It’s been a while since we’ve given an update, and a lot has happened! Here are some of the things we’ve been up to. Thank you for your prayers, giving and encouragement. We are so thankful for you!
First, an important announcement. A few months ago we made the decision not to pursue a second term with Peru Mission. We will return to the U.S. in April of next year following four years in Peru. We are deeply sad to be leaving our friends and church family here, even as we look forward to whatever it is that the Lord has in store for us. We are deeply grateful for what God has given us through our time here. Please pray for our upcoming transition, and for God’s mercies to be with us as we gradually close this chapter of our lives.
Discipleship. A month or two ago, Cassandra and I were approached by a couple in our church for parenting and marriage counseling. We now meet once every other week to share experiences as parents of small children, while working through Paul Tripp’s book What Did You Expect? Cassandra and I were also invited to speak about courtship and marriage to the singles group at one of our associated churches. These have been humbling experiences for us as the Holy Spirit uses these teaching moments to expose the sin in our own hearts and convict us of our own selfishness and idolatry. It is amazing that God delights in using needy people like us to help others! Please pray for couples we know who are struggling in their marriages and with raising their children.
Cell group. We continue to host our cell group in our home each week. It has been a true honor for me to have led this group the past two years. I think one of the most encouraging moments was seeing members of our cell group become members at our church a week ago. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! I also very recently picked up a Bible study at the carpentry shop where some of the members of our cell group work. The men there meet four times a week for Bible study, and I lead the study on Fridays. This has been a good experience for me in that it keeps me on my toes. I never know ahead of time which chapter we will be studying, so it is very much diving into the text and making what connections I can make without preparation. Please pray for the men, women and children who are a part of our cell group as they strive to be faithful to Him and His promises in a culture that pulls them in many other directions.
Evangelism. A few weeks ago my teammate Albert den Oudsten invited me to join him to share the gospel with students at one of our local universities one day a week. I have been astonished to see the readiness with which college students here listen to the gospel. Some respond with joy and thanks, and others with quiet reserve, but no one yet has refused outright to listen. Please pray for the thousands of university students in Trujillo who have yet to bow the knee to the True and Living God.
Events. One of the wonderful things about being a part of such an extensive community is the amount of celebrating that goes on. There is always something to celebrate! In the past few months we have been involved in some capacity in a Reformation Day party, a quinceanera, a wedding, a congregational breakfast, a birthday party, a youth banquet (Cassandra and I were asked to teach some U.S, folk dances), and a Thanksgiving dinner. After putting on our first Peruvian-style birthday party for Jane’s fourth birthday, Cassandra turned her event-planning expertise to a Thanksgiving celebration to go down in Sutton family history: a dinner for 130 people! She did a marvelous job coordinating (and, along with many of our friends, cooking, decorating, and serving!) for our first ever mission-wide Thanksgiving celebration. It was a wonderful time of giving thanks together for God’s mercies in the year behind us, and introducing our Peruvian brothers and sisters to one of the U.S.’s best national traditions. Please pray for a growing spirit of communion among believers in Trujillo, and give thanks with us for the many motives for thanksgiving and celebration this year.
Communications. A week ago I finished my part of our annual print newsletter. This is my largest writing project each year, and this year I had a lot of fun incorporating some significant changes. Look for your copy soon!
All in all, it has been a busy season, but a blessed season. Things have not always been easy. We are undergoing some challenges as a team, and there have been times where it has been difficult to see the sun for all the clouds. But the sun does shine through, God is always present, guiding us, shaping us, and filing away at us to smooth out our rough edges. He is always faithful, and as we approach a season of transition in the months to come, it is amazing to look back and reflect on what He has done in our lives. We have never wanted for anything, and we have never been alone.
Thank you for your willingness to be poured out for us, to be used by the Father to sustain us and uplift us at all times. We are so grateful for you!
Caleb (for Cassandra, Jane, Margaret, and Ada)