Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Greetings from Waama Bible College!!

Thanks to the prayers of so many, the trip here to Mbulu from Arusha on our motorcycles was uneventful and even enjoyable. We continue to relish our new found mobility and efficiency.

I recently had the inspiration to occasionally include information on other ministries that we become acquainted with here in Tanzania. This thought came to me as Ben and I were visiting with two elderly Norwegian ladies who have been working here in the Mbulu area for decades. Their ministry is known as the “Iraqw Language and Culture Trust” and is the organization primarily responsible for the recent completion of the entire Bible in the Iraqw language. (Iraqw is main people group in the Mbulu region.) Having completed the translation of the Bible, the people of ILCT (these two women along with their national assistants) are now focusing on literacy training for village people whose primary language is Iraqw and who otherwise would not have the opportunity to receive any formal education (since all formal education is done in either English or Swahili). Of course, their ultimate goal is to help as many people as possible be able to read (especially the Bible) for themselves.

Needless to say, we have been very challenged and encouraged by the dedication of these two Norwegian women. They have also been overjoyed to hear of our work not only showing the Jesus Film all around this region (in Iraqw!) but also providing Bibles free of charge to those that need them (both in Iraqw and Swahili). It is just a good reminder that God is accomplishing His work…even in obscure places and often through unassuming people. What is your role?

Moving on…

As far as news with regards to Waama, it has recently been decided by the church leaders that, with the goal of making more use of the Bible School campus, a number of short courses will be offered in addition to the normal courses this year, especially for people who either are not able to commit to a whole year of study or who may have interest in a specific area. As a result, this past Wednesday marked the completion of the first of such courses for the year - Child Evangelism Fellowship, Level 1. As will be the case with most of these short courses, special instructors were brought in for the 2-week period. We were so excited to see this training being offered here in Tanzania. The instructors were also thrilled to hear that I was already familiar with C.E.F. and that many people from my home church participate in C.E.F. training and outreach on a regular basis each year. Again, it is fun to see some of the bigger picture of how God is accomplishing his work throughout the world. Please keep the attendees of this recent course in your prayers as many of them will now go on to the “practical” part of their training (hosting “Five-Day Clubs” for the children in their villages).

By way of another praise, after church this past Sunday, the dean of Waama, Pastor Massawe, shared some exciting news with Ben and me. Let me back up to say that, as Ben and I have served here, we have come to believe that many of the challenges that this school faces (financially and otherwise) are not so much because the church here does not have means to support the school but rather because the leaders of the church have not put a high enough priority on the work of Waama to give it any significant place within the church’s structure or even within its annual budget. So, the good news that the dean shared with us is that letters were recently sent out by the head office to all the districts within the diocese stating two main points.

  1. All districts are now being asked to allocate funds within their budgets for the training (at Waama) of their own church leaders (pastors and evangelists).
  2. Seminary level courses will begin to be offered here at Waama as soon as January!

As far as we are concerned, both of these points are direct answers to prayer (both yours and ours). Basically, it is evidence that the church here is finally beginning to see the importance of the role of Waama for the church and, as a result, is beginning to give their much needed support. Furthermore, with regards to the offering of seminary courses, not only will this save the church the exorbitant expense of sending their up-and-coming pastors to outside, expensive and sometimes foreign institutions, but it will also guarantee that these men will be trained in a conservative, Bible-believing environment.

Keep the prayers coming! These changes will not take place without some degree of growing pains. Furthermore, as you pray for Ben and me, pray also for the other ministries (like ILCT) with which, even sometimes unknowingly, we are working in concert. Please continue to also pray for the students who are now starting this new school year as well as for all the staff. This past Tuesday, we had our teachers’ meeting to determine the start and finish dates for each of this year’s terms, class schedule, individual responsibilities of each teacher, graduation date, etc. Many students have arrived and we have begun to get acquainted with them as they get settled in and prepare for classes to officially start today (10/29).

We have also begun our weekend ministry schedule. We visited the village of Gamdi a week ago Sunday, have showed the Jesus Film here on campus for the new students (once in Swahili and once in Iraqw), and already have commitments for the first and third weekends in November. I would also ask for your prayers as I take advantage of an opportunity to be in Dubai November 8-14 to do some work for my former employer (LEKTRO, Inc.). Pray also for Ben as he covers for me here at Waama during those days.

