Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Darwin Jackson’s - Mexico

"When the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and, above all, when he sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, "he trembles" as much as he ever did, for he knows that is day in that church or community is at an end." R. A. Torrey

image An exiting bit of news and pray request for Elizabet and Edgar, they have announced their engagement to be married in May. Elizabet is Pastor Antonio's daughter, and Edgar is the young man who plays the guitar with me in Buenos Aires.

Praise God for answered prayer for Alfonso (who I work with), he has been without work for a long time. But a guy who worked with me to build a retaining wall at our house to protect us from the monsoons, got a job building another wall and he linked up with Alfonso and his two sons who have been without work as well. So that is a really big blessing.

The battle still rages along the border. The latest is another high ranking police officer assassinated, the deputy police chief. We have had two different short term mission teams scheduled to come, one in April, the other in May. But because of all the violence both have decided not to cross the border. Pray for peace and that the government might get a handle on this that we "may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."

It looks like our brother Milo out in Mascarenas has had a job change, so he may be with us on Sundays to help with the work there. This would help to set Alfonso and I free to make more visits to the homes that we have wanted to do.

I've had some good visits with a hard nut in Buenos Aires. He seems to be cracking and really changing his tune. Even opening up and sharing some of his personal hurts. Like his oldest son who is in prison here in Nogales. Pray for Jesus (or Chuy), that we may continue to meet and that he might receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

Thank you all for causing the enemy to tremble seeing his end, your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann, Gracie, Cesar and Sykari

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reaching the Unreached

The AFLC has made a conscious effort to share the Good News of Christ to unreached people groups within India.  To bridge the caste system boundaries, people must go as missionaries and be willing to live in the midst of these people and become one with them.

In an effort to reach some of the unreached people groups of Andra Pradash, a mission team was formed by the local Indian pastors in January 2009. The question was asked, “Are you willing to go to people different from yourselves and bring the gospel?” Five people came forward and met to pray over this need. In the following months a completely Hindu village was chosen as a place to reach.

Our AFLC pastors in India primarily come from the Madhiga people and the village of Pedepi come from the Mala caste. There has never been a Christian presence in Pedepi  or  the surrounding area.  The mission team prayed and planned for a strategy to reach this area. J. Samuel, one of the AFLC pastors, had an uncle from Pedepi who welcomed Samuel and Pastor Luther to use his home and talk with the people about starting a church. First, a survey of the town was held and the elders were told about the idea of starting a church. Second, a doctor was sent to Pedepi to care for the people in the name of Jesus and the people were told that a preaching rally would be held in two weeks. Third, four pastors arrived in town and began going through the streets with a loud speaker, music, tracks, and an invitation to come in the evening to hear about Jesus and to see the film that described His life. That night 60 people attended and many prayed in response to the gospel.

This happened in October, from that time, pastors began to travel weekly to Pedepi to hold worship services. In November, two Hindu’s where baptized into the Christian faith and given Christian names. In February, Pastor Isaac arrived with his family to work with this new mission congregation full-time. In the meantime, we stand in awe of what the Lord can do and continue to pray for the work in this village and future work to other unreached people groups.

Monday, March 29, 2010

AFLC Gives Generously to Haiti



Churches and Individuals have given generously to World Relief for Haiti.  At this time the AFLC has given $21,290.00 to World Relief.


imageGifts given to World Relief  provide spiritual as well as physical aid because they are  distributed through churches in the area.

Thank you for your generosity.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

MTI in Arizona

image Hola from Arizona!!

First of all thank you for your prayers and support! God has definitely been working, and I am so privileged to be a part of it down here in Mesa.

image A lot has happened since Abby and I started our excursion in February down here to Mesa. We arrived safely after going through a few snow storms, welcomed by very nice warm weather! And it continues to be so, though it has been pretty rainy this winter. We have been kept busy with the different ministries and much fellowship with the congregation. We have been involved with the Kids Club, Youth Group, Children’s Church, ESL child care, Bible Studies, Prayer Warriors, Choir, and other random things that come up. It has been such a good time these past few weeks, though it has not always been easy. God has broken me, molded me, and continues to change my heart. I am so thankful for this time here in the simple fact that I have grown much closer to the Lord, and experienced Him in new ways.

There has been much learning with the Children and Youth in how to run the hours we have with them, but also how we are constantly reminded of the importance of building relationships with them. Many families in the community surround Calvary Free Lutheran are broken. The Kids a very effected, and it shows. One thing I continue to learn is the importance of being rather than doing. I often get stuck in the need to do things constantly – that is just how my mind works. But many times I realize I just need to step back and be with the kids and build that relationship with them. But most importantly I need to be with my Lord.

When Abby and I came down, Debbie Giles started an ESL class for the Spanish families in the community. It has grown to about 12 ladies who come weekly to learn and have fun with Debbie and each other. During that time Abby and I take care of the kids that they bring with them. Until recently, we have had them stay up in the small nursery room in the church. But after putting our heads together we decided since there were so many kids we should go out to the 2nd building, or the Children’s Building, where they have more space and can play outside. It has worked great thus far, and the atmosphere has allowed us to build closer relationships with the kids. They are all so much fun and well behaved!

