Friday, September 25, 2009

Jonathan Abel’s Newsletter

imageIn March we were able to buy a property to build a church, after saving  for 4 years. Now we begin our faith journey to build the church.

Click here to read the whole newsletter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Greetings from the Schierkolks

IMG_0020-Low Res As we've been traveling on deputation these last few months there were a number of people asking us about the violence in Mexico.  If you'd like to see the article in the New York Times that talks about what has happened in our town you can find it by clicking on the link to the AFLC World Missons Prayer Blog .  In my letter posted Wednesday, January 14th you'll find the link to the New York Times article.  Up until the time we left Jerez in May things were significantly calmer and I have told people that we have not felt personally threatened and have felt no need 'to be let down in a basket with a rope over the city wall' like the apostle Paul was on one occasion.  Things have certainly not reached that point but all of us in Jerez greatly appreciate your prayers for us.

During our visits this summer we have been sharing a DVD movie about the work in Jerez.  You can access the video via the World Missions home page at  Click on "View World Missions Videos" and that should take you to "Schierkolks Part 1."   The movie is divided into two parts.  In the second part the music had to be edited significantly so if you'd like to see the original you can contact the World Missions office and ask them for the copy of the DVD.  After you view "Schierkolks Part 1" you can watch "Schierkolks Part 2."  If the title doesn't automatically come to your screen just type it into the search bar and it will show up.

This summer was a great time for all of us to be with family, visit with friends and supporters from numbers of churches and share about the ministry going on in Jerez.  We are so grateful for the love and support that we have received from so many over these years.  We are very blessed to be partners in the Gospel with you.  We would ask you to continue to remember our fellow-workers in Jerez, Short-Term Assistants Ingrid Giles and Dan and Marcela Giles and their children.  Thanks for your prayers and support for them as well.

The first weekend of October we're looking forward to a quick visit from Dan and Debbie Giles for the baptism of their new little grandson and we'd appreciate your prayers for their travels, too.

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kevin Olson

Hello Friends,

Kevin Olson Thank you for all of your prayers for this trip to Uganda.

The trip has gone smoothly and there have been many great connections and experiences.

Some great answers to prayer have been the following:

  • Peace returned to Kampala before we went through the city. It was interesting to hear from some of those that did go through the rioting. The mobs were burning cars at random. Life is an amazing adventure. It is awesome to go through it with the Lord.
  • The curriculum and other details were all ready before leaving on the trip.
  • We have been through the first step of oral testing of the students. They are being tested on the second semester material which is 450 verses from 14 stories of the Old Testament. How would you do if you were memorizing 450 verses every 14 weeks. They are doing great and are growing in their knowledge and confidence of the Word of God. It was fun to hear them answer each other regarding questions that people on the street were asking them.
  • The meeting with the ELCU went well and we were able to talk about some of the differences in how we see things.
  • This past Sunday service included four baptisms, 23 confirmations and communion. Basically the whole congregation had never been through confirmation. The pastor went through confirmation last January, so it is cool to see him passing it on to his people. Question: How do you do communion in a culture where there is neither wine nor grape juice?

Prayer requests that remain include:

  • That we could finish the testing and that the students would put their whole heart and soul into the training.
  • For the vision of the church of Uganda and for an understanding of how they can begin to stand on their own.

clip_image002Let me introduce you to Soka Grace. He is the host pastor of the church where the training takes place in Butagaiya. He and his wife have been married for 23 years and they have seven children with one on the way. He would give the last meal in his home to welcome guests. He struggles with how to pay the school fees for his children and that is a common problem in Uganda. As the host for this training he has brought a sense of unity among the pastors in the county so that they are working together to bring the Word of God to the people rather than being in competition with each other. Now when one of them is in need they all join together and attend each others events. I was at Soka’s house for lunch on Monday. They asked me “Who is a Christian?” and we decided that the title Christian should be the name that someone else gives us rather than what we call ourselves. Instead when we are asked if we are a Christian our response should probably be that “I am a sinner, that is depending on Jesus.”

I have a lot to learn from Soka. He is humble example of Christ lived out in daily life.


