Thursday, March 27, 2008

Missionary Connely Dyrud Available to Speak

Connely 07 b (Medium)Missionary Connely Dyrud is available to speak in churches for Sunday services, missions festivals or any type of missions meetings.  Pastor Dyrud served on the mission field in Brazil most of his life.  He has also taught in India and at AFLC Schools. 

To schedule Pastor Dyrud contact the AFLC World Missions Office or Pastor Dyrud directly at 763-742-4211. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

News From the ARCA

ARCA Play Dear Friends,

          We are survivors!  After “killing a giant” a day for many months we have made it through the big events and are alive to tell the story.  Praise God for another successful year of our Passion Play outreach!  Although we had to cancel Friday’s presentation due to rain we were happy to be able to present to about 700 people on Saturday and Sunday.  The beautiful natural stage outside the ARCA is a perfect backdrop for portraying the events of Jesus life, death and resurrection.  Now we are in the “clean-up” mode, taking down sets and washing costumes, etc.   Our niece Melissa and nephew Jonathan enjoyed being a part of the cast this year.  They are pictured on either side of me in front of the empty tomb with two other girls from Bateias.

          Although the play was the big event of the month we were involved in several other activities as well.  We enjoyed a quick visit from our Missions director, Del Palmer, and the Vice-President of the AFLC, Dick Gunderson.  They came to see the work and share the vision of the World Missions Committee with us.  They also took part in meetings with key leaders here to discuss the future of the ministries in Brazil.  We are thankful for their encouragement and for the assurance that we share the same vision for ministry.

          During March Paul’s folks held an evangelism campaign in the new church plant in Borda do Campo.  Although rains kept attendance down, there were several decisions for Christ during the 10-day outreach.  My trip with the ladies to Iguaçu Falls turned out to be a wonderful weekend.  The gals from the churches there had done a spectacular job of planning an uplifting and encouraging day for the ladies.  We also had a chance to see the awesome Falls before returning to Curitiba.

          We had a wedding for a couple from our church two weeks ago and are involved in pre-marital counseling with two other couples.  Our Bateias church has started a seminary extension course once a month – nine hours on a Saturday.  The first block of classes was on Conflict Resolution.  Pastor Joel is also implanting a discipleship program, training key people to disciple others. 

Adriano, Janicleia and Edival are in their last year at seminary in Campo Mourão.  They are all hard workers and have weathered the storms through the years as they have let the Lord shape their lives and prepare them for future ministry.  Kleber from Bateias is in northeastern Brazil at a YWAM training school.  Augusto, a family man from the São Braz church, has sensed God calling him into the pastorate.  He has taken on several responsibilities of preaching and teaching in his congregation and is looking into further pastoral training. He graduated from our Bible School almost 20 years ago.

Our Matthew is in China right now on a short-term mission experience.  We pray this will be one more opportunity for him to share Christ.  As soon as he returns from China he will be on his way to Mexico with other Hillcrest seniors for a mission outreach there.  His fluency in Spanish will be an asset to the group.  Andrew will also be traveling in April with the Concert Choir from AFLBS.  They plan to travel and presents concerts from MN to WA during spring break (April 4-20).

Life is full of choices.  Choices change the course of our life.  God has a plan to bless our lives, but we will only experience that blessing as we walk in His ways and obey His commands.  Pray that the people with whom we work will continue to choose life, choose God, choose obedience.  God has chosen us, chosen to love us and forgive us and use us for His glory.  What great blessings are ours in Him!    

Thankful for His faithfulness,

Paul and Becky

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ben Jore & Jesse Long to Return to Tanzania for Another Year

four of us small Dear friends,

Once again, I can’t believe it has already been three weeks since I last sent out an update.  At the same time, I am guessing that most of you have enjoyed the peace and quite. J  I must apologize, however, for not having put any more pictures on the blog like I said I would during this time…I hope you can forgive me.  I have been on vacation. (Ok…lame excuse.)

Let me catch you up a little.  The day I sent my last update, we received 15 guests at Waama.  It was a group of people from a small Bible school in Norway including 2 teachers and 13 students.  Their goal was to see/experience life at a Bible school in Tanzania for a period of about 3 days.  It was such a great time.  I think it was a little shocking for the students in particular as they stayed with our students in the dorm, had to use the primitive hole-in-the-ground outhouses, and eat a lot of unfamiliar and pretty bland food.  All in all, however, more than the other sights they were able to see, and experiences they were able to have during their 2 weeks here in Tanzania, many said that the time at Waama touched them the most.  It was certainly a blessing for our students, as well.

