January 2004

Following a short trip to the USA, we arrived in Guatemala and made final plans for special music for the wedding of Stephen Ramírez at Lake Atitlán.  He just graduated from the National University of San Carlos as an engineer in computer systems.  He and his bride have both been very active in missions and evangelism.  29 years ago I held him in my arms in a solemn ceremony of dedication to the Lord at the Emmanuel Bible Church in Panajachel.

Next we prepared for Christmas and New Years activities in several churches with the help of our son Tim, his wife Deb (and our grandsons, Caleb and Josiah) from Mexico.  We had a glorious time of rest (well, that’s not exactly what it was) and a time of exciting ministry in a number of churches and homes.

Now we are preparing for a new year of classes in the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala City and in the Guatemala Bible Seminary in the mountains of Chimaltenango.  We are thrilled to have several students from Cuba and believe me, they are on fire for the Lord Jesus and have first-hand knowledge of persecution for their faith in Christ.

Yesterday I received an E-mail from Julio Cordero, our first graduate (with high honors) in sacred music with a “professor of sacred music” degree from the Guatemala Bible Seminary.  Here is a quote from his letter to me.  “I want to tell you that my church in Santa Ana (near the capital of San Salvador) is opening a school of music and has designated me to be the director.  The name of the school will be ‘ASAPH’ in honor of the Male Chorus that you lead, my brother, (and in which I sang bass and served as president my senior year).  God bless you.  Your efforts are not in vain; God will repay and continue to use you.  “Stand firm; knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  You, our prayer and financial supporters, can feel that you also had a personal part in his training.  And now our efforts will be multiplied in El Salvador!

On Dec. 18 I took Arleen to the office of Dr. Noah Marroquín, a fine Christian M.D. (who also has sung tenor in my radio choir).  The previous night she had suffered a severe gall bladder attack.  The doctor, an internist, did some tests which showed that her gall bladder is not functioning at all and must be removed.  Surgery is scheduled for Jan. 19.  We’ll need your prayers and some extra funding to take care of her before the end of the month.

In His care and for His glory,

Phil & Arleen

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