Another man that I want to tell you about is Jimmy. Jimmy’s father died some years ago. Since then he has been the head of the house. His mother and grandmother and younger brothers and sisters all live at the same home. He has not yet married, but he is leading a congregation in a near by village. His family will provide food every single time there is a training and the training is held outside of his house in Naigobia. He led his brother to faith in Jesus and his brother Saulo has brought many of the young men in his area to Christ. Now the group numbers about 10. They are pastors and leaders of three churches in the area. Jimmy is soft spoken, but even as a man in his twenties, but Jimmy carries an air of respect.

Pray for Soka and Jimmy the hosts of the training in Uganda!

Thanks for joining us in the ministry to the rural pastors of Uganda.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Kevin Olson Traveling

Kevin Olson 2 Rev. Kevin Olson, developer of Ambassador Institute is traveling in Uganda and India.  His purpose for traveling is to encourage the Ambassador Institute’s distance education program for pastors and leaders.  He will be testing the students in both Uganda and India.  He will be in Uganda until September 29th.  Kevin will then travel to India and will return home on October 16th.  Please remember Kevin in prayer while he travels and his family while he is absent.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nate Jores

2009 jores low res Thanks for praying for us while we've been on the road since the beginning of August! It's been wonderful to meet so many of you that have been a part of our prayer team for the past few years. We've been encouraged and refreshed in your homes and in your churches. Thanks for housing us, feeding us, listening to us, and sharing your lives with us. It's been so good to be "home".

In August we traveled to a few churches in Minnesota, as well as Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan. Nate enjoyed taking part in the Summer Institute of Theology at AFLTS and he was even able to get away for a few days with my brothers to the Boundary Waters. We spent a day with Nate's brother and family in West Virginia, which was a sweet time for our family. We hadn't seen them for close to 5 years! This month we've traveled to Iowa and South Dakota already, and will soon be visiting Illinois again, as well as Wisconsin and a few more churches in MN.

It's been a full schedule and we are tired, but I think we'll get a little break next month when things slow down a bit. Thankfully we've stayed healthy and the World Missions vehicle we're driving has been running well.

The kids have enjoyed making many, many new friends along the way. They really are good travelers, but get worn out like we do. A few times on the road Jude has said, "I think it's time to go back to Grandpa and Grandma's now." :)

A huge blessing for us has been to see the excitement that people have in hearing about what God is doing in Uganda, and to hear so many of you say that you are praying for us and for the work we are doing. What a gift that is! We've said it many times, but we'll say it again - we need your prayers. There are many challenges that lay ahead of us upon our return in January. Please pray for the conversion of souls through the hearing of the Word of God and that the plans of the Evil One will be thwarted.

We would also appreciate prayer for our upcoming meeting with the AFLC World Missions Committee next Monday. There are some important decisions to be made that will determine the future direction of our work in Uganda. Please pray that the Lord would make His will known to each one of us involved and that there will be great unity in the decision-making process.

Your emails are encouraging to us. Please don't hesitate to write and please let us know how we can pray for you as well! We praise God for each of you.


Rhoda for Nate, Elijah, Judah and Hannah

Ingrid Giles Prayer Letter

Ingrid 2 Though I’ve been back from vacation for a couple of weeks now, I was surprised to realize that September is half over.  Yesterday was Mexican Independence Day!  ¡Viva México!  I've been having trouble for a few days sending this prayer letter; I hope it works this time.

God knew I needed a vacation.  I am so thankful to Him for planning it.  I’d been saving up all year to take a linguistics course in July.  It wasn’t easy to do -- some months I had to take from my savings to supplement my income -- but overall I was able to put away a bit here and there.  I wore out my shoes walking to the cheap grocery store on the edge of town, but I enjoyed the exercise and fresh air.  (And guess what God gave me just when I needed it?  A knew pair of shoes!)  I was really looking forward to the class.

Imagine my disappointment when the University called me to say that the class was cancelled!  But that was all part of God’s timing... Later that same day, my cousin invited me to spend two weeks in Europe with her!  At first I automatically thought, “I can’t.”  I mean, going to Europe is something that rich people do.  Then I realized that I already had the time and a significant part of the money set aside... and it turns out, it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive.  My disappointment was replaced with excitement!

