Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pastor Scott Guhl visits Mexico, by Darwin Jackson

"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

Abraham Lincoln

Pastor Scott Guhl and brother Javier Fischer are with us for the week to investigate how their congregation (Vision of Glory Lutheran Church in Minneapolis) can come down and partner with us in ministry. They have partnered with us for some time in prayer and support, but are encouraged to take it one step further.

We now have a date for our first meeting to initiate a Sinaloa alliance of our congregations here in the state of Sinaloa. January 20th in Ceuta. Please keep this date and purpose before the Lord in prayer. We certainly don't have the wisdom to see this done without it.

Pray for my girls as they'll be alone for the next three days while were up in the camps.

The church in Rosario has a new family added to it. Actually there has been some restoration in some old relationships. They are very encouraged about this. Brother Ignacio continues to lead the congregation there. They really appreciate the prayers.

Thank you for "bending the knee" on our behalf. Your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Roof Damaged by Storm

You may recall the November’s flood in the area of India where we work. A cyclone devastated a large part of the state were we have churches. One of the churches had its roof blown completely off.

The World Missions Committee has made the roof of this church a special project. It is estimated that it will cost about $5,000. to replace the roof on this building.

A teaching team from the United States will be traveling to India in a few weeks. It would be wonderful if they could carry gifts from individuals and congregations to rebuild the place where these brothers and sisters worship.

Would you be willing to help? Could your congregation take up an offering? If so please send your gifts to:

AFLC World Missions
3110 East Medicine Lake Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55379

memo - Etheru Church Project

Thank you so much for your help. Any funds over what is needed will go to support the AFLC work in India.

Greetings from Ben Jore

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas! I'm sitting here writing this email in my brother and sister-in-law's (Nate and Rhoda's) house in Jinja, Uganda. My two nephews are running around with diapers and nothing else. The sun is beating through the window and there's sweat trickling down the back of my leg.

Hardly seems like Christmas, but the tree is up and there are presents under the tree. Most importantly, our Savior was born for those in tropics just as much as he was for everybody else! This is good news no matter what the weather is.

As it turns out, the last week of classes at Waama were canceled so that the students could plant corn in the school's fields. This means that finals had to be postponed until the first week of school in the second term. The timing of this unexpected break was very nice for Jesse and I as we were able to use it to gather the proper documentation for the renewal of our residency permits. We have still not received any information on them and would continue your prayers for them. It appears that if we do not receive them before we need to return to Tanzania, we will be able to get back into the country with a tourist visa. We will still need the residency permits, but they are not required before entering the country.

Jesse and I had a great trip up here. Last time we came to Uganda (late July), it took us 26 hours over horrible roads. This time it only took us 18 hours over much better roads. We praise God for that. We have had a great time here in Jinja, mostly just taking it easy and playing with the nephews. We have also had a little time for "the guys" -- white-water rafting the Nile! It was quite the adventure and a ton of fun. We all just about drowned, but had a great time doing it. :-)

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!


I apologize for sending this after Christmas. I couldn't get to an internet cafe before now.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Guess What Nate, Ben and Jesse Got for Christmas

Greetings from Uganda!! We are grateful our trip to visit Ben’s brother and family over the Christmas holiday has been able to go ahead as planned. We are also very grateful that the bus ride from Arusha, which took 26 hours when we came here in July, only took 18 hours this time around.

With regards to our residency issues, we were able to submit documents before we even left Mbulu. We believe these will enable our residency issues to be resolved quickly. Thank you so much for your prayers for all this.

Before leaving Waama, we were also able to participate in a meeting with the principal and other teachers to discuss the upcoming term and decide who will be responsible for teaching what classes. Ben and I will be continuing with many of our same classes (guitar, keyboard, sports education, and computer); however, we will be teaching new Bible courses. As you may recall, we were responsible for teaching the book of Philippians this first term. We will be teaching 1 & 2 Thessalonians as well as 1 John during this second term. It is definitely going to be more of a load but we are looking forward to it. Ben and I are planning on being back in Mbulu on January 6th but we will see when we actually get started with classes. The plan is to spend the first week doing the first-term finals which we were preempted by the corn planting.

So, for now, it is fun to be able to spend this time visiting Nate, Rhoda and the boys and see how well they are settling in to their new home, ministry, etc. We are also excited about celebrating Christmas in a home with a reasonable-sized Christmas tree! ☺ Today, Ben and I went to the market and got our Christmas shopping done and now we are watching the boys so Nate and Rhoda can get some things done in town.

