Tuesday, April 19, 2016

March 2016 Newsletter

Dear Saints,

Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (1Ti 4:13). 
Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (Jn 21:22) 
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes (1Co 11:26). 
It seems that we are always talking about the second coming of Jesús Christ and He has not come yet. Some, even in Christendom are saying; "where is the promise of His coming?" And yet, "a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry"

We know He is coming and we love His coming and we are "looking for and hastening" the coming of the Lord. And yet we are also told, "till He come". "Till He come,” we are to be occupied. "Till He come,” we are to be busy about our Father's business. Although we understand that, "in the fullness of time,” Christ came as the Lamb of God, there is also a date fixed on the divine calendar. We also see in Scripture that He is, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance". God will give every living person every possible chance for repentance and eternal life. If I believe all of this, then I should be entirely given over to God's will for my life. In so doing, I will be fulfilling His purpose in bringing, "many sons to glory". May our prayer be; "even so, come Lord Jesus". But may our prayer also be; "what would you have me to do Lord".         

March 9th we traveled to  San Miguel, Tucuman, Argentina, about 840 miles from Villarrica. We left  home, along with Sister Graciela and then stopped by Resistencia, Argentina to pick up Sister Elva.  We arrived on the 10th in the afternoon and settled in. Friday and Saturday we had two hours of Bible study in the morning, an afternoon service and two hours in the evening.

We were concerned about this assembly, as we had heard that some had visited the area who are “enemies” of the cross of Jesus Christ, wolfs in sheep clothing. However, we rejoiced in their steadfast faith and love for the Pauline message. 

We are certainly not living in a time of revival, like we experienced here in South America in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but, on the other hand, there are not many places where we would hold a three day Bible study and have the building packed. We had about 80 people on Saturday and about 60 Friday and Sunday. A small bus brought people from San Pedro del Colalao on Saturday (a meeting we visited with dad back in 2013).

We are so glad to have mom and dad visiting us. They arrived March 17th and were able to be with us in Isla Vega for the Easter Camp; March 23rd through the 27th. We had around 400 people for camp but many did not make it on account of the rain. Dad ended up speaking a total of nine hours. I  spoke four hours, Samuel three and Alicia two.
We gave mom and dad a week of R&R and then we started visiting some of the local assemblies here in Paraguay. More about that next time.

Friday, April 8th, Fide’s dad, Bro. Juan Galeano went to be with the Lord after a short bout of pneumonia. He passed away about 9:00PM in a hospital in Itagua. By 1:30AM they had brought his body to Villarrica and prepared it for visitation. They took his wife of almost 58 years to see the body. When sister Ñeca saw her husband, she touched his face and said “what will I do without my companion”, she grabbed her chest, rolled her eyes and fell to the ground having suffered a massive heart attack.

Within the hour we were mourning the passing of both of Fide’s parents. Pillars of faith and faithfulness. It was quite the experience and being an event not often experienced, was a testimony to all of Villarrica, believers and unbelievers alike. The funeral services were very blessed with a time of worship and praise. Never seen anything like it. 

After the burial service at the cemetery we found that someone had broken in to both our vehicle and Bro. Fide’s vehicle. My passport, along with my new iPadPro and my old iPad air which Loida was using  were stolen along with Loida and mom’s purses. Two cell phones from Fide’s kids and all personal documents. We waited for the police and then had to go down to the station to file the report.

The next day mom’s purse was found along a highway about 30 miles from Villarrica. It contained most of her personal documents, including credit cards and Loida’s prescription sun glasses. Fide and his kids went to pick up the purse from the local police station. On the way, they found one of the girl’s purses hanging from a tree with the rest of the documents. My passport is the only document that was not recovered. It also contained my visa for Argentina and my visa for Brasil. My iPad is my most important tool, as it is all I use for study, preaching and preparing material for printing.

Construction on the printshop and house continues. The Lord has been faithful to provide every step of the way. One of the things we were reminded of from the theft is, that none of these material things matter and none of these material things belong to us. It all belongs to Him and we are grateful for the lessons He teaches us along the way. We are assured and confirmed that the printshop and house also belongs to the Lord and that it is His business to provide and to guide in its construction and we have certainly seen His hand in many ways.

