Efata Ministries Blog

March - April Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19

These past two months have been busy and exciting. As you read our letter you will see both how God has supplied, and a pressing need. We look forward to seeing how He will continue to supply through his wonderful people.

Read this letter and leave us a note online!

Ministry News

In March we celebrated our first anniversary for our Tablada mission. God has really blessed this ministry. Up until recently, they had Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services. Beginning in March, however, we added Sunday morning services. This addition has pulled several of our leaders out of Efata on Sunday morning to be a part of the new work, and God has blessed this with more visitors at every service in Tablada, and many saved. We are seeing new converts and visitors here at Efata every Sunday as well, and the attendance has been fairly stable.

Misión Bautista Efata In April, Associate Pastor Robert Sutton from Winker Road Baptist Church in Fort Myers, FL, came down and preached the anniversary service of our mission work in the jungle city of Pucallpa. What a blessing! God used him to help us raise over $12,000 to build a new church building and parsonage four years ago, and we were able to have the dedication service of the new church building during this anniversary. Six people were saved, four deaf and two hearing. The congregation in Pucallpa was greatly encouraged that Brother Sutton came to preach and visit. He also raised an additional $2,100 to repair the damaged parsonage roof that is leaking heavily when it rains. What a blessing this is for Pastor Vasquez and his family!

Our school and home for the deaf is growing and blessed. We have a good increase in students this year, from kindergarten all the way through secondary school. Your gifts to help us teach and raise these children, from little Danilo, (3) thru Francisco (19), are investments in lives and make a difference that COUNTS. Thank you! Each month, both children and parents come to know Christ through this ministry.

As you know, the Deaf department of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL have been organizing a “Big Box” project to ship needed supplies to us. We have asked for your help previously in a special letter sent out regarding this.

We are so thankful for those of you who have responded and given items to put in the container! The items for the school, home and church are very needed and appreciated.

We have been given 460 Bibles from Beams Bibles, and we have a pallet of tracts, but we have learned that the humanitarian government organization which is shipping the “Big Box” is not allowed to deliver any religious literature because they are a government organization. Please pray that God provides the funds to have these shipped to us separately. We need the Bibles and Tracts for our church planting annexes and missions, as well as for some national pastors. We know God will get them here somehow.

Please pray for us as we begin the ground work to start a new church plant in an area call José Galvez. We are in the initial “cost counting,” praying and planning stages. We are praying that the Lord will allow us to actually begin the work in January 2015. We hope to begin home Bible studies and targeted soul-winning in this area in the next few months.

Lisa and I will be flying to the jungle city of Iquitos with several members of our team to plan and prepare to revive a work with the Deaf in Iquitos that was once a part of our ministry but was estranged several years ago. Please pray as we work to reestablish our mission work there as well.

Family News

The family is well. We are missing Julianne but are grateful for how God is working in her new life with our son-in-law Frank.

Continue to pray for Joseph on deputation and James in college. Lord willing, in August I will be bringing Jared up to Bible College in Fargo, ND.

It is quite an adjustment having several of our children “out of the nest” and still having very young ones in the home. What a blessing!

God Bless,

Signature Bro. Joe & Lisa,James, Jared, Judson, Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer


January - February Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Ephesians 3:20

What a busy but blessed past two months. I am thankful for God's care. He is able!, and continually shows his blessing and handiwork in our lives.

Read this letter and leave us a note online!

Ministry News

These past two months have been very busy for us. The school has been on vacation, but we have been working to get ready for the new school year which started March 3rd. The students are still coming in from the provinces and we are doing a great deal of rearranging in the dorms.

Fires of Evangelism Conference in ChiclayoWe returned home to Peru after the wedding of Julianne and have been going ever since. During the last week of Feb. we had our annual Fires of Evangelism Conference. What a great blessing that was. Conference speakers Pastor Gil Torres and Evangelist Bacilio Alfaro did a tremendous job. The conference was held in Chiclayo, Peru this year. Over 20 people were saved and five young people surrendered to full-time Christian service. The services were packed with standing room only every night. Various local pastors worked hard during the year in coordination with myself and Fires to host this wonderful conference. The Spirit was wonderful.

Financially, Efata Ministries has several large needs. I mentioned in our last prayer letter about the need to redo the electrical wiring in the entire complex. Please continue to pray for this very important need. We also need to build more classrooms for the school. We are reopening our High School for the Deaf and need more classroom space for our Bible College. This year we will have several more students. College classes start March 11th. We have several new deaf children in the school this year and some in the dorms. If you would like to help support one of our deaf children, please let us know. $30.00 a month is 10% of the support needed for one child here at Efata. You could help to make an investment in these children's lives that will make an eternal difference!

