Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas - Jesse Long

Christmas 2008 greetings Classes are officially over for this first semester!!  It is truly amazing how the time passes.  Thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf.  The students were very anxious to get home so they worked very hard to finish up the planting in the fields, cutting the grass and other projects that had to be done before Christmas break.  Finals were administered this past Wednesday and Thursday.  Then, on Friday morning, we had a closing service and everyone headed for home.  Before I forget, I should also say that many students send their love and greetings to you all and wish you all God’s richest blessings during this Christmas season.

Once all the students left, all the staff of the school had a meeting to discuss the past semester and the semesters yet to come.  It was very tiring meeting but Ben and I were determined to make it to Arusha that day.  As a result, when the meeting was over at 3pm, we had a quick lunch, packed up our bikes and were in Arusha by 7:15pm.

Continue also pray for the school as we make progress towards getting electricity.  There is still a ways to go but the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be getting closer all the time.  God blessed the school recently with lots of rain in preparation for our planting.  The unfortunate thing was that the electrical company only dug about a meter deep when they put in all these new telephone poles.  As you can imagine, this meant that most of them fell over when the ground was softened with all this rain.  What can is say?  This is Africa.  Poor management combined with workers trying to get by with doing as little work as possible is pretty much the norm.

By way of a prayer request, please pray for a neighbor of the school who lost a daughter just a couple weeks ago when she fell in a well while drawing water for the family.  It is especially at times like this that the support of the community and the “bearing one another’s burdens” mindset is so apparent in this area.  Some of the students and staff of Waama took the opportunity to visit them and share the hope that is found in Jesus.  We look forward to what God will do in that tragic situation – especially in the heart of the grandfather who is a practicing witchdoctor.

By way of praise, for the first time since Ben and I have been here in Tanzania, we have decided before the beginning of a semester which classes each teacher will be responsible for.  This was decided at a teachers’ meeting over a week ago, so we are excited to start preparing class outlines already now during Christmas break.  In addition to both of us continuing with our respective English classes, Ben will be teaching Isaiah 1 (chapters 1-39) to the second-year students, and Biblical History as well as 1 Thessalonians to the first-year students.  My only class with the first-year students this semester will be 1 John.  Then, in addition to continuing with my Evangelism class for the third-year students, I will also be teaching them the Isaiah 2 course (chapters 40-66).  It is not exactly what we anticipated but we look forward to the second semester being a blessing to us as well as the students.  You may have noticed that our computer class was dropped.  This is due to the reduction of teaching staff we have experienced which has required us to drop any classes that aren’t an essential part of the core curriculum.

So, the year is coming to an end.  As you can see from the subject of this email, Ben and I decided to again spend this holiday season here in Uganda with Nate and Rhoda Jore and their kids.  We made the bus trip up here through the night on Sunday and arrived a little before 8 on Monday morning.  The plan is to stay here until the 2nd of January, arrive back in Arusha on the 3rd, purchase supplies and make other preparations for the coming semester until the 6th, and then go directly from Arusha to Babati on the 7th where we need to get our new residency permits stamped in our passports.

Thank you all for your support and prayers over this past year.  It is still a bit strange to be in such a warm climate for the holidays but I’m pretty sure I don’t mind. J  I wish you all a merry Christmas and a blessed 2009!!  You all are in my thoughts and prayers!!

In Christian love,


Mbulu, Tanzania

December - Darwin Jackson

"Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life." Oswald Chambers

P1010018Alfonso went with me for the first time down to the agricultural camp on Sunday. We visited most all the rooms and held an outdoor meeting. I believe he is hooked, for he committed us to come back again this Sunday (praise the Lord!). Pray for his health as well, he hasn't been feeling good for a couple of weeks now. Some of the men at the camp are beginning to get used to me now and feel a bit more comfortable talking with me. Pray for continued openness.

The week before out in Mascarenas was kind of disappointing for Alfonso, there were only a couple of the brethren who came to the church. We have decided we'll continue visiting all the homes there before we try to start the services again on Sundays. Antonio still is getting a good turnout of kids that come on Saturdays.
We won a new family on Sunday in Buenos Aires. Abel and Neomi. Pray that they continue to come and that we may be able to disciple them.
Today I had the opportunity again to preach the Gospel along with several Mexican pastors as over six hundred people came to the rescue mission from Nogales Mexico for the Christmas dinner. I really believe Gods Spirit was working with His word for at one point it became really quiet (which is very unusual with the room so full!). Pray for revival in the believers as well as growth and discipleship for those who received Jesus.
Thank you for your prayers for our household as well. Things have been very peaceful (compared to what it was a month ago). Michelle helped most of the day over at the mission, passing out toys for the kids as well as clothes for the adults. Pray Jesus get hold  of her heart.
Merry Christmas to you all in Jesus, your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson (Michelle and Cesar too!)

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Monday, December 22, 2008

Answers to Your Prayers

Schierkolks Todd Thursday night, Dec. 11th, the father of this newborn little girl was waiting for us when we arrived home after dropping kids off from the Club that night.  He said that the doctors were planning on amputating half of her foot the next day.  Well, urgent prayer was made for her that night and the next morning.   God was also asked to put this need on the hearts of people back in the U.S. because there wasn't enough time to let anyone know about it.  The next morning the doctors saw a significant improvement all the way up to the toes on her right foot.  Nevertheless, there was no improvement in the toes.  Finally, doctors told the mom that little Emiliana was running the risk of of blood clot and she gave the OK to amputate the toes.  The surgery was performed on Wednesday.  The family is sad on the one hand, but they said that considering how bad the prognosis was at the beginning they are very glad this is all that happened.  So we thank the Lord for his mercies to this little one and at the same time we're reminded that we aren't in heaven yet.  Thank you all so much for interceding for this baby.

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Navamanie's - Christmas Greetings

Note:  Ron and Marsha Navamanie are missionaries in Sri Lanka.  Although they are not AFLC Missionaries they have strong ties to the AFLC.  Marsha is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Gene Quist attended Emmaus Lutheran Church in Minneapolis growing up. 


Dear Friends:

I am sure you are getting tons of these. This year I only sent Christmas cards to those who are not on email, so this will be your card from the Navamanie’s this year. We also sent a snail mail letter from our U.S. office. If you are not on our regular mailing list and would like to be, let us know and we will have them mail you a copy. It was modeled on an annual report of all the work we have done this year, so since you all get our monthly emails, I will not repeat myself. This time of year you get enough to read.

I was a little disappointed at the turnout for the teen program we had in November. We had only about 15 kids, mostly boys. One of the girls schools had a choir practice that day and many of the girls couldn’t come. Refuge was great. He really laid it on the line that Hell will not be a nice place or a place where you can be with your friends who are going there. I hope the message got through. Only one person brought a friend. We will have a get together after Christmas after their exams are done. Two of the boys are doing the “O Level” exams right now. These exams are very hard and determine whether you will be able to continue your education or not. The government changed several things at the last minute which made it even more difficult for them so pray for Jason and Si-Hua.

We have a quiet December. Alpha is over for the time being and many other programs are canceled for the month. They call it taking a break. I personally don’t think you can take a break from God, and we have found over the years that many get lazy and never return to their Bible studies or other programs in January. Our small group is continuing to meet and we were very excited when they decided to have an outreach Christmas party. It is the baby’s birthday on Christmas Day so Avanelle and Michelle are inviting some relatives and their neighbors (most of these are not Christians) for a party on Christmas night. We will tell the Christmas story and have the kids dress up and act it out. This way many people who live around them may understand better what Christmas is all about and it will be a witness to let their neighbors know where they stand as believers in Jesus Christ.

The husband of the other couple in our group decided to become a member of our church. I think we told you that he was from a Roman Catholic background. Our pastor was very appreciative of the work that we have been doing. Another woman who prayed with Marsha and was discipled by her a few years ago also became a member.

Our cats have been sick with the cat flu this month. It has been consuming a lot of time and money to get them back to normal. One has taken quite some time to recover, but she seems to be back to normal now. Praise the Lord!

