Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”  Ephesians 3:20

new homeWe are so thankful that our search for a home is finally over - we just moved into a new home! After living out of suitcases during a great part of our 1 year furlough,  returning to Brazil in May, we continued to do so as we stayed in rooms at the Bible School in Campo Mourão. It feels so good to retire our suitcases and ‘hang our hats’ for a while!

While in Campo Mourão, we got to know the students quite well and were able to have some positive influence on their lives as well as other families living around there. Michelle got close to the girls in the Miriam Infant Home and also able to be a Christian influence since they come from very messed up homes. She enjoyed the free roam of a spacious campus and friendships everywhere. However, we now need to get back to a normal routine.

Here in Maringa, where we have our church family, we want to focus on seeing some new action take place here.  Please pray that we will make the right decisions concerning how to take the church to the next level: whether to rent a small hall temporarily or to begin building a church on the property we already have for that.  Jonathan will continue to teach a class each week at the Bible School and oversee the Bible Camp ministry in Campo Mourão.

Please pray also for the many new changes that will be taking place in Campo Mourão:

1) for the students that just graduated from Bible School (Jonathan preached at their graduation this week)

2) the installing of a new Academic Director for the Bible School,

3) for future students preparing to join our Bible School next school year (March),

4) for the replacing of our faithful caretaker (Sr. Antonio) at the Bible Camp grounds with a capable couple,

5) for safe travels back and forth from Maringa to Campo Mourão (for Jonathan),

In the US: 6) Also pray for our two oldest – April & Thomas who are studying in the Twin Cities (for safety, health, provision & spiritual growth).

Jonathan in VitoriaJonathan traveled to Vitoria to help celebrate the church’s Anniversary and completion of their remodeling efforts, Nov. 22nd – 26th.  It was a fruitful weekend for the church there.

November was indeed a month for Thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done! The main blessing being finding and moving into a house! But many other prayers have also been answered! God is so good!!! Now we focus on CHRISTmas and all that goes on during this season! We will have a Christmas Program in our home for our church family!

Once again we want to thank our Lord for you who uphold us in your prayers and in your financial gifts, to enable His work to go on in this part of the world!  Thank you!!!

Jonathan and Tamba Abel

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Brazilian Coworker Killed

Dear Friends,

IMG_3641I have VERY SAD news to announce to you this morning.  Last night in Campo Mourão our dear Silvana, daughter of Terezinha, was assassinated by two drive-away criminals on a motorcycle. 

Silvana and her boyfriend, Leno, were delivering pop to the Miriam Infant Home for a Christmas party that was supposed to be today. It happened  at 9:00 p.m. on the street corner by the Lar Paraná church.  It was still light out and there were people on the streets yet.  The police believe that the criminals shot at a mistaken target. Leno is in critical condition in the hospital after undergoing surgery.  Please pray for him and his recuperation. 

Of course, we are all overwhelmed with sadness and we are asking you to pray for this very dear family as they walk through this valley.  Dona Tereza has been a main stay at our Bible School “forever” and Silvio is a key person in all that happens in the AFLC in Brazil. They need our love and prayers at this time. 

Sorry to be a bearer of “sad news” at this time of year when we like to announce the “good news.”

Our love to you, Paul and Becky

Note: Photo is of Silvana cooking at the AFLC Brazil Bible School.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


I don’t know that you would call it a tsunami, but we have definitely seen some major waves landing on the shores of the Miriam Home! They began three weeks ago, just days after Larissa and Paola returned to their homes; the familiar white car from the juvenile authorities arrived with Joao (8 years old) his sister Heloisa (6) and the baby of the family Mateus (3). They came to us from a nearby town when their mother was arrested (their father is already in jail). The first days here were difficult, the abrupt separation from their mom was traumatic, but in a few days they began to settle in and feel more at home.

The second wave hit just while Joao and company were adapting. This time it was a family of four: William (9) his sisters Talita (8) and Tainara (3) and their smallest  brother (though not youngest) Maicon (5). The children arrived because they had been left locked in a room in aboarding house while their mother was out with friends. Their father works as a laborer on a farm and is only able to come home every two weeks. The first days in the Miriam Home were challenging for this gang too, but for different reasons. Maicon spent his first night, not in the home, but with Pr. Silvio in the emergency room because of severe stomach pains. After hours the doctors decided he had a severe case of intestinal parasites, and because he had been eating very little for a long time, the good meal he had at night brought on a crises.

The same day William’s group joined we received a much smaller wave, just two precious little girls. Ana Louisa (4) and Ana Laura (four months) from a near by town. These two girls nearly broke our hearts. They are lovely children, but they are being raised by a single mother who had just been arrested. Ana Louisa was with us for less 24 hours. Her father was contacted and came to claim her. Baby Ana Laura has a different father. We don’t know if he knows about his little girl, because we don’t know his name. At four months of age Ana Laura had not even been registered yet. Something that a mother normally does in the first week was done by our social assistant soon after Ana arrived in the Miriam Home. During her first week Ana stayed with Aunty Odette (one of our house moms who is just finishing up her maternity leave. Ana Laura is almost exactly the same size as her baby boy, Daniel), getting a little more focused attention, but she is now in her crib in the Miriam Home, the youngest reining princess.

Editor’s note:  To read about yet another WAVE, as Jonni describes it, click here.  You can read more news as well!