For their last night at Waama, Ben and I invited them over to our place for some familiar treats (popcorn, cookies, etc) and the opportunity to relax a little.  When it came time for them to head to the dorms, three of the guys who Ben and I had spent the most time talking to, said that they were seriously considering adding another week to their time in Tanzania and would really like to see Zanzibar if at all possible.  I told them it was very possible, explained the approximate budget they would need to have, and told them I would be more than happy to be their “tour guide”!!  So, our Easter plans were set: Ben would go to Uganda and visit his brother and family, and I would be going to Zanzibar.  This was decided on Wednesday, March 5th.  The following Friday to Sunday we had a couple village film showings and a baptism service and on Monday second-semester finals began to be administered.  By Wednesday, March 12th, Ben and I had given all our finals, corrected and returned them to the students, and turned in our overall grade summaries to the school office.  We were on our way to Arusha…

At 9:30 the next morning (Thursday), I was on the bus to Dar Es Salaam with Per, Henrik, and Anders; and by 5:00 that evening, Ben was on the bus to Uganda.  It has truly been refreshing to have this break.  (I will include a picture of the four of us.)  Zanzibar weather is always perfect, the scenery is flawless, and my sunburns were actually pretty well controlled.  (Others in the group were not so fortunate.)  It was amazing how many Norwegians were on the beach!  We even met a couple grandchildren of some of the people who helped start Waama years ago!!  It really is a small world.

In other news…

  • My arm is healing up incredibly well from my burns.  All the scabs are gone and the new skin is even starting to get some color!  I’m not even sure if I am going to have any scars to show off!
  • Ben and I have officially decided that we will be returning to Tanzania for a third year.  We have also informed the Dean of this decision.  Amazingly, only minutes before making that phone call, we received a call from another ministry in the Mbulu district informing us that if God was closing the door at Waama, there is an open door with them.  This was a very humbling offer but Ben and I both feel that God wants us at Waama for the next year and whatever He wants to call us to after that is up to Him.
  • This Tuesday, March 25th, is Ben’s Golden Birthday!  HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY, BEN!
  • Third semester is scheduled to begin on March 31st.  At that time, we are also anticipating some new students on campus who will be part of a special “short-course” for church leaders/pastors.
  • For some reason, we have scheduled this third semester with all of our most distant film showing locations.  Pray for us as we cover a lot of kilometers, interact during these trips with our students and their families, host these evangelistic events, and have opportunities to speak in weekend seminars and Sunday morning services.  Pray also that despite all of this activity, we will be able to invest sufficient time and energy in our normal class responsibilities.
  • Pastor Craig Johnson from Astoria, Oregon, will be coming for a visit in East Africa beginning May 21st!
  • Graduation here at Waama is set for June 29th.

So, that is some of what is going on.  I want to thank you all again for your interest in this work and for your continual investment through prayers, encouragement, and financial support.  I have to admit that there are times when I am ready to take a new assignment but it always seems that at those same times, God reminds us of what is being accomplished and what still needs to be done.  I am grateful for God’s direction and on-going provision in this work.  It is truly an honor to represent you all in this part of the world.  God richly bless you!

In His service,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Update from Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel

Tomasz and Miriam (Medium) Thank you so much to all of you who wrote back after our last email. It means a lot to us to see how many of you care and how many of you are praying for us. Thank you!

We are still in Minnesota. We can’t believe it’s been already 17 days since we came. We are enjoying our wonderful temporary home—it is great to have our own place where we can relax when we are not feeling well and where we can have people over when we do feel well. It has been encouraging to see some of our friends again. This week we were also blessed by the opportunity to meet with the East European Missions Network Board of Directors and their spouses. We appreciated all their prayers and their insights.

We really praise God for all the spiritual encouragement we are receiving while here in the States. Living on a Bible School and Seminary campus gives us an opportunity to be surrounded by many Christians. Tomasz loves to be “back in seminary.” He especially enjoys the Greek classes. It almost feels unreal to be with so many Christians again. So different from what it is like for us in Ukraine!!!

