Friday, May 28, 2010

Darwin Jackson - Mexico

“In no other way can the believer become as fully involved with God’s work, especially the work of world evangelism, as in intercessory prayer." Dick Eastman

I haven't been too worried about all the fighting going on between the cartel and the police so far. I just watch myself, do what the police and military say and go about my business (or the Kingdom business). But when they posted this banner in town because of our new law allowing police to uphold the federal law, it does cause me to look over my shoulder a bit more. 

Pastor Antonio and his wife Amalia flew to Toluca (north of Mexico City) to visit their daughter Ana last night. Please pray for their travel safety, a good and healing visit with Ana, for her pregnancy and for the Church here in Nogales with their absence. Brother Alfonso will be preaching this Sunday and teaching the Bible study on Wednesday.
Alfonso and I had a great visit with three guys in our neighborhood with Octavio, Tomas and Javier. Octavio has been going to church now for about three months and the other two have just started, yet none of them had assurance of salvation, nor could explain to us how a person can receive eternal life. It was really awesome when afterward the two younger guys Tomas and Javier were able to explain why a person cannot be saved because of his good works, but by trusting Christ and receiving Him as Savior and Lord. They got it! Pray with us that God continue to work His word in their lives.

We are preparing now for a vacation trip up to Wisconsin to spend a week at Hunky Dory. Lord willing, we will be leaving on Tuesday the 1st of June. Afterward we will share at the AFLC conference on the 16th at Medicine lake, Mn. We have been looking forward to this for a long time. Cesar is counting on winning the canoe race this year, watch out Chris :-).
Please pray for Mascarenas. Really a strange thing, the only believers who want to meet are the shut-ins who can't leave. All the others do not. The shut-ins are talking to their neighbors and inviting them to come to the meetings now. Pray for new people to come.

Thank you all for "becoming involved" in the work here along the border through prayer. You are so appreciated,  

Darwin, Mary Ann, Cesar and Gracie Jackson

"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, May 26, 2010

Jesse Long - Tanzania

Jesse and Z Dallei I would like to thank you all again for your continued prayers for the dean of Waama, Pastor Zakaria Dallei.  Ben and I were able to make a trip to see him on the 17th of May and we found him already released from the hospital and staying at home with his family!!   This was an amazing answer to prayer.  Even the different fractures that he sustained (shoulder, rib, etc) have been stabilized and seem to be healing very well.  We have been most concerned with the injuries he sustained to his head which for several weeks seemed to be causing him to be quite unsettled and do a lot of rambling.  When we visited him, however, he was very calm, extremely coherent, and pleasantly conversational.  Even his wife said that his progress in recent days had been very noticeable and they are in very good spirits and quite optimistic.  Please continue to pray for his right eye.  Due to the fracture that occurred on his skull near that eye socket, he still seems to be having some problems with his vision.  I don’t know if we are going to be able to see him again before we head back to the States, but I will do my best to give more updates as they become available.

Jesse and Eric I need to back up now and share some other exciting news that happened at the beginning of this month.  As you all probably know, I turned 30 on the 3rd of May.  I was so encouraged to receive greetings from so many of you.  Thank you so much.  The most amazing greeting that I received, however, was from my friend, Eric Paulson, who made a surprise visit May 7-9th!!  Arusha at that time, and he just came walking into the restaurant where we were having dinner that Friday evening!!  (Ben was in on the whole thing.)  Eric had been up in Switzerland on business and decided it was probably his last chance to see where I have been living and working for these past 4 years!  So, our plans for the weekend changed a little from what I thought they were.  We ended up going to Mbulu the next day, spending a night at our house at Waama, and going on safari at Ngorongoro Crater that Sunday.  We saw lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, buffalo, hippos, etc.  It is hard to explain how much fun it was to show someone from home around this place!  It was also just so encouraging to have such a good friend make such an effort and take time out of such a busy schedule to show interest in my life and this ministry.  God is good…and may he bless Eric a ton! J

Following that exciting weekend, we had our weekend of Spiritual Meetings for this semester here at the school.  We had one guest speaker who did most of the sharing but Ben and I also each took one session as we dealt with the theme: “The End Times”. 

