Monday, February 28, 2011

Mission Trip to India–Part 3

The final e-mail sent from Kevin Olson while in India:

170580_488779531212_548216212_6615536_936121_oThe training went very well.  The training by Zepheniah Peter from Hydrabad was a highlight. The men enjoyed all of the training. I only spoke once on Friday for 30 minutes, but that also was very powerful. There were tears in all of our eyes as we covered the topic of unity and the work in the Kingdom of God that we have before us. An Indian broom made the illustration very personal.

Our last night was an outing to a one month wedding anniversary for two sisters who were married three days apart from each other on January 10th and 13th. For us it meant a meal, a greeting and prayers for the couples.

For them it meant much more. They had joy and excitement in their faces as they start this life toge170848_491387456212_548216212_6652822_4062382_other. They are also celebrating this wedding anniversary very near the date of the anniversary of two uncles suicides each a year apart from the other. Last year was a memorial service, this year a wedding anniversary. Praise the Lord for the new life and promise of life that they have as they look to the future of this time. 

One thing I take home from this trip is their incredible devotion to prayer:

  • The children get up at 5:30 every morning for 30-45 minutes of devotions, then they go for a walk with us.
  • The people always want us to pray for them. At one village we arrived at 1:00 a.m. Most of the members of the congregation got up in the middle of the night and came for prayer. An hour later we left for home and arrived at 4:30 a.m.
  • The pastor’s prayer time on the second day of training started at 5:30 a.m. for about an hour.
  • The third day of training Pastor Devasahayam had an all night prayer meeting and participated in the whole next day of training.
  • Not to mention their weekly prayer meetings or their 40 days of prayer during Lent.
  • All of this is besides the fact that a good friend of mine Rambabu, whose life I have been involved with for these past three years, turned his life completely over to Christ and we prayed together last night. He has trusted me with this vulnerable part of his life that he has not shared with anyone else. As a branch manager of a life insurance / bank he has incredible pressure to follow the traditional cultural practices of Hinduism.172249_491387241212_548216212_6652816_7888452_o

Humbling, amazing, powerful, convicting… How can you really summarize all of this?

Back to life as normal? I pray it may never be.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mission Trip to India–Part 2

Here is the 2nd e-mail sent by Kevin , continued from part 1 yesterday:

171301_488778786212_548216212_6615518_2069344_oTraining week started today. Since the students did not arrive until 11:00, the other two teachers taught their lessons instead of me. There were about 25 present by 1:00.

The next two days, our guest speaker who is in charge of the Bible League in southeast Asia is presenting. He is an international teacher and he will teach in Telugu, so the students should really be in for a great treat. I pray that they all come.

In other words, I will be teaching very little this week. My main focus will be to try and get the Ambassador Institute curriculum into Telugu. If I could get a copy of the Bible in Telugu, that would be fabulous, but so far 170808_488779416212_548216212_6615529_6200435_othere have been as many road blocks as there has been progress. Kind of normal I guess. Last summer I sent spiral bound books to the main teacher here in India. The books arrived but were never given to him. Now they are lost! So, I printed the English copy over again. Now after teaching for a year, he at least has the curriculum in English. Sometimes my perception of a priority is not shared by everyone else. What to do? Deal with it. Sometimes that is just the way it is. The communication barrier of distance and language makes things like this hundreds of times more difficult to pass on.

Jim and I continued a tradition started last year. We took the 10th class out for supper last night and had a great time with them. This group of students literally study 13 1/2 hours a day for 6 da175677_495687231212_548216212_6712469_5916981_oys of the week. Sometimes they continue on Sunday as well. They start at 7:00, they take a one hour break for lunch and ½ hour for supper then they finish at 10:00 p.m. They take their college entrance exams in March and if they pass with high marks they can win a free seat in a college for 6 years. If not, they will be laborers for the rest of their lives. They carry an enormous pressure on them. Last year’s class from this school did very well. These students became close friends of mine and when they found out I was here, they all came back from college to visit me on Sunday night.   

Out of the group of 8 that were able to go with us, only two had been to a restaurant before. Then we went to ice cream and for half of them it was their first time to eat ice cream as well. After we returned to the chapel, I asked them what they were worth. Several said they were not worth 169834_488778831212_548216212_6615519_8368795_oanything. That is so sad!  Then we went into the whole thing about how their value could only be defined by Christ. He is the one that set their value with the cost of his life. Created by the Father, Redeemed by the Son, Indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

It was really fun, they were listening to every word, and the meal that they had eaten was a small picture of the fact that they really were valuable. I want so badly for them to know that regardless of how they do on some test that compares people with one another, their value would not change if they passed or failed.

Well, 5 nights and 4 days left before we start the journey back home…


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mission Trip to India–Part 1

The following is the first e-mail that Kevin Olson (Ambassador Institute Department Head ) sent to family and friends while he was on a mission trip to India with Jim Rasmussen (AFLC Head of Evangelism) in late January and early February.

Life in India

170547_488779881212_548216212_6615555_2128659_oIt is interesting how life can be so similar from culture to culture and yet so wildly different.

