Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pastor Eapuru Rayappa - AFLC India Dies

Please be in prayer for the family of pastor Epuri. Rayappa 68 years old slept in the Glory of Christ on Wednesday, November 14th. The funeral service held on Thursday.

Three out of four of his children are serving the Lord. Specially pray for his wife Sowramma (pictured).

Earlier this year Pastor Epuri shared the following testimony.

When I was 19 years old I had a sever abdominal pain. I used medicines but I was not relieved from the diseases. I prayed and trusted on Jesus Christ. He healed me.

With the inspiration from God I involved in His service as a servant to Christ. I accepted His call and I am now doing His work as Pastor at KOTIPALLI village.

When I went to the village only 10 members were there. Now it has become 50 members.

Pray for Kotipalli village

Monday, November 26, 2007

Check out Giles New Blog


The Giles family has a new blog to tell the story of their ministry in Mexico and beyond. Check it out at www.gilesupdate.blogspot.com.

Bookmark it so you can return often.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

November Update from Paul and Becky Abel

Thanksgiving! Lots of reasons for being grateful! The top of the list must be the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17 How thankful we are to know the Father through His Son Jesus, the Light of the world! The other blessings we receive are merely reflections of His goodness.

We participated in a very nice Thanksgiving celebration with other Americans at the Baptist church in Curitiba on Thursday night. It was great to have the traditional meal without any work (this year I didn’t have to lift a finger to enjoy Thanksgiving!) However, we are missing family and friends with whom we have shared Thanksgiving for many years.

Since I wrote last month our life has been filled with interesting moments. Perhaps the most newsworthy has been the arrival of Clovis to live with us. Neighbors of our church in Campo Largo informed us of a street man who was sleeping in the entryway of our church for several nights. One day Paul arrived early enough to visit with this man who has lived on the streets for over five years. Paul discovered that he had taken a vow of poverty in hopes of somehow helping his family. The following Sunday morning (Oct. 29) Clovis woke up late and was still at church when we arrived for Sunday School. Paul invited him to participate. When he showed interest in joining us for the evening Reformation service in Curitiba that night, Paul thought we had better take him home and get him cleaned up first. He has been living with us every since. Clovis has an interesting story and we believe the Lord put him in our way for an eternal purpose. As a part of his vow he refuses to wear shoes or to sleep on a bed. He also does a partial fast every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, eating only bread and fruit. He is a kind person (over 30 years old) who never learned to read or write and has no documents whatsoever. Paul patiently teaches Clovis from the Word of God several times a day trying to help him understand God’s plan for his life. He also purchased a saw and made a table for him to make some crafts which he sells on the street. Clovis has been a very polite and helpful person and he has no bad habits usually associated with street people (drinking, smoking, drugs, stealing). We are praying that he will come to faith in Jesus alone and that we can help him become a regular citizen. We thank the Lord for the offer of a Christian man in our community to hire Clovis as a caretaker. Please pray that this whole process will be a blessing in Clovis’ life and that he would soon understand the truths of the Gospel and accept Jesus as His Lord and Savior.

Marcia and her daughters continue on with us. The father of her children has not shown any interest in seeing the girls and has not helped her in any way since she left him 7 months ago. Marcia is a hard worker and has been able to make enough money cleaning houses to support her daughters. She has a brilliant testimony and is always ready to lend a helping hand. I think I forgot to mention in my last letter that our friend Judah from Canada was not able to renew his visa and returned to his homeland in October. We hope he is doing well but have not had much news from him since he left our home.

Another reason for thanks is the successful mission trip that members from our Bateias church participated in the first weekend in November, taking advantage of a holiday (All Saints Day) to spend 3 days in the “back 40.” The weather was very threatening. It had rained for days and the roads were terrible, but that didn’t discourage anyone. We looked for another longer route to get to our destination without the risk of getting stuck in the mud. This was the second trip to this area called Canha where relatives of a lady from our Bateias church live. No running water and an old outhouse was a new experience for some of the 25 people who participated in this trip. Everyone pitched in to help with the visits and special programs for children and adults during the two days of ministry. Several people prayed to receive the Lord after the presentations in the form of puppets, skits, Bible stories and the Jesus film. We also distributed food and many clothes as the people in this area are very needy. The trusty ARCA bus got stuck in the mud the last day, but Paul successfully towed it out with our car and everyone arrived safely home again. We hope to return and continue to teach these people in the future.

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it lots of meetings and activities. Both of our churches as well as the ARCA board have their annual meetings at the end of the year. We have hosted several large groups with meals recently - just so that I don’t get out of practice in the kitchen☺. I am directing a joint choir for Christmas with participants from Bateias and Campo Largo. And this week we will be traveling to Campo Mourao once again to lead choir practices with the students in preparation for the graduation on Dec. 1. We were there the end of October and had important moments of ministry with our students and with other special people in Campo Mourao, including a visit to one of our “sons” who used to live with us.

We do see our girls every week and try to get together for a meal where we can catch up on each other’s lives and ministries. They will be here tomorrow along with other relatives for our Thanksgiving celebration. Our grandchildren are precious and keep us smiling. It will be fun to have the joy of little ones for Christmas.