I could keep going but I will save it for my next update. I have already gone too long. Thanks to all who are still reading. I cannot even tell you how grateful I am for your faithful prayers, support, and encouragement in so many ways. I wish I had time to communicate with each of you more personally. This will have to do for now. God bless each of you richly. You are in my prayers.

In Christ,


Friday, October 26, 2007

October Update from Chmiels

Warm greetings from cold Ukraine! We hope that you all are doing well. Already getting ready for Thanksgiving? Hard to believe that it is going to be Thanksgiving time again in less than a month! Our church had a small “Thanksgiving” celebration this month. Church ladies prepared a fall harvest display, children dressed up in costumes and sang couple of thanksgiving songs. There will be no Thanksgiving celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November here in Ukraine so that was our little Thanksgiving this year.

Thank you so much to all of you who wrote to us after we sent you our September update. We appreciate your prayers so very much and we want you to know that we do see God answering your and our prayers. One of the things we asked you to pray about in our last email was opportunities for us to witness to Serhiy, the guy who comes to our home to help Miriam with her back problems. And God answered those prayers! You remember that in September Serhiy told us that he was an atheist but a while ago Tomasz had a good opportunity to talk to him about God and Christianity and he admitted that he really was somewhat searching. Tomasz shared a little bit of Lee Strobel’s story with him and Serhiy seemed very much interested. As you probably know Lee Strobel is a former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune and former atheist. Things changed for Lee Strobel when his wife announced to him that she had become a Christian. After that he wanted to uncover the roots of what he considered to be pleasant changes in his wife’s personality. That motivated him to investigate Christianity. After a two-year personal research project, he concluded that the evidence of history, science, philosophy, and psychology "point toward the unthinkable," and this resulted in his own conversion. Well, to make a long story short, Serhiy would like to read Lee Strobel’s “Case for Christ.” We found out that there is a Russian translation of this book but we were not able to find it anywhere here in L’viv. We looked and looked, Serhiy looked but no bookstores (not even a Christian bookstore) had the book in stock. Then we found a Christian online bookstore in Odesa (southern Ukraine) and we were able to buy the book from them. We received the book today and we are going to give it to Serhiy tomorrow. So please pray that God would soften his heart and speak to him through this book. This is something only God can do so thank you so much for keeping us and Serhiy in your prayers!

You can also pray for a thirteen-year old boy from our church. Couple weeks ago he asked us if we would help him with his English so we are meeting with him on regular basis now. Please pray that God would give us wisdom when we interact with this boy. We try to do devotions with him (in Ukrainian) after each of our English lessons but we sense that he is very much afraid of opening his heart completely to the Word of God. His parents are divorced and he is living with his mom. But just this past month his mom decided to go to school in Russia for two years (leaving in February ’08). She is planning to leave her son here in L’viv with his father (with whom he has not been living for quite a few years now) . We cannot probably even imagine how hard this must be for this boy. We have no idea what is going on in his mind and his heart but please pray for him that God would help him not to harden his heart even though he has been hurt so many times.

On Saturday, October 13th, we had an official blessing into our ministry here in L’viv. The bishop from Odesa came to western Ukraine to do this blessing for us and also to install a young Polish pastor in a nearby city of Lutsk. You can see pictures from our time with the bishop here:

Thanks again for all your prayers and please keep in touch!

Tomasz and Miriam

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sam and Rachel Menge

Sam and Rachel Menge are the youth workers for this month. There is an exciting article on the AFLC Youth Department site. You can go there by clicking on their picture.

Jore's October Update

Greetings in the Name of Jesus! I pray you are all doing well. Life seems to be falling into a bit of a routine for us again after enjoying several visitors for the past few months. Language study is coming along well and it seems like good progress has been made in recent weeks. Continue to pray! Some aspects of the language are a bit challenging, but we are moving ahead. (For example: kitono, bitono, katono, and butono all mean "small", as do mutono, mitono, itono, ntono, lutono, and batono. You just have to remember which one goes with which noun. Rhoda is currently looking for a woman to tutor her as she and I have realized that we have different learning styles and would do better with separate tutors.