I have been able to teach for the Kids Club a few times, each time getting better and easier. It is interesting to experiment and see the different ways the kids respond to different techniques. I hadn’t taught before coming here, and I often wish I had started sooner! It is fun, though the kids at Kids Club don’t like to listen very well…well a select few don’t anyway. My prayer is that they would come to know Christ in a personal way. They have the head knowledge; it seems they just haven’t connected it with their heart yet. But God is still working in these kid’s lives, which is exciting to see. We have around 8 kids coming to that each Wednesday.

Youth Group is always a fun time. The age range of the group is 12-13 year olds. Recently we have been teaching them the importance of devotions and how to study the Bible. Abby and I hope to meet with two of the girls to help them study their Bibles and know God more intimately. Please pray for us in this area, that we would find a time that works for all of us.

image Here in Mesa God has been revealing His will continually to me. He is moving in this community and church, and I know He is calling me to be a part of that work. After a hard day of breaking, I finally decided to listen to God’s voice, and am now planning on staying in Mesa until God says to go somewhere else. I will have to return to Minneapolis for a few weeks of classes and other things going on in May, and then I will return to Mesa in the first week of June. I am excited to see what God has in store! I have been helping with the secretary work also, which has kept me busy, and I will possibly be taking over that for a job. It’s awesome how the Lord provides!

My parents were able to make it down here for a few days this past weekend. I also have grandparents here who they stayed with. We were able to do some sight-seeing and talk and hang out. It was good to see them and have them see a glimpse of what is going on down here in Mesa!

Some prayer Requests:

  • School plans for next fall and continued guidance
  • Air conditioner fixed in my car
  • Pat Yard, the lady who keeps us connected with the elementary school in the area – she has been such a blessing, but isn’t saved…yet
  • Unity between Ryan, Brandon, Abby, and I
  • The Children’s Festival and Easter Sunday coming up next week! Wed-Fri we have a Spring VBS (too hot to do it in the summer) and then on Easter Sunday we will have a program with the kids with an egg hunt.
  • The Many snowbirds traveling back home soon
  • That I would have a servant heart daily
  • Progression in Spanish language learning! And patience during that time
  • That God would be glorified!

Thank you all again so much. I would love to hear how things are going for you all as well! It is always an encouragement and uplifter! God Bless you!!

Rachel Johnson

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brazil Bible Camps

Picture1 Bible Camps at the ARCA Influence Lives

Once again we were involved in two important camp weeks during the summer vacation.  We enjoyed having our sons  and several nieces and nephews among the great group of counselors for the children. The theme  “I want to hear the voice of God” helped all of us spend time in His Word.  It was an enthusiastic week of singing and learning, playing and praying.  The youth camp was also a blessing with about 150 people filling every corner of the ARCA.  This year many young adults from our local churches came together to plan and carry out the camp.  We haven’t worked ourselves out of a job YET, but every year more people take responsibility and the tasks are shared. 


Paul’s folks arrived right before camp started and Pastor John (84) spoke for one of the morning sessions.  We were happy to be able to give the ARCA a little “facelift” including an exterior and interior paint job, a big porch on the front side of the ARCA and a big new industrial stove and oven for the kitchen.

Paul and Becky Abel


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Exciting News from Ukraine

clip_image001Warm days have come to Lviv and we hope you too are enjoying some nice spring weather wherever you are. We took a week of vacation during our border crossing trip earlier this month which was very refreshing. But it is also good to again be back home in Lviv.

The most exciting news this month is that after many months of prayers (ours and yours), it seems like God really got hold of Mrs. Tanya. I (Tomasz) had a chance to preach this Sunday when Pr. Bendus was gone and Mrs. Tanya came to church because of that.

After the service she thanked me for the sermon and said she would call me later that day. She did and when we talked she told me that during the preaching she realized that she was a dead person (spiritually) but she said that it was not the case any more! She kept saying, “You know what I mean...” Saying that she was referring to our many talks about how a person can be saved... She knew everything she needed to know but in the past she always refused to accept Jesus as the only way to God. So I asked her, “Does it mean that you accepted Jesus into your heart as your Savior?” and she said, “YES!” What an exciting moment! I know there was joy in Heaven that day (Luke 15:10) and we too were rejoicing here on earth.

We realize that this is the first step and it is now really important to follow up with regular discipleship so that what God had started in her life would continue to grow. She has a scheduled surgery tomorrow, will be in the hospital for a week and after that she will only be able to either stand or lie (no sitting) for some time so we will see what that means for our opportunities to meet. But God knows and we believe that He will provide for that too. Please continue lifting up Mrs. Tanya in your prayers. She also said that before Sunday she was reading “Our Daily Bread” because it was interesting but she did not read the Bible passages. When we asked if she was reading her Bible now, she said, “Oh yeah!”   It is also exciting to see her natural way of sharing God’s things with others. On Sunday she was invited to her friend’s house for lunch and that friend was actually telling her not to go to church (so that she could come for lunch earlier). Mrs. Tanya told her friend she needed to go to church because she told me she would come. But the exciting part is that after church, Mrs. Tanya retold the whole sermon to her non-Christian friend, in detail!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jesse Long – Tanzania

group shot It has been another busy couple weeks since I last wrote!  First of all, I want to thank you for your prayers for the weekend of spiritual meetings we had back at the beginning of this month.  It was a blessed opportunity to be reminded of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We also had a great time with our guests from Bildoy Bible School in Norway (March 10-15).  We had a total of about 35 students who came in two separate groups over a period of those 5 days.  A lot of work fell on Ben during that time as he was the “teacher on duty” but everything came together well and it was a time of encouragement for all involved.  Pray that the time these students have had here in Tanzania and Kenya would have a lasting impact on them and their relationship with God for years to come.

