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.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Prayer Needed for Struggles in Uganda

imageThere have been spiritual struggles in Uganda recently.  You can read about them on Nate Jore’s and Han’s Tanner/Micah Berger’s blog.

Click here for:

Nate Jore’s Blog

Han’s Tanner/Micah Berger’s Blog

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Cassie Nash is back in Osakis-but not for long

The following is an article that was in the Osakis Review written by Jenna Galstad on July 27.  We have included it in it’s entirety because it is such a good article!  May you be blessed:

image Only being home for one month, Cassie Nash reflected on her time spent in Haiti and is looking forward to returning, saying she feels humbled and blessed to be serving God in this way. “I fell in love with missions and different cultures. I love to see how God is working in different countries. My faith has been growing for many years. I knew for a long time I wanted to go into ministry,” Nash told the Osakis Review.

Nash returned in June, having spent four months away from her hometown of Osakis. Her last four months were spent in Haiti, working in an area called Canaan Christian Community. The small community of Canaan, population about 100, is equipped with a church, clinic, school and an orphanage. Nash said she has countless memories from her time spent in Haiti, but her most memorable ones were meeting the people and building strong friendships and relationships. Nash said, “We only had electricity for four hours a day, so we got to spend a lot of time together.” Possibly her most memorable friendship is with a woman she met the first day she arrived – Sanite. Nash and Sanite met three times each week, teaching each other their native languages – Nash taught Sanite English image and Sanite taught Nash Haitian Creole. Nash explained how helpful this was in learning Creole, and she looked forward to meeting with Sanite. Together they read scripture – Nash read in Creole while Sanite read in English. They would help each other with reading and pronunciation. Sanite told Nash she could see Jesus in her eyes; that confirmed the reason why Nash said she was serving in Haiti.

The biggest adventure Nash experienced in Haiti was when she took five different “taptaps” with some of her friends from Montrouis to the south part of Port au Prince. Nash explained, “A taptap can be a variety of things.  It can be a pickup truck with benches built in and a top over the bed, a bus type thing, or a Mack truck with people standing or sitting in the back.” She even called one taptap the “always room for one more” because the driver kept picking people up, even when there wasn’t any room. The trip took about three hours, and she got to experience a variety of people from different walks of life.

When asked what the biggest shock was being in Haiti, Nash didn’t have a typical response like “the culture” or “the food.” Instead, she said, “How they live doesn’t shock me. I’ve been to so many different countries, how they live seems normal to me.” In fact, Nash said when she is back in Minnesota she misses the lack of electricity, movie theaters and coffee shops. “I miss spending time with the people. The relationships in Haiti are deeper than they are here.” Nash said, “The biggest shock was just thinking ‘I live in Haiti.’ I was used to going on short term mission trips for just a couple of weeks, so actually being able to be part of a community image was the biggest shock to me.” As for the food, Nash said, “I love Haitian food! I want to learn how to cook it.” She said they usually ate spaghetti with hot sauce, peppers and onions for breakfast, along with a hard-boiled egg and a banana. Lunch in Haiti consisted of seasoned rice, beans and fried plantains. Supper was the meal Nash talked most fondly of. The main dish is labui, which Nash explained is like a hot cereal. She said it’s a soupy mixture of flour, potato, or plantain, with ginger or other spices mixed in. “It’s really sweet. I like it a lot. If I could, I always requested labui.”

While in Haiti, Nash said she discovered things she wasn’t expecting. “Expect the unexpected. I was able to sing in Haiti. When I was leaving, one of the little girls told me she was going to miss me when she sang.” She also discovered that she’s a morning person, and she enjoyed waking up early to blog, listen to music, and read scripture. “It’s when I found the most joy.” Nash lived with five other missionaries – none of which were part of her same organization. Nash said one of the missionaries she lived with worked in a malnutrition clinic, and she had the opportunity to go along and weigh, measure, and ask kids their age to see if they qualified for a program called Mamba. Nash explained that Mamba means “peanut butter,” which is what the imageprogram is all about. The peanut butter is energy dense and has specific proteins and nutrients that help malnourished children age 4 and younger gain needed weight and get on the right track to a healthy life.

A typical day in Haiti A normal day for Nash consisted of showing the kids love and helping them in school. She said it took the kids a while to warm up to her, because they would distance people until they realized they would be around. Nash was the “English” person and taught the kids how to write, read and speak English. Because it was an English school, the kids weren’t allowed to speak Creole in school – but that didn’t always stop them. They even gave Nash a new name, changing it from Cassie (which means sour in Creole) to Ca-dous (which means sweet). “I felt loved by the kids for giving me a new nickname. I’m glad they think of me as sweet.” While Nash was working in the school, an idea went around to take kids that needed more help into an extra classroom and let them work on their lessons in a way that worked for them. Each day Nash was able to take five kids into the extra classroom, where she saw them flourish. Nash told of an 8-year-old boy named Sanders who didn’t learn well in a normal classroom setting because he was so active. She was able to take him to the extra classroom and saw that, “He is a genius. He would dance and multi task and then he would get his work done.”

image Nash’s future plans in Haiti Nash will be returning to Haiti in September for a new, year-long adventure. “It’s going to be an amazing, challenging time. Next year is about learning the ropes.” Originally, Nash wanted to open a transition home for kids who didn’t have anywhere to go after they left an orphanage, but now her plans have changed. Instead, she will be living in Petion-ville and working in Haiti Christian Orphanage. Petion-ville isn’t as developed as Canaan Christian Community – it has a church but no clinic or school. The orphanage Nash will be working in has all boys, ranging in age from 6 to early 20s. Nash said, “My heart is for helping older children transition into society seamlessly. I want to help train up leaders and get them grounded in their faith.” Nash explained that if you don’t have a family in Haiti, you don’t have much help. She wants to help children who don’t have a family still have a God-centered home and support system to fall back on. “It’s not an overnight fix. It’s going to take a long time.” Ideally, Nash said, she wants to have a trade school so the boys can learn needed skills that will help them make it on their own. Nash said she is excited to be going back to Haiti and face new challenges, but she knows there isn’t a challenge that is too big. “God is bigger than any problem I could ever encounter. I’m not afraid. My goal is to stay in one place and be a light.”

If you want to follow Cassie Nash on her journey, visit her blog, here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Paul and Becky Abel-July Update

The following are some “snapshots” from the Abels’ newsletter:

image ARCA retreats:  The ARCA is used regularly to bless lives. The months of June and July were so busy with camp rentals that we ended up scheduling our Youth Camp for the very end of July. Pray with us this coming weekend when about 100 youth will gather for fellowship around the theme "One for all and all for One."

  Ministry with children:  Becky continues to invest in the lives of children teaching Sunday School and planning special services and events involving the children in the churches in Bateias and Curitiba. Paul also takes time regularly to have devotions and spend time with the young boys. We believe in the importance of modeling true Christianity in everyday situatimageions and planting seeds of faith in the hearts of children and young people. We pray that faith in Jesus will be their joy now and their anchor for the future.

For the rest of their news, click here.  Please continue to keep the Abels in your prayers!