Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Border Crossings

Editor’s note:  This is an excerpt from the Schierkolk’s newsletter.  To read the entire document please click here.

“‘. . . and they shall call His name Immanuel’ which means, God with us.”
                    -Gospel of Matthew 1:28

imageAdvent and Christmas bring some paradoxical feelings for us.   On one hand, we are really enjoying being with our daughter Rachel, seeing snow, being with family, experiencing the joy of the many events of the Christmas season, and touching base with friends.  We enjoyed the Christmas concert at the Bible School (AFLBS) so much we went twice!
On the other hand, this is the first Christmas that the kids in the clubs in Jerez won’t have us “with” them and we won’t be having a Christmas party where they’ll be getting a present and they won’t get to watch the traditional showing of “Red Boots for Christmas” in Spanish.  No tamales made by Adri (who passed away in May) enjoyed with all imageof the people from the church in Jerez.  No watching the serious excitement of a young person in church lighting the Advent candle.  So we feel a significant paradox (or as we often say in our family, “pair of ducks”).  But God is “with” us and He is “with” them…

Todd, Barb, Rachel, Megan and Kirstie Schierkolk

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A New Life This Christmas!

Merry Christmas!NathanaelPillman

Christmas is a time to celebrate God's gift of His only begotten Son to the world. This year, we are also celebrating God's gift of a son for our family! We are so thankful for His good and perfect gifts. May your celebrations this Christmas season always be focused on Jesus!

Because of Him,

Justo, Patricia and Nathanael

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kvale Connection: Christmas Edition

Editor’s note:  Please access the PDF copy of the entire newsletter here where you can read their prayer requests and praises.

imageImagine knowing about Christ and desiring to live according to His word without having the word of God in your own language to clarify God’s precepts.   

John 15, verses 4-8, reveal to us things that are missed in our understanding without God’s word for us to study and know Christ more personally.  Bible-less people are deceived by the enemy to believe that “God must not speak my language”, “He does not care about me”, or “This God, He is not with me.” But when Scripture is heard for the first time, they are moved to tears to find out that God cared about them from the beginning of time, that He does know their language and is making a way for them to have the word themselves, or that He has always known the exact places where they were born and where they live today. 

…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live (Acts 17:26b, NIV).

We pray God’s word may truly be for everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Lights

We knew this single mother of three who was struggling to make ends meet. One night before Christmas, she was walking with her little boy  looking at some houses that were decorated with Christmas lights for the Holiday. Wonder filled the little boy’s eyes as he contemplated the sight, then he  turned to his mother and said, “I know why Santa never comes to our house on Christmas, we don’t put any lights up so he can find us”.  How often we are like that little boy, especially at Christmas. We want God to see our good works (as little lights) and bless us (the naughty and nice syndrome) instead of being lights to dispense His goodness to others. Daniel 12:3 reminds us, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”  Let us pray that this Christmas we would be a light that shows God’s goodness and glory to mankind.             

Wow! Another year is coming to an end. What a year! It seems to me like two years in one. The first half being in Brazil with what seemed like a million things to do before leaving for the US. Then the other half here spending much time on the road, but really enjoy visiting with so many experienced (not to say “old”) friends and enjoying the Bible Camps, Conferences, Conventions, and Rallies along with all the churches and pastors we have visited. Now we will slow down from the road a bit to spend some time with family over the Christmas Holidays. We will have Mom and Dad, April, Thomas and Jed (our nephew) with us in Wisconsin at the Mission home for some 14 days.  The little house will be jam packed with people and activity, but it will be fun. After that Mom and Dad will head south, all the way to Brazil, the kids will return to AFLBS and we will hit the road again. We are really looking forward to all the great things God is going to do in 2012 if Jesus doesn’t come back first.

Things on the home front (Brazil) are going well. Though there are always many challenges, our church seems to be encouraged and moving forward. The Seminary and Miriam Infant home are finishing a good year. We praise the Lord for His goodness!

Jonathan, Tamba, April, Tom & Michelle Abel

To access the PDF form of this greeting, go here.

Where is Home This Christmas?

“There are many homes up there where my father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, you can always be with me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly.”   John 14:2-3

Jesus left His Home in glory at Christmas to dwell among us.

This was the greatest gift (of salvation) ever given to all the world. Millions are still waiting to hear the good news, yet there are many who’ve heard the gospel and are still rejecting that great gift of salvation. Wouldn’t it be wonderful at this time of the year to lovingly admonish your unsaved loved ones to come home to Jesus this Christmas.

Read the rest of Connely Dyrud’s Christmas greeting here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Opening and Closing

Editor’s Note:  Here is a teaser from Jonni’s December newsletter.  Enjoy the full document here.

The  end of the year is always so special. Christmas, New Years, family time and parties - all of it speaks of hope and joy! One year ending, another brand new, ready to begin!

But it doesn’t always work that way. When you see many years come and go and little seems to change it is easy for hope to fade. We have two young people in the Miriam Home in an unusual situation. Most of the children we receive are here for a short time, normally for two to six months; until their families can take them home or until they enter a whole new family. For some of the children the “normal” doesn’t happen.

Josivaldo came to the Miriam Home when he was just 2 years old; today he is 17 years old and the only real home he has ever had is right here. Josivaldo has family, his mother lives right here in Belo Horizonte. Sadly, her son was never high on her list of priorities. Josivaldo tried living with her a few times, but his mom always had a new man in her life and conflicts would arise between the boy and the boyfriend. At the point of conflict Josivaldo’s mom always chose the boyfriend over her son. Josivaldo would come back to the Miriam Home, where at least he knew he was wanted.

Today Josivaldo is on the edge of a big step! In January he turns 18 years old and is a powerful young man. He has a heart for missions (actually, he would like to be a missionary in Africa). He is working at a local grocery store, he is learning to make (and keep - the harder part!) a budget. God has great plans for Josivaldo!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December World Missions Devotion

Editor’s note:  The following devotion was written by Craig Wentzel.