There are so many other things I could share with you, but this gives you a little peek into our world for this month. We want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers on our behalf. For those of you who support us financially, we pray that the Lord will continue to impress on your hearts the importance of this ministry and our gratefulness for you.

Love in Jesus, Paul and Becky

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jonathan Abel's Latest Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Jonathan Abel's has just been posted on our World Missions site. You can check it out by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Check out the Jore's Latest Newsletter

Check out the story behind this picture and the rest of the Jore's newsletter on our World Mission website. Click Here

Monday, November 19, 2007

Greetings once again from Tanzania!

It never ceases to amaze me how fast weeks pass. At the same time, it seems like more than 3 weeks worth of things have taken place since the last time I wrote. I will try to be concise in my summary…

Classes here at Waama are going very well and we are grateful for the hunger for learning the students continue to demonstrate. We also continue to be blessed by the increased interactions we are able to have with them outside the classroom due to our continual improvements linguistically. By way of the changes here that I mentioned in my last email, it has recently been confirmed that the first 12 students of the new seminary course will be arriving in January. This will certainly mean an increased work load for all the teachers but, again, we are excited about the long-term implications of these changes.

Our weekend ministry schedule keeps filling up and these experiences continue to be highlights of our work here. In fact, just last night (at about 1am) we returned from a couple amazing days in the home village of one of last year’s students. I really wish you all could experience at least one of these weekends with us.

We started out on Saturday afternoon showing the Jesus Film at a primary school. There were about 100 people in attendance. From there, we went immediately to a neighboring village church and held an outdoor showing with 200+ people. The next morning, we had the privilege of worshiping at a new village church where they were coming to the end of a couple days of special spiritual meetings. Ben was the preacher in the morning service and then in the afternoon we each had the opportunity to take a session as they continued with their “special meetings.” In Ben’s afternoon session, he presented the “Wordless Book” as an evangelistic tool and we were then able to pass out a bunch of the wordless books that the youth group at Atonement put together for us. (THANKS, R.S.Y.M.!!) We made sure that they knew we were not just passing out a free gift but we expected everyone who took one to use it with their non-Christian friends and neighbors. I will include a picture in this email of those who agreed to be a part of this new “Evangelistic Team.”

In my session, I presented the “Glove Illustration” which uses a white glove to illustrate our life made dirty with “sin” (iodine) which can only be made clean as we accept the cleansing that comes through Jesus’ blood (a special chemical solution). It actually makes for a pretty impressive illustration and I really feel like it makes an especially important point in this culture where there is such an emphasis on outward conformity or religious form. I think it is going to be a long time before they forget that all the good works we can do (illustrated by scrubbing the iodine stained glove in water) doesn’t do anything to take away our sin before God…and actually just makes it worse (Isaiah 64:6). It is not until we apply God’s perfect solution (Jesus blood) to our lives that our “good works” can actually be pleasing to Him because we are no longer trying to earn something that we are incapable of earning but we are now living our lives out of gratefulness for the gift we have received with the goal of pointing others to Jesus and giving glory to His name. To those who have never seen the illustration personally, sorry, I will have to show it to you sometime.

The final highlight from this past weekend that I will mention came as we presented 28 Bibles to the evangelists working in this mission area. These are Bibles that have been provided by many of you for our work in these villages. We made the presentation just after finishing a meal with several of our hosts. Little did we know that one of the people sharing the meal with us was a man who had just committed his life to Christ 3 days earlier. As soon as he saw the box, he asked how much the Bibles were. It was then that one of the evangelists told us this man’s story and how only a couple days before he had been asking how he could get a Bible of his own so that he could grow in his newfound faith. What a joy to be able to immediately put a Bible in his hands free of charge and see his faith strengthened as God answered one of his first prayer requests as a new believer!! Again, God bless you all as you participate with us in these various ways.

In closing, as you may remember, since my last update, I also had the opportunity to attend the Dubai Air Show on behalf of LEKTRO, Inc. along with my former employer and good friend, Eric Paulson. It was a busy couple days but I very much enjoyed the change of pace and the opportunity to be in the LEKTRO environment once again. It was certainly a huge blessing to reconnect with Eric and I am also grateful for his willingness to bring some early Christmas presents that were sent by my family. Thanks, family!!

Well, I am going to stop here for now. Thank you all for your continual part in this ministry in so many ways. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for each of you. May God richly bless you as we enter this holiday season! You are in my prayers.

In Christian love,

Jesse Long

Note: A recent prayer letter from Ben Jore has just been posted on our AFLC World Missions Web site. Click here to read it. (PDF Format)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pray for the Schierkolk's

Dear praying friends,

We finally made it back down to Jerez here in Mexico! Thanks so much for all of your prayers for our travel. The trip was uneventful. We came over the hill and saw the lights of the city at about 8:00pm and felt the joy of being home again. Our several months in the United States were so good. We enjoyed meeting new friends and spending some wonderful time with old friends and our families as well. God used all of you to help in renewing our spirits and refreshing our strength. We are very grateful to God for all of you.

