Monday, June 30, 2008

Vision for Future Work - Part 2

wm brochure frontThe World Missions Committee has prayerfully sought God's direction and have set six priorities as visions and goals for the future.  They include:

  • A revival of prayer for missions
  • Preparing missionaries from childhood
  • Reaching unreached people groups
  • Pastoral training
  • Developing self- (God-) reliant missions works
  • Compassion for the poor

A brief explanation of the six priorities will appear here, one per day over the next six days.   A more complete description can be found on our website by clicking on the photo above.

image

Sunday, June 29, 2008

AFLC World Missions Vision

wm brochure front

The 2007 AFLC Annual Conference asked the World Missions Department to establish and communicate a long-range plan for the future of World Missions. Members of our committee have prayerfully sought God's direction in this area and have set six priorities as visions and goals for the future. They include:

  • A revival of prayer for missions
  • Preparing missionaries from childhood
  • Reaching unreached people groups
  • Pastoral training
  • Developing self- (God-) reliant missions works
  • Compassion for the poor

This future vision and goals were presented to the AFLC World Missions Corporation and the 2008 Annual Conference. A brief explanation of the six priorities will appear here, one per day over the next six days. A more complete description can be found on our website by clicking on the photo above.

Vision - Prayer

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Than a Memorial

Each month a World Missions Committee writes a devotional to share with our missions family.  The following devotional was written my Mr. Kevin Olson.  Mr. Olson decided not to run for a second term on the World Missions Committee.  His fellowship, wisdom and calculating insights will be greatly missed.

memorial "So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations."  - Exodus 12:14  NKJV

"For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us."  - I Corinthians 5:7b  NKJV

On the Friday before Memorial Day a young co-worker of mine casually referred to the holiday by saying that he wasn't sure what he was supposed to memorialize but was certainly glad we had the day off.  His statement sort of took me by surprise.  I guess I just took for granted that people knew what Memorial Day was all about.  I mean, who would think to go around to everyone on the Friday before the long weekend and ask "OK, so you know what to do on Monday right?". 

For me, the activities of Memorial Day have often included honoring the sacrifice of our veterans, visiting the grave sites of loved ones, getting together with family and, of course, welcoming in the summer. 

It all seems so basic, how could anyone not know?

The same is true for the message of Christ's sacrifice - people may have heard about it but have not had a "first-hand account" from a Christian.  The simple message of Law and Gospel, that we so often take for granted, even goes unheard in some places.  The beautiful redemption accomplished during the Passover, and how it points to our own redemption, needs to be passed on through the generations.  Jesus has given us much more than a series of historical events to be memorialized, He has worked in us life-giving faith and a testimony that can be shared.

You may not realize this but you have shared your testimony with me for these past 5 years.  Your consistent focus on the Spirit working through the Word for the salvation of the lost and the strengthening of the believer has been an encouragement to me.  You may feel like you are 'going though the motions' at times but take heart, it is God who is at work within you - His work is having an effect, that is what He promised.

Well, Memorial Day came and went - with one more person now knowing a bit more about why we get that day off in May.  Thank you for testifying to those around you about Jesus - not a mere 'memorial' to be observed but a Savior who cares for us each day.

Tom Lumppios Take Leave of Absence

Missionary On Loan - TLTom and Lidia Lumppio, AFLC World Missionaries on loan to World Missions Prayer League have decided to take an extended leave of absence from the field.  They have been serving in Mexico. 

Please continue to pray for the Lumppios.  The Lord continues to impress His call to missions on their life and they look forward to serving on the field in the future.

Good News for Chmiels

Chmiels working We just wanted to let you know that we got some good news this week when Miriam saw her doctor on Monday. There are still two cysts but they are really small now. So if everything goes well we should be able to leave Minnesota on July 29th!  We are praising God for this good news and for His healing. It is wonderful that the cysts almost disappeared even though Miriam was not able to take any medication (because of the blood clotting disorder). We are really encouraged by that. It was hard feeling called to Ukraine and at the same time not being able to leave the States. But at the same time, we do see blessings that came from the time here in Minnesota.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers!