Sometimes, it feels like our lives are “boats” afloat on the “ocean” of life.  A boat can be really unsteady and, as a passenger, you feel like you’re not in control.  This can be true of us as the busyness of the Christmas season threatens to “engulf” us, or there are “tsunamis” of major problems or troubles looming over us about to “crush” us, or there are “huge waves” of feelings like discouragement, or fear, or indecision      “crashing” over us.

This fall, I was in such a “storm” as my wife was facing her last days of struggling with cancer.  The account of Jesus stilling the storm in Luke 8:22-25 was helpful in my situation…

Now it came to pass on one of those days, that he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples; and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake: and they launched forth.  But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, We perish. And he awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.  And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And being afraid they marveled, saying one to another, Who then is this, that he commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey him?

I learned 3 lessons from this story:

1) I’ve learned that the “boat” of our lives may easily be “rocked” by the “storms” of life.  Even the “friends” of Jesus who are following His lead will run into “storms” in life.  Such a “storm” can take control of our lives to some extent and make the decisions FOR us!  We can find health, financial, or other problems, or even other people, can make decisions for us.

2) I’ve learned that we have no control over the “boat” of our lives. The disciples found that they couldn’t keep the waves out of their boat.  They were about to be “swamped” and sunk.  Sometimes, WE may feel like the “storms” of life are “sinking” us and we are being overwhelmed with troubles and feelings.  And they couldn’t go in the right direction!  When the “storms” of life overtake us, we can’t go in the direction we planned on going.  I’ve learned that when you lose your spouse, your life takes a different direction and looks differently to you than you ever planned!  When the disciples lost control of their boat, they ran to Jesus and when we lose control of our lives in a “storm”, it is a good time to go running to Jesus in prayer!

3) I’ve learned that Jesus is in control of ALL things.  Jesus is in control of “storms” or events of our lives (Lk. 8:25b)!  He will make them turn out for OUR good (Rom. 8:28).  And He will bring an end to them at the RIGHT time (Ps. 31:14-15a).  Jesus is also in control of the “boat” of my life!  Another time when the disciples were in a storm and Jesus came to them is recorded in Jn. 6:21.  Jesus brought them safely to where He wanted them to go and He will bring ME safely to where He wants me to go!

When we feel like things are “out of control” for us, we can always go to Jesus who is in control of all things!

Schierkolk’s Mexico Video

Check out the Schierkolk’s current video of their work in Mexico.  The Schierkolks are home on furlough at this time.  Pray for their timely return to Mexico.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Redemption Needed…

Yesterday, I (Andy) returned from another weekend of teaching Bible seminars in two different cities. It was an interesting weekend as two polar opposite realities were on display. What a joy it was in one congregation to teach a group of 25 young adults who desired to learn and grow in the Lord. God is working in this group. Unfortunately, at the next location, the spiritual pendulum swung. I have heard, read, and in some ways experienced the catastrophic effects upon spiritual life caused by 70 years of atheism.

However, yesterday opened my eyes and I saw this devastation afresh. To be honest, it was completely discouraging to witness a congregation not interested in Jesus and spiritual things. Seventy years of atheism on demonstration. Yet as polarizing as this trip was, I believe it illustrates the situation here in Ukraine well. There is light. God is bringing people to repentance and faith. People are growing in the Lord. Yet at the same time, so many are distracted and hardened to God’s Word. Despite how difficult and deep these problems are, the answer for Ukraine is quite simple. Ukraine needs Jesus. They need the profound message of the cross, for it is only the penetrating Word of the Gospel that can break through hardened hearts and bring forgiveness and salvation.

Editors note:  To read the rest of this newsletter, receive an invitation and know how to pray for the Coyles,  please click here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Update from the Pillmans’

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” Isaiah 9:6

These verses have taken on new meaning to us as we anxiously wait for our first born son. With his birth only a few weeks away, we can’t wait to meet him in person. Are you sitting on pins and needles just waiting to share with others the reason for Jesus’ birth? We are looking forward to sending out a birth announcement around Christmas time. Will you be announcing Christ’s birth at Christmas?

It has been so exciting to have three youth from Ecuador attending the AFLC Bible School this fall. What a blessing it is to see youth we helped disciple in the past continue to hunger and thirst for the Lord! As I write, we have two of the youth spending the weekend at our house. It is so much fun to spend time together with them and to practice our Spanish. It makes us anticipate all the more the day we will be leaving for Ecuador.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas just a month apart, it reminds us we that have so much to be thankful for. We are thankful for your prayers and support. We are thankful for the visits we could have with many of you.

We have traveled over 12,000 miles over the last few months and thank the Lord for His safety. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we stick closer to home for the next couple months and prepare for our baby’s birth.

In Christ,

Justo and Tricia

Editor’s note:  For a PDF version of this update including prayer needs, click here.

November Border Crossings

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. . . for the Might One has done great things for me-holy is his name.” (Luke 1:47, 49)

image“This is the fulfillment of a dream for me.”  Those were the words of Pastor Milton Flores of Celaya, Mexico when he came to the United States to drop off his son, Milton, Jr., for his first year of Bible school at AFLBS in Minneapolis.

Pastor Milton Flores came to Minneapolis in the late 1980’s to study at AFLTS.  He graduated four years later and returned to Mexico.  He told me that during his time on the campus of the Bible School and seminary he was so impressed with the students at AFLBS that he began to hope and to pray that some dayGod would grant that he would be able to send his own children to study the Bible there.  And now some 25 years later his first son is enrolled as a student and his dad is praising God for His goodness to him and for raising up many friends who have helped supply Milton’s needs through scholarships to the Bible school on his behalf.

These last 6 months have been filled with visits to
churches, camps, a youth convention and special
meetings in several locations.  We’ve been very glad to be able to see many friends along the way and make some new ones as well.

