Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pray for the Schierkolks

DSC07791 The Schierkolks will be traveling to the United States in the next few days.  Their trip will have several purposes:

  • Megan will be participating in the Youth Department’s Ukraine mission trip. 
  • Todd will be traveling to India with a team to do a crisis management evaluation.
  • Rachel has graduated from high school and she will be attending AFLBS.
  • Barb’s father is in poor health.  This trip will provide time to spend with he parents.

Please pray for the Schierkolks in the following ways:

  • That they would receive their passports so that they can travel.  They have applied for new passports and they have not arrived yet.
  • That they would have safety as they travel.  A hurricane is coming and violence is also a concern.
  • That Todd would secure his visa for India in a timely manner.  He will not be able to apply until he uses his passport to cross the border.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Minnesota Valley Missions

Mission Team 002 The youth from Minnesota Valley Free Lutheran mission team are going to be working in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan with Youth Works. They will be doing some construction, kids clubs and prayer. The team will be gone the 19th through the 30th. Thanks so much, we appreciate your prayers! 

Minnesota Valley Youth Missions

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ben Jore

Ben & Adella Greetings from Tanzania! "Winter" has come here to Tanzania and it is cold! It gets down into the 50s at night and usually barely gets into the 70s during the day. I know that doesn't sound very cold to most of you, but the Tanzanians sure feel it and with no inside heating, the indoor temperature can easily drop into the mid-60s. That gets a little chilly even for us!

Our time here at Waama is quickly coming to an end! We finished finals two weeks ago and now the students are busy fixing the road, harvesting the corn, and preparing the school for graduation - slashing the grass, trimming the hedges, weeding the flowers, and top-to-bottom cleaning of all the buildings. Graduation is not until the 20th, so they have a another week to get all that work done. During this time Jesse and I need to revise all our notes from the past 4 years and transfer them to the school's computer, say all our goodbyes, and pack or give away everything we have here in Tanzania. After graduation we'll be heading to Arusha for a few days. During those couple days I hope to say goodbye to all my friends there and sell my motorcycle (I have a buyer lined up). Then on the 24th I'll say my final goodbye to Tanzania and fly back to Minneapolis. It is sad to think about leaving this beautiful country, but I know that the time is right and I have a lot to look forward to! Adela and I will get married on July 31 and then I'll start seminary in the Fall. We plan on living in Minneapolis for the next 3 years.

I have a number of exciting things to share about. First of all is the solar Jesus Film equipment. Jesse and I have traveled quite extensively in the area surrounding Waama showing the Jesus Film. We saw that it was an incredible ministry but we wanted to pass this ministry off to the Tanzanians. This was not viable because very few of them have vehicles to transport all the traditional equipment and operational costs alone would grind it to a halt even if there was a car. So Jesse did a bunch of research and found a Christian company that makes battery powered, solar charged Jesus Film projection kits that fit into a backpack. With a lot of help from a lot of friends, we purchased three of these kits. We are happy to say that we have sold two of these kits (at a fraction of its value) to very qualified church leaders who have a passion for evangelism. We are looking to sell the third one this Wednesday. That is a huge answer to prayer. Not only do we not have to worry about unused equipment, but now the Jesus Film ministry has "gone local". We praise God for this. Jesse and I also gave our "traditional" Jesus Film equipment (generator, huge speaker, projector, etc) to some fellow missionaries who will continue to use that equipment to show the Jesus Film to the Datooga people.
Here is Jesse entrusting Pastor Marco with the first battery powered, solar charged Jesus Film projection kit. He has reported lots of showings and much interest in his new ministry. The second kit has also been sold and we hope to sell the third on Wednesday.

Second, Froidis, our good friend and fellow missionary, is back from Norway. She was the one who had a serious stroke a couple months back. Things looked very serious as half her body was paralyzed and she even lost her ability to read. But she has made a very quick recovery and is back in Mbulu. When she left, I figured I'd never see her again in Tanzania. But God had mercy on her and she is back and her ministry continues, even if at a slower pace than before.
Froidis is standing between Jesse and I. She recently recovered from a stroke. She is an amazing woman who is completely fluent in English, Swahili, Norwegian, and Kiiraqw! On my left is Nora, Froidis' "boss" and a good friend of ours who was visiting from Norway. Froidis translated the Bible into Kiiraqw and is now working on a Kiiraqw literacy program.