Till He come,

Randy and Loida 

Monday, February 29, 2016

February 2016 Newsletter

Dear Saints,

Fall is in the air! We have gone from 120 Fahrenheit to temperatures in the 80's. We are grateful for the relief from the heat, but the rain also means that construction on the printshop/house is interrupted. The months of December through February were very hot even with the amount of rain received. They are saying that we will have an early fall and winter and at least this week it looks to be that way.

We have started visiting Capiata, Oviedo and Caazapa again after an absence of over three months. Our last visits were in early November before our trip to Claypoles, Argentina. After we got back from Argentina we had one thing after another to attend to. In December we came down with the Dengue virus and when we recuperated we had the Isla Vega camp here in Paraguay followed by the Camp and Bible Study in La Colonia, Argentina. Upon our return from there, Brother Fidelino was in bed with Dengue and so we stuck around Villarrica to help with the services. And then, the last event was the Calle 2 camp.

The Calle 2 camp was canceled due to rain and rescheduled for the weekend of the 18th through the 21st. We had a good turn out and a good time of fellowship. It was unbearably hot on Thursday, but Friday evening into Saturday it rained and temperatures dropped a bit. We started out with about 40 people camping and by Saturday we had about 140 people eating and maybe 20 more that came just for the services.

We were able to take a day off for a late wedding anniversary and that was very nice and refreshing. Now we are back to all our activities. The construction of the print shop and house takes up a lot of our time. We continue to seek the Lord for wisdom in all things. Our only confidence is that we are doing this in obedience to His direction. Construction is very different here. Those of you following Loida on Google+ can see the construction step by step. We will try to post some photos on the blog as soon as possible.

Mom and Dad will be visiting us this March in time for the Easter Camp in Isla Vega. They will be here the entire month of April. We look forward to their visit and the brethren here are very excited. We will be doing some traveling, but not to the extent that we did in 2013. 

We need much prayer for the Isla Vega camp. There are many details that need prayer; from administration to finances to building projects. Please also continue to pray with us in regards to a Bible School. We continue to seek the leading of the Lord in this regard. There is such a great need and it's just humanly impossible to get everything done. We are grateful that we do not depend on "humanly possible" but trust in "the God of all grace" to provide in every way. We will be leaving for Tucuman on Wednesday for special meetings starting Friday morning and ending Sunday afternoon. Pray for a safe journey and "pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you".

Thank you for all your love and prayer and financial support.

Randy and Loida,

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Calle 2 Camp canceled

Rainy day in Villarrica
The camp in Calle 2 was canceled on account of the rain. It has been raining all night and all day today and the forecast calls for rain until Sunday. The road leading in to Calle 2 is only six kilometers (3.7 miles) from the highway but with this rain and the condition of the road it would be impossible for most people to get to the church. We will see about rescheduling.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Newsletter

