Saturday, December 29, 2007

Check out Schierkolk's Christmas Newsletter

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (ESV)

Dear family and friends, Boarder Crossings

Feliz Navidad from Mexico! We hope your Christmas is filled with all the joy and light and hope that God intended for this season from the time it began. Those first wise men probably didn’t know it but the King they went looking for as they followed the light of that star over Bethlehem was the Light of the world Himself. Even today Jesus is still working to bring any who so desire, out of the darkness into the warm light of His love and grace. . .

To see the Schierkolk's entire Christmas Newsletter click here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chmiel's Christmas Newsletter

Year 2007 was the year when it happened—we moved to Ukraine!!

After many years of prayer and preparations we are here! It has not been without difficulties and cultural adjustments, but we are very happy to be here! We already told you about the first half of
our year in our summer newsletter. But here is something like “The Year 2007 in Pictures”

To read the entire newsletter in PDF format click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Paul Abel's Christmas Greeting

The year 2007 was a special year for us to celebrate with family. The boys were home for the first half of the year, both sets of parents visited us, Christina was married, we welcomed Sarah Christina into our family on October 12, and Matthew is coming home for Christmas! We also rejoice in the special church family God has given us here in Brazil. In addition to our activities with our churches and camp, we have had opportunities to travel to other congregations and to be involved with our Bible School and seminary in Campo Mourão. The world is full of wonderful people! Yet, we often see the results of sin in our world and the “not-so-wonderful” side of life. We are committed to pointing the way to Jesus, the only One who can transform people for now and eternity. We hope you have experienced this new life in Christ. May you have a special Christmas with family and friends!

Read the Abel's complete December newsletter by clicking here.

Christmas Greetings from Jesse Long - Tanzania

Dear friends and family,

Minutes after sending my last update, I received word that a dear friend, who was also one of my most faithful prayer warriors, had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Leaving a very big void here on earth with those she loved, Sandy Andrie doubtlessly received a champion’s welcome when she arrived at Jesus’ side on November 30th, 2007, and heard the words we all look forward to hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

What a powerful reminder this has been to me to praise God for the many people He has placed around me who, just like Sandy, have had an eternal impact on my life and its direction. Thank you for your part!! Furthermore, it is difficult to receive news of the death of a loved one (especially as we come to the end of 2007) without being challenged to re-evaluate one’s focus in life and goals for the year ahead. God help us all live with a focus on eternity like these heroes of the faith!

I would like to use most of this update to praise God for the many ways He has showed Himself faithful in my life and in this ministry over the past 12 months.

  • Praise God for preserving the life of my new brother-in-law, Dary, when he was shot in Iraq on March 5th and God’s continued hand of healing on his body since that time.
  • Praise God for Dary and my sister, Anna’s, wedding which took place in Washington, D.C. on April 7th.
  • Praise God for my opportunity to be back in the States and re-unite with family and friends over the summer.
  • Praise God for the opportunity my brother, Joe, has to study at the Bible School in Minneapolis this year.
  • Praise God for the estimated 12,500 people in Tanzania and 8,000 people in Uganda who have seen the Jesus Film in 2007 alone.
  • Praise God for over 300 Bibles that have been given away this year. (This is also a huge tribute to the generosity of many of you!)
  • Praise God for the 90+ students who have had opportunity to study here at Waama over the past 12 months.
  • Praise God for His abundant provision (through many of you) which has enabled all of these things to become a reality and has now also allowed Ben and me to return here to Tanzania for a second year.
  • Praise God for the Schierkolk family who blessed us with a visit shortly after our return in September.
  • Praise God for all His spiritual blessings in our lives over the past year.
  • Praise God for the champions of the faith (including many of you) who, like Sandy Andrie, He has raised up to be examples and role models for me and my generation.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. Furthermore, I am sure you could make lists of your own. I would like to close with a quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book titled God’s Guidance – A Slow and Certain Light. As I recently read this book, I found myself very much relating to these words:

“It has usually happened that a place God has put me has proved to be (sometimes quite in contrast to my expectation) a place of contentment. I have looked at others and said, ‘How do they stand it?’ and then, finding myself in a similar place, in the will of God, I had the answer. It is a great thing to know you are where you belong.”

How true! And this is one of the things I praise God for the most as I look back on this past year.

Let me say again what a blessing each of you have been to me. Thank you so much for your part in my life and in this work here in Tanzania through your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement, and support. Have a blessed Christmas and may God richly bless each one of you in 2008!

With much love and gratefulness,

Jesse Long
Mbulu, Tanzania

I am also hoping to have some new pictures on the blog very soon. Be sure to stop by when you get a chance!! http://benandjesse.blogspot.com

Christmas Greetings from the Steve Kvales

Note: The Steve Kvales are members of the AFLC Church in Pipestone, Minnesota. They have have been accepted as AFLC Missionaries on loan to Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Dear AFLC Family,

From our heart to yours we send our love, Merry Christmas and wish for you a blessed 2008!

Our hope is in the Lord. Our peace is known in Christ. He is the author of our faith.

Whether you are grieving, healing, or celebrating this Christmas, His unfailing love and promises are yours. Isaiah 55:12 "For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."

What wonderful things are in His Word! Personally from God who cares about every detail of our lives. May His Word one day reach every people, every land and every language.

We are thankful for you!

Love and Prayers,
The Kvales

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Miriam Chmiel out of the Hospital

Thank you so much to all of you who wrote to us after you received our November prayer update. It means a lot to us to know that so many of you care. THANK YOU!!!

After the hard month of November, we somehow thought that December would be a little easier. We were slowly starting to get better and we were actually starting to look forward to Christmas. Little did we know that this year’s trials were not yet to be over. Yes, we got to experience something we had always said we would never do—we got to spend a week in a Ukrainian hospital!

In the past (especially after we saw a Ukrainian hospital when pani Maria was there), we always said that if we ever needed to go to a hospital, we would go to Poland or another EU country. But last Saturday it all happened so quickly that there was not time for going anywhere else. Miriam started having severe abdominal pain and when we went to a private clinic to see what was wrong, they said we had to go to a hospital immediately. They told us which hospital to go to, so we did. We really did not know what else to do. It was a “regional hospital” and it seemed like it was a hospital that was free for Ukrainians and could not refuse anyone.

When we got there, it was obvious that this hospital would be very different from what we know from the States or the Czech Republic. But most of the doctors and nurses were nice and friendly even though they had to work in really hard conditions. God blessed us with a doctor who was pretty patient with our questions and concerns. In Ukraine, most doctors are not used to explaining things to their patients. They are doctors, they know everything and who are you to ask… But we were not willing to let the doctors do anything without us understanding what exactly was happening. So it was a little bit of a cross-cultural experience for both sides.

