Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Greetings from Jonathan Abels


Warmest wishes to our dear friends and family

Whether in our very warm-hot summer here in Brazil or in your cool-freezing winter in the US, we can share this one thing in common today: REJOICE! We rejoice for many reasons.

  • That another year has gone by with God's abundant blessings over the many areas we are involved with.
  • How delightful was the teaching at our Seminary and seeing enthusiastic students wanting to learn!
  • Watching kind people come all the way down from the US to help a little with the Miriam Infant Home (with gifts of time and things they made/collected back home).
  • To see some good Bible Camps happen at our Camp with eager campers! 
  • The prayer for selling our church property to buy another more practical one, was answered!
  • Our 2 oldest children (Tom & April) have had an exciting year in their lives, with studies, friendships, travels and ministry.  Our youngest one (Michelle) has been growing up so fast, enjoying the company of her puppy that  was an answer to her prayers.
  • And of course, having friends and family visit us, for those of you faithfully praying for and supporting us (thank you all)!  Yet the most important reason that we rejoice is because we have the hope found in the birth of our Saviour!  

Let us REJOICE in this New Year, living in this blessed Hope of JESUS!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wagner Update


Dear Amazing Team,

Wow. We know so many of you have been praying, not only because we were flooded with messages of encouragement and assurance of prayers, but also we sensed them every step of the journey in our move to Makeni, Sierra Leone.


- The sale of our car in MN was smooth and convenient. Gotta love craigslist.

- Elijah slept on every leg of the journey (car, plane, plane, plane, boat) and has adjusted beautifully, considering all the changes.

- We had very gracious ticketing agents and flight attendents with no extra fees along the way. It could have been hundreds of dollars.

- Our welcome to the capital, Freetown, was very warm and eased by our Sierra Leonean partners and LBT supervisor.

- More was accomplished in Freetown than expected, enabling us to move to our home in Makeni on Day 8.

- We've had many helping hands and new friends to help us set up the basics of our home - including water filtration, running water, screens to keep mosquitoes out, stove and fridge, beds, etc.

- ALL our luggage and barrels made it safely to our home. Many contents from one barrel were quite moldy, but thankfully it was the barrel we would have picked if one had to be moldy. :)

- Ruthie was sick (stomach issues, weak, and fainty) for a day... it took an injured ankle, thankfully not broken, and a trip to the hospital to discover we're expecting!!!

- Elijah LOVES our new "home home home." He's been playing a lot in the back, hugging neighborhood kids through the front porch bars, and calling himself "Obotu" ('whiteman') because that's what he's been named by all the kids. *eyeroll*


I know many of you praying aren't sure what to pray about (it's okay, neither are we), Be assured, your prayers are an enormous support, and we consider the above answers to prayers.

Please continue to pray with us during these initial days, especially as we begin formal language learning, which will be our primary task over the next several months.

Lovin' it,

Josh, Ruthie, Elijah, and baby on the way!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

And to All a Good Night

imageFrom the days of bursting seams, when we had more children in the Miriam Home than we had beds, we have now settled into a bit of a lull.  That is because the juvenile court is trying their hardest to have every possible child with their family (parents or blood relatives) for Christmas. We only have eleven children in the Home right now and the probability is that seven of these will be released to their families within the next two weeks.

Though many of the children will be leaving the house, they obviously don’t leave our hearts. Please pray for. . .

Click here to read the entire newsletter.

Merry Christmas from the Jores


Check out the Jore’s Christmas greeting here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Schierkolks–Boarder Crossings


One of the hardest things about our temporary departure from Mexico in 2011 was leaving Sofia and Georgina with a very sick mom.  Their mom died a few weeks after we arrived in the U.S. leaving the girls in the care of their very unreliable older sister. Many people prayed for them and others were able to help them financially.  God has really taken care of these orphaned girls.  The biological aunt of one of the girls took all of them in.  Georgina and Sofia are living in Mexico City now with the family of Georgina's aunt.  We are so grateful to God for His loving care of these girls. 

To read the entire newsletter click here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

World Relief is the AFLC World Missions relief agency.  Donations for help with the disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines may be sent to AFLC World Missions or directly to World Relief.  The article below was taken from the World Relief website.

According to CNN, as many as 10,000 are feared dead in the Philippines, while Super Typhoon Haiyan makes its way toward Vietnam. Please join World Relief in responding to this crisis.

Gifts Urgently Needed: Typhoon Haiyan Rapid Response Fund

World Relief is partnering with long-term partner, Philippine Relief and Development Services, Inc. (PHILRADS), the relief and development arm of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) to provide assistance to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. PHILRADS has already mobilized and deployed rapid assessment teams, packed goods at the Department of Social Work and Development (DWSD) which were airlifted to victims, and collaborated with government organizations, faith-based organizations and churches to set up a disaster operation center. BUT MORE HELP IS NEEDED. 