I know people were praying for me on this trip, and I thank you.  I saw God’s provision in many ways.  We began and ended our trip in a hostel where all the staff are Christian, and we could feel the presence of God there.  It was nice to talk to some fellow missionaries in a totally different sort of field.  God also blessed me with remarkable health -- I felt better than usual every single day!  (Even when I was tired and footsore.)

I’ll share a story of God’s specific guidance/protection.  After staying with a friend of hers for a few days, my cousin and I arrived in Paris in the late evening.  It was already dusk, and we didn’t have a place to stay.  (We had searched online, but not seen anything in my price range.)  So my cousin waited at the train station guarding the luggage while I set out to find somewhere.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!  I speak only a few words of French, and it was dark, and I didn’t even know what part of the city I was in.  I simply walked out onto the street with the vague idea of “finding us a place.”  (That’s my kind of adventure!)  I figured that God had made this vacation possible in the first place, so He must have a place in mind.  I asked Him to guide my steps, and I started walking.

Before long, I felt sort of an impediment that kept me from going further, so I turned left.  (On another day, we walked through the area where I would have gone, and it turned out to be sort of a mini red-light district.)  I came to a hotel and asked about the prices.  The receptionist -- who spoke perfect English -- did drop his price by quite a lot for me, but laughed and said that I would never find the price that I wanted.  I bargained in five or six hotels with similar luck.  Then I turned onto a quiet residential street and saw a sign that said “hotel.”  There, the receptionist spoke absolutely no English at all -- but he dropped his price to a surprisingly affordable amount.  It seemed too good to be true, so he lent me a key to go check out the room before closing the deal.  I approved!  It was on the fifth story, had a window with wooden shutters overlooking a street where real people lived, and we even had our own bathroom -- and towels!  For us, the fact that no one spoke English added to the experience.

I was so thankful that God led me away from a “less desirable” neighborhood to a clean, safe, affordable hotel where we seemed to be the only foreigners, and yet within walking distance of all the tourist attractions.  It was perfect!

Now for an update on previous prayer requests:  My friend Joanie, who had the infection from the hip replacement, is doing much better.  She walks around with a cane and looks like her old self again.  I love my office; it’s so nice to be able to come into a space that has no dirty dishes to be washed or unorganized spice shelf to put in order, and just sit down to work!  Please continue to pray for us all and the security situation.  Along those lines, I could share another story of God’s protection, but that would make this long letter even longer.  Suffice it to say that He has been keeping the promises that we’ve claimed from Psalm 91.

Here is my prayer list:

Please (requests):

  • Pray for my health and that of my brother and his family.  (I brought an awful flu with me when I came back, and we’ve all been struggling with it.  The doctor confirmed yesterday that it is not swine flu.)
  • 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 their baby David, and for Oscar.
  • Pray for Nena and Fernando and their family, especially for full forgiveness and restoration.
  • Pray for Omar’s family.  They haven’t come to church for a while.
  • 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.
  • Ask God to guide me in small and large decisions, and to help me spend my time wisely.

Thank you (praise):

  • I got to go on a wonderful vacation, and I came back refreshed, with a renewed love for my work and for Mexico (even though when it was over, I didn’t want to come home)!  God blessed every single part of the vacation in many ways.
  • I didn’t have to have oral surgery, and may not ever have to for this particular problem.  (Basically two different doctors said that the best thing is just to live with it -- and it’s not at all intolerable.)
  • 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.
  • I got new glasses in time for vacation, and I have new walking shoes!
  • God has continued to protect Lois and all the rest of us from the “bad guys.”
  • Joanie’s hip infection is gone and she seems like herself again.


Ingrid Giles

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gabriel Mercado

Dear friends and brothers in Christ Jesus,

Mexico - GabrielI write these words to personally give thanks for your financial and spiritual support and I also give thanks to God for everyone of you.

