Tuesday, October 13, 2020

 

The Future Church Leaders of San Francisco

Maria and five village men studying to be church leaders of their communities

     These men and Maria, who travels with me, have been studying for the last three years to complete the Bible institute course requirements to be installed as pastor, assistant pastor, and deacons for their communities. They are nearly finished and the men will receive their credentials under the Assembly of God to operate in the roles they are studying for.  Maria will be under another denomination and so will operate under them. The AOG ordination process is quite lengthy but they can operate as a pastor or church leader until they complete the process.

     I am very proud to say that since they have officially become an Assembly of God church four years ago they have grown tremendously in their knowledge and application of the Bible in their lives, sharing the Gospel, and leading their small congregation in church services. Nilton (the man with his thumb up), who is studying to be the pastor, has been very active in reaching out to neighboring communities with the Gospel and many have responded.

     Just last week while we were together Nilton arranged for us to meet with his wife's family in a near-by village called New Hope in order to present the Gospel and it went miraculously well. His wife Paula's father had been practicing shamanism for quite some time (the ability to contact the spirit world through a trance state and divination for healing and other needs) and was strongly opposed to us as Christians coming to his house to talk about God. He even threatened to throw his grandson out if he did not cease to talk to him about the Lord. Now, he was not only agreeable to hear about the Lord but was willing to have his whole family sit and listen to the Gospel message as well. This may be due to his wife battling with the Covid virus and had to be hospitalized that he, apparently, could not heal. For whatever reason he had a change of heart that even Nilton was surprised at. After the message and prayer for healing as we said our good-byes he actually invited us back!

Nilton sharing the Gospel message

     While this is a huge breakthrough in this family we are still planning a 3-day outreach in November with the rest of the village to encourage those who have accepted he Lord but have not committed to live for Him and to those who have yet to enter into a relationship with Him. This village, like so many others, have people that accept Christ but do not commit to live for Him. It's the parable of the sower in action and so must be dealt with on a spiritual level.

Francisco Jr. preaching in a Sunday morning service

     Another great development is that the more timid members of the Bible institute, Fransciso Jr. (pictured above) and his brother Richar have been actively participating in leading and preaching in the church services for their village. They had not done this before due to the intimidation of public speaking but over the last several months they have really come out of their shell and are sharing confidently, especially Francisco Jr. This is very important because they must be able to minister boldly to those around them if they are to fulfill the call of God on their lives and, praise God they are doing it!

     God is truly on the move through this small but mighty body of believers and will continue to bring them into everything He has called them to. I want to thank each of you so very much for praying for our brothers and sisters in San Francisco, to reach their people with the Gospel. It is truly miraculous to see where they've come from and where they are now. Blessings to each one of you for all that you are doing to make this happen!

Together in the Harvest,
Sharon Malcolm
Missionary with
Go To Nations since 1998

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Hallelujah, We’re back in the Saddle!!

I am so happy to report that over the course of four weeks between August and September, we were finally able to make two visits to the villages. We found most people in good health although the virus outbreak has hit every village on the river. Fortunately there are not many elderly, high-risk residents so I don't think there were many casualties. There were however, many people suffering from the symptoms of the virus and some had to be taken to the closest health post and even transported to Lima, the capitol, for extensive treatment. Thankfully Maria and I believe we've had the virus according to the symptoms listed on the internet, and so hopefully built up antibodies in our system to combat any further attack. We have traveled twice so far to an infected area and have not shown any symptoms ourselves, praise God.

Sharon teaching on the birth of Christ at a Christmas outreach


On these visits I was happy to hear that although the people in San Francisco, our first church plant, were not meeting regularly for church services they were meeting in their homes and doing some kind of Bible study with their families. By the time Maria and I made our second visit to the villages the church services had resumed and now all of the five men training to be church leaders were involved in conducting the service. This is a change from even before the pandemic shutdown because only two and sometime three of the men were participating. Nilton, the main leader, has grown richly in his understanding and usage of the Word of God and has a passion to reach a neighboring village named Esperanza, where his wife has some extended family members. His desire is to do an outreach for the community involving children, youth, and adult activities over a two-day period. This is hugely exciting because this is and has been the goal of the Bible institute training we have been doing. It is all about mobilizing the participants to do the work of the Kingdom and this is now bearing fruit.

        

Nilton standing with Germ├ín, a non-Christian he is reaching with the Gospel (left).
Richar, Nilton's brother, teaching a portion of a Sunday evening message for the first time (right).