The ministry being carried out by the local pastors is going on well. We have had the pleasure recently of distributing a number of Bibles to the people through the local pastors. The gift of Bibles has come at a very good time because the Jesus Film Campaign has created a lot of spiritual hunger. Several of the pastors have now begun Bible studies and have found the people yearning for the Word of God. Pastor Wilberforce told me that he gave a Luganda Bible to the Catholic priest in his village. The man fell to his knees in thanks to God and said that he had been a priest for twenty years and had never had his own Bible. Pastor Martin has found an open door to lead a Bible study among members of the Pentecostal church in his village. The door was opened wide through the Jesus Film as he went to their church and invited them all to attend. He now leads a weekly Bible study with them and they are extremely eager to receive the Word of God. Unfortunately, it seems that many churches in Uganda are not adequately feeding their sheep as many pastors are weak in their faith and in their knowledge of the Scripture. These Bible study groups are proving to be a great tool for teaching the Word of God across denominational lines. We have just received news that another $1100 is on its way designated to purchase more Bibles. Praise the Lord!

Thanks you for your prayers for our family and the work here. Rhoda seems to have come out of the brunt of the morning sickness phase and is glad to be on her feet again. We hit a pretty low time of homesickness this past month, but have been grateful for the support of new friends (both missionary & local individuals) here. On Nov. 3rd we will celebrate our one-year anniversary of arriving in Uganda! Our primary objectives for the first year were to learn and observe and build relationships with the people. We praise God for His faithfulness & His presence during this time of adjustment. We will soon begin Phase 2 which is devoted to planning how best to train local leaders.

Let me mention one more prayer need although I will need to keep it somewhat vague. The Evil One is attacking in the area of marriage and trying to cause division between husbands and wives, specifically amongst those in ministry. Please pray for strong, God-honoring marriages here in Uganda and for wisdom for us in encouraging & teaching on this subject.

Thank you again for your partnership with us. May the peace of God guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,

In Him,

Nate (for Rhoda, boys & baby too)

* Website:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Missions Conference in Brazil

Today as we celebrate Paul’s 53rd birthday we have many reasons for rejoicing. Thank you so much for praying for us during these past couple of weeks. The first big news is that Sarah Christina was born on October 12 at 12:55 p.m. after a very short and easy labor. Pictured below is the first family reunion 2 hours after the baby was born. Deborah is a very happy big sister and Joanna is feeling great. The miracle baby weighed in at a little over 7 pounds and is almost 19 inches tall. She is nursing well and sleeping through the night (hope that continues) and we are all overjoyed because of God’s goodness!

Since babies don’t always appear on the scene at the most convenient times we had to do some quick rearranging so that Grandma Becky could leave the Missions Conference for an afternoon to be with Joanna for this momentous occasion.

The Missions Conference was a great answer to prayer. We had representatives from 11 of our 18 Free Lutheran churches with almost 100 in attendance (part of the group is pictured below). Through preaching, workshops, videos, music, prayer and practical application the participants were all challenged with the needs of our world. We pray this will serve as a catalyst for mission outreach and that each of the participants will actually start evangelizing and praying for the lost near and far. Paul was one of the speakers along with Santareno from Angola and Pastor Joel from Bateias. I led a workshop each day on Children’s Ministry. Other workshops included Praise and Worship, Theater, Choreography, Missions, and Evangelism. On Saturday we put all the learning into practice as we went out into the community witnessing and inviting people to an evening evangelistic service at the ARCA. The Children’s ministry group held an afternoon Bible Club for about 60 children. We also worked with the children during the evening outreach. The evangelistic service was held outdoors with a good group in attendance. The praise time and the choreography and theater presentations were all done by the campers. Several non-Christians came to the service and a few responded to the altar call at the end. During the long weekend we focused our prayer times on the work in Tanzania, praying for short-term missionaries Jesse Long and Ben Jore. On Sunday a special offering was taken to help them in their work. We feel it is necessary for our churches to begin developing a mission vision. As they have they have been brought to Christ through the work of missionaries, they now have a responsibility to send missionaries to others who have not heard.

I must admit that I am very relieved that all of this is now in the past. We were so busy getting everything ready. For weeks we had worked and worked putting all the details together. I ended up having terrible sores in my mouth because of all the stress. But, in the end, we know it is all worthwhile as we invest in the work of the Kingdom. I’m feeling much better now and ready to spend some time being Grandma. A week ago we had another big event - the first wedding at our Campo Largo church! That meant decorating, baking cakes, taking pictures, doing the ceremony and the music, etc. In the beginning of a church plant it’s always like that until we can train people to help in the various areas. It all turned out beautifully.

Today we had 24 people for lunch to celebrate Paul’s birthday – our neighbors and ARCA workers and families. We had a steak cookout in our picnic area. Joanna is here with the two girls (taking a nap right now). This weekend we will be participating in a seminar on the Bible and next week we head for Campo Mourão for Mission meetings and time at the Bible School. I have been asked to direct a choir for the graduation at the end of the year (Dec. 1) so will have a couple of practices with the students next week while I am there.

