Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pray for Mexico

P1010016 I just got a message from Daniel in Mexico. Lois Raser, a retired missionary who goes to our church there in Jerez, and a dear friend of ours, got a call today from the Zetas, the enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, who have pretty much taken over Jerez. They say they want to meet with her.

There have been instances of people who claim to be these guys who call and try to extort money by threatening people, so we don't know which it is.

Please pray for wisdom and protection for Lois and her family as well as for our family, especially Daniel who has been given the responsibility for the church now while Todd is traveling in the US.


Dan Giles


Chmiels As you know, Hannah was born 11 days ago and now we are waiting for her documents to be processed so that we can go back to Ukraine. We would really like to be back in Lviv as soon as possible and in a way this time of waiting is really hard. We were told that it will take at least a month before we get Hannah’s birth certificate and passport. But we know that God can do anything so we wanted to ask you to pray that if it be God’s will, that by some miracle, we would receive these documents sooner.

On June 10th, our friend Lydia Johnson (17) is coming to be with us for three weeks. Our plan was that these three weeks would be spent in Lviv and that Lydia would both get to enjoy our little Hannah and also would help us with some of our youth ministry. It would be really great for our youth in Lviv to get to know Lydia, who is just a little older than some of them and could be a great example of someone who is close to their age and is a true follower of Christ. So please pray that if God would like Lydia to be able to be with us in Lviv (not just Krakow) that He would make it possible for us to return to Lviv soon.

As we already said, we know that God can do anything. And we experienced one such miracle even this morning...
We traveled from Krakow to Prague this week to take care of all the needed paperwork for Hannah. Tomasz called this place in Prague where they do this and he set up an appointment for today even though they normally accept these applications only on Mondays and Wednesdays. So we came there this morning all ready to take care of all that was needed to be done only to learn that this process has two parts, done in two different offices, and we only had the appointment set up with one of them.

The lady in the first office was nice and did her part but she said that it was VERY UNLIKELY that the other lady in the other office would help us out since it was not the official day for her to accept our paperwork. We were told that just yesterday there was another couple like us (they too traveled from a different country to submit these documents) and she refused to help them because it was not the right day and they did not have an appointment set up specifically with her. We were also told that there are actually two ladies working in that office and that both are pretty mean and that it is close to impossible that we would succeed with either of them. So that was REALLY DISCOURAGING to hear. We traveled all the way from Krakow for this and we hoped to speed up the whole process by bringing our documents to Prague (instead of submitting them through the embassy in Poland). And now we were told that we would probably have to wait till next week...

Well, when the first lady went to get our receipt and we were left alone in her office, Tomasz said that we would go try the other office any ways and he took couple of minutes to pray to God that He would do a miracle for us... That He would grant us favor with that “mean lady”.

We left the first office and started looking for room 101 where the other part of our paperwork had to be done... And here we see a lady standing in front of the #101 door asking us if we needed help with anything. Yes, it was the “mean lady” asking us if there was anything she could help us with!  So we told her what we needed and we explained our situation and she was very nice and helpful and did everything that we needed her to do. She even said that she will try to have the documents mailed more directly to us when they are ready so that we could get them a little earlier. Isn’t God amazing?

So that was a HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER and nothing short of a miracle! Our God is so faithful!
We know that if it be His will, He can again do a miracle and get us Hannah’s birth certificate and passport sooner than in a month. We are praying for this and it will mean a lot to us if you join us in prayer. Thank you so much!
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

Tomasz and Miriam

Friday, May 29, 2009

Darwin Jacksons

“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer. It is the key to the whole mission problem. All human means are secondary.” Samuel Zwemer
Darwin Jackson

Well I'm pretty much packed up for my trip to the mid-west. The dates and places we have so far are noted on our calendar on the link below. I'll leave on Tuesday the 2nd of June (Lord willing).

