Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MTI Students leave for Internships

Please pray for the MTI studenst as four of the are leaving today for their intern assignments. Pray for safe travel and good health. Also, pray that they will be a blessing to those they serve and that they will learn and grow in Christ from this experience.

Brent Raan and Wade Halvorson are leaving for Brazil today. They are going to Campo Mourao to study language, work with the AMECAN youth project, and help with the Miriam Infant Home.

Brenda Waterworth and Rachel Eggert are leaving for Slovakia today. They will be helping at the Lutheran Elementary School as teacher’s aides, doing afternoon activities with the students and helping in the office.

Two other MTI students doing an Intership are:

Issac Redd is going to work with Pastor John Mayer of City Vision reaching Liberians in the Metropolitan area.

Heather Burch will be in Eagle Butte, SD to work in the church there and in the community which is part of the Native American Community.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pray for Pastor's Conference in Uganda

Just a reminder to please pray for Nate and the 7 pastors as they head to the Pastor's Conference in the capital on Monday morning. Also, please pray for our family as we head to one of the village churches tomorrow morning to worship and fellowship. The boys have gotten carsick (understandably, with the rough roads and fast, swervy driving) on our last few road trips, so will you also pray for their little stomachs to be settled? It's a minor discomfort that we can all handle, but we believe God cares about these little matters as well. Nate will be preaching as well - please pray for the Spirit to fill him with wisdom, boldness and love as he shares from the Word.

We are continually encouraged and blessed by your prayers and by the love you show us. Thank you for being such a strong support system for us!!

Serving Him together with you,
Nate, Rhoda, Elijah & Judah

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

Update from Jackson's

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks." Phillips Brooks

Thank you all for praying while brother Chris Broderson was here. Our meeting in Ceuta was a success (Picture). A couple of the really significant decisions made were; to use the el Salto building and property as the official retreat center for the Sinaloa Alliance. Also, they agreed to call and name a coordinator to begin to plan for an official conference in May. They name Emilia Calderon, Pastor Lupe's wife, and afterward we gathered around her for prayer and the laying on of hands. The Mazatlan congregation is moving toward the opening of a retirement home for those who have no place to go. Mazatlan has ample orphanages and homes for youth and drug addicts, but nothing for the elderly. The church now is caring for some right at the church/institute.

When Chris and I arrived at Genaro and Carmen's house to go out on the street to share the Gospel, we found them entertaining a house full of family, including Genaro's parents. As we participated in conversation, it became evident that his parents weren't christians... yet. The Spirit led us right into the Gospel as both of them said, "then it's impossible for anyone to save themselves." We brought them to Him to took our punishment and offers us eternal life freely in His Name. Do pray for Marcos and Cicilia to grow in their new relationship with Jesus.

I talked to Juanito in Puebla the other day. He is not going to be able to continue the work there in the city much longer. I recommended we talk to the other congregations that are in the mountains there in Puebla, that they might pray, and as Acts 6:3 says "seek out" someone from amongst themselves who would be put in charge of the congregation. Pray for "stronger men!"

Gracie and I have been sick most of the week, we'd appreciate your prayers, and do appreciate your prayers "for powers equal to our tasks."

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
Visit our web site at www.geocities.com/darwinwj

Friday, January 26, 2007

Greeting from Dar Es Salaam!

I just re-read the last actual update I sent out several weeks ago. Other than finding some typos (sorry about that), I realized that I have a lot to catch you all up on. So, here we go…

Finals week went well - except for the fact that about a third of the students had not yet arrived by the time they were over. When that week was over, we were still waiting for any positive word on our residency permits. As a result, the principal of the school recommended we go and deal with the immigrations department personally until it all was worked out. To that point, we had been depending on a third-party agent to work on our behalf. Finally, it was to the point where we could not legally be teaching without that documentation.

On Monday, January 15th, Ben and I headed for Arusha. We had also received several new leads on potential vehicles so were excited about making progress on several fronts. We spent the next week in Arusha withdrawing money to be able to buy a car, researching vehicles and accessories, and hoping we would be able to work with the Arusha branch of the Immigrations
department. We were also able to meet with people in the area we had met on previous trips.

One group we spent a lot of time with was a short-term team from Cincinnati whose leaders I had just happened to meet at an internet café after climbing Kilimanjaro. The actual team was only here for one week (last week) and had as their primary objective finding a project/s to recommend to their church for future partnership. Upon arrival, they had virtually no local contacts, no firm itinerary, and a lot of misconceptions. Other than having the opportunity to interact with some fellow-Americans, we enjoyed the opportunity to share with them some of the things we have learned here, some of our perspectives on missions, and were even able to recommend some good and trustworthy ministries and individuals with whom they could partner.