Dear Saints,
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
The Isla Vega camp was early this year, starting Thursday evening, January 7th. We almost had to cancel camp on account of the rain, however we had a nice day the Sunday before camp that made it possible to do the necessary cleaning and lawn maintenance. It was a smaller camp on account of the rain, but we had a good number and an abundance of the Word of God.
We just got back from La Colonia, Argentina on Monday after a family camp and a week of Bible study. How do I explain what the Lord is doing? There are so many details. So many lives. So many circumstances. It never ceases to amaze me! The transforming power of the Word of God! Over and over again we are reminded; “just preach the word”.
Camp started Thursday night and went through Sunday noon. There were between 150 and 200 people attending camp. Four messages in the morning, two in the afternoon and an evening service. We traveled with Sis. Graciela and her two sons and a young girl from Caazapa, Karen Paiva.
Monday, Jan. 18th, we started the first Bible School classes. Bro. Sergio Nakasone, the pastor in La Colonia, has talked about having a Bible School for several years and this is their attempt to get something started. One week of systematic Bible study; 5 hours a day. Classes went through Sunday morning with a closing message after an hour of testimonies and song.
As the Bible Study week began we had several people fall ill with some kind of stomach virus. Then the electric transformer in the street literally blew up. Thank the Lord, Bro. Sergio had two gasoline generators that ended up working the entire week of Bible Study. Then we had water problems. With over 60 people living in cramped space, some in tents; sharing bathrooms, waiting for water to shower and on and on. And yet there were no complaints. Only rejoicing in the Word. The testimony service on Sunday was one person after another telling how difficult it had been for them to come and the trials they endured during the week, but all rejoiced in the privilege of sitting and listening to the Word of God rightly divided.
Sis Graciela started on Romans. I started giving doctrine. Bro. Willy (pastor from Uruguay) gave Isaiah and Bro. David Barrionuevo (pastor in Claypoles) gave Tabernacle.
At this point there is no thought of a full time structured Bible School in Argentina, but we are praying about having one here in Paraguay. The Lord willing, this year we will dedicate most of our time to that purpose.
We do have several events already planned and two that we just need to confirm dates. February 4 to 6 we will attend a camp in Calle 2. March 11-13 in Tucuman, Argentina and March 23-27 in Isla Vega.
Construction on the house is progressing. It is beginning to look like it could be something. We trust the Lord every step of the way and have seen His love and care in all things.
Please continue to pray for those affected by the dengue virus. Bro. Fide is now down with dengue and needs prayer.
Thank you all for your love and prayers! Randy and Loida, Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Isla Vega - Afternoon service
Isla Vega - Sunday School class
La Colonia - Sunday School kids January 2016
La Colonia - The cooks making pasta
La Colonia January 2016
Isla Vega - Enero 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 2015 Newsletter

Dear Saints,

Another year has come and gone and our hearts yearn all the more for "that glad day". We are reminded of His coming as an innocent babe born in Bethlehem, Judea, but our desire is for the first trumpet to sound; "come up here" and those glad words; "well done, good and faithful servant". 

¨For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry." Hebrews 10:37. But "till He come," may we be occupied doing His will. Not just occupied, but occupied with His will.

The last few days have been difficult as I have been battling with the dengue virus. Before that we hit a horse on our way home from meeting in Cnel. Oviedo on Saturday the 5th and on Sunday a stone hit the transmission casing. I'm not complaining or looking for pity, but simply stating facts to point to what we might learn. Up to this point, our ministry has been very protected by the Lord and very blessed in many ways. There are many lessons to learn through our trials and the main lesson is that we learn to ask the Lord what it is that He wants to teach us, instead of complaining and finding fault and trying to get out of the situation. So the main lesson is: that there is a lesson in every circumstance that our loving Heavenly Father allows in our lives. One of the first things that came to my mind is, to not take for granted the prayers of the saints, but also to not forget to stop and pray every time we leave town. There are many other things that the Lord has dealt with my heart about and I will simply say that I am grateful for His patience and grace and mercy and kindness. 

I actually started on this several weeks ago as a November newsletter and got distracted, so now it is our December newsletter. So merry Christmas to one and all!  We did not make the trip to Formosa that was scheduled for the weekend of December 17th through the 20th on account of my dengue, but sister Graciela did make the trip and sister Elva Romero from Resistencia is also there. 

We had a good weekend in CDE at brother Esteban Paniagua's meeting at Km10, Acaray the weekend of November 7th and 8th. It rained Sunday, but we still had a good turn out. There is a very good spirit in the meeting and many hungry hearts. This meeting has grown a lot since it started in 2012. Not only has it grown in size, but more importantly, it has grown spiritually. 

Satan has been fighting us in our health, especially Loida with her broken foot and then a sinus infection right before our trip to Clypoles. We are grateful for the healing touch from the Lord and the strength that he gives each and every day. Loida was able to do the packing and preparations for our trip.

We decided to take the bus to Buenos Aires this time and so we left for Clypoles, November 24th. It was a very different experience for both of us. As most things, it has its pro's and con's. We were able to rest more, but even with the business class seats my knees and back hurt a lot. Sister Graciela traveled with us, but she stayed longer to visit with her family and visit some of the local assemblies. We spent Wednesday night at brother Barrionuevo's house and enjoyed a time of fellowship with them. The camp started Thursday evening and ran through Sunday noon with a total of 14 hours of Bible study. I noticed that the current building where we have services is getting small. I think it will be very inadequate for January. There was a very good spirit of unity and worship. The Lord spoke very strongly to many hearts and many gave encouraging testimonies Sunday morning. 