Third, everyone who was involved in the car crash is doing very well. Israeli, Jesse, and Per (Scripture Mission missionary) are all doing fine with their injuries amounting to nothing more than a number of scratches and Per received a pretty good gash on his head which is now healed. Pastor Mao broke his collar bone but is healing very well. He is moving around and gave testimony in church yesterday of God's grace to him through it all. His collar bone is still healing, but it appears that it just needs a little more time before his recovery is complete. Pastor Dallei (the dean at Waama) was the person who got hurt the worst. As you remember he fractured his skull in three places and broke his shoulder and a number of ribs. The scariest thing was that it was like his mind shorted out and he would just babble endlessly. Jesse and I visited him last month and we were very thankful to see that his endless babbling had stopped. While we were there, a local doctor set his arm and a couple of his ribs (without any painkiller!) and immobilized him so that his bones could start healing. Up until that point he was in terrible amounts of pain and he could hear his bones grinding when he moved. This past Saturday, a number of the teachers and staff went to visit him. We were all overjoyed with the progress he has made. It was like the old Pastor Dallei was back. He was laughing and joking and talking just like normal. He shared of how God was using that time greatly in his life. His testimony was the same as the Apostle Paul, "When I am weak, then I am strong." He said his bones are healing fine, too. His major remaining health concern is his eye. He broke the eye socket in two places. Immediately following the injury, he was seeing double. Then he lost vision all together. Presently his vision has returned in that eye, but it is extremely sensitive to light so he had it closed the whole time we were there. The doctors said this was normal and they expect a full recovery, but that it will take plenty of time, perhaps even as long as 6 more months. We thank God for all the healing that has taken place and we continue to pray for a complete recovery. Many thanks to all of you who have prayed and sent encouraging words to Pastor Dallei.
This picture was taken on Saturday. Pastor Dallei is wearing the blue checkered sheet third from the right, front row. To the right of him in the yellow dress is his wife. Directly behind Pastor Dallei is Israeli. To Israeli's right (our left) is Pastor Mao. The rest are teachers and staff from Waama or wives of teachers and staff.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers, encouragement and support over the last 4 years. I hope to send one more update from Arusha before I leave, but this will be my last update from Waama. God is faithful!

May God richly bless you,

PS For more pictures and news check out our blog!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Andy Coyles Moving Forward in Missions

fam10 croped (Medium) Many of you have been aware that Monica and I have been AFLC mission candidates for a few years now. Throughout our years in Seminary, we had planned to pursue full-time missions in Russia, with a Bible School ministry. Due to visa complications, that door closed. At that time, we sensed great peace in serving in parish ministry. It has been a great joy for us to serve Salem and St. Paul’s Lutheran in Iowa.

Over the course of this past year, an opportunity came before us to help start a Bible school in Ukraine. We have been praying about this open door for quite some time. In mid-May, Monica and I traveled to Odessa, Ukraine to pursue the possibility of this ministry. We traveled there to get a glimpse of the Church and the Bible School ministry, of which we have been invited to be part. God has made it very clear to us that He is calling our family to move to Ukraine to help them continue to rebuild after years of devastation wrought by an atheistic ideology.

Plans are moving forward on our end as well as in Ukraine. Our tentative timeline includes continuing to serve at Salem & St. Paul’s in Iowa at least through January 2011. During this time, we will begin a limited level of deputation and language training, as well as prepare for the arrival of our third child in December. We anticipate finishing deputation, participating in a missionary training seminar, and further Russian studies before departing for Ukraine in summer 2011. We are depending on the Lord’s wisdom, guidance and provision for these steps. Would you pray with us as we seek God’s will for our family and the Bible training ministry in Ukraine? We appreciate your prayer and encouragement so much.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Andy & Monica Coyle

Friday, June 11, 2010

Short Term Missionaries in Brazil

Four months have gone by so quickly in our time in Brazil! We are now entering the month of June and it seems like the Lord continues to open new doors and avenues for ministry here. We persevere in the work here with joy as we continually see the blessings and fruits of the work of the Lord!

One of the joys in the work of the Lord here in Brazil over this last month has been the blessing of being able to become more and more involved in the local congregation. Three out of the last four Sundays, we have been able to be here in Campo Mourao to participate in the weekend activities of the church here. This is a new blessing for our team as we have been traveling quite frequently in the previous weekends. What this has looked like for us has been spending time with the youth group on Saturday night, and then visiting two different local congregations per Sunday, one in the morning and one in the evening for their times of Bible Study and Worship. It has been a blessing to have been welcomed so warmly and so invited to come alongside the day to day ministry here.