Through our Typhoon Haiyan Rapid Response Fund, PHILRADs and World Relief will focus its Phase One relief efforts to unreached areas beyond the damaged roads and bridges—which includes Palo, Abuyog, La Paz, Mahaplag, Macarthur, St Bernard, San juan, Starita, Tarangnan, Pagsanghan, the city of Tacloban and Ormoc. This initial response will provide:

  • 7,000 households with emergency food/relief packages
  • temporary shelters
  • materials to help rebuild 50 destroyed church buildings (lumber, plywood, nails, G.I. sheets and cement)
  • support for on-the-ground coordination efforts and ongoing logistics for a disaster operation center

World Relief is sending technical staff to the Philippines to support PHILRADS, who will supervise the project in close collaboration with Pastors and volunteers from local churches.  Local Pastors/local churches will provide the manpower, facilities and the vehicles for the work, but fuel and materials to support the relief effort (see above) will be provided by generous gifts from World Relief supporters.

By giving to our Typhoon Haiyan Rapid Response Fund, you enable us to rapidly deploy front-line help and resources to the most vulnerable during this crisis. The more we raise, the more we can help. Thank you in advance for your support.

We will continue to update this web page with information about our response as it progresses.

Please Join Us in Prayer

Please join us in prayer for the victims and their families; that the lost would be found, the sick would be healed, that the God of all comfort would be with those who grieve, and that miraculous restoration would come following this tragedy. Please also pray for the safety of the individuals who are risking their lives to provide critical assistance.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Josh Wagners, Leaving for Africa–Nov. 12


Have you ever thought about what you would take if you moved to Africa? You have to consider several things—what kind of house you’ll have, if you’ll be living in a village or city, and how long you plan to live there! Our family is moving to Sierra Leone (try to find it on a map!) on November 12. We already know that we’ll be living in a . . .  Read entire newsletter by clicking here.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Angel At My Door

Real live Angel!It's Thursday afternoon and someone is knocking at our door . . . as it seems they do every Thursday.  I open the door to look outside and see who it is and then I call up to Barb and Kirstie,  "Barb, there's an angel at the door!"  

Angel, as in Mike Angel (as in Michelangelo), is a 2nd grade boy who is literally obsessed with Jesus and His death on the cross.  He wants to know if we have the Archbook story of the passion of Christ yet.  "No, not yet, but it's coming."  Angel lives right behind us and we share part of the back wall.  I hear pounding with a hammer and another Thursday, there's Angel at the door again, this time with a couple pieces of wood with six nails pounded into it and a 2nd grade, Picasso-like (trying to be generous) ink drawing of Jesus on the cross.  "It's for you," he says.  Angel can't read yet but in lieu of the Archbook that hadn't arrived yet we gave him a paper-back children's cartoon Bible.  His grandma covered the binding and front and back covers in plastic to protect it and Angel brings it to Kid's Club every week . . . until he lost it.  Then the knock on Thursday afternoon before Kid's Club brought with it a very disappointed Angel who wondered if he had left it in the garage.  "No, Angel, it isn't here."  We prayed with him about it . . . nothing.  A couple weeks later it came to my heart again and I brought it up with the Lord and then the Thursday afternoon knock brought the great news that Angel found his Bible!  It had fallen behind his bed. 

The next Thursday, Angel looked like he was going to throw up in the middle of Kid's Club so I walked him around the corner to His house, praying with him that God would heal the tearful boy of the pain in his stomach.  After I dropped him off I went back to the club and then about 15 minutes later I see his face peeking around the garage door . . . he's better and wanted to come back!  It's Thursday afternoon again and any minute I'm expecting . . . an Angel at my door:)

Thanks so much for your prayers and the encouragement of your support of our ministry here in Mexico!

Blessings in Christ,

Todd and Barb Schierkolk

Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico

Saturday, November 02, 2013

News from the Coyles–November

2 Timothy 2:1-2 be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Just a couple of days ago, hidden behind all the craziness of Halloween, was the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Reformation Day! This is a day in which we look back upon and thank God for the theological and biblical insights that were rediscovered through the reformers. Sola Scriptura! Sola Fide! Solus Christus! Sola Gratia! Soli Deo Gloria! These five emphases’ were not, and are not, simply clever Latin phrases that have no real meaning. They are the foundation, source, mode, and purpose of, and for, the Christian life. We have a rich history and tradition that has been entrusted to us. May you continually rejoice in the riches that we have in Christ Jesus that have so clearly been articulated and passed down throughout the centuries.

Our desire in serving here at the Bible School is to . . .  click here to download entire newsletter.

Pray for Pillman’s Visas

2013 Justo Pillmans smallWe recently received an update on the visa situation for the Pillmans in Ecuador.  Please pray that the Lord would work out the glitches so that they can stay in the country and minister.