Another piece of big news: this past weekend (May 21-23) was our final weekend of village ministry!!  It is amazing to see the different aspects of our ministry here come to a close.  We spent the weekend in a region called Sabilo and had a good film showing in one village on Friday night, did a seminar in another village on Saturday, but then got rained out for the film showing that night.  Fortunately, however, we were still in that same village for church the next morning so we trust that seeds were planted and God’s Word will not return void.  I should say, too, that we have been trying to figure out what to do with all of our Jesus Film equipment when we leave but have been reminded yet again that God cares even about these small details and is more than capable of working them all out, too.  Over the past several months, we have been approached by various individuals and groups interested in buying different components of our set (i.e. generator, speaker, etc.).  We have felt, however, that since all of this was either donated or purchase for the work of evangelism in this area, that it would be best if it could continue to be used to that end.  To make a long story short, we were approached just a few weeks ago by a missionary couple that lives about 2 ½ hours from us and they told us that they could use another set in their work with the Datooga people.  So, since Sabilo is close to where they live, they came to pick up all the equipment on Sunday morning as we were drawing our weekend of ministry to a close.  This meant that we didn’t even have to haul it back to Waama and it is already now in their hands.  Praise God!

So, now we are wrapping up our third and final semester for this fourth and final year.  I can’t thank you enough for your prayers and support!!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as…

· We finish up teaching this week.

· The students take finals next week.

· The school’s harvest of corn for the year is brought in over the next couple weeks.

· Preparations are made for graduation on June 20th.

· Ben and I both prepare to move back to the States at the end of June/beginning of July.

God richly bless you all!

In His service,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jonni Sliver Accepts Call to Brazil

image The World Missions Committee would like to introduce  our most recent missionary, Jonni Sliver.  Jonni will be commissioned at this year Annual Conference.  She will begin deputation and visiting churches in the near future.

Jonni has been a longtime member of Emmaus Lutheran Church (AFLC), Bloomington, MN.  She is a graduate of Bethany Fellowship School of Missions and has served in Brazil from 1988 to 2004. 

Because of health problems it was apparent that Jonni’s mother could no longer live alone.  Therefore, Jonni came home to care for her mother in 2004.  Last May Jonni’s mother went home to be with the Lord which freed Jonni to return to Brazil.

Jonni will serve at the Miriam Infant home and our Bible school and seminary in Brazil. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cyclone Hits AFLC Work in India

A cyclone (hurricane) has hit the area where the AFLC has mission work in India.  We have not had direct contact with those who work there in India.  News reports state that the power is out in the whole area.  AFLC World Missions has relief funds to send to help during this time.  Please pray for those in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh at this time.  For further news you can watch the video below or read the BBC New article by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Check out Jore’s Blog

imageHave you checked out Jore’s blog recently?  There are a lot of great stories like this one.

‘Tis the season for grasshoppers!

Grasshoppers (ensenene - ehn seh neh neh) are a real delicacy around here. They usually come in swarms once or maybe twice a year. . .  Yum! Nate says they taste like bacon.

Check it out by clicking here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Schierkolk’s Home Safe

IMG_0020-Low Res Thanks so much to all who were praying for us.  We crossed the border at the new bridge which took us almost completely around the city of Reynosa.  I haven't heard anything about Reynosa so I don't know if anything happened as was anticipated in the news yesterday.   But we thank God for His care once again.  We are very mindful that this world is not our home and that bad things happen to followers of Jesus around the globe who have great faith and some are suffering much.  I was thinking about them on our trip today.  We pray that God may give them grace to endure the heavy crosses they are bearing even as we praise Him for His loving care of our family.  I was also thinking about the things that have happened in this last year or two to pastors and Christians in the USA and it was a reminder of how we all need to keep our eyes on Jesus no matter where we are.  Thank you again for helping us with your prayers.  We are very grateful to each of you.

