Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ministry in Full Swing in Lviv!

Greetings from the cold city of Lviv! It’s been a little over a month since we came back to Ukraine. A lot has happened this month. We officially started ministry with the youth in the Lviv congregation. It is a lot of work as we create our own curriculum based on the needs we see in our group. And because we do not use a translator, that means a lot of extra preparation. But we are very much enjoying this ministry and every time we see the students truly interested in the things of God, that is a huge reward for all the effort.

If any of you would like to pray for the students by name, let us introduce you to them…

Lviv 1The oldest girls (from left to right):
Beata (15 years old)

Yulia (16 years old)

Ira (16 years old)



Lviv 2Guys (on the left side of the table, from left to right):

Slavik (16 years old)

Pavlik (15 years old)

Dima (15 years old)

Oleh (15 years old)

Kostya (14 years old)


Lviv 3And four more girls…

Katya (14 years old) – on the very right

Sofia (almost 7 years old) – in front of Miriam

Diana (8 years old) – on the left

Yulia (7 years old) – we don’t have a picture of her…

Our ministry is geared toward the 14, 15 and 16-year-olds. The three younger girls come when their siblings or relatives bring them. But so far they have not been a problem and especially Diana is very good about doing everything with the “big kids” and even brings some extra enthusiasm to the group J

Our main desire in this ministry is to help our students have a personal relationship with God and it is really on our hearts to encourage them to get to know Him through getting to know His Word.

We are memorizing Psalm 119:9-11 together as a group  (it is Psalm 118 in the Ukrainian and Russian Bibles): How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not years old me wander from Your commandments.  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

You can join us in reciting these verses in Ukrainian at http://picasaweb.google.com/chmiels05/NovySkolniRokVeLvove#5251164806110742162 :-)

We also got each of the students their very own Bible. Now they are learning to read their Bibles at home, mark verses that speak to them, bring their Bibles to church, use them in Youth Group… It is a very foreign concept for most of them as they are used to each family having one “Family Bible” sitting on a shelf somewhere at home. Even one of the moms asked us why her sons needed their own Bibles when there was one Bible already available in the house.

Please pray that by God’s grace these students would grow in their love for God and His Word!

Lviv 4

If you would like to see more pictures, check out our gallery at http://www.chmiels.com/gallery

Last week Tomasz also went to Odesa for a Pastor’s conference. It was good for him to meet the other pastors working with the German Lutheran church here in Ukraine and it was good for him to see how things work at the headquarters. But the problem is that Odesa is more than 12 hours away from where we live so each conference takes us away from the ministry in Lviv for at least four or five days. And that is a lot! Especially when you think that these conferences happen almost every six weeks… So we are praying for wisdom to know what to do. We really do not want to be unavailable in Lviv this often. 

Two pictures from the conference…

 Lviv 6

Lviv 5Thank you so much to all of you who are praying for us! We appreciate you very much!


Tomasz and Miriam

Website: http://www.chmiels.com Pictures: http://www.chmiels.com/gallery
mrtom15 (Tomasz), miriam.chmiel (Miriam)   
Our worldwide phone number: +1(763)202-4130

Friday, September 26, 2008

Update on Violence Against Christians in India

India - Introduction It is true that much violence on Christians is going on in India. The Hindu militant groups have planned to kill Christians where they are minority. If there is a very small Christian group in a village the VHP or Bhajarangadal groups are attacking them. It is happening all over India. Particularly in Orrissa state the Christians are minority. Hundreds of people were attacked and many of them were killed unauthorized count was about 200. And hundreds of houses of Christians were demolished.

Many local pastors ran away and escaped into near by forests to save their lives. As the government of Orissa is not protecting local pastors, they many not come back to their villages at this movement. And moreover we do not know what is happening to these pastors and where they are hiding to save their lives.

So far the government of Orissa has kept 15000 refugees in camps. Many Christian Charitable organizations want to support these people however their support can not be reached at this movement as the Hindu militant groups are also attacking these organizations.

Our neighboring state Karnataka is also having the same problem. These militant groups started attacking churches in this state. So we are afraid that the violence on Christians may spread quickly in many parts of India.

Last month one RCM priest was killed in Andhra Pradesh. We suspect that some Hindu groups killed this priest.

So all pastors in Andhra Pradesh irrespective of denominations are forming unions to protect ourselves. I have been elected as vice-president of the pastors and evangelists of Prakasam district. In this union there are 2060 pastors enrolled from through out Prakasam district. Like wise there are district pastors' unions have been formed to protect our selves in Andhra Pradesh.

