Praying for Latin America and the Caribbean

Newsletter of Blake and Kathy Penson February 10, 2024

Remembering Our Mentors

In October, 2023 I had the opportunity to travel with a friend and mentor, Charlie Cook, to Lima, Peru to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lima Encuentro Con Dios (LED) – Lima Encounter With God. Charlie Cook had grown up in the LED church planting movement as his father, Arnold Cook, served training and equipping new leaders in the movement. Charlie often talked to me about the LED movement and the stories of little known, humble international workers that God used mightily to launch the movement. One of those international workers was Eugene Kelly, who had been a significant inspiration and mentor to me during my seminary days.  Until taking my seat in that Lima Coliseum in October, overflowing with some 15,000 people,  I had not understood the impact that this relatively unknown Saskatchewan farm boy had on Peru as part of the founding LED team. Eugene was director of the LED movement for 12 years. As his face flashed on the screen before the thousands in attendance, most who never knew him, my tears began to roll. What began with a church of 180 people in 1973 has multiplied to more than 60 churches today, with more than 30,000 in attendance. With a deep love for the lost, a burning vision for church multiplication, a passion to mentor young leaders and an incessant zeal for mission’s mobilization, Eugene planted many seeds that continue to pass from generation to generation in the nation of Peru. But more than anything else, as his wife Muriel would often remind his young admirers, for Eugene “prayer isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” The theme for all that happened in Lima through Lima Encuentro Con Dios was Amos 4:12 “prepárate para venir al encuentro con tu Dios” which translated is “prepare yourself to come to an encounter with God”. Eugene knew that above all prayer was the conduit for God’s visitation. His prayers continue to be answered to this day. 

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Following In Their Footsteps

As I was meditating on the theme of the newsletter, a young missionary candidate name Poul wrote me, bringing me up to date with what God is doing in his life. I have had the opportunity to mentor Poul through Samuel House, a training and mentoring model for new Alliance Latin American international workers in Paraguay. Poul is from Peru, the fifth generation of young leaders that have come out of the church planting movement in Lima. What began as a movement to reach Lima has now moved beyond Peru, beyond Latin America, to reach the least reached people groups of the world. Poul described to me a missions congress that he helped organize to challenge young Alliance professionals from across Latin America to follow in the footsteps of once unknown international workers like Eugene, who brought the gospel to Latin America. More than 90 of these young professionals responded to the call. Poul and his wife Yakli are awaiting the least reached people group to which they will be assigned. Yet even while waiting, Poul has caught the same vision of mentoring and mobilizing his generation. Poul and Yakli are seen in the first photo with their infant son Evan. 

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Pray…

1.Please pray for the new Latin American international workers that are rising up to have a great love for the lost, a vision of multiplication, a passion for mentoring new leaders,  a zeal for mobilization, and above all the conviction that prayer alone will be the conduit for the least reached having an encounter with God. 

2.Pray for wisdom as we continue to partner with our Latin American brothers and sisters in projects like Samuel House, together finishing the task to bring the light of Christ to the darkest places. 

3. Pray for me, my friend Richard and pastor Timothy as we fly into eastern Cuba from February 14 to 21 to bring aid and to minister to the Cuban church in a time of great spiritual, social and economic need. Cuba is plummeting into a cycle of poverty and violence that has rarely been experienced in that nation. Pray that the Spirit grant us the ability to listen and empathize at a deep level, but to also bring His word of encouragement and hope.