We were able to get a small private room where Tomasz could sleep on the floor. It was comforting to Miriam to know that she did not have to go through all this alone. Otherwise the whole experience was pretty scary—Miriam was in a lot of pain, she did not know how much of the doctors’ medical judgment she could trust, everyone spoke a language she did not 100% understand, they were giving her shots and running tests without telling her what they were doing…

It is hard to describe the whole experience in a way that would help you picture what it was like. There were some things that we could not believe at first but then we realized that indeed that was the reality. There was no hot water anywhere in the hospital so it was impossible for the patients to shower or to even really wash. (We did not really want to know where the doctors and nurses washed their hands…) There was no water at all from about 10pm till 5am so if you got sick at night, well… tough luck… Some days there was no water even during the day and when we mentioned something about how hard it was, our doctor was trying to be sympathetic but at the same time it was obvious that not being able to shower was really a minor detail compared to the doctors’ not knowing how many more surgeries they had water for. There was no ultrasound at the gynecology ward and many other things were… let’s say “different”.

In Ukrainian hospitals, you buy your own medication, syringes, needles and everything else. Your doctor tells you what to get, you go to a pharmacy, get what you need, bring it back and then they give you your shots, IVs or whatever you need. Tomasz made quite a few trips to the hospital pharmacy this past week .

One thing we did not really get to experience was hospital food. Thanks to our friends and fellow missionaries, Josh and Kelsie, we had a homemade meal every day. Well, Tomasz did… :) Miriam was not able to eat much for the first three or four days but then she too was thankful for Kelsie’s cooking. Also when Josh and Kelsie heard that we needed to go to the hospital last Saturday, Josh came right away to help us with any language problems we might have (his Ukrainian is great!!!). What a blessing to have friends like that!

Even though the hospital was definitely not up to the US or EU standards, we still expected to be charged for the week-long stay, all the medical attention, our private room, a lot of blood tests etc… Tomasz went to the ATM machine to be ready to pay our hospital bill when the doctor came and told us that we owed $7! We thought we did not understand her correctly, but we did. Yes, the bill was $7!!! We do have insurance that should reimburse us for our medical expenses while in Ukraine, but with bills like these, we’d have to be in a Ukrainian hospital for almost a year to even meet our deductible.

Well, we could probably tell you more but if you’d like to see more, visit our picture gallery at http://www.chmiels.com/gallery/.

Thank you again for all your prayers!!!

Blessings, Tomasz and Miriam

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” - Romans 8:28

December Update from Dan Giles Jr.

Hello friends and family,

Thank you so much for your prayer support. We really appreciate you!!!

About a month ago we were thinking that it was time to go back to the United States and start again with our life. We wanted to provide some stability for our two daughters. At the same time we received a called from Pastor Todd Shierkolk to stay and help with the youth. After praying for a long time we felt God's direction to stay and serve the Lord here in Jerez.

We agreed to stay for another two years. Please pray that the Lord will use us in those two years. We have many ideas of things we would like to do.

We want to start a young mom's ministry, Vacation Bible School in the summer and one night of prayer and worship in the church during the week.

Since we are staying for two more years, we need our own place to live. We have been living with Dan and Debbie because we never thought that we were going to stay more than a few months, but since we are staying, we would need our own place. That means that we have to start all over again, but we trust that God will provide everything that we need. We would like to be able to bring our things here since most of our belongings are in Wisconsin, so please pray that God would provide our financial needs.

Prayer requests:

  • That God would provide all of our financial needs according to His will.
  • A home for our family.
  • That we can bring our things to Jerez.
  • That God will use us these two years.
  • Health and happiness for our family.

Praises:

  • A young lady from the church (Nena) repented from living in sin with a man, and came back to Christ and to the church. Pray for her faith and her 4 children.
  • Abril and Cesar (a young couple from our church) are growing spiritually greatly. Cesar is encouraging the family every day to read the Bible and pray.
  • Bety (a young mom from the church) is really opening up to the Lord and to us, for the first time ever in 5 years.
  • Almost the whole youth group comes on Sundays to church. Before they weren't even allowed to come to the youth group, and now they come to everything. The youth group now is in charge of cleaning the church every Saturday. We are so exited to see them grow. Praise the Lord.

We believe that we will soon have a revival in the church, and that God is about to save more people in Jerez. Please pray that we can listen to God's voice when He talks to us.

Thank you so much for your prayer support.

In Him,

Dan, Marcela, Ari, and Andy Giles
P.S. See more updates at gilesupdate.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Update from Darwin Jacksons

"All is windy about us now,
but the wind will not last always.
The waves beat into our boat;
but when the Lord says,
Peace, be still, they will lie down.
Let all your prayer for us be
that we may rest in the will of God
while the wind lasts."

Amy Carmichael

Were just about done preparing Mary Ann's moms house to sell. I'm down to having only the kitchen left. It'll be good to have this year behind us. It was good to visit so many of you, even though I didn't have my girls with me. It was tough watching Mary Ann's mom deteriorate and die. As I write my brothers wife Pam is having emergency surgery done on her eyes. She had a terrible headache a couple of days ago. After three visits to the hospital, a spinal tap, Cat scan, and numerous other tests they found after she went blind in one eye that it's glaucoma. So they're trying to save the other eye. Please pray for her, and my brother Lenny, that both of them wouldn't resist the Lord any longer and call out to Him.

It looks like I'll be making a trip, Lord willing, to Mazatlan near the end of January to show a new missionary couple around. It looks like we may have a place to live there in Nogales, we'll know for sure in another week or so.

Gracie's second surgery went well and she is now running around like normal only after a couple of weeks. The picture is Gracie and her friend from Church and school Vanessa at Gracie's Birthday.

Oh, "the waves beat into our boat; but when the Lord says, Peace, be still, they will lie down." May the Prince of Christmas Peace keep you all in His joy this Christmas.

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

Friday, December 14, 2007

Greeting's from Chmeils

We wanted to use this opportunity to thank you for your support in the year of 2007. God used you this past year to make it possible for us to leave Minnesota and start a new home and ministry here in Ukraine. We have seen God at work so many times this past year:
  • when finishing our fundraising
  • when moving to Ukraine
  • when looking for an apartment
  • when starting our language studies
  • when learning to interact with Ukrainian people.

Thank you so much for standing behind us this past year! We would not be able to take these big steps in our lives without your prayers and support. If you would like to see more of our Ukrainian life, visit www.chmiels.com/gallery. Or write us at chmiel@eemn.org – we would love to hear from you!