Miriam had a wonderful evening program with Youth for Christ a week ago, two of her disciples participated in the dance, drama, and singing items. They all invited friends, and everyone was thrilled that 28 young people committed themselves to Christ that day!

Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas Season,

ron, marsha and miriam navamanie

(photos: teen program games, making the Christmas cake, our small group)



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Celebrating His Gifts

coyles This afternoon, as Moriah and I were playing with her toy nativity figures, the beauty of Christmas became so clear to me. God's gift to us— His one and only Son— and Jesus' gift of His life for our sakes reveals the amazing love God has for us. As Moriah scooted her little wise men to the stable and unloaded their precious cargo near the manger, I was reminded of her children's book we had just read. It tells of how we, though not kings or magi, can give Christ even greater gifts than gold, frankincense and myrrh- our hearts. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a two-and-a-half-year-old was a refreshing pause in the busy time that December can be.

As Christmas approaches this year, we find ourselves reflecting on the many Early in the year, plans for ministry took a different route. The door to serving in Russia full-time was closed, as we could not obtain long-term visas. Sensing the need for some pastoral experience (while maintaining our status as AFLC world missions candidates), Andy pursued a pastoral call and later accepted a call to a two-point parish in rural Radcliffe and Jewell, Iowa.

In May, our internship in Salinas, CA came to a close. We learned a lot, were so blessed by our church family there, and have many wonderful memories. Andy received his Masters of Divinity from AFLTS (Assoc. Free Lutheran Theological Seminary) and was ordained in June at his home congregation in Mankato, MN. During much of June we were traveling nomads... visiting the Grandma's and Grandpa's, hitting the garage sales, and making preparations in Radcliffe.

Andy began his pastoral duties on July first, and has been busy and blessed since! We are learning many valuable lessons. We have enjoyed getting settled in the parsonage and becoming a part of the communities here.

Our biggest event of the year was on August 9, when Isaiah Andrew joined our family. His big smiles and laughs bring us much joy. He loves his big sis and she loves him (although sometimes a bit too aggressively). Moriah is a proud big sister and a great helper to me. She enjoys puzzles, tea parties, singing, playing in the snow with Daddy, and anything that is purple. Her highlights this year include adventures at the beach, fun visits with her grandparents, and riding in a combine.

While life keeps moving, the most important things have remained constant: the relentless love of our Lord and His daily grace to us. We praise God for his faithfulness and His many blessings to us— including you!

May the gifts of His great love be yours in abundance this Christmas.


Andy, Monica, Moriah & Isaiah

God is at Work - Ecuador

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12

Girls Equador Carolina and Catalina are two sisters ages 13 and 15 who live with their mother Maria.  Like so many families in Ecuador, their dad is working illegally in the US.  They haven't seen him for 12 years!  Maria bought some land 7 years ago, but has been unable to build a house on it yet because of legal issues with the property.  Yesterday, everything was all set for a judge to come to the land, and make it officially theirs.  The church had helped buy some posts and a bunch of men from the church took time off work to be available to help make the fences.

On arrival to the land, the opposing parties were already there with all their papers and their supposed proof of ownership.  Notice I say parties plural.  Due to inheritance and family disputes, there are multiple people who claim ownership to the land and Maria is stuck in the middle.  She bought the land from one of the people who claim ownership.

Well, in typical Ecuadorian fashion, the judge arrived late.  The opposition presented their case, but the proceeding went forward and we began putting in the posts.  Unfortunately, the opposition wouldn't let things lie, and the judge had to call the police.  Two young officers showed up, but they did little.  The judge finished her duties and left us to finish the fence around the property.  With the judge gone, things really turned nasty.  The opposition started breaking the cement posts we put in and would not allow us to put up the wire.  They called us nasty names, and began physically pushing us around. All this time the believers did not respond, but quietly continued doing what they could.

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony..." Rev. 12:11

It now became obvious that we were not going to be able to do any more.  At least most of the posts were in, so we began to retrieve our tools.  At this point, Pastor Santiago and I realized we had forgotten to pray before beginning the project.  He and I had prayed together at the church, but we hadn't prayed together as a group at the property.  We found a grassy section, called everyone together, and as the opposition watched, had a time of prayer and sang a praise song.  Meanwhile the opposition was ready to leave and as they walked by they muttered "...may God judge the believers".  The opposition turned around their pickup in order to leave, but didn't drive away.  Instead they got out of the truck and came back. 

"If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink;"  Pr 25:21

At this point we were about to have an Ecuadorian picnic.  A cloth was placed on the grass, and three large bowls were placed in the cloth.  One had roast lamb, another hominy and broad beans, and another fresh cheese.  Not what I'd expect for a picnic in the States, but very cultural for the rural areas in Ecuador, and VERY tasty.  After prayer, we all dug in... literally!  There was no silverware, or plates, we all just used our hands to scoop the food out of the bowls. 

The national believers invited everyone to come join in the meal they had prepared, and much to my surprise, they did!  A few from the opposition stood on the perimeter, but to these, the national believers took the food right to them, and they ate too.  As we ate, we had a productive discussion.  More than resolve anything, we were able to better understand the difficult mess, and the many parties involved in the conflict over the land.  By the end of the meal, the opposition expressed their gratefulness for the meal, and apologized for the conflict earlier.   

The whole issue isn't resolved, but we left the situation rejoicing in the Lord.  Through it all, Maria was calm, and relaxed, trusting in the Lord.  Please pray that the situation with the property could be resolved, but even more, please pray for the people involved.  Pray for reuniting of families, and that each would seek the Lord's forgiveness and know how to forgive others.  Specifically, pray that Carolina and Catalina's family could be reunited again.  As a result of the whole situation, Pastor Santiago was able to talk on the phone with their father (Maria's husband) in the States.  In their 30 min talk, Pastor Santiago shared the Word with him and clearly told him, his responsibility is with his family.  He was open to Pastor Santiago's words.  Please pray that that openness would turn into action.

Thanks for each of your prayers for the ministry here in Ecuador.  The Lord is working.  The humble baby born in the manger is at work today in a powerful way!  Hail! the heav'n born Prince of Peace: Jesus!

Rejoicing in Him,


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Greetings - Dan & Marcela Giles

Giles Christmas 2

Joy to the World!!!  We are so excited remembering that Jesus came to the world so that He could save us.

We had an Amazing time on Thanksgiving day, we celebrated with the Shierkolk family, and a few other friends.

We want to thank you for your prayers and your financial support, it is because of people like you that we are able to be here in Jerez, Mexico.

The Lord is working in our church, this past Sunday we had one new family of seven members, we also had a lady visiting us, she is the owner of the store right in front of our church.   Our youth group is also growing, we have three new girls coming regularly now. We are having our Christmas program next Sunday, pray that people would attend, but also that they would accept Jesus in their hearts.

The other day we went to see Marcela's doctor and he told us that we are having a boy, so we are very excited, he will be our first son. His name will be Robert Emmanuel.  My grandfather(my Dad's dad) is named Robert and I would like to name my son after him, Emmanuel is also a special name for me, it was the name of my mother's grandfather. We can't stop smiling, we are so very happy.

We appreciate all of you very much!       Thanks for your faithful support


In His service,
Dan, Marcela, Ariadna, Andrea, and Robert Giles

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Greeting - World Relief

Christmas banner

Silent Night, Holy Night!

Dear AFLC Friends,

On behalf of all the World Relief staff worldwide... and especially on behalf of those whom we seek to serve...

May the love, peace and hope that were born that holy night be with you always.

"...I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."   Luke 2:10-11

As we celebrate the coming of our Lord, we ask that you take a moment to view our special Christmas video greeting.

And consider sharing it with your church - perhaps as an offertory reflection.


Merry Christmas!

