Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chmiel’s Ukraine

clip_image001[5]February greetings to all of you! Still enjoying this year’s winter or are you getting impatient for the spring to be here soon? Our February started with Tomasz again going to Odesa for the DELKU Pastors’ meeting. One of the challenges of these meetings is that they are in Russian (we speak Ukrainian). Most of the time it’s ok because Tomasz can understand quite a bit of Russian even though he can’t speak it. But this time one of the language misunderstandings was that Tomasz worked on the wrong text all of the pastors were supposed to study before coming to the conference. The pre-conference information letter was in Russian and it said to study this text... The reference was abbreviated and it started with “E”. In Ukrainian, the only New Testament book starting with “E” is Ephesians. So Tomasz studied this text from Ephesians even though he was a little confused as to why these very verses were chosen. When he arrived to the conference he learned that the assigned text was not from Ephesians but from Hebrews!!! In Russian, “E” is pronounced “ye” and is the first letter of the book Hebrews. In Ukrainian, Hebrews also starts with “ye” but it’s spelled “Є”. Well, something new to learn all the time...
Speaking of Russian still being used a lot in some parts of Ukraine (even though Ukrainian is the only official language), Ukraine now has a “Russian-speaking” president. As many of you probably know, on February 7 Viktor Yanukovych was elected the new Ukrainian president.
clip_image001We are curious to see what this change brings for Ukraine and for us living in Ukraine as foreigners. If you’d like to, you can read more about Viktor Yanukovych here: 




On February 18, our little lady “celebrated” 9 months. We can’t believe she is already such a big girl. She is now crawling all over our home, she is cruising the furniture, always exploring something new... What a busy little girl she is!

On February 20, instead of a regular youth group meeting, we had a “Family Night” at our house. That day our youth group meeting was not just for the youth, but also the parents and people from our church were invited to join us on that night. Our goal was to give a chance to the parents and people from our church to see “what we are doing with their kids” :) And also for all of us to get to know each other and to enjoy some God-centered fellowship.clip_image003
We sang songs, had a Bible Study and watched a video presentation showing some of the children and youth ministry highlights from the last two years.  And then we also played a game. You got a word and you had to either draw, pantomime or explain the word to your team in a way that they could guess it.

We were really thankful for this opportunity to spend time with people from our church and to get to know some of our students’ parents, especially those who do not come to our church. When it was time for people to go home, many were saying “Until next time” :)  So we will see what new opportunities open from this.

In our January email update we asked you to pray for a boy from our youth group who was publicly getting involved in some bad things so we had to ask him not to come to our youth group meetings until things change. I (Tomasz) wanted to meet with him one-on-one but he did not return my phone calls and avoided all other ways of contact. The good news is that about two weeks ago, he himself called me, we got together and after we talked, he deleted the bad stuff he had on his Facebook (Satanism as his only interest, links to bad movies, etc.). He is now again welcome to come to our youth group meetings and I also invited him to meet with me to study the book of Ephesians together (one-on-one Bible Study). He did come to our first Bible Study meeting even though we met early in the morning before school so that was encouraging. On the other hand, I guess I hoped for more of a repentant attitude, more of a heart change. Right now it’s more like, “what I was doing was just a phase in my life, many of my friends (including some from the German Lutheran church) are involved in these things too, I am not doing it any more, it’s not such a big deal...” Please pray for this boy and for me as we continue our Bible Study meetings, that God would really get hold of his heart and that there would be a real change in his life. 

clip_image009We are right now in Poland, taking our “border crossing trip”. Everything went well at the border except that the officer told us that with our non-Ukrainian car we need to cross the border every two months not every three :( That is not good news for us because we already have a lot traveling to do. We will again try to look into our options as for registering our car in Ukraine, but when we were trying to do that last time, we did not get very far (just spent a lot of time on it without finding anything helpful). If you’d remember this in your prayers too, we’d appreciate it very much.

Thank you again for your friendship and support. If you’d like to see some more pictures, you can see some below or you can go to You will find both family and ministry pictures in Hannah’s Picasa album.

Tomasz, Miriam and Hannah Chmiel

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An Oral Bible?

IMG_6854 ResizeWhat does a Bible look like in an primary oral society?  We often think of the Word of God as a book yet, "The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it" (Deut 30:14).  A missionary's job is to get the Word of God from the Book to the hearts of men.  In this photo we see the power of audio as David, one of the students, listens to Revelation 5.