In Him,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pray for the Schierkolks

IMG_0020-Low Res We'll be traveling back to Jerez from the border tomorrow morning and we would appreciate your prayers for our family as we go.  I had anticipated that our trip back home would be less of an issue than the trip up to the border but the situation is tense because of news that broke this morning about Reynosa, the city across the border from us.  Thankfully, there is a new bridge open that apparently enables us to go around the city instead of through it so that will help.  We hope to be out of the troubled zone between the border and the city of Monterrey by about 11:00am.

In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Pray for Pastor Nata

Nata We were just told this afternoon that Pastor Nata, Dean of the Seminary/Bible School in Brazil and Pastor for the Central Church in Campo Mourao, contracted Dengue Fever.

Dengue is mosquito born, in and of itself it is a very dangerous disease and can be deadly. However, the extra concern for Pastor Nata is that he had his spleen removed last year after his motorcycle accident which the people here are concerned will affect his bodily interaction with the disease.

Please keep him, his family, his church, and the Seminary/Bible School here in prayer as we proceed with this news!

Only Jesus,
Nathan Olson

Short Term Team in Brazil

Brazil Team Well it’s certainly has been a busy month! We started April off with an Evangelical Outreach in a small town near Curtitiba called Canha. Jon was able to preach on the text of Exodus 14 and the Lord’s faithfullness and provision in all situations. The Lord brought three new people into His kingdom! More people raised their hands for prayer for strength in their current walk with Christ and Pastor Paul Abel had the opportunity to pray and talk with several people after the service. We proceeded to spend Easter in Curitiba celebrating and ministering with three churches in the area. From there we went to Florianopolis and got to tour the East side of Brazil.

The weekend after Florianopolis we went to Foz de Iguacu for an Evangelical Campaign. Pastor John Abel was there for a total of ten days and we were able to be there for the last four. During the campaign seventeen people accepted Christ as their own personal Lord and Saviour! We as a team sang nightly and kept very busy with the childrens ministry. We all had an amazing time working with the children and it was a great opportunity for all of us. While we were there we were able to spend one day sightseeing and being tourists! We went to the bird park and the massive waterfalls Brazil is famous for. God shows His flawless and amazing design through the falls and wildlife in Brazil.

After going to Foz de Iguacu we started preparations for our English camp. Amanda wrote a great piece in their blog about the camp that we’ve inserted:

“Well, the weekend is finished and camp is over. It definitely didn't turn out how we expected! With no pre-registration, it was only by word of mouth that we heard many people were interested in coming. So we were prepared for whatever might come our way! As it turns out so often in life, God's plan is a lot different than ours, a grand total of one student showed up! How did something like that happen? As humans we can't always understand what God is doing, but He quickly showed us that we were going to have an even better weekend than we imagined! There would have been no other way for all of us to have an entire camp all to ourselves for a Christ centered weekend. So thank you for all the prayers!”

We are also excited for future opportunities that are coming up that we will be able to participate in! One of which will be in the month of July while the Bible School here is closed. We will be going with Bethany Mission Fellowship across the country of Paraguay and taking a boat down along a native river and sharing the gospel with the tribal Indians that live along the shore. This trip will be from July 11-18 and will be costing us about $500 for transportation (bus and boat expenses) and our food along the way. Please be in prayer for us as we take an adventurous trip in sharing with some seldom reached people groups.

As we look to the future of our time here in Brazil, we look forward with joy as we have seen so many open opportunities here that God has opened for us and the with excitement as we know that God is faithful to use us according to His good pleasure! We go forward in confidence as we know that we have a Mighty God leading and guiding us and a strong prayer force behind us! With this in mind, please continue to pray for us as we continue in these months before us.

Prayer requests:

-Good health as we start into the cold season here in Brazil (40 degrees outside/inside)

-A continual heart to serve and love the people around us as we minister, as well as encouragement for the pastors alongside us here that are working so sacrificially.