During this last month, we also had a very successful “Tarde Com Jesus” (An Afternoon with Jesus) here in Campo Mourao on May 29. We had about 100 kids coming from both church background and non-church background alike in order to spend the afternoon learning about Jesus Christ as well as singing praises to Him. After weeks of preparation and time of setup, it was such an encouragement to see everything go according to plan and the Lord be exalted. On June 5, we did this same presentation during a weekend of evangelism in Toledo, a city 4 hours away from Campo Mourao. During that time, we had about 100 kids come into a gym auditorium to hear about Jesus, in which Bethany and Amanda were able to lead in the Portuguese presentation!

Nathan and Jon have also started up a great new weekly event in doing street evangelism with a man from one of the local congregations. It has truly been a blessing to see the reaction to the gospel from those we have had a chance to talk with. Please continue to pray for Nathan and Jon as they continue to walk the streets every Wednesday asking people about their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Looking at all that the Lord has done in our time here, we look to the upcoming months ahead and ask that you would please continue to keep us in your prayers. In the beginning of July we have the end of classes here at the Bible School, after which we will be going to the country of Paraguay for a little over a week We will be going with Bethany Mission Fellowship across the country 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

Shortly after returning from Paraguay, we will be jumping right into the AFLC youth and kids camps here in Campo Mourao that take place in the second half of the month. We will be acting as counselors for those camps and leading in group discussions and daily activities & devotions! Please pray for that time as we will be spending a lot of it in God’s Word with the campers and also in God centered fellowship as well!

We again appreciate your prayers so much as we have seen God at work in so many different ways and as we have so much to be praising Him for! Some of these include:

-The gift of God of our ability to communicate with people in Portuguese!

-The blessing of the children that we have received in the Miriam Infant Home. 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 and we have been able to spend time with each kid reading through their Bible with them!

-The local congregations that we have been able to become more involved with (Preaching in the churches in Portuguese now, singing, house visits, working with the children/youth, & going out on weekly evangelism treks)

Ongoing Prayer Requests Include:

-Continual good health as we are in the cold season 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 as we are using it everyday

-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.)

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, Nathan)

AFLC World Missions

3110 East Medicine Lake Blvd

Plymouth, MN 55441

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Paul Abels Home on Furlough

“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Ps. 29:11


We are happy to greet you from U.S. soil this month. Actually two months have whizzed by since my last e-mail update.  We have been in the U.S. for almost a month now.  Before leaving Brazil a myriad of activities blur together in my mind right now. I know we did lots of visiting, lots of packing and cleaning and organizing to get out of the house, and lots of preparing to be gone for seven months.  It is always bittersweet to leave our friends and ministry in Brazil to spend time in our home country. 

But now that we are here, we are enjoying everything!  The weather has been gorgeous, the food tempting, and the roads a welcome tranquility.  It has been fun to see so many friends in the short time we have been here.  The greatest history-maker was our family reunion.  Our daughters and their husbands and the two granddaughters all were blessed with air passes to travel from Brazil to the U.S. for 12 wonderful days! We were all together for Matthew’s graduation from Bible School followed by an unforgettable week at the lake cabin in northern Wisconsin with all of the Dahlin side of the family (there are 2 missing in the photo).  Have you ever heard of 80 degree weather in May?  We even went swimming every day! We had special times of fellowship and a meaningful service of blessing led by my dad to bless each one of the children and grandchildren. These are all reasons for praise and thanksgiving to our great God for His many blessing to us. The following weekend we drove to Fergus Falls for our niece April’s high school graduation.  Unfortunately her parents were not able to come from Brazil so we pretended to be her parents and share in all the fun festivities, ending with a nice party for her on Sunday. 

We have been pretty much on high speed since arriving as we needed to make contacts with pastors and churches to arrange our furlough schedule.  Then we needed to get our presentations and music ready to do our first programs the beginning of June.  Yesterday we arrived at the cozy Mission house in Osceola.  It is a wonderful place to come for relaxation and re-grouping.  Our lovely neighbors, the Hills, welcomed us with a clean house and a welcome back supper.  We are now organized here so that when we have a chance to stop in between our travels we can just settle in and rest. 

We hope to be able to see most of you while home.   Our desire is to visit all of our individual supporters while we are home. Each of you has a special part in our lives.

While we are here life and ministry continue in Brazil.  We ask that you continue to pray for Brazil.  The church in Campo Largo voted to join the two groups and they recently elected a new council.  Pray for the adjustment process of the two becoming one.  We also ask you to pray for an important meeting to be held on Wednesday at the Mighty Fortress church in São Braz where they have been facing many challenges.