As most of you probably know, we are using our time here to prepare materials for the new school year. Please pray for God’s guidance in that too. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Missionaries Greet AFLC Annual Conference

The missionaries of the AFLC greeted the 2008 Annual Conference.
You can view their video greeting by starting the video below.

video

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Conference for Ugandan Pastor's a Great Blessing.

Uganda Pastors Thank you for your prayers for me and the pastors as we traveled to Nairobi by bus for the Eastern Africa Conference on Orality.  The travel was very good and we enjoyed our time together and the training we received.  The theme of the Conference was on how to use the stories from the Bible to teach in oral-based societies.   The training was very timely as we have been working to develop the curriculum that will be used for the training program set to begin in the fall. Sometimes our Western approach to education is not very effective on this side of the world.  Our goal for the upcoming training program is that those who come will be able to grasp the truths of God's Word and begin to live their lives in obedience to the Lord.  Telling stories is a very good method for teaching doctrine here, and it is also the way that Jesus taught.  The doctrine of justification, for example, is taught very effectively through the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14.  The story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), the wee little man, teaches very simply and clearly that Jesus loves people and wants them to be saved.  Again, the Conference was a tremendous blessing and I believe it will bear good fruit for the Kingdom of God in Uganda. 

Thanks for praying for Rhoda and the kids as well while I was gone.  They had a good time here and even survived the whole week with a rat in the house!  (It is dead now...)

Many blessings on all of you,
Nate & family

Latest Update on Eivind - from Jesse Long

Dear praying friends,

I am sure many of you are already aware of the accident that happened this past weekend but I want to share in some detail anyway, especially for those of you who may have not heard the news:

As I stated in my last update, this past weekend we had a bit of a motorcycle trip planned.  The weekend started with three friends making the 3-4 hour ride to our place in Mbulu from where they live in Arusha.  They were: Dan (retired Minnesota police officer), Eivind (MAF pilot stationed in Arusha – from Norway), and Ove (another Norwegian who has volunteered at Arusha’s Scripture Mission for this past year).  These three arrived on their motorcycles around 2pm on Friday, we had some lunch and then got on the road for what we estimated to be another 3 hour trip to the town of Katesh where our missionary friends live who we were all going to visit.  I should add at this point that between the five of us, Eivind is probably the most experienced motorcycle driver.  He has plans to ride from Tanzania to Ethiopia with his cousin this Christmas.

About an hour and a half into the trip, Eivind was leading, and as he had probably already done a hundred times on this leg of the trip, he came up behind a bicyclist traveling the same direction.  Since here in Tanzania we drive on the left-hand side of the road, Eivind went to pass this bicyclist (who was driving right down the middle of the road) on the right.  Thankfully, since we were entering a village center area, we were only going about 35-40 Km/h.  When the bicyclist heard Eivind approaching from behind him, he made a sudden turn for the right side of the road putting himself directly in Eivind’s path of travel.  To be honest, it is only the mercy of God that this has not happened already to any one of us as bicyclists around here often have no clue what side of the road they are supposed to be on and regularly make sudden and unexpected maneuvers without looking just as this young man did.  Well, this time there was no way to avoid the collision.  Fortunately, due to our reduced speed at the time, the bicyclist was not terribly hurt other than some cuts on his head and a few bruises.  Furthermore, both would have walked away except for a big rock that Eivind’s head was rammed into after wiping out.  The rest of us, after removing his motorcycle, found him totally unconscious and bleeding from a cut on his face.  I tell you there is nothing quite like an incident like this to impress on a motorcyclist the importance of good safety equipment all of which Eivind was using and without which he would be dead.