By the time Saturday came around (January 20th), it was becoming clear that we needed to come here to Dar to be able to personally visit the head immigrations office. We arrived on Sunday and checked into a very affordable guest house operated by a non-profit organization based in Italy. First thing on Monday, we visited the immigrations officials along with our
agent who is based here. The whole experience helped us realize why there has been so much delay to this point. Even as we stood there with them face-to-face, they appeared totally ignorant of our current status and were requesting documentation we had already provided.

Despite all this, by the end of that day we really felt we had made some progress because we were able to speak as the actual applicants and confront directly some of their excuses and misconceptions. We returned again the next day and they said everything had finally been submitted to the one in charge of residency permits and we would receive some sort of news the next day.

Well, we stayed in close contact with the immigrations people for the next several days and provided anything they requested. We also spent some time looking at vehicles, continued dealing with some banking issues, and trying not to melt from the humid heat.

Finally, tonight (Friday, January 26) at 5:30pm, we received our official residency documents for the next 2 years!! It was so exciting even though (and probably because) it was so over-due. It ended up that Ben had to pay an additional $400 “special pass fee” on top of the regular $120 fee. I was able to avoid the extra fee because I the immigrations people at the border re-issued me a tourist visa when they apparently weren’t supposed to on my return from Uganda.

Most of our day today was actually spent going from place to place looking at trucks with our mechanic. It was not a fun day. We only saw two vehicles that we even considered possibilities but they were very over-priced and needed work. Later in the day we visited with some people
from Mission Aviation Fellowship who said they have had much good success buying good used cars from Japan. Apparently, they end up being less-expensive even after paying for shipping. We have asked them to see what they can do for us and we will be content to continue waiting.

Now, it is time to get back to work at Waama. In all honesty, I think our normal work is less stressful than what we have been through this past week. We will take the bus back to Arusha tomorrow and then continue on to Mbulu on Sunday.

We can’t thank you all enough for your prayers on our behalf during this time. Despite the frustrations and disappointments we are grateful to have residency issues resolved and even feel content with where things are at with regards to a vehicle. An extra blessing today was that we were able to make contact with some people who work with the Jesus film here in Tanzania
who will be able to help supply us with copies of the Jesus film in the local languages we need.

We are so thankful for God’s many blessings. Please continue to keep us in prayer, especially as we get back into the swing of teaching. Most importantly, however, pray that we would keep our focus where it needs to be – on Jesus, who He is, and our relationship with Him. It is so easy to become self-dependant and forget where the source of our effectiveness lies. I look forward to sending my next update from Mbulu.

May God richly bless each one of you.

In Him,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pastoral Training Team Leaves for India

The Pastoral Training Team left this morning for India. The team will train pastor's in the AFLC of India. The team consisted of Del and Karen Palmer, Jim and Linda Fugleberg, David Johnson (Alabama) and Jerry Peterson. The classes for this year will include Doctrine of God and Man, The Book of Acts, General Epistles and Hebrews and Catechetics. The ladies traveling with the team will be in charge of teaching the women and children.

The team will be bringing a gift from the people people of the AFLC to repair the roof of the church in Etheru. This church suffered major damage in November when a cyclone went through the area. Our churches in the US, along with AFLBS raised nearly enough to complete the project in the last 30 days. Thank you for your generosity.

The team will arrive on January 28 and will return on February 11. Please be in prayer for the team.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Moving of God at Annual Conference in Brazil

I just have to write and tell you of God’s amazing power and goodness in response to the prayers of many. Our Annual Conference was a blessing. The opening service was a great time of fellowship, ending with a huge rainstorm and power outage. Pastor Joel from Bateias finished his sermon with a flashlight and everyone faced a few challenges in getting home in the downpour of rain.

Saturday was the day for business meetings and elections. The new council elected is composed of men from various churches and cities. The afternoon ended on a sad note, however, as old disagreements were aired and reconciliation was not complete. The time of silent prayer following the meetings prepared the way for the miracle God was working in human hearts.

Our Saturday night service was a blessing with much singing, presentations by the choir and a wonderful message from God’s Word. Yet, many hearts were heavy. Then Sunday morning dawned, a day for new beginnings. Near the beginning of the service pastor Jaime, president of the AFLC in Brazil, made his way to the pulpit and publicly asked for forgiveness for the hurtful things that had transpired during the last two years. The service continued with a wonderful message that Paul had prepared about perseverance in God’s work and total trust in Him to fulfill our calling. The Communion service was a special time as well. However, the best was yet to come.