So far we do not have any problem in our state Andhra Pradesh. Our chief minister is a converted Christian and moreover the congress government in Andhra Pradesh supports Christians. However, we do not believe man's support, our Lord is great and He promised that "I will not leave you nor forsake you"

All our churches have been praying for the Christians who have been attacked. Please pray that our Lord would take control over the situation in India.

In Christ,


Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Power of Prayer - Uganda

Uncle Benny

My time here in Uganda is drawing to a close and in a couple of weeks I'll be back in Tanzania teaching at Waama. My summer break has been wonderful with six weeks in Brazil with my parents and little brother and now five weeks in Uganda with my brother Nate and his family. Though it has been a great time to rest and recharge, a lot of work has also been done. I helped install solar water heaters in both my parents' new house and Nate and Rhoda's, fix a bunch of odds and ends, and put in some time in Nate's yard and garden. On the spiritual side of things I was privileged to lead the Wycliffe missionaries in Brazil through six Bible Studies on the book of Daniel. Here in Uganda the main ministry has been showing the Jesus Film. We showed the Jesus Film in 7 different villages and once in a prison for a total of about 3300 people! We got rained out of a 9th showing.

I've heard it said that when people pray, coincidences happen. During our Film showings, we definitely saw a lot of "coincidences". During the rainy season in Uganda it rains almost every day. During almost all of our showings there were huge rain clouds and lightning, but only once did we get rained out... and that was the only place where the local believers had not been notified and therefore were not praying for the showing. In every other case God answered our prayers and kept the rain away (even though we had more than a couple sprinkles). In many cases we had strange things happen like the generator cutting out mysteriously, a flat tire that delayed our departure to one showing, abnormally strong winds, and the projector going on the blitz. All of these can be explained by natural causes, but we were sure that there was a battle going on and through prayer, "coincidences" happened and we were able to keep showing.

ChrisLet me tell you about when we showed at Namagera on August 31. Chris, one of the Ugandan pastors Nate works with, is from that area. He told us before we left that a couple different groups had tried to show the film in that area but all had failed. Some due to technical problems, some due to the weather. Chris understood these as spiritual attacks and did not take our attempt lightly. The week prior to our scheduled showing, Chris organized all the pastors of the area to pray for the showing (this is no small feat). When the day finally came, Chris decided to show it right in the center of the village beside the main road. After arriving and starting to set up, we noticed a huge storm brewing and heading our way. We set up the equipment and had a quick word of prayer before we fired up the generator. Everything started just fine and we started with some local music videos to draw a crowd. The crowd came and so did the storm. We prayed hard that the rain would leave and we kept showing. Then someone tripped on a power cord and unplugged everything. I quickly ran over to the generator and plugged everything back in and went to turn on the projector. Our projector has three little green lights to indicate that when the machine, bulb, and fan are on. When I got to the projector only the power light and the bulb light were on... and they were red. I have never seen that before but when the machine didn't start up I knew something was wrong. I indicated to Nate that we had a problem and he and Chris started praying. I said a quick prayer myself and turned in on again and it fired right up! Even though the storm threatened the whole time, we were able to show the entire Film to about 900 people without further problems. Since that time Chris has reported leading a number of people to the Lord and another one of the pastors has commented on better attended Sunday services since that time. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness!

On Sunday I will jump on the overnight bus through Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania. On Tuesday Jesse arrives from the US. We will spend a few days in Arusha and then head back to Waama for the start of our third year there. We recently found out that we have a new dean at Waama! His name is Pastor Zakaria Dallei. He is a solid Christian man who was actually the one who first invited me to go to Tanzania. Pray for him as he leads the school during some tough times for the school (all the staff are owed about one year's salary but there is no evidence that they will receive it any time soon). We are excited to start another school year and look forward to see the ministry God has in store for us.

Praise the Lord for...
...the many successful Jesus Film showings in Uganda! Our God is Great!
...summer vacation - a time of much needed recharging.
...calling Jesse and I to Tanzania for another year.

Please pray for...
...the many people who saw the Jesus Film and the many Christians who are doing follow-up work.
...Pastor Dallei as the new dean of Waama and the rest of the staff as well.
...the upcoming teaching and Jesus Film ministry before Jesse and I as we return to Tanzania.

A heart-felt thanks to all of you who intercede for us and the ministry.
I trust the story above has encouraged you to prayer. We can't do it without you. May God bless you,


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Life and Job of Linda Haabak

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Linda Haabak is an AFLC member and graduate of AFLBS.  She serves as support staff for Wycliffe and is based in the US.