As things ended up, he began talking/moaning after about 4 minutes of being totally unconscious.  He was actually coherent enough to tell us to remove his helmet and give him some water.  Up to this point we had been afraid to move him at all incase he had severe back or neck injury.  When he “came to”, however, he was moving around quite a bit on his own but obviously in extreme pain.  We were happy to see him move his left foot when asked to do so and also squeeze my hand.  From that point, his coherence only decreased.  We loaded him up on a passing truck and took him about half a kilometer to a local clinic.  They were not equipped at all for such an incident so an ambulance was immediately called from a large hospital about an hour and a half away.  It was a sobering hour and a half as we cradled his head, tried to comfort him when he cried out, and basically tried to keep him from moving around.  When the “ambulance” (Land Cruiser with no back seats) arrived, we loaded him up and decided that Dan would go with him.  The remaining three of us now had five motorcycles to deal with as well as 5 people’s bags.  The people in charge of this clinic agreed to let us store Dan and Eivind’s bikes over night so that we could get everything sorted out.  Then Ben, Ove, and I took all the bags to a town about 30 minutes away where we checked in at a guest house for the night.  The next morning, we went to see Eivind at the hospital where they were preparing him for an airlift to Nairobi, Kenya.  It was so good to see him doing better.  In fact, he was speaking quite clearly even though he was still quite confused.  The doctors (all Norwegians and good friends of Eivind) told us that they had done x-rays, C.T. scans, and ultrasounds but had not seen anything to be too concerned about.  You have to know Eivind.  He is a young guy (my age) who loves his job as a missionary pilot in Africa.  Apparently, when he became coherent enough to somewhat understand what had happened, the doctors told him that he could be taken to Nairobi or even back to Norway if he wanted.  Eivind said he wanted to stay in Africa because “going back to Norway would be boring.”

Upon his arrival in Nairobi, they apparently did find a small fracture in his neck but I am under the impression that he continues to heal well.  I called him on his cell phone yesterday and was thrilled when Eivind answered it himself.  Please continue to pray for him as he will be dealing not only with the physical recovery but with the psychological impact of the incident as well.  In fact, when we saw him on Saturday he was already saying things like, “I’m such an amateur” and “I shouldn’t have been going so fast with people and bicycles around” (even though I don’t think he remembers a thing).

I didn’t mean for this to get so long but wanted to fill in some of the gaps for those of you who had heard bits and pieces and give the complete picture for those who are now hearing about all this for the first time.  The rest of us are doing well and actually continued on with our plans for the weekend after seeing Eivind off to Nairobi and getting his motorcycle to a friends house.  Thank you so much to those of you who received word of this incident early and have already been praying for Eivind for days.  It is all a very clear reminder of the uncertainty of life.  Things can change without a moments notice.  What a blessing to know that despite all this, God is in control and always does what is best for His children.

Ben and I are now wrapping up our final week for this year here at Waama.  On Monday, we will be going by motorcycle to Arusha where we will fly out of on the 3rd.  We appreciate your continuing prayers…

Serving Him,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Monday, June 23, 2008

Read Darwin Jackson's Current Newsletter

darwin jackson 2 Darwin works with our two churches across the border in Nogales, Sonora.  One is in the colonia of Buenas Aires and the other in Mascarenas.  Buenas Aires has an excellent pastor and teacher.  He's been pastoring this church for 18 years and announced on Wednesday that he will teach from an Old Testament book for the first time.  The congregation is in for an adventure. . .

To read the entire newsletter click here.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Paul Abel's Current Newsletter

Nair About eight years ago Nair became a Christian. She realized the sins of her past and her need for a Savior and became a new creature in Christ and faithful member of our church. At the time her four children – Walkiria, Wildner, Dennis and David – were teenagers. Their home was quite dysfunctional and each one of the kids eventually had . . .

To read the complete newsletter click here.

Thank You for Praying

Thank you everyone for your prayers for Eivind.

Jesse called from Tanzania with an update:

Eivind was ambulanced to a hospital an hour and a half from the accident site.  By phone the other three have been notified that he is coherent and talking, so we are very thankful for these initial signs of recovery.  Thanks so much for the prayers.

(Here are a few additional details:  The young man had full road gear on, including a helmet.  It was just an unusual accident.  The motorcycle is fine.  Jesse, Ben, and the other missionary are staying in the location where the accident took place since it is night now.  They will travel to the hospital tomorrow.)

