Wednesday, February 28, 2007

God is Working at the ARCA

Wow! Another month has flown by! Yara and Carlos, the ARCA camp managers, took a much-deserved vacation during this month and we took over their responsibilities as they had done for us during our furlough time. We hosted a couple of camps and spent much time preparing for the Youth Camp over Carnaval (Feb. 16-21).

The camp was a blessed experience! We had about 160 youth, half under 18 years of age and the other half over the age of 18. The teaching times were divided to better meet the needs of each group. The evening services were held together under the big tent we had rented for the week. Our regular chapel was transformed into a dining hall to enlarge our cafeteria space. The speakers did a great job and we rejoice in these special spiritual impact weeks to help equip our youth to live out their daily lives according to God’s guidelines empowered by His Spirit. This year the camp was a joint venture with our churches and Joanna and Silvio’s church. We enjoyed working together. It was fun to have Joanna and Silvio and baby Deborah with us in our home for the five days along with another speaker’s family.

This Saturday a new preaching point will be dedicated on the other side of Curitiba. This new work is an outreach project of the Vila Camargo church. We are donating some basic materials for them to get started and plan to encourage them with our presence and prayers as we are able. The other churches seem to be going well. Paul met with the pastors this past week to encourage them and spend some time in fellowship. Each week we are involved in three to four Bible Studies, two church services, Sunday School, personal visits in homes and the hospital, and all the extra interruptions that come our way. Life is full of opportunities and we ask that the Lord will renew our strength and give us wisdom for each situation.

Our love and thanks to you, dear friends!

Paul and Becky

Monday, February 26, 2007

Shakopee Youth Raise Funds for Missions

Shakopee Faith Lutheran Youth had a special overnight Feb. 23-24 to experience hunger, do service projects, raise awareness of mission opportunities and money for the hungry in various parts of the world.

The youth built cardboard box homes to sleep in; Pastor Del Palmer shared a message on making yourself available; "Come The Morning" movie drove home the point that at any one can become homeless.

The students served 30 homeless people pancake breakfast outside at Loring Park; played a Ugandan Tribe game that created awareness of the plight of the children in Uganda; packaged
2,808 meals at Feed My Starving Children; $315 was raised for AFLC World Mission help to the hungry and $130 was given to World Vision work in Uganda. A great weekend.

Forgiveness - In the Words of a Brother from Uganda

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My name is KAGGWA JONES FRENCHMAN. I am a true follower of Jesus Christ and a Ugandan by nationality. I’ve something which I hope would be of great importance to share with you. Ever since I was born, the word ‘FORGIVENESS’ has never changed either in spelling or in its appearance. When seen from a closer view, it looks to be short and very easy to write, however, so hard to put into practice. ‘FORGIVENESS’ is very long as far as its meaning is concerned. Have you ever forgiven any one in your life? The actual answer differs from one person to another regardless of age and gender.

I believe that at least everybody has ever done a wrong. Not once, not twice, but God knows better. Close your inner eyes and try to retrieve from your past experiences and see whether you have ever sought forgiveness from anybody. You can imagine the situation. Who forgives who anyway? Remember that we Christians are emulators of Jesus Christ. I know it is painful to bear, but here is my testimony:

Once upon a time, I had two eyes and my sight was okay. My life was going well and I always hoped for a bright future. I had dreams of becoming a great man of God and a prosperous person in my family. Unfortunately, out of the blue, someone dismantled my life almost to nothing. He beat me until I passed out and I came to in the hospital. I was admitted in the hospital for four months and when I was discharged I was told that I had lost sight in my right eye. To this day I have only one eye. I will never forget such an experience in my life, though ten years have passed. This has devastated my life both physically and mentally.

Ever since I got this injury on my body, my life has changed greatly. I started feeling inferior to my friends at school and in the neighborhood. Loneliness replaced my happiness in my heart. I lost interest and hope in God, though I remained a devoted Christian. Due to much discrimination from the public and friends in general who nicknames me all sorts of painful and dirty names, I decided to HATE Paulo for what he had done to my life. Little did I know that holding a grudge against a fellow man is like soaking one’s faith in Satan’s open teeth. The more I hated Paulo, the looser I became in Christ. Instead of emulating Jesus Christ in my life I decided to engage in unconstructive nonsense as far as holiness is concerned. Hatred contaminated all my ways of sober thinking and for sure it affected my relationship with God. Remember, your heart is the engine to your whole body and a damage to your heart is also felt by your soul. Accept the reality and lessen the burden on your heart, for I gained nothing in hating Paulo.

