Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Success and Failure

fishermen The news media is full of politics these days and news about the candidates for the up-coming election. Each political candidate wants to be successful and win the election for the particular office he or she seeks.

What will make the difference between success and failure for each of them? I read an interesting list of the events of one man’s life:

One year he failed in business.

The next year he was defeated for the legislature.

The next year he again failed in business.

The next year he was elected to the legislature.

The next year his sweetheart died.

The next year he had a nervous breakdown.

Two years later he was defeated for speaker.

Two years later he was defeated for elector.

Three years later he was defeated for Congress.

Three years later he was elected to Congress.

Two years later he was defeated for Congress.

Seven years later he was defeated for the Senate.

The next year he was defeated for Vice-President.

Two years later he was defeated for the Senate.

Was he a successful man?

There was one more entry about him:

In 1860, he was elected President.

The man described is Abraham Lincoln, one of our most successful Presidents, winning the Civil War, keeping the Union intact, and abolishing slavery.

As I was reading in Luke 5:1-11, recently, the story about Jesus’ disciples catching the great catch of fish, I realized that, for His disciples, Jesus was the difference between failure and success. And He is the difference between failure and success for US, in the way we live each day! Consider the difference that Jesus made for them:


They had invested much time and effort in their fishing. They were fishermen who fished for a living and knew their business. They knew where and when the best fishing was. And though they had put all their knowledge and experience of fishing into it, they “had fished all night and caught nothing!” (v.5a-b) They had come back frustrated and were cleaning their nets, not of fish, but of seaweed and whatever else was caught in them (v.2). Have YOU ever totally invested yourself in something and not had it turn out right?... Do you ever feel like your day has been totally wasted?... I do! But I realized that the reason they ended up with nothing to show for all their efforts is that they had gone without Jesus!

2nd, we see the DISCIPLES WITH JESUS.

1st, when they had come to the end of themselves, they let Jesus into their boat when He asked them (v.1-3). We need to let Jesus into the “boat” of our life at some point. He wants to “sail” with us through every day of our lives!

Then, they took time to listen to Him (v.1-4). Do WE take time to listen to Jesus first in the morning before starting out to live our day?...

Then, they trusted in Jesus’ Word and acted on it (v.5). They did this even though it seemed like a foolish thing to do. Is Jesus asking YOU to step out in faith and do something that seems IMPOSSIBLE?

Jesus went with them in the boat (v.8)! Do we take Jesus with us into OUR day?...

The result was that they received an ABUNDANT return for their labors! (v.6-7) Both boats were so full of fish, they were in danger of sinking! This was so much more than they could have hoped for!

The result in them was that they realized their unworthiness of Jesus (v.8-9). We can’t take pride in what Jesus does for us or through us, because it is all HIS GRACE! We deserve nothing from Him and certainly not all that He gives us if we let Him.

And Jesus gave them a greater vision for their lives than catching smelly fish that will rot in a few days (v.10)! The vision was for catching ETERNAL SOULS for God’s kingdom! Jesus will give US a greater vision for OUR lives than we can imagine!

Jesus can make this kind of difference in a person’s day! I believe that He can make this kind of difference in OUR days! All we have to do, is what the disciples did: invite Him in, listen to Him, trust and obey Him, take Him with us in our activities, receive what He wants to give us, appreciate His grace, and catch the greater vision HE has for our lives!