Praise God we had a great visit with Manuel (the Catholic whose wife is a JW). We showed him how to prove to his wife that every believer will be with Jesus in heaven (instead of merely 144,000), then we asked him if he knew for sure he was going to heaven. He said that he was according to his good works... so we lead him through the Gospel and to Jesus alone for assurance.

Our problem with seating in Buenos Aires is getting serious, pray for chairs (see the pic). Our new brother Abel (front right hand of isle) will go with Alfonso (right side w/white shirt) on visit in Buenos Aires while I'm gone, and Pastor Antonio and Abel will take turns going with him out to Mascarenas. 

We had a better group this time in Mascarenas. We are having troube with the Oneness penticostals out there. They are trying to take two of our new families. Pray for wisdom and God's hand of protection out there.

We might be getting Cesar's older brother next week. He is thirteen years old. Evidently he has to be moved from the home he's at now, so they would love to have them together and where he wouldn't have to be moved again.

Mary Ann is really enjoying working at the rescue mission. She pretty much is in charge of the kitchen now. We thank God for this opportunity for her, and for all of you for praying.

Your fellow workers, 

Darwin, Mary Ann and Gracie Jackson... and Cesar.

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

Dan and Marcela Giles

Danny and Mercela 

Wow! So much has happened in the last month and a half, I don't know where to even start.  Shortly after my return from the USA, the Schierkolks left for the USA with yours truly left in charge of the church and our son Roberto Emanuel arrived a few days afterward! Yes, on May 21 at 10:30 p.m. central time, our little son made it into this world.  We are so happy!  He is healthy and strong.  7 lbs. and 20 inches long and looks just like his daddy!

The church is doing very well.  This last Sunday (24th) there was an attendance of almost 30 people for the spanish service!  Usually we have around 10 or 12.  We just started a new study so please pray that it is well received.  So far so good. 

Also please pray for the youth group.  Since about a month ago, I had put the youth meetings on hold until our son arrived and it has been kinda hard for a few of the youth.  Lord-willing this Saturday or next we might start again depending how things are at home with Marcela and the kids.

As always, we thank you all and are very grateful for all the support and prayers that are offered on our behalf.  As long as the Lord wills, we will be serving Him here in Jerez with the ministry through your support.

Click here to see more pictures.

In His Service,
Daniel, Marcela, Ariadna, Andrea, and Roberto Giles

New Short Term Assistants

STA - NO The World Missions Committee has approved two new short term mission assistants.  They are Nathan Olson and Jon Nelson.  Nathan and Jon will be working on summer teams until fall, then they will be serving for nine months in Brazil.  PleasSTA - JNe be in prayer for Nathan and Jon.

You can view their blog by clicking here.


People often ask, “What is a Short Term Missions Assistant (STA)?”  Short Term Assistants are people who feel a special burden for particular aspect of foreign mission work.  They come to the AFLC World Missions Committee and receive the Committee’s blessing to volunteer on the mission field.  We have Short Term Assistants working in Mexico, Uganda, Ecuador, Tanzania and now Brazil.  We have had STA’s on other fields as well.

The World Missions Committee realizes the value of Short Term Assistants.  They sacrificially work long days and often carry a heavy load both in terms of work and spiritual responsibility.  Because Short Term Assistants work on a volunteer basis they do not receive a salary or benefits.  They are supported by offerings given for their living expenses.  These offerings can be given through AFLC World Missions.
We urge you to pray diligently for our Short Term Assistants and support them financially as they serve the Lord on the front lines in spreading the Gospel.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Paul Abel's Newsletter

Paul Abel's Newsletter We are trying to help our churches be mission-minded. Some of our churches have a mission Sunday once a month, bringing the needs of the world before our people and challenging them to pray, give and be willing to go to regions beyond. The members reach out to help other churches, they . . .

Click here to download the complete newsletter as a PDF. 

The newsletter is four pages and may take a little while to download.

Jesse Long

visiting grandma Happy Memorial Day!!  No matter how much time I spend living outside the U.S., I will always love American holidays.  In fact, as some of you may know, I have again arranged my scheduled so that I will arrive in the States for the summer on the 4th of July!  I am sure looking forward to it!  God bless America!

