Wow, this year went by fast!
Hello friends, I hope that you are all doing very well and blessings to you as you read this update.
For me, I can only be thankful for the year that we have had at El Oasis. 2013 has been a year full of blessings and joy for all of us in the ministry.
We have had the blessing to be able to share the love of our Creator with a large number of young people this year. During the second semester, we were sad to say goodbye to our friends and coworkers, David and Claudia Ossa, who started a time of studying in the seminary, and sometimes we felt that it would be a different semester, possibly difficult, as they were are huge part of our community. However, God gave us a lesson in his faithfulness, being with us and accompanying us throughout the whole semester. We were never in need at any point and he gave us the opportunity to meet a ton of new friends who we were able to share the Gospel of Christ and love of God.
Evy… She arrived to El Oasis after receiving a flyer passed out to her one day, and was very interested in the English classes and the happiness of the people that gave her that piece of paper. She was very interested in the story of Jesus, for her He seemed to be very interesting, but she still had many doubts. In the past, she was Buddhist along with her family several years ago… but as her mother was dying, her mother accepted Christ in her life, and then planted this seed in the heart of her daughter. During the entire semester, it was great to accompany Evy in her growth and strengthening of her faith. At the end of the year, we had the blessing to be part of her public declaration of her new faith in Jesus as her Saviour.
It was a beautiful moment that God gave to El Oasis. Another point to make about her: after a while of coming alone to El Oasis, she started bringing her brother Fabian, a student with Down Sydrome who is really awesome. He is always bringing happiness to the house and it is great to see him sharing with the rest of the students. He’s always wanting to help by acting in the skits and dancing like Michael Jackson.
He has been a beautiful part of the community this year. A few days ago he spoke with us about how he wants to be baptized just like his sister. We spoke with his family about this (considering their Buddhist background) and they were accepting of his decision. It has been great to see his energy and excitement with the discipleship studies. Evy has helped us a lot during the studies and we are so happy that Fabian can feel the love of God and consider himself a beautiful creation of God. Evy and Fabian have been a huge blessing for us!
Honestly, I am not sure how Nazaret arrived at El Oasis. All I know is that when she did arrive, I have seen here at all of the EO events. She is studying special education, and it has been amazing how she has become involved in the community, how she has made so many new friends so quickly!!
She is a very happy person that enjoys talking with everyone. Her faith background is also Buddhist… but she has so many questions and is so open to discovering where the “good vibes” from the EO community come from. This fills us with happiness to see how she is becoming closer to Christ through the relationships and conversations that she has had in El Oasis.
This year, one of the challenges for the ministry was the group of male students. They have been a bit lazy during this year. At times it makes me sad and upset. When I say ‘lazy’, I mean to say that these Christian men, most coming from Christian families, with a real commitment to sharing the Gospel of Christ with others, do not show any interest in doing so. And their fellow friends need to hear it!! (I know because I was one of those friends before I became a Christian). Our focus for 2014 will be to break the comfort zone with these guys and help them realize the meaning of sacrifice of Jesus Christ for each one of us. We must focus on motivating these Christian men and sharing with them the importance and relevance of the Word of God for the lives of their neighbors!! It is a big challenge!!
Baby… Guaaaaagua!! (Esp)
I would also like to share something very importantwith all of you that Amy and I have been waiting for for the past few months, the birth of our child! We decided not to find out the gender until he was born, and Amy had her suspicions that he was a he, but we couldn’t confirm it until December 28! Joaquin Wesley Valencia was born at 11:30am and weighed 3kg (6.5 pounds) and was 49cm long (19.5 inches). Amy and I chose Joaquin because it means “God will provide” or “God will establish” and Wesley was chosen as his middle name for Amy’s grandfather. Amy’s labor was about 11 hours long, she was expecting it to be much longer but we were both pleasantly surprised that it went quickly and without any problems. He has all 10 fingers and toes, is very healthy, very beautiful and very loved. We are so thankful to God for him, for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth. Thank you to all who have prayed for us, we know our journey is just starting, but we feel very blessed that God has chosen us to be Joaquin’s parents.
Now that 2013 has ended, I wish with my heart that you have all had a wonderful time celebrating the arrival of our Savior and also celebrating the blessings that God has given you this past year. I hope that 2014 brings you blessings in your lives and that His wishes come first. This year you have all been so important for me and for the entire ministry. I give thanks for each one of you for your encouragement, support, and being present in this ministry.
I want to add a ‘thank you’ video that our 2013 interns have put together for you. They had a great year in El Oasis and they want to share a few words with you through the Indescribable Gift Campaign for 2013. They have felt the support and help of God in their lives through you…so much so that they have decided to continue serving in the ministry for 2014. What an Indescribable Gift!!!
To see the video, please click the image…