Thank you and God bless you,
Pastor Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel,
Ukraine

Christmas Greetings from Tim Hinrichs

It’s only been a month since our last newsletter but so much has happened since September … The Bible school year started. We opened a new branch in central Poland. As of today, we have 63 students total in Bible school. This has exceeded all of our expectations as we see the blessing of the Lord! Yes, when it rains it pours… And we’re opening up a new ministry in downtown Kraków, presenting an evangelistic service utilizing the young people who will help us lead the singing. In some ways this outreach has a “street ministry” flavor. You just never know who can be impacted or touched.

Please continue to pray for us as we lead this new effort … We pray that the word would get out among university students as well as foreigners living in the city.

Blessings in Christ,
The Hinrichs

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Miriam Chmiel in Hospital


Please pray for Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel, AFLC missionaries on loan to East European Missions Network, who are now serving in Ukraine. Miriam has been hospitalized with severe abdominal pain since Saturday. Miriam also miscarried a baby a few weeks ago. Pray for a correct diagnosis and treatment and healing for Miriam and God's peace and protection over the Chmiels.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Prayer Update from Ingrid Giles

Dear Friends,

We had a very blessed Thanksgiving this year. And God blessed the Sunday of that weekend, by filling the church with 49 people – that's more than we've had in a long time, and it was just a normal Sunday!

It is pretty cold in the morning now – typically around 40 degrees when I get up. Last night we got our first delivery of firewood, so we lit a fire for warmth this morning. It was wonderful!

I'd like to remind you all that I have a website where I sometimes post news at: http://ingrid.zrgtech.com. My parents have just started a blog as well, where their prayer supporters can keep up with their news. The address is www.gilesupdate.blogspot.com . I haven't had a chance to post the pictures of the Tabasco flood relief project online yet, but they have two pictures of it on their blog, if you want to see them.

Please keep praying for Claudia and Amilcar Gamboa and their four kids. The whole family needs prayer, but the one I'd like to focus on now is two-year-old Alan. He is one unhappy little boy, and he cries for his daddy every night. Claudia and Karen (the oldest girl) are both growing spiritually very much.

Nena had stopped coming for a long time, although she continued to send her three sons to church. Last Sunday she showed up, and she told me she is making a new start! Please pray for her. She has gotten herself into some very hard situations, and needs a miracle to get her life straightened out. Pray for her safety and the safety of her children, and pray that this "new start" would be real.

Please pray for me as I consider some life-changing decisions. I'm sure that God intends for me to remain where I am, doing the work I am doing (at least for now). He is blessing it. With that in mind, I have started the application process for a resident visa. My two strong desires are 1) to change my status from short-term assistant to full-term missionary with the AFLC and 2) to adopt a child. This is not a sudden decision; it is something I've been thinking about for years and now I think it's time to begin prayerfully pursuing it. Both of these desires seem to be in line with God's call on my life and I don't feel a check about either one; so unless God closes a door, I am planning to pursue both. Please pray for God's guidance and my discernment of His will as I take each step. (If all goes normally, both adopting a child and becoming a full-term missionary are lengthy processes.) I am meeting with the AFLC World Missions Committee in Minnesota on Saturday, December 8 th, , to talk about the possibility of applying. Please pray that God would direct that meeting.

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

  • Ask God to continue to provide for my financial needs.
  • Pray for my continued health. The cold weather affects my lungs a little.
  • Please pray also for Dan and Marcela's financial needs. Like me, they do not receive a regular salary but depend on donations from people. Unlike me, they have two kids (therefore greater need of money).
  • Pray for my meeting with the Mission Board in Minnesota on December 8th.
  • Please continue to pray for the Gamboa family (Claudia and Amilcar and kids), especially Alan.
  • Pray for our youth, including Oscar and Abran.
  • Pray that God would give me the words and phrases necessary to do the best possible job of translating this Sunday School material so that it will be clear to children from all over the Spanish speaking world. Pray that God would use these lessons to speak to the children and teachers who use them.
  • We've been having technical difficulties with posting the lessons I'm translating onto the website. Please pray that that would get straightened out and we'd be able to post them easily again.
  • Pray that I'd do a good job as Sunday School teacher and superintendent.
  • Please pray also that God would help me to prioritize my time – there are so many real needs that sometimes it is hard to know what to say "no" to so that I can say "yes" to something else.
  • Pray for Nena.

Thank you (praise):

  • Abran (one of our teenage boys) has been coming to church again for the last few weeks.
  • The entire youth group has been coming to church for several weeks! (Some of these kids have not been allowed to come in the past.)
  • God has been taking care of my financial needs.
  • Claudia Gamboa is growing in the Lord, and her daughter Karen is also strong.
  • Oscar has been coming to church and youth group.
  • My brother and his family have decided to remain in Jerez for two years! The whole team is happy about that, because they really fill a gap.
  • God blessed our family with a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration this year.
  • Thank God that Nena is turning back to the Lord!

Sincerely,

Ingrid Giles

New Newsletters Available

Current newsletters from Connely Dyrud and Todd Schierkolk have just been posted on the AFLC World Missions website. Click on the picture to the right and you will go to the site.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Prayer Request from Todd Schierkolk

Dear praying friends,

This was almost laughable but it was a good reminder of how God can use anything to glorify His name and extend His kingdom . . . Just before we left for deputation last summer we had a flood in the bathroom downstairs which we assumed was caused by a bad leak in the upstairs shower pipes. We stopped using that shower for the couple of days before we left. When we returned home in November we noticed that there was another leak and it seemed to be connected to the upstairs toilet which was leaking into the downstairs bathroom. We finally contacted our landlord who sent over a plumber who works in the city water department. It was concluded that they would have to tear up the floor of the upstairs bathroom to find the leak. They spent several days working on this in the afternoons. The bathroom happens to be right next to the garage and while they were working upstairs on Thursday evening a couple weeks ago we had our joyful (and apparently loud) Kid’s Club going on in the garage. When the plumber finished up that evening he asked me about the “party” we had going on. When he found out it that we were teaching kids the Bible he asked if he could bring his own kids to the Club the next week. Well, the week went by and we wondered if he was really going to show up. Sure enough, on Thursday evening, a half hour before the Club started he knocked on the door to come and do some more work on the bathroom. As we went upstairs he told me his kids were waiting in the car. When he finished up his work he came out with a very happy expression on his face as he saw his kids working on a Christmas craft we were doing. As they got in the car to leave he said, “We’ll see you next week.” So please pray for Ramiro, the plumber, and his family. And praise God for the way He uses our troubles, however frustrating, to bring people into our lives who are hungry for the truth.

Would you please pray for the dad of a couple kids in the Tuesday club? Omar and Rubis’ dad is a construction worker who has been out of a job for over a month now. Pray for a job for him and also that this circumstance would create a hunger for spiritual things in their family.

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Jerez, Zacatecas, MEXICO

World Relief - Kenya Report

AFLC World Missions partners with World Relief. Donations for World Relief can be sent to AFLC World Missions at 3110 East Medicine Lake Blvd. Minneapolis, MN 55441.