Craig signature

Craig Pixley

Midwest Director of Church Relations

World Relief

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December Update from Ingrid Giles

STA - IG It's hard to believe December is almost half over already!  I think this must be the fastest month of the year, with all the Christmas activities going on.  Supposedly it is 50 degrees F right now, but it feels a lot colder than that sounds!  I think that when it drops to freezing at night, the inside of the house never quite warms up during the day.  It makes one want to go to bed just to be under the covers!  I remember when I went to Minnesota for a week last December, thinking "I should come to Minnesota every winter just to be warm!"

Oscar, whom I have mentioned in previous letters, needs a house or room to rent.  He is on his own right now but living in a city a couple of hours away.  Every weekend he takes the bus in to Jerez to go to youth group on Saturday and church on Sunday.  He would like to move back to Jerez.  Part of the problem with finding a house is that he doesn't have much money to work with; he is about 14 years old and living on whatever his dad is able to send him from time to time.  So he needs a house that is affordable and whose owner is willing to rent to a minor.

Cesar and Abril, the young married couple whom I have mentioned before, are expecting their second child.  Cesar desperately needs to find a job (he has been looking for quite a while) and they very much need to move out of his parents house.  Neither set of parents is really allowing them to be "grown-ups" or to make their own decisions even about little things.  

Our Christmas activities coming up in church include a party for the church members at Marcela and Danny's house on Friday the 19th and our annual invite-lots-of-people event on Sunday morning on the 21st.  My parents will be coming a couple of days before Christmas and we are looking forward to celebrating with them.

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

  • Pray for my continued health.
  • Ask God to continue to provide Dan and Marcela's financial needs and also mine. 
  • Please continue to pray for Claudia Gamboa and her kids, and Nena and her kids.
  • Pray that God would give me the words and phrases necessary to do the best possible job of translating this Sunday School material so that it will be clear to children from all over the Spanish-speaking world.  Also pray that God would use these lessons to speak to the children and teachers who use them.
  • Pray that I'd do a good job as Sunday School teacher.
  • Ask God to help me be diligent and spend my time wisely.  Also ask Him to help me live and do all that I do in a way that honors and glorifies Him.
  • Pray for the Bible Study with Claudia Perez.
  • Pray for Abril and Cesar.
  • Pray for Oscar.

Thank you (praise):

  • God has been healing Bibi and bringing her family together.
  • I have been healthy.
  • Oscar has been making the effort to come to church every week even though he lives a couple of hours away now.  He has also been continuing to go to school.
  • God is continuing to provide our needs.
  • I get to live with Daniel, Marcela, Ari and Andi, and see them every day!
  • The wood-burning stove in Danny and Marcela's living room heats up that half of the house wonderfully!


Ingrid Giles

Friday, December 12, 2008

AFLC Schools Missions Conference

Missions Conference

Featuring evening speaker

Missionary Dan Giles

AFLC Missionary to Mexico 1984-2008

With special presentations from
Pastor Chuck Lindquist, president of World Mission Prayer League (Sunday)
Pastor Don Richman, founding director of East European Mission Network (Monday)
Missionary Arvid Westfall, of Wycliffe Bible Translators (Tuesday)
Pastor Paul Nash, director of the AFLC Home Missions (Thursday)

Schedule: Sunday-Tuesday, and Thursday
6:30-7:05 PM - Special presentation
7:05-7:20 PM - Prayer huddle groups
7:30-9:00 PM - Service with Pastor Giles
11:10 AM Chapel Services Tuesday & Thursday w/Pastor Giles

Association Free Lutheran Schools Chapel
3120 E. Medicine Lake Blvd., Plymouth, MN 55441

For more information, please call 763.544.9501 or 877.23.AFLBS or email

Directions to our campus may be found on our website at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Schierkolk's Christmas Newsletter

Schierkolk's Christmas 

Well, it’s officially cold here in central Mexico. Wait, wait, before you call in the symphony of finger violins playing “My Heart Bleeds for You,” turn your thermostat down to 50 degrees and leave it there for a few days.  No, it’s not quite as. . .


Click here to read the entire newsletter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December Greeting from Paul and Becky Abel

Abel Christmas 3 Christmas is almost here!  And I’m not ready!  How about you?  I’m ready for Jesus to come back again, but I’m not ready with all the things that need to be done if His second coming delays.  How I praise God that He is never in a rush and that He always has time for me and for all who call upon Him.  Tonight I reminded the choir members of the marvel of God becoming man and dwelling among us – Emanuel.  His love and grace are way beyond our human comprehension, yet we can believe and rest in the fact that we are forgiven and redeemed even though we are so terribly marked by sin.  May we be blessed to imitate Jesus’ example of loving and forgiving and identifying with those who need the Savior.

Our trip to Campo Mourão for graduation in November turned out to be a great time.  Since then we have had lots of meetings and counseling sessions.  Conflict resolution has a way of sapping our energy at times, but we want to be available to help people and to show them the truth of God’s Word. Paul has preached and helped out with several things at the São Braz church. They are looking forward to starting the new year out with a new pastor. Paul has also been busy discipling and visiting people in Campo Largo and Bateias.  He also contracted a couple of young men to work on the concrete ball court at the ARCA.  One-third of the court is almost finished now.

Once again I decided to go ahead and create a Christmas play complete with adult and children’s choirs, choreography, and a play.  The production is called “A New Heart for Christmas.”  The adult choir has 25 singers and the children’s choir is about 30.  Although the musical ability is quite limited, the enthusiasm and dedication make up for what is lacking in the other areas.  We have been practicing twice a week with both groups.  Starting Saturday we will have choir presentations six times before Christmas.  Much to Paul’s chagrin we were invited to sing in front of one of the stores downtown two nights next week.  The others are very excited about the opportunity, and we’ll make the most of it by giving it our all and handing out tract and invitations to our church program on the weekend. 

Abel Christmas 2 Sunday the girls and their families came out and we decorated the house for Christmas.  The days are warm and everything is a lush green – perfect for Christmas, right?  I still seem to think snow goes with Christmas, but my Brazilian-raised children think otherwise.  The countdown is on for Andrew and Matthew to arrive and spend a few weeks with us – we can hardly wait!  And they are more than eager to come back home again.  Abel Christmas 1 Andrew arrives Dec. 21 and Matthew flies in on Dec. 25.  We would appreciate your prayers for them as they make those long flights and are miraculously united with us again.  Joanna is finishing up a successful year with her Christian school, Silvio continues on in the city government as the mayor’s assistant, Christina is completing her Nutrition degree now in December, and Daniel has passed in first place in one of his residency tests in orthopedics.  The little granddaughters are lots of fun and we enjoy special moments together.  We are all looking forward to a couple of days together as family after Christmas.

            We would like to wish you all a very special Christmas.  May you remember the One whose birth we celebrate.  And be thankful!  Many people around the world are suffering terribly.  We ought never to take our blessings for granted. The state just south of us has been having terrible flooding and great losses. Many lost their lives and tens of thousands are homeless.  Let us share with those in need and have a heart of compassion for those who do not know the Lord.  Thank you for the ways you have done just that in supporting our ministry and taking an interest in the lives of people you do not know personally, but who benefit from your love and prayers and gifts. 

God’s rich blessings to you this Christmas!    

Love in Jesus,

Paul and Becky

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tanzania - A Ray of Hope

Ben ThanksgivingMy last update was a little dark and gloomy. Since that time a couple things happened that have helped to lift the spirit of heaviness here at Waama. The first of these was the spiritual meetings we had this past weekend. The theme was taken from Ex. 14:15 which says "Tell the people to move forward!" We had two guest speakers come and preach for two and a half days. It was a real blessing and encouragement to students and staff to remain faithful and press forward despite the circumstances. But then God worked a miracle which proved beyond a doubt that He still has plans for this school. Pastor Mao, one of the teachers who had been reassigned, got a letter from the head office asking him to stay at Waama and teach until further notification! It is hard to convey just how much of a burden has been lifted because he is staying. We praise God for his faithfulness in this matter. We feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel and the school will be able to continue well. Thanks to all who prayed on our behalf and on behalf of the school. Please continue to pray about the music course. Jesse and I feel that it would be best if we didn't have a music course next semester, but God knows what's really best.

