Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.” 1 Chronicles 16:8.
It is with thankful hearts that we write to you at this time of the year. This past year has been a blessed year for us. We have had many trials, but the Lord has seen us through. We want to express our gratitude first of all to our heavenly Father and secondly to all of you for your support and prayers. Living Springs Ministry moves forward, inspired by our loving God and the prayers and support of our faithful partners.
Earlier this year, we saw the need to get a Bible worker. We had interests developed through different outreach projects we had done before. There were also several Bible studies that had been started by another Bible worker who had temporarily worked for the ministry. We were very happy to be able to have Roy join us. So far, Roy has been giving ten Bible Studies a week, distributing literature, and doing house-to-house visitation to raise interest in the study of the Word. He only works part time in this capacity, since he has a job in agriculture and needs to help his mother with his elderly father. We are very thankful for Roy’s help.
Another one of the blessings from this past year has been the expansion of the ministry land. Before we purchased our land it was used as a cattle pasture and is full of tough grasses. We have found it hard to hire people to help with clearing the land. We are so thankful that we were able to purchase a bush hog and a plow so that we could work the land more efficiently. This was possible because of generous donations. Even now, we are using about fifty percent of the land. We continue to expand the usable area so that we can use it for agriculture.
We are praying that we can get some help with the agriculture. We have a couple who we are hoping can fill the job. They are from Indonesia. Please pray with us that they will be able to obtain visas. Our land is quite fertile. We would like to cultivate it to provide a variety of fruits and vegetables and also to teach the locals how to grow their own food. We have been consulting with a brother who teaches agriculture in a location here in our province. As of yet, he has not been able to visit us and make an assessment of our land, because of the distance. We continue looking at every possibility for getting an agricultural program going.
Last year, we were also able to get the help of a sister from the city of David to come and teach the sewing class. She was very faithful to come every Sunday even when she was not feeling well. Several ladies from town attended the class. We have plans to offer another class next year. This is a great way to get to know the ladies of the community and open doors for witnessing opportunities.
The medical missionary work goes forward throughout the year. Many more people are finding out about this ministry and are coming to get help for their medical needs. Sometimes we have even been the local ambulance. We have especially had to transport pregnant women who wait for the last minute to get help. We are learning a lot about the customs and beliefs of the people in this area. Many believe that their diseases come as a result of witchcraft, even though they profess to be Christians. We are learning patience, especially with the elderly population who do not have a good education and have strange ideas about how the body functions. We find ourselves repeating over and over simple instructions and explaining things repeatedly. Among the male population there is a big problem with alcoholism, even among those that are baptized Adventists. There is a great need for education in temperance among the church members and the community. In some, we see little progress, and in those that sincerely want to regain their health, we are seeing good results.
One of the folks who have been blessed by our medical missionary work is Brother Angel, who has a bone disease and suffers severe pain. He had to seek early retirement because of his deteriorating health. When we first talked to his wife about using God’s plan to deal with his deteriorated health, she mentioned to us that Angel did not believe in natural remedies. We encouraged her to plead with him to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” He and his wife came to our place for a weekend, and we were able to talk to him. We encouraged them to try a vegetarian diet. We also gave them instruction to use simple herbal remedies and hydrotherapy. They have been making changes in their life, and Brother Angel is doing so much better. Before he used to live in constant pain; now, his wife reports that several days go by without him asking for pain medication. Praise the Lord! We feel that his testimony will be important among the church members since very few are vegetarian.
Another outreach activity that the Lord has blessed is the cooking classes. Some churches are asking us to teach how to make whole-wheat bread and vegetarian dishes. Recently, as a result of a teacher’s invitation to a school health fair, we received an invitation from a group of teachers to hold a cooking class for them. One couple that used to be very critical of the teacher that invited us to the school because of her practice of vegetarianism, now wants to learn about how to cook healthier meals for their family. We held a cooking class at the teacher’s house, and this couple was very pleased with the meal that was served. They already are planning to have another class in the near future. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we work in this area. This part of the Three Angels’ Messages has been neglected but we see little by little a growing interest among sincere members of the church who are seeking for something better. God is working in the hearts of His people and they are responding. Praise the Lord!
We are so thankful to the Lord for how He has blessed our little ministry this last year. “To the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” Psalm 30:12.
By Zaida Acosta, Living Springs Ministry, Panama. Support for the Acosta’s work in Panama can be sent through Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.