Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prayer Update from Paul Abels

We pray this little update finds you well. Summer is coming to an end for most of you as we are looking forward to spring in Brazil. The azaleas are in bloom right now – the bursts of bright color are a joy to behold! We are looking for more rain to start turning the landscape back to a vivid green. Many people suffer in our valley due to allergies from the great amounts of dust and dirt in the air from the limestone factories and the dirt roads.

Pastor Horn
We’ve had a good month. Pastor Marty Horn came from the U.S. to be with us for two weeks. During that time he spoke in three of our Curitiba churches before traveling with us to the Bible School in Campo Mourão. There he had an opportunity to teach all the Free Lutheran pastors who were united for national church board meetings. Marty also gave 6 hours of seminary classes, and we traveled to three other churches in our state. The messages were good reminders of God’s view of the local congregation. Marty’s contribution in helping us encourage our churches, pastors and seminarians is greatly appreciated. While we were in Campo Mourão we spent time encouraging the seven students from Bateias as well as the other students and teachers. We ask for your prayers for Pastor Natanael and Pastor Iran as they take on new responsibilities in administrating the Bible School.

Campo Largo
Back at home again we have worked on painting the Campo Largo church to avoid all the water seepage every time it rains on those cement blocks. People are enjoying the new look at church. We have church services or home Bible Studies every night except Monday thus seeking to teach and preach God’s Word so that more may come to know Jesus and His ways. There are a lot of “ups and downs” working with people, many who have not yet made decisions for Christ or who are immature in their faith. But, we persevere in sowing the good seed, and hope that in time we will see good fruits appear.

Pastors' Retreat
Last week we participated in a two-day retreat for pastors and wives. It was a good spiritual refresher for us. Paul did some of the translating work for one of the American speakers and I translated for the American couple so they could understand what was happening when the other speakers were sharing. It was good to be reminded that God’s greatest desire is our own personal relationship with Him.

We have heard from our boys. Andrew has enjoyed working on the farm in northern MN. He moves to AFLBS on Sunday. Matthew is already busy at Hillcrest. He was chosen to be the class chaplain and the Varsity soccer team captain. He also was selected to be the first chair flute player (of 14) in the band and loves helping with praise and worship. He has a Korean roommate so will probably learn more Korean this year. It sounds like he has had a good start at school.

The girls and their husbands had lunch with us yesterday along with a longtime friend of ours from Paraguay. We also had some other visitors around the table, representing 7 different nationalities. We would like to make a special request of you at this time. We are so appreciative of the faithful prayers of many on our behalf. Joanna received some sad news from the doctor on Friday telling her that her baby is very under-nourished. She is in her seventh month of pregnancy. The baby needs to gain significant weight in the next fifteen days. Would you please join us in prayer for this little life? Also pray that Joanna and Silvio might have wisdom in knowing how to rearrange their busy schedules to facilitate this weight gain. Sunday is little Deborah’s 2nd birthday and we look forward to celebrating with her.

Campo Grade
The following weekend we will be traveling to Campo Grande to minister to couples and youth in the Free Lutheran church there. Life and ministry continue. God’s grace and faithfulness are constant encouragers. People being saved and growing in their faith motivate us to continue on. Your prayers hold us up and strengthen us day by day. Thanks!


In closing, just thought I’d mention Judah, the young man from Canada who is living with us. He is learning Portuguese and learning a bunch of other things as well. I was reminded yesterday about the importance of modeling the Christian life to others by including people in our everyday living. Three of the youth who lived with us twenty years ago spoke to us this past week about the important life lessons they learned during that time. One of the fellows is now a father of three and shared with us how he has tried to model his family after ours. He was not raised in a Christian family but today he is an awesome dad who has learned how to love and share Jesus with his children. Although we have no more kids at home we hope we can be a good model of Christian living and Christian relationships to Judah and to Marcia and her girls and to whoever else God brings through the doors of our home.

Have a good fall and an easy transition to the demands of a new school year!
We love and appreciate you.
In Christ’s love,
Paul and Becky

Monday, August 27, 2007

Update from Steve Kvales

The Kvales are members of the AFLC Congregation in Pipestone, MN. They are preparing to be missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

How precious His Word is to us…….

"Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." Colossians 3:16

Praises: (thank you for your prayers)

  • Jason’s mission trip to Poland brought him into a deeper perspective of missions as we continue our journey together.
  • It is interesting that God seems to be bringing people to our door in most unexpected ways. He is in control of all things!
  • We are so thankful for the nuggets of encouragement the Lord gives us through a short visit, a phone call, a note, and other very unique ways people decide to tell us how the Lord laid us on their heart. He stretches our faith and opens our eyes to His Holy Spirit work. Apart from Christ we can do nothing.
  • It takes faith for us to go and faith for those to send us. Even on days when we or thee might “feel” faithless, He remains faithful!


Prayer Requests:

  • That the Lord goes before us as we begin attending some of the Wycliffe Dinner Theater tour locations in ND, MN, & WI. Please see the attached information sheets and consider joining us or help us by informing those you know.
  • Continued peace as we take a step of faith and reduce Steve’s hours at work so we have more time to work on building our ministry team.
  • Management of time and stress as we begin school and plan our calendar of contacts this fall.
  • Good health for our whole family.
  • Boldness, courage, and a willingness to walk in taller grass leaving the unknown in God’s hands.
  • Safety on these various road trips.
  • Peace and a unified sense of support from of all of our close family members and relatives.
  • Trust in the Lord for “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

Thank YOU! Love, hugs, and prayers for you.

In Christ, Steve & Glenda Kvale and family

Friday, August 24, 2007

Chmiels Move into Their Permanent Apartment

Dear friends,

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for us. We felt your prayers in a very special way just this last week. We went to the Czech Republic to pick up some last things from Tomasz’s parents’ house and we also went to Poland to get furniture for our apartment. Furniture in Ukraine is very expensive and usually you have to order it and then wait for about a month for the company to custom make it for you. So we decided to go to an IKEA in Poland and get our furniture there. We had three days set apart for this trip (going to Czech and getting furniture in Poland). We traveled from Ukraine by train and we had a friend who was willing to take us back in his van with a trailer.

Our hope was to go to IKEA first, purchase all we needed, then go to Czech, get our things and then on the way back pick up the furniture. But when we called the IKEA store we were told that it is not possible to purchase your furniture one day and pick it up couple days later. That complicated our plans because we knew that we would not have enough time to buy everything the day we were driving back to Ukraine. We prayed a lot about this whole trip and when we came to IKEA in Katowice we asked the manager if it would be possible to store some of the purchased furniture with them for two days. He told us that normally they do not do this, but he would let us fill two carts and store them in the back for two days.

We came back the next morning and started to fill our two carts. One of the IKEA helpers (God sent!!!) started helping us gather what we needed and also started organizing our two carts for us so that we would be able to fit everything in them. Soon it was obvious that everything would not fit. So we thought that we would have to leave the rest for the day we would travel to Ukraine. But this IKEA helper said he would ask his boss if we could store a little more. And his boss said yes! At first he agreed to one extra cart but in the end he allowed us to put all our furniture boxes on couple of those big wooden pallets used in warehouses and leave them there until Saturday (the day we were leaving for Ukraine). That way we were able to get everything ready and could only pick it up on our way back to Ukraine. We paid for our furniture and made it to the Katowice train station just in time to catch our train to Czech. That was definitely God taking care of all the details for us.

In Czech we did some more IKEA shopping (all the little things like dishes etc) and we picked up what we had stored at Tomasz’s parent’s house. Saturday morning, our friend brought his van and trailer and we were ready to go. When we went through our receipts we realized that we forgot to get two beds that were on our list. So while loading our trailer, we went to get those two beds and found out that they also had one thing that we needed and they did not have two days earlier. They told us that it would not be in stock until the end of August. And here was one more! One last one! Was it not for going back for those beds we would not have found it. God is good!

We also hoped to buy our mattress at IKEA but they did not have any firm ones so we decided to get the mattress here in Ukraine and when we loaded our van and trailer we saw that it was just another example of God’s leading us in all this. There was no way we could have fit the mattress in with all the boxes!