IMG_6858 Resize  In the past year, we have been working on translating and recording a number of Bible stories into the Lusoga language.  The stories we have been working on correspond with the Ambassador Institute curriculum that we have been teaching in two villages.  We are now ready to give each of the students a solar-powered audio player with 32 of the stories recorded on them (over 3.5 hours of audio).  Here is how it works...

IMG_6857 ResizeI edit and organize my audio files on the computer to get them into the format that is required by the software.  After the audio files are ready, they can be transferred to the Scribe (larger gray/black unit in my left hand).  The Scribe is then able to program each of the individual players.  The beauty of the system is that any time I want to add more stories to the players, I can program the Scribe at home and then bring it to the village locations and program the players there.  It is battery-powered and easily transported.  The plan is to be continuing to add new stories as we complete translation and recording.

IMG_6862 Resize As I write this now, we have 25 players programmed and ready to be distributed to the students this weekend!  I am very excited to see the impact as people hear the Word of God in their heart language.  Pray with us that the Word of God would go forth with power and that lives would be changed.

For the Kingdom of God in Uganda,
Nate Jore

Friday, February 19, 2010

Four New Short Term Missionaries in Brazil


Four new Short Term Missionary Assistants have left and arrived in Brazil.  They are Nathan Olson, Jon Nelson, Bethany Marschner and Amanda Aldrich.  The left on Wednesday.  They just confirmed their safe arrival in the message below.


Hey everybody!
We all (Nathan, Jon, Bethany, Amanda) have made it safely to Brazil and are enjoying good fellowship with the Abels! The Lord provided a great connection through Chicago from Minneapolis to Sao Paulo and we made it all the way to Curitiba with only the minor hiccup of losing one of Jon’s pieces of luggage (which will be delivered soon).
Please continue to keep us in prayer as Jon and I got 1 ½ hours of sleep on the overnight flight and are jumping right in to work alongside the Abels! We also are realizing that our language practice has paid off, but that we are far from fluent...please keep us in prayer that we would continue to grow in language acquisition!
Only Jesus, Nathan Olson & Jonathan Nelson

Home from Mexico


I arrived home from Mexico earlier this week.  Thank you to all who prayed for me as I traveled.  This was a very profitable trip and I was able to return home healthy.  My only problem was a sunburn.  It’s hard to return home to Minnesota snow and cold after experiencing the sweet smell of fresh cut grass.

Del Palmer

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dan and Marcella Giles to Leave Field

Danny Family Dear Friends and Family in Christ,

Greetings and blessing to you all. After serving for the last two years in Jerez, Mexico, it is time for the Giles family to continue on a new path. Therefore we have resigned as Short Term Assistants and have moved to the city of Aguascalientes for a few months. Lord- willing, we hope and plan to return to the US eventually and I, Danny, will start a new job when we arrive. Please continue to pray for us during this transition and especially that God will provide the job He has in store for me. We are trusting completely in Him for our needs and direction. We cannot thank you enough for all the financial support that you have given us. If you wish to continue to support the ministry, please do so by supporting Ingrid, my sister, as she now lives by herself and continues her work full time. Thank you and God Bless you.

In His Service,

Daniel A. Giles

Ben Jore – Tanzania

Ben & Adella Greetings from Waama Bible School! The 2nd semester is well under way and life is back to its usual busy self! Classes have been going very well. My class schedule is heavy on the history side of things, but that is just fine with me. The students seem to be enjoying all their classes and learning a lot. It is truly a joy to equip these church leaders with tools to better serve their home congregations.

Jesse and I are very happy to report that we have started up our weekend ministry again! The main emphasis of this ministry is showing the Jesus Film, but in recent years has also turned into a time of teaching seminars and preaching. So just in case we felt like we had any free time, we decided to start up this ministry again. January 29-31 Jesse and I (and about 8 students) went to the region called Tumati. We showed the Jesus Film three times that weekend. This past weekend (Feb 5-7) we were in the region of Bassotu where we were able to show twice. Usually the school sends a driver with us, but they asked if we would drive this time. So Jesse drove and we experienced mud like I've never seen before.