I included the last photo so that you could see how nicely the new ceiling in the ARCA chapel turned out!

I’ll close for now. I wanted to share our JOY with you and thank you again for praying!


Paul and Becky

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Greetings from Tanzania

I first want to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers as we traveled to Uganda and back over the past week and a half. It was a wonderful time of encouragement and refreshment. During our days there we were able to…
  • ...attend a mid-week Bible study in the town of Jinja
  • ...participate in a weekly pastors’ meeting that Nate and Rhoda hold each Saturday for all the native pastors they are working with
  • …go to the village of Bulumwaki for Sunday’s service
  • …take part in an “in-home” village Bible study
  • …and enjoy Nate and Rhoda’s hospitality.

In an attempt to make the return trip more bearable than the trip going to Jinja, we took a different bus line when we left on Tuesday. It was slightly more comfortable but required that we stay overnight in Nairobi before our connecting bus came the rest of the way to Arusha yesterday morning.

As soon as we arrived here, we began making our final preparations to travel the rest of the way to Mbulu on Friday. We have accomplished much in the last day and a half. I believe I mentioned that we were hoping to pick up another speaker for our Jesus Film showings. Unfortunately, they are still out of stock but we will take care of that another time.

It is exciting to be heading back to Waama. As I mentioned in my last email, the school is scheduled to open officially this Monday, October 22nd. We appreciate your prayers for final preparations being made by teachers and students alike. We are also anxious to begin our weekend ministry schedule again.

Thanks to the generous gifts of several people, we have purchased over 350 Swahili Bibles and will be buying another 100+ in the local Kiiraqw language once we arrive in Mbulu. All of these will be given free of charge to the village churches we visit each weekend. They will then be placed by the local church in the hands of either new Christians or those who otherwise would not be able to afford a Bible of their own.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Pray for our trip to Mbulu tomorrow which will be the first time we have ridden our motorcycles outside of Arusha. Pray also for our continued health and protection. Again, we also ask you to continue to pray for the school and the church body as a whole in which we are seeking to have a positive influence. God is good and we are encouraged as we see his hand at work. May you each experience His richest blessings in your life, as well. I will be in touch again within the next couple weeks from Mbulu.

In His service,

Jesse Long

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Update from Silesia - Tim Hinrichs (Part 1)

Evangelistic Week
First of all, the Evangelistic Crusade in Dzięgielów kicked off the summer the first week of July. The first day we saw our students graduate on the big stage before 1,000 in the big tent. As always, it’s hard but also a blessing to see them finish. This year we saw 15 students graduate from our three programs.

We also organized a special series of seminars every day featuring our teachers from Bible school who taught a “sample” lecture from the school year to give people a taste of Bible school. We talked to many potential students and reunited with many from past years. Another way we were involved was by leading two hours of “English Worship” one evening with our music team and me preaching just as we do once a month in Cieszyn. This time of course we had a much larger “congregation.” It was really an anointed time as we saw the Spirit leading and the name of Jesus being exalted. So many were encouraged.

Youth Climbing Camp
In the middle of July, a new camp started in Wisla for teenagers which was organized by the Polish para-church youth ministry “MED” located here in Ustroń. Tim was invited to be the Bible teacher for the English language/climbing camp. Every day the 30 kids would hike up to the mountains and do rock climbing and then in the evening we would lead them in a time of worship and preaching. Five youth workers from Great Britain came to help staff the camp.

The theme for the 10 days was “The Trails of our Lives” as each day we studied a different aspect of our walk with the Lord. He really blessed the time there as many young people were open to the Lord. Several teens were touched by the Word and later wrote in response: “Once again I returned to the right path,” “I fell in love with the Lord Jesus,” “I repented and asked the Lord Jesus into my heart.” In one evening five young men gave their life to the Lord in the closing prayer! So we praise the Lord for his mercy and pray for these young people - that they might grow and be encouraged in their walk with the Lord.

Children’s Camp in Dzięgielów
As the climbing camp was ending, the children’s English day-camp in our congregation was starting towards the end of July. Jasia Gazda, head of Rainbow Harvest Ministries here at CME was the organizer and leader. A team of 10 Americans from Oregon came to help teach and minister in the camp which was filled with around 70 children from kindergarten to 6th grade. The theme was based on the Old Testament Festivals so each day we would focus on a different festival and a different Bible story that reflected that festival.