We are looking forward to finishing classes this week and then giving finals early next week. The students are looking at planting the schools fields during the second half of next week before returning to their homes for Christmas break. Jesse and I are planning on going to Uganda to be with my brother and his family there for Christmas and New Year's.

Jesus Video 
In this picture we're starting a Jesus Film showing with some local music videos at a new church plant in Bambe (Friday, Nov. 28). After drawing a crowd with these Christian music videos we show the Jesus Film - a 2-hour movie which follows the Gospel of Luke very closely. We finished this night with about 350 in attendance. (The evangelist in charge of this church plant is in the green suit on the far right. The chairman of the village is to his left with the gray suit and red hat.)


Thanks for your partnership with us,
Ben Jore

Monday, December 08, 2008

Prayer Update from Todd Schierkolk

Missionary - TSI wanted to send you a quick note to let you know about the little girl with the heart and circulation problems you have been praying for.  Her circulation has improved immensely in these last few days for which we are so grateful.  She isn't out of the woods yet but there has been a marked improvement.  Secondly, I incorrectly told you that she had a hole in her heart when in actuality it was a heart murmur (should've looked the word up in the dictionary first to confirm it:)).  But the murmur has improved and is now only a "slight" murmur!  "Thank you Lord for your tender mercies and your compassion on this little girl!"  Please continue to pray for her through this week and thank you all for bringing this little one to our loving heavenly Father throughout these days.

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Waama Bible School - Ben Jore

Dear praying friends,

Ben and josephine Last time I wrote, classes had not started here at Waama Bible School.
Shortly after that update (on Oct 28) we had our teachers' meeting when we decided who was teaching which classes and the next day we started teaching even though the teachers had not received the 2-months' salary they demanded. I love my classes this semester! I'm teaching English, Computer, Philippians, and Biblical History. This is the first time I've taught Biblical History. It is a 2-semester class, so I'll be teaching that until Easter (Thankfully! I still don't think I'll come close to covering all the material I want to cover even with the extra semester).
We seem to have another good bunch of students this year, which is a huge blessing. On final count, we have between 60-65 students. Though it would be great to have the capacity 72 students, we are thankful that we have more students this year than the past two years. So this semester is moving along nicely... and quickly, too! We have two weeks of classes left and then its finals already! We continue to be impressed with the new Dean, Pastor Dallei, and his leadership of this school. We also have a new treasurer this year, and between the two of them we have seen many changes for the better. We praise God for that.

Despite the many good things that are happening, there continue to be problems facing this school. The most recent problems have to do with faculty here. Presently we have three teachers who are pastors: the Dean
- Pastor Dallei, Pastor Mao, and Pastor Diame. Pastor Mao has been here since last year and Pastor Diame just started this year. Well, the church recently called both Pastor Mao and Pastor Diame to different jobs far from the school, effective immediately. So as of this week, they are supposed to report at their new work. The rest of us teachers are trying to figure out what we are going to do to try to cover their classes for the rest of the semester, write their finals, and give grades for all the classes they started but couldn't finish. This is a huge problem but I think between the eight teachers who are still here, we will be able to figure something out. We still have not heard a good reason why these pastors couldn't finish the semester first and then move, but the leadership still insists that they must leave now. Please pray for this situation.

There is another problem facing us that an even more serious problem...
The bishop (who is also chairman of the school board) announced last week that as of January Waama would be offering a music course. This announcement was given without asking or even informing the Dean! So not only have we lost two teachers, but now we have to add a fourth course in addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year Bible! In other words, between losing the two teachers and adding the fourth course there will be about a 50% workload increase for all teachers! Needless to say, that is not a happy proposition. We at Waama are still discussing how to respond to this. Please pray for wisdom.

On a more positive note... electricity has almost reached Waama! The national power company has set up all the power poles on campus and have started running wires on campus! This is amazingly good news. We are still a little ways from actually having electricity in the dorms, classrooms, houses, etc. as all the buildings have to be rewired to meet code before we can be "hooked up" to the national grid. But we continue to praise God for his blessings.

This past Friday, Jesse and I went on our first Jesus Film trip of the school year. We went to a primary school in the village of Bambe where a Lutheran evangelist is meeting with 3 other Christians and is trying to start a church there. We were thrilled to encourage this evangelist in his ministry, encourage the believers who were there, preach the gospel in the local language by means of the Jesus Film, and give this small church plant a lot of good publicity - about 350 showed up! Due to a short semester and some schedule conflicts, that will be the only Film trip of the semester. We look forward to continuing this ministry during the second and third semesters. A lot of students have asked us to come and show the Jesus Film at their home churches. Pray for wisdom for us as we try to discern which places to go to and which places to skip.
There are just not enough weekends to show at every place.

One last praise item. Thanks to those of you who prayed for us about our residency permits. On Oct. 10 we went to the regional capital of Babati to look into renewing our residency permits. This is a process which is known for being long, drawn-out, and frustrating (our first permit took
3+ months to process, a trip to Dar es Salaam, and a $400 fine for
something they did wrong). We arrived at the office and turned in our paperwork to the assistant of the immigration official. The assistant said everything looked good but that we should wait for the immigration official. As we waited on the front porch, all the workers came out and we talked... mostly in Swahili, but some in English, and some in Portuguese as one of the guys had learned some while living in Mozambique for a couple years. After three hours of conversing with these guys, the official came back. We went into his office and he asked us what was wrong. We said nothing was wrong. He asked why we came such a long time before our current permits expired. He said that everything looked fine but that it was too early to give us the new ones. He allowed us to pay for the permits (which is a guarantee that we'll get
them) and told us come back in January to pick up the new permits! We praise God for how easy this potentially troublesome process turned out to be.

Thank you to each of you who have partnered with this ministry through your prayers, encouragement, and gifts. May God bless you for your sacrifice.

Ben Jore
Wa/ama Bible School
Mbulu, Tanzania

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tim Hindrichs at Home in Poland


We have received reports today of a false email going around concerning Tim Hindrichs.  The email reports that Tim is stranded in Africa and is in need of money.  Tim is not traveling in Africa, in fact the picture above shows Tim, his family and friends having Thanksgiving dinner in their home in Poland.

The email reporting Tim in Africa is just an attempt to get you to send money to a false account.   Please disregard the email and do not send money to the account.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News from the Chmiels - Fall 2008

Chmiels NewsletterWe are so thankful for . . .

Thanksgiving is a time to remember what we are most thankful for. So we wanted to share with you one of our huge reasons for being thankful. After a year that was really hard in more ways than one, God brought a tremendous blessing into our lives. Yes, He blessed us with a . . .

To read the Chmiels complete newsletter by clicking here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tom Lumppios

Missionary On Loan - TL Dear friends and prayer partners,

I am sure many of you out there wonder "whatever happened to the Lumppios?" "Did they make it back to Mexico?" As much as we'd wished we could say yes the answer is no, we didn't make it back…not yet.

We ended our furlough in June and made the decision to ask for a leave of absence for health reasons. Many of you are aware of our daughter Gracia's disability and her need for help in here. We understand we are called first to be parents, then missionaries, so we'll provide the help she needs for as long as it is necessary.

The last few months have been colored in many ways with grief for what we left in Mexico and with uncertainty as to what to do next. Tom worked as WMPL's properties' manager for the summer and part of the fall while he searched for work. Finding a job proved to be more challenging than we anticipated. Finally in November, Tom found a position at SUPERVALU where he is currently working. I continue to homeschool Cristina and Gracia both kindergarten and pre-k. I count it a privilege to be able to keep doing this and also to be a full-time wife and mom. 

