Sunday, January 27, 2013

Updates on 3 Missionaries

Schierkolks back to MexicoAfter a prolonged furlough here in the US, the Schierkolks have arrived safely back in Mexico.  They left on  Jan 23rd after spending some time at the Pastors/Spouses retreat at the ARC.   At the opening worship, the family was called forward and we prayed for them and their safe trip and continued ministry in Mexico.  Please continue to pray for them during this transition.

Pastor Kevin Olson is now in Uganda working with Pastor Jore and the Ambassador Institute students there.  Please keep him in your prayers as he does this important ministry!

And finally, Jacob O’Flanagan has returned to spend approximately 9 months in Brazil.  He will be working in Campo Mourau.  Pray for his ministry as well.  We are grateful for our short term missionaries who bring so much needed help to the mission field and give of themselves so freely.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Update on Matthew Abel Who Is In Brazil for Ministry

541977_10151092824229075_1475190521_nToday is Monday January 21st and I am in Brazil! For some of you this is the first mission update/letter that you are receiving and for some of you it is the 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

I arrived home late last Wednesday Night (Jan. 16th) and hit the ground running. I am home after being away for 6 years and am excited about reconnecting with the community that I grew up in. I see this year ahead as an amazing opportunity to testify about God's work in my life and influence a group of people whom I have easy access to.

There has been much work to help with immediately upon my arrival since Bible camp begins tomorrow! Today our Counselor staff arrives and everything will have to be arranged and set up for camp. My mother, Becky, is off to do the shopping and pick up the cook (my godmother) as I write this letter.

Please be in prayer for this week of Bible Camp, there are already over 50 children registered, which means that there will probably be more kids attending than the 70 we were expecting! Bible Camp is a great evangelistic opportunity as we preach the Gospel and teach children to know the Bible and to Love Jesus in a SUPER fun and safe environment. Our counselor staff is hand picked and great! Pray that they would be tactful and loving ministers of grace here at Camp. Many are stretched and challenged with new experiences in telling stories, acting in dramas and leading groups. Please pray for safety and good weather also.

After the craziness of the Bible camp rush is done I will be sitting down with missionaries Paul and Becky Abel for us to evaluate and strategize about how to best invest my time and energy. Unfortunately there are more opportunities in ministry for me here than I can possibly do, and I will have to narrow my options in order to properly invest and have a lasting impact here while keeping my sanity.

I am very blessed and am expectant about what God is doing and what He will do. I have dreams, plans and radical idealism about the future and I will be glad to continue to share the blessings and the needs with you all as this develops.
Duty calls. -Thank you for your prayers!

Please continue to pray for: 
Holy Spirit Power 
My Transition Back 
The decision-making about ministry 
The existing church body here and its ministries 
The process of reconnecting with old friends who are far from the Lord 
Whatever the Holy Spirit Places on Your Heart

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Remembering 2012 at the Miriam Infant Home

Editor’s note:  This is part 2 of a two part series:

As you will remember from last month, it wouldn’t be a good idea to change the name of the Miriam  Infant Home. At the peak of the housing boom we had 23 children in the house and 5 children 2 and under (6 with Daniel, house mom Odete’s new baby). The majority of the children came from three families; and it was precious that 11 children from those three homes spent Christmas with extended family members who really wanted to receive them. Two of the home situations appear to be promising; the third is more questionable, but we are praying and visiting! 

Two of our latest arrivals in 2012 have a special place in my heart. On Sunday, the 16th Pr. Altair preached on prayer and God spoke very directly to me about being proactive; praying for the children that He would bring to the Miriam Home before they arrived. The next day Vilma arrived. She is sixteen years old, and Odete and I already knew her. She was Odete’s roommate when she had Daniel and I had visited her when I went to see Odete and baby. Suddenly, this young mom was on our doorstep, with her four month old baby, Alex. He was so thin and so weak, he barely cried or kicked—it seemed like he only had enough strength to lay there and breath. Vilma and her baby came to us because she was overwhelmed. She wanted to take care of her baby but didn’t know how. Her mother had been helping her but the beginning of December her mother passed away. Neighbors contacted the authorities, concerned for the baby and according to the documents Vilma and Alex came to receive support and something of child care education. But the real reason they came is that God loves them and wants to be a part of their lives! We have had precious opportunities to pray over Alex, to talk to and pray with Vilma, and to reach out to Joao, Alex’ father.  We don’t know what the Lord has planned for this young family, but we know that here in the Miriam Home they received new hope!

You can read the rest of Jonni’s newsletter here!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Remembering 2012 at the Miriam Infant Home

Editor’s note:  This is the first in a two part series as Jonni Sliver remembers all the children and adults who have been a part of the Miriam Infant Home last year.  Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow:

The beginning of a new year is exciting! There are twelve whole months to look back and an entirely new year of hope in front.

