Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ladies Ministry

Our Ladies Ministry has been a source of encouragement for the mommies and grandmas of our church. One week, the ladies go soul-winning and visiting. The next week, they study a lesson. Currently the ladies are studying "Spiritual Gifts". One highlight of the year for this ministry is the Prayer Breakfast. The ladies meet from 9am to noon for a traditional breakfast of beans, eggs, plantains, sour cream, a Salvadoran cheese slice, and bread. They spend the rest of the morning studying about prayer, sharing requests, and of course, praying. Please pray for us. We are trying to motivate some of our ladies to start ministering in different areas of the church. "Many hands make light work!"
Kenlee, Mrs. Nieto, Christine, and Rina. Christine is crouched way down to be the same height as the other ladies!
Imelda, one of our newest ladies, with Dora, one who has been with us for many years.
Hollanda modeling a shirt that Christine´s mom sent for her.

At a Baby Shower for one of our ladies
Prayer Breakfast with some of our ladies.

September 2015

Annie, one of the children Rosa babysits while Christine and Dora disciple.
September 2015

Dear praying friends,

The Lord has given us so many blessings over the past two months.  He continues to allow us to take part in the work of the Great Commission, the groundwork is being prepared for starting more ministries, and our family continues to serve in the midst of the usual trials.

The door-knocking ministry continues to bear fruit, as Steve led a young man (Samuel) to the Lord. Please pray for him as we do the work of follow-up on him. We are thankful to report that, as a church, we knocked on over 3,000 doors for the months of July and August.  By God’s grace, we continue to see fruit that remains from this ministry.  Earlier this year, a young man (Vladimir) whose uncle was reached to the Lord from door-knocking, received Christ as his Savior at the end of a Sunday evening service.  Vladimir was baptized along with three others last month, and has started the discipleship course with Mauricio (our song leader) who was also reached to the Lord by door-knocking five years ago.

Slowly but surely the church continues to grow. Please pray for wisdom in starting more ministries with the purpose of giving our faithful men and women greater opportunities to minister. There are two men at the church that have preached at least once a month since the beginning of the year. Next year, we want to start an outreach ministry in one of these men’s homes. This would give them the opportunity to preach several times per month, and thus continue to develop as preachers. One of our greatest desires is that, eventually, men like these become ordained for the ministry.  This would allow us to start many other churches, and send missionaries to other countries.

Christine discipled a lady named Dora a few years ago. Dora has grown spiritually and has been discipling others.  Now, Christine and Dora are discipling ladies together.  While Christine discipled a mother (Imelda), Dora discipled her grown daughter (Raquel). These two ladies have completed the 16 lesson series and are preparing to serve in the church very soon.  Now Christine and Dora are looking at the next two ladies that they will disciple, side by side. Please pray for Mirna and Vanessa, as they prepare to study the one-on-one lessons with Christine and Dora.

While Christine and Dora disciple, Rosa (our oldest) babysits her brothers and Dora´s three children.  While this job is not easy for a ten-year- old, she overall enjoys the work, knowing that she is serving Jesus. Please pray for our daughter, as we teach her about serving others. Recently a church member told us that Rosa works well with others, is attentive, and is a servant. You can imagine how happy these words made us, seeing results of ten years of teaching. Please keep Rosa in your prayers, along with her younger brothers Caleb and Joshua.  We daily need God´s wisdom to raise them properly. We are grateful that the health issues they had at the beginning of the year have subsided. These past two months have been very healthy months for our family. Thank you for praying for our family. Thank you for praying for our ministry, and for your faithful support.


December 2015 Prayer Letter

We are so thankful for Mauricio and Marlene´s Baptism

                                                                                                              December 2015

Dear praying friends,

Over the past month we have continued to see God’s hand of blessing in our lives, and in the lives of many of our church members. It is humbling to think about how the Lord has given us the strength to make it through another year. If God permits, we are excited about what He will do in our lives in 2016.

In our last letter, we asked you to pray for Mauricio Escobar’s father (José), who had just rededicated his life to Christ. We are thankful to say he (along with his wife Marlene) were baptized during the Sunday morning service last week. They both seem excited about growing in the Lord. José, who studied the discipleship course with Steve a few years ago, now wants to be enrolled in the Bible Institute for the upcoming quarter. Marlene just started the discipleship course with Christine. We are very excited to see people that we have prayed about for years, finally taking steps of faith. Please continue to pray for this family. 

