I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12
Friends and Family,
We’re excited to share with you this first official prayer letter coming from our family to yours! About one month ago we contacted you to let you know of our acceptance by the Northwest Independent Church Extension as Missionary Pastor (and family!). We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about what this means.
Who is N.I.C.E. and what do they do?
“In 1958, a group of faithful pastors, concerned that many communities in the Pacific Northwest that did not have independent, Bible teaching churches, determined to work together to plant churches and assist struggling churches in those communities. The result was the birth of Northwest Independent Church Extension (NICE).”
Our purpose is to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ. We do this by:
1) Planting churches,
2) Assisting existing churches,
3) Providing placement services to pastors and churches,
4) Serving churches with ministries of evangelism, training, and counsel toward equipping each church to become a growing, reproducing body of believers, and
5) Encouraging each church served to become and to remain an independent fundamental church.”
Taken from their website at http://www.nicechurchplanters.org/
What will we be doing, now that we are members of N.I.C.E.?
The same as before, only more of it, God willing! We mentioned in our last letter that we are currently in ministry at Evergreen Bible Church in Vancouver, Washington. Let us tell you briefly how that came about.
Moving up from Honduras in June of 2006 was a big step for all of us, but particularly for José, who had spent the previous ten years serving as a pastor. As his heart’s desire was to continue to serve in ministry to some capacity, we began to search for a theologically solid, Spanish-speaking congregation where he could participate and serve. Driving around town, hours on the internet, and visiting a couple of small churches only proved to us that this area of the country has a great need for such a congregation! God led us to our new home church at Evergreen, and after attending for two years we felt a stronger calling to propose the start of a new ministry to Spanish speakers. This new ministry began in September of 2008. We are blessed with a great team and José is now like a fish put back in the water! Since the ministry began, we have seen four people come to Christ, one wedding, two baptized, and two small group Bible studies. Praise the Lord!
Why this ministry launch packet and prayer letters to come?
I don’t know about you, but I love getting mail and keeping in touch with people. The purpose of these letters go beyond that and deeper, however! Have you noticed that the more you strive to serve the Lord, the more battles you seem to face? And when you face those battles, have you experienced the power of prayer? We have! Simply put, we need your prayers! We would be thrilled, encouraged, and strengthened to know that we have friends and family who are committed to praying for us in this ministry. We will face challenges in finding and reaching out to those Spanish speakers who do not know Christ, or those who do know Christ but have fallen away, or those who do not yet know there is a place where they can worship and learn from the Word in their native language. We will face challenges in our family life as we balance work and family and ministry. We ask you to commit to praying for us on a regular basis.
As with every missionary and every ministry, funding is also a necessary part of life! Currently José is holding three jobs in order to provide for the family. He enjoys his work as a Spanish teacher at Vancouver Christian High School, has held his night janitorial job (where God has also given him opportunities to share the gospel in English!), and takes on a seasonal job of soccer referee on Saturdays. We have often thought, “wouldn’t it be great if God would make a way so that José could focus more on the ministry and maybe hold only one other job on the side?” (Not to mention his family would love to see him a bit more!) We do not know your current situation, but we do not want to limit what God can do through you, should He move you to support our ministry here. We’d like you to know that for your convenience, you may give online through the N.I.C.E. website mentioned above, or through a link here on our ministry blog on the right column. You will find a place to type in our name in order to designate us as the recipient of your gift when you select "MISSIONARY SUPPORT". If you would prefer to mail a check, let us know and we'd be happy to mail you the necessary information and envelope. We ask you to seek the Lord’s leading in helping finance this ministry.
Thank you for reading…we promise the next letter won’t be quite as long! We would love to hear from you – what God is doing in your life, and how we can pray for you. Meanwhile, feel free to keep up with us through our blog.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
In His Service,
José and Ruth Alvarez
Rebekah, Isabella, and Daniel