At the end of the service one of the former council members came to the front and shared from his heart a sincere confession of sin accompanied by several Scripture passages and a heartfelt plea for forgiveness from people he and others and judged hastily in the past. His sharing opened the door for others to follow suit. The tears of sadness I had shed on Saturday were transformed into tears of joy as I witnessed the obvious working of the Holy Spirit bringing His people to repentance and forgiveness and restored unity.

The service Sunday ended with the congregation extending their hands to bless and pray for all the pastors in the front of the church. As we sang the final song men of God who had been estranged from one another came together in godly embraces, signs of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is truly a MIRACLE when stubborn pride is transformed into loving humility.

We are believing that 2007 will be a great year as we look to Jesus and work together for His glory!

Thank you for praying!
Paul and Becky

Pray for Residency Permits

Currently, we are in Dar Es Salaam trying to make progress on our Residency Permits. We just arrived yesterday and visited the office in person for the first time this morning (Monday). I think we made some progress but we will be going back again tomorrow to see what more they want or if they are going to finally issue them. It was quite frustrating today because they were asking us for things we have already provided and seemed to be looking for ways to stall the whole process even more. Prayer is pretty much all we have to depend on. Thanks for your part in that.

As far as a car is concerned, we will be looking at several on Thursday. Some of what we have heard seems too good to be true but we will see. It is another issue for continual prayer. When/If God does provide us with a car, our efficiency is going to sky-rocket. Even today as we walked all over Dar and occasionally used public transport, let’s just say we were not getting things done as fast as we could have in the States…we are getting used to that, though.

With all that said, I must also say that we both nevertheless continue to thank God for the chance to be over here and look forward to however he will guide and use us in the future. The theme that has been sticking out to me lately in my reading is the importance of faithfulness. We might not understand why God puts us where he does or why he calls us to what he does but our responsibility is faithfulness. This is our prayer and desire. Pastor Massawe has been so good to release us during this time so we can be sure to work out these things. Pray we can do it is good time as classes are officially starting for the term at Waama today.

Ben Jore and Jesse Long

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Request for Pray from Tim Skramstad

It is a very warm and humid day here in India. Ministry has been fantastic with many preaching opportunities besides the two classes each day that I taught. We are now trying to get ready to leave as major complications have arisen with the airlines.

The excuse has been that the fog is too great to fly in or out of the airport, but there is only a slight haze. Two speakers on creation science were also here and they were delayed with extra days in hotels and rebooking their flights. the one was from Bulgaria and he had limited funds. We have decided to take two vans to Hyderabad Monday at 10 am to catch our international flight. This is about 300 miles but should take 12 hours. thankfully, one of the leaders here who normally lives in Dallas, TX is coming along with us.

Please continue to pray for our travels. For those who can pass this message on to others, please help by doing so. Many thanks.

In Christ,

Tim Skramstad

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Andrew Abel - Short Term Assistant

Andrew Abel has returned to Brazil as a Short Term Missionary Assistant. He is involved in the ministry in the following ways:
  • He helps with camps at the ARCA as a counselor, music, and videoing the kids so their parents can see them.
  • He helps with the praise team at the Campo Largo Chruch.
  • Andrew works with the youth camp and the Passion Play during Holy Week.
His email address is andrewpabel@hotmail.com

Gifts for his support can be sent to:

AFLC World Missions
3110 East Medicine Lake Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55441

Friday, January 19, 2007

VBS in Brazil

We are thankful to those of you who prayed for our VBS outreach and for the Children’s Camp. To tell you the truth it seems like we have been back for a year already when in actuality we have not even hit the three-week mark yet!

Camp is always lots of work and lots of blessing. God blessed us with perfect summer days, a great group of counselors and an excited bunch of campers. They learned precious lessons from God’s Word, ate like they never had seen food, made new friends, and had many experiences in God’s presence. Several children accepted Christ as their Savior.

The highlights of camp included filming music videos, zooming down the water slide and having a missionary experience. The children made little wall plaques during the week (one to take home and one to give away). On Saturday the seventy campers went house-to-house in the surrounding neighborhoods giving out their presents along with a Gospel tract and a special personal greeting from each camper.

It was great to have Andrew and Matthew as counselors. One night they dressed up as twins (see below).

Next week we hope to take a few days away at the beach to spend with family and friends and catch our breath after this whirlwind of activity. Then I’ll get back to you with answers to prayer and some other stories.

