Gerry & Ruth Gutierrez' Prayer Letters & Requests
February 6, 2006 - Gathering the Strays
Dear Praying Friends,
Refusing to acknowledge discouragement may not be as heroic as it sounds. It may be insincere and even foolish...in the light of the fact that even the Lord Himself sought sympathy three times from His friends. He wanted them to pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane in His great hour of need. Discouragement can be caused by lack of focus on the Lord; but discouragement can be also the result of having bitten off more than you can chew, and the combination of that plus old age and bad dentures and weakness in the flesh can also be a reason.
Our last home ministry assignment (HMA), was not a good experience in some ways. Leaving a mushrooming work of our two-yr. old congregation of young believers in Peru in the hands of young leaders, was the closest thing to leaving a baby in a day-care center for 7 months...in the hands of teen-agers. Much travel, plus the discovery of recurring cancer in Ruthie's bones, our living out of suitcases as well as "a thousand small cuts", was taxing, not to mention the move back to Peru.
We returned to the mountains, and "gathering the strays" has been my daily bread for the last two and a half months. Since I hate to write bad news, because the media does a very good job of it daily, I refuse to join them. But today I feel like writing, and that is basically because I feel that I am "back in the saddle again." The small flock that the Lord has entrusted to us is "back on the range". Today is the third Sunday that our morning and evening services have been packed in attendance. If you are wondering what has made the difference, I will tell you. A dear brother from the Safe Harbor PCA, who happens to be a psychologist, detected a level of discouragement and exhaustion on my part...to the point that he was willing to come to visit me for the purpose of encouragement.
That was a wake-up call to me. I said to myself, "Shame on you. What kind of missionary are you?" I realized that discouragement is not always something that you communicate in words. If it is there, every pore of your body will preach it even if your mouth would say the opposite. I knew then that we needed to renew our vision. "Without vision, the people perish." And what better book for a vision than the book of Revelation. And there it was in Rev. 1:3, "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those that hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."
We needed to see the vision of His glory. We needed to focus on the worthiness of Jesus. We needed to see the worship service in heaven. We needed to see afresh the privileged position of the believers in heaven who, while millions of faithful and obedient angels in a gigantic chorus are in the background, the redeemed are in front of throne...near to God Himself. It is indeed a great blessing to know how dear to God are those who have been saved and purchased by the blood of His beloved Son.
To know the score of the game before it ends, makes a difference in your attitude. Last night, after almost 10 years, I saw a portion of the Super Bowl after our evening service. I did not need to see the score in order to know who was winning in the last quarter of the game. Those faces told it all. In the same way, you don't have to be here to know what is going on. Let it suffice to say that our cheeks are hurting from smiling from ear to ear.
To mention (as an icing on the cake), Ruthie and Caleb have just returned from Lima, where Ruthie went for her third monthly treatment in Peru and her 6-month check-up. She had a lot of scans, and the doctor is optimistic and Ruthie is feeling good. And I am happy with that news. I need my Ruthie more than I can say.
Oh, how we wish you could see what we see. You cannot broadcast something in the work without giving the impression of taking some credit for what is happening. But in a lonely, remote corner of the Andes Mountains, imagine a couple walking together on a sidewalk commenting to each other of the nature of their sometimes thankless, but glorious job. They say to one another, "But isn't the joy of the elect enough thanks? Don't we have a great job? And one leans on the shoulders of the other as they sense the mystical smile of their God upon them. Thank you friends, for putting us in this job, and thanks for your prayers and support. Rejoice with us. The sheep is back in the fold, and the Lord is adding every day those who are being saved. The shepherds are well and happy.
Please, I am in much need of prayer as I face the 7th and 8th chapters of Revelation next Sunday...especially in the light of the fact that this sermon will be preached again by the young leaders in their own groups in the mountains.
Another personal prayer request that is very close to my heart is this: Please pray for our Keila and her husband, Daniel, who are in Delaware without jobs or a place to stay....lonely and discouraged. How we wish they could serve in Peru where there is so much need for their gifts and training.
I do also beg your prayers for our church building project. We need a bigger place in which to worship.
In His love and ours,
Gerry and Ruthie Gutierrez
- February 14, 2006