Some things you have to block out of your mind to adjust to life in the new culture so that you don’t burn out or some other variety of emotional responses.

Indian culture puts a very high value on personal cleanliness as opposed to the public cleanliness that we worship in the U.S. to often the sacrifice of personal cleanliness.

India has a mass of people and so although the infrastructure is much more developed than Africa, it is still pushed beyond the limits.

171039_488778476212_548216212_6615509_2883312_oDriving is one way that the infrastructure gets pushed beyond its limits. People walking, ox carts being pulled, trucks, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and animals all share the roads, all at the same time. It forces the top speed to a limit of 30-40 mph and means most every moment something unexpected might happen.

This morning I was floored and humbled when I came across the students who live at this school coming out of their morning prayer and group devotions at 6:00 a.m.

These students meet every morning at 5:00 a.m. for devotions. Their ages are 8 to 16. No one forces them to get up. It is just part of their daily routine.

169761_488778081212_548216212_6615501_8031736_oLater in the day we were at a church that I have been at 3 times now. They, like every church, gave us as guests a large flower necklace. In fact today we received two. The guests are always given the seats of honor, given special food and special treatment in every way. The church was packed because of this large celebration that they were having. Yet, with all of this honor and respect, as I was about halfway through a short story that I was sharing, one third of the people got up and went outside to eat. They were eating in shifts which was somewhat understandable, but the worship of the person in contrast to the message of the person was sharper than I had experienced before. Then again, after the meeting, the people flock up to have the guests pray for them.

170000_488779346212_548216212_6615527_6495524_oTomorrow will be a slower more personal day in town and at the beach with the kids.

Saturday will be another 9 hour day in a village that may look very similar to today’s events.

Sunday we will split up and go to two different churches, then Monday we will start the training.

It is a joy, a struggle, humbling and irritating plus a whole range of emotions all at the same time.

Block out the things that are too difficult to deal with at any one moment, focus on the people and pray to the Lord.

A blog from down under,


Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ambassador Institute Graduation in Uganda

This is the text from an e-mail Kevin Olson sent out the day of the graduation:

imageThe graduation was today (January 22, 2011) and it was a great day! It was held outdoors at the beautiful Itanda Falls. The day was great, with the students beaming out of their skin.

This was the first graduation of the Ambassador Institute…the first for this area of Uganda of any sort of big graduation event. Local leaders were invited to greet the people and approve of the event. Many of those leaders spoke frequently of their appreciation of doing something like this for their people and for this area. You could see and feel the students pride and self-confidence. Yet the event was very simple: held outside, the students rented their own gowns and the Ambassador Institute paid for the food. That was it.

imageIt is so cool to see and hear the students speak with humble spirits, loving pastoral hearts and evangelistic spirits ready to go out serving the Lord in missions to their own people and beyond.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Missionaries Leave For the Field

Ministry Training Institute Students
This year’s MTI students have left for their respective fields. Jeremiah Jones, Kathryn Norris and Bryan Bohn have traveled to Brazil. Josiah Rolf is in Alaska (not pictured).



Short Term Assistants




Cassie Nash (pictured with her father) traveled to Haiti. Cassie will be working with an orphanage.





Jim and Cindy Lilly recently traveled to Ecuador. They will be learning the culture and doing some work in a church there.

Please keep these missionaries and all our AFLC missionaries in your prayers as they continue their work for the Kingdom!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Godfrey Uses Bible Story in Village Conflict

Greetings friends,

imageGodfrey, one of the students from the Jinja class, recently returned to his home village to bury his aunt. When he arrived, he found the village in an uproar as a child had recently died and the suspected murderer was the co-wife of the child's mother (the child's father had two wives). The village members had gathered and the tension was rising as they discussed murdering the woman for the terrible thing that she had done. Some of the crowd had already started collecting stones for stoning her.

Upon seeing the gravity of the situation, Godfrey prayed, “God, what am I to do? How can I save this woman?” Godfrey was quickly reminded of the story of Solomon he had heard from his MegaVoice (Bible and lesson recorder). Solomon was faced with a similar situation when two prostitutes came to him to settle their case. Both women claimed that the living child was hers and the dead one belonged to the other. Solomon suggested they kill the living one too, so that it would be even. The true mother had compassion for her son and pleaded with him not to kill the baby, but to give it to the other woman. Godfrey took out his MegaVoice and called some of the leaders together saying, “This is not the first time people have been faced with a situation like this. Come and hear how others handled the situation.” They began to listen to the story in their native Lusoga language. After the story was finished Godfrey advised them not to kill the woman, but to advise her. The tension in the room diffused and one by one the angry mob dispersed quietly. Godfrey stood amazed at the power of the Word of God which had saved a woman's life!

Lavon Bohling

bohlingPlease pray for Mr.Lavon Bohling.    Lavon  has an  Aortic Aneurysm.  He will undergo further tests  on Monday and very possibly undergo  surgery soon thereafter. Lavon is Director of the AFLC FLAPS Ministry and also serves as assistant to Home Mission Director, Rev. Paul Nash.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Greetings from Erlend Straume

imageDear friends,

I just want to give you an update on how my life is right now. Believe it or not, but I am actually in Brazil and have started to study the Portuguese language. I will start my official Portuguese study at the university here in the end of February.