Yesterday, as a Christmas gift to ourselves, Ben, Nate and I had a day of class-5 whitewater rafting down the Nile!! Yeah, it was pretty much amazing. In our boat we just had a bunch of crazy guys and our guide has been Uganda’s National Free-Style Kayak Champion…he was pretty much amazing…and took us through all the “best” places. It was a 31 km trip so we definitely got some sun (in between being flipped and tossed in the water…one of the tamer things we did was go over a nine-foot waterfall!). It was a crazy-good time…

So basically, I just wanted to send you all a final Christmas greeting. May it be a great time for you all and I pray the New Year ahead be full of all God’s best.

Keep up the good work no matter where God has placed you.

Merry Christmas from here to there…

In Him,

Jesse Long

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pray for the Work in Mexico

"All earthly things with earth will pass away; Prayer grasps eternity. Then pray, always pray!"

E. H. Bickersteth

We've been on a campaign of sorts within our Lutheran churches here to try to really unite them (they are called the Apostolic Lutheran Alliance). It's kind of a dilemma, this is really not my area of gifting or anything. But necessity has forced it upon us. Unless they take care of themselves, we will never be free to work at what we believe we're called to do, "go" to them who have yet to hear.

Had a great time with brother Genaro last week on the streets. We shared the Gospel with about twenty different people, and fifteen of them prayed to receive Christ. We had with us one of the students of Trinity Lutheran Collage who said that he seen tears from some who heard the old, old story. Pray for us as we head out again this Friday.

Thank you fellow workers for praying, we are seeing souls "grasp eternity, then pray, always pray!" (the picture is brother Jose from campo cinco... the sign above his post says house of God and heavens door)

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Greetings from Chmiel's

We hope you are all having a nice and peaceful Advent Season, preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior. We too are enjoying this time before Christmas. We did our last presentation at the beginning of December so now we are enjoying couple of weeks at home (before we travel to a training in Colorado at the end of this month).

We hope all of you got our Christmas newsletter in the mail this month. If anyone did not and would like to, please let us know! We would love to send you one.

If you are praying for us this month, please pray for:

  • Time for us to really celebrate the true meaning of Christmas
  • Packing – energy, strength and wisdom (what to pack, what to leave behind, what else to purchase before we leave etc.)
  • Safe trip to our missionary training in Colorado Springs, CO (we will be driving)
  • The training – that we would learn a lot and that we would be able to apply all that into our ministry in Ukraine
  • Visa – we are still waiting for our new US visa
  • Praise God for the 89% we already have in pledges and please pray for the remaining 11%
  • And also pray that God would prepare us and our hearts for this trip back to Europe – it will be the first time we will be in Europe together as a couple. The last time we were in Europe was before we were even dating. We have not even met each other’s families yet (except for our parents). We are also sure that Czech will not feel the same for us since we will not be moving back into our parents’ houses. But at the same time we know that our home is wherever the two of us are – last year it was Wisconsin, this year it is Minneapolis – so we believe that next year Lviv, Ukraine will naturally become our home. And we are really looking forward to that!

If you are interested to read more about our preparations for Ukraine, visit our website at


Tomasz and Miriam

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Greetings from Paul Abels

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! We rejoice in Jesus who was born to die, and died to live that we might be born again to live forever with Him! We are having a wonderful time preparing for Christmas in the U.S. this year. The sound of carols all around and the beauty of the lights warm our hearts.

The past two weekends we spent at uplifting Christmas concerts – first for Matthew at Hillcrest and then for Andrew at AFLBS. Both concerts honored Christ and turned our hearts to worship the Savior. We are so thankful for the opportunity our children have had to study at Christian schools and sing in great choirs. It is an extra bonus to be able to attend the concerts and see our sons participating in these special events. Both boys have had very positive experiences at school this semester and have done very well academically as well.

Christina arrived safely from Brazil today, soon to be followed by her fiancĂ©e Daniel on Sunday. Next week we travel to Hitterdal to be with the Abel gang for a couple of days. Christmas will be celebrated with the whole Dahlin family in Northfield. We will just be missing Joanna, Silvio and Deborah and our nephew Seth. Patricia, our Brazilian Bible School student, will also spend the holidays with us. We’re looking forward to a very special family time. We’re hoping for snow so that we can experience a traditional white Christmas.