Justo received an immigrant visa on Tuesday.  It has no expiration date.  The only limitation is the he will loose the visa if he leaves the country for more than 3 months per year for the next two years.  After that he can leave the country for up to 18 months at a time.

Tricia’s immigrant visa has run into a couple of glitches, but she should receive it in a couple of weeks.

Nathanael currently has a 6 month tourist visa good until mid-April.  They are planning to wait until Tricia and Justo both have valid immigrant visas and then ask the visa office to help them find a solution for him since the rest of the family can legally live permanently in Ecuador.

Thanks for your prayers.  This has been a long process.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Bible Training Ministry in Ukraine and Beyond

Following is an excerpt from Andy Coyle’s current newsletter.

imageWith just about one month into the 2013-2014 Bible School year, I can say quite honestly that it has been a whirlwind of emotion, difficulty, surprise, and joy. I guess I should not have expected anything less within service to our Lord. Going into this fall, we knew our numbers were down for a variety of reasons. We began with four students and Katya from last year (who started late). Within two weeks, one student left under mysterious pretenses, and we had to dismiss another. Two students remained. Needless to say, we felt a great sense of burden and concern regarding our situation. Yet it seems God had a plan. Since last Friday, the student who left has returned, and we have gained two new students. Praise the Lord. We are now back up to 5 students and the student . . .

To read the Coyle’s entire newsletter, click here.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Mafu on Mission

MafĂș on Mission                                                  

AFLC World Missions

                                                                3110 E. Medicine Lake Blvd.

Minneapolis, MN 55441


Dear Friends,

    As always there is much more to write than most of you will ever read, so I will be quite selective. As you have read in the past letters we have been living a time of exciting growth in depth of maturity among (but not limited to) the youth in Bateias. Praise the Lord that this growth has continued so far, and pray that it may continue.

    The month of September seems to have just flown by -- what’s new? Due to the fact that several times each week there are meals for groups of people and Bible studies and prayer meetings and sleepovers... the Abel residence has become known, among friends, as the “Party House.” I am excited for the return of my parents even though it will change the routine of the home a bit. My parents have always had an open house where ministry is always welcomed and encouraged, and it will continue to be so. Yet, some things will inevitably have to change, such as the very late nights and the frequency of such opportunities.

    The past three weekends I have had 8+ guys sleepover both Fri/Sat and Sat/Sun. These are wonderful opportunities to get to know people more in depth and to get the chance to pull people aside and have those necessary one-on-one conversations about life!

    The main themes that I have been teaching about are: Gospel of Grace (aka the good news that Jesus paid it all! Col.2:13-14), New Life (other than old life 2 Cor. 5:17-21), Victory in the love of Jesus(Rom. 8:37), and Freedom (Romans 8:14,15).

    With the middleschoolers I have been doing weekly adventures (hiking, biking, camping, woods-ing...). These “adventures” always include lessons and examples of doing all things for the glory of God with thanksgiving.

The “young” men’s group has finished Ephesians and now we are walking through Philippians! I love how loaded Paul’s epistles are. Every verse seems foundational, each chapter better than the last!

    The music ministry in our church is going through some struggles. Please pray for the problems to be solved well.

During this past month I have also scheduled times for evangelizing three or four times each week. I have been doing that at the skatepark in Campo Largo, and it has been rewarding. I am always amazed at the opportunities that God fashions for me when I let go of control and allow Him to use me. There is a Tenth Avenue North song that says: “You(God) say, 'Let it go.' You say life is waiting for the ones who lose control.” This is a continual lesson that  I am trying to learn and exemplify.

    Though I am positively involved here in helping things along by intentionally encouraging, challenging, teaching and discipling and leading, I have been evaluating what the next step for my life is. With the prospect of potentially leaving here I have been strategizing about how to transition out without leaving “sheep without a shepherd,” and how to transition the church into the next step in the fulness of Jesus. One thing that should aid in this process is a weekly Bible reading night that we will be starting within a couple of weeks. “Faith comes by hearing.” We have many in our church who have no habit of reading, are poor readers or even who are illiterate. The idea is that we will read the Bible together. Whoever is faithful to the weekly meetings will be able to soon say that they have read the entire Bible. The meetings will not be Bible studies with a prepared devotional, rather they will just be meetings for the corporate reading of Scripture. We are expecting to start mid-October.

    The end of the year is coming soon with all its activities and decisions. So, once again I ask for your prayers as I try to discern God´s will for the next steps.

    I would like to thank you all so very much for your support both in prayers and in financial gifts. I would be a fool to think that there could be any spiritual success in my ministry without your prayers. And I have been able to serve unhindered and bless freely because of your giving. When I have people over, I can feed them; when people need rides, I can give them; when people ask for help, I can help because you have given.  I have never lacked anything!

    Thank you and Praise be to God!