Missions Devotional

by Paul Handsaker

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11

As one reads this verse we are reminded that God has plans for every person’s life and He knows the path we will take. For the believer God further tells us that His plans are for our welfare, to give us a future and a hope. What a wonderful promise this is to know that God is in control. I believe this promise is for our personal lives as well as any ministry endeavors that are a part of our lives. This may include our local congregation and beyond into mission work in the greater church at large. Yet knowing that God has plans for our lives sometimes we struggle to discern the path we should take. We are faced with decisions: does God want me to be a Sunday School teacher this year, should I serve on this ministry board, should I change jobs that may require a move for my family, if I move what will my new church family be. Ministries also struggle with decisions as well, what is the best way to accomplish our mission, should we expand our ministry, do we engage in a building project, do we engage more workers, how will our financial needs be met.

I remember a time when my family was struggling with vocation issues, should we stay farming or should we move on, we even considered moving to Atlanta. It was hard to know what to do. It is at times of uncertainty that it would be wonderful to wake to find a note that said this is what you should do, signed God. But it is never this easy We have to seek the Lord in prayer, search the scriptures and he will give us peace about an issue we are considering, For me when I experience a sense of peace I know that I am living in God’s plan for my life.

The other side of our path in life is the danger of complacency in our personal lives or within established ministries. The routine of our everyday lives, the established path we have taken, the projects we have been doing, can lead us to lose sight of new opportunities, a turn in the road, and we began to function on autopilot. Some time ago two pilots were cruising on auto pilot and suddenly found themselves over Wisconsin when they were to have landed in Minneapolis. Oops, although nothing serious came of this lapse, the plane was late and the pilots were disciplined. So it is with our spiritual lives, even though God has plans for us, we need to be alert, listening and ready for action, not just moving forward on autopilot. Granted in the routine of our lives, the busyness of every day, the routine of established ministries there is a danger that we will begin to travel on autopilot. God has been challenging me to be more alert, to listen as God prompts, to ponder the Word to make sure that God is not calling me to change directions, to reevaluate what I have been doing. Have I been living on auto pilot, have I missed an opportunity, is God wanting me to change directions, am I walking in the plan He has for me?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Jores–We Made It!

It’s good to be back at our home in Jinja. Thanks for praying for our trip!

To read more about the transition for our family, click on this link to our blog:

Nate, Rhoda and family

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Heading Home

family portrait_fall 2012The last time we wrote, we had recently arrived back in the States for our 6-month furlough. Our heads are spinning just a bit after a whirlwind of months filled with traveling, visiting and speaking at churches, spending time with family & friends, shopping & organizing what we need to bring back for this next 2 1/2 year term in Uganda, & continuing with schooling the kids.

Amidst the craziness, we have found time to be still, to reflect, to process and to vision about what's next. God has been very near to us, & has spoken to our hearts. When we came back in May, we were tired. Our vision and passion for the work in Uganda was dim. Our Father has breathed new life into us in a beautiful way, through His presence, through His Word, and through so many of you who took the time to speak into our lives and to communicate your love for us. We are so grateful  for each of you. We look forward to sharing with you soon about what specifically God has been teaching us and laying on our hearts.

We are eager & excited to return to Uganda in just a few days now. Our flight leaves on Wednesday, November 28th. Would you pray for us?

Thank you, friends.

With grateful and full hearts,
Nate & Rhoda
Elijah, Judah, Hannah, Jeremiah & Julia

Editor’s note:  Here is how you can pray for the Jores:

* Safe travels back to Uganda

* Health

* Unity and peace in our home as we make our way through another transition

* The time and ability to reconnect well with our friends in Uganda

* For each member of our family to know the Father's love for us & to extend His love and His grace to each other

* Protection from attacks from the evil one

* That God would be glorified through our family

The Jore’s Blog

Jore Family News

Heading Home

The last time we wrote, we had recently arrived back in the States for our 6-month furlough. Our heads are spinning just a bit after a whirlwind of months filled with traveling, visiting and speaking at churches, spending time with family & friends, shopping & organizing what we need to bring back for this next 2 1/2 year term in Uganda, & continuing with schooling the kids.

Amidst the craziness, we have found time to be still, to reflect, to process and to vision about what's next. God has been very near to us, & has spoken to our hearts. When we came back in May, we were tired. Our vision and passion for the work in Uganda was dim. Our Father has breathed new life into us in a beautiful way, through His presence, through His Word, and through so many of you who took the time to speak into our lives and to communicate your love for us. We are so grateful  for each of you. We look forward to sharing with you soon about what specifically God has been teaching us and laying on our hearts.

We are eager & excited to return to Uganda in just a few days now. Our flight leaves on Wednesday, November 28th. Would you pray for us?

Thank you, friends.

With grateful and full hearts,

Nate & Rhoda

Elijah, Judah, Hannah, Jeremiah & Julia

Prayer Requests:

* Safe travels back to Uganda

* Health

* Unity and peace in our home

as we make our way through another transition

* The time and ability to reconnect well with our friends in Uganda

* For each member of our family to know the Father's love for us & to extend His love and His grace to each other

* Protection from attacks from the evil one

* That God would be glorified through our family



So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ambassador Institute Visits Ecuador

Precious family and friends,

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Cor. 9:15

Kevin Olson teachingAs the holidays near, we remember each of you with fondness and feel just a little wistful for home. But we are also thrilled to be here and see how God is at work!