We had a very short meeting Sunday after lunch with the local pastors to discuss the week of Bible study that they want to have following the January camp. Please be in prayer for these events. The enemy has already began to fight this on several fronts and we need prayer for protection and guidance and wisdom and patience and peace and strength. The January camp in La Colonia will start on Thursday the 14th through Sunday noon. There will be about 18 hours of Bible study then they want to continue with a week of intensive bible study for pastors, workers and young people, who feel they have a call on their lives. The week of bible study would consist of 6 to 8 hours of study a day Monday through Saturday. 

This will be preceded by our family camp in Isla Vega, January 7th through the 10th. This is the first time that we have moved our camp time up here in Paraguay. We are praying for good weather, especially in regards to the heat that can be so intense in January and February. This camp will also be about 14 hours of Bible study, but usually at least 700 people attend.

Construction on our house has been going well. There will be a guest suite and the printshop in the walkout basement and our living space on the main floor. We are just beginning, but we look forward to moving in as soon as possible. 

Thank you as always for your love and for your prayers on our behalf. We usually try to post a little more on our blog and you can also find our contact information and more about Paraguay and especially the Lords work here. 

Sincerest Love,

Randy & Loida Crook
Even so, come Lord Jesús!

Loida at the construction site 

The Lord has provided us with a nice well. The water seems good but we have not had it tested yet.

On the site with Yoyito, the contractor.

Sister Graciela and Loida on the bus ride to BsAs

Drinking mate with Sis Graciela on the bus

Loida, Graciela, Veronica

Sis Veronica and Bro David Barrionuevo

Loida at La Colonia

Our head chef this year

Most everyone has to camp. There are no cabins yet.

The meeting hall

Bro. Barrionuevo and his family

Bro. Sergio and Susana Nakasone. Pastor in La Colonia

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Getting Ready for Claypoles

The fellowship meeting in Claypoles, Buenos Aires, Argentina starting Thursday evening, November 26th has turned into a camp in La Colonia. The congregation in Claypoles started having these special meetings in November of 2009. They had been renting a facility just across the street from the church. The church is a home meeting in the pastor's garage where 80 plus people gather. The cost for renting the camp ground was about $1200 for three days. This year Bro. David Barrionuevo and his wife made two trips to Ushuaia to help establish a meeting there and as an assembly they are also supporting Bro. Tito (Sebastian Gauna) who moved with his family to Ushuaia back in July. As a result of this they were leaning toward not having special meetings this year. As they spent some days in prayer in regards to this, Bro. Sergio Nakasone, pastor in La Colonia, arrived at their house late one night and they talked about the meetings. Bro. Sergio offered them the use of the existing camp ground in La Colonia. It is hard to explain all the details and history behind this; suffice it to say that we are overjoyed with how the Lord is working; uniting the hearts and minds to the Glory of Christ.

Please keep us in your prayers. Loida has been battling a sinus infection the last several days and she is the one that keeps me on track and she is the one that prepares absolutely everything for these trips.

We will be traveling to Buenos Aires by bus this time. The long drive just takes too much out of us and we have two big months ahead of us and Loida would not be able to help much with the driving on account of her bad foot. We have been praying for a driver to help us but for now we will try the bus. We will see how this works for us. The advantages of traveling in our own vehicle are that we can move about when we want, we can stop along the way to visit people, we can take people with us, we can take more stuff with us, such as tracks and Bibles.

Also be in prayer for the young people here in Villarrica and Caazapa. There are several that are wanting to travel to La Colonia in January for the Family Camp there. The cost for tickets that time of year is double and for some it would be prohibitive. They are looking into options of renting a bus or van.

Monday, November 9, 2015

CDE Km10 Acaray

I guess it's been over two years since we visited Bro. Esteban in Ciudad Del Este, Km10, Acaray. The church is 10 kilometers from CDE and you go in towards the Acaray river (North); therefore CDE, Km10, Acaray. The meeting here started, as most meetings here in Paraguay, as a family gathering around the Word. There were several families in the area, most of them from Bro. Braulio's meeting in CDE. It had become increasingly difficult for them to make it to meetings in the city of CDE. Some of the families had simply stopped attending services and had consequently drifted away from the Lord.

