Monday, July 30, 2007

Update from Paul Abel's

Dear Praying Friends,

The house is quiet today, at least for the moment, so I thought I’d try and get a letter off to you. We hope you are enjoying the blessings of summer and vacation time and, most of all, the blessings God wants to pour out into our lives day by day. His faithfulness and mercy to us continue to amaze and comfort us as we labor and live for His glory. Life is not without hardships and trials but there is such peace in knowing that we are safe in the palm of the Father’s hand, protected and loved.

The last of our children left home this week. Andrew left at the end of June and Matthew left Monday. We have no idea how we will adjust to life and ministry without them, but with joy we send our children on their way to discover God’s plan for their lives. It’s an exciting time in their lives and a time of adjustment for us as parents. God graciously sent us another temporary “son” a week ago – a 23-yr. old Canadian named Judah who loves the Lord and wants to invest a few months of his life helping in ministry here. I am so thankful to still have a boy around the house! Marcia and her two daughters continue on with us, too, and we always have plenty of people in our lives, but our kids are irreplaceable.

We celebrated Andrew’s 20th birthday before he left in June with family and friends. Last Saturday we had a big farewell party to honor Matthew and celebrate his 18th birthday (which is only in Sept.) Over 150 people joined us at the ARCA for an afternoon of fun and games and a special evening service to honor Matthew and bless his life. Matthew also received a special ring as a symbol of our love for him and as a reminder of his commitment to sexual purity. We continue to pray that our children will be instruments of blessing in the lives of many.

During July we planned and directed a Bible Camp for 90 adolescents, ages 11-16, at the ARCA. Our theme revolved around hearing the voice of God in the midst of so many other voices vying for attention. We tried to help the kids realize how media influences them and how to make good choices concerning what messages they allow themselves to hear. Many young people accepted Christ during the week. The majority come from extremely difficult family situations. Coming to Bible Camp for a week was like having a taste of heaven – good food to eat every day, beds to sleep in, people caring for them all day long, opportunities to be in the presence of God and His people. We have a big group of adolescents coming to church regularly – they come whenever there is something going on which is usually five times a week. Our desire is to help these kids know God and begin to write a new story for their lives and future. Yara and Pastor Joel have started a soccer club at the ARCA, twice a week for boys and twice a week for girls. Soon they hope to start a parallel program to teach them computer skills. In order to participate the kids need to get good monthly reports about their behavior and progress from school teachers, parents, and Sunday School teachers.

During the month of July a couple from our Bateias congregation has been in the Amazon on a missionary trip. Juliano and Claudineia are seeking the Lord for His direction in serving full-time in one of the many ministries they were involved in during their trip. It’s exciting to see our local congregation producing pastors and missionaries and praying for those who are sent out from our midst. The seven Bible School and seminary students from Bateias are home for a week of vacation. They have brought good reports about their schooling and ministry training. The success of these students gives us hope as we continue to pour our lives and efforts into the people around us. Those who are far from the Lord today can be transformed into vessels of blessing as they discover new life in Jesus.

In between company and lots of regular activities we manage to find opportunities to be with our darling granddaughter and other family members. These are always special moments and reason for rejoicing. In June I had surgery to correct a problem that resulted from my hysterectomy and bladder repair a year and a half ago. I am finally feeling like a new person and praise the Lord for healing. Paul has had a terrible cold and laryngitis for the last two weeks, but he is feeling better and plans to preach on Sunday. Monday we look forward to welcoming Pastor Martin Horn who will be teaching in our churches and seminary and Pastor’s Conference in Campo MourĂ£o.

We never cease to be thankful to those of you who enable us to do ministry here. May the Lord continue to remind you to pray and give so that others may live! Bye for now, Paul and Becky

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jacksons Minister in California

"Prayer is my chief work, and it is by means of it that I carry on the rest."
Thomas Hooker, Puritan

I had a great visit with the three congregations of Laguna Hills Lutheran Church of the Cross and the Aliso Viejo Church of the Cross this last Sunday. What a great group of brothers and sisters! Many came up to me after the services saying that they are Prayer Partners, so it was great to put faces on some of you who are involved in this "chief work."