There were some wonderful surprises that awaited us when we returned. We were delighted to see 3 kids from the youth group in church on Sunday and to hear that they have been coming regularly! Praise God for that! Two of them had only been able to come on Christmas and Easter and the other one had come one or two times in addition. An extra wonderful surprise is that several of the kids from the Kid’s Club have been coming to the worship services on Sunday as well. We are very thankful to Danny Giles who has been working with the youth group since we’ve been gone and he has also been picking kids up on Sunday mornings. Please continue to pray for Danny and Marcela as they seek God’s direction. For now, they will continue to work the youth and we are very happy about that. Please also pray with them for God’s provision for their financial needs. As Short-Term Assistants they depend on the freewill offerings of people back home. I know that any gifts sent to the World Missions Department in Minneapolis for them will be much appreciated.

  • Oscar seems to be doing pretty well. He is being trained in on the new sound equipment at church.
  • Little Samuel’s daddy, Fernando, is coming back the beginning of December for a visit. Please pray with us for him to know Christ as his Savior and for the restoration of his marriage.
  • In one of these recent months the number of Spanish Ambassador Sunday School lessons downloaded topped 4,000!!!! Incredible! Dan continues to get letters from people around Latin America who are using the lessons.

Well, there is more to add but I’ll stop for now. Thanks so much for your continued prayers for us and to the many who have contributed financially to our ministry as well. We could not do this work without you.

May God bless you all with a Thanksgiving overflowing with thankfulness and joy,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baptism in Jerez

The church in Jerez, Mexico added to it's numbers a new baby through baptism. It was a great day and we praise the Lord because many unsaved family members of the young couple heard the message of salvation today.

Please pray for the Banuelo family.

AFLC Members Commissioned as Wycliffe Missionaries

Steve and Glenda Kvale were commissioned as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators on October 14, 2007. The Kvale's are members of Christ the King Free Lutheran Church, Pipestone, Minnesota. The message and charge was given by Rev. Phil Haugen and the service was led by Rev. Richard Sliper.

The Kvale's have accepted an assignment to the Computer Missionary Team and will be stationed in Orlando, Florida. Steve is a 1984 graduate of Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas. Glenda grew up at Faith Free Lutheran of Minneapolis and is a 1987 graduate of AFLBS.

Wycliffe has set a goal for the Kvale’s to seek the Lord in completing their prayer and financial partnership team by October 2008.

The Kvale’s continue to share as a family with various churches. They are scheduled to present God’s call and challenge to them at the Association Free Lutheran Mission’s Conference on Monday evening, January 7, 2008.

Churches interested in having the Kvale’s come and share about Wycliffe Bible Translators, please email Steven_Kvale@sil.org.

Churches or individuals interested in partnering financially, enabling the Kvale’s to serve full-time with Wycliffe, please send your gifts to

Wycliffe Bible Translators
P O Box 628200
Orlando, FL 32862-8200
.

Please include a note: “For the ministry of Steve & Glenda Kvale, Acct. # 200316.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Danny & Marcela Giles Prayer Update - November 2007


Greetings to Friends and Family in the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,

We would like to thank you for your prayers and your financial support.

We thank the Lord for our two little daughters, Ariadna Daniela (20 months), and Andrea Jazmin (4 months).

We are STA's (short term assistants) with the AFLC, serving in Jerez, Mexico along with missionaries Dan and Debbie Giles. We are helping with the youth here in Jerez, counseling a young married couple, praise and worship on Sundays, and in every other way we can.

I would like to tell you about two young girls from our church youth group. Patricia(14) and Jessica(14). They are very committed to the Lord. A few weeks ago they gave their testimony and Patty said that now when she has a decision to make, she prays first, and before she did not take this course of action. It is very exciting to see that they are responding to the Holy Spirit.

Another story....

April and Cesar Bañuelos, the 18 year old married couple we counsel, are parents of 9 month old David Bañuelos Perez. They are really trying to come to church and follow God, but Ceaser's family is very anti-Christian and they are giving them a hard time, especially since they are planning to baptize David this next Sunday(11th) in our church, and we are the selected god-parents for David.

Danny will be going with his Dad to Villahermosa,Tabasco (In south east Mexico) next Monday. We had a natural disaster in that part of the country and 1 million people were left without anything. We are excited as we see that people are willing to help with supplies for the victims in Tabasco.

As you already know, life can be hard sometimes, but we are very grateful that we have your prayer support. Please send e-mails and tell us about yourselves. We would love to here from you. We get very encouraged by your e-mails.

If you know somebody that will like to get our prayer letter, please send us their e-mail address.

"The Lord is the Portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me". Psalm 16:5-6

Prayers requests:

  • Pray that God will equip us while we serve Him here in Mexico, in what we say, think and do.
  • That the Lord will guide ours steps every day as we serve Him.
  • For our two little girls, their health and that God help us to raise them.
  • For April and Cesar, and little David, pray that God would give us wisdom as we minister to them.
  • For the families of the kids that come to church, that they can be saved too.
  • For Dan and Danny as they will be traveling next week to Tabasco. It's a very long trip.
  • That God would provide our financial needs.

