“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” -Psalm 22:27
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. Missions is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” -John Piper via DesiringGod’s Twitter
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.
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.
Another month has come and passed so quickly, and we are now near the end of the year 2010. It seems that time goes so quickly, and Lord willing, soon we will be in the year 2011. May we ever be mindful of the opportunities that the Lord gives us to serve Him and to be mindful of the time we have to give our lives in service to Him. This prayer letter will give a current ministry update, a family update, as well as share prayer requests.
It is great to be back in our home country of the United States of America. Although we miss the people of Kenya and the ministries there, we are also happy to be home and get to spend valuable time with friends and family, as well as those who pray for us and sacrificially give to support us. Each of you are such an important part of the ministry in Kenya and we thank the Lord for you. We could not do it without your help. The Lord has provided a place for us to stay in West Virginia beginning in January, as well as a vehicle and the majority of the furnishings. We wish to thank each of you for your assistance, as it has really helped us in the transition back to our home country and getting settled in for our furlough. May God bless each of you who have assisted us in any way with our furlough needs. Thank you for being so mindful of the needs of missionaries. Philippians 4:19 says “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” What a precious promise from the Word of God this is, that we can trust Him to provide for our needs.
Please continue to pray for the ministries in Kenya in our absence. The ministry in Rafiki is continuing presently through a Kenyan that was trained in the Bible Institute and who had gone repeatedly to Rafiki to minister there, so we ask you to pray for him and the people there. They are continuing independently of me in any way, and I am sure this is a test of faith for them, so we ask you to pray for them, that they would be indigenous and stand on their own in my absence. This is a challenge, as the country is dependent, but prayer would be much appreciated for this ministry as I am now in the States for an extended period of time.
Also, please continue to pray for the other ministries, both the annex prison and the hospital ministry, in our absence. We wish to thank anyone who has come personally to see these ministries firsthand, sent supplies to be given to the ministries, prayed for or financially supported the works. May God bless each of you so much. We will keep you updated.
Please also continue to pray for Carrie and the pregnancy, as she is due the second week of February 2011. So far,
all is progressing well, for which we thank the Lord. What a blessing children are and we ask you to pray that this new one would also continue to develop well in the womb. 1 Samuel 1:27 states “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:” We thank each of you for continuing to remember the new little one in prayer as well as for Carrie and her health during the pregnancy.
Please also pray for us and our health as we have both individuals and churches to visit while are home. Please also pray for the vehicle, that it would do well traveling and not have any major maintenance issues. Please also pray for me as I begin to contact churches and pastors, that the Lord would lead and guide us in these endeavors. I plan to send a dvd of our ministry out soon, so please also pray that these will all arrive well without any problems where they are designated to go.
In closing, during this Thanksgiving season, may we ever be mindful to be thankful of the many blessings that God has given us.
There are so many things to be thankful for, such as family, health, the Lord’s provisions, and opportunities that He gives us to serve Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We wish each of you a great Thanksgiving holiday as well as Christmas holiday next month. May God bless each of you.
April 8, 2010
Dear Friends, March was another hectic month for Anita and me. First I drove to Pucallpa (a town in the central jungle where we lived for seven years), in order to hold a week-end meeting with the Jordan Baptist church of Pucallpa. This was the first church we started in Peru twenty-two years ago. I enjoyed the time with Pastor Daniel Gonzales and his dear wife, Bertha. It was good to see old, familiar faces once again. Even though I enjoyed seeing the folks there, to be honest, it was very hard to preach while there; it seemed to me that there was a “heavy” spirit hanging over the meeting. We had several decisions for Christ in spite of the difficulty. It was a blessing to be able to drive over the newly paved road for most of the trip. The last time I drove to Pucallpa the road was so bad, the dash-board of my van shook loose and rested on our laps! There are still some bad sections but I made the trip in about eight hours when it used to take fourteen.
After returning to Huánuco on Sunday the 7th, I began another Institute class on Tuesday morning the 9th. We only had 35 pastors show up for the class but we had a great time. Instead of daily lectures I made the class more of an interactive work-shop dealing with “Computers and the Ministry”. We spent the week teaching and practicing putting together MS PowerPoint hymn presentations; complete with accompaniment sound tracks. They each got to return to their homes with over one hundred hymn presentations along with a lot more material. It was a great week and Anita did all the cooking as usual. I still think many of them come just for her cooking instead of my teaching!!
In my last letter I mentioned the need of funds for purchasing some property for our newest mission work, the Calvary Mission Church of Huánuco. We have rented a temporary place for three months, just down the street from where we were. This gives us a little more time to locate the property the Lord has waiting for us. We just haven’t found it yet!! The need is still great to raise the funds for purchasing the property when the Lord reveals it to us. Please pray with us about this and give as the Lord leads. Thank you.
On the April 1st a huge landslide came down upon the small town of Cancejos (about one hour from Huánuco). Seven people were killed and still some others have not been found yet. The road (Central Highway) was blocked and traffic backed up for about five miles on both sides. I was trying to get to Tingo Maria for a special meeting but after sitting for three hours on the road I realized I would never make it on time, so I turned around and went back home. Friday the 2nd I was able to make it to Tingo Maria and drive through the devastation in Cancejos. The village has about ten displaced families living in tents set up by the Civil Defense. Please remember these folks in your prayers as they struggle with their losses.