Blessings.

Pastor Rick

Read Jonathan Abel's Current Newsletter

JJonathan helped ordain and install two national pastors in Campo Grande. It was a transition point and Praise the Lord for the Christian maturity that accompanied it. The work there has continued to do well, so we see God’s hand in that! . . .

To view complete newsletter click here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Accident in Tanzania - Please Pray

Jesse just called from Tanzania to inform us that, while he, Ben, and two other young missionaries were traveling together on their motorcycles, a bicyclist cut in from of one of them, causing an accident (7:00am this morning, Pacific Time).  One of these two other missionaries, Eivind, received a serious head injury.  He has been taken to a clinic and is only moaning in an unconscious state.

Please pray for Eivind’s healing and appropriate care, as well as for peace and wisdom for Jesse, Ben, and the other young man.

Thanks so much.

Rick Long

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ugandan Pastors Attend Conference

Uganda Pastors Studying Nate & the pastors left for Kenya by bus early this morning. Please pray for safe travel for them, as well as a wonderful time at the conference this week. Nate was quite excited for this extended time with the pastors. They will return late Friday night. I would appreciate prayer for the kids and me back at home as well. We don't plan to do much while Daddy is gone - just staying home and reading lots of books. :) We are all currently healthy. Thanks for your prayers!

Please also pray for our house helper, Irene. She missed work all last week as she was caring for a cousin who was very ill. Her main symptom was vomiting blood. She is currently stable, but we would still appreciate prayer for her as whatever she has is quite serious. Another cousin recently died from the same illness. Irene has been a wonderful help to us for a year now, but will be leaving us in the next few months to get married and move away. We will need to find someone to replace her. Would you pray with us that God would lead us to the right person? 

Hannas Baptism We were so encouraged by Pastor Craig Johnson while he was here a few weeks ago. He was able to visit a few of the pastors in their homes, as well as to teach & preach on several occasions. He gave a wonderful message for Hannah's baptismal service about the importance of ministering to our families. Please check out our blog site (jorenews.blogspot.com) for pictures of Hannah's special day.

Thank you so much for your prayers!
Many blessings,
Rhoda & family

Greetings from East Africa

Jesus Film Well, final exams for the year are now over here at Waama and everyone is breathing easier.  In fact, Ben and I have also corrected the finals we were responsible for and returned them to the students.  Now, it is just a matter of score summaries being calculated and other preparations being made for graduation on the 29th.

While these days have been more challenging than normal for the students, they have been somewhat less stressful for the teaching staff.  I have even had some time to begin re-reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as well as start a book by Dr. Don Bierle called Surprised by Faith.  If you are looking for a book to read, I would recommend either one of these.  With the extra flexibility in our schedule lately, we have also been able to take advantage of a few opportunities to play volleyball in addition to the normal recreation schedule here at the school.  This past week we played a couple times down at the village center.  We always appreciate these types of opportunities as it provides for interaction with new people in a non-religious setting.  Several weeks ago, we were also invited to do a couple hours of coaching for students interested in volleyball at a nearby high school.  Some of the students from there come and play here on our campus occasionally so it was fun to interact with them in their environment and also get to know some of their friends.

Our last weekend of ministry for this term was a blessing (June 6th-8th).  We were able to travel with six of this year’s students who are all from that area, meet some of their family members, and visit two of the home churches represented among them.  Between the 2 showings that we were able to do that weekend, we estimate around 600 people were able to see the Jesus film.  We were also able to give several messages not only during a seminar on Saturday but also in the service on Sunday.  The area where we were on Sunday, was surrounded by a very large wheat farm owned by a company out of India.  So, before going to church on Sunday, we went to visit the manager of this farm (who is from India) since “we were in his jurisdiction”.  What a blessing to find out that he was a brother in Christ and very vocal about all that God has done in his life.  He even seeks to reach even those that work for him by giving them Bibles and sharing the Gospel in other ways.