By Craig Wentzel, World Missions Committee Member

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hannah Jore Born in Uganda

Hanna JoreDear friends & family,

We are so happy to introduce you to our daughter...
Hannah Ellen was born at 4:58am this morning, April 24th (8:58pm Wed eve central time), here at our hotel in Kampala after 5 hours of labor. She weighed in at 7 lb. 6 oz. & is 20 1/4 inches tall. She's got a head full of dark hair (see attached photo) & looks just like her mama's baby pictures. We were so thankful to be able to have a natural delivery here in the comfort of the hotel we are staying at. I was assisted by 2 midwives (one American & one Ugandan), as well as my mom, sister & Nate. What a gift it was to be surrounded with such wonderful & encouraging support! I ended up having to be transferred to the hospital after Hannah was born because of a retained placenta. My midwife, Siouxanne, was concerned that I may have to have a D & C, but the Dr. was able to retrieve the placenta within a few minutes without my having to go into surgery. Thank you, Lord!
Let me back up & tell you a bit about our week of waiting & the day preceding labor. My mom & sister, Naomi, made it in safely last Friday after a day of smooth travel. My mom's sinus infection had completely cleared up by the time they flew out of Minneapolis - thanks for praying! Thank you too for praying for their transition through customs once they arrived here in Uganda. They ended up sailing through without being checked at all! We had a happy reunion & have been enjoying each other's presence all week as we've relaxed by the pool here at our hotel in Kampala. Each day we also took a few power walks around the hilly neighborhood to try to get labor going, as well as swimming as many laps as we had energy for in the pool. We also had fun cooking each meal together in the kitchen in our hotel / apartment & entertaining the boys with a new supply of books & toys from the States. My contractions increased each day, but by Wednesday I was starting to get a bit discouraged, knowing God was in control but wondering if we'd have to go back to Jinja to wait for another week or two. We decided to walk to the hospital nearby (where I was planning to deliver if there were complications) that day to check my progress so we could make a decision about whether to go back or stay. We were happy to find out that I was already 3 cm dilated & that the baby's head was engaged. The nurse announced, "You'll have this baby today or tomorrow!" We walked back to the hotel elated, thrilling at every contraction & every cramp, knowing we'd meet this little one soon. I called my midwife, Siouxanne, right away back in Jinja to let her know to be on call since things would soon be starting. She decided that it'd be the wisest to come right away so that she wouldn't have to travel at night, which can be dangerous here. We were praising the Lord for her decision later when things did indeed pick up around midnight! Also that afternoon, we asked housekeeping if we could have extra sheets & towels (for labor) & a mattress (for my midwife) be brought to our room. The worker we spoke with was a bit grumpy with us & said they didn't have extras. I asked to speak with the manager, so she gave me her number & I called her immediately. She informed us that we couldn't have the extra mattress, but she offered us a 2-bedroom apartment that had just opened up that afternoon (& which is difficult to rent in advance) for the same price as the 2 studios we had been renting. We went to look at it & immediately started thanking God for His provision. The new apartment is quite spacious with plenty of room for all of us to stay together with several added perks, including a jacuzzi for me to labor in & a backyard where the boys could burn their energy. We even thanked the Lord for the crabby housekeeper who caused us to talk to the manager & to find out about the new apartment! If we hadn't had this apartment, my sister would not have been able to be present at the labor as she was going to stay with the boys & we wouldn't have had the space & comfort (or the jacuzzi!) which really added to the "fun" of the whole birthing experience. We just kept marveling at the way God had paved the way for us to have a "home" birth with everyone we wanted to have present during the experience. His presence during labor was felt so strongly by all of us, especially as everyone laid hands on my stomach, praying for this little girl as she entered the world. The Lord had led me to write out several Bible verses a few weeks ago that I could repeat during labor, & I'd asked Him to bring them to mind when I needed them. It was wonderful to have "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" running through my mind during labor, as well as "So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God", especially as I was being transferred to the hospital. And what a wonderful gift that God has given us! Hannah has been amazing us all day with her alertness & peacefulness & extreme sweetness. :) The boys welcomed her as we came back from the hospital (they were asleep when we had left earlier) with squeals of delight. They've adjusted to her presence so quickly, welcoming her warmly but then going about their normal little routine & play as if she's always been with us.
Thank you for all of your prayers & encouraging emails during this time of waiting for & welcoming Hannah! We feel incredibly blessed to have such a large "family" to welcome Hannah into this world. Thank you for celebrating her life with us!
We will post more pictures on our blog within the next few days, so please keep checking back! (
Rhoda, Nate, Elijah, Judah & Hannah

Prayer for the Work of Darwin Jacksons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         "Prayer is the key to success. Not to pray is to fail. To pray aright is never to fail." Amzi Clarence Dixon

We didn't fail to be fruitful these last couple of weeks with the youth from the AFLBS, thanks to  your prayers. They made friends both for time and eternity. They weren't afraid to work AFLBShard in seemingly meaningless tasks, dirty tasks, or even maybe stretching themselves beyond the comfort zone to share their testimonies, or visit a neighborhood in Buenos Aires to invite people to church and to trust Jesus as their Savior.

Brother Alfonso asked me to ask you all to pray for him. He leaves tomorrow for Obregon to have his pacemaker batteries changed, or the whole unit. He's waited for over a month for this appointment.
We surely cannot fail as we pray for Pedro and Luis, two brothers who heard the Gospel Sunday morning as I made visits in the neighborhood before the service. Also for Misael who's father is a Christian, and has been talked to him many times about the things of God, but hasn't come to Jesus yet. Pray to for Carlos and Ezekiel who have a drinking problem and need to surrender themselves to Jesus.

Tomorrow Thursday I will bring a Bible study to a group of people trying to get off of drugs and alcohol, then I'll preach at the rescue mission to those who come from "across the line" to receive a meal.
Thank you all for using your "keys" of prayer to bring success to the work of the Gospel here. Your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jesse Long - 100th Showing of the Jesus Film

jesse and paul smDear friends,

Since my last update:

  • April 11th, marked our 100th Jesus film showing in East Africa!!  This total includes the 21 showings we were a part of in Uganda as well as 20 we were involved with when we first arrived here in Tanzania with Pastor Kevin Olson and the team of youth workers.
  • We also recently reached the milestone of an estimated 30,000 people who have attended these Jesus Film showings.  Praise God for His protection, provision, and faithfulness in so many ways with regards to this on-going ministry.
  • A pretty bad flu bug has been going around lately and Ben took his turn with the resulting fever, sore throat, coughing, and tiredness.  We are so grateful for those of you who faithfully keep us and our health in your prayers even though it is often difficult for us to get word to you as specific needs arise.  As of this writing, Ben is virtually back to his normal, energetic-self.  May God bless you for your faithfulness!
  • Sunday, April 20th was a special day here at the school with an afternoon of choral presentations by various groups including families, students, and staff.  Even Ben and I sang a couple songs for the occasion.  It was a good time of fellowship with our friends here at the school as well as an opportunity to interact with some of the local villagers.  Due to that event here at the school, our only film showing for the weekend was scheduled for that Friday night.  Ben was still quite weak from his bout with the flu but I was able to go do the showing with a couple students and the school’s driver.
  • By way of a very practical praise – WE HAVE WATER!!  Plumbing to all the buildings on campus has actually been in place for years but recently, different issues have prevented water from being consistently available in those lines.  These “issues” have included the collapsing of the original well, problems with the pump, as well as the school’s occasional inability to affordable running the generator even if the well and pump were in operational order.  Some of you will remember that last year a big project was digging a new well to replace the one that had collapsed.  Other work has also been done since that time including installing a new pump, running power lines from the generator to the new well/pump, constructing a “pump house”, and running pipe from the new well to the existing holding tank.  On April 10th, when all this was finally completed, the campus again had a regular source of water!!  This is a huge blessing especially to this year’s students who have needed to fetch virtually all their water (for cooking, bathing, washing clothes, cleaning floors, etc.) in 5-gallon buckets from a hand pump on the edge of the campus.  Fortunately for the school, this new water pump is able to be powered by the same generator which gives us our 1 ½ hours of electricity each night.  Now, all we need is a more regular source of electricity!