God bless you all,



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Children at the Miriam Home, by Jonni Sliver

Excerpts from Jonni Sliver’s current newsletter.

imageThe Miriam Home has been a busy place this year! I mentioned earlier that we ended 2012 with a full house and the trend has continued! In 2012 we had a total of 68 children; by September 1st of this year we have received 102! Today we have 12 children ranging from 6 months old to 12 years old. It is sad to say that four of the children had been with us earlier this year, had been released to rejoin their families and in just three or four months were back here. We are so glad that the children have a safe place to come to, but it hurts to see them return home with such high hopes only to see the hope fail.
Some faces you will recognize are those of . . .

Click here to read Jonni’s entire newsletter.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Josh & Ruthie Wagner’s Commissioning


If you want to make a weekend out of it, or if you haven't been to one of our presentations, join us on Sunday, too! Services are 8 and 10:45 am, and our presentation will be at 9:15 in the sanctuary.

Thanks, Team!

Josh, Ruthie, & Elijah (15mos)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

These are Ours! by Steve Kvale


Wycliffe Australia member, Peter Brook, has been working
in Papua New Guinea since 1996, primarily as a vernacular
literacy trainer and consultant, but since 2011 as an Arts

Papua New Guinea’s rich tradition of visual arts – carving,
costume, painting, weaving – is one of the country’s
most distinctive features.

Like spoken languages, visual arts are also a form of communication.
Churches and missions have more to learn
about using local visual literacy skills in discipleship and

Since assuming his new role, Peter has lived and worked
with several communities and artists in the Sepik region.
Using photography and video, Peter documents local artistic
expressions, seeking to better understand world views, cultures
and cultural art forms.

In November 2010, Peter met Nanias, an artist working on
the north west coast on Papua New Guinea. Over the next 2
years he grew to know Nanias well and discovered that
Nanias is a ‘custodian’ of the Kwoma visual language.
Together, Nanias and Peter embarked on documenting the
complex visual ‘languages’ of bark painting, carving and
dance of the Kwoma people.

About halfway through 2011, Peter set Nanias the challenge
of painting stories from the Bible using traditional designs
and images of his clan. The result was a beautiful set of
paintings of the Genesis creation account and the beginning
of a series on the Life of Christ. Nanias was transformed as
he read the scriptures to accurately translate these stories
into the Kwoma visual language.

In April and October 2012, Peter went out with Nanias to his
village to document their arts and culture. When the villagers
saw the new “Biblical” paintings their enthusiastic response
was, “These are ours!”

The paintings in their local visual language spoke straight to
their hearts, the stories of the Bible were no longer foreign!

This is an excerpt of Steve and Glenda Kvale’s current newsletter.  To read there newsletter click here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sr. Antonio by Jonathan Abel


Sr. Antonio (the man in the middle) Not too long ago Jonathan wrote an article about Sr. Antonio, the caretaker for our Bible Camp in Campo Mourao. He worked for us for about 45 years and only ‘retired’ a couple of months ago at age 85. Last week his heart finally gave out and he joined his Creator! As one person said: Sr. Antonio walked with God and like the apostle Paul, he was a living letter. God used him in so many ways to bless others. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

This is a excerpt from Jonathan and Tamba Abel’s current newsletter.  Click here to read the entire newsletter.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Team from Hope Lutheran Leaves for India

Hope’s India Team is prayed for and sent off by the congregation.


A group from Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis (AFLC) left Wednesday, September 25.   They will be serving the AFLC work in India sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in the school orphanage and surrounding villages. 

The team consists of:  Adeline Abbott,  Gene Enderlein, Stephanie Abbott, Katie Kozicky, Alex Chernyavsky, Jim Lilly, Rachael Chernyavsky, Chris McKenzie, Isabel Chernyavsky, Mike Phillips, Carla Davis, Joan Smith, Jay Eberth, Juanita Vanderpoel.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hitting the Road, Over and Over Again

Well, it has been a busy spring and summer! I arrived in the United States on March 29th and since then I have added more than 11,000 miles to the World Missions van. I have had the joy of visiting AFLC churches in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. I have shared in   Sunday morning services, Wednesday night Bible studies, WMF Rallies, Circles, Seniors groups and VBS’s. I have stayed with amazing families and visited old friends. I have been blessed by eternal truths taught through Minnesota corn fields and dairy cows.

I hope I have encouraged brothers and sisters with what the Lord is doing in Brazil; I know that I have been built up in every church I visited. The joyful spirits  and open hearts have blessed me over and over.

One of the highlights has been  taking part in the VBS’s in Arlington, Dexter, Kasson, Mankato and Amery. The children came seeking hearts, ready to learn about God’s love and had eyes to see what grown ups often miss - the precious ways God shows Himself everyday. I found so many young hearts that felt for the children in Brazil and I really believe we have a new generation of prayer warriors!