Bro. Esteban moved to Km10 about 2012. A brother where they had been gathering donated a piece of property and they very quickly built a small building (5x9mt) in which to gather. Brother Esteban built a house next to the church and so an assembly was born. The small building is full on Sundays and they are planning on adding on to the building.

We arrived in CDE Friday night and spent the night at Loida's parents house. We had our first service Saturday 5:00pm. Sister Graciela also came from Villarrica and so we had two services. Sister Graciela spoke the first hour and I gave the second hour. There was a very good turnout, considering that there was such short notice regarding these special meetings.

Sunday arrived with a threat of rain which materialized by the time I spoke in the first morning service. It continued to rain off and on the rest of the day. We had three services in the morning and then an asado (barbecue). They wanted to have an afternoon service, so we stayed on and had two more messages starting at 1:30. So we had a total of seven hours of Bible study between Saturday afternoon and Sunday. 

We are grateful to the Lord for every opportunity and especially for the hungry hearts. There was a moving of the Holy Spirit and an atmosphere of praise and worship. As we look at the visible church and see such apathy and such a lack of interest in the Word of God, it is good to be reminded that there are still folks that will sit through seven hours of Bible Study and enjoy every minute of it.

Please remember the saints in CDE, Km10, Acaray.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Hide Me Behind The Cross

Lord as I seek to serve You, May You find in me what's pleasing in Your sight. I leave my will at Calvary, Humbled by Your overwhelming love and grace. For I know it's only through Your love, That who I am is hidden by Your grace. Let my desires be overshadowed, As I recall the purpose of Your grace. 

Hide me behind the cross, Where my gains become as loss. And only Your glory is in view. Your power will be revealed The more that I am concealed. Hide me behind the cross So the world sees only You. 

When I rely on Your strength And find my refuge in Your loving grace, You'll faithfully transform me  From glory unto glory by your grace. May the power of Your Spirit or-flow, In my heart surrendered to Your will, That through my trials and my joys, You alone are always glorified! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October 2015 Newsletter

Dear Saints,

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

People often ask us; "what are the needs that you have?" Others have asked that we share prayer requests. As we travel and visit over 30 meetings in Paraguay and Argentina we can easily become overwhelmed by "needs". We must learn to "take it to the Lord in prayer".

If I were a billionaire and I began meeting the financial needs of every assembly and every believer we come in contact with; will I have done any good? Would there be any eternal good done in the lives of God's people? But if I take the Word of God and deliver it to hungry hearts; there will be both temporal and eternal results. 

It was a pleasure to share with the young people in Resistencia, Argentina this past 10th and 11th of October. We rejoiced greatly in the moving of the Spirit among the 40 or so young people gathered there. We had a few from Tucuman (550 miles), some from Buenos Aires (580 miles), Formosa, Herradura and Charadai. There are genuine spiritual battles going on and Satan will do what he can to hinder the Word of God and the moving of the Holy Spirit. We had a good altar service Sunday evening and I believe some were filled with the Holy Spirit and have no doubt that many were refreshed. More on the blog.

The Lord also opened a door of opportunity for us to visit San Pablo, Brazil this past Friday to Sunday. This was a different experience for us, as neither of us are fluent in Portuguese. Loida's brother Samuel traveled with us to help drive and translate. There is a small group of believers who are learning the Pauline doctrine by downloading material from www.elgloriosoevangelio.org and seam to have a desire to learn more. 

We had a good time of fellowship in the Word. I was able to communicate by speaking slowly and the pastor, Bro. Marco Aurelio, understands enough Spanish to help translate along with Samuel. 

We learned that Jonatan, one of the brothers, had sent a message through the EGE website. He sent his message back in April of 2013 and I received that message, as we were in a restaurant in Brazil with the group that visited from GCC! I remember it well because I thought it was interesting that I received a message from a Brazilian while eating in a restaurant in Brazil.

Loida's foot is doing better as she continues with physical therapy, but she is not back to normal yet. Please continue to remember her in prayer for a complete recovery.

They have finished the excavation of the property last week and now we will begin actual construction! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

...let your requests be made known to God!