Renata and I helped in the camp teaching and encouraging the group leaders. I was the morning Bible teacher. Honestly, I was a bit nervous about this since I don’t have much experience teaching children but it ended up being a lot of fun and the kids were excited about the Lord as lessons were learned from the lives of Esther, Ruth, Moses and others. Renata and I even did a skit about serving one another that was quite a riot.

Peter had a great time too. We learned songs in Hebrew and the kids had a workshop with bells which Peter played in on the last day. For more pictures on line go to and click on each day.

Update from Silesia - Tim Hinrichs (Part 2)

Serbia Bible School
Finally, I was invited to teach at an 8 day Bible school near Belgrade Serbia (Opovo) by a mentoring ministry based in Germany that especially encourages leaders in eastern Europe to grow and serve the Lord in ministry. This was the first time a summer Bible school has been organized there so it was kind of an experiment. The goal was to invite people from various protestant churches (especially leaders in ministry) to study deeper God’s Word and aspects of ministry so they would be better equipped.

We ended up with 23 students from at least three different churches. The ages went from 16 to 65 and Serbs coming from Slovak, Hungarian, and Gypsy backgrounds. You couldn’t ask for a bigger mix with such a small group. But the Lord really blessed the time as we met from 7:30 am to 9 pm every day for 8 days studying the Word, worshiping, praying, and sharing testimony. Joachim Pomrehn and Siegfried Scherrer who lead the mentoring ministry shared most of the practical and pastoral classes and I taught the Old Testament Bible classes. Two or three others were invited to teach special sessions.

Through my time there my eyes were opened to many new things. One was discovering the sweltering head in the upper 90’s. But more importantly, I saw that Serbia is definitely a spiritually needy place. Most of the people came from small congregations in which there were just handfuls of worshipers on a Sunday. Pastors survive by being paid by the state and also tentmaking (e.g. farming). But there are places where God’s light is bringing renewal.

On the first night, I stayed in the village of Jabuko with the Methodist pastor’s family. In the evening we were invited for the Friday night prayer meeting. Travelling through the poor village, we didn’t expect much. The church looked like a one-story house and its sanctuary could only hold around 50 but we were surprised to see 30 people attend the prayer meeting, mostly Gypsies, who praised the Lord with all their hearts and the time of prayer was powerful. In the last 10 years the pastor had evangelized most of those in attendance (3 of them were in our Bible school) and one of the young men, Daniel Naskovski, is now a pastor and was actually the local organizer of our Bible school! Being a Gypsy usually carries quite a stigma but that hasn’t stopped him from going to seminary in Austria and then taking a call as full-time pastor in Vrbas Serbia. Pray for Daniel and Lila (pastor in Jabuko) and others like them. For God is doing a mighty work there! Most of the country is traditional Orthodox and the church actually discourages people from sudying the Scriptures. In fact, most priests know less about the Bible than our students.

On Sunday I preached in another small Methodist church in Panina. This one was quite different, traditional with about 20 elderly women and men and no youth. Pastor Sjanta has been there only one year and is trying to revive a ministry that has been allowed to vegetate for decades. It is a very discouraging situation but he and his family are praying for open doors into the community and are hoping that our Bible school event might be one way to encourage people to be involved in the ministry to the community.

Those participating in our school were involved in ministry to children (Zuzana), to the congregation as preachers (Goran & Zhelko),to women (Katarina), to alcoholics (Ondrej), to youth (Dejan), and others. May God use them in a mighty way in his church!

Please Pray…
  • Soon we will be starting the Bible school year again. We would appreciate your prayers as the last few students make final decisions for Bible school.
  • We will be heading to the prayer conference in NE Poland (Mrągowo) once again in the middle of September where we will be leading some of the sessions.
  • Other events will soon be starting: preaching in our church, youth meetings in Ustroń, English Worship in Cieszyn, and Bible hour in Ustroń. We pray for God’s strength and leading as we continue to serve him here and the months ahead are pretty full.
  • Please also pray for our financial support. We are not quite meeting the needs of our spending every month. The dollar has been losing strength in Poland and prices are going up. All of this means we are slowly dipping into reserves which are shrinking quickly (the lowest they’ve ever been). Please pray for the Lord’s provision in these month to month needs.
Thank you for your support and prayers!
Tim, Renata, and Peter Hinrichs

Saturday, October 06, 2007

News from Tanzania

Thanks to another long silence from me, I have lots of news to share with you. I mentioned in my last update that we were expecting some guests shortly after our return. As planned, as soon as we arrived here, we went to Waama to get moved back into our house. Then, on September 19th, Missionaries Todd and Barb Schierkolk arrived here at Kilimanjaro International Airport with their kids, Rachel, Megan, and Kirstie.