At the beginning of November, we were honored to have Pastor Kevin Olson with the Ambassador Institute visit us for ten days. He shared with the Paz de Dios church on how to orally share the stories of the Bible. We are confidant that God will use this new training to further equip the saints here to effectively share the Gospel with others. The work of discipleship also continues, and we continue to pray for God’s blessing as Justo and these young people study His Word.

In other news, we are excited to share our news that Patricia is expecting again. Our baby is due in early June. Please pray for her recovery from the morning sickness and that she can pick back up the duties of the household. Several of our family members will be visiting us over the next couple months. We look forward to welcoming them to Ecuador !

Editor’s Note:  You can read the rest of the newsletter here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Meet Bogdan

Editor’s note:  We hope you have enjoyed getting to know the first  group of students studying at the Bible School in the Ukraine.  Please continue to pray for them in this new venture.

BogdanHi! My name is Bogdan, I am 20. I am from Odessa.I started coming to Sunday school when I was 4, and I met God being rather young. So my childhood was rather bright. I actively participated in Sunday School activities, took part in different Christian performances,I liked that very much and I tried to serve God through this. Then I attended the youth group where I met Alexander Gross. He was responsible for the youth work then and also was the director of the Christian camp “Gloria.” Once the camp needed the person who would be responsible for technical stuff, video, sound, etc. in the camp. I tried this position and succeeded. I was doing this for several years and last year I was suggested to become the group leader. Here I understood that I have the lack of knowledge and experience but still have a great wish. And God responded to my need and now I am a student of the Bible School. I am grateful to God and also to Alexander for the opportunity to study here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

World Relief

World ReliefAFLC World Missions partners with World Relief to provide relief and the gospel to the needy around the world.  Any gifts can be send directly to the AFLC World Missions office with your regular giving.  Below is a Thanksgiving/Christmas message from World Relief to the AFLC.

World Relief 2

“Many people are suffering, and they do not have anyone to care for them…But, there is still hope.
And that hope is the church.” – Marcel Serubungo

This season, we celebrate what God is doing through His Church. This season we celebrate Peace – personified in Jesus Christ.

Join us to support and encourage the Congolese Church as they bring reconciliation and healing to their neighbors, communities, and country.

First, please PRAY for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

  • Pray for Peace and Security in the North Kivu and the DRC in general.
  • Pray for the expansion of World Relief’s Peace-Building Program in the whole eastern part of the DRC.
  • Pray for the victims of war who are most vulnerable.
  • Pray for the Local Church in the DRC and Village Peace Committees to have the capacity to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.

Second, please take a Thanksgiving or Christmas offering for our work in the DRC.

You can find a video, a bulletin insert, and background information on the situation in the DRC and World Relief’s work there online at

Thank you for standing for the vulnerable. Together, we can make a difference!

Don Golden

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Meet Anna and Eugeniy


Editor’s note:  Here are 2 more students from the Bible School in the Ukraine.

My name is Anna. I am 18. I am from Odessa. I finished school this year. In the congregation I am a teacher of Sunday School, specifically the age group of 6 to 8 years old. I decided to study in the Bible School to improve my knowledge for the teaching of children. Also I want to develop myself and learn how to serve people. My favorite Bible verse is: «But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.» (1 Cor 2:9).

EugeniyHi! My name is Eugeniy. I am 27 and I am from Kiev. I started my way with God 7 years ago and then I had no understanding that life could be different, that it could be full and have hope, love and joy. The first church where God led me was the protestant church of evangelical Christians, it was very strong in Bible study and practical Christian life. It was a very good but very difficult time for me. My heart changed every day, God changed my mind and from time to time it was just unbearable. After 4.5 years God led me into Kiev Lutheran youth congregation. I can’t say that it was a right time but God opened the door and showed the way. After some time I became an active member of the youth group and the part of the choir for 1.5 years. The wish to study in the Bible school appeared immediately as soon as I got to know about the Bible school itself. Of course, I had a lot of worries connected with the move to the different city, but now I understand that it was a good choice which I hope will influence my future. From the school I hope that I will become stronger in faith, get new knowledge, and as a result to be able to pass this knowledge to others and to help them to come to God.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Meet Artem and Maria

Editor’s note:  Here are 2 more students studying at the Bible School in the Ukraine:

ArtemMy name is Artem. I am 30. I came from Kiev. From 2000 till 2004 I was a member of charismatic church “The Rock”, where I was responsible for worship (guitar, singing). From the beginning of 2012 I have been a member of Christian Lutheran Church of Kiev. In the congregation I sing in a choir. I got to know about the opportunity to study in the Bible school a month before it started. I understood immediately that I wanted to go very much. I hope that during my study I would be able to strengthen my relationship with God, to know His holy Word, and to become stronger in Christian faith. Also, I hope that the church will help mw to find my way and serve God.

MariaMy name is Maria. I am 23. I came here to study from the Kiev congregation. In my congregation I was singing in the Christian choir. I heard about the opportunity to study in the Bible school during the Christian festival “Gloria Fest 2012”. I liked the idea from the very beginning, as my dream is to serve God in my life. During this year I want to deepen my knowledge about God, get the practical skills to serve people, and the most important, to grow spiritually and to become stronger in faith.  This is still difficult for me to understand what God wants me to do in future, but I know that this year will be very special for me.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Meet Valeriy and Lena

Editor’s note: Here are 2 more students attending the Bible School in the Ukraine.