We continue to look forward to the upcoming visit from Pastor Craig Johnson from Bethany Free Lutheran Church in Astoria, OR.  If all goes as planned, we will be meeting him at Kilimanjaro Airport around 10am (West Coast time) on Wednesday, May 21st.  During his week here, he will not only visit the Waama campus but participate in a busy weekend of village ministry with us, see some of the area surrounding where we live, and go on a safari with us in a local national park.  Please pray for his safe travel, for blessed days with us (that we won’t get eaten by a lion, chased by a cape buffalo, or sat on by an elephant when we are on safari), and also for the week he will spend with the Nate Jore family (Ben’s brother) in Uganda following his time here.

Again, it is hard to believe how fast this year has passed!!  Have I said that already?   I look forward to seeing many of you in just a few short months!  Thank you so much for your continual prayers and support.  God richly bless you!

In Him,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

PS – The picture is of me with one of our students and his church below in the background.  It was taken when we were in his village showing the Jesus Film recently.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chmiels Speak at EEMN Banquet

EEMN Banquet 2

First of all, we wanted to thank all of you who came to be with us last night. What a joy to be with all of you again! Thank you so much!

EEMN BanquetOur domain name expired on Saturday so right now it is not possible to access our regular picture gallery. But we posted some new pictures for you here: We know many of you like pictures :)

In our last email, we shared a little update on Miriam’s health situation and us hoping to leave at the end of this month. We asked Miriam’s doctor for her advice and she does not think it would be safe for us to go back to Ukraine right now. She said that, “the ovarian torsion is impossible to predict and could mean life or death…” So we really do not feel peace about taking any unnecessary risks by going back to Ukraine before Miriam is better.

But we are praying for a miracle! Miriam’s doctor said it could take six months before Miriam is ready to go back but we are praying that, if that’d be God’s will, that we would be able to leave at the end of May. And if that would not be His will… please pray that God would give us patience. It is really hard for us to be away from Ukraine for so long. We had pastor Alexander Gross from Ukraine with us this past weekend and even though we love Minnesota and our friends here, by being with him and talking about all the ministry in Ukraine, it made us want to go back there even more.

We have seen some answers to our prayers lately too. One big answer to prayer is that we found a Ukrainian teacher here in the Twin Cities. She will be working with us until we are ready to go back to Ukraine. So that is wonderful! Tomasz actually likes the way she teaches more than the way we learn Ukrainian in Lviv.

Another answer to our (and your!!) prayers is that we got Pavel’s phone number and his new address (Pavel is the 14-year-old boy from our church in Ukraine who is now living with his father because his mom went to Russia). We were able to talk to Pavel on the phone and also send him a little birthday package. We are praying that he will feel God’s love even through some little things like that.

Thank you for praying for us and for those who are waiting for us in Ukraine!

God bless you,

Tomasz and Miriam

PS: Some of you asked about our mailing address. This is our address at least until May 28:

Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel

3136 E Medicine Lake Blvd, Unit A

Plymouth, MN 55441

Monday, April 21, 2008

Updates from Our Short Term Assistants in Jerez

Jerez (Small) Recently our Short Term Assistants, Ingrid Giles and Dan Giles Jr., sent out prayer updates.  A number of the subjects in the updates were similar.  This prayer and news update will attempt to cover each item without duplicating any subject.  Items from Dan Jr. will be in red and items from Ingrid will be in blue.

We are so sorry we haven't written to you in such a long time.   The last two month's have been extremely busy, so much has happened.  

As you may already know, Dan and Debbie Giles are no longer missionaries of the AFLC in Mexico.  They are now in Phoenix taking care of Dan's dad.  We are going to really miss them.   We are very proud of Dan and Debbie, we are very blessed to have them as examples.   We are now working with Todd and Barb Schierkolk, we love them,they have been a great blessing to us. 

The youth group is going great.  We had a new young lady, Hilda Lizeth de la Rosa, this last Wednesday, and she is going to bring her cousin this Saturday to the youth group. We praise the Lord for that.  Pray that God will bring new people and that the ones that do come will keep coming.  We will be taking the youth group to Aguascalientes next month to the National Fair known as "La Feria de San Marcos", Saint Mark's National Fair.  They are all very excited about that, including us!

Two weeks ago my(Marcela's) sister called us and told me that my Mom was not well at all, so we went to Aguascalientes and took her back to Jerez to stay with us so we could take care of her.   She is 62 and she will be staying with us until she recovers completely.  Please pray for her health.  She gets very dizzy and her situation is very peculiar, so we will take her to a specialist as soon as we can afford it. Please, pray that God would provide a good doctor for her.   She is very active in her church and she is very sad that she's not able to do her ministry.