Updates South of the Border:  As I write my visa is in my packet, ready for the packing! I will be retuning to Brazil on September 11th, and I am so blessed to be able to return to the land God called me to; but I have to say that the last five months have been a special gift of God.

While I have been traveling in the States the Miriam home has continued to minister God’s grace to children at risk. When I left Brazil there were only 7 children in the house, within three weeks that total was up to 16 children, then 22. At one point we had 13 children with 9 of them 3 years old and younger! You can imagine how hard our precious house mom’s were working!!!

The household keeps changing and by my last report we presently have 13 children but the ages are a little more varied.

You have already met some our children. The two “oldest” are actually among the youngest

Nicolas and Emily (both are going on three) have been with us since the end of last year. Baby Rafael, brother and sister Thaylon  and Taila and our teen-age princesses, Maria, Giovana and Diane are also still in the house.

More recent arrivals are  two brothers Ricardo (8 years old) and Caio(6). We also have Raquel (4), Kauan (8)  and Taylaine (10).

I will be letting you know more of these precious ones’ life stories once I’m back in Brazil.

Editor’s note:  To read the rest of the Jonni’s newsletter, please click here.

Bible Training Ministry in Ukraine and Beyond

Greetings from the Coyles!

We would like to begin our update by saying thank you to all of you who have prayed for us these past few weeks as we left America and re-entered life here in Ukraine. It has been a smooth re-entry for which we are grateful. Again, we are reminded of His love and care for us as He provides for us in every way.

Family- As I (Andy) write, Moriah and Isaiah are busy at school. In our first week of adjustment, their schooling was a major area in which the Lord's guidance and help was quite evident. The kids' excitement for returning to school- and our Ukrainian way of life- was an answer to prayer. One change for our schooling this fall is that we enrolled Isaiah at Moriah's school (kindergarten, three days a week). This makes our traveling logistics much simpler as I will drop off and pick up on my way to Petrodolina. We are thankful for this school as it has such a strong Christian focus as well as a comfortable environment. Isaiah is pretty excited to be with his big sister (and she was pretty eager to show him the ropes).

Housing- Throughout the past year and especially this past summer, we spoke much about sensing the need to live out in Petrodolina. We came for the Bible school and our desire has been to be part of that community. It seems as though God is making a way for this to happen. We have a very foreseeable option, and the EEMN Board has given approval to move forward with the purchasing process (upon the completion of our visa renewal). We are very excited about this possibility and thank God for his provision and timing.  Please pray for this long process, and that God would grant wisdom and clarity in the details.

Bible School- Our student enrollment for this fall is less than expected, yet we are thankful for the four students whom God has called. We will also begin this year with Katya from last year. She started about two months late, and as a result will make up what she missed. Despite the small class size, it is important to continue, in order that the two-year program can begin next year. This gives the 2013 graduates the opportunity to begin the second-year program, without having to wait another year. I look forward to sharing more about our students in the next update. Please pray for our staff and students as we begin this coming Sunday, September 15.

Finances Needed- As God continues to build the foundation for this school, we move forward with plans for an official Bible School building. This past summer, I shared many times about how we need an officially zoned (residentially and educationally) building to meet Ukrainian law, as well as provide for future expansion. The facility we have been using does not and cannot meet these standards. This is a crucial issue not only for the future growth of this school, but also for the present

Editor’s note:  You can visit the Coyle family blog  for more ministry updates and family photos.  You can also read the rest of the Coyle’s newsletter here.

Update from the Wagners

imageHomeland to Homeland! We had the opportunity to share our call to Bible translation with a congregation in Minneapolis mostly made up of Sierra Leoneans—including Krio, Themne, Kono, & Mende (languages with LBT projects)! We were pleased to announce the Krio Bible dedication being celebrated in Sierra Leone later that week. Many in the congregation were eager to get their hands on the new publication in a language they know very well, and for some, their heart language. Our excitement grew when we met speakers of Themne and Mende—the languages with which we and our teammates will be working.  Since then, Josh has initiated communication with our partners in Sierra Leone concerning the needs of the diaspora for Bibles in Minneapolis. How exciting for our family to help translate the Bible for people both in Sierra Leone and in Minneapolis, our hometown!

We have to delay our initial departure date in October because our recurring/monthly support has not yet reached 100%. We’re hoping to reach our goal to go in November.

 $1,040/month more of recurring support
 $6,000 for Wagner Household Setup
✓ Off-road, 4x4 vehicle is funded! Yay!

We feel so appreciative of your love, care, prayers, and financial support as we’ve been traveling and speaking for over a year. Thanks, Team! Until next time...

❤ Josh, Ruthie, & Elijah

Editor’s note:  To read the rest of the Wagner’s newsletter, please click here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

God Knew Her by Rev. Craig Johnson

Most Westerners would describe the place as remote. Some might use stronger terms than that. We were in Mongolia, on our way to the Gobi desert. I was with Pastor Terry Olson and his daughter, Sarah. We were visiting their son and brother, David, who is a missionary in Mongolia with the Norwegian Lutheran Mission.