This coming weekend, we will be taking a motorcycle trip with two friends (one Norwegian and one American) to visit a Norwegian missionary couple about 2 ½ hours from us.  During the weekend, we will also get to go out with them and participate in their evangelism ministry to the Datooga people which, like ours (to the Iraqw people), is largely accomplished through film ministry.

The weekend following (June 29th), will be graduation weekend here at the school.  Thank you for your prayers as this day approaches and we spend the coming days working on the harvest and making other preparations.  I hope in the next couple months to be able to share with many of you in person more of what God has done here in Tanzania in this past year.  Thank you once again for your part in this ministry over the past 10 months.  God bless you all.  Hope to see you soon!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dan and Debbie Giles Honored

Giles Dan and Debbie Giles were honored this week at the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations Annual Conference.  The Giles have resigned as AFLC missionaries to care for Dan's aging parents. 

The Giles have spent most of their adult life as missionaries first with World Mission Prayer League and then the last twenty three years with the AFLC.  During the time with the AFLC the Giles worked in Mexico starting churches in Aguascalientes and Jerez.  They translated the Ambassador Sunday School material in to Spanish offering it free of charge over the internet.

At the Women's Missionary Federation service on Wednesday the Giles were honored and a reception followed the service.  Our prayers go with the Giles as they enter this new phase of their life.

Ingrid Giles - Mexico

Ingrid Bible Study Wow, June is half gone!  It has been raining here the last week or so.  I hear that those of you who live in the Midwest have gotten a lot of rain as well!

My parents came to visit in the last week of May, and I think they enjoyed spending time with their granddaughters.  They were also here for my thirtieth birthday, which was very nice for me.  On the Sunday that they were here, we had a big party for them after church.  Many people from Aguascalientes (where they had worked for many years before they moved to Jerez) came to see them, and overall we felt that the party was a success.

I will spend the month of July in San Luis Potosí, helping teach a linguistics course through SIL at the University of San Luis Potosí (UASLP).  I am looking forward to it.  June is just racing by as I prepare for that and continue to translate at the same time! 

Please continue to hold up Claudia Arcos and her four children in your prayers.  She is continuing to grow spiritually and it is good to see, even though she is going through a prolonged time of difficulty.

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

  • Pray for my continued health.
  • Pray that women would come to the Thursday Bible Study.
  • 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 for God's guidance for me and the World Missions Committee as I continue the process of applying to be a full-term missionary.
  • 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 and superintendent.
  • 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.
  • For my trip to San Luis Potosi in July:
    • That God would help me prepare during the rest of June.
    • That God would protect us on the trip and bless us.  (Danny and Marcela will drive me.)
    • That I would be a blessing to the Villareal family, with whom I will be staying; to Laura Gittlen, the professor with whom I will be working; and to the students.
    • That I would be able to visit with my friend Brenda, a Mexican missionary who will be there to take the advanced course before leaving for China.
    • That I would do a good job, accomplish the purpose for which God is sending me there and learn some things in the process!

Thank you (praise):

  • I have been healthy.
  • Claudia Arcos is continuing to seek God and follow Him, and she has grown a lot spiritually.
  • Nena is trying to follow God.
  • God has provided our needs in unexpected ways, as well as some hoped-for ways! 
  • I get to live with Daniel, Marcela, Ari and Andi, and see them every day!
  • We were blessed by my parents' visit a couple of weeks ago.
  • So many people came from Aguascalientes to honor my parents while they were here.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Giles

Update from Chmiels

clip_image002We hope most of you received our newsletter last week. Some of you already told us that you will be praying for the prayer requests we mentioned in our letter. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! We are so blessed to have you!