We were sliding all over the place, but we never got stuck! We're pretty sure that only the hand of God kept us from sliding into one of the million ditches and ravines that parallel (and sometimes across) the road. We praise God for his protection during these two weekends of ministry. Jesse and I are planning on having 4 more of these trips before we hit graduation in June. We appreciate your prayers for these trips and for those who hear the Gospel through these efforts.

There is some sad news that I would like to share with you. One of our good friends and fellow missionaries, Froydis, had a stroke. She first came to Tanzania while it was still an English colony (a LONG time ago) and is responsible for translating the Bible into the local language, Iraqw. She is much loved by everybody here, including Jesse and me. She was evacuated by plane to Nairobi last Sunday. She is still in Nairobi but is looking to return to her home country of Norway when her health permits. Reports said that she lost her speech and control of the right side of her body. But just today we heard that she is speaking again, we haven't heard about the paralysis. We praise God for this. Will you pray for Froidis and her work with the Iraqw Language and Culture Trust?

Thank you so much for your support and prayers on our behalf. May God bless you,


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celaya Youth Retreat - Mexico

Celaya Youth

The  morning started off about 70 degrees with beautiful sun and hopes of a glorious February Saturday.  It was the type of day that any normal teen would be making plans to play football or go to the mall.  Interestingly, a handful of teens arrived at church where they would be encouraged to walk with Jesus.

Why would a teen spend a beautiful Saturday in class learning about God rather than relaxing with friends?  The only reason is the regenerative power of the Gospel.  They’ve heard about their sins, trusted in the mercy of Christ to forgive them and now the Holy Spirit is living inside of them motivating them to thankfully live for God.

This is what world missions is all about.  It’s happening one person at a time, in one location at a time all over the world. 

Please show your thankfulness to God by joining others going, giving and praying for the Gospel to change lives.   


Friday, February 12, 2010

Finally Going!

Nate & Jon Low Res Thank you all so much for your continual prayer support through these last 5 ½ months of waiting! Jon and I received our visas yesterday in the mail and are looking forward to the work of the Lord in Brazil as He has finally opened the door for our entry there! We will be disembarking as shortly as Wednesday evening at 7:30pm, along with Short Term Assistants, Bethany & Amanda, to travel together to Curitiba.

 STA - BM Amanda










Please be in prayer for our safety  as we travel, continual wisdom in learning Portuguese, and for the windows of opportunities to fly open in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ! Our visas have been issued for a minimum of 12 months so we look forward to keeping you all updated as we spend the next year on the field!

Blessings in Jesus!

Nathan Olson & Jon Nelson

Tanzania – Jesse Long

grocery shopping Thanks so much for your prayers on our behalf.  We continue to progress well in this year’s second semester here at Waama Bible School.  It is hard to believe how fast the weeks go by.

As I promised in my last update, I am writing to report on our recent weekends of village ministry.  Again, these were our first weekends of village ministry since the beginning of the school year.  The longer we are here, the more responsibilities we are given here on campus and that makes it increasingly difficult to leave campus for entire weekends at a time.  We are grateful, however, to have been able to begin again with this part of our ministry and always enjoy seeing new areas and interacting with local believers.

Our final weekend of village ministry for this semester is set for February 26-28.  We appreciate your prayers for that time.  Pray that God would be preparing the hearts of those that will hear the Gospel during those days.

I am also happy to report that progress continues to be made on our “Acclaimer Project”.  For those that don’t remember, the primary goal of this project is to ensure that the Jesus Film ministry we have had since we arrived will be able to continue even after we are gone.  This will be accomplished through the establishment of national evangelistic teams equipped with solar-powered video equipment.  We are excited about the people God has brought across our path to take part in this project, and the excitement continues to grow even on the part of those who will make up these various teams.  Please continue to pray that God would give Ben and me wisdom in the directing of this project, that He would continue to raise up faithful evangelists to participate in each team, and that the equipment itself would perform well for years to come.

For those who have followed us on our blog, I need to apologize for the lack of recent updates.  We hope to make it to Arusha Feb. 19-23 and I will do my best to get some new pictures up at that time.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue to progress through this second semester.  It is going to be over before we know it. 