-Continual growth in our learning of Portuguese

-For the kids in the Miriam Infant Home that have been arriving lately as they have no spiritual background and have a time to have exposure to the gospel during their stay here

-For continual assistance as we look to take on our financial needs here.

($200 a month rent, expenses for travel to/from churches for ministry, food, etc.)

Praise Updates:

-We have been able to visit 10 of the AFLC churches here in Brazil so far and share with them in the ministry they are apart of.

-We have been blessed by the Miriam Infant children that we have already had interaction with and have been able to share the love of Christ with. All those who have come to stay here with us we have been able to give a Bible too for their future growth with the Lord!

-By God’s grace, our Portuguese has grown and far exceeded where it was when we first arrived! Communication is getting easier!

-We have had great times in God’s Word with the Bible School students here and have come to build some great friendships with those we are with here in Brazil

-For the opportunities that we have had to get involved in the local community (Amanda and Bethany with city art classes and at the Miriam infant home, Nate and Jon’s house visits with a local Pastor, Nate’s curriculum writing for Ambassador Institute, Jon’s basketball with nearby youth who come most afternoons)

Thanks again for remembering us in prayer! God bless!

Amanda Aldrich, Bethany Marschner, Jon Nelson & Nathan Olson

If you would like to support us in our ministry here in Brazil, please send your support to:

(Amanda, Bethany, Jon or Nathan)

AFLC World Missions

3110 East Medicine Lake Blvd

Plymouth, MN 55441

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mission Update from the Coyles

fam10 We are so blessed to be serving the Lord in pastoral ministry in rural Iowa, and have seen God’s hand at work as He has directed our steps since graduating from seminary. As many may know, we had pursued serving fulltime in Russia before the door closed due to visa restrictions. God has been continuing to place before us the need for missions, and one mission field in particular. In just a few days, Monica and I will be traveling to Odessa, Ukraine to check out the possibility of serving with a Lutheran church body to join in a Bible school ministry. Please pray for us as we travel (May 15-22), that God would guide our steps, grant us discerning hearts to know His will, and protect our family while we are apart. We appreciate your prayer and encouragement as we serve our Savior together.

In Christ,

Pastor Andy and Monica Coyle

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paul and Becky Abel on Furlough

IMG_0494Paul and Becky Abel returned from Brazil for a short time of furlough and rest.  They will be in the United States until the first of the year.  Some of their time will be spent attending the Annual Conference and visiting churches.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Schirkolk’s Newsletter

“The secret prayer chamber is a bloody battleground. Here violent and decisive battles are fought out. Here the fate for souls for time and eternity is determined, in quietude and solitude.” – Hallesby

image Dear friends,
If you were to drive by Ana’s house you would almost think it was Christmas time because of the colored lights hanging on the front. But as you drive by the house you quickly realize that there is no manger scene illuminated by the lights but rather a grotesque four foot high statute with glowing red eyes of a skeleton wearing a cloak, holding a sickle in its bony hand. Beside the glass encased statue is a poster that reads, “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit we commend ourselves to Holy Death.”

Click here to read the entire newsletter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ben Jore

Ben & Adella It has been a long time since I last wrote and a lot has happened since then. First of all, let me give you an update on the accident victims.

Thank you so much for praying. It has been a tough time for a number of these men and their families and continues to be difficult for Waama, but your prayers have definitely carried us through. Since my last prayer update, the two teachers from Waama (Pastor Mao and Israeli) made it back to Waama safely, Pastor Mao got his broken collar bone set, and Israeli stepped up and by default began operating as dean of Waama in Pastor Dallei's absence. You would never guess that Israeli was even in an accident. He is working very hard to keep the school functioning while we wait for an interim dean to be assigned by the head office.

Pastor Mao has been resting the whole time, trying to give his collar bone a good chance to heal properly, which it appears is happening. He is hoping to start teaching soon, possibly even this week. Per (the Scripture Mission missionary) is doing very well. The stitches in his head have been removed and his hair around the wound is growing back where they had to shave to do the stitches.