Since my last update (in which I mentioned the beginning of this third semester) we have already started working towards bringing the school year to a close.  The schedule for the coming weeks looks like this:

  • May 29-31 – Weekend of Spiritual Meetings for this third semester here at Waama.  Please pray for this weekend that it could be a time of blessing and encouragement for staff and students alike as we focus on the theme of “God’s Call”
  • June 5 – Last day of teaching for the school year!
  • June 8-11 – Final exams
  • June 12-14 – Special seminar on mission work held here at the school for all the students.  This is being put on by some of our Norwegian missionary friends who are working among the Datooga people.
  • June 15-27 – WORK in preparation for graduation.  This will include bringing in the year’s harvest of corn, doing some grounds-keeping and clean-up around the campus.  We appreciate your prayers during these weeks especially since Ben and I have been assigned to be the teachers on duty!  Let’s just say we will be ready to be home!!
  • June 28 – Graduation Day!!
  • June 30 – Travel to Arusha
  • July 3 – Fly out of Kilimanjaro International Airport

Because of all this activity in the coming month, this last weekend was our last weekend of village ministry for this year.  Since my last update we had our weekend in the Yaeda Chini – a local region in the Rift Valley.  It was a good weekend ministering among several tribes that we do not normally have opportunity to interact with.  This last weekend (May 22-24), we were a region called Bassotu.  God blessed there as well as we had opportunity to show the film to a total of nearly a thousand people between both Friday and Saturday night.  On Saturday afternoon we taught a number of sessions as part of a Saturday afternoon seminar especially geared for youth and finished out the weekend with Ben giving the message in the Sunday morning service.  We always enjoy these weekends but they do take a lot of energy and there was certainly something very relieving about knowing that we had successfully reached the end of that part of our ministry for the year.

I should also give you the update on our student’s wife who I took to the hospital during our weekend of ministry in the region of Magang.  Unfortunately, the baby was not born on my birthday but rather waited until the next day (May 4th).  You may also be interested to know that it was a little girl so will most likely not be called Jesse.  Oh well. J  Both mother and child are doing well.

For those that haven’t been on the blog lately, more pictures were put up a couple weeks ago.  I also have more from our recent weekends of ministry that I hope to post as soon as I have a good enough internet connection.  Stay posted.

I am going to sign off at this point but would again ask your continued prayers as we try to bring our classes (as well as other aspects of life here) to a close for the summer.  We also appreciate your prayers for our safe travel when that time comes as well as for all that we need to accomplish while we are in the States.  It is going to be a busy time.  Again, I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible.  God bless you all!!  Keep up the good work.

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Renata Hinrichs

Missionary On Loan - THTim Hinrichs reports, "On Thursday Renata had her colonoscopy and the doctor found her to be completely clean of cancer! It’s an amazing answer to prayer and so we don’t know if she was misdiagnosed in Poland or God simply healed but we are praising the Lord."

Thanks for your prayers as well.

Update from Todd Schierkolks

prayer retreat May 1st was a great day of fellowship and prayer with our fellow pastors and lay leaders from the state of Guanajuato.  It was good to be with Pastor Milton Flores again.  We were able to get together in Aguascalientes and we look forward to getting together again in the future.

Please continue to pray for Fernando and Nena and their marriage.  Also pray for Emilio who has been coming to church with his family for a couple months now.  Emilio has been out of work for a while and he needs a job.  Danny and Marcela are expecting their baby any day now and I know they would appreciate your prayers.

Thanks so much,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Dan and Marcela Giles Have New Son

Robert Giles The birth of Roberto Emanuel Giles Lozano was announced.  He was born May 21st at 8:30 pm Central time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pray for Our Workers in Mexico

Zacatecas Our workers in Mexico are in constant danger as they live in the country and proclaim the Gospel.  Pray that God would grant them safety from:

  • The recent flu epidemic
  • The violence coming from drug cartels and crime in general

Last week a prison in Zacatecas, a city near Jerez was broken into and 53 prisoners were released.  Click here to read more about this situation.