In the Miriam Home we have a lot to look back on. We have seen struggling families strengthened and broken families restored. We have seen wounded children being received by grandparents, aunts and uncles, finding new hope within their own families. We have seen substitute families step in andoffer the love our children’s own families denied them. In 2012 we received 68 children from 38 families. As often as was possible we worked with the families, seeking to bring God’s healing, not only to the little ones who came to us, but to the whole family they would eventually go back to.

But it isn’t numbers that fills our hearts with joy, it is the faces behind the numbers! Like Cleber, who arrived in December of 2011. This precious, now seven year old, had been truly and completely abandoned. During the whole year he was with us his mother not only didn’t come to visit, she never even called to ask how he was. But the Lord’s promises are faithful and true. He took this lonely child and brought him into a loving new family!Claudineia and Juliano (members of the Free Lutheran Church in Bateais, Curitiba) met Cleber last February when they came as counselors for youth retreat during Carnival and within days had taken their first steps in the long process of adoption. Their love and persistence in facing all of the red tape ministered to Cleber’s wounded heart, and it was thrilling  to see him jump for joy when his mom and dad came to collect him just two weeks ago.

For several months the Miriam Infant Home was turned into the House of Princesses, as we had at one point seven teen-age girls in the house (and amazingly, without civil war!). It thrills my heart to say that Larissa, Paola, Vitoria, Noeme, Vanessa and Franciele are all with members of their family and so far all have adapted well.

There are some special prayer requests and more of Jonni’s newsletter that won’t be posted here.

Kvale Connection-December Newsletter

Editor’s note:  This is part 2 of a 2 part series:

Our Travels to Missouri

WycliffePrayerSupportGroupInSpringfieldMOWe were humbled at the invitation to come to MO in September and meet with  this prayer group in Springfield, MO, that meets monthly to pray for Bible translation work. It was so encouraging and personally challenging as we witness more of the work of the Holy Sprit gathering pray-ers.  We also visited PastorRamsbacherAndVeronawith Pastor Rich & Kay Ramsbacher, had the privilege of meeting Verona Jacobson, playing music for her, reading Scripture in her room, and praying.

PastorTomAndJudyTurraIn Stover, MO, we met (3) Pastor Tom & Judy Turra sharing in their vision for ministry with the congregation there.

Family Time in MO

To our surprise this ministry trip became a refreshing time for our family.  People blessed us with tickets for area sight seeing, SteveAtTheStLouisARCHwe enjoyed the beauty of the Ozark Mountains, and drove to see the St. Louis Arch, which you can see Steve so excited he had to hug the arch! :) Eunice Will hosts the monthly prayer group and a weekly women’s Bible study Glenda was blessed and challenged in. Kay left a birthday cake in our fridge for Lenaya’s 14th birthday. Sweet!

Our Vacation

KvaleFamilyAtHooverDamStrange going to Las Vegas, but we took Glenda’s mom to see the homes and lives of Glenda’s brother and sister there. We shared Thanksgiving, walked the beautiful area of the Hoover Dam for hours, and were very humbled experiencing the ministry to the homeless there.

You can read the Kvale’s prayer concerns here.

West Africa Countdown-22 Days!

We're (Josh, Ruthie, and Elijah Wagner) getting our shots and packing our bags! We have tickets for a 3-month orientation in Ghana, starting January 30th. During this time Josh will also travel to Sierra Leone and scope out our situation and where we'll be living.

Elijah_bugnet bedSome have been helping us prepare by sending us items from our Amazon Wishlist: Wagners in Sierra Leone. Here's a picture of Elijah's new bug-net bed!


After orientation we will return to the Midwest to finish raising support. We will only be free to go to Sierra Leone when our monthly support reaches 100%. 

WAGNER HOUSEHOLD SETUP & VEHICLE FUNDS - $15,000 & $20,000.  Poor infrastructure and bad roads necessitate these funds for first–term missionaries. Please designate these gifts separately from monthly support.

We praise God for all the people we met and stayed with on our 7,000–mile road trip. Elijah (5 mos.) has now seen 12 states, including Alaska—an emergency hospital trip. Ruthie’s dad, Bob Lee (serving there with Margaret), is well now; thanks for your prayers. Shout–out to Josh’s grandparents, the Hopwoods! We are basking in the comfort of their home until we leave.  Oh, and Ruthie passed her comprehensive exams, finishing her master’s degree. Praise the Lord! If you’re in the Minnesota area we’d love to see you. Until next time...

❤ Josh, Ruthie, & Elijah

Friday, January 11, 2013

Personal Time With God

Christmas_2012Happy New Year from Ukraine! We trust that the Lord’s presence is very near you as you start out this new year, and tread into new depths of His plan for your life. As we look forward to the year ahead, we find strength in knowing that He is always near, and always faithful. There are exciting plans ahead (a summer furlough!), continued development with the Bible School, the graduation of our first class of students, and yet struggles in which we trust the Lord to work peace and unity. Thank you for your prayers, which the Lord certainly hears and answers. May God bless you with His grace and peace.

