About a month ago we said good-bye to the villages, our local church and all of our friends in the Tarapoto area and we slowly headed over the mountains and down to the Peruvian coast. These were our first steps in taking our two oldest sons to the USA where they will begin their "own" lives. A few days previous, Javen and Cullen had each preached at their "going away service" where they exhorted everyone to be faithful to the Lord. They have become honorable young men of whom Amy and I are very proud. It will be exciting to see how the Lord will use them in the years to come! They were one and two years old when we went to Peru as missionaries, so Peru has been "home" to them for their whole lives. We ask that you would pray for them in this time of transition. We have a lot to do before we leave them off at college at the end of August, so we really want to take advantage of our last few months together as we try to get their "feet on the ground" in the States. They need to get high-school diplomas, take SAT tests, get jobs, get USA drivers licenses, open bank accounts, apply for scholarships, apply for college entry and many other things.
Leading up to our departure it felt like we were dashing to a finish line of sorts. I preached 20 times in 20 days in a variety of contexts (open air, churches, schools, radio and villages). In our Tarapoto assembly we had a flurry of missions activities and evangelistic meetings just before we left. The believers planned a going away "despedida" event for Javen and Cullen which was good and bad and sad and joyful all at the same time. The church is stronger than ever before and is doing very well with newly named elders and deacons. And as far as the Bible institute goes there was a lot to do in getting our building ready for next years group of students. There were walls to build, rooms to paint, wires to pull, doors to fix, boards to varnish and many other projects but now things are mostly in place for "IBEM Selva" which Jesse and Janel Mattix will be directing in our absence. We thank the Lord for His provision in being able to get the infrastructure ready for another round of classes which will start at the beginning of March. Please pray for the institute, the church and the believers in the villages!
Last month Amy and I celebrated 20 years of marriage! How time flies! It seems like only yesterday that we were 19 year-old newly weds with no kids. The Lord has blessed us greatly, not to mention numerically:) Twenty years ago God entrusted me with one of His precious daughters and I knew that when I said "Yes" to Amy I was saying "No" to every other woman in the world. Saying "Yes" to Amy was the second greatest decision I have ever made! She has helped me and encourage me and challenge me and loved me much more than I deserve. I thank God for His good gifts! And as if an excellent wife wasn't enough, God has given me six fabulous kids too! We have reason to celebrate! So that's what we did for about a week at the beginning of December. We went with the whole family on a trip to the Peruvian beach town of "Mancora" where we were able to rest and relax and reflect and recoup from the pandemonium of the previous months of endless ministry activities. The ocean was blue and the sand was white and the palm trees were beautiful and our family was blessed!
From Mancora we traveled on to Lima where I was scheduled to preach at a couple of the assemblies in the "big city". It was a great time with the brethren and also very encouraging to see many of our good friends who live there. While in the capital we ended up having to do an amazing amount of paperwork to prepare for our flight to the USA. For a while there it seemed like Josiah would have to stay in Peru because of serious complications with his Peruvian passport. It's a long story but we praise God for doing miracles at immigrations. In the midst of waiting for all the paper-work to come through we took a trip up into the mountains to the historic Inca city of Cusco. We were able to visit some of the believers up there and tried to encourage them in the Lord as I preached at a few meetings that week.
There are incredible ancient Incan ruins all around Cusco including the famous "Machu Picchu" which is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It was a exciting and an educational experience for the whole family to see these places as we studied some of their rich history. Incan history is shrouded in a lot of mystery and myth and visiting what used to be the center of that civilization was eye-opening and helpful to understanding the Peruvian culture and some of the religious confusion that exists.
Last week we safely flew into Newark NJ and we are now enjoying the hospitality of everyone at the Christian Missions in Many Lands guest home in Wall Township NJ. We will be here for about two months visiting churches, encouraging the brethren and sharing about the Lord's work in Peru. After our time here on the east-coast we will travel to the midwest during the months of April, May and June and then finally, we plan to visit the west-coast and Canada for the months of July and August. The Lord has opened many doors for us to preach His word at several different events and conferences across the country and we are excited to try to make Christ's name great wherever we go. Please pray for our family as we have a lot of driving to do, homeschool to apply, people to see and meetings to preach at.
This is not an exhaustive list but here are some of the bigger events that we will be participating in during the next few months:
The 26 below youth conference in Spectator NY on January 13-15.
The 26 below youth conference in Dayton Iowa on February 24-26.
South Florida missions conference in Miami on March 3-5.
Missions conference in Rochester NY on March 24-26.