Also, please remember Dan and Marcela Giles who are expecting a child any day now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exotic Wildlife - Craig Wentzel

In January, I had the privilege and great blessing of traveling to India with Pastors Eldon Nelson, Del Palmer and Kevin Olson and seminarian Bob Lee. I saw (and the Lord taught me) many interesting things.

When I got back, one of the questions that people asked me was: “Did you see any [exotic] animals?” They meant elephants, or tigers, or snakes. I had to answer “No, the only exotic wildlife I saw was in a ‘3-star’ HOTEL!” When we were in Tirupati, we stayed in a hotel that had 3 stars after its name on the sign.


It was there that Kevin noticed a huge SPIDER on the wall.

I believe the hotel (or one place we stayed) was where we saw a GECKO on the wall. As Proverbs 30:28 says: “The lizard you may grasp with the hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.”

And the hotel was where I killed a COCKROACH in the bathroom…. reminiscent of my old California Lutheran Bible School days.

My impression is that people outside the AFLC might wonder why WE are so concerned about sin. After all, we probably don’t have a lot of “visible” sins in our lives (spiritual “elephants”, or “tigers”, or “snakes”) that we can’t ignore. However, I’ve come to see that I have a lot of “spiders” and “geckos” and “cockroaches” in my old nature that keep coming out in my life…things like procrastination…or irritability ….or wrong attitudes….or wrong priorities. It is because we still have sin in the “civilized hotels” of our lives that we still need a Savior!

David, the psalmist, was aware of his old sin nature when he wrote in Ps. 19:12-13: “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.”

Even our little sins are serious because, as Isaiah writes in Is. 59:1-2,: “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Our sins separate us from God and His answers to our prayers.

And Jeremiah writes in Jer. 5:25: “Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have withheld good from you.”

David realized that we must fight against these sins every day… whenever they expose themselves. Ps. 101:8 says:

“Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,

So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.”

It is not that we should be focusing on the “insects” of our sins, but rather on the Lord Jesus, the ONLY ONE we can go to, for complete “pest control”. We can bring these “pests” to the Lord because of His great promises to us:

Is. 55:7 says:

“Let the wicked forsake his way

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

And let him return to the Lord,

And He will have compassion on him

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.”

Is. 38:17b says: “For You have cost all my sins behind Your back.”

Is. 43:25 says: “’I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

We may think we don’t have sin in our lives because we don’t see any spiritual “ELEPHANTS” walking around in our daily behavior, but we still have the “little creatures” of sin that expose themselves to others. Are we bringing THEM to Jesus, as well?

New Addition to the Missions Family

P1070487The AFLC World Missions family grew by one today.  Tomasz and Miriam Chmiel announced the birth of their new daughter Hannah Joy.  She was 8 pounds 11 ounces and 22 inches at birth.  Pray that God may bless the Chmiels greatly with this new addition.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update from Paul Abels

CIMG1807 Thank you for your prayers. We are happy to let you know that the Lord answered our requests positively and we would like you to join us in thanking and praising the Lord for His mercies.

  • For John Abel -  He was able to recuperate and return to the U.S. to get further treatment there for his prostate problem.
  • For our classes at Bible School – We enjoyed teaching, and our hours with the students were a blessing. Part of the homework assignment includes planning the children and youth camps in July, so we will be returning to Campo Mourão for two weeks in July.
  • For our time with Del, Jim and Linda encouraging the pastors – They were able to visit 13 Free Lutheran churches here and had contact with all but one of our national pastors. The messages were practical and encouraging, and their presence helped unite us as we look towards the future.
  • For our sixth annual Passion Play - About 1000 people came out for the performances this year under star-studded skies and a beautiful full moon.  We pray that the impacting message of the life, death and triumphant resurrection of Christ coupled with the evangelistic message and Gospel tracts given out will draw people to Jesus.  Last week we had a soup supper at the ARCA to thank all the play participants (more than 70) and to see photos of the event.
  • For Yara’s missionary trip to Paraguay – She came back with stories to tell of teaching children and encouraging people in hard-to-get-to places, arriving by boat and working in the very hot temperatures.  Yara has also had recent opportunities to share Jesus in the public school here in Bateias.