Gracie goes in for her operation tomorrow morning on her foot. She is getting a plastic pin put in to keep her foot from being so flat (this will help prevent problems with her ankles and knees as she grows).

Mary Ann's mom continues to weaken day by day. She is open to hear Scripture each day, and confesses Christ as her Savior. We don't expect her to last much longer.

Thank you for all your prayers at this time, "for by means of them we carry on..."

Your fellow workers,
Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thanks for Praying

Thank you so much for your prayers over the past few weeks! We have seen God's hand at work in a powerful way and are eager to share with you. Sunday evening was our final showing. On Monday Ben and Jesse returned to Tanzania and yesterday (Thursday) the rest of the team headed back to the US minus Joe who is on his way to Burundi for a few days. It was just the four of us around our table for breakfast this morning for the first time in a month!

It is impossible to share with you every detail of the Jesus Film Campaign, but I will share a few of the highlights. In Bulumba on July 6 we had a soccer match with all the bazungu (whites) on one team and some players from the local high school on the other. The bazungu's won the match with a lot of help from the Africans that they gave us to give us a full team. Anyway... we showed the Jesus Film that night in the marketplace of the town and a huge crowd came out to see it. The kids were pressing in on us as we set up the equipment. We can only estimate that there must have been between 1,500 and 2,000 people there! (Our average showing had around 300-400 people).

We showed the Film in Bulumaki on Saturday night, July 7th and then worshiped with the people the next morning. After service and lunch we loaded up to go to Buwooya where we were scheduled to show the film that night. The car wouldn't start. Weak battery. The generator had cut out the night before for the first time during the film but managed to start again and finish it out with much prayer. We could not charge the battery off the generator because the generator was not working and on top of all that the rain was coming. The spiritual nature of it all was very apparent and we joined together in prayer. The car started. I don't know why it did on that last time. "May as well try it again..." We drove through the rain to Buwooya and set up for the film. The generator started and ran for a half an hour with a new batch of gas in it as a test before the actual film. Once it was time for the film to start, the generator fired and then quit after 10 seconds. This prompted some more prayer... It fired again and lasted the whole Jesus Film! It actually quit again as Pastor Martin was offering some concluding remarks! The rain also started to come shortly into the film, but again after prayer it stopped and the stars were out for the rest of the showing. Praise the Lord! The next day was Monday, our day off and we were able to get both the vehicle and generator fixed.

There were many other instances of God's hand going with us. Thank you for upholding us in prayer! Each team member took their turn getting sick, but not all at once. Rhoda and I remained healthy, aside from mild colds. Rhoda did exceptionally well as she held down the home front cooking and looking after sick patients. We cycled team members through Jinja for rest and recouperation throughout the campaign.

It is incredible to look out over a sea of faces that are watching and hearing the Gospel in their own mother language. Eternity will only tell the impact of these past weeks. Continue to pray for the pastors (Martin, Charles, Wilberforce, William, Edward, Sospeter, and James) as a lot of the follow-up work is falling to them. Some new Bible studies are being started in some of the villages where the film was shown. Thanks again for your partnership in this ministry!

Nate (for Rhoda & the boys too)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Jesse Long's Update from Uganda

As I anticipated, there are many things that have already happened here in Uganda that I can share with you as items for prayer and praise. I will start with something that happened at our SECOND night’s showing:

As you all know, Ben and I have been keeping very busy during this past year showing the Jesus Film almost every weekend, sometimes in as many as three different village locations there in Tanzania. We have been able to do this largely due to the fact that we were entrusted with a projector, DVD player, and other key equipment intended for that very purpose when we first came over here. On a couple occasions, we have had some technical issues with our equipment; however, God has blessed us with much quality equipment which has been virtually problem-free.