Paul and Becky

Ari Giles Doing Better

Many who were at the Pastor's Conference heard and prayed for Ari Giles, daughter of Danny and Marcela Giles. Ari was diagnosed with Rota virus and was hospitalized.

Ari's grandfather reports that she is doing much better and will be released from the hospital. Thank you for praying.

Pray for Brazil AFLC Annual Conference

We remember with joy the positive results of the prayers of many people interceding together for the November meetings of the Brazil national church. Thank you so much! Praise God for the wonderful ways He miraculously works! We would like to ask you once again to join us in prayer for our Annual Conference which will be held at the ARCA from Friday through Sunday. There are still wounds to heal and lots of work to do to bring unity of spirit in our churches. Please pray for God’s will to be done through individuals who have been called to be a part of this special family of faith. Pray for humble hearts and forgiving spirits and a godly vision for the future.

Paul and Becky Abel

The Gospel is Still Effective

"All that the Church and its members need for the manifestation of the mighty power of God in the world, is the return to our true place, the place that belongs to us, the place of absolute and unceasing dependence upon God."
Andrew Murray

Genaro and Carmen (picture) continue to make follow up visits to those we've brought to the Lord Jesus in their neighborhood. Last Friday we built a bridge and brought Gabriel to Jesus as his only Savior and Lord. He was a faithful Catholic, yet lacked understanding of the sweet Gospel of grace that leads to assurance of the forgiveness of all sin. He and his wife are baptizing their first child in a couple of weeks. He will be studying and teaching his family from the book of John.

Our Personnel Director Christ Broderson is coming tomorrow for a week of visits. He will sit in on our meeting of local pastors on Saturday. Do pray for that meeting, we need a "manifestation of the mighty power of God."

We are praying about an agenda for visiting many of you and your churches this summer beginning in April. It's hard to believe are home assignment starts April 1, in only 10 weeks. Yikes!

Pray for our Conference February 10, 11 with our missionary brethren. It'll be our first together.

In all these things it's easy to fall back on our own zeal, energy, knowledge and experience. But only the "place of absolute and unceasing dependence on God" will see us through with victory. Bless you all for joining us there in that place, your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yesu, atenderezibwe!

Yesu, atenderezibwe! (Jesus, be praised!) This is a common exclamation amongst Christians in the Lusoga language. Lusoga is the tribal language of the Basoga people, the main tribal group of this region. There are over 40 tribal languages in all of Uganda!

We began formal language lessons last week with a wonderful tutor, Roy, and we are both excited to be learning how to better communicate with those we came to serve. We meet 3 times a week for an hour and a half and are expected to practice, practice, practice in between lessons.

It has been fun to greet people in Lusoga when we're out and about in town. They are always delighted and surprised to hear their language coming from our lips. We know it'll open greater doors for ministry to be able to speak to them in their mother tongue. Please pray for perseverance and discipline for us in studying and practicing Lusoga.

The missionary community here in Jinja is reeling over the loss of 2 missionaries in the last few days. One young man, Adam, in his late 20's was killed Tuesday night in a car accident and the other, Talitha, was the 16-year-old daughter of a family that lives just down the street from us - she died this morning of cerebral malaria. Would you please pray for these families as they grieve? The parents of Talitha prayed for hours after she died that God would raise her from the dead. We cannot begin to imagine their pain. They, along with Adam's entire missionary team (3 other families), will be returning to the States to conduct their funerals within the week. Pray as you are led, but please pray that many would come to know the Lord through their deaths. We did not know them well, but since their deaths we have heard much about their impact here and about how much they loved and ministered to the Ugandan people.

Nate will be attending a 4-day Pastor's Conference the end of January, along with the 7 pastors of the ELCU (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Uganda) and David Natema, president of the ELCU. We are praising God for a recent gift of money from the States which was the EXACT amount needed for each of the pastors to go. When Nate told them the news of this gift at their meeting last Saturday, they all cheered and clapped. They would not have been able to attend without this generous gift. A special bonus of this conference will be that each of the pastors will receive 72 books to assist in their ministry! This is a HUGE gift for them, being that Christian literature is expensive and not easily accessible here.

Please pray for the pastors and for Nate as they attend this conference - for protection as they travel and for teachable spirits as they attend the sessions. We feel that this is a good opportunity for them to be unified more as a group as well. Please pray too for the boys and me as we stay home and hold down the fort.

We will be travelling to Kampala, the capital, tomorrow morning for a quick shopping trip and to meet a friend for lunch. Will you pray for us as we travel? The roads here aren't the greatest, and drivers are often quite careless.