One day I attended a morning Sunday service and surprisingly the preacher for that day preached about forgiveness. He preached from Matthew 18:21-35 and at the end of it all I felt a debt in my life. He insisted on forgiving our fellow man. I shed tears in my heart because I remembered how I had suffered in my life because of my fellow man. Now the preacher was insisting that I had to forgive such a “useless” creature in my heart. I had been considering revenge and not forgiveness. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…” “What’s wrong with this preacher?!” I thought in my mind.

After the service I told the preacher, brother Nathan, all that was eating me up. I thought he would encourage me to hate Paulo the more since I had tangible reasons for my hatred. But I felt like jumping out of my skin when he told me to forgive Paulo. He even insisted that I should go and seek forgiveness from him for my grudge against him. Just imagine the situation, I shrank back with anger and felt like dying. It was an unbearable situation. Nathan insisted, “You are fostering a grudge against God, but not Paulo, and so it is a sin.” We read so many Scriptures from the Bible and he advised me to repent of my sins before it was too late. This was a schism in Christianity because Paulo is also a follower of Christ the Savior.

After two hours of intensive counseling in God’s ways, I saw the need to stop boasting around with a grudge. I had poisoned my life for so long and now it was time to let Jesus flourish in my life. Jesus died for man to have peace, but I had no peace in my mind. Hatred is like cancer in our hearts which need to be removed before it attacks the blood vessel. We ought to garment our lives with the love of Jesus Christ, but not with crimes. Holding a grudge is compared to harassing one’s life. Sin halts your heart and saps your life.

At last I chose to forgive Paulo and forget whatsoever he did to me. I am now living a free Christian life. My soul is no longer troubled. And this goes to all Christians around the world. Please don’t be easily overcome by Satan. It’s precisely inept to hate your neighbor. We should be experts in knowing the truth and it shall set us free, but sin separates us from God’s love.

I went to Paulo’s home to ask him to forgive me for hating him intensely for the past ten years. When I apologized, Paulo could hardly believe his ears, knowing the great pain he had caused me. “No, I’m the one who should apologize to you,” he said. We talked for the next two hours and at last we parted as friends in Christ.

I hope that my story will help you to find forgiveness in your relationships with others. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). God bless you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Work of Making Disciples in Uganda

At this point I have not begun formally discipling anyone in a one-to-one context. In a sense, I am mentoring the pastors as a group as we have begun meeting every Saturday. I would also hasten to say that I am being mentored by them at the same time. I have also begun establishing a base of relationship with a couple of the young men here in Jinja. I have been fishing with some of the young men on two occasions and hope to continue fostering those relationships.

The setup in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Uganda very strongly supports mentoring. In each of the congregations there are young men (late teens to mid-twenties) who are called assistants. They are men who have demonstrated their commitment to Christ and to the ministry of the congregation and who have a heart to minister to others. The pastors have been serving as mentors for these young men and in many cases rely on them heavily in the parish ministry. When the pastor is visiting another church, the assistants will be in charge of the service. I have encouraged the pastors to invest heavily in these young men and to train them through discipleship.

The result of the discipleship effort in the ELCU is young leaders who are not book-learned, but who have learned through experience alongside the pastor. They have watched the pastors in different ministry situations and learned by observing. They have learned to conduct the service and some have learned to preach. Pastor Sospeter in particular has sought to train the young leaders. He has planted several churches around his home area and in each of the churches he has trained assistants to carry on the work.

Since our coming, the pastors have had opportunity to gather together more frequently and become more united in spirit and purpose. As the pastors are encouraged and challenged, the congregations will also receive the blessing through their pastors. The work of the pastors to make disciples has created a love for the church among the youth as they are seen as a valuable part of the ministry. They are invested in as the church of tomorrow.

The purpose of our first year in Uganda is to be students of the language and culture of the people we have come to serve. We will also be focusing on building relationships with the people and investing in those with whom we will be working in the future. Beyond the first year, we hope to begin a program for training church leaders so that the churches will be firmly grounded on the Word of God. In five years, our goal is to have free and living congregations that are active in prayer and evangelism and that are reproducing and multiplying. We hope to have national church leaders that are actively training others to carry on the work of the ministry.
Nate Jore

Hundreds See Jesus Film in Tanzania

Life has been going very well for us here in Tanzania. I hope it has been going well for you as well. We continue to be very busy here. The second term is in full swing here at Waama. Jesse and I enjoy teaching more and more each day as we become more fluent in Swahili. It is exciting for us to get to know some of the students better and hear their life stories. There are so many amazing people here.