As Ben and I received this invitation to Uganda and made various preparations, there were several things which we thought we should get as far as spare supplies/equipment. High on our list of priorities was a new bulb for our video projector which had by this time seen many hours of use. We had not yet had any problems and knew that a spare bulb would definitely cost some money. At the same time, those types of problems don’t gradually appear and if it ever should burn out, we knew a spare bulb could only be acquired through the United States. Furthermore, the fact that a team was coming from the States to meet us here in Uganda seemed to be the perfect opportunity for us to get it here fast and safe.

So, it was ordered and they graciously brought it for us and we started the campaign. As we set up for the showing our second night, our bulb was burned out! What could have been a disaster (both here in Uganda or in Tanzania) was a simple 2-minute fix and that showing and every one since has been able to go ahead as scheduled.

Another example came home with the team that just returned today from last night’s showing. Each piece of equipment has been working well…until last night. They said that as the film came to the place were Jesus is brought before Pontius Pilate, the generator suddenly stopped running. After a couple attempts at re-starting and much praying it started up and ran – until the person closing the evening put down the microphone following the closing prayer!! God is good!

We feel very blessed by the wonderful people we are working with during this time – not only Nate and Rhoda who have been doing so much to lead and host us but also the group from the States who have really jumped in with both feet. Everyone is more than willing to serve in any way possible. Some have taken an extra load especially these past several days while some of us have been sick. I came down with a pretty severe bacterial infection while out in the village on Tuesday and Wednesday (actually, I think it was some Nile water that I ingested on Monday ;). I visited a doctor on Thursday and started my course of antibiotics. I will be on the road again soon. Pray for others, too, who have had shorter bouts with things like diarrhea, vomiting, head colds, and the like.

As far as the showings in general, attendances have been quite good. Two or three of the lowest attended showings have been around 150-200 but most are in the 300-600 range and one was packed with 1500-2000 people!! Continue to pray as we interact in these villages, show the film, and seek to encourage the local pastors. They are a blessing! There are several in particular who are modern examples of the apostle Paul. Pray that their ‘tent-making’ which sustains them financially would be blessed, that the young “Timothy” assistants they are training would have boldness and maturity beyond their years or experience, and that God would give them the supernatural ability to do all the follow up that needs to be done following these film showings. I would love to tell you some of the responses we get from the film but that will have to be another update.

Onto a slightly different topic…Lord willing, I will be in the States in 10 days! Thank you again for your partnership with us during this campaign. May God richly bless you all!

I hope to have some pictures from here in Uganda up on our blog soon. Check it out!

In Him,


Gracie's a Missionary

"Take this book in thy wounded hand, Jesus Lord of Calvary. Let it go forth at thy command, use it as it pleaseth thee. Dust of earth, but thy dust, Lord. Blade of grass in thy hand a sward. Nothing, nothing unless it be, purged and quickened, O Lord, by thee."
Amy Carmichael

Amy (missionary to India) used that prayer to ask God's blessing over a book or tract that she was sending out. We ask you to exchange the word "book" for us, or some other missionary or pastor. Amen.

Gracie and I are now in San Jose, CA. to speak at St. Timothy's Lutheran Church tomorrow. We just finished a week of camping in northern CA. Last weekend we spoke at Eugene, OR. before that in Astoria, OR.

Gracie is a real trooper and inspiration too. At one point she said as we were driving, "Dad, I gotta go." So I pulled in to a rest stop so she could do her thing... and we saw a young woman sitting outside the bathroom with a sign, EVERYBODY NEEDS HELP SOMETIMES. So we gave her some money, a granola bar, and a New Testament. As we said a prayer for Tia (that was her name) and drove off, Gracie said, "Wow, God made me have to go "P" so we'd be able to share with that girl, huh Dad." Praise God!