After the last of the guests left on that Monday morning (the 15th), we had only the remainder of that week to finish up our classes for this semester.  Unfortunately, there was also a lot of work in the fields that needed to be done knocking down weeds between the rows of corn…all 16 acres of it.  So, classes were canceled as the students spent the 15th-17th in the field.  Fortunately, we still had Thursday and Friday to finish teaching our classes and do our final reviews in preparation for finals which will start today (March 22nd).  Pray for the students as they finish this semester and have only 2 short weeks at home with their families over Easter break.

Another recent blessing we received was a visit over this past weekend from some of our good friends – Eivind (the MAF pilot based in Arusha), together with his fiancé, Nadia (from Israel), and Nadia’s younger sister, Neli.  They had a free weekend so decided to come see where we live and we were happy to have friends come and celebrate with us the fact that we have finished teaching for this semester.  They came Friday evening and left yesterday after church (Sunday, March 21st).  Eivind is one of the coolest missionary I have ever known.  He just has such a great heart, is so much fun, plus they came is his soft-top Land Cruiser and brought the meat of a Thompson gazelle that he got a few months ago.  So, over the course of the weekend, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of Waama, did some motorcycle riding, made a trip up to the waterfalls near our house to do some swimming together, and then had a totally excellent dinner of barbequed game meat.  I will attach a picture of the five of us with Eivind’s sweet ride in front of our house.  (L to R: Jesse, Neli, Eivind, Nadia, Ben)

Please pray for the students as they do their finals for the semester (March 22-24) and then as Ben and I make our way to Arusha on the 25th (Ben’s 27th birthday).  Ben’s fiancé will be arriving in Arusha on the 26th to spend Easter break here.  Pray also as she and Ben make a trip up to spend some time with Ben’s brother and his family in Uganda and as I spend that time at a workshop in Kenya for staff of East African Bible schools.  Pray also for our upcoming third and final semester to begin on the 12th of April.  During this final semester I will be teaching four classes: English to a mixture of students from each of the three courses, The Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy, Titus) to the first-year students, 1 Corinthians to the second-year class, and Introduction to Evangelism also to our second-year students.  Please pray for me as I begin to prepare for these classes even during our time away from Waama over Easter break.  I certainly continue to covet you prayers for my future beyond Tanzania as well.

As I close, I want to wish you all a blessed Easter season and thank you again for your interest in and participation with this ministry.  You mean more to me than I could tell you.  May God richly bless you!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Paul Abels - 25 Years of Service in Brazil

Dreams Can Come True!

2010 Paul and  Becky Low ResMarch 2010 marks 25 years since we arrived in Brazil as young missionaries. We came with two little girls, a firm faith in an unfailing God, and a dream in our hearts to share Jesus and start Free Lutheran churches. In obedience and perseverance, by faith and determination and God’s grace the dream turned into the reality we reflect upon today. We thank God for using our lives and our humble efforts to preach the Gospel, to love people, and to establish Biblical churches where Brazilians worship God and encourage one another in their faith regularly. Our faith has been tested, our energies have been spent, money has been invested, and prayers have been answered.

At times it is overwhelming to reflect on all that has happened in these past 25 years. Remember with us and pray with us for:

· God’s provisions day after day for us and for our ministries. He has blessed us spiritually, emotionally. physically and financially.

· The faithful financial and prayer support of countless friends in the U.S.

· The huge responsibilities that continue in the lives of those who have come to Christ through our ministry.

· The on-going maintenance of buildings and properties entrusted to us.

· The future doors of ministry we have yet to open and walk through.

In youthful optimism no task seemed too great back in 1985. Now, 25 years later, the reality of caring for the ministries established seems very great indeed. For this reason we continue to need your prayers and support. Thank you for dreaming with us and believing that God can do the impossible!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where Shall My Help Come?

