Many of you have been following, with much interest, Jonni Sliver’s saga of getting her visa for Brazil. Well, today she boarded the plane for Brazil! In attendance to pray with her before she left were: Pastor Kevin Olson, Pastor Dick Gunderson, and Pastor Elden Nelson. We wish you God’s blessings, Jonni , as you serve at the Miriam Infant Home in Brazil. Please uphold Jonni and the work in Brazil in your prayers!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The following is the April Mission’s Devotional by Jim Fugleberg:
Perhaps few of us who watched the Super Bowl about a month or two ago knew another important football game was going on at the same time.
This one was between the big animals and the little animals:
The big animals were crushing little animals and at half time, the coach made a passionate speech to rally the little animals.
At the start of the second half the big animals had the ball. The first play, the elephant got stopped for no gain. The second play, the rhino was stopped for no gain. On third down, the hippo was thrown for a 5 yard loss.
The defense huddled around the coach and he asked excitedly, "Who stopped the elephant?"
"I did" said the centipede.
"Who stopped the rhino?"
"Uh, that was me too" said the centipede.
"And how about the hippo? Who hit him for a 5 yard loss?"
"Well, that was me as well," said the centipede.
"So where were you the first half?" demanded the coach.
"Well" said the centipede, "I was having my ankles taped."--Borrowed
Some activities in life take time, but pay big benefits. Changing oil on the car takes time, but it preserves the life of the engine. Filling your almost-empty gas tank may be an inconvenient thing to do, especially if you’re in a hurry, but you won’t get far if you don’t.
What about time taken to spend in communication with God? Our quiet time is a daily opportunity. Sunday worship is a regular opportunity. And now, leading up to Easter, Lenten Services are a special opportunity.
Just as dirt has a tendency to accumulate unless we keep cleaning, stuff unless we keep throwing, and weeds unless we keep pulling, so the old attitude “rhinos” and lusts of the flesh “elephants” have a tendency to take over unless we continue to be cleansed, guided, exhorted, and corrected through the Word of God. Just as the tank continues toward empty unless we keep filling it at the pump, and the bank account depletes unless we keep adding the paycheck, so our spiritual life needs to be renewed, lest we have no energy against spiritual lethargy, strength against temptation, or power to serve in love.
In the super bowl of life, the devil regards “two-hand-touch” as sissy stuff. He’s in there for the tackle, and he’s out for blood.
“Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist, steadfast in the faith.” (1 Pet. 5:8-9) And “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom 10:17)
Let’s make sure we have our “ankles taped.”
Monday, March 21, 2011
The Ambassador Institute has released their Spring Inquiry Newsletter which can be found on the AFLC website here. Here is a taste of what is in that newsletter:
East European Missions Network (EEMN) will be translating the Ambassador Institute Curriculum into Russian for use in Belarus.
Belarus is a closed country to the gospel and yet the constitution has a provision in it to allow the Lutheran church to operate freely and to open a school. That provision comes because of the long history that the Lutheran church has had in that part of Europe. EEMN has a partnership with the Lutheran church in Belarus and together they want to start the training with material that has a strong Biblical emphasis and a Lutheran understanding of the Word of God. Praise the Lord for this new open door. Pray for the translation work and for this future training in a country closed to the gospel.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
John is one of the students in the Jinja class. He was raised a Catholic in the village and knows very little of the Bible. Towards the beginning of our term, I taught the story of Cain and Abel. Afterward John asked, "How did God know that Cain killed Abel?" His question illustrates his basic lack of understanding that God knows and sees all.
