As the new year kicks off and the team takes a look at what lies ahead, there are two things that really stand out. Even before we left the States, we knew securing our long-term visas would be a major hurdle and one of the primary points of uncertainty and concern in the early phase of our work. It continues to be. The short of it is that we need a church established in Lima to have a formal legal status in order to vouch for us to the government. The church has had difficulty attaining that status, but we received word recently that they have made good progress. We are thankful for the Dowell family in Lima, who have been working for the Kingdom in Lima and have taken time to hold our hands through this process. There is a bit more to go before we have what we need, so keep praying! Divine intervention with the red tape is a major blessing.
Another part of starting a new year is looking at the balance sheet and, for us, thinking about fundraising. At the risk of sounding a little scripted, there is nothing more humbling than standing on the other side of asking God for enough to get by and realizing that he has done much more than subsistence providing, even during a time of economic hardship for our supporters. With a sober glance at ourselves, it is inescapable that we do not merit the sacrifice of our partners in the faith. So, by the grace of God, gifts received beyond our 2008 needs and 2009 commitments come to very nearly exactly what we need. In addition, the sales of cookbooks at Cedar Lane, the brainchild of Andrea Muse, has added substantially to the funds that will be used to launch our first developmental project. We are greatly blessed by you all.