Here are two more things to pray for:

1. As you know, we are still in the States, because Miriam is still having problems with cysts and so far our doctor did not want to give her any medication because she was afraid that hormonal treatment for cysts could again cause a blood clot. Last week Miriam had some blood tests done and the plan was to start treatment for the cysts this week if all the tests come back negative (negative=good). We were really looking forward to that because for the last couple of months we have felt “stuck” in so many ways and we were hoping that now things would finally start moving towards Miriam feeling better, our going back to the ministry in Ukraine, and just having kind of a “more normal” life again... . They did ten different tests and when the first nine came back all good, we felt like finally, in a long time, we were getting some good news. But then test results number 10 came back and our doctor told us that Miriam has Factor V Leiden, which is a clotting disorder caused by a gene mutation in clotting factor V. As a result, people with this disorder have an increased risk of blood clots. We are not sure what exactly this means for the future but we know that right now Miriam is not getting any of the medication for the cysts that we hoped she would. We have no idea what is going to happen next or how long it is going to take for the cysts to disappear on their own. Please pray for us. Pray that God would help us deal with disappointments...

2. This next prayer request is also a praise. Yesterday a Retreat for Pastor's and their wives started in the city of Mukachevo (about three hours south of Lviv – close to Slovakia and Hungary). This is the very first retreat of this kind to ever take place in the German Lutheran church body. We think it is a miracle that there are two American pastors doing the teaching! The connection is through EEMN but we are still not sure how it happened that the German bishop and German pastors agreed to this. It is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships and trust and we believe that if everything goes well this week, it will open more doors even for us and our ministry within the German Lutheran church. So please pray for everyone involved!! Besides other things, you can also pray for clear communication as there are at least four languages involved (German, English, Ukrainian and Russian) and everything is being translated back and forth.

We are so thankful for all of you who faithfully support us in your prayers. We are also thankful for the encouragement God is providing for us through His Word. We are reading through the whole Bible for our devotions and we believe that it is not a coincidence that right now we are reading in Esther and Job. It was so encouraging to see how God had Esther become the queen at exactly the right time. And how Mordecai “just happened” to learn about a plot against the king (and warned him) and then later the king “just happened” to read about this on the very same night Haman was planning to have Mordecai killed… The book of Esther is such a great reminder of God’s sovereignty and His care for His people. And then the book of Job deals with so many of the same questions we are sometimes asking. Sometimes we too, same as Job’s friends, are wondering, “what are we doing wrong that all these things are happening”?

We also wanted to remind you that our new phone number is (763) 202-4130. If we do not answer, please leave a message! We will get back to you!

For more pictures, click here: http://www.chmiels.com/gallery/away_from_Ukraine/?g2_page=16 (If you think you have already seen those pictures, just click on “next”)

Thank you for your friendship. God bless you!

Tomasz and Miriam

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Darwin Jackson's Prayer Requests


"Prayer plumes the wings of God's young eaglets so that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer brings inner strength to God's warriors and sends them forth to spiritual battle with their muscles firm and their armor in place." C. H. Spurgeon

Gracie Thanks for praying for Gracie and I as we flew to Wisconsin and back. She is a real "warrior." We borrowed car to get there from Minneapolis. But we got lost in Wisconsin somewhere in the county I's and H's. I was pretty frustrated when Gracie says, "Dad, why don't we pray?" So she led us and not five minutes later we were pulled over by a deputy sheriff, she walked up to us and asked, "are you guys lost?" and she led us all the way to Hunky Dory. (The picture is of  Gracie playing baseball.)

We had a great time there, and are very encouraged by the Jacobson's and the Anderson's joining us in Mexico in August (although they'll be studying Spanish in Mazatlan).

Today in Buenos Aires we visited with a mom who invited us back to share with her son. He gets stitches out this we from being stabbed with a knife. She is really afraid for him. Pray for Catalina and her son that we may be able to lead them both to Christ. Also for Maria who is studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses. She has only been studying for four months, but several of her family have switched, including her uncle, who was a Catholic priest.

Pray also for Saul, a young man who comes to our congregation sometimes. I asked if he'd join us on our visits (this would be for his own conversion and preparation as well as to win others). He seemed to take me seriously.

Thank you all again for praying as we "mounted above the clouds," we definitely received inner strength for spiritual battle.

Your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

Friday, June 06, 2008

Chmiel's Current Newsletter Available

Chmiels NewsletterTomasz and Miriam Chmiel's Spring newsletter has just been posted on our web site.  To read it in PDF format click here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Update from Paul & Becky Abel

Paul Abels Guess what?  We are back in the U.S. for a few weeks, enjoying time with our two sons and parents and other family members and friends.  After flying and saving miles for several years, we accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to make a trip to the States for our vacation this year. 