Praises:

  • Thanks to God for our family.
  • Because Dan and Danny will be able to go help to the people in Tabasco.
  • Because God provide our needs.
  • For all of you, and your prayers.
  • That God is touching the life's of the kids in the youth group.
  • Because the Schierkolk family are back in Jerez.

In His Mighty Name,

Dan, Marcela, Ariadna, and Andrea Giles

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Gospel for the Whole World - Jim Fugleberg

“That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8b)

When it was revealed to Paul and the other apostles “that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel,” it blew the doors wide open to world missions.

Perhaps we tend to read this revelation in the book of Ephesians (3:6) like a 2000 year old newspaper. It is well known to us now in the 21st century that Gentiles can be Christians, as by now many have come and gone, and here we are today. We even may wonder why it was such an amazing revelation to people like the great apostle.

But it’s a big deal, and it will do us well to catch Paul’s incredulity – and vision.

Part of the reason we think it shouldn’t have been such big news is that in the book of Isaiah we read a few passages about the servant of the Lord being a light to the Gentiles, and even back to the time of Abraham, we find God saying to Abraham that in his seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

We today know what that means – salvation for all people. Even in times before the Apostles, it was known that it was possible for a Gentile to become a part of the covenant people of God. But he must come in a specific way: He must become a Jew, a proselyte. He must submit to circumcision, and to the laws and ceremonies God had given the Jews through Moses.

This was proper. After all, God had given the Jews these laws and commands because all of them, in some way, pointed forward to Christ. If Christ was to be the only way of salvation, then it would be fitting in the days of the Old Covenant that pointed forward to Christ, that one come to Christ through that Old Covenant and not otherwise, because that is the avenue God ordained.

But when Jesus came, He abolished all of these commands and rites that defined Judaism, not by changing His mind about them, but by fulfilling them. He to whom they had pointed had now come. The shadows gave way to the person who cast them, and He proclaimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6).

Yet it was unheard of among the initial Jewish believers that people could come into the fellowship of the household of God apart from the old Jewish way. Man wouldn’t have guessed it. It was a mystery.

But Paul had come to understand the Gospel. He wrote to the Romans, “(But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; {22} Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: {23} For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; {24} Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom 3:21-24)

Without the law!

Peter received a vision from God to eat unclean animals, and an instruction from God to go to the unclean Gentile, Cornelius. “What God has cleansed, that call thou not common,” God said.

Peter went, preached the Gospel to Cornelius, and the Holy Spirit came upon him as He had upon the disciples at Pentecost. When Peter reported it to the Christians in Jerusalem, he said, “Who was I that I could withstand God?”

To the folks in Jerusalem it was like, Well, what do you know?! “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life!” they said, as the truth dawned on them.

OK, wait a minute, now. What did that mean?

It meant open your eyes. Turn around and quit looking only at that small corner you’ve been staring at as if that’s all there is, and recognize that behind you is a whole world full of ears waiting to hear the message.

It meant look now at this gloriously simple Gospel message that can set them free from their sins and from the devil’s stronghold and can transform them into children of God – no Old Testament rites and ceremonies necessary!

It meant look at this privilege we now have to proclaim that simple and powerful message to those vast companies of people! Paul comprehended it and he said, “Whereof I was made a minister! … Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

That the Gentiles have been granted repentance unto life means the same opportunity, ministry and privilege today. Through world-wide evangelism the souls of millions can be freed from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light.

Back in the days of Job the sneering devil seemed to think God didn’t really have anybody he could keep from siding with the devil if the right pressure were placed upon him. He taunted God, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he [Job] hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:11)

God allowed Satan to do what he had asked. But Job didn’t curse. It’s a long, hard story, but when it was over, God won! Job was faithful. Satan didn’t have quite the control he thought he did! There indeed was a man who would trust his Redeemer all the way through.

But there was more victory to be achieved. Fast forward to Calvary, where the prophecy was fulfilled: The Seed of the woman bruised the head of the serpent. Mass deliverance happened there! The sin of the world was atoned. Multitudes and multitudes have now been freed as the simple message of the Gospel, which had been a mystery, has been proclaimed around the world from that day to this. And in the heavenly realms, the manifold wisdom of God continues to awe the principalities and powers. The angels rejoice as the Gospel brings transformation to a lost sinner, and God, in all His saving power and glory is honored and praised as generation after generation of the redeemed pass from this life into eternal glory while the stupefied devil looks on.

God’s victory was overwhelming, the deliverance He accomplished is available to all, and it is now our privilege to bring this gospel to the nations. May God be glorified in His church also in this generation, by using our efforts in World Missions to rescue precious souls and to swell the number whose redeemed lives will proclaim to all principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God.

Jim Fugleberg

World Missions Committee Member

Update from Silesia - Tim Hinrichs

On September 31 we opened the school year with a worship service in Dzięgielów. In September we interviewed students for Daily Bible school as well as the weekend program. As of today, we have 63 students in Bible school. This has exceeded all of our expectations as we see the blessing of the Lord! Yes, when it rains it pours.