As you probably know we have our return tickets booked for March 25. We would still love to be able to return to Ukraine at the end of this month. But things have not been going exactly the way we planned them. We thought we would do some doctor check-ups here and then we would have about three weeks to rest and regain strength before going back. But we are in our third week here and we are still doing a lot of doctoring instead of resting. Actually Miriam had another cyst that seems to have burst on Wednesday. Miriam was in a lot of pain for about six hours on Wednesday so that again set her back a little in trying to get stronger.

Please pray that we know exactly what to do. Some of the EEMN board members and some of our other friends feel that we should probably postpone our departure until we know for sure that Miriam is well and that we have enough strength to get back to our work in Ukraine. We also still cannot get the exact right amount of Coumadin (blood thinner) figured out for Miriam. One week her blood test result is too low, the other it is too high… And that is another thing we would like to have under control before we leave for Ukraine. So please pray again for God’s guidance for us. It feels like lately things never work the way we plan them. But God’s been faithful to always show us what to do. Even though a lot of times (in our human eyes) it has felt kind of “last minute”.

Even though we are here in the States now, a lot of the Ukrainian people are daily on our hearts and minds. It is kind of hard that the only thing we can do for many of them right now is pray. But prayer is powerful! Would you mind joining us in praying for these Ukrainian friends of ours?

  • Pavel – a 14-year-old boy (just celebrated his birthday this month). He used to live with his mom who was also the main Sunday School teacher in the L’viv congregation. But recently his mom decided to go to a seminary in Russia so Pavel is now living with his father. It seems like since living with his dad, Pavel stopped coming to church. We know Pavel has been hurt a lot by some of his closest people and we pray that we would know exactly what role God would like us to play in his life. We would love to provide a little more stability for Pavel but it has been kind of hard with us being there, then being sick, then leaving Ukraine… We are trying to keep in touch even now, but for some reason Pavel is not answering his cell phone. We do not know what is happening but we are praying that God would watch over him.
  • Mrs. Tanya and her adult daughter Lyuda – please pray for their spiritual growth. We have seen a big hunger for God’s Word especially in Mrs. Tanya. But because they do not feel spiritually fed in the L’viv Lutheran church where they are members, they choose not to go to church at all. When we were in Ukraine, they seem to have really bonded with us and we had opportunities to pray and study the Bible with them. They are one of the people who do not think we will come back to Ukraine. So please pray that in case we decide to go back a little later that they would not be hurt by that and that they would know we really care but have medical problems that need to be taken care of before we can return.
  • Serhiy – the massage therapist guy. With him we also see that our relationship changed from a work-related relationship to friendship. We had opportunities to talk to him about God and Christianity in the past and we were also able to get him the Case for Christ book in Russian (Russian actually is his first language even though he speaks Ukrainian most of the time). He seemed really interested and he started reading the book. He even shared it with his wife and they were both reading it for a while. But then he had couple of months when he was really busy with work and he stopped reading the book. So please pray that God would again give Serhiy the time and desire to think about spiritual things. Please pray for Serhiy! Only God can give faith that leads to salvation and that is what we are praying for! We can already see how Serhiy would make a great youth ministry guy.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Update from Tom Lumppios

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul." --Psalm 23:1-2

2008 Lumppios (Medium)At the end of January we moved (yes, again) to WMPL's duplex in St. Paul. The house is bigger, warmer and overall better for our family. We praise the Lord! Our permanent address will still be in Eden Prairie, but if you would like to contact us from now until June, you may do so to the following address:

1555 Arkwright St.
St. Paul, MN 55130
Our phone number is 651-776-2472

We have been busy with doctor visits, tests and preparing our presentation and scheduling with churches. About two weeks ago, a lady from our church presented us with a most generous gift. She came over and stocked us up on supplements and power-food and with many recommendations to boost our immune system, energy, etc. I have followed her advice and the Lord has used it all to restore my health!  About the same time, I also went to a prayer for healing service where I believe the Lord touched me also. I didn't remember what it was to feel healthy anymore...We have been bursting with praise to our Lord!

We found out also that our little Gracie is suffering from a neurological dysfunction called SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  Her case is mild but still she will be needing some occupational therapy so she is not affected as she starts school. Since we are home schooling, Tom and I will have to learn a home program to administer such therapy to her in Mexico. Please pray for us to find the best help possible and for God to provide for us.