Mary Ann is doing pretty good. The 4th was a hard day to be alone there. We are really looking forward to seeing one another again soon. Her mom is doing ok, but slowly showing signs of leaving us. Do continue to pray that the "Lord of Calvary" will get a hold of her heart.

Thank you all for praying that we as "dust of earth," and a "blade of grass" might "go forth" at His command. 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

Update on Chmiel's Housing Needs

Thank you for thinking about and praying for our apartment search! We really appreciate it. We are living in a different temporary apartment right now.

We also have given a deposit on an apartment that we think could be our permanent one. Some important things are being fixed – they are putting in a central heating system and connecting the apartment to water that would be pretty much 24/7. The owners hope to have the apartment ready by August 1. We would really appreciate people’s prayers for everything to go smooth because jobs like that don’t get done on time in Ukraine very often.

I talked to the owner today and she said that most of the repairs are already done but they ran into another problem – when there is good water pressure then there is not enough water for the whole day. So keep praying because if there is no water during the day we don’t think we can take the apartment.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel

Friday, July 06, 2007

Uganda Jesus Video Update

We are already one week into the Jesus video campaign...

It has been shown at 10 different locations in several different villages, each ranging in attendance from 150 to 600. We praise God for bringing so many to hear the Gospel message and are continuing to pray for soft and repentant hearts.

We really don't know how many have come to salvation after seeing the film because we have not had any kind of altar call, but have rather chosen to have the local pastors close the showing in prayer and to dismiss everyone to their homes. The individuals that have come to our team expressing interest in coming to the Lord or receiving help have generally been turned over to the local pastors and leaders. There's so much attention on us being white and rich already that we just don't want that to cause any kind of distraction or motivation in these important heart decisions. We feel that the local leaders can do a better job with communicating to them in their heart language, as well as arranging follow-up. We are so proud of the ELCU pastors as they have done so much work in organizing and advertising for each showing and have displayed such a wonderful passion for souls.

A few miracles to report...

  • The Jesus Film in the local languages (Luganda & Lusoga) arrived THE DAY BEFORE the team left the US.
  • No cancelled showings so far! (It is rainy season)
  • The team came with a replacement bulb for the projector. It was needed at just the second showing as the old bulb burned out at the beginning (not the middle) of the showing. They brought it along that night at the last minute, not thinking they'd need it.
  • A top-carrier was installed on the truck two days before the first showing in a single day. (You have to understand how long things take to get done here to appreciate this miracle!)

The 7 young people that have joined us from the US & Tanzania for this campaign have been GREAT! Such troopers. They've jumped right into life here, embracing the Ugandan culture & bravely attempting new things (even cow intestines!). Several have taken their turns being sick, but nothing too serious - the worst being a bacterial infection that is pretty miserable to endure. Please continue to pray for their health & energy. It's a pretty grueling schedule w/ showings every night. We do encourage them, however, to take turns staying back here at our place to rest up a bit & regain their strength.

To see pictures and hear more about the campaign, you can visit the team's web site:

Please continue to pray!!

  • Our vehicle (used to transport the film equipment to each showing) has had a bit of trouble starting up the last few days...
  • Health & energy for all...
  • Unity amongst the team and the pastors...
  • Protection from the enemy...
  • A great harvest of souls!!

Thank you for your prayers!


Rhoda & the rest of the team

Psalm 67

"O let the nations be glad & sing for joy!"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pray for Stephanie

“It is more important to talk to God about people than to talk to people about God.”

-Howard Hendricks

Dear praying friends,

As I think of Stephanie my heart aches and I feel tremendously disappointed. Those aren’t new feelings about her or about several other young people that we minister to. Debbie Giles recently commented that we have to remember that we aren’t at the end of the story with so many who seem like they are in a spiritual trauma center. We are in the middle. And how their story ends has a great deal to do with both your prayers and ours for these people.

Stephanie is one who is currently in the “trauma center.” She was doing so well and then Satan cut in on her and threw her off of the good path she was on.

