Game on for the 2020 Vision year!

As a precursor to the online classes, we are posting Coffee Chats--short online talks about one doctrinal issue in answer to common questions.

Dear support team,

In the future, when we look back on 2020 we want to say, “Wow! Look what God did.  Look how He showed up in Peru.  And how we’ve all (that means you, too) been a part of it and grown in faith.”

Of course, the big thing will be the 2020 Vision plan: 20 bible institutes (or seminaries, as they are called here) in 20 locations throughout Peru in the year 2020.  That's the game plan: the same 2020 Vision that we’ve been telling you about since 2016.  God has developed it so that it's even better.

One thing God has shown us is dead seminaries all over Peru.  We went to one and had a meeting with its caretakers.  The building and grounds were beautiful.  Some church from the U.S. raised the funds and built it.  They sent teams to teach classes regularly, but they didn't understand the culture and they taught through translators.  We’ve talked to several graduates who weren’t able to answer questions about basic doctrines, even though they had passed classes on these things.  Currently, no classes are being taught there--the seminary is dead.  Although some of the caretaking group was interested in having us teach classes there, other members were seemingly suspicious that we were trying to take over their building.  No agreement was reached, and no classes are being taught, although the grounds are well taken care of. We've found this same attitude in many places

Another thing God has shown us:  those graduates who do go to seminary are often no longer interested in pastoral ministry.  Take the case of Jorge (not his real name).  He was sent by a local congregation to study in Lima, where there really is a very respectable seminary with a good academic reputation.  Jorge actually returned to his hometown, which is unusual.  Once students go to Lima they get used to life in the big city and don’t go back to the provinces.  However, Jorge found that he couldn’t really communicate with people in his local congregation anymore.  He also didn’t want to visit the sick and preach at funerals, etc. etc.  He just wanted to study and talk about academic subjects.  The church concluded that he was lazy, and he felt that the congregation was ignorant and uninterested in spiritual things.  In the end, he went to another place to teach in yet another academic seminary, and the church continues without a pastor.

So although our original plan was to establish 20 conventional small seminaries, God has shown us that we need to make these church-based seminaries.  Local churches will belong to our ministry network and receive course videos, downloadable class materials, and training for the local facilitator who will guide the class through the videos and the class materials. Both the videos and the printed materials will be in simple language. The pastor will usually be the facilitator, but if there's no pastor we will train a facilitator. This way there is no brain-drain, no disrespect for the existing pastor, and no suspicion of foreigners or city folks trying to take over the church. We are starting recording videos now and are planning to launch in March 2020.

Even as we are pushing to make this happen we want to get you more involved by regular progress reports.  Right now we are relying mostly on email and Facebook.  Please let us know if you would like to be updated in another medium, such as Messenger, Whatsapp, or snail mail.  Comment if you are reading on Blog or Facebook, or reply to the email if you read it in email.

If you’re reading this you’re already part of the team.  We want you to see that God is glorifying Himself here in Peru, and we want you to understand that you are really part of that.  We challenge you to get more involved this year.  Maybe pray more, maybe give more, maybe write to us.  You do you.  Understand that, humanly speaking, we wouldn’t be here doing this ministry if it weren’t for your prayers and gifts.  If you’re more involved, you’ll be encouraged by seeing how God answers prayer, and you’ll appreciate your own blessings more.  You'll have a bigger awareness of the part you are playing in what our glorious Lord is doing in the world.

So go team!

Let’s press on …

To make disciples…

To the uttermost parts of the earth.

Yours in Christ,

Mike and Tammy Riggs


Well, back to the normal routine after a sabbatical month, especially for Mike.  I've been carrying on with counseling and discipleship, but the ladies gave me a break from teaching.  It's nice to just be a learner sometimes.

Mike has a headful of new ideas for the curriculum and we are ready to start plugging away on the seminary curriculum.  Praise God that the sabbatical month has been a time of refreshment and renewal.

Sunday we will be visiting a church with serious problems and no pastor.  One of the congregation is feeling the call to be a pastor, but this is a church that has shrunk radically in the past year or two, and even the few that are left don't seem to be working as a team.   We would appreciate your prayers that the teaching will help them to work together as a pastor and church.  This is a replanting situation and we'd like to get the new guy up to at least starting from ground level instead of trying to climb out of a hole.

In the meantime, Paco has gone to Ancash where he is giving out glasses and clothing and helping with the new believers that have joined the group there.  He is also training Jose Marco, the missionary who is regularly working there.   Jose Marco needs guidance.  Please pray for travel safety, the new believers and the Ancash group, and for Jose Marco. 

As always, please pray that this ministry would glorify God and encourage His people.

A recipe for you: Estofado de Pollo

Photo from Cocinando con Pasion. (there's a video there in Spanish of the preparation)
Sister Maria always said the true estofado de pollo has raisins and olives!  She was a comic-turned-cook that worked for us ten or twelve years ago (wow! Time flies!). She taught us all a lot about Peruvian food and many Peruvian jokes.
This recipe is authentic, yet easy to cook in the US. I have added a few substitutions that you can use. I've cooked it a lot of times there.

Brown chicken pieces (4, 6, 8) however many you like in oil.

Remove the chicken and saute a diced onion (preferably a red onion, to get that Peruvian flavor) in the same oil.

Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, a small can of tomato paste (or chopped natural tomato 2 cups) add salt to taste, 1 ½ cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup peas and 1/2 cup sliced ​​carrot, mix well,

Add the chicken, ½ cup of raisins and ¼ cup of black olives cut in half (without pit), 1 or 2 bay leaves and 2 or 3 chopped dried mushrooms (you can substitute ¼ cup  chopped canned mushrooms), add 3 or 4 potatoes cut in quarters, 

cover and cook until the chicken is tender and potatoes are done (test with a fork), stirring from time to time to avoid sticking and drying, if it is dry add a little chicken broth,

It should be left with juice but not liquid.

Serve it with white rice!

Peru holding steady

On October 1st, the President of Peru dissolved Congress.  Although this caused shock and widespread protests in Lima (mostly in favor of the dissolution and worried that Congress would hang on) for about 24 hours, since then things have gone on pretty much as normal.  Elections to replace the Congress are planned for January 26.

In the meantime, Chile and Ecuador have been plunged into violent rioting over economic issues. In spite of the enormous constitutional crisis that is going on here, Peru has remained peaceful.

Thank God for a peaceful transition, and pray for continued peaceful and constitutional resolution of this crisis.

Please pray for a pilot group

Not actually airline pilots like in the photo!

As we develop classes for internet use, we need a pilot group that we can work closely with.  You could call them guinea pigs, but here those are food!
Ideally this group would be in Lima, but would for schedule or distance reasons prefer internet to a live class. The group would also need to have a coordinator who will tell us what is working and what isn't, so that will need to be a thoughtful person with good communication skills who wants to help shape the program.  We have a few potential candidates, but one essential is that it be a group that has a real desire to study.  So far we haven't really found this. 

Pray that God brings us a good group.

Coffee chats

We posted our first “Coffee Chat,” short videos that help pastors and church members answer questions and challenges biblically.

More leaders

As more churches come on board for church-based seminaries, they take different forms. One church does their seminary as their Saturday night event, open to all. The group pictured here are leaders from two churches that meet on a week night to study.

Prayer Requests

  • Please continue to pray for Paco Laos's health. He is undergoing treatment right now, and still working hard in the ministry. Pray that he will be healed and will not need surgery.
  • Pray that the podcasts that we will be distributing will be of assistance to the listeners and that the listeners realize that they can trust the Bible.
  • Please pray for our continued health.
  • Pray for God's provision and guidance of our ministry.  This is something that is always necessary, but we especially need it right now.

Working together to strengthen the church in Peru: scenes from eyeglass and evangelism campaign by Coordinator Paco Laos, Mike teaching at Seminario Luz y Verdad and Pastor Gustavo Requejo’s promotional art for Worldview class, Elk Ridge Baptist visiting team VBS outreach.

August Prayer Requests
1. Paco Laos, our team coordinator and friend, is suffering from some health problems. Please pray for his return to health.
2. Please pray for three mini courses and 10 standalone classes that we hope to write and record in the next four months.
3. Please pray for safety and blessing for Mike’s upcoming Ancash trip.
4. Pray for schedule coordination.
5. Funds are low, as is usual over the (US) summer. Please pray for more funds as we head into the very busy spring (PERU) season. .

We’ve been teaching:
Defensive Apologetics (Church Seminary Class)
What Women Need to Know About Jesus Christ (Women’s Bible Study)
Worldview (High School Class at Camp Pearl)
Worldview (Church Seminary Class)
Weaving the Gospel into a Bible Story (Teacher Training Class)
The Church and the Sexual Revolution (Mini-conference)

Power of Prayer

When the going gets tough--the tough get praying! 

Ok, that's not really a saying, but prayer really is the best thing to do in a bad situations. God really shows up when things get harried and stressful.
Or maybe just pay more attention to what He does.

Two recent and noticeable answers to prayer:

When the team from Elk Ridge was here, the washer broke down and the repairman thought that it was going to need a costly repair.  The team prayed, and when he came back to check if the problem was the computer chip in the washer, it just worked!  The repairman concluded that there had just been water in the machine causing a short circuit (There had been a leaky roof that we had just repaired).

On a busy day, a cell phone disappeared from the house.  Suspicions were rife because there was work being done on the bathroom and people coming and going.  We sent out a prayer request that God would clear this up. The phone, which had been missing for a week, turned up in a completely unexpected place, to everyone's relief.

Family Camp and the Old Testament Prophet School of Teaching

Family Camp April 2019
You want to hear about the best reception we ever got for teaching?

We had a lot of great Biblical principles about communication that we wanted to present, and we wanted the people to really listen.  The trouble was, this teaching was gonna be the first session at camp. And was going to be a great camp-- the churches participating had organized driving instruction for those who want to learn to drive, massage therapy for those with health problems, and crafts and games and sports tournaments. Plus it was all in a beautiful green natural setting (unusual for Lima!) and there was a swimming pool! We just knew that everyone would be waiting to get class over so they could get to the fun stuff!

So we were asking God how to keep the attention of a crowd of oldsters, old and young marrieds, teens, and children with swimming pools on their minds? And the answer? Skits. Just think of all the dramatic examples in the books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah.

Example: a soft answer turns away wrath.  Tammy throws on a purple cape to go to a wedding and Mike laughs and says she looks like a stout eggplant.
Wrong way: she goes ballistic and the fight is on.
Right way: she laughs at the idea and they’re off to the wedding.

People were talking about the skits all four days of camp. The "stout eggplant" skit communicated so well that at the end of the camp one elderly woman gave Tammy an offering of 50 soles because she said she would never forget that lesson!