The most immediate news now is that my visa and my brother's expire this Monday.  We applied for an extension and were turned down.  This means that we need to leave the country for possibly as long as ten days.  We will be going to the border together on the bus (leaving Saturday night and arriving Sunday morning), and have made arrangements to work for our lodging.  The place where we are going also has a food shelf, so we won't be hungry.  Marcela and the girls will stay here, and some of her relatives will visit while we're gone.

God has been exercising our faith through many circumstances in the last couple of weeks!  It has not been easy, but the reward has been many miracles, large and small.  In the midst of it all, God has given me personally some special gifts to brighten my days: a new pair of jeans that fits perfectly... the ability (doctor's permission) to drink coffee... a day off by myself in my favorite city of Aguascalientes... Claudia Gamboa in the Thursday afternoon Bible study... lower tax than I thought I'd have to pay... and today, several bags of groceries!  Oh, and not to mention I can get my eyes checked for free tomorrow. 

I will tell you that story as an example of how God has been working in many different areas in the last couple of weeks.  Daniel, Marcela, and I all three needed eye exams, glasses, or something related to that.  It never occurred to us to pray about all that, though.  We only prayed about the most urgent need that only one of us had.  When we found a pair of glasses at the fair that seemed to do the job for about five dollars, we thought that was our answer to prayer, and we thanked God for it.  Little did we know He had bigger plans!  He has sent a group of ophthalmologists from many different countries to Jerez this week, to take care of people's eyes for free.  The government agency that is hosting them is giving out tickets.  We heard about it, but didn't do anything... after all, we thought God had already answered our prayer, and we didn't think we'd qualify anyway.  So God sent the tickets to us.  He did not just send them to the door.  They were brought inside, upstairs, and put into Marcela's hand while she was busy doing something else!  So tomorrow (Thursday) morning, we all three plan to go get our eyes looked at for free -- and if we need new glasses or anything else, that will be free also.  Praise the Lord! 

Nobody has been coming to the womens's Bible study in the morning, but Marcela and I have been meeting together anyway and the study has been exactly what we needed.  Claudia Arcos has made some changes to her schedule so that she can start coming to the afternoon study now.  This happened right after I asked God if He wanted me to stop doing the studies, since no one was coming!

The four little boys that I mentioned in my last letter no longer come to church.  They have been taken by state social services and live in an orphanage now.

We would like to communicate all of you that we will be serving the Lord in Jerez Mexico for another year and half, or until the Lord direct us to something else. Please keep us in your prayers.... 

Some specific prayer requests:

  • For my Mom, that she will be well again.
  • For wisdom to direct the youth group.
  • That the Lord would provide our financial needs.
  • For Ingrid and Danny as they cross the border.
  • Ari and Andy's health and growth.

We Praise the Lord,

  • Ingrid, is a great blessing to us, she helps with the girls and everything
  • Because my sisters will visit me
  • Our two little girls, they give us lots of joyful moments
  • Because God provides us with everything we need and more.............

Psalm 9:1-2  "I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell all of Your Marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High".

Friday, April 18, 2008

Jores Waiting for Baby to Arrive

Jore Family 2 We are heading out in just a few hours for Entebbe where we will check into our hotel, enjoy some supper, put the boys to bed & then Nate will go & pick up my mom & sister, Naomi, from the airport. We're all so excited to see them! Please pray for them now as they're traveling & for a smooth time getting through customs at the airport when they arrive. My mom was recovering from a mild sinus infection when she left the States, so please also pray for continued healing for her. We'll stay near the airport just tonight & then we'll head to Kampala in the morning to check into the hotel where we'll wait for the baby to come. I have been taking it easy all week after making a trek to Kampala a week ago thinking that the baby was coming. We've been praying that he/she'd wait 'til my family arrives & it looks like we'll make it! Hopefully we won't have to wait in Kampala for too long before the baby decides to come, but we know too that God has the perfect time for his/her arrival. Would you pray with us for a safe delivery of our little one & for wisdom for my doctor and midwife that will be assisting me? Thank you. We'll have Internet access at our hotel, so we'll try to inform you as soon as possible of our baby's arrival. We appreciate your prayer support & encouragement during this exciting time for our family!
Rhoda, Nate, Elijah, Judah & Baby

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Paul Abel's Current Newsletter Now Available

Paul Abel's NewsletterThe current edition of Paul and Becky Abel's Newsletter is fresh off the press. You can read it before it gets to your newsstand by clicking here.

April Update from Ben Jore

Ben and babyDear praying friends,

It has been a very long time since I last wrote - sorry a bout that. A lot has happened since then, so I'll do my best to highlight the last couple months.

Second semester was a good one. It was full of the usual - preparing for classes, teaching, and all that is involved with doing Jesus Film showings on the weekends. Towards the end of the semester the school received some visitors - 15 students from a Norwegian Bible School. It was such a blessing to have them here for 3 days. The semester ended one week before Easter. During that break, Jesse took three of the Norwegian guys to Zanzibar while I went up to Uganda to be with my brother, Nate, and his family for 2 weeks. It was great to get away and relax for a while. Nate and I even found time to go golfing and teach a seminar to
15 local Ugandan pastors. I was also able to spend my 25th birthday with them, which was a special treat. Much too quickly my time in Uganda was over and I was heading back to Tanzania.