Our ministry here in Tanzania has two parts: first, to encourage the Church by supporting Waama Bible College through teaching and equipping; second, to encourage the Church by making weekend trips to local congregations to teach and preach and also to show the Jesus Film. Many of our weekends have already been filled with traveling to students' home congregations, visiting their homes (very important in this culture), preaching on Sunday morning, and showing the Jesus Film in the local dialect. This has brought us and many local churches much joy as we can facilitate the sharing of the Gospel in their own language. Take this past weekend, for instance...

We went to a small church about a three hours drive from the Bible School. We arrived there on Friday evening and immediately set up for an outdoor Jesus Film showing. We have found this to be a good means for evangelism as non-believers can slip in and slip out without being noticed because of the darkness. We were very encouraged to have 200 people show up who heard and saw the Gospel in their own mother tongue. This was one of the larger crowds we had ever had. The next day (Saturday), Jesse and I took part in a Youth Conference that was going on at the church. In the evening we again set up for another Film showing. Showing in the same place two nights in a row made us skeptical about what sort of turn-out we'd get. We started the Film and then left to get some supper. When we came back, we found about 600 people spell-bound by the message of the Gospel. It was absolutely amazing! After the Film ended, the pastor got up, spoke, and prayed with the crowd. It was an invigorating time. The next day, we went to the Sunday morning service and then returned home that afternoon.

The picture of the Jesus Film showing that brought 600 people this past weekend. There were probably 30-40 more rows of people standing behind the people you can see. Pictures can't do something like this justice, but its worth a small idea anyway... (In the bottom right is our projector and VCR.)

Many of our weekends are spent doing Jesus Film showing trips like this last one. Though usually not this many people come, it is a great blessing for us to be able to share the Gospel in this way. Many of the students have requested that we come to their village to show the Film. In fact, we are booked through the end of April including five weeks in a row, starting the first weekend of March. Would you pray for us and these showings? These showings have tremendous potential for encouraging the church as well as doing evangelism. Thanks.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gene Enderlein Travels to India

Gene Enderlein, former AFLC World Missions Director is traveling to India February 14th. Pastor Enderlein will be teaching, preaching and renewing old friendships. He will return on April 11th.

Please pray for him as he travels and for his family while he is away.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pastor's Conference held in Uganda

Dear friends,

I want to thank you for your prayers for the Pastor's Bookset Conference last week. We had a very blessed time together and the teaching was excellent. We stayed in a small guest house for the three nights and walked to the conference site through bussling Kampala each morning. There were over 400 pastors and church leaders in attendance from every region of Uganda as well as Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. We heard very practical teaching on leadership, preaching, studying, ministering to Muslims, ministering to those suffering with AIDS, as well as a study in the Gospel of John. One of the biggest blessings for me was to spend extended time with the pastors. Each evening we spent time together at the guest house discussing what we had learned during the day and how it applied our ministry. We also spent one evening shooting pool which was a first for most of them. There was a lot of laughter and the 25 cents per game went a long ways. A large part of our ministry here is building relationships with the people. Shared experiences is the best way to grow depth to a relationship. The final event of the conference was the distribution of the booksets. They were heavy and the road was muddy from the rain, but there was great joy as those books made their way to every corner of Uganda. The books (52 total) included: NIV Study Bible, concordance, Bible dictionary, English dictionary, atlas, Africa Bible Commentary, books on leadership, discipleship, ministry to Muslims, spiritual warfare, and many others. They will be a blessing for many generations to come and a wonderful tool that we can use in the ELCU to train other leaders. Thank you for praying for us this past week.

Let me share quickly about my experience yesterday. Hudson (pastoral assistant in Jinja congregation) and I travelled to Pastor's Sospeter's village to attend a meeting where Sospeter has been training the pastoral assistants in his area. Many of these young men (seven of them, 18-28 years old) are functioning as pastors because there are more churches than ordained pastors in the ELCU. Sospeter has been mentoring them and training them for pastoral ministry. The meeting was very encouraging as these young men are desire to serve as pastors. Here were some of the highlights: a 70-minute ride on the back of a bicycle, 31 people in a 14 passenger van, good fellowship with Hudson, and a great meeting with the assistants and leaders from the local community. Your prayers are much appreciated! May God bless each of you as you fulfill the Great Commission in your villages!