Daily Bible school begins its 10th year!
This year we have nine students enrolled in the full time program. Once again we have students from Ukraine. This year we invited a young family from Żytomierz who are involved in children’s ministry there in the public school (club) and in Sunday School. Genadij and Iryna came with their two daughters (15 and 9). We praise God we were able to find an apartment for them at the newly remodeled parish house in Dzięgielów. Our congregation is “adopting” them in that way. And we were able to enroll their daughters in the local public schools. Fortunately, they have Polish background and so language is not a problem for their family. It has been a great answer to prayer as God has provided for them in so many ways. People have provided needed books, furniture, and made them feel at home at church and in school. God also provided them with a visa to stay in Poland for their whole family. God is good!

Weekend Bible school
It was absolutely overwhelming to interview 22 new students this year for the Saturday course. Most of them are coming from the Katowice area about an hour away and as usual ages and church backgrounds vary widely. We are thankful that our ministry is reaching out beyond church barriers because it is really the goal to bless all of Poland and not just the Lutheran church with the teaching of God’s Word. It has been great to see five married couples take part in the school. Over the summer two of our couples from last year had newborns so we rejoice in that kind of growth too. Actually, the fact that we have some young couples also means that we have had to employ a babysitter at the school on Saturdays.

Another surprise has been the educational background of these students. They keep us on our toes as we have doctors and engineers and even the founder and president of a large company. Please pray for us and for all the teachers in the Bible school as we continue to bear a great responsibility for God’s kingdom in this part of the world. Our faculty consists of around 10 volunteers (as from the beginning) coming from various congregations in the area, both pastors and laypeople.

One of our most faithful teachers through the years has been Pastor Adam Podżorski. He is the head pastor of one of the largest and most active congregations of the Lutheran church here. For nine years he has given up his day off on Mondays to come and teach the New Testament all morning to our students (8:00-12:30). He also teaches now for 5 more hours on our Saturday classes. He is a man who has a great passion for “equipping the saints.” It is for people like Pastor Adam that we thank and praise God! What a great provider we have.

Internet Branches
As mentioned last year, we opened an internet branch in NE Poland (Mrągowo). This has gone really well and all seven of those students have returned for another year and we also added one more to that group. This year we opened up another branch in Zgierz which is in central Poland. We drove up there, interviewed students, set up a classroom in the church facility there and are set to go with 6 students ready to take part in the Bible school. We are still having some technical difficulties getting all the connections to work and timing but we pray the Lord will work it out so that on Saturdays we can broadcast this year to two parts of Poland.

An open door in Kraków
As you know, we’ve been leading meetings in Cieszyn called „English Worship” in which we gather in the High School in Cieszyn once a month to worship the Lord in English. We are continuing this ministry and almost have completed three years already. We usually see anywhere from 30 to 40 people attend this meeting and so it’s been encouraging to see God bless in this way. Many foreigners regularly come as well as Polish people who are able to understand.

Recently we were invited to start these meetings also in Kraków (Cracow). Pastor Pracki is very open to using his church (St. Martin’s Lutheran) to reach out to the city. The ancient church is located right in the middle of the old town of Kraków. In fact the doors of the church are on one of the busiest streets in the old town so there are constantly people interested in seeing the church or attending anything that is going on inside such as a concert. So now we have the opportunity once a month to present an evangelistic service in this church utilizing the young people who will help us lead the singing.

On October 21st we met for the first time. Although there weren’t very many in attendance (20-25), the potential is very large. During my message people were continually walking in and out from off the streets for example. So in some ways this outreach has a “street ministry” flavor. You just never know who can be impacted or touched. Please continue to pray for us as we lead this new effort and especially that we are able to put a regular team together which will work with us. We pray that the word would get out among university students as well as foreigners living in the city.

Financial concerns
As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we’ve been struggling to make ends meet here over the last several months. The dollar continues to go down in value which means things are more expensive for us. Our plans are to return for furlough this coming summer (2008) and raise support for our ministry here. In fact, it would be good if we could do that now, but with the Bible school ministry, we just cannot leave during the school year. To be honest we are several hundred dollars short of the monthly support that we need to continue here. We are incredibly thankful to several who have responded in helping us in the last 2 months. Please pray with us for God’s provision. We are so much more thankful now as we see God providing in small ways here and there. Attached to this newsletter is Pastor Bill Moberly’s letter which explains this whole situation. We feel that this is God’s calling for us to serve here for at least a couple more years before we are able to pass the ministry of the Bible school into the hands of the Polish Lutheran Church. So we just have to trust in his provision to provide during this fruitful and critical time. Thank you for your partnership with us in prayer!

Tim, Renata and Peter Hinrichs

Link to Bill Moberly's Letter

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Prayer and Missions by E.M. Bounds

Dear Reader,

The following article is lengthy, but it will be well worth you time to read it. It was written by E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) as a chapter of his book The Essentials of Prayer (1925). The complete book can be read online at www.ccel.org/ccel/bounds/essentials.html . Although the article was written years ago it couldn't be more relevant for today.