John has been attending the class now for the past several months and is learning a great deal. The students' assignment each week is to share in their communities the Bible story they have learned in class. Last Thursday in class, John shared this testimony:
One evening, as he came home from work, he found one of his neighbor's kids crying and bleeding from the nose. (John stays in a small
rented room in tight quarters with many others who are also renting.) They told him that a certain neighbor woman had beaten the child. The woman had a habit of treating children badly. She herself had not been able to have a child for the past 8 years. John asked his wife to invite her to their place as he wanted to talk to her. It just so happens that our story for that week was the story of Hannah. John began to share how Hannah was barren and suffered at the hands of her co-wife. Yet, instead of retaliating or becoming angry, Hannah responded as a godly woman and brought her pain to the Lord in prayer. After hearing how the Lord answered Hannah's prayer and gave her children, the woman was really impacted. It is common here for a woman in Hannah's situation to get revenge by harming the co-wife's children. (Polygamy is commonly practiced here in Uganda.) The woman was challenged by Hannah's godly response to her situation and how God answered her prayer. She thanked John again and again for sharing the story with her.
God is doing a great work in another student's life. I have shared about Godfrey (pictured left with Nate) several times before. He shared this testimony in class yesterday (Thursday):
Wednesday night he was awakened after midnight by the sound of a woman crying. It was one of his neighbors crying for her daughter (around 18 years old). At first, Godfrey thought the daughter had died, but soon discovered that the girl had just gone mad (not speaking, drooling from the mouth, and wanting to run out into the night). She had been fine that day and went to sleep that night acting normal. By this time all the neighbors around the place were awake and everyone knew that the girl had been "bewitched" or possessed by a demon. The common answer to witchcraft here is to use "anti-witchcraft" to cancel out the curse. Godfrey said his neighbors, even those professing to be Christians, all started bringing out their witchcraft charms in an effort to free the girl. (It is common here to see "Christians" resort to using witchcraft when they are in a difficult situation.)
After observing for a while, Godfrey suggested that they pray and ask God to heal the girl. The people mocked him, saying he did not know what he was talking about. Godfrey got one of his neighbors who was a Christian and the two of them began to pray. The demon, who had been silent from the beginning, began to speak through the girl. Godfrey and his
neighbor asked him why he had come and he replied that he had been sent by the girl's step-mom in the village who was jealous because she was "going far in her education" Godfrey told the demon that he would have to leave in the Name of Jesus. The demon told the people around, "I am leaving for now because there are people here who can make me leave, but I will be back at any time." The girl cried out loudly and was back to her normal self again. At two o'clock in the morning, Godfrey shared with his neighbors the Word of God, urging them to repent of their witchcraft and believe in Jesus.
Our mission in Uganda is fairly simple: We teach people the Word of God who in turn teach it to others. The Word of the Lord does not return empty, but accomplishes the work for which God sent it.
Please keep us in your prayers. They are truly a lifeline to us!
Nate Jore and family
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
"How often have we prayed something like, "O Lord, be with cousin Billy now in a special way"? Have we stopped to consider what it is we're requesting? Imagine that you are a parent who is preparing to leave your children with a babysitter. Would you dream of saying, "O Betsy, I ask you now that you would be with my children in a special way?" No way. You would say, "Betsy, the kids need to be in bed by 9 pm. They can have one snack before their baths, and please make sure they finish their homework. You can reach us at this number if there's any problem. Any questions before we go?" We are very specific with our requests and instructions for our babysitters. We want them to know specifics. It should be no different with prayer." David Jeremiah
Man can we relate to this these days. We got a knock at the door at 2:00 in the morning the other day with a sweet little strawberry haired six year old who needed a place to stay. So, we're up to six kids now. She wants prayer to be able to go to her mommy soon, Cesar and Gabe want prayer that they would be organized at school to be able to get their grades up, Gracie would like prayer that she wouldn't be nervous during her dance program at the high school next week, Rachel would like prayer for a cell phone (noooo, not yet!), and Melina wants her bottle filled.