In a previous letter I shared about the mechanical problems of the pick up truck. During the months of May and June I could not use the pick-up, this time the problem was the differential. Once again in His providential care God supplied the funds to be able purchase a used one for $300.00. Thanks be to God who is able to meet our needs.

In the month of April we had visitors (5 people) from Partners in Missions who came to do some repair work on the church building. They were not able to do all that was needed to do and accomplished about 50%. There is still some work left to do but thanks be to God for these dear brothers and sisters who came and did what they were able to do in that short period of time.

In the spiritual life we continue doing all we can that is necessary: preaching every day, teaching from God's Word, sharing the Gospel in the community and praying for those in need. Please pray for us especially for my wife's health she is not doing so well but continues going forward with her labor of love for her Lord. My health is okay but my eyes are not so good for I have glaucoma and every day I have to put drops in the morning and evening.

I write this letter as we prepare to leave soon from Nogales to Obregon and I ask you to pray for us, for the work of the Lord in and around Obregon. I always thank God for your encouragement in the Lord's work in Mexico.

Your Brother and Sister in Christ, 

Gabriel and Virginia Mercado

1 Cor.9:16

Translated by Pastor Ted Kennedy

Justo Pillman’s Newsletter

Justo's Newsletter We went down to the coast, were in the mountains, and were also able to fly into the jungle. I went with Kim and a group of youth from the church to share a video with a jungle tribe.

We spent the night in the jungle, shared the video, and shared the
gospel. It was a memorable experience for each of us, and though it
was not all easy, I know each on the team will never be the same. As
part of the time, we were able to go swimming in the Curaray river. This
is the same river where the missionaries were martyred close to 60 years
ago . . .

Click here to read Justo’s newsletter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Paul Abel’s Newsletter

PA Newsletter God has always gone out of His way to find individuals who didn’t look as though they would amount to much.

God can use us as surely and as powerfully as He used the first disciples.

To read the newsletter click here.

Dan and Marcela Giles

clip_image002We thank you so much for your continuing support.

We praise the Lord because we were able to register our baby boy, Roberto Emanuel, which included getting his American Passport at the American Consulate in Monterrey.  While we were there, we also renewed my Passport since it was going to expire soon. Everything went very well.  God gave us grace on the eyes of the workers there and He also provided all the money that we needed for the trip. He is faithful and He is good.

Next month ( Oct. 4th ) we will have Roberto's baptism.  My parents, Dan and Debbie Giles, will be here for the occasion.  We are looking forward to seeing them again.

Also next month, I have to leave Mexico due that my Visa will expire the 7th of October. Please pray that God will provide the money for that trip.  We are trusting completely in Him for the means for this trip to the border.

Please pray for our family's health.  We have been struggling with first a bad respiratory infection then with fevers and then what appears to be a stomach flu.  The three kids and also ourselves are dealing with it.  We don't seem to get any better and this is after medication and visiting the doctor once.

Also, pray for our financial situation.  Last week I went to the ATM machine to get money out and to my dismay got nothing instead.  I entered the amount of money I wanted to withdraw and I could hear the machine counting the money and then stop. The ATM then asked me if I wanted "to make another transaction" and I pressed no, and surprisingly it gave me NO money and NO receipt.  Rather concerned, I went home and checked online with my bank and, sure enough, it was registered as if I had taken money out.  I went back to the bank to discuss the matter and they did not want to help me at all.  They said, "Since it's an American card and account, you have to deal with your bank and not us."  I then called my bank in the states and they said that they will register it as a claim and investigate the situation.  Hopefully they will let me know later what the happened.  So only God knows what happened to our money, and we are trusting that the Lord will provide all our needs. He always has!!!   Please pray that this whole situation can be resolved soon and quickly.  We know that God is in control of our lives and everything that happens to us.
Again, we thank you so much for your prayer support.   We really appreciate it.  God bless.

In His Service,

Giles Family

Kvale’s Current Newsletter

Kvale Connection Prayer is the only key between intercessors and the Bibleless people that will open the door so the Word of God may be carried through it. We think of what Paul wrote to the Church at Colossae, Colossians 4:2-3a (NASB),
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word….”