It was such a blessing to have them with us for those weeks. We kept quite busy and as a result the time passed very quickly.

  • Wamma Bible School - The day after they arrived, we went to Waama for a couple days before spending that weekend in a couple different villages showing the Jesus Film two times and visiting the Lutheran hospital at Haydom.
  • Volleyball - Ben and I were also able to participate in a volleyball tournament as part of the Mbulu Team. (As would be expected, we took first place.)
  • Mbulu - From there, we returned to Mbulu for a couple days.
  • Safari - This was followed by a safari at a nearby national park. The day was totally thrilling for all of us. God blessed us with good weather and lots of animals.
  • Dar es Salaam - We spent that night here in Arusha and traveled down to Dar es Salaam the next day.
  • Zanzibar - From there we took a boat over to Zanzibar where they were able to finish up their time here enjoying some beautiful beaches and the fabulous water of the Indian Ocean.

    All too soon, on the 2nd of this month, we said our goodbyes and they returned to the States for a brief time before ultimately returning to where they live/work in Mexico.

As for as our next couple weeks, the start date for classes at Waama has been delayed somewhat from what we initially expected (surprise, surprise). Actually, the applications for this year’s students are still being reviewed in order to help determine what courses are on highest demand. The new opening date is set for October 22nd. It has turned out to be a blessing for us, though, as we have been able to take care of many things during this time here in Arusha in preparation for the coming year.

These have included…

  • Meeting with other missionaries who have wanted to get together for quite some time.
  • Meeting with a local evangelist with whom we have become well-acquainted.
  • Meeting with another group (today – Saturday) from the U.S. who we have helped to get connected here in Arusha.
  • Buying motorcycles!! (Did that catch you by surprise!?) We are praising God for this answer to prayer and the newfound efficiency we are already enjoying.
  • This has also meant getting licensing, registration, and insurance taken care of.
  • Picking up supplies that are not available in Mbulu.

The most recent news is that when Nate and Rhoda Jore up in Uganda heard that we were not starting classes until the 22nd, they asked if we would be able to make a trip up there. Obviously, Ben was excited about the opportunity to see his brother but they also saw this as an excellent opportunity for us to interact with and encourage the local pastors there. So, after praying about the possibility, finishing up what we needed to do here, and consulting with the dean of Waama, we bought bus tickets today to leave tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. We will only have about a week and a half up there but it will be good for all involved.

Believe it or not, I have finally put a few more pictures on the blog. More are coming not only of our time in the States, but of our time with Schierkolks, the volleyball tournament, and (most importantly) our new motorbikes. I pray God bless and keep each of you. Thank you again for the blessing you are in my life. I could not be over here without you all! I hope to be in touch again soon.

In Christian love,

Jesse Long

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Paul and Becky Active in Brazil

Another month is gone and it’s time for another little epistle from us! We’ve seen God’s provision and protection, His guidance and goodness in our lives. We praise Him for who He is and for His unfailing love and patience with a sinful and rebellious world.

First we’d like to thank you for your prayers and let you in on how the Lord has graciously answered.

  • Joanna’s baby (Sarah) miraculously gained the weight she needed. She’s back on the charts! Both mom and baby seem to be in good health and the doctor says she will probably be born early, in the next two weeks. The umbilical cord is around Sarah’s neck, so if you could pray for that situation we would be grateful. Thanks so much for standing with us in prayer.

  • Our trip to Campo Grande was a blessing. Another couple went with us to keep us company and to help drive (2 days to go and 2 days to come back). It was a beautiful drive and we were well-received by our brothers and sisters in Christ there.

  • It finally rained here (we got more rain in two days than the monthly September average) and everything is greening up and the air is clear. Thank you, Lord!

  • Things are going OK at the Bible School. We are thankful that Pastor Connely will be arriving this week to help with the transition process.

Unfortunately in September we had many rental cancellations at the ARCA. We can’t afford that! However, we decided to use the opportunity to get some projects done.