With the van and trailer loaded we set out for Ukraine. Everything went well but when we got closer to the Ukrainian border we saw this HUGE long line of semis and trucks waiting to cross into Ukraine. The disturbing thing was that there were some vans with trailers waiting there too. When we saw that, we felt like giving up. If we had also belonged to that group, there would have been no way we would have been able to cross the border that day!

We felt discouraged and we prayed in the van for God to help us get to Ukraine somehow that day. Then we went to the Polish border officers and asked them if we can go with the cars even though we are a van with a trailer. They said that if we are only bringing personal items, which we were, we should be able to. But they also hinted that on the Ukrainian side, the Ukrainian officers will probably expect us to pay them a bribe to let us go in with the trailer.

Even before coming to Ukraine, we had decided that we would never pay anything that would not be 100% legal. Even if it was a small amount and it would make life easier for everyone. So knowing that we would not pay a bribe we were expecting to be either sent back to the end of the huge line of trucks or be asked to take out everything out of our trailer for inspection and in order to pay Ukrainian taxes (even though it was all our own things for personal use) .

There was no problem with the Polish officers. Then we came to the first Ukrainian border officer and he started asking about what we had in the trailer. We told him that we were moving to live in Ukraine long-term and that was all things and furniture for our apartment. We also showed him a document from the Ukrainian Lutheran Church saying that we were officially invited to work with the church in L’viv for many years. So he sent us to the next passport and customs checkpoint. The passport check went very smoothly but when we came to the customs officers they again started asking about what we were bringing. When we said it was all stuff for our new home, they asked how come there is so much of it. We told them that we would be living in L’viv for many years and again showed them our documents. They had us get out of the van and wait for their boss to come review our documents. The boss was standing right there talking to his friends not doing anything but he still let us wait, pretending not to pay any attention to us. Maybe he thought that if he let us stand there long enough, we would consider a "little financial gift." After a while of waiting, we saw another one of the bosses coming in our direction, so we approached him and showed him our documents. He probably did not want to be bothered so he told us to just go. So we hopped in the van and you can't imagine how quickly we were out of there :)

We thought we were done with the border but after driving a little farther we came to the last checkpoint. It was the one where you are supposed to turn in your little slip of paper with your vehicle information. When we came to that very last border officer he was just supposed to take that slip but he again started inquiring about our trailer and our stuff, not liking that there was too much of it. But before we were able to explain everything again, his cell phone went off and he had to answer it so he told us to go. It was so obvious that God is still in the business of miraculously answering prayers. Our prayers and YOUR prayers! Thank you so much for praying.

There has already been enough writing in this email so you can see the rest of how we are doing below with the pictures. Or see even more in our online picture gallery (http://www.chmiels.com/gallery).

Blessings, Tomasz and Miriam

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

World Relief in Peru

Note: AFLC World Missions works with World Relief to help with disasters and spreading the Gospel around the world. Click on the World Relief logo to go to their website.

An 8.0-magnitude quake shook much of Peru on the evening of August 15. Hundreds are confirmed dead and over a thousand more are injured. Nearly 17,000 families have been affected by the disaster, Earthquake in Peru and the death toll continues to rise.

President Alan Garcia has declared a state of emergency in Canete, Chincha and Ica—the hardest hit areas.

Rescue workers continue to search the rubble for signs of survivors. Telecommunication systems remain down, many major highways are impassable and safe shelter is almost non-existent in some communities.

In Pisco, one of the hardest hit towns, a church full for an evening service collapsed on hundreds of worshippers—most of whom remain missing under the rubble.

Aftershocks continue to send terror through the regions residents, and many are living outside in the Peruvian winter because their homes have been destroyed or they simply fear being inside during aftershocks.

A relief worker on the ground, Renato Guinaraes, said getting relief supplies to those who needed them was a huge challenge.

"There is a problem with a lack of shelter. People are suffering because of the cold weather, lack of potable water and general conditions of living," he told the BBC.

Shelter, water and food are the most pressing immediate needs.

World Relief is working with our partners in the Global Relief Alliance (GRA). GRA members work together to offer tangible assistance in many of the world’s most vulnerable regions.