As far as plans for the future we don't have any. We have laid in the altar the dream of being missionaries and the ministry that got barely started during our time in Mexico. Two more couples were sent by WMPL this last summer to the Mazatlan area so we know that, in some way, the people we served will be looked after. In the mean time, as many of you do with us, we lift them up in prayer to stand firm in their faith and to be strengthened. We know that God is in control so we have surrendered our way and all we can do is wait upon Him.

We will let you know when things change. For now we only ask you to pray for us, that Jesus may shine through us and use us wherever we are.

We thank you for your prayer and financial support during the last couple of years. We couldn't have made it without you.

Our new address:

5234 Colfax Ave

Minneapolis, MN 55430

(612) 522-4454

In His name,

Tom and Lidia Lumppio

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Steve Kvales

Steve and Glenda Kvale are AFLC World Missionaries on Loan to Wycliffe.  They are still in their initial fund raising before they can start.  Please consider helping with this important ministry. 


100_6668C_1 As an IT Professional, I feel passionate about my work but desired to use this skill for an eternal purpose.  I was excited to find out that Bible translation needed me!

Wycliffe’s purpose is to see that God’s Word is translated for people everywhere in the language they know and understand best.  Translators, literacy specialists, pilots, doctors and many others all serve together as part of a dynamic team committed to the goal of Bible translation.  Advanced computer support, software development and training are critical to the success of each of these tasks, not only for ongoing communication needs and infrastructure development, but also for developing and maintaining efficient and effective linguistic tools.  IT professionals are one of Wycliffe’s most critical needs today, with more than 200 personnel needs worldwide.  Specialists are needed in many capacities.

My assignment will be to serve with the computer missionary team in Orlando, FL at the Wycliffe Bible Translator’s headquarters there.  To support the information needs of Wycliffe missionaries all over the world will help speed and accuracy in translation work, support their personal needs through tools as simple as email that enable communication and make the village stays for some seem shorter and easier to bear.  I am excited to join this team hopefully in mid-January of 2009!  The plan is to be orientated with them for 45 days building a relationship and developing my specific role.  I would then return to MN and set up to work remotely where the cost of living would be much less but I may serve just as efficiently and effectively as an active, involved team member.

We are trusting God to complete our ministry team with the remaining 20% in monthly financial partners by the end of this year or first part of January 2009.  As individuals, families, churches and groups interested in missions join us as team members with their financial partnerships; we are enabled to serve in this capacity for the long term. 

It will be prayer that opens this last door as God rises up these remaining partners through the Holy Spirit that calls them.  If you are sensing God’s call to participate in the great commission in this way and would like to join us in supporting the efforts of Bible Translation, please send a note stating your one-time, monthly, quarterly, or yearly gift plan for the ministry of Steve & Glenda Kvale, ministry account #200316 to: Wycliffe Bible Translators, P O Box 628200, Orlando, FL  32862-8200

THANK YOU so much for the prayers that have brought us to this point and as we press on for the sake of spreading God’s Word to the nations!

With you and for HIM,  Steve Kvale

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tanzania - Jesse Long

Trond, Eivind, and us My apologies for letting almost an entire month pass since I last sent out a general update.  I don’t know if I am getting lazy, or if there is nothing to report, or maybe we are just too busy to report all that is going on?  I will let you decide.   In any case, I will try to concisely get everyone back up to speed.

Classes have been in full swing at Waama now for several weeks and we are so blessed by a strong enrollment of over 60 students so far this year.  In all reality, there is much to be encouraged about.  At the time of my last update, the school board was preparing to meet and we had not yet officially begun teaching for the semester.  We praise God for His had of blessing on that school board meeting – not only for the issues that were dealt with but also for our new Dean, Pastor Zakaria Dallei, who seems to be doing all he can to lead the school with faithfulness and humility.  Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

Ben and I are also very excited about the classes that we have been assigned to teach this semester.  We both teach English and Computer to a selection of first, second, and third-year students.  In addition to these, Ben is teaching Philippians and History of the Bible to the first-year students and I am teaching Evangelism to the third-year students.  I think more than any class I have ever taught, I am enjoying this Evangelism class.  Ben, too, has been thriving on his classes and his spiritual gifting as a teacher especially shows through in his History of the Bible class.

By way of a very practical item of praise, God seems to be doing what I previously thought to be impossible by bringing electricity to the school!!  When I returned to the U.S. for break this past summer, I honestly saw no indication that Waama would ever get electricity.  This was because the cost of simply running the power lines to our campus was more than the school could ever hope to afford (to say nothing of the necessary expense of bringing all the interior wiring on campus up to standard).  Upon our return at the end of September, however, we found out that Waama was somehow able to get the attention of someone in government who was able to successfully designate “electricity for Waama” as a government project.  This means that they agreed to finance the running of power lines to the school (previously estimated at US$70,000.00 or more) and requiring that the school is now only responsible for taking care of upgrading the interior wiring.  The task of upgrading the interior wiring is still a significant project but we all feel that there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel.

Some of you may be aware I made trip to Dubai this past week to do some work for my previous employer, LEKTRO, Inc.  This was a huge blessing not only for its financial aspect but especially because I was able to spend the week working again with my good friend, Eric Paulson.  It also offered a good opportunity for drastic change of pace from village life.  I praise God not only for his hand on the work that we did in Dubai but also for His blessing at Waama while I was away.  Ben was gracious to cover for me both in Computer class as well as English and I was able to arrange for a guest teacher to come while I was away and give some special classes to my Evangelism students on “How to Share the Gospel with Muslims.”

The weekend prior to my trip to Dubai, I am also happy to report that we made a trip to the regional Immigrations Office to begin the renewal process for our residency permits which will expire in the middle of January.  God seemed to really give us favor with the officials and we hope to have the new permit stamped in our passports by the 5th or 6th of January.  We are requesting a two-year renewal but are seeking God with regards to whether or not this will be our last year here at Waama.  Please pray with us about this as well.

As a final prayer request, please pray with us as we have an outreach event including a Jesus Film showing scheduled for this coming Friday in the village of Kainam.  We will be doing this event in an area where there is an evangelist working on planting a new church and we hope to give him a boost in his efforts.

Thank you all for your faithful support and continual prayers as we work in this part of the world.  God is doing good things and as Thanksgiving is celebrated this coming Thursday, we especially thank God for His love shown through each of you!

God bless you all!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Promoting Missions in Arizona

SANY2716World Missions Director Del Palmer has been promoting world missions this week in Arizona.  Time was spent in Nogales with Darwin Jackson, Ted Kennedy and Gabriel Mercado.   Tucson held a Thanksgiving dinner preceded by a world missions update (see photo).   Sunday Pastor Palmer spoke at Sunday school and the worship service.  A fall breakfast was held after the services.

This week Pastor Palmer will move to Colorado.  Please remember him in prayer as he continues to meet with pastors and congregations informing them about what's going on in world missions.

Update from Darwin Jackson

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) on Luke 17:13, The Ten Lepers. "He lifted up his voice in his praises, as he had done in his prayers. Those that have received mercy from God should publish it to others, that they may praise God too, and may be encouraged by their experiences to trust in Him."

P1010018This struck me as the exact mantra of the World Mission Prayer League, praise God! On Saturday the 22nd (today) we as a family are going to help the Crossroads Mission here in Nogales, serving a Thanksgiving meal to eight or nine hundred people who mostly come from Nogales, Sonora Mexico. We ask you to "lift up your voices" in prayer for me as I preach and for all the services that will be conducted there today.

Tomorrow Alfonso and I will visit door to door again in Mascarenas as well as start a Sunday service there again. So far there is a Thursday service led by brother Casimilo and the Sabbath school for children assisted by Pastor Antonio.

On the visits that Alfonso and I are making we have found a couple of fallen soldiers we really want to see restored. Both were once preachers and evangelists. Pray for Humberto from Buenos Aires and Ramon in Mascarenas.

We had a great time with Pastor Guadalupe and his wife Emilia from Mazatlan last weekend. Missions was the theme of their visit, and both the congregation in Mazatlan and ours here in Nogales have committed themselves to pray for and support financially Gabriela, a doctor from Ecuador, who wants to serve in the middle east (both have been giving ten % of the tithe for this cause for some time now).

