GC38-585x396Wow! At the age of 16 when the Lord called me to be a missionary, I made a vow "to go wherever He led me to go and to do whatever He gave me to do." Little could I have imagined at that stage all that the Lord had in store for me in a life of adventure preaching the gospel in the Spanish speaking world of Latin America.

The Lord brought into my life a wonderful woman, Nancye Comins. Together we have had the privilege of serving the Lord in Colombia and the vast city of Los Angeles, USA. And now 44 years later we have returned to New Zealand for the last stage of our lives. We look in awe at the big picture and marvel at the way the Lord has led us. Many lives have been transformed by the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus told a man who was healed, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you." Mark 5:19.

That's our mission back in New Zealand.

Five Generations of Believers
On a return visit to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, I was speaking at a meeting. I was introduced by Gilberto Vanegas as "my spiritual father." After the meeting a man came up and said, "If Gilberto is your spiritual son, then I'm your spiritual grandson". Gilberto had led him to the Lord. As we looked around we found fi ve generations of believers. I had discipled Gilberto. Gilberto had discipled Luis David. Luis David had discipled Harold. Harold had discipled Johnny. So the light of the gospel goes on from generation to generation.

Colombia Marching Ahead
In 1970 it was reported that less than 1% of the population of Colombia was Evangelical Christian. The current percentage is around 10%. The gospel is advancing in Colombia and Latin America. In the past 25 years there has been a harvest of souls. The church has matured and now Colombia is sending missionaries to other parts
of Colombia, Latin America and the world. The Brethren Churches in Colombia have missionaries in Argentina,
China and India as well another couple returning to serve in the Muslim world. A fund exists to help in the support of national workers.

A Young Church
An exciting feature of the church in Colombia is that it is a young church. of enthusiastic and exuberant young people committed to the Lord. It is these young people who are going out to witness in outlying neighbourhoods and into the distant Amazon basin to reach tribal people. What a contrast to the "aging" church in the Western world.

An Expanding Ministry and the Challenge of Los Angeles
Our expectation of serving for life in Colombia was overturned in the 1980's when the Lord led us to Los Angeles. The greater Los Angeles area has a population of 16 million. Half of that population, 8 million, speaks Spanish. The big cities of the world have become a major mission fi eld. Our vision for Los Angeles was to reach Spanish speaking people, and to disciple them, so that they in turn could reach back to their own people with the gospel. How has this been achieved? We have used basic methods; knocked on doors, witnessed in the streets, given out tracts, offered free Spanish Emmaus Courses, used the Soccer World Cups to reach people with special evangelistic souvenir booklets and preached by radio. Many have been saved and discipled from countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Radio has produced its results. A few short wave broadcasts some years back brought in over 300 requests for Emmaus Courses from Cuba. And now with radio messages on the internet the gospel can be heard from Los Angeles around the world. Tune in online at: www.lavozdelosangeles.com Saturdays' broadcasts (NZ time) are in English.

Latino Evangelistic Ministries
This non-profi t corporation was established in the 1990s as a platform for reaching out to Los Angeles and Latin America with the gospel. A board representing Brethren Assemblies (both English and Spanish) in Los Angeles continues under the leadership of Julio Lopez. Julio came to Los Angeles from Guatemala. He
was discipled by Brethren missionaries from bNew Zealand. LEM facilitates the Emmaus work, radio ministry
and the support of workers in Los Angeles and Colombia.

Returning to New Zealand
As we have seen the work develop over the years, the realisation came to us that we needed to step aside and let our Latino brothers take control of the work. Hudson Taylor once said that a missionary is like the scaffold in the construction of a building. Once the building goes up, the scaffolding comes down. So we
have returned to New Zealand to continue preaching but above all to "tell the people what great things the Lord has done for us."

The Challenge of Re-entry
The fi rst challenge is that of fi nding a home. The Lord provided in a wonderful way through concerned Christian friends. We came back to a house that was purchased, refurbished and ready for occupation! Our God is so good. He is no man's debtor. He has provided for us in a way that has exceeded all our expectations.

And now we fi nd we are living in two worlds. Physically we are in Tauranga, New Zealand, but in our hearts and minds we fi nd ourselves returning to our friends in Colombia and Los Angeles, and our own family serving in Colombia, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Praise God from whom all blessing fl ow.

Richard & Nancye Yarrall

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 Harold & Jonny  Luis & Harold
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  Latino Evangelistic Ministries Board  Richard & Julio
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