  • The picnic area was remodeled because the old posts had rotted and the roof was sagging.
  • We also put ceilings in the chapel and the kitchen, so things are looking pretty nice down in that former rabbit barn.
  • A bathroom for the cooks and maintenance staff was also completed. Thanks to those of you who have contributed to these special projects. It’s really great to have this place to use for ministry!

Other highlights in September include four conversion stories for which we praise the Lord.

  • We plant the seeds and He brings forth new life! Maria accepted the Lord and brings her three lovely little girls to church regularly. She had been working at a factory that makes saints, but after she shared about her decision to follow Jesus and declare that she no longer believed in saints, the others began to blame her every time a saint got broken or flawed. She decided to quit her job and trust the Lord to help her find a job that would honor Him. Her husband left her so she has lots of responsibility in raising her daughters alone.
  • Darcy and his wife Hilda also accepted the Lord. Their marriage was in crisis as he had decided to have an affair and leave his family. Their 10-yr. old daughter Taylane had been coming to church regularly and invited her parents to come and look for help. Paul had the opportunity to lead both of them to the Lord individually. Now the long process of discipleship has begun.
  • Then last weekend a teenager named Aline prayed to receive Jesus. She comes from a very traditional religious family. Her parents are irate about her decision to become an evangelical Christian and feel jealous about the daughter’s newfound life and friends and fellowship. Pray that we might have an opportunity to evangelize them as well.

This past weekend we had a 15th birthday party for a lovely girl from the Bateais church. Her party was a clear witness of the love of Christ to the many non-Christian friends and relatives in attendance. Ednay is a shining star in the darkness of this sinful world. She has a strong witness at school and everyone knows her convictions and her faith in Jesus. She and some other kids from our church have been chosen to sing and play in a special hand-picked group at school where they have been able to influence the choice of music and be witnesses for Christ. This weekend we also had a church potluck dinner in Campo Largo as well as the services and a Dorcas Room clothing sale.

A couple of other fun events in September included birthday parties for granddaughter Deborah and daughter Joanna and a Choral Festival put on by the church in São Braz. Four choirs participated in this night of praise in the form of sacred music. Afterwards a beautiful lunch was served to all in attendance. Now it’s time for us to get working on Christmas programs! Hasn’t this year gone by quickly?

What’s up in October?

  • Saturday we have a wedding in Campo Largo for a couple who have lived together for years and have three children. They both have been transformed by the miraculous grace of Jesus. A few months ago the husband was ready to walk out on the family, but today (PTL!) he participates regularly at church and has learned to pray with his family daily. We are happy to make their situation right in the sight of God and man. So, this week I’ll be making wedding cake and trying to figure out how to decorate the church.
  • The following weekend is our three-day Mission Conference for the Free Lutheran churches of Brazil. This is a first! Please pray with us for this special time of encouraging our people to look beyond themselves to a world in desperate need of salvation in Jesus. We will be offering workshops in various areas and then on Saturday we will put the learning into practice as we lead Bible Clubs in various areas of Bateias and hold an evangelistic outreach in the evening. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers! I will be leading the workshop on VBS and Bible Clubs and Paul will be one of the evening speakers.

I’d better close here as it’s time to close up shop for the night. God’s Word continues to be a joy and comfort to us as we read and meditate and trust and obey. May you, too, find refuge in this wonderful treasure God has given us. “Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” Jer. 15:16

Thank you for your love and prayers! Stop and pray for us right now if you have a minute!

Sending our love, Paul and Becky

Monday, October 01, 2007

Prayer Update from Chmiels

Dear friends,

Thank you to all of you who have written to us lately. We were glad to hear that so many of you were encouraged by our August update. Yes, God is good! The trip to Poland was such a tangible way of God saying, “I am with you! -- I care!” We really needed that encouragement and God used our “furniture trip” very much to let us feel His love and power.

We are a month into the new school year and besides being back to our Ukrainian lessons, we also take part in a Friday night Bible Study at our church, we sit in on the confirmation class every Saturday and we also try to be available for people to visit us or for us to visit them. We are enjoying getting to know new people and being more and more comfortable with the language every day. But sometimes it is hard to know what to do first as most of the time other things also come up and it is impossible to fit everything into 24-hour days.