Please continue to pray for protection from the Enemy for our family . He's obviously not happy that we're here and would like to stand in our way. We have no reason to fear because we have the Victor on our side, but we still need to be alert to the evil one's tactics so that we are not caught off guard.

We are grateful for your prayer support and your partnership in this ministry. Thank you too for all of the encouragment that you've given to us through emails, letters and packages! Each one ministers to us greatly.

Serving Him together with you,
Nate, Rhoda, Elijah and Judah

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Connely Dyrud Traveling

Over the next few months, Pastor Connely Dyrud will be visiting the MTI interns in various places. We ask for prayer for him, the MTI students, and all others involved:

January 17-February 27
Pastor Dyrud will be in Brazil where Brent Raan and Wade Halvorsen will be serving. Pastor Gary and Lucinda Haug (Solid Rock FLC, Anoka, MN) will be accompanying Pr. Dyrud on this trip.

Beginning of March
Pastor Dyrud will be in Eagle Butte, SD, where Heather Burch will be serving.

March 16-30
Pastor Dyrud will be in Slovakia where Brenda Waterworth and Rachel Eggert will be serving and where MTI graduate Paul Blom is already serving.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Your Assignment from Jesse Long

This is going to be another one of those “interesting” updates from Jesse. The primary reason for my writing is not even really to give you an update but rather an assignment.

As Ben and I were in Uganda for Christmas, Nate and Rhoda gave me the gift of a book called Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. It is the best book I have read since…well, since the last good book I read. Seriously, you really need to read it. PLEASE READ IT!! All your friends need to read it. Please give it to them. If you have any trouble finding it or can’t afford it, just let me know and I will find a way to get you as many copies as you need. I really mean that. I have not yet had a chance to check out the website but you may be able to get information or even order a copy by visiting www.epm.org.

I was trying to find an excerpt from the book to give you a small taste of what it is all about but I don’t think it is possible. This book is fiction but not fantasy. It is well-written and follows a story line that makes it difficult to put down…just ask Ben. I was pretty much useless for about five days while I was reading it. Beyond just being good reading, however, it is very accurate to things that are actually happening in the world today and expresses attitudes and perspectives that we all are exposed to and may even feel on a virtually daily basis. In the words of the author, “While many things in this book have actually happened in one way or another, I have made up the story. Still, I have attempted to keep it authentic and true to life in as many details as possible. Nearly all my characters are fictitious. Some are composites of several real people.”

I don’t know what else I can say. I hope you will make the effort to read and be challenged by this book. It challenged me. It has changed the way I look at where I am, what is happening around me…and where I am going. I think you will find yourself looking at life differently after you finish it, too. I hope it will motivate you to consider how you arrange the priorities of your life and what you value. I hope it will drive you live different than those around you…to leave a valuable heritage when you die, because you will die someday…we all will. How will your life be remembered? Have you accomplished anything truly significant?

I will close with a quote from page 347:

“…a good follower of Jesus is like the ox – ready either for the plow or the altar, for service or sacrifice. I do not know what lies ahead on this earth. I do know something greater waits us beyond it. That is what I choose to live for.”

Please read it. Take it to heart. Be challenged. I don’t ever want to be the same…I hope you won’t either.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Jay Eberth and Tim Skramstad Traveling to India

Please be in prayer for Pastor Jay Eberth and Dr. Tim Skramstad as they travel to India. They will leave on January 11th and return on January 24th. They are traveling with "The Sending Place. Ministries.

Northeren Mexico Outreach by Gabriel Mercado

Sincere greetings to everyone of the family of God, our Lord and Savior.

I write to give you all an update of the Lord's work. In the month of November and part of December, we visited three different homes in three different neighborhoods of Obregon. We passed out 4000 different tracts such as, The History of Christmas and Four Things God Wants You to Know. We also passed out 200 New Testaments. We took time to talk to people, answering questions about the tracts. It reminded me about the eunuch asking the Apostle Phillip if he could help him to make sense of what he was reading.

We are ending another year of life and in the Lord's work. I consider myself an unworthy servant for it says in Luke 17:10 "So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, we are unworthy servants; we have done our duty."

In Agrarista we continue with worship services of praise, adoration and Bible Studies. We have worship services every day of the week and continue to pray that the Lord would change hearts in all the areas we have ministered this past year. We also pray that in 2007 our Lord's seed, the Gospel, will come to bloom and bring glory to God teh Father. Pray for me that God would grant me more strength, understanding and health necessary to do the Lord's work.

