Preparing to “taste the joy”

The following article includes excerpts from a recent e-letter penned by Wycliffe Canada missionaries, Derryl and Karen Friesen. Since 2013, the Friesens have been based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2018, an opportunity arose for the Friesens to share Bible translation needs in Southeast Asia with believers throughout Central and South America. As the Friesens spoke in churches and mission conferences in several countries, they encountered eager individuals and families who declared their willingness and availability to serve the Lord in Southeast Asia. Some of them are now taking their first steps of obedience.

The firstfruits of our Latin America mobilizing trip 15 months ago will soon be boarding an airplane for Southeast Asia! As we, together with the leadership of Wycliffe Global Alliance-Americas and SIL-Mainland Southeast Asia, prepared for that trip (to Latin American countries) in early 2018, God gave us a united vision: to see 20 Latinos serving in Southeast Asia Bible translation work by 2025.

Agus and Caro with their sons, Leo and Emi

The gates have opened. Tonight, on Jan. 28, 2020, Agus and Caro from Ecuador, together with their two young boys, Leo and Emi, are hosting a big partnership development event at their home church. They have sold most everything they own and have flights booked to arrive in Thailand on Feb. 22.

While Agus is a fabulous entrepreneur, international chef and rock climber, Caro, has a phenomenal gift in languages and will begin her Master’s of Linguistics program at Payap University in early March. They are preparing to join the Bible translation team in Oshiwa,* a restricted-access country in Southeast Asia where many new opportunities are opening up to serve Bibleless people groups urgently crying out for help.

God willing, in early March, Agus and Caro will be finishing their initial orientation in Chiang Mai. For the past year, they have been busy raising up a prayer team of 100 intercessors and have reached about half of their $4,000/month living and ministry budget. They wrote me yesterday, saying, “We are sure God will provide the rest. We are confident he will show us His ways.”

I will never forget the WhatsApp conversation we had with Agus. He told us, “Every morning when I wake up, before I get out of bed, I close my eyes and see a vision of me standing in a wide, open green field holding up the Bible my wife is going to help translate for the people of Oshiwa*.

“It is like I can already feel it, hold it and taste the joy.”

More couples preparing

Please be in prayer for each of these amazing families who have responded wholeheartedly to the call of God to the Bibleless peoples in Southeast Asia.

Coni and Mauro with the Friesens

Mauro and Coni heard about “Oshiwa” opportunities during our first meetings in Argentina in October 2018. They came up to us after the meeting and said, “This is what we have been praying about for years. We are ready. We have money in the bank to begin training. What is our next step?”

They walked away from their amazing jobs and booked tickets to travel to Lima, Peru to begin their linguistics training in March 2019. They graduated this past November and are now finalizing their membership with LETRA, Wycliffe’s partner in Argentina, and AMI (International Missionary Agency). After their final three-month practicum, they plan to finish building up their prayer and financial partnership team and then move to Southeast Asia.

In the present economic environment Mauro and Coni find themselves in Argentina, they face a big challenge to raise up their partnership team. But we KNOW God is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or think.

Hulda, Misael and family

In El Salvador, Misael and Hulda also heard of Oshiwa 15 months ago. Since then, they have been handing over their duties of denominational mission leaders and trainers and building strategic partnerships. In just a few weeks, they will also be travelling to Peru with their two small daughters to study linguistics for two semesters.

“Regarding Oshiwa,” they told us recently, “we continue in our decision to go there. Actually our national leader in missions talked with our Church of God leader in Pacific/South Asia about the project to see how strategic alliances can be formed.”

In Costa Rica, Luís and Débora hosted us in their tiny apartment. Their nine-year-old daughter Valentina served as our translator, as her parents don’t speak English.

During our visit, Luís quit one of his jobs to make room for mission training. Débora began volunteering more at our partner agency, FEDEMEC. Over the past few months they have been selling off their possessions. Just a few weeks ago, they were commissioned by their church to begin linguistics studies in Peru, in preparation for service in Southeast Asia.

In a recent letter, Luís and Débora wrote:

Luis, Valentina and Debora

“This past Thursday we bought our tickets to leave for Peru on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to study linguistics. . . . It is by faith that we walk not by sight. We were able to buy three tickets for the price of two and without stops. How good the Lord is.

“Our dad provided us with bags and Luis’s boss told him he can finish his duties on January 15 so we can visit our eager partners. And today we were able to sell his motorcycle, being paid in full.

“God is attending to every detail and leading us to do our part. We have received the letter of admission from [the linguistics training school] and on Monday, we will go before the board of directors of FEDEMEC as candidates for missionaries in process.”

Dearest friends and faithful partners in the gospel,these stories are YOUR stories too! Thank you for participating with Jesus in His epic rescue mission to this broken world.

*pseudonym used due to sensitivity

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