* * * * * *

In Nairobi, Kenya, four children between the ages of 14 years and two months stood by the graveside of their last surviving parent who had recently died of AIDS. After the service, Paul, the oldest boy asks his aunt, “What is going to happen to us?” She said that she would take his eight year old sister home with her. The boy was left to return to his former parent’s home with his three other siblings. He wondered how they were going to survive, especially when after a few days the neighbors stole the family’s two goats.

In a short while, the infant died. The boy went to find his sister and discovered that she had been enslaved by the uncle and aunt as a household helper with little food provided and poor living conditions. He brought the three of them together and determined to provide for them himself--somehow. Just at the time, volunteers from a nearby church found these children, built them a safe place to live, enrolled them into World Relief’s OVC program (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) and are now watching over this “Orphan Headed Household” (OHH). Among the things that volunteers in World Relief’s OVC program do for orphans is: make sure they are safe and well nourished; attend school; protect their human rights; secure their documents; and visit them daily—in short—envelop them into the community under the protection of the church.

There are 1.4 million orphans in Kenya, which has a population of 33 million people. The rate of HIV infection is 6% and 60% of the population is under 15 years of age. The challenge of orphans is huge and is going to be around for a long time. This is typical sub-Saharan Africa.

It will take many interventions to meet the challenge of OVC’s. While building orphanages, adoption, or some kind of sponsorship may help, it cannot be done on a scale that will meet all the needs of all the kids that will need help. But, churches are ubiquitous in Kenya and can be empowered to find and care for the orphans and envelop them into their communities. In the past 12 months in Kenya, World Relief served 2,838 orphans, 421 volunteers were trained, 30 churches were involved, 150 care groups for OVC’s were formed, and 200,000 people in the surrounding communities were reached through mass media with messages on how to take care of orphans.

At the same time, World Relief is working to prevent the spread of AIDS: 390,000 young people were taught of the dangers of HIV/AIDS, 60,000 youth made pledges of abstinence, and 11,398 teachers and peer educators in school and colleges were trained to present the abstinence and faithfulness curriculum.

Kenya is said to be 80% Christian, and World Relief has formed a partnership with seven major denominations that have thousand of churches spread across the whole country. If we can scale up our present programs, childhood can be restored to many thousands of OVCs. Your prayers and financial contributions will go a long way to making this a reality in 2008. Thank you.

Church led community empowerment is the key to caring for and restoring dignity to AIDS orphans. We would appreciate your help. Go to www.wr.org, for more information.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Update from Connely Dyrud

Give the Gift That Keeps on Giving

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” NIV Bible
I Timothy 2:1-2

Christmas is the time to give gifts. Why not give gifts that are useful and long lasting?

Praying for others is a gift that is ongoing throughout the year. Praying for “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” is good for everyone. Would you make a “prayer list” for 2008 and remember to pray daily for others around the world sharing that gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you so much for praying for me and my family this last year. Would you please continue to pray for each missionary by name as we work in the “Harvest Field” for the Lord and the AFLC.

It was a joy to “share missions to the students during the “J term” (January)” then at the end of January and into February, it was on to Brazil sharing with the “MTI students” and Brazilians. Then in March I flew to Eastern Europe to share with more of our “MTI students” in Slovakia. As the “MTI students” returned to the USA it was a joy to teach them once again at AFLBS as they shared all their experiences.

During the summer and fall, I was traveling for missions both in the USA and teaching in India and back to Brazil, encouraging, counseling and praying with, and for, our church leaders.

While traveling on the airplanes and in airports, it was remarkable how many opportunities opened up to share Jesus, praying for “weary travelers.” Prayer truly is the gift that can be shared with all peoples – It is the gift that keeps on giving.

In closing, think of those millions around the world who have NO ONE to pray for them, this Christmas. Would you be willing to add more to your Christmas list of prayer? Giving the gift that keeps on giving.

Joy in His Service,

CJ Dyrud

News from Ukrain

Dear friends,

We are sorry our November update is coming in December but we went through some difficult days last week so there was no strength left to send out a prayer update. We hope you understand.

Most of you probably did not know but God had blessed us and we were expecting a baby. We were really excited about it!!! We were very much looking forward to celebrating Christmas as a family of three for the first time. God gave this baby to us through a big miracle so we thought that He would also continue to protect the baby until he/she would be born next summer. So it was a big shock to us when we lost the baby. We felt confused as to why God would create this new life in such a miraculous way (after we prayed for this baby for a long time) and then chose to take him/her only couple of weeks later… But we are learning to trust God even when we do not understand His plans… We are doing better this week and we believe that even though it is very hard, even this is a part of God’s bigger plan. But please keep us in your prayers.

The good news of November is that we got our Ukrainian one-year religious work visa. We had to travel to the Ukrainian embassy in Prague (Czech Republic) to apply for this visa. We are pretty sure that the Ukrainian embassy in Prague could be easily nominated for the “most unorganized embassy” and maybe even win.

After we successfully got our visa (after a couple different visits to the embassy and couple of weeks of waiting!), it was time to travel back to Ukraine. This time we decided to try a direct train from Prague to L’viv. The trip was ok, but it is still a mystery to us how traveling 560 miles can take 30 hours! Yes, the train takes a long break in Krakow (Poland) but still... But we made it and we are glad to be back in our Ukrainian home. We should be getting back to our Ukrainian lessons either later this week or at the beginning of next week.

Thank you so much for your prayers!!!

Blessings, Tomasz and Miriam

Monday, December 03, 2007

December Update from Tanzania

A blessed December to you all! Can you believe 2007 is already coming to an end?! Ben and I have not yet nailed down our plans for our Christmas/New Year break but trust that wherever any of us may find ourselves, we will be rejoicing in the true reason for the Christmas season – the birth of Jesus Christ here on earth.

Thank you so much for your continuing part in our ministry here in Tanzania. We continue to feel so blessed to have a part in God’s work in this part of the world but know that it is only possible as we work in concert with you and many other people. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I introduced you to the ministry of ILCT (Iraqw Language and Culture Trust). In this email, I thought I would try to briefly introduce you to another ministry – “Here’s Life”, based out of Arusha, Tanzania.

Our formal acquaintance with “Here’s Life” actually began at the beginning of 2007 when Ben and I “just happened” to be in attendance at an international Sunday morning service held at Arusha Community Church. We often enjoy attending ACC when we are in Arusha simply because of the rare opportunity it provides to participate in an English service complete with English songs, etc. Anyway, the church has no paid pastor but is rather run by a board of lay people who take turns preaching and leading the service.