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

BS Christmas PartyBefore the Bible School students left for Christmas break, we asked our students to share what God had been doing in their lives. Below are excerpts from the students’ responses to the topic, “personal time with God.”

"After three months at the Bible School, I can say that my personal time with God grew. I learned to be more open to prayer, learned to talk to God so that I was not as afraid to speak as before. I learned to pray always and everywhere. Now I can pray while talking to other people, or walking down the street while in the bus or anything like that. And I stopped being afraid to ask God for personal needs, because before, when I was afraid to do it, I thought that God had so much to do and my petty issues were not worth his attention. Even in the last few days, God has shown me that He is boss, and there is no other way. Now God shows me who He really is. He and I were reacquainted, and I discovered many things. Six months ago I could not imagine how my life could change so much. The soul-searching for me was important. Now, those things and people that were so important to me have lost value. The Bible has become part of my daily life. "

"My communication with God is constant. Wherever I am, I pray, and whenever I want. Prayer for me has no memorized phrases or "fancy” words. Prayer is a conversation with a friend or mentor. When I'm sad - I talk to him; when I'm happy - thank Him. He always stays with me, I feel it with all my guts. Unfortunately, reading the Bible I do not have much time, but with the ability to read wonderful verses in class, I learn more and later I can continue to reflect on them. But I would still like to pay more attention to the Word of God. "

"During the time I spent in Bible school, it has changed my attitude to the Bible. I saw how important the authority of Scripture is, and how Scripture itself is applicable to life. It is striking to me, that after being a Christian for many years, I was not so much looking for answers in the Bible. It is great that God is working with our priorities in the end, gives people the awareness of the importance of what He has commanded us. Prayer became an integral part of my life. It is important to turn to God in prayer not only when there are some problems and we need God's intervention, but in general, to thank God for what He is doing in our lives every day. I am glad that there is value in prayer. I believe and hope that when I go home, my prayer life will continue to be full and complete, and will make time for prayer. "

"When I first arrived, I seemed plunged into a different world. I found it strange that we always pray before eating, and that we prayed each morning before class. The first time I hung around at the small group, first visited the Bible hour. When we went to Novogradovka, I first learned that the church has a children's center, which ministers to many children. The first time I went to Sunday school, youth ministry. I did not know at first what to do in my spare time. Even when I was asked simply to pray out loud, I started panicking. I have never prayed out loud, very rarely prayed before meals.

I guess, for me, the biggest plus is that I have started to read the Bible, not only in preparation for classes, but just to know more about God. When we had a street evangelism practice in Odessa, we spoke with people on the street and asked them about Jesus. There was a case when a woman and I started a conversation about God, and we have a long talk about it. If someone had told me before, that I can do that, I would have just laughed at the man.

I began praying more, reading the Bible in my spare time, and thinking more about God. Now I can quietly pray out loud. "

"Here, my life has become more relaxed, I have a chance to communicate more with God. I began to feel in need of prayer more and more. It became more genuine, more diverse, more regular. Before going to bed, I read the Old Testament. Six months ago, I did not read the Bible, and did not pray often due to the bustle of life. During the three months of training in Bible school things started to change. "

Submitted by 2012-2013 Bible School Students

To be continued…

Editor’s note:  You can read the rest of the Coyles’ newsletter here, including their prayer requests and some great family photos.

Kvale Connection December Newsletter

Editor’s note:  There was so much good stuff in this newsletter, that we will post in 2 parts!  Part 1 is today…Part 2 will be posted tomorrow:

Celebrating the Word!

ArkOfBibles1Twice a year, in the Spring and in the Fall, there is a special celebration of completed translation projects for the previous six months.  Held in the Taboli room at the Wycliffe USA headquarters in Orlando, FL, festive and worshipful music, local and international guests, and a special speaker in linguistic missions highlights the celebration as well as the presentation of the New Testaments and Bibles in print. Feelings of inexpressible joy and reverence come over us when we have a chance after the presentation to view and examine the Scriptures in other languages knowing its transforming power is beyond what we can comprehend or imagine! Testimonies are endless and tears flow with gratitude for this gift from God. This year, the number of languages needing translation decreased from 2,040 to 1,967! Below 2,000! Glory to God!!

HDI Translation

SundaySchoolClassPayForBiblePrintingThis Sunday School in Marshall, MN, with their Bible Celebration Sunday, focused on the HDI translation project of Nigeria and Cameroon, raising enough change to print 66 copies! 

Several readers mentioned how the HDI Peoples story in our September Prayer Letter really impacted them. Please keep praying for the anticipated December 2013 completion of this Scripture.


(Top) The HDI church.

(Bottom) Danqwa Peirre, current president of the HDI translation committee, with Lee Bramlett, translation advisor to the committee.