Steve Kvale’s latest newsletter is now available.  To read it click here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Darwin Jackson’s

Missionary On Loan - DJ "There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try to get rid of the trial. One is to simply try to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of divine grace." A. B. Simpson

Had a great week the week before last with the opportunity to preach seven times in seven days, all in different places. On Sunday I felt pretty sick but was able to finish our preaching and visitations.

We praise the Lord for Geraldo, who was sitting behind the counter at the pharmacy when we gave him a Gospel tract. He was open to talk so I took the opportunity to share the Gospel with him. A couple of weeks later when I met him, he said he became a believer and had been going to an evangelical congregation with his wife. Praise God!

Pray for Florecia who has been leading the Sabbath School out in Mascarenas. She has been staying in Nogales working five days a week, leaving her kids in Mascarenas, but she has gotten a job offer that would pay more, and she would only work Friday through Sunday, allowing her to be with her family all week. Pray with her over this decision.  

After that Sunday (two Sundays ago) I got sicker, was a little better by Tuesday, my fuel pump went out on my little pickup, I pulled the tank out to install the new pump until 8:00 pm. Was sicker than a dog the next day, and have been the same since... almost two weeks!

Thank you for helping us take up "the challenge" for more blessing, more grace. Grace to you all,

Darwin, Mary Ann, Gracie, Laura, Cesar and Sykari.

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

Paul Abel’s Update

Hi Everyone! 

Another month has swiftly flown by!  Our Youth Camp last weekend at the ARCA was a blessing!  The weather was perfect.  We had a small group of 50 people. Many teens from Bateias (from low income families) were clip_image002able to participate because of Bible Camp Scholarships given by the Salem Free Lutheran women in Freeman, SD.  Our heartfelt thanks for the help! Two of the girls are pictured with Paul and Yara.  The theme of the weekend helped campers reflect about the things they needed to renounce or give up in order to let Jesus have first place in their lives. clip_image004Pastor Joel was used by God to develop the theme verse - “If any man come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”  Matt. 16:24.  Pray for these teens who are now back in the reality of the secular world surrounded by temptations and non-Christian values.  May the Holy Spirit strengthen them to live for Jesus and choose to walk the narrow path that leads to life.

August will be remembered as the H1N1 month.  Schools and colleges were closed down for two to three weeks, many large churches cancelled all their services, and even some shopping centers closed down.  The scare has somewhat subsided now after several days of sunny weather, but there is still a deep concern.  Young and old alike are washing their hands more than ever before and the stores cannot keep up to the demand for alcohol gel.   We do not know anyone personally who has died from the flu but many families have been touched by this sadness in southern Brazil.  The repercussions for us have been the cancellations of all camps at the ARCA (except for ours) for the past 5 weeks which has put a great financial strain on our operation here. Here again we add a note of thanks to God’s special people who sent in donations for the ARCA ministry at this crucial time.

Paul has had his turn at being sick this month.  It started with a cold and resulted in laryngitis which has persisted now for three weeks.  We are thankful for the men of God who have filled the pulpit for him while he has been without a voice.  Tomorrow he has an appointment with an ENT specialist to see if there is some other treatment he needs to pursue. Please pray for complete recovery for him as we are scheduled to be in Campo Mourão Sept. 14-18 to present a course on Christian courting to the young people from the churches there. 

We look forward to many special events in September. We are planning an outreach in Campo Largo again for Sunday, Sept. 13, preceded by door-to-door invitations on the 12th.  We have had improved attendance these past few weeks which has been an encouragement to us.  There is also a Talent night planned and a Film night scheduled in an attempt to reach out to the community.  Next week we anticipate the arrival of Jon Nelson and Nathan Olson as short-term assistants.  They are still waiting for their visas, so this is another prayer request.  The boys hope to spend a year here helping out in various ministries. We are also excited that my parents plan to arrive on Sept. 23 to spend three weeks with us. 

