Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas - Jesse Long

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christian love,


Mbulu, Tanzania

December - Darwin Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

Answers to Your Prayers

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

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Navamanie's - Christmas Greetings

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


Dear Friends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas Season,

ron, marsha and miriam navamanie

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



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Celebrating His Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Andy, Monica, Moriah & Isaiah

God is at Work - Ecuador

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoicing in Him,


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Greetings - Dan & Marcela Giles

Giles Christmas 2

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Greeting - World Relief

Christmas banner

Silent Night, Holy Night!

Dear AFLC Friends,

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

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

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

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

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


Merry Christmas!

Craig signature

Craig Pixley

Midwest Director of Church Relations

World Relief

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December Update from Ingrid Giles

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

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

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

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

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

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

Thank you (praise):

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


Ingrid Giles

Friday, December 12, 2008

AFLC Schools Missions Conference

Missions Conference

Featuring evening speaker

Missionary Dan Giles

AFLC Missionary to Mexico 1984-2008

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

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

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

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

Directions to our campus may be found on our website at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Schierkolk's Christmas Newsletter

Schierkolk's Christmas 

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


Click here to read the entire newsletter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December Greeting from Paul and Becky Abel

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

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

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

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

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

God’s rich blessings to you this Christmas!    

Love in Jesus,

Paul and Becky

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tanzania - A Ray of Hope

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

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

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


Thanks for your partnership with us,
Ben Jore

Monday, December 08, 2008

Prayer Update from Todd Schierkolk

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

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Waama Bible School - Ben Jore

Dear praying friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Jore
Wa/ama Bible School
Mbulu, Tanzania

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tim Hindrichs at Home in Poland


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

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