ALUMNI PRAISE AND PRAYER

March 2013 Update

Pedro & Stephanie Garcia  (2002)

Dear Praying Friends,

We would appreciate it if you could pray with us today about how to proceed with a situation regarding a pallet of items we shipped prior to leaving the USA. Some of you may recall that due to living in a free trade zone in Iquique, our plans were to ship the van we purchased for furlough because this seemed the more cost-effective option. We praise God that the van arrived safe and sound this week (one or two minor cosmetic parts were stolen, but the receiver in Iquique was able to find replacements.)

All through our furlough year, the plan was to send personal items and especially heavy books for the ministry inside the van. However, literally at the last minute we discovered this was no longer possible and we scrambled to find other options to send these items (as we were only allowed one suitcase each on the plane.) Many of the items are simply clothes and toys, but we probably have over a hundred books and also items that supporting churches donated to the future crisis pregnancy center.

Long story short, we found a quote that seemed reasonable for a pallet to be shipped to Chile. Unfortunately, we went over the minimum weight and the cost doubled, but that was our error. The problem we now face is that the pallet should have arrived last week in Iquique, yet when we inquired as to its status we were informed it was returned to Newark, NJ for fumigation (something which should have been done prior to shipment.) Fumigating our van cost $80, but the shipping company is asking for $770 to fumigate our pallet ($400 of which is to transport it to and from port.)

Would you pray with us for a resolution to this situation? We do not feel that this fee is fair and have looked unsuccessfully for other options. We've also presented our case to the shipper as to their responsibility to know the requirements for shipping to other countries, but so far have not received a response. Probably the most urgent items on the pallet are the 25 books we purchased for our monthly married couples' ministry, which begins the first weekend in April.

In light of so many other things, a pallet of "stuff" seems somewhat insignificant but we know God cares even about the little details of our lives. Thank you for praying with us!

Sincerely,
Pedro & Stephanie
Iquique, Chile
garcias2chile@abwe.cc


March 7 Update

Dear Praying Friends,

We are so thankful for to share with you God's response to your prayers regarding the shipping of our pallet. Earlier this week, Stephanie spoke with our contact who informed us that the shipping company would/could not fumigate for less than the quoted amount. She said the rules had changed right around the time our pallet shipped so they were not responsible. We investigated and found this was not accurate; fumigation rules had been put in effect nine months prior to our shipment. Again we pleaded our case and just when it seemed there would be no response, today the company agreed to cover part of the costs and charge us only $350. Prior to this we had contacted another agency that quoted $425 for fumigation, so we are reassured that this is fair. Please praise God with us for His provision!

We also want to share another way your prayers were answered this week. On Tuesday morning, a group of ladies gathered for prayer at our church. With heads bowed and concentrating in the moment, most ignored the buzzing of a cell phone. Finally the owner of the phone rose to answer, only to find that a man had silently entered the church and was standing right next to the table with everyone's purses and belongings. He was so startled to be caught in what appeared to be an intent to steal, that he only stammered, "What ... what time is it?" and then hurried out the door! Never was a cell phone interruption in a prayer service so timely, and to everyone present it was a sweet reminder that God truly does care for the details of our lives.

Along the same lines, last week our colleagues Jon and Kim Spink returned from a walk with their children to find their front gate and front door to the house wide open (they are certain it was closed when they left.) After thoroughly checking the home, nothing was taken. That is extraordinary in this city. We believe we can trust our lives and belongings into God's hands, but it is a great encouragement to experience His faithfulness - and we know He hears your prayers for your missionaries.

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Pedro & Stephanie


March 8 Update

Dear Praying Friends,

Hello again! Somehow we forgot to mention one more big praise. We think it's important enough for a "Part Two!" On the first day of pre-school for Ian, there was an opportunity for Stephanie to talk at length with the director. She is the mom to a former classmate of Owen's, and in the course of conversation she shared some parenting struggles their family has been experiencing. At our church we intend to offer once again the series "Effective Parenting in a Defective World" starting March 24, so Stephanie invited her to come as she might find it very helpful. In return, the director asked Stephanie if we would be willing to offer it at the pre-school for all the parents and staff! Of course we are willing and what an amazing opportunity. While this is not definite yet (the director will present the option at their next meeting) please pray for the wonderful possibility of speaking God's truth into the lives of parents and teachers.

What a great GOD we serve!

In Him,
Pedro & Stephanie

3/31 Update
Dear Praying Friends,

This past week was a full one, and somehow it felt we ran full tilt into Easter. On Good Friday, we invited the church to a special service at 8 p.m. in place of the weekly youth group. Stephanie asked several of our teens to participate in a reader's theater on Friday and Sunday, and we also had special music at both services as well as a clear gospel message. On Friday night, a woman who has been faithfully attending spoke to Pedro after the service about receiving Christ. We praise God for moving in her heart!

Today after the Easter service, we gathered with three other couples who desire to serve in our monthly married couples' ministry. We shared a meal together and planned for our first meeting this coming Saturday, encouraged that God has laid this ministry on the hearts of others. Later we returned home and via Facebook saw photographs of Easter back "home" which created some nostalgia. Yet we are reminded that though we may miss our family and American traditions, we are so blessed to spend this holiday not only celebrating but also serving the Resurrected One!

Please pray for us as our weekly calendar has become very full and this month we resume five ministries (married couples; college and career; men's breakfast; ladies' tea; and Sunday School) which were on hold for the summer. We have leadership and/or teaching responsibilities in each of these, and in addition we began counseling a young married couple last week who are going through a difficult time in their relationship. Please pray for God's strength to fulfill these ministries well, while also balancing our home and family.

Please continue to pray for our children, who have faced challenges in their faith this school year but by God's grace are standing for Him in a secular environment. Some of the situations we have worked through already relate to reading materials (asking a teacher to allow a different book for our daughter because of content); the new sex ed curriculum in national schools (leading to a good talk between Mom and daughters, but somewhat sooner than planned); and the creation/evolution debate (in history class where our daughter spoke up for Biblical truth.) We thank God for a good relationship with the school and their willingness to dialogue with us. In talking to young people from church, we realize that many of them do not have Christian parents willing to stand up for them and/or schools willing to listen. Recently two teen girls expressed regret to Stephanie about the thematic material they are asked to read which is not in line with their faith. While praying for our children, pray also for the children and young people to whom we minister who also face testing and temptation each day.

Finally, we have an important prayer request concerning an immediate need at the church. For the past two Sundays (and every meeting in between) we have not had running water in our facility due to the fact that last month's water bill ran over $1,200 (usually it is around $30.) We either have a broken meter or a huge leak underground which would entail tearing up the newly-laid ceramic floor and performing a major repair. With the holiday, we have been unable to get a satisfactory response from the water company and we really need to have this situation resolved. Please pray with us to that end.

We so appreciate your prayers, notes, words of encouragement and support. May God bless each one and may we rejoice today and always in the hope of the Resurrection!

In Christ,
Pedro & Stephanie
--
Pedro & Stephanie Garcia
Iquique, Chile
garcias2chile@abwe.cc

Posted: 3/6/2013  Expires: 4/5/2013

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