Here’s an idea of what my days are like here in my home workspace.  The telephone and computer are my main tools.

I’ve been limping along a little bit with slight anemia, but have managed to record over 100 contacts in our database this quarter.  Most of them were contacts with recruits although some were internal correspondence with other recruiters, etc.  And some were attempts to contact folks who are (apparently) no longer interested in Wycliffe.  I’ve closed more than a few records either by their request, for lack of response, or because we no longer had valid address info for the person.

We have five new recruiters in the Southwest.  One of them is a Chinese woman who inherited our outgoing Chinese recruiter’s records.  I have been passing records to the two couples who are newly on board.  I am happy to be over the main training and certification process for these five.  They are all doing well and need just a little tutoring once in a while now.

It has been just over two years since we began using our current database.  There was a huge learning curve for all of us, but things are going pretty well for us all now here in the Southwest.  I’ve been told more than once that we have the cleanest data in the nation.  Part of that is the result of deliberate attempts to fix messes that came over from the old database or from errors while getting used to the new database.  I think a lot of the rest happened because I tried to make sure the recruiters understood why they had to do things in a certain way in the database.  Memorizing key strokes without understanding is just too difficult!

Another part of my job is to distribute new contacts to our recruiters, especially those contacts who have filled out the first-step-toward-membership form on our website.  We haven’t been getting very many of those lately.  It has picked up a little now that the summer is over, but we need many more people to join us if we are going to reach our Vision 2025 goal—to see a Bible translation program in progress in every language still needing one by 2025.  Would you join me in praying that each of us recruiters in the Southwest would process at least 10 people to the Applicant stage within the next year?

The first (and so far only) couple I helped along the way to membership is now preparing to leave for their assignment as translators for the K people (in a sensitive area).  Their training is over and they are visiting partners and potential partners as they are trying to complete their prayer and financial support team so they can move overseas in the next month or two.  Please pray for Mac and Erika and their two children as they complete their preparations physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually, and as they proceed to their new home and ministry.  And pray that there will be an openness to the Gospel among the K people so that many will turn from other religions to know the true God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

How many languages still need the Word?  The number currently stands at less than 2,251 language groups that have no Bible translation program started yet.  Thanks for your prayers and for your partnership in Bible translation!



Monday, September 15, 2008

Jesus Film Update

Hello Friends,

Jesus Video Thank you for your prayers for the Jesus Film showings that we have been holding for the past three weekends.  I want to share with you one story from this past weekend.  On Friday we traveled to the village of Bulopa to show the film.  It threatened to rain and the wind was making our screen (a king-size white sheet on a 1 1/2" PVC pipe frame) look like a sail but it held off until after the film. 

Martin The film finished around 9:30pm and after dismissing the crowd and packing up the equipment we drove to the home where we were to spend the night.  The head of the home was an old man who had four wives and 32 children (28 living).  He was a nominal Catholic, but was openly opposed to Jesus.  One of his daughters had been demon-possessed and he had refused to allow her to be taken to the Christian pastors but insisted on taking her to the witch doctors.  Florence, another of his daughters, is a Christian, and she had made arrangements with her father for us to stay there.  She had been telling us how excited her father was for us to stay with them and that he was eager to see the Jesus Film.  He did not come to the showing in the village center as he was making preparations for our coming.  When we arrived he was very excited and was asking us to show the film again at his home.  After eating a big supper (at 10:30pm) we played the Jesus Film in his living room using a small, battery-powered DVD player.  The rest of us went to sleep while he and several family members watched the Jesus Film in their mother tongue, Lusoga.  The 2-hour film was finished at 1:30am, but instead of going to bed, they watched it a second time!  In the morning Pastor Martin was able to present him with a Bible.  The old man was praising God and was full of joy.  I asked Martin and others if the change that we saw in him was for real and they told me that indeed the change was genuine.  Please pray for this man and his family and for others who have been touched by the message of Christ.

IMG00023 On September 7th, Pastor William traveled to the US to begin his studies at the AFLC Seminary in Minneapolis.  It is a big transition for him as he adjusts to a new culture.  It is also a big adjustment for the Jinja congregation who is now without their pastor.  William's younger brother, Hudson, is taking over the main responsibility for the church while others are stepping in to help him.  (Photo of Pastors William Kireri (Uganda) and Nicholas at school in Minneapolis)

It has been a blessing to have brother Ben here for five weeks before he heads back to Tanzania again.  He has been a great blessing in our home (making pickles, fixing the car, installing a solar water heating system) and a great partner in the ministry.  He will be heading back to Tanzania the end of September.