Also one lady from our church (pani Maria – for those of you who read our newsletter) had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Because she does not have any family in L’viv and because we live right next-door to the hospital, we were the ones to kind of “take care” of her while she was there. They all kept telling us that this hospital is the best hospital in L’viv, but when we came there to visit pani Maria we immediately knew that no matter how “great” this hospital was, we would not like to ever be there as patients! There were seven ladies with heart attacks scrunched in one not-very-big room. Only two of them had typical hospital beds, the other ladies had different simple wooden beds. One of the beds actually fell apart one time when we were there. The sick lady was lying in bed when one side of her bed simply fell off!!! Also, the hospital only fed the patients some kind of porridge three times a day (which we were told was more than most other Ukrainian hospitals do). If the patients wanted a “real meal”, family members or friends had to provide that. Because we live so close, it was easy for us to bring food, sweets or drinks. One day we organized a little “decaf party” for all the ladies. We brought our own nice teacups with saucers and we served them decaf coffee and tea. They all seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and kept telling each other, “He is a priest,” pointing to Tomasz. :) Last Monday, on Miriam’s birthday, all the seven ladies sang a Ukrainian version of “Happy Birthday” to Miriam. It was very special.

Many of you have been praying for Miriam’s back and the good news is that we found a guy here in L’viv (recommended to us by another missionary couple) who seems to know what he is doing when it comes to bad backs. He has already spent over fifteen hours working on Miriam’s back and says that her scoliosis has improved dramatically. The only downside is that the spine’s straightening is a shock to the rest of Miriam’s body and the changes happening in her spine cause a lot of pain. Please pray for Miriam. On the one hand, it is encouraging to finally have found someone who seems to be helping. On the other hand, it can be discouraging to see positive changes only coming very slowly. Please pray that God would give Serhiy (the guy) wisdom to know how to best help Miriam’s back. It would be exciting for Miriam to finally get rid of her back problems after so many years! We actually feel like there is a reason for why God chose not to provide healing through different doctors and chiropractors in the States and another doctor and physical therapist in Czech, but He chose to use a Ukrainian person to help Miriam. If Miriam’s back gets better here in L’viv, that will definitely make us appreciate Ukraine more!

Miriam’s sessions with Serhiy are also a good language practice for us. He is very talkative and he says that he will teach us Ukrainian faster than our language teacher. He is also a very unusual guy in the sense that he does not like to do things the way “everybody else” does them. For example he charges us less than what he charges some of his Ukrainian patients. He says that in Ukraine, when you are a foreigner it is a good enough reason for Ukrainians to rip you off. Most of the time when they see you are not Ukrainian, you automatically get the “foreigner’s price.” And because Serhiy does not agree with that, he gives his non-Ukrainian patients a discount. You won’t get that very often!

As we are able to communicate better and we get to know more Ukrainian people, we would like to ask you to pray for us to be good witnesses for the Lord to people like Serhiy or our language teacher, Veronica. Those are people we see often and we know they do not have a personal relationship with the Lord. Serhiy says he is an atheist. Veronica knows a lot about Christianity and acknowledges the existence of God but does not walk with Jesus in her everyday life. Please pray for them.

And one last thing to pray for. Today, once again Ukrainians will go to the polls in order to elect a new parliament. Unlike in America, Ukrainians are asked to vote for certain political parties and not individuals. The result of that is that every party receiving at least 3% of the popular vote is allocated seats in the 450-member parliament, based on their showing in the election. If you recall the Orange Revolution that took place in 2004, you may remember that Ukraine's presidential election results were challenged by mass demonstrations and eventually overturned due to fraud. The ultimate winner, Victor Yuschenko, was also poisoned during the campaign and controversy still surrounds that incident. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make much of any changes to move Ukraine forward towards a free and democratic society. Please pray that these elections would be peaceful, free, and fair, that the elected parliament would press towards a corrupt-free society and that the new leaders would have the courage to stand for truth and justice. Even though we do not expect the results of the elections to bring any major changes to us, we are aware of the fact that we live here as guests of the Ukrainian government. So please pray for that.

Speaking of the Ukrainian government, we just learned couple of days ago that the Ukrainian Parliament changed some of the immigration rules again. Because of that, we will try to go to the Ukrainian Embassy in Krakow (Poland) as soon as possible to get all our paperwork done the way it is supposed to be according to the new laws. But the discouraging thing is that just yesterday, one of our fellow missionaries said that they too were told of this new visa law but when he and his wife arrived at the Ukrainian Embassy in Krakow, the workers there were totally unaware of this law and could not help them! We thought it was really strange but we were told, “Why are you surprised? It’s Ukraine!” Please keep us in your prayers.

We added some new pictures to our online gallery for you to see. Click here for some new fall pictures.

Thank you for all your support!

Tomasz and Miriam