We have had great times with our boys and with our parents and we’ve enjoyed many special hugs and conversations with good longtime friends.  We look forward to much more of the same. It is a blessing to belong to the family of God!  Hope you have a great summer!

Hoping to see many of you in the next months,

Paul and Becky

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Uganda - Jores

One of our students in Butagaya is named Daniel (see photo).  He started attending the class when he was not a believer with the intention, as he shared with others later, of seeing what we were doing and being argumentative.  Instead of arguing, he found that he was being impacted by the Word of God that he was hearing.  He now openly confesses to be a follower of Christ and never misses a class.  Praise the Lord for the power of His Word that transcends culture!

The class in Naigobya has faced some challenges in the past month.  On May 1st I was asked to stop coming to Naigobya to teach.  There are a lot of church politics involved with the decision to ask me to stop coming. 

When one door closes another opens.  At the same time things were developing in Naigobya, there was another group that requested the training to be brought to their area.  They had learned about the training from some of the students in Butagaya and were very interested in beginning the training.  After meeting with them, we decided to begin training in Kagoma this Saturday, June 5th.  We will start with the first story (Creation). In the Butagaya class, which meets on Mondays, we are on story 58 (Ananias and Sapphira).

Do you want to hear a Bible story in Lusoga?  They are now available for download on the Ambassador Institute website:

As translation and recording continues in Lusoga, we have recently started recording the Bible stories in Lango (the language of one of the northern tribes of Uganda).  I plan to record the first eight stories in Lango on a Mega Voice player this week.  Speaking of which, the Mega Voices continue to be making an impact.  The first 37 are in circulation and we have another 80 that should arrive the end of July. Thank you to all of you who have given to finance this project!

The family is doing well and the anticipation is building as we await Baby Jore’s arrival (due July 5th).  Rhoda was recently on bed rest for about a week due to an infection which was causing contractions, but she has recovered and we are all thankful to have her back on her feet.  We would appreciate your prayers as we plan to deliver in Kampala (2 ½ hours from Jinja).

Thank you for backing us with prayer.  It is exciting to see God's hand at work here.  May He bless you all with a renewed zeal for the glory of His Name!

Nate and Rhoda

Elijah, Jude, Hannah and Baby

“Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people.” -Psalm 96:2-3

There are some new pictures on our blog!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Greetings from Ukraine! - Chmiels

clip_image001The highlight of the month of May was that I (Tomasz) was able to take part in a youth ministry conference geared specifically towards people actively involved in youth ministry in their congregations (from different denominations). The goal of this conference was to look at Jesus’ ministry and see what we can learn from His example. The teaching was done by our friend and fellow missionary Jay Hughes and was based on Sonlife Classic clip_image002Strategy materials. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to enjoy this quality teaching but also to have fellowship with other people whose hearts are in ministering among young people here in Ukraine. It was really encouraging to meet these young Ukrainian leaders on fire for the Lord. clip_image003Oftentimes I am told by young people in the German Lutheran Church that they cannot be more active in church because they need to study a lot for school or they have jobs and they need to work long hours because otherwise they would lose their jobs, etc. It is hard for me, as a foreigner, to judge the validity of these statements so most of the time I just accept them as facts. But it was very encouraging for me to see young Ukrainians who are able and willing to set aside time and energy for ministry. Seeing these young leaders gives me hope that it is possible. Unfortunately it did not work out for any youth leaders from the German Lutheran Church to attend this conference but hopefully next time.

Conference participants. Another thing that was really encouraging was to see so many guy leaders. Not counting foreign missionaries and pastors’ wives, there were two Ukrainian girl-leaders, the rest were all guys. It is great to have women serving the Lord, but since we believe that the Bible teaches male leadership in the church and in the home, it was really exciting to see these young men willing to be trained to be leaders following Jesus’ example. Especially in a culture where in general strong women often tend to be more active than men.

clip_image004After Tomasz came back from conference, we needed to travel to Poland so we used the opportunity of already being there to take a week of vacation to give Hannah a chance to celebrate her first birthday in her “hometown” (she was born in Krakow, Poland) and also with her grandparents (Miriam’s parents came to Krakow, to be with us on the day of her birthday). We also used our time outside of Ukraine to shop for some things we could not find in Ukraine, like for example a new car seat for Hannah (switching her from her rear-facing seat).
May 18th – Hannah’s first birthday! (More birthday pictures are at the end of this email)

clip_image005We were staying in the same Lutheran church guest rooms as we did when Hannah was born so on May 22 we took a picture in the same plastic basin in which she took her first bath after coming home from the hospital. Someone has grown a lot over the past year!!! :)

While in Poland and Czech, the dates just happened that we (as Czech citizens) were able to vote in the Czech parliamentary election. The newly-elected parliament will replace the caretaker government that has been in charge in the Czech Republic since last year. Since we have not been living in the Czech Republic for about ten years now, it was special for us to be able to vote like this.