ValeriyMy name is Valeriy. I came from Cherniahovsk in Kaliningrad region of Russia. In 2007 I was confirmed by pastor Ruslan Semenyukov. I like to have lessons with children. I worked in the Christian camp in our congregation. I like to listen to Word of God and to tell Bible stories to children. I gladly participate in Christian theatre. Today I am very glad that I can study in Bible School.

LenaMy name is Lena. I am 17. I am from Odessa. In the Odessa congregation I was a Sunday school teacher in the group of 8-12 year-old children. I have been in church for nine years already and 4.5 of them I have been a Sunday School teacher. Several times I worked as a tutor in the Christian camp “Gloria”. I like to work with children very much; this was one of the reasons why I entered the Bible school. Also I am very interested in studying Bible and spiritual growth. I hope after the Bible school I will be able to answer the difficult questions of children. Maybe I will not know all the answers but the main ones for sure.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Change is part of life and in the Miriam Home it has a bigger place than most. That doesn’t always (or often) make it easier to see the children leave after you have gotten to know and love them!

LarissaThe  last couple of weeks two young ladies, who had been with us longer than is common, rejoined their families. They arrived in very different places in their lives and though they are no longer in the Miriam Home they still need your prayers!

Larissa came to us because of extreme conflict with her mother. She comes from a comparatively stable background. Both her parents have jobs and though they are far from wealthy, they provided every material thing their children needed, but at 17 years old, Larissa was woefully neglected spiritually. She arrived with almost no knowledge of the Lord or the Bible (she knew far more about Greek mythology than  the Bible) and her first visit to the Free Lutheran Church in Lar Parana was her first time in an evangelical church.

Larissa was in the Miriam home for 8 months and experienced quite a journey. To begin with she was really excited to be involved in every service and meeting the church offered, butnot because of a thirst for God, but from a desire to be out of the house. But week by week, friendships formed in the house and the messages shared in services and Bible studies began to impact her heart. In the middle of the year you all held up Larissa as she went through an emotional crises that threatened her future. Besides praying, some of you wrote her and the concern you showed touched her heart in new ways.

Praise the Lord, Larissa invited Jesus into her heart. Though she is a baby in the Lord, she is taking her first steps with the Lord and we are so glad to see her continuing to come to church even after she returned to her family. Her biggest challenge is knowing how to build healthy relationships, both within her family and with friends. She will be 18 in just two months and has already said she is planning on moving out on her own when she is able. She has made bad relationship decisions in the past, (some just a short time ago) and needs the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit to be safe. Please pray she will open her heart to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The second girl who recently left was Paola, a precious 12 year old, who was also with us for eight months. This young lady came to the Miriam Home because of serious problems in her home. Her mother had made bad decisions but has been working to rectify them. Just recently Paola returned to her mom’s home and we are continuing to follow the family.

For a time Paola lived with her older sister and had been very actively involved in an evangelical church. She came to us with a commitment to the Lord and a good knowledge of the Word of God. In a lot of ways she was a big blessing in the Miriam Home. She felt strongly about faithfulness and doing her best at what ever she was involved in made her a good example, most of the time, for the other children in the house. Her biggest problem is that she has a hard time with forgiveness; that makes her reintegration back in to her family difficult. Please pray that the Lord will soften her heart and that she will understand that the same forgiveness she has received from the Lord needs to be extended to her family.

Of course for every departure there is an arrival, and we have new members of the Miriam Home family. The most recent is Nicolas, an adorable two year old who fills the Miriam Home with his laughter! He is with us because of neglect (his family has chronic problems and his three older siblings have all spent time here).  Please pray we are able to minister into this young life and that God would use us to touch his family.

Editor’s note:  You can find the rest of Jonni’s newsletter here.  Jonni just recently started blogging twice a month for the new WMF blog.  Her first post will be up on Nov. 10th.  Meanwhile…check out the WMF blog!

Meet Katya


Editor’s note:  Here is the 2nd student attending the Bible School in the Ukraine.

My name is Katya. My native city is Odessa. I am 21. This year I graduated from university, in «graphic arts». I am a distant learner. My way to God wasn’t easy. I was born in an atheist family and myself I wasn’t a believer. I only knew that there was some Higher Power. My life was empty: job, home, study. No interests. And then I was invited to the Youth group in Lutheran Church in Odessa. I will never forget that day. It was like someone poured cold water on me and I awakened. Later I became a Sunday School teacher.

I am glad that I have come to church. I am glad that Jesus has come to my life and He never leaves me alone. I have been only 1.5 years in church. But it changed my life. I found many friends, and in church I met my husband. Almost for a year I worked with children from difficult families in the children's center in Novogradovka. I heard about the Bible school from Pastor Alexander Gross. I decided that it is a wonderful opportunity to become closer to God, so I signed up. I want to know more about Jesus. After, I want to devote my life to children and youth. I want to devote my life to God.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Greetings From Ukraine!

Bible school studentsAs we move on to another month of ministry, we are thankful for God's continued presence and grace that he abundantly gives to us each day. This past month has been filled with many wonderful things. My (Andy's) parents came to visit for almost two weeks. Throughout this time, my teaching schedule was full, but our crew joined me at the Youth Center a few times. It was a great time spent doing many things and simply just hanging out together. Our kids were pretty sad to see them leave.

Our family also enjoyed traveling to Antalya, Turkey for a EEMN missionary retreat. This was a refreshing time spent with friends and other missionaries. After our return, we have had staff planning meetings, the church body's synod gathering, and a new women's ministry Bible study hosted at our home. Pastor Bill and Sally Moberly are with us now, and we are glad for time with them here as he teaches.