Lima Peru on March 28 - April 5.
Missions conference in Baltimore MD on April 7-9.
Regional youth rally in Raleigh NC on April 21-23.
Missions conference in Murfreesboro Tennessee on April 28-30.
Indian conference in Denton TX on June 9-11.
Hispanic brethren conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on June 21 through 25.
If you want to contact us by phone we just got USA cell numbers: Micah (609) 933-6576. Amy (609) 933-6575. Of course our e-mail didn't change: firstname.lastname@example.org
Missions quote of the day by Jim Elliot: "Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know a God so extraordinary."
Micah for the Tuttle's
Last Saturday we loaded up the boat with about half of our church (40 saints) and journeyed into the jungle to visit one of our assemblies along the Huallaga river. It has been extremely encouraging to see the Tarapoto believers develop an evangelistic, missional mentality and a desire to preach the gospel in our part of the world! After about an hour in the boat we invaded "Achinamisa" with the gospel. We had whole families with their kids come along, there were singles, there were old people, there were young people and each person had a mission. "One way: Jesus! One Job: Evangelism!"
After a delicious meal of wild boar meat with yucca root, smashed plantains and lemon-grass tea we went to the main square for an open air meeting. Our "folkloric" group was a real hit and drew in a lot of listeners as they played their charangos, flutes and maracas. While we sang some of our Sunday school teachers rounded up about 100 children and took them to the church building where they held an exciting kids club. As we continued the open air service two of our leading brothers gave their testimonies which were followed by the youth group doing a thought-provoking skit about the return of Christ. I finished the meeting by proclaiming the gospel and warning unbelievers with Revelation chapter 22. I preached for about an hour from on top of a table and when my voice was gone and I had poured out my heart in pleading with poor sinners we ended by praying for and talking with many individuals. There's nothing better than opening the scriptures and working with souls on behalf of Christ!
The next day we had an awesome time with the church around the Lords table worshiping Him and remembering Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. What a privilege it is to be part of Christ's universal family! After the Lords supper one of our young men, Abram an "up and coming" leader in our church, preached a great message on unity which was a real encouragement to all. It is so exciting to see the Lord raising up many preachers and teachers and leaders in this assembly that God helped us to start about 8 years ago. After Abrams' message we went down to the river where I baptized brother Percy for whom we have been praying for a long time. His wife and kids have been a part of our church for several years now but Percy had always resisted coming to Christ. Finally about two months ago after much prayer and a work of the Holy Spirit in his life he repented and placed his faith in Jesus. It was an great moment for everyone that was watching from the shores as I baptized Percy on Sunday morning.
That river trip we did last weekend wasn't the only missions trip our church has done this month. The week before last I took about 30 believers from our Tarapoto church and drove 15 minutes to a nearby village by the name of "Bello Horizonte" to do a childrens meeting. We have been praying about starting a new work there and this was the first visible step. It was Incredible! I met with the mayor of the town a few days before to ask for permission and he responded by letting us use the municipality building and by offering to personally bring all the kids he could. When we arrived he had about 120 kids and 30 moms waiting for us! We went to work immediately! Some of our youth transformed into clowns, others taught the kids some gospel songs and still others led a bible lesson, all the while the men did door to door evangelism throughout the village. Please pray for Bello Horizonte!
In the midst of our river trips and local assembly work God has opened up other doors too. Just last week I had an incredible opportunity to visit one of the local public high schools that had been begging me to come and "fix" their drug and alcohol and fornication problems.... They gave me two hours to speak to the students.... about whatever I wanted.... I gave them the gospel. I'm not sure how to explain what happened.... It was incredible! I expected to be mocked and ridiculed but Instead there was an astonishing silence and great attention. When the time was up the students pleaded with me to keep preaching! When I talked with several individuals afterward they said that they had never heard anything like it before. Praise God for a clear work of the Holy Spirit! Please pray for those who heard the message that day.
Missions quote for the day by Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf: "I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ."
Micah for the Tuttle's
On October 1st we wrapped things up with the Bible institute and on October 2nd our whole family jumped into the car and we drove 1000 kilometers (16 hours) over the Andes mountains and down to the coastal city of Trujillo. We spent 4 wonderful days at the beach with most of the other CMML missionary families that are working in Peru. This scheduled retreat was an extremely encouraging time for everyone involved. We were able to pray for one another, hear about the work in different areas, fellowship, eat and have fun. Phil and Mary Parsons came from NJ to encourage us from Gods word while Dan and Peggy Covert came from Seattle to help out with the children's ministry. We thank God for His servants that He sends for encouragement and for times like these to get away and rest.