To all the congregations of our beloved AFLC and to all our dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, this is our desire, Have a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

From your dear brothers in Christ, Gabriel and Virginia, our prayer is this, "May the blessings of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you all." Thanks be to God for permitting us to have another year in His work.

God Be with You All,
Gabriel & Virginia Mercado

Translated by Pastor Ted Kennedy

News from Ben Jore & Jesse Long

Happy New Year! 2007…wow! Can you believe how fast the time goes by?! I trust the holidays were full of blessings and lots of good memories for each one of you. Already, Ben and I are back here at Waama preparing for the week ahead which will hopefully include first-term finals and the beginning of this second term.

As far as the holidays hear in Africa, I am going to have to say that despite being away from my American family and friends, this will likely go down as one of the most memorable holiday seasons I have ever had. One highlight was the opportunity for Nate, Ben, and I to each preach in different village churches on Christmas day. The village I went to has only been meeting for about a month but already had about 60 people for this special service! It was so fun to see people excited to have a church in their village, a native pastor willing to work with them even if it meant hours of riding his bike to get there, and young men being trained to take over these new churches once they are on their feet. Already, in the short time that Nate and Rhoda have been in Uganda, they have been made aware of over 15 villages needing and even requesting a church to be started. It was exciting to be in the middle of all that.

After spending Christmas with Ben, Nate, Rhoda, and the boys in Uganda (and, of course, going whitewater rafting☺), I had the opportunity to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a business contact from my time at LEKTRO. The 5-day climb up to around 19,000 feet was an absolutely amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience! We started on the 29th and the final ascent began at mid-night – December 31st! The weather for the first several days was absolutely miserable – some of the worst my guide had ever climbed in. As a result, by the time we reached the highest base-camp, virtually all my gear was soaking wet and many people were too tired, cold, or demoralized to even attempt the final ascent. The rain we had experienced at lower altitudes was obviously snow on top. This resulted in the people who had hoped to summit even the day before us being prohibited from even attempting. God had mercy on me, however, and we woke up that night to a cloudless and starry sky. There was still a lot of snow and the climb was not fun or easy, but after 6 hours of wading through knee-deep and sometimes waist-deep snow I reached the top and became the first one to arrive at Gilman’s Point in 2007!

The top of Kilimanjaro is a large crater. On the other side of the crater (opposite Gilman’s Point), is Uhuru Peak. Uhuru is actually slightly higher than Gilman’s and the highest point on the mountain but due to the weather conditions and large amounts of snow, none of guides were allowing their climbers to make that final trek. It was a little disappointing to not get the full experience but I was certainly willing to come back down – dreaming of a warm shower and a clean, soft bed with each step. I have included some pictures of the adventure with this email and will also place a couple on our blog at www.benandjesse.blogspot.com.

As an item for praise, I had no problems coming back into Tanzania as the officials at the border were willing to simply issue me another tourist visa while I wait for final processing of my residency permit. Ben was not so fortunate and may be faced with some additional temporary permit expenses if our residency is not received in the very near future. We hope to have a response this week. Thank you for your continued prayers.

As far as a car is concerned, we have not purchased anything yet. We looked at one in Arusha on our way to Uganda but did not feel perfectly at peace with it. We continue to follow leads as they come up and will keep you updated. Again, we appreciate your prayers for God’s clear direction and our obedience in these regards.

We also obviously covet your prayers as we begin this new term. Students are again leaving their families, traveling, and preparing for another term of study. Pray for both staff and students and God’s blessing on each one. Thank you all for the investment you have already made and continue to make in us and this ministry. May God continue to richly bless each one of you.




Thank you for your prayers for journey mercies. God has abundantly answered. Jesse returned to Tanzania on December 26 so that he could climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. He successfully made it to the top as the first person in 2007 to do so. I decided to stay back in Uganda until after the New Year and met up with Jesse in Arusha, TZ on Thursday. We were both allowed in the country even though our residency permits have not yet been issued. That situation has become a little more urgent than when we left. If we do not receive the permits soon, we may need to leave the country until they are issued or face a steep fine. Would you pray for our residency permits to be granted soon? Thanks.

When we arrived in Arusha, we were told that we might not be able to make it back to Mbulu because there has been so much rain the roads might be impassible. Though the roads were covered in mud and we actually had to get out and walk through one spot, we made it back safely and now are at Waama. We are now waiting for the students to return so that we can start classes again. We are expecting them to start returning on Monday and hopefully we will be able to start classes this week.