“One day, about this time, I heard an unusual bleating amongst my few remaining goats, as if they were being killed or tortured. I rushed to the goat-house and found myself instantly surrounded by a band of armed men. The snare had caught me, their weapons were raised, and I expected the next moment to die. But God moved me to talk to them firmly and kindly; I warned them of their sin and its punishment; I showed them that only my love and pity led me to remain there seeking their good, and that if they killed me they killed their best friend. I further assured them I was not afraid to die, for at death my Saviour would take me to heaven and that I would be far happier than on earth; and that my only desire to live was to make them happy by teaching them to love Jesus Christ my Lord. I then lifted up my hands and eyes to the heavens and prayed aloud for Jesus to bless all my Tannese and to protect me or take me to heaven as He saw to be for the best. One after another they slipped away from me and Jesus restrained them again. Did ever mother run more quickly to protect her crying child in danger’s hour than the Lord Jesus hastens to answer believing prayer and send help to His servants in His own good time and way, so far as it shall be for their good and His glory.”John G. Paton

Missions mean the giving of the Gospel to those of Adam’s fallen race who have never heard of Christ and his atoning death. It means the giving to others the opportunity to hear of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, and allowing others to have a chance to receive, and accept the blessings of the Gospel, as we have it in Christianised lands. It means that those who enjoy the benefits of the Gospel give these same religious advantages and Gospel privileges to all of mankind. Prayer has a great deal to do with missions. Prayer is the hand-maid of missions. The success of all real missionary effort is dependent on prayer. The life and spirit of missions are the life and spirit of prayer. Both prayer and missions were born in the Divine Mind. Prayer and missions are bosom companions. Prayer creates and makes missions successful, while missions lean heavily on prayer. In Psalm 72, one which deals with the Messiah, it is stated that “prayer shall be made for him continually.” Prayer would be made for His coming to save man, and prayer would be made for the success of the plan of salvation which He would come to set on foot.

The Spirit of Jesus Christ is the spirit of missions. Our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself the first missionary. His promise and advent composed the first missionary movement. The missionary spirit is not simply a phase of the Gospel, not a mere feature of the plan of salvation, but is its very spirit and life. The missionary movement is the Church of Jesus Christ marching in militant array, with the design of possessing the whole world of mankind for Christ. Whoever is touched by the Spirit of God is fired by the missionary spirit. An anti-missionary Christian is a contradiction in terms. We might say that it would be impossible to be an anti-missionary Christian because of the impossibility for the Divine and human forces to put men in such a state as not to align them with the missionary cause. Missionary impulse is the heart-beat of our Lord Jesus Christ, sending the vital forces of Himself through the whole body of the Church. The spiritual life of God’s people rises or falls with the force of those heart-beats. When these life forces cease, then death ensues. So that anti-missionary Churches are dead Churches, just as anti-missionary Christians are dead Christians.

The craftiest wile of Satan, if he cannot prevent a great movement for God, is to debauch the movement. If he can put the movement first, and the spirit of the movement in the background, he has materialised and thoroughly debauched the movement. Mighty prayer only will save the movement from being materialised, and keep the spirit of the movement strong and controlling.

The key of all missionary success is prayer. That key is in the hands of the home churches. The trophies won by our Lord in heathen lands will be won by praying missionaries, not by professional workers in foreign lands. More especially will this success be won by saintly praying in the churches at home. The home church on her knees fasting and praying, is the great base of spiritual supplies, the sinews of war, and the pledge of victory in this dire and final conflict. Financial resources are not the real sinews of war in this fight. Machinery in itself carries no power to break down heathen walls, open effectual doors and win heathen hearts to Christ. Prayer alone can do the deed.

Aaron and Hur did not more surely give victory to Israel through Moses, than a praying church through Jesus Christ will give victory on every battlefield in heathen lands. It is as true in foreign fields as it is in home lands. The praying church wins the contest. The home church has done but a paltry thing when she has furnished the money to establish missions and support her missionaries. Money is important, but money without prayer is powerless in the face of the darkness, the wretchedness and the sin in unchristianised lands. Prayerless giving breeds barrenness and death. Poor praying at home is the solution of poor results in the foreign field. Prayerless giving is the secret of all crises in the missionary movements of the day, and is the occasion of the accumulation of debts in missionary boards.

It is all right to urge men to give of their means to the missionary cause. But it is much more important to urge them to give their prayers to the movement. Foreign missions need, today, more the power of prayer than the power of money. Prayer can make even poverty in the missionary cause move on amidst difficulties and hindrances. Much money without prayer is helpless and powerless in the face of the utter darkness and sin and wretchedness on the foreign field.

This is peculiarly a missionary age. Protestant Christianity is stirred as it never was before in the line of aggression in pagan lands. The missionary movement has taken on proportions that awaken hope, kindle enthusiasm, and which demand the attention, if not the interest, of the coldest and the most lifeless. Nearly every Church has caught the contagion, and the sails of their proposed missionary movements are spread wide to catch the favouring breezes. Herein is the danger just now, that the missionary movement will go ahead of the missionary spirit. This has always been the peril of the Church, losing the substance in the shade, losing the spirit in the outward shell, and contenting itself in the mere parade of the movement, putting the force of effort in the movement and not in the spirit.

The magnificence of this movement may not only blind us to the spirit of it, but the spirit which should give life and shape to the movement may be lost in the wealth of the movement as the ship, borne by favouring winds, may be lost when these winds swell to a storm.