Editor’s Note:  To read more about the Schierkolk’s travels and an update on Adri’s girls, click here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November Update from Paul and Becky Abel

image“He set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace and was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentile(Brazilians).” Gal. 1:15-16

 Since our last newsletter we have traveled many kilometers and visited many Free Lutheran churches in Brazil.  One of our goals for this missionary term is to encourage local Free
Lutheran congregations and pastors.  Although we have not had the freedom to be gone from the Curitiba area as much as we had originally anticipated due to our regular responsibilities with the churches in Bateias and São Braz, nonetheless we have had several opportunities to travel to other churches.  In July Paul went to Campo Mourão where he participated in the winter Youth camp and had time with many of the pastors.
In August he and Pastor Joel, president of the national church body here, traveled to Vitoria, ES, for the installation of Pastor Lauro at one of our churches there. We are thankful to have a godly, enthusiastic man with a supportive family join our little group of Free Lutheran pastors trying to make a difference in Brazil.

To read the rest of the newsletter, click here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Prayers answered...

It's so great to be part of such a wonderful family of faith!

We were overwhelmed by the response of so many of you who sent e-mails or called during the past 24 hours after surgery.  We realize that many others joined with us in prayer today for Christina as well.  Thank you so much!  The surgery was very successful and the doctor was able to repair the elbow without using a prothesis.  There seems to be no nerve damage which is also a big blessing.  The greatest concern at this point is that the wound is still not  totally free of  foreign particles which could cause infection.  Wednesday the doctor will clean the wound again.  Christina is in pain and weary, but she is doing just fine and hopes to have another good night of sleep.  We realize God's powerful healing hand in this whole process and want to honor Him as the Giver and Preserver of life, the One who heals our wounds and comforts our hearts. To Him be the glory!  Let's continue to run to Him for strength and help in time of trouble.  Keep praying!

"Glorify the LORD with me;
  let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant

O taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him."  Ps. 34:3-5,8

Thankful for you and thankful for God's faithfulness,

Paul and Becky

P.S.  Christina's husband is finishing his medical residency in orthopedic surgery this month in two of the best hospitals in our state. One of his trusted, capable instructors performed the surgery.

Bible Training Ministry in Ukraine

We are so thankful for the team God has rounded up for this important work here in Ukraine. As we serve on this side of the world, we are encouraged to know that we are not serving alone. It is a humbling privilege to be on the receiving end of your prayers, encouragement and support!

As you know, our primary goal is to help start a Bible School for Russian-speaking students. We are working within the Lutheran Church here in Ukraine, where Andy serves in the pastoral role as well.

During our first year, we are focusing on learning Russian and making preparations for the Bible School. Andy serves alongside several other pastors in building the foundation for the school. One of their main tools in building awareness for the school and attracting potential students is the use of Bible Teaching Seminars. Each month Andy and two other pastors travel to a host church in Ukraine for a 2-day (and sometimes more) seminar where multiple congregations are invited to attend. This month's seminar will be in the city of Lutsk beginning November 4. Our whole family will be traveling for this weekend seminar. Isaiah and Moriah are very excited to travel by train. Andy's teaching topics will be "Forgiveness," and "How to Study the Bible." Plans continue to be made for the school, both from the structural and spiritual perspectives. There are many variables involved, and we request your prayers. Pray also that God would raise up future students for this training program.

Ministry highlights from the past month include a three-day seminar in Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava, Andy's installation as a pastor within the church body, Andy's first time preaching (with translation, of course). Andy was able to preach in two village churches, one of which (Youth Center in Petrodolina) is the host for the future Bible school. Interestingly, it was on Reformation Sunday, one of Andy's favorite Sundays of the Church year :)

From the family perspective, we are doing well and thankful for the Lord's daily provisions. We were able to enjoy the beauty of the Carpathian mountains here in Ukraine, as well as the changing colors and harvest season. Below are some highlights from the children. We are also thankful for a growing group of friends from Ukraine, Germany, and most recently, China.

"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Love in our Lord,
Andy and Monica, Moriah, Isaiah and Josiah

Editor’s note:  Click here to read the full version of the Coyles’ November update.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mercy, a Gift: Thank You!

The following November Missions Devotional was written by Jim Fugleberg

Psalm 118:1 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

The words of this verse are an oft-repeated refrain in the psalms.  If Jesus in the New Testament says “verily, verily,” doubling the word to emphasize the truth and importance of what He is about to say, how much more do the multiple repetitions of this refrain emphasize the encouragement to us to be constantly thankful to God, and more than that, emphasize the reason why that thanks is appropriate: That reason is His eternally enduring mercy.

The mercies of God are multitudinous, and in a sense, they encompass all that God does toward us. After all, why should he have anything to do with us?  That He should have any regard for us at all on this tiny, baby-blue ball floating in the outlying regions of one of the myriads of galaxies in a vast universe, is nothing short of incredible.  This is incredible whether God acts toward us with favor or disfavor: why doesn’t He just abandon us?  Why doesn’t He just ignore us?  But God does not.

And happy for us that He does not.  We may wish He would sometimes: when the Holy Spirit bears down on us in the conviction of sin, when the law cuts deep, when we labor and are heavy laden under condemning guilt, when He makes us painfully aware of the need for a correction.  Happy for us that He does not leave us in love with our sin, for if He did, we would have no way out.  Happy for us that He does not provide the option that He should abandon us to oblivion, because, if He did, we in our sinful foolishness would probably choose oblivion over repentance!

But He bears with us in our sins and “it is of His mercy that we are not consumed” (Lam 3:22).  He bears with us while He works to make us childlike and repentant of heart, while He destroys our confidence in our own so-regarded virtues, while He strips us of our pride, while He sickens us of our drawing others’ attention to “I, Me, and My,” as if there was something good, honorable, or special about it, while He brings to a final end any thought of, “I can overcome my sin if I just try harder.”

God delights in mercy, but He must hold back from extending it as long as we would misconstrue His favor as something deserved.  Mercy, by definition, is not deserved.  Therefore we must know our abject unworthiness before we can receive it for what it is.

Before we get to that place, believing is difficult, because it involves rest and trust.  We don’t rest and trust in Jesus then, because we still think there’s something in us we can rely on.