On this particular Sunday, a man by the name of B.F. Khofield from Mobile, Alabama was preaching. I have to admit that Ben and I have not always been overly impressed by the depth of preaching that takes place at this church. This day, however, was different. B.F. spoke very clearly and powerfully on the authority of the Word and how it is foundational to our effectiveness in the world. After the service, Ben and I introduced ourselves to B.F. and his wife, Jane, and let them know how much we appreciated his message. At that time, they expressed an interest in getting together for a meal sometime so that we could become better acquainted.

Unfortunately, it was not until October 18th (almost 7 months later) that we were finally able to coordinate our schedules and have that dinner. Jane and B.F. were hosting an evening meal for some of their other American ministry partners and invited Ben and I to participate, as well. What a blessing to meet this team of people who are working very hard not only here in Tanzania but also in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, Sudan, and Rwanda!! To date, “Here’s Life” has 44 active teams that host film campaigns, offer follow-up for new Christians, train lay church leaders, and help plant churches where needed. They have a contagious passion for their work and have an unwavering commitment to the Word of God.

As I have said before, it never ceases to amaze us how well God can coordinate the different aspects of His work. We were blessed to hear of the foundational work of “Here’s Life” and they were blessed to learn of the further training that Waama is providing for village church leaders.

All of this has been on my mind especially as we have worked our way through chapter 3 in our Philippians class. Recently, I taught a class using Philippians 3:12 as the foundation verse. It says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” What struck me was that this verse was written by someone who had accomplished a lot of ministry in his life. Paul not only authored many New Testament books but also planted numerous churches and was a key leader in the Early Church. We could ask, “What kept him ‘pressing on’?” “Hadn’t he already accomplished enough?” I believe the answer is found in that very same verse – he knew that God had “laid hold of him” for a specific purpose, a purpose that was not yet complete.

It is no different for each of us. I believe that as long as we have life in our body, we can be sure that God still has work for us to do. Furthermore, as someone once said, “We are invincible until God’s work through us is done.” (I have to say, that quote has had special meaning for me recently each time I climb on my motorcycle.) ☺ The question, for each and every day is, “What does God want to accomplish through my life…starting today?” May we all be faithful in pursuing God’s purpose for our life…to the very end!

In His Service,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pastor Eapuru Rayappa - AFLC India Dies

Please be in prayer for the family of pastor Epuri. Rayappa 68 years old slept in the Glory of Christ on Wednesday, November 14th. The funeral service held on Thursday.

Three out of four of his children are serving the Lord. Specially pray for his wife Sowramma (pictured).

Earlier this year Pastor Epuri shared the following testimony.

When I was 19 years old I had a sever abdominal pain. I used medicines but I was not relieved from the diseases. I prayed and trusted on Jesus Christ. He healed me.

With the inspiration from God I involved in His service as a servant to Christ. I accepted His call and I am now doing His work as Pastor at KOTIPALLI village.

When I went to the village only 10 members were there. Now it has become 50 members.

Pray for Kotipalli village

Monday, November 26, 2007

Check out Giles New Blog


The Giles family has a new blog to tell the story of their ministry in Mexico and beyond. Check it out at www.gilesupdate.blogspot.com.

Bookmark it so you can return often.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

November Update from Paul and Becky Abel

Thanksgiving! Lots of reasons for being grateful! The top of the list must be the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17 How thankful we are to know the Father through His Son Jesus, the Light of the world! The other blessings we receive are merely reflections of His goodness.

We participated in a very nice Thanksgiving celebration with other Americans at the Baptist church in Curitiba on Thursday night. It was great to have the traditional meal without any work (this year I didn’t have to lift a finger to enjoy Thanksgiving!) However, we are missing family and friends with whom we have shared Thanksgiving for many years.

Since I wrote last month our life has been filled with interesting moments. Perhaps the most newsworthy has been the arrival of Clovis to live with us. Neighbors of our church in Campo Largo informed us of a street man who was sleeping in the entryway of our church for several nights. One day Paul arrived early enough to visit with this man who has lived on the streets for over five years. Paul discovered that he had taken a vow of poverty in hopes of somehow helping his family. The following Sunday morning (Oct. 29) Clovis woke up late and was still at church when we arrived for Sunday School. Paul invited him to participate. When he showed interest in joining us for the evening Reformation service in Curitiba that night, Paul thought we had better take him home and get him cleaned up first. He has been living with us every since. Clovis has an interesting story and we believe the Lord put him in our way for an eternal purpose. As a part of his vow he refuses to wear shoes or to sleep on a bed. He also does a partial fast every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, eating only bread and fruit. He is a kind person (over 30 years old) who never learned to read or write and has no documents whatsoever. Paul patiently teaches Clovis from the Word of God several times a day trying to help him understand God’s plan for his life. He also purchased a saw and made a table for him to make some crafts which he sells on the street. Clovis has been a very polite and helpful person and he has no bad habits usually associated with street people (drinking, smoking, drugs, stealing). We are praying that he will come to faith in Jesus alone and that we can help him become a regular citizen. We thank the Lord for the offer of a Christian man in our community to hire Clovis as a caretaker. Please pray that this whole process will be a blessing in Clovis’ life and that he would soon understand the truths of the Gospel and accept Jesus as His Lord and Savior.

Marcia and her daughters continue on with us. The father of her children has not shown any interest in seeing the girls and has not helped her in any way since she left him 7 months ago. Marcia is a hard worker and has been able to make enough money cleaning houses to support her daughters. She has a brilliant testimony and is always ready to lend a helping hand. I think I forgot to mention in my last letter that our friend Judah from Canada was not able to renew his visa and returned to his homeland in October. We hope he is doing well but have not had much news from him since he left our home.

Another reason for thanks is the successful mission trip that members from our Bateias church participated in the first weekend in November, taking advantage of a holiday (All Saints Day) to spend 3 days in the “back 40.” The weather was very threatening. It had rained for days and the roads were terrible, but that didn’t discourage anyone. We looked for another longer route to get to our destination without the risk of getting stuck in the mud. This was the second trip to this area called Canha where relatives of a lady from our Bateias church live. No running water and an old outhouse was a new experience for some of the 25 people who participated in this trip. Everyone pitched in to help with the visits and special programs for children and adults during the two days of ministry. Several people prayed to receive the Lord after the presentations in the form of puppets, skits, Bible stories and the Jesus film. We also distributed food and many clothes as the people in this area are very needy. The trusty ARCA bus got stuck in the mud the last day, but Paul successfully towed it out with our car and everyone arrived safely home again. We hope to return and continue to teach these people in the future.

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it lots of meetings and activities. Both of our churches as well as the ARCA board have their annual meetings at the end of the year. We have hosted several large groups with meals recently - just so that I don’t get out of practice in the kitchen☺. I am directing a joint choir for Christmas with participants from Bateias and Campo Largo. And this week we will be traveling to Campo Mourao once again to lead choir practices with the students in preparation for the graduation on Dec. 1. We were there the end of October and had important moments of ministry with our students and with other special people in Campo Mourao, including a visit to one of our “sons” who used to live with us.