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”” Psalm 121:1

imagesWhen one works with animals and people at the same time, strange things can happen. Two weeks ago, I examined a cow which had a lame foot. I found the cause of the lameness and the farmer and I proceeded to load the cow back on the trailer. The cow was a little skittish, but she jumped back into the trailer, the farmer slammed the back door shut and began to lock it, and I turned back to the barn to begin my next job. Then, there was a loud crash—I turned back to behold the door wide open, the farmer on the ground and the cow running over him to freedom. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt but we now had a cow which had never been to Greenbush before and was determined to see all the sights. It ran down our driveway into our neighbor’s back yard through the 4 feet of snow. I jumped into my truck with a loaded syringe of tranquilizer determined to catch her on a street and slow the cow’s apparent plan to visit downtown Greenbush. Three times in the next half hour, I managed to get the cow onto one of our icy streets, but her four wheel drive permitted her to dive into the next yard before I could catch her. I don’t know where her four active brain cells were carrying her but I do know she was now no lover of men. The sight of one of us on foot set her in motion to kill (or at least maim). Finally, she arrived at our school where just 10 minutes earlier about 50 kids had been on the playground. Corrine (Oh the wisdom of a good wife!) had called the school and warned them that we had a cow on the loose. The teachers had responded wonderfully and all that were left were 4 farm boys who figured they knew how to help handle that cow. Just as we and the cow arrived, the teachers had gotten the 4 cowboy wannabes off the grounds as well. Now the cow stopped—she was tired and finally we had time to assess our options. My first suggestion was to have our local police drop her on the spot. Lisa, who works for me and had now caught up with us, said that would be messy and she suggested we call Wojo. Now Wojo (Keith Wojciechowski) is a real cowboy and lives only 4 miles from Greenbush. She called—he was excited and was at the school in 15 minutes with his son, 2 horses, and lariets. He unloaded the horses, jumped on his and headed for the cow lariat looped and ready to toss. This cow had never seen a horse—she responded the only way she knew—she charged. When the horse didn’t spook, she tried to change direction—the lariat snaked through the air and Wojo caught her on his first throw. The farmer and I raced back to the clinic, got his trailer, loaded the cow, and sent them back to the farm. On the way back to get his trailer, the farmer was bemoaning how this was the worst day of his life. I looked at him and said, “No way! No one was hurt, no property was damaged, we caught the cow, and…she is no longer lame—it’s a great day!”

Sunday morning, Psalm 121 was used at the beginning of our service. As I meditated on it, I first laughed because it’s hard to look to the mountains in Greenbush (there are only two hills in all of Roseau Co—we name them—Bemis and Minnesota). Then one of those God moments dawned on me—why was the Psalmist looking for help at all? The obvious answer is that he needed help (we keep things simple up here!). We live our lives with the complete intention of staying out of trouble—that if trouble comes, it’s out of failure on our parts to avoid difficulties and that if trouble comes, we like the farmer look upon those difficulties as bad days. The Psalmist simply and beautifully reminds us that it is on those days that we look most intently at our Lord and God because on those darker days, we are reminded that we absolutely need Him—that He is our creator—that He is our keeper—that He is our protector. At the close of every Sunday service at United, we sing the first stanza of “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”:

God be with you till we meet again, By His counsels guide, uphold you,

With His sheep securely fold you, God be with you till we meet again.

May God be with you all as we face the struggles of the days—the sunny days as well as the darker days—those days especially as we look to where our help indeed comes from.

Dr. Lyle Mattson

Dr. Mattson is a veterinary in Greenbush, MN.  He serves on the World Missions Committee.

Friday, March 19, 2010

MTI Students in Mexico

Hanna and Amanda Thank you for you prayers.  I appreciate them so much and have seen answers to your prayers.  A major thing is that Hannah and I have not gotten sick from being in a new place, and we have been safe in everything that we have been doing.  Another huge praise is that Memito, the oldest son of the family we're staying with, came to church last Sunday.  Please pray for him as he's in college and facing many different things, that he would come back to Christ.  Please pray for Claudia, the mom, who is recovering from her major surgery last week.  She's still pretty sore and tired, but doesn't like not being able to do very much.  She has been showing us how to make some jewelry, so that's been interesting to learn.  Please pray for us as we're learning Spanish.  It's so exciting when I actually understand something, and then when they say something I don't know, it just reminds me all the more of how much I still have yet to learn.  Please pray for Memo, the dad, and Abraham, the other son, that they would realize their need for Christ, and pray for us, that we would be a light and a witness to them.  Thanks again for your prayers.

In Christ,

Amanda Bellefy   

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Oral Bible – Part 3

image I would like to update you on how the Mega Voice audio players are having an impact here by sharing some of the testimonies from the students who have received them. 

Last week Fred (one of the students in Butagaya) reported that he had been sitting with a Muslim man.  After hearing the sound of Fred’s player in his pocket, he asked, “What is that sound?”  Fred showed him the MegaVoice and the man listened to several of the stories.  After Fred saw that the stories were speaking to the man’s heart, he urged him to accept Jesus.  The man replied, “I am near with salvation” (meaning: “I am getting closer to getting saved”).  Fred said that the first night after receiving the player his whole family sat in their house and listened to the stories until late at night.  He says that everyone from the 5-year-old to the grandparents can hear and understand the stories.

Geoffrey (a student from Naigobya) had been sharing the stories he learned in class each week with a group of guys that mocked him and said he did not know what he was talking about.  After receiving the MegaVoice Geoffrey went to them again and started telling them the story of Creation.  Once again they ridiculed him and told him he did not know what he was talking about.  He then pulled the MegaVoice out of his pocket and pushed “play.”  The skeptics gathered around in amazement as they heard this little radio recounting for them in their own language the story of Creation exactly how Geoffrey had told them.  “You have been telling us the truth!” they exclaimed. 