Zakaria Dallei A few days after my last update, Pastor Dallei, accompanied by Jesse, was flown to his hometown of Haydom and was admitted to the Norwegian hospital there. Jesse is fine. I have seen no stress or depression or paranoia or anything as a result of the accident. That is a huge answer to prayer. The only result of the accident is a scab on his elbow which is healing nicely. Pastor Dallei (the dean of Waama) is not doing so great. The good news is that every doctor's report I've heard as well as all the results of all his head examinations say that there is nothing wrong with his head. This is a huge answer to prayer. The bad news is that he still experiences a lot of pain, babbles quite a bit, and actually seems like he is regressing. What Pastor Dallei needs more than anything is to rest so his brain will have a chance to heal from the trauma, but the culturally appropriate thing to do when someone is sick or hurt is to visit that person. So Pastor Dallei is constantly receiving guests and visitors even though the doctors have said that no one is allowed to visit him. Everybody says that when he receives visitors, he gets all riled up, starts talking a million miles a minute and doesn't stop until he gets worn out. Needless to say, this constant stream of visitors is not helping the healing process. Many people have said that head injuries like his can take many months to heal. And all the tests having came back positive, we are hopeful for a complete recovery. Thank you for continuing to pray for him.

Last time I wrote, Adela was here. As it turned out, the volcano in Iceland prohibited her from leaving Tanzania when she was scheduled. So we "suffered" through an extra week together. Actually, it was the best week of our time and capped off a wonderful month together. She is now back at the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Minneapolis where she is finishing up this school year. She continues to work as an RN doing home health and is eagerly anticipating my return on June 25.

Thank you for your prayers for us as we continue to plan our wedding and look forward to married life.

Waama is going quite well. Teaching is fun and challenging as usual. We are already half-way through our final semester at Waama! Finals are the first week of June and then the students will have 2 weeks to bring in the harvest before graduation on June 20. It promises to be a very busy month and a half! This semester I am finishing teaching 2nd and 3rd year Biblical History (each year-long courses), English, and 1 Thessalonians.

It is such a blessing to teach these men and women.

Our Jesus Film ministry is also coming to a close. Jesse did a weekend trip while I was taking Adela to the airport (the second time =) ) and we showed at a high school the following week. We praise God for the freedom to show the truth of the Gospel in the high school to close to a thousand students of all religions. We have one Jesus Film trip left to the region of Sabilo on May 21-23. Please pray for strength for us and that the seeds which have been/will be planted will bear much fruit.

image Also connected with the Jesus Film ministry is the Vista project - the solar-charged, battery-powered Jesus Film kits. We (with the help of some friends in the States) purchased three of these kits and brought them to Tanzania. We have been trying to sell them to local evangelistic teams for roughly a third of the price but they have been having some difficulty finding that sort of money. Now we are happy to say that the first Vista has been purchased, paid in full, and placed in the capable hands of a Tanzanian Lutheran pastor. He was very excited to get the equipment and we are thrilled to see this first kit being used. Please pray for its use and also the sale of the other two kits.

I'd like to share one final prayer request with you. It seems like the first few months of every new year has seen a shortfall in our monthly support. This year is no different. Both Jesse and I have been feeling the financial squeeze. April was the first month in 2010 that I broke 50% of my monthly quota. With a wedding coming up and married life to plan for the temptation is to worry, but God has always been faithful and will continue to be faithful. My hope is in him. Would you pray with me that God will supply for all of our needs?

Thanks for your encouragement and prayers on our behalf!


Friday, May 07, 2010

Justo Pillman’s Newsletter

image“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in my every prayer for you making request with joy,  for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now.” Phil. 1:3-5

I have just returned home from
dropping my brother off at the airport
in Guayaquil. Peter was down
here for three months helping with
the ministry. It was the first time for
him to be in Ecuador, and he
learned many things including . . .