Dec. 28 is quickly arriving when we plan to wing our way back to sunny Brazil. We have a prayer request for you. My Brazilian visa has been renewed but I need to pick it up personally in Brazil. I found out this week that in order to do this I will need to get a tourist visa to return to the country. Please pray that the visa would be granted and arrive in time for me to travel. Also pray for safe travels. As many of you know, the boys will be going to Brazil with us – Matthew to finish his junior year home schooling and Andrew to help out with the ministry.

Andrew was recently approved as a short-term assistant for six months through the AFLC. He will be helping with many projects and will soon send out a letter explaining his goals and dreams for ministry. We would appreciate your prayers and support for him as he joins us. You can just imagine how happy we are to have the chance to be together as family for a few more months!

On a sad note, our anticipation of being grandparents again was short-lived. Joanna had a miscarriage last week, so now one member of our family has preceded us to heaven. She and Silvio are doing fine and trust in God’s sovereignty. They are at peace and look forward to another baby in God’s timing.

We are glad to be finished with our traveling. We did 82 public mission presentations and 40 private showings of our Power Point presentation. We traveled 16,500 miles by car and few more thousand by air. We slept in many different beds and ate lots of wonderful food. The best part of our furlough, though, was being with people – old and new friends who reached out to us in love and interest in the work that God is doing in Brazil. Thank you to each one with whom we had the pleasure of spending time. Thank you, too, for willingly supporting us with your financial gifts and faithful prayers. We are happy to represent you as missionaries.

This week we had Mission Board meetings and sent out lots of letters. We still have some office work to finish up before we can just kick back and relax for a couple of days. One project we hope to work on is organizing the program for Children’s Camp which will happen soon after our arrival in Brazil. It is scheduled for Jan. 8-13. We need your prayers for wisdom, creativity, health, balance and lots of love for everyone who awaits us south of the equator.

We wish you a joyous Christmas celebration – joy does not depend on feeling happy, but on knowing the One who was born in a manger. May His joy be made complete in you as you look to Him. “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy complete.” I John 1:3-4

Our love and best wishes to you,

Paul and Becky

P.S. Last month our church in Bateias planned a missionary outreach to an unevangelized area in the “back 40.” They took a busload of people to spend a weekend visiting door-to-door and sharing in open air meetings. They stayed in a house with no electricity and no running water. They had a great experience and look forward to returning to do follow-up work. God’s plan for Christians includes moving out of our “comfort zone” to share with those who do not yet know Jesus.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Peace of God

Merry Christmas!! Is time flying by for everyone, or is it just me?! As I sit in our house here on campus, it is Friday afternoon (12/08) and the week ahead is already our last week of classes for this term!! Honestly, it has been a great time. Things just seem to be getting better as far as classes are concerned. In the practical classes like guitar, keyboard, and computer it is easy to see progress and in Philippians (which is the only Bible class we are responsible to teach), well…I just love it more every day…I don’t know if that is exactly how the students feel but I have sure been getting a lot out of it!

In class today, we covered the topic of ‘peace’ - peace with God, peace with others, and peace despite circumstances. My favorite section from the chapter is Philippians 4:6-7 (this was actually the section we had the students memorize from this chapter). It says, “Msijisumbue kwa neno lo lote; bali katika…” oh, sorry. Now in English, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS.” Wow. I will just let you think on that for a while…ok, if you want more, read Ephesians 3:13-22. It is real cool, too.

By way of more general update, did I tell you that Ben and I have also been put in charge of sports education? Basically, we coordinate, organize, and try to train during sports time. There are only three, one-hour, “sports” times per week, though, so they pretty much just end up being game time. Even so, it seems to be really good for everyone.

So, anyway, I guess they have done a lot of volleyball in the past but had loaned the net out to another group and were having some difficulties getting it back. Well, Ben and I thought maybe it was best to do something that THEY really want to do ;) and since we wouldn’t mind playing some volleyball every now and then either, we got a “back-up” net the last time we were in Arusha. Then, this past week, with the help of one of the other teachers and some students we got some nice “poles” (small trees), buried them real good, and set up the best net within hundreds of kilometers. (By the way, the other net has not yet been seen.) So I probably shouldn’t be making such a big deal about it, but we thought it was pretty cool and the students really liked their early Christmas present, too.

On a more serious note, the tractor was out today doing the initial plowing of some of the fields. We have received a lot of rain lately but it has dried out enough in the last couple days for the tractor to be out there. After this initial cultivating, the rest will be done by hand. I don’t think we will get it all done before everyone heads out for the holidays but they want to get a start on it, anyway.