Godfrey (our yard worker) told me he heard the story of Paul and Silas (Acts 16) for the first time.  He was amazed by the power of God in the story as the earthquake opened the prison doors.  He said, “If I had been that jailer, I would have asked how I could be saved too!”

Daniel (from Butagaya) said, “People are now coming to me asking me to spare time for them so that they can hear the Bible stories.”

Peter (Naigobya) complained that the volume was too quiet.  The players are ideal for a small group of 15-20 people to hear.  When I asked him why it was too quiet, he said that he had been playing the stories for around 100 of his fellow students at his High School during a "Scripture Union" meeting!

The response to the MegaVoice players has been very positive so far.  Many people are hearing the Word of God in their heart-language for the first time.  However, one of the drawbacks is that they are not reproducible.  In other words, it is a foreign device that comes from the West and it is not easily accessible to the locals.  When it comes to reproducibility, technology once again becomes an ally of the missionary.  Internet access is becoming more available and cell phones are becoming more advanced.  We hope to have the Lusoga audio on the Internet soon for Lusoga-speakers to download.  More and more people in Uganda (and in much of the 3rd world) now have cell phones that are equipped with MP3 capabilities which means people have the potential or putting the Lusoga Bible stories on their phones!  The reproducibility question may be answered when the stories can be distributed from phone to phone throughout Uganda FOR FREE.

Meanwhile, the work of translating and recording stories continues.  Roy, my Lusoga teacher, is the one who is working with me on translating and recording the stories.  So far we have recorded 41 Bible stories with more in the process.

Thanks for your prayers that Uganda might hear the Word of God and turn to Christ.

Nate Jore

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” –Psalm 19:7a


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Steve Kvale’s Newsletter

imageThis winter we have shared in various churches, added a family pet which livened things up during such sadness in the loss of Glenda’s father, and trained as a family in flexibility while needing to be available for the needs in Starbuck and at our home in Balaton.  God is faithful to comfort, guide, encourage, strengthen and enable us when we think we are
going to burn out. Our joy continues . . .

To read Kvale’s latest newsletter click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Violence in Mexico

Todd Just a quick note about the current bad news from the Mexican city of Juarez.  Many people confuse Juarez with Jerez and I just wanted to make sure there was no doubt that we are not anywhere near the border city of Juarez where the violence took place.  Juarez is just across the border from El Paso, Texas about a 15 hour drive from where we are in Central Mexico.

In Christ,

Todd Schierkolk

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Promoting Mission in the Eastern USA

IMG_0272 (Medium)

AFLC World Missions Director, Del Palmer and his wife Karen have been traveling in the eastern states of the USA promoting missions.  They have visited churches and pastors in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.   This week they will continue in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Each connection is different, but at a typical presentation Pastor Palmer preaches about missions and then gives a presentation explaining the ministry of AFLC World Missions.

IMG_0273 (Medium)


Karen normally meets with the youth and children.  Wearing traditional Indian dress she explains what a person does as a missionary.  She encourages the children to be missionaries where they are right now and be sensitive to God’s call in the future.

Please be in prayer for their safety and effectiveness.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Darwin Jackson - Mexico

"I saw something today which affected me more than anything I ever saw or read on religion. While the battle was raging and the bullets were flying, Jackson rode by, calm as if he were at home, but his head was raised toward heaven, and his lips were moving evidently in prayer." (Re: General Stonewall Jackson, recounted to Chaplain William W. Bennett. America's God and Country)

Missionary On Loan - DJ The Anderson's and us may get to practice Gen. Jackson's technique as the "battle rages and the bullets are flying" here in Mexico. The two latest notices are close to home. "Canadian tourist Ivet Wait was shot in his left leg March 4 during an attempted carjacking in a trailer park frequented by international tourists in Mazatlan, Sinaloa state." and "Large firefights have taken place in towns and cities across Mexico, but occur mostly in northern Mexico, including Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Chihuahua City, Nogales, Matamoros, Reynosa and Monterrey." Krista wrote me "There has been a noticeable increase in crime in the last month or so. You can tell more by the nervous energy that everyone seems to have than anything else. We had a shooting about 100 yards from our apartment one weekday at 10am, and a few of the youth in the church have been robbed, gun shots and sirens are now more noticeable too." Pray for peace and calm in Mexico.

image Pastor Antonio opened up and shared in a sermon his broken heart for his oldest daughter who met a man on the internet, went to visit him (near Mexico City), and is now pregnant living with him. Please pray for Ana, the young man, as well as her parents Antonio and Amalia.

Dan and Leonie Gomez were here for a week or so with a group from Canada to put a roof on the pastoral house in Mascarenas. The plan on coming back next year to start on the interior. The Gomez are now in Mexico City visiting with family before the fly back to Canada. Pray for a joyful visit and safe travel.