And then when we do come to see our abject unworthiness and are offered the grace of God for the gift that it is, then the difficulty associated with believing is that our sense of justice cries out that we deserve punishment and not mercy.  “How can such a sinner as I be an heir of heaven and eternal life?”

But believing is nothing more than that: believing.  Believing because God says so.  And when we believe it anyway for the simple fact that the Word of God tells us it’s true, and the fact that Jesus satisfied the justice part, then we realize and know in our hearts, “it’s a gift.”  There’s no other way to describe it.

Then “not by works” is clearer than it has ever been.  Then “we know and believe the love God has for us,” and it is wonderful.  Then praise to God has foundation in the fact that He alone is to be credited with our being counted in the number of the redeemed.  Then sin, O cruel culprit that it is! is seen as that which had robbed us of this blessed standing with God.  And “Jesus the very thought of thee with sweetness fills my breast,” because He it is that has taken the burden I carried, has borne the guilt, has paid the wages in my place at so great a cost.

This mercy endures forever.  That includes a minute from now when the guilt returns, tomorrow when the devil accuses, whenever I have failed to be watchful and have fallen in sin.  Then again, undeserving, I need mercy, by definition extended only to the unworthy, extended as a gift, and received as such, because that is the only thing it can be.

They are new every morning, no days skipped.  I’m as unworthy today as I was yesterday, and while this life remains will never be less-so.  I don’t deserve God’s favor now, and in this life will not improve on that.  Necessary for me, then, and happy for me, that His mercy endures forever.

It is a gift.  It can never be anything else.

A gift deserves a response, and that response is “Thank you.”  “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.”

Mercy forever deserves constant thanks.  The awareness of the constant gift produces a thankful heart.

Our awareness is increased as we read of more mercies from God.

Psalm 118:21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Psalm 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Isaiah 25:1 O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
Revelation 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
1 Thessalonians 3:9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

The Word, which He has magnified above all His Name, has been sent to us on this tiny, baby-blue ball floating in the outlying regions of one of the myriads of galaxies in a vast universe, that we might know not only the power and majesty of our mighty creator, but that we might know, and know by experience that He is merciful toward us, too merciful to abandon us, so merciful He came to us, so merciful He suffered for us and even took our death.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

O God, from this tiny, baby-blue ball, hear my little voice, “Thank You!”

Paul & Becky Abel’s Daughter

Christina and her husband Daniel were in a bad car accident Saturday.  We are rejoicing that their lives were spared and they are both fine but Christina needs our prayers as she broke her right arm above and below the elbow and broke her elbow as well.

Daniel and Christina headed for the beach for a couple of days of rest on Saturday.  However, their plans were quickly changed when their car was totaled on the highway.  There are lots of details and miracles I could mention, but we just want to get the word out so that many of you can join with us in prayer for Christina this week.  She received good medical attention at a hospital Saturday night. 

Daniel was very brave and watched another orthopedic surgeon work on his dear wife in the operating room. She was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Curitiba today.  Monday Christina's arm will be evaluated to determine when the next surgery will take place.  She needs to set the bones and have a prosthesis to replace the ball of her elbow which will probably include a bone graft.  One of Daniel's trusted teachers will be doing the surgeries.

Please pray for successful surgeries and no infections. We are all rejoicing that Christina is alive to celebrate her 27th birthday on Friday.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Tjabel' Journeys

Our Trips this Fall:  September/October  2011

This Thanksgiving season, we are thankful to all of you who have made us feel so welcomed in your homes and in your churches. It's like being with family again. We thank the Lord for your prayers and your financial support. We know that as you bless us, we can better bless others. We are so thankful to hear of reports from Brazil, and how God is continuing to work in the church there. The church plant in Maringa continues to stand strong, and the Miriam Infant home has ministered to many hurting children this last month. Our deputation has taken us out to the Pacific Northwest and as far south as Southern Missouri and now we go up to the Canadian border. We have ministered at Churches, WMF rallies and home groups. We have  been truly blessed & we hope that you who we have visited have been blessed as well. It has been so special seeing so many dear people and meeting new ones! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

P.S. April has helped promote the Bible School & is applying for colleges. She is still looking for a job. Thomas has been traveling with the Worship Team at AFLBS and also playing his bass guitar during worship at Solid Rock.  He is working at Culver's (fast food).  Michelle, just tagging along with us and developing her power point skills as we travel long hours in the car!

Friday, November 04, 2011

All Things New-Miriam Infant Home

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17

imageIn one short month a lot has changed in the Miriam Home! I told you last month that the twins, Altieres and Thavilidy had joined a new family, and I am pleased to say they are doing very well! Three more children have returned to their homes (as we were expecting), and we will be keeping you up on how they are doing with their families. But don’t worry, no one is suffering boredom! Three fresh new faces have joined us, and all them need your love and prayers.

Poliana arrived on the 5th of October. This is the 2nd time Poliana has been a part of the Miriam Home, she was here for several months when she was 10. She is now 12 years old but looks and acts much older. There are a lot of reasons for that, none of them good. Poliana has four siblings, but no two have the same father. Her mother was addicted to drugs, and her family lives in a hotel (don’t think Trump Towers here, think of those nasty motels that charge by the hour). Poliana is the middle child and for a long time has been responsible for caring for and protecting her little brother and sister. Though she has a step-father (father of the youngest child) who heads the family, Poliana has basically been on her own for quite a while. She came to the Miriam Home because of constant conflicts with her step-father.

On October the 10th Poliana’s mother was killed, a result of her drug abuse. When we sat with Poliana to tell her what happened she quietly wept but said she wasn’t surprised; she always knew some day her mother would die this way. It is not the expectation most 12 year olds have for their moms. October the 12th is a special day for children in Brazil, it is the Day of the Child, and children receive presents, often there are parties, lots of treats and surprises. From now on the date has another significance for Poliana - it is the day of her mother’s funeral.