Brother Del Palmer, director of World Missions with the AFLC was with us this week for a couple of days, and went with me to Buenos Aires. On the way I was telling him about Gabriela, and he said that sounds like the sister that is right now studying at the AFLC Bible school. She's from Ecuador... a doctor... wants to go as a missionary to the middle east... and  whose name is Gabriela, coincidence? He tried to set up and conference call with her so, as a congregation, we could encourage her, but she wasn't there at the time. Anyway, we now have her phone number there in Mpls.
Thank you all for "lifting up your voices in prayer," that many more will be able to "lift up their voices in praise." Your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson (Michelle, Cezar, and Fernanda too!)

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Greetings from Jinja

Jore family Greetings from rainy Jinja! We have been enjoying the cooler days during this rainy season, as well as watching our garden thrive. These days we are harvesting avocados, lemons, papaya, & bananas (5 different varieties) in our yard. We love this tropical paradise that we live in.
Kalika Peske arrived last Sunday from snowy Minnesota. We are so happy to have her here! She is adjusting quickly to life here, and the kids are already quite taken with her. She's jumped right in to life here & has already seen much of Jinja by trekking to the open market with a neighbor, touring Main Street with me (Rhoda), riding on a boda boda (transport bike) across town, & visiting a nearby orphanage. She'll be with us until next May, Lord willing, primarily helping with the kids as I begin schooling Elijah next week, as well as getting involved in various activities/ministries outside our home.

In the past few months we have been made aware of some marital problems amongst several couples that we are close to here. Nate has spent hours visiting and counseling a few of them. Please pray for wisdom & perseverance for him. At this point it looks like 2 of the couples are heading for divorce, but we know that God can work miracles and we are not giving up hope. Please pray for humility & repentance for these couples. Pray that the evil one would not have his way in destroying their marriages.

A few days ago Chris (one of the single pastors Nate is working with) discovered a healthy baby girl on his doorstep. He had no idea who left her, nor did any of his neighbors, so he took her in & began to care for her, with the help of his Grandma. He thought the little girl to be about 2 months old. A widowed and childless neighbor lady came to him shortly after he took the baby in, asking him if she could have the baby. He didn't know the lady well, so he said he'd think about it. He is spending this week observing her, &  finding out more about her from others. Child sacrifice is not uncommon here, so he is being cautious as abandoned children are often the target of the horrific practice. Please pray with us for discernment for him & for the life of this precious little girl.
Nate & the ELCU pastors are using this current school term for training one another in preparation for beginning the training program in February.  They still have some work ahead of them in finalizing the curriculum and in selecting the students and meeting locations.  Please continue to pray for them as they prepare, as well as for the students who are planning to attend.

A few nights ago a thief attempted to enter our compound, but our faithful dog, Jethro, warded him off. We praise God for His protection! The thieves are always more active as Christmas draws near. Everyone needs a little extra money at Christmas time! A few of our friends have been broken into in the last month.

We have several fun events coming up around here. Next Sunday (the 23rd) Kalika & I will be running a 10K in Kampala, along with several other missionary friends. Then the next week we'll be throwing a birthday party for Judah (turning 3), as well as celebrating Thanksgiving with several other missionary families.

We are so thankful for your prayers!

Rhoda & family

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Promoting Missions in California

IMG00075bThe Palmer's continue to promote AFLC World Missions among pastors and congregations.  This week they are in California. 

  • Monday - Kernville, CA
  • Tuesday - Salinas, CA
  • Wednesday - El Cajon, CA
  • Sunday
    • AM - Camarillo, CA
    • PM - Oceanside, CA

Karen will fly home on Sunday and Pastor Palmer will continue Arizona and Colorado on his way back to Minneapolis.  Please continue to pray for their travels and openness to participate in the work of missions. 

God's Hand of Protection - Ingrid Giles

STA - IGA couple of weeks ago, we made our biannual trip to the border to renew our visas.  We had to stay ten days before we could apply for a new visa and return to Jerez for another six months.

We had a bit of adventure on the way back.  We pulled out of Melody Lane a little after eight o'clock Friday morning, thinking we'd get home about eleven hours later.  At the border we applied for our visas and they gave them to us with no problem.  However, when we got to "checkpoint Charlie" they turned us back.  They didn't like the van permit.  (The lawyer had assured us we were legal even though it was in Dad's name, but they turned us back anyway.)

At that point, we remembered that we hadn't prayed as we had known we should: against the spiritual forces that were going to try to block our return to Jerez.  We prayed, and then we called Dad to get the lawyer's phone number.  It turned out that Dad and the lawyer had already talked, so he was able to pass the message on to us in the two minutes that we had left on our phone card.  Apparently the Mexican officials are being extra cautious right now because of the situation with the drug cartels, so they don't like to see anything out of the ordinary.  We drove back to Reynosa, where Danny canceled the van permit in Dad's name and applied for a new one  in his own name.  The paperwork went smoothly and took about three hours.  The girls were able to run around outside during that time, so that was an added blessing!

Driving around Reynosa, we noticed the town was swarming with soldiers (more than usual), and it seemed to us that they were looking for someone and expecting trouble.  At one point, a vehicle merged into traffic ahead of us, full of masked men pointing guns out the windows.

Well, we got our papers in order and headed south once again.  When we got to the checkpoint, the same officer who had turned us back before barely glanced at our papers and waved us on!  Thanking God (and imagining that we would still get halfway home that day), we got onto the toll road and stopped to use the facilities at the first toll pay station.  We pulled into a parking space and just as we got into position, the engine died.  It did not start again that day.

There were a mechanic and a tow truck driver there.  (Wasn't that nice of God to bring us to a comfortable place where there were a mechanic and a tow truck, and wait until we were parked before He stopped the car?)  They told us we needed to replace the fuel pump and offered to tow us back to Reynosa.  We felt strongly that God had brought us that far, and that we were not to go back even a little bit.  (We weren't thinking of the men with guns -- we were just thinking that we didn't want to give up any ground.)  We told them we wouldn't go back to Reynosa.  So they towed us to a very small town that was just out of sight of the highway.  The mechanic there had to send for the part, so they brought us to a hotel where we spent the night. 

The next morning after breakfast, the van was done and we came home.  We all three felt sure that God had allowed the van to break down for a reason, and Danny wondered if it had something to do with the violence that had been brewing in Reynosa.  He thought that maybe God had decided to remove us from the highway to avoid some danger.

He was right!  According to an online Mexican newspaper, there was a massive police chase and gun battle on the highway from Reynosa lasting two hours and covering an area of ten km.  According to that source, at least one car caught fire and six cars were shot up.  Here is a link to an English news source:

I'm posting a photo or two on my website.

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

  • Pray for my continued health.
  • Ask God to continue to provide Dan and Marcela's financial needs. 
  • Please continue to pray for Claudia Gamboa and her kids, and Nena and her kids.
  • Pray that God would give me the words and phrases necessary to do the best possible job of translating this Sunday School material so that it will be clear to children from all over the Spanish-speaking world.  Also pray that God would use these lessons to speak to the children and teachers who use them.
  • Pray that I'd do a good job as Sunday School teacher.
  • Ask God to help me be diligent and spend my time wisely.  Also ask Him to help me live and do all that I do in a way that honors and glorifies Him.
  • Ask God to keep healing Bibi and her family.
  • Pray for the Bible Study with Claudia Perez.
  • Pray for Abril and Cesar.

Thank you (praise):

  • God has been healing Bibi and bringing her family together.
  • I have been healthy.
  • Claudia Arcos is continuing to seek God and follow Him, and she has grown a lot spiritually.
  • God is continuing to provide our needs.
  • I get to live with Daniel, Marcela, Ari and Andi, and see them every day!
  • The climate here is lovely.  God made a beautiful world.
  • God protected us on our return from the border.