For Ben and I, Christmas this year is going to be a little different…well, if that wasn’t stating the obvious….anyway, we are hoping to head for Arusha on Saturday, December 16, then catch a bus from there to Uganda the next day. We are very excited to spend Christmas with Ben’s older brother, Nate, and his family who arrived in Uganda at the beginning of November as long-term missionaries. Especially here in the village, you would never know that Christmas is coming. There are no Christmas trees, lights, or other decorations. We have been singing a few Christmas hymns in our morning chapel services but that is about it. Really, Ben and I keep saying how little it feels like Christmas. At the same time, we couldn’t stand to not have anything at our house, especially a tree…so yeah - it finally got all decorated this week. I will include a picture.

As far as items for prayer, I just got an email this past week from the people working with immigrations on our behalf saying that for some reason our paperwork for residency is being held up. I am not sure what exactly the deal is but I passed the issue along to those here that know what is going on and am just praying for a miracle. It is one of those things that would be nice to have all worked out before we make the trip to Uganda. Our visas are still good and I think it is just a residency issue. Thanks for praying about that.

Keep the prayers going with regards to a car, too. We have had a lot of potential leads, all of which have fallen through. All we can do is trust that the best one for us will become available in God’s perfect time. We have heard of one that we are supposed to be able to see this week…I will let you know if it actually happens. So far, we have only been able to see one other truck in person. Unfortunately, the person selling it then decided they were going to hang on to it for now. The word on the street is that four-door Toyota pick-ups (like we are looking for) are supposed to be getting harder to find all the time and more expensive too, but we just keep trusting and doing what we can. I have probably said this before but I really think we are getting close now. Thanks again for continued prayers!

One more thing: we appreciate any prayers as we give finals this week. Pray for the students, too. Pray also that God would bless the time they will have at home for the holidays after several months away from their families.

Ok, well, I think I have gone on long enough for this time around. You all are a blessing to me in so many ways. Thanks to those who have written notes, called, texted, or sent packages. You all are too much! God bless you this holiday season and in the New Year ahead.

With love from Africa,


PS – I am also including a picture of me with our new ‘Jesus’ film sound system for those of you who have not been on our blog ( lately. The little speakers in front are what we previously used…believe it or not, it’s quite the improvement. ☺

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Missionaries Todd and Barb Schierkolk Home on Furlough in 2007

The Todd Schierkolk’s will be on furlough from their post in Jerez, Mexico next year. They plan to come to the United States in time for the Free Lutheran Youth Convention the first of July and return to Mexico September 30, 2007. At this time their furlough calendar is filled with Bible camps and visits to congregations.

Pastoral Training in India

The majority of pastors in the AFLC of India are lay pastors in need of theological training. With the input of Dr. Francis Monseth, AFLC World Missions developed a six year pastoral training program. Each year four courses are taught by pastors and teachers from the United States and Canada. This year Pastor Jim and Linda Fugleberg, Pastor Del and Karen Palmer, Pastor David W. Johnson and Pastor Gerald Peterson will be traveling to India January 26 through February 11, 2007.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Greetings from Ben Jore

It is hard to believe, but we are one week away from finishing our first term here at Waama Bible College. It seems like we just arrived here at Waama and already we are writing final tests and trying to get all the missing work and tests accounted for. Amazing. God's faithfulness has definitely been evident in so many ways. We continue to thank God for all of you and the vital role you play over here.

Since my last update, things have continued pretty much the same.

Classes have continued to go well, getting easier every day. We are also making more and more friends and are becoming able to talk about things below the surface (as our lack of language totally inhibited it earlier). We are excited to be here and desperately want to be totally fluent in Swahili! God has been gracious to us in so many ways. He has especially been gracious with the weather, giving us lots of early rain and then a break this past week so the fields could dry out enough to plow them (with the tractor). The rest of the work is done by hand. In fact, the students have started planting today.

Our plans for Christmas include going to Uganda to visit my brother, Nate, his wife, Rhoda, and their family. We are very excited for this but are trying not to think about the 24 hour bus rides ahead of us! It will be good to get away for a while, have a change of scenery, and to visit with family over Christmas Break.