When I came back to the Seminary last fall I did not know why the Lord had led me to the Seminary or what I should do after I graduated. I thought that the Lord could not use a man like me. But I started on the path to Brazil since that made sense in some way: I was interested in mission, I had felt an inner call or inner desire to serve as a missionary since high school, and I could work as a research scientist in the oil business there. If the Lord did not want me to go in this direction He would stop me, and I was almost certain that I would be stopped. But everything went faster and more smoothly than I expected. I applied at Portuguese study at the University of Curitiba and was accepted. I applied for 12 month student visa, it was authorized and I received it in the mail 3 weeks after I sent the application. I went back to Norway to sell my apartment there. I had a showing of it a Monday evening in the middle of January and the next day 1 pm it was sold for a price more than 10 % higher than the price it was advertised for. I moved out and the evening of the 1st of February I was on my way to Brazil. When I hear stories about other people who wait months and years for visa and are hindered by all kinds of issues, I wonder: Why did the Lord open the doors so wide open for me? The only thing I can do is thank God for what he has done.

This first week here I have heard many strong testimonies from youth who have grown up in broken homes without a father or with a father addicted to alcohol or drugs. Sin has ruined many lives here. I have started thinking that maybe the Lord wants me to serve in the discipleship of men, both young men and men who have ruined their lives with sin. I believe that if the men of a congregation or a society could live their lives in agreement with the Bible, everything will change. If the young men could learn how they should treat the young women, how they should take responsibility for their lives, and how they should avoid addiction to alcohol, drugs or anything else; then they would avoid many sorrows and wounds of sin later in life. But more important; if they get their assurance of salvation through the Word of God and learn seek the Word for their spiritual nourishment every day they will become a pillar in the temple of My God. They will become leaders that have little power in their selves, keep God’s Word and do not deny His Name. This humble biblical attitude towards faith and life in general is foreign for the macho man ideal of this world. However if the men of a church and a community could be changed to follow this Biblical lifestyle, I believe most of the other problems will be solved as a result of this and the Kingdom of God will grow.

I don’t have all the answers on how to do this, or even if this is what I am supposed to do here, but I pray that I could continue following God’s guidance in my life and that doors will be opened where I am supposed to serve.  I hope that you can continue praying for me regularly.

In His service,


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Daniel Isaías Paccha Olson


Darwin and Kirsten Paccha, AFLC members working in Ecuador,  joyfully announce the birth of their son, Daniel born on January 23, 2011! 

Here is what Darwin says of the delivery and birth: 

“What a blessing at how quickly things progressed! Even though the timing was a little difficult because we lacked sleep (which we know will be common from now on), we realized this timing was also a blessing because we were the only ones in the hospital in the delivery area with our doctors and nurses. Everyone helping seemed more relaxed and personal. We had another answer to prayer as Daniel was delivered. We discovered that he did not drop down into the pelvis because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and then around his body. Praise God for a long umbilical cord and protecting Daniel through the delivery.”


Darwin and Kirsten ask for your continued prayers:  Pray for us as we learn to be a family with Daniel. Pray for our new schedule, emotions, and responsibilities. We are thankful for God’s answer to our prayers to have a family, and now we ask that you pray with us that we would be an example of a godly family to those around us as we continue our ministry in Ecuador.”

Darwin graduated from AFLTS and Kirsten from AFLBS!  Congratulations from all of us!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

February Newsletter from Jonni Sliver


I confess to you now that “waiting” is not my favorite verb. On the other hand, there are blessings in the time between the “call” and the “go”.   Many are the people I have had the privilege of getting to know. So many of you who have invited me into you’re your homes, opened your hearts and encouraged me with everything from words and prayers to precious wooden tops made to bless little ones in Brazil (they are already in my suitcase!).

Over the last two months you have been praying for some of our girls.  Deisy (pictured here) is one. She has been a part of the Miriam Home for years as she faced a life rollercoaster. . .

Read more about Deisy and the rest of Jonni’s  newsletter here.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Greetings from Jacob O’Flanagan

Hello again everybody,
It's been a little while since my last update so this is a little bit of what's going on down here. The person who I was working with doing grounds keeping here at the Bible School and Seminary has moved up north and I am now in charge of keeping up the grounds here on campus.

It has already been three months that I have been in Brazil and go in next week to renew my visa. Portuguese is coming along well, and I am now able to manage fairly well, though I am still far from fluent to say the least.

The MTI students arrived in Brazil today and will spend some time with Paul and Becky Abel in the capitol city before coming up and staying here on campus for most of the remainder of their internship. I am enjoying the time here, and have been able to help a lot here on campus.

The things that I do during any given day range from feeding chickens to working in the garden, to mowing grass. It's not very complicated work, but it's work that needs to be done, which is why I am here. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support, and feel free to send me an email if you feel like it, I enjoy hearing from people back home.

God Bless,