Two weekends ago we had the joy of hosting Jesse Long for a quick visit.  Although he was only here for parts of three days, Jesse was very willing to share in three of our churches about his ministry in Tanzania.  We are thankful for his great example and for the friendships he has maintained with people here over the years. May the Lord continue to bless him as he sacrificially serves the Lord in Africa.  That same weekend I had a wedding shower for Karla, Edival’s fiancée, as she came from Campo Mourão to visit family members and friends.

Every week we have opportunities to teach the Word of God and minister to peoples’ lives.  It is a joy to be involved in the work of the Lord, yet at times it is very hard to know how to deal with certain situations.  The state of our churches and national workers is a constant concern. The president of the Association of churches here in Brazil, Pastor Nilson, recently resigned.  The director of our Bible School, Pastor Natanael, had a motorcycle accident and almost died.  He will not be able to do any physical exertion for the next six months, but we are so thankful that the Lord has preserved his life. Other pastors have serious concerns that we need to address. We also would like to ask you to pray for our dear fellow worker, Yara.  She has not been “herself” for awhile now and seems to be battling with some depression issues.  We pray that the Lord will restore her joy and love for the work God has called her to do.  No one promised that our calling would be an easy one.  Yet, we know in Whom we have believed and we trust in Him who has called us. May He empower us and use us for His glory. Can you take a moment to pray for us and for the people with whom we work?  

We realize that you, too, are busy and involved in relationships of your own.  May our limitless God grant unto each of us the wisdom and patience and vision necessary to live out our lives for His glory. We count it a privilege to open our lives and ministry to you and in this way involve you in the work in Brazil. 

In His service, Paul and Becky

Family Corner – Silvio is busy with his work at the city hall and always makes time to play basketball as a means of evangelizing and discipling young men.  He and Joanna are looking for new partners as they forge ahead with future plans for the Christian school. She is an amazing school director, teacher, mom, singer, writer, cook – you name it!  Daniel works 90 hours a week doing his medical residency so we do not see much of him. Besides her work at the English school, Christina decided to take a one-year course for being an instrumentalist so that she can help her husband Daniel in performing orthopedic surgeries.  Andrew is back at Northwestern College studying Electronic Media and volunteering on the media team of the Missions group there.  Matthew returns to AFLBS this weekend for another year of Bible School.  The brothers had a great summer on the farm in between many vacation adventures!  Even though we do not have the joy of working directly with our children anymore, we praise the Lord for our extended ministry through them.

Chmiels Update

clip_image001We can’t believe another school year is starting just this week. Please pray for us as we are trying to finish up all preparations... New curriculum, new Bible-reading assignments, new memory verses, new incentive system etc... We have been super busy with that because we had thought that we would have a full-time Ukrainian-speaking (national) helper so we planned accordingly -- leaving all the things that we are not able to do in Ukrainian for him to do. Well, at the very last minute it did not work out and this young man will not be able to work with us this year :( Last year it was the two of us working full time plus we had this young man volunteering couple hours a week which was a huge help, especially with the language side of our preparations. This year we not only have Hannah (which obviously means that we cannot both be working as much as last year) and we are also losing this Ukrainian-speaking volunteer. So please pray for us as we are trying to figure out where else to find some help with the language and also that we would have the wisdom to know what to do and what not to do this school year now that it is obvious that we will not be able to do everything the way we had originally planned it (counting on one more full-time worker).

Having said that, we will keep this update short so that we can get back to work and get everything ready for this coming Sunday.
You can also pray for the fall retreat we told you about in our June update.  As we mentioned earlier we believe that this could be a wonderful opportunity for our Lviv youth to grow closer to the Lord or for some of them to get to know Jesus as their Savior for the first time in their lives. Please pray that everyone whom God wants to be there would be able to make it. We believe that we are dealing with spiritual warfare when we start specifically praying for someone to accept Christ at the retreat and right after that, that person starts saying that he/she is not sure if he/she will be able to go.

Thank you again for your friendship and your support.
Tomasz, Miriam and Hannah Chmiel

PS: We also wanted to thank all of you who sent cards and gifts for our Hannah. We sent out thank-you notes for every gift we received so unless you sent your gift just this past week or so, you should have gotten a thank-you note from us. But some people already told us that they did not receive our letters even though we sent them a long time ago :( So we wanted to say that if you sent something to us and did not receive a thank-you, please let us know. 