Not a few of us have heard eloquent and earnest speeches stressing the imperative need of money for missions where we have heard one stressing the imperative need of prayer. All our plans and devices drive to the one end of raising money, not to quicken faith and promote prayer. The common idea among Church leaders is that if we get the money, prayer will come as a matter of course. The very reverse is the truth. If we get the Church at the business of praying, and thus secure the spirit of missions, money will more than likely come as a matter of course. Spiritual agencies and spiritual forces never come as a matter of course. Spiritual duties and spiritual factors, left to the “matter of course” law, will surely fall out and die. Only the things which are stressed live and rule in the spiritual realm. They who give, will not necessarily pray. Many in our churches are liberal givers who are noted for their prayerlessness. One of the evils of the present-day missionary movement lies just there. Giving is entirely removed from prayer. Prayer receives scant attention, while giving stands out prominently. They who truly pray will be moved to give. Praying creates the giving spirit. The praying ones will give liberally and self-denyingly. He who enters his closet to God, will also open his purse to God. But perfunctory, grudging, assessment-giving kills the very spirit of prayer. Emphasising the material to the neglect of the spiritual, by an inexorable law retires and discounts the spiritual.

It is truly wonderful how great a part money plays in the modern religious movements, and how little prayer plays in them. In striking contrast with that statement, it is marvellous how little part money played in primitive Christianity as a factor in spreading the Gospel, and how wonderful part prayer played in it.

The grace of giving is nowhere cultured to a richer growth than in the closet. If all our missionary boards and secretaryships were turned into praying bands, until the agony of real prayer and travail with Christ for a perishing world came on them, real estate, bank stocks, United States bonds would be in the market for the spreading of Christ’s Gospel among men. If the spirit of prayer prevailed, missionary boards whose individual members are worth millions, would not be staggering under a load of debt and great Churches would not have a yearly deficit and a yearly grumbling, grudging, and pressure to pay a beggarly assessment to support a mere handful of missionaries, with the additional humiliation of debating the question of recalling some of them. The on-going of Christ’s kingdom is locked up in the closet of prayer by Christ Himself, and not in the contribution box.

The Prophet Isaiah, looking down the centuries with the vision of a seer, thus expresses his purpose to continue in prayer and give God no rest till Christ’s kingdom be established among men:

“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest till the righteousness thereof goeth forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”

Then, foretelling the final success of the Christian Church, he thus speaks:

“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory, and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.”

Then the Lord, Himself, by the mouth of this Evangelical prophet, declares as follows:

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace, day nor night. Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence. And give him no rest till he establish and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

In the margin of our Bible, it reads, “Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers.” The idea is, that these praying ones are those who are the Lord’s remembrancers, those who remind Him of what He has promised, and who give Him no rest till God’s Church is established in the earth.

And one of the leading petitions in the Lord’s Prayer deals with this same question of the establishing of God’s kingdom and the progress of the Gospel in the short, pointed petition, “Thy kingdom come,” with the added words, “Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.”

The missionary movement in the Apostolic Church was born in an atmosphere of fasting and prayer. The very movement looking to offering the blessings of the Christian Church to the Gentiles was on the housetop on the occasion when Peter went up there to pray, and God showed him His Divine purpose to extend the privileges of the Gospel to the Gentiles, and to break down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile.

But more specifically Paul and Barnabas were definitely called and set apart to the missionary field at Antioch when the Church there had fasted and prayed. It was then the Holy Spirit answered from heaven: “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

Please note this was not the call to the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, but more particularly their definite call to the foreign field. Paul had been called to the ministry years before this, even at his conversion. This was a subsequent call to a work born of special and continued prayer in the Church at Antioch. God calls men not only to the ministry but to be missionaries. Missionary work is God’s work. And it is the God-called men who are to do it. These are the kind of missionaries which have wrought well and successfully in the foreign field in the past, and the same kind will do the work in the future, or it will not be done.

It is praying missionaries who are needed for the work, and it is a praying church who sends them out, which are prophecies of the success which is promised. The sort of religion to be exported by missionaries is of the praying sort. The religion to which the heathen world is to be converted is a religion of prayer, and a religion of prayer to the true God. The heathen world already prays to its idols and false gods. But they are to be taught by praying missionaries, sent out by a praying Church, to cast away their idols and to begin to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. No prayerless church can transport to heathen lands a praying religion. No prayerless missionary can bring heathen idolaters who know not our God to their knees to true prayer until he becomes pre-eminently a man of prayer. As it takes praying men at home to do God’s work, none the less does it take praying missionaries to bring those who sit in darkness to the light.

The most noted and most successful missionaries have been pre-eminently men of prayer. David Livingstone, William Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Henry Martyn, and Hudson Taylor, with many more, form a band of illustrious praying men whose impress and influence still abide where they laboured. No prayerless man is wanted for this job. Above everything else, the primary qualification for every missionary is prayer. Let him be, above everything else, a man of prayer. And when the crowning day comes, and the records are made up and read at the great judgment day, then it will appear how well praying men wrought in the hard fields of heathendom, and how much was due to them in laying the foundations of Christianity in those fields.