Also we have several national pastors, both Deaf and hearing that are struggling financially. If you would like to support one of our national pastors and their church planting works, please let us know.

We will begin Sunday morning services at our Tablada church plant in April. This will be a great advance in that church's ministry. We are also looking at Deaf ministry options in the Jungle city of Iquitos. Please pray for God's wisdom in that.

Family News

Julianne and Frank MillerWell, Julianne is now officially Julianne Raye Miller. What a beautiful wedding it was! We were able to live stream the wedding and our church family in Peru was able to watch it as were many others. We will be holding a nice reception for them here in Peru this month since our people were not able to go to the wedding.

We were also able to help Joseph get set up and sent off for his deputation. He is now on full-time deputation raising his support. Please pray for his continued safety and good reception in the churches he is privileged to visit.

James continues to study at Baptist College of Ministry. Continue to pray for him and his studies and work.

Jared is working to finish his High School. Pray for him that he will stay on task so he can start Bible College in the fall. His current plans are to attend Bible College for one year and then transfer into an ROTC program to join the military and eventually become a pilot. In the meantime, he has been a great blessing and help here at Efata in many areas of ministry support.

The other children are doing well and getting back into the school rhythm. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

God Bless,

Bro. Joe & Lisa,
James, Jared, Judson, Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer

November - December 2013 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. - 1 Peter 3:10-11

Read this letter online at kotvas.com, and leave us a note!

It has been a very busy last couple of months. God continues to work in lives and we are thankful for the honor to serve Him here in Peru. We are loving life and serving our God!

Ministry News

The work in Tablada is going well. In our Christmas children’s activity we had over 100 children and adults attend. They had a wonderful time. A general invitation was given and 20 people raised their hands for salvation. We are working with those who made decisions to ensure that they clearly understand the Gospel, and that they grow in Christ.

December is when our school year ends and with that comes a great deal of activities. We had four graduates this year from school, one graduate from our Bible institute and four Bible College students advanced. We are grateful for the rest for our school and teaching staff. The teachers return to prepare their classes for the new year in Feb. Please pray as we will be losing two teachers this year. Joseph has begun deputation to raise support as a full-time missionary and one other teacher is moving to Argentina to work with our missionaries there. It is a monumental task trying to replace our teachers as they must learn sign language and learn how to teach the Deaf.

The church is doing well and we are seeing steady growth and blessing. I am working with one couple that was on the verge of divorce. They had already separated and their families were pushing for divorce. Thank the Lord they are responding to Biblical counseling and are now saved and back together and doing well. Please pray for this couple Maximo & Gisella, that God will continue to strengthen their relationship with Him and each other.

It has been a great year for salvation decisions and baptisms as well as Christian growth at Efata. We are rejoicing in what the Lord has in store for 2014.

We do have some pressing needs that I would like to briefly share with you for prayer and consideration.

  1. We have an annex ministry in Callao 1 hour away near the airport. We have been working hard to resolve the land title issue for that property. We have an active hearing and Deaf church there but have never been able to get the title for the property. Finally this year we have some direction and are working with the government agency that holds the title to try to get them to work with us on this. We do not know how much they are going to charge for the land so pray that the Lord will turn “kings’ hearts” in our favor.
  2. We still need to replace and redo most of the very old and outdated electrical wiring in our Efata complex. This will be a laborious and expensive task. We are set to do it in stages. It will cost approximately $30,000 for the entire job. Please pray for this very vital need. We must do this to come up to Civil Defence codes and to stop wasting electricity through the walls.
  3. We have plans to begin a new church mission plant in an area called Jose Galvez during the first half of this year. Please pray for wisdom in this new church plant work.

Family News

Julianne & FrankWe are currently in the States until Feb. 11th for my daughter Julianne’s wedding. As I mentioned in our previous prayer letter, she is marrying a fine young man named Frank Miller. The wedding will be in our home church at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Ft. Myers Fl. We would love for all of you who can come to attend.

All the family is doing great and we enjoyed our first Christmas and New Year together with our families for the first time in the States in many years. Lisa and Julianne are very busy with wedding planning and details.

James has returned to Bible College at Baptist College of Ministry in Wisconsin. Please pray for his financial needs there. He is having a difficult time getting enough hours to pay his school bill. God is providing and we were able to come up with the funds to catch him up to enter the new semester. Pray for good work for him so he can continue to pay his school bill. We desire for him not to have to sit out a semester to pay for his bill.