Please pray for Poliana to let God move in her heart. Also pray for the many footholds the enemy has in her life to be broken. God’s plan for this young lady is to give her a new start and a future full of hope!

To read about 2 other new arrivals at the home, and how you can pray, click here!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hans and Micah in Uganda

The following story is from the Jore Family Blog called:  “Under the Mango Tree”.  Click here to view other posts.

Hans Tanner and Micah Berger, recent AFLBS graduates, have been with us since June 22nd. They are here as short-term assistants for a year to help out with the work and gain practical experience in missions. Their partnership in the work has been a great encouragement and I have really been refreshed by their fellowship.

They have been dividing their time between Jinja and the village. While in the village, they are immersed in village life as they live alongside the locals. They have been learning the local language, agriculture, and culture while building relationships. They also are involved in the Butagaya class and have been mentoring the Ugandan teacher of the class. While in town, they have been assisting me with teaching the Jinja class and building relationships with the students, as well as getting caught up on personal correspondence, and giving Rhoda and I the chance to go out on dates by baby sitting the kids.

They've even found the time to make our family a few delicious meals, build the kids a tree fort and step in as the boys' science teacher (thanks, Micah!). The kids have really loved having two "uncles" around. Hannah tells each of them at least 10 times a day, "I love you SO much!" We're blessed to have them around!

The Jore Family

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unreached People Groups in India

by Rev. Luther Dasari

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am very happy whenever I hear about the news from our pastors working among unreached groups.  Recently I too have participated in this work and encouraged our workers to go forward.  We are having good results in the Pileru area.  Each worker has been working among many villages in addition to their own congregations.

I have an opportunity to work with them for 10 days.  The door for Gospel is opened in this area  and we see are seeing good fruit in this ministry for unreached.  We did street preaching (see picture) and visited some Hindu houses who invited us.

Please continue to pray for this ministry for unreached people groups.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These

Here is October’s Missions Devotional written by Lyle Mattson:

“Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14

I haven’t taught Sunday School full time for a couple of years. For some reason, after morning services in late August, I asked the Sunday School Leader if she needed any help. She said, “Yes, as a matter of fact, we need one more teacher.” I confidently told her to sign me up. She looked surprised and said, “Aren’t you going to ask which class—it’s second graders—4 boys.” Still confident, I replied that I was certified at all ages after 4 of my own. 

I have had them for 2 Sundays now—or should I say they have had me for 2 Sundays. 4 boys—all high octane—all loving life—all not too willing to sit down for more then 30 seconds at a time. Did I tell you that we’re going through the 10 Commandments. It dawned on me after the first lesson, that they probably didn’t have a plugged in knowledge as to the meaning of the term commandment—so I decided to make the lesson more basic. Last Sunday, I came from the aspect that we all live under laws and that these laws of nature, as we call them, are laws that we must, willingly or not, live by. I held up an eraser and asked the question, “What happens when I drop the eraser?” “Duh, it falls,” was the reply. (Second graders have that ability to make you feel so smart.) My next question was equally obvious, “What if you drop the eraser?” They took turns and wouldn’t you know it, every time the eraser hit the floor—until it started hitting the boy next in line. 

At that point, I asked them if they wanted to go outside. There had been a fierce wind storm 6 weeks earlier that had dropped several 40 foot poplar trees on the church property—I wanted to use them to illustrate the law of gravity. As we stepped out, the first thing they noticed was the swings. “Let’s swing!” all four called out in unison. They were on the swings in a moment, swinging with full
contentment—with the law of gravity bringing them routinely back to the pusher (me). After 5 minutes on the swings, we went back to the room and attacked the lesson on Moses bringing the Commandments down the mountain. What do these characters learn during that ½ hour class Sunday morning? I’m not sure; but to be certain, I am learning—my goal is to follow God’s leading—to bring them to Jesus and not to hinder that pathway. I come with a lesson plan every Sunday. I realize that with that plan, I need a pair of listening ears for if, as Jesus says, the kingdom
belongs to such as these, I need to listen as much as I teach.

Monday, October 10, 2011

News from the Coyles-October


Hello! We hope this finds you doing well and enjoying the beauty of autumn. We pray you are encouraged today as you seek the Lord and His strength (1 Chronicles 16:11). This verse from Colossians has been a blessing to me (Monica) lately and I hope that it is to you, too!

Col. 1:28-29, "He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

In Jesus' Love,
Andy & Monica, Moriah, Isaiah & Josiah

Editor’s note:  You can download the Coyle’s October newsletter here to see a list of their prayer requests.  You can also visit their blog here.

Thoughts on Eternity

imageDear friends,
We've really enjoyed getting to visit with many friends and making new ones as we have traveled over these last few months sharing about the ministry in Mexico.  The two young girls whose mother recently died continue to be doing well for which we are so grateful to God.   This past week we were in North Dakota visiting several churches and hearing about all the changes in some of the cities in the western part of the state because of the oil rush.  We heard about the traffic congestion and lots of big trucks on the roads.  And then as we were heading back to Valley City on the highway between Jamestown and Minot  . . . all of a sudden we came upon a van on the side of the road that just burst into flames as we slowed down hard to a stop.  It couldn't have been more than 30 seconds before we drove up that there was a terrible head-on collision.  It was a desparately helpless feeling that Barb, Megan and I had along with a number of others who continued to stop as several men tried to get the unconscious driver in the burning van out to no avail.   The other minivan in the accident was badly damaged but the dear elderly lady in the passenger seat was amazingly alive.  I opened the door and held her hand while it rained lightly; and talked to her about the Prince of Peace and her family until First Responders arrived.  I don't believe her husband survived.