  • Feb. 12-14 we are having a special seminar here at the school.  Next weekend (as I mentioned), we hope to be in Arusha. 
  • Feb. 26-28 is our weekend of village ministry in the village of Labay. 
  • Mar. 5-7 is a weekend of spiritual meetings here at the school. 
  • Mar. 12-14 we will have another group of students visiting us from a Bible school in Norway. 
  • March 22-24  second semester finals are scheduled. 
  • Easter - Ben and I have not yet determined all of what our Easter break will include but it looks as though we will spend at least part of it (April 6-12) at a seminar attended by staff from a number of Lutheran Bible schools here in East Africa.

I also covet your prayers as I continue to seek God’s direction for my future.  May God clearly direct each one of us and may we all be faithful in our obedience to Him.  God bless you!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Monday, February 08, 2010

It’s a Tuff Life

IMG_0542After getting the truck washed from yesterday’s problem, we spent the morning assessing the risks of having a crisis in Mexico.  We discussed ways to make those risks less likely so that the missionaries can live safer lives.

Following our planning session we went to Claudia and Memo’s for a wonderful Mexican dinner.  It’s a tuff life, but someone has to tend to social events.IMG_0543 

Del Palmer

Traveling in Mexico

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday in Jerez

Todd and DelSunday we worshiped in Jerez with an English service followed by a Spanish service and Sunday school.  The church has grown since the last time I was in Mexico.  After the service we gave a number of people rides home.

It has been raining for several days in Jerez.  After we dropped that last person off we went down a road that had a large puddle in the middle of it.  The ground around the puddle was dry so we went around the puddle.  It wasn’t very long until we  were stuck and even putting the vehicle in four wheel drive wouldn’t budge it.  Truck in Mud We all got out and tried to push it.  The more we pushed, the deeper we went into the mud.  A man in the neighborhood tried to pull us out be he got his truck stuck.  Finally we gave up and walked home.

Todd called a friend with a big truck who was able to get the vehicle out just in time to watch the Super Bowl.

Traveling in Mexico for Missions,

Del Palmer

Friday, February 05, 2010

Update on Haiti

World Relief Haiti

Dear Association of Free Lutheran Congregations,

I continue to hear stories daily of the ways God is working in and through His Church in Haiti.

27-year-old Pénel - a member of the local Assemblies of God Church - is one of numerous volunteers ensuring vulnerable families have access to the water provided by their churches and World Relief.

Pénel explains that his church - like many other churches - was destroyed in the quake. The congregation now gathers outside the church or in the camp to pray and worship together.

In Pénel's camp and in sprawling neighbor camps, about 700 members of his church have set up makeshift shelters built out of tarps, faded sheets, sticks, and scrap corrugated metal. Every day is a struggle to find enough food and water.

Even before the quake, the majority of Haitians did not have access to clean water. The earthquake has devastated the already weak infrastructure.

"This water is life to us," Penel says. "We share water and food. As a Christian, I am ready to help others in any way I can."

World Relief and Haitian church partners have distributed more than 64,000 gallons of water - 20 truckloads - to 12,000 vulnerable families in the last week.

World Relief is also investing for the long-term, drilling boreholes and installing submersible pumps to ensure sustainable access to waters in six communities in Port-au-Prince.

"This will make a very big difference," says Pastor Pierre Alexis, head of an orphanage that will be home to a new borehole.

Haiti water photo "We are planning to invite people from the community to come and get water here. It is important to show people the real Jesus - the One who cares not only for their body, but also for their soul. If you follow Jesus, you must show it through your actions, not just say it."

Thank you for being a part of showing people the real Jesus.

Thank you for being the Church.

"It is important to show people the real Jesus - the One who cares not only for their body, but also for their soul. If you follow Jesus, you must show it through your actions, not just say it."

- Pastor Pierre Alexis

President Obama highlights World Relief as a significant responder to the Haiti crisis during today's National Prayer Breakfast.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Jerez Here We Come

Hanna & Amanda

MTI Students Hannah Swansen and Amanda Bellefy are traveling to Jerez, Mexico.  They have an overnight flight and will arrive to work with the Schierkoks on Wednesday morning.  Hannah and Amanda will be in Mexico from February until May.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Morks Travel to Congo/Uganda

IMG00014Glenn and Sherry Mork are traveling to the Congo where Glenn works with a orphanage in the Congo.  After traveling to the Congo Glenn will travel to Uganda to meet with the Jores for direction and encouragement on behalf of the World Missions Committee.  Please pray for the Morks as the travel in Africa.