Cristina continues to grow in and love her home schooling process. She is reading better and better, writing and doing math. I introduced some drawing exercises to her and she is absolutely loving it. Yesterday we spent 2 1/2 hours just drawing different things from scratch. We may have an artist in the making here.
Tom continues to study and practice his Spanish as regularly as he can. We have not yet been able to locate a Spanish congregation where he could share. Hopefully now that I am better He will be freer to do some more looking. He works one day a week at WMPL helping with property management and is on the "snow removal team." We have been helping with the cleaning of the offices as well once a week.

Last Tuesday we had the opportunity to speak at AFBLS chapel service. What a blessing that was! Please keep in prayer the following dates, would you?

  • March 8-10 -- We will be traveling to Rice/Allaida, MN and speaking at Pastor Karl Anderson's churches. There may be a chance  to speak at Pastor's Twight's church in the area as well. Please pray for journey mercies, that good relationships may be built with this churches and for God to make us a blessing to them. Cristina and Gracie may sing at the services :) Please pray for them too!
  • March 28-30 -- We will be traveling to a camp in Iowa and speak to some of the broader WMPL constituency.
    We continue to look for a car and pray for God's provision. At this point we are only able to afford something just about the same as the truck that just died on us. We would be fine with that if that is what God wants but we don't have peace about it yet. We will need to return the van we've borrowed at the end of March so please pray that God will guide us to the car He wants for us.

Our blog has finally been updated. It is one long update but there are a bunch of pictures and stories there. When you have a chance take a look at


Thank you very much for your support and prayers. We couldn't do this without you!

In His hand,
To m, Lidia, Cristina and Gracie

Friday, March 07, 2008

Steve Kvale's Current Newsletter Available

Kvale NewsletterThe Steve Kvale's latest newsletter is now available.  The Kvales are AFLC World Missionaries on loan to Wycliffe Bible Translators.  You can view the newsletter by, clicking here or on the graphic.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Chmiel's in Minnesota for Medical Care

Tomasz Eating (Medium) Greetings from winter Minnesota! :) Yes, we made it safely all the way back to the Twin Cities and we thank God very much for this provision. Miriam was not feeling the greatest when we traveled but otherwise the long flight went without any problems. Our dear friends prepared a great apartment for us here, loaded up our fridge and cupboards with groceries, prepared wonderful welcome gifts and notes, have been bringing us meals… Words cannot express how blessed we are to have friends like this. What a blessing to be part of God’s family!

We are also very thankful for our doctor here who has been very efficient in helping us get things checked, get appointments with specialists etc…  She is also trying to get Miriam on the exact right dose of Coumadin (blood thinner). In Ukraine they were not that detailed and “close enough” was usually good enough :) So we are glad that this too will hopefully soon be under control.

But we have to say that it feels a little strange being part of two completely different worlds. They are so different but in a way they are both supposed to feel normal. For example now we are getting professional US medical care where the doctor gives you a long lecture about how careful you have to be and how dangerous blood clots are and how when you are taking blood thinners your blood has to be checked often etc etc…  But in a month or so we will again be seeing our Ukrainian doctors who will again say “don’t worry, it’s nothing” to most everything we tell them… And even in many other areas we realize how as a missionary you live in two completely different worlds where not only the languages are different but also many things are done differently, many values are different and different things are considered “normal.”

This morning Tomasz called a couple of our Ukrainian friends. It was great to hear them again. One lady said that her daughter is worried that we will not come back to L’viv any more (because of the medical problems we had there etc). So we ensured her that we are very much planning to come back to L’viv because L’viv is our home now. She was very glad to hear that :) But right now we are thankful that we can be back with our home church here in the Twin Cities, with our Minnesota friends, Tomasz is encouraged by having a chance to sit in on some seminary classes… And we are also very grateful that besides having a lot of different doctor’s appointments we are finally able to rest! That is what we both really need right now. Thank you so much to all of you who made this month of recuperation possible for us!

Sem Housing (Medium) Some of you asked about our mailing address while in the States (we should be at this address until March 25):

Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel

3136 East Medicine Lake Blvd, Unit A

Plymouth, MN 55441

Our phone number here is (763) 746-3092.

Thank you again for all your prayers!

