We were so blessed to have Babji and Rebecca Vejendla with us on Sunday morning. We so much enjoyed getting to know them and hearing about the burden the Lord has given them for the people of India. (And Sis. Rebecca, we thoroughly enjoyed your lovely song as well.)
The Vejendlas will be leaving for a two-week trip to India on February 9 and then will return to the States for a little over a year to raise support and make preparations to move there in April 2013. Once they move to India, they hope to plant a church and establish a Christian school in Andhra Pradesh, a village where Babji’s grandmother lives. Please be in prayer for them as they travel and as they minister to all they come into contact with.
One refreshing trait I recognized in the Vejendlas is that they realize that everyone who comes into their path is placed there by God. They make the most of every opportunity and seek to build relationships with people to gain their trust to share the Gospel with them.
Bro. Babji challenged us by reading Matthew 28:18-20…
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
He encouraged us to be ready to reach, preach, and teach. “Build friendships and let others see Christ in you,” he said. “Keep on planting seeds and the Holy Spirit will take care of it.”
In short, be burdened with the Gospel and share!
Thank you for visiting us, Vejendlas! You encouraged and challenged us in the faith. You are in our prayers and we hope to see you again very soon!
Anita and I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We spent Thanksgiving day driving over the Andes Mountains returning home to Huánuco from the capital city of Lima. We are always thankful to get home safely. While in Lima, I preached four nights during the 21st anniversary celebration for the Jordan Baptist Church in Piñonate, Lima. All services were well attended and many decisions made to follow the Lord. It does not seem like twenty-one years has gone by since we started this work with our dear brother, pastor Jorge Dianderas. God has certainly been good to us and this work over the years.
It is considered a great honor here in Peru when someone names his or her newborn baby after you. The picture is of me
with the first child named after me here in Peru many years ago. The young man on the right is named Sheridan Danilo Vasquez, and his father on the left is Epifanio, a policeman. Danilo finished his schooling and now works as a restaurant chef. He and his family have been faithful members at Jordan Baptist since its inception. I have about four “namesakes” in this country; Danilo was the first. Anita has one little girl named after her and Danilo’s little sister is named after our daughter, Leah.
While in Lima, we also had our medical check-ups (lab work, doctor visits, etc.) and everything looks good for the both of us. Besides the fact that we are getting older, that Anita has had cancer, and I have had mini strokes – we are in good health! We thank all of you for your love and prayers for us and the Lord’s work here in Peru. To have you as our friends and supporters is truly a blessing.
Those all night bus trips over the Andes Mountains seem to get harder and longer the older I get. Even so, last week I returned to Lima for two days in order to participate in the ordination service of Pastor Severino Bruno. This servant of God has been working in Lima with our good friends, Missionaries Rodney and Rebecca Spears. They started the New Testament Baptist Mission several years ago and have now organized the mission into an Independent Baptist church, with Brother Severino as the pastor. I was asked to preach the charge to Severino at his ordination. It was a good time and great blessing to have been a part.
This past Sunday a young woman here in Huánuco wanted to talk with Anita and me after church service. A few years ago, she made a profession of faith in Christ Jesus as her Lord and Savior but is now convinced that she did not know what she was doing before and is now genuinely trusting in Christ. In the course of counseling with her about this decision, we discovered a cousin had raped her when she was only seven years old. Shocking I know, but this is very common in this part of the world. Probably half or more of the women in our churches have similar stories. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans these words: “…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”- Romans 5:20. This young woman has learned to forgive and love her Savior deeply by God’s grace. So many of the dear Saints of God we work with here in Peru, are truly trophies of God’s amazing grace! Anita and I thank you all for listening to God’s guidance in your lives concerning your support for the work here. By your prayers and support, we are able to continue on the work that HE has called us to do here in Peru. It is God’s work in which we are all privileged to be able to participate.
Thanks again and may God continue to bless you all as you remain faithful to HIM.
We had two young women place their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior over the past two months at the Calvary Baptist Mission-Church here in the Andes Mountains of Huánuco, Peru. Looking over my records it appears the median age for someone trusting Christ at this work has been between eighteen and twenty-five years of age. This mission work has an excellent group of young folks that are hungry to learn more of God’s Word.