We arrived in time for the AFLBS choir concert on May 16.  It was a joy to hear Andrew sing, to meet his friends, and to see many of our dear friends as well.  We have also enjoyed meeting the four young people who are traveling with him this summer on the Ambassador team.  Tonight we will hear their first full concert in Cokato, MN.  We are very thankful for this great opportunity for Andrew! 

Becky & Matthew That first weekend we arrived we also drove up to Fergus Falls to see Matthew as Bert (see photo) in the school production of “Mary Poppins.”  He did a fantastic job and entertained us all!  The next weekend he graduated with honors from Hillcrest Academy, the last of our four children to graduate from this fine school.  We also enjoyed his choir concert and the other special events of the weekend.  Many people joined us to congratulate Matthew and celebrate with him at a Grad Party at Calvary Lutheran. 

We spent a few days in Hitterdal with the Abel clan and that was fun, too.  This week we have been with my folks in Northfield, MN, catching up on mission business.  But, tomorrow we hope to head for the lake and get some R&R before returning to our crazy life in Brazil.  Hope we can actually “turn off” a bit and get renewed so that we can joyfully return to our mission work.

The month of April and the first part of May slipped by in such a hurry that I failed to find time to write an update.  We were all-consumed with ministry responsibilities and preparing to be gone for a month. We said good-byes to our niece and nephew and Paul’s folks who had been with us for over three months.  We had several funerals and a couple of weddings. Plus we spent a good deal of our time and energy and prayer helping a dear Christian gal and her two children find protection from her abusive husband. Threatening phone calls at all hours of the day or night, trips to the police station, visits with lawyers and fearful confrontations were part of our life for a few weeks.  In the end we did not get enough legal help to safely remove her from the situation, and she ended up returning for the time being.  Our life sometimes resembles a melodrama, and most of the time our lines have not been prepared for us.  On many occasions we have depended on God’s promise that “in that very hour” He would “give us the right words to speak.”

  • Pray for our church in Campo Largo under the leadership of pastor Nilson while we are away.

  • Pray for the São Braz church as they continue to be without a pastor. 

  • Pray for Pastor Jaime and Maristela as they work on their marriage relationship.

  • Pray for pastors and Christian leaders everywhere, that they may be encouraged in their work and personal spiritual life, and that they would stand strong in the time of temptation.

  • Pray for the Ambassador team and other Bible School teams as they minster during the summer.

  • Pray for our time of rest and renewal.

Thanks – we appreciate you! 

Love, Paul and Becky

Monday, June 02, 2008

Giles Newsletter

Giles Prayer Letter Below is a excerpt from Danny Giles current prayer letter. 

Click here to request his, or any missionaries prayer letter in its entirety.

What is God doing in Jerez, Zacatecas?

You may have heard of a young man in our youth group named Luis Guillermo, aka “Memo”. He has done a great deal of “growing” spiritually this couple of weeks. He and his family have been through a lot. For a couple years he was very depressed but thankfully he is over it. He also plans to go to AFLBS when he is done with High School in two years so he is practicing his English.  He is also the assistant leader for the youth group.

Update from Ben Jore

Qamday Greetings in Jesus' name! There is not even one month left until Waama graduation! No matter how many times I say it, I still have no clue where all the time goes. Third term is rapidly coming to an end and with it our 2nd year in Tanzania. It has been a good semester and a very good year. We have formed friendships with many of our students and had the chance to minister in many of their villages. We trust that our investment into their lives will pay dividends when they return to serve at their home churches, most of them as lay pastors.

For the most part, this semester has been pretty normal: preparing for classes, teaching, and going on evangelistic trips on the weekends. This semester I thoroughly enjoying teaching my Bible class - Daniel. I love digging into some of the "Sunday School stories" and watching the students light up as they discover new truths from the same old stories.
My other classes (Guitar, English, Computer, and Sight Singing) are going well also.