We do see our girls every week and try to get together for a meal where we can catch up on each other’s lives and ministries. They will be here tomorrow along with other relatives for our Thanksgiving celebration. Our grandchildren are precious and keep us smiling. It will be fun to have the joy of little ones for Christmas.

There are so many other things I could share with you, but this gives you a little peek into our world for this month. We want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers on our behalf. For those of you who support us financially, we pray that the Lord will continue to impress on your hearts the importance of this ministry and our gratefulness for you.

Love in Jesus, Paul and Becky

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jonathan Abel's Latest Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Jonathan Abel's has just been posted on our World Missions site. You can check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Check out the Jore's Latest Newsletter

Check out the story behind this picture and the rest of the Jore's newsletter on our World Mission website. Click Here

Monday, November 19, 2007

Greetings once again from Tanzania!

It never ceases to amaze me how fast weeks pass. At the same time, it seems like more than 3 weeks worth of things have taken place since the last time I wrote. I will try to be concise in my summary…

Classes here at Waama are going very well and we are grateful for the hunger for learning the students continue to demonstrate. We also continue to be blessed by the increased interactions we are able to have with them outside the classroom due to our continual improvements linguistically. By way of the changes here that I mentioned in my last email, it has recently been confirmed that the first 12 students of the new seminary course will be arriving in January. This will certainly mean an increased work load for all the teachers but, again, we are excited about the long-term implications of these changes.

Our weekend ministry schedule keeps filling up and these experiences continue to be highlights of our work here. In fact, just last night (at about 1am) we returned from a couple amazing days in the home village of one of last year’s students. I really wish you all could experience at least one of these weekends with us.

We started out on Saturday afternoon showing the Jesus Film at a primary school. There were about 100 people in attendance. From there, we went immediately to a neighboring village church and held an outdoor showing with 200+ people. The next morning, we had the privilege of worshiping at a new village church where they were coming to the end of a couple days of special spiritual meetings. Ben was the preacher in the morning service and then in the afternoon we each had the opportunity to take a session as they continued with their “special meetings.” In Ben’s afternoon session, he presented the “Wordless Book” as an evangelistic tool and we were then able to pass out a bunch of the wordless books that the youth group at Atonement put together for us. (THANKS, R.S.Y.M.!!) We made sure that they knew we were not just passing out a free gift but we expected everyone who took one to use it with their non-Christian friends and neighbors. I will include a picture in this email of those who agreed to be a part of this new “Evangelistic Team.”

In my session, I presented the “Glove Illustration” which uses a white glove to illustrate our life made dirty with “sin” (iodine) which can only be made clean as we accept the cleansing that comes through Jesus’ blood (a special chemical solution). It actually makes for a pretty impressive illustration and I really feel like it makes an especially important point in this culture where there is such an emphasis on outward conformity or religious form. I think it is going to be a long time before they forget that all the good works we can do (illustrated by scrubbing the iodine stained glove in water) doesn’t do anything to take away our sin before God…and actually just makes it worse (Isaiah 64:6). It is not until we apply God’s perfect solution (Jesus blood) to our lives that our “good works” can actually be pleasing to Him because we are no longer trying to earn something that we are incapable of earning but we are now living our lives out of gratefulness for the gift we have received with the goal of pointing others to Jesus and giving glory to His name. To those who have never seen the illustration personally, sorry, I will have to show it to you sometime.

The final highlight from this past weekend that I will mention came as we presented 28 Bibles to the evangelists working in this mission area. These are Bibles that have been provided by many of you for our work in these villages. We made the presentation just after finishing a meal with several of our hosts. Little did we know that one of the people sharing the meal with us was a man who had just committed his life to Christ 3 days earlier. As soon as he saw the box, he asked how much the Bibles were. It was then that one of the evangelists told us this man’s story and how only a couple days before he had been asking how he could get a Bible of his own so that he could grow in his newfound faith. What a joy to be able to immediately put a Bible in his hands free of charge and see his faith strengthened as God answered one of his first prayer requests as a new believer!! Again, God bless you all as you participate with us in these various ways.

In closing, as you may remember, since my last update, I also had the opportunity to attend the Dubai Air Show on behalf of LEKTRO, Inc. along with my former employer and good friend, Eric Paulson. It was a busy couple days but I very much enjoyed the change of pace and the opportunity to be in the LEKTRO environment once again. It was certainly a huge blessing to reconnect with Eric and I am also grateful for his willingness to bring some early Christmas presents that were sent by my family. Thanks, family!!

Well, I am going to stop here for now. Thank you all for your continual part in this ministry in so many ways. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for each of you. May God richly bless you as we enter this holiday season! You are in my prayers.

In Christian love,

Jesse Long

Note: A recent prayer letter from Ben Jore has just been posted on our AFLC World Missions Web site. Click here to read it. (PDF Format)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pray for the Schierkolk's

Dear praying friends,

We finally made it back down to Jerez here in Mexico! Thanks so much for all of your prayers for our travel. The trip was uneventful. We came over the hill and saw the lights of the city at about 8:00pm and felt the joy of being home again. Our several months in the United States were so good. We enjoyed meeting new friends and spending some wonderful time with old friends and our families as well. God used all of you to help in renewing our spirits and refreshing our strength. We are very grateful to God for all of you.

There were some wonderful surprises that awaited us when we returned. We were delighted to see 3 kids from the youth group in church on Sunday and to hear that they have been coming regularly! Praise God for that! Two of them had only been able to come on Christmas and Easter and the other one had come one or two times in addition. An extra wonderful surprise is that several of the kids from the Kid’s Club have been coming to the worship services on Sunday as well. We are very thankful to Danny Giles who has been working with the youth group since we’ve been gone and he has also been picking kids up on Sunday mornings. Please continue to pray for Danny and Marcela as they seek God’s direction. For now, they will continue to work the youth and we are very happy about that. Please also pray with them for God’s provision for their financial needs. As Short-Term Assistants they depend on the freewill offerings of people back home. I know that any gifts sent to the World Missions Department in Minneapolis for them will be much appreciated.

  • Oscar seems to be doing pretty well. He is being trained in on the new sound equipment at church.
  • Little Samuel’s daddy, Fernando, is coming back the beginning of December for a visit. Please pray with us for him to know Christ as his Savior and for the restoration of his marriage.
  • In one of these recent months the number of Spanish Ambassador Sunday School lessons downloaded topped 4,000!!!! Incredible! Dan continues to get letters from people around Latin America who are using the lessons.