We do have a couple prayer requests you can be praying for...
  • Praise that God has almost gotten us through one whole semester!
  • Continued prayer for a vehicle. We have had some good leads, but they have all fallen through. We continue to trust God for the perfect vehicle at the perfect time.
  • Prayer for Jesse and I as we go to Uganda. It is a very long, potentially dangerous trip. Pray for God's mercy on us. Our current travel plans are leaving this Friday and arriving Monday afternoon.
  • Prayer for our visa/residency permit situation. We turned in our paperwork for our new residency permits over 2 months ago. They still have not been renewed and now our first ones have expired. Pray for wisdom and that God would grant us favor in the eyes of the government officials here.
Thanks so much for your prayers and God bless you all this Christmas season,


Friday, December 08, 2006

The Tested Ingredients

World Missions Committee Member, Craig Wentzel shares the following devotional.

As we get closer to the holidays, I especially miss my Mom and Grandma these last few years. They used to make certain kinds of food that no one else makes anymore. My Grandma used to make “Mock Cherry Pie” for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When they were first married, she told my Grandpa that she was going to make it for their first Thanksgiving. He wasn’t sure that was such a good idea, but she did anyway and this cranberry-raisin pie became his favorite and she made it for our family gatherings every year from then on.

Sometimes, when the older generation passed away, we lose their knowledge of how to make the good, favorite , foods we have loved!

Also, we, as the 21st century church of Jesus Christ, have lost the knowledge of how to live the Christian life in the old, powerful, ways of the 1st century church.

As I read the wedding of Cana story recently, I was impressed with how Jesus used a miracle to meet an everyday need = more refreshments for a wedding party! And I longed for Jesus to do everyday miracles again,…in MY life! As I looked, at the story, I realized that the “recipe” for allowing Jesus to do miracles was right there in His Word! There are 3 ingredients:

The 1st ingredient is that JESUS HAS TO BE INVITED!
Jesus was available because He had already been invited! (Jn. 2:1-2) He was present as a welcome guest. Sometimes, people call upon Him for a miracle when they have never had any contact with Him before! Jesus is already present in OUR lives if we have invited Him in, at some point, and made Him “welcome”. Perhaps, He has been welcome since our baptism!

Mary, His mother, said to Him, “’They have no wine.’” Mary brought the need of the wedding party (and maybe her own need, as having certain responsibilities at the wedding) to her Son because she KNEW He could do something about it! “’Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the LORD of hosts; “I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.”’” All we have to do is bring our needs to Jesus, as He invites us to: “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

The 3rd ingredient is LEAVE IT IN HIS HANDS!
His mother said: “’Whatever He says to you, do it.’” She knew He not only COULD do something about it, but that He WOULD! So she left it in HIS hands! She told the servants to do whatever He wanted them to do. We have to let Jesus handle our need in HIS way! And He will do a miracle with it! He took an ordinary need, like we might experience any day (running out of something) and did a miracle with it! He changed ordinary water into wine…something we wouldn’t ever think of! And it was an abundant answer = 120-180 gallons of wine! And it was the best quality answer = the wine was better than anything the wedding couple could come up with!

How does this “recipe” work when WE try it today?

One Sunday night in April, 1912, an American woman was very tired, but she couldn’t sleep because of a great feeling of fear that came over her. Finally, she felt burdened to pray for her husband who was somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic., bound for home. She kept on praying in agany until about 5 o’clock in the morning. Then a great peace came over her and she slept.

Meanwhile, her husband, Colonel Gracie, was among the hundreds trying frantically to launch lifeboats from the doomed Titanic which had struck an iceberg. He had given up all hope of saving himself and was doing his best to help the women and children. He wised he could get a last message to his wife and cried from his heart, “’Good-bye, my darling.” As the ship plunged to her watery grave, he was sucked down in the giant whirlpool and he instinctively began to swim underwater. Suddenly, he came to the surface and found himself near an over-turned life boat. Along with several others, he climbed aboard and was picked up by another lifeboat about five in the morning, just the time that peace came to his praying wife!

May the Lord do miraculous things with OUR needs this holiday season!

Receiving God's Word With Great Joy

We may have so many Bibles around our house that we take owning a copy for granted. This simple thank you letter brings home the fact that possessing a copy of God's Word is a tremendous blessing.

Dear friends at Arlington,

The gift for Bibles was received and I was able to purchase 31 Bibles in the Luganda language. After discussing it with the pastors we decided to distribute them as follows: Each pastor received one (there are 6 pastors), seven congregations received two each, and each preaching station is to receive one when one of the pastors visits them.