It's hard not to think about eternity and how, in the blink of an eye, our destinies are sealed and we either meet Christ or face a Christ-less eternity.  It was rather sobering to think of how close we ourselves came to being in the accident.  We're so grateful for God's travel mercies to us today and we are so thank for all those who continue to pray for us and our safety even as we travel during this time of deputation; so grateful for so many who have helped us over the years to take the life-giving Word of God to people in Mexico so they can face death with confidence and hope because of a Savior who conquered sin, death and the devil.   We continue to be prayerfully planning on going back to Mexico by next September and we would greatly appreciate your prayers for Mexico and her leaders as they battle the violence there.  Please continue to pray for our church in Jerez, that the Spirit of God would glorify His name during this time and cause them to grow in faith and unity in Christ.  And please pray with us for the families of the two who died today in the terrible accident and for God's healing of the one survivor; that their hearts would be comforted at the cross.

Todd and Barb Schierkolk
Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Family-A Gift from God

In the last year you have heard a imagelot about two precious babies with very difficult names (Altieres and Thavilidy). They came to the Miriam home, not because of many congenital health problems (premature, fetal alcohol syndrome, heart murmur) but because their mother’s drinking kept her from meeting even their most basic needs. The fact is they arrived barely alive.

From the time they arrived the twins won the hearts of everyone who met them, fist because of their zeal; with almost no strength, they held on and never gave up. They fought for the simplest things, like rolling over, sitting up and learning to walk. Though the babies had a slow start they have grown, developed and shown that they are bright, creaimagetive little ones. They are also joyful, loving babies, whose smiles and laughter captures every heart. It is easy to see why they brought joy to the hearts, not just of the adults that work with them but of every other child that came to the Miriam Home! These little ones remind the other children of their little brothers and sisters and gave them a real feeling of home.

One of our goals for Altieres and Thavilidy has been to see them in a godly family, who would be able to provide the special healthcare needs they have, and much more, meet their emotional and spiritual needs so that they can grow up to be the man and woman of God they are meant to be. For quite a time this goal was frustrated by the fact that their mother would not release them to be adopted, but did not make the life changes needed to allow the children to return to her (specifically, to stop drinking). The juvenile judge felt he couldn’t permanently remove them from their mother against her will without giving her one more chance and in May of this year he decided that the children’s health was strong enough that they should be returned to their mother to see if she could and would care for them. The attempt lasted less than a month. During this time the children (now nearly two years old) spent the day outside in a single crib (because there was no safe place in the house or yard for them to play), and at night slept on a mattress on the floor.

Read the exciting new for these beautiful twins here as well as read the rest of Jonni’s newsletter.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TJAbel Journal: September

Recent News:image

After a crazy time of packing all our things up and moving out of our house we finally made it back to the US in May for a year furlough. Summer seems to be slipping away so quickly, but we have been blessed to meet many of you, friends, at different
conferences and camps, retreats and churches.  Both Tamba & I have especially enjoyed being ministered to. Four years on the mission field one is mostly giving out, so it is good to have the opportunity to sit under some good teaching again.
I am also trying to read as much as possible. This year I read four books, two of them were a great blessing to my life: "A Place of Healing" by Joni Eareckson Tada and "The Hammer of God" by Bo Giertz. Besides being refreshed in our souls, we will try to refresh our financial scenario in order to be able to return to the field. Then, and only then will we be heading back to the work for which we are involved in Brazil (the church planting in Maringa, teaching at the Seminary in Campo Mourao, being on the Board of the Miriam Infant Home, running Bible Camps, etc).

Our Family:

This summer April enjoyed traveling with the Majesty Team and now is at AFLBS for her second year. Tom had the opportunity to work in the kitchen at the ARC while getting his driver's license. Now he is starting his first year at AFLBS
and his roommate is his cousin, Jed Gill from Brazil. Both April & Tom are looking for jobs. Michelle really liked all the camps and activities this summer, especially hanging out with her big sister's friends. We are homeschooling her as we
travel the US. She misses her friends in Brazil so every chance she gets, she tries to Skype with them.

Presently we are traveling to the Pacific Northwest visiting our churches and WMF rallies.  Every fourth Sunday each month we have a service meeting via Skype with our church family in Brazil.  Modern technology is a wonderful tool to keep us united and in touch! 

To see some wonderful pictures and the Abels’ prayer requests, visit their newsletter here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kvale Connection: What Happens While They Wait?

imageOften times, we refer to Bibleless peoples still waiting for God’s written word in their heart language and we explain the many years that translation can take. What is being done in the meantime? Wycliffe Bible Translators with One Story, as well as partner organizations such as Faith Comes By Hearing with listening devices, and Campus Crusade for Christ with the “JESUS” film, work to communicate God’s truth to those who will learn best by oral means while the written word is being translated and printed, and literacy programs are being developed.

In the fall of 2008, disastrous floods swept through part of India, killing thousands and affecting 30 million people. Not long before this, The Seed Company (a Wycliffe Bible Translators affiliate) imagepartnered with New India Evangelistic Association (NIEA), to craft oral Bible stories into nine spoken-only languages in the hard storm-hit regions of India.  During relief operations for the flood victims, oral Bible stories brought hope and salvation to many. In December, again the Word of God was shared and the “JESUS” film shown in the local language. That evening, 800 people became followers of Jesus.  Over the course of 2011, NIEA workers tramped footpaths into remote villages, bringing with them digital audio players with recorded Bible stories.  Groups gathered to listen, much
discussion took place and there were many wonderful questions to answer. Thus, the digital players become a strategic tool to explain, discuss and share with oral cultures. By September 2010, among the 8,800 people listening to the Gospel on the devices, there were 1,052 commitments to Christ. May the message be heard before the storms.

To read the rest of the Kvale’s Newsletter and know how to pray for them, please click here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hello from Odessa

Here is an excerpt from Andy and Monica Coyle’s latest newsletter.  To read about the exciting plans for the Bible School and meet one of Andy’s co-workers, please visit this site to download a PDF copy.

In many ways, the similarities of this imagetime of year remind us of home. It has started to get cooler, there is a marked presence of farm machinery outside the city, and everyone in our house is “back to school” (well, maybe not Josiah!).

Our main focus these days is learning Russian. Making plans for the Bible School has been a growing priority as well. We are thankful for opportunities to get to know new people and for the new friends made.