Another praise report is a young man named Edwardo from Esperanza, accepted Christ about 2 years ago and has since led his father and step-mother to the Lord. In trying to witness to his grandfather though he was almost kicked out of the house and was very discouraged and even questioned his own faith. After praying for him the Lord miraculously healed him and now his faith has been renewed and he has just recently led his younger brother to the Lord and now wants to disciple him. God is moving on these communities and it is our goal to equip these carriers of the Gospel to go as far as possible to bring people into the Kingdom. Please continue to pray with us to empower them in every way with every available resource to complete what the Lord has given them to do.


We will be going to San Francisco again on September 29 to October 3 to continue in the Bible institute teachings. Please keep us in prayer for these dates as the river water is quite low and travel can be difficult (it took us 12 hours to get in on the first trip). Pray especially for the evangelistic outreach to Esperanza that we will be coordinating on the trip when we are together to be held in October.


Many blessings to you and thank you so very much for all the ways you support this incredible work of the Lord.


Serving With You For The Kingdom,
Sharon Malcolm

 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Ministry in the Community 6July

The ministry in the village of July 6 on the Nucuray River is progressing very well. Between Maria and I and another ministry we visit the community twice a month bringing the Word of God in the form of teaching and preaching. It just so happened that one of the times that Maria and I were there a pastor and his friend were also visiting July 6 because they were invited by a friend and then felt led by the Holy Spirit to minister to them. I was very happy to meet them and to learn that they are connected with the parent church of the local church that I attend in Yurimaguas. This is hugely comforting to me because we are of the same doctrine and passion to reach the lost for Christ. While we were together, we coordinated to alternate our visits so that the village would receive two visits a month between us about two weeks apart. On the weeks that we are not there they would be responsible for having meetings themselves, which they have been doing. We have arranged it so that the pastor and his co-worker preach during their visit and Maria and I teach during our visit. In this way they are hearing the Word of God and learning how to apply it to their daily lives. It’s a perfect set up! 

     

Sharon doing children’s ministry in the village of July 6 with songs and Bible lesson 


In the meantime, we are continuing to visit the villages on the Shishinahua River twice a month as much as possible. We will be going to them again this Sunday, March 8 and returning Thursday, March 12 to do the next Bible institute course with the village of San Francisco and visit the neighboring villages to bring the Word of God.


Would you stand in agreement with us for this trip because we are again attempting to establish regular visits for the purpose of discipleship in three villages. While we’ve gone to all of them before several times to present the Gospel and some have accepted Christ it has been hard to get consistency in discipleship. There is quite a lot of spiritual resistance in one form or another and so intercessory prayer is strongly needed. The Lord has been so gracious as we have prayed for open doors to go to them as well as open hearts to receive His love and forgiveness. The break down is that the people don’t want to commit to discipleship, which is vital to walking out their faith.


We will be trying once more on this trip to present the Gospel again and offer disciple classes on a regular basis to help them grow in their faith.


Therefore, would you pray with us for the following points?

  1. That they would be open to receive us and commit to what the Lord wants to do in and for them.
  2. Wisdom from the Lord on how to reach them and how to pray to break the spiritual resistance.
  3. That the Lord would demonstrate His love for them through prayer for healing, blessing and anything else they desire from the Lord.
  4. Safety as we travel and anything else that the Lord puts on your heart.


I want to thank you so very much for standing with us and seeing what the Lord is doing in these communities on these two rivers. There is so much more to do and together we can accomplish all that the Lord has for these people. God bless you each of you in every way and thank you again.


Reaping The Harvest Together,
Sharon Malcolm

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Peru update 28June

Blessings to Everyone as you read this,

I am writing to give you an update on the status of Yurimaguas, the town that I live in, and the ministry to reach the communities for Christ.  I am writing this on June 28 and on June 30 Yurimaguas is scheduled to be open.  The stay-at-home order has been lifted in degrees since my last newsletter in May to where we are now allowed to leave the house at will as long as we wear a mask.  Needless to say this is a huge relief as I’m sure each of you have felt as the restrictions were relaxed in your areas.  I have not heard yet what “being open” will mean as far as river travel or any other travel outside of Yurimaguas since the main city just 2 ½ hours from us is now a hot spot and many of our products in Yurimaguas come from this city. 

I have not heard either if public gatherings in Yurimaguas will be allowed but businesses will be able to function more than before.  We still have the police and military patrolling the area especially around the town square and what was the open-air market.  This has now been delegated to individual stalls that people can rent inside a building instead of having tables set up in the middle of the street as before that attacked huge amounts of people in very close contact with each other.

Peru has a population of 33 million people and since the start of the virus there have been over 279,000 cases and over 9,000 deaths, at least that were reported.  The economy has suffered greatly in that 40% of the country’s economy has dropped since the shut down order was in place.  I can see the affects of this strain even where I live in that many businesses have closed or have reduced their trade to its minimum.  The citizens are receiving support checks from the government much like our stimulus checks that were distributed to help with nation’s livelihood.