The week following the distribution, I asked the pastors how they had been received. The congregation at Kiboyo had only two Bibles for the entire congregation prior to the gift and so they were very excited to receive their two Bibles. They came up with a program for rotating the Bibles between the families from the church. Each of the other congregations had similar reports of gratitude and eagerness.

Most of the church members live off the land and do not have much cash flow, if any. Purchasing Bibles is a very difficult thing for them.

Thank you again for blessing the people here in this way.

Nate Jore

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Making Your Contribution Count

A tax preparer from one of our congregations passed on this tip to make your contribution count for now and eternity. It is quoted from an article out the the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The article quotes Mike Rogers of 360 Financial in Minneapolis as he discribes a recently signed act.

This can be used for charitable contributions to your chruch or to missions.

"The law also gives charitable minded seniors a little relief. It allows individuals older than 70½ to contribute IRA money directly to charities without paying income taxes on the distributions. In fact, if you are so inclined, you can donate your entire required minimum distribution to charity tax-free.

"If you're over 70½ and are required to take minimum distributions, we recommend that you stop writing checks to charities from your personal account and donate directly through your IRA," Rogers said. "That can save you a lot in income taxes."

But that rule is in effect only for 2006 and 2007 — unless legislators vote to make the change permanent."

Sancitity of Life Conferences Reach Many Hearts in Eastern Europe

This report comes from our friends at East European Missions Network.

Pastor Don Richman, who recently returned from Eastern Europe, reported that the Sanctity of Life ministry has been catching momentum. Through the several conferences held in Russia and Latvia this past October, many hearts were reached with the Gospel’s message of truth, grace and forgiveness.

Every fall for the last three years, EEMN and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR) plans a major pro-life seminar held at a local Lutheran parish. The timing for these seminars corresponds to the yearly visit of Pastor Don Richman, one of the founding board members of Lutherans For Life and their foreign liaison, who is the key speaker.

This year, the open seminar was held at Resurrection Lutheran in Pushkin. The first Spiritual Care Training Seminar, intended to focus on practical ministry training for postabortion counseling, was held at the ELCIR Seminary, located near St. Petersburg. Participants from each of Ingria’s six districts (St. Petersburg, West Ingermanland, Karelia, Volga, Ural and Siberia), attended the three day training seminar. Pastor Don Richman, Pastor Leif Camp, and Carolyn Rice led the seminars and practical experience sessions for counseling. Additionally, conferences were held in Riga, Latvia near the end of October.

Pastor Richman also reported with thanksgiving that several pastors and many attendees were reached with the important messages that were shared.

Visit their website for more reports–

Faithful Supporter of Missions Goes Home

Theresa Enderlein went home to be with the Lord on Saturday. Theresa has been a faithful monthly supporter of children in our India orpahnage for nearly 25 years. She is the mother of the former AFLC World Missions Director, Rev. Gene Enderlein.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a Rainy Christmas - Jores

We have sure gotten rain, rain and more rain these past few weeks and our garden is loving it! Nate planted a bunch of vegetables a few weeks ago and we've been seeing life already from our peas, zucchini and tomato's. Over Christmas we're hoping to plant a bunch of fruit trees, bushes and flowers around our compound. It sure is strange to think that Christmas is just a few weeks away as we look out our windows and see lush greenness. We've seen a few scraggly little Christmas trees for sale around town, so we will hopefully purchase one soon and try to make it look as festive as possible. Maybe Jesus' birth will take on a new significance for us this year as we celebrate without the many material aspects of Christmas that often distract us back home. Last night we attended a missionary gathering at a neighbor's house and enjoyed a potluck and a time of singing Christmas carols. It was very encouraging for both of us.

We have all taken turns battling intestinal bacterial infections this past week and a half and everyone has just about fully recovered. It hasn't been easy to watch our little guys get so sick, but they have impressed us with how well they've handled it. Don't feel that your prayers for our physical health have been in vain. In everything we pray, we conclude by saying "not my will, but Yours be done." In this case I believe it was the Lord's will for us to endure hardship as already we can see how He has used it to teach us to trust in Him more. In dealing with sickness it is so easy to be "scientific" in our thinking and to leave God out of the picture. We have been reminded of those around us who don't have money to see the doctor or buy medicine. Their only option is to pray and trust the Lord. Shouldn't we who do have money to see the doctor also learn to pray and trust the Lord? It has been a good lesson for us. Also, we have seen a new maturity and tender spirit emerge in Elijah. He is learning about God being our Great Healer and he is learning the importance of laying hands on each other and praying for healing when we're sick.