The cold weather has made our visitations a little slow these days, but the work in the homes in Mascarenas is going well. It seems Ciria and her husband Juan are not getting along, so we may not be able to continue our Catechism studies with Alonso. Pray for healing and a continued open door with this family.
Mary Ann has been struggling with a stress related headache for several days. Pray for that wonderful "calm" that comes in the midst of the battle. Your fellow workers,

Darwin, Mary Ann Gracie, 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

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Amanda Bellefy – MTI Student in Mexico

Amanda Thank-you so much for your prayers.  It's 80 today, but it was 33 last night, so the temperature changes are crazy here, but I won't complain.  Friday I helped make some tortilla things and they made them in an old outdoor oven, so that was really cool to see.  While I was there, a man came who was related to some of the people there and he's a cop from Nebraska.  Anyway, he said he was atheist, but I was able to witness to him and he was very open to what I was saying and at the end he said he wasn't an atheist and he has read the Bible before, so I pray that God would use that and that he would start reading his Bible again and become saved.  His name is Danny if you would be willing to join me in praying for his salvation.  Spanish classes have been going well, although learning a new language is really hard.  Pottery class has been going well too.  I don't know if I'll be able to bring everything back-the dad, Memo, said we'd have to go on the streets dressed up in Indian garb and try selling them on the streets.  I've been learning how to cook Mexican food as well, so that's been fun.  Please keep praying for the family we're staying with-Memo & Claudia and their sons Memito (Memo Jr) and Abraham.  Memito just moved out of the house and he used to be  active in the church but hasn't been since going to college this last fall, so pray that he would come back to Christ and pray for Abraham and Memo, that they would see their need for Christ.  Please pray for us and being a witness to them and being an encouragement to Claudia, who is the only Christian in the family.  Thank-you for your prayers.  Praise God Hannah and I have both been healthy and safe.

In Christ,

Amanda Bellefy

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ben Jore - Tanzania

image Time continues to fly by and second semester is soon to come to a close!

We have two weeks of teaching left and one week of finals before the end of the semester. Waama will then be closed for two weeks over Easter before the start of the third and final semester of the school year.

This semester has been a good one - teaching continues to be a true joy.

Our class preparation has been quite intensive as we seek not only prepare ourselves to teach but also to prepare notes in Swahili that we can leave behind so that future teachers will be able to use our notes.

This is very labor intensive, but we trust will have a lasting benefit to Waama. Jesse and I have also been able to go on a total of 3 weekend Jesus Film trips this semester. We were especially blessed on our last trip to Labay where we showed the Jesus Film twice and shared in a seminar where we were able to give a very clear presentation of the Gospel in a very spiritually needy area. Please pray that the seeds which have been planted will bear much fruit.

Jesse and I are really excited for Easter Break. Having a couple weeks off will be really nice for both of us. I am especially excited because my fiancee, Adela, will be coming for three weeks to visit and see what I have been doing for the past three and a half years. Please pray for safety and a blessed time together. We are planning on traveling up to Uganda to visit my brother Nate and his family, as well, while Adela is here.

Thank you for praying for Froydis (the Norwegian missionary lady who recently had a stroke). At present she is back in Norway recovering. The latest reports we've heard is that her paralysis went away quite quickly and she is talking again. While her recovery is still not complete, doctors are actually recommending that she come back to Tanzania as early as May because of the boost that such a visit would be for her spirit and the positive activity it would be for her mind. We praise God for this progress and ask for your continued prayers on her behalf.

Would you also pray for Stefano? He studied first year last year and came back for second year this year. After first semester he returned home only to have his infant child pass away. As he was recovering from his loss, his wife also passed away. Needless to say he has not returned to school as he is desperately trying to take care of his 5 small children by himself. This man has planted at least 6 churches in areas where there have been virtually no Christians. The church has rallied around him and has helped him as much as they can, but he could use your prayers.

Thank you for your partnership in this ministry! Your prayers, encouragement, and financial support are the only reason we are here.

May God richly bless you!


Monday, March 08, 2010

Paul & Becky Abel

clip_image009When God places His call on a life or on a ministry it is a “given” that opposition will arise to try and thwart efforts to turn hearts toward the truth.  This morning while reading the account of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall I realized once again that there is no victory without struggle, perseverance, and faith in God.  There are dangers from without and dangers from within, but God’s wants us to persevere and trust in Him to strengthen us for every good work. The words that encouraged me were – “Do not fear, remember the Lord and fight for your brothers and sisters.”  We continue to work on building up a spiritual wall of protection, calling Brazilian Christians to work together in edifying the church. It is important to not be intimidated by the threats of outsiders or discouraged by the apparent difficulties that rise up within, but to trust in Jesus to help us build a firm foundation for ourselves for the generations to come. Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for those with whom we work.  We must not abandon the work midway. As Jesus reminds us in John 9.4 – “It is necessary to do the work of Him who sent me while it is day, for the night will come when no man can work.”