Thursday, February 08, 2007

God's At Work- Even when your stuck in the mud!

Dear friends,

Is time going fast everywhere or just here in Africa? I can’t believe we are already well into February! Thank you so much for your prayers as Ben and I have begun teaching again here at Wa/ama Bible College. Things are progressing well. It is a busy term for us but the challenge of additional classes is good. We continue enjoy getting to know the students better. They were so happy when we came back with our residency permits and were sure to tell us that they had been praying.

Some of the best opportunities we have to get to know the students are on the weekends when we are able to go with them to their villages and participate in the Sunday service and show the ‘Jesus’ film. This past weekend we had an invitation to go to the village of Guse along with several of the students who were from that area. In all, about 12 people ended up going. It was a lot of fun. For the first time in a Sunday morning service, I preached in Swahili!! Afterwards, we were able to show the ‘Jesus’ film in the local dialect for the first time.

The plan was for it to be a relatively short trip – leaving at 6:45am and being back by 8:00pm the same day. As it ended up, around 7:30pm on the way home we got stuck in a very bad mud bog. We had experienced some problems in this same place on the way to the village but on the return it was much worse. In fact, we all got out of the car and some started trying to dig, push, etc. This went on for a couple hours at which point one of the students found a guy with a truck nearby and asked if we could hire him to pull us out. He came with his Land Rover and some of his friends and they proceeded to try to dig, jack, push, and pull the truck for the next several hours. Due to the fact that all of us were planning on a short, day-trip, nobody had extra food, water, or warm clothes. Many of us simply wrapped up in whatever we had and tried to find a dry spot on the road where we could get some sleep….until it started raining around 2am. Around 4am everyone decided to get some rest and continue the effort after sunrise. It made for a crowded car. The efforts resumed around 7am and sweet success finally came at 10:30am – 15 hours after we got stuck. I will include one picture with this email others can be seen on our blog at Praise God for His protection!

Weekend ministry opportunities continue to abound. We could be gone every weekend if we wanted. Many of the students are excited to have us see their place of ministry and meet their family and friends. Pray for wisdom in all that, too.

This is a special weekend at Wa/ama and we ask for your prayers. Beginning tomorrow, we will be having several days of ‘spiritual meetings.’ Pray that this would be a time of encouragement and re-focusing for everyone.

It is hard to know all of what the year ahead might hold. My original return ticket is currently scheduled for early April but it is looking like I will at least extend it and maybe just throw it away. I can push it back only as far as July before it expires. The main reason for a return home at this point would be to have a much overdue check-up with my diabetes doctor at the University of Washington and get my prescriptions renewed as the insulin I take is not available here. I am feeling more and more certain that I will be over here for at least another year or year and a half. If that is going to happen, I would need to come home at some point this year as I currently only have enough insulin to last me through October. We will see.

Thank you so much for all your love, prayers, concern, and support. Ben and I continue to feel so blessed by the way God guides and provides each step of the way.

I pray the same for each of you.

In Him,


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chmiel's leaving soon for the Ukraine

Dear friends,

Here we are again with our update! This one is really exciting because this might be the last update sent from the US! Next time when you hear from us, it might already be from Europe!!

Yes, we might be leaving for Europe in exactly a month (March 6th). Our mission director, Bill Moberly, will be going to Ukraine next month and he wants us to go with him. We just learned about this last week so now we are trying to figure out how we can get everything ready in just a month. Right now we are in New Mexico (our mission director’s home) but when we come back home to Minneapolis at the end of this week we will start a very busy three weeks. PLEASE PRAY FOR US!!! Besides trying to pack our whole home, we also have very many last minute details to take care of. So we would definitely appreciate your prayers.

As most of you probably know, we finished our five-week mission training on Friday. The last three weeks of our training were about the different make-or-break issues of missionary lives. We talked about how to stay spiritually healthy on the field, how to deal with conflict, stress, grief and loss… how to keep morally pure… We discussed what to expect from the cross-cultural transition (the normal stages of “honeymoon experience” and “culture shock” before feeling settled). We also learned how to say “healthy good-byes” in order to be able to say “healthy hellos.” We were very thankful that we were able to be at this training. If you would like to read more about what we learned or see some pictures, click here: (if you have seen some of the first pictures, just go to page two and start there).

