Thursday, August 23, 2012

Prayer Request from Coyles

2012 CoylesWe are requesting prayer for our upcoming trip to Moldova this Sunday, August 26. We are hoping to receive the "D" visa, which provides us with 45 days to apply for and receive our temporary residency status.

After the Sunday service in Odessa (Andy is leading it and preaching), we will be traveling to Chisenau, Moldova (a four hour drive). Our landlady's son will be traveling with us, and we will be staying with her (she lives in Chisenau). The embassy opens at 9am, and we plan to be there waiting... and hoping that we can receive our documents the same day. If not, we have to wait until Thursday, since the embassy is open on those days only.
Prayer Requests:

  • Helpful border guards
  • Favor with the consulate
  • That our documents will be sufficient
  • That we can receive our visas the same day
  • That we can be a blessing to our landlady and her family
  • Our landlady's willingness to not only register us (something not many are willing to do), but also to host us in her home.
  • Our landlady's son, who is traveling to and from Chisenau with us.
Thank you so much for praying for us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let Your Light So Shine-Paul and Becky Abel

In May we enjoyed participating in a conference for teaching camp directorimages how to teach sexual purity concepts to young people. We were blessed by a speaker from the U.S. name Bob Tissot and had fun meeting other people who work with camping in Brazil. Many of the ideas we learned we incorporated into our July retreat and will use again as we travel to other places to teach youth.

Paul and I enjoyed planning a retreat for our pastors and wives in Campo MourĂ£oimage. We used several hands-on experiences to involve the pastors in the learning process. Most of our national pastors were able to attend. We are thankful for the gifts donated to the National Leadership Conference Project which made this event possible. It was also nice to be appreciated by the pastors for all my hard work in organizing the event. They pooled together to buy me a beautiful azalea.

Fishers of Men was the theme of our Children's Camp in July. We had a great week! One of the activities was random prayer times. At the blast of a loud horn everyone knelt down wherever they were and prayed for one minute. The silence was awesome and it was amazing to experience how much you can pray about in one minute! This was our granddaughter Deborah's first camp experience with Grandma and Grandpa at the ARCA (she's the last little girl on the right in the canoe).

imageFifty-six  youth participated in a Purity Seminar based on I Thess. 4:3-8 at the ARCA during July. It was a weekend full of fun interactive studies and teaching. We enjoyed having eight of our nieces and nephews participating in the retreat. Pray that these young people will stay true to their decisions to wait for God's best for them. The theme of the retreat was "To Love is to Wait and To Wait is to Walk." Three young men who are in drug rehab spent a week with us and also participated in the seminar before starting another treatment program. Please imagepray for Alex, Jean and Julio (see photo) as they try to get re-integrated into life. All three boys have accepted the Lord and are trying hard to walk in victory. Also pictured below is Shepherd who has lived with us for the past four months. Pray for him as he travels to the U.S. and enters a military academy to finish his high school education. Maybe we'll have an "empty nest" again for awhile.

Editor’s Note:  There is so much more to read from the Abel’s newsletter.  Click here to see more pictures and their prayer requests!

Update from the Ukraine

English bible camp_2012Summer is flying by so fast... perhaps you know the feeling? Here's an update on life here in our world. We enjoyed our time with EEMN's English Bible Camp team, especially the chance to stay in Petrodolina with them for a week. The two weeks of VBS-styled camps, one held in a public school and one on the grounds of the Youth Center property, allowed many of seeds to be planted in the hearts of children. We pray for each of these students and their families, that God would continue to draw them near to Him. We are very thankful for the Ukrainian and American team that the Lord united for this special ministry.

family campWe just arrived home from Family Camp, which was a really good time of relationship building and fellowship. We met some new couples, and enjoyed getting to know some friends from Russia. Moriah and Isaiah had a great time in their Bible classes. What a joy to see them trot off to class and come back to tell me all about what they learned!

Andy is finishing his last preparations for a three-part series he is presenting at a Christian Music Festival called GloriaFest, which officially begins tomorrow. We are praying that the hearts of those who attend, mainly 15-30 year-olds, will be hear and know the Truth!

Later in the month, we will travel to Moldova to apply for (and hopefully receive within a timely manner) our 45-day visa, which will allow us to apply for Ukraine's temporary resident visa. This is standard procedure for all foreigners and missionaries staying longer than 90 days, but unfortunately the process is quite complicated. We request prayer for God's provision, protection as we travel, and for wisdom as we navigate the details.

Editor’s note:  You can read the rest of the Coyle’s newsletter and read their prayer requests here.  Check out the Coyle’s Blog here.  They have some great photos!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Trees Planted by the Waters

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all the he does, he prospers. Ps 1:3

DaisyOver the last months you have been praying for one of our girls in particular, Daisy. She has been a part of the Miriam Home, off and on, for four years now. Recently she has gone through cycles of extreme highs and lows emotionally, to the point of putting her well being at risk. Hurts from the past have come up again (especially when an aunt, responsible for many traumas as a child, stepped back in to her life); and prospects of change and fear of the future made looking ahead difficult (even good things, like new jobs and the independence of being 18 can be scary if they are new to you). What Daisy saw looked like frightful giants. But through all of the struggles, what Daisy has held on to, what has secured her is her love for the Lord. Just a few weeks ago Daisy had to prepare an oral report, to be presented before her class at school, the theme was “Hope” and she gave me permission to share it with you.