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

Editor’s note:  You can read the entire newsletter  here.  Over the next few days, we will be introducing you to the new students at the Bible College in the Ukraine.  Here is the first student:

DimaMy name is Dima. I was born in Belarus in the city of Vitebsk. I am 22. I have been in church for 2 years. I came to church due to our pastor Valeriy Grigorik. In church my worldview changed. I am responsible for the youth work in our congregation and I try to help our pastor as much as I can. I want to become closer to God during my studies, to strengthen my faith, and know more about Bible. I am interested in communicating with new people.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Value of Thanks

Rudyard Kipling was a great British poet whose writings have been a blessing to many and brought a fortune to the writer. A newspaper reporter came up to him once and said, "Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over one hundred dollars a word." The reporter reached into his pocket and pulled out a one hundred dollar bill and gave it to Kipling and said, "Here's a one hundred dollar bill, Mr. Kipling. Now you give me one of your hundred dollar words." Upon receipt of the bill, Rudyard Kipling looked at the money, put it in his pocket and said, "Thanks!"

Did the reporter get his money’s worth?  We might think not.

But then, what, after all, is the word “Thanks” worth?  If it’s missing after you have served, after you have given, after you have gone out of your way, does it not bring many questions and concerns to mind?  Questions such as:  “Did he even notice?”  “Did she think she deserved it?”  “Was I out of line to do the good thing I did?”  “Do they want me to keep doing what I’m doing?”  “Maybe the person I helped didn’t want the help!”  We might also wonder what that person’s lack of gratitude is telling us about him.  But a little word, “Thanks,” erases those thoughts.  It encourages us to do more good.

“Thanks” was important to Jesus.  We recall the time he healed the ten lepers (see Luke 17), and sent them off to the priests to be examined and declared clean.  Only one of the ten turned back to give thanks to Jesus.

Jesus was glad he did.  But he wondered about the other nine.  “Were there not ten cleansed?” He said, “but where are the nine?”  All had been given a significant gift.  All had been given the SAME gift.  Yet only one says “Thanks,” and the rest say nothing.

Would we have been the one, or among the nine?  In daily practice how is it?  How do we respond to what we have been given?

And what have we been given?  In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Luther explains that daily bread includes “all that belongs to the wants and support of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, cattle, money, goods, a good spouse and children, good rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, good friends".  God has graciously supplied these things, and if He has withheld anything, it is because of His love and for a higher purpose than we might be able to see.

The natural human tendency is to grumble when we think we lack something rather than to thank God for what we have.  The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us that we need grateful hearts.  But where do grateful hearts come from?

The account of the healed lepers might serve to illustrate that grateful hearts come from something called humility.  Jesus notes something interesting about the leper who returned thanks.  He was a Samaritan.  The others apparently were Jews.  Ordinarily you wouldn’t find Jews and Samaritans together, but this group was brought together by their disease.  Ordinarily the Jews despised the Samaritans, because they were a mixed race, descendants of Jewish and heathen intermarriage.  The Jews were God’s chosen people.   They had the prophets; they had the promises; and they thought themselves special because of it.  They looked down on others, and especially the Samaritans.  The Samaritans knew it.

Who, then, of the lepers, do you suppose accepted the healing with the most humility?  Is it possible that the nine Jews who were healed by a Jew felt in some way deserving, but that the Samaritan, who also received the healing, was amazed that Jesus, being a Jew, would even give him the time of day, much less heal him?  Could it be his humility that explains his gratitude?

But when it comes right down to it, who, in reality, WAS more deserving of the healing?

Actually neither one.  All ten were healed on the same terms - it was a merciful gift from God.

The difference was in attitude.  And Jesus was glad for the gratitude He saw in the Samaritan, because it revealed humility, and it is to the humble that God can give His grace.

Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Peter writes, “…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

As we enter the thanksgiving season, if we find we are having trouble being grateful, perhaps our problem is deeper than ingratitude.  Maybe we need to ask God to reveal to us our sins of pride.

President Lincoln, April 30, 1863, put it so well in his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer: "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, the many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

   Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self‑sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."

Lincoln spoke on the national level, but on the personal level too, may we in humility be reminded that we are nothing more than recipients.  May God give us hearts to better recognize the bounty with which He has blessed us, and in humbleness of mind, may our hearts overflow with gratitude.

Jesus is glad when He sees a grateful heart, because it reveals a humble heart, and a humble heart is a heart God can bless. That’s worth much more than a hundred dollars.

Jim Fugleberg

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prayers Answered for Uganda Workers

We went to the Jinja immigration office today and spoke with the head officer.  I explained that Micah is in the process of applying for a work permit and that I'm here visiting.  He says that my paperwork checks out just fine---and that am welcome to renew my visa when the 24th of November rolls around.

God wins. Praise the Lord!
- Andrew Olson

Note: see previous post for additional information.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pray for Ugandan Short Term Missionary Assistants


Trying to cross the border ended badly as Micah and I spent the night awake in “no mans land” between Uganda and Kenya. We were denied exit from Uganda on the basis that we’ve been “working in the country without a work permit”. The officer says it’s going to cost us $30 a day for the 110 days we’ve been here---and he flagged our visa. Then, we were sent home.

Although we’ve been trying to uphold Uganda’s laws, a major roadblock is in sight. We are going to try to get the correct paperwork and explain the situation (that we are unpaid). Neither of us wants to be bribing government officials, which is “normal” over here. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek a solution to this problem.