Yesterday I returned from Kiev where I participated in my first seminar. It was a wonderful weimageekend of fellowship and learning for me. My seminar was a textual study of Romans 12:1-2. These congregational seminars are a large part of the ministry of the Youth Center, and are vital for the Church here in Ukraine (as well as other countries). Please pray for open doors and open hearts as we teach God’s Word across this land.

You can find the Coyle’s blog here:  Life with the Coyle’s.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

AFLC of India Medical Camps

imageMr.Raju is a medical doctor in Chirala who helps at Free Lutheran Medical Camps.      Irrespective of caste and creed, the AFLCI conducts free camps in many villages where there are Free Lutheran Congregations.  Many villages do not have hospitals so villagers have many problem when they are sick.  These mobile clinics help them to sustain their health.
imageThese camps  provide medicines to poor sick people in villages freely.  AFLCI is always thankful to her sister organization AFLC in Canada for supporting these mobile medical camps and also thankful to AFLC US World Missions for supporting Dr.Raju so that he is able to conduct camps in many villages.

imageThese photos were recently taken when Dr. Raju conducted camps.  Dr.Raju works for AFLCI for a full 20 days each month and the rest of the month he spends in his own clinic and with his family.  Please keep this ministry in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New Faces, Old Hearts

Here is a teaser from Jonni’s September newsletter.  To read the whole letter, please click here.

imageSeptember - right in the middle of the year, is really a time of beginnings. Summer slips away as a new season enters. School starts up again with all kinds of excitement and challenges. Here in the Miriam Home it is a time for change too. The weather is starting to warm up (it’s sad to say but I will probably be complaining about the heat in no time), the children are able to run and play almost to their hearts content (they have school too) because the rains have passed, and we have some new friends in the house!

Samuel has actually been with us for several weeks, but it is the first chance I have had to introduce him. This precious young man is eight years old and has won the hearts of everyone in the house. He is a typical little boy; he chases the older girls in the house with worms, loves to tell riddles (most of which make no sense to an adult gringa) and gives and receives hugs and cuddles from his “aunties” all day. Visiting with Samuel it is hard to imagine why he is in The Miriam Home. I would love to tell you that our little boy is here because of a temporary situation in his family, but the reality is much sadder. Samuel is the oldest of three children, and the “dad” in the family today is not the father of any of the children. Samuel’s mother loves her children but has little control of her own life. She recently found out that she is imageHIV+ (praise the Lord, none of her children are). She has moved frequently and always seems to be on the edge of falling apart. In an attempt to provide an opportunity for her son, Samuel’s mother sent him to live with her sister so he could go to school. It sounded good at the time, but during a period of six months the child was abused twice; once at the school he was going to, once by a neighbor of the aunt. The juvenile court is investigating the case. For something like this to happen once is awful, for it to happen twice in a short amount of time requires serious questions.

In the mean time Samuel is in a safe place where he knows he can sleep in peace and play without worrying about who is watching him!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Missions Devotional

The following devotional was written by Scott Erickson:

Romans 3:10,11 “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who seek for God.”cross-of-christ

Growing up in a loving Christian home we had family devotions regularly. A death of a classmate (9 year old) and his uncle made a big impact in our community and many families. We made some life important changes. Bible camps, bible schools, special meetings, and many more gatherings became of much more importance. I really didn’t grasp it at the time, but as the next few years came and as I grew older more was revealed. One year at bible camp a summer team from the Bible School was doing a skit about Jesus hanging on the Cross. Different individuals would come up and mock Him. It was at this time I truly realized--‘That was me!--doing this to my Lord and Savior.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

I always had thought highly of myself and seemed to be a very good person. It came easy to justify myself when I could point out others faults and shortcomings. God grabbed a hold of me by using my parents and examples of young believers to point out where I stood. It isn’t about me. It’s all about Him. No more trying to impress others, but instead laying down my sins at His feet and allowing Him to work in my life so He could be seen.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through or Lord Jesus Christ.”

narrow-road_crossThe road became narrow and much more difficult. Satan doesn’t like it when someone comes to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Knowing God is in charge is a wonderful thing. He is faithful to be with us through tough and easy times. He keeps His promises in His Word even when I am not faithful. The daily battle can only be victorious when we have a strong personal relationship with Him.

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Emergency in East Africa–World Relief

World Relief is the aid agency that the AFLC works with.  Donations can be made through AFLC World Missions or directly to World Relief. 

If you’re donating online with the button at the left be indicate that it is for “Africa Emergency-WR.”



Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I Corinthians 14:11   “If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker and he is a foreigner to me.”

This verse took on a literal meaning when we traveled to Czech Republic this summer. The hotel we stayed at was within five blocks of the country of Poland. We enjoyed taking walks on each side of the river. Crossing the bridge meant you were entering a different country, each with its own currency and language. Whether in Czech Republic or Poland, the languages were foreign to us and that created some interesting challenges with simple tasks such as ordering a meal. Picture menus are priceless!

As we traveled, we found most of the younger generation could speak some English and we found relief in that as I have not yet begun to comprehend the foreign languages I encounter. I had been invited to speak at the annual youth conference in Smilovice, Czech Republic.

Tuesday morning Sherry and I participated in a breakout session presented by a pastor from Sweden. It was one of very few times

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Schierkolk August Newsletter


 Editor’s note:  Adri is the woman in the middle of the photo.

This past February Adri was diagnosed with cancer.  Originally from Venezuela, she’d had a hard life full of sad circumstances, bad decisions and their tragic
consequences. In God’s love and providence the next two months following the diagnosis served to force her to confront some of the faith and life issues that she had been content to let linger. As the possibility of death grew more real, the reality of who her Savior was and what He had done for her grew more precious.