As we were on our way to a nature reserve in the desert, we came upon a small town. It was a long ways from much of anything else. There were a few homes, a little bit of paved road, a gas station, a small market, and a simple little building with a cross on top. It had to be a Christian church. We walked over to look and take a picture.

As we were looking at the church a young lady came over and introduced herself. Her English was limited but she was able to tell us she was a Christian and she asked us if we were. She became a Christian about five years ago. Despite language limitations, she communicated clearly her thankfulness for the difference Jesus had made in her life.

That church was started as a result of mission work done by Christians from South Korea. David said more missionaries in Mongolia have come from Korea than anywhere else. They are working in the capital city, and also in remote spots like this little town on the road to the desert.

I never got the name of that little town. Even if I did I probably wouldn’t be able to find it on a map. But God knew of its existence all along. He found it, and He found that young lady. He sent missionaries to go tell her the good news of Jesus. In that remote spot, the Lord of the universe met her and made her His child. God wanted a congregation planted in that little town, and He sent missionaries to do that.

In Acts 8 we read of God sending a missionary named Philip to a desert road. He met an Ethiopian “and told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). God cared about that one Ethiopian on the desert road and wanted to be sure he heard the good news. God wants each individual to hear the good news, whether they are on a desert road or in a major city. No place is too remote for the Lord to care about. No person is viewed as insignificant. He calls His church to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8); even to those places you can’t find on a map.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Update on the Pillmans

Dear family and friends,

The visa saga continues. We are so thankful that God is in control! It helps us maintain peace (and sanity) despite the many twists and turns, ups and downs we’ve gone through. The latest news is that although us parents’ visa applications were accepted (though we still don’t have the visas yet…might take a month or two), Nathanael’s was denied because of a conflicting law we were unaware of.  So we are applying for a six month visa for him in order to be able to stay here and hope that either the law changes (which is a possibility) or try to appeal. We are nearing the end of our options, and the timing of these obstacles has been discouraging. Please pray with us that God would make His will known to us in and through this situation!

After a brief visit back to the U.S. to attend a wedding, visit family and supporters, and gather paperwork for the visas, we have jumped back into the full swing of ministry here. The cell groups have started up again, and Justo is leading two of them: one for youth and another for families.

The Bible school has also begun, so Justo is teaching there once a week as well. His two classes are the book of John and how to study the Bible. When we left for the U.S. in August, we thought there were only three students planning to attend. When we returned to Ecuador, we found out there are six students at the Bible school. Praise the Lord for answering our prayers for more students!

The homeschoolers have also begun their studies again. Please continue to lift them up in prayer. Several of the families are discouraged. Pray that we would find helpful and creative ways to encourage and strengthen them for the task!

Again, your prayers and support mean so much to us. We cannot be here without your partnership in the ministry that God has given us!


Justo, Tricia, Nathanael and Hanna

Prayer Requests

• Pray that God would continue to work on our behalf for the visas

• Pray against discouragement for us

• Pray for the homeschool families


• Praise that at least us parents’ visas were accepted

• Praise that we had safe travels and a special time back in the U.S.

• Praise for the students at the Bible school


Contact Information


Gifts can be sent to:

Justo & Patricia Pillman

AFLC World Missions

3110 East Medicine Lake Blvd.

Minneapolis, MN 55441

Ruth Peterson & Lydia Schierkolk Leave for Uganda

2013 Lydia and Ruth (Medium)Ruth Peterson and Lydia Schierkolk left for Uganda today (September 23).  They will be Short Term Missions Assistants, working under the Jores and in several Gospel related ministries.  They will be living in Uganda for an extended time.

Both Ruth and Lydia are graduates of AFLBS.  They have served on summer teams and had an interest in missions for some time.

We have had a number of young people from the AFLC working in Uganda recently.  They will be joining Micah Berger and Katelyn Gudim.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Please Pray for Todd’s Safe Travel

Editor’s Note:  Today is the day Todd is traveling so please be in prayer the rest of the day!

Dear friends,

Just a quick note to let you know I will be traveling back to Jerez this coming Friday and to ask you to please pray for me as I travel.  It's about a 9 hour trip and the biggest question marks are going to be in the morning.  I'll be returning through a different city, Laredo, this time and that will add a couple more hours to the trip.   Barb will be flying out on Thursday to be with her family in Oregon and Kirstie is leaving on Saturday from San Antonio for Minneapolis with her fellow team member, Amanda Flechsig.  They will be preparing for their AFLC youth mission trip to Uganda, returning on Aug. 8th or 9th.  Can't remember which day at the moment.  We are very grateful to Faith Lutheran in El Campo, TX for adopting Kirstie into their youth group for the trip to the FLY youth convention.  Kirstie had a wonderful trip and was very grateful to God for the opportunity to go to the convention.