Mary Ann has left the Nogales rescue mission, so she could use prayer for this transition in her life. I thank you for prayer for me across the line. Last week I had kind of close call as I was downtown Nogales just before a shooting (see our blog for more of the story). Alfonso's (pictured on the left) pacemakers battery has gone dead, he has to wait until next month before he can see the doctor (socialized medicine). So he too needs our prayers. The Mexican Lutheran Apostolic Alliance (who we serve here in Mexico) is having our conference here in Nogales this year (April 21-23). So we sure appreciate your prayers.
Thank you for being specific in prayer, your fellow workers,
Darwin, Mary Ann, Gracie, Rachel, Gabe, Cesar, Frania and Melina.
Friday, March 11, 2011
The AFLC Partners with World Relief for relief works around the world. Contributions to help with the earthquake in Japan can be sent to:
World Relief or to,
AFLC World Missions
3110 E. Medicine Lake Blvd.
Plymouth, MN 55441
Please indicate that it is for the Japanese earthquake.
Dear World Relief Partners and Friends,
After an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan, Pacific Rim countries and islands have braced for tsunamis that have already begun to hit. While the extent of the damage is still unknown, the death toll continues to rise especially in Japan as ships and trains have vanished and land is flooded. Warnings have been issued from the Philippines to Hawaii to Kenya.
World Relief has been in communication with our partners in these countries including our alliance partner in Japan, the Japanese Evangelical Association, who is monitoring the damage there. Our staff is on high alert and prepared to respond- especially in Southeast Asia where islands and countries are highly vulnerable. World Relief is standing with our brothers and sisters and our prayers are with those in the path of this devastation.
We will continue to post updates as these events unfold.
As a church, if you are interested in taking a special offering on Sunday for this disaster, please visit worldrelief.org to learn more and donate to our Japan tsunami relief efforts.
Sam Wolgemuth, CEO World Relief
Thursday, March 10, 2011
The latest report is that my visa has been approved in Brazil and there are just a few i's to dot and t's to cross, but within days I should have my visa! In celebration I felt a snow angel was appropriate!
Thank you so much for your prayers. God has blessed me so much in this time of waiting - reminding me of what is important! Recently I was in my car expressing a bit of my frustration in prayer and I told God that I felt like I didn't have any control of my own life. He said "exactly". Paul's words in Colossians 3:3 came to mind "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." - it isn't my life and I'm not suppose to have the control anyway! It hasn't been my easiest lesson in the last six months but it might be the best!
1) For the blessed time Jonathan had at the Mission Conference - how God was gracious and allowed him to go to the US - that it was a time for encouraging the Bible School students/Seminarians to find their Mission/purpose in life. He not only enjoyed bonding with everyone there, he had great fellowship with the leadership/teachers, and even got to spend some time with April (a treat, for sure)... He came back encouraged!
2) For the team of couples that are helping him plan for this big Youth Bible Camp at Carnaval time. It has been great to see such team work, effort and help in organizing all the different aspects for camp. Thankful that God opened the doors for Pr. Mark Olson (he got his visa right away), etc.. to come down to be the guest speaker for camp.
1) For the Youth Bible Camp (March 4-8) in Campo Mourao. The theme: A generation in the Hands of the Potter. Pray that the messages will trully challenge the youth, that they will rekindle the fires in their spiritual lives - increase their vision for the future, that they will be brought closer together - united as a body of Christ (from all our different churches in Brazil). Pray for spiritual growth, good fellowship, safety (travels and there), and for God to be glorified in everything!
2) For a Ladies Conference (March 19) also in Campo Mourao. The theme: The Cross. Pray that many women can come (safe travels), that it will be a blessed time, with lots of unity and encouragement in our faith in Jesus. That each person will go back home strengthened and desirous to be more like Jesus!
3) For the many visitors, mainly many Americans who will be coming through, to do some Mission work or such.... (their safety as well). Also, the MTI students & Jacob, as they do many different kind of work around the Bible School campus, the orphanage, the Bible Camp....Pray also for Jonni Sliver so that she can soon be on our way here as she is very needed at the orphanage right now!