Please pray for Elijah as he's had a high fever for the past few days. We took him to get tested for malaria yesterday, but thankfully it was negative.

Nate Jore

Friday, September 12, 2008

Update from Darwin Jacksons

P1010080Dear E-mail Prayer Partners
"Oh believing brethren! What an instrument is this which God hath put into your hands! Prayer moves Him that moves the universe." Robert Murray McCheyne

In spite of the fears in Nogales over the drug cartel wars,   but God has been blessing His word thanks to your prayers.

Sunday Alfonso and I had the opportunity to lead to men to Jesus, and they came to church. Pray for Jose and Alberto. That afternoon I went out to one of the camps with a group from a local Baptist church. They go out there every couple of months or so and liked the idea that I could follow up more often then they can. They worked with the kids, while I took the adults, all men, and praise God eight of them received the Lord Jesus. The camp was small, and very poor (as far as the living conditions) compared with those farther south where we worked before. It felt really good to be working with these folks again. I'll continue to go with our Baptist brethren so that I can learn where the camps are and begin to go in on my own as well. "Oh believing brethren! What an instrument is this which God hath put into your hands!"

Last night God showed me a 19 year old young man near our Buenos Aires congregation. While we sat on an old couch outside watching and listening to the rain pour down, he hear the best news ever and received Jesus as his Savior. And two men came foreword today at the rescue mission to publicly receive Jesus... what a week of blessings! "What an instrument is this which God hath put into your hands! Prayer moves Him that moves the universe."

Your Fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson

Jessica Pillman to Serve in Ghana


Jessica Pillman is an AFLC member and the daughter of Pastor Paul and  Josie Pillman.  She will be serving for a short time in Ghana.


I have often had close connections with various AFLC people besides of course the year I spent at Bible School.

Through a connection made via Ruthie Lee  I will be leaving on September 21st-December 6th to help out the David and Valerie Federwitz family who are working under Lutheran Bible Translators in Ghana.  They are recently back from furlough and Valerie is feeling overwhelmed with the task of setting up their house, starting school with the oldest of their  4 children who is 5 and the daily tasks that fill her days.  The organization of this trip has happened very quickly. 

I am  going under LBT.  I appreciate your prayers and especially your encouragement. 

Because of Jesus,
Jessica Pillman
Ps. 25:4,5

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pray for the Schierkolks

Jerez BoxDear praying friends,

Just a quick note to let you know about Samuel and his family.  There is a VERY good chance his daddy will be coming back to the family.  He's been up in the USA working for the last two years and has been going to church this last year.  Samuel's mom says her husband's thinking has changed.  But . . . they need to move for family reasons and we are hoping that they'll be able to move down to Aguascalientes where Pastor Ricardo and his family are.  Thank you so much for praying for this little guy's family.  I almost wanted to     jump and down for joy.  Their marriage only lacked one more nail in the coffin or maybe it was even worse than that.  We'll let you know when he's back.  Keep praying for them, please.

Also, sounds like the youth group mom that Marcela was going to visit with the other day didn't show up.  But we're very glad that she has the connection with her anyway.  Who knows what God will do in the future.

So grateful to you for bringing us before the throne of grace,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Latest Edition of Kvale Connection Available

Kvale Connection 1This journey has been an interesting one and we wouldn’t trade it for anything! To see God in it to will and to work for His good pleasure keeps our eyes on Jesus in this

As we sought the Lord and considered His specific call on us to serve in missions providing IT support, we were told that missions is not “easy”, that everyday is part of the training process as we pay attention to what God leads us in, and that sometimes
the track we’re on will seem very lonely but we are NOT alone. :) “The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.” Our train has not reached 100% yet but we are Hanging ON at 63, as you can see!! . . .

To view the entire newsletter click her or on graphic.

The Kvales are AFLC missionaries on loan to Wycliffe Bible Translators.

World Relief's Hurricane Response

Hurricane Responding

September 8, 2008

Hurricane Gustav 2Hurricanes Batter Haiti, Death Toll at 140: Survivors Need Your Help!

Mobilize your church!

Download bulletin inserts and PowerPoint slides here.

Order coin boxes at church@wr.org.

Fay, Gustav and Hanna have battered Haiti's coast, leaving scores of people dead in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  Predictions are that hurricanes Ike and Josephine may also head for Haiti, bringing even further devastation.
More than 140 have already been declared dead in Haiti.  Rescue workers, currently unable to reach the most affected areas, anticipate the death tolls to climb as cleanup efforts begin.  Read more...