And just a note for prayer about our chuch in Jerez.  There is a possibility that we will have a piece of land donated to us to build a church building on.  We'd appreciate your prayers for all of us as a church as we look to the Lord of the Church in this.  Thanks so much.

In Christ,

Todd Schierkolk

Pillman Family in Ecuador

Psalm 37:23a declares, “The steps of a good man are
ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way.”

imageWe had been working a great deal on the visa paperwork during the month of June and were disappointed when we were denied the missionary visa. We take comfort in knowing that God is directing our steps. Because our current visa expired the end of June, we had to take a quick trip to Peru and reenter Ecuador under a 90 day tourist visa. We are pressing on now for a different visa under our newly born daughter who is Ecuadorian. We are praying that all the paperwork will be accepted by the officials!

The home school kids will be taking vacation over the months of July and August, and Justo will be using the extra time to work on preparing for the classes he will be teaching at the Bible school starting in September.  We are excited to see how God will bless this new work and are privileged to be a part of it. The church will also be having a couple of special events in the next two months: a food festival in July and then the annual church family camp the first week in August.  We will be attending both of these events.

We praise the Lord that Tricia has been recovering well from the delivery and that Hannah is healthy. Nathanael dotes on his little sister and has accepted her quite easily. We have the challenge of trying to keep him from smothering her with hugs and kisses. Our growing family keeps us busy!

Editor’s note:  You can read the entire newsletter here.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Catching up: News from Jonni Sliver

imageI have been back in the States for two months now, all of my documents are in the hands of the Brazilian Consulate (I hope! They have surprised me with re-quests for a couple of new documents) and now I get to wait patiently for my visa .

While I am waiting I have had wonderful opportunities to visit wonderful, scattered segments of the AFLC family. From WMF spring rallies, to Sunday School and mid-week Bible studies I have been so blessed by the amazing heart of our churches!

But just because I am in the States does not mean you are off the hook! Your prayers are more important than ever. We have a lot of new children who need God’s healing and our house mothers are needing the strength and grace that comes from the prayers of their brothers and sisters!

The last months have continued busy in the Miriam Home. When I left, the end of March, there were only seven children in the Home, with in three weeks we were up to 16, then to 22! We are now back to 11 children, and only three are children who were there when I left. Let me introduce you to the new-est members of the Miriam Home. The demographics in the home are pretty low right now—we only have three children over five! The three “oldest” children (those who have been with us for more than three months) are Emily, Nicholas and Vitor, all two years old.

Editor’s Note: To read the rest of Jonni’s newsletter and catch up more on what children are in the Miriam Home right now, you can go here.

Wagner Update-Summer 2013

imageWhile training in Ghana and Sierra Leone, we learned that it wasn’t uncommon for people to translate God’s Word on the fly. Josh writes:

I sat on a bench in a small village church near Makeni, where I plan to move my family in October. Vibrant Themne singing surrounded me while I enthusiastically joined the clapping. One day I will understand, then speak, and eventually even sing. When it came to the liturgy reading from Isaiah I couldn’t understand that either. I did notice that the speaker’s words sounded slow and hesitant. I wondered if he had only recently learned to read his language. Being so overwhelmed by the moment I forgot that there isn’t even a Themne Old Testament. That’s why we’re going there! When I zoomed in with my video camera I saw “NIV” on the cover. I later realized that he was actually reading English and translating on the fly into Themne so the congregation could understand.  What an encouragement to see already, that the Themne will use the Bible in their heart language when it is finally available!

Editor’s note:  To read the rest of the Wagner’s newsletter, including a wonderful storytime section and update from Elijah, please go here.

Let the Scripts and Computers Be Friends

Editor’s note:  The following is part of the Kvale’s newest updates.  You can find the entire newsletter here.

by Ling Lam

Currently, many non-Roman scripts still cannot be processed by computers, and have to depend on hand-written transcriptions for cultural heritage. In order to facilitate Bible translation and distribute God’s Word widely, IT personnel are making use of their knowledge, experience and interest by participating in the Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI). NRSI helps language communities use their own scripts to know the world and to know God. More about NRSI.image

Our daughters, Neli & Lenaya, have 10th and 8th grade behind them. :)  On to rock picking season and more!

Thank you for your prayers and condolences during this season of grief and celebration with the Home-going of Glenda’s mom.  She suffered a sudden stroke on Monday of last week and entered the eternal presence of our Lord Jesus on Thursday, July 27th.

Our prayer letters were submitted, printed, and mailed in early June and we are just now getting this out to our email partners in prayer including this turn of events.  It has been a joy and challenge caring for mom over the last two years and we have learned so much.  Perspective on many things now in this new season of adjusting will only help us seek God more and hear His voice with more certainty.  His mercies are new every morning and His peace surpasses all understanding.