Our weekend ministry is also coming to a close for this school year. In fact, this weekend (June 6-8) is our last scheduled evangelistic trip for the school year. During this time we have two Jesus Film showings planned, a seminar to teach on Saturday afternoon, and the sermon slot on Sunday morning. This has become a typical schedule for our weekends.
It gets to be tiring, but it is also very rewarding to meet with people on the ground and have the opportunity to teach them from God's Word.

We had a visitor this semester which was a nice change of pace. Pastor Craig Johnson from Astoria, OR (Jesse's pastor before coming to Africa) came to visit for a week (May 21-29). During that time we were able to go on a weekend ministry trip - showing the Jesus Film twice, teaching a seminar, and preaching Sunday morning. We were also able to do some sightseeing which included visiting some nearby waterfalls and going on a safari. Following our great week together he continued onto Uganda for a week to see the AFLC work there. He will return to the US tomorrow (June 3).

As for our schedule, finals are scheduled for June 12-14 and graduation will be June 29. Jesse will be leaving for the US on July 3 where he will stay for the duration of our summer break. Unfortunately, I will not be returning to the US this summer. I will go Brazil on July 3 for about one and a half months. During this time I will visit my parents and little brother and hopefully see some of the places where I spent my childhood. After my time in Brazil, I am planning on returning to East Africa and staying in Uganda for about 4 weeks with my brother Nate and his family. In late September, Jesse and I will return to Tanzania in preparation for the new school year here at Waama which will start at the beginning of October.

Thanks for your part in this ministry through prayer, support, and encouragement. If you haven't had a chance to check out our blog recently, please check it out. We try to keep it updated with current pictures of our ministry here - http://benandjesse.blogspot.com

A few things to praise God for...

  • safety - from our weekend ministry travels, to running around on our motorcycles, to Pastor Craig's safe travels, to protection from thieves.
  • another good year of ministry coming to a close.
  • His direction for this summer and next year as well.

A few things to pray for...

  • the students as they take their finals (a terrifying experience for most of them), graduate, and return to their homes, families, and ministries.
  • Pastor Craig's trip tomorrow.
  • Jesse and my travels next month and a refreshing time in the US and Brazil respectively.
  • Waama as it is still learning to spread its wings and fly (since the founding mission finished turning it over to the Lutheran church in 2004).

May God bless you,

Ben

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Darwin Jackson busy in Mexico

"If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ." C. H. Spurgeon

Alfonso Alfonso and I had an exiting time last Sunday as we made our rounds in Buenos Aires. He was especially filled with grace as he shared his testimony of the previous day. He was walking to the store when he became dizzy and passed out. Some guys helped him up, and through a series of events made it to the hospital. He waited for a long time to be seen, he said he spoke to five doctors who all said they were too busy to see him yet. So he finally put his head between his knees and prayed. "I asked God for forgiveness of my sins, thanked Him for His Son, and that if He wanted to take me now, I'm ready to go." He said he opened his eyes, felt his chest, he never felt better, and walked out praising the Lord. Pray for that heart and pace maker of his.

We went by Carina's house, she was making breakfast so we didn't spend much time, just encouraged her to bring her family. We were blessed when she and her family did come. She came foreword for prayer afterward.

We spoke with a mom by the name of Norma. As we were sharing, I noticed her husband over working on the car. I asked if she would call him over, for it would be more respectful to talk to the head of the house about these things. She reluctantly called him (I guess thinking he wouldn't want to talk "religion"), and he invited us in and we had a good talk with him. He genuinely seemed hungry for the things of Christ. Do pray for Fransisco and Norma and family.

I preach tomorrow at Buenos Aires for pastor Antonio. Thank you for praying for the service at the rescue mission on Thursday. It was almost a full house and seems to be growing.

Gracie and I will be flying to Minneapolis on Tuesday, then on to Hunky Dory on Wednesday.  We'll be meeting some with our fellow workers to Mexico and some new folks that are preparing to come. We'll be there until Saturday.
Thank you all for praying in that "loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ."

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