International Ministries

"Prepare the way for the Lord" (Mt. 3:3 quoting I

December 15, 2003 Journal

"Prepare the way for the Lord"(Mt. 3:3 quoting Isaiah 40:3)

The Advent season is a time to renew our understanding of the arrival of Jesus.According to the Biblical story, many things had to happen to prepare for Jesus arrival.As we reflect on these words of the prophet Isaiah, we recount the many things that had to happen to prepare the way for the Lord to enter our lives.We feel that in many ways our ministry is opening doors to prepare the way for the Lord to arrive in the lives of others in Bolivia.During his recent trip to Potosí, this became very real to Steve.A leader in one of our churches took Steve aside to talk with him.He recounted how at a moment of questioning, Steve spent time to work with him on many different occasions, preparing the way for the Lord to work in his life at a time of great need.He told Steve that if the Lord had not put him there at that moment, his life would have been very different.The Lord used this occasion to help prepare a solid leader for God's church.It's good to hear these stories; many times we never know exactly how God has used us.

In touching the lives of the poor, we want to open the way for them to see the Jesus who loves them and cares for them in a special way.As we develop pastoral leadership for the churches, we hope that we are helping prepare the way for many to know the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

There has been much unrest, a number of strikes and protest marches this week.The national airline is on strike today, as well as the medical field (doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc.).Earlier in the week the government sent in the military to put down an uprising on the Oruro-Potosi border; one protestor was killed and a number wounded.

We expect things to calm down for the Christmas holiday and then escalate again after Kings Day (January 6).All opposition groups have announced protests after January 18, if the new government doesn't show positive results after 90 days of governing.

Steve has been busy reviewing thesis work.Last week he evaluated 10 dissertations for the Baptist Seminary in La Paz.This week he helped the Presbyterian Seminary in Cochabamba review 4 dissertations, serving as president of the review board.

Steve will represent International Ministries at the graduation of the Baptist Seminary in La Paz on December 21.There will be 11 graduates of this seminary preparation for Christian ministry.It is exciting to be involved in the lives and ministerial preparation of these people who have a special call to ministry and who are actively involved in Christian service.

Francesca has been accepted into a PhD program in Contextual Missiology at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague.The degrees are conferred by the University of Wales.She will travel to Prague at the beginning of February.

Our daughter Stephanie is scheduled to arrive in Cochabamba on December 20.She is a student at Trinity International University.

"And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it."(Isaiah 40:5).

Yours in Christ,

Steve and Francesca (Missy) Crane, and David too!

Contributions can be sent through your local ABC church or directly to:
International Ministries
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA19482-0851

In preparation for the arrival of Jesus, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26-38).Mary replied, "I am the Lord's Servant" (v.38).Our prayer is that we may also be counted among the Servants of the Lord this Christmas season and always.

Steve helps David put an angel on top of our Christmas tree.

Steve and Francesca Crane