I met Jesse in Arusha and the next day we returned to Waama. Most of the students returned only a couple days later so we were able to start close to on time. This semester Jesse is teaching English, Keyboard, I Timothy, and Music History. I am teaching English, Guitar, Daniel, Computer, and Sight Singing. Teaching continues to be a great blessing for us and we really enjoy connecting with the students and watching them learn. As usual, Jesse and I are continuing with Jesus Film ministry on the weekends. In fact we just got back yesterday from a Jesus Film trip on which we showed our 100th, 101st, and 102nd Jesus Films in East Africa! (This total includes 20 with Pastor Kevin and team in TZ in 2006, 21 with Nate and team in Uganda, and 61 Jesse and I have done in Tanzania over the past year and a half.) We praise God for his faithfulness and protection through all of these showings!

With regards to the future, Jesse and I have decided again to extend our time in Tanzania for another year. This makes our commitment through July 2009. School will not be in session this summer (July-September) so we will take some time off during those months. Jesse will be returning to the States for a brief visit but I am still undecided as to what I will be doing.

Thanks to each one of you for your prayers. God is abundantly faithful even when we are faithless. We look forward to another year of service here in Africa and hope and pray that you will continue to uphold us in prayer during that time.

Would you praise God for:

  • Over 100 Jesus Film showings completed! We have only had to cancel one Jesus Film showing through all of that (because of rain). God has kept us safe, kept the equipment running, and over 29,000 people have heard the Gospel through this ministry!
  • The start of the third term. We look forward to seeing what God will do through this final semester of the school year.
  • God's leading us to stay another year.

Would you pray for:

  • Continued protection especially as we carry on with our Jesus Film ministry. We put on a lot of miles over bad roads. Pray too for the seed that has been planted in many hearts - that it would grow and bear fruit in many lives.
  • Wisdom for us as we teach and interact with students, teachers, and friends. I'm pretty sure we are being watched more closely than we know.

May God richly bless you,


Lumppios Update April 2008

"Give thanks to the Lord for all the glorious things He does!" --Psalm 105:1

Gracie 2 This is one of the verses Cristina and Gracie (and I) have been memorizing as part of their home school curriculum. We all start squatting down and then give a big jump when we say "Give thanks to the Lord..." and then we spin around with our hands lifted high, "for all the glorious things He does!" We do this again and again until we are dizzy and the verse has been memorized. It is pretty fun.

During March and the last few days of April we have many praise reports. Lidia's health has been steadily better thanks to the Lord and the many supplements she takes besides her morning power-food shake. No more infections, no more antibiotics. Praise the Lord!! In spite of this there have still been some "low" days when she doesn't have much energy at all. Please keep this issue in prayer. We hope and pray her body will be in good enough shape to handle not taking the shake (blueberries and cranberry juice are pretty hard to find down there) and as many supplements when we go back to Mexico.

We have a car!!! We have been so blessed by so many churches and we praise the Lord for His faithfulness and provision. It is a 98 black and silver Tahoe. It has 130,000 miles (mostly highway miles). The past owner took really good care of it. We have very little work to do on it before it is ready to make the big trip South again. It is smaller than a Suburban so we hope to get a car top carrier to make up for the lost space. Thank you to all of you who prayed with us about this and for your gifts and offerings.

Last Sunday we were given a huge bag of clothes for the girls. We think that between that and what we received in Texas they will have enough clothes for a year+. It was just a perfect gift, a very specific answer to prayer. Our God will meet our needs as we seek His kingdom first.

Tom has been reading and studying the material on prayer and spiritual warfare in Spanish we have been given. He and I have continued to converse in Spanish although it is still a struggle to do it every day. Please keep this in prayer.

We've were blessed last month to speak at AFLBS, the Bible School Tom and I went to. What a privilege to share with young people and encourage them to pursue God's missionary heart!

We also had the opportunity to go to Duluth and share in the work of the youth group of Minnesota Valley Lutheran for a couple of days. We worked hard and had a blast! That group has become very dear to us and we pray that God would continue His good work in each of them.

At the end of March, we were also blessed to go to the Okoboji family camp in Iowa . It was great to meet some of the faithful ones who have been part of WMPL's constituency for a long long time. We were blessed with their smiles, their prayers, their encouragement...and particularly blessed by their interest in and all the questions they had about the stories we shared about Mexico and the work God has given us.

We have been able to finally schedule a visit with the occupational therapist for Gracie. They seem willing to work with us and help us get things ready in the few months we have left before our return to Mexico. In the mean time we have been giving her some activities to do and try from a couple of books on SPD we got from the library. It's hard to tell if they are really helping or not but they are fun to do! Please continue to pray for this process, we have much to learn still.

Here's is our schedule for the next few weeks, please pray that we build more relationships with churches and that we be a blessing and encouragement to them to be more involved in missions.

April 13th Mission Sunday at Grace Free Lutheran
April 20th Sunday School hour at Solid Rock Free Lutheran
April 27th Service at King of Glory Free Lutheran
May 4th Sunday School hour at Living Word Lutheran


We will post pictures in our blog very soon and we'll let you know so you can check them out. In the mean time let us all give thanks to the Lord for all the glorious things He does!

In His service,

Tom, Lidia, Cristina and Gracie

News of World Relief's Work in Haiti

World Relie 2

Haiti: Hunger Causes Rioting

Haiti In recent weeks, Haiti’s people have used the expression “eating bleach” to describe their burning hunger pains.

They say it’s as if their stomachs are on fire.