Recently I began a Discipleship class on Saturday afternoon at their request. Four young men and four young women attend and eagerly participate as I teach them how to disciple others in the truths of God’s Word. When I told them they would receive a Certificate in Discipleship from the Baptist Institute of Biblical Studies they got excited; until I told them their final test would be – they had to disciple me! A few of the girls looked petrified but they all rose to the challenge and are working hard. Please pray for this enthusiastic group of young Christians that they will continue to devote themselves to their studies. They are the future of this work.
Anita and I have always been involved in planting new churches during our twenty-nine years here in Peru. Over the years, we have seen numerous churches in the States as well as some here in Peru flourish for a time, only to split, die or cripple themselves in legalism. I attribute this to pastors assuming that their congregations are sound in doctrine because they have taught sound doctrine from the pulpit. A fatal assumption for sure! I read somewhere years ago that only fifteen percent of the people are actually tuned in and listening at any one moment during the preaching service. Folks can be looking right at you and be thinking about lunch, football, the naughty child behind them, their aching feet or any number of other distractions. There is a tendency for the human mind to drift in and out while being taught, whether at school or at church. Nothing can properly replace the true learning experience of personal instruction where dialogue and questioning are part of the process. Testing, whether formal or informal, is necessary to insure that knowledge of Biblical truth has been retained. Interactive Sunday School classes, small study groups, or other special teaching venues are crucial for a church to insure its preservation and future growth. In Acts 20:20 the Apostle Paul said he not only taught publicly but also from house to house; he kept back nothing that would have been profitable for their spiritual growth. Teaching and working with small groups of believers week after week may not be as flashy or as fun as big Bible conferences or weekend retreats, but it will insure the lasting and solid spiritual growth of a church.
Enough sermonizing! Anita has begun a cooking class after church service on Sunday afternoons. She uses this venue to teach them about personal hygiene and the importance of washing the fruits and vegetables and using only treated or boiled water. Most of these poor saints always seem to be sick and no very little about these matters. The bonus is they also have learned how to make cornbread! You southerners will be glad to know that now, in this part of Peru; cornbread is becoming commonplace on the table! Next week she is going to teach them how to make homemade strawberry jam to go with the cornbread. She is a marvel and loved by all, especially me!
Another month has come and gone, and we are now at the end of the year 2011. We are now back in Kenya, and specifically, in Kitale. We appreciate so much each one who prayed for our safety as we traveled back to Kenya. We had a long trip back to Kenya, and our daughters did very well with the traveling, given the distance, time changes, etc. It was hard to say goodbye to friends and family that we love, and please know that each of you are so special to us and we love to hear from you. Life on the mission field has many challenges, and your prayers, encouragement, and friendships mean so much to us. We would ask for your continued prayers, as we are adjusting back to Kenya and life here.
We would ask for your continued prayers for us in many ways this upcoming term. We would ask you to please pray for our health, as it is a daily struggle to stay healthy. Also, for safety traveling, for good friendships with others, and for the Lord to lead and guide us. We want to be where He wants us to be. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 32:8, which says “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” What a tremendous verse of encouragement this is from the Word of God. We would covet your prayers in the above areas.
Also, please pray for our visitors who will be coming in the next few days from the States. Please pray for safety as they travel, for good ministry opportunities as they are here, and that we would be a blessing to them, as well as the people of Kenya. We are so looking forward to their arrival and would ask you to pray for our time as we serve the Lord together in Kitale.
Please also pray for the ministries that the Lord has for us here in Kitale. Please pray for my wife, as she plans to continue serving in the district hospital, for the annex prison ministry, and for church planting this term with my friend and partner, Mr. Roger Tate. We are excited to see what the Lord will do, and are excited to be part of His work here in Kenya. There is so much work to be done for the Lord, and we must pray that the Lord would send laborers into His harvest field. Matthew 9:36-38 states “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” What challenging verses these are, and a reminder for us to be involved in the harvest, whether through praying, giving, or going.
We will be sure to keep you updated. Thanks so much to each one of you for your prayers, interest, support, and encouragement. You all mean so much to us, and we thank God for you. Please note our new mailing address.