We are trusting God to guide and provide as we give attention to details after her passing and see what His will is for our family outside of the usual ministry schedule and involvements.  Steve is filling in for a few pastors with sermons this summer and continues his full-time ministry hours with Wycliffe Bible Translators from our home in Balaton, MN. Steve and daughters are blessed to be at FLY right now and we pray as the Lord moves in the hearts of young and older alike during this encouraging week of ministry.

We gather for Eleanor Aaberg’s (mom’s) funeral with her pastor, Rev. Todd Klemme, at Minnewaska Free Lutheran Church of Starbuck, MN, on Friday, July 12th at 1 PM.  Thanks for your continued prayers and love that surround us.  His peace reigns.

Steve & Glenda Kvale Family, AFLC Missionaries on Loan, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Wycliffe USA, IT Support

Friday, June 28, 2013

Missionary’s Mother Passes Away

Glenda Kvale’s mother Eleanor passes away yesterday, June 27th,  at 12:45 pm.  Her funeral will be held later in July.

Steve and Glenda express their thanks for your prayers and encouragement during this time.  Steve stated, “We have felt overwhelmed and still very supported through this ordeal.  We will miss her very much yet rejoice that she is home with the Lord.”

Steve and Glenda are AFLC missionaries on loan to Wycliffe.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Missions Update

Have you been wondering what God is doing through AFLC World Missions around the world?  Check this video out.

Monday, June 24, 2013

AFLC Missions Cookbook


Wouldn’t it be fun to give more to our mission groups? Well now you can.
Kathy & I want to put together an AFLC International Cook Book.
We will be gathering recipes from our missionaries, AFLC camps and our local congregations.

But we need your help! Will you please get this information out to your
Congregation, women’s ministries, friends of the AFLC etc. or help us find that “Go to person in your church who will take on this project with us”
If each congregation submits recipes and purchases only 10 cookbooks we will raise approximately $20,000 for these ministries that need our help and support so badly.  Individually this is an impossible task, but together we can easily reach this goal.

Recipes can be submitted to or mailed

Wendy Kupser
W8423 Cty. Rd. KK
Ellsworth, WI 54011

Orders can be placed individually or by each congregation. If
your congregation sends in one group order however that would
be much easier and would have less potential error.

Payments are cash or check only. Checks should be made out to:
AFLC Missions—memo cookbook missions
Please mail all orders to the same address above.
We sincerely appreciate your help!
In His Service,
Kathy Bandy 763-241-0774
Wendy Kupser 651-261-6466

For more information click here to go the the AFLC World Missions website.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Member on the World Missions Committee


Pastor Craig Wentzel served two terms on the World Mission Committee.  During that time he was chairman for several years.  We thank God for his leadership.

Pastor Craig Johnson was elected to fill Pastor Wentzel’s position on the Committee.  In addition to being the editor of the Lutheran Ambassador, Pastor Johnson has traveled to our mission fields in Brazil and India.  We welcome his wisdom to the Committee.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Schierkolk’s Traveling

Family picture 2011 (Medium)

The Schierkolks will be traveling the first of next week.  Please remember them in prayer. 

Todd will be driving to the boarder to license their vehicle so that it can remain in Mexico with their new visa status. 

Barb and Kirstie will be flying out of Mexico.  Kirstie will be traveling to the Free Lutheran Youth Convention and then on a Student Missions Trip.  Barb will visit her family, it has been almost a year since her father passed into glory.

Pray for Pillman’s Visa

4x6 Prayer Card3Justo and Patricia Pillman were denied their visa renewal last week.  Their current visa is up on June 27.  Up until that time there is a possibility they can still get the missionary visa. 

If there is no progress they plan to travel by car to Peru where they will spend the night and then return using a 90 day tourist visa.  This will give them time to pursue other long term visa solutions.

Please pray for the Pillmans that God would work out this situation to His glory. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Give Thanks to the Lord

family_2013Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this - those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.  Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds from men, for He statisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalms 107: 1-9

Michelle's prayer

Michelle's dogGod answered a prayer for our Michelle. She had been praying almost daily for a dog, even asked that God would bring the dog to our door.  Well, when Jonathan opened our electric gate, in runs in this small, black pup - all the way into our living room  to Michelle.   We searched for possible owners, but ended up convinced it had been mistreated and abandoned.  In our care it has had 2 surgeries to repair it’s broken jaw and teeth. Now ‘Cookie’ is a lively part of our family.


Evangelistic Tent Meeting

The Evangelistic Tent Meeting with Ruby on accordion and Jonathan leading worship.

Tom just graduated from AFLBS and is with the  Joshua Team on the road doing VBS ministries at AFLC churches.

2013 Joshua Team_ThomasEditor’s note:  For more information you can read the entire newsletter from Jonathan and Tamba Abel here.