She had fled an abusive home situation and spent a year in refuge at a convent in Northern Mexico. She returned home last fall, believing that the home situation had changed significantly and that she would be able to live with her mom and sisters again.

The situation had indeed changed significantly but not as much as she had thought. And maybe she herself hadn’t changed as much as she thought.

Stephanie had been confirmed in our church several years ago but the things she wanted to do in the Lord so often were not the things she ended up doing. We started a discipleship program with her where she was reading the Bible out loud to her mom, memorizing Scripture, helping out with the youth group, and attending worship services each week. She was working hard to finish jr. high so she could apply to the Lutheran Bible school here in Mexico. She was doing so well.

And then she was derailed. On Easter Sunday she was explaining the meaning of a drama the youth group had done during the worship service to the congregation. Five days later I received a frantic and angry phone call from her mother detailing a major moral failure by Stephanie and announcing that she was kicked out of the house. My wife Barb, and Danny Giles went with me to talk to Stephanie and her mom and the other people involved about repentance and forgiveness, discipline and restoration.

Both Stephanie and her mother left the little town where they had lived and move to another but we haven’t heard from them since.

“Hello, 911? We have a spiritual emergency . . . again.”

In Christ,

Todd, Barb, Rachel, Megan and Kirstie Schierkolk

World Mission Director Visits Poland

AFLC World Missions Director Del Palmer visited Tim and Renata Hinrichs June 22-24. It was a busy time for the Hinrichs as it was the final day of Bible School. They were active giving finals, grading tests and preparing for graduation.

Tim and Renata are AFLC Missionaries on loan to Eastern Europe Missions Network. They work at the Center of Missions and Evangelism under the Evangelical-Augsburg (Lutheran) Church in Poland.

The Hinrichs run the Bible School which includes:
  • Daily Bible School - Students live on campus
  • Weekend Bible School - Students live off campus
  • Distance Education - Off site internet classes

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jerez Youth Group

Our youth group in Mexico started small. So small in fact that we had to open it up to kids in fifth grade in order to actually call it a “group.” But time passes and those fifth graders are now in high school and the group has expanded to include kids who aren’t even allowed to come to church.

Half of the twelve or so kids who come to the youth meetings still haven’t received the green light from their parents to worship with us on Sundays so the times we gather together for Bible study and worship provide a vital spiritual connection. Several of the young people began helping us this year as assistants or teachers in the two Kid’s Clubs God has given us. We have been glad to see them grow in the Lord through this service and also through the dramas and puppet ministry that they are participating in as well. There are a number of kids in the Clubs who are old enough to join the youth group this next year and we are praying that God will soften their parents’ hearts to let them take that step.

God also provided a great blessing for us in Danny and Marcella Giles, 2004 MTI graduates and current short-term assistants to Mexico, when they decided to stay and fill in for us with the youth ministry, while we are doing some deputation for a few months. Please pray for them as they share God’s love with these young people.

Al Pinno Minsters in Russia

Family and Friends of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, Who Was and Is and Is to Come! Amen! Come LORD JESUS!

I arrived safely in Moscow on the evening of June 26. The first part of our mission here was the purchase and distribution of Bibles for Russian soldiers, police officers, and inmates of prisons. Through your prayers and support we were able to purchase over 3500 Bibles this trip ($13,000 US). Over the past five years 2002-2007 through the ministry of Valery & Olga Morozov over 32,000 Bibles have been purchased and distributed.

When we began this Bible distribution work five years ago the goal was to distribute Bibles to Russian soldiers, however as the orthodox chaplains for the prisons and for police officers heard of our Bible distribution to soldiers, they also wanted to distribute Bibles to prisoners and police officers. I was hoping to be able to distribute Bibles to inmates this trip, that didn't work out, however, the LORD opened the door to distribute Bibles to police officers.