Our partners will deliver food, water, and medical supplies to the families in the greatest need in Pisco and Chincha. Medical staff will assess the needs and determine what the mid-term needs are.

Join us as we offer hope and support to the people of Peru in desperate need.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Burundi Trip Update

Thank you for praying for our trip to Burundi this past week. We arrived back in Uganda on Monday night just before midnight. The bus trip took us through the beautiful rolling hills of Rwanda and then down to the shores of Lake Tanganyika and the capital city of Burundi, Bujumbura. We had a wonderful time and really sensed the Spirit of the Lord among the brothers there. We were visiting Pastor Emmanuel, the President of the Free Lutheran Church of Burundi, who just finished studying for one year at our Free Lutheran Seminary in Minneapolis. We had evening services Thursday through Sunday nights with the congregation in Bujumbura. It was a great blessing to see the people's hunger for the Lord and dedication to the Word of God.

It was a special blessing for me to bring Pastor Ludigo Charles who is one of our village pastors here in Uganda. He gained a different perspective on ministry as Lutheranism in Burundi has a much different flavor than in Uganda. The worship style was very lively with lots of singing. We were all very blessed and encouraged by Pastor Emmanuel. He is a great man of God and mighty in Spirit. He has a great zeal for the lost and a love for the Word of God. We came back to Uganda blessed and encouraged. Part of the purpose of our journey was to see the work and report to AFLC World Missions as Burundi could possibly be a future mission field of the AFLC.

We have two more weeks with the Monseths (Rhoda's parents) before they return. During that time we have two events planned with the local pastors. This Saturday (18th) we will be having a day for the pastors and their wives to meet together. Fran will be teaching the men and Ellen and Rhoda will be teaching the women. The theme will be "Building Godly Families". The following week Fran and I will meet with the pastors and their assistants for a two-day seminar on pastoral leadership and spiritual life. We would appreciate your prayers for these two events and for the Monseths as they return on the 29th.

May our God bless you with courage and strength for today!


"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul." -Psalm 19:7a

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Prayer Requests from Rhoda Jore

Rhoda's parents are currently here for a month, & we are having a wonderful time with them. We've decided to keep them here. :) They were sick for several days their 1st week here, but are almost fully recovered now. They've been busy helping us w/ planting more in our garden & entertaining our wild boys. You can see pictures of their time here thus far on our blog jorenews.blogspot.com

We'd appreciate prayer for my Dad, Nate & Pastor Ludigo as they head out tonight for Burundi. It will take about 16 hours by bus, and they are looking forward to the beautiful scenery through Rwanda & on into Burundi. They will be joining Emmanuel, who studied at AFLTS this past year, in teaching & preaching for 4 days.

Please pray for:
  • safe travel for them
  • continued health for my Dad
  • protection from the Enemy
  • great fruit from their teaching/preaching
On August 18th, Saturday, my parents, Nate & I will be trekking out to a nearby village to meet with the pastors & their wives that we are working with here. In the morning we will have a joint session & worship time, and then in the afternoon the men & women will split up. Nate & my Dad will be speaking to the men about shepherding their families, and my Mom & I will be speaking to the women about the ministry we have as wives & mothers. Please pray for wisdom & humility as we share, for receptive & teachable hearts for those that will attend, & for God to be glorified.

We are enjoying cool temps (60's & 70's) now that we are in the rainy season. It's been quite refreshing especially for Dad & Mom as they came from humid weather soaring in the 90's in Minneapolis. Most of the vegetables & herbs that they helped us plant 6 days ago are already sprouting, thanks to all the rain. It is wonderful to enjoy the fresh produce that God has provided for us here.

We are grateful for your partnership & encouragement in this work.
Serving Him together with you,
Rhoda, Nate, Elijah & Judah

Monday, August 06, 2007

AFLC Members Now Traveling on Teaching Missions

There are a number of AFLC members now traveling on teaching missions to various fields. Please pray for them as they share the Word of God.

Rev. Martin Horn

Pastor Horn is traveling at this time in Brazil teaching our pastors and churches about the concept of Free and Living Congregations.

Dr. Francis and Ellen Monseth

The Monseths are traveling in Uganda and Burundi. Dr. Monseth is teaching in both countries.