And the work continues….There has been little rest for us since I last updated you on our life the end of January.  Thank you for praying for our Youth Camp during the Carnival holiday in February.  A busload of 40+ young people from Campo Mourão joined our group of 90+ from the Curitiba churches to spend four days of spiritual challenge and fellowship at the ARCA.  Once again we praise God for blessing us with favorable weather and with spiritual blessings.  The one word most often used to describe this camp was “different.”  Our speakers emphasized making a rational decision to follow Christ, not based on an emotional appeal.  We helped the youth understand that in the midst of so many philosophies and lifestyles in our world today, the only spiritual answer that really can satisfy and sustain us is found in developing a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for the many youth who dedicated their lives to following Jesus.

clip_image002The week before camp we finally finished a project we have wanted to get done for years – the ARCA was painted inside and out!  We also purchased a new industrial stove and two ovens for the kitchen.  And Paul built a porch on the front side of the ARCA which ended up being a wonderful area for eating and small group meetings during camp.  These projects were all possible because of a generous donation from some friends of the ARCA ministry in the U.S. – thanks so much!

clip_image006We were happy to welcome Paul’s folks, John (84) and Ruby (80), to spend time with us once again this year. John shared a wonderful morning message at camp based on Romans 12:1-2.  It is a blessing to see his zeal for the Lord and his concern for young people and the work of the church here in Brazil.  They plan to visit many of the churches and hold two evangelistic campaigns.  John also volunteered to give daily Portuguese classes to the four short-term missionaries who arrived the day after camp was over. 

clip_image005We are very happy to have Nathan Olson, Jon Nelson, Amanda Aldrich and Bethany Marschner with us.  They spent their first two weeks with us in Bateias.  We are very impressed with their willingness to make friends, learn the language and share their faith in Jesus with others. Their first two weeks were packed with many activities involving work projects, relationship-building and witnessing opportunities. Yesterday we left home and drove in two cars to Campo Mourão where they will be spending the bulk of their time and ministry at the Bible School and orphanage.  Please pray for these four young people as they adapt to life in Brazil and seek to serve the Lord in this place.  If you are interested in seeing Brazil from their perspective take a look at their blogs - and

Tonight we will be going to a wedding here in Campo Mourão.  Sunday and Monday we will help get the short-termers settled and set up a schedule for them as they get to work here.  Then we will be on our way back to Bateias and the work and challenges there.  We are happy that lay pastor Augusto has started his ministry in the Campo Largo church. Paul will be finish giving a course of Profession of Faith, and  I will be giving a training course for people involved in the children’s ministries at our churches in March.  Then we hope to take a little time to organize our lives and house in preparation for our furlough which begins in May.  You probably have no way of understanding how wonderful and crazy our life is here without experiencing it firsthand.  But, we want you to know that we appreciate your prayers and support. I am sure that the Lord has worked through your prayers to sustain us and encourage us as we offer our lives as a living sacrifice to God. Working together we hope to win some for Christ and keep building the “wall” for God’s glory. 

Our love to you,

Paul and Becky

Friday, March 05, 2010

An Oral Bible – Part 2

"Do you have any more of those?" Godfrey, our yard worker, had just been introduced to the "Mega Voice Player" (a solar-powered audio player) on which I had recorded several Bible stories in Lusoga, the native tongue in our region of Uganda. I had brought one out to him in the garden to see what he thought of it. I let him take it home for a few days to test it out. He brought it back with the battery (good for 15+ hours) almost depleted. He himself had just gotten through 8 of the 32 stories, and then his wife and his neighbors wanted to have a turn with it. His eyes were shining as he retold some of his favorite stories back to me (Joseph, Isaac and Rebecca). They were totally new to him, even though he is a believer and regular church-attender. 

The people amongst whom we are working are primarily oral learners, meaning their preferred method of learning is through listening (storytelling), as opposed to reading. Learning this has caused us to pursue various avenues in which we can best communicate God's Word to the people, so that the Truth will not stay on the pages of the Book, but will find its way to their hearts.

Our most recent find is the "Mega Voice Player" a hand-held audio player that can be programmed..

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.  Each of the students have now received a Mega Voice Player with 37 of the stories recorded on them (over 4 hours of audio).  Here is how it works...

I 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 pictured above 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 transportable.  The plan is to be continuing to add new stories as we complete translation and recording.

We currently have 25 players programmed, and I distributed them to my students this past weekend. (Please see our blog - - for pictures) 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

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Update from Pacchas

Dear Family and Friends,
As we look to the Lord for our help and strength, we pray you are doing the same. Isn’t it assuring to know that our Lord is always with us? We praise God for His continued work in our own lives and the lives of those around us. Keep leaning on Him daily as you serve the Lord wherever you are.

Carnival Vacation

image We are not very excited about carnival in Ecuador. Carnival begins in late January or early February and lasts until about the 15th of February. The main idea of the holiday is to throw water at people. It’s like a huge water fight that accelerates and is full blast the last three days of the ‘season.’ Since we are not really into the holiday, we went image with Darwin’s parents to a piece of land they own about an hour from Cuenca and camped there for one night. The view of the mountains was amazing!! (Note the Photos!) We drove to a couple small towns the next day which was a little bit of an adventure. First, there was a big puddle of water and mud that we swerved through and then, the bridge we were going to cross had broken down. Therefore, the people had made small wooden bridges across the river in another area. Because Kirsten was a little nervous about riding over those bridges, she got out of the car image to take pictures instead. We enjoyed our time in the warmer climate, and we came back with some sun tans and mosquito bites. We had a great time together. The third day of vacation we went to a huge, beautiful waterfall. We couldn’t even get a complete picture of it because it was so tall. The water was freezing, but that did not stop Luis and Silvio (Darwin’s brothers) from getting in for a minute. We will be putting more of our pictures on the blog this week for you to enjoy. Keep checking for them at .