You can also see some more videos from our training at Last time we sent you a link to a video but the problem was that we never knew what else would open on that website. So this time we put the videos on our own website so we do not need to worry about inappropriate advertisements or anything like that. So enjoy the videos!!

Someone just recently asked us, How do you feel as you prepare to go to Ukraine soon?” It is hard to answer this question. In one of our sessions during our mission training the teacher said that when his family was about to move, his son said, “Daddy, I think God wants us to be both sad and excited about moving.” And that is how we feel, too. It is sad to leave our friends, our home, sell some of our wedding gifts, leave places that are very special to us… but at the same time we are very excited for what God has in store for us in Ukraine.

We very much appreciate your prayers! Keep in touch,

Tomasz and Miriam

Friday, February 02, 2007

Article from Every Nation Newsletter, by Dan Giles

I went to the water company one day to pay our water bill, and ran into Memo, a member of our church, who is the chief engineer for the water company. He introduced me to another employee of the company named Amilcar. Amilcar had recently moved to Jerez from Aguascalientes, as had we, so we got to talking. In a few minutes’ conversation it came out that Amilcar and his wife Claudia we were both Black Belts and ran a karate school together in Jerez. We found out that we knew many of the same people back in Aguascalientes. In fact, it turned out that I one of my black belts is in the very style of martial arts that Amilcar and Claudia teach!

I was looking for a place where I could work out, so I started training at his school. I ended up steering a few students his way as well. Once in a while he would ask me to teach a special class in self defense or some other related topic of martial arts. As we got to know each other, Amilcar and Claudia opened their hearts. They were very unhappy and felt like their marriage wasn’t working. In fact, they were close to throwing in the towel and giving up – and they had two precious little girls. They had no idea how to improve things, and no idea of how God intended marriage to work.

Within a few months they both asked the Lord Jesus to come into their hearts and take control of their life. They started praying together and studying the Bible, especially looking for God’s plan for their marriage and family life. Their wounded hearts were healed by God’s loving touch. They seem to have fallen in love with each other all over again!

All of that was six years ago. Today Amilcar and Claudia are a leading family in our little congregation. Their two daughters have two little brothers now, and they have just started building a house for their family. God’s loving plan for their life is unfolding beautifully and their children are growing up with something they had both missed growing up – they wonderful experience of knowing Jesus!

Linda Haabak - AFLC Member With Wycliffe Reqests Prayer

"Give me understanding and I will obey Your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart" (Psalm 119:34, NLT).

Wycliffe is partnering with Pine Summit Camp in Big Bear, California, to hold five weekend youth camps for middle school and high school students. These camps, which are entirely focused on missions, are opportunities to positively impact the lives of 1,500 to 2,000 young people and cast vision. Campers engage in fun team-building activities and cultural simulations where both campers and staff are assigned to a "tribe." These tribes represent real people groups, helping campers learn about the culture and language of each tribe in an active and meaningful way. Would you pray for these camps as the Lord leads over the next several weeks? (January 26-28; February 2-4; February 9-11; February 23-25; March 2-4)
  • Ask God to prepare the hearts of the campers and their counselors, so they may fully understand what is on His heart concerning the lost and His call to action for His people.
  • Pray that the staff would remain abiding in Christ and be able to share their hearts in a God glorifying way.
  • Pray for more students to register in these final days.
  • Pray for both physical and spiritual protection for campers and staff.
  • Students will consider life-changing decisions for their lives. Pray that their response to direction they receive from God would be obedience.
  • Pray that the outcome would be a new generation committed to God's purposes in reaching the unreached.
Please pray for us as we present a mission program at these winter camps. I will probably be there for all five weekends.



Thursday, February 01, 2007

Have You Seen My Water Buffalo?

The team that is now in India to teach pastors and Bible women have been having a little fun in their spare time. Linda Fugleberg was letting everyone know that she could milk and wanted to milk a water buffalo. The ladies took her and Karen Palmer to a place where she could milk. The Indian ladies had more fun, everyone laughed and it was a great time of fellowship.

The classes have been going well. In addition to the ladies teaching Jim Fugleberg, Jerry Peterson and Dave Johnson have been teaching the pastors. Del Palmer has been preaching in the evenings.

Please continue to remember the team in prayer.