Other newsworthy items

  • Building is underway for the Primavera Project church in Borda do Campo. The metal frame is up and they have a beginning.  The church group in that area is very low income so the continuation of the project will be little by little. Pray for this group of believers as they reach out in their community.
  • Our trip to Iguaçu Falls was great!  The congregation was very thankful to share the joy of the dedication of their new sanctuary with a nice group of Americans.  The place was full that night. They have high hopes that the new building will facilitate their ministry and outreach.
  • Alisha returned to the U.S. after spending three months with us.  She will be graduating from Bible School this weekend.  Pray for her as she seeks the Lord for the next step in His plan for her life.
  • Saturday Paul and I will be leaving on a trip to the northeastern part of Brazil.  We will visit our good friends Gary and Sherry Hauter who direct the Bethany Fellowship Bible School ministry in Petrolina.  We will also visit other Christian friends in Recife.  We understand that there are many cities in the northeast which have no Christian witness.  Perhaps the Free Lutheran church should consider starting ministry in this area in the future.  Another goal of our trip is to relax and enjoy one another as we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Our good friends Gerson and Indioara (Christina’s in-laws) will be traveling with us.  Pray for safety, good fellowship, and God’s provision for economical places to stay along the way.
  • One more prayer request – Jaime’s daughter, Heidy, continues in a psychological treatment program and is not doing well.  She has no will to live.  As the Lord brings her to mind, please pray for this sixteen-year old girl that she might give her life over to the Lord and be transformed.

Hope spring arrives soon for you in the U.S.  I noticed the temperature in MN today is pretty chilly.  Fall is upon us here with the leaves falling and cooler temperatures.  We are thankful for our unchanging God who is the same in all seasons and in all places and for all time.  May He be Lord in your thoughts and actions today!  Take a moment to read His Word and receive His encouragement.

Yours for the Kingdom,

Paul and Becky

Update from Ingrid Giles

Ingrid We enjoyed a nice long visit from my parents, and now they are back in Phoenix.  Unfortunately for them, they were here when the days began to be hot, and they left just before it cooled off!  The rainy season is giving hints that it will begin soon, and the air is a little cooler than it was for a while.  I have hopes that it will be a good rainy season this year.  There is still some water in the river from last year’s rain!

A few people in town have gotten the swine flu, but the normal everyday flu is still the more usual variety around here.  Schools will be opening again next Monday.  Thank you for praying for us during this epidemic.  It seems to have calmed down a bit but please do keep praying!

Our coworkers the Schierkolks are leaving this week for the States, where they will spend a few months on deputation and visiting family.  Also their daughter Rachel will take some tests in Texas next week (I believe their daughter Megan will be taking a test as well).  Please pray for travel safety for the whole family, for God’s blessings on their speaking in churches, for the girls as they take their tests, and for my brother Danny, who will be in charge of the church here while they are gone.

My nephew Robert is still not born!  He had been developing so quickly that the doctor had moved up the original due date; we are now in the time in between the two due dates.  Please pray for Marcela as she is at the very end of her pregnancy.

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

  • Pray for my continued health.  (I am still completely well!)
  • 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, for Abril and Cesar, and for Oscar.
  • Pray for Nena and Fernando and their family, especially for full forgiveness and restoration.
  • Pray for Omar’s family; that they would come to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
  • 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 guide me in small and large decisions, and to help me spend my time wisely.

Thank you (praise):

  • I have continued to be well!
  • Fernando is here and seems to be trying to follow God and to be a good dad and a good husband. 
  • We have a new family (Omar’s family) in church!
  • I have wonderful loving friends and family and I get to spend time with my nieces every day!
  • God is continuing to provide our needs.
  • We enjoyed a great visit with my parents!