Darwin and Kirsten Paccha

Darwin is a 2009 graduate from AFLTS.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jesse in Tanzania

image Thank you so much for your prayers on behalf of this past weekend’s evangelism trip!  We were so blessed as we visited the region of Labay.  Both of the villages where we showed the Jesus film (Friday night and Saturday night) were places with relatively little Christian influence.  In fact, the local evangelist of the village where we were on Saturday told us that this new church plant only has about 10 Christians.  Before showing the film that evening, we spent the afternoon teaching a seminar and were very encouraged as we had the opportunity to share some very clear presentations of the gospel to the 60+ people who showed up!  Most encouraging was the fact that several of the people in attendance were some of the village elders.  When our sessions were over they said, “We have never come to church before but we have really learned some things today and want to start coming now!”  Praise God!  May the seeds that were planted bear much fruit!

The previous weekend that we spent in Arusha was also a blessed time.  Ben ended up needing to have some work done on his motorcycle that delayed our return to the school.  Nevertheless, we had some very positive interactions with our fellow missionaries there and returned here very encouraged.  God continues to orchestrate many things on our behalf.  It was also a blessing to have an improved internet connection which enabled us to have increased communication with family and friends.  As a matter of fact, I received some great news from my sister, Anna, and her husband, Dary!  For those that don’t remember, due to injuries that Dary sustained in Iraq, they are unable to have children of their own.  Recently, however, they were approached by an expectant, single mother who asked if they would be able to adopt the baby she is carrying, due at the beginning of September!  Dary and Anna are SO excited and I am so happy to see the way God seems to be preparing to fulfill Anna’s lifelong dream of having a baby of her own!  I also think it is pretty cool that I am going to get to be an uncle again. J  As God brings it to your mind, please keep this whole situation in your prayers, as well.

So, second semester is going to be over before we know it!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  As I mentioned in my last update, this coming weekend is our weekend of spiritual meetings for the semester here at Waama.  Pray that God would be glorified through this time and that His people would be built up and encouraged in their faith.

Thank you again for your part in this ministry.  As I watched people come forward this past weekend out in these villages to make public professions of faith, I couldn’t help but praise God for all of you back home who make this work possible.  May God richly bless you for your part!  Keep up the good work!!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Monday, March 01, 2010

Red Sea Moments – Jon Nelson

IMG_5108 Back in the beginning of December Nathan and I had sent an email and posted a blog update titled Red Sea Moments. The email was about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea in Exodus 14 and their attitudes when they realized that the Egyptians were chasing them. The Israelites said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” Moses then stretched out his hand over the sea and the Lord drove the sea back and the Israelites crossed on dry ground. We talked about what a miracle that was and how we had decided to wait for our visas and not doubt our calling from God.

I want to build off of that email and talk a little about how the Israelites continued to doubt God and continued to think that God only wanted them to die in the wilderness. In the fifteenth chapter the Israelites were without water and grumbled to Moses and this is right after the Lord parted the Red Sea for them to escape! In the sixteenth chapter the Israelites said, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat post and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” As if God answering that cry wasn’t enough in the seventeenth chapter the Israelites again said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

I look at this and marvel at the doubt that the Israelites had and then I look at my life, especially being here in Brazil, and marvel at my own doubt. At times I found myself saying, “Lord why did you want me to come here? I can’t even seem to communicate with these people. I could have stayed in the States and gotten involved with a ministry where I can communicate! Lord, you must have made a mistake…” Through my own personal time in prayer and with his word I realized first and foremost the Lord doesn’t make mistakes, I am here for a reason. Even though the language isn’t coming as quickly as I had hoped it is coming and the Lord is using my life and my situations in ways that I’m sure I’ll never know in this lifetime. Secondly, this time in my life where I am forced to communicate, even at most times very badly, has strengthened my dependence on God. It has caused me to realize that He is in control and that He is made strong in my many weaknesses.

Nathan and I both continue to ask for prayer as continuing to learn the language can be a struggle at times, but day by day it gets better. We have found so much joy in the Lord and in the work that is being done here and we continue to thank God for the blessing it is to be here! Paul and Becky are amazing hosts with such a warm heart for the people and God has used them in miraculous ways! We will only be with them for about another week before we continue our work in Campo Mourão with the Bible School and the Miriam Infant Home. So far in our time here in Brazil we have realized that our schedules change on a whim, the day never goes as according to our plans and that there is always work to be done. Only one thing is ever set in stone and remains constant and that’s that the Lord is working in the lives of the people here in Brazil and in our lives. The Lord has taught us so much already and we continue to look forward to what the Lord will continue to teach us.

I realize that this isn’t a typical update email and in the future we will more than likely be more descriptive of the work that we have been doing while we are here. Until that time, please visit our blog at We typically update it every night or every other night with the various things that we have done throughout the day and different prayer request that we have.

We thank you for your partnership in the gospel and hope that everything is well for you in the states!

In Christ’s love,

Jon Nelson and Nathan Olson