When we arrived back in Tarapoto we had about 24 hours to unpack and get ready for a team of friends and family that came from South Dakota for a ten day visit. Paul and Anita Carrette and their four kids came with Sean and Hanna Mustian and encouraged us greatly with their company and eagerness to work. They helped with several projects around the house like framing, painting and deep cleaning. We had lots of fun too as we beat the heat by visiting our favorite lake (laguna azul) went rock jumping at a nearby creek and enjoyed the refreshing waters of Tarapoto's famous waterfalls (ahuashiyacu). As far as ministry goes Paul and Sean each participated in open air meetings in which I translated for them. We also did several pastoral visits to some of the believers homes and even fit in an overnight river trip with everyone, little kids and all.
It's not easy to take little kids on over-night river trips where the living/sleeping/bathroom conditions are less than ideal but that's just what we did... and we survived! We loaded up the boat and cruised about 2 hours down river where the brothers and sisters eagerly awaited our arrival. The brethren helped us haul our baggage out of the boat and up to the church building. They tried hard to serve us in whatever way they could. After a scrumptious meal of smashed plantains we headed over to the main square of the village for an open air meeting with the church. We sang, Sean preached, then I preached and we sang some more. Finally we got to go to sleep at about 10:30 p.m in our 13 different tents which we had set up in the upper room of Brother Rember's house. The next day started with a 4:00 a.m meeting where I preached again (let's just say that not all the gringos made it to this service). Chicken soup (not from a can) was on the menu for breakfast and then we went for a short 30 minute hike through the jungle to one of the brother's coa coa plantations. After seeing where chocolate comes from we continued on to enjoy a natural hot water spring. The kids all had an unforgettable experience while the brethren in the village were greatly encouraged to see these gringo families experience "the village way of life".
Missionary quote for the day by George Whitfield: "God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them."
Micah for the Tuttle's
The month of September began with a river trip on which I took the IBEM students who combined their studies with ministry as we went from village to village preaching and teaching. Each morning we set up a makeshift classroom with whatever benches or chairs we could find and we studied through the book of Revelation. It was a 30 hour class and we had to work pretty hard to get through all the material. It may sound like a tough course and less than ideal teaching conditions but.... it was awesome! I had a great time teaching and our students were eager learners! We spent a lot of time in the classroom.... but it didn't end there.... We visited 5 villages in 5 days and in each place the students had opportunities to preach in the churches, to do personal evangelism and to work with children. We had a lot on our plate. I would call it: "organized pandemonium!" By the end of the week everyone was quite exhausted but at the same time we were happy to have been spent in the Lords work.
After their course on Revelation the students had one more week of studies and then last Saturday we wrapped up our first school year of "IBEM Selva". Eight students made it all the way through and graduated from our seven month intensive discipleship training program. These brothers and sisters lived with us, ate with us, studied with us, prayed with us, went on missions trips with us, did ministry with us and, in general, had lots of fun with us. As we went through the graduation ceremony and then sent them off with their suitcases it felt like a part of our family was leaving us. Frankly it hurt. It was sad. It was difficult. Amy and I and our kids all developed deep relationships with the students and it was hard to say "good-bye". Some of them we may never see again this side of heaven. We pray that the Lord will use and bless each one of them according to their gifts and abilities and in their future ministries!
Amy put together the following video that runs through the highlights of the past 7 months. If you take the time to watch it you will get a good feel of what IBEM Selva life was like for the the students.
We want to thank everyone that prayed for this ministry and gave to make it happen. Whily and Niki Cacho and Jesse and Janel Mattix worked diligently with Amy and I on so many details throughout the school year. We are thankful for what the Lord has done! Please pray for those that were impacted and for the disciples that were formed.
Missionary quote for the day by Samuel Zwemer: "The great Pioneer Missionaries all had 'inverted homesickness' this passion to call that country their home which was most in need of the Gospel. In this passion all other passions died; before this vision all other visions faded; this call drowned all other voices. They were the pioneers of the Kingdom, the forelopers of God, eager to cross the border-marches and discover new lands or win new-empires"
Micah for the Tuttle's
Last week the Lord blessed me with a really unique opportunity to preach for a few days among the Shauwi people who live along the shores of the Paranapura and Yanayacu rivers. We drove for 3 hours in our Isuzu Trooper, then we jumped into a boat and motored up river for about an hour more. After walking the last half-hour stretch we finally arrived at the village of "San Roque". Upon arrival I was informed that they had scheduled me to teach four, two hour sessions each day and the topics were: #1 courtship and #2 the government of the antichrist. Wow! Im not sure if they thought those two subjects were related or not but.... I tried my best on each one :) In the end, forty hours of preaching in extreme heat really took it out of me!