Here's how you can act TODAY:

Pray:  Please pray for all those affected by Hurricane Gustav and Hanna.  Pray that churches and rescue groups respond to those in greatest need.  Pray for safety and protection for those living in the Caribbean and the Southeastern United States as Hurricanes Hanna, Ike, and Josephine prepare to hit over the next several days.  Ask the Lord to redirect these storms into the Atlantic away from places where people live.

Give:  Our ability to respond is dependent on you.  Every dollar you give provides a lifeline to people suffering from the hurricanes.  Please prayerfully consider how you and your church might respond during this time of great need.

Engage: Click here to track the progress of the storms.  Our website (www.worldrelief.org) will also provide updates about this crisis.  

Thank you, and God bless you for your faithful support during times of emergency.   

In Christ,

Kurt signature

Kurt B. Crays

National Director of Church Relations

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pray for the Work in Mexico

Children and teens We recently had a joint gathering with the adolescent group that we started and the youth group which Dan Giles Jr. is leading.  We had a great time together as the youth group kids led small group discussions for the younger ones.

Dan's wife, Marcela, has been able to make some good connections with two moms of kids from the youth group and is going to be getting together with them soon.  Please pray for her as she visits with them.  Also continue to pray for her and Dan as they minister to the youth group kids.

We're used to having kids drop out of the clubs around the time they start confirmation in the Catholic church but we were very sad recently to lose a boy named, Omar.  He had such a love for the stories and an open heart to God's love.  He came faithfully from further away than any of the other kids.  Please pray that God would guard his heart and keep him faithful to Jesus and His Word and that he would be blind and deaf to anything that would seek to pull him off of that path.  We'd sure like to see him come back.  He's old enough to be in the adolescent group, too.

Thanks so much for your prayers,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hindu - Christian Violence Reported in India

orissa There has been a great deal of violence toward Christians in the state of Orissa in recent days.  Orissa is the state immediately north of Andhra Pradesh where the AFLC ministers.  Please be in prayer for peace in this area so the Gospel can be effective.

Click of the photo to go to a Google News page with up to the minute news on this developing situation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Chmiels - Update from Ukraine

Chmiels Church

(Photo - This morning at church...   A lady telling Tomasz that she knows two boys from her neighborhood who would like to come to church if we work with the youth.)

Dear friends,

Greetings from Lviv!!!! Yes, we are finally back in Ukraine! After all those months of being away, it feels almost unreal being back in our own apartment.

It is great to be back with all our Ukrainian friends, with people from our church here in Lviv and with our missionary friends! Thank you so much for praying for us during the months when Miriam was sick and there was so much unknown in our lives. Your prayers mean a lot to us!

Many of you have been asking about our Ukrainian visa renewal that we were trying to do in Prague. Unfortunatelly we have to say that we were not successful :( After a lot of hassle, Pastor Gross finally had all the needed official documents for us and he faxed them to us in Prague. We brought these documents to the Ukrainian embassy in Prague (exactly like they told us to do couple of months ago) but when it was finally our turn to go in with our visa application forms, the consul told us that the rules had changed and from now on they only accept originals... There was no way for us to get those originals in time for us to apply again in Prague. So we came back to Ukraine anyways and we will again have to leave the country some time in October in order to get this visa renewal done.

If you would like to see some recent pictures, you can go to our gallery: http://www.chmiels.com/gallery/

We also wanted to ask you for prayers for this week. Tomasz is supposed to meet with pastor Bendus and they will be talking about what exactly is expected of us this school year and what ministries we should be responsible for. Please pray for wisdom and God’s guidance in this.

Thank you again for all your prayers and for keeping in touch. Just to remind you, our Twin Cities phone number still works so please feel free to call us any time: +1(763)202-4130

In Him,

Tomasz and Miriam

Pray for Jesus Film Ministry in Uganda

Jesus VideoWe are happy to have Nate's brother, Ben, visiting us now until the end of September when he will return to teach in Tanzania. He and Nate have a whole list of projects they'd like to do together while he's here - the one I'm most excited about is setting up a solar heating panel so that I can have hot water in my kitchen! Aside from their projects around our place, the guys will also be busy showing the Jesus Film on the weekends. Tonight is their 1st showing and it's being held in a village about an hour from our home. They'll spend the night there, preach in the morning, visit in the afternoon, and then show it again tomorrow night. They hope to show it twice each weekend for the next 3 weekends. Would you pray for them? Please pray too that many will come to know Jesus as they view the Gospel message! Thank you.

We are so grateful for your prayers.
Rhoda & family