Rev. Dan Giles and Rev. Connely Dyrud

Pastor Giles and Pastor Dyrud are in India training pastors.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

First Lutheran - Oklahoma City Helps Flood Victims

First Lutheran Church's pastor, Rev. Jerry Peterson traveled to India as a teacher with our pastoral training program in January of this year. God placed a special burden on his heart for the people who experience desperate conditions in life.

Pastor Peterson shared some of the weather related disasters with his congregation recently and they raised funds to help rebuild a pastor's home that was destroyed. They also were able to help rebuild some of the homes of church members in another village.

Distance Education Developer Starts

Distance Education Developer, Rev. Kevin Olson officially started August 1st. The AFLC has been aware of the need to train pastors in their home country for many years.

Churches on the foreign fields need conservative well trained pastors. The benefits of training them where they live are numerous and the obstacles to bring them to the United States are insurmountable at times.

Until this program is planned and developed we are unsure of its final form. We are hoping that we will eventually have several avenues to deliver the education to pastors. Please pray for Pastor Olson as he begins this ministry. Also, pray that God would financially supply for Distance Education.

Missions Committee Devotional by Tom Caouette

A few weeks ago I was cleaning some fish we caught that morning when one of them flipped over and poked his fin in the palm of my hand. Cuts scrapes and pokes are nothing out of the ordinary when working with fish but this puncture wound would not heal even after three weeks. Soaking and ointments did not seem to do any good and I tried to justify the slow healing process by thinking a puncture wound is much slower to heal than a scratch. After three weeks I noticed what seemed to be a scab over the wound. After closer investigation I pulled out a fin bone about 3/8 inches long that had penetrated straight into my hand and broke off. The very next day after I pulled out the bone the wound was healed over.

This experience made me think of the trouble many people have with unrepentant sin in their lives. Just like God keeps our physical bodies from healing with foreign objects penetrating them, he also keeps our spiritual bodies from healing with unrepentant sin.

1 John 1:8-10 says; If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

How are things with you today? The Apostle Paul said, "A man ought to examine himself…" Are there things in your life that are not healing due to your spiritual condition? Let's not deceive ourselves in this area.

I was at work the day I found the bone in my hand so I taped it to my desk as a reminder of the healing nature of God in our lives. I pray you too will be healed in God's forgiveness.

Note: Tom Caouette is the chairman of the World Missions Committee.

News from Lumppio's in Mexico

Note: Tom and Lidia Lumppio are AFLC members working in Mexico with World Missions Prayer League (WMPL). They have recently applied to be AFLC Missionaries on loan to WMPL. Their application has been accepted by the AFLC World Missions Committee and we are now in the process of working out the details with WMPL.

"...No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." 2 Cor. 2:9b

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3

We want to update you in our latest adventure. It has been since last January that Tom and I started seriously considering moving into Ceuta, the small town adjacent to Camp Ceuta. We got our field conference's OK in February and in March we started house hunting. Since then two possibilities both came up and closed before our eyes.

During this time of searching Tom also made efforts to reach out into the male community in the town. It became obvious that although men there were polite for the most part, they did not have the patience to help Tom with his Spanish. Through the ladies I teach we heard that they wanted him to visit but could not understand him very well. Now, you need to know that Tom has continued to work hard and made steady progress in his Spanish. People in the cities were we have visited understand him with hardly any problem. People in La Cruz have complimented him repeatedly on his progress. He is ABLE to converse, take care of things and do life in here. However, no matter how good his progress has been, it is not enough for the people we longed to serve. He started praying for the possibility of going to a language school for a season to give him a "push."