Darwin Pacchas Update

Darwin is a recent graduate from AFLTS.  He and his wife Kirsten are serving the Lord in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Queridos Familia y Amigos,
It is hard to believe we have been here for a month!!

Kirsten’s Welcome to . . . or Initiation to Ecuador?
image Two weeks after we arrived in Ecuador and the day before our 2nd anniversary, Kirsten woke up with a terrible pain in her right side. She had a similar pain in March and went to the hospital in the U.S., but the only diagnosis she received was the probability of a cyst that had burst or would burst soon. This time, in Ecuador, the pain was more intense and even a shot of pain medication from a doctor did not help. So, we went to the hospital around 8 am in the morning on August 3rd. The next 8 hours were spent doing many tests and waiting for all the results. Finally, after a clear ultrasound, the doctors saw that her right ovary was much larger than it should be, but they were not able to see why unless they did ‘exploratory’ type surgery with a camera. They prepared Kirsten for surgery, and Darwin waited with his parents and niece for 45 minutes in the waiting room. The doctors discovered a large cyst had strangled Kirsten’s right ovary. They proceeded to remove both the cyst
and ovary. The doctor said we should still be able to have children. I (Kirsten) was so happy when I woke up and the pain in my side was finally gone! Since the surgery was done with a small camera, Kirsten only had small incisions, and her recovery has been excellent. Praise God! She has to avoid carrying heavy objects, any type of ‘hard labor,’ and exercise for 3 months. We praise God for His timing. One doctor, who had worked in the U.S. before, told Darwin the approximate cost of a surgery like this in the U.S., and we would not have been able to afford it. Thankfully, we were able to pay for the surgery in Ecuador. Another praise is that Kirsten had about a whole month to recover before classes would start at the Bilingüe High School.

Our New Niece
Five days after I had my surgery, Johanna (Darwin’s sister-in-law) went in for a C-section to have their 2nd child. They had a healthy 8 lb. baby girl named Rebeca Elizabeth. Her brother Mateo spent the day (August 8th) at our house playing lots of games.

Driving School
Darwin started going to driving school on the 21st. In order to get your driver’s license in Ecuador, you have to attend classes for 15 days and then take a written and driving exam. He goes each afternoon to drive with an instructor for 1 hour and then attends lectures for 1 hour. Even though it is a little frustrating that he cannot transfer his driver’s license from Minnesota, he is thankful we had a manual car in the U.S. since he has to drive a manual for classes. Again, God knows how to prepare us for everything even though we cannot see ahead to all the little details.  We do not have a car, but since we will be busy once school starts, we thought it would be best if Darwin could get his classes out of the way now.

Bilingûe and Church

We will have meetings at the Bilingüe during the last week of August before classes start September 7th. We look forward to starting our ministry there with students and also other professors as we get to know them. At church Darwin has been asked to lead a Bible study group once a week, help with visitations, preach about every two months, and lead the youth worship team. Kirsten will also be part of the youth worship team and attend the Bible study group with Darwin. We are excited to be welcomed back into the church so quickly and be involved in activities in order to get to know and to serve more people there. Kirsten was also invited to join an English Bible study with a group of ladies. She is excited to get to know ladies in that group, too, and have a place to speak English!


  • Successful Surgery, many great doctors, and external healing
  • Healthy new niece, Rebeca Paccha
  • Healthy stomachs after one month
  • Paz de Dios church that received us so well


  • Continued internal healing for Kirsten
  • Health: for food adjustments and colds during the colder season
  • Good communication and relationship between Darwin & Kirsten and Staff at the Bilingüe
  • Continued, successful progress with Kirsten’s paperwork
  • The means to buy a car which would come handy for our ministry here
  • Safety as we go to different places (traveling, house, thieves, etc.)
  • Thank you for your prayers. We have really seen God working in our lives (even in the surprises ☺).

God’s blessings as you serve Him daily in your work or studies.
In Christ,
Darwin and Kirsten