Throughout those months we had many special times of prayer and reading from God's word with Adri and her girls before we left for our time of deputation. It was very hard to say good-bye. The news that I received just two weeks after arriving in the United States was not good and yet God was still doing good things. There had been many things we'd heard from the doctors, some very hopeful and some very bad. We had been forcefully keeping our eyes on Jesus remembering that even if the doctors are right in their diagnosis, God always has the last word and that if He has the power to raise a dead man from his tomb (Lazarus) he also has the power to cleanse a body
from cancer no matter how bad it looks. Then we
received the news that Adri's cancer had spread into her lungs. She had been in great pain. She made it through two chemotherapy sessions but one doctor said there really wasn’t any point in attempting a third. By that point Adri just wanted to go to heaven.

To read how Adri’s story ends, please click here to read the entire story!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Video of Cassie Nash in Haiti

Short Term Missionary Cassie Nash

Short term missions assistant Cassie Nash has been working in Haiti.  She has been in the US for the Summer.  Right now she is back in Haiti for a short time of planning.  Please be in prayer for Cassie.

Jonni’s August Newsletter


Last month I presented Adriana and Deborah to you; lovely girls who have had far too many hurtful experiences in their young lives. It isn’t surprising that these experiences have shaped the way the girls see the world and their behavior. One of Adriana’s struggles is that she has a very poor moral standard. That is pretty common when girls are abused as children. They don’t see them-selves as valuable and don’t see why they shouldn’t give themselves away. It has been a challenge to minister truth into Adriana’s life and at the same time to protect the boys that are in the house from her advances. This means that we spend a lot of time talking and praying with both the boys and the girls and watching all the time for signs of trouble.

This last week-end the Free Lutheran Church had a youth retreat. 80 young people from 13 to 20 participated,
coming from 4 cities and 6 churches. It was wonderful! The three oldest Miriam Home kids (Josivaldo, Adriana and imageMaria) took part and it was so exciting to see God move. The theme was “Warm my Heart, Lord” and the subject that was taught was purity! Pastor Antonio, the Free Lutheran pastor from a neighboring city, was the speaker and he was both very direct and very challenging, helping all of these young people understand their personal value, the importance of walking in purity in a sex crazed world and that God has the power to support us if we are willing to walk with Him!

I was so blessed by what I saw as God’s provision specifically for one wounded child. Pr Antonio spoke over and over to Adriana’s situation, giving examples that came right from her life, though he had no way of knowing. When he declared that God could bring healing to lives of young people who had already lost their purity, Adriana was blessed with hope this week-end. In so many ways we have seen changes and growth in Adriana life and we are very excited to see God’s victory in this area also!

There is much more to read about in Jonni’s newsletter, so click here to read all about it!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Update on Uganda Struggles

This is an update on the young girl, Talitha, who was demon-possessed.  If you have not read the first part of her story, check out the Jore’s blog here.

image From an August 4th post:  This past Monday, six days after Jowali and his family professed their faith in Christ, Talitha became demon-possessed again. It was a blow to all of us. How could this happen? Was she not now under Christ’s protection? Was her faith not genuine? We couldn’t make sense of it.

The demons first attacked Talitha at her school two weeks ago. When she was re-possessed, it also happened at her school, along with 4 other students. Tuesday, Wednesday and today there were more students attacked at the school. Tomorrow we will be going to the school with a group of intercessors we have organized from here in Jinja to pray over the school.

From an August 6th post:  Thank you all who have been in prayer for us during the past couple of days.  We have seen the Lord at work. I’d like to update you on our trip to the village yesterday.

We gathered a team of intercessors who would come with us to pray over the school.  There were thirteen in total.  Among them was a man named Gerald.  When I met him and thanked him for his willingness to come, he simply said, “This is what I am called to do.”  Praise the Lord! Another in the group was Jeremiah, a converted witchdoctor.  He said that as a former witchdoctor he specializes in finding and burning witchcraft.

Early in the morning we set off for the village in a van.  Jowali, Talitha’s father, had requested that we begin at his home and then go to the school afterwards.  When we arrived, Talitha was inside the house.  We gathered chairs in a circle and a mat in the middle.

As she was brought out of the house, she was crying loudly, hitting, kicking and gnawing her tongue. The demons were attacking her again.  Her suffering touched me deeply.  The team immediately started praying over her as they held her on the mat.  I observed that one of the team members, Pastor Joseph, did not join in the praying immediately, but stood back and observed.

After about ten minutes of praying, he stood up and told everyone to stop. He said, “There is a reason the demon is not going.  It has authority to remain.”

To read the rest of the story…and it is an amazing story, please check out the Jores’ blog post here.

Greetings from the Ukraine

image Since we last wrote after our arrival, we have been getting settled in our new home, an apartment in downtown Odessa. It has been fun to do some exploring around town and to try out our Russian. We have managed to find some neat markets and grocery stores, and were able to bike together on a few excursions.

The children seem to be adjusting well, covered by His grace. Thank you all for your prayers for them. While they miss friends and family at times, they are enjoying the new adventures and are making a few new friends. I guess the same is true for Andy and I! We are so thankful for the relationships being built here and the ways God so visibly has cared for us. There have been countless answers to prayer. Thank you for holding us up!

We joined EEMN's short-term team for the English Bible Camp for our first two weeks. Andy and Ann, my cousin, co-taught a class of 6-7 year olds. image It was an excellent week of ministry- check out our blog for the full update. Following that, we hosted a team of four short-term missionaries for a week. It was a joy to have them, and they were a big blessing as they cared for the kids while Andy and I were able to go out.

We just returned from attending an 8-day family camp with the Lutheran Church, which was a wonderful time to get to know our co-workers and the broader ministry of the Youth Center. Check out our blog update for the full report. The camp was located on the shore of the Black Sea, which was so beautiful! Though it was a hot week, it was a good time for our family.

As we look forward to the month ahead, we are eager to get into new routines at home. We are thankful for new doors opening for: language study, a preschool/kindergarten program for Moriah and Isaiah, and ministry opportunities to help us acclimate and practice our Russian. Later this month, after the youth camps end, Andy will be joining with others in planning some of the fall ministry events and Bible School planning.

We hope this finds you doing well, and we pray God's abundant grace to meet you in each day in the month ahead.