Praise God for...
  • a wonderful Christmas Break--a great time with Nate, Rhoda, and family; a safe and successful climb up Kilimanjaro for Jesse, and a renewed passion for our ministry.
  • safe travel and permission to reenter Tanzania.
Please pray for...
  • our residency permits to be issued quickly.
  • wisdom for Jesse and I as we continue in the ministry here at Waama.
Thank you for your part in the ministry here. We couldn't do it without you. May God bless you,


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Praying for Darwin Jacksons

"The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us."

The book of Nehemiah is so powerful, exiting and practical to us these days. It seems every word speaks exactly to our situation. The work of missions is great indeed. Our churches here in Mexico are "widely spread" out, "separated"... "far from one another." Tonight, we are having a workers meeting at our downtown church where we will have the chance to "sound the trumpet."

We know if the Lord can convince our brothers and sisters to "rally" together consistently, "our God will fight for us." That is the reason for these letters as well, a sounding of the trumpet to pray, "our God will fight for us."

  • Continue to pray for the meeting of all our Sinaloa congregations on the 20th of January.
  • We had a great evening with Genaro and Carmen last night. Together we led our new sister Felipa to Jesus Christ. Now it's her husbands and three daughters turn. Genaro and Carmen will visit them again on Sunday with the hopes that Genaro can share with Felipa's husband and bring all of them to church. "Our God will fight for us."
  • Anahansi, Pastor Guadalupe's daughter is seriously pursuing her vision of becoming a missionary. She's investigating and praying about two opportunities given to her. One, going to Bolivia with our fellow workers as an intern in their work TV program ABC Kids (www.abckidsbolivia.cjb.com). The second is the idea to go to the AFLC Bible School in Minneapolis.
  • We had a very special week together with brothers Scott and Javier from Vision of Glory Lutheran Church. They have faithfully prayed and supported us for some time. It has been great to get to know them personally now and we look foreword to working closer together in mission.

Thank you all for rallying together with us to make sure God's Church is built up here in Mexico. "Our God will fight for us."

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

Visit our web site at www.geocities.com/darwinwj

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Prayer Requests From Nate Jores

What a wonderful Christmas season we have had here in Uganda. It wasn't exactly a white Christmas, but my zucchini plants are looking very nice. We are transitioning from the rainy to the hotter, dry season right now.

It was a great blessing to have Ben (my brother) and Jesse Long with us for Christmas. They have been teaching at Waama Bible School in Tanzania and came up by bus from Arusha, Tanzania, through Nairobi, Kenya, to our place here in Jinja. We had a good blend of leisure, work, and ministry while they were here. They helped plant five banana trees, two orange trees, a mango, and a tangerine. We (Ben, Jesse, and I) also went white water rafting (grade 5) on the Nile river. On Christmas day we split up each of us going to three different village churches. Rhoda found great joy in cooking and baking, trying to fatten the bachelors up a bit.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayer support. The Lord is so good. Our transition is going very well. The boys have adapted very well and each day that goes by feels like we are more at home. It is true that the Christmas season did bring back some homesick feelings, especially for Rhoda who longed to wear a sweater and sit by the fireplace with her Mom. We know we are meant to be here and the Lord has given us great joy in this calling.

We would ask for your prayers as we will be beginning language study this month. Our hope is to find a good tutor who will come to our home and work with us three days a week. We have been getting by very well in English, but it is very evident that we would be able to reach many more people if we could speak the local language.

Please continue to pray for our Saturday meetings with the pastors. They have been very encouraging and productive so far.

Please pray for Rhoda's and my personal spiritual walks. We have both seen our need to wake up earlier and spend the first minutes of the day with the Lord. As the psalmist says, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer to you, and will look up" (Psalm 5:3).

One last one… Would you pray for patience and consistency as we seek to train up our boys? Elijah especially seems to be at a stage where he needs a lot of love in the form of the rod of discipline. We are so grateful for all of you and your love for our family.

May the Almighty God richly bless you all,

Nate (for Rhoda, Elijah & Judah too)

Chmiel's Start Missions Orientation Training

We wanted to let you know that we made it safely to our training in Colorado Springs, CO. We had to spend one day in Lincoln, NE because of the winter storm going through Nebraska. But the weather cleared up on Monday and we were able to make it to Colorado that day.

We drove through some amazing ice on our way from Nebraska to Colorado. There was an ice storm that left everything covered in ice. It looked like a fairy-tale “ice kingdom”. If you would like to see more pictures, you can click here: http://www.chmiels.com/gallery/Ice+Storm/

We were told here at our training that we can not only send mail from here but we are also welcome to receive mail here. So now everybody checks with the front desk after lunch to see if they got any mail. :) If any of you would like to write to us, here is our address. We will be here until February 2.

Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel

Mission Training International
P.O. Box 1220
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

The training we are at this month is really intense and tiring but we also hope to learn a lot so we are really excited about that. It is also fun to be with all these other future missionaries. Please pray for strength, energy and enthusiasm for us as we learn many new things this month.

Tomasz and Miriam

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ben Jore Traveling Back to Tanzania

Happy New Year!! It's crazy to think that it is already 2007! But with another new year comes the ever-present realization comes again that there is a LOT of work to be done. May God grant us grace to be faithful to the calling that He has given to each one of us.

Time here at Nate and Rhoda's has been great! Getting to know my nephews a bit better, relaxing, rafting the Nile, seeing some of the work that is being done in Uganda, and helping with some projects around the house has been the name of the game for the past couple of weeks. Praise God for this "down time" and a chance to recharge and get ready for another semester back at Waama. I will be leaving on the bus this afternoon and will meet up with Jesse who is already back in Tanzania. We will stay in Arusha for a couple days and then return to Waama in anticipation of classes starting again on Monday.

Thank God for:

  • a great time with Nate and Rhoda and boys. It was a great, rejuvenating way to spend Christmas and New Years
  • another year of God's leading in life and ministry. One year ago I never would have guessed that I would be here. Praise Him!

Please pray for:

  • a safe journey for me back to Tanzania. I am looking at about an 18-20 hour bus ride and two border crossings.
  • another good semester for Jesse and I as we teach and come to the place linguistically where we can minister on a deeper level with our Tanzanian brothers and sisters.

Thank you so much for your partnership in the Gospel! May God richly bless you,


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Paul and Becky Abel's Return to Brazil

Pastors Del Palmer and Connely Dyrud, along with my folks and our daughter Christina and her fiancé Daniel, gave us a great send-off at the Minneapolis airport Friday. After having celebrated Christmas in grand style with both sides of the family we were ready to say our good-byes and head off to begin our seventh missionary term.

I had prayed that the Lord would pick us up off the ground in Mpls. and hold us in the palm of His hand, gently placing us down again in South America. He did just that, and we enjoyed the best airplane trip to Brazil that we can remember. Thank you, Father!

We had a wonderful trip, arriving in Curitiba about 6:00 p.m. on Friday. There was a big group to meet us at the airport. We rode home on the old ARCA bus with a bunch of friends. The lush green everywhere was overwhelmingly beautiful! When we arrived in Bateias another big group of people were waiting to welcome us! After many warm greetings and a little lunch and prayer time we walked into our home at 10:00 p.m. and started unpacking suitcases.

We enjoyed sleeping in our own bed again and waking up to the birds singing and the breeze blowing through our open windows in the morning. Saturday we had visitors in and out the whole day. At lunch time we enjoyed the traditional “churrasco” (barbeque) and beans and rice in our picnic area with a bunch of people who spent the weekend at the ARCA. That sure was a treat after being away for seven months! In the afternoon Joanna and Silvio and Deborah along with several other family friends gathered at our place. Granddaughter Deborah is cuter than we could have imagined. She is having a little trouble realizing that we are more than a picture on the refrigerator, but soon we will be an integral part of each other’s lives. In the evening we had yet another party (fish fry) with all the young people and several couples from our Bateias church. Our Brazilian friends have been so warm and welcoming and it’s wonderful to be back home again!

Sunday we were in church almost all day. Andrew really enjoyed playing drums in the morning service and guitar in the evening service. The boys are happy to be reunited with their friends. The traditional New Year’s Eve gathering was held at the ARCA Sunday night with much praise and worship, several testimonies and special presentations, prayer and a meaningful Communion service. We are trying to unpack and get settled, but so far we have mostly been entertaining visitors. It’s a holiday so that’s a perfect reason for taking a drive to the ARCA to visit friends. Andrew went frog-hunting tonight and Matthew has been in bed all day with a terrible stomach flu.

Tomorrow we hope to get more settled before church services at night. Then Wednesday VBS starts in both churches – Bateias in the mornings and Campo Largo in the afternoons. Our people are to be congratulated for their dedication and perseverance in ministry. It’s fun to witness people taking on new challenges and doing a great job! I’ll try to write more later to fill you in on life in Brazil.

May the Lord continue to bless us and use us for His glory as we begin another year of life lived in His presence! Happy New Year !

Love in Jesus,
Paul and Becky