Ingrid Giles

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Prayer Update from Paul Abel's

Missionary - PA           Grace and peace to you from your missionary friends in rainy Brazil.  Although it is now springtime, the rains continue to bring us cool temperatures.  We have some bright, sunny days in between the rainy ones which I consider a wonderful blessing!  The rain is making everything a lush green and the grass is growing like crazy.

          Paul spent a good deal of time on the phone today, making contact with each family who will open their home to receive their invited guests for the televised Billy Graham crusade Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  These programs will air at 9 p.m. (5 p.m. CST) on one of the major Brazilian TV networks. Rather than preaching in a huge stadium somewhere, thousands of Christians have been challenged to invite their family, friends and neighbors to watch with them in their home. Please join with us in prayer as our people reach out to the ones they love with the message of hope through Jesus Christ.  Sunday we have planned special services in our churches to welcome new people who we hope will come as a result of this evangelistic outreach.

          Last Friday night a group of twenty “missionaries” from Bateias travelled to the “back 40” to share Jesus with the people who are far from church and modern conveniences (a four-hour trip on dirt roads from Bateias).  Most of the people do not have electricity and the water is drawn from homemade wells. The missionary team, led by Yara and Pastor Joel, divided up and visited many homes, sharing their testimonies and inviting people to the afternoon and evening programs. Men, women and children appeared from the simple houses hidden off the beaten paths.  The team brought food and clothing to distribute and had special programs prepared to share the Gospel through drama, song, testimony, film and preaching.  On Saturday night the film of the Bateias Passion Play was shown.  Afterwards during the altar call almost everyone went forward to pray and receive literature to help them in their new relationship with Jesus.  The missionaries returned home in our trusty mud-covered bus late Sunday night, tired but exuberant, as they realized that God had used their lives to impact others for the Gospel.

          We stayed home this time to take care of other responsibilities. Paul preached at the Friday night Reformation service in São Braz, two weddings on Saturday, church in Bateias on Sunday morning and in Campo Largo Sunday night. The ARCA also hosted a camp with meals this weekend so there is extra work involved there as well.  I have been feeling sick for ten days now with laryngitis and a cough but manage to keep going even though everything seems to drain away my energy.   Yesterday the doctor encouraged me to rest and not talk (oh no!)   Pray that I will be healthy soon.

          Next week we head for Campo Mourão again, this time for the graduation.  We will go a few days early so that I can practice with the choir (I need my voice!) A group of fifteen friends will travel to Campo on the weekend to be together for this momentous occasion in the lives of Adriano, Janicleia e Edival (our students from Bateais).  The following weekend (Nov. 22) we head to São Paulo for our nephew Freddy’s wedding. 

          Through an unusual contact we have been ministering to a family over the past month.  Yesterday we prayed with Adriana and Jessy to become Christians.  Pray with us for them and for the millions of Brazilians who will be watching the Billy Graham programs on TV this week.  We want our hope to be the hope of countless others as they learn to trust in Jesus.

          God bless each one of you as you live out your daily lives in the hope of the life to come!  “Those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing.”  Ps. 34:10

I’ll try to send some pictures sometime soon! 

Love in Christ,

Paul and Becky Abel

P.S.  Just thought I’d let you know that our good friend Edson was re-elected mayor of our city by a large margin.  We are very thankful!  We are also remembering the U.S. in prayer as a new leader steps up to the presidency.  It is a blessing to know that God is in control and works through earthly leaders to accomplish His purposes.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Justo Pillman in Ecuador

Justo plane God is good.  I'm continually amazed at the many doors the Lord continues to open.  I continue to enjoy working with the homeschooling families.  I teach Bible and computer each once a week and fit in other times with the kids when I can.  We've been having fun doing experiments together.  Lately, we've been making lye soap together.  In addition, I've been helping with the with the youth in the church.  I brought down some videos in Spanish from Answers in Genesis.  They have been just excellent!
There are so many opportunities to serve.  I continue to seek the Lord's wisdom in the use of my time.  Just last week, I was able to go flying with a missionary friend in the jungles.  When I lived down here years ago, my parents taught us Jesus Loves Me in the Quichua language.  What a joy it was to be able sing Jesus' praises with the Quichua people deep in the jungle.  Below are a couple of the most recent posts from my blog.
Dan. 12:3,

Another day flying

I had another wonderful day flying today.  Hugo Chaves and Corea where in town today, so the airport was shut down from 7-10 this morning.  So we did some maintenance on the plane.  We changed oil, cleaned spark plugs, etc.  I really shouldn't say "WE".  I mostly watched and asked questions. 

The first flight today was a cargo run.  We took out the two back seats and loaded up the back of the plane.  Most of it seemed to be fuel barrels.  After that we went to deliver some things to some Wuaorani villages.  One of the places we stopped was right at Palm Beach.  See here for more info on Palm Beach:  At another village very near by we picked up a very sick lady.  She had just delivered a baby and had complications after the birth.  She was barely able to walk to the airplane.  The mother lay down in the back of the plane and I got to hold the baby all the way back to Shell.  The Wuaorani baby boy was only 5 days old.  He was wrapped in a blue shawl and had jet black hair.  He slept most of the way to Shell, but did wake up and look around for a while.  He was just precious.  It was by far the highlight of the day. 

On arriving back to Shell, we helped the mother into the back seat of the LaBouef's pickup and Rick and I took her into Puyo for medical attention.  We went to emergency and while others helped the mother out of the truck I kept holding the baby.  Once we got into emergency, the baby began to cry.  He'd been whimpering for a while and moving his mouth.  I gave the baby back to his mom so she could feed him, and  by this time I had to leave.  May the Lord use this precious life, and may he grow up to serve Jesus.

Hello from Shell!
Last Friday I called up a missionary pilot. My family knew Rick and Sharon LaBoufe from when we were down here years ago, and they invited me to come right down and visit them for a few days. I jumped on a bus Sat. morning and 9 hour later, was here in Shell. (For more info on the history of Shell and Nate Saint see this link: They are so welcoming, and have a beautiful house right next to the airport.
On Sunday Rick and I took off to do some preaching in the jungle. We loaded up the plane with an indian family and a bunch of luggage, and headed into the jungle. We stopped at two or three different villages. The first place we stopped was a very small village. We setup the video equipment in a one-room school and started the generator outdoors. There were about 10 people in total who showed up. They were all women and children. After showing a 20 video, Rick preached and then we sang a couple songs. This was a Quichua village, so I sang Jesus Loves Me with them in Quichua.

On our way to the 2nd village, it started to rain. Once we got there, it was raining steadily, and the airstrip was muddy. On touchdown, mud flew in all directions and we just managed to stop before the end of the runway. At this place, there were more people. We showed the video twice and I shared some myself. Many of the women and children do not know Spanish, so we had one of the men translate for us.
Two of the indians had asked for us to fly them out. We loaded all our equipment into the plane, and a bunch of things they were going to sell in the city. The rain had stopped by this time, but the runway was still soggy, and the plane was heavily loaded. PTL, we did make it off the ground, but Rick did describe the take of as "marginal".
Lord willing, I plan to be here in Shell until Wed. and plan to travel home on Thursday.  Please pray for continued safety and boldness in sharing Jesus. Some of the people we were with yesterday had only heard the Gospel once or twice before.

Serving Jesus,

Monday, November 03, 2008

Promoting Missions

IMG00068This week World Missions Director Del Palmer and his wife Karen are promoting AFLC World Missions in Washington, Oregon and California.  Sunday night they were at Astoria, OR.  Pictured is Pastors Craig Johnson, Alvin Grothe and Del Palmer.  Alvin Grothe was a missionary with the AFLC in Brazil from 1965 to 1967.  He came home from Brazil due to his wife's illness.  She died shortly after returning home in January of 1968.



The second photo is of Pastor's Del Palmer and John Mundfrom.   Lorilee Mundfrom  (center) is the National President of the Women's Missionary Federation.