In my last letter I reported spending some time with my ailing father, Ralph Stanton. On the 21st of June, Anita and I kissed dad goodbye and headed back to Peru. Two days later on Thursday morning, 23rd of June, Dad went home to glory; four weeks shy of his eighty-fourth birthday. Anita and I were at the Lima, Peru airport waiting for our flight back to Huánuco when we received the call about his death. After receiving the news about dad we immediately made plans to return to the States for his funeral. I spoke for the family at the memorial service and it truly was a “celebration of life”; a good long life of love, laughter and singing for the Lord. Dad will be missed by all that knew him. We thank those that were present at the memorial service, those that sent flowers and cards and those that sent financial gifts to help defer our traveling expenses. We spent a few weeks with Mom to help her get adjusted to this new phase of her life; a life without Dad. Predictably she has “good days and bad days”; please pray for her as the Lord brings her to mind
We arrived back home to Huánuco on the 15th of July, and immediately occupied ourselves once again in the Lord’s work here; a work in which we are privileged to participate. The Calvary Baptist Mission is doing very well; attendance remains high (four were added to the church while we were gone), and a healthy spirit of cooperation continues to prevail as we are in the “waiting” period of construction; waiting for the plans and permits to be approved. I have built numerous church buildings in Peru over the past twenty-eight years but I have never been more enthusiastic about a building project than this one. Innovative design allowing for easy, future expansion, combined with cost effective construction and a lot of donated but organized labor are just a few of the reasons why I am excited about this project. Pictures will be forthcoming as we move forward in the first phase of this undertaking. Prayers for safety, good progress, and prudent use of resources will be appreciated.
The Monday night bible class for pastors was postponed while Anita and I were in the States. I will be starting it back up in a few weeks. In addition to this, many of the dear folks from our five churches here in Huánuco have been asking me to start a basic bible class for the lay people of our churches. Hopefully this will be a reality before too long. I would really appreciate your prayers that I will be a good steward of the time God has given me. With, construction, sermon preparation, Bible classes to prepare, writing a doctoral thesis, counseling, and traveling, the time just seems to disappear before each day is done. It seems the older I am the more work there is to do! Please pray! Thanks.
I conducted a Seminar on Administration of a Baptist Church the 27th thru the 30th of July for the Faith Baptist Church in the coastal town of Huaral, north of Lima. Alberto Ramirez is the young pastor of this church that we helped start several years ago while living in Lima. The church is growing and busy in their own construction project; new and larger Sunday school rooms. Even while teaching a seminar we had one young man give his life to Christ, a lady asking for baptism (after an understanding of the importance of the Lord’s church), and several repenting of their neglect of their responsibilities to the church. It was a good meeting and hopefully the teaching will bear abundant fruit in the future of this faithful young congregation.
All of the fourteen, Peruvian national missionaries that Anita and I support have sent good reports for the month. Collectively about eighteen souls were saved during the past month as a result of these ministries. Donations given to “new work” or “as needed” funds go to help these fourteen missionary families and the works God has given them to do. Thank you for enabling us to support them.
As usual, my monthly report is getting too long so let me close it by saying once again how thankful Anita and I are for you love, prayers and support. We pray God might shower HIS richest blessings on each of you. Until next month.
Today, April 10, is Presidential Election Day in Peru and there are no church services anywhere in Peru during the morning hours. Elections are always on Sundays and one of their election laws prohibits any type of public meetings during voting hours, so we have church services in the evening after the polls are closed. The voting process requires that they dip the tip of their index finger into a bottle of permanent purple dye; this avoids allowing people to vote more than once (very practical) and for a week or so after the election everyone walks around with a purple finger! Another election law is that all Peruvians of voting age must vote or pay a heavy fine. As a result of this law the Peruvian people take their politics seriously. Peru has numerous political parties ranging from the far left to the far right and all sorts of ideologies in between. This also creates a lot of travel for these dear folks because they have to vote wherever they were last registered. Since registering to vote in a new town is a bureaucratic process and takes money, the majority of the people just travel back to wherever they came from in order to vote. The bus lines always take advantage of this and raise the price of bus tickets; so is life during election time, heavy traffic on the roads and purple fingers! Anita and I have lived in this country for twenty-eight years and it has always been this way; life is interesting on the mission field!
Each month I ask you to continue to pray for our son, Capt. Joshua Stanton USAF. He proudly serves our country as an Air Force pilot overseas. He has a wife and two small, precious, little girls waiting for him back home. We also ask you to continue to remember my father, Ralph Stanton, in your prayers; he is battling with prostate cancer, and is back in the hospital again in Dickson, Tennessee with a kidney infection. He is also having test done for Alzheimer and dementia while being treated for the kidney infection. This ordeal has been understandably hard on my mother, she needs our prayers also. Mom and Dad have been married for sixty-three years now, truly an example and inspiration to all of us. Anita and I will be traveling back to the States for four weeks from the middle of May to the middle of June. We plan to see our grand-kids (one we’ve never seen and she will soon be a year old!) but we plan to spend most of the time with my mom and dad. Thank you so much for your prayers.