Each afternoon there were a few spare moments to play soccer and/or volleyball, explore the jungle and cool off in the creek. Believers and unbelievers alike, came from 5 different villages to hear the word, so I tried to get to know as many people as possible especially the leaders of the churches represented. I gave out hymnals to almost everyone and study bibles to the men that seemed the most serious about learning and preaching. There was plenty of yucca spit juice to drink and chicken to eat so we didn't starve to death (although I did lose a few pounds). On the last day of the event everyone went down to the creek where I preached and baptized 22 new believers! It was a tremendous time of ministry and opportunity to help these precious brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for the Shauwi!
Missions quote for the day: "As for you, always be sober minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Tim 4:5).
Micah for the Tuttle's
We have just completed an exciting ten day visit to Lima. Amy and I and all the kids enjoyed some family time and got a lot of paper-work done on our expired passports and resident cards. We were able to visit with many great friends and see precious brothers and sisters from several assemblies. I preached five times, Amy did a women's meeting and we worked together at a marriage conference. Nearly everyday we got out as a family and walked 7 or 8 miles, discovering as we went, some of the vastness of this "concrete jungle". It was MUCH colder and grayer and congested than Tarapoto but exciting nonetheless. We even got to enjoy some of our favorite American restaurants like Starbucks and Papa John's. We are thankful for opportunities like this to visit "civilization" together as a family! Please pray for Amy and I and our kids!
Before the Lima trip I had a tremendous opportunity to raft solo down the Huallaga river. I was scheduled to preach and teach for a few days in one of the villages but no one was able to accompany me so I decided to take my 50 lb box of Bibles and tracts and row my way down river in my inflatable Kayak. The trip took me about eight hours and I was able to stop in at several of my villages along the way to give out tracts and greet the brethren. The villagers were quite amazed that I was doing this trip in such a vulnerable "balsa" but were mostly concerned that either mermaids or "Yacumama" (a giant anaconda) might get me :) .... There were a few spots with dangerous rapids and treacherous rocks but I was able to survive and successfully arrive at the village of Achinamisa without too much difficulty. I arrived at dusk to the excited and joyful shouts of many brethren on the bank who promptly helped me pack up my things and escort me to the main square where a crowd was waiting for me to preach in the open air. The next two days were filled with lots of preaching, yucca spit juice and sweet fellowship with the believers.
In the midst of all the events of this last month I was also able make a quick visit to one of the Shauwi villages near the town of Yurimaguas. The Shauwi are a native group with a different language, different customs and a completely different culture from the the other villages that I regularly visit. Some of these natives still paint there faces, fish with harpoons and hunt with blow-guns. There is a good work of God going on in some of their villages and in "Nueva Cajamarca" brother Pablo Cenepo is helping to construct a new building for their church so I decided to pack in a bunch of metal corrugated roofing for the project. Brother Jin Hedo and I were able to haul the roofing in our Isuzu Trooper up to within 4 kilometers of the village and from there we packed it in on our shoulders the rest of the way. As we drew near to the village we were greeted by the indiscernible screams of a completely naked native with face paint. We exchanged indiscernible conversation (friendly.... I think?) as we passed by and then continued on to the village where we were received by the brethren who could speak Spanish rather well. We had a great time in prayer and singing and scripture reading with these native brothers and sisters who were a huge encouragement to us. Please pray for the Lord's work in this area!
Tomorrow Javen and Cullen and I will be taking the institute students on a 20 hour drive up into the mountains where Whily Cacho will be teaching our world-view module. After the course is completed we will all be participating in a national youth conference. It should be an exciting time for our students who have never traveled to this area before. We will meet a lot of brothers and sisters that will be coming from all over the country and it will be a tremendous opportunity to impact a lot of youth who will be the future leaders of the work here in Peru. Please pray for me as I will be preaching several times and trying to lead the institute students through their different ministry activities.
Missions quote for the day by John Wesley: "You have one business on earth - Save Souls!"