The Palmer's will be visiting these areas this week:

  • Sunday, Nov. 2
    • AM - Lake Stevens, WA
    • PM - Astoria, OR
  • Tuesday, Nov. 4 - Eugene, OR
  • Wednesday, Nov. 5 - Brookings, OR
  • Sunday, Nov. 9 - Salinas, CA

Please pray for the Palmers as they travel. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lviv in October

Dear friends,T&M1 

Thank you for yet another month of your upholding us in your prayers. We are enjoying a beautiful fall here in Lviv. Here are couple of pictures for you to also enjoy some fall colors :-) You can find more fall pictures and also ministry pictures in our gallery by clicking here.


We are also thankful for another month of ministry with the youth. We are encouraged by most of the students faithfully coming to our meetings. We are praying that God would speak into their hearts as we talk about our sin and God’s plan of redemption, going through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Most of the students seem to know some of the basic Bible stories and even some Bible verses and other things from the Bible but none of them seems to understand the concept of us being absolutely lost in sin and in a need of a Savior. Please pray for wisdom for us and for open hearts for these students! Pray that the students come to understand in a personal way that we come to Jesus not to “enhance our lives” but because we desperately need Him as our Savior.

T&M2Here you see the youth working with their memory verses (Psalm 119:9-11). As the Bible verse says (…Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You…), we are trying to have our students in the Word as much as possible. That is why we always give them Bible reading assignments to do on their own during the week. And we have to say we are pleasantly surprised to see that most of them really do them.


This is a picture from our meeting this past Sunday. The power went off and we meet in a pretty dark room, so we had to make do with candles. It was a challenge to keep the students focused when they could hardly see their worksheets and the Bible text we were working with, but we all survived :-)

T&M4 We also have one “non-teenager” in our group. A young woman named Lyuda. You probably already know Lyuda from our newsletters. Her mom, Tanya, comes to our church but Lyuda was not coming. When we started working with the youth, she asked if she could come and be with our group, because she was interested in what we were teaching the students. So she has been coming and this past Sunday she said that she had many questions about things she did not understand from the Bible. She and her mom are coming to our house tomorrow night to talk about these questions. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide that conversation. We treasure your prayers!!!

Have a wonderful blessed week!

Tomasz and Miriam

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miriam Infant Home - Jonathan Abel

This ministry in Campo Mourão has changed much over the last few years. Mostly because of new laws imposed by our government which is more socialistic. This has caused the ministry to become extremely bureaucratic and we thank God for Soraia, a lady that Pr. Oséias brought to our ministry from the AMECAM ministry of trouble teens. She really knows her way through government paper work, as each child that comes to us, comes with a file of rules, regulations and requirement of almost an inch thick. Fortunally, the government still gives us free rule of what to put in the minds and hearts of the kids. To do this part of the ministry we have Christians house mothers, and a Seminarian student who has devotions with the kids every day, and others who take them to church. The Miriam Infant home works in the following manner. The government requires that Orphanages be not big institutions, but more like homes. Therefore we must have one social mom for every 10 children. We also need to have social moms for the weekend and holidays so that the regular social mom can take a break. Most of the kids are only in the home for a period of time till the courts can decide what to do with them. They come from single parents or from parents that have some very serious problems like drugs, alcohol, mental problems or disease and have no relative to stay with. Last year 29 kids went through the home. This year we had 27 by June. In June we had 19 children living in the home, in July 21 and in August 22, being that many had come and gone. This year we think that the number of kids coming to the home will double. We also now have teenagers in the home. These are a brother or a sister of a younger child, and the government will not allow siblings to be separated. We also have some very young single moms, with little babies who are at risk (like being beaten of assassinated by there abuser or getting into a life of prostitution for survival). At present we have 7 children that have been extremely abused sexually, physically and mentally, they were taken away from their families for the safety of their lives. All the kids that come to us come only with the clothes on their backs. So part of our ministry is to provide them with clothes, shoes, school material, and everything else they need. If they stay for only a week, a month, six months or a year, when they leave they take everything they were given with them. That’s why we are always in need of buying tennis shoes, T-shirts, shorts, uniforms etc. Soraia works hard to get every grant the government allows us to get, but these funds are only for special projects or paying staff. They do not cover things like food for the kids, or school material, uniforms and shoes. These the government wants civilian social ministries to take care of. We try to get as many things from businesses as we can, but never the less, we see that this ministry is having a short fall of about $1000.00 dollars a month. Soraia also has told me that she was in great need of tennis shoes for school for the kids. Pr. Silvio is working hard with his board to both think of ways that they can raise money for the Home, as well as cut the budget to meet expenses. But with the increase of kids, and the government demands, that is going to be a real challenge. Jonathan’s concern is that if the home starts owing people around town it will ruin the reputation of the mission, the Association and our churches in the Community. At present we also have 3 teenagers who are up for adoption. Pray for the kids, the staff and the mission as they minister to this very needy segment of society.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ben Jore - October Update

Ben and baby A lot has happened since I last wrote and I'll do my best to fill you in while keeping it short. When I last wrote I was still in Uganda. I made it back safely to Tanzania a day before Jesse arrived from Washington.
It has been great to be back together and catch up on each other's summers. We stayed in Arusha for a little over a week and then we came back to Waama a couple days before it opened. We got all our stuff moved back into our house and waited for opening day, Oct 16th. The big day came ... as well as about 6 students. We knew that many of the 70-or-so expected students wouldn't arrive that first day, but we didn't expect quite that few. We expected classes to start that following Monday, but the teachers made an ultimatum that they wouldn't start classes until the school board met and discussed the financial short-comings the school is experiencing. The board set the date for the meeting for that Friday, Oct 24. So for that week we waited as the students kept trickling in. Friday came, the board met, and the teachers still weren't happy. Now they are demanding 2 months salary from the church before they start. The Dean tried everything in his power for the sake of the students to get the teachers to start classes and work out the details with the board afterwards, but to no avail. So as of today, Oct. 27, classes still haven't started and we still haven't chosen who will teach what class. Despite all this, we are expecting classes to start tomorrow! Welcome to Africa. As of this morning there were 41 students on campus. We're still waiting for the other 30.

Jesse and I are doing very well. We are eager to know for sure what we are teaching and to actually start teaching, but still doing well. We do ask for your prayers for the present situation at Waama. We realize that there are some very big problems that need to get dealt with, but we also feel that neither the church nor the teachers at Waama are handling the situation very well. Here are some other news items you might be interested in...

    * Eivind (the Norwegian MAF pilot who crashed his motorcycle and was
      hospitalized last year) ended up having to go back to Norway to
      recover. It turns out that he fractured his neck in 2 places (his
      C1 and C5 vertebrae). Sounds pretty bleak huh? Well, in God's
      mercy he is back in Tanzania flying his normal rigorous schedule.
      The bad news... he promised his mom that he would never ride a
      motorcycle again and is selling his bike.
    * While we have been waiting for classes to start, another Norwegian
      missionary, Froydis (Bible translator for the Kiiraqw Bible, she
      has been here for over 50 years), asked for our help. Turns out
      she had been given 4 computers but she was having problems getting
      them all working properly. In the end, Jesse and I took her car
      and went to Arusha to clean the hard drives and install Windows XP
      and some other programs. We were then able to return to Mbulu and
      get them all set up for her.
    * Great news! The national power company is bringing electricity to
      Waama! This will be a huge help as diesel prices have made running
      the generator very expensive. Electricity would cut the power bill
      by more than 3/4 while giving us 24-hour power rather than 1.5
      hours per day. The only catch is that all the buildings on campus
      need to be rewired to meet government code. Please pray for this
    * Jesse and I will need to renew our residency permits soon. Our
      current permits expire in the middle of January. We have started
      gathering all the documents and forms we need, but the process is
      always lengthy (and tends to be rather frustrating as well).
      Please pray for this too.

Thanks for your prayers for us, for Waama, and for the Lutheran church.
We all need them very much.

May God bless you all,