Do you all remember the young lady, twenty-three years old, Dany Luz Presentacion? Many of you helped her financially back in the fall of last year when she was going through Chemo Therapy for ovarian cancer. She also had open heart surgery when she was sixteen years old. Well, she is doing great now; finished her college degree in elementary education and recently got a job teaching in a private school here in Huánuco. Danitza is one of many young folks that are like sons and daughters to Anita and me. She came by the house the other day to visit and show us how much her hair has grown back; so I had to take a picture and show you this radiant trophy of God’s mercy and grace! We thank all of you again that had a part in helping us to help this fine and faithful young Christian woman.
Sufficient funds have come in to help the Cayumba Grande Baptist Mission with the purchase of their property in Tingo Maria. Thanks to those of you that had a part in this project.
We still need more funds to help with construction for the Calvary Baptist Mission I pastor here in Huánuco. Anita and I hope to have something built and secure by the time we leave for the States the middle of May. This work has grown numerically and matured spiritually during this past year and it is time for us to move to a larger location. The property has some old, adobe mud structures that will be torn down so we can build to suite or needs. We know our heavenly Father will provide the funds; maybe He will use you to help with this project.
Another matter of prayer is the need to increase giving to the General Fund of Baptist Faith Mission. BFM has financially aided Anita and me since 1983. We work under the authority of our home church, Jordan Missionary Baptist Church, of Sanford, Florida, but Jordan Baptist is not large enough to support us full time, and thus, BFM helps our home church with the funds to keep us on the field in Peru. The Mission provides excellent medical insurance, monthly stipends for housing, transportation cost and other expenditures necessary to live in a foreign country. The directors of BFM have calculated that if each household and church that supports the General Fund of BFM could increase their giving by $10.00 more per month, the financial needs would be met. Pray about it and give as the Lord leads you. If you would like more details of the financial workings and situation of BFM you can go the webpage: www.baptistfaithmissions.org or the BFM blog at: www.faith-works.blogspot.com
Thanks again for all the prayers and support. We look forward to seeing everyone next year (2012) when we come to the States for furlough. Until next month.
We’ve had a lot of rain in the mountains recently, but today, the sun is shining in Huánuco! Anita has been fighting a case of the flu that has given her a terrible cough, but she seems to be on the mend, for which we are thankful. We love and appreciate all of you and thank you for your continual prayers and support of our part in the Lord’s work here in Peru.
Please continue to pray for our son, Capt. Joshua Stanton USAF, as he proudly serves our country as an Air Force pilot in Afghanistan. He has a wife and two small, precious, little girls waiting for him back home. We also ask you to remember my father, Ralph Stanton, in your prayers; he is battling with prostate cancer and not doing very well.
I baptized five young people into the fellowship of the Calvary Baptist Mission-Church a few weeks ago. They ranged from twelve to twenty. Two of them were a young couple just recently married. Our attendance at this mission continues to grow and we literally filled our rented place to capacity twice during February. The folks are getting anxious about moving to the new property we hope to buy in the next few weeks. We have been trying to buy this piece of ground for months, but the owner has had to comply with numerous legal requirements in order to get the property legally up to date. It looks like we will be able to make the purchase around the last week of March. After we obtain the property we have an urgent need to build. The folks here are poor, but I have seen them give sacrificially many times. We could really use some help toward this project; it’s the Lord’s work and HE will provide, but maybe HE will lead some of you to be HIS means of provision. We are also hoping that we could have a few churches send some mission teams down late this summer or early fall and help us with some of the construction.
My Monday night pastor’s class continues to be a blessing. These men study the Word during the week and bring me some very challenging questions each Monday night. Their questions keep me on my knees in prayer and compel me to dig ever deeper into God’s Word for the answers. It is a privilege and honor to work with them.
Roosevelt Hermitaño, one of our national missionaries needs help with funds to buy the property for the Cayumba Grande Baptist Mission near Tingo Maria. The owner wants to sell the place so they either have to buy or vacate by the end of April. They have already raised over half of the cost but still need $1500.00 in order to have enough. Please pray and give as the Lord leads.
In HIM by HIS grace,
Sheridan and Anita Stanton
sestantonperu [at] hotmail.com