I have taken full advantage of the stay-at-home order in that I am taking some online courses to better prepare myself for the work, developing a church planting program through a discipleship method that I learned and am still learning where disciples make disciples (as per the Great Commission), and a radio program to broadcast Bible studies that will reach the rural communities.  All of this is very time consuming but I feel strongly that it must be done in order to reach the lost in the most efficient, most effective way.

The goal is to see the New Testament Church realized in the communities where I work and beyond using the premise of the Great Commission where Jesus said to “go and make disciples”, not converts, who will go and make disciples and those will then go and make disciples, etc.  Where this method has been done it has been very successful and so it is my heart to implement this in the communities of the Shishinahua River.  When we are able to travel safely again this will be first on our agenda.  In the meantime I am hoping to get the radio program up and running as soon as possible.  Between another missionary and I we already have half of the twelve Bible studies recorded and I am working to complete the rest in between the course studies and the preparation for the discipleship program.

I want to thank all of you so very much for joining with me in this effort to spread the Kingdom of God to those who have yet to hear and to those who have yet to commit.  Please continue to stand in faith with me for these new endeavors as the Holy Spirit prepares the hearts and minds of those whom He has appointed for the Kingdom at this time.  Many blessings on you in every way as you serve the Lord in all that you are doing.

Forever in Christ,
Sharon Malcolm

Monday, May 25, 2020

Peru update 25May

Greetings to Everyone,

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the status of the COVID-19 situation here in Peru. When I wrote last in April Peru had 10,303 cases with 193 deaths now there are over 120K confirmed cases and about 3,500 deaths.  It is difficult to assume that these numbers are completely accurate because of how many people are not reporting if they are symptomatic. This is due to the fact that there is not enough equipment in the hospitals to keep them alive and so they do not want to be admitted.

I was talking to a missionary who lives in the capitol city of the state that I live in, Loreto, and he said that there were about 800 deaths in his area and countless cases of the virus.  Some of those who died did so due to the lack of oxygen, which even took the lives of some of their doctors.

The government has just given us notice that the country will be shut down until June 30 maintaining the same restrictions of curfews.  This may be extended as the date gets closer depending on the rise or fall of the number of cases by then.

In Yurimaguas, the town that I live in, the local authorities have continued to enforce the restrictions of only being allowed out of the house 3 days a week with a 4 pm curfew.  Because of this travel is prohibited outside of the area and so I have not been able to travel to the villages yet.  Thankfully, I have heard from one of our village leaders of San Francisco, our first church plant, that everyone is well and healthy in their area as the virus has not reached them, praise God.  A short time later I was also able to talk to the village leader of the community named July 6 and was very glad to hear that some of them were meeting regularly to study the Word of God in spite of the shut down.  These communities do not have the "stay at home" restriction and so they can meet publicly, they just can't travel outside of their area.

Another missionary here in Yurimaguas and I are starting a radio program to reach the people with the Word of God while they are confined in their homes.  We already have three recordings and are looking to get a total of 12 to complete one-month's worth of programming.  I have found that this is an excellent way to reach a broad range of people in a very short amount of time.  As the Lord shows you please pray that it will be used in the most effective way to present the Gospel and bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ.  In the meantime I pray the Lord's richest blessing on each of you to meet every need you have. 

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay at peace in our Savior!

Walking Through This Together,
Sharon Malcolm


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Peru newsletter 14April

Hello Everyone,

I trust you are holding up during this unprecedented time of uncertainty, containment and waiting.  It has been quite a stretch for all of us but clearly the Lord is using every day of it to make Himself known and to examine our hearts.  Many people are using this time to press into the Lord like never before and many are accepting Christ.  For example, in the church that my brother attends online in Colorado he said that salvations have tripled during the virus shut down.  In spite of the terrible consequences of this sickness God is still moving and people are being reached for the Kingdom.

Where I am the shut down has prevented any travel to the villages or even across the street!  In the town of Yurimaguas where I live women are only allowed out of their houses on certain days and men on the alternate days and no one is allowed out on Sunday.  Like the States all non-essential businesses are closed and people are starting to really feel the loss of income.  We have the military and the police patrolling the streets and businesses to make sure everyone is following protocol.  We have just recently learned that there are four cases in our town.  As of April 14 Peru has a total 10,303 cases of COVID-19, 193 deaths and 1,739 have recovered.  The authorities are enforcing a fine to anyone who would break the rules of isolation and so outside movement is very restricted.