Ingrid Giles

Pray for Renata Hinrichs

Missionary On Loan - TH Please pray for Pastor Tim and Renata Hinrichs.  Renata has some serious and urgent medical needs and she and Tim will be returning to Minnesota on Monday to get the needed medical attention.

The Hinrichs will be returning to the US permanently this summer and seeking a call to a congregation here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Update from Jesse Long

It is hard to believe the last time I wrote third semester had not even started…and now it is already well underway.  God blessed us with a good break for Easter and a safe return here to Waama on the 20th of April.  As an item of praise, I am happy to report that classes actually started up later that same week on the 23rd.  At that point, many of the students had still not returned from Easter break but a prompt start was important for the sake of those who had (not to mention the shortness of this 3rd semester).

wedding group for emailUnfortunately, there are still several pictures from our time off that I have not yet been able to post to the blog.  For now, I will include this one.  It is from the wedding I was able to be a part of on the 18th between two of our good friends who live in Arusha but are of Indian descent.  It was a good time and the happy couple is off to a great start.

With regards to our work here, classes are going well and we are both enjoying what we are teaching.  The new classes require a bit of work and preparation time but it is fun to be learning right along with the students.

Our schedule has also been busy with weekend village ministry.  Our first weekend after break (April 24-25), we held two very well-attended showings in the region of Antsi, near the Waama campus.  That weekend we were also fortunate to have some Norwegian friends visit from Arusha who wanted to experience a Jesus film showing.  In addition to the 1000-1200 people who were in attendance that weekend, we were blessed this past weekend (May 1-3) to be in the region of Magang where we held two more film showings with a total attendance of around 800 people.  On Saturday night we again had foreign guests join us out in the village but this time 4 girls who are currently volunteering at a mission hospital in the area – 2 from Amsterdam and 2 from Canada.  It is always fun to have the company of other “whities”.  Later that night, around 12:30pm when the film showing was over and we were preparing to call it a day, one of our students (an evangelist who lives in that area and was with us on the trip) came asking if we could take his wife to the hospital as she was ready to give birth!!  Since Ben and I were the only drivers along for the weekend, it delayed me in getting to bed for a couple more hours but it was some fun excitement.  We have not yet heard if the baby has actually been born but it had still not come by the time church was out later that morning.  It just so happened that day was also my 29th birthday, which I thought was pretty cool and when I told the evangelist he said, “Well, if it’s a little boy, we’ll have to name him Jesse!”

Continue to pray for Waama and the progress of the electricity project here.  The transformer that we have been waiting for has still not arrived but we will continue to move forward as we are able and are very excited about seeing all this completed as soon as possible.  Thanks so much to each one of you who has given to this project.

I am looking forward very much to my fast-approaching time in the States.  Most of all, I hope to see as many of you as possible.  Thank you so much for your on-going love and support as we work here.  Keep up the good work where you are, too!  God bless you all.

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Monday, May 04, 2009

Justo Pillman's Newsletter

Justo's Newsletter I just got back from a 3 day trip with the church youth, mountain climbing.  Our goal was to climb up the extinct volcano El Altar and make it up to the snow line. The snowline here at the equator is about 14,500ft. In total, we hiked around 15 hours during the three days.  Much of the walking was in mud and rain, and as we neared the top
we were uncertain we could proceed because of the dense fog. At that point, we had a time of prayer and praise, and the Lord began rolling back the clouds. It was a powerful
example of the Lords faithfulness to the youth.

On the last day right before beginning the trek home, I was responsible for the devotional. I'd been planning and preparing to share on yielding rights, anger, etc. but during
my personal devotions early that morning things changed. As I stood reading my Bible in the cold and fog surrounded by the mountain peaks, I felt a strong direction from the
Lord to change the theme of my devotional for that morning . . .

Click here to read the entire newsletter.