Click here to read Justo’s newsletter.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Todd Schierkolk

1 We had a wonderful confirmation service along with a baptism the Sunday before last.  Six young people were confirmed in their faith and it was really wonderful to hear their testimonies and stories of their faith. 

We also said good-bye to our two MTI interns, Hannah Swanson and Amanda Bellefy yesterday.  It was great to have them hear for three months. 

IMG_0569Tomorrow, (Thursday) we'll be making a quick trip up to the Texas border and we would really appreciate your prayers for us. 

Megan would also appreciate your continued prayers for her as she prepares for her summer missions trip to Ukraine with AFLC Youth Ministries.  We are all praising God that she has received the full amount of support that she needs for the trip.  Thank you to all who were able to help her out in this step of faith. 

IMG_0530 We continue to wonder how it is that we have a daughter that is ready to head off to Bible School this summer!  Yes, Rachel is finishing up her high school classes and we're getting ready to take her up to the campus this summer.  My how time flies! 

We continue to be so grateful for your partnership with us through your prayers in this ministry. 


In Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico

Monday, May 03, 2010

Jesse Long - Tanzania

editted Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers especially on behalf of the dean of Waama, Pastor Zakaria Dallei.  He is still in the hospital in his hometown of Haydom and, although I have not been able to visit him personally (it is about 90Km from Waama), those who are attending to him each day say that progress is very evident.  Praise God!

Since my last update, I returned to Waama and have been so happy to be back teaching for this third and final semester.  As I mentioned in my last email, the plan was for Ben to join me here after Adela flew back to the U.S. on the 17th.  Due to the volcano in Iceland, however, her return was delayed one week so they both ended up coming back here to Waama for those in between days.

The weekend of April 23rd-25th was our first weekend of village ministry for this semester and, even though Ben was taking Adela to catch her re-scheduled flight during those days, I was able to go ahead as planned along with 9 of our students.  It was a good weekend of ministry in a very spiritually needy area.  I ended up showing a video called “Hope” in both of the villages we visited, teaching a seminar (with the help of our students) on Saturday, and preaching in one of the village churches on Sunday.  It was a tiring but good weekend and Ben was able to see Adela off and return safely to Waama the same Sunday afternoon as I (April 25th).

Another specific praise to report is from this most recent weekend.  As some may recall, we have planned since the end of last year to have 3 weekends of Jesus Film showings during this third semester.  Well, the weekend that I did without Ben was the first.  The second was supposed to be these past couple days (April 30-May 2).  For some reason, however, despite trying to schedule a place to go, nothing seemed to be working out.  Finally, we just decided that maybe God wanted us to have a weekend off.  Then, about a week ago, we were approached by one of our evangelist friends who is now teaching at a local high school for adults who have not been able to previously finish their high school education.  He explained that some of his students had asked if there was any way for them to be able to see the Jesus Film since they had just finished studying the book of Luke as part of a “religion” class!!  So…to make a long story short, last night (Sunday, May 2nd) we went to this school and did a film showing to almost 1,000 students gathered in a very large hall that the school rents from the government.  What a blessing to see all these people watching the Jesus Film in a government building at their own request as a “bonus” session in their secular education!

Another praise is with regards to our “Acclaimer Project”.  For those that don’t remember, this is the project aimed at establishing local teams equipped with solar-powered video equipment who will be able to carry on the Jesus Film ministry even after we are gone.  Well, the first unit has been entrusted to a pastor from a local district!  Much of the funding for this project came from various people in the States but we felt it was important for the local people who would acquire the equipment to bear at least a portion of the expense.  So, on April 19th this pastor came with $1200 (donated by 75 different people from his district) to pick up his set!!  I’ve included a picture taken the day this pastor left with his set after receiving training on how to use it.  I praise God not only for this pastor and his people but also for those of you who helped to cover the remaining cost of this set ($1700+).  God bless you all!

I will end here for now.  Thank you for your ongoing prayers on my behalf as I look to the future.  May God guide us all in His perfect will.  God bless you all!!

In Christ,

Jesse Long

Mbulu, Tanzania