As food prices increase, many Haitians have resorted to eating dirt cakes baked with oil to quell their hunger pains. Photo credit: Marcia Wilson/

This week, frustrations boiled over in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as angry Haitians protested soaring food prices.

Haiti imports staple foods – and the cost of rice has skyrocketed 50 percent since last year, putting enormous pressure on households struggling to survive on less than a dollar a day.

In Port-au-Prince this week, World Relief’s staff members were unable to report for work because of rioting in the streets.

In the capital, Dr. Hubert Morquette, World Relief Country Director, asks for your prayers at this tense time:
   - For peace to be restored in Haiti;
   - For the safety of World Relief’s staff and volunteers;
   - For lasting solutions to the current food crisis.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world – and it’s just a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida.

World Relief has been working hard to combat poverty and hunger in Haiti since the 1990s – serving the most vulnerable populations, especially children and orphans.

Please consider helping Haiti’s suffering children at this critical moment with a donation that will enable World Relief and local churches to save lives now.

Thank you for your prayers and your support.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chmiels to Remain in US for a While Longer

Miriam and map We just wanted to send you a quick update and again ask you for prayer. We just got back from an ultrasound and it seems like Miriam’s cyst from last month is still there even though it seems to be slowly getting smaller. Plus there is also a new smaller cyst. From how it was explained to us, this situation should not be a big deal and the “watch and wait” method should probably be all the “treatment” that’s needed… The doctor is suggesting another ultrasound to be done in six weeks.

But at the same time we were told that since the ovary is three times larger than it should be, there is always the chance that the ovary could twist. Here they say that if it happens, it would be easy to deal with it. If the ovary twists, it will hurt a lot (we know that!!), we will go to the ER immediately, they will do an ultrasound, they will see that the ovary twisted, they will quickly do a laparoscopic untwisting.

Well, that sounds easy enough, right? But our problem is what to do with our planned trip back to Europe on April 28th. What if this happens on the 9-hour flight???? What will we do? Also, you remember what happened when Miriam’s left ovary twisted in Ukraine – what they did there was quite different from what they say would happen here. No quick untwisting… It was more like 17 hours of pain, being told that there is nothing wrong… and then a surgery that was done too late for the ovary to be saved…

We really want to go back to Ukraine at the end of this month. And we know that if God wants us to go, He will make it possible. But we wanted to ask for your prayers! We need God’s clear guidance right now. We can’t express how much you, our prayer warriors, mean to us!

Please also pray for Miriam as she is better but still not feeling completely herself. She has better days and then she has days when the cyst is probably leaking blood (that’s what we were told today) and that causes pain. Plus the ovary just by being bigger is causing some discomfort.

Right now we are trying to prepare a presentation for our April 20th meeting and a display board and a self-running presentation for the EEMN banquet so these past couple of days have been again fully “back to work” :) We are happy for these opportunities we have to share with many of you about Ukraine but it is frustrating for Miriam when she sees all that should be done and she is not feeling well enough to do it.

Again, thank you so much for your prayers!

God’s blessings,

Tomasz and Miriam

News from the Jores

Jore Boys 2We are happy to report that our little one has decided to move head-down & to "drop" in the last few days! I (Rhoda) met with my midwife yesterday & she confirmed definitely that this little one won't be budging from his/her position until he/she decides to join us. I was so relieved and happy that all I could do was cry & thank the Lord for answering our prayers so quickly. We are so grateful to have so many amazing prayer warriors interceding for us & our new baby. Thank you! 

We have also made the decision to stay in Kampala and wait for the baby to come after we have picked up my mom & sister from the airport. We originally had reservations at a guest house about 20 minutes from the hospital, but they called us this week to let us know that our rooms were no longer available to us. At first we were quite disappointed and not looking forward to starting over in searchi ng for a place to stay, but wow, are we ever thankful now! We were able to find a beautiful place to stay just 3 MINUTES from the hospital! It will be much more comfortable & relaxing for our family (there is a swimming pool for the boys to enjoy & a kitchenette in our room to save $ on meals). Not only that, but our midwife, who is also living here in Jinja, will be staying either at the same hotel or another one a few minutes away, awaiting the delivery of another lady she is assisting. We won't have to worry about her getting to Kampala in time once I go in to labor. Construction & detours have lengthened the travel time to Kampala these days from 2 hours to 3 hours, another factor which prompted us to make the decision to stay & wait in Kampala, although Nate assured me that he'd have no problem helping me deliver in the car if the baby should come fast. :) We are rejoicing at the way the Lord has worked out all these little details for us. He is so good. We are eager to meet this child that He is giving to us. We would appreciate your continued prayers for a safe delivery.

Thank you!
Rhoda Jore

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Check out Schierkolk's Current Newsletter

Dear friends,

Schierkolk NewsletterThe problem with our toilet had been a frustration for a long time but when water flooded through the ceiling down into the bathroom below and water damage began to appear in the stairway we knew it had to be fixed. The landlord sent the plumber who lives next door to him, a young guy named Ramiro. They had to dig up some tiles in the floor but they found where the leak was. They were at our house on a Thursday during the Kid’s Club and Ramiro heard all the joyful commotion and asked if we had a party going on. “No,” I said, “we have a Kid’s Club where we teach the Bible.” That opened up a conversation about how he tries to teach his kids about spiritual things but he doesn’t really know a lot about the Bible. He asked if his kids could come next week. . .

Click here to read the entire newsletter.

