Monday, July 31, 2006

Pray for Italy!

Well we are down to about 80 days remaining in the Navy, we have been incredibly blessed as the Lord continues to do a wonderful work in our lives, here in Okinawa. We are excited about the next season that the Lord is going to take us through as we continue to make preparations for our move to Italy. I have below some staggering information about the country of Italy and we ask that you pray for Italy, for a fresh move of God's Spirit throughout the land.

About Italy

Many people believe Italy is a 'Christian' nation and not in need of missionaries. The following statistics, however, speak for themselves:

Italy Is Spiritually Bankrupt

Out of 57 million people living in Italy, only one-half of one percent (285,000) are members of a Protestant denomination.

Of the 33,000 communities in the country, only 2,000 have an evangelical witness. The other 31,000 have no evangelical presence whatsoever.

Witchcraft Is Widespread

Approximately 100,000 people are believed to be practicing magicians (psychics, witches, and fortune tellers). This is more than the number of Catholic Priests, and 324 times the number of Protestant missionaries and evangelists.

Satanism is very strong in the north and is rapidly moving toward the south. Satanic practice includes praying for the removal of all Christian evangelical missionaries from the country.

Approximately 80% of the Italian population have consulted or will consult a witch, psychic, or fortune teller at least once in their lifetime.

Many politicians consult witches and psychics before every election, and some big corporations consult them before investing in major projects.

The magicians, fortune tellers, and psychics have daily programs on local and national television. They are also invited to the majority of television programs for fun and to help entertain people... So they are becoming part of daily life for most Italians.

What surprises and alarms me is how carelessly people engage in and entertain these satanic practices, while these same people would be self-conscious to proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Apparently, they'd rather listen to what a witch or psychic has to say than to hear what God has to say!

So please pray,pray,pray because God is able and willing to deliver these.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Random Pictures of the Velarde's!

Greetings from Okinawa! We are all doing very well as the Lord has been so faithful. We are now less than three months from our departure from the NAVY and our excitement to serve the Lord full time continues to grow as we eagerly await our separation. We have been very busy here serving the Lord and the students here in Okinawa. We had the opportunity to visit the Botanical Gardens here in Okinawa with some friends, it was an incredible place, we really had a lot of fun. There are several other random pictures from the last couple of weeks pictured. Please continue to remember us in your prayers as our time here in Okinawa expires.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Mckay's in Costa Rica!

In the above picture is one of my best friends Phil Mckay. I met Phil almost 7 years ago, he was instrumental in my coming to know the Lord. He was a young Marine who had a heart for the Lord. He was full of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ pervaded all aspects of His life, especially in his relationships among people. You could see Jesus all over him. Well as time went by we grew closer in our friendship amongst the other 4 guys that we all lived with. The Lord began to do a wonderful work in all of our lives. Phil soon went on to get out of the Marine Corps and go on staff at Calvary Chapel in Vista where He served the high school and college age members of the body.

A few years later the Lord brought Rebekah into his life and they were married, a season later they had a child named Eden. Well Last February Phil and his family stepped out in faith after hearing the call of God to start a work in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. He has been there serving the Lord faithfully for the last several months, through many trials and tough times the Lord has brought them thus far where they are today in the grace of our Lord. Please pray that God would continue to fill them with a love for the Costa Rican people and that he would be lead by the Holy Spirit in all that they do as the labor in the harvest of Costa Rica. Pray also that the Spirit of God would break through to the hearts of the people there in Tamarindo.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sandra's 30th...Part I

Happy Birthday Sandra!!! Today we celebrated Sandra's 30th birthday. We were really blessed because some good friends of ours took Micah and Hannah for the night. Sandra, Micah and I went out for dinner and coffee ending our night at the Laguna Gardens Hotel in Ginowan. It is a really nice place and we spent the evening swimming and sitting in the jacuzzi.

This morning I picked the kids up early and brought them to the hotel to come swimming with us, we had a really good time as a family. The weather was great and the water felt so good. They had a water slide there at the hotel that Sandra and I got to play on, it reminded me of my childhood, although Hannah and Micah just sat and watched Sandra and I act like children. The breakfast buffet was out of this world, I wish I had taken pictures but I didn't want to look like a silly tourist taking pictures of the buffet line. I strongly recommend this place to anybody desiring to come and visit Okinawa, or those living here. Overall we had a great time ringing in 30 years for my lovely wife. Tonight we are having a party for her here at our building, church family and friends will be with us to celebrate and rejoice with Sandra, please check back with us for the Part II of Sandra's 30th for pictures of her party, also please leave Sandra a Happy Birthday comment, be encouraged.