We are back in Ukraine now and we are again working on something that we have not mentioned in our prayer updates yet — we are looking for a new apartment. Right now we are renting a two-bedroom apartment that is sufficient for our family but since all our ministry is also happening in our home (the Lviv congregation also only has an apartment to use as a church and it’s mostly used by the senior pastor) it has been pretty challenging to have guests and meetings (Bible studies, youth group, counseling meetings, confirmation class, etc) all happening in our living room quite a few times a week. So we have been looking for a different place that would work better for both our family and ministry needs.  As we said, we have been looking for another apartment but all the apartments that the realtor showed us so far were not much better than what we have right now and the price was more than twice as much (compared to what we are paying now). Couple weeks ago we got a phone number for a Christian guy who is looking for renters for his house (he is a young doctor working mainly in Kyiv so he wants to rent his house in Lviv long-term). We went to see the place and both the house and the price are perfect (rent would be cheaper than most of the apartments we saw). There would be a kitchen, a living room/ministry room and a guest room on the ground floor (plus a bathroom with a shower) and then there would be our bedroom and two small bedrooms on the second floor. Such layout would allow us to continue doing ministry in our home while it would also allow for a little more privacy for our family. In that sense, this house is exactly what we have been looking for. The only concern we have about this house is the neighborhood... The house is still close to the city center so it should not be difficult for people to come to our house but we are wondering about the safety of this street, especially if Miriam needs to stay home alone. The owner says they have not had any problems so we asked for a week to pray about this and we wanted to ask you to join us. Your prayers for this important decision will mean A LOT to us!!!

The house for rent is the one on the right

A quick update on E..., P...  and Mrs. T...

We have been in touch with E… but unfortunately he kind of backed out of his desire to make a decision for Jesus. He has been saying things like “There is no hope for me anyways” or “I am too bad to be saved”, etc. I (Tomasz) told him firmly that these were lies from Satan because this is NOT what the Bible teaches. I also told him that God loved him enough to pay for his sins with the life of His own Son so there still is hope! But right now E… does not seem to be ready for any change in his life.

P…, on the other hand, is a huge reason for thanksgiving and praising God! What a joy to watch this guy grow in the Lord!!!!! Please continue praying for him. Now that God saved him, we pray that God would also use him in a big way for His own glory.

clip_image009Pastor Don Richman spent a day with us earlier this month and here he is learning couple new Russian words from P….

Pastor Don also visited Mrs. T…with us and that too was a blessed time spent in God’s Word and fellowship. Mrs. T… says she is especially thankful for what Pastor Don told her about prayer (encouraging her to pray more and pray more specifically). We continue praying for Mrs. T… and her spiritual growth and also for more opportunities for her to consistently study the Bible.

clip_image010As you are praying for us this week, we would also appreciate your prayers for our traveling to a DELKU Pastors’ Conference in Crimea. All the regular Pastors’ meetings are in Odessa but this is a “family version” of the conference and it is in Crimea this time. As you see in the map, the location of the conference is like the farthest possible location for us still in Ukraine... The thing is that most DELKU congregations are located more in the South and East so for most pastors and their families it won’t be as far as it is for us. Plus Crimea is a popular location so most Ukrainian pastors are probably happy that the conference will be there. But for us it will be three days of travel to get there and three days to get back, which is not something we are looking forward to. It is also really frustrating that even though the conference starts in less than a week, so far we have not been able to find out the exact time of when the conference starts and when it ends. And we still have no idea what the schedule of the conference will be like either. We asked high and low but nobody knows... For people who like to know things ahead of time, this is pure torture :)

clip_image011All three of us are right now struggling with colds so please pray that we would all get well in the next three days. Also please pray for safe travel and for Hannah to do well for so many hours in her car seat.

clip_image012And one last prayer request. As you probably know, we are organizing an English day camp here in Lviv (July 19-23). There will be an AFLC student missions team coming to lead the camp. Looking at this invitation (in Ukrainian :) ), please pray for the team that will be coming from the States for God to use them in a big way here in Lviv. And also that God would bring all the students He wants to be there at the camp.  

Thank you again so much for being part of our lives! Thank you for reading our emails, for praying for us, for keeping in touch, for encouraging us!

Tomasz, Miriam and Hannah