Well, there is more to add but I’ll stop for now. Thanks so much for your continued prayers for us and to the many who have contributed financially to our ministry as well. We could not do this work without you.

May God bless you all with a Thanksgiving overflowing with thankfulness and joy,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baptism in Jerez

The church in Jerez, Mexico added to it's numbers a new baby through baptism. It was a great day and we praise the Lord because many unsaved family members of the young couple heard the message of salvation today.

Please pray for the Banuelo family.

AFLC Members Commissioned as Wycliffe Missionaries

Steve and Glenda Kvale were commissioned as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators on October 14, 2007. The Kvale's are members of Christ the King Free Lutheran Church, Pipestone, Minnesota. The message and charge was given by Rev. Phil Haugen and the service was led by Rev. Richard Sliper.

The Kvale's have accepted an assignment to the Computer Missionary Team and will be stationed in Orlando, Florida. Steve is a 1984 graduate of Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas. Glenda grew up at Faith Free Lutheran of Minneapolis and is a 1987 graduate of AFLBS.

Wycliffe has set a goal for the Kvale’s to seek the Lord in completing their prayer and financial partnership team by October 2008.

The Kvale’s continue to share as a family with various churches. They are scheduled to present God’s call and challenge to them at the Association Free Lutheran Mission’s Conference on Monday evening, January 7, 2008.

Churches interested in having the Kvale’s come and share about Wycliffe Bible Translators, please email Steven_Kvale@sil.org.

Churches or individuals interested in partnering financially, enabling the Kvale’s to serve full-time with Wycliffe, please send your gifts to

Wycliffe Bible Translators
P O Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862-8200
.

Please include a note: “For the ministry of Steve & Glenda Kvale, Acct. # 200316.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Danny & Marcela Giles Prayer Update - November 2007


Greetings to Friends and Family in the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,

We would like to thank you for your prayers and your financial support.

We thank the Lord for our two little daughters, Ariadna Daniela (20 months), and Andrea Jazmin (4 months).

We are STA's (short term assistants) with the AFLC, serving in Jerez, Mexico along with missionaries Dan and Debbie Giles. We are helping with the youth here in Jerez, counseling a young married couple, praise and worship on Sundays, and in every other way we can.

I would like to tell you about two young girls from our church youth group. Patricia(14) and Jessica(14). They are very committed to the Lord. A few weeks ago they gave their testimony and Patty said that now when she has a decision to make, she prays first, and before she did not take this course of action. It is very exciting to see that they are responding to the Holy Spirit.

Another story....

April and Cesar Bañuelos, the 18 year old married couple we counsel, are parents of 9 month old David Bañuelos Perez. They are really trying to come to church and follow God, but Ceaser's family is very anti-Christian and they are giving them a hard time, especially since they are planning to baptize David this next Sunday(11th) in our church, and we are the selected god-parents for David.

Danny will be going with his Dad to Villahermosa,Tabasco (In south east Mexico) next Monday. We had a natural disaster in that part of the country and 1 million people were left without anything. We are excited as we see that people are willing to help with supplies for the victims in Tabasco.

As you already know, life can be hard sometimes, but we are very grateful that we have your prayer support. Please send e-mails and tell us about yourselves. We would love to here from you. We get very encouraged by your e-mails.

If you know somebody that will like to get our prayer letter, please send us their e-mail address.

"The Lord is the Portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me". Psalm 16:5-6

Prayers requests:

  • Pray that God will equip us while we serve Him here in Mexico, in what we say, think and do.
  • That the Lord will guide ours steps every day as we serve Him.
  • For our two little girls, their health and that God help us to raise them.
  • For April and Cesar, and little David, pray that God would give us wisdom as we minister to them.
  • For the families of the kids that come to church, that they can be saved too.
  • For Dan and Danny as they will be traveling next week to Tabasco. It's a very long trip.
  • That God would provide our financial needs.

Praises:

  • Thanks to God for our family.
  • Because Dan and Danny will be able to go help to the people in Tabasco.
  • Because God provide our needs.
  • For all of you, and your prayers.
  • That God is touching the life's of the kids in the youth group.
  • Because the Schierkolk family are back in Jerez.

In His Mighty Name,

Dan, Marcela, Ariadna, and Andrea Giles

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Gospel for the Whole World - Jim Fugleberg

“That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8b)

When it was revealed to Paul and the other apostles “that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel,” it blew the doors wide open to world missions.

Perhaps we tend to read this revelation in the book of Ephesians (3:6) like a 2000 year old newspaper. It is well known to us now in the 21st century that Gentiles can be Christians, as by now many have come and gone, and here we are today. We even may wonder why it was such an amazing revelation to people like the great apostle.

But it’s a big deal, and it will do us well to catch Paul’s incredulity – and vision.

Part of the reason we think it shouldn’t have been such big news is that in the book of Isaiah we read a few passages about the servant of the Lord being a light to the Gentiles, and even back to the time of Abraham, we find God saying to Abraham that in his seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

We today know what that means – salvation for all people. Even in times before the Apostles, it was known that it was possible for a Gentile to become a part of the covenant people of God. But he must come in a specific way: He must become a Jew, a proselyte. He must submit to circumcision, and to the laws and ceremonies God had given the Jews through Moses.

This was proper. After all, God had given the Jews these laws and commands because all of them, in some way, pointed forward to Christ. If Christ was to be the only way of salvation, then it would be fitting in the days of the Old Covenant that pointed forward to Christ, that one come to Christ through that Old Covenant and not otherwise, because that is the avenue God ordained.

But when Jesus came, He abolished all of these commands and rites that defined Judaism, not by changing His mind about them, but by fulfilling them. He to whom they had pointed had now come. The shadows gave way to the person who cast them, and He proclaimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6).

Yet it was unheard of among the initial Jewish believers that people could come into the fellowship of the household of God apart from the old Jewish way. Man wouldn’t have guessed it. It was a mystery.

But Paul had come to understand the Gospel. He wrote to the Romans, “(But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; {22} Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: {23} For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; {24} Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom 3:21-24)

Without the law!

Peter received a vision from God to eat unclean animals, and an instruction from God to go to the unclean Gentile, Cornelius. “What God has cleansed, that call thou not common,” God said.

Peter went, preached the Gospel to Cornelius, and the Holy Spirit came upon him as He had upon the disciples at Pentecost. When Peter reported it to the Christians in Jerusalem, he said, “Who was I that I could withstand God?”

To the folks in Jerusalem it was like, Well, what do you know?! “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life!” they said, as the truth dawned on them.

OK, wait a minute, now. What did that mean?

It meant open your eyes. Turn around and quit looking only at that small corner you’ve been staring at as if that’s all there is, and recognize that behind you is a whole world full of ears waiting to hear the message.