- Andrew Olson and Micah Berger

Monday, October 15, 2012

International Bible School Opening in Ukraine

School opening 1As we try to sum up this past month- namely the beginning of the International Bible School here in Ukraine- we can go no further than to first express our gratitude and praise to the Lord. A lot of people have dreamed about this Bible school becoming a reality, yet it was His dream first. He has called many people from different nations to be part of this work, and He continues to call us to action. The work has only begun! It is an exciting time, yet a very important time for the foundation of the school.

The school officially opened September 16th for our nine full-time students, representing Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Andy school retreatenjoyed a great week with them on the staff student retreat week, when they camped in the Crimean Peninsula. Classes are in full swing now, and Andy is busy teaching and then preparing more for the next day. They are an excellent group, and we are looking forward to building our relationships with them.

It is amazing to think that after so many generations of attempting to stamp out the existence of an all-powerful God, there is hope for future generations. "Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!" Psalm 22:30-31. It is our prayer that this Bible School will be an effective tool in rebuilding the Body of Christ in the former Soviet States. To the team of praying people behind this ministry, THANK YOU. We need your prayers!

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

Editor’s Note:  You can read the full newsletter here including how you can pray for the ministry in the Ukraine and the Coyle Family.  You can visit the Coyle’s Blog here.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Promise is a Promise

Last month I promised to introduce you to the new girls in the Miriam Home—both the residents and staff. Since life around here changes all the time, since I made that promise we have had changes, so here is the latest!

I mentioned three new girls, two of whom have already left. Yasmin is a 15 year old girl who came to us because her family had literally fallen apart. Yasmin was adopted when she was four days old, but sadly it was always made clear to her that she belonged on condition. Up until she was 14 Yasmin fulfilled the expectations of her parents, but during the last year she began forming relationships that her parents didn’t approve of (with good reason). Though their concern was valid, their response was more difficult. The family is quite wealthy, but has never had any involvement with the church or things of God. Without God’s grace to turn to Yasmin’s parents simple decided to return her, after 15 years, as if she was a pair of shoes. After just a few weeks here in the Miriam Home we began to suspect that the relationships Yasmin had formed were really attempts to find people who would accept her. Just recently she went to live with aunt and seems to be fitting in well.

Josi is ten years old and is a whirlwind! She came to us from another city, while the local juvenile  authorities sought  a long term family and real help for her. Josi had been basically living on the streets, but not because of drug abuse or neglect. Itappears that Josi has some form of mental    illness that has not been diagnosed or treated. She goes from a calm, tranquil child to a whirling dervish in a flash. In general she is affectionate and gentle but suddenly, for no apparent reason, she becomes verbally abusive (though not physically). Josi was only in the Miriam Home one week, it was sad to see her go when we had so little time with her, Because she is, again, outside of Campo Mourao we don’t have a way of keeping up on her progress, but we can pray that God’s best plans for this young lady will come to pass!  

Our third new girl is Ana Maria. She is a lively 13 year old who looks strong and independent but is filled with fears and doubts. The reasons for her being in the Miriam Home are quite confusing—everyone you ask has a different opinion. For Ana Maria, the biggest problem is she doesn’t feel that any one believes her, and she isn’t really sure who she can trust. It looks like Ana maybe with us for a while.

There is a fourth new resident in the Miriam Home. Francielle (10 years old) arrived just two weeks ago and she is a treasure. Fran is use to fitting in to new situations. She actually lived in the Miriam Home before (when she was very young) because her mother is a street person with serious mental problems and she has never been able to care for her daughter. Sadly, Fran passed from one relative to the next and none of them actually cared for the child (the most recent aunt and uncle were so abusive that Fran can’t go back to her school because there is a fear they will go after her). Please pray that we will hear God’s direction for this sweet girl.

But not everyone new in the house is under the legal age to vote! I’d like to introduce Nathalia and Jaqueline, new to the Miriam Home team. Nathalia is a vibrant young Christian who is our new social assistant. She has a whole hearted love for the children and one of her first projects here was praying for the right person to fill the last remaining staff vacancy - the psychologist. The answer to our prayers arrived the beginning of September when Jaqueline joined us. She has already proven to be a treasure and together, these young women are working to find the best options for the children and their families!

Editor’s note:  This is just part of Jonni’s news this month.  To read more on the continuing story of Cleberson, please read here!

Ambassador Institute-Curriculum Review

Editor’s note: This is the 6th and final installment  from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter.

Below are some excerpts of lesson goals that have been recently reviewed. Since the training is oral, the goals along with the written questions help direct the teachers in their instruction.

Genesis 3 – The Fall into Sin

Knowledge – To understand the punishment for sin and the price of disobedience to God.  To understand the ways of the devil in his fight against the followers of God.

Attitude – To realize that the results of sin are long-lasting.  To believe that when we fall short of the standard of God, He reaches out to us in love with a plan to bring us back to Himself.

Actions – To be obedient to God and to His commands.  To stand against Satan in all of His works and all of His ways.  To trust in the Messiah who came to offer forgiveness of our inherent sin.

Genesis 12 – The Call of Abraham

Knowledge – To understand that when the Lord calls us, we will not know everything about what is going to happen to us.  To know that the Lord desires to bless us, speak to us, and to be adored by us.

Attitude – To trust that the Lord has a plan for us and that He will bless us when we obey His instructions.  To desire to be a blessing to others.
Actions – To obey the Lord and worship Him without questioning His reasons for what He asks.  To go where the Lord tells us to go without hesitation.