God Bless,

Bro. Joe & Lisa,
Joseph, Julianne, James, Jared, Judson,
Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer

September - October 2013 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

I thank God that He has been so merciful and bountiful towards us as a family and in ministry.  He has given us wonderful children and we greatly rejoice in what He is doing in, through and with them!

This prayer letter is the “Family Edition”!  There is no greater joy for a father, pastor, missionary than seeing his children choose life paths and spouses that honor Him and their parents.

Our three adult children, Joseph, Julianne and James are each following Christ-honoring paths.

Joseph has been accepted as a full-time missionary with our mission board, Macedonia World Baptist Missions. (See attached “Special Notice” regarding this.)

Julianne will be getting married on Feb. 7th, 2014.  She is marrying a wonderful man named Frank Miller.  Frank grew up in church as his father was a pastor for many years.  I worked with his father as his assistant pastor for over two years and I watched Frank grow.  He is now a leader in his church, captain of his bus route and church pianist.  He will be providing a solid Christian home that honors God.  I have enjoyed watching their courting process and we recently completed their pre-marital counseling.

James is studying at Baptist College of Ministry at Falls Baptist Church in Menomenee Falls, WI.  He is doing great.  James is very dedicated to the Lord and His calling on his life to be a full-time missionary as well. Please pray for him, as he works on campus maintenance staff as many hours as possible. It is not enough to cover his school bill. It is difficult to work off-campus without transportation. He is also very active in the Spanish ministry.  James loves to work hard with his hands and is very good at it.

Jared has his heart set on being a pilot in the Navy and is working towards that goal.  He wants to serve the Lord but does not sense a specific calling to full-time ministry at this time.  He will be eighteen this month. He works in our sound booth, interprets in the Bible college for our Deaf students, sings in the choir, helps with visitation, and general maintenance.

Judson is 15. He loves to work with his hands in ministry. He is improving his concentration in school. He helps interpreting, visitation, ushering, maintenance, and singing in the choir.

Joy just turned 13 in September.  What a beautiful young lady she has become.  She continues her school and practicing her piano and violin.  She likes to go visiting as well and just began singing in the adult choir.

John loves to sing. He does a great job in the children’s choir.  He will be 10 years old in December.  He likes to go visiting when he has the opportunity.

Joel, Jessica and Jennifer continue to grow and learn and are so much fun. Jessica could take the energizer bunny’s job!  Lisa and I are doing well and rejoicing in what the Lord is doing with our family.

The ministry is going well.  Our new church in Tablada is moving to a more permanent location. That has been a blessing and a bit of an expence to prepare the site for services which will transfer there next month.  It is only two blocks from its original location which is a blessing.  It should have enough space to accommodate over 200 people.  We are averaging 50-60 people every Sunday at the current location.

Family Day 2013We had a tremendous day here at Efata Baptist church the 13th of October; our members were encouraged to invite all of their unsaved family to worship God with them.  We praise the Lord for being able to minister to over 435 people in the morning service!  Please continue to pray for our church as we serve Him here.  Please pray especially for Roxana, a new believer. Deciding to be baptized and follow Christ has already cost her and her two small children a great deal. She is trusting Him to provide them now with housing, protection, and sustenance.

Thank you for allowing God to use you as a channel for His will to be done in missions through our partnership with you.

God Bless,

090113_0328_CartadeOrac4.pngBro. Joe & Lisa,
Joseph, Julianne, James, Jared, Judson,
Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, Jennifer


Special Notice

As I indicated in our prayer letter, Joseph is now a full-time independent Baptist Missionary with Macedonia World Baptist Missions.  He was accepted in the month of September and is preparing for Deputation.

For more than 15 years, many of you have faithfully supported our family and Efata Ministries and thus Joseph.  He surrendered many years ago to follow God’s call on his life to be a missionary in Peru.  He has grown up here in Peru in our ministry and his entire life has been devoted to serving the Lord with his family.