It meant look now at this gloriously simple Gospel message that can set them free from their sins and from the devil’s stronghold and can transform them into children of God – no Old Testament rites and ceremonies necessary!

It meant look at this privilege we now have to proclaim that simple and powerful message to those vast companies of people! Paul comprehended it and he said, “Whereof I was made a minister! … Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

That the Gentiles have been granted repentance unto life means the same opportunity, ministry and privilege today. Through world-wide evangelism the souls of millions can be freed from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light.

Back in the days of Job the sneering devil seemed to think God didn’t really have anybody he could keep from siding with the devil if the right pressure were placed upon him. He taunted God, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he [Job] hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:11)

God allowed Satan to do what he had asked. But Job didn’t curse. It’s a long, hard story, but when it was over, God won! Job was faithful. Satan didn’t have quite the control he thought he did! There indeed was a man who would trust his Redeemer all the way through.

But there was more victory to be achieved. Fast forward to Calvary, where the prophecy was fulfilled: The Seed of the woman bruised the head of the serpent. Mass deliverance happened there! The sin of the world was atoned. Multitudes and multitudes have now been freed as the simple message of the Gospel, which had been a mystery, has been proclaimed around the world from that day to this. And in the heavenly realms, the manifold wisdom of God continues to awe the principalities and powers. The angels rejoice as the Gospel brings transformation to a lost sinner, and God, in all His saving power and glory is honored and praised as generation after generation of the redeemed pass from this life into eternal glory while the stupefied devil looks on.

God’s victory was overwhelming, the deliverance He accomplished is available to all, and it is now our privilege to bring this gospel to the nations. May God be glorified in His church also in this generation, by using our efforts in World Missions to rescue precious souls and to swell the number whose redeemed lives will proclaim to all principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God.

Jim Fugleberg

World Missions Committee Member

Update from Silesia - Tim Hinrichs

On September 31 we opened the school year with a worship service in Dzięgielów. In September we interviewed students for Daily Bible school as well as the weekend program. As of today, we have 63 students in Bible school. This has exceeded all of our expectations as we see the blessing of the Lord! Yes, when it rains it pours.

Daily Bible school begins its 10th year!
This year we have nine students enrolled in the full time program. Once again we have students from Ukraine. This year we invited a young family from Żytomierz who are involved in children’s ministry there in the public school (club) and in Sunday School. Genadij and Iryna came with their two daughters (15 and 9). We praise God we were able to find an apartment for them at the newly remodeled parish house in Dzięgielów. Our congregation is “adopting” them in that way. And we were able to enroll their daughters in the local public schools. Fortunately, they have Polish background and so language is not a problem for their family. It has been a great answer to prayer as God has provided for them in so many ways. People have provided needed books, furniture, and made them feel at home at church and in school. God also provided them with a visa to stay in Poland for their whole family. God is good!

Weekend Bible school
It was absolutely overwhelming to interview 22 new students this year for the Saturday course. Most of them are coming from the Katowice area about an hour away and as usual ages and church backgrounds vary widely. We are thankful that our ministry is reaching out beyond church barriers because it is really the goal to bless all of Poland and not just the Lutheran church with the teaching of God’s Word. It has been great to see five married couples take part in the school. Over the summer two of our couples from last year had newborns so we rejoice in that kind of growth too. Actually, the fact that we have some young couples also means that we have had to employ a babysitter at the school on Saturdays.

Another surprise has been the educational background of these students. They keep us on our toes as we have doctors and engineers and even the founder and president of a large company. Please pray for us and for all the teachers in the Bible school as we continue to bear a great responsibility for God’s kingdom in this part of the world. Our faculty consists of around 10 volunteers (as from the beginning) coming from various congregations in the area, both pastors and laypeople.

One of our most faithful teachers through the years has been Pastor Adam Podżorski. He is the head pastor of one of the largest and most active congregations of the Lutheran church here. For nine years he has given up his day off on Mondays to come and teach the New Testament all morning to our students (8:00-12:30). He also teaches now for 5 more hours on our Saturday classes. He is a man who has a great passion for “equipping the saints.” It is for people like Pastor Adam that we thank and praise God! What a great provider we have.

Internet Branches
As mentioned last year, we opened an internet branch in NE Poland (Mrągowo). This has gone really well and all seven of those students have returned for another year and we also added one more to that group. This year we opened up another branch in Zgierz which is in central Poland. We drove up there, interviewed students, set up a classroom in the church facility there and are set to go with 6 students ready to take part in the Bible school. We are still having some technical difficulties getting all the connections to work and timing but we pray the Lord will work it out so that on Saturdays we can broadcast this year to two parts of Poland.

An open door in Kraków
As you know, we’ve been leading meetings in Cieszyn called „English Worship” in which we gather in the High School in Cieszyn once a month to worship the Lord in English. We are continuing this ministry and almost have completed three years already. We usually see anywhere from 30 to 40 people attend this meeting and so it’s been encouraging to see God bless in this way. Many foreigners regularly come as well as Polish people who are able to understand.

Recently we were invited to start these meetings also in Kraków (Cracow). Pastor Pracki is very open to using his church (St. Martin’s Lutheran) to reach out to the city. The ancient church is located right in the middle of the old town of Kraków. In fact the doors of the church are on one of the busiest streets in the old town so there are constantly people interested in seeing the church or attending anything that is going on inside such as a concert. So now we have the opportunity once a month to present an evangelistic service in this church utilizing the young people who will help us lead the singing.

On October 21st we met for the first time. Although there weren’t very many in attendance (20-25), the potential is very large. During my message people were continually walking in and out from off the streets for example. So in some ways this outreach has a “street ministry” flavor. You just never know who can be impacted or touched. Please continue to pray for us as we lead this new effort and especially that we are able to put a regular team together which will work with us. We pray that the word would get out among university students as well as foreigners living in the city.

Financial concerns
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we’ve been struggling to make ends meet here over the last several months. The dollar continues to go down in value which means things are more expensive for us. Our plans are to return for furlough this coming summer (2008) and raise support for our ministry here. In fact, it would be good if we could do that now, but with the Bible school ministry, we just cannot leave during the school year. To be honest we are several hundred dollars short of the monthly support that we need to continue here. We are incredibly thankful to several who have responded in helping us in the last 2 months. Please pray with us for God’s provision. We are so much more thankful now as we see God providing in small ways here and there. Attached to this newsletter is Pastor Bill Moberly’s letter which explains this whole situation. We feel that this is God’s calling for us to serve here for at least a couple more years before we are able to pass the ministry of the Bible school into the hands of the Polish Lutheran Church. So we just have to trust in his provision to provide during this fruitful and critical time. Thank you for your partnership with us in prayer!

Tim, Renata and Peter Hinrichs

Link to Bill Moberly's Letter