You can find the entire Inquiry here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Editor’s note:  The following devotion was written by Lyle Mattson:

In my devotional period every day, I read one chapter of the Bible. Today, I am on Matthew 6, which begins:

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:” Matt 5:1-2 LSB

As I read this, my mind wandered back to the first time God came to deliver the Law:

“On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain.” Exodus 19:16-20 LSB

The same God, the same Law—yet there are two very contrasted presentations. The first giving of the Law was met with trepidation primarily because of the presentation—the second giving was met with trepidation strictly because of the content. The disciples came that day with what they thought was a fairly complete understanding of God and of God’s Law. When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew writes:

“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Matt 7:28 LSB

Why were they astonished? These knew the Law—many there that day had probably memorized the words handed down by Moses on Mount Sinai amidst the thunder and lightning. In fact, if we had been there that day and taken a survey before Jesus spoke, as to how many wanted to hear more about the Law—most probably would have responded with a bored, “No, thank you—we know all about the Law—we want to hear more about the Messiah!” Yet Jesus spoke of the Law and the people left that day with a new impression—the Law was not difficult to obey—it was downright impossible! And that is exactly what Jesus wanted them to leave with that day. Jesus didn’t come to redeem good people—He came to redeem the lost, the hopeless, the destitute, the condemned, the sinner. There is no fresher feeling then when we walk outside after a summer storm. The lightening, thunder, wind and rain clear the air of impurities—the air is more invigorating and the zest for life more intense. When God first brought the Law, the Israelites experienced that presentation outwardly—seeing first hand the awesome power of God. When Jesus explained the Law in His Sermon on the Mount, the lightening, the thunder, the wind, and rain worked inwardly on the souls of those who listened. They were astonished because they saw who they were anew—they were sinners in need of a Savior.

Lord, help me be astonished every time I look to Your Word. Help me, as you did on that Mount in Palestine, to see anew my hopelessness and my need for Your saving grace. Amen.

Ambassador Institute-Support Opportunities

Editor’s note: This is installment #5 from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter. Stay tuned for 1 more installments!

This is the first year the Ambassador Institute  has operated without a subsidy from World Missions. Our goal is to raise the entire $108,500 budget. Thus far, we have reached 46% of that goal.


We need 42 more churches or individuals to support $100 per month to cover the cost of training pastors internationally. The Lord has grown this ministry and multiplied its impact greatly in the past 5 years. Thank you for your role and partnership in supplying solid biblical training to pastors and church leaders internationally.


Every school needs accountability of the teachers and the education which is the same for this Institute. Regular travel insures the quality of the teachers, the lessons taught and the standards. The cost of travel varies from country to country, but a two-week trip typically costs $2400. Consider supporting the travel to a country with $200 /month.


Most students need a solar chargeable audio Bible to help them recall the stories that they learn from week to week. The Mega Voice players that are used cost $40 each.
Each graduate receives a printed copy of the curriculum. The cost for one book is $6 and there are 6 books in the complete curriculum, so the cost per student is $36, a price affordable by Sunday Schools and Youth Groups. Presently, there are 125 students in Uganda and 35 in India.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ambassador Institute Fall Inquiry-Uganda

Editor’s note: This is installment #4 from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter. Stay tuned for 2 more installments!

Since June, Micah Berger and Andrew Olson have been serving as Ambassador Institute instructors. They have worked alongside the Ugandan teachers with their 10 classes and they lead the class in Jinja. Micah and Andrew had a tough month of health issues in July. Micah had a cold and Malaria. Andrew had pneumonia, worms, Typhoid Fever and Malaria all back to back. It seemed like a spiritual attack by the way they all came one after another. Both of them are back to good health and have been busy with ministry.

The training classes are progressing well. At the peak there were 13 classes. Some of them have been completed and currently there are 10 meeting. Each week, the teachers get together for lesson preparation, where they cover the biblical text to make sure they understand it well. They discuss how to present the story and how to answer the questions that students might ask. This preparation helps ensure that the teachers are reproducing what they were first taught.

The class that meets in Jinja is a special group because it is made up of people from several different language groups. The lessons are taught in English, which is their common language. There are four students that have shown good leadership and are already teaching classes of their own.

Wycliffe Story from the Cameroon

Editor’s note:  This story was included in the Kvale’s September newsletter about a recent breakthrough in the translation of God’s word in the Cameroon.  You can find the entire newsletter here.

clip_image002These women from the town of Maroua, Cameroon live near a
translation project that recently made a very exciting breakthrough! A Wycliffe translation advisor working with the Hdi language noticed how God left His mark for the Hdi speakers within their very own language.  Photo by: Zeke Du Plessis. 


By Bob Creson, August 2012

Translator Lee Bramlett was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people?  What clue had He planted to let the Hdi know who He is and how He wants to relate to them?
Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife, Tammi, had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u? 

Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”  “Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone. “Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” Lee asked. “Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well. “Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”  Lee asked. Everyone laughed. “Of course not!” they said. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”
There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded.

“Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you based on who I am. I love
you because of Me and not because of you.”

God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable. When the word was finally spoken, it called into question their entire belief system. If God was like that, and not a mean and scary spirit, did they need the spirits of the ancestors to intercede for them? Did they need sorcery to relate to the spirits? Many decided the answer was no, and the number of Christ-followers quickly grew from a few hundred to several thousand.