While I was in Tingo Maria for the meeting at the Bethel Baptist Church, another massive landslide struck the town of Ambo (twenty minutes away on the other side of Huánuco). Twenty-seven are known dead and close to forty are still missing. Entire two-story homes were completely buried beneath the rock and mud. One of the biggest tragedies in the Ambo landslide was a Christian Missionary Alliance church that was having a prayer meeting when the mudslide came upon them and buried them all alive. The numbers vary from fifteen to twenty present in the meeting. Anita and I, along with the folks from our mission work, have taken clothes, food and water on two occasions thus far to the temporary tent cities set up by the Civil Defense. Ambo has about one hundred tents set up for the displaced families. In a few more days we plan on taking personal sanitary items (soap, tooth brushes and paste, etc.) and underwear. I am also hoping to get several boxes of bibles to distribute among those that have lost everything. In a few more months we will try and help some of the families build a new home. Please be in prayer for these poor people that disease will not start and spread. The doctors are worried that any day now an epidemic might break out.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! Anita and I wish you a blessed, joyous and peaceful Holiday Season. We pray that the Lord will bless all of you and your ministries as you remain faithful to our Heavenly Father, the almighty sovereign Creator and King of the Universe. HE has been so good to Anita and me during this past year.
However, as another year is almost behind us I have to admit that I am starting to “feel” the years; I must be getting old! My son, Joshua, turned thirty-one today! Happy birthday, Josh! He serves our country as a pilot in the US Air Force; holding the rank of captain. He is married to a wonderful young woman and they have two precious little girls. Our daughter Leah turned thirty-two in August and she is married to a fine young man and they have one amazing little boy. I have discovered though, that being a “Papaw” seems to help me feel younger. Praise the Lord for grandkids! We miss being able to see them, but we are very thankful for the ability to web-cam from time to time.
Anita and I feel our calling to Peru as missionaries just as strong today as we did when we first surrendered to come and serve here. November was another busy month in the ministry here in this beautiful country. The middle of the month we traveled to the Capital City of Lima where we helped the Iglesia Bautista Jordan (Jordan Baptist Church) celebrate its nineteenth anniversary. We helped to start this church and worked with it for six years up to its organization. My good friend, Pastor Jorge Dianderas, asked me to bring a series of messages on Christian Stewardship. We had a wonderful time with them. The photos show Pastor Jorge and his wife, Elvira; the congregation; and two of the charter members that were present with us at the very first church service we had at the beginning. It is always a blessed time when we have the opportunity to visit and minister to the several churches that the Lord has used to start in years past.
The day after Thanksgiving, I traveled to the jungle village of Huayna Capac, a little place about four hours from Huánuco and one hour deeper into the jungle from Tingo Maria. It has been raining for weeks in the jungle and the small path to get to the village was just about washed out. It is only wide enough for one vehicle. I rejoiced again for having been blessed with the new 4×4 pick-up truck I received in June; it handled the road very well. There is no electricity in Huayna Capac so we used battery powered lights for the services. When you light up a church building in a village where there is no light, everyone attends! We had a great time with this small congregation and many decisions were made for the Lord. Please remember Pastor Miguel Gargate and his family as they faithfully work in this village as well as two other mission works he has started even deeper into the jungle.
Most of the other national missionaries have reported good attendance for the month of November and the ones I have heard from reported souls saved and baptisms during the month. I was hoping to be able to launch our Bible Institute classes online this year but it looks like that will not be a reality until March. Please remember to pray for us about this. Having the classes online will allow us to reach out and help and train so many more of God’s servants here in Peru. Happy Holidays! Until next year!
June was a wonderful month of great blessings from the Lord. In my last letter I spoke of Anita’s and my anniversary of thirty-five years on the seventh. One week after our anniversary I traveled into Lima to meet our first summer mission team. This group was from the Berea Baptist Church of Hiddenite, NC and it was their second trip to Peru. There were nine of them and they worked really hard on the mission project of helping the Grace Baptist Church of Huánuco build a security wall around the property. Digging ditches and then filling the ditches with concrete and rocks was exhausting work but they really seemed to enjoy it! After the work days we took them to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
While in Cusco they helped to paint the newly rented mission building for our Baptist Missionary friends Jason and Rebecca Reinhardt. The group was in Cusco on Sunday the 21st and during the night service I had the honor of translating for our good friend Jim Miller. At the close of the service three teenage girls accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. What a blessing! That was better than the trip to Machu Picchu (which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World). After Cusco we traveled on down to the coastal town of Paracas where the group traveled out to the Ballesta Islands to view some thirty thousand or more sea lions. From Paracas they traveled on down the coast to Ica, Peru to the Huacachina oasis. This is where the sand dunes stretch for as far as the eye can see, and where they had an incredible time sand surfing and dune buggy riding. Anita and I certainly enjoyed having them with us and we thank the Lord for their love for the Lord’s work here in Peru.
Another great blessing for the month was the purchase of our new double-cabin, four wheel drive truck! Thanks to the Statesville Baptist Bible Institute for their generous donation of half the cost. The other half came from the sale of my old car and the BFM car fund. It is a rugged vehicle and should do well for many years to help get up into the mountain and jungle works. Praise the Lord!
Last month we mentioned the passing of Brother Wallace York and Sister Betty Creiglow. This month we were saddened again to hear of the passing of our old friend, Brother Homer Crain. Brother Homer taught me a lot about mission work here in Peru. He loved his Lord and he loved to preach the gospel. He will be missed.
The greatest blessing of the month came on June 15, when our newest granddaughter, Elizabeth Claire Stanton was born to our son and daughter-in-law, Joshua and Cheri Stanton. The baby and mother are both doing fine. God is good! Until next month
In HIM by HIS grace,
Sheridan and Anita Stanton Apartado Postal 140
Huanuco, Perú, South América
sestantonperu [at] hotmail.com / arstantonperu [at] hotmail.com