Tomasz and Miriam

Update from Tanzania

friends at lajaIt never ceases to amaze me how the weeks pass!  Since my last update, in addition to our normal work of teaching here at Waama, we had the privilege of hosting a couple friends who came to visit us from Arusha!  One was our friend who I told you in my last correspondence had taken us on a motorbike safari.  He is here in Tanzania for a year working with a ministry called Scripture Mission.  He came to visit us together with another mutual friend who we know through the international church we often attend when we are in Arusha.  He is a retired cop from Minnesota whose wife is here working for the U.N.  Anyway, those two came for a weekend…each on their own motorcycle and it made for a fun weekend of guy-recreation.  I have to say, there is also something refreshing about spending time with like-minded, Christian expatriates.  I don’t completely understand it, but there is no doubt that constantly interacting in a foreign culture and language gets tiring after a while.

In short, it ended up being a good weekend for them to come because there were some special meetings happening here at the school which had kept us from being able to schedule any weekend ministry.  So, among other places, we took them out to go swimming at those waterfalls which are about 45 minutes from our place.  I am pretty sure it was the first time most of the natives around here had seen a motorcycle gang. (Pictures will soon be posted at

Another good opportunity we recently had was teaching a couple sessions that were part of a course put on by the Iraqw Language and Culture Trust (ILCT).  Several months ago, I told you about the Norwegian lady here who has dedicated the last 50+ years of her life to translating the Bible into the mother-tongue of the people in this region – Iraqw.  Well, her current work, to a large degree, is literacy training and, more specifically, training local teachers who will then be equipped to offer much needed literacy courses in their villages.  Ben and I were invited as guest speakers on two separate days to teach pretty much anything we wanted with the goal of simply giving these literacy students a change in pace from their otherwise constant linguistic study.  Ben taught an introduction to world history from a Biblical perspective and I gave a basic course on Biblical psychology.  It put a little more work on our plates but was a very enjoyable experience.

Interestingly, months ago, we offered to reserve the weekend of February 29-March 2 to go with the people from ILCT to the village of their choosing so that they could see an Iraqw film showing for themselves.  So, God once again proves that He is a better ministry coordinator than any of us could ever be.  Unfortunately, while Ben went out for the weekend with the ILCT teachers and students, I had to stay home due to an embarrassing little incident that took place on Friday only hours before we were scheduled to leave.

Explanation: We have had a bunch of bees residing in our unused chimney for the past several months.  For the most part, they don’t bother us but a couple people have been stung and we know people whose relatives have died from swarms of this types of bees attacking them.  So, we decided that maybe we should try to fix this problem…by smoking them out…then burning a bunch of cardboard in the fireplace below…then spraying insect killer up the chimney.  It wasn’t that bad of an idea…we just should have put the fire out first.  So, when it blew up, my right arm took a pretty good portion of the hit.  I was hoping to still go on the weekend ministry trip but finally decided that it would be easier to take care of myself and manage the pain here at home than in the village…and I didn’t really feel like being exhibit #1 in some sort of weekend village freak show.  In any case, I am especially thankful for God’s protection of my face through the incident.  Furthermore, it has been a good reminder that God can use anything – even bad things – to bring about good.  For example, I had all kinds of time that I wouldn’t normally have had this weekend to write my second semester finals (to be administered March 10-12) and get ahead on a whole bunch of projects…like typing up this email for instance.  Poor Ben…

As I write this (March 1st), we are still not completely sure of our plans for Easter.  It is most likely that we will go to Uganda to visit Ben’s brother in Jinja.  In any case, we are certainly looking forward to some down time.  For those that have not yet heard, I DO have my tentative date set for returning to the States this summer.  As it currently stands, I will be landing at SEA-TAC on the 4th of July.  If I do end up returning to Tanzania for another year (as it appears I will be) my stay in the States will last through early September.  During that time, I will be taking care of some necessary dental and medical check-ups as well as trying to see as many of you as possible!!  Again, I will continue to plan as if I will be coming back here for a third year unless God decides to throw something unexpected in my path in the next couple months.

Thank you once again for your continuing part in my life and ministry.  God bless you all.

In Him,

Jesse Long

Gunderson and Palmer Travel to Brazil and Mexico

A 001 (Medium)World Mission Director Del Palmer and Committee member Dick Gunderson left Minneapolis March 5 on a trip the the AFLC mission works in Mexico and Brazil.   They will be discussing the current work with those on the field and making plans for future work.  Pray for Pastor's Palmer and Gunderson as they travel, especially Pastor Palmer who is has back problems and will be having surgery when he returns.