4) For us as we have lots of medical treatments, etc... that we are trying to get done before we go back on furlough in May. Pray for Tommy who will be undergoing a very delicate ear surgery (re-position a microscopic bone) to restore his hearing, on March 17th. Also, he might be doing another surgery - for a different situation - that God would guide us in all things, and that recovery would be quick! For our health in general, as we have so much to do, to stay healthy to be able to accomplish all that we need to do.
5) For all the things needed to be done before we can go back on furlough, like packing up our house (put all our things in storage), fixing up/painting the house (law requires this for rented houses - got to have it as new upon leaving) - that we can find the right help to aid us in this huge endeavor. Pray that we find a good storage place, that is affordable and secure. Pray that we have wisdom in packing, downsizing, etc....
6) Finally, pray that we can have a safe trip to the US (in May) as we will be going on furlough for one year. Pray that we can make the proper arrangements for scheduling (we hope to confirm schedules, etc. at Annual Conference), that we can leave our church family in good hands (that the right Pastors, mostly from Campo Mourao - would come twice a month to give them assistance), and that the lay people would be a blessing as well, and stay encouraged and strong!
7) That God would guide our decisions regarding our kids' education - that Tommy could complete his H.S. - maybe do some college work by long distance, and get a job to save up for Bible School. Also, April would find a good summer job and continue her studies at AFLBS. Not to forget Michelle, who will be studying as we travel doing deputation around the country - that we can keep it up.
THANK YOU , THANK YOU , THANK YOU..... FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!!!
Thanks so much for your prayers for Adri to our heavenly Father who can do absolutely anything. Adri came through her surgery and will be coming home tomorrow (Editor’s note: this e-mail was sent on Monday so Adri is home now) much to the delight of her girls. Today is Adri's 39th birthday and the news that she could come home was a wonderful present to her. She is still waiting for results from the analysis of the tumor in her uterus that they removed and she should get those results before she leaves tomorrow. From what I understand they were not able to remove the whole uterus as they had planned and Adri may have to have chemotherapy anyway. So we continue to lift her and her children up before the throne of grace, imploring Him for mercy, knowing that He can do anything, and resting in His eternal love and wisdom no matter what happens. Mustard seed sized faith does both.
Todd and Barb Schierkolk
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
People from AFLC World Missions regularly take trips to our mission field. Their greatest need is to have people pray for them. Would you be willing to pray for those traveling? If so we will send you email updates so that you can pray purposefully. Just fill in and submit the sign up box below.
Pastor Del and Karen Palmer will be traveling to Brazil with members of the AFLC World Missions Committee week. Please remember them in your prayers.
Monday, March 07, 2011
- Visit Thrivent.com/choicedollars
- Search for “AFLC Missions Corporation”
- Direct your Choice Dollars to missions
If you haven’t directed your Choice Dollars for 2010, they expire on March 31, 2011. Help us by giving them to missions.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Cassie is in Haiti working at a local orphanage:
I hope you are all doing well! I'm turning into a jack of all trades down here helping kids with homework, organizing the office at the school, singing in church, and mentoring a few of the people here. Did I mention teaching English? I have seen God move in some amazing ways...I am learning a lot too. Working on my Creole and learning the culture... Keep praying for continued guidance and direction.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee.” Is. 26:3
“First of all, thank you to those of you who have prayed for us during these past two months of readjustment on the mission field. It has been more traumatic than in the past. Our return to Brazil has been accompanied by many different surprises – some good ones and some “not-so-good” ones…
Of course, it is wonderful to be reunited with family and friends, ministry partners and grandchildren. The churches are going well for the most part, but there are always problems to work out. Paul immersed himself completely in ministry as January is vacation month for our pastors and for Carlos, our camp administrator and caretaker. Also, the Mighty Fortress church in Curitiba is without a pastor since the end of December. Paul took over preaching and teaching and visiting in the churches plus
heading up the camp maintenance at the ARCA.