The one only condition which is to give world-wide power to this Gospel is prayer, and the spread of this Gospel will depend on prayer. The energy which was to give it marvelous momentum and conquering power over all its malignant and powerful foes is the energy of prayer.

The fortunes of the kingdom of Jesus Christ are not made by the feebleness of its foes. They are strong and bitter and have ever been strong, and ever will be. But mighty prayer—this is the one great spiritual force which will enable the Lord Jesus Christ to enter into full possession of His kingdom, and secure for Him the heathen as His inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for His possession.

It is prayer which will enable Him to break His foes with a rod of iron, that will make these foes tremble in their pride and power, who are but frail potter’s vessels, to be broken in pieces by one stroke of His hand. A person who can pray is the mightiest instrument Christ has in this world. A praying Church is stronger than all the gates of hell.

God’s decree for the glory of His Son’s kingdom is dependent on prayer for its fulfilment: “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession.” God the Father gives nothing to His Son only through prayer. And the reason why the Church has not received more in the missionary work in which it is engaged is the lack of prayer. “Ye have not, because ye ask not.”

Every dispensation foreshadowing the coming of Christ when the world has been evangelised, at the end of time, rests upon these constitutional provisions, God’s decree, His promises and prayer. However far away that day of victory by distance or time, or remoteness of shadowy type, prayer is the essential condition on which the dispensation becomes strong, typical and representative. From Abraham, the first of the nation of the Israelites, the friend of God, down to this dispensation of the Holy Spirit, this has been true.

“The nations call! From sea to sea

Extends the thrilling cry,

‘Come over, Christians, if there be,

And help us, ere we die.’

“Our hearts, O Lord, the summons feel;

Let hand with heart combine,

And answer to the world’s appeal,

By giving ‘that is thine.’”

Our Lord’s plan for securing workers in the foreign missionary field is the same plan He set on foot for obtaining preachers. It is by the process of praying. It is the prayer plan as distinguished from all man-made plans. These mission workers are to be “sent men.” God must send them. They are God-called, divinely moved to this great work. They are inwardly moved to enter the harvest fields of the world and gather sheaves for the heavenly garners. Men do not choose to be missionaries any more than they choose to be preachers. God sends out labourers in His harvest field in answer to the prayers of His church. Here is the Divine plan as set forth by our Lord:

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

It is the business of the home church to do the praying. It is the Lord’s business to call and send forth the labourers. The Lord does not do the praying. The Church does not do the calling. And just as our Lord’s compassions were aroused by the sight of multitudes, weary, hungry, and scattered, exposed to evils, as sheep having no shepherd, so whenever the Church has eyes to see the vast multitudes of earth’s inhabitants, descendants of Adam, weary in soul, living in darkness, and wretched and sinful, will it be moved to compassion, and begin to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into His harvest.

Missionaries, like ministers, are born of praying people. A praying church begets labourers in the harvest-field of the world. The scarcity of missionaries argues a non-praying church. It is all right to send trained men to the foreign field, but first of all they must be God-sent. The sending is the fruit of prayer. As praying men are the occasion of sending them, so in turn the workers must be praying men. And the prime mission of these praying missionaries is to convert prayerless heathen men into praying men. Prayer is the proof of their calling, their Divine credentials, and their work.

He who is not a praying man at home needs the one fitness to become a mission worker abroad. He who has not the spirit which moves him toward sinners at home, will hardly have a spirit of compassion for sinners abroad. Missionaries are not made of men who are failures at home. He who will be a man of prayer abroad must, before anything else, be a man of prayer in his home church. If he be not engaged in turning sinners away from their prayerless ways at home, he will hardly succeed in turning away the heathen from their prayerless ways. In other words, it takes the same spiritual qualifications for being a home worker as it does for being a foreign worker.

God in His own way, in answer to the prayers of His Church, calls men into His harvest-fields. Sad will be the day when Missionary Boards and Churches overlook that fundamental fact, and send out their own chosen men independent of God.

Is the harvest great? Are the labourers few? Then “pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.” Oh, that a great wave of prayer would sweep over the Church asking God to send out a great army of labourers into the needy harvest fields of the earth! No danger of the Lord of the harvest sending out too many labourers and crowding the fields. He who calls will most certainly provide the means for supporting those whom He calls and sends forth.

The one great need in the modern missionary movement is intercessors. They were scarce in the days of Isaiah. This was his complaint:

“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor.”

So today there is great need of intercessors, first, for the needy harvest-fields of earth, born of a Christly compassion for the thousands without the Gospel; and then intercessors for labourers to be sent forth by God into the needy fields of earth.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Pastoral Training Team Leaves for India

A pastoral training team consisting of pastors Martin Horn, Steve Mundfrom and Jon Wellumson departed November 1 for India.

AFLC World Missions has been sending teams to train pastors in the AFLC of India so that they can adequately shepherd the churches that God has placed under their care. This team will be teaching Major Prophets, Minor Prophets and Pastoral Epistles.

Please be in prayer for the team as they travel. Recent flooding has hampered travel in the area of India where they are going. Pray that God would give them a special gift to communicate His Word with the students.

They will return on November 17th.