While I have not been able to leave my house very much I have had the opportunity to talk to Maria, who ministers to the villages with me, on the phone and learned that she is able to visit some villages where she lives.  This is a huge blessing because she has gone to some extended family members of her niece and together they have led them to the Lord.  They also went to another family of a young girl who used to travel with us nd is now married and has a family and they also have accepted the Lord.  All of these new believers need repeat visits to be discipled and so Maria and those who went with her are going again to do follow up.  Fortunately, they are not restricted from travel as we are here in Yurimaguas and so can take full advantage of the extra time they have to minister.

 Just today I also spoke with one of our new leaders in the village of July 6, a new church plant, and he said that although there is no river travel where he is his people are still meeting together in the name of the Lord.  This is so very important for their growth and development and so very encouraging to hear.

 I want to thank all of you who are standing with us in this work in spite of all that is happening around the world.  God is and ever will be faithful to His people and supply all of our needs as we trust in Him.  Please join with me to continue to pray for the villages to come to the Lord and for those who have received Him to continue to walk faithfully in Him.  I pray the blessing of the Lord upon you in surprising ways during this time so that you may know Him more.

With Love and Appreciation,
Sharon Malcolm



Saturday, January 18, 2020

Outreach in the Villages

 

Village of San Francisco holding Christmas outreach

 

We took full advantage of the holiday season in the communities this year by inviting neighboring villages to join with us in a Christmas celebration with two Assembly of God pastors who came from Yurimaguas with Maria and I to the Shishinahua River to minister. It went very well and several people joined us from the surrounding villages to hear the Word of God preached.


We had meetings in the morning, afternoon and evening to work with adults and children and all were very responsive. Visual aids were used to explain the events around the birth of Christ since many had never understood this before.

 

Sharon using nativity figures to explain the events leading up to the birth of Christ.

Christmas outreach to the village of July 6 on the Nucuray River

 

We went to the mouth of the Nucuray River to the village of July 6 to do a Christmas outreach with them as well. Since they were a little more versed in the Christmas story it was easy to present the Gospel in this way and both children and adults were very responsive to the Word of God.

 

I also brought some reading glasses to distribute to those that needed them and many were very blessed to receive this free gift to be able to read the Bible and/or do close up work.

 

Maria working with the people to try reading with their new glasses

 

On our most recent trip to the village of San Francisco where we are conducting our Bible institute for those who are preparing to be church leaders our course of study this time was how to do children’s ministry. Afterward we practiced it with the children and adults of San Francisco in the form of a Bible memory verse, visual aid and a drama on the Good Samaritan. Each of the five people taking the course participated in some part of the lesson (one man who is not shown below drew the visual aid for the lesson) and had a very good time preparing it and then teaching it to the people. That is exactly what we want to see, people learning how to do the work and then doing it for those that need it. This also went very well, especially the drama because they made it real but funny.

 

      

Left to Right:  Nilton, Maria, Richar and Jilton each taking a turn to explain the visual aid for the lesson.

 

As we embark on this New Year I want to encourage you to please continue to pray for us as we bring the message of the Gospel to those who have yet to hear and to those who are being discipled.

 

Although these events that I have shared were very positive and the people responded well to what we were bringing them this is not the case each time. On our last visit to the mouth of the Nucuray River in late December as we were ministering in the village of July 6 one of the authorities came up to me to inform me that I was forbidden to enter any of the villages that reside on the Nucuray River and if I or any other “Gringo” did there would be severe bodily harm. This news came through a message from a village authority that we had worked with several times over the past two years sent by word of mouth to the village authority of July 6 in order to tell me. Needless to say it was very disconcerting to hear this and shut the door for further evangelism to the communities on this river.

 

As it turned out there had been a news report of a horrific murder where body organs were surgically removed from someone killed in a community not far from their river and the crime was attributed to some “Gringos”. Unfortunately, this story is not the first time it had been circulated. Gringos stealing vital organs from Peruvians had been passed around for more than the 14 years since I’ve been in Peru and this incident just gave it more credibility. It’s anyone’s guess how much of the story is actually true but nonetheless the people absolutely believe it and so are protecting their own from any potential danger. I know this will eventually calm down and the way will be opened again but for now I am not entering the river at all and even informed the other missionaries who work in this area what was said to me in case a similar threat would be directed at them as well.

 

Other incidents that have hindered the work are rumors of moral failures among one of our leaders preparing to be the pastor of San Francisco. If any of the rumors are true it could have a devastating effect on the work on the Shishinahua River. These and other stories are nothing but an attack from the enemy to hinder the work of the Lord but God is so much bigger than the words and actions of men. His Kingdom will come and will be established as He makes the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and standing with us in this fight. May the Lord bless you in every way in this New Year.

 

Yours For The Kingdom,

Sharon Malcolm