Johanna Heidorn – Peru March 2019 Update

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“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all ” – Ephesians 4:2-6

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Greetings,

In the summertime when I was growing up, my family would get in the car and go on long road trips across the States as a part of attending LLL conventions. We would spend days just driving and looking out of the window at the people and things that passed by. We’d stop along the side of the road to stretch, see the sights, and take pictures. I vividly remember being on the coast of Nova Scotia along these beautiful cliffs. I wanted to save the memory of the giant rocks against the big blue ocean, so I asked my parents if I could take a picture. I remember the sound the shutter button made on my dad’s Minolta Film camera. From then on I was seldom without a camera.

There is no doubt that God is greatly at work in this part of the world, and I am so fortunate to be a part of it. I hope the pictures give you a sense of the work being done here, where your support is going, and how very essential it is that we have you as a partner.

(Left) Presenting to an audience at the Synod about work being done on the field. (Right) A car full of people doing medical home visits, specifically to fit people for wheelchairs with our Vicar from Licey and nurse missionary.

“‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! – Acts 28:26-28, 31

There is a new shop at the end of our neighborhood. I’ve gone there a few times to drink coffee and talk with the owner; a young man named Nathaniel. I first hit it off with Nathaniel a few months ago because he spoke such good English and I had come to Latin America without knowing any Spanish. He was the first Dominican I felt a real connection with. We talked about traveling, culture, his business, and what brought me to the Dominican while I cooled off in his air-conditioned shop.

The second time I went to visit, I planned on being there for a little more time since I knew we would likely chat at length. We sat and talked so long that the sun went down and the night became dark. The Lord worked through our conversation and this time it was about life and direction. We talked about some recent struggles in his life and in mine, about church, but most importantly what was at the center of it all, Jesus. Nathaniel used to be a part of a church here in the Dominican, but hasn’t gone for many years. As we talked, he described his feeling of emptiness and uncertainty and how he couldn’t seem to get out of the slump he’s in. I did my best to explain that many feel that way, but it is then that you turn to Christ in prayer and ask for guidance and direction in life. To my surprise Nathaniel knew a lot about the scriptures and acknowledged the fact that he should ask God for guidance and help, but didn’t think he could because he wasn’t good enough.

He described his feelings in a way that sounded as if he were a drowning man reaching his hand out of the water with no one to grasp. I reminded him that God is right there ready to pull us up and give us new life if we are willing to grab hold. That night I invited him to church and returned a few days later to continue our conversation. I ask that you join me in prayer that Nathaniel will take me up on my offer to attend church in one of the weeks ahead and that he may have clarity of thought to be reintroduced to the Christian faith in God’s time.

I had a very special visitor come to the Dominican Republic from the States. I was able to show her the mission of the church and it was a great blessing to have a friend from home here.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

Over the last few months our church in the Dominican rejoiced in a baptism, a confirmation with more upcoming, and two weddings.

(Left) Shooting a wedding in Licey. (Right) Photographing a baptism in Pueblo Nuevo.

We rejoiced in hosting short-term teams to work on various projects at our Seminary and to share Christ with those in residence at a disabled home in Palmar and in Santo Domingo.

At the seminary and visiting folks at the home for adults with disabilities.

We are excited to have an expanding church that has recently purchased a new property for one of our church plants in Santiago.

I solicit your prayers for these projects and also for our seminarians, who are in the final months of preparation and classes before graduation in May. I was able to spend some time this month photographing a visiting professor and some intensive classes with the men.

(Left) Fellowship with the seminarians at a dinner at their home. (Right) While walking in the park by the Jesus sculpture, missionary Jana and I had the opportunity to witness to this man (pictured above) and invite him to church. Please pray that he takes us up on that offer.

Upcoming

I depart for Mexico today to work with a group of Pastors and other folks coming for a Symposium and Luther Academy. Pray that their time together may be blessed and that the church in Mexico may be strengthened. I am excited to share with you in the next newsletter the work being done through the missionaries there. After that, I will return to the Dominican and then soon depart for Puerto Rico. I will work with Disaster Response folks and our missionaries there, and will be there for the installation of a new Pastor and dedication of a Mercy House, as well as hurricane construction relief. Keep all these in your prayers.

I ask also for continued prayers for the missionaries, seminarians, and Pastors of the Latin American Region. Many of us on our team and the children have been experiencing illnesses and we ask for prayers of good health and healing. The tasks are numerous and need to be accomplished daily.

The longer I am here the more aware I become of the distinct privilege it is to watch God work in such obvious and direct ways. Nothing about my work here is through my own strength. It all comes from Him and it is through people like you and the team here on the field that make it easier. The church and mission is so much larger than any of us. We are but a pixel in his plan. He’s given me the gift to design and make pictures and I can’t thank Him enough for bringing me to the field, even amidst the challenges it can sometimes bring.

A blessed season of Lent to each of you.

J

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