Micah for the Tuttle's
On Monday we wrapped up four of the most important days of the year for "my" river churches! The much-anticipated bi-annual conference of the Huallaga valley assemblies was a great success! Brothers and sisters from all of the surrounding villages converged upon the bustling town of "Huimbayoc" where we celebrated our scheduled "spiritual fiesta". There was plenty of yucca spit juice, lots of boiled bananas, and loads of strange looking fish on the banquet table for each meal. I preached every morning and every evening while brother Niel and brother Jairo took the mid-day and afternoon messages. Our IBEM students worked with the village children for five hours each day and were an incredible help in many of the small details that come with an event like this. We are thanking the Lord for this tremendous time of encouragement that we experienced with these humble but precious brothers and sisters in Christ.
A few weeks ago we completed our first semester of classes at IBEM selva and before starting the second semester we organized the students into teams of three and sent them out into the villages. Their job was to make Christ's name great in their assigned pueblo by sharing the gospel with everything that moves. They organized and taught VBS kids clubs, preached in the churches, did personal evangelism, made pastoral visits, did manual labor and, in general, served the saints in every way they could. The results were incredible! The brethren in the villages were GREATLY edified and the students were able to put into practice everything they had been learning for the past four months. When we all came together at the convention it reminded me of "operation Luke 10" where Jesus sent out the 72 disciples to preach and when they came back they were overwhelmed with victorious excitement saying that "even the demons submit to us in your name" (v.17). Our students didn't do any exorcisms .... that I know of... :) but there was certainly a feel of that joy of having been victorious in Jesus name. We are still hearing exciting stories from each of the students about how God used them and stretched them in amazing ways!
In the midst of all the river trip action and bible school pandemonium we were able to baptize 6 new believers in our assembly here in Tarapoto. For Amy and I the most exciting part of this event was that Josiah was among those who participated in this public confession of faith in Christ! It was an exciting day for all of us at "La Iglesia Evangelica Emaus" as the whole assembly traveled to a nearby creek where we gathered together in a thatch-roofed hut. We sang and prayed and after hearing a great message from Jesse Mattix we went down to the water where I baptized each one of the new believers before many witnesses. We went on to have a great afternoon with lots of swimming, fun and food for everyone. Please pray for these new believers and for our assembly here in town.
Missions quote for the day by Jim Elliot: "It makes me boil when I think of the power we profess and the utter impotency of our action. Believers who know one tenth as much as we do are doing one-hundred times more for God, with His blessing and our criticism. Oh if I could write it, preach it, say it, paint it, anything at all, if only God's power would become known among us"
Micah for the Tuttle's
As we made our way along the jungle trail Carlos explained to me that the police were looking for him because he and his buddies were being blamed for a murder that took place just two days before in the next village over. Mya gripped my hand tighter as Carlos went on to tell us that he had been in jail before and he didn't want to go back. He was in a gang in SanJuan de Lurigancho Lima and had escaped to the small village of Tupac Amaru that myself and ten others "happened" to be visiting for a few days. As Carlos helped Mya across a stream I asked him straight out "Did you and your friends kill that guy in Curiyacu?" He slowly turned and just looked at me with fear and sadness and guilt written all over his face. His silence was telling. Others in the village had told me that his picture and information was on the board in the Chazuta police station as one of those on the most wanted list.
I met Carlos the day before when brother Eddy Solano and I were doing some hut to hut evangelism and we came across five gangster types who were hanging out in a hut near the river. We didn't know what to expect from these young "punks" but as we started to share about "righteousness, self control and the judgement to come" they showed a lot of interest. They were very respectful and had a lot of questions. It was an awesome time of explaining Christ's love and standing in the gap between lost sinners and a holy God. After about 45 minutes of thoughtful conversation Carlos said: "I'm not from here, you're not from here, its amazing that you guys came to this village and this hut to talk with us about the most important message in the universe. I really needed this. This must be some kind of a divine appointment."
That night I preached open air in the village square and among those that came to listen were Carlos and his gangsters! They listened intently as I pleaded with lost souls to repent, trust in Christ and be reconciled to God. The next morning Carlos watched as Whily and Niki Cacho led our institute students in the children's work, He listened as Mark Mattix preached to the adults and he observed as I answered theological questions from the brothers and sisters.... Later that afternoon, while walking on the trail, as Carlos helped Mya navigate the mud and slippery rocks, he commented to me: "I want what you guys have in Christ." We talked more. He had lots of questions. I prayed for him. I gave him a New Testament for which he was very thankful. This is what missions is all about! I felt like I could only take him so far. I didn't want to pick unripe fruit. What better place to leave him than in God's hands? Please pray for Carlos and that God would do his regenerating work in his soul.
Missions quote for the day by Alistair Begg: "Our sins must be absolutely horrendous if it takes the death of God's only Son to fix it"
Micah for the Tuttle's