World Missions Director, Del Palmer having Surgery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         AFLC World Missions Director, Del Palmer is having back surgery on Wednesday, April 9.  He will be in the hospital for 5-7 days and will be out of the office for an extended time.  Please remember Pastor Palmer in prayer at this time.

If you have a missions need Wanda Jacobson in the World Missions office can help you.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Update from Jesse Long

Dear friends,

After sending my last update (March 22nd), I realized that I hadn’t so much as mentioned Easter!!  I pray it was a special day for each one of you as you reflected on the victory that is ours through Jesus’ resurrection.  I was blessed to be able to attend the international church in Arusha and enjoy singing familiar, English hymns with a couple hundred other expatriates.  While in Arusha, I was also very blessed with opportunities to visit several of the friends we have made in that city.

Ben's birthday On Friday (March 28th), Ben arrived safely back in Arusha from visiting his brother in Uganda.  Praise God for His blessing on Ben’s time with family, as well as for his safe travel, and the refreshment he was able to get.  The day after his return, we made the trip back to Mbulu and to our home at Waama Bible College.  This is also a huge item for praise as there had been several good days of rain and we were concerned about the condition of the roads we had to cover.  As it was, apart from a few places with water over the roadway and some sloppiness toward the end of the trip, there were no real problems.

The following Monday (March 31st), was third-semester reporting day for the students.  A few showed up, anyway. J On Tuesday, we had our teachers’ meeting for the semester to determine who was teaching what.  Fortunately, as Ben and I were hoping, we were both assigned many of the same courses we taught last year.  In addition, however, we did pick up a couple more music classes (“Rhythm” and “Music History”).  This was because the regular music teacher needed some relief as he pursues some continuing education.  Classes formally started up for the semester that Wednesday, April 2nd.

So, life is back in full swing.  We appreciate your prayers so much as we face a significant amount of class periods each week and especially as we will once again spend most of our weekends this semester doing village outreach events.  Pray especially for the students as they wrap up this year of study.  Pray that they would finish well and be well-equipped for the work they will face upon completion.  There is no doubt that the devil will do anything he can to disrupt the good things that are happening.  In fact, I regret to report that there are a couple students who, due to some recently exposed moral failure, will not be back for this third semester.  Again, what is needed is prayer.  Thank you for your part.  Please also continue to pray for the diocese here as a whole.  With Waama being THEIR school, we have seen their increased support to be a huge need ever since we first arrived in Tanzania.  It seems progress is being made in that direction and we are very encouraged…but don’t stop praying yet!

For those that have not visited our blog recently (, I did post some new pictures while I was in Arusha.  Thank you so much for your patience.  Unfortunately, posting from here in Mbulu is usually somewhere between difficult and impossible due to the poor internet connection but we will continue update as we are able.  Thank you again for your interest, prayers, and support.  Sorry to those of you whose correspondence from me is limited to these generic updates.  Please know that my thoughts and prayers for you all are much more frequent than even these update emails.  Personal notes from that direction are always welcome, too, but I know life is busy for all of us.  So, until next time, God richly bless you all!

In Him,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Thursday, April 03, 2008

News from Todd Schierkolks

Jerez Christmas

Dear praying friends,

Its already April but since many of you still have snow on the ground and since I lost the pictures I had developed from Christmas I thought I'd let you know how well our Christmas outreach went.  By-the-way, since I despaired at finding the pictures because I had looked in every conceivable place for them, I finally did what Christians do when they are in despair . . . I prayed.  Then I began to look in impossible places and lo and behold there they were.  They had fallen out of the top drawer of my desk down behind the bottom drawer.  Thank you Lord!

Thank you to all of you who were praying for us during the Christmas season.  The outreach program at the church went very well.  Dan's message was well-received, Danny and Marcela had the youth group helping distribute quilts, Barb and Ingrid led the Sunday school program, and the rest of us were pitching in however we could to make everything go.

Please also pray for Dan and Debbie as they are currently in Arizona caring for Dan's 90-year-old father.

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Missionary Dan and Debbie Giles Resign

Last December missionaries Dan and Debbie Giles requested time away from the work to spend in Phoenix with Dan's father.  His father is now in his nineties and has been suffering with health problems.  The World Missions Committee granted the Giles a two month leave of absence and they traveled to Phoenix in January.

Through prayer and considering the condition of Dan's aging parents the Lord impressed upon Dan and Debbie that He would have them stay in Phoenix and care for Dan's father.  Therefore, after a lifetime of mission work the Giles decided to resign as AFLC Missionaries.  Dan and Debbie have been missionaries with the AFLC since 1985 and will be dearly missed.

The work in Jerez, Mexico will be carried on by Todd and Barb Schierkolk as well as the children of Dan and Debbie Giles.  Their daughter Ingrid and their son's family, Danny and Mercela, remain in Jerez ministering as well.  The Giles children are Short Term Mission Assistants and are supported by free will offerings sent through the AFLC World Missions Department.

Update from Jores

Rhoda and children Greetings from Uganda where the rainy season has just begun and people are busy planting their fields.  We are doing well and are eagerly waiting for the arrival of our third child later this month!  Rhoda has certainly had her exhausted moments, but today she reported having a new burst of "nesting" energy.  She really has been amazing and is the picture of health and beauty.  We are planning to deliver in the city of Kampala which is about a 2 hour drive, depending on traffic.  We have the option of going early and staying in a guest house to await the time when Rhoda goes into labor, but we are playing it by ear.  We would appreciate your prayers for a healthy, natural delivery.  Judah, our 2nd born, was lying transverse (sideways) near the end of Rhoda's pregnancy last time, resulting in a c-section, but we are really hoping for a natural delivery this time.  The baby is currently still quite mobile and seems to be flipping around freely in the womb.  We are praying that at the right time the baby will settle into a head-down position. We would appreciate your prayers for this as well.