“Sometimes we look at our lives and we see something like a tree. We go through seasons when our leaves are green and we have lovely fruit and flowers. Suddenly winter comes, and our tree looks sad—like we have lost everything, like all our fruit has died. Where is the beauty of the tree? Where is its life? Could there still be hope inside this dry tree?

There is hope, it is coming in the very next season!  Spring arrives with new leaves, wonderful colors and fruit. The beauty is renewed because the life was always there, inside the tree! It doesn’t matter what the season of life we are going through.  You can be rich or poor, young or old, where ever you are there is hope. Our hope is in the promises of God. In His Word God speaks about you. When you look for signs of hope but don’t see them, hold on. Believe in the life God has for you, deep inside. All of His promises are true and in his time they will sprout. Winter can be sad and difficult. It is hard to wait to get married when you are young; when you aren’t so young you still have to wait, when you look but don’t yet see—believe that spring is coming, that it will arrive. How many of the young people here are looking forward to getting married? Looking forward to a blessed marriage? Wait on the Lord, please Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. It is hard to wait, but remember that there is life, the very Word of Life, in you and you will bloom again!”                                  Daisy Ribeiro

Editor’s note:  This is only a small part of Jonni’s newsletter.  They are always so well written and full of news from the Miriam Infant Home.  So you can read the “Rest of the Story" by clicking here.

Laying Down One’s Life

John 15:12,13 “This is My commandment that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

On the national news these days is a situation that is presently happening in Iran with the woman accused of adultery.  The authorities in Iran say that she confessed but others are pointing out that she did so only after one hundred lashes.  She is sentenced to die by stoning and it is causing a worldwide reaction by human rights groups.

Miriam Adeney in her book, Kingdom Without Borders, tells of martyrdom in China:

“You have some nerve!” shouted the judge as he struck the bench.  “You are so young and yet you dare to deceive the People’s government. … Little child, I promise you there is not heaven for you here. …”

The year was 1983 and the place was the province of Henan.  This story has been recorded in China’s Book of Martyrs by Paul Hattaway.  Hattaway has amassed a spine-tingling account of faithfulness across time and space.  While it is true that many Christians in China move freely, other have suffered.  The history of their faithfulness is part of the noble heritage of Jesus’ people in that land.

Seven years before the judge shouted at Xiaoxiu in the court room, her mother had fallen sick.  Xiaoxiu’s ancient great-grandmother urged the woman to trust in Jesus.  Lishi did and recovered.  Over time other family members believed, and a house church began.

Then a young woman named Meichun was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Meichun’s sister was married to Xiaoxiu’s brother, Wuting.  Meichun came to the Shi household for prayer.  But she died.

When someone dies in a house other than his or her own, the householders may be held responsible legally.  Grieving, Meichun’s family filed a complaint.  So police arrived at the Shi home and arrested all but the youngest children.

In the courtroom the next day Lishi, the mother, was the first person to stand trial.  When she described how the family had prayed, the judge go so mad that he told the guards to kick her to the ground.  They beat her until she fainted.  Then they poured a bucket of water over her to revive her and sent to her cell.

Although her face was bloody and her arms were bruised, she whispered to her children, “Remain strong! We are considered worthy to suffer reproach for the Lord.”

Her two sons, Wuting and Wuming, were unrecognizable when they were returned to their cells because they had been beaten so badly.

The twenty-four-year old sister, Meizhen, was a school teacher.  She was beaten so severely during several “confession” sessions that witnesses said there was not a square inch of her body where she skin had not been broken or scarred.

Finally the three minor children were called to give testimony.  Xiaoxiu was one of those.  Each child claimed responsibility for praying for Meichun.  Each one wanted to take the blame and shift it away from their mother and older brother.  (emphasis mine)  The court had never seen anything like it.

When the court convened for its final session, seven members of the family were sentenced to prison, one for life.  Lishi and her son Wuting were sentenced to death.

With a fatal sentence hanging over his head, Wuting paused as he walked past his wife.  “Mieying, my beloved wife, why are you crying?” he said softly.  How can I not drink the cup that the Lord has given me” … Beloved Meiying, it is only that I will be one step ahead of you. … Don’t be sad.  Be strong and courageous.  Whatever happens, you must live fully for the Lord. Don’t waste any time.” (emphasis mine)

Meiying and her mother-in-law, Lishi, shared a cell.  One night they both dreamed that they were flying, dressed in white.  As they rose, they saw “The Beloved.”  His arms stretched out to welcome them and his scarred hands wiped their tears.

Two weeks later Lishi and Wuting were executed … they showed no fear, according to a house church historian named Danyun.

“May we pray?” Lishi asked.  A soldier nodded.  They knelt, and prayed to the Creator, “forgive our country and our people.  … Save our country and our people.  … Lord, we ask you to receive our spirits.”

They were shot.

When relatives retrieved the bodies, they found a note in Wuting’s clothes.  “It is now finished.  Do not be sorrowful for me.  I am only going to that place before you.  … For my funeral, make it very simple.  Take care of my two children and let them know that I died for the Lord.”

It is the deep love of Jesus that has grasped the lives of people in China and has been the seed that has produced the millions who today believe in Jesus and continue to live and die for Christ.  And we within the United States need to let that same love be at work in our hearts and lives.  That truly is mission!

Editor’s note:  This was the July devotional World Missions Board.