We looked into several options in Mexico, including the one he went to in Mazatlan. All of them turned out to be either too expensive or not offering what we were looking for. RGBI (Rio Grande Bible Institute) seemed like the best option in both quality and price. The only con we could see was that it is in the US side of the boarder, a few miles north from McAllen, in Edinburg, TX. After hearing that the community in there is 87% Hispanic our doubts started dissipating. We know people who have attended there and recommended it as an excellent choice. We had some "extra money" in our account and have been asking God what to do with it. (This money would have paid for three weeks of classes at the school in Mazatlan and it is almost exactly enough for tuition and books for one semester at RGBI!) We needed to go to the boarder anyway to renew the papers that allow me to continue being a US resident and work overseas. It seemed like it all fit. We started praying more regularly and intentionally about it and finally brought the situation to our leadership. We were given green light to pursue it. After that, doors opened regarding all the paper work, housing situation there, arrangements for short term lease of an apartment in Mazatlan when we return (while we find house in Ceuta or La Cruz), even free storage of all of our things! We will depart on August 5th and return at the end of December, Lord willing.

The last three weeks we have been busy packing, finishing Bible studies, tying up loose ends, you name it. Our landlords would love to have us back if only for a few months. Our neighbors and ladies in the camps have teared up about our parting. Our new friends made a special meal for us last Saturday, and will help us move and store all of our things in a room on their property. On our last Sunday at church we were surprised by another "see you later" meal. Some men asked Tom more about his motive on going. Those closer to us are honored he wants to get better training to be able to teach them about God. We haven't gone yet and already can't wait to be back!!!!

Thank God with us for:

1. His guidance and provision

2. His goodness to us through the people that love us here

3. The restoration of Lidia's health (we couldn't do this trip without it)

4. His help in getting all the packing and arranging done in just a few weeks!

5. The opportunity to be serving Him!

We appreciate your prayers on our behalf:

1. Continued good health

2. God's continued provision

3. Journey mercies

4. A smooth boarder-crossing experience

5. Specifically ask God there would be no problem having Tom's Mexican visa "stamped"

6. A smooth adjustment and settling in at RGBI

7. A very fruitful time there in all ways.

8. More specifically for Tom to be able to get "enough" working Spanish to minister in Ceuta.

So, that's our story. Catch your breath with us. It has been a challenge. We were starting to finally feel settled and now have to pick up and go again. We repeat to ourselves, "it is only a short season." And we believe it is God's will for our lives. Who knows what people God will put in our paths to share the vision of the camps with? (RGBI is a Bible School as well as a Language School for missionaries going to Latinamerica) Who knows what other divine appointments we will find in our way? We (I, most of all) have let go of our agenda and our preconceived plans. God has given Tom this opportunity to further His plan for our lives and we have gladly taken it. We have just one more thing to say: "YEE-HAW!"

In His hand,--

Tom and Lidia Lumppio

blog: wmpl.org/blogs/tllumppio

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

News from Chmiels

Dear friends,

Thank you so much to all of you who are keeping us in your prayers! Your prayers are a great source of encouragement to us. We are starting our sixth month of living out of a suitcase and right now we are staying in our sixth temporary place since we left our Minneapolis home this winter. We were able to stay at the L’viv church when we first came to Ukraine in March, we enjoyed staying with Miriam’s sister, Miriam’s parents, and Tomasz’s parents when we were in Czech for a while. And we are thankful for the two temporary Ukrainian apartments we have been able to use lately. But we probably do not need to tell you how ready we are to be somewhere more permanent.

The good news is that we found an apartment to rent long-term! We found it more than a month ago but there were a lot of things that needed to be fixed (e.g. there was no water in the kitchen during the day) so we are still working on those. God willing, we hope to move in there some time in August. Lately we have had big water problems at our current apartment – the water is not always on even during those morning and evening hours – so moving into an apartment where there is water 24/7 will feel like luxury. We can’t wait!

If you would like to write to us, you can already use this address:

Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel
vul. Ohienka 7, kv. 9
L’viv, 79007

Or for those of you who would like to try to do it the “real way,” you can write our address like this:

Томаш і Міріям Шміль
вул. Огіенка 7, кв. 9

Львів, 79007

We are also continuing with our Ukrainian lessons and we are enjoying being able to communicate more and more each day. Not everyone in Ukraine speaks good Ukrainian (a lot of people still speak Russia) but we are told that L’viv is one of the best places to be to learn good Ukrainian. We love to listen to L’viv people when they talk and we really wish to one day sound exactly like them. We will see if that happens.