We got to spend Easter with my brother Ben who came up for two weeks from Tanzania.  It was a great joy to have him here with us.  It was a blessing to teach a one-day seminar in Butagaya village to a group of 17 pastors from many denominations.  He also was in Buwenge village on Easter Sunday to witness my first sermon in Lusoga!  I had written it out before hand and practiced reading it many times.  I also decided it would be prudent of me as his older brother to let him beat me in golf because it was his birthday...  (Yes, we do have a golf course in Jinja, and no, I don't like losing to my little brother at anything  :).
We are very much looking forward to the arrival of Rhoda's Mom and sister Naomi who will be with us for the birth of our baby.  They arrive on the 18th.

In the last update I had told you about one of our pastors who had gotten into some trouble.  I am happy to report that the discipline he was given has led to repentance and he has joined us again for our pastor's meetings.
I should also report on Richard as I know many of you have been praying for him.  He has not been around much as he got a new job in a different location.  I was encouraged for a while after visiting with him a month ago.  He seemed to be doing well and looked a lot more healthy.  He told me at that time that he had given up drinking and smoking.  I have since heard from another friend who talked to him that he has been avoiding coming around because he has fallen back into drinking.  Please continue to pray for him.
The main reason we have come to Uganda is to train leaders who will train others in the ways of God.  We have embarked on a very large and exciting task of developing a curriculum to use in this training.  I am working with the local pastors as we develop this curriculum.  Please pray for great wisdom and perseverance for us.
We love you all and pray that you are well and that God is meeting your every need. 

May God bless you all,
Nate, Rhoda, Elijah, Judah, and baby

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Prayer Request from Chmiels

Dear friends,

Pastor Bendus We wanted to ask you to pray for our Lviv pastor (Pastor Bendus) and his wife. We learned that Pastor Bendus suffered a major heart attack this week. We talked to some people from our Ukrainian church yesterday and we also talked to Pastor’s wife today and it sounds like it was really serious. She said that yesterday he was in really bad condition. Today he seemed to be doing better. Doctors think that he should be able to get out of this without any major complications but of course they cannot tell for sure. So please pray for Pastor Bendus and his wife during this difficult time.

And we also wanted to ask you to pray for us. If Pastor Bendus does not recover enough to be able to take back all his responsibilities at the church, to some people Tomasz might seem to be the logical replacement. As you know we came to Ukraine to be mainly ministering to young people and to be investing in them to be the future leaders. But at the same time we want to be flexible to whatever God might want us to do. But we also have to remember that we still have seven more months of language study ahead of us because we had to take a break with all the health problems Miriam has been having. So please pray for guidance and wisdom for us.

And THANK YOU SO MUCH for praying for Pavlik, Mrs. Tanya, her daughter Lyuda and our massage therapist Serhiy. This Sunday Pavlik was in church again after a long time. He said he had not been coming because his father (with whom he is living now) wanted him to go to soccer games every Sunday instead of church. But recently his father broke his leg so there will be no more soccer for a while and Pavlik said that he would again like to come to church. Please continue praying for Pavlik! We still do not have his home phone number and when we call his cell phone it says it has been disconnected.

Tomasz Easter As for us, we have very much enjoyed being here in Minnesota for the AFLBS (Association Free Lutheran Bible School) alumni reunion weekend. Too bad Miriam was not healthy enough to play basketball for the girls alumni team :) But it was fun to see many of our former Bible School classmates and we were very much blessed by the celebration service and Pastor Haugen’s message on the word “Behold.” It was funny that during the sermon we both wrote down a note saying that we need to look up the word “behold” in Ukrainian. Yes, Ukraine is on our minds a lot even when we are not there.

In our last update we asked you to pray about when we should go back to Ukraine. Right now our plane tickets are booked for April 28. We were not able to leave this week because Miriam is still not doing well enough and our doctor here felt like it was not a good idea for us to leave just yet. And actually we were surprised to have a lot of our Ukrainian friends tell us to stay longer and not come back to Lviv until Miriam is 100% well.

Since we are staying a month longer than we expected, we would like to invite all of you to these two opportunities to be with us:

Sunday, April 20th at 5:30 pmA special meeting for all of you who would like to see us, who would like to hear more about our life in Ukraine and also an opportunity for you to meet a Ukrainian pastor – Pastor Alexander Gross. Pastor Gross is in charge of youth ministry in the German Lutheran church in Ukraine and he is also the person who stood behind us coming to live and work in Ukraine. Where? Chapel building (basement) -- Association Free Lutheran Bible School (3120 E. Medicine Lake Blvd., Plymouth, MN). Coffee and desert will be served. RSVP would be greatly appreciated. We will try to send one more invitation to you this coming week.

Friday, April 25th at 6:00 pm – East European Missions Network banquet. Where? Heritage Hall -- Association Free Lutheran Bible School (3134 E. Medicine Lake Blvd., Plymouth, MN)

Thank you again for praying for us and we hope to see many of you soon.

Tomasz and Miriam