Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Special guest speaker at La Viña 
Our church recently had the joy of hosting author Becky Harling (wife of new Reach Beyond president, Steve) at our Sunday services, where she taught from John 11, on Lazarus being raised from the dead. She highlighted an element of the story I hadn’t seen before: that when Lazarus stepped (hopped?) out of the tomb, he was still bound up in grave clothes and needed the gathered people to unwrap him. What an image! And what a metaphor for our lives! Even after we experience the healing power of Jesus’ resurrection life, we depend on the community around us to help us take off the grave clothes. 

The Raising of Lazarus by Giotto di Bondone, 1304
For me (Beth), these last few months have been a journey of being helped out of burial cloths, as God continues to restore my heart. I’ve been seeing a counselor (via Skype), who pointed out to me that times of big transition (like our kids now all being in school, and me taking a large volunteer position at our church) can be catalysts for stirring up internal struggles that we’ve conveniently ignored in the past. Thankfully, I have some wonderful friends here who have been walking alongside me on the grave-cloth removal crew, along with my best friend, Dave! 

One of the great side effects of getting more “unbound” is more freedom to confidently reach out to those around me. The learning curve for our lay-pastor work in the English congregation here is challenging, but God continually surprises us with the growth of people in our church. An English-language youth group, run by one of our small group attendees, just started, and a second English-language small group opened in February. Please join us in praying for even more growth.

Beth in the studio at HCJB
I’m also growing in confidence in teaching, along with the help of a wonderful radio producer, Veronica Saavedra, as we continue our programs for moms via HCJB en Casa. Since January, they are now available online for download, along with a summary article I write. This way, we can track their impact more easily, and have seen that they are reaching hundreds of people, in addition to the on-air broadcast listeners. This is super encouraging. Thanks for your part in making this outreach possible!


I (Dave) have also been thinking about the dynamics of resurrection. In Philippians 3:8-10, the Apostle Paul confesses that he has counted everything a loss that he might know Christ and the power of his resurrection. These words have challenged me to look for signs of God’s continued work of resurrection, even as these last few years have been marked by consistent, and at times, very painful losses. 

The Raising of Lazarus, by Duccio di Buoningsegna, 1310-11
One loss has been due to a significant shift in student population, as most students no longer come from Christian homes. In the past, a consistent small group of young people from Christian backgrounds desired to grow via a prayer team I led, called Intercessors. However, seemingly overnight, student participation in my class on discipleship and Intercessors waned, and about four years ago, neither were offered due to lack of student interest and commitment.

Checking in with students during the lunch hour
But God likes to surprise us with signs of the power of his resurrection. Due to new requirements from the Ministry of Education (MOE), the AAI is now required to provide community service hours for all high school students. To fulfill this, we submitted requests to the MOE, including mine: to allow a student prayer team under the category of “Community Health.” By God’s grace and much to our surprise, we were given the green light to officially establish a student prayer team as part of the AAI curriculum.

Praying for their teacher
Six month later, our small team of four sophomores and juniors have been praying for teachers, peers and staff every Wednesday for an hour. For the first time in several years we have a group of student intercessors!

Huge thanks to you, our support team, for your prayers and your financial partnership, which make our work with Reach Beyond possible. We are deeply grateful for your role in our lives, so that “one generation shall commend [God’s] works to another, and shall declare [God’s] mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4