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August 10, 2010

Dear Friends,

Winter greetings from Lima, Peru.  The Efata compound is either a temporary or permanent home to almost one hundred people.  Missionaries to other parts of Peru are welcomed when they come to the capitol to work on their visas or to meet mission teams heading out to their area of service.  We are thankful for the two guest apartments that make such hospitality possible.  Some of the single ladies, who come to help for a short time, live with the house parents and children.  There is always a need for more willing hands and hearts in such a diverse ministry, should the Lord touch your heart about coming for any length of time.  I want to program some of my time to help the little girls with their homework.

My Sunday school class is a delight to teach.  Recently three children came to know the Lord as their Savior.  My assistants listened to memory verses while I explained God’s plan of salvation.  Please pray that Dafne, Maicol, and Daniel will grow spiritually. 

Most of the Bible memory verses have simple melodies that I compose to make it easier to learn and retain long after we have continued on to other lessons.  I divided the class into teams for a 6-month verse review competition and my helpers and I have been signing the verse sheets so that they can get points for their team.  While the verses are being sung, they are being planted deeply in the mind for future use in the spiritual life of each child.  Just this week I heard about a conversation that one of my former Mexican students had with his mother.  He gave her a Scripture answer that really surprised her.  When she asked how he remembered that verse, he reminded her of the “excellent classes of Hermana Rebecca” from over 15 years ago.  That was a big encouragement to me.

Most of the children’s choir is also in my SS class and in the English school for the Efata staff children.  That gives me the opportunity to teach them hymns and choruses in both Spanish and English.  The school music class also learns fun songs that are included in the A Beka curriculum.  Some of these songs are used when there is a school presentation for the parents of both the deaf and hearing children.

Our adult, children, and deaf choir sang together for the church’s anniversary.  Later, all 3 choirs were invited to sing in 2 other churches for their anniversary conferences.  Little by little we are becoming known for our conservative, God-honoring music and that encourages the other music directors to do the same in their churches.

At Kelly's Wedding

Recently there have been two weddings and two quinceñeras.  An elegantly dressed 15 year old girl is dedicated on her birthday and challenged to live for God and stay pure. The service is followed by games and a meal with a beautiful cake.  One of the girls has grown up while attending the Efata school for the deaf and the other is one of my piano students whose father is an assistant pastor with the hearing.

On Saturdays we visit the new converts and then continue knocking on doors to make new contacts.  Please pray that some ladies will be able to take turns accompanying me during the week, as well.  There is so much need for spiritual encouragement as women begin their Christian walk.  The Pro-Life Center has been reaching women in crisis as the Efata staff ladies counsel them.  We rejoice to see lives being transformed by the Word of God.

Next week starts the second semester of the church Bible institute.  I will be teaching a song leading class for the 4-week block. 

I am praying that I can make a trip to the USA and Mexico in the near future.  The cost of airline tickets has risen, and I wondered if any of you have some flyer miles you could spare.  I need a round-trip ticket from Peru, plus separate tickets to connect with my family in Ohio and Florida.  I am reminded of the little chorus:  “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills…I know that He will care for me.”

Thank you for your support and the encouraging notes telling of your prayers for me.  I feel unworthy, but so grateful for your part in the ministry.

Singing and making melody to the Lord,

Rebecca Joy Houghton

The Efata ministry is such a blessing to both deaf and hearing.  Those of us who work mainly with the hearing have joined the deaf school teachers in an advanced sign language class.  I am so glad I used my signs back in the ’70′s before going to Mexico.  I’m trying to talk more to the deaf on campus and practice my signs.

The choir is going forward and I am giving the altos extra practices so that they don’t have to waste so much of the regular choir time learning their parts.  Sometimes the piano students practice for choir a little at the end of their piano lesson.

Piano lessons for kids are  normal-a struggle to get them to practice and be consistent.  I’m getting what I deserve from when I made my mother struggle to get me to practice, too. Ha!

It is especially exciting to hear them learning to play hymns with good rhythm.  The children range from 6 to 18, plus 4 single young ladies who either teach or are assistents in the children’s home for the deaf.

We are seeing some good results from the visitation program and the follow-up.  The pastor for the hearing is going to visit the people we invite or have saved on our route.  We have small groups that go to certain sections each Saturday and that way after we visit new people, we can stop to see the ones who are coming regularly or have been sick.

Since the children’s home is supported by  USA churches, it is a blessing when they send mission teams who bring needed items for the whole ministry.  Last night a group of 18 arrived with 36 suitcases full.  I even called the pastor’s wife who I know personally, and asked her to buy a few things and I will pay her back.

We have had several people baptized in the last few weeks and we want to see them grow spiritually.  Efata has just started an Bible institute and they have made it available for young men to stay in the dorms or come from home.  Also, after church on Thurs. and Sun. those who work can study.  That just started this week.  It is projected to start a formal Bible seminary in another year.

A new area of ministry for me is to teach M-Th either health or science to the K-5 and 2nd grades.  Since it doesn’t take a lot of preparation, it is not a problem for my piano teaching schedule.  There are 3 in each group which is a snap after teaching big classes in Christian school in the past.  On Wed. they have English music class instead.

On Mon. the children’s choir meets to learn music in Spanish for performing for the mid-week service once a month.  I have 4-9 year olds.  Another teacher has them on Thurs. during the preaching service and she makes sure they are ready for the next performance.  She calls it the Patch the Pirate club.  Ruth comes to me for ideas and new songs to teach the kids.

Little by little I have been outfitting my little apartment.  My next project is to get a desk and printer that scans. I am so thankful for the combination closet and storage area made of wood by the carpentry shop.  They also put doors on a kitchen cabinet that was built some time ago when the other missionary family needed pantry space for their food.  Now that they are in their own apartment, they only come to wash clothes at my house.

God bless you as we celebrate our risen Saviour.

Rebecca JOY Houghton