An update on Sarah and Tomboni…

We have not seen Tomboni for several weeks now because the security company we hired from rotates their guards, which we were not aware of until a different guard showed up after Tomboni had been with us for a week. However, the guard that we've had for the past few weeks has not been reliable (Nate caught him sleeping on the job a few times) so Nate visited the security company today and requested that they send Tomboni to us again. Continue to pray for his salvation and for opportunities for us to share Christ with him!

Sarah and I have had several good conversations about faith and family and life. The other day she mentioned that her husband is a Christian, which was a surprise! (She is a Muslim) It has become apparent to us that she is not a very devout Muslim though. The other day, she and I were washing and drying dishes together and she said casually, "I think that I will very soon become a Christian because now my father is no longer living and he was the one that was so against me converting." Please pray that her decision would not just be a matter of "changing religions", but that she would truly believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that she would desire to know and obey God.

We pray that you will each be blessed as you celebrate this time of Jesus' birth with your loved ones.

In gratefulness,

Rhoda (for Nate too)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Encouragement from Jessie

Dear friends,

“What more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again, And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, THAT THEY MIGHT RECEIVE A BETTER RESURRECTION. Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – OF WHOM THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, AND THE SIN WHICH SO EASILY ENSNARES US, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 11:32-12:2)

Does that do anything for you?! I’ll be real honest, it makes me want to go out and do something crazy for God!! However, that is not necessarily what you or I are called to. What we are called to, though, is faithfulness. Today, Ben and I taught on Philippians 3:17-21 and had as the theme of the class “The Importance of an Eternal Focus.” I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What is the focus of my life?” Seriously, how shameful is it that people up to the very time in which we live have sacrificed so much for the sake of Jesus and so often I am not even willing to let go of “the sin that so easily ensnares us”?

I want to share a more modern story I recently read of courage, eternal focus, and unshakable faith. I love it. These people are a couple heroes of mine. I will share it basically as I read it. The story is of John Brown who was married to Isabel Weir in 1682 in Scotland. John was a firm Christian, bold in his conviction that Christ was the head of the church rather than the King of England. At the time, this was a less-than-popular position to hold.

Three years after their wedding, on the morning of May 1, 1685, John Graham of Claverhouse arrived with a group of soldiers. Graham gave John Brown an opportunity to repent of his conviction. Brown refused. “Then go to your prayers, for you shall immediately die,” said Graham. Brown prayed, turned to his wife Isabel and said, “You see me summoned to appear, in a few minutes, before the court of heaven, as a witness in our Redeemer’s cause, against the Ruler of Scotland. Are you willing that I should part from you?”

“HEARTILY WILLING,” said Isabel. John took her into his arms, kissed her good-bye, then kissed his baby boy. He knelt down before his two-year-old daughter, kissed her and said, “My sweet child, give your hand to God as your guide; and be your mother’s comfort.” When he rose, his last words were to God: “Blessed be Thou, O Holy Spirit, that speaks more comfort to my heart than the voice of my oppressors can speak terror to my ears!”

Captain Graham of Claverhouse was enraged at John Brown’s godly courage. He ordered six of his soldiers to shoot him where he stood. The soldiers stood motionless, refusing the order. The furious Graham drew his own pistol and shot Brown through the head. With cruelty that is difficult to imagine, he turned to Isabel and asked, “What thinkst thou of thy husband now, woman?” I have always thought well of him,” the widow replied, “but never more than now.”

Whether God calls us to serve Him in a professional setting, a ministry setting, to live for Him or die for Him, may He give each one of us a love for Him and a dedication that would be a testimony to the world that so desperately needs Him.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I just wanted to remind you all that our “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:21)…so, live like it!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Friday, December 01, 2006

La Crosse Youth Workers Going to Uganda

Have you ever wondered what Jesus’ disciples were thinking when He told them to distribute the five loaves of bread and two fish to a crowd of 5,000 men and their families? It is an impossible task for man to even comprehend. It doesn’t make much sense to feed that many people with so little food. However, the disciples were faithful and obedient to Jesus. Isn’t that what God asks for, our faithfulness to Him and our obedience to the things He asks us to do? As a result of the disciples’ obedience, Jesus glorified His Father inheaven. Those five thousand plus people experienced the Glory of God, and witnessed one of Jesus’ miracles.