For the past year-and-a-half, Joseph has been serving in our ministry as a student missionary through Macedonia.  He has served here on the mission field in an exemplary manner.  Since returning to Peru after graduating college with a Degree in Secondary Education with proficiencies in Special Education, Music and English (his chosen degree field to better minister and serve the Deaf with the goal of reaching the Deaf with the Gospel and discipling and training Deaf leaders to propagate the Gospel throughout the Deaf world in Peru and beyond), he has been involved in ministry here at Efata in the following ways:

  • Master Teacher in our mission school for the Deaf
  • Pianist for our hearing ministry
  • Preaching occasionally in our church services
  • Youth director for our new church plant in Tablada
  • Soul-winning and discipleship
  • Interpreter  (Fluent in four languages, English, Spanish, American & Peruvian Sign Languages)
  • Involved in the development of interpreter training and education for the Deaf.
  • Coordination and implementation of a summer missions trip for our youth department with our youth pastor to the Jungle city of Peru in support of our church plant there.
  • Development and maintenance of minstry and family websites.

Joseph is a dedicated, multi-talented servant and has shown maturity, integrity, sacrifice and service in ministry.  He is a young man of solid conservative Christian values and principles.  He has personally lead many Deaf and hearing people to the Lord and has been involved in personal discipleship and training.

Joseph is being commissioned and sent out of Efata Baptist Church here in Villa El Salvador, Lima, Peru.  As his pastor and father, I would highly recommend him to you for your consideration as an independent addition to your missionary family.

The process of beginning deputation is exciting and challenging.  Joseph will need not only regular monthly support, but also start-up funds for deputation. We would ask that you prayerfully consider helping him with either or both of these needs.  We are doing what we can.  His prayer cards have been paid for by our local church.  His plane ticket to return to the United States for his deputation has be purchased as well.  He will need the following:

  1. Reliable transportation
  2. Technology equipment for deputation (laptop, projector, cell phone, etc.)
  3. Start up funds for gas, meals, lodging etc.
  4. Clothing expenses
  5. Meetings

Pastors & Friends, If you can help him, even in the smallest way, together we can see that Joseph completes his deputation in the shortest time possible so he can return to the mission field.  Most of all, please be in constant prayer for God’s provision, guidance and encouragement.

You can designate support for Joseph through Macedonia World Baptist Missions.  Please call or email me with any questions at 813-675-4879; jkotvas@efata.org.

Thank you once again for the many years of faithful support and encouragement to our entire family.

Bro. Joe


August Prayer Letter: Youth Missions Trip, Julianne's Engagement, & more!

What a great privilege it is to share the Lord's wondrous name with other nations! We thank God for the opportunity, and for the part you play with your prayers and financial support. We could name life after life that has been blessed in Him, such as Garry, Abram, Antonio, Mabel, Dora, and so many others. Click here to read our prayer letter.

In this letter:

  • Our young people recently went on a missions trip to the jungle city of Pucallpa...
  • Raymond Judd, Lisa's father, went to be with the Lord...
  • A precious little 8 year old deaf girl came from Pucallpa to begin studying in our deaf school...
  • Brother Matt McKendree and his wife Sara have been spearheading our annex ministry to the Deaf in Callao...
  • We are preparing for a new church plant in early 2014...
  • Joseph, our oldest, has applied to Macedonia World Baptist Missions to become a full-fledged missionary...
  • Julianne, 22, became engaged to a wonderful young man named Frank Miller...
  • James is starting his sophomore year at Baptist College of Ministry...
  • Jared, Judson, Joy, John, Joel & Jessica, are in school and growing up...
Read the full letter on our family's website!

Thank you again for praying for us and for participating in the ministry God has entrusted to us.


Joe & Lisa,Joseph, Julianne, James, Jared, Judson, Joy, John, Joel, Jessica, & Jennifer

April - May 2013 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

These past two months have been very busy in many ways at Efata Ministries.  We rejoice in what the Lord is doing in and through our service here in Peru.  I am thankful to God that He has counted me faithful in putting me in the ministry.

Ministry News

The new mission work in Tablada is doing great. We are averaging over 50 every Sunday.  We started the work in March and now are looking for another place to meet. The building we are renting is not large enough to house our growth. Please pray for God´s provision in this area.

On May 19th we celebrated the church’s 36th anniversary...

Read more on our website!

Church Anniversary

Family News

We enjoyed having James home for a few weeks from College. He just jumps in and helps anywhere he is needed.  It is nice to have the whole family together. We were able to update our family picture.

In May, Lisa and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary...

Read more on our website!

Click here to read the full prayer letter.

January - March 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

What an incredible first quarter this has been. We greatly rejoice in what the Lord is doing in our lives and ministry. Our desire is to walk in Christ as we serve the Lord here in Peru, truly making Christ known in ourselves!

In this letter:

  • New work in Tablada
  • Conferences
  • New Bible College
  • Beginning of the school year
  • Family updates
  • Special news from Julianne
  • Prayer needs

Read more on our website

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