The Morozov's and I met the head orthodox chaplain for police officers and spent four hours with him on Wednesday afternoon, including a tour of the training center for police chiefs in Russia. Through our meeting Pastor Alexei invited me to hand out Bibles to 300 young men who were graduating from their police training the next day. This is the first time men graduating as police officers in Russia have ever received Bibles at their graduation ceremony with all of the top police officials present. It wasn't so long ago that many Christian believers in Russia were arrested by the police and put in prison for the possession of Bibles. GOD is doing a new thing in Russia. Pastor Alexei the chaplain hopes that this will become an annual tradition for graduates of the police college. Of course the orthodox church itself doesn't put a high priority on using their own money to produce and distribute Bibles, but since we are willing to supply the Bibles they are very willing to work together with us in distributing them to people so that people can read and learn more about GOD.

It was quite the ceremony, I won't describe it all, but at the close of it, the orthodox chaplain with all of his fancy and decorative apparel was there side by side with me in my casual attire, he would hold out a cross and a New Testament Bible and all the graduates who wanted to (probably about 200-250), came forward and they kissed the cross and the New Testament and then I would hand them a Bible. Although many of these young men who came forward probably don't have very much understanding of the message of GOD'S Word, I was blessed by the reverence they showed to the cross and to the Bible and I hope that at least a few of them will take the time to read and listen to the wonderful good news GOD has for us in His Word. May the LORD bless and sow the seed of His grace and truth deep in their hearts, minds, and souls.

Well that's the first few days in Russia, I am now on my way to Yekaterineburg for the first of three week of Bible camps for children,youth, and young adults. Please pray for the LORD'S presence and blessing on these camps. To GOD be the glory1

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support!

"Now to Him who by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to Him be glory in the church and in CHRIST JESUS, to all generations, forever and ever, Amen!" (Eph,3:20,21)

In the Love & Service of our LORD JESUS CHRIST,

Pastor Al

Greeings from Jinja, Uganda

Greetings from Jinja, Uganda! These past days have seen much activity.

At Waama…

  • last week was full of preparations for Sunday’s graduation festivities.
  • for the students, it meant finishing up work in the fields, cutting grass, cleaning out flower beds, trimming bushes, and general cleaning of the various buildings on campus.
  • for Ben and I, the days were spent taking care of final details for the Uganda/U.S. trip and packing up our house so that it can be used as a guest house while we are away. This packing involved storing some things in our office on campus, preparing some things to go to Uganda (mostly film equipment), and preparing other things for our later travel to the U.S.
  • many guests came for our Sunday graduation festivities. On Saturday, there was a special time that the teachers and students had to say final goodbyes. The majority of the organized festivities, however, were on Sunday. Ben was the main speaker for the Sunday service and it went very well. For seven or eight days leading up to that time, he had not been feeling good (sore throat, fever, chills, etc) but we praise God that he was feeling good and able to speak boldly before the hundreds of people that came for the day. We praise God for truth that was proclaimed. Afterwards, people said his Swahili was perfect!

Right away on Monday morning, we left Waama at 4:30am to catch our bus to Arusha. We had some time to make final arrangements in Arusha before our bus left for Nairobi later that same afternoon. After about a 1-hour layover in Nairobi and 12 more hours in the bus, Ben and I arrived here in Jinja on Tuesday at 10am.

Here in Jinja, Uganda

  • only a couple hours after arriving, a meeting was held here at Nate and Rhoda’s house with Ben and I, the team of five from the States, and all the native pastors who are helping to lead this 3-week, evangelistic campaign. We were able to hear about the preparations that have been made in each village and get an idea of what our time in each place will be like.
  • our first showing will be tonight (Wednesday night) here in Nate and Rhoda’s town of Jinja.
  • we are so thankful for the replacement and back-up equipment that the team was able to bring from the States and I’m sure we will have many testimonies in the next weeks as thousands will hear/see the gospel presented very clearly on the big screen in their own language.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us and Waama as we finished up this first year. Thank you also for your prayers as we begin this time in Uganda. I look forward to the praise reports I will be able to send in the next couple weeks.

In Christ,