Perhaps the disciples thought a few things:
  1. God is greater than what we can see or understand
  2. When Jesus asks us to do something, we do it out of obedience
  3. Our desire and longing for God would be encouraged and strengthened.
It all started with Jesus asking the disciples to do His work.

God has called us to a short-term mission trip to the country of Uganda, Africa. It is with God’s leading that we have to come to peace in saying “yes” to His call. As we were praying through whether or not we should go, God opened door after door for us. We saw His hand move in our lives to guide us through that process. Out of our love for God and our obedience to Him, we knew it was God’s plan for us. We are excited to share that plan with you.

We will be leaving for Entebbe, Uganda, on Saturday, March 10th, 2007, and will be returning to the States on Sunday, March 25th. More specifically, we will be in the city of Jinja on the north shore of Lake Victoria. Approximately 106,000 people live in Jinja,which now includes missionaries Nate and Rhoda Jore, who moved there earlier last month. Nate and Rhoda have been called to teach pastors and to train the people there to reach out to non-Christians. Our hope and prayer is that we can come along side them to encourage and build them up in the short time we will be there. We will have the opportunity to stay with the Jores as their first visitors in Uganda. They have expressed to us their excitement for our trip and have told us how much it will lift their spirits in this time of transition. We hope to help with projects around the house, play some board games, and simply encourage them in the Lord. Of course, we also want to be able to gain some first-hand experience of the work the Lord is doing in and around Jinja. During part of our trip, we will get to stay with a local family. We can’t think of a better way to learn about the culture and get an idea of what life is like in Uganda. We look forward to the Christian fellowship we will have with that family. We also plan to visit a couple of orphanages and spend some time with the children and workers there. Daniel will have the opportunity to meet with one of the seminary students, too, in order to have some time of discipling and mentoring. We want to be able to come home as witnesses to the things that God is already doing in the lives of the people of Jinja.

We want to ask you to consider joining us in prayer for our mission to Uganda. God tells us in His Word that when we pray to Him, His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus (Phil 4:6-7). We desire the prayer cover of our family and friends in regards to our trip. If you would be willing to pray for us, we will send you an updated prayer report twice a month through email. Those prayer reports will have updates on our mission as well as specific prayer requests. Please pray and consider this opportunity to be part of God’s work with us.

As with many mission trips across the sea, the financial expense of it is certainly a large part. The total cost for both of us to go is estimated at $4,000 - $4,500. As we were praying through whether or not we should go, we asked God for financial peace. Peace that only He could give that would the provision would be there. We have that peace. However, we still need your help. Would you consider financially supporting our mission? We have taken some steps in our own finances, so we would be able to put aside as much as we can. The biggest need is our plane tickets. We have been blessed to work with a Christian travel agent who books mission trips for people. As a part of that, we have until January 18th to pay the balance. The rest of the cost will go towards our time in Jinja (food, Jores, car travel). If you would like to support us financially, please write your check to “Christ Is LordFree Lutheran Church,” who will be handling the finances of our trip. Your gift will be taxdeductible. Simply note in the memo line, “Keinanen’s Uganda Mission.” Please pray and consider this opportunity to give to God’s work.

If you would like to contact us with any questions about our mission, feel free to either call us at 608.779.0686 or email us at Please email us if youwould like to be added to our prayer chain email list.We know that this mission trip will benefit us in many ways. We are very excited about the opportunity God has given us. Our hope is that many others will be blessed as well. Likethe disciples that witnessed the feeding of five thousand, we want to witness what God will do through our mission to Uganda.
Sincerely,Daniel & Kelly Keinanen

Praying for Darwin Jacksons

"Christ stands between us, and we can only get in touch with our neighbours through Him. That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbours, and corporate prayer offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of fellowship."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of our goals before our home assignment begins in April is to unite our churches in such a way that they can help build up and encourage one another as well as work together to evangelize and make disciples. This will be a continuing theme for prayer in the months to come. Pray especially for Juan V., Lupe. C. and me as we meet together to pray, strategize and work toward this goal. Pray for a conference to be held here in Sinaloa as well.

Pray for Genaro and I as we begin Evangelism Explosion training and making evangelistic visits on Fridays. Also for Ismael and I to begin visitation in campo Ceuta.

Pray for Paul Gossman's group of youth from Trinity Bible Collage (formerly the Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle) as they study and practice language training for a couple of weeks.

Thank you for your "purest form of fellowship" as we work together to win and make disciples here in Mexico. Your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

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