The New Testament in Hdi is ready to be printed now, and twenty-nine thousand speakers will soon be able to feel the impact of passages like Ephesians 5:25,  “Husbands, ‘dvu’ your wives, just as Christ ‘dvu’-d the church.…”  I invite you to pray for them as they absorb and seek to model the amazing, unconditional love they have received.

As God’s Word is translated around the world, people are gaining access to this great love story about how God ‘dvu’-d us enough to sacrifice his
unique Son for us, so that our relationship with Him can be ordered and oriented correctly. The cross changes everything!  Someday, the last word
of the last bit of Scripture for the last community will be done, and everyone will be able to understand the story of God’s unconditional love.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Short Term Missions Assistants

AFLC World Missions has a program where mission volunteers can go to the field with the blessings of the World Missions Department.  The World Missions Committee has approved  three new short term assistants.

Matthew AbelMatthew Abel

Matthew has been approved to work on our mission field in Brazil.  His is the son of Paul and Becky Abel, AFLC missionaries in Brazil.  Matthew’s long term goal is to follow God’s leading in full time ministry and most likely missions.

This week Matthew experienced a motorcycle accident requiring surgery on both wrists.  His brother-in-law is an orthopedic surgeon in Brazil.  Matthew flew home to Brazil for the surgery.


2010 Jacob

Jacob O’Flanagan

Jacob is a graduate of our Ministry Training Institute in cross culture ministry.  He has served as a short term assistant in Brazil before.  Jacob has sensed God calling him to build up the congregations of Brazil in any way that he can.  This will be Jacob’s third time in Brazil and he desires to study and learn the Portuguese better in the classroom setting next year.

Brent and Emily RaaBrent and Emily - webn 

Brent is in his second year at AFLTS.  Brent and Emily are AFLC missionary candidates.  They traveled to India in the summer of 2012 and sense God calling them to India.  They plan to serve as short term assistants in India during the summer of 2013.

Schierkolks Approved to Return to Field

Family picture 2011After considerable prayer, study and deliberation the World Missions Committee has approved the Schierkolks to return to Mexico in January. This decision was made following a recommendation from the World Missions Crisis Management Board.

AFLC World Missions and the Schierkolks understand that there is still a considerable amount of violence created by drug cartels in Mexico. With that in mind, it seems that missionaries are not being targeted. Everyone in the Schierkolks immediate family agrees that God is still calling them to work in Mexico and are comfortable with their return in January.

Please keep the Schierkolks in your prayers as they return to Mexico.

Connely Dyrud–Missionary Emeritus

Connely 07 b (Medium)

The World Missions Committee has approved a status change for Connely Dyrud.  Connely has been living in the US serving as Missionary at Large while he lead the Ministry Training Institute program at AFLBS.  Missionary Dyrud will now be considered Missionary Emeritus. 

As Missionary Emeritus he will volunteer his time and talents for AFLC World Missions.  Connely has offered to speak at mission’s events and WMF Rallies as needed.  The World Missions Department has asked that congregations and individuals continue to give to his personal support.  Even though this is a volunteer position we will continue to provide ministry expenses from his personal support.

We thank God for the service of Rev. Dyrud to world missions over the last 42 years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Answered Prayer–Matthew Abel

The Lord has graciously answered our prayers!  Thanks to all of you who have called out to God for Matthew.  Reasons for rejoicing:

* He was granted an emergency passport yesterday in São Paulo.

* They had a safe trip home with lots of father-son conversations.

* Matthew's pain was way less yesterday to the point that he was believing God had healed his broken wrist (Dr. Daniel reminded him that he would be the judge of that when he went to surgery)

* Although there were huge lines of people at the hospital early this morning (shivering in the freezing temperature) Matthew was taken in right away.

* Daniel called us after 2:00 p.m. to report that the surgeries had gone well.  A screw was placed in his broken wrist.  The other hand with the dislocated thumb and torn ligaments was repaired but needs God's special touch to heal correctly so that future surgery can be avoided.

* Matthew should be released from the hospital tomorrow.

* God has given us peace throughout the journey - What a wonderful present!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ambassador Institute Fall Inquiry

Editor’s note:  This is installment #3 from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter.  Stay tuned for 3 more installments!

Pastor Andy and Monica Coyle are serving in Ukraine with Eastern European Mission network. Their desire is to offer solid evangelical Lutheran training at the school and make Biblical education available for lay people as well as clergy. The endorsement of the Dean of the Seminary in St. Petersburg, was also accompanied with a visit from the bishops from across Russia. They came to Odessa to preview the school. The opportunity to train people is great, but the pressure to start well is also important.

Last spring, at a WMF rally in Sebeka, MN, Pastor Kevin met Blanca Gomezcoello from Cuenca, Ecuador. She saw the oral style of teaching and told her husband, Pastor Santiago, that they needed to consider using that style when they returned home.  In June, Justo and Patricia Pilmann left for Cuenca as missionaries.  They met up with the Gomezcoellos and the Paachas to join them in the ministry. At a staff planning meeting there was a united interest in using the AI curriculum and a desire to implement the training. This November, Pastor Kevin will join the staff to train the trainers and to meet with the home Bible Studies that are going to start using the AI material.

AI training is in transition in Brazil. Pastor Anilton received the opportunity to teach at a government university. He wants to continue AI training, but his new job and location won’t allow him to keep the role of Academic Dean in Camp Maurao that he previously held. He hopes able to continue his work with the distance students. We congratulate him in this new job at the same time we will miss him.