This summer we are also blessed to have two different short-term mission teams with us here in L’viv. We already said good-bye to the Albuquerque team and now we have couple of days with a team from California. If you would like to see pictures from our week with the ABQ team, you can click at http://www.chmiels.com/gallery/abq_team/ And if you would like to hear what the “Praise Ye the Lord” song sounds like at a Ukrainian children’s camp, go to our video page http://www.chmiels.com/videos.htm and click on “Children’s camp Gloria.”

Thank you again so much for praying for us and for Ukraine. There are so many things that we encounter every day that are not right (cheating, bribes, dishonesty, very poor work ethics, corruption, street children on drugs etc. etc.) Our hearts break when we see these and we feel so helpless when we are not able to do something about each of the problems. But we realize that these can only change if people turn to God for forgiveness and help. And that is what we are praying for! Please join us!

Tomasz and Miriam

Dell Lutheran's Youth Mission's Trip

Love ● Build ● Help ● Pray
Dell Lutheran's Youth Mission's Trip
by Breauna Cummings

With the mission to love, build, help, and pray, sixteen Dell youth and leaders embarked on a journey to fulfill God’s call on their life to lend a hand to the people of the southeast Appalachian Mountains. July 7th marked the starting point of an expedition that would change their lives and the lives of those they came into contact with in countless ways both big and small, and by July 14th the missionaries came back with a mission accomplished and lives ablaze with passion for God.

With the Lord’s perfect provision the group made it safely to Eagle Ranch in Copperhill, Tennessee. The roughly 18 hour drive’s success was wonderful, but if you ask anyone who went on the trip I believe you’d find that it was what happened on the ride that stuck out to them most. From deep conversations about creation, angels, struggles, and God’s plans for life to binging on animal crackers, figuring our crossword and brain teaser puzzles, and making silly videos about Chattanooga, Tennessee, the ride was one of the very best parts. This is where some of the real bonding and getting to know people occurred. Stereotypes were broken, friendships were strengthened, faith’s were challenged and solidified, memories were made-- never to be forgotten, and above all, God was glorified.

Beyond the journey there and back, the missionaries experienced almost a whole new world as they found themselves at Eagle Ranch. The climate was an immediate change as the humidity and altitude had risen as they got to Copperhill. It was especially noted as hikers climbed the mountainside and struggled for breath the first time they tried. As the week drew on the missionaries grew accustomed to the atmosphere change as well as many other new things.
Close quarters with little time or space to yourself, tree roots that loved to trip people, classic huge meals, mountainous views, totally different kinds of neighborhoods than back home, southern accents, constantly searching for Rachel or Beth to get a key for the girl’s cabin, boys tennis shoes piled on top of fans to dry, quirky guides, rain that soaked clothes lines time and time again, card games, Frisbee (where we found Eythan’s gifting…), awesome nightly and daily devotion times (thanks Beth and everyone who shared), campfires, and conversations galore were found to be a big part of the missionaries lives around the ranch.

Now, another huge part of the missionaries lives were work days. The mission field consisted of two homes that needed siding, a floor corner raised up, paint, and various odd jobs completed. Let’s not forget the second part of the mission that consisted of two sisters’s hearts to be touched, and countless children’s everyday lives made extraordinary. All these things were accomplished and more, and the missionaries’ lives were changed too. God definitely showed up in the attitudes of wet workers, willingness of individuals to do whatever task was set before them, love shown in playing with and letting the little children help out, hard work, and simply getting jobs done.

White water rafting, volleyball, Blue Grass music and barn dancing, low ropes coarse challenges, rock wall climbing, and more were fun events for the group to dive into. Whether as a team, or as individuals the missionaries completed them all and left an impression on themselves, their teammates, and all the people around them. The team learned a lot about teamwork and cooperation as well as giving it your all and thinking of abstract new approaches to things. The individuals were cheered on and encouraged by their friends and accomplished many feats and experienced things that will always remain in their memories.

This trip was not just a trip, it was a journey to unite ideas and people to accomplish God’s purposes by loving, building, helping, and praying for the people of the Appalachian Mountains and for each other. As this purpose came to life and was fulfilled, lives were touched, friendships were changed, and the group really became one in the spirit and the Lord to show God’s love.