I started a weekly Bible Club on Thursdays all through January in preparation for Children’s Camp. I thank God for the great team of counselors who worked together for a week of Bible Camp here at the ARCA with 65 children as we explored the theme “Who is Jesus?” We praise God for beautiful weather that week sandwiched in between weeks of rainy days. Several children made decisions for Christ and everyone apparently had a wonderful week. The week ended with an exciting cantata presented by the children to the parents. It’s fun to see their enthusiasm! I still have enthusiasm for this great ministry but I am feeling my age a little more as I try to keep everything running smoothly.
You may be wondering about the “not-so-good surprises” I mentioned.
You can read all about those “surprises” here and find out how you can be praying for the Abel’s ministry.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Thank you all so much for your prayers for Adri (Editor’s note: Adri is a member of Schierkolk’s church in Jerez who was recently diagnosed with cancer). I am reminded that if we have any faith at all (i.e. as a mustard seed) we are connected to the greatest source of power in the universe, our heavenly Father, and because of our relationship to Him through Christ we also have access to His power through prayer and can "say to this mountain." (Kirstie Schierkolk pictured with Adri’s daughter Sofia)
Adri still has not had her surgery yet. One doctor at the hospital here in Jerez said he had never seen anything like what they were seeing with Adri. They were pretty sure she had tumors in several places in her body. Because of the numerous problems they were seeing they transferred her to the general hospital in Zacatecas so they could do more detailed examinations with the higher technology equipment available in order to know more precisely what they were dealing with.
Last Thursday night, Adri didn't think she was going to make it to see the light of dawn. She was in great pain but she said she felt peaceful in her heart though desperately worried about her two girls who, if she died, could very likely, legally, fall into the hands of people who had already harmed them in the past because Adri has no living relatives that she is aware of and she is not originally from Mexico. Adri's life story is long and full of great trials and unbelievable tribulations. Sometimes we aren't even sure how much of the incredible things she shares are grounded in reality. Dan and Debbie Giles really spent themselves in Jesus' name on Adri's behalf trying to help her while they were in Jerez and they probably know more about her story than anyone else. But God used that time of ministry by the Giles in special ways later on and we have really seen some fruit of God's Spirit in the lives of both Adri and her children.
At this point, Adri should be going into surgery in the next day or two. God has had great mercy on this woman and her children because one by one, the issues that she has been dealing with have either been healed or resolved by clearer understanding of what is going on. As I understand it, the only thing she is now facing now is a hysterectomy. The other tumors that they were sure were there are gone. They have concluded that none of the other organs have been affected (or they have been healed) so that she will not need to have chemotherapy afterwards either.
Her oldest daughter, who is an adult, wrote this morning: "Light has dawned for us again . . . My mom wants to thank everyone who has been praying for her and says that they should have great joy because they are the light of Christ and that light "is healing me. My family and I feel very proud to belong to Christ and we feel very much that we are all one family in Him with you . With great love, Adriana . . . Psalm 121.""
Granted, even doctor's "see through a glass dimly" and what we think we are sure of isn't always the case but never-the-less, we have been greatly relieved to hear this news and we continue to pray that God would grant Adri complete healing whether through the hands of His healing servants, the physicians, or through the direct intervention of His own mercy. To Him be glory.
Todd and Barb Schierkolk
To read more about the Schierkolk’s ministry in Mexico, check out their most recent newsletter.
The World Missions Committee has asked the Todd Schierkolk family to return to the US over concerns for their safety. The Schierkolks were due for a furlough this year. The Committee felt that it would be best if they could come home a couple of months early.
If you would like to have them come to your church for a missions presentation please call the World Missions office at 763-412-2013. Please be in prayer that the violence in Mexico would subside so that they may return.
Our Short Term Assistant, Ingrid Giles returned earlier. She is continuing her translation work from her home in the US. Ingrid is currently a candidate to become a called missionary with AFLC World Missions.