The last week of December brings an end to another year of Bible Institute. The two courses offered this quarter (October – December) are: Local Church Philosophy and the Book of Genesis. By God’s grace, there were six men enrolled for the past quarter. Earlier this year we asked you to pray for the three men (Wilfredo, Gustavo, and Mauricio) who we’re planning on graduating in January. It looks like these men are still on track. Please pray for them, that they would continue to be faithful, and open to the possibility to be used eventually in full-time Christian work.

 Also, please pray that, as these men move on in ministry, God would replenish the institute with more men who serve Him. The only way that this is going to happen is that we continue to depend on God in door-to-door evangelism and discipleship of those who make professions of faith. This means we need God’s blessing on our lives as we continue to practice Acts 5:42 which says, “and daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

Last month, Caleb ended “preparatoria”, which is between kindergarten and first grade. It is when the children have a graduation ceremony, instead of kindergarten.  Caleb graduated with A/B honor roll. Rosa did well again, ending the year with A/B honor roll also. We ask you to pray for Joshua, who will be starting school in January. He had an evaluation at the school to determine if he is ready. Although he knows all the basics, he was too shy to show them anything.  Please pray for our youngest, that he will thrive at school like his siblings have done.

We had a wonderful visit from a supporting church, Parkview Baptist Church in Palm Coast, FL.  They came with lots of love to share and servant´s hearts. We had numerous activities, including special events for our faithful church people and special outreach efforts. We are still seeing fruit from their visit, and thank God for the encouragement they were to us. We thank God for all of you, and pray you have a wonderful Christmas.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yours in Christ,

    The Cernas

February 2016 Prayer Letter

Joshua, showing off his school supplies, excited and apprehensive for his first day of Kínder-5.

  February 2016

Dear Praying Friends,

As always, we are thankful for the opportunity to begin a new year of ministry. The Lord has showered us with many blessings both in our family and at our church. We are excited about the things that God has in store for us the rest of the year.

Last year, we asked you to pray for the men of our Bible institute. The original plan was for our first graduation to be in January. However, we decided to push the graduation to April so that we could include another one of our faithful men. This means that four men will be graduating from the institute in April, instead of three in January. We also asked you to pray that the Lord would replenish the institute with more men, as those that graduate move on to other things. By God’s grace, He has given us five men (other than those that are graduating) who are enrolled, and excited to learn more about God’s Word.

In April, we are planning to start an outreach ministry that will be completely run by the graduates of the institute. The idea is that this will be a precursor or training ground to start other churches. Please pray that God would continue to use these men in a powerful way. As the church grows, and these men gain experience, it is our vision to start at least another church in our city, and several churches throughout the country on a yearly basis. Ever since we started (eight years ago) it has been our prayer and desire to grow a church that can run itself without our help. This plan has been slow to develop, since we started from scratch (those that are graduating had no prior ministry experience before we met them). Now, several men in our church are not only able to preach and reach others to Christ, but disciple them as well. In other words, it is exciting to see the church finally coming out of its childhood.

The Lord has also blessed us in the area of personal evangelism. Since the beginning of the year we have evangelized several times in different city parks. The willingness of the people to at least listen to the message of the Gospel has been humbling. Just this week we were at the central park of the city for two hours, and Steve was able to share the gospel personally 18 times. More and more members of the church are realizing that sharing the Gospel with individuals is not an impossibly difficult task. Please pray that we could see more fruit, and that more of our members would take the Lord’s Great Commission more seriously. 

Our family is doing well. Joshua just recovered from the mosquito-borne illness called Zika Virus. While he was miserable for a few days, we are thankful that he is a sturdy, healthy boy and bounced back quickly.  Caleb and Rosa have been healthy and all of the kids are doing well in school, learning lots of Spanish and understanding the culture better. They started the new school year with excitement. We are thankful that Joshua is doing very well; much better than we anticipated. His teacher says he seems to understand everything and he has made some little friends. Thank you for praying for our children and for us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lots of Pictures from November 2015, part 1

We had a wonderful group come visit us here in El Salvador. Their photographer was fantastic and documented so much of what we do. These pictures are of the activites we did. Almost all of the people you see in the pictures are our church members. Towards the end, there are a few pictures of a very poor community that our church endeavors to reach. There are a few pictures of the Cathedral, and a few more shots of very common sights in Santa Ana.