be there the entire length of time, we are very excited that we can be a part of this. We’ve printed out 5,000 fliers. We have a team of 30 or more from our Sucre church who is arriving to help us. We’ll be going house to house for at least half a mile around the church inviting people to the services, and we’ll be doing street evangelism in the plazas and parks of Santa Cruz. The team that we have in Santa Cruz will be working hard on calling and visiting all of the people who arrive at the service over the next 11 days. May God do a great work during this time!
We’ll be home (USA) soon! We want to visit all of you and your churches from August up through December… Then we’ll be moving to plant a new church that we are believing in faith will impact the United States in a great way! Once again we ask… if you support us, PLEASE continue to do so faithfully until we get the chance to talk to you personally about our next step in ministry. If you don’t… PLEASE DO! It won’t be eternally… maybe two years, until the church gets going strongly there. We’re in dire need of finances to get our lives and ministry on track in this new time for us!
See you soon & God bless!
Jason, Norah, Erynn, Jordan & Derrick Skipper